Monday, December 28, 2009

Incoming weather

The weather map for the next several hours certainly looks ominous...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry X-Mas and New Year's

May the Spirit of Generosity bring you much joy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

If you give a crap about the Yankees....

and I haven't gotten the impression that anyone who reads this blog does, but I thought the Bronx Bummers made a great move today trading for Javier Vasquez. If you remember, Vasquez had a go-round with the Yankees a few years back, and I didn't think he was terrible, but we gave up on him after on year. He's a little long in the tooth, maybe 33, but he had a solid year with the Braves last year, and seems like the type of pitcher whose not near the end by any means. Anyhow, I'm glad we got him to shore up the rotation....

But, we gave up Melky Cabrera to get him. Cabrera was a fairly solid center fielder for us last year, but he has had kind of and up and down career. On the up side, he's fairly young and has performed fairly well under the NYC spotlight. Howevever, Cabrera clearly became expendable when we picked up the great (former Seawolf) Curtis Granderson from the Tigers. There was talk that Melky would start in left, but I'm not sure he has a big enough bat for the Yankees to be completely satisfied with him as the full-time leftfielder. So, we dumped him for some starting pitching depth.

Which leaves us with a hole in left field - not necessarily a bad thing considering that three of the current top free agents are left fielders: Johnny Damon, Jason Bay, and Matt Holliday. Damon, of course, is a proven commodity, but Bay and Holliday likely have more upside - as they both are younger. That said, if this article is true, and Damon has reduced his contract demands to a two-year term, then, we should probably jump all over it. Yes, we'd be leaving Holliday and Bay on the market for the BoSox, but Damon is probably a better fit for the Yankees' line-up. He's a lefty and did a great job in the number two hole last year. Yeah, we'd probably need to refresh the position in another couple years, while Bay or Holliday could conceivably be a long-term solution - but it's worth keeping in mind that Holliday was kind of a washout in his only A.L. stint with the A's last year, and that Bay is a right-handed pull hitter that might not be a good fit for Yankee Stadium - nor may he be able to cover enough ground to be an effective defensive left fielder in the (not quite so as in the past, but still fairly) cavernous confines of our home park. Based on their recent track record, I'm sure the Yanks are checking all this stuff out and am confident they will make the right move.

The Yankees, already the reigning World Champions, have had a great offseason and look really strong heading into 2010, which is the year I thought they could win it all based on last season's moves. I think Jeter and Posada each have at least one good year left in them, A-Rod should be back stronger than last year....I really think we could have an all-time great team next year. Just what all you Yankee haters wanted to hear I'm sure.

Cheers.

Ralph

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Matsui to Angels

There's been a lot going on in this baseball offseason so far, especially the Yankees picking up centerfielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers. Granderson was one of the Seawolves' all-time greats and I'll never forget watching him at the Uht. By all accounts he's a class act as well (but, then again, wasn't Tiger Woods, well, maybe not...but we'll leave that for another day). That all said, this small story that moved across the wire this morning was a bit disheartening.... it seems World Series hero Hideki Matsui is moving on from the Yankees to the Angels. After coming over from Japan, Godzilla had played his whole MLB career with the Yankees. He was generally a solid, clutch player whose intensity could not be questioned. He was the quintessential professional ballplayer.... right down to his collection of porn videos, which reportedly numbers greater than 50,000.

I guess when you consider his hobby and how Times Square has evolved in the past 20 years, then, perhaps Southern California is a better fit for him. But, Hideki, from one Yankees fan at least, thanks for all you've done for the team over the past 7 years - in exchange for that $70 million the Yankees gave you....

Ralph

Thursday, December 03, 2009

White Running Backs

Here's an interesting article (written by an African-American, ok, black, journalist) speculating that prejudice is a factor in the lack of opportunities being given white running backs in big time college football and the pros. He makes some really good points. The impetus for the article is the great season that Stanford's Toby Gerhart is having. I'm not sure who else is in the running for the Heisman, but this guy has more than 1,700 yards and 26 TDs and has helped lead the surprising Cardinal to wins over USC, Oregon, and Notre Dame (a game in which he even threw a big TD pass). I had heard talk that he was going to pursue a professional baseball career, but more recently I've heard people talking about his prospects for the NFL Draft.

Although there have been white fullbacks, Tom Rathman comes to mind, that have had some success catching passes out of the backfield, the last white back who enjoyed any sustained success carrying the ball, I believe was Craig James. James, who split time in college at SMU with the great Eric Dickerson, rushed for more than 1,200 yards for the 1985 Pats. I don't know if he got injured the year after or what, but he never came close to duplicating that success and was out of the league a couple years later. He did go on to a very successful career as a sportscaster.

Anyhow, James' 1,000 yard season was almost 25 years ago. Should we start calling Gerhart the Great White Hope? After all, my 10-year-old son keeps asking me if there is any chance he can make it to the NFL. He was the build and skill set of a back, but I told him that based on history he better hope he grows to at least 6'-3" and hope his arm continues to develop if he wants to have even a very slight chance. If Gerhart succeeds in the NFL, well, maybe he can expand that scope of hope a little bit...

Cheers.

Ralph

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Bus makes the right call

If anyone his interested, Jerome Bettis continues to do great work for sportsillustrated.com. Here's a quote from his latest column, which was presumably posted yesterday:

"I like the Saints Monday night in a runaway win.
It may not happen right off the bat, but Drew Brees will eventually eat this New England secondary up. The Patriots can't hold these guys off for four quarters." - Called it pretty much perfectly.

But also had some interesting comments on Dennis Dixon to start the column. He was obviously much more impressed than I was, and I have always been a Dixon fan. Maybe I was expecting too much. But, if the Bus calls it a good performance that establishes Dixon as a solid back-up, I'm buying in.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Premonitions of Death

This is kind of a spooky (not to mention sad) story I just heard on NPR.... I guess kids do say the darnest things...

Achilles: A Great Middle Linebacker

From the 19th book of Iliad:

"You talk of food?
I have no taste for food-what I really crave
is slaughter and blood and the choking groans of men!"

Would make Ray Lewis proud...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Great Baseball Story...

Well, it's certainly about more than baseball, but this is the kind of sportswriting even a non-fan can enjoy. Check it out if you have 15 minutes (at least) and make sure you watch the video. Award-winning stuff.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bills Can Coach

Not that it will matter We stink and it's not necessarily the coach's fault. I'm not sure how involved he is in the personnel decisions, but our organization has assembled a pretty crummy team. Of course, this includes the assistant coaches, which I'm assuming Jauron had some input into. Then again, he may have been limited by budget constraints. Funny thing is, our assistant coaches are so bad, I can't imagine who they could possibly promote to replace Jauron that could do any better. I will say that special teams coach Bobby April has done a pretty good job and a few weeks ago, people said he would be the likely replacement...but he's 55 years old and has never been anything but a special teams coach. I would have to say his ship has sailed in regards to being an effective NFL head coach. We really need to blow the whole thing up and start over again... starting with the owner if he won't pony up for a decent GM!

Belichick's Decision

Here's a great Joe Posnanski post that explains why Belichick went for it on fourth down with 2 minutes left Sunday night. By Joe's math, which is backed up by the math of some Air Force pilot, the odds were clearly in the Patriots favor...

Monday, November 16, 2009

What did we ever do to Bud Adams?

Well, there was the comeback game, but come on, we stink... why waste the energy Bud? Why do you hate us so? Really, if you haven't seen this, it's worth 14 seconds of your time.... (It's the Titans' 86-year-old owner flipping off the Bills bench yesterday. Honest.)

Erie Leaf Bag Issues

I haven't seen anything about this in Erie's "mainstream" media, but, word-of-mouth around my neighborhood is that area outlets have run out of the green leaf bags you're supposed to put your leaves in if you live in the City of Erie. I also found one local blogger who posted on this problem. It seems we had the exact same problem almost three years ago to the day, and I blogged about it then.

I'll start out by asking, does anyone know where I can get some more bags, as I'm down to like two and my oak leaves are just starting to fall? I think we avoided the shortage that last few years because of shorter raking seasons due to inclement weather. I remember years when the snow fell before my maples were even all down, not to mention the oaks. Well, this year the weather has been wonderful for raking and people have been taking advantage of it. I guess one option is raking the leaves into the street, which is actually illegal. The city seems to discourage this practice up front at least, but I have never heard of anyone being fined for it. Then, there is the burning route and my neighbor has a burn barrel....

But, I'd really just like to bag them. It's supposed to be another nice week. The problem, of course, is that I need to get more bags. Now, as I said in my previous post, I appreciate what the city is trying to do with the biodegradable bags and all, but they need to come up with a contingency plan for when the bags run out. Part of the problem is the very nature of the bags, which start to disintegrate within a year, so it is impossible to stock up on them. And they are fairly expensive, so you hate to buy too many and then find them biodegrading in your garage the next year. Because of the weather, predicting leaf volume is a very inexact science.

I jokingly (I think I was joking, sorry Joe) suggested we all take our leaves up to the mayor's front lawn. Maybe we could we could dress up like Indians or something.... but my wife insists it's not his fault. I am going to put a call (or e-mail) down to City Hall, however, and at least suggest they make some sort of public pronouncement and give people an idea of what they'd like them to do with their leaves; or at least give us some assurance that more bags will be in before next weekend. As I said before, I assume they have some sort of contract or contact with what is apparently the only company that manufactures the bags we're supposed to use.

Anyhow, in the greater scheme of things, this is probably a very small problem, but one that should be addressed at least, as, according to Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, addressing small problems is a great way to start solving your larger problems. Gladwell specifically detailed how New York City started its turnaround by addressing graffiti in the subways. Letting people know you care about the little things seems to go a long way towards getting them to cooperate and help you fix the big things.

That's all.

Ralph

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More on political winds of change

In a piece that appeared in today's Erie Times News, one of my favorite conservative columnists, Jonah Goldberg, echoed some of the sentiments I expressed regarding the change in the political landscape that has taken place over the past year. He agrees that despite the optimistic face national Democrats put on last week regarding the results, the Blues have reasons to be worried. I said I felt Grossman's narrow win in Erie County was evidence of this.

Just to address Mayor's Sinnott's easy win over Republican Jack Anderson: In my memory, a Republican has never seriously challenged for the Erie mayor's office and Anderson had already lost like 4 times before, so he has proven pretty well that he doesn't have much support. Plus, Sinnott is a fairly conservative Democrat, especially when it comes to spending, and I think people in Erie like that. Congrats Joe!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A second look at Grossman's win and what it says

I don't know how many of you followed the local County Executive race. Last week, Democrat Barry Grossman defeated Republican Mike Kerner. Grossman's winning was no surprise to most people-as he had much better name recognition going in and raised something like $100,000 in campaign funding compared to $3,000 for Kerner. The big surprise was the winning margin, which was less than 400 votes out of more than 50,000 cast.

To his credit, Grossman seemed less surprised than anybody over this narrow margin. He pretty much attributed it to people voting across party lines. And, from a quick Google, it appears that the 2005 County Executive race was decided by even a smaller margin.

However, you would think outspending your opponent 33-to-one (and I don't know if Barry used all his campaign money) would buy you some breathing room, but I think the whole Obama backlash thing really came back to hurt Grossman. Kerner cited voters' lack of support for County funding of a proposed community college (something which Barry is in favor of and Kerner is against) as a big factor in helping him get votes. He was probably right on this.

Also, I think people in general are sick of government spending following last year's multi-trillion dollar stimulus packages, that really don't seem to have helped the Erie County economy at all. I thought Kerner actually came off as a bit of teabagger/kook during the debate I watched, but apparently, more people are embracing that type of old-thyme Republican thinking. Heck, one guy got elected to County Council who reportedly owes $2 million in back taxes because he refuses to pay the government. He also wants to sell of the County library system.

Yeah, the political landscape is changing again. The Democrats were given their chance to turn things around with liberal policies and apparently the public has decided they've failed. Now, I think we really better start paying attention to the Libertarian crowd, because they seem to be gaining some steam.

I'm not saying this is good or bad, and I do support some of the fresh ideas and enthusiasm that Libertarians bring to the table. I'm really just saying that we can all learn a lesson from Barry and be careful not to dismiss these teabaggers as kooks. Their views seem to hold some sway with the populace, especially in small town America.

From a personal standpoint, I promise not to make the same mistakes I made with G.W. Bush and Phil English, as dismiss them as unelectable.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vick to Bills?

I, for one, am in favor. I mean we stink so bad now, he couldn't possibly make us worse, could he? It kind of reminds me of when we signed Flutie... sorry, Doug, if I'm insulting you by comparing you to a dog fighting ringleader. But, at that time we were coming off a 6-10 season and I thought the O-line was one of our biggest weaknesses. Well, after this year when Vick becomes a free agent again, we will be lucky to have finished 6-10 and our offensive line has been described as "historically bad" by some experts.

Yes, I realize Flutie was a CFL all-star when we signed him and Vick is still recovering from his stint in the joint and hasn't been an all-star in any league for a few years, but still both guys have/had legs that can help make up for some deficiencies in the O-line. Because of that I think we should roll the dice with Vick. I mean, really, what have we got to lose? If you put anyone else back there, they are going to get killed.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Hangover: Best Picture?

Saw The Hangover on Saturday night. It was as funny as everyone said it was. It was playing at the dollar theater and we went to the 10 p.m. showing, which was packed. Pretty impressive for like its 10th week in circulation. Or, maybe it just says something about people's tastes in Erie.

Really though, I haven't talked to anyone who didn't like the movie and some people like it a whole lot. One of our friends thought it was the funniest movie ever made: funnier than Animal House and Caddyshack. Both my wife and I liked it, which means it scores with diverse audiences, as our movie tastes are fairly different. I guess the point I'm getting at, is can a low-brow comedy like this be nominated for best picture?

I think the Academy has been catching some heat in recent years, for ignoring "popular" pictures like this and wouldn't be surprised if they threw a curve ball this year just to change their image. I mean those Hollywood types are awfully image conscious you know. I don't know what the qualifications are for Best Picture, but I know I saw Slumdog Millionaire last year, and while it was good, in my opinion, The Hangover was better- whatever that means.

But, let's take Caddyshack, for example. I my opinion (once again), that was maybe the funniest movie ever. Granted, I caddied for a few years at Kahkwa, so my perspective is skewed, but everyone else seems to like it as well- and it has to be one of the all-time most quoted movies.

According to a Google search, Caddyshack came out in 1980. In 1980, here were the five pictures nominated for Best Picture: ORDINARY PEOPLE (which won I guess), Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, and Tess. Okay, Raging Bull may be a better movie than Caddyshack, but those other four... I'm sure they have their charms, but 30 years later, nobody is suggesting I watch them. Caddyshack, meanwhile, holds up.

I guess my point is that great comedies really don't get enough credit. It's always been my contention that a comedy is the toughest movie to make well. I base this on the fact that I've seen so many bad ones. Of course, it's certainly easier to make a niche comedy, like a formulaic romantic chick flick, because there are certain demographics that find comfort in that sort of thing. I remember this kid in college who I thought was perfectly normal and fairly intelligent until he told me he thought the "Earnest" series of movies was the greatest. I immediately thought less of him, but as I continued to hang out with him and get to know him, I realized this did not necessarily make him a dumb person, just someone with a different sort of comedic taste than I have.

The thing that makes Hangover great is that it seems to satisfy every comedic taste (well, maybe not the Christian right wingers, who I haven't heard weight in on it yet). I don't know how it will hold up in years to come, but it's fairly hot right now. And I certainly think it deserves consideration for best picture of 2010.

Any thoughts?

Ralph

Friday, November 06, 2009

Rick Riley on Parades

I've been trying to come up with ways to defend the Yankees: things like, when Jeter starts to go downhill, let's see if they can win another championship. After all, it was more than 15 years between championships before he showed up, and I'm pretty sure they had the highest payroll in baseball through the '80s and early '90s as well...

But Rick Riley's blog entry today really put things into perspective. Here are the last two paragraphs:

"Oh -- and the next Yankees fan who looks to the heavens and sighs happily, 'It's been nine long years!' gets tied to the front of the 4 train and run into a wall. Nine years? Nine years is a cigarette break to most teams in MLB. Chicago Cubs fans are at 101 years and counting. Cleveland Indians' fans: 62. New York/San Francisco Giants: 55. Pittsburgh Pirates: 30. Gee, nine whole years? The Boston Red Sox waited 86 years for theirs. The Chicago White Sox -- 88! There are people in swine flu lines longer than nine years.

Hope your parade takes a wrong turn off a pier."

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Yanks do it!

Despite the naysayers' contention that the Yanks bought a championship, I still think this was a very special team. It includes three sure-fire Hall-of-Famers: Jeter, A-Rod, and Rivera, as well as at least two solid borderline cases: Pettite and Posada, and another guy who should get some votes: Damon, not to mention Matsui, who if Japanese games are considered, should get consideration. We also had guys like Sabathia and Teixiera - who appear like they could be on their way to Hall of Fame careers. No matter how it's assembled, that's a lot of talent on the field at one time, so I guess, back to the anonymous commenter's post: maybe we did just bludgeon everyone with talent. Then again, part of the HoF arguments in favor of guys like Damon, Matsui, Pettite, and Posada, will be the number of championships they won, so it's kind of a chicken and egg thing.

It was kind of fun watching Jeter, Posada, and Petite celebrate, because these are guys who had so much success winning the World Series early in their careers, they might not have appreciated fully how hard that is to do, until they went eight years without one. I'm thinking this one has to be extra special for that reason. As for Rivera, he's just a cold-blooded assassin, and I'm not sure how much winning the World Series means to him. I mean he always pitches well enough to win the thing - it's his teammates who let him down. Also, it was good to see veterans like A-Rod and Matsui finally get their first titles - especially because they both contributed so much in the playoffs. Matsui was a monster (his nickname is Godzilla) last night, and it sure is going to be tough for the Yankees to let him walk now.

As I've said, the core of the team is past its prime and logic would tell you that we have to become younger, but Posada and Jeter aren't going anywhere, and with left fielders Bay and Holiday coming on the market this winter, it would make sense to get rid of Damon and/or Matsui. Ahh, the dilemmas of managing a $200 million payroll and 25 roster spots.

Oh well, at least for now, let them all celebrate a really special season!

ralph

Monday, November 02, 2009

True to Form Sunday

Both the Bills and Yankees played true to form yesterday. As usual, the Bills were outgained like three-to-one, but this time they lost - no more breaks falling their way after the first half yesterday, when they parlayed three turnovers into a narrow lead. Of course, it didn't last, as Houston benched their fumbling RB and pretty much kept the ball on the ground to avoid interceptions - then ran right over the Bills. This should be the blueprint for beating my beloved Blue-and-Red the rest of the season. Our offense sucks, so you don't have to worry about us coming back after you take the lead...

As for the Yankees, they had yet another, well, it wasn't a comeback win, but it was pretty close. After having young reliever Joba Chamberlain give up the game-tying home run with two outs and two strikes on the Phillies' seventh-place hitter, the Yanks had every reason to pack it in, as the Philadelphia crowd was roaring and all the 'mo seemed against the New Yorkers (the Eagles had even beat the Giants across the street earlier in the day). Of course, the Phillies then brought in closer Brad Lidge to throw the top of the ninth, a match-up I have been waiting for. You see, Lidge had a terrible regular season, with an E.R.A. of over seven and blowing more than 10 saves. Last year, he was unhittable through the Series, so I guess the Phils felt they owed him some loyalty, and he'd been pretty good with postseason so far this year, going three-for-three in saves, but from what I recall, at least two of these saves were shaky, meaning he got men on base before escaping. This is usually a bad sign for a struggling closer.

Well, Lidge came out last night and dominated pinch-hitter Matsui and then Jeter. Then Damon battled him and finally broke him for a single to left. Lidge got two strikes on Damon early and then the catcher looked like he dropped a potential foul-tip third strike. That was all the Yankees needed. Lidge beaned Teixiera, A-Rod followed with a tie-breaking double and Posada cleared the bases. Game over. (Rivera pitched a perfect ninth-also true to form.)

So, I guess my point is that everyone played true to form yesterday and with the brisk weather and the colorful falling leaves, it was a stereotypically great autumn day. And stereotypes, because of their familiarity, can sometimes be comforting.

Cheers.

Ralph

Friday, October 30, 2009

AJ. Burnett vs. Squidward





















I don't know about anybody else, but Yankees' pitcher A.J. Burnett constantly reminds me of SpongeBob character Squidward. Regardless, Burnett pitched a great game yesterday.

Cheers.

Ralph

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yankees -A Team for the Aged

I know there is a lot of talk that if the Yankees spend $200 million salaries they ought to win the World Series. I'm not so sure this is the case. I mean we spent $200 million last year and didn't even make the playoffs. In fact, I'm fairly certain we've led the league in salary quite a few years since we last won the World Series in 2000. And despite our high salaries and line-up of big names, it's worth noting that quite a few of the guys we rely on should theoretically be past their prime. Here's an article by Joe Posanski, with input from stats guru Bill James, that details how great ballplayers typically start to decline at age 33.

Five of the Yankees starting nine have crossed that threshold, as well as two of our main pitchers. Jeter is 35, Posada is 37, Matsui is 35, Damon is 35, and A-Rod is 33. In addition, Pettitte is 37 and Rivera is 39 (ages according to baseball-reference.com). And not only are all these guys playing for the Yanks, they all had great years, many of them coming back from down seasons in 2008. I can't explain it (especially now that they are testing for steroids), but this has truly been almost a magical year for the Yankees.

Yes, we signed three of the top free agents on the market in Sabathia, Burnett, and Teixiera to complement these guys, but the fact that this over-the-hill gang all had these great comeback seasons at the same time is kind of amazing. I mean the Red Sox' Jason Veritek, who is the same age as Posada (and in many ways his rival), hit .200, can't throw anyone out and is considered washed up. Posada hit .285 with 22 homers and 25 doubles and played a respectable, if not great, catcher. Jeter hit .335 with decent power as an everyday shortstop, while his main rivals of days-gone-by, A-Rod and Nomar, are both incapable of even playing SS, even though A-Rod can still hit. And Rivera, well, I was watching him in the playoffs and become convinced he's not even human. How many closers have come and gone during his more than a decade of dominance? Closers aren't supposed to remain dominant for 10-plus years and his level of dominance, especially in the playoffs, is almost ridiculous.

I guess my point is that this is a special year for the Yankees, no matter how much money they make, because this team could easily have blown up and faltered because of its age, and age has to catch up with these guys sometime, maybe next year, doesn't it? So, as a Yankees fan, I'm enjoying it while I can, because when/if we have $100 million worth of salaries on the DL next year and are struggling to play .500 ball, these memories are going to be sweet.

The Great Defender,

Ralph

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Egg McMuffins

They're 2 for $3 at Micky D's right now and they still don't taste too bad after all these years...

Clippers' jinx continues

Can there be any question that the L.A. Clippers are cursed? I've been a fan since I saw Bob McAdoo lead the NBA in scoring for the Buffalo Braves back in 1974 (I was seven.). The team has since relocated to San Diego, then L.A. - and after making a number of dumb trades while in Buffalo - sending away the likes McAdoo, Moses Malone, and Adrian Dantley, it has been beset by injuries since moving out to the west coast. Signing the already injured Bill Walton in the late '70s started this trend. The most memorable injuries for me were Ron Harper's blowing-out his knee after we stole him from the Cavs for Danny Ferry, and Danny Manning's blown out knee shortly after he proved he was the best college player in the nation by single-handedly leading Kansas to the national championship and we made him the number one pick in the draft. Now, we receive news that this year's top pick, All-American power forward Blake Griffin broke his kneecap in our last preseason game.... When will it end?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Winning Ugly

There's something to be said for it, I guess. The Bills pulled off their second ugly win in a row, after a few ugly losses to move to 3-4. They were outgained like 3-to-1, but managed a couple big plays and three interceptions. The Bills, under Jauron, have a history of pulling out ugly wins, so maybe that's just his coaching style. Eventually, bad football usually catches up to us, but maybe - and I always say this before getting disappointed - we can keep this up.... Bills' game, of course, was quite a contrast to the great Steelers-Vikes game that preceded it here on local TV.

As for the Yankees, last night's game was a real stress-test and the Yankees, as has been their wont over history, outlasted the Angels. There has been a lot of talk about how good the young Yankees bullpen was during the regular season, but I really didn't expect it to hold up in postseason- and for the most part it hasn't. It was interesting that Girardi went with the more-tested Joba Chamberlain to get some key seventh inning outs last night and then bypassed Phil Hughes entirely. When it came down to it, it was Pettite and Rivera who did the pitching last night and Damon and A-Rod who were the big hitters. Jeter had a really bad game, but not quite as bad as the Angels, who completely fell apart in the eighth inning trying to make plays on bunts.

Phils-Yanks should be fun.

Ralph

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Bills Fan Hijinks

So, I was listening to the pre-game for Bills-Browns 6-3 thriller on Sunday, and I heard an spot encouraging people to stop by the radio station's tailgate party to check out this wood-carved statue of Thurman Thomas. I thought that was a pretty cool idea. Well, check out what happened to said statue, during or after the game.... only in Buffalo. We can't win football games, but one of our fans apparently figured out how to steal a 1,000-pound wood carving. Go figure.

Ralph

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekend Sports-Yanks and Bills

If everyone hasn't noticed, A-Rod had a huge clutch series in leading the Yankees over the Twins in a three-game sweep. Yanks now advance to the A.L. Championship series vs. the Angels. In the past, A-Rod has been a notorious choke in the playoffs for the Yanks, but against the Twins he was fantastic, twice tying games in the late innings with home runs. Was it the steroid admission, the hip injury, or Kate Hudson (over Madonna) that turned him around? Either way, it's always interesting to see how somebody responds to adversity.

As for the Bills, 2-14 looks like a pipe dream right now. Do you realize the Browns quarterback went 2-for-17, and his team still won? You know people complain that the lack of a salary cap makes MLB unfair, well, the NFL salary cap certainly hasn't helped the Bills, who are rapidly turning into the Pirates of the NFL....

Ralph

Friday, October 09, 2009

Cole Hammels

One more politically incorrect post, as long as I've gone there.... and I heard some radio talk show guys address this earlier, so I feel my path has been cleared as well....

Cole Hammels pitched poorly for the Phils yesterday and then left to see his wife have their baby, as she was apparently in labor. Was he distracted by this? Perhaps, but the fact that the game announcers made such a big deal about excusing him if he was seemed a bit outrageous. Chris Berman and Rick Sutcliffe actually said there was no comparison between your wife's having a baby and pitching in a major league playoff game...Really? My wife and I have had three babies and while they were all amazing experiences, I don't know that I wouldn't have been willing to miss one of the births in order to pitch in a major league playoff game. I think that might be quite an amazing experience as well. (Sutcliffe has actually pitched in the playoffs and I'd like to question him further onthis over a beer.) And, it's not like you're not going to see the kid a million, kajillion times for the rest of his or her life. Yeah, the birth is great, but so are first steps, first words, every birthday party, every kiss, every dance recital, every little league game, even helping them with their homework.

The radio talk show guys suggested that Hammels should have maybe just done the '50s thing - sucked it up and handed out cigars after the game. I don't know, I thought that was an interesting perspective....

Libertarians Comment on Obama's Nobel Prize

I've been getting these press releases for awhile for some reason - I honestly don't know where they came up with my name. But this one is a classic (see my commentary at end, if you wish):

Libertarians suggest Nobel announcements should be moved to April Fool's Day

WASHINGTON - The Libertarian Party today suggested that, in the future, the announcement date every year for Nobel Prizes be moved to April 1.

"Unlike the gullible people who listened to The War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938 and thought Martians really were attacking the United States, when I heard this morning that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, I changed the channel in disbelief. But, the same thing was being said in multiple places," Libertarian National Committee Chairman William Redpath said.

"The gravity of the Nobel awards has not been augmented by some of their recent selections, including today's announcement, last year's award of the Economics prize to Paul Krugman, or the 2007 Peace Prize to Al Gore, whose global warming theories he will not defend in open debate. Maybe an early Springtime announcement date would be more appropriate."

Redpath continued, "I didn't know that it was the role of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to be handicapping the future performance of individuals and organizations. Nonetheless, we congratulate President Obama on his award and hope that three-and-a-quarter or seven-and-a-quarter years from now the Nobel Peace Prize Committee will be seen as prescient.

"President Obama will best fulfill the promise of peace that the Nobel Committee apparently sees in him by not trying to cure all the ills of the world, but by working to make the United States an example for the other nations of the world through implementation of a Libertarian foreign policy--military non-interventionism combined with free trade policies in fact, and not just in rhetoric. With those guiding principles, the world will be a freer, safer and more prosperous planet at the conclusion of the Obama Administration."


End Press Release


So, I was kind of glad to hear someone blast this selection, because now I don't feel so bad about knocking it. Perhaps I'm just another rapidly-becoming-disillusioned Obama-ite, but what exactly has the guy done to promote peace? I mean, we're still fighting in Iraq, aren't we? And all I hear about Afghanistan is that it's his war and that we're considering a troop increase. I don't understand. Does the fact that he hasn't started any new wars qualify Obama for this?

Anyhow, I know he has a lot of work to do, and he can't solve everything overnight, and I don't expect him to. However, someone apparently deemed it appropriate to give Obama this award. For what? Maybe I should read the selection details but on the surface, I just don't get it.

Best

Ralph

So

Trade T.O. to the Cowboys

Wouldn't it be nice if we could pull that off? Based on what I've seen of the 'Boys over the first few weeks of the season, they might really need ole' T.O. And the Bills, well, until their quarterback gets some time and a better arm, I think they're going to struggle to throw the ball to anyone - so what's the point of keeping T.O. around? The guys gets paid to catch passes, and I'm not saying it's all his fault, but he ain't catching many in Buffalo. Of course, the 'Boys burned some high draft picks to get T.O.'s alleged replacement, Roy Williams, from the Lions, so I'm not sure what they have to offer, but at this point, I'd take Wade Philips and maybe a run stopping linebacker or something...

Cheers.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Twins carry forward the spirit of the game

Yes, I'm a Yankees fan, and I'll be cheering for the Bronx Bombers vs. the underdogs from Minnesota tonight, but I'll admit that the Twins win over the Tigers last night brought to the surface a lot of the good that is inherent in professional baseball. First off, you had a great, back-and-forth 12-inning game. The game was kind of a microcosm of the Tigers' season - representative of the poetry baseball. Like they did in the regular season, the Tigers jumped out to an early lead, but couldn't close the deal. Twice, late in the game, they had runners on third with less than two outs and couldn't get them home. The Twins kept scrappin' and managed to overcome the boys from Detroit on a couple of hits by .220 hitters in the bottom of 12th.

The Twins getting into the playoffs also gets a small market/lower payroll team into the postseason this year, something which was in danger of not happening for the first time in recent memory. At least now, I can point to the Twins when Indians and Pirates fans bemoan the state of the game and the dominance of the big payroll teams like the Yankees. Thanks Twins!.

Seriously, I almost feel bad cheering against the Twins tonight as they face the Yankees' $160 million hired gun C.C. Sabathia - stolen from the Indians (via the Brewers - both small market teams) of course. But, the Yankees are in my blood. I've been a fan since about 1973 - back when a catcher named Thurman Munson was my favorite player. I will say I balance it out with my Bills' fandom, something else which I can't drop, no matter how bad they get! So, here's my dilemma - I've to one team that's too good and another that's too bad. Together they make a nice balance - and it's probably best I keep away from hockey and basketball as not to upset the cart.

Anyhow, enjoy the playoff baseball if you can.

Cheers.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Bills Struggles

I'd say we are well on our way to that 2-14 season I've been predicting. Maybe, maybe, win number 2 will come this week against the Browns, but from what I've seen of the Bills (and admittedly I haven't seen much of the Browns, but do know they played the Bengals pretty good yesterday), I'll take the Browns and the points (are the Bills really giving six?, how bad are the Browns?) next Sunday.

Trent Edwards continued his Mr. Hyde play this week, after two weeks of looking something like Jeckyl. Perhaps it's just a case of defenses figuring out him and our "Pop Warner" offense. Oh well, I guess they'll strap on the pads next week and go at it again. A loss (especially a bad one) at home to the Browns could bring full-scale mutiny by the fans. Perhaps T.O. will lead it. Yes, this is the franchise that fired current Colts GM Bill Polian after he turned the Bills around from a 1-15 team and took them to two Super Bowls. And our owner earned Hall of Fame enshrinement. I guess Jerry Jones, who drove Jimmie Johnson out of Dallas, will make the H.O.F. one day too.

cheers.

Ralph

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bills show true colors

A dreadful performance on Sunday. Actually, the defense was pretty solid for most of the game, but the offense was as bad as I had expected pre-season. Who knows why they were successful the first couple games? I'm afeared that what we saw Sunday was closer to the real thing...

Anyhow, in case you missed it, here's a quote from Sports Guy Bill Simmons' column last Friday: "Meanwhile, if you're thinking about taking Buffalo in an upset, check out this e-mail from Nick in Rochester: 'Being a Bills fan is like sending your girlfriend off to be a roommate on "Real World." Before the season starts you have this foolish hope that she won't let you down. However, in the depths of your being, you know that a few weeks from now, you will be sitting on your couch, watching your beloved fumble away her clothes, getting touchdown after touchdown scored on her.'

At least the Yankees clinched the division on Sunday...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Great Lakes Film Fest-early review

Just wanted to say, I really like what they've done with the Great Lakes Film Festival this year. It's something I've wanted to check out for several years, but have either been out of town, or had family obligations - but now, they've set it up so it fits perfectly with my vision of IPTV. I don't know if I wrote about it yet, but a few months ago, I picked up a combination S-video/sound cable that I can plug into my PC on one end and flatscreen TV on the other. And my flatscreen is hooked into my stereo for better sound.

So, tonight, thanks to the film fest being moved to a streaming video format online, for $1 apiece I was able to watch a couple of solid indy flicks on my home theatre. Good stuff.. One problem though. The first movie I watched, The Twenty, only had about the first 20 minutes loaded and then it ended and reset to the beginning. It was supposed to be a 90-minute movie, so I was kind of left hanging. I sent the Festival an e-mail and hope they get it fixed, because it was pretty interesting and I wanted to see the end.

However, this abrupt conclusion (and if I don't see the end, I only lost a buck and 20 minutes of my life) did motivate me to find one more short flick to watch before turning in. My choice was a "narrative short" entitled, "The Big Fat Lazy Sun." Let me tell you, if you have 15 minutes, a dollar to spare, and a decent sound hook-up on your computer, check it out. Kind of reminded me of Pulp Fiction. Solid stuff.

There's at least one more, a documentary about blind baseball fans, that I want to check out tomorrow.

The on-line festival only runs until Sunday and there's like 30 or more flicks up there - all available to watch online for $1.

Cheers..


Ralph

Dostoevsky on lying

From Crime and Punishment (a psychological thriller): "Because you know what irks me most about it? Not that they're lying; lying can always be forgiven; lying is a fine thing, because it always leads to the truth. No, what irks me is that they lie and then worship their own lies." - Razumikhin (the archetypal hero of the story) discussing the tactics of the Petersburg police.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MLB Update

If you haven't followed the 2009 Major League Baseball season to date, here's an informative and well-written article that will get you up to speed. No, it's not a playoff preview, because believe it or not, we are still a couple weeks away from the playoffs. It's pretty much a lament over the lack of exciting pennant races and the fact the the Twins and Tigers are the only two teams with meaningful regular season games left....

Speaking of which, I traveled to Pittsburgh to see the Buccos play Monday night, as I had some free tickets I had to use up, and was treated to a four-hour marathon of what the Pirates post-game analyst called "the worst game of the season." Now, I somewhat took exception to that, as the Pirates did rally from a four-run deficit in the final two innings, only to give up five in the top of the 11th and lose. I'll admit that there were some baserunning and fielding gaffes by both teams - the Pirates were playing the Padres - but I guess after watching little league ball all season, I thought the Pirates were quite impressive...

And yes, it was a beautiful night at PNC Park. We sat behind home plate and were looking out over the wall at the river and the city skyline. And, I got a Primanti's sandwich and a Penn Pilsner, so it wasn't all bad...

Also, if you're wondering what Jerome Bettis is up to, check out this wonderful column of his on the NFL. Go Bus!

Cheers.

Ralph

Monday, September 21, 2009

Celebration of football

Yesterday, was a great day for football - well, maybe not for all Browns and Stillers fans, but it rocked for me. First off, my son's 5-6th grade team won its first game, and he finally got some playing time - as he's on second team, and he had a blast. So that was cool, and the weather was great, so we came home and watched the Bills game on the TV outdoors - with the over-the-air HD feed. Grilled some brawts, had the neighbors and friends over and celebrated T.O.' first TD as a Bill and the first Bills' win of the year. (Skip to about the last 15 seconds to see T.O.'scatch. He dropped a perfectly thrown bomb earlier in the game [you can see that on the link too if you like], but when he made the catch for the TD, you could see why we signed the guy. Yeah, it was a nice catch for the TD, but, even better, the place went nuts and he played it up beautifully. The guy is electric.) Two games into the season, it's definitely been a fun one. We got the Saints at home next week.

Cheers.

Ralph

Friday, September 18, 2009

Leodis McKelvin Rocks

First off, I thought it was really cool that this second-year pro from the south actually owned a home in the Buffalo area - but then his reaction here to the kids who vandalized his lawn following his game-blowing fumble the other night is great. He actually seems to have thought it was kind of funny. Go Leodis.

Ralph

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baseball season continues...

I don't think anyone around here notices, what with the Pirates suffering their 15th losing season in a row or something, the Indians season in the dumps, and the Seawolves long since done...but they are still playing baseball in other parts of the country. Being a Yankees fan and a proponent of the Giardi hiring last year, this has been a great year for me. I thought we might be one year off from making a big run, but Sabathia, Teixeira, and even Swisher have integrated themselves into the team faster than I would have thought - and with big comeback years from some of the old guys - Posada, Jeter, and Matsui, we've got the best record in baseball. Go Yanks!

Anyhow, last night the Yanks pull off another stirring comeback win. For some reason, I have just started being able to get WCBS - AM 880 on my radio (I know, an archaic way to catch a game, but baseball is kind of archaic anyhow) and tuned back in in the bottom of the eighth just in time to hear John Sterling's great call - "There's a drive to deep right center, it is high, it is long, it is gone...an thrilla' for Godzilla!" as Mastsui hits a two-run homer to tie the game in the eighth. The 39-year old Rivera comes on and does his job in the top of the ninth and then Brett Gardner, this kid the Yanks have been using part-time in center field the last two years, singles, steals second, goes to third on a grounder by Jeter and scores on a single by our rookie catcher. Great win.

Even better, the Red Sox pulled off a topsy turvy back-and-forth win over the Angels. For some reason it looks like were headed for another Yankees-Red Sox showdown in the ACLS. I know that will make a lot of people sick, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Ralph

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WSJ Article on GE Transportation

I guess anyone who read this article a few weeks back wasn't too surprised by yesterday's news. The locomotive market is apparently pretty weak right now, but similar to what was said in the Erie paper today, there is some hope for a few years out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Art of Losing

If losing is an art form, the Bills can certainly make their claim to being Michaelangelo. (Perhaps the Bengals are De Vinci after their horrific last second debacle on Sunday, but Bills' loss tonight was equally bad. I think in Bill Simmons' meter, it's called a stomach punch game.) I mean we were winning all night- a game nobody thought we could win - and we blew it with an incredibly bonehead play at the end. When the announcer tisks as the kick-off returner decides to bring the ball out of the end zone late in the fourth quarter while you're protecting a lead - and then the return man promptly fumbles and sets up one of the NFL's all-time clutch quarterbacks 30 yards from the winning score - I mean, the pain! Would it have been better to have been blown out?

So, let's rank this one in the pantheon of heartbreaking Bills losses:
1. Loss to the Giants in the 1991 Super Bowl - that kind of set the tone for all the misery that has followed.
2. The Music City Miracle - That was the last time the Bills were in the playoffs
3. That Cowboys loss on Monday night two years ago - I was at the Mannechor watching the Yankees get eliminated by the Indians in the playoffs on the other screen.
4. Tonight's fiasco.
5. The Browns loss at home last year - especially significant to me because of where I live.

Alright, the fifth one might not be included as one of the toughest losses of all-time for any team, but the other four certainly are. In each instance, twice on Monday Night and twice in the playoffs, the Bills managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in front of a national audience. What have we done to deserve this? (and this gets me back to my question about why am I a fan - I like that explanation about the rituals of fall). I feel like we are cursed by some sort of Greek god, like perhaps we harmed or insulted one of Zeus' children at some point and he has damned our team to public failure. Right now, I feel like Raskolnikov in the beginning of Crime and Punishment when he is wondering around St. Petersburg in a half-coherent, feverish state. I keep telling myself I don't care about this stuff, but then the season starts, and I realize my hopes get irrationally up for some glory for the Blue and Red. Then, they even tease me by taking the hated Patriots to the brink, only to blow it and practically hand the Patriots the game on a sliver platter. Woe is me! Woe is the city of Buffalo, Western New York, and all the sorry-ass Pollack Bills fans all over the world. Say it ain't so Joe Ferguson, Cribbs, or whoever you are....

Ralph

Hope Springs Eternal - NFL Kick-Off

Despite the fact that I've told everyone who's asked to take the Patriots and give the points (like 11 1/2) against the Bills tonight, I still find myself getting excited about watching the red-and-blue take on New England. There's at least some chance - maybe 1 in-a-thousand that we can win and probably a 1-in-100 chance of the Bills being competitive - but I'll take it. Why? I have no fuckin' idea. Why should I feel loyal to a bunch of football playing mercenaries carrying the banner of a team I have rooted for for 35 years. What's the attraction? Any ideas? (I need help.)

Thanks.

Ralph

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Iliad as spoken art

Don't know where this guy is, but he'd be fun to hire for a party.

Great Headline

Remember the late 1990s? This is an article from Inc. Magazine in 1998 that features one of my favorite business-related headlines. (What made it extra humorous at the time is that the company I was with actually worked with the guys featured in the lead paragraphs. [I don't mean the heart attack was funny, but just the coincidence...]).

Cheers.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bronson Arroyo- outspoken pitcher

Yes, it's still baseball season - even if most NW PA people are more excited that football is just around the corner. Let's not forget the pennant races (actually "divisional and wild card races" is more correct these days. My Yankees are red hot, which is nice, although the thinness of the pitching staff may be starting to catch up with them.

One of the rumored guys that they were going to pick up, but haven't yet (maybe he'll clear waivers) is Bronson Arroyo of the Reds. I have a friend who is a Bosox fan and rues the day they traded his favorite player to the Reds for the forgettable Wily Mo Pena. I never really understood his attraction to Arroyo who is a bit of a flake, but a decent-to-good pitcher nonetheless. However, today I read this great interview with the guy. He really tells it like is regarding performance enhancers. Go Bronson. You've earned a fan of this former sportwriter who knows how hard it is to get athletes to say interesting shit.

Ralph

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hotel View



I can't stress how nice it is to have a great view when you are working out of your hotel room. Above is pretty much the view (it's a picture I copied from someone else's Web site) I have today at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago. If you want to see what it looks like at night (and higher res), try this link and go to the last of the "exterior" shots. Anyhow, it's awesome to be able to look up and see that shit every couple minutes.



Friday, July 24, 2009

New Post

What do you know, I'm still out here and still alive. Have had a lot going on and not able to focus on posting. Having a nice summer, but like everyone else, this sucky weather is kind of bringin' me down. Hope all is well with you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Really looking forward to the 8 Great Tuesdays show tomorrow at the Liberty Park Amphatheater.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Yankees pitching

It's fascinating the way teams manage pitchers and pitch counts these days. Imagine this type of thinking 20 or even 10 years ago, where the Yankees are concerned about moving former starters who have been working out of the bullpen recently, back into the rotation, because their arms can't get "stretched out" enough to throw more than 50-65 pitches. I'm reading Joe Torre's book about his Yankee years and one of the early stories is how David Cone threw like 150 pitches in his last start of 1995 (in the playoffs vs. the Mariners) and suffered from an aneurysm at the start of the next year.

I'm hugely in favor of this type of micro-management of younger pitchers, but agree with Nolan Ryan's theory as well, that pitch counts need to be increased and/or even eliminated as pitchers mature. Of course, the Yankees, because of their vast resources, can afford to be careful, as they can always afford to bring in more decent players to cover for pitchers that need to be pulled because of pitch counts.

I've been cringing when I hear that the Washington Nationals want to bring up their recent top draft pick, Stephen Strasburg, to the majors this year if possible, pretty much to try and drum up some more fan interest in the team. Wasn't this what the Texas Rangers did with David Clyde all those years ago? I was just a kid back then, but I remember one of my buddies being all excited when the Indians traded for Clyde. Unfortunately, he was pretty much washed up by then and out of the majors by the age of 25.

Anyhow, I applaud the Yankees micro-management of their pitchers and hope it leads to long and productive careers for the likes of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes.

Ralph

GE Stock

Interesting article on why GE's stock has taken such a beating in the last year.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tiger Grinding

I love to watch Tiger Woods golf... and I've probably said this before, because he never quits. I think he was down more than 10 strokes in this year's U.S. Open, and instead of mailing it in, he just keeps grinding - trying to make shots. He just made a birdie to go to one under on like the 14th - putting himself under part (at 1 under) for the first time in the tourney. He's still four off the lead with a handful of holes to play, but he gave it a big fist pump, like he had just taken the lead. He's clearly not giving up - which is why he gives people their money's worth, which is why we love him. Go Tigger!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Bills Marketing

As a Bills fan, I get a ton of questions about what I think of the T.O. signing. As a football move, it's probably not a bad one, as the Bills are only committed to one year. As a marketing move, it looks like it's turning out to be ingenious. Apparently, despite the bad economy and a team that hasn't made the playoffs in almost 10 years, season ticket sales are going great.

It's worth noting here that the Bills GM, Russ Brandon, has a marketing and P.R. background. And last year, despite a pretty lousy team that didn't even have T.O. )and slapped the fans in the face by playing a game in Toronto), the Bills sold their second most season tickets ever! Now, everywhere I go it's T.O., what do you think of T.O. - even though we completely overhauled our offensive line (which was somewhat offensive last year) and not in a good way, all everyone wants to talk about is T.O. So, from a football standpoint, the team may still suck, but if they're selling tickets, more power to them I guess, because that's really the name of the game. It's "professional" football after all, as a GM of an entity that is designed to make money, Brandon seems to be doing a great job.

Monday, June 08, 2009

NBA Finals

Have been great in HD- with the tremendous turquoise of the Magic and yellow and purple of the Lakers. Magic play some pretty entertaining ball too. Not the mention that Pau Gasol reminds me of the caveman on the Geico commercials. Go gekos.

Finally getting back up to speed after what seems to be my annual spring bout with colitis.

Cheers.

Ralph

Monday, May 18, 2009

Buzz-TV

How exactly did this guy get his nickname?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Chauncey Billups

If you haven't noticed, with all the hype Cleveland and Lebron have been getting around here, the Denver Nuggets have been playing really good basketball. Carmelo Anthony, he of the Syracuse fame- where as a freshman he led the Orange through the NCAA championships -- hit a fairly controversial three-pointer the other night to give the Nuggets a 3-0 lead over the Mavericks in their Western Conf. semi-finals. Apparently, the Mavs had a foul to give and tried like heck to grab Anthony before he shot, but the refs would have none of it. Maverick (pun intended) owner Mark Cuban even stormed onto the court to argue after 'Melo's shot went down. The Nuggets are just one game away from the Western finals, while the Lakers are in a battle, tied 2-2 with the Rockets. The Rockets killed them last night even though Yao is now out for the playoffs with a broken foot - and Tracy McGrady, he's been out for months.

Anyhow, don't be surprised to see 'Melo duplicate his college feat and lead the Nuggets to a surprise NBA championship. I know Lebron is great and all, and Mo Williams has been a great pick-up for the Cavs, but the Chauncey Billups trade (for Alan Iverson) has been even bigger for the Nuggets. Check out this great story on Chauncy if you get a chance. It will give you some idea of what the Lakers and Cavs could be up against.

Cheers.
Ralph

Monday, May 04, 2009

ERE Tire Plant: Alternative viewpoint

It was nice to hear from someone aside from K.E.E.P. for a change regarding this tires-to-energy plant or whatever you want to call it. In today's ETN, Victor E. Gatto, owner and COO Erie Renewable Energy (ERE), the firm proposing to build this thing at the old Hammermill site, writes an editorial defending the safety of the plant - as it relates to pollution. In my view, these guys have been inept at public relations from the start, but at least this is a well-written, easy to read article that makes some good points. I'm not going to get into all of them, but it quantifies some of the pollution this thing will emit - and makes it sound like a pretty small amount. It also provides a reference of an energy plant near Bethlehem, which is apparently turning tires into energy. Of course, it doesn't get into too many details about how similar this plant is to the proposed Erie plant, or how many tires are being gassified per day vs. plans for Erie, etc...

And that's indicative of the shortcomings of this article (although I will say again, it is better than anything else I've seen come out of ER, so far.) It's written by the guy planning to build the plant, so it's very one-sided. That said, the stuff coming out of the Green Party people at K.E.E.P. has been fairly one-sided as well. So, I guess this is the ETN's version of fair and balanced reporting.

Anyhow, typical of the way ERE handles things, they've contracted some guy to do an air pollution study - obviously, there were paying him - and what do you know? He found no problems and minimal impact on the environment. Well, no duh. Granted, he may very well be a valid source, but when presented as such, by the owner of the company that wants to build the plant - well, it just doesn't appear to hold water.

The bottom line is that I would like more information on this whole thing, before it is decided if it's built or not. Honestly, everything coming out of the people against it seems like radical hippie, off the cuff, blathering, while that stuff in favor is all coming from the company that wants to build the plant. Can we get a truly independent researcher in here?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yankees update

I know everybody hates the Yankees, so it's probably pointless to write any of this, but:

1) The Yankees starting pitching is starting to come around to where it needs to be: Last night Joba Chamberlain threw 7 strong innings, and the night before Phil Hughes threw six two-hit innings. These are two of the young guns that were supposed to carry the Yanks last year, but weren't quite ready. When you add their potential contributions to the already demonstrated capabilities of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett (who were both signed in the offseason), and returning aces Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte, you start to come up with a staff that can approach Boston's and Tampa Bay's. The last time the Yankees won the World Series was 2000, and their starting staff included Pettitte, Clemens, El Duque, and David Cone. Strong starters are key to winning in the playoffs, and since 2002, the last time the Yanks made it to the Series, they just haven't had dominant starting pitching. I'm not saying we're there yet, but in another year....

2) Speaking of another year, Joe Girardi is still developing as a manager: Last night he panicked and brought in Mariano Rivera with a five-run lead in the ninth and two runners on base. Granted, the previous guy was getting shellacked, but Rick Sutcliffe, a former ace pitcher, who was commentating on the TV, said, to him, it didn't look like Rivera was ready. Curtis Granderson promptly took him deep to make the score 8-6, before Rivera got a pop up to end the game. The Yankees started the inning with an 8-2 lead, and there is no way, in my opinion, that Rivera should have even warmed up. He's old and needs his rest. Despite having been named Manager of the Year in his one season at Florida before being hired by the Yankees, Girardi has never led a team to the playoffs and stills needs to learn a little bit of patience. That said, I think he's doing a good job and will turn the Yankees around if given enough time - meaning next year is their year.

3) A-Rod continues to be a sideshow/circus, but we miss his bat: Selena Roberts' book about him apparently says he's been juicing since high school and continued to juice after joining the Yankees. This would explain the serious hip injury he suffered after MLB starting testing for that stuff. That said, if he can come back and be effective, it sure will help Mark Teixeira, the Yanks $20 million per year first baseman, who is hitting like .197. All I've seen him do is walk. Apparently, pitchers would rather face Matsui, or Posada, or even Nick Swisher (who is actually red hot), who have all been batting behind Teixeria in the clean-up spot unti A-Rod gets back.

Cheers.
Ralph

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dontrelle Willis

I had the opportunity to watch ex-Tiger pitch in Erie on Sunday. Willis was the 2003 National League Rookie of the year with Florida after winning eight of his first nine starts. He tailed off a bit toward the end of the year, but bounced back with some effective outings in the World Series against the Yankees (as a Yankee fan, I always take special note of great lefties). At 21, Willis was an integral piece of a world champion.

He also has a tremendously high, stylish leg kick that he says he copied from the Yankees great Cuban refugee Orlando, "El Duque" Hernandez. This style, his seemingly gregarious personality and reported friendship with the tennis-playing Williams sisters made him a minor celebrity. When he won 22 games in this third season, Willis was seemingly on top of the world. Of course, peaks can be steep, and Willis was apparently precariously balanced on his.

Personally, I always questioned the fact that he based his pitching motion on something that "looked cool" rather than going with a more utilitarian approach. So, it didn't completely surprise me that Willis' performance started to decline over the next two years with Florida. In 2007, his ERA with Florida was over 5.00, although he did lead the league in starts with 35.

The Tigers thought enough of Willis to trade for him prior to the 2008 season and sign him to a $29 million contract extension over three years. Then things got really bad. In eight games last year, Willis' ERA was 9.38. That means he was giving up more than a run per inning. This was contributed to by Willis' walking 35 batters in 24 innings. To give you an idea of how bad that is, in his big year in 2005, Willis walked only 55 batters in 236 innings.

Willis spent the second half of the last year trying to fix things and in March, the Tigers diagnosed him with some sort of anxiety disorder and have been trying to get him back up to speed. Part of Willis' rehabilitation program involves starting some minor league games, and Sunday was his chance to throw in Erie, vs the Harrisburg Senators. Mind you, the Senators (a farm club of the lowly Nationals, I believe) had lost eight in a row coming in, so Willis wasn't exactly facing the 2004 Red Sox.

I took my son to the game, as he was all stoked to see this ex-MLBer, and while we were standing in line for tickets, he noted that the $10 box seat ticket prices listed on the board seemed expensive. The guy in front of us turned around and said you'd pay 30-40 bucks for major league box seats--at least that 's what he paid to see Willis pitch for the Marlins.

We got two reserved tickets, second-deck, first-base side, for six bucks. (I had a coupon, which are very easy to come by.) For that price, I really felt like I was stealing. Of course, the $10 I spent for a beer, hot dog, and pop lunch added a little to our tab, but still... and we were sitting closer to Willis than you could ever get in a major league park without dropping at least $100.

Willis is a lefty, so our seats gave us prime viewing of his motion. He still has his high leg kick, but he really wasn't throwing that hard. I don't think he topped 90 on the stadium radar. After the game, the Seawolves' manager said he wasn't getting much bite on his breaking ball pitches either.

The results were kind of mixed. Yes, he had a perfect game through four innings, but there were several hard hit balls, including at least three line drives that just happened to be hit right at outfielders and one bouncer back through the middle (to open the game) that Willis made a great play on. Finally, the guy leading off the fifth put a line drive over the fence, and then I think a couple more doubles fell in from there. Willis' last two innings were not that impressive and he left to a mild ovation by the Erie fans, as he made his way back to the club house.

According to Ron Leonardi's story in the ETN, he didn't stick around for post game interviews, so we don't know how Willis felt about his outing. The current news is that he will make his next start Friday at Triple A Toledo (a step up from Erie). It's my estimation that if he doesn't pitch better than he did in Erie, he's not going to be successful again in the major leagues. However, he always was a fairly good hitter, so maybe he can pull a Rick Ankiel and make it back to the majors as an outfielder.

Cheers.

Ralph

Whippy Dip

Very unique place, I think. Something very Erie about it. One of those few places where you get a great cross-section of the city's population. It's on 26th and Chestnut, just west of St. Vincent's, so it's fairly accessible. And the ice cream and selection is killer.

Last night my son said, I don't know what to get. I asked him, "what do you want? chances are they have it." We ended up getting a blue raspberry freeze-floats - like a Mr. Misty with ice cream. You can't imagine how good this was after a two and a half hour little league game in 80 degree weather, with the sun shining in our dugout the whole time and the water spigots not yet turned on.

We ate our treats on a bench facing the Erie Cemetery and watched the steady flow of customers streaming in. You had everything from conservative just-past-middle-aged empty nesters out for a cone to fat chicks with belly piercings toting their brood, and about everything in between.

Everybody loves the Whippy Dip.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Red Sox Sweep Yanks

Here's one reason why the Red Sox swept the Yanks over the weekend. It's a video of Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home last night off Andy Pettite with the bases loaded and the score tied. The reaction of the crowd is great. It's just one run, but if there is such a thing as momentum in baseball, that's the type of play that swings it. You really don't see home stolen that often these days, so whoever made that call for the Red Sox deserves a lot credit.

The Bosox absolutely embarrassed the Yanks over the weekend. On Friday, ex-Pirate Jason Bay homered with two outs off Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera to send the game into extra innings, where the Sox won with a Youkalis blast. On Saturday, the Red Sox came back from an 0-6 deficit to win like 16-11 or something, and last night you had this home stealing thing.

It's a long season, and maybe the Yanks can get it turned around, but things aren't looking too bright in the Bronx right now. Not to mention, the problems the Yanks are having with the new ballpark, because of seats priced too high for the current market and an inordinate number of cheap home runs. I guess there's some kind of irony there.

Ralph

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cal Ripken, Jr. Feature

I never really was that big of a Cal Ripken, Jr. fan, but this article I read yesterday really gave me a new appreciation for him. It appeared in a book my wife picked up for me recently, called The Greatest Baseball Stories ever told, edited by a guy named Jeff Silverman out of Chadds Ford, PA. His primary focus seems to be coming up with stories that great writers have written about baseball. One example is a wonderful John Updike piece about Ted Williams' last game for the Red Sox. Just to show you how random life is, Silverman includes an intro that explains that the only reason Updike made it to the game was because his lady friend at the time was not home. If she had been, he would have missed the game and never written this fairly famous article.

The Ripken piece is written by Richard Ben Cramer, who once won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. Cramer does a great job blowing up a lot of the myths surrounding Ripken. It almost seems like he going to tear the guy down, but then he builds him back up in a more authentic light, and the story ends with an amazing scene that really made me respect and admire baseball's "Iron Man." If you get a chance, it's worth the read.

Cheers.

Ralph

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remembering Mark Fidrych

The 1976 American League Rookie of the Year died yesterday. Fittingly, he was crushed by a truck he was working on. You see, Fidrych, despite being extremely famous, never made a lot of money from baseball. Back in 1976, apparently, it was okay to have 21-year-old rookies throw 24 complete games. Today's top veteran pitchers, who make 100 times what Fidrych did, throw a handful of complete games per year - if that. (Which, of course, reminds me that the Pirates had Zach Duke, who is coming off arm troubles, throw 120 pitches in the cold yesterday. Not sure what they were thinking, but apparently they have a history of promising pitchers coming down with sore arms.) Anyhow, what in hindsight appears very predictable, Fidrych blew out his arm shortly after going 19-9 his rookie year and leading the league in E.R.A. He never pitched a full major league season after that and was out of the league by the time he was 25.

My grandfather, who was old enough to have seen Babe Ruth play at the old League Park in Cleveland, I remember being a huge Fidrych fan. He was impressed with the way he'd sprint on and off the field to and from the dugout and, of course, talk to the ball. My grandfather who was a dentist and apparently a pretty fair ballplayer in this time, also loved that Fidrych said that if he wasn't pitching he'd probably be back in his hometown pumping gas.

Anyhow, for some reason I have always been a Yankee fan and kind of resented Fidrych and the success he always had vs. the Yanks, something, which in retrospect (like Fidrych's throwing 20-plus complete games) I also realize was stupid. Oh well, here's to ya' bird. Let's hope at least one major leaguer over the next couple days, gets down on his hands and knees to smooth at the dirt around the mound!

cheers.

Ralph

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jesus Christ Superstar

Much worse things you could do to celebrate Easter than watch the 1973 movie version of this rock opera (it's on Hulu). I'm still kind of baffled that the musical score doesn't get more acclaim. I'm still fascinated by it, and I've heard it like 20 times at least. I think it does a great job humanizing Jesus - almost better than anything else I've ever seen. Of course, it does this by also humanizing Judas, which makes for a great counterbalance. And yes, the movie was made in 1973, so maybe that's why I connect with it so much.

cheers.

Ralph

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Aleister Crowley

Prompted by a recent meeting I had with a man named "Crowley," I decided to do a bit of research this morning on the infamous Aleister Crowley-the renowned English occultist. About the only thing I knew of him was that Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page had bought his house at some point. Man, is there a lot more to him than that!

Raised by Puritanical parents, he totally rebelled against all that after his Dad (who he was apparently very close to) died when he was 11. At one point, the papers billed Crowley as "The Most Wicked Man Alive" or something akin to that. Apparently he was fairly wealthy, very hedonistic, charismatic, and perhaps even a genius. All these qualities led him to some big trouble.

In one documentary, he was credited as being a forerunner of the hippie movement. Of course, he really did practice several forms of black magic - to what end, I'm not certain. But, he was also a fairly prolific writer, so I guess I could figure it out if I really wanted to.

Anyhow, if you want to see something spooky, check this thing out. It's The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage (Translated by S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1900), which is the ancient text that Crowley used to reportedly summon evil spirits into the mansion that Page later bought. Legend has it that this book proscribes some sort of six-month ritual that Crowley abandoned half-way through, resulting in the house being haunted by these evil spirits, who were supposed to be made to cow-tow to his guardian angel - if Crowley had reached that part of the ritual. Let me know if you have the guts to read something like this, because it started to freak me out.

Cheers.

Ralph

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Schilling HOF?

So, Kurt Schilling announced his retirement on Monday, and a lot of people have been debating whether or not he is a valid Hall of Fame candidate. He has been compared favorably to Catfish Hunter who is in the Hall of Fame and has about the same amount of wins and losses - and also was on multiple World Series championship teams. Schilling, of course, has even better postseason numbers than Catfish, who went 9-6 in the playoffs over his career, while Schilling was 11-2. Coincidentally, both pitchers’ teams turned in incredible 10-2 postseason series records.

Schilling has also been compared to former Tigers great Jack Morris as well as Orel Hershiser, both of whom also had some legendary postseason success. Morris actually has almost 40 more wins than Schilling, and I'm not really sure why he isn't in the Hall of Fame, except for the fact that he was notably cantankerous and has a fairly high lifetime ERA of 3.90. However, Morris did pitch the majority of his career in the hitter friendly old Tiger Stadium. Hershiser only has 204 career wins, and although he had a phenomenal postseason in 1988 and a very good one for the Indians in 1995, you could argue that he cost the Indians the 1997 title with his terrible performance against the Marlins. But, I wouldn't object to him making the HOF - and he has had a nice poker career following his retirement from baseball. This has contributed to making him a fairly famous guy....

And this brings us around to my argument about who the Hall of Fame is for. I contend it's for the most famous ballplayers of their eras. Schilling, with the "Bloody Sock Game" alone, certainly qualifies based on that criteria. I mean it's not called the Hall of Great Players, although being a great players certainly can contribute to one's fame.

I think the growing army of stat-heads out there gets too caught up in the numbers and forgets what the Hall of Fame is all about. It's not a shrine aimed solely at the elite and knowledgeable fans of the game. I think it's supposed to be accessible to everyone - including the casual fan. And I really think that casual fan has more appreciation for what Curt Schilling has done than what Burt Blyleven did, for example.

If you follow these things, you know that Blyleven is the current darling of the numbers crowd. I'm not saying that Blyleven wasn't a great pitcher, but he's really not that famous. I even remember Pirates fans dissing him as "Cryleven" because of the way he acted back in the day. He is never recounted as a major factor in the Pirates winning the 1979 World Series and most people probably don't even know he was on that team. Schilling, on the other hand, everyone knows he was part of the Phillies in '94, the Diamondbacks that beat the Yankees, and of course, the Red Sox in 2004. He's famous and thus belongs in the Hall of Fame.

That's about all there is to it.

Ralph

Pirates Spring Training Report

Most reports coming out of spring training about a team's top prospects have to do with how well they are hitting or the progress they are making toward the Big Leagues. Not our Pittsburgh Pirates. Yesterday's news out of their Bradenton camp has the 43-year-old wife of up-and-coming outfielder Jose Tabata being arrested for kidnapping a baby while posing as a customs official. Fortuntately, Tatata does not seem to be involved in the scam, but still.... Apparently, Tabata came over last year in a trade from the Yankees, so that may help explain it.

Ralph

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Signs of Spring

I was digging through my drawer this morning looking for a pair of sweats when I came across my shorts laying wrinkled on the bottom. I thought of warm days of summer and how I rotate about three or four pair - sometimes it gets so hot I need to change into a clean pair in the middle of the day. (Maybe I need to by some new shorts for this year.) I am now looking forward to those days, although last summer sure seems like a long time ago.

Oh yes, and I have been listening to baseball the last couple of nights - the World Baseball Classic - this tournament in which players, including a lot of major leaguers, play for their home countries. The U.S. got knocked out by Japan on Sunday and then last night South Korea and Japan played a wonderful championship game. Aside from the Korean pitcher's name being pronounced "Bong," which was very amusing in a Beavis and Butthead sort of way (what if someone gets a "hit" one of my friends suggested), it really was good baseball.

To defend the disgraced Americans a bit - both Korea and Japan have apparently been practicing for this thing since January, while the Americans had just started spring training in the middle of Feb, and next thing you knew the torney was underway. Our pitchers were in no way ready to throw at full-speed and our position players suffered all sorts of injuries - pulled muscles and the like. Anyhow, at least the Far Easterners showed up to play and put on a very entertaining show.

Cheers.

Ralph

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Cringely Site

For those of you that are fans of one of the greatest technology journalist/columnists of all time, he has a new site - have broken away from PBS. I've added it to the links on the right. Having worked at a start-up the matured into a mid-sized organization, I really enjoyed this post on Bowling for Dollars.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Quote of the day

So I just got done reading the ETN's cover story on this local political activist and his alleged arson case. Apparently the guy torched his house to get the insurance money, but the insurer has refused to pay, alleging arson - with good reason. For example, there was a gas can found on the front porch. The activist guy is trying to blame other people... Anyhow, the Erie District Attorney is also apparently really bad at closing out arson cases. In 2007, for example, it received 44 reports on arson and cleared four of the cases. That's like the one-third of the PA statewide clearance rate.

Well, the D.A.'s lead detective on arson cases, identified in the story as "Detective Gray," when talking about his overwhelming workload, is quoted as saying, he had to put some cases, "on the back burner." Talk about a misplaced metaphor.

Cheers.

Ralph

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Incredible Local Sports News

Today may be the greatest single day for local sports news that I ever remember. No, it's not one big story that makes it so great, but the sheer volume of good news related to local sports athletes. First off, you've got the Villa girls basketball team winning the state title. Then you've got two Edinboro wrestlers making it to the finals at the national championships. (Okay, I linked you to the story about the one-legged wrestling losing to the Edinboro guy in the national semi-finals, but that's a pretty incredible story in itself - not to mention the fact that the Edinboro kid is a former national champ from Nebraska who got kicked off his former team for, among other things, posing for a porn site. Anyhow,) the Mercyhurst women's hockey team has also made the national championship game, upsetting Minnesota in the national semi-finals. Also, the Gannon basketball team is preparing for its trip to the Elite Eight. The state junior wrestling championships are taking place at the Civic Center. Oh yeah, and for good measure, the Pitt Panthers are a number one seed in the NCAA tournament - although they just barely survived an upset bid yesterday.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jacques Plante

With hockey playoffs upcoming, I thought we should give a shout out to Jacques Plante, the inventor of hockey's goalie mask. Yes, thanks to Jason, goalie masks have become a cultural icon in America, but Plante himself was a bit of an icon. He is considered to be one of the greatest goaltenders of all-time, and his hobbies were apparently knitting and reading. This, of course, didn't endear him to his redneck coach, Toe Blake, who eventually demanded the Canadians trade Plante - even after he helped the team win five Stanley Cups. Granted, Plante, who had asthma, was starting to miss a lot of games and actually retired just a couple years later. But, much like Jason, he wasn't through. After the league expanded, he came out after three years on the sidelines to become an all-star goalie again-after the age of 40.

During his first his first retirement Plante worked as a sales rep for Molson. Here's tippin' one to ya' Jacques.

Ralph

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Life on Mars Update

Wow! A truly mind-blowing episode. Great music, great guest starts, great plot, surprise ending - working toward the resolution of the why is Sam in 1973 mystery - all the stuff that makes this show great - coming on the heels of last week's stinker. Anyhow, I'm now getting really bummed out that I think I am going to be out of town (and scheduled to be at a meeting) the night of the final episode.

I was considering getting a VGA cable to hook my computer to my TV to watch MLB.TV. I guess can try that and see what kind of picture/sound I get. I'm really wishing I had some sort of TiVo way to record high-def programming at this point. Now that I think of it, I think I can get a high-def i-tunes download. I'll have to check it out.

Anyhow, if you have an hour to kill, check out this week's episode and let me know what you think. (Warning: Ignore Jason O'Mara's in-and-out brogue.)

Cheers.

Ralph

Michael Lewis Iceland article

This is a wonderful article by the renowned Moneyball author that appears in this month's Vanity Fair. It's all about this insane banking boondoggle that has pratically bankrupted a highly educated nation of 300,000 people, who have traditionally made their money through fishing. A couple years ago at a trade show, I had the opportunity to hang out with a couple guys from the Icelandic post office, and I must say they were a bit unique - and this article beautifully (and sometimes very comically) reflects the uniqueness of these Nordic people. (Warning: It's a bit long and the ending isn't really a zinger, but it's still a pleasure to read.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top seed graduation rates

Interesting piece today on the graduation rates for basketball players at the top four seeds in the upcoming NCAA, Division I hoops tourney. The study gives freshmen six years to earn diplomas. Pitt did fairly well with a 69% graduation rate, with North Carolina over year. I thought it was interesting the UConn, whose coached recently blasted some left-wing journalist who was pestering him about his outrageous $1.5 million salary when the state of Connecticut is practically bankrupt, graudates like 30% of its players. Great job coach. The article cited several schools in the torney with 100% graduation rates: Binghamton, Florida State, Marquette, Robert Morris, Utah State, Wake Forest and Western Kentucky. Florida State??? I guess the basketball program is kept away from the footballers.

Also, while we're on the topic of college basketball, congratulations to Gannon and their excellent coach John Riley, for a strong season. They host Kutztown tonight for a chance to advance to the Elite Eight of Division II. Gannon has already beaten Kutztown twice, and the home crowd will definitely be loud- but of course nothing is a given.

Ralph

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life on Mars Countdown

Disappointing episode last night. It was a show about pilots and swingers, with Sam (Jason O'Mara) and No Nuts (Gretechen Mol) going undercover, so there was some potential for some fun. But, the whole thing kind of lacked an edge. There was a cool "pilots lounge" scene with the flyboys liquering up '70s style be-ore jumping into the cockpit. But the swingers part ended up being very hackneyed and stuff that has been done before - you know, the old car keys in a basket gig. There were a couple laughs, and at the end they finally made a small attempt to work toward resolving the series storyline, which is always cool, but overall the thing was a disappointment. We only have like three episodes to go, and I sure hope they're better than last night's.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Buffalo Welcomes T.O. video

I don't know about you, and I already heard Chico Borman on 1260 trying to steer away from T.O. conversation, but I can't get enough. Finally, I think I've found the definitive video that sums up my feelings as a Bills fan about getting T.O. It's an ESPN piece in which the host interviews three Buffalo media types - Tim Russert's son, an AM radio talk show host, and some writer from Buffalo. They sum it up beautifully: Owens' signing has increased interest in the team, he seems to have given ticket sales a boost, and what, the hell, it can't hurt, we haven't made the playoffs in 10 years anyway. Yes, and then two of them go off about what a great town Buffalo is because the bars don't close until 4 a.m. As Bill Simmons would put it, "Ladies and gentleman, the 2010 Buffalo Bills."

Monday, March 09, 2009

T.O. Why?

Of course, the big question I've already gotten is why the Bills would sign Terrell Owens? The guy's attitute has pretty much gotten him shipped out of the only three pro teams he's ever played for, as well as one team he never even suited up for for (If you remember S.F. tried to trade him to Baltimore before shipping him to Philly, but he made a big stink.) I mean why would the Bills, who have enough problems already, want this guy on their team?

Okay, as a qualifier, I haven't read any other analysis of this trade yet, so here's my take as a long-time, and recently suffering, Bills fan.
1. T.O. brings us some offense. The last couple years, the Bills have bemoaned the fact that they have to little offense to win ballgames. While this is true, some of the blame can also be layed on a defense that can't stop the run, which keeps the offense off the field. But, regardless, we need to score more points and T.O. has scored 58 touchdowns in his last 68 games. That's like .85 touchdowns a game, which is a pretty good number. On the flip side, he did score those TDs as part of two pretty good offenses, the Eagles and Cowboys, which both certainly have more firepower than the Bills have. Also, he's getting older and only scored 10 TDs last year - however, the decrepit Brad Johnson was his QB for three games or so, but nonetheless, at 35, although he apparently keeps himself in great shape, age may be starting to catch up with T.O. as well. Bottom line: he does bring us more offense.
2. He's a great short to medium range receiver: That's always been my opinion of him at least. I remember a few years back when they paired him with Bledsoe, I knew it was a disaster waiting to happen, because Bledsoe throws a great rainbow deep ball, but Owens is great a catching short passes and breaking tackles. I'm not saying he can't get deep, but he sets it up with his short game. Now, the Bills have a great long-ball threat in Evans, and need someone to tear it up underneath to open it up deep, and Owens should be that guy. Then again, I thought that was the Cowboys theory when they picked up Roy Williams from the Lions last year, and it didn't seem to work out for them. That said, our QB, Trent Edwards, has an arm and game a lot more similar to Romo, McNabb, and Garcia - three QBs that Owens clicked with (despite what he might say) - rather then Bledsoe. Bottom line: Owens should fit into our offense.
3. Owens is a marquee name: I'm not saying he's going to help sell more tickets by himself, but if he does help us win, people will buy tickets. Also, he gives the TV people a reason to put us on the tube. Finally, and this is my hope, his signing may help attract other free agents to Buffalo, because we certainly need some linemen. Bottom line: he'll help put the Bills back on the map.

Another great thing about this is that it's a one year deal, for not a ton of money, so if it doesn't work, oh well, we took a shot.

Now, there's a lot of negatives and I really don't want to get into all those, as I'm sure other people already have. One thing a I will say is that at least he is going to force Coach Dick Jauron to earn his money.

Cheers.

Ralph