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.



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 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,


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.


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.


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....


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.




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...


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.


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.