Friday, October 17, 2008

What a Game!

It's been a while... I've been a little under the weather and was in Europe for a couple of weeks.

Last night was the greatest comeback that I have ever witnessed in MLB playoff history. The crazy thing is that I continued to watch the game even though Boston was down by 7 runs in the 7th inning. Normally I might change the channel but I was just waiting for the Sox to make their run. Everything just came together all at once for Boston. All of the sudden every ab was a good one, they were patient and they took advantage of the weak bullpen of the Rays. I didn't disagree with taking Kazmir out of the game, however, I did disagree with bringing in Wheeler. Wheeler doesn't have dominant stuff and is not a major threat to strike people out. I'm a little curious why they wouldn't have brought in their left hander that they had ready to go for Ortiz and Drew. I think had they brought their left hander in they would probably be on their way to the WS. Nonetheless Boston played spectacular for the last 3 innings and shifted the momentum. It was a great game that I will never forget.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ducks/Beavers debate again!

OK, I know that I have visited this topic once already but it's time to go back to it again.

On Friday 10/3/08 (the morning after the Beavers lost at Utah 31-28) I was Switching to 95.5 the game because 1080 the Fan was on commercial and Whats the first thing I hear that tool Gavin Dawson say when I change the station? How Oregon State looked good and that they statistically won the game. But oh! They just came up short. "And Gavin, How great did they play?" They lost! It doesn't matter. They were up 8 points with under 2minutes to go. They let Utah march down the field in less then a minute score a TD and the game tying 2pt conversion, then went three and out, and then with one second left on the game clock Utah's stud kicker hit the game winning field goal from about 37 yds away. Then Freak show Gavin Dawson went on about how Oregon State played great and Said "The Beavers are the best 2-3 team there is."

As a Duck fan I have a problem with this. Belotti catches heat because he lost to a good Boise State team at home, while Mike Riley gets praise for having one upset victory at home on national TV against USC. I am not taking anything away from the win. They deserved it and they were by far the better team that night. However They lost to Stanford to start the season, they looked like a high school team against Penn State who had them beat by the end of the first quarter, they then go home and beat Hawaii (big one there), have the huge upset of USC the following week, and then play #15 Utah at Utah on a Thursday Night and collapse at the end of the game losing that one as well. Now here's my problem: After the win against USC people were asking who is the better team right now Oregon or Oregon State? Are you serious? That one win gets the program that much respect? After Beating USC the beavers would have to validate it the next week against Utah, but they didn't. The win against USC was meaningless because they showed their true overrated, over hyped, inconsistent play that they demonstrate year in and year out.

It's simple Greatness is expected out of Belotti and U of O. Mediocrity is not accepted at U of O, where at OSU it's not only accepted but encouraged. Belotti takes all the heat when they do bad and gets not credit when they win. When the Ducks Win the critics say "Well look at the money Phil Knight donates, or look at the facilities, or look at the Athletes." but when they lose it's because he didn't have them ready to play, or he is a bad coach. Belotti built this existence of greatness at U of O and his record with the University proves it as he is the winningest coach in Oregon history. The critics were getting on him last year when Dixon, and Brady Leaf went down and they couldn't get it done against UCLA or OSU in the Civil War. Then looked what happened when he had the time to prepare Roper to beat down UCF last year in the Sun Bowl (Who at one point was ranked second in the nation last year). There is no way anyone could have prepared to use the 4th and 5th string starters the rest of the year. Do all programs even have 4 or 5 people that they would even be able to plug into the starting role? This year he was a prepared and learned from his mistake and has done a great job. Using everyone he has at his disposal. Granted, I will admit that he flat out got out coached against Boise State, he and the whole coaching staff are responsible for that because the play calling sucked.

All in all OSU will be judged on one win this season against USC and 2-3 is acceptable for everyone that is involved with the OSU program, Boosters, Coaches, Players, the AD, Fans, and students. It is just amazingly pathetic. Where as Belotti has created a monster at U of O due to being highly successful. His success is the reason why the Ducks set them selves at such a higher standard then OSU. 2-3 is not acceptable in Eugene, no matter who they have played, beaten, or lost to. I just think Belotti doesn't get a fair shake with the fans at U of O a lot of the time. They want to use Belotti as the scapegoat for the losses and not give him credit for the wins. At times, not all of the time. I wish they could be a little more appreciative. I think some day they will when he decides to either coach a different college or NFL team and were stuck with some to replace him. If his replacement isn't 1 of the top 2 or 3 coaches available don't expect Oregon to be as great as they have been in the past.

Great Job Belotti- I wouldn't trade him for any other college coach out there!!!

PS. Utah out gained OSU on the ground, had less penalties, and less fumbles. the only categories they lost in were pass yds, and time of possesstion.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week 3 NFL Pics

Here we are already at week 3. Last week I went 10-5 and my lock of the week was correct. Here we go week 3 version... hopefully a little better than 67% this week. Here we go.

K.C. @ Atlanta- Again some growing pains for the young Falcons. Larry Johnson will push a struggling K.C. team to a victory and avoid going 0-3.

Oakland @ Buffalo- Buffalo is the real deal and they will beat the young Raiders with the home field advantage. Raiders will continue to gain confidence, but not quite good enough to win in Buffalo.

Tampa Bay @ Chicago- This could be a very low scoring game with two good defenses and not very potent offenses. I have Chicago winning because they are at home and I think the Bear Defense will be too much for the Buccs.

Carolina @ Minnesota- Two teams going in opposite directions. Carolina cruising and getting Steve Smith back... while Minnesota is benching Jackson and AP is a little banged up. I have Carolina going 3-0 and J Stew continuing his run at ROY.

Miami @ New England- I think I might be able to QB New England to a victory over the Dolphins. New England in this one.

Cincinnati @ NY Giants- Cincy will have a decent showing (or better than the last two weeks) however, it will not be enough to win. Cincy will lose a close one.

Houston @ Tennessee- Two words. Kerry Collins. Houston will win this one. Two weeks to prepare and Kerry Collins is still a back up. Played well last week but he will show why he is second string. Houston will win this one.

Arizona @ Washington- Kurt Warner is playing like the 2 time MVP that he is and the Cards will win this one and may solidify that Leinart will be riding the pine for a while.

New Orleans @ Denver- Denver will win because their defense is playing with a swagger that they haven't had for a couple of years... and Invesco is a great home field advantage.

Detroit @ San Francisco- Again the Lions are horrible and their Defense will be why they lose a close one on the road. The only way this one gets out of hand is if Martz decides to run up the score on his former team, which would not surprise me one bit.

St.Louis @ Seattle- We have the Seahawks trying to do everything in their power just to have enough receivers to suite up. Koren Robinson will catch some balls and the lowly Rams will struggle with the 12th man in Seattle.

Cleveland @ Baltimore- Cleveland will win this because they will actually put points on the board. Flacco was less than impressive in week 1 and the Baltimore offense will struggle.

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis- The only thing that is making this one a tough decision is the fact that Bob Sanders is out. However, with the return of Jeff Saturday the running game will open up, which will open up the passing game for Manning. Indy in a close one.

Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia- A short week for Philly coupled with the tough loss on Monday night will have them slightly mentally drained and not quite ready to go against Pittsburgh. The Steel Curtain will win this one.

Dallas @ Green Bay- Everyone seems to want to take Dallas in this one. But I don't see it. Green Bay's Defense is better than everyone realizes as is Aaron Rodgers. Dallas is the popular pick because everyone loves Romo, but this is just another game that Rodgers will show why the Packers decided to part ways with Favre.

NY Jets @ San Diego- I have the Chargers winning a close one. They will be bitter about their loss at Denver but Favre will keep the Jets in the game but they just wont have enough to overcome and aggressive Charger team.

And My lock of the week is....New England over Miami. Miami is no good. New England could probably win with out scoring an offensive touchdown.

Friday, September 12, 2008

NFL Picks Week 2

N.O. @ Washington- There are just too many weapons in N.O. for the Washington Redskins to compete with. This will be a victory for N.O.

Chicago @ Carolina- I have the Panthers winning this one. I liked Chicago's game plan against Indy last week however, they will not have the luxury of an out of rhythm QB. Another thing to look out for is the deadly running attack that is Williams/Stewart that will keep the Bears defense on their heels all game long.

Green Bay @ Detroit- I have Green Bay winning this simply because it seems as though the Lions still haven't figured out how to play defense. The offensive side of the ball will be much tougher than it was against Atlanta. The Lions need to make some serious adjustments or they will lose big!

Buffalo @ Jacksonville- I think that Buffalo could be the real deal this year and I expect them to go take a hard fought game from Jacksonville. 0-2 Jacksonville?? We'll see. I think so.

Oakland @ K.C.- K.C. will win this for two reasons. Oakland has some serious issues' they need to deal with. It doesn't just seem like lack of execution with them, but possibly lack of passion and that in the NFL is a recipe for disaster. Number 2 their playing in one of the toughest venues to play in, at Arrow Head. The atmosphere will be too much for the Raiders youth to handle.

N.Y. Giants @ St.Louis- I have the Giants in this. It will be a much more spirited effort from the Rams than it was last week but, I think it could be another long season for the Rams. Not because of their offense though, mainly because of their defense.

Indianapolis @ Minnesota- You will find that Manning will be more relaxed with his personnel. You might see a close game though because of the legs of AP. I'll say Indy avoids going 0-2 and wins in Minnesota.

Tennessee @ Cincinnati- Call me crazy but I have Cincinnati winning this one. Vince Young has just been too much of a distraction for the team to be fully ready. I know Kerry Collins is back up and that is why. It'll be a win for Cincinnati and maybe a confidence builder for Ocho Cinco and his talented QB, Carson Palmer

San Francisco @ Seattle- No Receivers. No Problem... the 49ers are coming to town. Senaca Wallace will be used at receiver as well as underrated recent sign Sammi Parker. They will be fine and JT O'Sullivan will have his trouble with the crowd noise...

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay- The Buccs will win this one. The youth will be evident against a defense like the Buccs. Matt Ryan will have his struggles. Should an easy one.

San Diego @ Denver- With the short week for Denver I would expect San Diego to win this game. I know Denver looked good last week, but it was against Oakland. I think this will be a close game but I would expect that the big 3 for San Diego will be too much for Denver.

New England @ N.Y. Jets- I will not pick against the Patriots until they lose one. They haven't lost one in 20 straight regular season games. No Brady... Yes but this same situation seemed to work out for them pretty well for them last time they had a starting QB go down. Pats in a close one.

Miami @ Arizona- Arizona! that's all I have for this one. Miami on the road. They couldn't even win at home last year.

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland- Cleveland should be a frenzied crowd... however, I am not sold on Derek Anderson as a starting QB in this league. The crowd will help the Browns keep the game close in the first half. I think the Steelers pull away in the second half.

Philadelphia @ Dallas- The T.O.-McNabb saga continues, some story lines here, and a big NFC East match-up. I look for Dallas to be too good and win on their home turf. Get em' T.O.

And my Lock of the week is...I hate to do this but Green Bay over Detroit. I just have not seen the improvement on the defensive side of the ball and until they do something about that I can't see them being a very successful team. I hope I am wrong. Go Lions.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NL All Hustle Team

Catcher--Russell Martin--This position was one of the toughest to pick. Russell is a five tool player and you don't see a catcher too often with his physical talent at the catcher position matched by his toughness.

1B--Jeff Francour-- He is normally an outfielder but does play first base as well, and i had to find a spot for him. He will go down swinging quite often but I love his effort and he too is a five tool payer. If you watch his swing you can tell that he never leaves anything back, and he runs the bases like he swings a bat, as hard as he knows how.

2B--Chase Utley-- You know about his great offensive talent, but I have seen this guy give his body up so many times diving for balls and making great plays. I also saw him give up his body to take a dive at a catcher twice his size. he may not be a big guy but is just as strong and tough as anyone.

3B--David Wright--Is a pro and the perfect player for the Mets because the young and old veterans can watch Wright play the game and see that that's the kind of effort you need to win. One thing that really caught my eye was when the Mets blew it last season and let the Phillies win the division, Wright was in an interview and I think that he was the most affected in the locker room. Young and old guys on the Mets can learn so much from this pro.

SS--David Eckstein--Probably my All Hustle Team MVP. He looks like he is working out, and Hustling when he is warming up in the on deck circle. This guy takes so much pride on his hustle. I can guarantee you will never see him not run out a ground ball of fly ball. There was a stat I aw late towards the end of the season last year and Eckstein had only swung and whiffed a pitch 17 times. He is another player you would want you kids to watch and play like.

LF--Erick Byrnes--This guy is on of my favorites. If he is not MVP then he is a very close second. This guy will give you everything he has. I don't think he cares if there's a HR fence or not, he will run through it if he has to. He runs around the outfield like a chicken with his head cut off trying to make sure nothing drops as a base hit.

CF--Shane Victorino (The Flyin Hawaiian)--The nick name fits his abilities because this guy might be the fastest on this list. He, like everyone else on this list will get to anything in the outfield. The thing I like most about this guy though is that just by watching him you can tell he never thinks that his team is out of a game, and he will do all that he can to make sure that they still have a chance.

RF--Hunter Pence--Now this comes full circle and back to where we began. This guy is pedal to the medal all of the time. I hate that he plays for the Astros, but I wish the Cubs could get him and didn't have to play him so often. He is a great talent and the effort and intensity he put into his game makes him the great player that he is going to be. He plays that game at such a level that he may see some injuries in his career.

That's it. That's the list!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

AL All Hustle Teams

A couple of nights ago I was watching the Astros beat my Cubbies. I wasn't able to catch the game until late in the 7th inning. Hunter Pence came up and was a triple away from the cycle. I then watched the cubs blow their lead in regulation and later blow the game in extra innings. However just after watching Hunter Pences last AB in extras I was paying attention to his approach to his at bat, and thinking about the times I have seen him in the past. He plays and prepares for games, at bats, and just goes full board every second of every game and leaves it all out on the field. This prompted me to think of all the players that have that same intensity and desire to play the great game of baseball. There are not many like that but it made me want to come up with my own AL and NL All Hustle Teams. These are players that may not be the best hitters or defensive players at their position or even their team but players that play the game day in and day out like it's their last one.

I won't be opening a spot for the pitcher or DH. A hustle player has to do it all. You also will not be seeing the likes of Robinson Cano, Manny Ramirez, or BJ Upton for obvious (Lazy) reasons that I should have to explain.

My American League 2008 All Hustle Team

Catcher--Ivan Pudge Rodriquez. I'm not the biggest fan of Pudge but I have to give it up to him. He has been a solid catcher his whole career, a great hitting catcher and will swipe a bag whenever possible. Not one of your classic big guys at that particular position, but what he lacks in size he makes up with competitive drive and the will to succeed.

1B-- Justin Morneau doesn't necessarily do it with overall power but power to the gaps and beating out Doubles. Plus Ron Gardenhire will hold all of his players accountable for their Hustle. Also is looking for his second MVP award this year.

2B--Brian Roberts. Similar to Hunter Pence in my mind. Just a class act Hustling Pro who I would want my kids to watch and to tell them, "That's how your supposed to play the game, right there"

3rd--Scott Rolen. When he came up with Philly I didn't pay too much attention to Rolen. Then he got traded to the Cardinals and I watched him a lot more then I used to and saw the way he played the game. He gives his body up at 3rd base and throws his body into any ball and then shoots the ball out of his cannon arm. I then would watch him beat out doubles and steal bases and he would make me think what would happen if there was a collision? It might be like a semi running over a second baseman or a catcher. He is an intense beast.

SS--Derek Jeter. Is the greatest leader since Michael Jordan. In a great Leader like that you need him to set a good example for his teammates. Which he has done year in and year out with his clutch hitting in the playoffs. That is one of the few players that I could guarantee you that you would never ever see him dog it.

LF--Jacoby Ellsbury. Is one of the up and coming stars for years to come. He is always busting out infield singles, doubles that would be singles for most, and is making virtually a nightly appearance Web Gems.

CF--Tori Hunter. It doesn't matter what team or what ballpark Hunter is at there is no for sure HR. Sometimes I wonder, "Could he rob an HR on the Green Monster?" He is always trying to make the play on defense and he carries that same intensity to the plate, and on the bases.

RF--Josh Hamilton. Hamilton will chase down fly balls in the outfield with wreckless abandonment in Texas, he puts Hustle and effort not only into making plays but having complete control of the outfield. It was clear to me that after his poor choices earlier in his career that he wasn't going to let this opportunity slip away. He plays like it night in and Night out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Pirates are the REAL DEAL

Yes the Pirates are for real... not Pittsburgh but yes the Juggernaut that is East Carolina. Now some people might say they are just a fad or that they are the popular bandwagon to be on right now. That just is not the case. First off if anyone remembers who they played on their very first game of last season... Yes the same Virginia Tech that they beat this year. Last year they had to go to Blacksburg in an emotional game for everyone at Virginia Tech. It was a very big game for Va Tech and they were ready to play. If anyone remembers East Carolina almost won that game. It took a turnover late in the game to solidify the victory for Tech. East Carolina then went on to a 6-2 conference record last year and gutted out a tough win in the Hawaii bowl against an always good Boise State team. They are led with many juniors and seniors and their experience is starting to show.

This year the Pirates were on the other end of the close outcome vs Tech and added a little icing on the cake by beating Tech with a little Beamer ball... blocking the punt and returning it to the house late in the 4th. Then the Pirates just flat out dominated the team that could win the Big East this year. Pat White and the Mountaineers looked confused all game long, they couldn't find a rhythm, and ended talk of a Heisman for Pat White.

Now their remaining 2 non conference games are at Virginia (very winnable) and at N.C. State ( another winnable game). Then you have the rest of the conference schedule which should be a cake walk compared to beating Va Tech and West Virginia on back-to-back weeks. I can definitely see them going undefeated and if they do that... There is no question that they deserve to play for a national championship. They play in a weaker conference however, they scheduled 4 BCS teams for their non conference opponents. Beat a top 20 team and a top 10 team. They would deserve a shot.

This program has been built to win the last couple of years and Skip Holtz deserves a ton of credit. With that I would not expect to see him coaching at East Carolina next season. Sorry Pirates fans, but he will be the hottest prospect to coach a big program that needs to be revived. If you ask me Michigan would really benefit with a guy like Holtz, and I'm not sure that Rodriguez is going to be the guy to lead Michigan. I hope I am wrong because I would like to see him build that program and be the face of that program for many years but the money and the legitimate shot at winning a national championship every year will probably be too much to turn down. That being said he has built the program to be successful for many years and if he leaves he will leave East Carolina with the attitude that they can beat anyone and that is what will keep the program going.

Good luck to the Pirates this year I will be rooting for you.