Monday, October 31, 2005 

Back From the Cocktail Party

Well, with my travels down to Jacksonville I was unable to watch any other college or pro football this weekend. I would have been able to see the end of yesterday's late games had I not been caught in traffic hell on 75 North in Hampton, Georgia. I guess that's what I get for not paying attention to the NASCAR schedule! By the way, that is the last mention you will ever see of NASCAR on this website! At any rate, thanks to Colby and Nicole for stepping up and continuing the tradition of mediocre college football picks and disastrous NFL picks. Actually, I think Nicole did pretty well on the NFL so we should all learn a lesson from that. What lesson? Colby's girlfriend is smarter than him. If you remember nothing else remember that!

Since I have nothing of consequence to offer on the weekend in college or pro football, I figure I will take a minute to share my thoughts about the Cocktail Party. First and foremost, Friday was the official day for Zach's bachelor party so any discussion of the events of Friday are strictly forbidden in form or fashion. Suffice it to say that seven guys drinking heavily can manage to put together a pretty solid night of adult entertainment in Jacksonville. Okay, so on to Saturday and the border war between the Dawgs and Gators.

First and foremost, the scene in Jacksonville is simply amazing. Seeing the game on t.v. doesn't do it justice. Walking into the stadium and seeing the perfect division of Red and Blue is unbelievable. The stadium is literally divided in half between GA and Fla. fans and my gold shirt (how 'bout them Jackets!) was the only neutral color in the entire place. In fact, half of our group was sitting in the opposite corner of the Georgia section and had no trouble spotting me in the crowd. As for the fans, let's just say that these SEC fans did nothing to tarnish their reputation as the most passionate, immature, and irrational fans in the world. There were times where I felt like the fans of both schools (of course I said fans and not graduates) were more interested in finding somebody to fight than the game! It really did make for an amazingly entertaining time. Let me just provide you with a few of my favorite moments:

  • A man of at least 40 years of age with his two young children in hand came up to my buddy Zach after the game, got in his face and said "Boy, ya'll should have known you were going to get your ass whooped when you came down here!" Nice buddy, way to ensure that your children will follow in the great family tradition of jean shorts and GED's. To Zach's credit he politely suggested that this man perform a sex act on himself and then he walked away.
  • As a group of Florida fans departed back to St. Simon's on a chartered bus a Georgia fan probably pushing 30 decided to throw a full beer can at the back of the bus. This of course followed a Florida fan pressing his bear ass to the window of the bus. Quality.
  • As we waited for the water taxi after the game, a group of men in their early 50's stood on a boat chanting and taunting Georgia fans waiting for the water taxi. The back and forth discussion was the highest of high comedy and culminated with a Georgia fan clearly in his 30's wearing a pair of red pants leading a chant of "That's alright, that's okay, we're going to bang your Mom one day!" After this, the back and forth deteriorated into constant chants of "lick my balls" and "bite my ass." You seriously can't imagine how entertaining this was.
  • On the drive home yesterday we encountered a car full of Georgia Co-eds decorated with the slogan "We like it Dawggystyle!" WOW! There mothers must be so proud. Anything else I could say about that would only get me in trouble so I'll let you form your own thoughts.
  • Finally, my lasting memory of Game Day will be that despite their disappointment of the loss, all my buddies and their friends wearing red managed to put their disappointment behind them, crack some cold beers and keep the good times rolling. At the end of the day, the football game is huge, but the Cocktail Party is bigger. It's truly an amazing college football experience that I think everybody should experience once in their lifetime. If you aren't a fan of either school, however, once is probably enough.

I would be remissed if I didn't say thanks to all my boys from the homeland of Covington for taking me along on this trip. I had such a good time that I actually found myself rooting for the Dawgs to find a way to win so that the trip could be perfect for my boys. Now that we are back home though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relieved that we are going to avoid any chance of a UGA national title this year. For a few hours on Saturday, however, seeing how much this one meant to these guys, I was willing to live with that possibility. That's over now so I can now hate the Dawgs with all my heart again. Good times.

Sunday, October 30, 2005 

For Information Purposes Only

Based on my amazing 3-2 performance (my girlfriend went 2-3), I feel compelled to bestow my wisdom on you for my NFL picks.

Washington (+3) at New York Giants
I love the Skins in this one. But I am going to give it the "irrational fan alert". As a life-long Redskins fan I have picked them to win every game for the past 6 years. This during a stretch where they have won maybe 40 out of 96 games.

Detroit (-3) vs. Chicago
After this win Detroit will be on their way to stealing a deserving playoff spot from one of the NFC east teams.

Cleveland (+2) at Houston
I just have to pick against a winless team in Week 8 of the NFL season that is favored.

Minnesota (+7.5) at Carolina
I like Minnesota to at least keep this one close.

My girlfriend's picks:

"Oakland (-2) at Tennessee:
Gangs can beat rednecks anytime

Chicago (+3) at Detroit
As a member of the Refrigerator Perry fan club, with a full-size poster on the back of my door as a child, and monthly Refrigerator Perry Newsletters (Fridge Facts), I have to go with Chicago.
Note: This is actually true

Redskins (+3) at New York Giants
I want to enjoy the rest of my weekend with Colby, so I can only hope that the Redskins win."

Good Luck.


Friday, October 28, 2005 

Triumphant Gambling Return! I mean...For Information Purposes Only

Dunn is now travelling to his own personal hell at The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party...a location full of drunken irrational Georgia and Florida fans (notice I didn't say "graduates"). I am supposed to make the college and NFL picks this week, but I would say there is a good chance that Dunn is able to alienate his life-long friends and anybody else who is willing to listen by tomorrow afternoon, so he may be posting again by Sunday.

It's been a couple of years since I have been able to closely track the spreads in College Football. So keep in mind when I make these picks that I may be picking Georgia over Florida because I think David Greene is a better quarterback than Rex Grossman.

Therefore, no deep statistical analysis will be going into these picks. I am just going to go on a hunch. In consulting, we don't have time to do things with any attention to detail, we are too worried about catching the earlier flight so we can chill on our couches on Fridays.

My Picks:
Michigan (+3) at Northwestern
Michigan has struggled this year, but at the end of the day Michigan is still Michigan and Northwestern is still Northwestern. Michigan will play poorly enough to keep it close all the way through, but at some point Northwestern will look at their jerseys and say "we're Northwestern, we can't beat Michigan"

Georgia Tech (-3 buy to -2.5) vs. Clemson AND Clemson (+3 buy to +3.5) at Georgia Tech
8 of the last 9 meetings have been decided by exactly 3 points. Take each team and buy it both ways and you can have a big pay day. This way I am guaranteed to win at least one game.

Nebraska (-1) vs. Oklahoma
Nebraska is surprisingly 5-2 behind the brilliant coaching of Bill Callahan. They would have beaten Texas Tech too, if a defensive lineman hadn't decided to start running with the ball after a late interception and fumble it back to Texas Tech. Oklahoma just sucks this year. Sorry, Fite.

Georgia (+5.5) at/vs. Florida
Despite the fact that Shockley is out, I still think Georgia is the better team. Urban Meyer may be ruining the once-promising career prospects of Chris Leak. Take GA on the money line.

As an experiment...I had my girlfriend pick a few games. She has no prior football knowledge, and only watches portions of games now to appease me and potentially laugh at my emotional swings. We will track how well her picks do compared to mine. Here they are...

"Texas Tech vs. Baylor
I don’t like TX in any way shape or form…but "Baylor"
sounds like the name of a rich kid from Laguna Beach…so I hope he gets trounced.

Air Force vs. BYU
Airforce, by 75….they have weapons and coffee.

Troy vs. LA Lafayette
These are actual schools? I pick "Who cares" by "whatever"

TCU vs. San Diego St.
TCU will win because Jesus is on their side and they’ll win by whatever number of points Jesus bestows on them that day.

Clemson vs. Georgia Tech
Clemson by 30…I’m not scared of you guys!
KIDDING….I am very scared of you… Tech by 278"

Good Luck.



Now Batting for Mike Dunn...

Just wanted to let everybody know that I will be heading down to Jacksonville this weekend for one of my oldest friend's bachelor party at the Cocktail Party. Not to fear, you will still be able to consult "The World" for riveting college football and NFL predictions as my good buddy and a hilarious individual Colby "MF" Chiles has agreed to do pinch hitting duties. Since Colby is a consultant he will have ALL day tomorrow to do research and pick some winners!

Also, I just want to thank everybody for reading and commenting. I'm having a blast doing this and I hope you are having fun with it too. To this point I think Stats and Fite are the All Star commentors, but a ton of you have dropped some great knowledge. Also, I love it when you email me topic ideas or just leave them in the comments. I think we've got a good thing going here so let's see if we can't keep it rolling and bring some more folks on board. That being said, let me leave ya'll something to comment on while killing time at work on a Friday (or while dicking off at home if you are a consultant. Yes, I'm bitter):

Let's all go on the record at this point with two predictions:

1) Who is going to play in the BCS Championship Game?

2) Who is going to win the Heisman?

I've got UCLA v. Texas & Reggie Bush taking home the hardware with Vince Young, Leinart, and Maurice Drew also getting a free trip to the Yale Club in New York.

Have a great weekend and don't forget to check in for Colby's predictions.

Thursday, October 27, 2005 

Great Series?

With the World Series coming to a conclusion in dramatic fashion last night, it warrants asking the question that Stats proposed in one of his previous comments: Was this a great World Series. I'm inclined to say no. There is no doubt that each game was dramatic and compelling in its own right, but you can't escape the fact that in the end it was a 4-0 sweep. It's hard to believe that the Astros could only be outscored by 6 total runs and be swept but it happened. On the flip side, I don't think a great Series has to be devoid of any blowouts. I, however, think its essential that the Series go the distance and be marked with pivotal and often times painful memories. I think to be a great Series that the drama must carry over all seven games and leave you with serious doubts as to who the better team was. This is the only way a Series can leave a lasting impression and still conjure memories and raise debates years later.

A perfect example is the 1991 World Series. Of course, this World Series will always be special to me because it was the first for my beloved Atlanta Braves. However, looking at it objectively, you had 5 games decided by one run (even though you had a 14-5 beat down mixed in there), and you had a 10 inning Game 7 where the winning pitcher, Jack Morris, overcame the restraints of age and gutted out a complete game performance. You also have the memories of Hall of Famer Kirby Pucket's walk off homer in Game 6 and Jack Buck's legendary call of "We'll see you tomorrow night." Also, who can forget Hrbek yanking Ron Gant off the bag, Mark Lemke sliding in under Pagliarulo's tag to end Game 4 after he had delivered the game winning hit in the Bottom of the 12th to win Game 3, and finally Lonnie Smith losing the ball in the roof of the homer dome when he could have scored from second and possibly given the Braves their first World Title. You see, these are things that people outside Atlanta and Minnesota remember. They may not remember them as well as those of us in Atlanta and Minnesota but it doesn't take much reminding to take them back. Therefore, that was a great World Series. This year was a World Series with four great games, but it was not a great World Series. That makes sense, right?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 

Does MeShawyn Have a Point?

By now I'm sure you've all seen the interview Michael Irvin conducted with Meyshawn Johnson. It originally aired on NFL Countdown and has been replayed approximately 2.8 million times since then on ESPN. Seriously, ESPN is worse than MTV at replaying things. At the heart of this interview was the fact that Meyshawn Johnson claims his career is comparable, if not better, than Michael Irvin's. When I first heard this I almost laughed myself into a seizure. I'm not even kidding, when I first heard Meyshawn even intimating this I thought he'd lost his damn mind. However, I decided to take a look at the career numbers and see just how ridiculous this claim was. Well, after looking at the numbers and comparing the careers, I'm amazed that I actually think Meyshawn has a pretty decent case here. I'm not going to try to persuade you, but I'm going to give you the career numbers and you can decide for yourself:

11 full seasons
750 catches
11,904 yards
15.9 yards/catch
65 T.D.'s
3 rings

currently in his 10th Season
704 catches
9,293 catches
13.2 yards/catch
58 T.D.'s
1 ring

So, taking these numbers into account and also considering that Irvin played the entirety of his career with Hall of Famer Troy Aikman and Johnson has played with 12 different quarterbacks, Johnson is a much better blocker than Irvin ever dreamed of being I think this is a much closer case than anyone wants to admit. It's funny to me how much people, myself included, automatically dismiss Keyshawn as a team cancer and a huge disappointment because of what we have seen in the media. The fact of the matter is that he has committed two egregious blunders in his career, writing a book entitled "Give me the Damn Ball" and actually getting kicked off the Bucs with six games to play in the season. I mean, it's not like he ever got arrested in a cheap motel room with a ton of hookers and a few mountains of cocaine! Who was the guy that did that? Just like ESPN I seem to be drawing a blank!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 

Has Anybody Seen Michael Vick?

Seriously, where is the Michael Vick that took the league by storm and we all fell in love with? Where is the guy with the arm of Elway and the elusiveness of Houdini? All I see is the guy who went 11 for 26 for 116 yards with three interceptions. All I can see at this point is the guy who is completing just over 50% of his passes, has not thrown for more than 167 yards in a game this year, is averaging less than 6 yards per attempt, has thrown only five touchdowns compared to six interceptions, and has a passer rating barely more than twice his age! I can hear everyone screaming right now and I picture you all coming out of your seats. Before you get too worked up you should know that I do realize he has rushed for 50 yards a game in the games he has started and he has three rushing touchdowns. Most importantly, I also realize that the Falcons are 5-1 in games he has started this year. I know all this and I understand all this. I'm not here today to crap on Mike Vick, I'm hear to plead with the Falcons that they allow him to be the player he can be.

As last night's opposing coach, Herman Edwards, once famously said, in the NFL you "PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!" I know that and I respect that. I also know that the Falcons went to the NFC Championship Game last year and they are 5-1 in games Vick has started this year. However, I also know the following and you do too, over the past two years and especially this year, Mike Vick has been mostly dreadful to watch play QB. Last night was the culmination of this as he was more dreadful than I have ever seen him. But the Falcons are winning so we can't change anything, right? Wrong. There is something bigger here than the Falcons. There is something bigger here than Jim Mora and Greg Knapp and there hell bent desire to run the "west coast" offense. That something is simply Mike Vick. This man is the most electrifying athlete to ever perform in Atlanta. He's possibly the most electrifying athlete to ever suit up in the NFL. My God, this man could be the Michael Jordan of the NFL. Those of you who know me know that I don't throw around comparisons to M.J. freely. Therefore, the Falcons have an obligation to themselves, the city of Atlanta, Mike Vick and the game of football to let him perform to the best of his abilities.

The "west coast" offense is ruining Mike Vick. It's forcing him to hang in the pocket and make short and intermediate throws this guy is not comfortable with. It's forcing him to throw countless dump off screens to his fullback. It's forcing him to put his greatest asset, his feet, on the shelf and make himself vulnerable to vicious hits. Did you see the hit he took from John Abraham last night that smashed the back of his head against the turf. People worry about Vick getting hurt by running in the open field. This notion is absurd. When he is in the open field, moving and creating he can determine how he gets hit. When he is hanging in the pocket the defenders get to dictate how he gets hit. Furthermore, when Vick is roaming around in the pocket and posing the threat that he might take off at any moment the linebackers and safeties have to respect that threat and cheat up thus leaving his receivers the opportunity to get open for the deep ball which is the ball he throws the best. Lord knows his receivers can't get open on their own, they can use any advantage we can muster.

So, I'm sure you are thinking "Dunn, they are 5-2, how could you just scrap the offense and change what's working." I think it's easy. You can't convince me that a team that is 5-2 with Mike Vick doing his best Cade McNown impersonation at quarterback wouldn't be even better with him playing to his full capabilities. It's one thing to pile up rushing numbers like the '85 Oklahoma Sooners if you have Trent Dilfer or Jon Kitna at quarterback, but we have the greatest offensive weapon in the history of the game at our disposal and we choose not to take advantage of him. Do you remember three years ago when Vick burst onto the scene in Dan Reeve's offense and led the Falcons to the first playoff victory by a road team in the history of Lambeau field? Do you remember how you just knew that we were going to convert every third down that year because Mike was going to either get it with his legs or use the threat of his legs to get a receiver open down field? Do you remember how everytime he stepped onto the field a little tingle of excitement went up your spine and you sat on the edge of your seat because you knew you might just see something you had never seen before? I want that feeling back! I also want the Falcons to win the Super Bowl! You can't convince me that those two things are mutually exclusive.

Monday, October 24, 2005 

BCS Controversy Not Far Away

This weekend in college football made two things very clear to me. First, I have no doubt that U.S.C. and Texas are the two best teams in America. Second, I think that three of the four best football players in America all reside in Los Angeles. Those three, of course, are Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Maurice Drew. Bush's punt return for a touchdown Saturday was absurd. To put it in perspective, I've never seen anybody have that type of run on PlayStation. Simply sick. If you haven't jumped on the Maurice Drew bandwagon you better hurry up because it's filling up fast. This kid has been dynamite ever since he put on a Bruins uniform but he now has a team around him that gives him the chance to steal a little limelight from his cross town rivals.

All this U.S.C. and UCLA talk got me thinking yesterday about what I think might be the most likely scenario for some serious BCS controversy this year. Bear with me for a moment while I lay this scenario out. First, I think that Schockley's injury with games against Florida, Auburn, and Alabama or LSU still on the schedule is too much for Georgia to overcome to stay unbeaten. Even if Schockley returns to the lineup soon he is likely to be playing with limited mobility thus neutralizing one of his most lethal attributes. Second, with games against LSU, Auburn, and probably Georgia looming on the horizon, I don't see Alabama running the table. I don't think that it's a coincidence that Alabama has struggled to get the ball in the endzone in the wake of the Tyrone Prothro injury. Bama has been a great story this year but an undefeated season is just too big a task.

So, with UGA and Bama out of the way we are left with four unbeatens, USC, Texas, Va. Tech, and UCLA Bruins. With their toughest rmaining regular season challenge, Miami, coming to Blacksburg, I think the Hokies will survive unbeaten. Texas also seems to have their toughest sledding in the rearview mirror. This brings me to the potential controversy. If, UCLA survives a home matchup with Arizona State on November 12 and then goes into the Colleseum on December 3 and knocks off the Trojans would they get the BCS nod over Va. Tech? Could you imagine a team going undefeated and knocking off the two time defending National Champions and ending their 33 game winning streak and NOT getting a crack at the National Championship?

I personally can't fathom the notion, but it certainly could happen. Of course, there are a lot of "what ifs" in this scenario, but its not that far fetched when you sit down and think about it. Every year we look for the unconscionable scenario that will force the hand of the college presidents into sanctioning a playoff. If this scenario plays out and the presidents don't budge then you can go ahead and resolve yourself to the fact that a playoff is never going to happen.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 

The No Fun League

Since this is the first time I've shared my NFL picks on this site I feel the need to explain a few things from the start. First and foremost, because of the parity in the NFL wagering on these games can be down right infuriating. When so many games every Sunday come down to a field goal either way it can be a flat out guessing game at times. Second, betting on the over/under in the NFL is a sure way to send you to the nut house. Because the clock never seems to stop in the NFL, if you bet on the over, one long drive that ends in a turnover or missed field goal can sink you. On the flip side, because teams apparently lack any ability to play defense in the last two minutes of a half, you are always in danger of worthless score blowing your wager all to hell. For those reasons I would avoid the over/under unless a number just absolutely jumps out at you as being way too low or way too high. I can't remember the last time this happened.

Also, I need to tell you that I live by two hard and fast rules: 1) I NEVER bet on road favorites; and 2) I NEVER lay more than 10 points in an NFL game no matter what. With all those disclaimers out of the way, here are my four favorite games of the day.

Houston +15.5 vs. Indy
If you refer to my two rules above you will understand my reasoning behind this one. Under no circumstances would I bet on Indy as a road favorite laying 15.5 points, so I'm going to go the other way and take the home team getting more than two TD's. That being said, there is a reason that Houston is getting 15.5 at home: They are horrible. But rules are rules so I'm a Texan fan today.

St. Louis -3 vs. New Orleans/San Antonio/Baton Rouge
Two teams teetering on the edge. One team with a backup coach and one team with Jim Haslett as coach. One team with a backup qb and one team with Aaron Brooks at qb. I'll take the backups at home. The wheels could officially come flying off the Saints wagon this week and I can't say that I blame them.

Cincy -1.5 v. Pittsburgh
Welcome to the big stage Mr. Palmer. When was the last time that Cincy played the feature game on a Sunday? I think I might have been 11 years old. This is a big day in Cincy and the crowd will be nuts and Chad Johnson seems to love attention. Well, you've got the attention Chad so its time to make a big statement. Marvin Lewis and his boys are going to officially announce their arrival today.

N.Y. Giants -2.5 v. Denver
Two other rules I like to follow (not with the same rigidness as my previous two) are to bet against a team that travels across the country for a game and to bet against a team coming off a big win the week before (NFL teams love to follow up an impressive win with a baffling loss). Well, I think a trip from Denver to New York qualifies as well as a win over the Pats. Not to mention that I am picking up what the Giants are putting down, I think they are a pretty good football team.

One more thing. I just saw Ed Werder of ESPN and his cheesy porn mustache look into the camera and say the words "the Vikings' floating sex party." Seriously, seeing something that disturbing is no way to start a Sunday morning

Happy wagering boys. Check in tomorrow for my thoughts on this weekend's college football action. I've got a lot to say about what was another memorable day.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 

For Information Purposes Only

Alright, extenuating circumstances kept me from dropping some knowledge last weekend, but now I'm back. We had an umimpressive 2-2 week two weeks ago so let's see if we can do better than that this weekend. Here's five solid plays for a beautiful fall afternoon:

Nortwestern +13 at Michigan State
Points are going to rain down in this game so you may want to look at over 70 as well, but I just can't bring myself to count on 70 points in any game.

Virginia+1 at UNC
This is a real test for UVA. Al Groh finally got a signature win at UVA over the "Noles last weekend. It's essential they follow it up with a solid road win this weekend. It won't be easy but I think they get it done.

Florida State -30 at Duke
The 'Noles have a lot of frustration to work out this weekend. They are in the perfect place to do it.

Tennessee +3.5 at Alabama
Can UT really have three losses at this point in the season? Can Alabama really be undefeated at this point in the season? This game is actually a great play on the money line.

Oregon -12 at Arizona
This one is dicy because Mike Stoops has things headed in the right direction at UA, but I just think Oregon is going to put too many points up.

Enjoy. I'll be back with the NFL tomorrow.

Friday, October 21, 2005 

Two great links...

Check out these websites:
This is ubelievably funny. I can't even begin to describe it.


On page 21 is an amazing tribute to Jason Collier written by Jason's good friend Matt Judy. It's a beautiful piece of writing that I hope you all read.


Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • This might be the best season of Curb Your Entusiasm yet. The racist dog episode was an absolute classic.

  • Is Ralph Friedgen over 4 bills? Is he over 5 bills? I mean, when a man reaches that size its hard to even guess anymore.

  • When VaTech loses their annual "I can't believe we lost to a team that had no business on the field with us" game, I really hope that cornerback Jimmy Williams is to blame. This kid makes Kellen "I'm a fucking soldier" Winslow look like a Saint. Don't get me wrong, he's a great player, but is it really necessary for him to talk smack on EVERY play?

  • I think Georgia Tech actually caught a break with the cancellation of the Miami game. Now we can play Wake, Clemson, and UVA without having absorbed a physical beating at the hands of the Canes. I think this gives us a better chance to win two of those three games and make it back to Boise. I'm really pumped about that. If you could see my face you would believe me. Really, I think the Humanitarian Bowl should be the goal of every football program.

  • I think the Lions are going to finally pull it together and roll to the NFC North Division title behind Jeff Garcia. By "roll" I, of course, mean they should be able to go 8-8 and win the division.

  • Taking regular season wins out of the equation, Bobby Cox and Tony Larussa have done less with more than any other coaches I can think of with the possible exception of Jim Donnan.

  • This really is a Golden Age for comedy on television. I was asked recently to name my favorite sitcom and I simply couldn't do it. Choosing between The Office, Curb, and Arrested Development would be like choosing between your children.

  • Speaking of television comedies, my old law school roommate Mike Vines asked me a great question yesterday, "what happened to Scrubs?"

  • Comedy night at Twisted Taco in Midtown Atlanta is the most underrated thing to do in Atlanta. If you live here you have to give it a shot. You won't be disappointed.

  • Am I the only person that thinks the Falcons are living on borrowed time? They can't possibly keep winning with the offense of the '85 Oklahoma Sooners can they? I've never seen a worse collection of NFL receivers. They are so bad that Ricky Proehl would be a welcomed addition.

  • Can we just go ahead and give Reggie Bush the Heisman Trophy? Seriously, I'm tired of hearing about it. It's an absolute no brainer.

  • Why do the quarterbacks at Texas Tech never get any credit? I understand they throw it 60 times a game, but isn't 600 yards passing impressive no matter how many times you throw it?

  • Finally, never forget how precious life is and how important your friends and family are. If you have someone you keep meaning to call just to say hello, don't put it off until tomorrow. Pick up the phone and take the time to do it now. You never know when you will be glad you did.

  • Check in tomorrow morning for this weeks college football picks.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 

Say it Ain't So Leo!

After a few days immersed in the harsh reality of the real world it's nice to get back to talking about the fantasy land that is sports. You know, it really is amazing how sports can take your mind off the realities of your life and help you deal with otherwise terrible situations. Over the past few days I've had my fair share of conversations with old friends about the NBA and college basketball. You start talking about who's playing where, who's coaching where, and what to expect from different teams. You can really lose yourself in those conversations and for a brief time they can really matter to you. I think that's just one of the many reasons why sports has become so intertwined in my life and in American culture as a whole. At the end of the day they are just games, but they can be so much more if you allow them to be. I happen to think that's a very good thing.

At any rate, enough of me waxing poetic and back to the matters at hand in the world of sports. Robbie emailed me a link to an story this morning that informed me that the Braves have officially lost Leo Mazzone. If I can take heart in anything about this its that at least Leo is not joining the Evil Empire of the Yankees, but he is instead taking his brilliance to the Baltimore Orioles. He's taking a three year guaranteed deal to go work with the likes of Bruce Chen and Rodrigo Lopez. When you think about it, it's actually surprising that this has happened sooner. The fact that the Braves don't offer multi year deals to their coaching staff seems to be archaic and foolish. I mean, if you are the Tigers or Royals it's one thing to force your coaches to earn their keep from one year to the next, but when you are in the midst of a 14 year run of Division titles you would think the coaching staff had earned a few guarantees!

So the Braves are losing the man that has guided us to the lowest or second lowest team ERA in every year but two since 1992, coached 3 men to 7 Cy Young Awards, and made winners out of Charlie Liebrandt and Terry Mulholland. Name one other pitching coach that can claim credentials even close to that. As I mentioned above, you can't begrudge Leo for this move. In a world of no guarantees, a man would be silly to not ensure his immediate future when given the chance. You have to wonder though if this finally signals the end of the run for the Braves. Is the combination of Berkman's grand slam, the Ausmus 9th inning homer, and the departure of Leo finally too much for the Braves to overcome? Only time will provide the answers to this question, but for now all we really know is that Leo gave us more than we could have ever asked for from a pitching coach. I wish him all the best of luck and I only hope that when he becomes the first pitching coach inducted into Cooperstown that he does it with a Braves cap on.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 

Be Back on Thursday

Just wanted to let my loyal readers (all 4 of you) know that I will be back in full force on Thursday. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts about the Astros' choke job last night, the ND/USC game, or anything else from the world of sports and entertainment feel free to post it in the comments here or email them to me and I'll throw them up on the Blog. Thanks guys. See you Thursday morning.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 

Jason Collier (1977-2005)

When I saw Kyle's name on my caller i.d. before dawn yesterday morning, I anticipated a conversation about a great night on the town. I wish that had been why Kyle called me. I still can't believe that Jason is gone. In the five years since college, I've only spent a handful of hours with Jason and traded a few emails and phone calls. When we did speak and visit with one another it was like old times. By that, I mean, Jason made me laugh nearly the entire time.

I was thumbing through old pictures this morning of all of us on our trips to New York and Alaska. My favorite is a picture of me, Jason, and Kyle lifting our beers up for a toast in a Manhattan bar with huge smiles on our faces. We weren't smiling like that because we had just beaten Iona. Jason was smiling like that because he seemed to always smile like that, and Kyle and I were smiling because you couldn't help but laugh and be happy when Jason was in the room.

On the day Coach Cremins announced his retirement, a group of us went up to Dalton to watch a high school State tournament game. Jason and I made the drive together in his beloved truck. I'll never forget that ride because Jason and I talked about nearly everything but basketball. It was clear to me that Jason had two major goals at that time; he wanted to play in the NBA and he wanted to be with Katie forever. I take some solace in the fact that while he was here Jason had everything he ever wanted. I just don't understand why it had to end so soon.

Jason will be missed terribly but he will never be forgotten. He was the kind of man we should all strive to be.

Friday, October 14, 2005 

Random Friday Morning Thoughts...

I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that the Minnesota Vikings apparently held a "sex cruise." Without getting into details, let's just say that I can't believe a bunch of young professional athletes that make absurd amounts would participate in such behavior! Actually, I don't believe it. I need to see some pictures to prove this actually happened!

Have you ever heard a Stevie Wonder song and not felt good afterward?

Any chance DeAngelo Hall will decide to keep his mouth shut next time he is continuously getting burned?

N.C State beat Tech at Tech then gets trounced at home by Clemson. All the sudden I'm not really looking forward to Tech's matchup with Clemson.

Does anybody else find it amazing that your friends who are consultants spend half a day travelling on Monday and half a day travelling on Thursday and have all day Friday off? That leaves them only two full days of work a week and they make tons of money. I think my head is going to explode.

Would you rather be the GM of your favorite sports team or a player? I'd rather be the GM and I am afraid that this is undisputable evidence that I am getting old and boring.

How has Cold Pizza managed to stay on the air this long? Does anybody actually watch Cold Pizza?

I would hire Ari Gold to be my agent over Jerry Maguire seven days a week and twice on Sunday.

Why can't we start college football season one month later and not take the month off between the end of the regular season and the major bowl games? We still have high temperatures in the 80's. This isn't football weather.

Can Notre Dame actually beat U.S.C.? (more on this tomorrow morning)

Thursday, October 13, 2005 

What The Hell Happened?

I've watched an alarming number of sporting events in my life, but I simply can't recall ever seeing a game end as abruptly and puzzling as Game 2 of the ALCS. By now, I don't have to tell you what happened. I don't have to tell you how umpire Doug Eddings has found himself in the middle of a firestorm of controversy. When the play first unfolded, I was dumbfounded and honestly thought it was possibly the worst call I had ever seen. I certainly wasn't alone. Did you hear the complete despair in Joe Buck's voice as Osuna crossed the plate to win the game last night? It wasn't that Buck, or anybody else for that matter, was upset that the Sox won. Rather, Buck was expressing what so many of us were feeling, it's a real shame that such a great game with such a memorable pitching performance by Mark Buehrle is now going to be remembered for this one play.

Honestly, after hearing the post game interviews and commentary, I'm no longer convinced that Eddings made a bad call. His call might have been incorrect, but I'm not sure it was "bad." The truth is that I just don't know. The only thing I do know for certain is that I have heard more outcry for instant replay in baseball in the past 9 hours than ever before and this scares me. Let me be clear when I say that I am completely opposed to instant replay in baseball in any form. Baseball, more than any other game, is a game of inches. How many times is the difference between safe and out a matter of half a step or less? Are we going to review every stolen base attempt or double play? These plays are more often than not "bang bang" plays that at first glance appear as if they could go either way. For God's sake, the box score for every game contains a column for errors. We recognize that Baseball is a game of human error and we embrace that fact.

Like it or not, the umpires are a huge part of every baseball game and so are their errors. We've already compromised the purity of baseball enough with the designated hitter, it would be a crime to introduce instant replay and completely rob it of its purity. It's like everybody's favorite hussy, Annie Savoy, said at the end of Bull Durham, "Walt Whitman once said, 'I see great things in baseball. It's our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.' You could look it up." You think Walt Whitman would be in favor of replay in baseball?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 

Tucson Stoops

Nordstat posed the following question in the comments to the last post:

"just gonna throw a topic out there for discussion... is Tucson stoops having a "good year"? they are 3-1 against the spread and hung with some pretty damn good teams... but c'mon, 1-4 is 1-4 (with a win against NAU), isn't it? ok i know you guys don't care but i'm sure dunn could debate this for a few pages.Date Opponent Time/Result Fri, Sep 2 at Utah L 24-27 Sat, Sep 10 Northern Arizona W 31-12 Sat, Sep 17 Purdue L 24-31 Sat, Oct 1 at (18) California L 0-28Sat, Oct 8 at (1) USC L 21-42"

Well, you are right Stats, I do have a lot to say about this. Two things you should know from the start are that Stats has a massive and scary gambling problem as is evidenced by his knowledge of the Cats record against the spread and I am a huge Mike Stoops fan. In fact, I haven't stopped talking for four years about how I couldn't believe Tech didn't aggressively pursue him when Coach O'leary left. Anyway, here's how I view the current state of the Arizona football program (I can't believe I just typed those words):

First, I watched in agony as Arizona couldn't muster a score from first and goal on the Cal 1 yard line a few weeks ago. I'll let you guess who bet on the Cats the one time they didn't cover the spread this year. Anyway, they are 1-4 but they are clearly getting better. One great thing about the Pac 10 is you can climb the ranks in a hurry. He could conceivably end up with 4 wins this season and 6 next year. Once he gets to the 6 win mark, watch out. Honestly, it doesn't take a miracle to be in the upper echelon of the Pac 10. If you don't believe me, just look at what Karl Dorrell is doing at UCLA in his third year.

The biggest problems for Stoops when he took over at Arizona were that the program was completely devoid of talent and pride. Pride comes with winning so priority number 1 is stockpiling talent. Mike Stoops is a charismatic guy with a young man's enthusiasm and intensity. He's cut from the same mold as his brother, Pete Carroll, and Dorrell for that matter. Coupling that with the fact that the girls in Tucson aren't too hard on the eyes and a kid doesn't have to look too far for a good time. He shouldn't have trouble getting talent there. I think the corner is definitely in sight for them.

That being said, how in the hell did they put 21 up on USC. That's a huge red flag for the S.C. defense. One of these days that defense is going to give up a ton of points and the offense is going to wait too long to get into gear. With Notre Dame, Cal, and U.C.L.A. still lurking on the schedule, I have a hunch the Trojans are going to stumble. But to get back to Stats' question, 1-4 is 1-4, but I think this season will be the last time Tucson Stoops ever sees 1-4. BEAR DOWN BOYS!


Sweet Lou?

It never ceases to amaze me how the people at Fox can't leave well enough alone with their baseball broadcasts. I turn on Game 1 of the ALCS last night only to find Lou Pinnella as the third man in the booth with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Lou Pinnella, by anyone's standards, is a tremendous baseball man. He's been involved with the game since well before the Black Sox scandal and I'm certain that he's forgotten more baseball knowledge in the past month than I will ever have. He, however, has no place in the broadcast booth. You can just hear the frustration in Joe Buck's voice as he had to continually solicit comments from Pinnella. When he did comment it was never more than one sentence at a time. In a word, it was just awkward.

It wasn't as awkward as having to listen to Brett Boone pretend he was happy for his brother when he hit his immortal homerun in Game 7 against the Red Sox in 2003. That was simply horrifying. Watching Brett stand there with a blank look on his face saying things like "This is great" or "Wow." You just know that Brett wanted to say something like "I can't believe this. This isn't fair. I'm the All-Star in the family. I'm the one who hits 30 homers a year and has the huge contract. I'm the star of the family. I'm the one who has sacrificed his long term health by getting all juiced up for short term glory." Okay, I completely made that last sentence up, but it was every bit as horrifying as an on stage kiss between Tipper and Al Gore.

My point is that Fox should leave well enough alone. Joe Buck is the best in the business and he and McCarver just work. In fact, when you don't have a dog in the race, listening to them is one of the most enjoyable parts of the game. The only third wheel they have used that was serviceable was Al Leiter, but even he had some terribly awkward moments. So, I'm begging Fox, if I have to watch the Angels and the White Sox please at least let me listen to Joe Buck call the game instead of babysitting a third wheel. Is this so much to ask?

One last point I have to make is that I simply don't understand why tonight's games have to be played simultaneously. Did Congress pass a law against day games in the LCS while I wasn't looking. Granted, if one of these games was during the day, I wouldn't see any of it. However, I would be able to watch one of the games without any distraction and get full enjoyment out of it. Instead, I'm going to have to continually switch between Fox and FX trying to catch all the important moments of the both games. What am I going to do when two crucial moments overlap? I'm already getting nervous that I'm going to miss something big. Yes, these are the things that keep me up at night!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 

View from the Couch

I got in from work last night just in time to make some dinner and settle in on the couch for a long night of the Yankees/Angels, Monday Night Football, and a late night viewing of Las Vegas on TIVO. Mixed in there was an hour long rant with my buddy Colby about the Braves, what I would change about the NFL, and Georgia Tech football. I'm sure somewhere in there I ranted about liberals, but I honestly don't remember. I thought I'd share with you some of the highlights of this highly productive night:

  • I'm not sure what was more satisfying, seeing Sheffield crash into Crosby or watching A-Rod ground into a double play in the top of the ninth.

  • Did anybody else notice how hard Joe Buck was trying to use reverse psychology last night. Every time the Angels got a runner on base after the 5th inning Buck would say something like "a hit here could be a death nail to the Yankees!" Who was he kidding. He sounded like me and Dave on Sunday during every conversation we had in extra innings of the Braves game saying "there is NO way we can win this game" hoping that somehow that would jinx the Braves into winning. Of course, this makes no sense, but don't try to tell me that Fox isn't disgusted with the four teams remaining in the Baseball playoffs.

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Randy Johnson wear like a size 28 waist? Shouldn't he be able to find some pants that aren't skin tight? The mere sight of him disgusts me. Not to mention, he just looks like a real prick.

  • Is there anything funnier than hearing John Madden trying to pronounce "Polamalu"?

  • Am I the only one that has noticed how absolutely ridiculous it is that so many points are scored in the final two minutes of each half of an NFL game. For example, in last night's game, there were 17 points scored in those 4 minutes and 29 points in the other 56 minutes of the game. I, of course, have nothing to back this up with, but I am willing to bet that at least 20% of NFL points are scored in this particular 7% of each game. Maybe NFL teams should either rethink the way they play defense in these 4 minutes or the way they play offense in the remaining 56 minutes. This baffles me.

  • How hot are the chicks on Las Vegas when Nikki Cox is not in the top 3 hot chicks on the show?

  • Vanessa Marcil is so hot it's stupid. I mean she's clearly sexier than Jessica Biel. No, I won't let this die. I'm as bitter and irrational about Esquire's poll as the democrats were after the 2000 election. I need help.

  • I'm officially old now that I complain every week that MNF should start earlier so I don't have to stay up past midnight to watch the end. At this rate, I'm going to have grey hair and start muting commercials just like my father. Again, I need help.

Monday, October 10, 2005 

Monday Night Football

The Bolts are a field goal favorite at home tonight against the Steelers. A lot of people are swept up in the way the Chargers manhandled the Pats last weekend in Foxboro. While that was impressive, we can't forget the fact that the Pats had completely sold out the week before to beat the Steelers on the road, and this was the Pats first game without their defensive heart and soul, Rodney Harrison. That's not to diminish the Chargers win. On the other hand, it's to illustrate that in my opinion, the Charger's most significant win came the week before on Sunday night when they dominated the Giants at home. LT was unstoppable, Brees was unflappable, and the crowd unbelievable. Somebody stop me, I sound like Jackie Chiles. This is sure to carry over to my next call with a client.

At any rate, two weeks ago in Primetime under the bright lights, the Chargers responded with a huge win. They kept the ball rolling last week on the other side of the continent. This week, they are home in Primetime, under the bright lights against an aging team that has travelled cross continent to face them. Unless Bobby Cox takes over for Marty Schottenheimer and replaces Tomlinson with Michael Turner after the third quarter, they should be fine. Take the Bolts laying the points at home and remember, I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about.


More reaction...

This is a tremendous email sent by Dave Ball shortly after Game 4 came to an end. Ya'll think I'm nuts, just listen to the sorrow in Dave's words:

"Well, this is by far the worst 5 day stretch of sports we could have ever imagined. The Braves lose the Divisional Series to the Astros in the absolute most heartbreaking fashion...not even Hollywood would try to pull that script off. Tech loses on a fluke tipped pass, which ends any hope of a good season. The falcons lose on a last second kick to the world champs. And fucking Georgia beats fucking Tennessee, which of course will lead to endless SEC and national championship talk the rest of the fall.

I will be extremely surprised if I make it through tonight without jumping off my fucking balcony.


That's raw emotion. I asked Fisher to give me his thoughts and this is what he came up with:

"my thoughts are all over the place....too much shitty shit to comprehend in one day. i'll add some thoughts tomorrow morning but i'm pretty sure they're not going to be happy thoughts....oh and by the way, just to top off this superb shit weekend, my fantasy team is going to lose...SHIT"

Don't forget that Robbie is married with a kid and another on the way and his fantasy team can still reduce him to shambles. You can't put a price on that kind of competitive fire!

If any of the rest of you want to share your thoughts either email them to me or put them in the comments below. If they are worth a shit, I will share them with the other 6 people that read this.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 

Just when I thought I'd seen it all...

Game 4 happened. Up 6-1 after 7 innings, every true Braves fan's worst fears came true. Shockingly enough, the Braves bullpen blew the five run lead culminating with a two out bottom of the ninth bomb by a guy who had three homers all year. It took nearly three hours an 9 more innings, but the inevitable finally came in the Bottom of the 18th. So, another season fades to black with the same somber background music. I'm not sure why, but this one hurts more than any of the other ones over the past 9 years. Being up five runs going to the eighth and having it ripped away just leaves you feeling empty. I mean, it's as if you went to the doctor to get the results of a biopsy and the doctor comes in and tells you everything is okay only to say, "Oh, my fault, I was looking at the wrong chart. Mr. Johnson's biopsy was negative, but you have a kind of cancer we've never seen before. You'll be lucky if you live through the week!" Okay, maybe that's a little much. Suffice it to say, however, that I don't think there is a woman alive who could break my heart the way the Braves do. Again, it's a wonder I'm still single.

Where do we go from here will be the first question many people ask. I've got a lot of ideas immediately following today's debacle, but some time needs to pass before that discussion happens. I don't want to be like the guy whose girlfriend has just dumped him so he goes out to the bar and ends up trying to chew his arm off the next morning. Instead, I'm going to let the wounds heal and wait until after the World Series to think about what the Braves need to do to make there charge for #15 and beyond. Maybe Crash Davis is available to come work with our bullpen. Other than that, I've got nothing right now.

Saturday, October 08, 2005 

For Information Purposes Only

There is nothing greater than the traditions of college football. Howard's rock, The Vol Walk, The Boomer schooner, The Rambling Wreck, and gambling. This is a weekend chalked full of rivalry games and compelling matchups. While these games are great for your viewing pleasure, they aren't always the best ways to fatten your wallet. Sometimes the best place to look for the gambling edge is off the beaten path. That being said, here's where I would look to make some coin if I was so inclined:

Wisconsin -6.5 at Northwestern:
Northwestern can put up points and they seem to always be a tough out at home. Wisconsin, however, seems to run the ball at will with Brian Calhoun at tailback. Through 5 games, Calhoun has compiled 727 yards and 10 touchdowns and has looked down right unstoppable at times. Calhoun might be a 200 yard performance away from throwing his hat in the Heisman right. Wisconsin also have a solid kicker in Taylor Melhalf who is 6 for 7 early in the year. If you've ever wagered on a game, I don't have to tell you how important a kicker can become when the spread is involved. Coupling all this with the fact that Wisconsin should simply physically dominate the wildcats, this might be one of the few times I feel good about laying a touchdown on the road.

Kansas State -6.5 v. Kansas:
Granted, these aren't the K. State Wildcats that dominated Oklahoma two years ago in the Big 12 title game, but they do still have some talent on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Allen Webb showed flashes last week at Norman. At the end of the day, however, this game comes down to one question, do you actually believe that Kansas is going to beat K. State at home? If the answer is "no" then you should feel okay about laying less than a touchdown at home. Don't be surprised, however if Kansas coach Mark Mangino has some wrinkles up his sleeve and makes you sweat this one out a little. Also, Mark Mangino and Ralph Friedgen announced they will be hosting a clinic on eating your way to 400 lbs. this offseason. Get your tickets early, it should be very educational.

L.S.U. -15 @ Vandy:
I know, I know, laying more points on the road! Well, let's just say that Vandy was exposed as the same old Vandy last week against M.T.S.U. Last week, LSU went into to Starksville and took care of Miss. State by 30. At the end of the day, with Jamarcus Russell, Joseph Adai, Skyler Green, and Duane Bo, LSU should be able to put 40 up on Vandy. Do you think Vandy can put up more than 3 touchdowns against the Tigers defense? I didn't think so. Also, Skyler Green has been a hair away from breaking a punt return for a touchdown on several occasions this year. Look for him to finally break loose this weekend, and the Tigers should roll.

Cincinnati +13.5 @ Pitt:
Two words: Dave Weindstat. A buddy of mine told me at the beginning of the season "if you bet against Weindstat every week you will make bank." I wish I had listened to him. I figured that since he is a Bears fan that his judgment was clouded, but Weindstat has done nothing to prove him wrong. Consider this a long term investment. Even if you get burned this weekend, if you ride the anti-Weindstat band wagon the rest of the season you will come out on top.

Happy gambling friends.


Friday, October 07, 2005 

Jessica Biel?

Esquire magazine has named Jessica Biel as this year's sexiest woman alive. I haven't been this shocked after hearing a piece of news since I was a kid and woke up to the news that Buster Douglas had defeated Mike Tyson. Don't get me wrong, Jessica Biel is hot. She's hot in the same way Jessica Simpson was hot before she started working out 17 hours a day, making atrocious movies, and slinking around in a bikini and hooker boots. I mean, just like the old J. Simp., Biel is one of those girls you look at and acknowledge that she's really attractive, but she doesn't "move the needle" so to speak. Last year's winner, Angelina Jolie, is the perfect example of someone who moves the needle. Jolie is the type of woman that makes a man leave Jennifer Anniston because she just doesn't cut it anymore. Jolie makes men make irrational statements like "If God let me spend one night with her I would never have sex again", or "I love my wife and kids, but if I had a shot with her they would just have to deal with it." Angelina Jolie is so hot that women don't even dare ask their boyfriends or husbands "do you think she's hot?" I mean, they know the answer, there is no doubt about it. These are the necessary qualities to be considered the sexiest woman alive.

I just don't think you can say the same thing about Biel. No doubt she brings a lot to the table. If you've ever seen the swimming pool scene in Summer Catch, you know she's got talent, but she's not a five tool player. (Yes, I've seen Summer Catch multiple times and I don't want to hear a word about it. Who are you to judge me?) To be considered the sexiest woman alive, you can't just be a five tool player, you have to be one of the best of all time. The difference between Jessica Biel and Angelina Jolie is the difference between Albert Pujols and Adam Dunn. Biel, like Dunn, can hit for power, but she can't do it all like Pujols and Jolie.


Big Night For the Baby Braves

If you thought you heard a huge sigh of relief just before eleven tonight, don't worry because you aren't hearing things. It was about that time that all 40,000+ at Turner Field breathed a sigh of relief when Chris Reitsma managed to retire the side in the 8th without any damage. As he entered the game, I turned to my buddy and said "This will be the one I can't forgive Bobby Cox for if he blows this!" Fortunately, despite a lead off single, Reitsma managed to stay out of his own way, and the Braves coasted to the W. Ultimately, it was a great effort all around, but especially for the Baby Braves. Bryan McCann, of course, was the biggest star with his three run bomb off the detested Yankee Roger Clemens (I understand that Clemens has pitched for 20 years and is one of the greatest of all time, but the only thing that matters is that he sold his soul by becoming a Yankee; therefore, he is "the detested" Roger Clemens). Possibly the most impressive at bat of the game, however, came from Francouer when he somehow laid off three close pitches and drew a walk off Clemens. Francouer crossed the plate two batters later on McCann's bomb. His at bat was so impressive that the next time "Frenchie" (could we replace this nickname immediately for God's sake) came to the plate, Clemens seemed certifiably baffled as to how to pitch the kid. Nevermind the fact that he figured it out and blew high heat by the rookie for a strikeout, he was confused. Just take my word for it. I wouldn't lie to you.

I would be remissed if I didn't talk about Smoltzy's gutty performance. I mean what can you say about him that hasn't already been said? With every pitch he throws and every out he records, Smoltzy simply further cements himself in my mind as "Mr. Brave." Over this fourteen year roller coaster ride of emotion, Smoltz has been the one constant. No game, no situation, no opponent is too big for Smoltz. He always answers the bell. Whether it's Game 7 of the '91 World Series or a Game 4 showdown against Sammy Sosa at Wrigley in the Division Series, it's uncanny how he always rises to the occassion. I was struck tonight at how things seem to come full circle. As I watched Smoltz deal like he was 23 years old again, I couldn't help but think of his boyhood hero Jack Morris and the way he carried the Twins past the Braves in 1991. Maybe, just maybe, it's Smoltz's destiny to do the same for this team. Only time will tell if that fairy tale will come true, but what I can tell you is that I will never forget watching him work tonight. I will also never forget the two times tonight he sprinted down the line only to be nipped in close plays at first. Smoltz is the greatest competitor to ever wear the Braves uniform, and if you doubt that, just watch a tape of tonight's game.

Now, we head into Game 3 with a palpable since of momentum. I love the fact that Oswalt is pitching for the Astros because that guarantees that Laroche, Langerhans, and McCann will be in the lineup. There is no doubt that this gives us our best chance to win. This time of year, that's all you can ask for. You put your best nine out there against our best nine and let's see who's still standing in the end.

As far as the other Atlanta team facing a "must win" tonight, I haven't watched the game on TIVO yet. Let's just say that from what I've heard I can't rationally articulate any comments. Suffice it to say that I'm pissed but not surprised. Actually, I'm even more pissed that I'm not surprised. I promise more to come on this later.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 

Too Old to call Shotgun?

As six of us piled into my fake SUV (Ford Escape) after the game yesterday, my buddies Robbie and Hans engaged in a battle over who had called shotgun first. After Robbie, whose son will be 2 in January and he has another on the way, employed the same tactics as my five year old nephew and just sat with his arms crossed in the front seat refusing to move for a few minutes, Hans eventually gave up. After his place was secured, Robbie posed the question, "are we too old to be calling shotgun?" Afterall, I'm the youngest in the group at 27. My answer is that we are probably too old to do a lot of things, but that doesn't mean we should stop doing them. So my vote is that "shotgun" should live on, but who am I to say, I am the guy who still logs at least 5 hours of playstation a week. You know, it boggles my mind that I'm still single.



Not Again!

Well, believe it or not, I'm still in shock over the Braves 10-5 loss to the Astros last night. No, I'm not necessarily shocked that we lost, but I am stunned that I witnessed a near mirror image of last year's Game 5 loss to the Astros. Suffice it to say, I never again want to hear the P.A. announcer at Turner Field say "Now pitching for the Braves, Chris Reitsma." However, I'm not going to dwell on the negative from yesterday. Instead, I'm already looking forward to Smoltzy taking the mound tonight and trying to get us right back in the fight.

Two things from yesterday's game do warrant mentioning. First is that my buddy Hans has to be the best person ever to sit with during a playoff game. I mean, it's impossible to be stressed when he stands up and yells "Get out!" everytime a Brave makes contact. My personal favorite was when Andruw Jones hit his two run bomb, Hans's usual loud scream of "Get out" was reduced to a whisper. We are all pitching in for Hans's lasic surgery.

The other thing that stood out was my buddy Dave's repeated proclamation as we exited the stadium that he was never coming back because he was a jinx on the Braves. He wasn't kidding. This is a 28 year old man with an electrical engineering degree, a masters degree, and a great job that is absolutely convinced his presence in the Stadium dooms the Braves to failure! How can you not love a game that reduces grown men to shambles like this?

Let's hope Mother Nature cooperates and Game 2 happens tonight. Since Clemens is a right hander, and Bobby Cox has an irrational belief in righty/left matchups (this deserves its own post one day, but I'm not emotionally ready to think about this yet), we will actually have McCann, Laroche, and Langerhans in the lineup. If we go down, at least we will go down with our best bats in the lineup.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005 

Atlanta: Sports Town or Not?

There are those around the country that maintain that Atlanta is not a "sports town." I could sit and argue with them till I was blue in the face that the reason that Braves playoff games don't sell out and Hawks games never draw more than a few thousand is because Turner Field and Philips Arena are in terrible locations. That is, you must fight miserable traffic on any given weeknight (now weekends with all the road construction around Atlanta) to make your way to a neighborhood that is Atlanta's version of the Green Zone. What am I getting at? Well, move the stadiums and sports arenas to the suburbs and the Braves would draw close to four million and a young and possibly exciting Hawks team would have a chance to draw close to 15,000/night.

What about the Falcons? Well, they are pushing thirty straight sellouts, so doesn't that do some damage to my theory? Hardly. Three things ring true about the Falcons. The first is that they play on Sunday afternoons so you don't have to worry about traffic getting into the city and you don't have to worry about bringing your kids to a tough neighborhood after dark. Second, I'm not sure a Falcons game even counts as a sporting event anymore. Seriously, when you have a D.J. on the sideline, a live funk band on the sideline, and a weekly rap concert at halftime, is the game even the main attraction? If you've never been to a Falcons game, just pop in the Any Given Sunday DVD and you will see how Oliver Stone so clearly influenced Arthur Blank to run his franchise. Third and most importantly, is Mike Vick. Seriously, if Mike Vick was the quarterback of a team in Baghdad that team would sell out. Mike Vick is the great X factor that overcomes all obstactles to selling tickets. That being said, I was talking with a buddy the other day and asked him "If Vick was out for the year and Matt Schaub was the starting QB that led the Falcons to the Super Bowl, would people be just as excited as they would be if Vick was playing QB?" His answer was incoherent and not worth repeating, so I will tell you the answer, "No!" You take Mike Vick off this team and put Matt Schaub in his place and the excitement goes down from a 10 to 7 at least, and a 7 on the excitement meter takes you back to the days of blacked out home games!

Anyway, it's like I said, I could argue these points with folks that say Atlanta is not a sports town until I was blue in the face, but it wouldn't matter. It wouldn't matter because at the end of the day, the only tangible number for determining whether a city is a "sports town" is asses in the seats. There is no escaping it. All the great "sports towns", Boston, Chicago, New York, have both asses in the seats and irrational passion for their teams. Atlanta has niether, so at the end of the day, I guess we aren't a "sports town", but that doesn't mean we don't play great sports in this town. Take the next two days for example. Playoff baseball at Turner Field highlighted by tomorrow night's matchup between two future Hall of Famers, Smoltz and Clemens (John Smoltz is a Hall of Famer and anyone who disagrees can stop reading right now because you are no longer welcome in my world), and the Thursday night tradition of Georgia Tech football on ESPN.

Let's talk about Tech first. This phrase gets overused in sports so much that its probably lost as much credibility as Tom Delay in the past week, but this is a MUST WIN for both Tech and N.C. State. State has already lost two conference games, and with the run of great recruiting classes D'Amato had there to begin the century combined with their highly regarded defense and their sub par record last year, a loss on national t.v. at Tech could mark the beginning of the end for the D'Amato era. If these kids have any respect or passion for their coach, it will come to the forefront here. On the flip side, we know that Georgia Tech may have respect for their coach, Chan Gailey, but they certainly have no passion. Coming off a 51-7 beat down at the hands of Va. Tech in what was being touted as the biggest game of the Gailey era (by the way, that's two words that were never meant to be seen together, Gailey and era), you just have to wonder what to expect tomorrow night. With games still remaining at Miami and at Georgia where the Jackets are sure to be double digit underdogs, and imminently losable games looming against Clemson, Virginia, and Wake Forest (that's right, I said it...Wake Forest), Tech absolutely has to win this game if they have any chance of breaking their string of mediocre 7 win seasons. If they lose tomorrow night, the Jackets might be staring another trip to Boise right in the face.

As for the Braves, its become a yearly tradition to get jacked up for the playoffs this time of year, only to have the rug pulled out from under us by what is either superhuman pitching performances by the opposition or unthinkable team wide hitting slumps by the Braves. The truth, I'm sure, lies somewhere in the middle. This year, however, has a different feel of excitement, and a different level of passion. These aren't just the Atlanta Braves, these are the Baby Braves, and the truth is, they just might be to naive to know this is a big deal. That my friends, might be the difference between just a 14th straight division title and a 2nd World Series title. Now, it wouldn't be fair to talk about he Braves and the playoffs without acknowledging the 8,000 pound elephant in the room. That is, of course, whether the Braves HAVE to win another Championship to validate this run. I get pretty emotional about this topic, and in an email exchange with my buddy Robbie, I let my emotions spill on to the page, and here was my take on this question:

"I suffered with the Braves as the worst franchise in baseball for the first thirteen years of my life, and I'm been doing a different kind of suffering since Game 4 of the '96 Series. I'm not sure which pain is worse, losing 100 games between April and September, or losing 3 out of 5 or 4 out of 7 in October? There is only one way to erase everything that has happened because of Leyritz. We have to win it again. I think this team can win it. I love this team, and I love their passion. I pray it's enough. If it's not, I will probably jump off the 17th Street Bridge."

Robbie responded with some jibberish about being thankful for what you have. It was very nice, and warm and fuzzy, but jibberish nonethe less. So, I felt compelled to respond with the following:

"I totally agree with you. In your haste to be argumentative, you didn't try to understand what I was saying. I never said I don't appreciate what we've done and the teams we've had. I simply made the point that even amidst all the joy of the past fourteen years, ever sense Leyritz hit the homer in Game 4, the bad memories have been more painful than the good memories have been joyful. That's not a knock on anybody, it's not an attempt to cheapen what we have accomplished (14 straight division titles is unprecedented; therefore, by definition, it stands alone), it simply is what it is - it's the truth. From 1991 - 1995, even the moments of defeat were outweighed by the joyful memories.
For example, watching the Dodgers lose on the JumboTron in 1991 after we beat the Astros to clinch the first division title, Steve Avery throwing two gems in the the NLCS, Bryan Hunter launching a three run dong in the first inning of Game 7 against the Pirates in the '91 NLCS, Sid Bream and Frankie Cabrera in '92, then Justices' homer and Glavine's 1 hit gem in Game 6 against the Indians to win it '95 are the memories from that era. You don't remember Danny Gladden scoring in the 10th inning of Game 7 in 1991, the Blue Jays celebrating on our field in 1992, Mitch Williams being unhittable in the NLCS in 1993, or the strike of 1994.
Unfortunately, since Leyritz you remember the things like Erik Gregg's strike zone in Levan Hernandez's one hitter in game 5 of the '97 NLCS, the sweep by the Yankees in '98, Bautista playing left field against the Padres in 1999 while Tucker and Klesko sat on the bench in Game 6, the sweep by the Cardinals in the 2000 divisional series, Luis Gonzalez hitting bombs for the D'backs in 2001, then the string of Game 5 losses.
My point, however, is that if this team especially, with all it's local guys, young guys, and great storylines, can pull it off, then those memories will fade and a new era begins. Nothing in the past 9 years has come close to eliminate the memory of that hanging curveball to a journeyman catcher in Game 4 of 1996, but this team winning the Series would be the cure. "

Did you like how I nailed him for being an argumentative bastard? I was awfully proud of that. At any rate, I truly believe that the only way for the Braves to move past Leyritz is to win the Series again. Is this the year? I don't know, but I'll be at Turner Field sweating out every pitch along the way as we find out. Two things you should take from this: I care too much about sports, and I just killed an hour of billable time to write all this. It's called priorities boys and girls. If you don't have them, you need to get them. Also, if you think I really love the Braves, wait till you see me write about my hate of the Yankees. Now, that is called passion.



Welcome To My World

So, I've spent so much time complaining about all the bloggers in the world, that I figured the only thing I could do was to join them. So, here I am. I have now become what I have despised, a bloggger. I spend so much time inundating my buddies with long detailed emails about my opinions on every topic ranging from sports to politics, I decided I would just put it all in one place for people to read if they like. That being said, there is no plan for what I am going to post here. Pretty much, whatever I think needs to be said will find its way here. Actually, that's pretty much my personality in a nutshell, whatever the topic, you can probably count on my opinion.

Enough with the introduction. Welcome to my world. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Weekly Top 7

All-Time Top 7 Sports Movies

7) Kingpin - "The world can really kick your ass. I only have a vague recollection of when it wasn't kickin' mine" - Roy Munson

6) Caddyshack - "Don't sell yourself short Judge. You're a tremendous slouch." - Ty Webb

5) Major League - "Want me to drag him outta here, kick the shit out of him?" - Rick Vaugh

4) Eight Men Out - "Say it ain't so Joe. Say it ain't so." - Pee Wee

3) Rocky - "If I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood." - Rocky Balboa

2) The Natural - "I coulda been better. I coulda broke every record in the book." - Roy Hobbs


1) Hoosiers - "My team's on the floor!" - Coach Dale


Getting this Laker team into the playoffs is the best coaching job Phil has ever done. Now he can list "The WAD" Man of the Week right next to his 9 rings on his list of accomplishments. Is there any reason for him to keep going?

About me

  • I'm The WAD
  • From Atlanta, Georgia, United States
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