Tuesday, May 12, 2009
This is cheap, but it warrants a mention today.....from the archives:
Brett Favre is the most overrated quarterback playing right now. At one point he was a great quarterback, but he’s 13 year’s removed from winning a Super Bowl, 12 years removed from winning an MVP, and about 10 years removed from really giving a s**t. Honestly. I also love how announcers applaud him for his consecutive games streak. Have you seen him play recently? I think I know how he keeps from getting injured. Any time he feels any sort of pass rush he throws one up for grabs. A lame duck high over the middle of the field. Not many wide receivers play a full season with Favre because he gets those guys killed.
The reason I bring this up is, I was driving around listening to some show on WFAN (NY Sports-talk radio) the other day and some loud-mouthed Jets fan called in talking about ole’ Brett. He was screaming about how Favre was a “punk” and the most overrated QB of all time and this and that. They eventually cut him off. I figured the host (also a Jet fan) would correct this dude and reveal the obvious answer to the long-debated: most overrated quarterback of all time. However, the host agreed it was Favre and then went ahead and took a call about Omar Minaya.
If you take away the guarantee, gushing reporters, the pantyhose commercials, the endless line of bimbos, strip off the mink coat, and basically all the glitz, the most overrated QB discussion begins and ends with one name: Joe Namath. I know this is serious taboo to bring it up, but just take a look at the numbers. They’re putrid.
Broadway Joe led the league is passing yards three times (’66,’67,’72) and once led the league in TD passes (’72). However, he led the league in interceptions four times: 1966,1967,1974, 1975 with 27,28,22, and 28 int’s in each of those years respectively. Keep in mind back then they only played 14 regular season games.
The Super Bowl winning year of 1969 was the only year Joe managed to throw more td’s than interceptions in a season (19 TDs vs 17 int’s). Of all of Namath’s bad years, the 1975 season was especially rotten. In only 13 starts, he managed to complete just 48% of his passes, throw 28 interceptions, and be sacked 27 times. If you want to take it even a step further, Namath’s 28 int’s in 326 pass attempts in 1975 amounts to an 8.5% completion percentage…..TO THE OTHER TEAM! The career numbers don’t exactly paint a pretty picture either: 173 TD’s vs. 220 picks and a career completion percentage of 50.1%.
“Yeah but ‘dem numbuhs’ don’t mean nuthin’. Namath was a winna!”
Not exactly. His career record as a starter: 63-63-4.
Based on the fact that Joe Willie was a first ballot Hall of Famer and lauded as one of the all-time greats, despite a mediocre win/loss record and putrid numbers, my list of most overrated QB’s of all-time looks like this:
1) Joe Namath
3) Brett Favre
4) everyone else
Namath is by such an overwhelming margin the most overrated QB of all time, that I’ve been forced to vacate the #2 most overrated position. So when Vinny from Flushing calls up the FAN and tells Mike Francesa that “Favre is a bum. He ain’t no Joe Namath or nuthin’.” He’s right on both counts.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Couple of thoughts that went thru my head during this particular rain delay:
-I would much rather have the Red Sox team than the Yanks. This is completely blasphemous for a life long Yankee fan to say, quite frankly I feel a little queasy because of it, but I completely mean it 100%. Why wouldn’t I?
The Red Sox have a stable of young arms raised at home in their own farm system, an above average bullpen and defense, and a lineup that even Mr. Moneyball Billy Beane could be proud of. Other than David Ortiz and occasionally J.D. Drew, they have a lineup of guys with high on base-percentages who do not strike out.
This enables them to manufacture runs when they happen not to be hitting it out of the ballpark. Along those lines, are there two tougher outs in the entire major leagues than Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis? Pretty sure Pedroia had 73 extra base hits and only 52 strike outs last year. Amazing.
Also, and I think I would rather have hernia surgery without anesthesia than admit this, but I think you have to credit that obnoxious little punk Theo Epstein for putting this team together and for killing it in the draft since he arrived in 2002.
The thing that pains me the most about the Red Sox roster being so perfectly built, is the fact that this USED TO BE THE YANKEES. It has been a total role reversal from the late 90’s and early this century, when the Yankees were winning World Championships. The Yanks were the team with the homegrown young roster, made opposing pitchers work, got on base at a high percentage, and won games in October. And the Red Sox? They were a joke, and the Yanks ate them for lunch on a regular basis. And now? Just the opposite is true. Pains me to no end.
My question…when exactly did the Yankees decide that formula that won those World Series titles was broken? Why did they start paying a king’s ransom for every aging, past ripe, free agent on the market?
Along those same lines….
-The spending this off-season has totally made me sick. The Yankees have definitely spent more than a few off-season dollars in the last five or six years, but this year was a little bit different. With an economy in turmoil and unemployment raising, the Yankees went ahead and spent $161 Million on C.C Sabathia, $180 million on Mark Teixeira, and $82.5 on A.J. Burnett. Good players all (except Burnett…or as I like to call him Carl Pavano with nipple rings), but definitely not such sure things that I would have spent that sort of money on them. Hell, even if those names happened to be Whitey Ford, Joe DiMaggio, and Ron Guidry, that sort of overspending still probably would not be justified.
I understand there is no salary cap in baseball, and the Yankees earn at a far different level than other small market teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City, but this type of gluttonous spending in such a poor economy just doesn’t sit right with me.
-Joe Girardi needs to wake up. Other teams know Joba is on a fairly strict pitch count. Don’t you notice them taking a lot of pitches on him? They know if they do they will get into your crappy bullpen by like the 4th or 5th inning at the latest. I personally would like to see him groomed as Mariano’s heir apparent, but if you are going to start him, you have to take the reins off.
- Is it too late to go back to the old ballpark? I mean, the thing is still up right? Why don’t we just scrap this new guy and just start playing games in the old park again. You know the one the Yankees won 26 World Championships in, that used to have those great crowd roars, and used to never have any empty seats. Yeah that one.
I was against building the new Yankee Stadium from the beginning. The old stadium was more than alright. It was the one I grew up watching games in, and one of the most revered venues in all of sports. Also, that one wasn’t going to cost $1.3 Billion to put up, and cost NYC taxpayers a few hundred million dollars in the process (pretty sure George Steinbrenner is the reason my monthly subway pass is about to cost $110 bucks….nice).
I have heard the counterarguments, about how you need luxury boxes and first rate accommodations. I’ve also heard people rave about how nice the new stadium is (especially the bathrooms for some reason).
To me this is akin to someone talking about how their brand new $300K Mercedes “rides really smooth”. Guess what…for 300K a car BETTER ride like its floating on marshmallows…..and for $1.3 Billion I SHOULD have a comfy seat and not have to stand in urine.
One more point. Curses and superstition don’t exist in real life, but they do exist in baseball (ex. “Curse of the Bambino” and the Ron Santo black cat).
So what kind of negative karma do you think will be associated with tearing down “The House that Ruth Built” for the grand purpose of making a couple of extra bucks on seat licensing fees?
I shiver at the thought.
- Silver lining. This could very well end up being another lost season for the Yanks. One sliver of sunshine showing through the dark clouds? If the Yankees end up missing the playoffs and firing Joe Girardi, it could very well signal the return of one Donald Arthur Mattingly. Yup….Donnie Baseball.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
P.S. Mine is about a third of the way down, and I took Pacquiao by a 8th or 9th round stoppage.
Monday, April 27, 2009
That being said, I PROMISE this is the last I will mention the NFL draft until after the Super Bowl next year, but I would be remise if I did not add a few notes on the local teams and by far my favorite team to watch draft every year.
- The Giants get an A+ is my book. I saw that USA Today agrees with me, Peter King and Mel Kiper do not, but I believe the Giants had the best draft out of any team in the league this year. And maybe the second best draft I’ve seen in the last five or six years (Kansas City last year was best draft I have ever seen).
Let me first say that I graded the G-Men strictly on players drafted, and not on other moves unmade. I know many would criticize them for not making a trade for either Braylon Edwards or Anquan Boldin, while seemingly being a WR away from another Super Bowl run.
These people are not wrong. I wanted the Braylon Edwards deal to go down very badly myself(which it might still), but the A+ grade I give the Giants is based on the value for the selections they DID actually make.
I love Hakeem Nicks with the first round pick. In my draft, I thought he would be gone by the time the Giants picked, although I didn’t foresee Darius Heyward-Bey going so early (more on that later). I did disagree, however, with the ESPN draft “gurus” referring to him as a “big receiver”. Nicks is just under 6’1” and about 215 pounds. He projects more to fill the WR spot vacated by the departure of Amani Toomer. Ramses Barden, on the other hand, the 6’6” receiver from Cal Poly the G-Men got in round three is the one they hope to fill the void left by Plax. At the very least I think he has a chance to be a red zone threat much like Vincent Jackson in San Diego.
The advantage of being a good team is that you don’t have many needs to fill, therefore you can draft luxuries and draft for value. The Giants got great value in Virginia OLB Clint Sintim in the second round (a player who they almost looked to take with their first round pick). They also selected OL William Beatty from UConn later in that round, a player many thought was the best pass protector in the whole draft. I think he eventually replaces David Diehl at LT.
In the third round the Giants were able to land Travis Beckum a tight end from Wisconsin who actually was more productive in college than Jets first round pick of a year ago Dustin Keller. Beckum projects to be a similar sort of “stretch the field tight end” and possible red zone threat.
Mark my words on this one folks: Giant fans will LOVE Andre Brown. I watched a ton of ACC football over the past four years, and watched this man-child (6 feet 225 pounds) run behind a Swiss-cheese offensive line at NC State and still pick up major chunks of yards. Had he played on a good team he would have been a first round pick. He also catches the ball well out of the backfield, and will be the answer to losing Derrick Ward in free agency.
Terrific draft by a somewhat underrated front office. Good drafting pays dividends down the line. Kudos to GM Jerry Reese.
- The Jets get an incomplete grade as far as I’m concerned. I like the move to make a splash and get Mark Sanchez, but the Jets had many needs to fill in this draft and ended up with only 3 picks with which to do so.
To me moving up to take Sanchez was a much better move than staying put at the 17th pick and drafting the potentially comBUSTable (get it) Josh Freeman, even though they may have overpaid for the price to move up (1st round pick, 2nd round pick, Bret Ratliff, and Abram Elam).
If he is given the opportunity to get into camp early, play some in the preseason, and get at least some platoon duty this year, Sanchez has a good chance to be a ten year starter in NY and be the face of the franchise going forward. In fact, I would say he has just as good a chance, if not better, to succeed at the NFL level as Matthew Stafford.
That being said, the Jets had a some glaring needs in this draft that needed to be filled and were not. I understand Gang Gren had only two selections left after the Sanchez deal, but they very easily could have traded out of the first pick of the third round to accumulate more picks later in the draft to fill those holes. They could also have traded a player for picks as well. What I WOULD NOT have done was draft Shonn Greene, the running back out of Iowa with that pick.
I understand it was a good value selection…but a running back? Come on. The Jets two most solid positions coming into this draft were at Safety (Rhodes, Jim Leonhard, and Elam) and running back (the two-headed monster of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington…plus throw in the hammer with Jehuu Caulcrick). They HAD to get a wide receiver. Had to.
They needed someone play the wide receiver spot opposite Jericho Cotchery, who now with…Brad Smith or David Clowney on the other side…will have to deal with a double team AND extra safety help over the top on every play this season. Derrick Williams, Patrick Turner, Deon Butler, Ramses Bardenm, Juaquin Iglesias all went later in round three and would have been good pick-ups for the Jets at WR.
Sanchez better hope by the time he gets the starting nod that he is so good it doesn’t matter what guys he is throwing to.
-If the Raiders were country they would be Cuba. Honestly, at this point just like Cuba, Oakland will be an inhabitable, stable, and largely redeemable destination once its dictator ruler passes on. Sorry Al Davis…but YOU ARE Castro.
(I beg you…if you ever do anything for yourself your whole life, do yourself a favor and click on the Al Davis link above. I’m not one for hyperbole, but it very well could be the single greatest picture in the history of the still photo. Seriously, have Al Davis and the Crypt keeper ever been spotted in the same place at the same time before?)
I predicted back in mid-February (and in each successive mock draft since) that the Raiders would make an off the wall pick, and largely blow their first round selection. Picking a wide receiver with great timed speed (4.28 forty), but questionable hands and production at the college level (Darius Heyward-Bey) twenty spots too early, and ahead of Michael Crabtree does indeed qualify as “blowing the pick” …but it pales in comparison with their second round selection.
The single worst value selection in modern NFL Draft history (since the same Raiders took kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the first round in 2000) was made by the Raiders in round 2. They chose Safety Michael Mitchell out of the University of Ohio with the 47th overall selection.
This is a player that noted draft guru Mel Kiper had rated #71 overall……AMONG SAFETIES! The 71st rated safety!
To put the atrociousness of this pick even more into perspective, Mitchell had not been invited to NFL Scouting Combine, not invited to any All-Star games, and did not make the first, second, third team or honorable mention from the MAAC Conference. ESPN did/could not even prepare any tape or even a picture of him to be used during its draft broadcast. Sports Illustrated also was not able to locate a picture of him (even a day after the draft) and did not even bother to provide a draft grade on him beforehand.
Later interviews would reveal that only one other team (the Chicago Bears) even had this player on their draft boards, and had him graded as a potential 7th round pick.
Once again another smart draft by the Raiders….little wonder they call this place the “Black Hole”.
By the way, we are only 363 days until the next NFL Draft.
Ok seriously…I’ll stop talking draft nonsense…starting….starting…..starting……
Friday, April 24, 2009
This is my third and final attempt at a Mock Draft…quite frankly, I was embarrassed enough to know so much about a bunch of college kids and the NFL draft to do one First Round Mock Draft….that you can imagine how embarrassed I am to have now come up with THREE…THREE distinct mock drafts.
God, what am I doing with my time…I think I need a lady…oh yeah here’s the way the first round will probably go…..
1) DETROIT LIONS: Matthew Stafford (QB, Georgia) – The Lions really should do all they can to trade out of this pick. 1) Because they don’t want to pay a QB that will have to sit next year the kind of money that a #1 overall pick will command…especially a #1 pick that is a QB 2) They were 0-16 last year and really need to accumulate as many picks and quality players as they can.
Having said that, I think taking either Stafford or Jason Smith is a good pick here so long as they can get the player signed before the draft to avoid any holdout drama.
2) St. LOUIS RAMS: Jason Smith (T, Baylor)- Perfect marriage of need and value. The best tackle prospect in the draft is taken by a team looking to replace a potential Hall of Fame LT in Orlando Pace. I think this guy is going to be a stud
3) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Aaron Curry (LB, Wake Forest)- My opinion is that new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli will want to trade out of this pick. He did this every other year with the Pats, and I think he will have lots of suitors. My best guess would be the Redskins would at least entertain the idea of trading up (ahead of the Seahawks) to snatch up QB Mark Sanchez.
However, if the Chiefs do pick at #3, their biggest need is a linebacker to play the inside, and no player in this draft will do that better than Aaron Curry.
4)SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Mark Sanchez (QB, USC)- Big change from my last mock draft. I have bought into the pre-draft hype. I fully believe the Seahawks are looking for a player to take the reins from Matt Hasselbeck in two years. They will draft Sanchez and essentially “redshirt” him by having him sit and hold the clipboard for one season.
5) CLEVLAND BROWNS: Brian Orakpo (DE, Texas)- Will most likely take the “Workout Warrior” Orakpo, unless they deal Braylon Edwards to the Giants before or during draft day. In that case, I believe that they would take Michael Crabtree.
6) CINCINNATI BENGALS: Eugene Monroe (LT, Virginia)- Bengals need offensive line help and Monroe is the second best tackle in this whole draft.
7)OAKLAND RAIDERS: Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech)- I’ve seen this guy all over the TV the last few days. He has not played an NFL down or made a paycheck yet, but he is already sporting a gaudy watch, huge diamond earrings, and is speaking exclusively in the third person. Sounds like your next great diva WR….and most definitely a perfect Raider.
8) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: - Andre Smith (T, Alabama) Will very likely trade out of this pick on draft day, and I would have had them taking a WR had they not just signed Torry Holt this week. If they were to get Smith, I think they would be getting a steal. This is a guy with top 3 sort of talent, who dropped because of major character concerns.
Smith cost himself possibly the Numer 1 overall selection (and somewhere between 10-20 Million bucks) by going AWOL at the NFL Combine and then showing up out of shape to his workout (understatement!!), but may redeem himself some by still going in the top 10 here to the Jaguars.
9)GREEN BAY PACKERS: B.J. Raji (DT, Boston College)- They could really use a CB, but this guy is too good to pass on at this pick. Best interior lineman in this draft.
10) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Michael Oher (T, Ole Miss) They really would have loved to see Mark Sanchez fall to them here, and with Raji also off the board, they will look to fill a hole on the offensive line.
11) BUFFALO BILLS: - Brandon Pettigrew (TE, Oklahoma State) After trading Jason Peters to the Eagles the Bills have three glaring holes to fill: DE, TE, and LT. With their first of two first round selections I think they go with the most complete tight end in this draft. Also I would not be surprised if they went with a DE here, possibly Everette Brown from FSU.
12) DENVER BRONCOS: Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU) – Are likely to take Jackson if he lasts this long. If not look for them to take an outside ‘backer. Perhaps Brian Cushing.
13) WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn State)- If they do not trade up to get Mark Sanchez they will want a pass rushing DE. Maybin is undersized and might just be a situational pass rusher early in his career.
14) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Beanie Wells (RB, Ohio State)- I don’t like this pick at all, but I believe the Saints are targeting Wells. I would much rather see them address defensive need (CB,DT, or LB) since they already are pretty set at RB with Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.
15) HOUSTON TEXANS: Everette Brown (DE, FSU)- In my opinion Brown will be the best DE in this year’s draft class. He’ll also have the best opportunity to succeed in year one with Mario Williams on the other side drawing double teams.
16) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Brian Cushing (LB, USC)- I believe they will take either Cushing or Rey Maualuga.
17) NEW YORK JETS: Josh Freeman (QB, Kansas State)- This is NOT a good pick, but the Jets seem to have become enamored with the 6’6” signal caller from the K-State recently.
In my opinion, Freeman is a thrower more than a passer, and is not anywhere near accurate enough to be a solid NFL QB down the line. They would be lucky if another team like the Bucs traded up to get Freeman as to block them from screwing up this pick. I would much rather see them take a WR to fill the hole left by the departure of Coles. Percy Harvin would be a perfect pick for them.
18) DENVER BRONCOS: Clay Matthew (LB, USC) – This is the pick they acquired from the Bears by way of the Jay Cutler trade. Matthews is a cerebral, high effort sort of player that could play outside linebacker/ situational pass rusher in Denver.
19) TAMPA BAY BUCS: Darius Heyward-Bey (WR, Maryland)- Run on wideouts begins here. The best vertical threat in this draft.
20) DETROIT LIONS: Malcolm Jenkins (CB/S, Ohio State)- DB is a good selection for the Lions with their second first round pick. I would have taken Vontae Davis from Illinois, but I think they would more likely go with Jenkins and play him at both CB and S.
21) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Knowshown Moreno (RB, Georgia)- A better fit would be Beanie Wells, as a bruising compliment to Brian Westbrook’s elusiveness, but since he is off the board in this draft they go with Moreno..
22) MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Jeremy Maclin (WR, Missouri)- A best player available sort of pick. I would be a little surprised to still see him on the board at pick #22. Could also take a CB..again maybe Vontae Davis.
23) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Darius Butler (CB, UCONN)- Most likely will not select here. They will either move up or move down. If they do happen to select here, Butler is most NFL ready CB left.
24) ATLANTA FALCONS: Peria Jerry (DT, Ole Miss)- Had Jerry here before and still like the Falcons to select him at pick #24. Very important for a young team to get a good interior defensive lineman.
25) MIAMI DOLPHINS: - Robert Ayers (DE, Tennessee)- A lot of people expect the Fins to go with a WR with this pick, but I think it would be very “Un-Parcells” to take a WR in the first round (Keyshawn notwithstanding).
26) BALTIMORE RAVENS: Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois) – They cut Chris McCalister earlier this year and lost Jim Leonhard and Bart Scott in free agency. Will pick a defensive player with this pick. Davis has the best raw skills and possess the best upside of all the defensive backs in the whole draft.
27) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Hakeem Nicks (WR, North Carolina)- Polished receiver to help fill the Marvin Harrison void. Could also pick a DT. Would take Peria Jerry if he fell this far. Would have taken Percy Harvin if he had not failed the Combine drug test for marijuana. Genius.
28) Buffalo Bills: Eben Britton (T, Arizona)- The Bills fill another big need with this pick acquired from the Eagles as part of the Jason Peters deal. They hope the Vikes don’t take this guy at #22.
29) NEW YORK GIANTS: Percy Harvin (WR, Florida)- I would LOVE to see the G-Men make a deal with the Browns to get Braylon Edwards. I’ve have heard Cleveland wants Kiawanuka and a mid-round pick, something I would do in a second. Jerry Reese said Kiwi is off the board, but hopefully he caves on that. I’m not a big Kiwi fan.
If the Giants don’t get a deal done I think they take Snoop Do-….I mean Percy Harvin. If they do get the deal done I say the Giants take Clint Sintim for UVa.
30) TENNESSEE TITANS: Kenny Britt (WR, Rutgers)- Very much a reach to go in the first round but the Titans desperately need a WR (seems like this is the case every year). For the record, I’m not a big Britt fan. Diva attitude seems to be simmering just under the surface. You just wait until that first round bonus check clears…you’ll see.
31) ARIZONA CARDINALS: Donald Brown (RB, UCONN)- Best running back left in the draft, and a major need with Edge having nothing left in the tank.
32) PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Duke Robinson (G, Oklahoma)- If the Steelers don’t get some offensive line help, Big Ben is going to have a very short career. A lot of the sacks that he took came up the middle, so taking the top guard in the draft makes a lot of sense from where I’m sitting (eh hem…..my couch).Phil Loadholt is another thought. He would probably play RT. Center from Oregon Max Unger might also be a smart pick as well.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I can think of a few reasons I don’t always pay attention to the NBA anymore: the players are allowed to take 5 steps on the way to the rim…the season is so long the players loaf the first 60 games…we found out all the refs were probably crooked…. and the Knicks have been an embarrassing laughing stock the last ten years or so. That’s actually the main reason for me.
Sure the Knickerbockers had the one NBA finals appearance against the Spurs in the lockout year, but they were also like $60 Million over the cap under Kamikaze Isiah and all of these “players” have worn Knicks jerseys at one point or another: Vin Baker, Jerome James, Jackie Butler, 700 pound Mike Sweetney, Dan Dickau, Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry, Penny Hardaway (old Penny…not Shaq Penny), and a man who at this point should just go by one name: Stephon.
Ok…just let that wash over you for a minute.
The Knick-bashing article will have to go on ice for a while. In the meantime, a few thoughts on the NBA right now:
-Lebron James is just the big kid on the play ground. I’m sitting here watching the Cavs/Pistons game, and I am total in awe of Lebron’s size.
He has the body of a power forward basically playing point guard at times. He is listed at 6’8” and I dunno…maybe 265 pounds! To put that in perspective he’s 2 inches taller and about 70 pounds heavier than Michael Jordan at his peak. I’m actually afraid he might hurt one of the other players when he goes to the rim. The last time I felt this was when I was watching Mike Tyson in the late 80’s, actually afraid he was going to kill the guys he was fighting.
Put together his skill set (shooting, passing, dribbling) and physicality, and basically he is John Stockton with a Karl Malone body…only he is a superior athlete with a 38 inch vertical.
The guy is truly a freak of nature.
-The only series I have any interest in watching is a Cavs/Lakers final. I’ve just been informed that the playoffs will actually be going on until June, so I need not pay attention to any games or any highlights until after Memorial Day. Which is really fine by me anyways….since I’m only an occasional fan and really only care about star power.
I’m only interested in watching a Kobe vs. Lebron final. This matchup would give the NBA mustard enough to lore in the fringe fan (like myself) and ratings would be off the charts. This means big $ for David Stern and the NBA brass. So don’t be surprised when the Cavs and Lakers are getting LOTS of favorable calls in their respective Conference Finals.
Yea that’s right….I didn’t forget about the Tim Donaghy’s of the NBA just yet.
-Ok, I said I wouldn’t talk about the Knicks anymore but…. My friend Derek is a huge NBA fan, and the other day I’m on the phone with him shooting the bull about off-season moves the Knicks can make. Basically free agency, trades, drafts…things of that nature.
Free agency at this point had GOT to be about the push for Lebron in 2010. Along those lines I’d like to see David Lee stick around, and I’d like to see that umpa lumpa Nate Robinson walk.
Lee is an above average garbage guy, good fit for the D’Antoni system, and perfect Lebron compliment. Lee rebounds on both ends and get his points via boards and put-backs. Therefore he doesn’t command lots of touches nor need any offense run through him. This makes him the perfect 4 to Lebron’s 3.
David Lee also fits in as a D’Antoni guy in that he gets up and down the floor and plays exactly zero defense.
Don’t laugh…it seems like a pre-requiste in D’Antoni’s system. It’s almost like he sits the guys down during the first practice and says, “I don’t care who you are. If I see you trying to play any semblance of defense…even putting your hands up on d once…just once….I’m going to fine your ass every which way….You got me? We are going to score 100 points a game, even if we have to give up 200 just to get there!”
Along the same lines, the Knicks need to get rid of ole Nate Robinson.
Yeah I know…the little bugger is entertaining, and has actually put up some fairly gaudy stats this season…but as far as winning and losing he hurts the team more than helps. First off, although he has other worldly athleticism, the dude is still just 5’8’’. He is not a great ball handler and cannot run an offense, so essentially he is a 2 guard stuck inside the body of a JV point guard. A 2 guard in fact, who shoots a low percentage and commands a high volume of your team’s shots. Not exactly the type of guy Lebron is going to be dying to play with in two years.
Also, because of his size Nate is more likely to give up 30 points then score 20 of his own. Sorry Nate, love the dunks…but you gotta go.
As far as the NBA Draft, assuming the Knicks end up picking in the mid to late lottery, there is not a chance in hell they get any of the three game-changers in this year’s draft class: Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, or Spanish sensation (and potential All-Name Team member) Ricky Rubio.
Therefore, the Knicks will be looking to draft cogs that will fit the system they play. They would also love to find something to fill these needs: up-tempo “set the table”- type of point guard, scoring and rebounding big man, complimentary two guard, someone to keep Eddy Curry away from all-you-can-eat buffets.
Ok…you got me the last one was a trick. I don’t think there is a person alive who can keep EC away from the buffets.
People will be clamoring for Steph Curry or Ty Lawson come draft day. I believe they will be there when the Knicks pick, but I think they would be better served going for a less sexy pick. A player many of you may have never heard of: Eric Maynor from VCU. A very tough kid with good size at the PG spot (6’3”). He is more of a distributor who will run the team than a scoring guard. He may get booed on draft day if he gets picked by the Knicks, but I think he projects to be a better pro than Lawson, Curry, or even Johnny Flynn from Syracuse.
Another guy I like a lot is Sam Young out of Pitt. Guy was an underrated stud in college, and comes in as a full grown man at 6’6” and 220 pounds. A good athlete who is NBA ready.
At the very least I’d like to see them not screw the pick up. After 10 years of futility I’ve set the bar awfully low.
Monday, April 13, 2009
When you get up against it with two holes to play, like Kenny Perry was yesterday, there are no timeouts, no running out the clock, no teammates to pass the ball to, and no Mariano coming in out of the bullpen to bail you out.
It’s all you. You are out on an island…totally exposed. If you pull it off you get all the credit in the world. However, if you’re choking your guts out (as Kenny clearly was), there is no where to hide. Pretty humbling stuff.
I feel for the guy, but it makes you really appreciate how great a closer Tiger Woods is. I think he is something like 12 for 12 in majors with the lead on the final day. As many things that can go wrong on a golf course on a Sunday afternoon, for him never to have been caught by another player or leak back to the field by his own hand is ungodly. People really don’t appreciate how hard that is to do. To me that is more impressive stat in all of sports.
A few other thoughts from yesterday:
-I applaud the decision by CBS to show as much Phil and Tiger as they could, even though it meant that many of the shots of the leaders were shown on tape.
Phil and Tiger flat out turn the dial. They are the two best players in the world, and they absolutely hate each other. Nothing juicier than that.
I’m not kidding when I say I was even a little disappointed when CBS would cut away from Phil and Tiger to show other players hitting shots. I would have been more interested to see Phil and Tiger walk down the fairway. Do they chit-chat? Do they acknowledge each other? Who walks ahead?
Maybe I’m going a little bit too far, but it certainly is high drama when those two get paired together in a major. I just can’t wait for the day when the two of them separate from the field and can go one-on-one on Sunday at a major. That will be for the ages.
- Did anyone notice that Phil was BOMBING it past Tiger? Some holes Phil was 20-30 yards past him. I’m sure Tiger noticed. I’m willing to bet he has the guys at Nike build him a driver that goes 400 yards by the US Open….or he starts hanging out with Arod’s cousin….
- Was Steve Williams commando underneath the white jumpsuit? This is a serious question folks.
The Masters is the only tournament all year where they require the caddies to wear the white jumpsuits. I can imagine they could get a little toasty underneath there, but I’m not sure I’d pull a Stevy.
Steve Williams, who is Tiger Wood’s caddy, was rocking the jumpsuit zipped almost all the way down with no undershirt, exposing an Austin Powers/ Tom Selleck Magnum P.I. level chest hair situation. I’m speculating that he may have been going full on commando. At the very least, I wouldn’t put it past him.
Not the only wardrobe malfunction in his paring however….
- Dear Phil Mickelson,
I have read that you have been trying to back in shape the last few years in order to extend your career. I applaud your efforts in this endeavor. However, I cannot say the same about your choice of shirt size. If you’ll indulge me…
A few years ago you seem to have been stricken with a disease a number of middle-aged men seem to contract. For purposes of this exercise lets call this disease: “Man-boob-it is”. You were undoubtedly a little uncomfortable with it….we at home were MORE than a little uncomfortable watching it.
Last two years, you seem to have lost a few pounds….potentially reducing effects of “Man-boob-it is”, yet you then decided you were in such good shape you would start wearing infant-sized shirts.
Bottom line: we can see your nipples. And high definition TV is not doing you any favors either.
The way I see it you have two options: 1) Get yourself some bigger shirts or 2) Now, I’m not sure exactly what they are called in some circles, but I think I’ve heard them referred to before as….pasties?
Either way I think you need to look into this. If not I don’t think I’ll be able to watch golf on television with my grandma anymore when you’re on. The whole day yesterday we had to lie to the poor woman and tell her it was just very cold in Georgia.
Fond wishes and kind regards,
Good Taste and Common Decency
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Interested in your thoughts...
P.S. (***Name of Erin’s bf censored***) and I watched Marley & Me. AND he cried ;)
-New York, NY
DG: First off I’m pretty sure the Duke Athlete your thinking of is Reggie Love and not Chris Duhon. Reggie Love played mediocre power forward for Coach K and was an -above average wide receiver on the Duke football team from 2001-2005. By the way, this is the same Reggie Love who is now part of President Obama’s White House Staff. Think of him as the Secretary of Pick-up Basketball.
As far as the rest of your question, it was pretty complete, so I’d like to tackle it in parts:
1) I agree that if I was going to build a list of the greatest athletes of all-time, it would be peppered with multi-sport athletes. This is probably a full article for another time, but just off of the top of my head I think I’d have to include names like Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Jim Thorpe, Jim Brown, and Dave Winfield.
You might be thinking…Dave Winfield…Mr. May? Yes, Dave Winfield. He was drafted by 4 professional teams in three sports coming out of the University of Minnesota. In fact, he was taken in the 17th round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings after not even having played football at all for the Golden Gophers!
Another name that doesn’t ever come up often in Greatest Athlete conversations….Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt the Stilt was a freak of nature on the basketball court, but few people talk about the fact that he was a near Olympic Level Track athlete. At Kansas University, he was a three-time Big Eight high jump champ, who in competition once threw a shot-put 56 feet and recorded 100M dash time of 10.9 seconds…..at 7’1” and 250 pounds!
In my opinion, these names are also-rans to Jackie Robinson for Greatest Athlete of all-time. We all know about Robinson’s Hall of Fame baseball career and the overall social impact he had on professional sports, but did you know he lettered it three other sports at UCLA.
He was the best collegiate baseball player in the country, an All-Pac-10 level track athlete, played running back on the football team, and twice led the Pac-10 in scoring as part of UCLA’s basketball team. Oh and by the way, in 1936 Jackie Robinson won the Pacific Coast Junior Singles Championship as a tennis player.
2) I believe the most athletic individuals in all of sports play the CORNERBACK position on a football team.
If the requirements for playing CB were listed on a job posting it might look something like this:
Job Title: Cornerback
Description: Covering elite level Wide Receivers
Special Skills Required: Your job is to line-up one-on-one against a guy that has sprinter level speed. You have to cover him over an expansive field that measures 100 yards long and 50 yards wide. He’ll be running forward to a spot on the field that he knows. You’ll largely be running backwards and have no idea where is going. If you do get beat and your man gets open, you’ll be required to either a) out jump and swat the ball away from his grasp b) wrestle him to the ground after he catches it. I may have failed to mention that this man you’ll be required to out jump and/or tackle will on average be three inches taller and 20-30 pounds heavier than yourself. Oh and by the way, if you so much as breathe on your man while the ball is in the air you will find yourself buried in yellow flags up to your eyeballs.
3) You’re boyfriend did what? Ok….I haven’t seen Marley and Me (and don’t plan on it in this lifetime), but can’t imagine crying over this film gets your boyfriend any macho points (maybe he gets “macho” points in the Tom Cruise definition of the word)
In fact let me go a step further: I’m taking it upon myself to temporarily suspend his “man” card. If it can be confirmed he did in fact cry at a bad Jennifer Aniston flick, then I believe that would be grounds for permanent revocation.
There is a list of acceptable “man” cry moments in movies. But the list is short and very specific:
1) Rudy (when Sean Astin runs onto the field with people chanting “Rudy”)
2) Brian's Song (when Billy Dee William’s gives the I love Brian Piccolo speech)
3) Field of Dreams (when Costner says "Hey dad, do you want to have a catch?"
4) Rocky V (at any point between the opening sequence to the end credits…as if there is anyone who has ever watched it through that far)
5) *the most recent Indiana Jones movie…..the film that shall not be named (when the alien spaceship emerges from the earth and flies home….because it’s so bad it broke my heart.)
I think I might have cried just thinking of it.
Erin, I hope this has been helpful.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Commissioner of Boxing
I love boxing. If you are reading this, there is almost no doubt you love boxing as well. However, despite how we might all feel about the sport, I think we can agree it is not without some significant flaws. Granted no game is perfect, but I think boxing might have a few more black eyes (no pun intended) than most. It’s about time someone got around to cleaning it up.
Which is why…today…I am officially announcing my candidacy for Universal Commissioner of Boxing!
I know what you’re thinking. It IS a big step running for such a lofty post…ESPECIALLY one that is completely imaginary and is not likely to exist now or ever. But hear me out, I’m running on a platform with a couple of key points you might agree with me on:
1) One belt for each weight division. Basically the problem here is that there are too many boxing associations and organizations. Just off of the top of my head: WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, IBO, and IBA (Don’t even ask me what they all stand for). Each organization crowns its own champs, so at the end of the day you get multiple belt holders in each division. You have dilution of title, the term “champ”, and no universally recognized #1 fighter per weight.
So my first order of business, upon becoming the Universal Commissioner of Boxing, will be to dissolve all boxing organizations save my own. There will be one, and only one, recognized champion in each weight division.
A byproduct of this decree will be that each title bout will carry more weight because it truly will be for supremacy in that weight division. Hopefully, that will draw more interest to title fights.
2) A shot clock for Larry Merchant. I fully appreciate the man’s body of work and what he has done for boxing….but man does it take this guy forever to get a thought out! He had his day, but at this point he’s clearly lost his fastball.
From the time he starts speaking I could: take a shower, make a sandwich, start my laundry, and come back in time for sentence number two. He is like Al Leiter between pitches times ten.
Here is my proposal: 10 second shot clock for Larry. From the time he starts his thought he gets ten seconds to finish. If you get to the ten second mark and hasn’t completed his take an alarm goes off and it’s just like basketball: change of possession. The “ball” goes to Lennox Lewis, Lampley, or Max Kellerman to finish Larry’s starting thought. Kind of a real life version of finish that lyric. Could be interesting.
I already know Lennox’s answer to everything: “He’s winning the fight with his jab!”
3) Improved scoring system. For some reason boxing has gotten a bad rap for being “fixed” in some circles. I’m not saying every fight in the history of sport has been completely on the “up and up”, but I think no more or less than any other sport. I’d bet my life Ricky Hatton fighting in Manchester wouldn’t get near as many homer call as Duke gets playing at Cameron Indoor or the Red Sox get in Boston.
I think one of the main culprits, in boxing getting such a bum rap, is the balky scoring system. Its inefficiencies and lack of transparency (even to the fighters themselves) can lead to some questionable decisions in certain cases. This casts an unneeded shadow over boxing. I would replace the current 10-9 per round blind scoring system with a more proficient, transparent one.
My scoring system would be public. After every round the judge’s scores would be displayed to the fighters, to those in attendance, and those watching at home. The scores will be kept up on a scoreboard much like the runs are up per inning at a baseball game. No more secretly and suspensefully revealing the judge’s scores after the fight. The main advantage of this public scoring is that the fighters will know exactly where they stand after each round. It will be like other sports where the contestants know the score as they go.
Secondly, I would allow for a round to be scored a 9-9 tie. You need to be able to call a round even. Some rounds are truly too close to call. There are so many times I’ve been watching a fight and thought to myself “That round was so close…how the hell would you score that?” Results are often more skewed over the course of 10 or 12 rounds because a judge, who has to pick a winner each round, will be more inclined to favor a certain style in every close round. I believe tie rounds will lead to more efficient scoring in fights that go the distance.
A counterargument might be that having even rounds will lead to more draws. To that I would say 1) there is just as likely a probability of a draw in the current format given the duration of most fights is an even number of rounds 2) Draws do not wear black hats. Usually, they are exciting fights. I think that if a fight is truly contested evenly, then it is more than fitting to end in a draw.
4) Erin Andrews. If I’m elected Universal Commissioner of Boxing, I promise to name America’s Favorite Sideline reporter as my second in command. Should be worth a few extra votes huh?
If you like what you’ve read here…. in lieu of write in votes, check me out daily on my blog: http://viewfromthecouch-dg.blogspot.com/
Sunday, March 29, 2009
You might be saying “I read!”….well I’m talking about “Books, Jerry. Books…”
With that being said, let me smoothly transition into some bulleted thoughts….many of which have to do with television. Yeah, I’m a hypocrite:
- Ok so my NCAA brackets are basically busted right now. My team Pittsburgh went down the other night in one of the best games I’ve seen in a long time. I suppose because of that I have to eat a little crow, which is fair, but maybe that should be tempered somewhat by what I had written six weeks ago about Villanova. Back on February 12, I wrote:
“-Villanova gets the best guard play in the country and no one is talking about them. They handled another guard heavy team the other night then they beat up on Marquette. If Nova gets favorable match-ups and just enough out of Dante Cunningham inside they will make a deep postseason run. I like them A LOT in March. Remember I said that.”
So at least I had that insight. Ok…now you can rip on my brackets.
-I was listening to The Howard Stern Show on Sirius Radio Channel 100 last week, and Howard got into as discussion with resident in studio comic Artie Lange about the Sopranos finale from a few months back.
Now I was never a critic of the ending to the series. You know the last scene where Tony Soprano is sitting down with his family, with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” playing in the background. Right when Steve Perry gets to the third “…don’t stop.” The scene goes black. A lot of people didn’t like the ending, but I understood it. You can’t kill Tony off, because for one, it’s artistically too easy to just off him. Also, for financial reasons, you don’t want to kill the main character because you lose the opportunity to do a movie down the line. Think Sex and the City Movie.
I had some thoughts originally what the last scene was supposed to represent, and by combining that with some of Howard’s insight I think I figured it out…and it’s brilliant.
The scene is the audiences glimpse into the paranoia that Tony Soprano has chosen. He has chosen this “mob life”, this life of crime and enemies, where he is constantly looking over his shoulder for the next guy that might be looking to whack him. The whole final season is tumultuous, with friction with the New York faction, but by the time of the final scene all has been seemingly resolved. Phil Leotardo has been killed and order has been restored.
\When Tony sits down at a restaurant to have a meal with his family he seemingly has no reason
to look over his shoulder. But we the audience do. His paranoia, has been transferred to us. We get a glimpse into Tony’s world, and we believe every restaurant patron is about to take a shot at him. We think the person coming in the door is not Meadow Soprano, but a hired hitman.
Why do we think this? We adopt Tony’s paranoia, because we assume since it’s the final episode, that there is a good chance he will be killed before the end. That is brilliant writing, because it’s an anticipation of the audience’s perceived state of mind. It also plays to one of the underlying themes of the entire series: the psychological effects brought on by this chosen life of crime (he did see a shrink every episode).
Brilliant writing, terrific ending….and I just now fully understand and appreciate it.
- While I’m on the subject of satellite radio, I‘d like to take the opportunity to say that I’m a big fan. It’s great for the car. When I’m driving I like to listen to Howard or sports talk radio, and in this regard satellite radio is way better than regular terrestrial radio. The sound quality difference between satellite radio and regular radio ends up being equivalent to the difference between high definition television versus the regular TV signal. It is way clearer with way crisper sound.
You also get about 180 extra channels to select from on satellite radio. You are not stuck with talk show hosts of the local affiliate. So if you live in New York you don’t have to be resigned to listening to Yankee YES man (pun) Michael Kay or “Egoman” Mike Francesa during the afternoon drive. Sirius also has channels that you can listen to television shows on the radio. A few times I’ve been able to listen to PTI while I’ve been driving.
Right now the per month cost of satellite radio is a little high for some people on the fringe, but before long I think the price will come down. When that happens I implore you all to try it. I bet once you have it you won’t want to go back to terrestrial radio.
Also, I’m pretty sure Sirius-XM inked a deal with Apple to include an application within the Iphone for satellite radio. Any of you that have Iphones should be on the lookout for this feature.
By the way, I’m not just up here flapping my gums. I put my money where my mouth is. Bought 4000 shares of SIRI last week.
-No one beats the drum more for Friday Night Lights than I do, and I’m happy to announce that the best show on network television has been picked up for two more season by NBC. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you have never seen this show you really ought to try it. It’s a show centered around a small town high school football team that has something for everyone. I have known dozens of girls who hate football who have given this show a go, and become hooked.
This season the writing has been the best since the end of Season 1, with appropriate send offs to two of the shows strongest characters (Jason Street the paraplegic former QB and “Smash” Williams), and a full evolution of bad-boy Tim Riggins. Also this season, you have had some added screen time for Minka Kelly (Derek Jeter’s girl), Adrianne Palicki, and my favorite, the coach’s daughter…Aimee Teegarden, which I haven’t exactly been complaining about.
If you haven’t ever watched this show, you need to do so now. I would not steer you wrong.
-How good is Planet Earth? I really enjoy this high-def nature show. I might have to go out and get the DVD set. I missed the first half of the Louisville-Michigan State game Sunday afternoon because I got so immersed in one of these installments about the Arctic Penguins.
I picked penguins over college basketball.
-View from the Couch favorite girls right now: Katy Perry, Blake Lively, Emily Blunt, Carrie Underwood, and Julianne Hough (from Dancing with the Stars). If asked to rank them:
1) Blake Lively
2) Katy Perry
3) Julianne Hough
4) Emily Blunt
5) Carrie Underwood
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
-Lavelle (age 24)
DG: First thought: Thank god you cannot afford a “decent” place. You’re 24 years old in New York City…the average 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment is about… I dunno….800K! If you translate New York City real estate rates to more reasonable suburban terms, 800K gets you about 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, 1.5 to 2 acres, and a mini-van.
Also, if you put it in terms of Alaska cost of living, 800K would allow you to never work, play on snow-mobiles, marry a beauty queen, and live like a king. Don’t believe me? Just look at Todd Palin.
It’s ok . McCain choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate was still a good choice. I mean his only viable options boiled down to her and O.J . remember? Huh….wait you mean that’s only what I tell myself to make the night terrors go away? Oh good god.
By the way, the other day I saw a Palin 2012 sticker and I blacked out for about a half hour.
Back to the point, Lavelle, you’re probably thinking in terms of 2002…. where if you drove slow enough past a loan office with an open window, there was a good chance you’d be hit in the face with an approved mortgage. Back then people you’re age were getting outrageous mortgages approved and were getting 800K sort of places. This happened for maybe a ten year period (think mid-Clinton administration to mid to late Bush era), and created a whole half generation of people who were getting dream houses as starter homes at a very young age. But don’t confuse things; they, like you now, really could not afford the places they purchased. A large portion of those folks who bought those homes were among the first to default on their mortgages when the housing market leveled off and interest rates rose (the lion’s share of those wrongly approved mortgages were of the adjustable-interest rate variety). If you think of the housing industry trouble as a giant balloon, than these young people with large homes were basically a long rusty nail. POP!
It’s a good sign that you’re 24 and interested in a real estate investment. I also like thatr you’re level-headed enough to realize you can’t afford it. Maybe we have turned a corner. If there were more around like you 10 years ago maybe this economy would not have gone in the crapper.
What’s a better day to “take off”: Friday or Monday?
-Nassau County, NY
DG: Definitely Monday. Although I do appreciate the two schools of thought at play. On the one hand, if you play hooky on a Friday, it allows you to go out Thursday and then move seamlessly into “weekend mode”. However, not showing or calling in “sick” on a Friday is a serious red flag. Your boss is sure to take notice. Could very well hurt your long-term employment potential.
I much prefer taking a Monday. In terms of total hours of work missed (my usual priority), this is the preferred route to take. Most Fridays end up being the shortest work day of the week in terms of hours. It is acceptable to both come in later AND leave earlier than usual on a Friday.
In addition, if you come in a little hung-over on a Friday morning after a boozy Thursday night? No problem Thursday is the new Friday. You’re co-workers will love the stories about your late night escapades. You’ll be the mayor for a day and an office-hero!
You come in hung-over on a couple of Tuesdays? People will whisper about your drinking problem, and you might have to pencil yourself in for a “meeting” with human resources.
Another good reason to take a Monday off? You won’t have to answer the “so…how was your weekend?”, “who’s got a case of the Monday’s”-esque questions from everyone and their mother all day long on Monday.
Your last post was interesting. What are your thoughts on "revamping" the economy?
-New York, NY
DG: Glad you enjoyed the post from the other day. Your question is a pretty complex one. It’s going to take a little while for the economy to fully rebound (I’m thinking fourth quarter this year, or first quarter next year) and there are a number of different buttons that government and regulators will have to push along the way to help us get us there.
I believe they MAY have pushed the correct one last week and yesterday when Timothy Geitner released the “Toxic Asset Bailout Plan” to buy up $1 Trillion (yes, I didn’t know that was a real number either) worth of toxic assets. These assets refer mainly to mortgage-backed securities that remain on bank balance sheets.
The reason I say this plan MAY work is that it will be successful if it does two things: 1) adds liquidity to the lending markets and 2) instill general market confidence.
Market liquidity is a big problem right now. People and institutions with cash are very wary about lending it out….especially cash strapped banks. This plan will essentially dump cash into the economy (by way of the banks), creating liquidity in the lending markets, and make borrowing between people and institutions more feasible. Think of cash as a little WD-40 on a creaky wheel. Makes it run smoother. This is a very good thing. Having liquid lending markets with “buyers” and “sellers” being able to match up essentially drives a capitalist system.
It is very important that the government show the general consumer public that they are making efforts to turn this poor economy around, even if the plan is largely a placebo. I don’t know if this “Toxic Asset Plan” will be a catalyst in turning the market around, but it’s something. It at least is an attempt to show people that the government is trying something.
There is some precedent here. Look at your history books. Many of FDR’s New Deal policies were also little more than a placebo. Hell, by and large, most of his public works sponsored programs were little more than having ten guys dig a whole and then having ten different guys fill it back in. But it worked. People believed in that and in him because they wanted to have hope.
People now are maybe a little les naïve then back in 1932, so I think public “hole-digging” exhibitions are out of the question, but people still want to have hope. They still want to believe that the government is going to do something to turn this mess around. The irony (or beauty…depending on how you look at it) is the belief that the market will get better is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more people believe the economy is on the upswing, the more likely it actually will begin to be.
I’m not exactly on the Obama/Geitner bandwagon with this thing just ye, but I hope it does help.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
When you get older you understand that just because someone is a Congressman or Senator doesn’t mean they have superhuman brainpower and abilities, but in the back of your mind you still believe they are special. I mean there are only a select few that make it to that level….and through a general election process they have been publicly vetted to a certain extent. I have got to say, over the past few months, and more specifically in the last 5 or 6 days, I’ve become far less certain that this country is being run by the very best people. In fact, there seems to be an extremely large percentage of these people that could be categorized in either or both of these two categories: crooks and idiots.
Unless you have been under a rock the past week you’ve seen, heard, or read something about the outrageous “bonuses” that were granted to people within the financial service division at AIG. This is the same AIG that received $170 Billion….I repeat $170 BILLION in taxpayer bailout money in the fourth quarter in 2008 and is currently about 80% government owned/controlled.
Unbelievably still, even with the help of that gargantuan sum, AIG still posted fourth quarter losses of $61.7 billion loss for that same quarter. Last week, it was disclosed that AIG had paid “bonuses” to employees within their financial services division equaling about $450 million in total, and “bonuses” firm-wide equaling $1.2 billion. These bonuses were paid with U.S. taxpayer money. Think of AIG as a “wash account” for over $1 Billion in government/taxpayer money.
After this news broke last week, the requisite finger pointing began. What parties were to blame? The executives at AIG?….Absolutely. Completely irresponsible in this socio-economic climate to think it’s ok to approve and grant people those sums of money in bonuses. Especially when you were ground zero for our current economic crisis and you are funding these bonuses with handout money.
The government also to blame? Yes, even more so. How can you hand out hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money, with no stipulations on how it is to be spent? Total irresponsibly from the people whose job it is to be responsible.
The people that received the money to blame? Absolutely not. I blame the people who approved and doled out the bonuses, but you can hardly blame the people who simply received them. You may have just lost your pension, savings, retirement in the market and someone hands you a million dollars…and you’re supposed to turn around and give it back? No way.
I can understand the government’s frustration and disapproval with the AIG bonus situation. Quite frankly, they should have been embarrassed they did not have the foresight to stipulate where the government bailout money should be directed. I cannot, however understand the reasoning behind their reaction: quickly passing a law to tax any and all future bonuses at firms that received government funds at 90% !
The legislation that passed last Thursday calls for: “a 90% tax on bonuses awarded by corporations receiving more than $5 billion in Treasury aid from the TARP”. This is a “knee-jerk” response to an adverse situation and is both reprehensible and irresponsible on a few different fronts.
First off, I’m not even sure this bit of legislation is constitutional. I had to scour my memory banks from 7th grade Social Studies (something clearly the lawmakers did not do), but this bill seems to violate ex post facto. It creates legislation that changes the legal consequence of facts that existed prior to the enactment of the law. Even more Lehman’s terms: changing the rules as the game is being played. By the way, this piece of legislation that seems to be completely unconstitutional was approved by a vote of: 328 to 93 in the House.
In addition, imposing a government “salary cap” on TARP firms surely will cripple them going forward, as it will lead to a mass exodus of top-level talent. It makes sense on an individual level. Why work for one of a handful of these fully government-regulated TARP firms, and have 9 out of every 10 dollars you earn “confiscated” by Uncle Sam, when you can go elsewhere and get your full market value. If these firms lose their best workers and earners how are they ever suppose to bounce back? They won’t any time soon. And the longer it takes the Goldman Sachs and Bank of America’s of the world to get back on their feet, the longer the economy will take to recover. The greatest legacy of this past legislation might be that it ensures the further retardation of our economy.
You might be wondering how such an abominable piece of legalization can get through Congress. I had one thought. Although we tend to some up laws and pieces of legislation into a few lines, the actual documents are usually hundreds or thousands of pages long. Consider the timeline. The AIG bonus’s become public early last week….AIG CEO Edward Liddy testified before Congress on Wednesday March 18th…..and by Thursday the 19th, the bill had already been voted through the House.
Doesn’t that seem a little hasty? At what point between Liddy testifying on Wednesday and the Thursday afternoon vote, did the members of the House have a chance to read and review the thousand page law they were enacting? Is the reason the Congress of this country likely voted through a seemingly unconstitutional law because: they didn’t even really know what they were voting on? Important voting by the largely uninformed. Terrific.
Doling out taxpayer dollars in the billions without regulating what it could and couldn’t not be used for… passing hasty legislation after the fact…government endorsed “witch hunts” aimed at individuals who received money in order to cover up the irresponsible lack on initial controls by the federal government….does this really sound like the actions of our best and brightest? Shame on them.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
If you’re reading this Thursday morning you can still change your picks…
Like I promised earlier in the week, I’ve gone ahead and published my NCAA Tournament picks. Since this is so public, if I do poorly…. I fully expect….nay INVITE each and everyone one of you to criticize me as ruthlessly as you can. It’s only fair. HOWEVA’!! (picture Screamin’ Steven A. Smith saying it)…if you happen to use my picks in your own office pools…and happen to win some money….I invite….nay FULLY EXPECT you to send me a 25% of your winnings. “Somethin’ you know, for the effort.”
Hey, it’s only fair.
Some of my picks explained:
- I’ve gone ahead and picked some pretty significant upsets in the first round. However I STAYED AWAY from one that a lot of people seem to like: Arizona (12) over Utah (5)
This was an enticing pick, because Arizona has such a talented roster (they have two players, in Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, who have a good chance to be lottery picks in this upcoming NBA Draft). However I just could not pull the trigger. I had one question: With such a deep and talented roster, why were they not able to pick up any good road wins? Take a look. There best road win is at…. Oregon State? They lost to every other decent team they played on the road. Since this game is being played in Miami, and not Tucson, I’m taking the Utes.
- The 5-12 upset I do like is Western Kentucky (12) over Illinois (5). I have not been impressed by Illinois at all this year. They have struggled offensively at times and played in a weak Big Ten Conference. In addition, they are without their point guard Chester Frazier. Western Kentucky is a solid team with tourney experience. I like this upset.
- Ok…I didn’t take my own earlier advice and got caught up in the hype: Mississippi State (13) over Washington (4). I might regret that one.
- I made some of my bolder picks in the Midwest region. USC is a boom or bust team. Picking them to win two games is a big risk. Possibly make or break. They underachieved all year but finally put it together in the Pac-10 tournament. Another reason why I like them: I have them playing a VERY overrated Michigan State team in the second round. I was chomping at the bit for a good opportunity to pick against the Spartans.
-I really like West Virginia. They seem to always surprise and win a few games in March. They are good athletic team that plays team defense and consistently makes shots. I was also encouraged by the deep run they made in the Big East Tournament a week ago.
-I didn’t….but someone please have the balls to pick Texas to beat those marshmallow-soft Duke Blue Devils in round 2! Please.
- Like I said in my Mid-Season report, Ty Lawson was and is the most important player in the entire country. He gets Carolina points in transition, protects the ball, and gets his teammates easy buckets. With him 100% healthy, UNC would be my pick to win the whole thing. As it stands now however, they are not sure if he will play in either of the first two rounds, and certainly when he returns he will not be 100% at any point. In the recent ACC Tournament, UNC struggled to beat Virginia Tech and then lost to Florida State without Lawson in the lineup.
Unless he makes a miraculous recovery, they will have a hard time getting to the Final Four, because they could potentially play a team like Oklahoma, Syracuse, or Arizona State in the round of eight. By the way, don’t sleep on the Sooners. They were a dominant team early this year before Blake Griffin got hurt, and if he’s back to full strength he is the best player in the whole field.
-If not the Tar Heels than who?
From about mid-season on I have really liked the Pittsburgh Panthers. I had the opportunity to watch quite a few of their games this year, and was struck by how complete a team they were. Good point guard in Levance Fields, solid big man in Blair, excellent role players, and a top notch all-around player in Sam Young. In fact, if Pitt ends up winning the whole thing I’m going to go ahead and say the unheralded Young will be the MOP of the Final Four. He’s that good and I think his team is that solid. I’m not worried about a few losses along the way (mid-season to Providence and a 14 point loss to WVU in the Big East a week ago).
The one thing that does scare me about Pitt: recent struggles they have had in the NCAA’s. They haven’t seemed to be able to get over the Sweet Sixteen hump. However, until last year, you could have said the same thing about Kansas under Coach Bill Self. All they did? Break through and win a National Championship.
I’m hoping (and so is my wallet) that I’m right about Pitt being this year’s Kansas. Oh…and if I win….all mine. Not sharing.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Kudos to the Selection Committee. I was in transit to NYC during the 6 o’ clock selection show, and I fully expected to turn on ESPN when I got to my apartment and see Dicky V ranting and raving about what team got snubbed from the Big Dance, “ARE YOU SERIOUS BABY WITH A CAPITAL S!!!! DIPSY DOO HOSE-A-ROOO!!!”
To my surprise, however, the NCAA Tournament Selection by and large got it right. In fact in all the years I’ve been following college basketball this may be the best job of selecting and seeding teams that I’ve seen. My one gripe is about too many Big Ten teams represented in the field of 64, but that’s also my gripe every year (more below).
During an interview with ESPN, The President of the Selection Committee said that Saint Mary’s was the first team left out. Therefore, we can assume the final debate same down to: Arizona (at a 12 seed the highest seeded at-large team in the field of 64) vs. Saint Mary’s. I completely agree with choosing Arizona over Saint Mary’s. Although, Saint Mary’s has a gaudier win-loss record and presumably a higher RPI (computer formula ranking), I’ve always felt that it’s not a matter of computer rankings or number of wins that should determine who makes the NCAA’s but rather: who have you beaten? What good wins do you have?
Arizona holds quality wins this year over: Kansas, Gonzaga, San Diego State, USC and UCLA. While Saint Mary’s best win is over an NIT bound Providence squad. Moreover, the best team they played the entire year (Gonzaga) beat them twice.
In making your selections be wary of the BIG TEN. Every year the Big Ten (which by the way is a ridiculous name for a conference with 11 schools….seriously) gets a six or seven teams in the “Big Dance” and then by the second weekend there is maybe one left. Like clockwork they got 7 teams there again this year.
I have many theories as to why the Big Ten has always gotten so many teams in the NCAA tourney and then had so many bow out early. In fact, many of these are the same reasons why the Big Ten has such a poor college football bowl record as well.
These reasons include but are not exclusive to: inferior athletes, television exposure which inflates the value of teams leading to higher than warranted rankings (looking squarely at you Michigan State), huge alumni bases that travel well making them financially attractive postseason selections, a slow-down brand of half court basketball which may work in conference play but does not lend itself to the frantic full court type games which occur in March.
Another problem is that they get teams into the tourney based on performance in the Big Ten regular season….but how much value should we assess to that?
Take Wisconsin as an example. They played three tournament teams in their non-conference schedule…and lost all three: Marquette, to UConn on a neutral court by 20, and to Texas at home. Therefore, the reason they made the field of 64 was because of their “strong” 10-8 Big Ten record.
But what does a 10-8 record in the Big Ten mean? Is that even really any good? If you have a slightly winning record in a conference that perennially disappoints in the post-season, has lost EVERY…I repeat EVERY ACC/Big Ten Challenge contested (there have been 10), and whose best team (Michigan State) lost in their backyard in Detroit earlier this season to a shorthanded UNC team by 35 points….does that even make you a good team? Probably not.
For these reasons I’m going to pick against the Big Ten again this year.
Be wary of so called “Hot Teams”. Every year there are teams that come into the NCAA tourney on a roll. They’ve won a number of games in a row and/or made deep runs in their conference tournaments. These teams usually become very popular, chic picks to win a bunch of games in some people’s brackets.
However, in many instances these teams disappoint with early exits. An example that comes to mind is the streaky Syracuse team that, in 2006, won 4 games to claim the Big East Tournament Title and then were upset in the first round by a more consistent Texas A&M team.
Mississippi State comes in hot this year, having won the SEC title today, and will be a popular pick to upset Washington in the first round. Hint: I wouldn’t be so quick to take that upset.
Since some teams have to wait five, six, or seven days from the end of their respective conference tournaments to play their first round NCAA Tournament games. With that type of lay off match-ups become more important than momentum.
Some other “hot” teams to be careful of: USC, Purdue, Oklahoma State, and Maryland
Good luck with your brackets. I’ll release mine soon.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
New York, NY
DG: You cannot believe how disappointed I am that Owens signed with the Bills over the weekend. I had a whole “Where will Owens land?” article locked and loaded. It was going to be “rip city” folks. What a shame.
I guess the silver lining is the fact that since he is going to start the season in Buffalo, I can put my article on ice for a little while, and use it about this time next year. You can read into that: I don’t see this ending well.
Don’t get me wrong I think the Bills made a shrewd business decision by signing the mercurial receiver, because he will help bring attention and dollars to upstate NY….but I don’t think the Bills realize what they getting into.
They are in for one tumultuous season. I’m not sure it’s exactly tremendous for locker room chemistry when you bring in a guy who owns the line: “I love me some me”. I’m not kidding…look it up he owns the rights to it! I owe him a dime just for using it in this blog.
I don’t think Owens knows what he’s getting into either. Can’t you just imagine this exchange between TO and his agent Drew Rosenhaus at some point next season:
TO: “Drew, the craziest thing just happened….its November and there is a foot of snow on the ground!”
Rosenhaus: “Wow T.O that almost never happens!… (then under his breath)….most of the time it starts snowing in October.”
TO: “These people up here are crazy too. They be drinking this stuff called “pop”....I never even heard of it.
I got that 4 mil up front so…you gotta get my ass out of here…what you need me to do? I got tons of tricks up my sleeve: scream at the coaches, drop every other pass thrown my way, publicly question Trent Edwards sexuality, teary public man-cry breakdown moment…its all gold….I got all that.”
Rosenhaus: “One step ahead of you ’81. Got you an out. Already got Al Davis on line 1. He wants you baaaaaadddd! But there is a catch. He’s offering a long term deal and big money…..but he also thinks its 1975 and he wants to run it by Kenny Stabler first. We’ll work through it. TO, let me patch my inner monologue through on line 2. He wants to say something.”
Drew Rosenhaus’s inner monologue: “I smell me some money money money money money money money money money money money!”
I’m going to go ahead and set the over/under for number of TO starts in Buffalo at 10. I’ll take the under. Anyone want the other side?
Q: The female CNBC anchors are the only thing getting me through this economy. Who are your favorites?
New York, NY
DG: I’ve gotten sent this question at least twice before, and had this conversation privately on numerous occasions. This is a pretty typical trading floor conversation during a low volume day. To that end I’ve given this some thought, and I feel pretty good about my rankings. This is my top 5:
5) Maria Bartiromo – How could the original “Money Honey” not make the top 5? Once a perennial number one contender, she has seemed flustered by the recent economic crisis. Every time the market drops a few hundred points her voice cracks, she looks bewildered, disheveled, and somewhat panic-ridden. I could have sworn I saw some sweat beads forming last week. If there was a sports equivalent to Maria right now, it would have to be Michael Jordan in comeback #2 with the Washington Wizards. At times showing flashes of former brilliance, but when the big lights are on, is exposed to be a little over the hill, a little out of shape, and a little past their prime.
4) Rebecca Jarvis – a poor man’s Erin Burnett
3) Erin Burnett - a rich man’s Rebecca Jarvis. Speaking of rich…sounds like you need to be a VERY rich man to “court” Ms. Burnett. Private yoga instructor to her apartment? Fly her parents to Australia? Can she really be serious? And she has the presence of mind to make sure to specify “business class” tickets? Jeez…this is the worst over-valuation of someone’s own worth since…wait I already used the Jordan analogy didn’t i?…damn. Ok, how about worst over-valuation since Costanza demanded “the Ted Danson plane!”.
2) Michelle Caruso-Cabrera – Do I detect a little bit of a Mr. Robinson quality to her? Also, and maybe it’s just me, but sometimes she appears just about ready to wink at the camera. Maybe? No? Ok well it’s my list and I think she’s trying to wink at me. Boy, I need to pay attention more at work.
1) Trish Regan - kind of a cute, Pam Beesly-esque, girl next door cute quality her. Plus, I catch her on the Today Show quite a bit, so she has the advantage of being on the screen BEFORE the market opens sometimes- and hence BEFORE I lose all my money everyday. Paints her in a more positive light.
Q: DG, can you do me a huge favor…..whatever you do….in 2009 DO NOT let me dance the cachucha on “Dancing with the Stars?”
-Lawrence Taylor (circa 1987)
DG: Look I had a wonderful childhood. I had the privilege of being a kid the late 1980’s and early 1990’s (and some would argue that late 20th century and early 21st century). Golden age to grow up.
If you think of my childhood as a grand Parthenon-like architectural monument, then two of the main pillars holding up the entire structure up would be: Indiana Jones and Lawrence Taylor. Very important figures to me growing up. Over the course of the past six months however, major cannon balls to these pillars have necessitated a serious reevaluation on my part.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the first movie I ever saw at the theatre. It’s the reason I love movies. It’s still in my top 5 all-time. I was “baby playing in water” level excited to go see the most recent Indian Jones flick. However, this installment was so HORRIBLE I will not now, nor will I ever refer to it by name.
It was so bad it almost serves to discredit the other three previous films, as well as Harrison Ford as an actor, and George Lucas and Steven Spielberg as filmmakers. You don’t believe in karma? Spielberg makes “the movie that shall not be named” and then loses a hundred million bucks with Bernie Madoff. Fair cosmic retribution if you ask me.
I kid you not when I say that seeing the last Indy movie was one of the most disappointing moments of my entire life (I’m embarrassed but it’s true). I thought nothing could ever again be so jarring….that is until I saw Lawrence Taylor the other night.
LT ......the biggest, fastest, meanest SOB you ever saw on a football field…. shattered Joe Theisman’s leg… struck fear into the heart’s of every offensive player who ever lined up against him....a true freak of nature who redefined the position of outside linebacker, greatest defensive football player of all time… wearing a shiny, puffy shirt dancing the cha-cha on Dancing with the Stars.
It was like someone took a sledge-hammer right to my solar plexus. I can’t even give the dude a mulligan either. He actually said dancing was harder than playing in the NFL! Ugggghhhh!!!!!
Indiana Jones a joke? LT… a ballroom dancer? Hell, now I suppose anything is possible. Maybe Reagan was really a communist? Maybe Michael Jackson is normal and the rest of us weird? Maybe Don Mattingly was rocking fake sideburns?
O god…call an ambulance…I think I’m going to be sick.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
- I've made it easier to post comments and questions by adding a feature that allows you to enter comments Anonymously without having to sign up. I'm hoping people will be more willing to challenge my lists and opinions....or rip me. That would be cool too.
- Also recently made the site Google searchable, hopefully this will scare up some extra interest
- Lastly, you may be seeing some advertising in the sidebars and at the bottom of the posts in the near future...hey this thing doesn't pay for itself
Today, if you’ll allow me some latitude, I’d like to go off the beaten path a bit. I would like to broach a very sensitive subject of some seriousness. It has the potential to affect roughly half of this country’s population on any given day, and warrants at least a mention. I’d also like to start the dialogue with one simple (albeit Seinfeld-like) question: What’s the deal with naked guys at the gym?
I’m surely not alone when I say that I am totally weirded out by the amount of unnecessary and excessive male nudity that many are subjected to at the gym. And I think the problem might be reaching epidemic levels.
Most guys know exactly what I’m talking about. For some reason there is a certain percentage of the male population that loves to walk around naked in the locker room. However conservative these fellas’ might be at home, they get in that closed space with other dudes and they insist on subjecting complete strangers to their man parts. Unlike most major problems facing this country, this over-exposure problem is not political, racial, or socio-economic….however it might have some “age-ist” tendencies…but I’ll get to that.
I spend as little time in these gym locker rooms situations as humanly possible. I basically try to get in, change my shoes, try my best not to bump into any naked dudes, and get out as quick as possible. Shower at home whenever possible. No conversations. No naked time. I think I’m in the majority in this regard.
Although I spend as little time as possible in the locker room, I’ve been to the gym enough times in my life to classify the minority into types. Feel free to think of these as categories….archetypes…or a low-level animal classification system:
1) “Air Dry” Guy: This guy likes to shower at the gym, and then pulls a Rod Tidwell and goes sans towel. This species is noted for the length of nudity (until he is dry enough to put clothes on) and the uncomfortable nature of his nudity (the only thing worse than being stuck next to a naked stranger is a naked stranger who is dripping wet).
2) Abracadabra Guy: Has the presence of mind cover up with a towel upon exiting the shower, and makes you think maybe it’s safe…..maybe he’ll keep it on. However, when he gets near your locker he rips off the towel in one swift move. Think of the move a magician makes over his veiled hat…only a magician usually makes something like a rabbit disappear….. and this guy makes something that looks like a rabbit appear. Yeah.
3) The Mirror Guy: This clown loves himself so much, that gets naked and looks at himself in the mirror for an extended period of time. The mirror doubles everyone’s “pleasure”. Not only do you have one naked pruning, posing, narcissist moron but you have his exact mirror image making kissy faces back at him. Oh and by the way, this is usually the same dude who rocks the three pounds of hair gel, half a bottle of cologne, and sports the year round “bronzo-perma tan”.
In some circles this character even goes my a specific proper name: Brody Jenner.
4) Scale Guy: Refuses to weigh himself with anything on. Drops down to his birthday suit to get on the scale. He believes that wearing boxer shorts on the scales would so skew the reading that it would render it useless. “Phew…good thing I’m naked, or else I might have weighed .001 pounds more than I do right now.”
5) Old Guys: O man I’m even uncomfortable writing about these dudes. Ok…so I don’t have to make everyone uncomfortable by going too much detail, I’m going to sum up my entire take with one word: Gravity.
(hey, be happy I didn’t use a phrase like “Drop Anchor”…oh wait…)
6) Casual Naked Guy: The most curious of all the naked species. Does everything in his power to make you think he has clothes on. Although exposing all of his “man nether regions” this guy otherwise acts completely normal. He combs his hair, uses his cell phone, checks the gym schedule, chats up other clothed gym members about the Yankees, cars, or what have you…to such an extent that you almost forget he is essentially buck naked in a public place . Do not be fooled by this character. There is nothing normal about trading stock tips with a guy whose manhood in blowing in the wind.
I’ve now done my civic duty. I’ll let this article serve as both a public service announcement and a survival guide. Now that you know all the species that are out there you’ll be better equipped to protect yourself.