Friday, December 29, 2006

What, me Worry? The Barry Zito Edition

So Barry Zito decided to stay on the West Coast, for much greener and longer pastures than the Mets were willing to provide. Of course, doom and gloom permeates Metsfandom today, as the only true "ace" on the free agent market is gone. Lots of fans are screaming that the Mets should have spent whatever it took to get Barry, especially since the team has the "audacity" to raise ticket prices. Well, while I am not happy that Barry is not coming to Shea, I am not going to sit here and beat the piss out of Omar. That I will leave to others.

The bottom line is this, Scott Boras wanted to set the market. He wanted Barry to sign for 7 years. The Mets were not willing to go that long. They were willing to go to $18 m a year, but for no more than 5 years. It is quite possible that had this gone on longer, his price may have fallen to that area, but a few things happened to change the market.

First, the ridiculous contracts signed by Ted Lilly, Gil Meche, Jeff Suppan and others. You know, for all the shit the Mets took a couple of years ago signing Kris Benson to his deal, where are the howls of outrage this time around. None of the above are guys who are worth the dollars they signed for. Teams are reaching, and there was a dearth of good talent available in the FA market this offseason. Seeing those guys sign for that amount, and even the 4 or 5 years in some cases, helped Boras make his case. You can also throw Jason Schmidt in here, as his production the last couple of years has faltered, yet at 32, he signed a 4 year deal. This had the added benefit for Boras of taking Schmidt out of SF, opening a spot for Zito.

Second, the backlash in SF over the lack of big moves this offseason. Sure they resigned Bonds, but they lost Schmidt, lost out on Soriano (talk about an overvalued contract, shit). They lost Moises Alou (a good signing by the Mets, thanks Omar). They needed to make a splash, and Zito offered the chance to take a local guy and bring him aboard.

Third, the Yankees. Now, it is probable that they were never going to get involved. But the mere thought that the Boss might be willing to enter the fray caused teams that might have been waiting to see if the market came down to enter the bidding now. Is it a coincidence that this deal came down mere days after word leaked that the Yankees were shopping the Big Eunich? I may be wrong, but probably. By simply being in the mix, however quietly, Boras had another mystery team to use as leverage.

So Omar refused to go over 5 years. Yes, Zito is only 28, and yes, he has proven durable. However, as you have no doubt read today, Kevin Brown and Mike Hampton were young and durable when they signed with the Dodgers and Rockies, yet they soon ran into health issues. Brown was never the same, and Hampton has been oft injured, and is due to try to comeback this season. The track record for pitchers who sign 5 year + deals is littered with injuries. The same people who complain now that ticket prices are high, would have been screaming louder if Zito had signed here and gotten hurt in 3 years, leading the Mets to have to spend more big money to replace him, and having to raise prices more.

So what's next? Should I worry about a staff that looks like this:


Maybe. But here's the thing, Glavine has his goal of 300 to go for. Duque, providing he gets his rest, is good for 12-15 wins. Maine improved last year, and is probably good for 12 wins. Perez, having a full spring learning from The Jacket, could return to close to his excellent 2004 season. And if the #5 spot does as well as last year, if even a little better, this team is still in a good place. Let's not forget Pedro coming back in July, rested and ready for the stretch, and the playoffs. Last season, many were worried about the roatation after Pedro and Glavine, and it worked out OK did it not? Yes, the pen lost Oliver and Bradford, but Filthy Sanchez will be ready for the spring, Heilman is still there, Mota will be back after 50 games (more like 60, as he will need some minor league innings to get into game shape). Padilla is healthy, and looked sharp in 2005. We also have Soler, Adkins, Burgos and Vargas to take spots, not to mention some of the younger arms in Kevin Mulvey, Joe Smith (who some think can make the leap this year, replacing Bradford).

Finally, we have Omar. We have payroll room. Would I like to see a trade for a pitcher, like a Penny (who would be #2 in the rotation, not #1, allowing him to slot better against other teams)or Beckett (think he would benefit from the NL swap? Think Boston needs a closer {read Heilman}?) before the spring, sure. Then again, Omar may wait to see how things pan out in the spring, and in the early part of the season. With the payroll room, he can make a deal for someone to solidify things if needed. This team is still going to rake, Alou is more than an adequate replacement for Uncle Cliffy. Green will exceed Nady at the plate (though Green may be worse in the field, as hard as THAT is to believe). 'Stache, if he hits 260, is a fine late spot bat. Delgado and PLD will be healthy. So long as the pitching does OK, they will win their share of game on the power of the bats. Then, Omar can swing a trade and fill in the rotation if needed.

Have a safe and Happy New Year. I'll be back Tuesday.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Weekly Observations 12/28/06

A Day late, but not short on laughs (I hope)

1. Sad news, on Christmas Day, James Brown died. His last words were "I'm gonna step back, kiss myself, goodbye aaayyyeee".

2. Brown's wife (his 4th) was prevented from looting, I mean, entering his home shortly after his death.

3. Tony Kornheiser spent prety much the entire game Monday night bashing the arm strength of Chad Pennington. Funny, I thought analysts were supposed to tell us something we DIDN"T know.

4. The Yankees, in an effort to cut payroll, are trying to trade the Big Eunich. The Padres, Diamondbacks and a team to be brought up out of nowhere by Scott Boras are in the mix to obtain him.

5. Boras is not Johnson's agent, but c'mon, how can I not write a gratuitous slam at Boras?

6. The Islanders, in what has become a happy ritual this season, beat the Rangers this week, for their third win in 3 games versus the Blueshirts this year. I have no joke here, just happy to write the the Isles are treating the Rangers like rented mules again.

7. To hear the Jets talk this week, you would think Ken Stabler was the Raiders QB. Thankfully, it is Aaron Brooks.

8. Leon Washington had to run a lot of laps in pre-season, due to dropped passes and fumbles. The practice has paid off, as he ran circles around the Dolphins on Monday night.

9. Let's keep good thoughts about Bobby Murcer, who is undergoing surgery today to remove a brain tumor.

10. Is it too soon to make Gerald Ford Jokes?

11. Jason Taylor of the Dolphins is upset that Shawne Merriman, who was suspended for 4 games for steriods, is a candidate for player of the year on Defense. Wait, isn't Taylor the guy who played with Ricky Williams? And how many Dolphins have been suspended for drugs the past few years?

12. Speaking of troubled teams, the Bengals have had 12 players arrested for various infractions. Commission Goodall has spoken to the team about the issues. Players say locker room character is more important than off the field behavior. That is, until it costs the team games. What's that, it already has?

13. Knicks beatwriters are writing lovely pieces about how well they are playing. Um, guys, I thought your job was to bash Isiah? Perhpas Dolan has perfected the Jedi Mind Trick?

14. Rumor has it Zito may sign with the San Fran Giants. Wow. Talk about living in obscurity.

15. This jsut in, another team has entered the Zito sweepstakes, the New York Giants, the feeling is that he has to be better than Eli.

16. Someone tell me when Tom Coughlin is going to discipline a player for stupid fucking penalties that cost his team games, instead of blaming everything on Eli?

17. Jeromemymine had another drop the other day. There were two personal foul calls against Bob Whitfield, including his second of the year for head butting an opponent. But Coughlin is a great coach, who has not lost his team.

18. Chad Pennington played Monday night while battling the flu. He apparently threw up at one point. Tony Kornheiser claimed that Chad couldn't even get good distance on his spew.

19. The Texas Rangers have given Barry Zito until this weekend to accept their contract offer. Satan, um, Scott Boras, has already said no, citing 15 other unnamed teams that are prepared to offer more money.

20. Until now, Boras has owned Rangers Owner Tom Hicks, having Hicks sign Chan Ho Park and A-Rod to two of the largest bust contracts in history. Apparently, Hicks is sick of getting slammed by Boras, and told him to fuck someone else over.

21. Funny, after the first Jets Dolphins game, the Fins were stating they were the better team. After the last game, silence. I have the response for the Jets, Dear Dolphins, Go perform a physically impossible act of self-impregnation. Love, the Jets.

22. I'm still trying to figure out the point of interviewing Venus and Serena Williams at the Jets game the other night. Did ESPN really think we cared out their responses to the questions about how to deal with adversity on the courts and how it could translate on the football field? Cause you know, chasing a little tennis ball is a lot like getting slammed by a 250 lb linebacker. Then again, Serena knows all about the latter.

Have a Happy and Safe New Year everyone. I'll be back next week.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

So THAT"S Why They Drafted a Kicker in the 2nd Round

So the Jets had a big game in Miami, in the Orange Bowl, in the rain. Ed of course has visions of AJ Duhe dancing in his head, and he is not happy. Then, I get the added benefit (sarcasm) of the ESPN crew, which make the Fox Baseball tandem of Buck and McArver sound good. Someone please tell me what the fuck Venus and Serena Williams are doing on my TV screen talking to Suzy Kobler during a Jets game? Then I get to hear Don Shula rip on Alabama for firing his son and for daring to want to hire Saban as the new coach. Yeah, that would be a good pick, if Alabama wants to suck for the first 5 games, then play well once the season is all but over. I had not watched any Monday Night Football this season, and I am happy that I only had to be subjected to 1 game.

The comment highlight(?) of the night was after the botched snap on the field goal try as Theissman wonders why coaches do not listen to him and use back up QB's as holders on field goal tries, since they are used to handling snaps. Hey Joe, back-ups don't handle many snaps since they don't play enough. Oh, and by the way, the Jets holder is the punter, Graham, who handles a few snaps of his own each game as the punter for pete's sake. Personally, the wet ball probably had more to do with it. As for Tony Kornheiser, please, no more. If I want to here a "common man" make jokes, I can do that myself, and just as poorly. Dennis Miller was at least funny. And the endless banter about Harrington trying to change the culture in Detriot made me ill. He sucked there, and he sucks in Miami. Loved the hit job that either Young or Theissman put on Culpepper by the way, talking about missing meetings and what not. God, it was painful to listen to.

The game started poorly for the Jets, as Chad was tossing Hanging Chad's all over the place, leading to Coles getting his bell rung, and Washington almost getting killed. The defense was playing well, keeping Harrington in check. Of course, at halftime, Cleo Lemon comes in, and Jets fans are thinking, oh shit, the backup QB. After the Jets went up 3-0 on a Nugent Field Goal, Lemon lead the Mammals to a TD, and a 7-3 lead.

Chad rebounded, leading the Jets on a 80 yard 11 play drive, the capper a nice 32 yards pass to Cotchery, and the Jets led 10-7. A bad play on an ensuing Jets punt gave the Dolphins the ball on the Jet 35, but the defense held, and all Miami could do was tie. So now, the big question, what could Chad do, and would it be up to Nugent to win the game for the Jets?

Chad got the ball with 2:13 left, and threw a nice little screen pass to Leon Washington. Leon wound up going 64 yards, making guys miss all over the field, giving the Jets the ball on the Miami 16. Nothing more from there, leaving the Jets fate on the leg of one Mr. Nugent, the same Nugent who kicked poorly earlier in the year, leaving his future up in the air. Funny thing, but since then, he has kicked great. When he was drafted on the heels of Doug Brien, many thought it was foolhardy to draft a kicker in the 2nd round, but seeing how the Patriots have done with a good kicker winning Super Bowls for them, the Jets braintrust at the time felt it was the right move. And Nugent did them proud, and we fans as well, drilling a 30 yarder with 10 seconds left. Jets Win!

So it all comes down to New Years Eve. Jets win, and they are in. The Raiders stand in the way. Now, I know, and you know that the Raiders suck, but, you have to think they are going to try to make a game of it, they are not going to want to be embarrassed on the last day of the season. Then again, they do want the #1 pick, so you never know.

Mangini needs to pull another boxing tape out of mothballs, find another fighter to speechify (Smokin' Joe Frazier did the honors this weekend). Wrap Chad in bubble wrap this week, same with Coles. Who would've thunk that the Jets would be on the cusp of the playoffs this year. Yeah, it comes against a soft schedule, but they have no dominant running back, a QB with a twice repaired shoulder, two rookies manning the offensive line, and a 3-4 defense that hurts their best linebacker's ability to make big plays. This team has a lot to be proud of. And when they win next week, they could get Peyton in the first round. And we all know what they did to Peyton the last time they faced him in the playoffs, and we all know how well Chad plays in a dome.

Why not the Jets, indeed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Weekly Observations 12/20/06

Lot's of goodies for this weeks edition.

1. Peter King at CNNSI asks if John Abraham is made of paper mache. In return, I have to ask this question of Peter, have you missed his entire career and only paid attention to this year?

2. A member of the Texas legislature is pushing for a bill that would legalize hunting for the blind. This would allow Dick Cheney to continue to visit.

3. Carmelo Anthony, during the brawl against the Knicks on Saturday, threw a punch at Mardy Collins, then ran like hell. Apparently, snitching isn't OK, but running away screaming like a girl is acceptable in the old neighborhood.

4. Isiah Thomas got off without a suspension, despite taped evidence showing him warning 'Melo to not go to the paint. None of the players would say he ordered the code red. Apparently, they all had gotten copies of 'Melo's "No Snitching" DVD.

5. Terrell Owens spit on DAngelo Hall the other night. After the game, he admitted to it on tape, then claimed to not remember. Wow, I haven't seen backtracking that bad since 'Melo.

6. Maddona has banned pheasant hunting on her estate in England. Apparently, she heard Cheney wanted to stop by for a visit.

7. A NJ Catholic School closed its doors early for Christmas Break (wait, am I allowed to call it Christmas break?) after several members of the wrestling team came down with Herpes Simplex 1. Now, for those who do not know the difference, Herpes Simplex 2 is only passed along through sexual contact. Simplex 1 is only passed around by rolling around half naked with someone else who has it. I'm sorry, what the hell is the difference between them again?

8. Over 300 people became ill after eating at an Olive Garden restaurant in Indianapolis last week. A Department of Health Spokesperson said "We are trying to isolate the cause of the illness". I've got it, how about the fact that you ate at Olive Garden?

9. Chad Pennington, Laveranues Coles, Chad Pennington, Ben Graham and Eric Mangini taped an episode of Elmo's World last week. For the first time, Chad wasn't the only one with a rag arm in the room.

10. Darryl Strawberry has weighed in on the Jeter-ARod situation. Straw thinks that Jeter needs to welcome ARod into the Yankee family. Make him feel like part of the team. Hey, Keith and the guys did it with Straw, and look how well that worked out for him.

11. Back to the Texas hunting license for the blind. The added benefit is that it would allow David Carr to keep his job.

12. Allen Iverson was finally traded yesterday, to the Nuggets. Yeah, I see this ending well, two ball hogs in the same lineup. That'll work out great.

13. Sad news from Sesame Street. Apparently, after the taping of the segment, Eric Mangini needed a snack, and roasted Big Bird.

14. Our long national nightmare is over. After a week of speculation that she would lose her crown, Miss USA Tara Connor, is being allowed to keep her crown by pageant owner Donald Trump. Of course, former Apprentice "stars" are using this as a chance to extend their 15 minutes of fame by claiming they should have gotten second chances. Um, right now, you are. A second chance to remind America that you are all fucking idiots.

15. Honestly, I did not even know there was a Miss USA, or a Miss Teen USA. Donald bought all the pageants, I guess so he has bullpen depth for when it comes time to trade in Melinia, who is Wife #3.

16. So, last night we had a rematch at MSG between the Islanders and the Rangers. Last time, the Isles jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after 1 period, causing Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist to pull himself from the game. Last night, the prospect of facing the Isles again caused him to pull himself before the game even started. The Isles won 4-3.

17. President Bush has finally admitted that the US is not winning the war in Iraq, something most of the country has known for sometime. Dick Cheney is furious that someone showed Bush how to turn on the news on a station other than Fox.

End Observations

Omar and the Gang (Celebrate good times, c'mon, let's celebrate. Ugh, now that song is in my head) are still in California, meeting with Boras and Zito. Some rumors say that a deal could be announced this week. Others say it will take until next week. I just want this to be over already, one way or the other. I want Zito, as I've stated before, but I just want this done.

I'll be taking the next few days off, preparing the house for Santa's visit. Be back on Tuesday.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sing Along

As threatened, today I will list my favorite holiday songs, as well as a few that are not amongst the preferred list of highlights. Let's start with the bad, shall we? Since everyone agrees that Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" is the epitome of bad, I shall leave it off the list.

3. The Lord's Prayer - Barbra Streisand (Superstar Christmas Album)
Bab's sings the Lord's Prayer. I mean, do I really need to say more?

2. Happy Christmas - John Lennon
Yes, It's John Lennon, and the message of the song is peace, but it is without a doubt, the second most pretentious load of crap I've heard connected to the Holidays, topped only by ---

1. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
Possibly the biggest load of self absorbed schlock recorded. Again, I know the message is nice. But here's the thing, if these people took just a portion of their earnings, they could make a difference. Instead, they ask poor schmucks like us to dole out $ to buy this dreck, then, after taking their cut, they send a little over. The answer to the question - probably not, they're more concerned about finding some fucking food.

Now, onto the good, both actually good, and funny feel good

10. The Hanukkah Song - Adam Sandler.
It's not classic great music, but this song has to bring a smile to anyone's face. Sandler's list is quite humorous, and while he makes some changes every couple of years, the fact that "OJ Simpson, still not a Jew" remains, warms my heart.

9. Soulful Christmas - James Brown (Hi-Fi Holidays, from Old Navy)
The Godfather of soul goes from singing about Christmas to thanking his fans for buying his albums and coming to his shows. Just funny as all hell.

8. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - Elmo and Patsy
Not played that much any longer, but still the best parody song.

7. Santa Claus and his Old Lady - Cheech and Chong
Another that is not played often, but good comedy, as Cheech tries to tell Chong about Santa Claus, trying to name all of the reindeer. Good stuff, and you do not need to be baked to enjoy. Though the boys obviously were.

6. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Dean Martin (Christmas with the Rat Pack)
Dean starts the song off right, but quickly starts calling Rudolph "Rudy" and throws in a little German. I can picture the scene when he was done:
Producer - uh, Dean, what was with "Rudy"
Dean - C'mon, I'm trying to make it hip. Give me another drink
Producer - and what about the German, I mean, people may not like this
Dean - I'm Dean Fucking Martin, I can do what I want. Now, where's my eggnog.

5. Jingle Bells - Sammy Davis Jr. (Christmas with the Rat Pack)
Sammy nails this one. Fine job, jazzes it up nicely.

4. Twelve Days of Christmas - Bob & Doug McKenzie
Four pounds of backbacon, three french toast, two turtlenecks, and a Beer in a tree.

3. Baby It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin (Christmas with the Rat Pack)
Dean seducing a woman during a snowstorm. Nice message.

2. Getting 'In the Mood (For Christmas)- The Brian Setzer Orchestra (Dig that Crazy Christmas)
It was hard to only pick one song from this CD (I know, that didn't stop me with the Rat Pack, but I only wanted to list 10). Setzer does the swing thing with Christmas classics, and comes up with some others. This song gets the blood pumping, you can picture him having a blast performing it.

1. The Chipmunks Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) - Alvin and the Chipmunks
This song was first released in 1958. That's nearly 50 years ago. It holds up quite well. Hearing a single note is liable to get anyone swaying like the little rodents and singing along. C'mon, you know you all do it. It's not just me right? Right? Shit.

So, that's my list. I did not check it twice. Let me know what you think, and if I missed any of your favorites.

Omar and the gang are going to California tonight. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Reports have it that Zito is going to wait until January to make a decision. We shall see.

Oh, and thank Peyton Manning for beating the Bengals last night. Now, I have to root for Belichecken to beat the Jags, and Denver to beat Cincinnati. Please Santa, Please?

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Weekend of Spankings

No, not that kind of spanking, get your mind out of the gutter wil ya?

No, all the "New York" teams in hockey, basketball and football were involved in spankings this past weekend. Let's review the carnage, dished out and received, shall we?

1. Friday night, the Islanders were strafed by Sidney Crosby and the Penguins (Eric Mangini's favorite team?), losing 7-4. Rick DiPietro gave up 5 goals in 2 periods, and was replaced at the start of the third period by Mike Dunham. The Isles tried to make it interesting in the third, scoring 2, but to no avail. How would they rebound on Saturday?

2. Saturday night, at the Coliseum, Alexei Yashin made his longed for return to the ice (wow, still trying to wrap my mind around the fact the Isles need Yashin). Rick DiPietro was in the net, and the boys rebounded big against the first place Atlanta Thrasher, winning 6-0. Yashin had a goal, so did Satan. Shawn Bates remembered where the back of the net was as well. Prior to the game, the Isles traded Alexei Zhitnick to the Flyers for a young defenseman, freeing up $3 million in cap room.

3. At the same time, the Rangers were getting pounded by the Leafs, to the tune of 9-2. This of course, made Ed happy, as nothing is more pleasing than seeing "King Henrik" get the Patrick Roy treatment from his coach. Henrik gave up 8 goals on 24 shots.

4. Last night, the Rangers were strafed by the Devils, 6-1. Another beating. This did not make Ed as happy, since the Rangers will be pissed of coming into Tuesday's game against the Isles at MSG.

1. The Jets. Ah, this made Ed very happy. Ed likes it when the game plan calls for lots of balls for Coles. Ed likes it when Chad can bounce back from an early fumble to march the team down the field for a tying touchdown. Ed likes it when Mangini says "I got your vaunted run defense right here!" and has Cedric Houston run it in from 6 yards out for that TD. Ed likes it when Mike Nugent kicks a 52 yard field goal. Ed does not like seeing Coles hurt on a hit to the back. Ed likes that if not for a garbage time TD for the Vikes, the Jets gave a beating to the Vikings. Ed is going to stop talking in the third person now. He spent too much time listening to Coles in the post game interview room.

2. The (notso) Giants, penned as resurrected after last weekend's victory, returned to earth, getting spanked in the 4th quarter yesterday, to l0se to the Jeff Garcia led Eagles. Jeromymemine was tlaking after the game about how they just need to win the next couple. The coach of course blamed Eli for the late INT returned for a TD. Perhaps he should tell his O-Line to block better. So now toady, we will read about how the (notso) Giants are done.

Now, I normally do not talk about hoops, as I am not much of a fan, but this weekend deserves some coverage.

1. What can I say about the Knicks, except they are the biggest suck that ever sucked. Friday night, they get the snot kicked out of them by the Pacers, 112-96, and Mardy Collins gave a preview of what would happen on Saturday with a late game flagrant foul.

Saturday, December 16, is a date that should go down in infamy. It should also mark the end of the reign of terrible that is Isiah in charge of the Knicks. Down by 23 to the Nuggets, Zeke could be seen telling Carmelo Anthony to stay out of the paint. A couple of minutes later, Collins gave a clothesline worthy of the WWE to JR Smith. Then, Napoleon got involved, as Nate the Grate got in Smith's face, and challenged him to t fight. Smith obligned, and they went tumbling into the stands. This being a Knicks game, the seats were not very full, and thankfully no fans tried to get in any cheap shots (this is NY, not Detroit after all). After this was broken up, 'Melo sucker punched Collins, sending him down. So I guess 'Melo has a message for those who snitch, and for those who clothesline.

What David Stern has to do now is quite simple, all involved need to be suspended. Big time. Not one game, I'm talking multiples. Not just the players, but the coaches as well. Karl had not business keeping his starters in the game with a minute + left. Give him a game just for being an ass. Thomas on the other hand should be banned for a minumum of 10 games. He TOLD 'Melo something was coming. He sent Collins out there. And after the game, he was unapologetic. This is hoops, not hickey you idiot. Hockey, you send a goon out to go after another goon to send a message, and it is an accepted part of the game. In hoops, you take your beating, and you try to administer one the next time you face the beater. Of course, this being the Knicks, who knows when that will be. The point is that this is unacceptable. Zeke is one of the original "Bad Boys", and still thinks like he is a player, when in reality he is nothing more than a punk. Dolan should can his ass for the ridicule he has brought upon the team in the past couple of years, and for this disgace on Saturday. You don't like getting the snot kicked out of you, try manning up early in the game, not with 1 minute left. As for Nate the Grate, suspend his ass for 15 games. He escalated it. Plays the tough guy, coins his own nickname, has a little blog of his own on MSNBC (he guys, you think maybe you should cancel that now?). The guy has energy, but he is a detriment to the team.

So, we closed a weekend of spankings for the NY teams. Some I loved, some, not so much. Entertaining most were.

Coming tomorrow, unless the Mets sign Zito, is my list of favorite Holiday songs.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Weekend Preview

Well, the Mets are kind of dormant, though Newsday says they are ready to sit down and talk dollars and years with Zito. Omar of course also needs to look for some bullpen help, to replace losses (Bradford, Oliver) and the suspended (Mota). It will be interesting to see who he picks up off the non-tendered FA list, as he has had some success there the past couple of years.

Anyhow, moving on, we have a big game for the Jets on Sunday, as they face the Vikings. Now, a lot has been made of the Vikings run defense, but despite that, they are 2-5 in their last 7 games. Now, the Jets of course do not have a great running game, so the fact they are facing a great run defense is going to expose that glaring weakness even more. As a result, this game will hang on Chad. He is going to have to shake off last weeks poor game, and history shows us that he typically follows up bad games with good ones. The fear though is that if he is unable to get the ball to the receivers, it will be a long day. And if he starts throwing it to guys in purple, forget it.

I will be somewhat disappointed if they fail to make the playoffs. There are at least 4 games that could have gone the other way, the Colts, the first Patriots game, and the Brown game of course, and the Bills game, which they just flat out failed to show up for. Say they win 2 of those, they are basically in the mix, and actually would be in good shape to win the division. Then again, after last season, the strides this year, considering they are learning new systems on both sides of the ball are fantastic. Of course, last season was torpedoed once they lost Chad and Fiedler in the same game. Perhaps if Fieldler had been healthy, they could have gone 8-8.

My other team, the Islanders, have back to back games this weekend, in Pittsburgh tonight, and home against Atlanta tomorrow. This is followed by a couple of days rest before a second visit to MSG to take on the Rangers. We could see the return of Alexei Yashin at some point in the next 3 games. For my money, I would play him tonight, then again on Tuesday, giving him a couple of days to rest before the rivalry game. Then again, Nolan may play it safe and hold him out till Tuesday. I'd rather him face a game situation before then, but I'm just a blogger, and Nolan is a great coach. The Isles have faired OK since Yash went down, but they desperately need him back, and healthy.

One more point on the Islanders. ESPN is running a vote to have fans pick the best 3 forward lines of all time, from among 50 top forwards in NHL history. Lots of great players on the list, but for some reason, only Mike Bossy is listed. Bryan Trottier, one of the best 2 way centers of all time, winner of 5 Stanley Cups is left off. In his place, we have players such as Sidney Crosby (who is going to belong on this list in a few years, but does not right now), and Eric Lindros, who gets a concussion if he puts his head down on a pillow too hard, and has won NOTHING in his career. Bossy of course was one of the greatest shooters of all time, and he was forced to retire early because of his bad back. Had he stayed healthy, and maintained his pace, he would have broken the goals scored record before Gretzky. His place is of course well deserved. But leaving off Trottier is a sin of ommission, and further cements the fact that ESPN hockey coverage is for the birds. Putting Crosby on the list was done solely to market him and the league, not to give fans the chance to pick the best players.

That's all for now.

Have a Happy Hanukkah!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Weekly Observations 12/13/06

Sorry I'm a little late, still getting over the shock that the Mets did not tender Victor Zambrano.

1. Gil Meche signed a 5 year $55 million contract with the Royals. This begs the question, if you suck, but nobody sees you, will anyone know that you suck?

2. Isiah Thomas said last week that Knicks fans cannot understand the game the same way he does. Well, he's right of course, Knicks fans know when they see an awful team. The same cannot be said of Zeke.

3. More Zeke, owner Jim Dolan gave him a vote of confidence yesterday, stating that Isiah would be the coach for the rest of the season. This is good news for Knicks fans, as they do not have to worry about conflicts between games and other plans, they can continue to skip the games.

4. Vince Young led the Titans to a win over the Houston Texans the other day, sticking a dagger in the heart of the team that could have drafted him #1 overall. Texans ownership said "well, even Duante Culpepper, in a wheelchair, could have scored on that play. I mean, jeez, do you realize how much we suck?"

5. Nicole Ritchie was booked on a DUI charge the other night. And they say 1 drink never makes you drunk. Well, it won't so long as you weigh more than 55 pounds.

6. The Texas Rangers signed former Dodgers closer Eric Gange to a 1 year $6 million contract. Wow. Does Hicks realize Gagne has pitched in 20 games over the past two seasons? And did he not learn from the last time he signed a pitcher away form the Dodgers (Chan Ho Park)?

7. Rumors are rampant that Britneyt Spears and Paris Hilton are "friends with benefits". My question is, who exactly benefits?

8. Evel Knielvel is suing Kanye West, claiming Kanye's video for Reach the Cky used his likeness without his permission. Of course, I had to ask myself, who remembers Evel Knievel?

9. Allen Iverson has requested a trade from the 76'ers. Isiah Thomas is rumored to be interested, since we all know that the one thing the Knicks lack is an undersized point guard who is not a passer.

10. A recent study showed that bicycle riding, long known to affect male genetalia in a negative way, can actually have the same impact on women. They also found that the use of the new male seat with the hole in the middle would not be of benefit to women. Well, duh, why would a hole help with......

11. They even came up with a catchy name for the female condition, Huffy Muff.

12. Officials in the UK want to use forced contraception on grey squirrels, which are not indeigenous to the UK, because they are overtaking the local red squirrel. In related news, officials in the US hope to do the same to Hilton, Ritchie, Spears and Lohan. (Wow, that sounds like a bad lawfirm).

13. I was gonna make a joke about time running out for the owner of the Chiefs and the fact that his head coach is Herm Edwards, but even I have limits.

14. I hadn't been as shocked when reading the Mets did not tender Victor Z since I read the Yanks wanted to resign Andy Pettitte.

15. Speaking of Pettitte, he has a WHIP last year of 1.44, in that bastion of offense that is the NL Central. Wow. I'm thinking of starting a pool to see if he breaks 1.7 this year. And I mean on the low side. Enjoy facing the Sox and Jays 19 times each Andy. Hopefully his whiplash coverage is all paid up.

16. I keep seeing these commercials for "Rocky Balboa". I have to ask, the last movie had Rocky suffering the effects of too many blows to the head. I wonder if this is the case in real life, why else would Sly think anyone would want to see this movie?

17. Let's get this straight. Scott Boras is annoyed over the pace of negotiations with the Red Sox for D-Mat, yet he still had the time to get JD Drew signed in Boston, Gagne in Texas, have dinner with Brian Cashman, and have Barry Zito meet with Tom Hicks?

18. It looks like the long nightmare is over (no, I'm not talking about Zambrano again), D-Mat appears to have come to an agreement with the Sox. Such a relief. I wonder if Steinbrenner has his little voodoo doll yet.

Monday, December 11, 2006

&$%&^(#$&*#%( JETS

Now, I tried, I really did. I acted like a player would, telling myself that Mangini would appear at my doorstep and fine me if I even so much as thought about the playoffs. I told myself there is no such thing as a sure thing in the NFL. I also told myself however, that this was a new regime, and that this Jets team would not have anymore stinkers. Heck, Herm is gone, so that is half the battle I told myself.

Well, myself and pretty much every Jets fan bought into the hype. The media led the way, looking for nuggets. Feel good stories abounded, using the Jets as the example of a good NY football team (as opposed to the (notso)Giants). I had a bad feeling going into yesterday's game, since it was Buffalo, who always, no matter what, gives a good fight. Even earlier this year, the Jets were somewhat lucky to get out of Orchard Park with a win. Of course, our worst fears were realized, and it hurts them, a lot. First, Herm did his usually stellar coaching job, moving KC to basically an afterthought in the playoff race. Then, Miami (who had the sideshow of Saban possibly leaving for the Miami college job), pastes the Patriots, putting 1st place within 1 game should the Jets win. All for naught, as they proceeded to shit the bed.

It was bad enough when Willis McGahee ran for 57 yards (of course, he ran fast, since he was looking for the nearest bucket to do his McNabb impression into). But to allow JP Losman to throw a 77 yard bomb? That is unconscionable. Losman is a piece of crap QB, who should have been killed all day. They allowed the Bills to run all over them, again, and pass all over them, again.

Chad did not help matters. Two fumbles, picks, poor reads. He reverted back to where he was a couple of weeks ago. Some of the blame has to go to Brian Schottenheimer, who did nothing to change the game plan when it was clear the Bills were just dropping back, very little blitzing. And the 2 headed RB monster was little help. How about we run with the hot legs for a while guys?

Of course, the media this AM is loving it. Mangini goes from genius to idiot, as the "fact" that the rotations on defense hurt them on the McGahee run and the Losman pass. Ah, the fickle NY media, it's almost as bad as the fans.

So the Jets now face the task of winning their last 3 and hoping for some help, as the other teams they are fighting with for the WC spot won yesterday. Denver has an easy schedule. As for the Jets, not so much, given yesterday. However, I do think that Mangini is going to have this team ready to bounce back against the Vikings. Then, a little Christmas present in Miami. Then, lets see what happens against the Raiders, who will hopefully be looking to lock up the #1 draft spot.

Are the hopes for a playoff berth done, close. But there is always a chance. Any Given Sunday, as we saw yesterday.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Odds & Ends

Not a whole heck of a lot going on. Yeah, Omar is apparently talking to the A's about a couple of guys, but that is normal business at the Winter Meetings. Of the guys being named, I would prefer Haren, but if the cost is beyond Heilman and Milledge, no thanks, spend the money on Zito.

Another team the Mets had been linked to, the White Sox, traded Freddy Garcia to the Philets. This probably removes any chance of the Mets obtaining Vasquez (good IMHO) or Beurhle (not so good IMHO, I like him). The Philets traded Gavin Floyd and another youngster. They add Garcia to Hamels and Leiber. Not bad. But they still have only Ryan Howard, and still have Flash in the pan Gordon as closer. I'm not worried.

Congrats to Mike Piazza, who signed with the A's as DH, 1 year, $8.5 million. This is great for Mike, no more catching, and he can play every day. I expect a big year from Mike.

And good news for Jon Lester, who was declared cancer free.

I'm not upset over Bannister being traded. The guy was wild, and nibbled, a younger Trachsel (though he never pulled himself out of a game). In return, Omar gets reliever Ambiorix Burgos, a 22 year old who throws hard, with a K per inning average in his ML career. A tad wild, but good stuff. Bannister is replaceable, with Pelfrey, Mulvey, Humber, Perez, Maine and others on board.

The meetings end today, but the fun will continue. Zito is apparently visiting NY next week. Maybe a Hanukah present? What do you say Omar?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Weekly Observations 12/06/06

1. So George Clooney's pig, which he has had for 18 years, died recently. Christmas Ham at George's house for everyone!

2. Hey Herm Edwards, still think going to KC was a smart move? Hey, Chiefs fans, still think Herm is a good coach?

3. In Fiji, a coup has taken place, with the military replacing the president and prime minister. Outrage is coming from all corners, and the UN has decided to get involved and restore peace. They will be sending Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka to restore order.

4. So rumor has it the Devil Rays are looking into playing several regular season games in Orlando. They figure that if they can get the game added to the Disney Park Hopper Ticket, they might just get 10,000 fans, breaking all attendance records.

5. NYC has banned Trans Fat in all restaurants. I'm glad NYC has their priorities in order. Fist, banning trans fats. Next, the scourge that is marshmallow peeps. Let's not worry about the little things, like getting the trains to run on time, and reducing crime.

6. The (notso) Giants adopted the Twisted Sister "hit" "We're Not Gonna Take It" as their anthem last week, after reports in the media of strife in the locker room. Michael Strahan was overruled, his vote was for "Smack My Bitch Up" by Prodigy.

7. The Red Sox are close to signing J.D. Drew to a 5 year, $70 million contract. Drew would presumably replace Manny Ramirez in the lineup, because, you know, Drew has a history of playing hard every game and not missing any time.

8. Barry Bonds' agent is miffed at the San Francisco Giants for signing other players before taking care of Bonds. The Giants responded "Who else is going to offer him his own recliner, equipped with needle disposal and an on call nurse to administer his "B-12" shots.

9. MSNBC erroneously reported yesterday that the Mets had offered a contract to Barry Zito. What, NBC reporting made up news? When did Dan Rather sign up with them?

10. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist pulled himself out of the Rangers game vs the Isles the other night, after surrendering 4 goals in the first period. Many wondered why he would do this. I found the answer. On the back of his hockey card, he names Steve Trachsel as his favorite player.

11. Britney Spears continues to made headlines for not wearing panties. This helped make her the top searched star on Yahoo. As opposed to be a star topped by the yahoo she married.

12. Speaking of K-Fed, his album has not even reached paper status.

13. Greg Maddux is close to signing with the Padres, $10 million for one year. As part of his contract, Maddux has the option to leave after 6 starts.

14. Paris Hilton is claiming that she wants to have kids. Just what America needs, more Hilton's.

15. A woman with a flatulence problem forced a Continental Airlines jet to make an emergency landing, because to hide the aroma, she kept lighting matches. Let me get this straight, so as to not upset the fellow passengers, she decided it was better to LIGHT MATCHES on a plane?

16. A recent headline touted the discovery of a photo of a black hole guzzling a star. Many web surfers were upset when they found the story was not related to the newest Paris Hilton sex tape.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Why the simple title today? No attempt at a lame joke, nothing deep. Just one single word. Well, it's quite simple, what else is there at this point?

A story on MSNBC this morning says that Omar has made an offer to Boras for Zito. Reportedly 6 years, $105 million. IMHO, if Barry does not accept this, he is a schmuck. Yeah, he might be able to get more out of Tom Hicks in Texas, who Boras has made into his bitch (A-Rod, Chan Ho Park). But then he would have to play in Texas, which has little to no shot of winning.

*UPDATE - MSNBC has revised the headline, and is no longer stating the Mets have made an offer. So, silly me for believing the media I guess.

Now, many Mets fans are in favor of Zito to the Mets, and still others are against it. I am abviously in the former camp, as I feel Zito in NY equals 20 wins. Look at what other pitchers who have moved from the AL to the NL have done. Clemens. Pettitte. And they were on light hitting teams. Chris Carpenter is another.

Yeah, Zito's number have increased, but the bottom line is he is a guy who wants the ball every 5th days (note to Steve Trachsel, teams like this in a starter). He goes 200 innings each year. He won 16 games last year. He has done this in Oakland, which sees guys move pretty much every year. Oh, and for those who say Oakland is a pitchers park, given its generous foul territory, his splits look like this:

Home - 109 innings, 4.71 ERA, 6 W 7 L, 275 BAA

Away - 112 innings, 2.97 ERA, 10 W 3 L, 240 BAA

Major difference. Now, we all know Shea is a pitchers park, and Citi Field is designed to be the same.

One thing the rotation has lacked for years is an innings eater. Pedro, not so much. Glavine, yeah, but he has his times where he goes into funks. El Duque, um, not really. As it stands now, the Mets rotation for 2007 looks like this


Zito at the top of that rotation will make it one of the top rotations in the NL. Without him, not so much. Yeah, Pedro might be back in July, but what can we expect from him? Same goes for Mark Mulder, who some fans want. He is out until around the same time.

So Omar, you have fired a nice opening salvo. I for one do not see this as overpaying. Yeah, $17.5 million a year is a lot, but the guy is under 30, and (knock wood) is not injury prone. The team has $20 m a year coming from Citigroup, as well as revenue from the new park and SNY.

Get it done Omar. I want Zito under my Christmas Tree. I'll take an early gift.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Enthusiasm, Enthusiasm...

So, another weekend, and another couple of wins for my Isles and a big win for my Jets. Plus, the Mets resigned Glavine on Friday, so all members of the BOG had nice weekends.

First, Glavine. Now, I know he is no longer a #1 starter. At best, he is a #3. I'd put him up against pretty much any #3 in the NL at this point and feel comfortable. He is wily, he is smart, and he is good. Now, he annoyed many Met fans with the Atlanta flirtation, but the guy has to think about his family first, I do not begrudge him that. And, being a man of his word, he re-upped before the winter meetings, meaning Omar can concentrate on Zito, and/or working a trade for another starter.

As for my Jets, when was the last time we fans have been able to thouroughly enjoy the Jets opening up a big old can of whoop-ass on the opposition? The Colts playoff game a few years ago? The first half was as complete as possible. Five possessions, 5 scores. Get a field goal on the first drive, then force a fumble on the Packers first drive, and get a TD from it, then add on 3 more scores. Chad had 241 yards passing in the first half alone. Cedric Houston had 2 TD's and 105 yards rushing. Cotchery had 99 yards receiving and a TD. Just dominating on both sides of the ball.

The second half was a tad of a downer for a while, as Green Bay put up 10 points, cutting the lead to 31-10, then recovered and on-side kick. Now, last year, and pretty much every year before that, Jets fans would have gotten worried that the wheels were about to fall off. Not this year. The defense is playing so well since the week off. And they stepped up here, forcing a 3 and out. Bryan Thomas has been a beast this year, with another 1.5 sacks yesterday, and a forced fumble. Kerry Rhodes had another INT (and is planning on gold plating the ball since it was against Favre, not that that is rare these days). Dyson had an INT as well. Chad was not as good in the second half, then again, they ran more in order to burn the clock. Possibly the only downer was Ellis getting cut-blocked, and missing a couple of series. Apparently, he went all Piazza v Mota after the game, looking for the offending party. Nothing came of it however.

Mangini has something special going on here. The players are playing hard for him. Chad is recovered. The wide receivers are on fire. And if he stickws with 2 backs, it has to be Houston and Washington, they pair up very well together. Sorry Barlow.

Now we get to your FIRST PLACE NEW YORK ISLANDERS! After losing 2 straight in the wake of Yashin's injury (scoring 2 goals in each game), they turned in a great weekend. First, a 5-3 beating of the Penguins, behind two goals each from Victor Kolzlov and Mike Sillinger, as well as one from Satan. DiPietro made 34 saves. Andy Hilbert had 2 assists, tripling his points for the year. The only troubling aspect of the game was the number of penalties they took, 12 in total. Not a good move against Crosby Malkin and Staal. But they won.

Last night (late afternoon really) though was a thing of beauty. After the first period, Isles 4, Rangers 0. Satan, Simon and Asham had a goal each. But the star was Victor Kozlov, who put in 4. Kozlov had been looking like Oleg Kvasha redux until this past week. The Yashin injury seems to have lit a fire under his butt. DiPietro, despite allowing 4 goals, made 39 saves. Brendan Shannahan had 3 for the Rangers, and made it 5-4 in the third, but Kozlov put in the final 2 to finish the Rangers off. So this morning, the Isles are in first.

Interesting note on the game last night. After being shelled in the first period, Olympic Gold Winner Henrik Lundquist asked out of the game. Now, odds are Renney would have pulled him anyway, but when your starting goalie begs off, you have to wonder. Especially in a game against your biggest rival. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. But for now, I can chuckle.

Busy week this week. Baseball's Winter Meetings get underway in Orlando. The Jets have the Bills in Orchard Park (please stop McGahee). The Isles have 3 games, all home, Ottawa Tuesday, Montreal Thursday and Florida Saturday. They then have nearly a week off, playing again on Friday Dec 15 against Pittsburgh in Pitt. I'm hoping for some big wins for all 3 teams.

Friday, December 01, 2006


So Jet fans at this point in the season are in a place few could have conceived of, in the running for a playoff spot. You read that right, the 6-5 Jets, who went 4-12 last year, let the head coach go, along with most of his staff and the GM, are in the midst of the playoff race. This on top of the Mets making the playoffs this season is making me quite the happy fan right now. Of course, the optimism must be tempered, as it will be a struggle for them to actually make it.

The remaining games schedule favors the Jets, as they do not play a team that is presently at 500 for the rest of the year. Green Bay is the opponent this week, followed by:
Home vs Buffalo
At Minnesota
At Miami
Home vs Oakland (you mean the Jets don't have to fly to Oakland this year? Who paid off the schedule maker?)

Each of these games has the potential to be a trap game. Buffalo ALWAYS runs well against the Jets (though J.P. Losman is not scaring anyone on the Jets Defense). Minnesota has had a good year defensively, having the 4th ranked NFC defense, allowing a TOTAL of 623 rushing yards. That defense Vs Jets means Chad better be ready to throw 40 passes. Miami is always a tough game, and Harrington has played well of late. Oakland, while little more than a college team at this point, always plays the Jets tough.

Now, some say the Jets need to win 4 of 5, leaving them 10-6. Right now, the Patriots, Ravens, Colts and Chargers are leading their divisions, leaving 2 wild cards. The Bengals are 7-5, Chiefs are 7-4 (though their coach is Herm, so they are bound to blow a game due to clock management at some point) as are the Broncos (though with Jay Cutler the QB, they may be raising the flag). The Jets are tied with Jacksonville, who owns the edge in tie-breakers.

So what does the above mean? Well, basically, for the Jets to have a great shot, they need to win out. One loss could keep them out. Now, a 10-6 season is nothing to sneeze at, coming off last season, and all the changes coming into this year, but, the goal is the playoffs (despite Mangini not allowing the word to be spoken). Anything less than that, given where they are now, would be a letdown. It's been hard this year to not be overly optimistic. The early wins, the hard fought losses to the Pat's and Colts, the big win against the Pat's in the second game, have allowed fans to dream a little. And you gotta think that the players, and Mangini himself, would love nothing better than to make the playoffs and show everyone how wrong they were. How great would it be for Mangini to make the playoffs his first season, after Belichicken told him this was a sure fire loser? And then, to maybe have a chance to play the Pat's in the first round?

So, despite my misgivings, and the past record of dissapointment, I'm fully on the "Playoffs or Bust" side. I want this team to make it. I want the youngsters to know what it feels like to play in January. I want Chad to have the shot. I want Mangini to have a chance. I want the fans to be at full throat in the bars, family rooms, and wherever else. I want to see Coles and Cotchery catching passes in a playoff game. I want Vilma to be all over the field, and have everyone see what he can do. The same for Kerry Rhodes.

What I want for Christmas is a Jets playoff berth. Can I have it Santa? Please?