Saturday, January 5, 2008

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

In today's world, everyone loves to dig skeletons out of the closets of the rich and famous, take quotes out of context, and tear others down. But as we find ourselves on the back end of the Mitchell Report, the front end of the long, drawn-out race for the White House, and with the Congressional testimony of Petitte, Michell, The Rocket and others already marked down on the calendar, people forget one frequently-maligned public official who really did speak out against steroids and the like even before Mark McGwire's tragic, deer-in-the-headlights, "I'm not here to talk about the past" moment: President George W. Bush. As a former owner and managing partner of the Texas Rangers during the early '90's, it is certainly possible that he knew, like some GM's and owners did, about the increase in performance-enhancing drugs. However, it is impossible to judge him harshly for that, considering the fact that many owners and GM's did not know about what was happening in the locker rooms and trainer's offices, that several of the substances in question were not illegal at the time, and there may have been a lack of knowledge about the harmful consequences of using. What I do know is this: In January 'o4, almost four years before the Mitchell Report's publication, before anyone outside of Cali knew what BALCO was, and before stars like Floyd Landis, Shaun Merriman, and ummm, Paul Byrd? had to deal with doping accusations, President Bush made a public denouncement of steroids and a plea for sports to keep themselves clean. I believe his exact words were:

"To help children make right choices, they need good examples. Athletics play such an important role in our society, but, unfortunately, some in professional sports are not setting much of an example. The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football, and other sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message -- that there are shortcuts to accomplishment, and that performance is more important than character. So tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches, and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now."

So for all the criticism leveled at the President, some of which he certainly deserves, give him some props for taking a strong, early stance on this subject. It is only too bad that the owners, union reps, coaches, and players were probably too busy counting their money or making it rain in strip clubs to take this message to heart. Maybe a little one-on-one time with George Bush (oh, and a few especially rough Secret Service men) might make Donald Fehr recognize the need to listen.

Isn't There War, Public Policy, or Something More Important Congress???

Breaking News Story: We'll Never Hear the End of Steroids in Baseball.

In recent news, the House Oversight Committee has now invited Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Brian McNamee, Clemens' former trainer (yes, the one who claims to have injected him with steroids and/or HGH), to appear on January 16 to testify on the Congressional investigation of the Mitchell Report.

The response from Clemens (who from this point forward will only speak via his lawyer, as opposed to the logical action of coming outright and denying claims... that is IF you weren't guilty):

"Roger is willing to answer questions, including those posed to him while under oath," said Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin. "We hope to determine shortly if schedules and other commitments can accommodate the committee on that date."

Schedules and other commitments? I'm not sure what anyone else got from this, but what I read between the lines is that Clemens has a lot of work to do in the next 5+ months deciding about when he will make his "un"-retirement from baseball and with whom he will do so. If you aren't guilty, just man up and tell everyone such, that your trainer injected you with what you thought was B-12, and so you never "knowingly" took steroids or HGH. If that doesn't work, there is always the Floyd Landis variety pack of excuses, including: naturally high testosterone, drinking alcohol, dehydration, thyroid medication, and a conspiracy against him.

I'm partial to the drinking alcohol one, which has a dual-use in explaining those countless nights he and Andy Pettite had "working out late together".

Friday, January 4, 2008

Josh Brown tackles Devin Hester

When Hester meets Brown on the street later, the kick returner is going to run all over the kicker like a treadmill.

The Official GDB NFC Wild Card Preview

Wild Card Weekend has arrived folks. While I always am excited for the NFL Playoffs, it also reminds me of how few football games left we have in the season. But lets save that for another today, because we have some serious football to break down.

Washington @ Seattle, 430 PM Saturday

How Washington got here: No team has overcome as much as the Skins have. Besides the unspeakable tragedy of Sean Taylor's death, they have also had to overcome the loss of the Young Bull (Jason Campbell) to a knee injury and some buffoonish coaching decisions by Joe Gibbs that cost the team some victories. Despite all this turmoil, the Redskins rallied behind Wolverine never-was Todd Collins and ripped off four straight wins to reach the playoffs. I'd try to give reasons for why this late season surge happened, but that would be as effective as trying to understand how Roy Williams made another Pro Bowl.

How Seattle got here: Because the Seahawks played in the worst division in football, they had time to overcome early injuries to key players, and the general ineffectiveness of the running game. Once they opened up the offense and let Matt Hasselbeck take charge, the Hawks really got rolling. Now they appear to be a dangerous team, loaded with offensive playmakers as well as an underrated defense led by the excellent Julian Peterson and Patrick Kerney.

3 Strengths of Washington:
1. Clinton Portis has been the team's MVP. These last four week's he has looked like he did back in Denver, which is allowing the Skins to control the ball, the clock and the flow of the game.
2. Washington's run defense has become much better as well lately. They were able to shut down Brandon Jacobs and All Day Peterson in games they absolutely had to win. If they can shut down those guys, why can't they do the same to Shaun Alexander?
3. Washington's will to win may be unsurpassed in these playoffs. No team is playing for more than these Skins. You can see it every time Clinton Portis takes a hand-off, or every time the defense makes a big play, no one is playing with more intensity than this team as they try to honor the death of their fallen teammate.

3 Strengths of Seattle:
1. Home Field Advantage. The crowd in Seattle gets hella rowdy, and the Seahawks feed off of them as good as any team in the entire NFL, especially their opportunistic defense.
2. Matt Hasselbeck is a very good quarterback. He may not get the hype of a Brady or Manning, but he is very capable of leading his team on a playoff run. He does not make many mistakes, and knows the offense like the back of his hand.
3. The experience of the Seahawks. This team knows how to win playoff games. While they have been inconsistent in the regular season, they usually play their best when it counts, especially at Qwest Field.

3 Weaknesses of Washington:
1. Todd Collins. OK he's had a nice run. But his success has basically been a consequence of the efforts of Portis and the running game. I doubt he has the talent to bring the Redskins back on the road if they fall behind and can't use that running game.
2. The Secondary. Seattle spreads the ball out all over. The Redskins are without Carlos Rogers and of course Sean Taylor. Sean Springs can only cover one man, which leaves Matt Hasselbeck's 2nd and 3rd options with great advantages over any one the Skins match them up with.
3. Fatigue. It took a ton of effort for the Skins to reach where they have. It seems natural to have a letdown with them knowing they have made the big dance. Lets see if they can maintain the intensity in a hostile environment on the road.

3 Weaknesses of Seattle:
1. The running game. The team really took off when Mike Holmgren basically said screw it to the running game and let Hasselbeck run the team. It may have not hurt them so far, but they will need a running game to rely on at some point, and i doubt it will be there.
2. Inconsistency. One week they look unstoppable, next week they are letting a crappy team run all over them. While they should be firing on all cylinders, its not out of the realm of possibility that they shit the bed in a big game.
3. Special teams. I included this because Josh Brown thinks he is a badass for tackling a Falcon last week on a kickoff return. Memo to Josh Brown, as long as you kick field goals, you are a pussy. Go play with your leg warmers jackass.

Player to watch for the Skins:
Undoubtedly Todd Collins. At some point in the game he's going to have to make some plays for them. If he limits his mistakes and makes the Seattle defense respect him, the Skins have a shot. If not, his 15 minutes are up.

Player to watch for the Seahawks:
Shaun Alexander. If he can give the Seahawks any kind of ground game, they have the chance to not only win this game, but make it all the way to the Super Bowl. Its asking a lot of a guy who has looked a lot like Grandpa Simpson running the ball this year, but I still believe he's too good to have forgotten how to run it when it matters.

NY Giants @ Tampa Bay, 1pm Sunday
How the Giants got here: They might as well rename this team the Millenium Force, cause every damn year their season is a total rollercoaster ride. One week the look amazing, the next week they look like the Raiders. Despite the inconsistency, they had enough talent to sneak in thanks to the overall weakness of the NFC.
How Tampa Bay got here: Sounds like the old Tampa teams. Effective and mistake-free offense, and tough defense. They did have a super easy schedule, but they won the games they had to and look dangerous heading into the post-season.
3 Strengths of the Giants:
1. The running game. Even though Tiki Barber is off doing TV and designing fashion, the Giants running game remains formidable. Between the epic colossus known as Brandon Jacobs, the wily veteran Reuben Droughns, and the bastard love-child of Ahmad Rashad and Terry Bradshaw, the Giants have the running game to be successful in the playoffs.
2. The Pass rush. We saw what they could do in the first Eagles game. With ballers like Strahan and Umenyiora coming off the edge, no QB is safe. And with Jeff Garcia being injury prone, it only take one hit for the Bucs to have to rely on Luke McCown.
3. Overcoming Adversity. Every time you want to bury this team, they remind us that they actually have a lot of talent and can win at any time.
3 Strengths of the Bucs:
1. Jon Gruden. He is still a very good coach. We can see this in how he has basically remade the entire team since their super bowl win, but has this year's team playing exactly the way he wants them to.
2. Jeff Garcia. Yeah he is old and weak-wristed, but he is also tough and knows how to run the west coast offense. And he will not make the killer mistake that so many other qb's are prone to.
3. The defense. With old classics like Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber, and young ballers like Jermaine Phillips and Barrett Ruud, they still know how to intimidate young quarterbacks just like the vintage Bucs defense did.
3 Weaknesses of the Giants:
1. Eli Manning. He embodies the entire team pretty well. One week he looks like a guy worthy of number 1 pick. The next week he throws 4 interceptions against the Vikings and looks more lost than fat guy on the road to diet camp.
2. Offensive playcalling. Despite having a swole running back, noted jackass Kevin Gilbride still tries to make this a finesse, throwing offense. Against a team like the Bucs that could spell disaster.
3. Tom Coughlin. Every good coach outcoaches him when it matters. If i was a Giants fan i'd have no faith in him making the right decision when its needed.
3 Weaknesses of the Bucs:
1. Offensive Line. They have gotten better this year, but they face a huge task this weekend trying to stop the Giants D-Line, and control the time of possession by providing a competent running game.
2. Lack of receiving options. Joey Galloway is still pretty damn good, but when your other receivers are chumps such as Ike Hilliard and Mark Clayton, you know that there isn't much to work with for Air Garcia.
3. Inexperience. This will be the first playoff game for many of the Young Bucs. It may take them time to settle down and find their groove against the more experienced Giants.
Player to watch for the Giants:
Eli Manning. Isnt it about time this guy has his defining moment? Every time he seems to be "getting it", he regresses straight back to mediocrity. If he plays well, the Giants can get the win, if he shits up the joint its straight back to another dissapointing offseason for Big Blue.
Player to watch for the Bucs:
Ernest Graham. This guy has been amazing replacing injured Cadillac Williams. Sunday will be the biggest test of his career however. They cannot beat the Giants solely relying on Jeff Garcia. They need to have a running game to complement him and let them play the way they want to. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of Graham.

NFL Wild Card Expert Picks

How do the Young Jimmy the Greeks of this Blog see things unfolding during NFL Wild Card Weekend? You asked. We tell.

Young Cicero: Jacksonville def. Pittsburgh
San Diego def. Tennessee
Tampa Bay def. New York Football Giants
Seattle def. Washington

Young Porque: Jacksonville def. Pittsburgh
San Diego def. Tennessee
New York def. Tampa Bay
Seattle def. Washington

Young Knuckleballa: Pittsburgh def. Jacksonville
San Diego def. Tennessee
New York def. Tampa Bay
Washington def. Seattle

Young Swole: Jacksonville def. Pittsburgh
San Diego def. Tennessee
Tampa Bay def. New York
Seattle def. Washington

Something Fishy About the Fins

Does anyone else wonder what the heck is going on with the Miami Dolphins? Well, after their 1-15 campaign in 2007, probably not. But since Ace Ventura is one of my all-time favorite movies, an early-season injury to Ronnie Brown doomed my fantasy football season, and the Dolphins did me a big favor by preventing the Rams from becoming the biggest disappointment of the year, I can’t help but hope the team puts this dismal chapter of its history behind them and regain relevance in the NFL.

But this begs the question of why they would hire Bill Parcells to champion their rebuilding effort? Does the Tuna have two Super Bowl Rings? Yes. Multiple Coach of the Year honors? Sure. Stunning physical physique? Let’s not push it… But I digress. Hasn’t he also not won a Super Bowl since back when we were fighting our FIRST war with Sadaam Hussein, worn the most hideous polyester shorts this side of your P.E. teacher, and NEVER been in this type of role before? Yes, yes, and yes. He has been successful, yes, but that practically ages ago, and he had guys like Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor to build around. And in Miami? Not so much. At his age, and with his temperament, can he undertake, and complete, the type of rebuilding operation the Fins need to be successful? Perhaps, but I can’t be optimistic.

The Tuna’s last job was in Dallas, a different environment certainly, but with more to work with too. Not only did he know that Jerry Jones’s deep pockets and burning desire to win would ensure him the ability to field a competitive team with marquee players, but they also provided him with the motivation to win and win NOW (see: Steinbrenner, George). Can Wayne Huizinga do the same behind Parcells in Miami?

And while he did get the Big D into the first postseason action it has seen since its mid-90’s heyday, people seem to forget that he never actually WON any playoff games. And what is he doing now that he is the man picking personnel in Miami? Pretty much his usual shtick of just signing players and coaches who have worked for him in the past. Yawn. Call me when Keyshawn suits up in Miami because I have a feeling that’s coming. Hopefully Vinny Testaverde can resist the temptation to make a fool out of himself again this year, even though he might be better than John Beck and Cleo Lemon combined. Oh wait I mean he exceeds their combined ages. And with the social security checks he is now eligible for, Vinny T shouldn’t need the money.

With the possible exception of the tragic Atlanta Falcons, no franchise needed visionary leadership and a breath of fresh air in the front office worse than the Dolphins. Sadly, I have to think they’ve dropped the ball by hiring Parcells. They don’t need a dinosaur from the 80’s that lacks the patience and the personality to turn around any ships these days. They would have been wise to emulate the Steelers fantastic hire of Mike Tomlin. A fresh face with new ideas would do wonders in south Florida, and the Tuna offers neither. Instead it will be Dallas West, or Cowboys lite, if you will. So I’m sorry Miami, but don’t expect miracle working any time soon. At least the fans of every other team can rest easy and know that they won’t have worry about being the worst team next season. That distinction will belong to the Fish: a bunch of hapless Dolphins and one very unhappy Tuna.


The Bowl Championship Series already has more holes than Kim Kardashian...that's nothing new, but does Fox have to make it more painful by subjecting us to crappy broadcasting. The answer is...well of course, it's Fox. The Network that brought you such quality programming over the years like "American Dad" and "Temptation Island" has now promoted interns to handle the BCS games. I tried to count how many times they "accidentally" went to a commercial and changed their minds, but my pen ran out of ink. I've got a question for everyone: Do you enjoy watching hours of High School Bands play? What about a group called Bonerama (no relation to Bananarama) playing the National Anthem? That's what I thought. Play by Play was handled by Kenny Albert, the son of Marv, needs to stick to hockey. The Versus network is a good fit for his skill set. Daryl Johnston and Barry Alvarez couldn't stay on the same page and there were numerous times where the topic they were babbling about didn't match what was on the screen. The Badgers already played Barry, maybe you'll get them next year. What has happened to Jeanne Zelasko? Didn't she used to be 3 years ago. Well, clearly age is taking it's toll on her. Now she has nothing to blind us from her incredibly annoying voice. This would all be alot easier to swallow if we had a great game to watch, but despite the close score...let's be serious, the Orange Bowl was a sloppy and mostly unentertaining four quarters. The matchups in this year's BCS have been comparable to a Pats-Fins game. Fox had nothing to do with this...on the surface, but we know their evil henchman were lurking when the matchups were made. Fortunately for us, we only have to sit through one more Bowl game courtesy of our friends at Fox. Hopefully it's better than last year's game. Boo SEC, hooray beer.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thursday night Oddsmakers

In honor of PTI, we will do a little oddsmakers to kick off a huge weekend in sports. This week's battle is between Young Knuckleballer and Young Porque.

Question 1: Odds that Ohio State wins the title on Monday Night

Young Porque: 35%. I think that they will be able to come out with heat from the beat down they suffered last year, eager for revenge and dominate Flynn. But at the half i think that miles will realize the big 10 can't defend a mobile QB and bring in Perrilouxxxxxxx.

Young Knuckleballer: 40%. I think that Beanie Wells is going to run wild and keep the game close into the 3rd quarter, but Todd (Flanders) Boekman has looked weak the last 2 games and he is eventually going to fuck up and throw a pick 6 which will put OSU down. Boekman will get flustered and won't be able to make the big plays going into the 4th. The only way the Buckeyes have a chance is if they can shut down the Tigs run game. If Hester is allowed to run wild, expect a blowout.

Question 2: Odds that all 4 home teams win on Wild Card Weekend

Young Knuckleballer: The odds of this happening are very slim, because some of the home teams are underdogs....i think there's a strong chance that two could lose.

Young Porque: 0% chance - The Jaguars have already beaten (dismantled) the Steelers once this year, now that "Fast" Willie is out for the playoffs, they have no shot at defending their houuuuuuuuse.

Question 3: Odds that the Celtics win 70 games this year

Young Porque: I'll give this a 5% chance, only because the East is fairly weak still and they just had a pretty impressive west coast trip, so I still give them a slight chance.

Young Knuckleballer: 0 percent....they haven't had a difficult schedule at all and the best team they played (The Pistons) they got shat on....only one team has won at least 70 games and that team had the best player in history....

Question 4: Odds that Mark Mangino ate a dolphin while in Miami for the Orange Bowl

Young Knuckleballer: 0 Percent. Mangino is only hungry for whale meat.

Young Porque: Absolutely 95%, cuz if it wasn't a dolphin, i gotta agree with the Knuckler and lean towards a whale

Final Question: Odds that Roger Clemens secretly enjoyed getting injected in the ass

Young Porque: 51%, i'm sure that he went through a dry spell for a while when he wasnt in the clubhouse with pettite, so he had to turn somewhere.

Young Knuckleballer: 75 %....I think the first few months it was a little uncomfortable, but as time went on he let it just slide in...and now it's become a favorite past time of his.

Swole Stat Boy's Analysis:
I liked the double squadoosh by the Young Knuckler, however the fact that he failed to provide a percentage for one of the questions, and that he would rather lose his money player poker than continuing oddsmakers proves that he does not have the required commitment to win this week. Go buy me breakfast bitch.

Got that wood!

Run DMC is a hustler