Archive Page 2

My thoughts on the White Sox 2008 lineup

I truly don’t believe Kenny Williams is done wheeling and dealing yet. I believe Joe Crede will be gone by opening day. It’s also possible the rumors are true and Paul Konerko gets dumped by then as well.

As for the current state of affairs, the Sox still lack a true leadoff hitter and the latest guy they traded for, Nick Swisher, fits the #2 spot which Orlando Cabrera likely owns. Here is my prediction with analysis to follow:

  1. CF – Nick Swisher
  2. SS – Orlando Cabrera
  3. DH – Jim Thome
  4. 1B – Paul Konerko
  5. RF – Jermaine Dye
  6. C – AJ Pierzynski
  7. 3B – Joe Crede/Josh Fields
  8. 2B – Juan Uribe
  9. LF – Carlos Quentin

Even though Swisher hit .262 last season, his OBP was .381, better than anyone on the Sox but Jim Thome. He finished 6th in the league in walks which means he is plenty capable of getting on base. Even though he is potential 35 HR guy playing half his games at US Cellular, there isn’t another option for this spot. Better still, where would you put him otherwise? He sees a lot of pitchers which helps the big bats in the middle and if he’s not batting leadoff, 6th is probably the next most likely place. He won’t see anything good to hit there with presumably AJ protecting him the order.

So barring a trade of Konerko that should be it. I think Fields/Crede are interchangeable. I think the bottom two could be as well. Uribe is just an awful hitter but 20 HRs from the 9 hole is fine with me.


Finally a BCS game that doesn’t suck

It’s been a while since I posted. I hope to get back to it more frequently in the near future. We will see how that goes.

In the meantime, it took me a while but I finally got into watching some bowl games. I just wasn’t motivated. I don’t know what it was. I spent New Year’s Day dedicated to the bowls and it started well. I saw my Michigan Wolverines pull out a big upset against Florida. Congrats to Lloyd Carr. He needed that to really end his legacy the right way. Now that he is gone it’s a lot easier to reflect on the fact that was a great coach. Carr coached for 13 seasons, won 5 conference titles and 1 National Championship.

Then I watched Illinois get their butt handed to them by USC. It wasn’t a shock. Vegas had them as two touchdown underdogs. The worst part for me was that it gives the anti-Big Ten folks more fodder. I will tell you though, USC looked really good. Subtract the disaster loss to Stanford and they are playing for and probably winning the National Title. That’s how good they looked. Joe McKnight looks like a terror in waiting and Mark Sanchez and Mitch Mustain give them great options at QB.

Then we saw Hawaii try to prove that the small schools belong with the big boys. It didn’t work out so well. It sucked for me because my pre-game prediction of Colt Brennan’s emergence failed. I said that by the time the game was over he would be a first round NFL pick. Instead he had one of the worst games of his life and Georgia dismantled them. Another team to watch next year.

Next the Mountaineers decided that RichRod’s departure wasn’t enough to hold them down and they went out and crushed Oklahoma. The Sooners lost another Fiesta Bowl. That’s four straight BCS bowl losses for OU.  Must be disappointing.

But last night we finally got ourselves a game. After 4 games that weren’t even close, we got Kansas/VaTech which was a pretty good game. Kansas proved they weren’t Hawaii or Illinois, teams that “didn’t belong” and beat a pretty good VaTech team that was ranked #3 before this game.

I gotta tell you, this to me, is just what makes us need a new system. They feel like we need to have this “bowl” structure. That a playoff system de-values the regular season or bowl games. And look where we are: two blowouts that were over by halftime and another game that got away in the 3rd.

Stop screwing around and FIX ITTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!

Is it too early to start thinking about the NFL Draft?

I don’t know about you but I get excited about the NFL draft months in advance. I probably have more fun discussing who is going where than actually watching the draft. I don’t know if Miami has locked up the 1st pick yet, but one more loss will do that for them. AOL Fanhouse is already talking about what impact Bill Parcells will have on the 1st pick. A lot of people think he will trade out of the pick, which isn’t a bad move because Miami has a lot of problems. I think a lot has to do with what he does with the current staff there. Does he keep the GM and Cam Cameron? If so, John Beck probably gets another chance because they won’t want to give up that quick. Plus Cleo Lemon didn’t look horrible this week. If he wants to make a splash he takes Darren McFadden. I think that’s the safest move. I know Miami has Ronnie Brown so that might not make sense.

It looks like the next three teams will be Atlanta, NY Jets and St. Louis. Atlanta is almost guaranteed to take a QB, but if McFadden is there they probably give him a look. The Jets aren’t taking a QB but would take McFadden if he is there. If not I see them going with Glen Dorsey or James Lauranitis. St. Louis would probably go with Jake Long if he is there. Otherwise Chris Long could be their guy.

If you look at the 10 teams currently in the top 10, you probably only have 2 who for sure won’t take McFadden, St Louis and Kansas City.

Christmas came early!!!

To quote the philosopher Harry Dunn from the critically acclaimed film Dumb and Dumber, “Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…and totally redeem yourself!” That’s what I would say to Bill Martin if I could.

Reports are coming in from everywhere that Rich Rodriguez has taken the job at Michigan. It’s kind of unreal that this happened. If you could go back to the day Carr announced his retirement and asked them who their top four candidates are, after you remove the unattainables (Urban, Carroll, Stoops, Spurrier), you would probably get the following four guys. This is how I ranked them personally:

  1. Les Miles – He is a proven winner at multiple places. He can recruit. And most of all Michigan is his dream job meaning he would have been a lifer. You know he would have given 110% too.
  2. Jeff Tedford – Genius X’s and O’s man who won at a  place where people don’t win.  Created  future NFL QBs Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers. He has ties to the fertile recruiting grounds of California. Personally I think he is holding out hoping Pete Carroll bails.
  3. Rich Rodriguez – Another apparent genius at the X’s and O’s. He turned 3-star players Pat White and Steve Slaton into stars. Recruited in a relatively tough place. Won where it didn’t happen much. My fear is that since he is only 44 he might get tempted by the NFL around 50.
  4. Greg Schiano – Won at Rutgers a bit. Seems loyal. Solid coach. But I always considered him a fallback guy (and was stunned when he said no).

So for me we got my third choice. Maisel made a great point in his article, saying Rich Rod had to take this job because it could be the last big job available for a while. Funny, I was saying the same thing last week. This is a major coup for “Bumbling” Bill Martin. When the dust settles and the sailing season is over, he will have gotten the best man for the job. A guy who is going to completely change Michigan football (for the better) and win some freaking ballgames.

Let me also be the second one (after my good friend who should remain nameless) to say let’s see if Rich Rod can bring Terelle Pryor with him. Obviously we know that he already has a connection with the UM basketball coach…

Do we owe Roger Clemens an apology?

ESPN was reporting earlier today that Roger Clemens, through his lawyer, that “vehemently denies ever using steroids.” He also feels like his reputation is tarnished and no matter if can prove it or not this cloud will hang over his head. Now first of all, it will be impossible for him to prove without a doubt that he didn’t take them. So the best you could end up with is a strong case against. But more importantly, Mike Wilbon pointed out today on PTI that Clemens denied George Mitchell’s request to speak with him.

Let’s be serious here. Clemens is smart guy. His name has been floated in these rumors before. He knew the Yankees would be (heavily) investigated. Wouldn’t he at least try to do some damage control, speak with the Mitchell report and make his case (assuming he never took steroids)? Wouldn’t he want to be in the report making his case and flatout denying it? Didn’t he know that if he waited until after no one would believe him?

There is no way I am going to believe that Clemens thought his name would not be in the report. No one denies his mysterious surge past 40 that I spoke about yesterday is exactly that, mysterious. As I said his name as come up in these conversations before. He’s perhaps the greatest pitcher of the last 50 years. He has to know that the bigger the star, the bigger the news. How can he wait until after the fact to do damage control and expect fans to understand?

The argument against is that Clemens should be innocent until proven guilty and shouldn’t have to say anything to George Mitchell if he is not involved. The evidence they have is hearsay, there is no doubt about it. I guess the guys who named Clemens could want attention but that wouldn’t make sense. Maybe they were assuming, who knows.  The bottom line is that Clemens didn’t play this very well and we don’t owe him a thing right now.

Wait, there’s a steroid problem in baseball?

In case you missed it, there’s a steroid problem in Major League Baseball, at least according to senator George Mitchell. His 320-something page report based on a the investigation he has been conducting over the last two years or so was released to day, and it claims there is a serious steroid problem in baseball. Seriously, how much money did this investigation take to do? How many computers could we have bought for schools with the money it took to confirm the most obvious fact since we found out Britney Spears is a tramp. It also goes on to say that baseball was slow to react to this problem. Again, DUH! Jose Canseco was doing this in the late 80s and even if he embelished, you would still think 10 years later baseball knew what was going on, and that was nearly 10 years ago.

Of course the hottest topic of conversation is the players specifically mentioned. They ranged from the guys we knew (Bonds, Giambi, Sheffield) to the guys we didn’t know [for sure] (Clemens, Pettite, Tejada) to the guys we don’t care about (Josias Manzanillo, Adam Piatt, Jim Parque). The list wasn’t nearly as long as I thought it would be but I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. There were plenty of All-Stars named but you would fully expect Clemens to take centerstage with all of this.

Clemens is easily the best pitcher of the last 20 years, and probably a lot more than that.  His 7 Cy Youngs are more than any other pitcher. He is 8th all-time in wins and with one more 10-win season he would be in the Top 5. He is 2nd all-time in strikeouts, and if you believe that it’s truly a hitters’ era, Clemens might be the best pitcher ever. But how surprised are we?

Clemens won 61 games after his age 40 season. That’s more than Bronson Arroyo has in his career and he is 30. You could make a serious argument that Clemens’ best two seasons were the two with Toronto (’97 and ’98) when he was 34 and 35  respectively. Guys who have been in the league 13 years typically don’t peak at age 34. Was it Skydome? There isn’t a huge sample size there before or after (surprisingly) but his numbers weren’t good there other than those two years. So how with this affect Clemens and his legacy? My prediction is that this will be the biggest story that comes from all of this.

For what it’s worth  Mark McGwire’s name did not appear.

Check out ESPN’s coverage of the Mitchell Report.

Another coach can’t cut it in the NFL

Bobby Petrino abruptly quit his job as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and returned to the college ranks, this time with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Now while I will agree that the Falcons was one of the worst situations to be in, this is ridiculous. The Falcons traded backup quarterback Matt Schaub in the offseason and then lost their starting QB to some sort of legal problem (I am not really sure what this was about so if anyone can fill me in, let me know).

Petrino won’t even finish out the season as Falcons coach, meaning he didn’t even last one full season in the NFL. I think the biggest fallout from this will be a heavy reluctance for NFL teams to go after college coaches. After Nick Saban lasted just two seasons before bailing out (but not before emphatically denying he was leaving 9,823 times). Now Petrino can’t even last one season before jumping back to the college ranks. The trend is typically to hire coordinators from other teams for head coaching jobs but on occasion you get these college coaches who make the jump. We saw Steve Spurrier and Butch Davis both fail quickly. Spurrier lasted 2 seasons, Davis 3. From my calculations the only head coach left in the NFL that came directly from college is Oakland head coach Lane Kiffin. It could be a while before another one gets a shot. They seem to fail miserably or run away before they can.

As for Petrino, he inherits a good team in Arkansas in probably the best conference in CFB, the SEC. It will be his biggest challenge and give us a chance to see how good he really is as a college coach. Arkansas is arguably the best job available this year (and yes I say that even as a diehard Michigan fan) and while the expectations will be somewhat high, I am sure he will be given 5 years or so to make something of it.

Meanwhile the Falcons will continue on with whoever as their coach in what is one of the most disastrous seasons ever.  They will officially start over this offseason. They haven’t had a winning season since 2004 and Michael Vick was one of the most overrated players ever (seriously why did everyone think he was so good?). Now this team has no QB and basically not a lot else to get excited about. With Petrino it was almost a lock that they took Brian Brohm in the draft, now they might make a smarter choice. If Darren McFadden is there, he should be their guy. We should see.