Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead

Today is my last day in the office for the week (yes, a very grueling two day work week, with zippy to show for it...it's what we in the biz call a "Whitney Week"). I am off to Denver for work, but a few thoughts before I go....

Hold off on greenlighting "Subway Series 2: When Nature Calls". Despite what many in the media see as a foregone conclusion, the Yankees and the Mets are not a lock to meet in the World Series. With the Tigers clinching the other day, the Twins clinching yesterday, and the A's basically in, it's not a stretch to say the Yankees will have the worst starting pitching of all the AL playoff teams. News that old man Johnson will miss his start Thursday has me even more concerned. Yes, the Yankee line-up is unbelievably stacked, but it's not going to do them a world of good if Mussina and Johnson get bombed early. Johan Santana scares the hell out of me in a short series. I'm sure Jerry and Whit will be dissecting the NL playoffs in greater detail soon, but I'll just say that with Pedro banged up and the Padres looking like a lock for the playoffs I would be concerned as a Mets fan right now. Sure, the Mets line-up is every bit as potent as the Yankees' (if not more), but that Padres pitching staff is damn good (second in the league in ERA, potential Hall of Fame closer, great set-up guys). Short series are scary, and the best team doesn't always win...here's hoping (for my sake) the Yankees and Mets can fight past their pitching deficiencies, but don't be surprised if we get Detroit or Minnesota or Oakland vs. San Diego in the World Series a month from now (yep, I completely discounted whoever the other two NL playoff teams are...you should too).

We might be witnessing an epic meltdown by the St. Louis Cardinals. A week ago the Cards had the NL Central in the bag, leading the Astros by 7 games. Then they traveled to Houston and forgot how to play baseball. Today, their lead is 2.5, with the Astros winning six straight and St. Louis losing 6 straight. Included in both those streaks is the Astros bludgeoning of St. Louie over the weekend. The Cards finish with San Diego and Milwaukee at home, while Houston is on the road facing Pittsburgh and Atlanta. This is the kind of late season skid that gets baseball writers all jonsed to tell us kids about the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, who had a 6.5 game lead with 12 to play, but managed to close out the year 2-10 and miss the playoffs. The good people of St. Louis hope a similar collapse can be avoided...but I'm not sure it can. If Chris Carpenter loses tonight, it could be all over.

The NY Jets, despite two brutal upcoming games, will be a sleeper in the AFC playoff picture. Sure, the Patriots, despite their shortcomings, will most likely win the AFC East yet again, but after three weeks I don't see any reason why the Jets can't hang around in the AFC playoff picture for awhile. In their own division, Miami and Buffalo are terribly flawed, and once NY gets this two game Indianapolis-Jacksonville stretch out of the way they play the Dolphins and Lions at home and the Browns on the road, prior to a Week 9 Bye. I honestly see them entering their Week 7 bye at 4-4 or (hushed tone) 5-3, and who knows from there. This is the NFL, this type of shit happens every year, some atrocious team from the year before rights the ship and makes a playoff run. Pennington's health is always a concern, and they need some consistency from the running game, be it Kevan Barlow or some combination of Barlow and the other RB donkeys (I'm looking at you Derrick Blaylock, Leon Washington and Cedric Houston), but overall I feel pretty good about what I've seen from Eric Mangini's boys (the defense in particular has been a turnover-forcing machine).

Notre Dame, after their stirring comeback Saturday night, will be 10-1 when they play USC November 25th. I know, back to back homer beliefs, but just look at the upcoming schedule: Purdue, Stanford, UCLA, Navy, North Carolina, Air Force and Army. Not exactly a murderers row of opponents. Purdue looks great...as the MAC champ. Stanford's been outscored 156-63 so far this year. Hell, ND has beaten Navy something like 42 straight times and if it weren't for Colorado the Tar Heels might be the worst 1-A team in the country. Despite that nationally televised ass-kicking they took at the hands of Michigan, Notre Dame MIGHT be playing for a shot at the national title when they face the Trojans. I'm just preparing you now...get ready for alot of Notre Dame fellating in the press (I'll try to limit it to a few reach-arounds here at GTB).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"blog already, you malcontent"

Sure, those words were originally directed at Whitney, but hey, if the shoe fits...

Nah, nothing can be worse than the Ohio State debacle...
Boy was I wrong. Really, really wrong. Part of my silence this week has been caused by the absolute thrashing Notre Dame took at the hands of Michael Jack's Michigan squadron, at home no less. 11 penalties, 5 turnovers, and countless DBs grasping at air. 47 points surrendered. Brady Quinn looking one part Bledsoe, one part Leaf. Mario Manningham channeling Anthony Carter. That guy Prescott Burgess on Michigan is a beast - 6'4", 250 and all over the field. At least with the Fiesta Bowl last year, I had a sense Ohio State was the better team, but Saturday I had truly talked myself into thinking ND was unstoppable (sorry to hammer this home...but especially at home). Silly, silly me. Ohio State dropped 34 on the Irish, Michigan 47. Charlie Weis better get these guys straightened out fast...Michigan State is not afraid of the Irish (flag-planting a-holes).

"He's got electric boots..a mohair suit...you know I read it in a magazine..."
Pennie and the Jets...Pennie, Pennie and the Jets. Well, the one solace in sitting on my couch for 14 hours Sunday, recovering from both the Irish shocker and my absurd hangover, was the last 20 minutes of the Jets/Pats game. I know I was ready to bury these guys before the season ever began, but then, they go on the road and beat Tennessee (yes, the do suck, but you take a W anyway you can) and show some serious fire against the Pats in the second half Sunday. It's only two games, but I like what I'm seeing from the offense, in particular Pennington and 3rd year wideout Jerricho Cotchery. 2 games, 12 catches, 186 yards, 9 first downs, 2 TDs (and if you haven't seen highlights of Cotchery or Coles TDs from Sunday, they were sweet). Obviously, if Chad's arm falls off against Buffalo next week, this season is shot to hell, but the rebuilt offensive line is performing adequately, the defense ain't the nightmare it was last year, so far (watch Jonathan Vilma if and when the Jets are on TV again...he is awesome) and Eric Mangini hasn't looked like the second coming of Rich Kotite just yet. The Motor City Madman Mike Nugent decided to actually make some kicks this week, so that's a bonus. I don't know if Drew is still stopping by GTB, but this week's Jets/Bills game is actually pretty big. With Daunte Culpepper submarining the Dolphins season, the Bills or Jets just might give New England a fight (I am leaning more towards the Bills). All I know is the Jets don't currently belong in the conversation of sustained sucktitude, with the Raiders and Packers and Browns, and that's good enough for me.

He's the Julio Franco of the NFL...
You know you have a serious place kicking situation when you are signing a 46 year old who hasn't played in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE since 2004. Well, the Falcons are apparently in just such a situation, as they have signed Morten Andersen to take over kicking duties in Atlanta. Good luck to the Danish American Football Federation Hall of Fame's most famous inductee.

From the "What a horrendous idea" file...
You know, if I had a friend or client with a serious drug problem, I could think of numerous qualified people they should talk to. Well, Clive Davis has apparently taken another approach, because when he sought a mentor for crackhead Whitney Houston, he dialed up Courtney Love. I haven't seen a pairing this destined for failure since Van Damme and Rodman in "Double Team".

Wait, so she’s Vanished, but he’s been Kidnapped? And these are different programs how?
This is the first Fall TV season for me and my DVR, and let me tell you, it’s fucking fantastic. EXCEPT for the fact network TV has decided to completely throw in the towel and produce the same exact shows (at least the titles are slightly different). Fox has been delivering the goods right now with Vanished, but tonight I need to forget all about Senator Collins and Agent Kelton so I can figure out who the hell kidnapped Timothy Hutton’s boy (good to see Delroy Lindo is still around). At least those two shows are on different networks – the suits at NBC just said "F it" and are giving us two behind the scenes SNL-type shows, Studio 60 and 30 Rock. Studio 60 showed serious promise the other night, and without seeing even a second of 30 Rock I wonder how long any series with Tracy Morgan in a starring role can last.

And, if you missed it yesterday, welcome back Peter Gammons

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I know, I know...this is not what I promised...

...but anytime you get a chance to make fun of an egomaniacal world leader in deteriorating health (especially this guy), you jump over to YouTube and capitalize. Apparently, North Korea's Kim Jong-Il is all sorts of messed up (can't walk because of diabetes), and really, could it have happened to a nicer guy? I say "No". GTB has obtained this footage of Kim, apparently from a better time, when he could walk and stuff:

More to come later, but I couldn't resist

NEW YORK (Reuters) - El Nino, an extreme warming of equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean that wreaks havoc with world weather conditions, has formed and will last into 2007, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Wednesday.

"I am El Nino. Yo soy El Nino. For those of you who don't habla espanol, El Nino is Spanish for: The Nino."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Happy Birthday...You Suck

Born September 7th, 1972, this major league "closer" is determined to kill at least one geriatric Cardinals' fan a game. A proud graduate of Lewis & Clark Community College (Nickname...the Trailblazers) , Jason Isringhausen was born 34 years ago today in Brighton, Illinois. He has pummeled my fantasy team, and has Cardinals fans extremely worried anytime he enters a ballgame. I honestly think he might be as bad as Ryan Dempster. Cardinals fans should turn away now:

10 blown saves on the year
8 losses
A 1.46 WHIP (38 walks in 58 innings)

Interesting (and final) note, Jason's middle name is Derik. Nice spelling douchebag. Happy Birthday...You Suck

Update: Someone on the interweb REALLY likes Izzy...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Who set the time circuits for 1994?

All of a sudden, I'm watching TV, I'm reading ESPN.com, and I could swear it's 1994 all over again. Sure, we're probably not getting any days as stunning (the 12th of June) or entertaining (the 17th of June) as in 1994, but there are some fellas (and teams) in the news certainly making me think it was '94 all over again...

But first, a quick recap of 1994 (in other words, I need some filler). 1994 gave us Buffalo losing yet another Super Bowl, Hakeem's Dream Warriors beating the Knicks (some might say John Starks actually beat the Knicks) and [ ] winning the World Series. Oh yeah, that's right, there was no fucking World Series in 1994...stupid cocksuckers...not that I'm bitter...

'94 gave me time to make out during Schindler's List (wait, that wasn't me) before packing for my Freshman year of college...AND my trip to Williamsburg was delayed by a bunch of faux-hippy crunchy-granolas with daddy's credit card clogging the NY State Thruway to catch Woodstock '94. Somehow I don't think a Woodstock headlined by Green Day and Nine Inch Nails quite captures the spirit of the original. Maybe that's just me...

Anyway, back to my original premise - the guy that really made me think we all jumped in the DeLorean with Doc Emmett Brown was on the USA Network last night, supplying one of the more entertaining tennis matches I've ever seen. Yes, it's true I watch tennis about as often as Woody Paige makes a lucid point, but that's not the issue here. The same guy who came off wrist surgery in 1994 to win the U.S. Open over Michael Stich (Agassi was unseeded no less) now has everyone thinking (maybe hoping and dreaming would be more accurate) he can do it again in 2006. Andre Agassi's first two matches have been highly entertaining, and in fact, have been the kind of must-see-TV that makes me as a fan feel as exhausted as the guys playing. As Jerry mentioned this morning, there's was also a certain WWE feel to the match last night, and that's never a bad thing (Baghdatis' leg cramps had Vince Russo written all over it). Here's hoping Andre can hang on for one more match at least, so we can see him match-up with Andy Roddick, who, by the way, was 12 in 1994.

The Oakland Raiders never cease to amaze me. Earlier this week Lazarus Davis signed Jeff George to QB his team to glory, glory being 4-12 of course. Don't think for a second that George won't be replacing Aaron Brooks sometime in Week 2, attempting to recreate the success of his extremely productive '94 campaign, in which he threw for 3,734 yards and 23 TDs in the run-and-shoot offense of current Hawaii coach June Jones. Of course, George will also most likely be released sometime after Week 6 when he challenges Art Shell to a street brawl.

Back in 1994, there was much hope in Jet-land. After the less-than-impressive Bruce Coslet era, a new young coach was going to lead the Jets to the promised land. Sure, it might be an uphill climb, but he had the enthusiasm and smarts to get it done. Well, Pete Carroll went 6-10, got himself canned, and worst of all, ushered in the Rich Kotite era in NY. Be very afraid Eric Mangigi, be very afraid (I know I am)...by the way, the stars of the 1994 NY Jets. Boomer Esiason and Johnny Johnson. I have no clue how these guy's managed 6 wins.

One last item - I'm flipping by espn2 last night, and who's batting 5th for the Mets? Julio Franco. Julio Franco was already 35 in 1994, folks. He was 8th in the MVP voting that year. Julio Franco is now 47 years old and looks in better shape than 80% of the guys in baseball.

It wouldn't be a TJ post without your obligatory YouTube clip...special 1994 edition