Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This crazy article about which teams should be demoted and which team should renickname themselves after Pluto got me thinking about nicknames in general.

NL East:

Metropolitans: sensible for a big city but the snob in me always thinks Metropolitan means more like Manhattan than Queens.
Marlins: Ok, Florida and deep sea fishing, very Hemmingway. Good.
Phillies Do they mean Philadelphia natives in the diminutive form or the horses? And why not The Blunts? That would be a cool nickname.)
Braves: Southerners, notorious racists, naming their team after what, native indians? In a non-PC way? Why not just be honest and call them The Confederates? Besides, think of what a great rivalry with the...

NL Central:

Cubs What's the sense in a big city naming it's team after a baby bear - no wonder they never win anything important. Set the bar very low, manage expectations.
Cardinals Ok, bird motif is pretty benevolent but the Cardinals aren't even the state bird of MO are they? Shouldn't they be the Brewers as well? The Formentors?
Astros Houston, mission control, etc. Oh yeah, that and playing in the Astrodome once.
Pirates This makes no sense, clearly. It makes more sense to rename the Oakland Raiders the Pirates but there ent much in Pittsburgh but steel and that name was already taken so the options are narrow. And Pirates? There isn't even a bloody sea anywhere near Pittsburgh!
Brewers: Milwaukee, a-ok name provided there's a special caveat indicating the beer is crap anyway.

Dodgers: This makes no sense but they can blame Brooklyn for that one.
Padres: What an odd nickname. That it's in Spanish, considering the proximity of Mexico, not a bad idea but if the Padres is ok, then why not go for the whole enchilada and name themselve The Popes?
Diamondbacks: Arizona and snakes. Better than Cacti, I suppose.
Giants: Ok, another stupid important from New York. Why not the Barry Bonds Steroid Heads instead? Something more current and edgy.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


The week was filled with pairings; Champion's League groupings announced showed Chelsea and Barcelona linked yet again, Manchester United getting another crack at Benfica, who knocked them out last season and face a daunting round against Celtic. Last year's finalists, Arseholenal getting lighweights like Porto, CSKA Moskva and Hamburg. Liverpool to face Galatasaray, Bordeaux and PSV.

Sports Amnesia's picks to make it to the next round: Barcelona, Chelsea, Inter, Bayern, Liverpool, PSV, Valencia, Roma, Real Madrid, Lyon, Man U, Celtic, Arseholenal, Porto, AEK and Milan.

UEFA Cup's minnows like Newcastle and West Ham and Middlesborough finding their next opponents in the form of the obscure.


Yesterday marked the second full week of EPL matches and most surprising of all was the 1-0 victory by Man City over Arseholenol. Perhaps it's time to smile. Arseholenal have played two matches this season, drawing against Aston Villa at home and losing to Man City. It's enough to make one hope it's the start of a trend for the Frenchiest team in the EPL.

Replacing them in the powerhouse division might be the surprising Everton. Maybe it's not so surprising after all. They're only a season removed from a 4th place showing and despite last season's disappearing act, with two victories in two matches, they look like they might be a side to be reckoned with. Yesterday's 2-0 pasting of Spurs at White Hart Lane is enough to make one sit up and take notice. Perhaps it only proves what we suspect - that Tottenham are struggling to find their bearings early on, much like Arsenal.

Today, Newcastle, sporting their new striker Obefami Martins will travel to Villa Park as will I, to watch what I hope will be Newcastle's second win of the season to keep pace with the rest of the unbeathen in the EPL.

And in the lower tier, first place Birmingham City travelled to Cardiff to face their closest rivals. Cardiff proved to be too much for the promotion favourites to handle, riot police had to stop Birmingham fans throwing seats and the result was 2-0 in Cardiff City's favour.

On the one hand, you're happy to see Man United suffer in spite of an unbeaten start to the season. On the other hand, losing Rio Ferdinand for Euro Qualifiers, even if they are largely against tiny little countries striking fear into the football hearts of no one.


Ohio State sophomore tackle Alex Boone takes drinking to a new level in admitting that he was routinely downing 30 to 40 beers per day, a pattern of bingeing that began in high school and escalated when he arrived at OSU.

"I used to drink till I dropped," he said.

30 to 40 beers a day?

I guess when you're 6 foot 8 and weight 350 pounds, the beer just sorta disappears around you.

Anyone would have needed that many to endure the snoozefest that was the Giants v Jets preseason meeting that ended mercifully, 13-7.

Eli Manning went 10-for-20 for 107 yards with an interception. Chad Pennington started for the Jets, but also played inconsistently, going 11-for-20 for 125 yards with an interception.

At least the Giants defence can gloat since it hasn't allowed a touchdown since the opening series against Baltimore in a 17-16 victory to open the preseason. They had five sacks against the Jets, with several more knockdowns on Pennington and Kellen Clemens, and forced three turnovers.


Don't look now but the defending Champion Pittburgh Steelers are 0-3 to start the preseason after losing to Pennsylvania rivals Philadelphia


Best Mets video of the year.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Real McCoy

Although I'm not much of a Hook 'Em Horns fan, the fact that their starting QB is named Colt McCoy, perhaps one of the All Time football names, is worth noting. He's even got his own Wikapedia entry.

Over his career, he completed 536-of-849 passes (63.1%) for 9,344 yards and 116 TDs. He ranks as the all-time leading passer in Texas Division 2A history and is fourth overall in Texas high school history.


Top Ten Fantastic Finishes is worth a read through simply for nostalgia's sake.


How about that? Cory Lidle walks 5 in 6 shutout innings and gets the victory by a narrow 2-1 margin completing an incomprehensible FIVE GAME SWEEP at Fenway for the Yankees which extends their AL East lead to a season-high 6 1/2 games over the Red Sox. They outscored the Sox 49-26.


The job status of Bryant Gumbel, scheduled to be the play-by-play broadcaster on the eight late-season games on the NFL's in-house network, could be the subject of a discussion by NFL officials after Gumbel's suggestion that Paul Tagliabue show his successor "where he keeps Gene Upshaw's leash." Ouch.

Tagliabue's response: "What Gumbel said about Gene Upshaw and our owners is about as irresponsible as anything I've heard in a long time."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

What a weekend.

Yankees-Red Sox massive five game showdown in Fenway is quickly becoming an anticlimatic footnote to a failed Red Sox season. Last night it was Jason Giambi, making up for missing a bad-hop ball in the bottom of the 9th with a homer in the top of the 10th that led the Yankees to another victory over the Red Sox this time increasing their AL East lead to to a season-high 5½ games.

A victory on Monday would give New York a five-game sweep and a repeat of the 1978 “Boston Massacre,”a four-game September sweep by a combined score of 42-9 that erased the remnants of Boston’s 14-game lead in the division.

Premiership Season Begins

We've been waiting for it since that fateful and disappointing loss on penalties to Portugal in the World Cup and this weekend it finally arrived, the start of the English football season.

A good start indeed for Geordie supporters. Newcastle topped Wigan to gain three points and a place in the 8 team log jam at the top of the tables.

England captain heads one home for Chelsea.

Of course this pales in comparison to the might displays put on by two of the strongest teams in the EPL; the defending champions, Chelsea, who made short work of Man City 3-0 and Manchester United, who crushed Fulham 5-1. Of course Man U will be without Rooney, who had two goals yesterday, for the next three games or so but best take those points whilst they're available.

Notice which teammates' arms Rooney is NOT jumping into.


The Jets showed some all-around improvement after last week's 16-3 loss to Tampa Bay as they entered this weekend's game against the Redskins trying to sort out two marquee positions. Three quarterbacks got a chance to make a case for the No. 1 job, but none made the kind of statement that would put them ahead of favorite in the absence of Chad Pennington, away on personal family matters or secretly nursing a sore shoulder, depending on who you believe.

The Redskins wanted to see something from their starting offense after last week's 19-3 loss to Cincinnati, but new assistant coach Al Saunders' attack generated only three first downs in three drives with starting quarterback Mark Brunell. The first-team defense was embarrassed by Smith's reverse and allowed 145 yards rushing in the first half.

Meanwhile the defending Super Bowl champs Pittsburgh Steelers were led out by Roethlisberger, a surprise starter because of his right thumb injury, threw for a touchdown on the Steelers' opening drive while running a version of the no-huddle. After that, the offense basically shut down for the rest of the game. Roethlisberger, whose name everyone was forced to learn to spell last season was injured in a motorcycle accident in the offseason but looks recovered.

However, just as in a 21-13 loss to Arizona last weekend, the Steelers' execution was spotty, with mistakes, incorrect pass routes and turnovers. They had a fumble and an interception in their final two possessions of the first half. A repeat looks like a dautning proposition.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

AL Central Suddenly A Race?

Not quite Manny enough to score...

Oh boy, we were waiting for it.

After losing two of three to the Minnesota Twins and then getting swept by the Chicago White Sox, the Detroit Tigers, this season's golden boys who could do no wrong, were suddenly looking like they'd been caught by an upper cut, perhaps a little wobbly on the feet, shaking the cobwebs from the head.

Sure they still had a 5 1/2 game lead over the White Sox. But that had been whittled down from double digits in record time and the Tigers were traveling all the way to Boston in what appears to be a quasi crucial series, if not for the Tigers then certainly for the Red Sox.

"You're going to hear everything. From a manager's standpoint, you're going to hear, `Oh the Tigers are going to hang on, they're going to win.' `The Tigers are choking,' blah, blah, blah. `They don't know what to do, they got too many young guys who haven't been in this situation.'

"You're going to hear all this, and what does it mean? It doesn't mean anything. What it means is that these guys have to go out, between the lines, play the games, and see if we're good enough."

-Marlboro chain smoker and Tiger Manager, Jim Leyland


The Tigers took round one last night at Fenway with a 7-4 win over free agent super signing Josh Beckett. The Red Sox now lead the Tigers, 995-936, since 1901.

But in recounting the past there were several pivotal moments in this rivalry, recently:

The Red Sox and Tigers went eyeball-to-eyeball in the magical summer of 1967. The Red Sox won that pennant while standing in their Fenway clubhouse, listening to the redoubtable Harwell describe Dick McAuliffe's game-ending double play grounder in Detroit.

In 1972, it was Billy Martin's Tigers taking the division by beating Boston in the first two games of a season-ending series (that's when Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio fell down twice rounding third base for the Red Sox).

Meanwhile the White Sox were winning again, this time 12-2 over the lowly KC Royals. The Sox's five-game winning streak is their longest since they won nine straight in late June and trailed Detroit by a half-game.

They further extended their lead in the AL wild-card race to three games over Boston and Minnesota.


It's funny - Mr Starbucks, SI's Peter King just got done noting in his most recent column that Jerome Bettis had perhaps upset the applecart with his off hand comments about Bill Cowher's career and potential retirement after this season:

Bettis' statement about feeling that this is Bill Cowher's last year coaching the Steelers really took me by surprise.

Ok, took alot of people by surprise? Not really because it was already news but as King notes, surprising that Bettis would spill the beans like that on national tv.

King went on to speculate:

I asked him if it was tough for him to say it on national TV. And he said he wondered if Cowher would view this as a violation of their relationship, that maybe he shouldn't have revealed what he thought from their conversation. But he said he thought Cowher would be fine with it. Well, I'm going to Steelers camp later on Monday, and I'll be interested to hear how Cowher addresses it.

Well it wasn't long coming.

"I was very disappointed in what Jerome said,"
Cowher said late Monday afternoon after the Steelers' lone practice of the day at training camp.
"Jerome and I talked back in March and there was no confidential information shared. There has been a lot of speculation about my future, and that's what it is -- speculation. I have not made a decision about my future beyond this year."

Not exactly explosive but not fine with it either.


Looks like Korn Dog's MNF debut hit the right notes for some.

It must be related to the plethera of shitty people they had doing the announcing all these other seasons making people giddy about this new crew. Kornheiser claimed he needed Theisman to clarify for him what the silent snap count was. This guy has been a sports writer for like a thousand years, has followed football, written about the Redskins, held court over an idiotic ESPN show with co-idiot Mike Wilbon and is now one of the voices on MNF and he doesn't know what the silent count is? Give us a break - either Kornheiser is even dumber than he comes off or he's pulling everyone's leg trying to earn the stupid little brownie points everyone gave him after Monday night - oh gee, the guy is honest enough to admit he doesn't know a rudimentary term in football -- look, if this mutt doesn't know what a silent snap count is he should try and learn on his own bloody time, not during a game, even if it was a crappy little exhibition game.

Monday, August 14, 2006

NFL Snaps

You figure one of the best backs in the NFL could afford some decent clothes with all the money he makes? Clinton Portis, sidelined by a separated shoulder that probably ruins the Skins chances of the postseason, comes back out to the game like a bum - look at him, torn jeans, paint-stained shirt - what's going on with that?

Portis, for his part, honed a fine rant on the uselessness of starters playing in these exhibition games for precisely the reason he was bitching about - the opportunities to get injured before the games that count even start.

How many Ravens does it take to bring down the massive Brandon Jacobs anyway? At least five, apparently. Good tackling.

Hey look where Keyshawn finally poked back up out of the ground from! In mid season hot dog form after a meaningless first down in a meaningless game. You won't hear him grumbling about exhibition games but then again, he didn't separate his shoulder.

No doubt you'll be seeing plenty of this from the NFL's Rookie of the Year.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Jets Are Back

Oft-injured QB Chad Pennington looking more like a wingback than a quarterback, struggles to try and reinjure himself in the Jets' first preseason game, a 16-3 loss to the Tampa Bucanneers. It was new coach Eric Mangini's first NFL head coaching game.

Rookie Kellen Clemens completed 10 of 14 passes for 92 yards. Pennington, 9 of 14 for 54 yards and Patrick Ramsey two of three for 9 yards.


Good-Bye, Nancy Boy

Yeah, he's given England a share of thrills over the course of his national career but between red cards, missed penalties and injuries he's been an overall disappointment with more hype and hope of a human publicity machine than a deserving captain of England. Now he's gone.

Steve McClaren, a day after naming John Terry the England captain, dropped David Beckham from the English side for a match against Greece next week.

With a slip that could scarcely pass unnoticed, McClaren even said yesterday that the door would never be "open" to Beckham, before correcting that to "closed". It is known that the player believes the initial statement was accurate and does not expect to add to his 94 caps. Thank christ for that.

Beckham succeeded far more as a corporate entity of advertising and marketing than he ever did as a football player. True, his crosses and free kicks were occasionally works of magic but as an overall football player, a complete football player, Beckham's hype never dazzled beyond the reality of failure. He will be remembered more for hairstyles and clothes than championships.


Looney Bin For Former Buckeye Star

From National Champ to National Chump.

Maurice Clarett was ordered to have a mental health evaluation following a bizarre and violent encounter with police in which the former Ohio State football star was caught with four guns after a highway chase.

Clarett's latest run-in with the law began when police noticed a vehicle driving erratically, prompting a chase that ended with police spiking the SUV's tires. Officers said they could not easily subdue Clarett because he was wearing a bulletproof vest that thwarted their stun guns.

After several police using pepper spray finally got him into handcuffs, the 6-foot, 245-pound Clarett continued to struggle, kicking at the doors of the transport vehicle. Officers also put a cloth mask over Clarett's mouth after they say he spat at them.

But seriously, a fascinating story about Clarett's crash and burn tale.



Having held a choke hold on the AL Central for most of the season and sporting the best record in baseball, the Detroit Tigers have experienced a few hiccups as they try and close in on the postseason.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen labeled this weekend's three-game against the Tigers "do-or-die" for the American League Central title and behind Jose Contreras, they took the first game, 5-0. They have 9 more games against each other with the Tigers lead down to 7 1/2 games. The White Sox have won seven of 10 against Detroit this season.

This comes after their other close rivals, the Minnesota Twins, took two of three from the Tigers in Detroit.

Detroit continues to be baseball's darling team, but the Sox have won six of their first nine against the Tigers, including two of three at U.S. Cellular Field. Much has been made of the Sox' struggles against the American League's stronger teams. The Tigers have had their own trouble against the contenders. Here's how the Tigers and Sox have done against the top six AL contenders:

TEAM Yankees Red Sox Blue Jays Athletics Angels Twins
Tigers vs. 1-3 1-2 2-1 5-4 2-3 10-5
White Sox vs. 1-4* 1-2 5-4 3-0 4-2 5-5
* entering Thursday


As usual, good Mets filters on Archie Bunker's Army and Metsradamus which remain my personal favourites.


Focus On The Braves

The Atlanta Braves will mix baseball with the gospel when they hold another "Faith Day" this weekend. But one of the country's most prominent Christian organizations has been tossed out of the game.

Focus on the Family, a group founded by James Dobson, was barred from participating in Sunday's post-game activities after sponsoring the first such event at Turner Field last month.

While the team wouldn't provide a reason for its decision, several gay rights groups on the Web bristled with speculation that Focus on the Family was given the boot for promoting its belief that homosexuality is a social problem comparable to alcoholism, gambling or depression.


Mr 81 Percent

How does malcontent Terrell Owens come to the figure of 81% when he talks about being 81% healthy after hamstring twinges.

By god, he wears #81. He's such a clever, clever man, isn't he?

Or perhaps he was referring to the percentage he give out on the field.


Thursday, August 03, 2006


Rick Morrissey, Chicago Trib on Greg Maddox:

"In the seventh inning, when Maddux walked off the mound for the last time, the crowd rose to give him a standing ovation, to show its appreciation and, maybe, just maybe, to apologize. Sorry it turned out this way. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Really.

He lifted his cap, and if you looked hard enough, you might have seen that he was sorry, too, for how it ended. He had more to give. Later, he said he liked everything about his return to Chicago except the results, which, OK, is sort of like enjoying everything about an orange except the fruit."


Phillies reliever Arthur Rhodes on Cory Lidle following Lidle's trade to the Yankees and his whinge about the losing attitude in the Phillies clubhouse: "He is a scab. When he started, he would go 5 1/3 innings and (the bullpen) would have to win the game for him. The only thing Cory Lidle wants to do is fly around in his airplane and gamble. He doesn't have a work ethic. After every start, he didn't run or lift weights. He would sit in the clubhouse and eat ice cream . . . He shouldn't say that, he shouldn't say anything like that because he is a scab. He crossed the line when guys like me, Flash (Tom Gordon) and (Mike) Lieberthal were playing. He is a replacement player.”


It's not an illusion that David Ortiz comes through in walkoff situations every time.

According to Sox historian Allan Wood, webmaster of the Joy of Sox, Ortiz has come to the plate 19 times in potential walkoff situations since the end of the 2004 regular season (postseasons included) and reached base 16 times. He is 11-for-14 (.786), with 7 HR and 20 RBI.

In 2005 and 2006, he is 8-for-9, with 5 HR and 15 RBI!


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

No More Shark Fins Because "Engandered Species Are Our Friends

NBA star Yao Ming pledged Wednesday to give up eating shark's fin soup, a Chinese delicacy, as he joined a campaign to promote wildlife protection. "Endangered species are our friends," Yao said at a news conference organized by the London-based conservation group WildAid.

The group said China is the world's biggest importer of shark's fins, which conservationists say are cut from sharks that are thrown back into the ocean to die.