Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One less role model


In another example of a guy with too much money to ever have to worry about driving drunk, Charles Barkley was arrested early this morning on suspicion of drinking and driving in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Reports state nothing more than Barkley refusing a breath test (but did take a blood test; results still unavailable), and being processed, cited, and released. According to officer Lt. Eric Shuhandler, Barkley then left in a cab.

Which he should've done in the first place.

As I wrote about Joba Chamberlain earlier in the year, with as much money as these guys make, why wasn't a cab called in the first place? I suppose I will never be in a position to truly understand this phenomenon, but if I were to ever reach a point in my life where the media follows my every move, I will certainly fork over an occasional $20 cab fare.

And speaking of drinking and driving...

Please don't do it this New Year's Eve (or ever, for that matter). It's not worth it. Sure, you may be out $20 - or whatever it may cost you - and that might mean one or two less drinks at the bar because of it, but think of the consequences you may forever pay should you get caught. I've had a lot of fun with this site this year (and my other one, Darryl Strawberry Fields), and I don't want to lose any readers because of a dumb decision.

Here's to a great 2008, and to hoping for an even better (or worse, in the sports world) 2009.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to me!

I'll admit, this entry is a little bit of what you call "cross promotion". Sort of. You can also find this entry at my other site, Darryl Strawberry Fields. But it's somewhat relevant to this blog, so I'm posting it here, too. It was an early Christmas present from Topps Stadium Club to me. Happy Holidays, everyone!

With the rest of the week off from work, I figured at least a couple pack breaks were in order. It seems that I was destined to open these two 1994 Stadium Club packs on the day before Christmas. So, without further ado...

The first pack:


The first group:



Not too bad a start, by '94 standards. Both Listach and Hamelin had reasonably decent starts to their careers, each winning a Rookie of the Year award (in '92 and '94, respectively.) And the next bunch:



I've always liked cards of players signing autographs, so the Teddy Higuera was a nice pull. Also, that's a Zane Smith rainbow foil at the bottom... one per pack, baby! And then, there it was:




The first Darryl Strawberry I've pulled so far from the three boxes of packs I bought! I've opened a ton of packs, too; far more than I've shown on this site. Riding the high of pulling a Straw, I decided to open one more pack of Stadium Club...



The first bunch:



David Cone is always a nice pull, but not much else of even sentimental value from the first few cards in the pack. So let's move on to the second half:



I always liked Joe Orsulak when I was younger, but only because his name was Joe (as is mine, in case you're unaware.) But so far this has been a pretty crappy pack. Pretty crappy, until:



Yeah!!!!!! Back to back Strawberry pulls! And not just any Strawberry, this one is a rainbow foil, one per pack! What a happy Christmas this will be! I'm thinking of giving away the rest of my box of Stadium Club, because it's only downhill from here. Unless I pull one of those rare (relatively) and often counterfeited First Day Issue versions. I'm gonna hold off a while, though, and enjoy these two pulls.

On a serious note, this blog has been a blast to work on, and I've got lots more in store. Thanks for reading, and I hope you're enjoying it. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Through the mail success!


It's been a while since I last posted an autograph I've received as part of my off-season project.

The next one I got back was Mark Gubicza, formerly of the Kansas City Royals (and one year with the Angels)!

Gubicza actually has a World Series ring, which he earned with the Royals in 1985, and was a two time American League All-Star (1988 and '89). He even finished third in Cy Young voting in 1988. I was wondering why he was so good on R.B.I Baseball 2...

Career success aside, he is actually the Royals career leader in three not-so-glamorous categories: Walks Allowed (783), Wild Pitches (107), and Hit Batsmen (58). He is the Royals single season leader in Walks (120 in '87) and his career Wild Pitches total places him 64th all time in MLB history. Well done, Mark!

His career 132-134 win-loss record and 3.96 ERA are decidedly pedestrian, but at least he had a couple years of fame. Thanks, Mark, for signing the open area on my '92 Topps card! I'll definitely use him and the Royals the next time I fire up the ol' Nintendo.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Video

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy this video of Frank Beamer getting punched after Virginia Tech beat Boston College in the ACC Championship game.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bail out for the BCS?


We've separated church and state (kind of), so can we please do the same with sports? Texas Congressman Joe Barton is going to attempt to push legislation that would force the BCS to adopt a playoff system to determine the national champion.

Joe: Your Longhorns didn't get screwed. If they'd beaten Texas Tech, they'd be in. Can his motive be any more transparent?

First congress felt the need to intervene with baseball's steroid issue (though oddly forgetting about the NFL), and now this? Aren't there more important things to worry about like - oh, say - the economy?

Just my two cents.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

There's no crying in basketball!

Long story short: The Celtics choked away a huge lead and Kevin Garnett yelled at his teammates. Glen "Big Baby" Davis had his feelings hurt and cried at the end of the bench.

Now, I know for sure that there's no crying in baseball; Tom Hanks said so in A League of Their Own. I'm no expert on the NBA, but I'm pretty sure crying is frowned upon there, too.

What a baby.

Did Davis actually cry? I don't think so, but his facial expressions certainly seem to indicate he was holding a couple tears back. Decide for yourself:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Boise Bound


A funny thing happens this time of year in college football, and I'm not talking about the final regular season rankings after the dust settles from a weekend of conference championships.

Schools love to pretend there's meaning behind the term "student-athlete."

Now, I get that there are tens of thousands of actual student-athletes. You'll find them on the soccer or lacrosse fields, or in a pool somewhere. Whether they're on scholarship or not, they're really not bringing in money to their college or university.

And then there's the University of Maryland.

They turned down a chance to stay at home (essentially) and play Navy in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington D.C., instead opting to spend the money to travel to Boise, Idaho for the Humanitarian Bowl. Were they scared of the Midshipmen? Didn't want to be in the bowl as the official ninth selection from the ACC (the tie-in)? Hard to say, and I doubt that info will ever be released from the school.

The school said they couldn't take on Navy because of scheduling conflicts with the final exam dates, which is a complete joke for two reasons:

1) I doubt many of these guys take their classes seriously anyway. I shared a good number of classes with athletes when I was a student at Virginia Tech, and by shared I mean that they attended class for the first few minutes before skipping out. UM says 25 players would've been affected; no chance all 25 of them were aware of the final in question.

2) It's simple to rearrange the finals if those 25 guys really wanted to take them. I did it all the time at VaTech, usually to try to get out of town for vacation a few days earlier than everyone else. I can't ever remember a professor objecting to it, because if all the students left town early, they'd be able to too! And for most classes I didn't have to ask; alternative times were offered to get around staying extra late into the year for just one test. But asking to reschedule a final involved actually going to the class and speaking with the professor, which might be a bit much to ask of a starting receiver or tailback.

So enjoy the flight, Terps! I hear Boise is lovely this time of year. And the thousands of fans who were perfectly willing to shell out some cash to see their team play one more time in 2008? I doubt there'll be any in Idaho.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sentenced


The juice won't be loose for at least five years; that was the minimum sentence handed down for O.J. Simpson in court today by the state of Nevada.

Now, there was a mess of concurrent and consecutive sentences, and the live coverage I'm watching on msnbc.com is claiming Simpson's looking at a minimum of six to nine years behind bars before parole eligibility.

I'm hardly a legal expert, so I won't expand on this much more than I already have, but it seems to be fairly light considering all of the various kidnapping and use of a deadly weapon charges involved. The lesson to be learned here: become an athlete, get away with anything.

Talk about a fall from grace. Is there a worse decision maker on the planet than this guy? Between this latest debacle, not to mention the murder trials a decade ago, it's best for everyone that this guy is off the streets.

Check here for more complete details on the story.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Padres continue salary dump


Nice to see that the Padres have already punted any chances of winning in 2009.

With today's news that shortstop Khalil Greene is set to be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for a couple relievers (in an admitted move to reduce salary), another San Diego fan favorite has been shown the door. The Padres have already told Trevor Hoffman he won't be back in '09, and an off-season trade of ace Jake Peavy is inevitable.

I'm hardly a Padres fan, so I could care less about their chances of a winning season in 2009. And I understand that the poor economy is affecting everyone, including billionaire team owners (messy public divorce or not). But you know who it's hurting the most? The fans.

For San Diego residents, the Padres are my only source for professional baseball within a two hour radius, and their lowest priced, readily available seats start at $14. How will any long time local, die-hard Friars fanss justify a ticket purchase next year? Money's sure to still be tight for most people, and the Padres are shipping out every single player that people are willing to pay to see!

Might as well trade away Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez, too. Why they're at it, how about the Friar mascot guy? Let's remove any possibility of enjoying a ball game!

I'm not even sure where I'm going with this entry. I'm not saying Greene was crucial to their chances for a winning season, as I actually feel quite the opposite. Same with Hoffman. But if you want people to buy into your product, you've got to give them a good reason. $14 to see this mess of a team in '09?

I'll pass.

And for any readers in San Diego, click here for driving directions to Angels Stadium in Anaheim, just in case you get a craving for good baseball.

Monday, December 1, 2008

That's gotta hurt!


Sometimes, you do something to shoot yourself in the foot. Maybe it's saying something you shouldn't have to your boss or wife, or maybe you make a bet you know is going to lose.

Other times, you literally shoot yourself. Or at least if you're Plaxico Burress.

Burress turned himself in Monday morning after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh at a nightclub over the weekend. Burress's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, says if the NFL will let Burress play, he'll play, and that he still sees him being a superstar for the rest of his career.

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs spoke with the troubled receiver over the phone, and added, "I called him and made a few jokes about the situation and his laugh is what I wanted to hear. If he didn't laugh I knew he was going to be down, which he shouldn't be down. It's a mistake that happened, something that shouldn't have happened and that's that."

Except that's not that.

Burress was carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. After watching Commissioner Roger Goodell crack down in the past on guys like Michael Vick and Adam Jones, I have serious doubts that Plaxico will return as a superstar any time soon.

Because while the Giants try to make light of the situation, it's a far more serious legal issue both the organization and Burress are dealing with. Known for running his mouth and creating general turmoil within his teams in the past, it seems that Burress has really shot himself in the foot this time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home stretch

My apologies for the complete lack of posts in the past week. Thanksgiving vacation started a bit earlier than anticipated. Sometimes, life gets in the way.

But I'm back and ready for the home stretch of 2008! New stuff tomorrow (Monday, if you're keeping track) for sure.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

1992 Upper Deck

As part of a project for my other site, I've purchased a few boxes of unopened packs in search of Darryl Strawberry cards. But after opening a few packs, I realize that these cards are bad. Really bad. So what better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon than sharing the results of a pack from 1992 Upper Deck? I won't post every single pack I open, but from time to time a pack might be too bad to pass up. Lets start with the first one:



I'm glad Upper Deck went with an exciting new design for 1992, and they chose one that seems to have aged well. I still think it's a nice looking set, with color photos on both the front and back. Collector's Holograms are always nice; everybody loves futuristic technology on a piece of cardboard. "Random sequencing" seems odd to point out. Was there ever a time when cards weren't randomly sequenced in packs? And would it even really matter? The tamper resistant pack is nice; I can be assured that all of my packs are unsearched. I'd happily pay extra for that kind of security! And they're counterfeit deterrent, too. Just in case somebody felt like making copies of those fancy team checklists, I guess. Though counterfeiting a '92 Upper Deck card would be like faking a $1 bill: not worth the effort.

Now for some the highlights... let's see if I can find a Williams! (2,500 Ted Williams autographs are randomly inserted in packs, which is a ton by today's standards. Unfortunately, approximately three bazillion sets of '92 Upper Deck were produced, so the odds are against me.)



A drawing of Shawon Dunston. Kinda cool, except turn the card over and you realize it's a team checklist in disguise. Not cool.



Sweet, a Griffey! Too bad it's not the younger, more talented one. I really liked those old Mariners caps.



Let's see what Upper Deck wrote about this Kurt Miller character on the back:

The Oakland Athletics considered Miller a better prospect than Todd Van Poppel, but Miller was already drafted when Oakland's first pick came in the '90 draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates took Miller with the fifth overall pick, and he went 3-2 with a 3.29 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 65.2 innings for Class A Welland. Last season, he had a 6-7 record despite having a only a 2.50 ERA in 21 starts for Class A Augusta, fanning 103 batters in 115.1 innings. Towards the end of the '91 season, Miller joined a growing list of talented Pirates prospects who have been traded when Pittsburgh traded him to Texas for Steve Buechele. Miller, an exceptionally hard thrower, will arrive in Arlington soon. "He has a perfect delivery," one scout said. "The only way he's going to hurt his arm is if he's run over by a semi."

If I'd read 16 years ago that Miller was going to be better than the great Todd Van Poppel, I definitely would've put this card in a plastic holder. But he must've gotten run over by a semi, because I've never heard of him.



Calderon's haircut is the sole reason baseball never worked in Montreal.



Remember Albert Belle? Heh...

Well, this pack sucked. I'd put them all back in and try to resell it for nickel, but it's impossible. Damn tamper resistant packs...

Friday, November 21, 2008

The end of an era


Though admittedly not an era many people cared about. World #2 LPGA golfer - and one of the best of all time - Annika Sorenstam finished the final tournament of her storied career by missing the cut at the ADT Championship.

A bit anticlimactic, eh?

Sorenstam has made it known for the past six month that she planned on retiring at the end of the 2008 LPGA season to pursue business interests (re: cashing in on endorsements) and to get married and start a family.

Sorenstam has won 72 times in her career.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One game playoff? How about one day?!


Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff has an idea to shorten baseball's ever-expanding season... shorten the play-offs. Not a horrific idea at first glance; maybe he means do away with the excessive amount of travel days, or shorten the time between two series, right?

Wrong.

Wolff's idea is insane: Make the first round, the divisional series, a best of one. As in, winner take all. Hmmm...

I'm not so sure this is the best idea. People have actually been clamoring for a longer first round, making it best of seven like the League Championship series. And there are other ways to help the season end earlier, like shortening spring training.

But in these days of fan interaction, I've got a better to create excitement in baseball's post-season that'll rival college basketball's March Madness. Hear me out...

We've already taken any credibility out of the All-Star game by letting fans vote for the starters, so why not keep that going in October? Rather than play all 162 games, why not play just a couple months, for fun, and let the fans vote for the eight teams they want to see in the playoffs? And forget actually playing the games... B-O-R-I-N-G! The first round of the playoffs will be a home run derby! Each of the eight playoff teams will be represented by one player with the top two "teams" making the World Series. Yeah!

But of course, this will make the nine inning final showdown, the World Series itself, seem slow and anticlimactic. So we'll take a cue from 2008's series: a three inning game!

This level of excitement will put baseball back in to the undisputed role of America's Pastime. TV ratings will be sky high, and best of all, they could knock the entire post season out in one day! The season would finish by the time the hot summer months roll around and nobody likes going to games anyway.

Maybe Lew Wolff is on to something...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The price of success


It has happened for years. "It" being raising ticket prices before each new season, especially after one in which the team in question wins a championship, or at least competes in one.

And why should the Rays handle their success any differently that every other team always has?

Yeah, the Tampa Bay Rays are raising ticket prices $1-$5 each, including $16 starting prices for what they're calling "prime" games (i.e. the Yankees or Red Sox, I'm assuming) and entry level fees of $13 for key giveaway days or post-game concerts.

Usually I can understand the concept of raising ticket prices. Championship titles create increased interest levels in a team, which generally mean more people want to pay for a ticket. It's supply vs. demand at its most basic. But I can't say I agree with the Rays decision in this case.

Sure, they made the post-season for the first time ever, making it all the way to the World Series. But not only was 2008 their first post-season appearance, it was their first everwinning season since their inception in 1998. Why can't they string together another winning season or two before asking the fans to pay a little more for admission?

Speaking of fans...

They hardly had any before August of last year, and broadcasts were embarrassing to watch. Other than a few sections around the infield, the seats were mostly empty. And it's not as if the stadium itself sells tickets (a la Wrigley Field or Camden Yards). Catwalks under the ceiling are in play, wreaking havoc on outfielders. It's a mess.

And even though the Rays are reportedly looking to increase their payroll to the $50 million range, they certainly aren't struggling to write paychecks. As a small market team who struggles to fill seats as it is, mixed with today's struggling economy and financial hardship for Americans everywhere, I think the Rays are out of line here.

Repeat as champs of the AL East, and we'll talk.

15 Minutes


I know that plugging a computer with a 110v power supply into a 220v outlet will create magic smoke… I know that the Last Accessed time on a Macintosh computer’s Trash Bin is updated when a USB drive is attached… And I know that the attribute identifier for the Standard Information Attribute in a Master File Table record is 10 00 00 00. Why do I know these things? Because it’s my job… It is what I’ve done for most of every day since I turned 24 (which is about 8 years), and as a professional in my field it is expected that I know these things. Well, Eagle QB Donovan McNabb is in his 10th year as a professional in the NFL but is evidently still learning his job.

The Eagles-Bengals game on Sunday ended in a 13-13 tie, pursuant to a rule that has been in effect in the NFL since 1974; Sunday’s game marked the 17th time since the rule’s implementation that an NFL regular season game has ended in a tie (3 of which involved the Eagles – albeit before McNabb’s tenure). But, this is not newsworthy… What is newsworthy is what McNabb said in the postgame press conference: ``I never even knew that that was in the rulebook,'' he said. ``It's part of the rules, and we have to go with it. I was looking forward to the next opportunity to get out there and try to drive to win the game.''

In a league where the QB is the undisputed field general and leader of his team, and where we evaluate so much of a QB’s greatness on how he leads his team in the final period (see Favre or Elway or Montana), McNabb really dropped the proverbial ball on this one. Donovan… YOU ONLY GET 15 MINUTES! You are the QB of a team fighting for its playoff life in one of the best divisions in football with only a handful of games left to go and YOU ONLY GET 15 MINUTES! McNabb’s statement implied that he did not feel a sense of urgency when he was out on the field trying to skipper his offense to get at least within field goal range. I know you’re supposed to play every play the same way, with a sense of ferocity and determination that comes from that ultimate desire to be the best. However, I am realistic enough to know that is a utopian ideal and not reality, AND I am smart enough to know that when the game is on the line and the pressure is on, great players make plays. I think McNabb is a great player… So why he was ignorant of the fact that his playoff hopes could all but disappear if he failed to help his team score in the 15 minutes allotted for overtime and did not rise to that greatness, I do not know.

When all is said and done, despite the fact that his ignorance directly contributed to the Eagles failing to get a “W” on Sunday, his worst mistake was admitting it.

-RP

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good news, bad news

I'll start with the good. Jay Howell obliged my autograph request and returned my '92 Topps card with a nice looking autograph. Must've been a while since he'd receieved any requests; it looks like the marker didn't work well with the "J". Howell was a three time All-Star, which I didn't even realize until two seconds ago when I looked him up on Baseball Reference. He also won a World Series with the 1988 Dodgers.



Unfortunately, Lou Piniella was not as accommodating as Howell. It's technically not my first "failure", since the card I sent to Mark Leiter was returned because a bad address. But "REFUSED BY ADDRESSEE"? Ouch, how degrading! I've decided that he has become my least favorite current manager. Take that, Lou!

I've heard that Lou is hit-or-miss with requests, so perhaps I'll refuse his refusal and send the card right back to him.



Another success and an unfortunate failure. Oh well. I've got addresses and reported successes from Arnold Palmer, which would be neat, and also one for Anna Kournikova. Any ideas what I could send for her to sign?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Breaking Down the DH


This article appeared on ESPN.com today, based on an interview Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz gave to Boston's WEEI radio. There's nothing noteworthy in it; he pretty much just states that he "knew" Manny Ramirez was on his way out of Boston (who didn't?).

Read it, it really just states the obvious: Manny didn't like Boston and he wanted out. But the twisted, unorganized and difficult to understand quotes make for some interesting reading, if not a mid-day brain teaser.

"The Manny situation was a tough situation for the team, for us the teammates, for him as a player. He was trying to get to be out, everybody knows, it's not news, for the past few years and it was something that it was getting worse and worse and worse every year."

So it was a tough situation for the team, and the teammates? And Manny himself? Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but doesn't "teammates" cover all the bases? Nice to know from an insider that the Manny situation was getting "worse and worse and worse" with each passing year. They're must've been some serious tension in the clubhouse if Ortiz felt the need to say "worse" three times.

And thanks for reiterating that this is not news and that nobody should be listening to you or reading the article. ESPN should've just cut it off right there.

Ortiz also told Manny to "...pull yourself together and start getting connected with the media because that's how you express your feelings and people get to know more and Manny's good things, that people don't know about Manny."

I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around the end of that sentence, but I think he's telling Manny to be nice to people, because then you get offers to endorse anything and everything.

And then this, when asked about Ramirez quitting on the Sox last season: "Well, to tell you the truth, it was something going down between the Red Sox and Manny Ramirez that I can never really break that down for you because there's some personal reasons that he has with our owners and I never got to the bottom of it, and [he's] got his feelings. You know, Manny was, he got to the point that he really wanted to get to play for someone else."

Seems like a polite way of saying, "Yeah, he quit."

But my favorite line: "...the media is our family."

Nice! I'm kinda sorta media, so I'll be asking cousin Papi for tickets the next time the Red Sox travel to Anaheim.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Off season project, Another 'graph!


Other than Mike Mussina and possibly Lou Piniella, Sparky Anderson is arguably the biggest name of the cards I've sent out for signatures (though I've acquired more addresses in the past week). And looky here, ol' Sparky returned my 1992 Topps card, making him the second former player/manager to respond to my request. He's in the Hall of Fame - as a manager - so he's got that going for him, which is nice.

It's a bit sloppy, almost as if Sparky wasn't paying attention to how small the baseball card was. Or maybe the card slipped on the table he had it on, which would explain the odd slope of his name. Oh well, at least I managed to find a use for one of those dreaded manager cards.

Unfortunately, I've also gotten my first "return to sender" from Mark Leiter. Not that he was anything special, but he's from Toms River, New Jersey, the same town where my mom is from. I thought it'd be a neat autograph to secure, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

I've received a third autograph as well, so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse


Ryan Leaf, considered by many to be the biggest NFL bust of all time, has hit a new low.

He failed miserably with the San Diego Chargers, lasting just two years before one last shot with the Dallas Cowboys before being run out of the league. Today, he has been asked to leave Division 2 West Texas A&M University where he has held positions as both the quarterbacks coach and the golf coach.

No idea why they'd hire him to coach their QBs, most likely a publicity thing I'd guess, or perhaps a favor. But that's besides the point...

Leaf has been relieved of his duties after asking one of his players for a painkiller.

Since this is resulting in the termination of his job, it had to have been something stronger than a simple, over-the-counter pill, don't ya think? Leaf obviously has questionable decision making skills on the field, but who knew he had those same problems off the field as well? Even if it the request for pain killers was actually related to an NFL injury (which he claims, as reported here), there were better ways to go about getting them. Surely Leaf was on West Texas A&M's full time payroll, so he had to have had health benefits. Any reasonable person would go straight to an actual doctor for a solution, not a D2 quarterback.

That's how I'd handle it, anyway.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Success!


That was quick. I received my first autograph back in the mail yesterday, this particular one of Gregg Olson; more on him in a minute.

Although I've just begun this project, I've been enjoying it immensely. I know that Gregg Olson's signature (or the other autograph I've already received) doesn't mean much to the average collector. While he was once a first round pick, I know that his career eventually ended without much fanfare, just like many hot prospects before (and after) him. But writing brief index card notes thanking the players for their time brought me back to the days of being a little kid, writing to every address I could find, telling each athlete how they were my "favorite player" and that I'd "love to add their autograph to my collection." And thinking back, I only received one, a signed photo of Don Mattingly. I probably would've had more success if I included something to sign, or at least a self-addressed stamped envelope, but someone with the Yankees had Mattingly sign a picture and paid for the postage themselves (no big deal to them, I guess!). Very cool, especially to a seven year old.

Anyway...

Check out the scan above for my Gregg Olson hand-signed 1992 Topps #350. Some fun notes about Olson:

* He registered a save in a no-hitter (7/31/91)
* He was the first reliever to win the AL Rookie of the Year award (1989)
* He intentionally walked Barry Bonds with the bases loaded (5/28/98, with the Diamondbacks)
* He is a card carrying member of the Orioles Hall of Fame
* His only major league hit was a home run.

Stay tuned for more updates... and thanks, Gregg!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!



If these pictures of John Rocker don't scare you (found while searching for something completely unrelated, oddly), I don't know what will!

Have a fun, safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The end is here


The hopes and dreams of hundreds of lifelong Rays fans - some going so far back that they remember when they were called the Devil Rays - shattered Wednesday night when the Phillies clinched the 2008 World Series in a weather-postponed Game 5.

After a completely unexpected AL East Championship for Tampa, and a season where they never really let up, I don't know how many people expected them to fold so easily in Philadelphia.

Was it the cold weather? Perhaps. Should Rays manager Joe Maddon have let relief pitcher J.P. Howell bat instead of turning to a guy off the bench? Perhaps not. I can't say I hope to see the Rays back in the playoffs next season, because that means one less possible spot for my beloved Yankees to occupy.

So the Phillies are 2008 World Champs... yippee.

Bad Baseball would like to congratulate the runner-up '08 Tampa Bay Rays, the first losers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Off season project

I realize the baseball season hasn't ended yet. It might tonight, weather permitting, or perhaps it'll end later in the week down in Tampa.

Once it's over, I'll be posting a ton of "a look back" type stuff, including a final review of my preseason predictions, least valuable players, busts, etc., etc.

By now, you've hopefully had a chance to check out my other site, Darryl Strawberry Fields, a tribute to my Darryl Strawberry card/memorabilia collection. I've spent a ton of time in the past couple weeks going through boxes and boxes of old cards, some of which I didn't realize I even had. In the process of putting my Strawberry collection together, I've found that I have an absurd amount of worthless cardboard from the late 80's and early 90's, the heydays of my baseball card collecting hobby.

I've been thinking, too; What can I do to give these cards some sort of value? Autographs, of course!

That's right, I'm sending out tons of cards to "commons" from those 15-20 year old sets to have signed by the players pictured, using addresses I've obtained from this site. I'll be posting my successes and/or failures as they're returned to me. I have literally nothing to lose.

The following players' cards will be sent in the next couple of days: Lou Piniella, Jeff Reardon, Bud Harrelson, Mike Mussina, Ken Phelps, Jim Fregosi, Al Downing, Gregg Olson, Rafael Belliard, Tommy Greene, Pete Harnisch, Larry Sheets, Mark Knudson, Bob Kipper, Bob Tewksbury, Whitey Herzog, Fernando Vina, Sal Butera, Darren Daulton, Rick Reuschel, Mark Leiter, Jay Howell, Joe Morgan (this one), Craig Pauquette, Sparky Anderson, John Mabry, Barry Larkin, Steve Buechele, Vance Law, Jack McKeon, Mark Gubicza, Terry Leach, Bud Selig, Bobby Bonilla, Ron Santo, Jeff Torborg, David Nied, Von Hayes, Bob Friend, and Mark Parent.

It might seem random, but these are the guys most recently reported to have returned signatures to other collectors within a reasonable time frame (1-3 weeks). Some you've likely heard of, others probably not.

Here's hoping!

Check the attitude at the door


Generally, a game between last place teams in the NFC West would not be interesting material for a column. And while you may think (as I do) that the sheer ineptitude of either Seattle or San Francisco this year would be enough to warrant coverage on this esteemed forum, that is likewise not the purpose of this entry. What is blog-worthy about yesterday’s 13-34 thumping of the 49ers by the Seahawks is the visit to the field by the WHA-mbulance to pick up San Francisco TE Vernon Davis.

During the game, Davis was flagged with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taking a swipe at the facemask of Seattle Safety Brian Russell (a BS call, to be fair about it). But as a result of the incident, Niners Head Coach Mike Singletary removed Davis from the game and sat him on the bench to think about what he’d done. Singletary then sat down next to Davis and told him (by Davis’ own admission) that he had to be smarter than that and keep himself under control because he was hurting the team. But, when Singletary believed Davis was being nonchalant about the reprimand, Singletary “told him he'd do a better job for us right now taking a shower and coming back and watching the game than going out on the field, simple as that.”

You all know that it has been my contention for a long time that many football players in today’s NFL (and most professional athletes, for that matter) are spoiled, pampered, overpaid children that care little for their team and almost nothing for the game itself. (Maybe someday I’ll tell you how I really feel about it…) As such, I can do nothing but applaud Singletary for his actions on Sunday. Singletary, a replacement head coach in his first game ever at the position, took decisive action with a player that lost his cool and hurt his team for his failure to control his attitude (not the first time this has happened with Davis, btw). Singletary was one of the most hard-nosed players ever to take the gridiron, and he played for Mike Ditka for most of his career, so it is small wonder his tolerance for selfish stupidity is low. While Davis apologists have been saying things like “he is a good guy” and “he is a team player,” actions speak louder than words. True it was a bad call, but when Singletary yanked him and reminded him to be smart, it sure wasn’t Davis’ stellar can-do attitude that caused Singletary to send him to the showers. In short, I say drive on Coach Mike and become a shining example for the rest of the whipped head coaches and owners out there that have been taking crap from premadonna players for far too long now!

-RP

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rrrrrooooaaarrrrrr!!!!!


What you are about to read is the most outrageous sports story I've ever read. And I mean crazy. This makes the Mike Tyson ear-biting incident look like a Saturday morning Disney show.

Now, this is old; it appears to have happened in 2005, but I stumbled across it and could not pass it up.

The vaunted Cambodian Midget Fighting League (CMFL) has been disbanded.

Not for financial reasons or lack of public interest, but because the entire league lost a fight to a lion. "Lost" doesn't really describe what happened, though.

An angry fan apparently argued with league president Yang Sihamoni that one lion could defeat his league of 42 fighters, all at the same time. A true recipe for disaster, especially for a league that claims it'll "... take on anything; man, beast, or machine." And a disaster it was.

A lion was shipped in for the event and tickets were sold (sold out, in fact). David vs. Goliath; man (er, little people) vs. beast. The stage was set.

But really, it was over before it started. The fight was called after just 12 minutes when 28 fighters were declared dead and 14 others had suffered severe injuries, including broken bones and lost limbs, which made it difficult to fight back against a Lion.

With networks fighting for the next big reality show idea, I can't help but wonder about the potential this league might've had. Unfortunately, we'll never know.

See the full story here.

Kick it while it's down


With the economy crumbling all around us, thousands of jobs being lost on a daily basis, and more and more business going under every week, it's nice to see the Yankees kicking us when we're down.

I have a hard time justifying a $12 ticket to a Padres game; not necessarily the amount of money itself, but more so because of the quality (or lack thereof) of the product on the field. I can only imagine what fans in New York are thinking about the new Yankee Stadium.

According to this story in the New York Daily News, the new stadium got up to $850 million in taxpayer investments, but will leave little in return; just 15 full time jobs and a guaranteed increase in ticket prices.

Thanks, Hank!

I don't mean this to be a cheap shot against the Yankees; Yanks spokeswoman Alice McGillion does make several good points about the union jobs the new stadium will create, which is really all you can expect out of this type of business anyway. It's not like new Wal-Marts bring thousands of full time positions to communities in which they open, either. Ten years ago, this probably wouldn't have been a story at all (at least not from a financial standpoint).

What it should be is a wake-up call for those in favor of publicly financed stadiums. They cost hundreds of millions of dollars, always result in higher ticket prices, and always drain local economies. For more reading on the subject, check out the following links:

FromNCPA.org

From sportsline.com

From Coyote Blog

Google search results

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Johnson apology


After his recent run-in with the law, Chiefs RB Larry Johnson has issued an apology:

"I want to start off saying I apologize to the Hunt family, my family, first and foremost, the fans, teammates, coaches and players. This is the first time in my life I actually had to stand up, I mean actually woke up and kind of be disgusted with myself and disgusted as far as the way my life and my career is heading right now."

Nice, I guess, except that he says this was the first time he's felt "kind of" disgusted with himself? Was he not bothered by the three other similar allegations against him?

Wow.

Is there any more disgusting way to treat another human being than by spitting on him (or her)? Is there a way to show any less respect? And to do it and feel just kind of disgusted? What would it take to make Johnson feel full-on guilty about something?

It's too bad he won't learn from this event. He'll sit out another week, big deal. The NFL is going to "investigate", whatever that means. The guy's a jerk, plain and simple. Fine him, suspend him longer, do whatever.

As history has shown with these types of characters, it won't help.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Who said chivalry was dead?


OK, maybe it is to Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, who is accused of assaulting a woman at a nightclub, his fourth such accusation in five years.

This time, his move was to spit in a woman's face after telling her he was going to kill her boyfriend.

I'm not a therapist, but I'm sensing anger issues from Johnson, especially since a court date for an earlier incident in which Johnson shoved a woman in the face is still pending.

In taking a look at these sorts of actions on a larger scale, I can't help but wonder: What's wrong with these guys? I'm not just talking about the NFL. Between Johnson, Adam Jones (the Pac Man guy, not the Orioles outfielder), Joba Chamberlain, or whoever else makes headlines on a given weekend night, this is a problem that seems rampant.

At what point do they think they're above the law? How much money do they need to earn before they feel invincible? How much fame does it take before you place yourself above us mere mortals?

They may be better athletes, but so many of them are far from being better human beings.

Big news for Bad Baseball

OK, not really. It's definitely "news", though. OK, got me again, what I'm about to tell you is hardly newsworthy. Still, you should keep reading...

I've enjoyed working on Bad Baseball since it's inception just before the 2008 baseball season. I thought a site was needed to celebrate the other side of greatness - complete ineptitude. We celebrate wins and save leaders every year, track pennant races daily, and argue countless hours over MVPs. But nobody cared about the daily blown saves, four strikeout games, or teams being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in May. I was happy to fill that void on the internet.

Bad Baseball was my first foray into the rapidly expanding world of blogging, and I was happy to pick up help along the way, especially as the baseball season started to wind down and football (and basketball and whatever other sports there might be) gained steam. A handful of guest entries turned in to fairly regular contributions from one Ryan Pittman.

But I felt like Bad Baseball lacked a personal touch.

Read beyond the initial paragraphs in any of my entries and you'll find my personal opinions on the stories; I have plenty of them. And every so often I come up with something completely original. But still, not as personal as a lot of the blogs I've seen floating around on the web.

I've been wanting to start a separate site for a while now, but couldn't come up with a good enough topic for which I'd have enough material to sustain it for any amount of time. What is one thing I have more of than anyone else? What is something original, that appears nowhere else on the internet (that I could find, anyway), that people might actually be interested in? Because what good is a blog if nobody reads it, right?

The answer hit me harder than a referee lowering an elbow into my chest: Darryl Strawberry.

Since my earliest days as a baseball fan, he's been my favorite player, and I have literally thousands of Strawberry cards in binders, boxes, and plastic holders. I have shirts, books, and pictures. And most importantly, I have a scanner, which means a brand new spin-off blog can be found here. That's darrylstrawberryfields.blogspot.com for those of you looking to copy and paste the URL to a bookmarks bar.

Now to get to the question you're all asking: what does this mean for Bad Baseball (and other sports on occasion!)? The answer: absolutely nothing. I'll still update it regularly; the Strawberry site is simply something I wanted to do on the side. The site is obviously in its infancy, as I just came up with the idea last night, but you'll see the first additions in the next couple of days. I hope you all enjoy it, and thank you for your continued support of Bad Baseball.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cheap shot

Below is the video of the referee from Saturday night's LSU-South Carolina game before hitting SC quarterback Stephan Garcia. Was it intentional or not? You decide:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mascot decapitation

Fox News inadvertently captured Mr. Met getting his ripped clean off his body... check out the video below. Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I intend to play for the Yankees


Veteran lefty Andy Pettitte has declared that he intends to pitch in 2009, and he plans on doing it in pinstripes.

No kidding.

Pettitte earned $16 million in 2008 and gave the Yanks a 14-14 record and a 4.54 ERA. So why the hell wouldn't he like to pitch there again?

So now I'm putting my 2009 intentions "on the record": I intend to pitch for the Yankees, too. I don't need $16 million; I don't even really need $1 million. How does league minimum sound, Mr. Steinbrenner? I will take every opportunity to complain to the media, I will alienate myself from all teammates, I'll guarantee a handful of blown saves each month, and I won't even require a no-trade clause.

I'll be a poor man's Kyle Farnsworth.

And if being a "poor man's" anyone upsets you, then feel free to give me a huge multi-year deal, and I'll blow my arm out and never throw an inning for you. People everywhere will draw comparisons between me and the great Carl Pavano.

Still too much to stomach? You can call me a catcher, sign me to one of your mega-deals, and then I'll hurt my shoulder and never be able to actually catch, thus becoming an overpaid, underperforming DH. Jorge Posada, anyone?

Or if you really want to steal headlines from those pesky cross-town Mets, sign me to a deal that'll shatter ARod's, even though my production will be virtually equal to guys putting up similar numbers while earning millions less.

I'll grow a bushy mustache to distract people from realizing that I just posted the third lowest batting average of my career. I tend to sweat a lot, too, so nobody will know the difference at first base between me or this guy.

I can guarantee you, though, that I will not be an aging, injury prone, past-his-prime left handed starter.

And no matter what sort of deal I sign, I'll make sure to get wrapped up in a performance enhancing drug controversy, just to keep things familiar. But whichever path you choose, remember that I'm not getting any younger (hmmm... neither is Pettitte, for that matter), so choose quickly.

Either way, I intend to play for the Yankees next year.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Play of the Year candidate

Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky is giving Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson a run for his money for bonehead play of the year. Orlovsky ran clear out of the endzone for a safety in Sunday's game against the Vikings... see for yourself below.

Still juiced


Between the NFL season being in full swing, the weekly upsets in college football, and the MLB playoffs, it seems to have been gone almost unnoticed (I'm guilty, too) that Jose Canseco was detained for nearly 10 hours at a southern California border crossing after unprescribed fertility drugs from Mexico were discovered in his car.

I guess this confirms what steroids do "down there" for all of us non-users.

Authorities at San Diego's San Ysidro border crossing found human chorionic gonadotropin, which helps restore testosterone in steroid users. The drug is considered a banned substance by the World Anti-doping Agency for male use and is illegal without a prescription, which Canseco obviously didn't have.

Canseco was only allowed to leave after he agreed to a search of his Los Angeles home, and will appear in court Tuesday, October 13th.

Border crossing check-points are all over the place on remote stretches of highway in the southern part of California, especially as the highways head east into the desert and venture close to the U.S. - Mexico border. Everyone has to stop, and everyone is subject to random searches of their vehicle. I don't know how to get picked; maybe it's every certain number of cars, maybe you have to be wearing sunglasses at night. But at the borders, I believe everyone is searched, even if only briefly.

So why did Canseco think he wouldn't get inspected? HE'S JOSE FREAKIN' CANSECO, of course he's going to draw attention! What border patrol officer wouldn't want to brag to his friends and family about searching Canseco's car?? Did he even try to hide the medicine, I wonder? Didn't he think of just trying to mail them to his home?

Luckily for Canseco, he really doesn't have much to lose here. It's not like he has any shred of credibility or good reputation to maintain, and I doubt jail time (if there is any; doubtful) will interfere with the plans he doesn't have.

I'm just hoping he finds a way to spin this in to another book.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hat trick

We have the ignominious NFL trifecta today, my friends, as three of our favorite boneheads are again in the headlines.

AJones Do you remember just a year or so ago, when Adam “Pacman” Jones had all the trouble with the strippers and the money and the suspension and then was reinstated by the NFL? Well, apparently Pacman doesn’t because he engaged in a fight with one of his bodyguards this week that was rowdy enough that Dallas police were called in. The fight, incidentally, took place the night before Jones was scheduled to participate in a team meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the agent of both Jones’ suspension for previous off-field incidents and ultimate reinstatement. Now, in fairness I must disclose that police did not arrest or charge anyone in the incident, but this can certainly be added to the list of 12+ incidents involving Jones for which police have been contacted since he was drafted in ‘05. I could tell a long drawn out parable here about a frog and a scorpion and how people don’t change their natures, but I will spare you. The bottom line is that with Owens starting to come unglued (again), Romo appearing to have peaked so early in the season, and Jones reverting to form, the wheels might be about ready to come off the Great Jerry Jones Love Bus.

MJones Yet another Jones (this time Jags WR Matt) made news this week for having his cocaine charge moved from district court to “drug court”. What is that you say…? So what? Well, you see, this is actually a big deal because a conviction in drug court is not recorded as a criminal offense. This is the criminal justice system’s version of a slap on the hand and essentially nothing more than a glorified traffic ticket. Could this be a product of the fact that Jones was arrested in Fayetteville, AR, where he enjoyed a notable career as a popular college QB? TANGENT: Fayetteville is also 15-minutes from the home of everybody’s favorite Evil Empire, Wal-Mart, which makes it a scary place in its own right, but I digress… Jones got a “gimme” on this one. As much as we laugh at Ricky Williams’ marijuana merry-go-round, a very similar thing could end up happening to Jones, but with COKE! Despite the referral to drug court, Jones could still be suspended by the NFL, which I sincerely hope is the case. Somebody has to play parent here, and if it isn’t going to be Arkansas’ system of law, then it needs to be Goodell or Del Rio or somebody that can get through to this kid.

MHarrison Finally, Marvin Harrison has not quite managed to escape the episode earlier this year where, after he publicly fought with a man named Dwight Dixon, Dixon was shot with a specialized handgun owned by Harrison, which was later found secreted in a bucket of soapy water at Harrison’s car wash. Harrison was never charged by police (much to my amazement, as the forensic evidence is strong), and the case is officially still open, but now Harrison is being sued by Dixon for “serious and permanent injuries … and a severe shock to his nerves and nervous system.” Dixon’s position is that Harrison was the shooter, and he is seeking $100,000+ to soothe his shattered psyche. I am sure that Marvin desperately wants to move on from this, and I am not convinced it wouldn’t have been better off for him just to pay Dixon the requested amount (let’s face it, it could be far worse) than have this brought up in court and tried again in the court of public opinion. At any rate, I don’t see how this incident could make Harrison’s play much worse than it has been already this year.

Stay tuned… With Cedric Benson back in the League, I’m sure we’ll see more sequels in the months to come.

-RP

Bottom 10

Almost forgot: new Bottom 10 posted at ESPN.com. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Open bar, dude!


I've been to only two weddings in my life; my own and one other, so I hardly consider myself an expert on the topic. However, I do know the three things you MUST do if you'd like to alienate yourself from the wedding couple for the rest of your life:

1) Start a fight with the bride's father.

2) Include the bride's 19 year old brother in the brawl.

3) Make sure said brawl leads to multiple arrests.

Game, set and match for Astros pitcher Brandon Backe, who did just that at a wedding reception in a Gavelston, Texas hotel bar. A total of 10 people were arrested at the event.

Astros spokespeople are declining comment on the story, stating that since it's a legal matter it'd be inappropriate, though it certainly wouldn't be any more inappropriate that Backe's behavior, especially since he was a member of the wedding party.

On the groom's side, I'm hoping.

No telling what lead to the fight. Too much to drink from the open bar? Frustrations from another lost baseball season in Houston?

I'll tell you this; Backe better come up with a damn good wedding gift after this mess.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Speaking of Nebraska


It's funny that Lawrence Phillips has made headlines again, seeing as how I was just visiting his Alma Mater - the University of Nebraska - last weekend. Well, I guess it's not really funny... maybe fitting is a better word. Ok, I'll admit it: I'm still behind at work from the trip, and I'm still tired, and I wanted a way to tie in the trip to the blog, especially since I've been lazy and haven't posted anything to the site since Tuesday.

So, speaking of Nebraska...

Former Cornhusker Lawrence Phillips has been sentenced in Los Angeles to 10 years in prison after being convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. Not just any weapon, though. It wasn't the typical gun point robbery, or even a knife. Phillips's weapon of choice was his car.

On August 1st, 2005, Phillips drove his car into three teenagers when he became upset over losing a pickup football game.

Two things about that jumped immediately to mind:

1) Who reacts that strongly to losing a game that doesn't matter in the least? I play adult baseball, in which the talent level is above "pickup", but still, it's a league where we all pay dues to play, and tempers have certainly become heated between teams at times. But nobody has ever tried to kill an opponent. Hell, I'm pretty sure you'll get kicked out of the entire league for intentionally throwing at a batter (at least if it's a head shot), so running down the other team in your Pontiac would mean a pretty quick suspension. And truthfully, the main reason we all play so hard is because the quicker the game ends, the sooner we meet at the beach for beers. And the other thing that popped into my mind:

2) How does a teenage pickup team with Lawrence Phillips lose? If Andy Pettitte walks away from baseball this off-season and comes to play for the Bangin' Byrds (my adult team name; we're sponsored by Hooters), we would never lose a game. Ever. I don't think Pettitte would ever even give up a hit. So how did this pickup team with Phillips ever fall behind? I'd toss screens to him all day long, Reggie Bush style. Even after we amassed a 100 point lead, I'd still hand it to him, except maybe just ask that he run it up the middle.

Bizarre. At least jail will keep Phillips out of trouble (that we'll hear about, anyway). As for me, I'm off to put in a call to Pettitte's agent. Enjoy the weekend, everybody.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lucky Lane

Lane Kiffin, after weeks of rampant speculation, has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Lucky Lane.

He has been continually undermined by team owner Al Davis, who clearly has not been a supporter of Kiffin. Though other than signing his name to paychecks, his opinion isn't exactly valued in NFL circles.

Below is video of Davis, speaking about his decision to fire Kiffin.



Gross. I probably should've warned that the footage of the decrepit owner wasn't safe for work. A real class act, that Al Davis. He didn't even fire Kiffin in a face-to-face meeting; it was done via telephone. And now, a letter to Kiffin - from Davis - has surfaced, explaining the possibility of a firing with cause. Or, more specifically, without pay.

And I have that letter.

Well, ESPN.com had the letter, as do numerous other sites on the web, and I've copied and pasted it for you on this site. Note that it is the real, actual letter Kiffin received

Dear Lane:

Over the past months, you have made a number of public statements that were highly critical of, and designed to embarrass and discredit, this organization, its players and its coaches. I left you alone during training camp in hopes that you would cease your immature and destructive campaign.

However, you continue to make public statements that are critical of the organization, its players as whole as well as individual players. Such statements constitute conduct detrimental to the Raiders and I will no longer stand silently by while you continue to hurt this organization.

Further, your contract is quite clear that you work "subject to the direction and supervision of the General Partner" and that the General Partner has "the exclusive right to do all things, which in its sole discretion are necessary to maintain and improve the Club, the football organization and their activities."

I realized when I hired you that you were young and inexperienced and that there would be a learning process for you. Your mistakes on player personnel and coaches were overlooked based on our patience with you. But I never dreamt that you would be untruthful in statements to the press as well as on so many other issues. Your actions are those of a coach looking to makes (sic) excuses for not winning, rather than a coach focused on winning.

For example, with the exception of Gibril Wilson, you were involved in recruiting all free agents and determining salaries for them and you were explicit about your desire to sign Javon Walker and DeAngelo Hall amongst others. All were a must to sign in your eyes, Hall, in particular, because he played for Greg Knapp in Atlanta and Knapp gave him high grades. Do not run from that now.

I do realize that you did not want us to draft JaMarcus Russell. He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field, that is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team!

In regards to your recent fabrications about the defense, during the final cuts you made every cut on offense and every cut on defense except for (Fred) Wakefield on defense and (Seth) Wand on offense. Furthermore, during the game Monday night (defensive coordinator) Rob (Ryan) played your Cover-2 defense and we got killed on an approximately 50-yard touchdown pass and an approximately 70-yard gain that led to a field goal.

You meet every week with the defensive coaches to go over both the past game and to get a general feel for what will happen during the week in practice. You have the ability and authority to provide your input during those meetings and the preparation of the game plan. I do not have weekly meetings with Rob -- you do.

During the week no one has ever told you what to do on either offense or defense. In addition, no one has ever told you during a game what to do on either offense or defense and you call every play on offense. During a game if you want to blitz more, all you have to do is let Rob know what blitz you want and he will do it.

Although you continue to use the media to express your dissatisfaction with others, no one has publicly pointed out to you that in four preseason games and one regular-season game played this year, your offense has scored one first-half touchdown. That put tremendous pressure on the defense.

I know that you wanted to bring your father in to run the defense and that Monte told me that he wanted to come here even though he as (sic) under contract to Tampa. However I did not want to tamper with another team. In any event that was over seven months ago. Do not now also run from the defense and your responsibilities.

This letter constitutes notice that if you further violate any term of your contract, in any manner whatsoever, you will be terminated for cause. I trust that this will not occur.


Though Davis attempts to demonstrate that Kiffin is the sole reason for the Raiders troubles, all I see is the most naive owner in the history of sports. My personal favorite is Davis's blaming of Kiffin for poor player acquisitions, then saying he could win this team. Riiiiiiiight...

And how awkward does this letter make things for JaMarcus Russell in the Raiders locker room?

The following is video of Kiffin's reaction to the circus that was his firing.



Again, Lucky Lane. Wherever he surfaces next will surely be better than the situation Oakland.

I'm back

I'm back from vacation. Physically more than mentally, so bear with me as I catch up on real life responsibilities. Hope everyone enjoyed a college football weekend that was littered with upsets.

**Tuesday afternoon update**

While I'm still playing "catch up" at work, check out this week's Bottom 10 at ESPN.com.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's my Friday

It's essentially my Friday, as I'm leaving town Thursday afternoon for Lincoln, NE for the Virginia Tech - Nebraska game. ABC Saturday night prime time (in some areas), in case you're planning on watching.

Anyhow, I figured a mascot brawl compilation would be appropriate, so enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's over


It's finally over. For the first time in 14 years, the Yankees will miss the playoffs.

Is it a surprise that the run would come to an end in 2008? For most, probably not. They needed an amazing second half of baseball in '07 to get in, and last year's squad certainly didn't get any younger.

Even casual fans could see the end coming, and most were probably surprised it didn't end sooner.

There have been a couple of problems that have lead to this point, the biggest being the age of the team. Jorge Posada, Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettite, and Mike Mussina are all long past their prime playing years (Mussina's career year non-withstanding). And their young talent - namely Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy - have failed, so far, to live up to expectations.

Alex Rodriguez has been a constant distraction. Though he'll likely go down as the best player to ever play the game (or will certainly be in the argument, at the very least), he simply hasn't justified his exorbitant contract.

So where do the Yanks go from here?

The contracts of Giambi, Abreu, Pettite, and Carl Pavano (finally!) will expire in about a month. Will General Manager Brian Cashman stay on board and continue to try to rebuild through the draft? Or will Hank Steinbrenner make like his father and throw big bucks at impending free agents CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira?

One thing for certain is that this will likely be a very different team in 2009, and it has to be, since the AL East is no longer just a two headed monster.

The only thing left for me to wonder about now is what to do with all the newfound free time I'll have in October. I already watch a ton of college football. I have yet to reach a fantasy football league playoff in the main league I follow, so perhaps I'll dedicate more time there.

I'm sure I'll watch some, if not most, of the MLB post-season action, though it won't be the same. But admit it, love 'em or hate 'em, you'll miss the Yankees in October.

Sheffield vs. Carmona

Almost forgot to post this. Enjoy it before MLB cracks down...

**UPDATE**

Surprise, surprise... MLB cracked down and this video, like nearly all others associated with Major League Baseball has been pulled from the web. But fear not, loyal readers: I've found a site that still has the video posted. Check it out here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Got a case of the Mondays?

I usually save videos for Fridays, but this gem is too good to pass up.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Less famous family members

When I first started this site, I made a list of various feature stories to run for slower times, knowing that material might not be as easy to come by as the baseball season wound down. One of those ideas was "Less Famous Family Members", because I always wondered what it must be like to live under the shadow of a significantly more talented (in the sports world) brother or father (or sister or mother, though I can't think of any mothers more famous than their sons or daughters off the top of my head), especially when both family members were at least both good enough to play professional level sports.

Because to be one of the best in the world, yet clearly not the best in your own family? Ouch.

Today I'm featuring a guy I like to call "the little brother that could."

First, lets compare career (to date) stats.

Player A: 372 hits, 209 RBIs, 52 HRs, 251 BBs, and has earned a combined (again, to date) $3,775,500.
Player B: 1805 hits, 1276 RBIs, 395 HRs, 1200 BBs, and has earned a combined $101,630,425 ... not counting endorsements.

Though when it comes to appearances in the Mitchell report, both are tied at one.

Player A, both less talented and famous, is this guy.

Other than the money he's earned (although low by athlete standards), life has really sucked for Jeremy Giambi. Him and his brother, Jason, were both raging steroid users, yet the drugs seemed only to have worked for one of them; Jason has hit over 1,400 more homers. And while Jason might "only" be remembered for one flaw (the 'roids), Jeremy will never, ever live down his non-slide in the 2001 American League Division Series against the Yankees. You know, the one where a horribly out of position Derek Jeter miraculously flipped an errant relay throw to Jorge Posada, who proceded to tag Giambi on the shin.

The Yanks would go on to rally from two games down to win the series, 3-2. And since ESPN ranks it the 45th most memorable sports moment of the last 25 years, Jeremy gets to relive it over and over and over again.

And I bet if you asked their mother for her word association with "Giambi", she thinks of Jason, too.

He even signs his name like a jackass.

Now that I think about it, maybe "the little brother that could" is inappropriate. He's proven to be more the little brother that couldn't.