Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And That's The Facts, Jack!

"They're all in there, all of them! Just lying and laughing!"

Right off the bat, I have to say that if we played the Maple Leafs every game, we would be raising a banner at the Garden. The Bruins beat Toronto again last night 4-1, giving them a 3-0 record over the Leafs this year. Impressive? Well, yeah. But when you consider they're 8-9-2 against all others, putting them last in the Northeast Division, well, not so hot. The B's are 25th in the league in goal differential (-0.55 gpg) and have no one in the top 10 in any category, whether it be goals or penalty minutes, we got nothing. As a Bruins fan, I will continue to support my team, but I can't help but think I'm going to have a family and kids before the B's make a serious run at the Cup. So, there it is boys, you got between 10-20 years to make it happen. By the way, all the above was provided by the ESPN phone, which I'm convinced would have been an absolute mega-hit had it not been for every carrier requiring a 2-year agreement from the customer. Just bad timing. Well, now at least I know someone, or something, that has as bad of timing as I do.

Celtics are in first in the Atlantic. I don't know how I feel about this. I mean I should be happy, but we're 5-8...5-8? And we're in first? Wow. Also, another reason I'm not overally thrilled about this is the fact that there is a gigantic stable of big men coming out next year, including the next big thing, Ohio St. stud Greg Oden. I do have to say that they are about one more star away from getting a real good team. Talks in the offseason about A.I. and KG came and went. Again, this is just the Boston media toying with you. They do it all the time with the Sox, now they have moved to the Celtics, dangling mega-stars in front of us like we're mules chasing a carrot. And then you read about who we're giving up. Ok, let me see, we're trading Wally, Big Al and a first round pick for Allen Iverson? And they're in deep negotiations with them? No way! And again, nothing happens. This is what happens when you have a really great sports town with the best fans in the world. People are literally hinging on everything that Bob Ryan, Tony Maz, and Dan Shaugnessy, amongst others, have to say. So if they get a whisper of some potential deal that might go down, it is all over the papers and the internet. As I am writing this, I am looking at "The Buzz" off of the Globe's website (more on that later). It builds you up just to let you down. However, the build up is really fun to watch and observe. It's basically included as a part of your initiation into being a die-hard Boston fan.

Ok, so to the potential deals that have been reported, and again, these have probably a 50% chance of getting done, and nothing greater. The big story so far this offseason, beside Dice-K (oh by the way, very interesting news on that whole thing) has been the continued pursuit of trading Manny, which has been tireless and has been going on for the last three years. This stuff continues to have grumblings around it, but nothing ever gets done. We hear about this right up until the trade deadline, and yet, he's still here. I can only think of two reasons to keep him. One, the obvious reason, is that he hits behind Papi and, without Manny in the four-hole, Ortiz is likely to be drawing Bonds-like walk numbers this year. Manny just produces. He has not had a year with the Sox in which he did not go .300/30/100. He has been the staple of the lineup. Literally, only one guy, 'Tek, has been here as close to as long Manny has as far as hitters. Secondly, he adds a lightness to the locker room which is sorely needed right now. This team is becoming more business/Yankee-like with every day. I will say it again. The days of the "idiots" are gone, and I really am starting to miss those days. Papi buying the biggest Pedro bobble-head doll of all time, duct taping Petey to the dugout, and my favorite, the shot of Schilling looking over his notes, with Manny in the background openly laughing and shrugging his shoulders like he just didn't even have the foggiest idea what was going on. His aloofness is, to me, almost like a hustle he is putting on the rest of baseball. This showed up big time in 2005, when he led the majors in outfield assists. It's like the guy is just so goofy that you find it hard to take him serious, but once he gets between those lines, it's, for the most part, strictly business. But that's the thing. The Sox are adapting this new, up-tight persona, and a guy like Manny is the antithesis of what they are looking for. It appears as though he just doesn't try his absolute hardest every time he's out there. Looking at a guy like Varitek, they have a prototype of the gamer, a guy who gives literally everything he has and leaves everything out on the field. Ramirez's market right now is the hottest it has ever been. With the recent increase of the salary cap, teams have been on a spending spree that is similar to the year the Sox signed Manny (that same year: A-Rod, Mike Hampton, and yes, even Denny Neagle got absolutely ridiculous, long-term deals). With Soriano getting 136 for eight years, Carlos Lee getting 100 for six, and even guys like Moises Alou and Adam Eaton getting 8 a year, teams are looking at the 36 due to Ramirez over the next two years, and it can almost be forseen as a bargain for him right now. The new "hot" rumor has to do with the Padres, who apparently have changed their stance about Manny being too much money. They have upped their offer, including the likes of, either Jake Peavy or reliever Scott Linebrink, and, possibly, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. If any of this is true, your run to make that trade. You run. Right now, even a Peavy for Ramirez deal, straight up, is a lock. Peavy is easily one of the top 5 pitcher in the NL. Last year, he posted a 13-7 record with a 2.88 ERA. A year before that, he posted 15-6 with a 2.27. Ok, yeah, with a potential starting rotation of Beckett, Schilling, Peavy, Dice-K, and Wakefield, you won't have to worry about anyone hitting behind Ortiz. In a long series, this pitching would be absolutely devastating to their opponents. And not only that, but Manny would be in the AL, which means no vengeance games, unless of the outside chance the Padres make a serious run and wind up in the World Series. I'm big on vengeance, and I think if you trade this guy to the likes of a Cleveland, Chicago, Texas, Anaheim, or anyone else in the AL, he will make you pay every single time you play that team. This is why I think that trading him to the NL has to be a very attractive option for the Sox. As of right now, if he goes anywhere, Manny's going to San Diego or LA. Either way, the Sox need to either do the deal now, or pull the plug, because you don't need these ongoing issues plaguing the team throughout the offseason and into spring training.

Now the other big story, of course, has been "The Monster," Dice-K. Here's a new twist to this scenario. Remember that $51.1 million that the Sox dropped on the negotiating rights (yeah, you do), well, it turns out, this sum is non-refundable. That's actually the biggest turn of any turn imaginable. Can you even fathom if we don't sign this guy? From the information gathered, the Sox could potentially lose over $50 million for nothing. This is an amazing piece of leverage now for Boras, who can basically wheel and deal and not have to worry about the Sox ever bowing out. This is an absolute remarkable set of circumstances the Sox, who now are backed into a corner, and basically have to get a deal done by the middle of December, or else, they lose a huge chunk of change and lose out on, arguably, the best pitcher of the offseason. Now that I know this, I'm not so sure that this is a bluffing mechanism for keeping Matzusaka away from the Bronx fact, I know that this is no joke now. They have to get a deal done, I repeat, have to get a deal done, or else this is going to wind up on some list of all-time most disgraceful moments in the history of sports. Godspeed Theo.

One last thought. Whoever created that "Guitar Hero" commercial needs to be executed immediately. And I don't even think a gas chamber is close to how much pain and misery this guy, or guys, need to go through. I'm thinking kind of a "Bravehart" deal, but more severe. It should definitely be public though. I mean that's a given. The amount of effort it takes for me to find the remote, change the channel, and then attempt to remember exactly what I was watching, and what channel it was on, makes me believe that this will be like a town gathering type of affair. I can never enjoy that song ever again...then again I never was too fond of it anyway. All I knew was that, on the radio, they would play "Eruption" right before it, which is bad ass. But yeah, that guy has to be put down. And another thing, while I'm on the subject of video games, what is with the Nintendo Wii? Are you kidding me? I remember seeing this exact same invention like five years ago. Remember when they had that tennis game, and you had the racket, trying to return the opponent's shot? It's the exact same thing. It's like Duck Hunt but with a more Japanese name. That's the other thing too. I believe that if you put a Japanese name on anything, it will amazingly make it seem more original and more advanced than anything out there. Look at origami. It's folding paper! Yet, that was the cool thing to do. What about that little, make-believe pet thing? Remember that was like the "it" thing like three or four years ago? Where are you now? This thing is expensive too, and people are going nuts for it. It's just another example of our reality-show watching, Generation Moron-selves. You wonder why Bush got 8? Look no further than the Nintendo Wii. Alright, I'm done with my political smackdown. Later on people. Peace


Wait one more thing, do you know what week it is? I have to say this is the most underrated weeks ever. Give up? Guess who's playing on Saturday?...Cal-Stanford. And you know what that means...All week on Classic. All week! Hit that trombone man one more time! You can put it on the board, YES!...

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