Friday, November 24, 2006

Please Standby For Technical Difficulties

Thank you for your patience...

After two weeks of hassling the Blogger website, I finally was able to get on to the site and now, can again write my wannabe "Sports Guy" column. I have about two weeks to cover, so I'll try and remember everything that's happened, and attempt to make smart observations along the way. Stay tuned for inadvertant humor.

So that whole Matzusaka thing...ok I was wrong about that. The Sox put in a winning bid of $51.1 million, blowing away the Yankees and Mets, who both were bidding in the 30's. Now the question is, will the Sox pull the trigger and get a deal done? Honestly, I'm not so sure anymore. At first, I was thinking, "well, ya know, the Sox drained a lot of funds into getting the guy, it would only make sense if they signed him to a four or five year deal." However, now this is my thinking. You know this guy is a free agent next year for Seibu, so why are we getting this guy now? Reason #1, we want to bolster an aging starting rotation (see Schilling, Wakefield). Reason #2, we want a limb in the Japanese market so we can spread the pink hats throughout a hot economy that has previously been unrealized. But the most intriguing of them all would be Reason #3, the team he can't play for this year. Your New York Yankees. The more this thing drags on, and the more Boras remains totally sold that he will get 14 a year for this guy, the more I'm thinking this is an incredibly large decoy for the Sox. Why wouldn't you just try and sign the guy next year? I think it's probably to keep him out of pinstripes. Sure, people back in Japan and perhaps Matsuzaka will take it as an insult, but I mean come on, $51.1 million? For a guy who never pitched in the majors? Come on now. Ichiro got a bid of $17.7 million, then he signed a 3 year, $12 million contract. Ichiro! The guy is an ungodly good hitter, perhaps the best pure hitter in the last decade (maybe Tony Gwynn will say something about that?), but the point remains, this guy wouldn't be worth dumping an average of around $25 million (bid price averaged over 5 years plus his expected base of 14 mil). No way. This is another ongoing issue with the Sox I probably will not understand.

Speaking of which, thanks for going after Soriano there. This guy is the best athlete in the majors. Period. He demolished 40/40 last year, with the Nationals, in a pitcher-friendly park. Also, this guy has character issues? Ok? How about Julian Tavarez and the now highly-touted free agent Julio Lugo. Character issues? He might go 50/50 next year! Can you honestly recall a great all-around player at second for the Sox? (If you say Bellhorn, just remember this phrase: "Swing and a miss, strike 3."). Oh well, another smart signing by the Cubbies (re-signing Ramirez and re-upping on Wood for bargain-basement value), who all of a sudden have directed their missles sraight at the defending champs.

An interesting move went down the other day. Gary Matthews, Jr. signing a 5-year, $50 million contract with the Angels. Here's another great example of playing amazing in a contract year (NBA equivalent: Vince Carter). One great, correction, top-10 I've ever seen, catch, and a 20/20 season later, and Matthews is rolling in the cash. Good for 'dem, a-good for dem! This guy is going to be absolutely atrocious. This is going to be like Raul Mondesi bad. Juan Pierre also got $44 mil over 5 from the Dodgers. Hey, didn't they sign a lead-off guy last year? Wow, the power outage will be felt big time on opening day. No J.D. Drew means that Nomar guy's going to have to have another great year or the Dodgers will have to wonder why they didn't go after a power guy. Relying on your pitching for an entire year works in the short-term, but once you go into September, the wheels will come off the wagon. Now, they have Pierre and Furcal at the top of the lineup. Two guys with terrible OBP's, but apparently, the Dodgers are banking on the speed and not on common sense.

Back to the Sox. Apparently they are about to dump a ton of cash at J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo (further making me think the D-Mat deal ain't happening). Ok, why? I've already made my case against Lugo, who I've seen for four or five years playing for the D-Rays, but J.D. Drew just stabbed his former team in the back and walked away from $33 mil for the next three years. What kind of guy is this (Soriano with less talent?). I don't know what to think anymore. Are we getting pinstripes next year? Spend to win. Weren't we the anthesis of the free-spending Yanks. Now, the Yanks are trying to par down their payroll while we continue to jack ours up. Unbelievable. Is Theo really that good? I'm not so sure about it. It used to be, "In Theo We Trust," now it's "In Theo We Trust, Just Don't Screw It Up Again."

Celtics and Bruins are firing on all cylinders. Thank you! Unfortunately, the Celts lost the other night to the Bobcats. It wasn't a pretty game, but I did come out of it with the following:

1.) Ryan Gomes is ridiculous. Unforuantely, he is log-jammed in with Paul and Wally at the 2-3 positions. They are trying him out at the 4-spot, but you have to wonder how playing 30 mins a night for 70 games is going to wear on him physically. Anyway, the kid's an awesome talent and should be good for years to come.

2.) Rajon Rondo should be this team's point guard. That's it. Granted, we're 10 or so games into the season, but this kid looks like he is totally comfortable with the game speed right now. Telfair looks very hesitant about taking command of the game and seems unwilling to make the big play. Rondo should be receiving more minutes in the next couple of weeks, but then again, with Doc's backward logic and amazingly high substitution rates, I'm not so sure how that's all going to go down.

3.) Kendrick Perkins is not going to pan out. I wanted him to, but it's just not happening. This guy's had three years to mature, and he's not even close. Raw talent only gets you so far. You have to refine your game after a while. It just seems like he's running with concrete boots and cannot get down the court like other big men can. I was a big Perk supporter, but now, with the plethora of big men going out in the draft next year (Oden, Hansbrough, Baby Shaq), you have to wonder if the end is near for Perk. Also, you could make the argument that Big Al could fill in at 5...I mean I'm not making it, but you could see some young whipper-snapper thinking that.

The Pats are back, but, then again, they never really went anywhere. Coupled with two Packer quarterbacks going down and the re-emergence of the running game, the Pats slapped a beat-down on the Pack, 35-0. That was awesome. You didn't think they'd lose three in a row did you? Finally, Bill probably just figured, "hey let's just run the ball, I think we got to 6-1 that way." And so it was. Another interesting story coming out of the week is the emergence of Reche Caldwell, who has become the new #1 receiver. It was thought that Doug Gabriel would be taking over that role, but throughout the last few games, Caldwell has stepped up and proven to a great option, especially going over the middle. Just hope the Pats can continue this bit of mini-momentum and man-up against the "Monsters of the Midway." (By the way, Pregame will be at Foxboro...we are a roudy bunch and we're gonna be showing that, big time.). I have the over/under on Grossman turnovers (fumbles + INT's) being at 4. I think that's about right. This guy will throw at least 3 INT's and throw for less than 150 yards. Book it. The big thing is going to be the run D, which looked pourous against the Jets, but proved to be tough against Green Bay last week. Thomas Jones is one of the most underrated players in the league. He is again going over 1,000 yards for a deficient offense. This guy is amazing, and could potentially bury the Pats as far as field position and time of possession. The Bears D is good, but they can be had. First, you need pass protection for Brady. This team loves the speed rush, with Brown and Ogunleye coming off the ends and Tommie Harris (the new "it" guy) blowing up the middle. Couple that with the second-best linebacking core in the NFL, (come on now, Junior Seau is going to get 100+ tackles this year, how can you not love us?) this team has a very formidable front 7. Second, exploit that secondary. These guys are insanely overrated. With a decent amount of pass protection, they will be shown in their true light. Mike Brown is out for the year and they still haven't found anyone who is a big playmaker in the secondary like him. Look for a lot of looks to Caldwell. I don't believe check-downs to running backs and tight ends will work because of the speed of Urlacher and Briggs. The Pats will have a lot of eight in the box sets. They have to be careful about the big plays to Moose or Berriman (who's return to the starting lineup is questionable at this point). Moose burned the G-Men, and Berriman was in the top-5 in receiving yards before his injury. Overall, this is going to be a barn-burner and should be an amazing game.

By the way, teams with coaches wearing suits on the sidelines: 2-0...Not trying to suggest anything (ahem, Bill...Bill!). Al Davis should get a limo for Art Shell to be tailored.

Fantasy Update: I'm still kicking ass. Amazing. The winning streaks continued despite an early Marques Colston injury. (By the way, he better come back. I mean that guy's ankle could literally deep-six both my fantasy teams.). I ran my Yahoo! winning streak to 7, but have a tight matchup this week against the second-place team in my league. In my ESPN league, I am tied in second, playing the other second place team. I got a big week right here, but all I'm saying is, just get me to the playoffs. After that, anything goes. Right now, I'll take a bye week. But then again, what's the fun in that? What if my guys just go off? That would all be wasted. Anyway, the LJ vs. LT debate is still ongoing, and yes, if I had it over, I should have gone with LT over LJ. The fact of the matter is, could I have possibly forseen Trent Green getting concussed in the first game? Also, did you really trust Phillip Rivers, who, through two years, had a combined total of zero starts? Oh well. Live and learn. Despite a few injuries, I have managed to maintain my hot streaks. Livin' it up while the getting's good.

I'm sure I'll think of other ramblings, but for now, sit back, relax, and enjoy LSU vs. Arkansas. Can you believe our luck that they would schedule this game on Friday where, otherwise, there would be absolutely nothing to do. That's called timing. Good stuff. Alright kids, have a good Thanksgiving break. I will be reporting about the Carolina-Clemson game and the Pats game coming up. Plus, the BCS will probably screw it up again, so stay tuned for that. Also, watch out for Wednesday Night, when UNC hosts Ohio St. in college hoops in an early blockbuster matchup. Whoever created the "ACC-Big-10 challenge," yeah, that was genius. Take care now. Peace.


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