Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Snow Globe Of Emotions

"We've been living life inside a bubble."

Alright, so I'm trying to get back in the swing of things now that everyone is back from February Vacation and all that good stuff. I realized a few things while the kids were gone:

A. I really want to be a teacher. I mean I can be accused of changing my mind as to what I want to do about ten thousand times, but this time, I really can see it happening. Plus, it's a nice lead-in for me to be a coach, which is something I've always wanted to do. In a way, I'm following in my Dad's footsteps (he was a middle school teacher and a golf coach for those of you that were not aware), and that's not necessarily a bad thing at all.

B. If I am not working or keeping myself busy, I have way too much time to think. Thinking, of course, is a good thing, but you can almost OD on thinking about everything, especially your present state, past events, etc. If you're busy, you can't stop and lament on little details and what not. That's when my emotions go up and know, thinking about good times, and not-so-good times.

C. I realize that the Cape is a seasonally driven area and that it's obviously not in-season, but even so, why are there so few bars around here? I mean the options for something to do are extremely limited around here, and inevitably, it all comes back to just getting hammered. Then, business will boom even more when the tourists come and set-up shop come April. If you get a few new places, it will have a multiple-pronged impact. First, and most importantly, with competition comes lower drink prices and specials and all that. There are no happy hours down here. What kind of a place has no happy hours? Second, the bars that are open are usually packed. If you spread the action out, the drinks come quicker, the tips are bigger...everyone wins in that scenario. Finally, with more places means more jobs. I understand that it's not the best time to be putting money in a service-driven industry, but still, I'm quite sure that not everyone was jilted by the economy as much as others, so it's not inconceivable for a titan of industry-type to open up a location by the beach. In any event, you're putting at least 15-20 people to work, and right now, that's what everyone desperately needs. I understand the explanation was probably not necessary, and that it's common sense, but it's not being done, which makes me believe that maybe I have to write it down for people to kind of understand it.

D. I have not made nearly enough lists here. So what I'm hoping to do is to make up some random top ten or whatever in each column. I have realized that most of what I write is basically being written about by any sports enthusiast with a computer. So with that, I'm hoping to differentiate myself a little bit. Plus, this gets a little too serious sometimes. So, here's something for you:

Top 10 Cereals That Double As Snacks:
  1. Cap'n Crunch (esp. Peanut Butter)
  2. Cocoa Puffs/Reeses Puffs
  3. Cookie Crisp
  4. Frosted Mini Wheats/Shredded Wheat
  5. Chex/Crispix
  6. Golden Grahams
  7. Kix
  8. Lucky Charms
  9. Honey Comb
  10. Cheerios/Fruit Loops
(Honorable Mention: Cinnamon Toast Crunch...a snack staple, but gets points deducted for the stickiness it created on your hands, and then it gets on the computer/'s a hassle sometimes...but I still love it.)

So I guess no one outside of Connecticut is too high on Jim Calhoun right now (he coached at Dedham High in case you didn't know). When asked about the $1.6 million he makes coaching UConn, he came back with "I make more than that." Now while I don't have a problem with Calhoun prospering in these bleak economic times, I kind of have a problem with someone who gloats about it. Does he deserve it? Quite possibly. He has put the program on the map, fields a top 10-15 team every year, and has won two national titles, so on those merits, he probably is worth being the highest paid state-employed worker in Connecticut. Still...kind of a pompous attitude about that isn't it? I know people who have met Calhoun and have only good things to say about him, but this episode kind of dispells his character to a certain extent in my mind. The man is obviously very good at what he does, at gets compensated as such, but there really is no reason to flaunt that around is there? Especially when people who have lost their jobs and are in kind of a pinch still pack Gampel Pavillion and the Civic Center every game the Huskies play. He's a great coach, but I can't see him shaking this sort of "flaw" that has come to light (that entire paragraph, I was expecting myself to just erase the whole thing and turn in a pseudo-Seth Meyers "Jim Calhoun...really?!")

Spring Training is here...oh thank God! This has to be one of the most intriguing teams in recent memort, and you probably have to go back to the '04 season, when the Sox added Schilling and were coming off the Aaron Bleeping Boone game, to find a team that no one is quite sure how they will respond. What's interesting is that in both seasons, the Sox were coming off of Game 7 losses to an AL East rival in the win away from making the World Series. This is the first full season of the post-Manny era. Can you believe that it's been almost a decade since someone else was in left field on Opening Day? There's that, Papi and Lowell's health (which have major implications on Ortiz and Lowell, the organization itself in terms of the trade deadline, and the progression of Lars Anderson in the minors), the Lugo/Lowrie "competition" at short (on 'EEI today, D&C interviewed Lugo, and the Big Show was commenting on what the most surprising thing about the interview about the fact that someone was interviewing Julio Lugo?...I mean seriously, who cares? Lugo can talk all he wants to, but he has been garbage while playing for this team...what I don't get is that why do the Sox get rid of guys that could do them a lot of good (OC, Hanley Ramirez, Freddy Sanchez A-Gon) and for whatever reason, they continue to be enamored with guys who are much more destructive than anything (Renteria, Lugo)?), but to me, the thing I am really looking forward to, and am anticipating more than anything, is how the additions will help the team. Rocco will basically be what Mark Kotsay was last year (and Kotsay will be like what Sean Casey was last year...I know, it's confusing), and he's already sick of people asking how he's doing health-wise...I really can't blame him, but I guess that's the kind of thing you have to expect when you're playing in Boston, and everyone has to know everything about this team (to put it in perspective, we had a parade for the eighteen-wheeler that was bringing down the equipment to Fort Myers...we kind of like this team...just a little). Brad Penny, Takaishi Saito, and coming in June, John Smoltz (that kind of sounded like a preview of a summer blockbuster). Plus, there's Ramon Ramirez, who apparently is just lights-out against righties (held them to .153 last year in 137 at-bats over 64 games), Masterson will be in his first full season, Jason Bay in a contract year and his first full season with the Sox as well, the prospect train is literally chugging down Route 95 and will arrive in Fenway come September...there's so many questions and so many things to think about that it really has me amped for this season. I didn't really have a point to any of it outside of the fact that I cannot hide my excitement for the '09 season in the least bit.

Being the #1 team in the country in college basketball is basically an invitation to get beat within a week of hitting the top spot. For the upteenth time this season, a #1 lost to an unranked team (in this instance, Pitt lost to PC) before the ink had even dried on the new rankings. This is setting up to be one of the more fascinating Marches in recent memory. There really is no clear-cut "best" team this year. Sure, UNC and UConn were dominant in the early goings, but since then, they both have been exposed (UNC is lacking in the low post, UConn is without A.J. Price). Obviously these aren't the only teams with weaknesses, but through the first 10-15 games, it looked like they were both impervious to any competition. I still really like my rankings from a few posts ago. Obviously, not all of those teams will make the tourney due to the automatic bid system, but at least for the time being, I feel pretty good about how I'm seeing college basketball.

The NFL Combine took place last weekend, and of course, from these few days of drills, you get the "workout warriors," who are basically guys who helped their draft stock dramatically by putting up good numbers in front of the pro coaches and personnel people in attendance. This year, something that may have been a surprise to basically everyone outside of the Gamecock community was Jared Cook's performance at the Combine. Cook bumped his stock at least two rounds (was originally thought to be a 4th to 5th rounder and is now being talked about as a late second-rounder). Cook ran a 4.50 40-yard dash, which was easily the best time by any tight end. His vertical jump (41") was the best in his position by five inches, and also had the best broad jump (10', 3"). While USC fans certainly knew about Cook, I am going to make a guess that before his breakout combine performance, not a lot of people knew about him (by the way, if you want to see him in action, check this clip out at about the :45 mark). Really good stuff from a former Gamecock. Speaking of which, here's how they have performed:
  • Kenny McKinley, WR: 4.44 40-yard, 37" vertical, 4.10 20-yard shuttle (2nd fastest among WRs)
  • Jamon Meredith, OT: 5.03 40-yard (2nd fastest among OTs), 31 bench press reps (3rd among OTs), 8', 9" broad jump
  • Jasper Brinkley, ILB: 4.72 40-yard, 26 bench press reps, 35.5" vertical, 7.03 three-cone drill, 4.32 20-yard shuttle
  • Captain Munnerlyn, CB: 4.53 40-yard
All of the Combine results can be found at Fantasy Football Toolbox's web site.

That's all for the moment. Not a whole lot happening. The Stephon Marbury signing appears to be eminent, so it will be one of the more fascinating scenarios in terms of if Marbury can make any kind of positive impact on this team. Judging from the general public, it seems like people are very much on the fence in terms of taking on a player of his questionable character. Still, it seems like one of those low risk/high reward (Copyright 2009 Red Sox) guys, so we'll see what happens with that. So, I'll see you when I see you. Cheers everyone. Peace.


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