Sunday, August 19, 2007

Why I will dominate the fantasy football league

By John Miceli

1) Ladian Tomlinson is DUE for an injury. Hes coming off a huge year, hes getting towards 30, its going to happen. Sorry "Ricchino." Better take Stephen Jackson first (snicker.)

2) I rule.

3) I hate Ime Udoka.

4) The 6th pick is the best in the draft. Ignore my pleas to trade down, its a smokescreen, unless of course I actually trade down, in which case it is brilliant.

5) I rule a lot.

6) I won't be splitting my time between dominating 2 different leagues. What a disaster that was. Cheering against your own players when you need them to succeed in the other league can only be termed as "awkward". You won't be hearing this anymore: 1k. 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k 1k league.

7) I won't be taking that fraud Peyton Manning.

8) I rule a ton.

9) Plungas's self esteem is hurting badly after his debacle of a season in fantasy baseball. He will be sweating bullets on draft day, second guessing every pick right after it happens, all while chain smoking clove cigarettes while pounding the table in anger, until later in the night he stares at himself in the mirror, begins to sob uncontrollably and then breaks it with his fist.

The police will come and he will be tossed in a concrete cell (somewhere in Dade County in Florida). He will then put his hands on the wall and start banging his head into it while screaming "why" while occasionally punching it with his fists. A few years from now he will resurface 200 lbs heavier in a seedy comedy club in North Jersey telling jokes to a surly audience. He will accidentally run into his brother who will begrudgingly forgive him for beating him up in front of his family. He will then declare himself the champ.

See ya later top competition! Say hi to Chuck Knoblauch for me! You guys will be attending the same meetings! I smell a panic first draft pick. I hear Priest Holmes is a real sleeper there Plungas. Seems like a good fit at 8, or maybe Adrian Peterson!

10) I've had the joy of seeing Superbad. Its not enough to restore crushed fantasy confidence though unfortunately, sorry Plungas.

11) I'm not a CPA. CPA = Instant fantasy failure. Just accept your limitations and drop all your players right after you draft. Save us the trouble of pitying you. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

12) I'm not in Vegas, just near it. Good luck juggling the fantasy team AND Vegas their Bob. Its cool though ---I hear listening to 50 cent has the same effect on your brain as classical music, well.....except it makes you stupider as opposed to smarter.

13) I realize Barry Bonds is a doushebag and fail to recognize his career after 1996 (or was it 1997?), therefore this means my IQ is above 70. I also haven't gone turncoat and pissed all over my Cleveland heritage by cheering for Bonds. If Bonds came to the Jake, he'd have his head on a stake in left field for all to see by the 5th inning.

14) I rule fantasy football. Last year was a quirk, say hello to this year.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Off the strip.........

Fresh off of my trip to Las Vegas, I think I need to rant a little bit here. The ink is still drying on the lease papers, found a great place directly across the street from the greatest hotel and casino in Vegas......The Hard Rock. Any pool that is 18+ to enter has to be solid, if you don't like thongs and skimpy bikinis then stay away.

Anyways, due to the heated Common debate I decided to swallow my pride and actually download the Common CD and put it on the iPod for the long flight. It's not as bad as I thought but it's still not my type of rap at all, although track #2 is a very solid song. If you want to talk rap, I know Ricchino will appreciate this one, let's talk about this 50 Cent vs. Kanye West. 50 challenged Kanye, both dropping their CD's on 9/11, 50 Cent said he will quit making music if Kanye out sells him. I enjoy both of these guys but we all know 50 is the better man here, he will slaughter Kanye's sales without question, and I'm willing to put money on that. 50 has already leaked 5 songs to the radio while Kanye has only put out 2.

With the three hour time difference it was hard to catch SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight so I was stuck with the local news sports cast of Las Vegas 51's highlights and UNLV football practice, probably one of the worst teams in Division I-A, they have arguably the best WR duo in the MWC but with one week until the opener, still haven't picked a QB, what a joke.

I think the Excalibur has become my new favorite sports book, I went 0 for 3 on all my parlays but whats new. It was great to see on three different TV's, almost simultaneously, Ronnie Belliard hit a 2-run jack, Brandon Phillips get his 4th hit of the game and Plungas's hero Josh Barfield strike out with a runner on third. But his defense makes up for his .240 average????

Getting excited for this Fantasy Football season, hopefully I can once again dominate like last year until Ricchino gift wrapped the title for Jeran. Last year was very exciting with all playoff seeds being decided on the last day of the season. Should be another fun year.

God bless, Fire Wedge!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Brief Browns v. Chiefs Review

by John Miceli

Despite the sloppiness, the first preseason game was a step in the right direction for our beloved Browns. It left me with a feeling they are moving in the right direction. This feeling is one I haven't had in any of their other preseason games for the last several seasons.

Quarterbacks: Charlie Frye came out and looked exactly like the Charlie Frye of old--- at first. He didn't look down field and continually hit the first receiver without going through a progression. There were a LOT of screen passes in the first half, it is difficult to tell whether they were designed as screen passes or Charlie just kept going to the first receiver he saw while ignoring everyone else. As the game progressed, Frye seemed to get more comfortable and on the aborted touchdown drive, he threw a few passes down field that were impressive and showed that just MAYBE he has learned a little bit from last year.

Unfortunately he also made two AWFUL mistakes, but if you take those away he had a slightly above average performance. If Frye stops making ridiculous mistakes, and he continues to improve and starts looking down field more, then he has a shot to be like an unwealthy man's John Kitna. Not exactly high praise for Frye, but he may be able to be someone that is nice to have as a backup. Carrying two quarterbacks who can play in the NFL is requisite nowadays.

Derek Anderson looked terrible. I was never sure why everyone got all excited over this guy. His college career was awful, and its not like he has the type of diamond in the rough talent where four years of college wasn't enough to bring it out. He is going to be traded or cut at some point.

Brady Quinn looked very good standing on the sideline. It seemed he feathered out his hair less and its slowly progressing toward a more manly buzz cut. A broken nose or two and a shaved head and he'll look like a pretty bad ass quarterback. Unfortunately I have no idea how well he played because of Romeo Crennel. Crennel, in his infinite genius, decided that playing player/coach and future NFL newtwork commentator Ken Dorsey for the last 1.5 quarters was a better idea then playing Quinn or giving Frye and Anderson more reps.

Running backs: Of any individual performance yesterday, Jamal Lewis's gives me the most hope. I watched him quite a bit last year (Direct TV + NFL package + fantasy team) and he looks MUCH IMPROVED. He has some of his explosiveness back, and he was getting to the line of scrimmage very quickly (a major problem last year), and he was even taking the ball outside effectively.

He is not the same type of runner he was during his pro-bowl days. It seems he is relying more on quickness and movement then the brute force of yesteryear-- not that he isn't a bulldozer still but you can see his running style is a little different. I know its a little early to say this, but considering his age and the way he runs now, maybe they might get more then a year out of him. This is high praise considering just a few weeks ago I thought he had no shot of recovering from leg injuries and figured him to average 3.0 yards per carry for the year.

Offensive line: The first unit looked OK, not great. Its going to be hard to judge the line properly until they get Steinbach back and have time to gel. Anderson and Frye had time to throw and the running backs had some holes to run through--for the most part. Thomas looked "ok". He had a few holding penalties but nothing to be alarmed about. The Browns line was not impressive considering they were facing a lousy Chiefs defensive line, but it was only the first preseason game.

Receivers: Edwards, Winslow, and Jurevicius hardly played so I can't really lay judgment on this unit. The backups made a few nice plays and had a few nice drops. Travis Wilson didn't look terribly impressive. It doesn't appear he is close to being a major contributor, although it is only the first game.

Defensive line: KC didn't have Larry Johnson, so again it is hard to tell how the D-line stacks up against the run. They got penetration a few times (causing a fumble) but weren't collapsing the pocket every single play against a suspect Chiefs O-line.

Linebackers: Wimbley was a beast, and Antwawn Peek got pressure a few times. Overall they weren't terrorizing the Chiefs but Todd Grantham isn't about to throw the kitchen sink out during the first preseason game. If Wimbley doesn't make the pro-bowl this year I would be very surprised.

Defensive backfield: This unit is going to have a big year. They had two interceptions in the brief time the starters were on the field. They were consistently in the passing lanes when the Browns blitzed and it paid off. Eric Wright looked good in his first start and had some nice man coverage. Sean Jones was out of position for a few tackles but nothing to get worried about quite yet. Bodden and Holley looked great. Again, this was vs. a Chiefs team with no quarterback or wide receivers, but I think it is ok to be VERY optimistic about this unit. Just a lot of talent and a lot of depth, and it is already showing.

Overall the offense looks like it needs a lot of work but you can already tell the system is VASTLY improved from last year. Chud's offense compared to Maurice Carthon's is like chess vs. "cup n' ball". I'd also like to mention their was not one fullback pitch during the entire game. The defense looked solid but not "attacking", more of a "bend but not break" type game for them.

Question: "What are you going to try to do in the 2nd half?"

"We need to play better in the second half. We need to score more points." Romeo Crennel, Brown's Czar.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

BARRRRRY, BARRRRY, BARRRRY !!

by The Commish

What a great day to be a Giants fan eh?? Let me take you in on my Tuesday evening..

I head out of work and am driving home and turn on the game to hear the best guy
in baseball calling the Giants game which is always music to my ears...And they were
already hyping up Barry from the top of the 1st. I'm not sure if they were being serious
or joking around, but they had a guy in the booth doing a "Barry Watch" every 2 minutes.
They were along the lines of this..."Barry is currently standing still in the outfield, it looks
like he debated shifting left for Belliards at bat but those thoughts seemed to have left his
mind because he is now standing still with his hands on his waist"...I mean it was absolutely
hilarious...

Then I get into Chilis and immediately order some Skillet Queso and begin to indulge myself..I am like a giddy school girl knowing that Bonds is due up next inning...So it goes to a commercial
and I grab some mroe queso, only to look up and notice the commericial is in split screen. They have one box of the commercial and one box of a camera on Barry as he grabs his helmet, and takes a couple swings...(I did notice they cut out real quick when he grabbed the needle out of his bag, but whatever!)...Anyways his first at bat I know he is on target tonight, I knew it was coming. He ripped that double in the alley like nothing. But what was better than that was the way he was seeing the ball so well...You just had this sense that it was gonna come...His second at bat was the same, even the balls he fouled off or took for a ball, you KNEW it was coming, you just knew that tonight was gonna be the night when history was broken...After he ripped his single I thought to myself, theres NO WAY they will pitch to him the rest of the night...This pour guy from the Nationals would NEVER give up a double, single, and then a home run to Bonds tonight...no way, never!....

But alas, they pitch to him, and alas he drops a bomb and the crowd goes crazy...You wonder why I like Bonds? Look at those fans going nuts at the park. They LOVE Bonds and how could you not?? That city would do anything for that man ans they damn well should. When he swung...you knew it, you knew it was GONE....(If only they were playing the Tribe and Underwood coulda called it would it have been better) And the way he dropped the bat and held his arms up in triumph was a sigh of relief for all of mankind...This guy did it, he finally did it. He didn't let the media ruin him, he didn't give up, he broke the record...It was hard to hold back tears as he gave his thanks to everyone over the loud speaker. And when Hank came on the screen, I just lost it...It was embarassing enough to be at a bar by yourself, but to be crying your eyes out was just hard to handle....Hank gave a great speech, granted you knew he was someowhere right now drunk as a skunk as he finished his 4th bottle of St. Ides and was cussing like a sailor knowing that his record has now been broken....

Regardless of the asterik or not, we saw history tonight gentleman, we saw it and I am so proud to call the Bay Area my home now and really look up to Barry the way everyone else in this world should...

So all of you steroid haters can go cry a river, but the bottom line is that Barry did it, Barry broke the record and Barry is the home run champion of the world.

My Take on 755

by Ryan Plungas

I am shocked and outraged by this latest development on this blog. I never, ever, never, ever would have imagined that we had 3 Bonds supporters on this blog (well, maybe I saw it in Petriella, but not the others). I just thought it was assumed that anyone that was SOMEWHAT knowledgeable about sports and had respect for the game of baseball despised Bonds. I just thought this was a certainty in life. Wow, this is really really really shocking.

So, just because he was in an age where an overwhelming amount of players supposedly took roids his accomplishments should be cheered and admired because he was the best of the bunch? That argument is ludicrous.

And when people say that he "never tested positive", its rendered immediately moot because when this guy was under oath in front of a Grand jury he swore that "I never KNOWINGLY took steroids". Are you kidding me? This from a guy who from all accounts (teammates, managers, friends, peers, etc) was OBSESSED and meticulous with anything he put in his body, an avid gym freak and workout hound. You think he would just put anything into his body without knowing what was going in? If you do, you are incredibly naive.

His personal trainer and close friend, Greg Anderson, has been closely associated with Balco--a company who was shut down by the Feds during a Federal investigation and was run by a man (Victor Conte) whose sole business practice was to specifically sell undetectable drugs HGH and its likeness to athletes!-- and is currently sitting in prison because of his refusal to testify what he knows against Bonds. If Bonds is clean, why doesn't Anderson say that? And why wouldn't the Feds let him go? Because they know he isn't.

But maybe the most telling sign that Bonds is dirty is his lack of action against the two guys who wrote "Book of Shadows". Put yourself in his shoes: if someone wrote a book on you claiming that 1) everything you accomplished in your professional career is tainted because you cheated at what you did to attain your status; 2) cheated on your wife; 3) was a horrible father that abandoned your kids; 4) a horrible teammate to your professional peers; and 5) cheated on your taxes and YOU WERE COMPLETELY INNOCENT what do you think the first thing you would do would be? Oh, I'd say, sue the goddamn shit out of them for Defamation of Character. Has he done that? Absolutely not.

You know the reason why prior to his inexplicable Power outburst (in his late 30's/early 40's no less, which in itself HAS NEVER BEEN DONE IN ANY SPORT...EVER, this is SO alarming) that this guy could never get airtime? Because he was a well-known prick who absolutely hated the media and, in turn, made them hate him. He's been often called the worst teammate ever. Just look at the lack of support he received from his teammates after he hit 755. It was so awkward to see them "forced" to get up and go onto the field to congratulate him. Barry didn't even acknowledge them, just his son. Mainly because they hate him. He has no friends in baseball. Think about it. Who has come to his defense? Crazy Gary Sheffield? Bottom line: this guy is a selfish prick who should not be celebrated for a record he cheated to get. The fact that the majority of other players in his era may have also cheated does not make it justifiable. He cheated, fellas.

I agree to a certain extent that they may have put too much of the onus on Bonds during this Steroid era. I think its disgusting how much of a free pass that Roger Clemens gets. Also, McGwire (although he's starting to pay the price w/ the HOF situation) and Sosa have gotten off relatively lightly. And don't even get me started on the lack of attention paid to the NFL on this issue. But Bonds is the "cover boy" because he is the guy that is inexplicably breaking all these hollowed marks (first Maris' 61 HR's, now Aaron's 755) in the richest, most historical American sport. And he's taking them from guys who did it the right way (you know how I know...because HGH was not around in those days, and even the steroids were not as advanced--plus look at these guys body shapes compared to today’s players). So in many ways, the criticism is justifiable and expected.

If you want to cheer guys, cheer Tom Glavine for 300 Wins; Craig Biggio for 3,000 hits; Vlad Guerrero for his sick hot zone at the plate; Greg Maddux for still making people look silly at 55; Johan Santana for his brilliance on the mound; Mariano Rivera for being the all-time best at what he does; Jose Reyes' amazing ability to hit bases; Josh Beckett, Jake Peavy and CC Sabathia for finally coming into their own as a legitimate ace; King Felix, Cole Hamels, and Fausto Carmona for being on the cusp; the pennant races we are about sweat out in the next 2 months; Casey Blake for being on a major league roster; Travis Hafner for his plate discipline and power...wait, never mind; and the potential return of October baseball in crisp, atumn of Cleveland.

These are just some of the things that you can still cheer about in the game of baseball.

Barry Bonds' tainted record isn't one of them.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Dear ESPN

By John Miceli

Dear ESPN:

I would really appreciate it if I could exist in a world without a Barry Bonds update letting me know that he is on deck or he just hit a foul ball or he just hit a bunt single. This may come to a suprise to you ESPN, so I'll break it too you gently:

Barry Bonds is a doushebag.

Not one fucking person on planet earth other then Billy Wagner, who is also a doushebag, likes Barry Bonds or cares that he is breaking the most sacred record in all of sports.

No one considers his record to be legit because judging by the size of that boulder perched upon his shoulders, he just MAY have taken steroids. Please stop forcing a fucking popup on me when I'm TRYING to read Len Pasquerelli, letting me know that Barry Bonds just scratched his left ball or Barry Bonds is thinking about banging the groupie sitting on the third base line. No one fucking cares. In fact the only worthy thing regarding Barry Bonds, or for that matter, Terrell Owens, or Barbaro, would be if all 3 got in a plane crash and died. Oh wait I'm sorry, Barbaro is dead, I guess I can look forward to a fucking popup alerting me every 10 minutes how is decomposition is going or how some little kid is eating his remains in the form of paste.

Please do let us know if Ken Griffey Jr. approaches 756 because that would be a great story, not one that induces depression and anger.

Thanks!

John Miceli

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Holy Common!

by Ryan Plungas

I know D-Will & CPA aren't into "those people's music", but good lord the new Common CD is top notch. With Be and now Finding Forever, he is consistently putting out albums that you can point to and say THIS is what hip-hop should be.

Within a span of 2 years, Common (along w/ producer Kanye West) has produced 2 albums that I will keep in my CD collection until I see my kids grow old (For some reason, I always get a kick out of this…my grandparents played polkas and John Coltrane for me, I’ll be jamming to Common and Talib Kweli—I can’t wait to turn 70). There is a strong chance I will whip out Be and put on the track “It’s Your World” in 2052 to sample for my grandkids, who insist their current state of Rap music, or whatever gangsta sub cultural crap it has morphed into by that time, is the best its ever been. I will point out to them that their current form of “rap” is an offspring (an ugly one at that) of what used to be known as Hip Hop. And the art of Hip Hop has never been as perfected as it was on Common’s two early century classics. When the Hip Hop gods created this form of music, this is what they intended.

And the people are beginning to take notice. Common has always been a critical success from the time he burst onto the scene in 94’ with his jazzy, ultra-cool hit “Resurrection”. For the people in the know, he has always been referred to as one of the top lyricists in the game. “The Chi-town’s Nas” people referred to him as. Those same people saw his potential to be one of the best ever, the potential was that great. But the commercial success never followed. Common’s detractors always pointed to him being “dull and preachy” at times (which on certain albums, I tend to agree he regresses to that point on some tracks…but to me, that is an essential aspect of Common as an artist). People won’t tune into a hip hop album to be taught life lessons and preached to about lower class upbringing. Nope, they want blood, violence, Hennessey, and tearing the club up with a bitch on their jock. With that mentality, Common could never be a commercial success.

Along came Kanye as his producer. The mentor became the protégé. The tracks got leaner, the beats came tighter, and the lyrics were still Common. What we got was Be, Common’s most complete album. Not coincidentally, it was his best-selling…by far. On Be, Common and Kanye found that perfect medium that every artist hopes for: critical success and commercial success.

Now we get Finding Forever as the follow-up. It may not be better than Be, but it certainly can be considered on par with that album, which is high praise. Just as lean and tight as Be was (12 tracks, including an Intro), this album may exemplify, through its beats, Kanye’s influence on Common as a producer more than its predecessor. You can see, and hear, Kanye’s input on Common’s career.

And the album starts off banging with the hard-hitting “Start the Show” featuring Common rapping some of his finest lyrics.

Never has Common been as good as he is on “Driving Me Wild”. Great song about an “ideal couple” where each has their issues: the girl is obsessed with her looks and social status with others and the guy lusts for material things. That’s the great thing about Common; he weaves a story into entertaining and head-bouncing music. This will be a hit.

My personal favorite song on the album has to be “I Want You” featuring Will.I.Am. Even though it’s a track about lost love, its got an irresistible beat that I am predicting you will hear in the club for the next year while grinding on a hot, sweaty chick. This song has the most commercial appeal.

Common even gets a little experimental with the funky, and choppy, “Break My Heart". It is unique, and no doubt the results are positive.

Whenever I mention the new Common album, most say “yeah, I’ve heard that new song. It’s alright” or “it’s pretty good”. That song is “The People”, and truth be told, not sure why they chose it to be the first single. Don’t get me wrong, I like it. But its probably the 7th or 8th best song on Finding Forever. The track they should have went with is “The Game”, which features DJ Premier (of Gangstarr fame) doing a 1990’s boom bat beat backing up Common’s free associative lyrics. Freaking great track.

There’s other tracks that won’t be mentioned here, all being solid. That is the great thing about Be and Finding Forever: both achieve that all so rare “Dr. Dre’s The Chronic treatment”...just let it play on through.

The timing in our society couldn’t be more perfect for an album like this. With all the thug mentality that has come into the forefront in today's media (i.e. NBA All-star weekend in Vegas, Pacman Jones making it rain, and the Mike Vick dog scandal) the merits of rap music have been called into question. Never has there been more of a need for the Hip Hop industry to be able to point to an artist in order to contradict this negative backlash. To prove that Hip Hop can be a constructive form of music and art. Detractors have to look no further than Common.

It doesn’t hurt either that these two albums are genuine Hip Hop masterpieces.