Wednesday, January 27, 2010

MLB Predictions and Preview

So, I guess I'll start now, with the free agency season winding down and spring training less than a month away. I'll start with the NL West, and the go division by division, one day at a time. Predictions first, followed by a preview.

Predicted 2010 NL West Standings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (93-69)
2. San Francisco Giants (89-73)
3. Arizona Diamondbacks (83-79)
4. Colorado Rockies (78-84)
5. San Diego Padres (70-92)

I know the Dodgers lost Randy Wolf and John Garland to free agency, I realize that Orlando Hudson probably wont be back either. However, the combination of Furcal, Kemp, Ethier and Manny and possibly Russ Martin if he can rebound slightly this year make the Dodgers lineup dangerous. A rotation of Billingsley (if 100% recovered from hip injury), Kershaw, Padilla and Kuroda followed by a solid bullpen anchored by Jonathan Broxton, should be able to carry its end of the bargain for the Dodgers to be able to repeat.

The Giants offense is marginally better than last year, with a healthy Freddy Sanchez and the addition of Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff. DeRosa regressed in the second half last year, possibly due to the effects of a wrist injury, assuming he is healthy he will be an improvement to the Giants offense. Aubrey Huff had one of his worst years of his career in 2009, a rebound will be necessary if he doesn't want to be known as Aubrey Garko. Bengie Molina will drop to 6th in the batting order, giving the Giants a decent if not average lineup. The pitching staff remains the strength of the team, however a repeat of last year's performance may not be in the cards. The Giants were exceptional last year, and could regress to the norm this season. I still see them as the second best team in the NL West and possibly making a run at the wild card.

The return of Brandon Webb will be a huge help for the D-backs this season, if healthy the perennial Cy Young candidate could even make this a playoff club. Adam Laroche is a quality major league first baseman, teamed with Justin Upton, Stephen Drew, Mark Reynolds and company, could prove to be a formidable lineup. The rotation after Webb consists of Dan Haren (a first half pitcher), Max Scherzer (young unproven phenom, Ediwn Jackson (who had a good year in Detroit last year) and whoever wins the 5th starter job. This team should be much better than last year, and could even challenge the Giants for the wildcard or the Dodgers for the division title. I believe that their hitters are too streaky and undisciplined to hold it together all season. This team will be up and down, but still finish with a winning record.

The Rockies are essentially the same as last year minus Jason Marquis, and I don't think that their rotation is very good at all, or will hold up this year. The lineup was full of young, unproven players such as Seth Smith, Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler who will have to prove they have what it takes to succeed in successive years at this level. I'll hedge my bets on some of them not living up to the hype. I thought the Rockies played over their heads last year and I don't think they will be as good this year.

The Padres are awful. Divorce is splitting ownership apart, and the team is in sell now mode. Adrian Gonzalez may or may not be traded, but that will be the major story line out of San Diego this year.

-Ross

Monday, January 25, 2010

Favre and Manning and Brees and Sanchez........OH MY!

It's Monday again and if you weren't paying attention, the Super Bowl match-up was decided over the weekend:


New Orleans Saints v. Indianapolis Colts


Before we talk about the Super Bowl (I mean we have 13 days to talk about it.), let's talk about the two Conference Championship games.

New York Jets v. Indianapolis Colts

The game was 0-0 at the end of the 1Q. The Jets made the game 17-6 with 1:45 left to go in the half. Manning drove the Colts down the field in 3 plays and threw a pass that was little high for Collie but he still caught it. It made the halftime score 17-13. The Jets still had the lead, but the momentum was clearly no longer on the side of the Jets. Both teams came back out after the half, but only one man stood out...Peyton Manning...the Colts score 17 unanswered points and went on to win 30-17 to go to their 3rd Super Bowl (2nd in the last 5 years).


Minnesota Vikings v. New Orleans Saints


So if I told you that the Vikings held the Saints to 68 yards rushing, 189 yards passing. Limited Reggie Bush to 1 punt return for 0 yards and a fumble. Adrian Peterson ran for 122 yards and scored 3 TDs. If I told you all that you would think that the Vikings won 31-3. Well... the Saints won 31-28 in overtime. This game was great, it had EVERYTHING. The Saints hit Favre every chance they got. They knocked him down, they battered him, they bruised him. Favre eventually threw the game changing interception with 19 seconds left in regulation. The Vikings lost this game in their overall performance. Adrian Peterson, along with his 122 yards and 3 TDs, had 2 fumbles (none lost). The Vikings turned the ball over 5 times. The 5th on was the back breaker. There was 19 seconds left, it was 3rd and 15 in the 4th quarter. All the Vikings need is 8-12 yards for them to have a 48-50 yard field goal try for Ryan Longwell, who is one of the NFLs best kickers, to go to the Super Bowl. What happens? Brett Favre, with at least 8 yards of real estate in front of him (after scrambling to get free out of the pocket) throw to Sidney Rice. Mind you Brett is throwing across his body off his back foot. New Orleans picks it, the game goes into Overtime. Now mind you the Saints had to survive 4 booth reviews to get a chance at the game winning FG, but they got their ticket punched (eventually) to their first ever Super Bowl.

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Somethings that I learned while watching the AFC/NFC Championship Games
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AFC Championship Game

Jets

The little team that could almost did. Had the Jets held that 17-6 lead going into the half the Colts would have had more to think about. It would have given the Jets more confidence going into the 2nd half. Rex Ryan did everything he could, but in the end he ran into someone that he couldn't shake. Rex ran into the QB machine that is Peyton Manning.

Mark Sanchez

He proved that the bright light are not TOO bright for him. Mark proved that he does have BIG GAME instinct. The throw he made to Braylon Edwards to make the game 7-3 was precise and majestic. He led Braylon (who by the way did his best to fight the urge to not catch that pass) all the way. Even the INT he threw wasn't really his fault (it went through the arms of the receiver). The most important thing I learned about Mark Sanchez was the fact that Jet fans can finally relax, they have found their QB of the future.

Colts Offense & Colts Defense

Wow. The Colts offense is scary. The Jets limited the Colts to 6 points for 28 minutes and 15 seconds. Then for the next 31 minutes and 45 seconds the Colts score 24 points in every which way. Wow. The Colts defense is underrated. The Colts defense gave up 2 big plays all game, it just happened to be during the Jets only 2 TDs scoring drives in the game. The first was a 80 yard TD pass from Sanchez to Edwards. The second was a 45 yard direct snap pass to Cotchery from Brad Smith that set up the 9 yard TD pass from Sanchez to Keller. Aside from that the Colts were just too fast for the Jets to block.

Peyton Manning

I learned that Peyton Manning is unlike any QB that we have ever seen. The Jets were really taking it to the Colts and Peyton Manning for the majority of the 1st half. It really looked like the rest of the NFL had a blueprint to stop Peyton. Then in 3 plays and 45 sec (or less) Peyton told everyone that they had better rethink that blueprint. Manning sat and studied those picture stills every time he came out of the game. Then as if he saw the window he started exploiting the area between the LBs and the Secondary. He surgically killed the Jets the rest of the way. Manning is going to the Super Bowl to cement his place on the Mount Rushmore of QBs.

NFC Championship Game

Adrian Peterson

Simply put: If you continue to fumble in the most important situations you aren't even a top 2 back. Call Tiki Barber. Do the things that they made Omar Epps do in The Program to cure his fumbling problem. Do something, otherwise that view from the sidelines is going to be a familiar one; especially late in the game.

Brett Favre

Why Brett? Why didn't you just run or even better, why didn't you throw it to the flat area? Why did you have to "Favre" it? You haven't been that guy all year and you decided to pick the most important time of the season to be that guy. Wow. I learned that Brett just can't help himself. He is and always will be the gunslinger. I think he comes back for 1 more year, but I think that he plays nowhere near the level he did this year and the Vikings go 9-7 and either miss the playoffs or barely get in.

Drew Brees

Anyone in San Diego think this guy can't get you to a Super Bowl? How's that Philip Rivers thing going? I know, I know, Philip Rivers has a longer shelf life in the NFL and Drew Brees cannot keep playing like this. But man, for now Brees is doing it all the right way. Along with that 189 yards passing he threw for 3 TDs and 0 INTs. I learned that Brees can be the game manager that he showed that he could be in the regular season.

Saints

Remember when they were the 'Aint's? Remember when the fans wore paper bags over their heads? I do. The Saints take their names off of the list of teams that have never made it to the Super Bowl. They say that a team of destiny utilizes every chance that they are given. The Saints definitely did that on Sunday. They were 19 seconds from just being a lovable story (again.), but Brett Favre gave them an late Christmas gift and they capitalized in OT.
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Super Bowl XLIV should be a good one. My opinion on that game much later.
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-The Heckler

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Athlete-Student v. The Coach, not caretaker, of young men v. The Institution of Higher Learning

Let's narrow the focus a bit.

It is easy to just rail on the NCAA over and over again. They are an easy target, but it isn't if the NCAA forced all of these Institutions of Higher Learning to do anything. They basically monitor the mess with a "hands on, hands off" attitude. They usually don't investigate a school unless there is a "reason" to. The higher the profile the school is the longer it takes for the NCAA to act, but when they act it is as harsh as they are allowed to act (unless it is a storied program; that is for another blog though).

They usually allow schools to do "self-imposed" investigations and sanctions. The NCAA wants to know, but they don't want to "know". If you lie though, the NCAA will cut you off at the knees. The NCAA knows only black and white. There is no gray area with the NCAA. Schools are given some rope and the understanding is, "hey we give you some rope and you give us all the truths that we are looking for." For the most part the school has no problem giving 100% truths to the NCAA. It is because for the most part, the student(s) are punished the harshest in the pantheon of punishment that is doled out. The only exception is when the student is already in the pros when the punishment is doled out (more on that later.).

The institution of higher learning hires coaches to monitor the athletes in their program. The coaches come into the living rooms of young men and promise the moon and the stars. The coaches promise the parents that they will watch over their sons and make sure that their sons become the men that the parents want them to grow up to be. The coaches promise the sons more than that. They promise wins, league title, BCS bowl games, national titles and playing time. Out of the 100 man roster, only 30 or so players actually get to see all the BS the coach gave them in their living rooms as a High School Senior.

Before I get to the athlete, let's talk about the relationship between the coach and the institution of higher learning. At ANY moment the coach is expendable. Either there is a better coach out there or the coach that is currently there cannot win games against the teams that the coach needs to beat (ranked teams, conference rivals, instate rivals). The only thing that the coach has over the Institution is the recruiting. If the coach cheats, then leads the school to a Dream/Record Breaking season, then leaves for another school, the school that he left will get all the probation and stripping of the scholarships and the coach will get to coach that other school (ahem John Calipari - UMass [Final 4/Sanctions], Memphis [National Championship Game/Sanctions], Kentucky [currently coaching, undefeated, about to be ranked #1 in the next AP poll{1/25}]. The NCAA did an unprecedented thing though with Kelvin Sampson though, they suspended him for 5 years after multiple rules violations (100s of texts to recruits) at multiple schools.

The good of coaching (Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden-retired 2009, Mack Brown, etc.) is outweighed and overshadowed by the likes of: Nick Saben (2 National Championships in the BCS era, but went from Michigan State to L.S.U. to the Dolphins to Alabama after denying it on national television), Brian Kelly (Has gone from Central Michigan to Cincinnati [led them to 2 BCS bowl games and a undefeated season before ND called and he left before the last bowl game] to Notre Dame in less than 5 years, is known as mostly a salesmen.), Lane Kiffen (left Tennessee after 1 year to go to U.S.C. after Pete Carroll left to go to the NFL), etc. The coaches have become "bigger" than the game they are coaching. The schools have become bigger than the game that they are playing due to television and Conference sports channels. The players, whose play is elevating the institutions that they are representing, are getting the fame of a SUPERSTAR, the acclaim, the accolades. What they are not getting is the money that is coming in. They aren't getting the piece of the pie that they helped bake.

The players have to wait for the payday at the end. They aren't allowed to get jobs so they can't have any spending cash either. I mean they can have spending cash, but where did that come from? Where did what come from?

Exactly.

The athlete is the only one of the 3 that gets hit the hardest in the event of wrong doing. They get hit the hardest when they want to move from one school to another school based on what that other school can do for them. Coaches don't have to wait a year before they can coach their new teams. The athletes can't get a job, can't get paid, have to maintain a good GPA, study, go to class, go to practice, play well and represent their school with: pride, sophistication and savvy. Coaches get a car, a house, a membership to the country club, a 1 to 3 million contract, their own cable show, etc.

You see how backwards it all is. The student athletes who bring in the money should be housed up in their own apartments. They should be leased a car of their choice (within a couple of models). Then they should be given a stipend off $XXX/week (It should be the same for EVERY athlete regardless of the sport they are in). They should be able to take a 1/2 load to no class during their respective seasons, but are required to take summer school.

Something needs to be done to even the playing field for the athletes. We know that the other 2 entities are not going to concede anything, so the only thing that can be done is to empower the athletes a little more. If you give the athletes the apt, the car, the stipend they will be inclined to stay in school a bit longer. Obviously you need rules on how to keep your stipend and apt and car. The GPA standard should be met. Nothing when it came to the standard we hold the athletes as students would change. The incentives to stay longer would be more enticing though.

-The Heckler

Monday, January 18, 2010

What I learned after watching the NFL playoffs this weekend.

For those of you that were trapped in a cave all weekend here is a quick Heckler recap of what happened during the 2nd round of the divisional playoffs.

Colts beat the Ravens 20-3. It was 3-3 at the end of the first quarter, but after that Indianapolis just outclassed the Ravens. The Colts closed the half by scoring a TD with 0:03 left on the clock. They went into the locker room with a 17-3 lead. That was the ballgame folks. Stover added a FG in the 4th but basically the Colts won the game in the 1st half.

Saints beat the Cardinals 45-14. The score doesn't show you how much the Saints dominated this game. The Cardinals took the first play of the game and went 69 yards for a TD. I definitely thought we were going to see another Ravens v. Patriots. Wow, I was dead wrong. After that 1 play, the Saints just crushed the Cardinals. First of all the Saints answered that "1 play and a cloud of dust" with a 10+ play TD drive. They followed that up with 2 more TDs after 2 solid defensive stands. The Saints ended the 1st quarter with a 21-7 lead. I thought the Cards still had a chance when they scored a 4 yd TD to pull within 1 score (21-14). The Saints reeled off 24 unanswered points to seal the deal. The last TD being a dazzling 83 yd punt return by Reggie Bush. Yet once again the game was over at halftime (35-14).

Vikings beat the Cowboys 34-3. The score was 7-3 Vikings until about halfway through the 2nd quarter. That is when the Vikings stepped on the gas and left the Cowboys in their wake. Final score was 34-3 because the Vikings decided to run a play-action pass from the 25 yard line on 4th and 3 with 1:26 left in the game. Talk about sticking it to a team. Once again game over at halftime.

Jets beat the Chargers 17-14. This game is a tale of 3 things. 1) Nate Keading missed 3 FGs in a game for the first time in his career. 2) The Chargers running game couldn't relieve the pressure for the Chargers passing game. 3) Antonio Gates only had 8 receptions. The Jets were down 7-0 at the half. It should have been like 10-0. They were only down 7-3 at the end of the 3rd. It should have been 10-3 (the 2nd miss FG was 57 yards so it's understandable). Yet the Chargers found themselves down 17-7 in the 4th quarter. They march down the field and go for a FG with, I want to say, 6+ minutes left. Nate Keading misses his 3rd of the game. The Chargers get a meaningless TD near the end (I say meaningless because they didn't get the onside. Then they couldn't stop them on 4th and 2.) and lose 17-14. Only game of the weekend that was in doubt all the way to the end.
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So here is what I learned over the weekend:

Colts v. Ravens

The Colts have one of the most underrated defenses left in the playoffs. They are small, but they are quick to the ball and smart in their assignments. The Ravens never got to do what they wanted to do because the Colts made the Ravens pass the ball. They dared Joe Flacco to beat them. He could not. Which brings me to the 2nd thing I learn in this game. Joe Flacco may not be the guy to lead the Ravens to the Super Bowl.

Saints v. Cardinals

I believe we just witnessed the coming out party for a one Mr. Reggie Bush. He ran hard and in between the tackles. He ran over poor Cardinals secondary members with a bruising style that we have not seen before. He ran inspired. It was as if he realized something, "oh wait, I am Reggie Bush." He also had a electrifying 83 yard punt return. Ladies and Gentlemen..........Reggie Bush. Next year NFL defenses may have another dimension to worry about. Also as we were witnessing the coming out party for Reggie Bush, I believe that we are witnessing the end of a "Hall of Great" career. That is right I said it. Kurt Warner is NOT a Hall of Famer. He belongs in the Rams (and Cardinals) hall of great former players, but he doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. I sort of agree with the Colin Cowheard idea of any Hall of Fame. Not everyone is good enough to get in. I mean I am sure Kurt will get in because he has thrown for 100 TDs with 2 different teams. He did lead the Rams and the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. He does have the MVPs. He also has a 5 year span where he wasn't good enough to out duel Marc Bulger, Eli Manning and Matt Lienart. I don't know if I can get behind someone for the HOF with those 5 years lingering in his career.

Vikings v. Cowboys

First I learned that the Vikings read the press clippings. Otherwise they wouldn't have gone for it on 4th and 3 in the 4th quarter with a 24 point lead with only 1:26 left in the game. Brett Favre isn't too old, but he may be the demise of the Vikings. Friends tell me that Favre WILL retire if he wins the Super Bowl. Why? His ego is huge, you don't think he is going to want to win back-to-back just like Elway? Anyway. Brett just may make Adrian Peterson feel like the Vikings forgot that he can run the ball. I know, I know, there is no way the Vikings ignore AP to that extreme. Well folks AP hasn't rushed for 100+ yards in like 6 games (including the playoff game.) The Vikes need to win this year, or else they may be the next team to implode next year. The Cowboys....well...I am just wondering how much longer Wade Phillips can keep fooling Jerry Jones. Other than that, they didn't show me anything I already didn't know: Overrated, flashy team that cannot beat a good team in a game where it matters.

Jets v. Chargers

I learned that the AFC better get REALLY worried. The Jets just served notice to the league this year. Sure they backed their way in. Sure the Colts and the Bengals gave them a playoff spot. Well the Jets took that gift and are now in the AFC Championshp Game againts the Colts. Whether they win or not may not matter. The Jets may never look back from here on out. The Chargers. Wow. It always surprises me when the Chargrs go 12-4, 13-3, 14-2 and exit after one game of the playoffs. Yet it shouldn't. As much credit as the Jets get, the Chargers are the BEST at beating themselves and keeping the other team in the game til the end. They just cannot step back away from the moment. They seem to always get swallowed up by the moment. Looks like Marty Schottenheimer wasn't the problem, eh?
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It should be a great AFC and NFC Championship Game. I am personally rooting for Jets v. Vikings at this point. I want to see how much of the coverage will be about Brett Favre and not about the 2 teams in the game.

In reality, I think the Super Bowl will be Colts v. Saints.

-The Heckler

Sunday, January 17, 2010

NCAA of Yesteryear

As per the request of Bartender Chris, I've decided to take a look at the NCAA of today versus the NCAA of the 1980s and before.

As the Heckler and Bartender Chris pointed out, there really is no point to keeping the amateur status of NCAA athletes if our Olympic teams are stocked full of professional athletes just like the rest of the world, we have the AAU, why not have the AAU be the highest level of amateur competition? It seems like that would work for me. I agree with Heckler that the biggest draw of amateur athletics is watching competitions between athletes that are on the field simply for the love of the game and the desire to compete at a high level. I think that part of the problem lies at the level of the Olympics, allowing professional athletes to compete, taking much of the thrill of victory away from the American athletes. Who cares if the Dream Team wins? Shouldn’t they? The Miracle on Ice actually mattered simply because it was a bunch of amateur hockey players stepping up and punching a very good professional Russian all-star team in the mouth (as well as a very good Finnish one to capture the gold). Or when our collegiate all-stars went nose to nose with the Soviet or East German basketball teams, this mattered! These kids were a bunch of nobodies from nowhere, and this was one of the defining moments of Olympic competition, (it was even immortalized on a stamp in Paraguay) and it epitomized the defining reason we watch sports; at any moment, something totally unexpected and unbelievable can happen. How big a deal would it have been if a team of U.S. born NHL players? It would have been a nice “Eff-you, you pinko commies!” but nowhere close to the monumental moment that it was. Now the Olympics are only a chance for the USA to prove that it is a dominant as we expect it to be, or to disappoint. If they win, they should, if they lose it is a disaster that is talked about on Sports Center for weeks. As it stands now, the most redeeming thing about the Bejing Olympics was Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson going 1-2 in the individual all around. This still had an “us versus them” or “good versus evil” feel to it, it felt good to win, and it wasn’t a relief that we didn’t blow it (see men’s basketball).

In the old NCAA, guys who were borderline professional prospects had a shot to prove themselves on an international stage, giving them a real shot at a professional career, simply because of their performance on an international stage. Mike Eurizone would have never sniffed the NHL if not for his performance in 1980. Jordan cemented his status as a can’t miss guard with his play in the 1984 games, the list goes on and on.

Now, the Olympic teams are stocked with non-committal millionaires (well, the 2008 men’s basketball team actually seemed to care for the first time in a while) and it takes the edge off of the competition for me. Part of the NCAA prestige was founded on the basis that if you competed well, and proved yourself at the NCAA level, you would be rewarded with a shot at international glory on the Olympic stage. Now, the NCAA is simply a platform for movement to professionalism, diluting the talent pool, and weakening the competition by people who are supposedly competing simply for the love of sport.

More to come on this.
-Ross

The NCAA

(This part 1 of a multi part series of rants on the NCAA)

I love college sports.

I love everything that college sports represents. The fact that you only have a limited amount of time to accomplish your goals. The window of opportunity is only 4 (maybe 5) years. You cannot leave for free agency after those 4 years and sign with another school in hopes that you win a title. The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back (in most cases there are no names on the back.).

I also love the fact a small school (Gonzaga, Appalachian State, College of Charleston, etc.) can go into any stadium/arena in the country and have a shot at upsetting a "big name" university. The fact that a bunch of 19-22 year olds can make a bunch of 30-40 year olds laugh, cry, cheer and curse over a game that is pure and good.

No agents (per say) here, no contract negotiations (aside from the recruiting before you get to college), no holdouts or lockouts, you don't cancel the season because of a players strike. It is as pure as you allow it to be.

Now that I have given you some of the many reasons that I am a fan of college athletics as a whole, here is my problem. The NCAA.

Yes, the NCAA is my problem with college sports. I know what you are thinking, "is he crazy, without the NCAA college athletics wouldn't be what it is today. The NCAA has shaped college sports into what it is today." That is my problem with the NCAA. It has shaped college sports into what it is today. Today college sports is a multi-billion dollar buisness. The television contracts alone are enough to make you puke. That is the thing though, the NCAA is a billion dollar buisness that uses slave labor. The athletes themselves (aside from their scholarships and their opportunity to gain an education from their respective university) are getting nothing for the money that they are bringing in for their schools and for the NCAA.

I know, "those kids should be thankful that they get to go to school for free. That should be enough for now. They can get paid after they graduate with their degree, they aren't going to play sports forever." Think about that for a second.

Okay times up. It sounds ridiculous right? Of course it does, you wouldn't tell a Rhodes Scholar that they couldn't get a job would you? No, you wouldn't. I can hear the NCAA now, "The reason why the student-athlete cannot have a part-time job is that we have no way of knowing whether or not the said athlete is actually working that said job. So in lue of spending needed resources and man power on something to monitor such activities, we just outlaw the act of working if you are a student-athlete." Really? What else are you guys doing then with your time? You aren't working on a Division I college football playoff plan, you aren't working to improve March Madness, you don't want to pay athletes, you don't punish coaches for bailing on universities but athletes have to sit out a year if they transfer. So where are these resources going then?

It goes into their marketing department.

I digress. The NCAA is losing the battle with professionalism every day they refuse to pay their student-athletes. If you are a 19 year old kid from a poor area and you play running back for the University of Texas and you lead them to a 14-0 season capped off with a National Championship that is greatest feeling in the world. The University gets millions of dollars for getting to and winning that Bowl game. The NCAA gets millions of dollars from the sponsors and ad buys during the game. The Conference gets millions from the appearance by your school in the Bowl game. You know what that 19 year old kid gets? If he's lucky some booster will give him a "friendly" handshake after the game.

That is the ugly side of the NCAA. Everyone is making money off the "cash cow" expect for the student-athlete. So either the NCAA has to change it's ways or their product is going to get watered down to the point where the billions of dollars are going to pick up and move on to the pros, just like that 19 year old from the poor area who isn't worried about cementing a legacy at one of the most storied Universities in college football history because the pros are offering the millions that the NCAA refuses to share.

Did I mention I love college sports?


-The Heckler

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What the Warriors Should Do

Growing up in the Bay Area, even as a Laker fan, I have always been partial to the Warriors. They have always been one of the more exciting teams in the league (even when they suck, they always score a lot of points), and I always hope that they do well. That being said a combination of inept front office management, bad contract decisions and poor coaching (I'm talking to you Nellie) have combined to keep the team on the ground. Watching the Dubs is like watching a tremendously hot girl with a few random tattoos and a lip piercing at a bar get incredibly drunk and go home with the first nasty, creepy guy who walks up to her. You know that she could be doing better for herself, but you suspect that there are some underlying issues that you'd rather not touch. She has a ton of admirers who would do almost anything for her (Warriors fans are notoriously loyal and make the games incredibly fun to attend) but she is too insecure or fucked in the head to keep it together. Without further ado, here is some advice for the Warriors from someone who is obviously qualified to be a NBA GM.

First, STOP DRAFTING LITTLE GUYS! You think you can win in the NBA going small? Well, you can't, unless you have Magic, Worthy, Michael Cooper etc. The Suns didn't do it, the Run TMC Warriors didn't do it, it is incredibly hard to do. Ellis and Curry are very nice players (Ellis more so than Curry IMO). How did Marco Belinelli turn out for ya? Brandon Wright and Anthony Randolph look like they might actually be useful players for a run and gun team. (Yes, I know Wright was drafted by the Bobcats and then traded for J-Rich). I think Jared Dudley would be a decent fit in the Warriors scheme, rather than the nothing they got for Bells. I realize the draft is a crap shoot but, they need some sort of size. Turiaf, Biedrins and Randolph are a nice core, but a good rebounder or two would certainly help their cause, also someone who commands a double team in the post would be cool.

Second, Shoot Chris Cohan. The guy has been nothing but trouble for the Warriors since he sued to take over majority ownership so he could have the right to drive the team into the ground. Seriously, Chris, you suck! Oakland is one of the only NBA cities that actually matters and you produce crap year after year. Can we force him to sell the team? This would be like the creepy guy mentioned earlier, fighting another guy over the drunk chick only to take her home and make her watch him play video games and eat junk food while he jacks off to porn, a total waste.

Third, Fire Don Nelson. Nelson has never won ANYWHERE, even with superior talent. He turns toxic on his teams (see Cuban, Mark or Webber, Chris) and never leaves anywhere feeling good about his stint there. He refuses to play good young talent (see Randolph, Anthony) and I'm not sure if he knows that playing good defense is a integral component of winning basketball. Sure he is an offensive mastermind, but what has he ever won?

Finally, stop giving all of your talent away, or letting it walk. Arenas, Jamison, Webber, etc etc etc... Develop some players for once. This also ties in with the fire Nelson comment.

Sigh... that was depressing

-Ross

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jersey Shore Characters as Sports Teams/ Athletes

Well, since I am so much in love with the J-Shore on MTV, I feel like a post dedicated towards it would only be appropriate. I see many similarities between teams/ players and the cast members, here goes.

JWOWW- Golden State Warriors. Can either look amazing or awful depending on what day of the week it is. Incredibly easy to score on/with. JWOWW says she's like a praying mantis because she'll rip a guy's head off after having sex with him, and the Warriors pretty much devour (or destroy) any good young player that gets close to them. JW is totally nuts, the Warriors front office is inept and a bit crazy. And they have Anthony Randolph crying on the bench for lack of PT, while JWOWW cries on the phone because she doesn't get enough attention from her boyfriend that she cheated on.. enough said.

The Situation- Terrell Owens. Both use a front of extreme overconfidence to mask their incredible insecurity, both are incredibly worried about their abs (remember the driveway situps?), both can never seal the deal (T.O. drops passes, Situation fumbles pussy). I also see similarities between Situation's relationship with Sammy and T.O.'s relationship with any team he comes to. For example: Situation and Sammy immediately took a liking to each other (T.O. and McNabb, or T.O and Romo) and everything seemed to be going smoothly. Then Situation couldn't seal the deal and Sammy went with Ronnie (Romo going to Witten more often and rooming with him). Situation begins to talk shit about Sammy (as T.O. does about Garcia, McNabb and Romo)....

Snooky- The Raiders. Completely and totally unpredictable (DHB over Crabtree anyone, and who was that guy they took in the second round?) They both expect to be the center of attention, and will throw a fit if they aren't. (Well Al Davis throws fits all the time, at this stage in his life, he probably craps in a diaper, but that is another story). You never know if the coach is going to knock out another coach, (or in Snooky's case get knocked the fuck out) Or if one of their linemen is going to freak out the week of the Super Bowl and start going hulk status and running through windows (or exposing her thong at a club).

Pauly D- Alex Rodriguez. Both are that fake ass orange color. Both have awkward smiles for the camera.

Sammy- The New England Patriots. Attractive on the outside, and were more attractive/ successful in the past, but if you get too close you realize that they are toxic, crazy and should be avoided (in the Pats case avoid betting on them) at all costs.

Angelina- Vince Carter. Think they are prettier/ more talented than they actually are. Refuse to work hard. Piss everyone else off. I hate them both. The end.

More on this later

-Ross

Email

Totally forgot to post this, but you can email us at RossandHeckler@gmail.com feel free...

Steroid Era

Well, I guess I'll start with something controversial, steroids in baseball. I was following the conversation a couple of days back at ESPN.com between all of the writers who get HOF votes about the Big Mac scenario and what to do with the players from this era. I agree with the writers (such as Gordon Estes, Tim Kurkjian, and Buster Olney) that nobody has the right to decide who to let in and who to keep out from what may possibly be the most tainted era in baseball history. Nobody knows who was on what or how uneven the playing field may have been. We should be judging these players against their peers and in the context of the time that they played. A fairly notable writer by the name of Bill James also agrees with me,

"It is my opinion that, in time, the use of steroids or other performance enhancing drugs will mean virtually nothing about who gets into the Hall of Fame and who does not."

He goes on to make several valid points, which can be found by following this link.

Howard Bryant however makes himself sound like a complete ass during the chat (found here)
by essentially disagreeing with himself. He starts off by vilifying all of the steroid users, and stating that none of the juicers belong in the HOF. He then goes on to say that greenies, or cortisone shots are necessary, and promoted by the culture of the game. So let me get this straight Howard, you feel that meth is ok, but steroids aren't? Seems like a bit of a double standard to me. Go check out the transcript at the link above for further examples of just what I mean.

My opinion is this; we will never know who was on what or for how long, even if they admit to using there will always be speculation that they are not telling the whole truth, like ARod. I assume a majority or at least a large percentage of the players were using, and thus during the steroids era, the field was 'level'. We need to judge accomplishments within the era, compared to other players of the time period. Don't compare McGwire to Jimmie Foxx or Bill Skowron, but to Jason Giambi and Jim Thome. Don't compare Bonds to Clemente or Teddy Ballgame, but to Moises Alou, Gary Sheffield and Manny Ramirez. When the players are viewed in this light, they are most certainly deserving of being in the Hall. Why can't their plaques say something like, "Great hitter, admitted to having and enhanced career by taking performance enhancing drugs."?

Another point, if we are going to compare across generations, then NOBODY from the dead ball years belongs in the hall of fame. No power, no RBI numbers, few runs scored etc. yet nobody bitches about those guys being compared to their peers from the same time period.....

-Ross

The Art of Heckling (some rules to live by at a sporting event)

I am the Heckler and You are not.

As someone who wears a shirt to games that says: The Heckler. I feel the need to reach out to the masses and help you out in the Art of Heckling. First off; Yes Heckling is an Art, amateurs need not apply. Secondly; you can't just haphazardly Heckle, you need dedication and patience. Here are some rules of engagement.

[The Rules of Heckling]

1. Don't curse. There is nothing worse than having the fans around you against your because you have a foul mouth. (I learned the hard way, you shouldn't have to.)

2. Don't be boring. Don't be a bore. Athletes have heard it all. "You suck!" "You're garbage!" "I hate you!" "What are you a little leaguer?" etc. If you want to be remembered you have to inventive. Say something that they may have never heard before. The smarter and funnier you are the more tolerance the crowd will show.

3. Don't be too drunk. First of all you WILL break rule #1 if you are too drunk. There will be a lot of apologies going around. Secondly you will NOT be as sharp as you want to be. You will be less creative and you will not make a lot of sense. Drinking can help you come up with some smart and funny stuff, just don't overdo it.

4. Be concise. Look you aren't debating the athlete. You are trying to get into that guys head so that your team has an edge that day. Try to keep it to short concise outbursts of sense. I am not saying just start shouting nonsense (I mean you can if you want, but it doesn't usually work.), but work on getting out the whole insult in one outburst.

5. Have fun. Remember, you paid $XXX to be at a sporting event of your choice. You want to watch the event. That is why you are there, heckling is just a nice side reward for your purchase. You are not there to just Heckle. Even the Heckler watches the game. Why? It is because in the end you are not being paid by the team to be "a team Heckler". You are there to have fun and watch what you hope is a victory for you team.

Okay now that you have some of the rules of engagement, here are some "go to" phrases that you can use if you want.

[Baseball Game] - Behind Opponents Dugout

(as the players are coming off the field into the dugout)

"Hey nice error out there ______, how about next time you open your eyes and use your glove instead of failing like that."

"Hey __________, I made 2 less errors than you did and I'm not even playing. Wait I guess I dropped that beer. Okay 1 less, I still win though." (if you are not drunk it can be pretty funny)

"What's the matter with number ___?
He's a BUM!" (only works if you can get a couple of people around you to yell, "he's a bum!")

"Hey ________ how does it feel to single handily cost your team ___ runs? Even I feel bad for you."

Just stand up and clap, REALLY loudly, shaking your head saying: "WOW" over and over again at the players running off the field. If you want it to look really good have 3 or 4 people in your group and do it together. (only works if the other team did something REALLY stupid.)


(as the opponents are up to bat and waiting on the on-deck circle)

"Hey _______ watch this; _______ is going to K your boy up there and then he is going to get you. Don't look at me baby, concentrate on your fate up there."

(after he has struck out and walking back to the dugout)

"I told you baby...he owns you and your team today. (after he looks at you again) Now I own you too small fry. Now go out there and make some errors!"

Somewhere down the line I will give you some "go to" lines for the outfield. Then, a bit before March Madness I will go into some "go to" phrases for a basketball game.

-The Heckler

First Entry II

Hello out there in fandom,

I am the Heckler. As my friend Ross said, I am a Laker, Dodger, Niner, Notre Dame football, Duke basketball fan. I am rarely going apologize, I will rarely pull any punches, I am going to offend, I am going to make you think. Above all though, me and Ross, we may just argue all year about everything and nothing all at the same time.

Enjoy the Show that is us. Laugh with us, curse at us, agree or disagree with us. I will tell you one thing though, if you bear with us you may learn a thing or two.

-The Heckler

Thursday, January 14, 2010

First Entry!

Hello sports fan, welcome to the new blog by Ross and The Heckler.
I'm Ross, a life long Northern California resident and Giants, Niners, Sharks, Cal Bears and Lakers fan.
The Heckler, a long time friend of mine is from the LA area, and follows the Dodgers, Lakers, Niners, Duke basketball and Notre Dame football. Hopefully this will be interesting, and somewhat funny, and a lot offensive.

-Ross