Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ugh.

*How many base cloggers (getting angrier...) can we fit into a lineup? First Bay, now word that the Molina deal is imminent (seething....).

$22m per year can buy you a whole lot of starting pitching...which is what the Mets reallllly need.

Goodness. Send help. And by help I mean a new GM.

*Can the voters just add Blyleven to the Hall so we don't have to be bombarded with propaganda? Everywhere I look, it seems a new Pro-Bert article has just been written. He's a fringe HOF'er which is why it has taken 13 tries. It is certainly not an open-and-shut case. At this point, it seems like a pity vote anyway. I am in no way trying to belittle the HOF, but this is getting crazy. Enough.

*I tuned in for baseball analysis, not ... show ... tunes. Am I missing something?



Maybe, the Mets just have me frustrated... (And, yes, I am trying to break my own ellipsis...or is it ellipses... record for one blog. Success.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 15

The Picks

Cowboys +8
Lions +12
Chiefs -1
Seahawks -7
Panthers +9

*****************
Season Record: 40-35

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Separated at Birth?


Karev from Grey's Anatomy and Portland Trailblazers' center Joel Pryzbilla (I will now punch myself in the face for referencing GA)

Monday, December 14, 2009

NCAA Picks Recap

Regular Season Record: 57-37-2; PoW: 8-5-1

I'll take that.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 14

The Picks

Falcons +11
Seahawks +7
Colts -7
Bengals +7
Panthers +14
Eagles Pk

*****************
Season Record: 36-33

Saturday, December 12, 2009

LeBron, Come to Jersey

As pathetic as the New Jersey Nets have been this season, there is hope.

Next year's starting lineup could look like this:

PG: John Wall (assuming the Nets win the draft lottery)
SG: Devin Harris
SF: LeBron (assuming he thinks Brooklyn is a possibility)
PF: TBD
C: Brook Lopez

Bench: CDR, Courtney Lee, Yi

That team can compete. In fact, that team would be BETTER than this year's Cavs squad.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

NYC Marathon '09

I am not a runner.

I have never pretended to be a runner. In fact, runners annoy me as much as outspoken wine aficionados (if we want your opinions, we'll ask).

Yet, foolishly, I decided to try to run the NYC Marathon.

My thinking was:
1- it would make for a great story.
2- I have no idea how long I will live in NYC.
3- I am not getting any younger.

So, I applied to the lottery . . . and got rejected on March 31st of this year. A few months later, a friend's (loyal reader RMac) girlfriend notified me that there was an opening in the race that she could claim for me. I agreed.


On July 8th, my spot was sealed.

That gave me 115 days to prepare for the 26.2-mile jaunt. Now, mind you, I had never run more than three miles at once in my life. Ever.

My goal (successful completion) was not anything in the realm of "heroic," but it would be a challenge.

My training regiment consisted of three 5-7 mile runs during the week and a longer run each Saturday followed by rec league football games on Sundays. (Personally, I think the football was a huge help as it satisfied my sprint workout requirements.) I had great training partners (loyal readers CGleas, Bitman, and my fiancee) making the runs a bit less boring. Running around a track is brutal, but running around the greatest city in the world, even if it happens at the asscrack of dawn or before, can be relaxing, even therapeutic.

My longest pre-race run came on October 17th when I went for 19 miles. Once I knew I could handle that distance, I hoped adrenaline and the crowd would carry me the rest of the way.

Fast forward to November 1st, race morning. I'm sitting on Staten Island waiting anxiously for the race to begin. At 9:14, the gun to start the women's race sound, 45 minutes before I'm released. Time passes quickly, and I'm off.

The excitement and energy were palpable.

As we ran, the congregations of at least three predominantly African American churches burst into song and dance which was awesome. Seeing 50 people clapping and belting out song inspires you greatly. It may not sound like much, but just trust me.

My parents met me three times along the course, my fiancee twice. Again, this was hugely important as running for four plus hours is draining mentally as much as it is physically.

The weather was ideal - mid-50s - for November and the crowd was abuzz for all 4 hours and 24 minutes of my run.

People have asked me two questions: "what was the best part" and "will you do it again." To answer the first, I say the last half-mile where the crowd stood about seven-deep as we approached the finish.

Overall, the experience can best be described as the most fun I never wish to have again (that answers the second).

It's been five weeks, my IT bands still haven't recovered. If you don't know what those are (and I did not), go ask a runner.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Live Thoughts During Bama / Florida IV

*Game, set, match. Thanks for playing, Florida, and for all the great memories, Tebow.

*Bama, we'll see you in the BCS Title game 22 weeks from now. Your opponent, I hope it's TCU. For that to happen, we'll have to root for the Huskers.

*How can anyone still be opposed to a playoff? The Banter has your solution right here.

Live Thoughts During Bama / Florida III

*I just read Urban Meyer's lips. He just asked one of his assistants if "the Notre Dame job was still available." (Bama leads 32-12)

*Enough with these reviews already.

*Makes no sense to go for two after this score. Sure enough, Bama missed.

*For my money, Mark Ingram takes the lead in the Heisman race. Colt McCoy can answer tonight.

Live Thoughts During Bama / Florida II

*Florida needs a turnover now or this game is done. (Bama leads 26-13)

*For those wondering, John 16:33 reads, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Ok, then.

*At least it's better than Pitt QB Bill Stull's eyeblack today which read "Mom" under one eye and "Dad" under the other. I love my parents too, but come on.

*Game MVP thus far: Carlos Dunlap.

Live Thoughts During Bama / Florida

*I'm fairly certain Verne Lunquist is drunk. Either that, or he's watching another game.

*Was that Emmitt Smith giving advice to Tim Tebow? That would drive me crazy if I were Urban Meyer.

*Is the Smith-Tebow contact any different than the Deion Sanders - Dez Bryant contact?

*Both teams hit HARD.

Friday, December 4, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 13

The Picks

Falcons +5.5
Titans +7
Jaguars -1
Redskins +10
Cardinals +5

*****************
Season Record: 33-31

Thursday, December 3, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 14

The Picks

Oregon State +10.5
Rutgers -1
USC -7
New Mexico State +48.5
New Mexico State / Boise State Over 58

PoW: Alabama +5.5
*******************
Season Record: 54-34-2; PoW: 7-5-1

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Few Thoughts and Links

*We have a new frontrunner for Dumbest Move of the Year.

*Florida DE Carlos Dunlap, village idiot. Five days before the biggest game of the year, this potential Top-5 pick not only decides to get drunk but then he decides to drive? Florida and (pushover) head coach Urban Meyer wisely suspended him from the Alabama game for being an idiot.

*Ken Davidoff echoes my sentiments on the Billy Wagner fiasco and Begie Molina idea.

*You are better than this, Tiger.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arbitration Offer Predictions

Tom Dierkes of MLBTR.com predicts whether or not the 70 eligible players will be offered arbitration by their current teams. Here are his picks (along with my disagreements).

Bengie Molina (A) - Yes
Billy Wagner (A) - Yes
Chone Figgins (A) - Yes
Darren Oliver (A) - Yes
Jason Bay (A) - Yes
Jermaine Dye (A) - No
John Lackey (A) - Yes
Johnny Damon (A) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes, the Yankees are already talking about offering a two-year deal. It makes much more sense to take it a year at a time with the Caveman to see if his skills diminish.)
Jose Valverde (A) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes.)
Kevin Gregg (A) - No
LaTroy Hawkins (A) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes.)
Marco Scutaro (A) - Yes
Matt Holliday (A) - Yes
Miguel Tejada (A) - No
Mike Gonzalez (A) - Yes
Octavio Dotel (A) - No
Orlando Cabrera (A) - No
Orlando Hudson (A) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes, despite winning another Gold Glove, Hudson was benched in favor of Ronnie Belliard down the stretch. However, that does not diminish the fact that he was a relative bargain last year.)
Placido Polanco (A) - No
Rafael Betancourt (A) - Yes
Rafael Soriano (A) - Yes
Randy Wolf (A) - Yes
Adam LaRoche (B) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes, LaRoche seems destined to head back to the A-T-L so why not get compensated if he changes his mind?)
Adrian Beltre (B) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes.)
Andy Pettitte (B) - No
Bob Howry (B) - No
Braden Looper (B) - No
Brandon Lyon (B) - Yes
Brian Giles (B) - No
Brian Shouse (B) - No
Carl Pavano (B) - Yes
Carlos Delgado (B) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes.)
Chan Ho Park (B) - Yes
David Weathers (B) - No
Doug Brocail (B) - No
Doug Davis (B) - No
Erik Bedard (B) - No
Felipe Lopez (B) - Yes
Fernando Rodney (B) - Yes
Fernando Tatis (B) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes.)
Garret Anderson (B) - No
Gregg Zaun (B) - No
Guillermo Mota (B) - No
Ivan Rodriguez (B) - No
Jason Kendall (B) - No
Jason Marquis (B) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes.)
Joe Beimel (B) - No
Joel Pineiro (B) - Yes
Jon Garland (B) - No
Justin Duchscherer (B) - No
Kiko Calero (B) - No
Mark DeRosa (B) - Yes
Marlon Byrd (B) - Yes
Melvin Mora (B) - No
Miguel Olivo (B) - No
Mike Cameron (B) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes.)
Nick Johnson (B) - No
Randy Johnson (B) - No
Randy Winn (B) - No
Rich Harden (B) - No (SportsBanter says: Yes.)
Rod Barajas (B) - Yes
Ronnie Belliard (B) - No
Russ Springer (B) - No
Scott Eyre (B) - No
Troy Glaus (B) - No
Vicente Padilla (B) - No
Vladimir Guerrero (B) - No
Will Ohman (B) - No
Xavier Nady (B) - No
Yorvit Torrealba (B) - No

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sabermetric Football?

Although I admit quantifying and grading football plays sabermetric-style is in its embryonic stages, the group at ProFootballFocus.com seems to have done a pretty good job.

For a few minutes, let's just assume that their numbers are in fact accurate.

Five things I noticed (offense only):

*Matt Forte is the worst running back in football.

*Of all safeties playing at least 60% of their team's snaps, the recently benched Kerry Rhodes (NYJ) has actually been the fifth best safety in the league. Perhaps, Rex Ryan's anger is misguided.

*Kevin Boss (NYG) is the best tight end in football by a wiiiide margin. In fact, he is almost 50% better than the next closest tight end. Shockey who?

*OT Nick Kaczur (NE) has played in 750 snaps without being called for a single penalty.

*Bears fans shouldn't blame all their team's struggles on Jay Cutler (and/or Matt Forte). Instead, they should look to their offensive tackles, Orlando Pace and Chris Williams, who rank as the league's two worst at the position.

I really can't get enough of this site. i don't think I can glean any sort of fantasy-related information, but I will continue to try.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 13

Happy Thanksgiving to all and happy birthday to my sister.

The Picks

Texas A&M +22
UConn -14
UAB +3
Florida State +24
Tennessee -3
Kansas +3.5
Oklahoma State +10

PoW: Utah +7.5

*******************
Season Record: 49-31-2; PoW: 6-5-1

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 12

The Picks

Panthers +3
Redskins +10
Chargers -14
Jaguars +3
Bears +11
Ravens PK

*****************
Season Record: 30-28

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weekend Summary

Another huge weekend. I was actually riding an 11-gmae winning streak dating back to last week. That, of course, was ruined by the Bucs, proving once again why you should never bet against the Saints.

I also had an 8-team parlay over the weekend. Going into Sunday, I was 6-for-6. I had the Falcons +7 and the Titans +6 remaining. If both hit, I would win 2000 units. If one won and one lost (say that five times fast), I would win 100 units. If both lost, I would win nothing.

I wanted to lock in some winnings and not waste a great start so I decided to hedge. At this point, my EV was:

25% * 0 = 0
50% * 100 = 50
25% * 2000 = 500
total $550

If I put 475 on the Giants (Falcons' opponent) on Sunday, then my four outcomes were:

Giants-Titans: 475 + 100 = 575
Giants-Texans: 475 + 0 = 475
Falcons-Texans: -475 + 100 (with another chance to hedge) = -375
Falcons-Titans: -475 + 2000 = 1525

If the Giants lost, I would then hedge the Titans-Texans game. Only one problem... no one would take my Giants bet meaning I had to sweat this game out.

And sweat it out, I did.

The Falcons were down two touchdowns with less than 10 minutes to play. Miraculously, a Tony Gonzalez catch (and suing celebration that could be heard throughout Manhattan) sent the game into OT, guaranteeing the cover.

So, heading into last night's game, there were two outcomes:

Titans cover: +2000 units
Texans cover: +100 units

I'm a risk-taker by nature but not insane.

I put 880 units on the Texans (to win 800).

The Titans ended up winning outright so I hit 8-for-8 meaning the end result was a +1120 unit weekend.

Enough excitement to last a whole year... or at least until next weekend.


College Football: 6-0 (Season Record: 49-31-2; PoW: 6-5-1)

NFL: 4-2 (Season Record: 30-28)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Seperated at Birth



New York Yankee closer Mariano Rivera and MLB free agent Pedro Feliz

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 11

The Picks

Colts -1
Vikikngs -11
Bucs +12
Falcons +7
Bears +3
Titans +5

***************************************
Season Record: 26-26

Friday, November 20, 2009

Real Life Circular Reference

Check out this post on MLB Trade Rumors.com which will link you back to a Sports Banter article from earlier this week. And round and round we go.

College Football Picks: Week 12

The Picks

Texas Tech +7
Connecticut +6
Northwestern +7
California +7
Kansas State +17

PoW: Arizona +6

********************************
Season Record: 43-31-2 (PoW - 5-5-1)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DraftAce Blog

My second DraftAce blog has been posted here.

MLB Free Agents

This year's free agent class pales in comparison to that of last offseason. For one thing, of the "premier" players on the market, only one is under 30 years old (Rich Harden), and he hasn't thrown more than 150 innings in a season since 2004.

There are absolutely no sure things as question marks surround each free agent. Let's look:

Top Seven

1. Matt Holliday, OF: Are his numbers a product of Coors and batting behind Albert Pujols?

Best fit: Giants
Will sign with: Mets

2. John Lackey, SP: Are injuries a thing of the past? (The best line I have heard on this subject declared "Past injuries are the best indicator of future injuries.") Not a good thing for the team signing J-Lack.

Best fit: Mariners
Will sign with: Angels

3. Jason Bay, OF: Is he just a glorified DH? Sabermatricians would argue so as his defensive numbers are pitiful.

Best fit: Red Sox
Will sign with: Giants

4. Harden: He drools upside, but can he be counted on?

Best fit: Red Sox
Will sign with: Orioles

5. Adrian Beltre, 3B: After an incredible run in LA, his play has tailed off. Which player are you getting?

Best fit: Phillies
Will sign with: Phillies

6. Mark DeRosa, 2B/3B/OF: At 35, how many productive years does he have left?

Best fit: Mets
Will sign with: Mets

7. Jose Valverde, RP: Is signing a closer worth a top draft pick?

Best fit: Phillies
Will sign with: Yankees


Others to Watch

Ben Sheets: He sat out the entire 2009 season but has as much talent as anyone in this class.

Xavier Nady: Another guy who missed most of 2009. This dude has serious pop.

Mike Cameron: The perennially underrated Cameron is a defensive wizard.

Carlos Delgado: Can he bounce back from another injury?


Others Sure to be Overpaid

Johnny Damon: Being a good "glue" guy only gets you so far. Just ask Kevin Millar. (Admittedly, Damon is in another class from Millar but he is not that good.

Marco Scutaro: Guy has career year before he is eligible for free agency? Wow, haven't heard that before.


Might be Available on the "Cheap"

Hideki Matsui: A great postseason proved he can still hit (especially righties) but where does he fit in the field?

Orlando Hudson: Repeat of 2008?

Fernando Rodney: Sure, he's wild, but he's an effective wild which still works.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tattoos, monocles, bears and other thoughts and observations

*Loyal readers know that I am a huge fan of neck ink. If I didn't have to work for a living, I would even consider donning some myself. However, while watching the Nuggets-Lakers game the other night, I encountered a neck first:

JR Smith has overlapping neck ink. The palette, which doubles as his Adam's Apple, has a New York Yankees' logo and what looks like some script writing that begins somewhere under his ear and ends directly in the middle of his throat.

You really have to love tattoos to overlap them. . . or you just have to get drunk enough not to care.

*Wouldn't new Hornets coach Jeff Bower be much cooler if he wore a monocle? If anyone can pull it off, I think it's him.




*I could use some upsets if my Georgia Tech-BCS Champ prediction is going to come to fruition.

*Who came up with this terrible idea?

*Reason #12 that bears don't make good pets: they can eat you anytime they want.

*Is it just me or do this year's top incoming freshman have great names, almost video game-like:

John Wall - Derrick Favors - DeMarcus Cousins - Wally Judge - Dominic Cheek, great names all.

For what it's worth, my favorite name on an actual person that belongs in a video game: David Freese (St. Louis Cardinals 3B prospect)

*Jamal Lewis, in reference to Jim Brown, was recently quoted as saying, "I always wanted to follow in his footsteps."

Memo to Jamal: When discussing Jim Brown, please make sure to qualify all statements in a manner that makes it perfectly clear you are only talking about his play on the field and not his off-the-field exploits. Brown's post-playing career is bordering on OJ-esque as he has been accused of spousal abuse at least four times.

*I really hope U2 finds whatever it is they are "looking for." And, soon.

*Living in the big city, I don't get to do much driving. Last week, however, I was at my parents' house on Long Island and saw a great bumper sticker: "My pooch is smarter then your honor student." My first thought: Maybe, your pooch can teach you the difference between "then" and "than."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Website

I recently got a new gig as a blogger on DraftAce.com, a site dedicated to the NFL (specifically the Draft). I will be covering the AFC East.

My first post went up tonight and can be found here. Bookmark it.

MLB - Free Agency Proposal

The stigma of being a Type A free agent negatively affects numerous players each offseason (Juan Cruz and Orlando Hudson come to mind from '08). In the next CBA, might it make sense for the players to renegotiate the terms of Type A and Type B free agents?

For those unfamiliar, a Type A free agent that sings with a new team "costs" the team that signs this free agent a first round pick (assuming the team doing the signing finished with one of the best 15 records in the league the previous season). Additionally, the team that loses its free agent is given a supplemental first round pick.

In the current economic environment, teams are wary of losing a top pick.

My proposal: Give the team losing the free agent two supplemental first round picks regardless of which team signs this player, and do not take away a first rounder (best 15 records) or second rounder (worst 15 records).

Benefits: Teams can be aggressive in their pursuit of free agents thus making the players happy; teams losing free agents could get better picks under these rules (in the scenario where a team with one of the worst 15 records signs a player, the team losing the free agent would get two supplementals as opposed to a supplemental and a second rounder)

Disadvantages: The best teams could get better without much consequence; teams could get worse picks (in the scenario where a team with one of the best 15 records signs a player, the team losing the free agent would get two supplementals as opposed to a first rounder and a supplemental).

Players sure to be hurt by having Type A status this year (assuming their current teams offer arbitration): Miguel Tejada (no pity here), Octavio Dotel (Juan Cruz, Part Deux), and Orlando Hudson (Orlando Hudson, Part Deux).

What are your thoughts?

Monday, November 16, 2009

MLB - Trades Involving Terrible Contracts That Could Make Sense

Cubs trade Milton Bradley (2 years, $21m) to the Mets for Oliver Perez (2 years, $24m)

The money is essentially a wash and both guys can desperately use a change of scenery. Additionally, both have shown they are at least capable of putting up big numbers (Bradley: 2008; Perez: 2004). This seems like a no-brainer from both sides.

Royals trade Kyle Farnsworth (1 year, $5m) and Jose Guillen (1 year, 12m) to the Reds for Francisco Cordero (2 years, $25m) and prospect Carlos Fisher

Call me crazy, but how far are the Royals away from competing? Not as far as you may thing despite the fact their GM would fail even the most remedial talent assessment class. Any pitching staff with Zach Greinke at the top will have promise, and Gil Meche, Luke Hochevar, and Robinson Tejada flashed enough potential to make this team interesting. If they can sign a bat or three in free agency (and make this deal), the Royals can compete in 2010 without sacrificing any future talent.

Cubs trade Alfonso Soriano (5 years, $90m) to the Tigers for Jeremy Bonderman (1 year, $12.5m), Magglio Ordonez (1 year, $18m), Carlos Guillen (2 years, $26m), and Dontrelle Willis (1 year, $12.5m)

The Tigers rid themselves of huge short-term liabilities in exchange for taking on about $20m of salary over five years. This could make sense if the Tigers think the economy will rebound in the next three to four years and could buy them time, thus preventing them from having to hold a firesale (read: Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson). The Cubs buy some really expensive lotto tickets in Willis (a former Cub prospect) and Bonderman.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Huge NFL Weekend

NFL Picks 5-0 (back to .500 for the season)

NCAA Picks 3-3 (PoW: 1-0)

NFL Picks: Week 10

The Picks

Jaguars +7
Panthers +2
Bengals +7
Cardinals -8
Chargers -1

***************************************
Season Record: 21-26

Saturday, November 14, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 11

The Picks

Duke +13
Baylor +24.5
Iowa +17
Stanford +11
Pittsburgh -6.5

PoW: UAB -1

********************************
Season Record: 40-28-2 (PoW - 4-5-1)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 9

The Picks

Texans +10
Bengals +3
Eagles -3
Chargers +5
Lions +10

***************************************
Season Record: 18-24

Friday, November 6, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 10

The Picks

Pitt -21
Northwestern +16
Kansas -2.5
Stanford +7
Ohio State +5
Vanderbilt +35

PoW: Houston -1
********************************
Season Record: 35-27-1 (PoW - 4-5)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 8

The Picks

Detroit -3.5
Jets -3
Eagles -1
Green Bay -3
Jacksonville +3

***************************************
Season Record: 17-20

Thursday, October 29, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 9

The Picks

Florida State -9
Baylor +13
Florida -15
Wake Forest +7.5
Kansas +7
Northwestern +25

Pick of the Week - Central Michigan +5.5

********************************
Season Record: 31-24-1 (PoW - 4-4)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 7

The Picks

Kansas City +6: The Chiefs are playing hard these days which is more than you can say about almost every other bottom-feeder in the league.

Oakland +7: The Raiders always play the Jets tough.

Buffalo +7: Can the Bills save Dick Jauron's job again this year?

Atlanta +4: The 'boys may cover, but I cannot figure out this spread at all. The Falcons should be favored here.

New Orleans / Miami Over 47: The Saints may get to this number by themselves.

***************************************
Season Record: 15-17

Friday, October 23, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 8

The Picks

South Florida +7: The Bulls have had 10 days to prepare for this one. I think they surprise Pitt on the road.

Arkansas / Ole Miss Over 53: Jevan Snead gets hot... finally. Letdown week for the Hogs.

Iowa State +19: I don't like this game at all, but since I'll be there, I should have a rooting interest. Huskers 34, Cyclones 17.

Maryland +7: It's automatic - if Duke is favored, bet against them.

Michigan +5: The Wolverines broke out of their funk last week. Penn State hasn't proven anything this year.

Kansas +7.5: What do the Sooners have to play for at this point?

Mississippi State +23: No team in the country has played a tougher schedule than the Bulldogs. They won't be blown off the field.

Oregon State +21.5: The Beavers always play the Trojans well.

Pick of the Week - Washington +10: In Jake Locker, I trust.

********************************
Season Record: 27-19-1 (PoW - 4-3)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Incredible Stat

From the unparalleled Michael Lombardi talking about the Denver Broncos:

"They’re for real — and last night proved it to me. I’ve always been concerned about their age and lack of real speed in the secondary, but after playing well the past two weeks against some very good passing teams, I’m a believer. Not allowing the Chargers a third-down conversion in the second half was impressive, as is giving up only three points in the second half all season. This is the fourth consecutive game their defense has held an opponent to zero third-down conversions (0/23) in the second half. The Broncos have allowed only two second-half third-down conversions this season (one each in Week 1 and Week 2). These numbers are a credit to their defensive staff for being able to make the right halftime adjustments. And as we all know, football is a game of adjustments."

Three straight games without allowing a third down conversion explains everything. 6-0 is not an accident.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 6

The Picks

Jacksonville -9.5: I know they got shellacked last week in Seattle but the Rams are pathetic. They average < 7 points per game.

Detroit / Green Bay - Over 48: My shootout of the week.

New York Giants +3: The Saints can make a believer of me if they cover here.

Tampa Bay +3.5: Josh Johnson's coming out party.

Denver +4: Still, no one believes in the Broncos. Why?

******************************
Season Record: 14-13 (Survivor: Eliminated)

Friday, October 16, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 7

The Picks

Texas -3: The Longhorns are better than last year. The Sooners are worse. Texas won by 10 last year.

Iowa +3: Wisconsin looks ready for their midseason swoon.

Texas Tech / Nebraska Over 61: Everyone loves a high-scoring affair.

Notre Dame +11: Regular readers know that nothing would make me happier than being wrong here. I am begrudgingly backing the Irish here because I think they can hang tight.

Georgia Tech +3: My preseason pick to win it all would garner some notice by pulling off the upset here. It might even get them back into the Top 10.

Pick of the Week - Army +10: Temple as a 10-point favorite? No thanks. The Black Knights are smelling a bowl game. How can you root against them?

********************************
Season Record: 24-17-2 (PoW - 4-2)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weekend Recap

Well, my baseball predictions could not have been worse as my two World Series teams both got swept in the Opening Round.

But, let's not dwell on the negative. It looks like I am hitting my stride in college football.

******************************
NCAA Football

Week 6: 5-1-1 (Pick of the Week - 1-0); Season Record: 24-17-2 (PoW - 4-2)

Recap

Great call - Recognizing the 'Bama defense as tops in the nation.

Good call - Expecting a shootout in the Auburn-Arkansas game.

Awful call - Guessing that Georgia would bounce back from a devastating loss.

******************************
NFL

Week 5: 3-3; Season Record: 14-13 (Survivor: Eliminated)

Recap

Great call - Giving the Bengals the respect they deserve.

Good call - Guessing that the Chiefs would compete at home.

Awful call - Everything about the Jacksonville pick.

******************************
Fantasy Football

Work League: Lost 100-35; 3-2 on the season - This was my worst defeat ever in fantasy football. My team sh!t the bed in a big way.

Friend league: Won 155-135; 3-2 on the season

Saturday, October 10, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 4

The Picks

Cincinnati +9: The Bengals deserve a bunch of respect. They are one freak play away from 4-0.

Detroit +10.5: If Stafford plays, I think they can hang tight.

Kansas City +9: Chiefs, show some pride, would you?

Oakland +16: I'm hoping Eli doesn't play and the Raiders defense keeps the game relatively close.

Jacksonville Pk: One of the league's hottest teams takes on one of the coldest.

New York Jets Pk: the Jets always seems to play well in Miami.

***************************************
Season Record: 11-10 (Survivor: Eliminated)

Friday, October 9, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 6

The Picks

Auburn / Arkansas Over 66: Everyone loves a shootout.

Georgia +1.5: Out to prove they got jobbed last week.

Alabama / Ole Miss Under 46: Both defenses are underrated.

Baylor +26: Baylor is not half bad.

Washington +3: The Huskies at home seem like a no-brainer, which makes me a bit cautious.

Texas Tech -16: K-State is awful.


Pick of the Week - Houston -2: The Cougars' season could go one of two ways: they could prove last week was a fluke and run the table the rest of the way or they could throw in the towel. I think they'll go the former route.

********************************
Season Record: 19-16-1 (PoW - 3-2)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

MLB Playoff Predictions

AL

Yankees over Twins (3-1)
Red Sox over Angels (3-2)

Red Sox over Yankees (4-2)


NL

Phillies over Rockies (3-0)
Cardinals over Dodgers (3-1)

Cardinals over Phillies (4-2)


World Series

Cardinals over Red Sox (4-3)


Playoff / Wold Series MVP: Mark DeRosa

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weekend Recap

A great football weekend (thanks in large part to a successful Saturday) made for a very enjoyable two days.

NCAA Football

Week 5: 5-1 (Pick of the Week - 1-0); Season Record: 19-16-1 (PoW - 3-2)

Recap

Great call - Hitting the Maryland pick despite no indication this team has any talent.

Good call - All the rest, really.

Awful call - None as the lone loss came in OT.


NFL

Week 4: 3-3; Season Record: 11-10 (Survivor: Eliminated)

Recap

Great call - Predicting the 49ers' shutout.

Good call - Betting against Seneca Wallace.

Awful call - Thinking the Chargers would hang with the Steelers (the score ended up being much closer than the game)

Tough break - Missing the Giants / Chiefs under by half a point.


Fantasy Football

Work League: Won 120-70; 3-1 on the season

Friend league: Won 151-111; 2-2 on the season

Friday, October 2, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 4

The Picks

Oakland / Houston Under 42: Until the Raiders can prove they score on someone, I'm going to ride the Under in their games.

NY Giants / Kansas City Under 42.5: This game seems like a carbon copy of last week's Giant game. The Chiefs' slow offense stands little chance.

St. Louis / San Francisco Under 38: I smell a shutout.

Indianapolis -10: Seneca Wallace starting at QB = immediately bet against the Seahawks.

New York Jets +7: In a high-scoring affair, I trust the Jets defense to make a few more stops than the New Orleans D.

Chargers +6.5: The Steelers have struggled without Troy P manning the middle of the secondary, and the Chargers throw the ball about as well as anyone.

--------------------------------------------
Season Record: 8-7 (Survivor: Eliminated)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 5

The Picks

Michigan +2: How are the Wolverines 'dogs against a 1-3 Spartan team?

Maryland +13: I know it's a down year for the Terps but they always play Clemson tough, especially at home.

South Florida -6.5: The Bulls are riding about as high as possible. The 'Cuse, not so much.

Miami (OH) +30: We must protect this house.. or at least lost by less than four touchdowns.

Washington +13: Notre Dame has barely survived two weeks in a row. Can Jake Locker end that run?


Pick of the Week - Alabama -16: How is this game different than last weeks Florida game for the Wildcats? It's not.

---------------------------------------------
Season Record: 14-15-1 (Pick of Week - 2-2)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vince Young, Theo Fleury and Some Cool Links

*Maybe there is hope for Vince Young after all (not on the field of course). Classy move.

*Theo Fleury was thisclose to making it back to the NHL. I would have loved to see that.

*This is incredible. I love the cackling.

*I love it when fans do stupid harmless things. This one might take the cake.

*If you hate punts, head down to Arkansas.

*Want to be a professional athlete? Don't expect to get rich or stay rich. I wish I could say that I used this as the basis for not pursuing a sports career. Unfortunately, it was really my lack of athletic talent that left me no choice.

*Wow.

*The proof is in the pudding. Please fire Omar.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Banter Man Crush Update

Justin Smoak, World Cup MVP.

Next stop: MLB All-Star Game.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 3

The Picks

49ers +7.5: Does no one believe in Mike Singletary? I do.

Texans -4: Team coming off huge victory against visiting team coming off tough home loss.

Saints / Bills Over 51.5: The Saints are averaging 46.5 points through two weeks.

Chargers -6: Miami has done nothing this year to make me trust them.

Panthers +8.5: DAW single-handedly keeps this one close.
--------------------------------------------
Season Record: 6-4 (Survivor: Eliminated)

Friday, September 25, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 4

The Picks

Alabama -15.5: Arkansas lost at home last week against a Georgia team that can't hold a candle to 'Bama.

Florida State -13.5: Four-year starting QB lost for the season? I'll take my chances.

Northwestern Pk: Throw the common opponent (Syracuse) out the window. I'm sticking with Kafka.

TCU +3: BCS-buster weekend.

Oregon State -2.5: Is this a center ants? This spread needs to be "at least three times this size."

Washington State +46: I'll feel good for the first six possessions. After that, I'll sweat a bit.

Pick of the Week - Southern Mississippi +14 : See TCU.

---------------------------------------------
Season Record: 10-12-1 (Pick of Week - 1-2)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Pick Recap

NFL

Week 2: 3-2

Season Record: 6-4


NCAA

Week 3: 5-3 (Pick of Week - 0-1)

Season Record: 10-12-1 (Pick of Week - 1-2)

Friday, September 18, 2009

College Football Picks: Week 3

Picks

Boise State -7: Fresno is coming off a heartbreaking 2OT loss on the road at Wisconsin. Now, they deal with the juggernaut of a squad.

Kansas - 22: Duke is a joke. Kansas will be able to throw it all over the field.

Tennessee +29: I have a lot of confidence in DC Monte Kiffin. They won't win and they may not score more than 10 points, but I think Kiffin can figure out a way to "contain" Tebow.

Tulsa / Oklahoma Over 58: This line seems curiously low.

Northwestern -3: Wildcats QB Mike Kafka will make a name for himself.

Cincinnati PK: Bearcats-Beavers = Game of the Week.

UCLA -12: Kansas State is awful. The Bruins are coming off a huge road victory.


Pick of the Week: Toledo +21.5: I'll have the Buffaloes for my appetizer and Buckeyes for the entree. Mmmm.


Season Record: 5-9-1 (Pick of Week - 1-1)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 2

Picks

Texans +7: This is a gut-check game for Houston. Are they a team other teams should fear or are they on their way to a(nother) disappointing season.

Packers -9: The Bengals aren't exactly known for having the best character. After last week's devastating loss, does anyone think they'll respond with a great performance? Count me among the non-believers.

49ers -1: San Fran has the most impressive showing in my mind during Week 1. We have no idea how good Seattle is since they only had to play the Rams at home.

Lions +10: AP might run for 350 yards but I think Detroit makes it interesting.

Giants +3: Although not overly impressive in Week 1, the G-Men have a solid defense and a capable offense.


Survivor Pick: Packers


Week 1: 3-2 (Survivor - 1-0)

Season Record: 3-2 (Survivor - 1-0 - Ravens)

Perfect Fit for the Spurs

Check out this video to see why this Spurs' draftee will be a perfect fit on their team. The guy doesn't celebrate in any manner after hitting a game winning jumper in a big game of international competion**. Another boring player in San Antonio. Rejoice, rejoice Spurs fans.


**To be completely fair, his teammates looked like zombies walking off the bench after the final buzzer. Maybe, there was a carbon moxoide issue in the arena I can't see in the video, but I think not.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Weekend Pick Recap

NFL

Week 1: 3-2 (Survivor - 1-0)

Season Record: 3-2 (Survivor - 1-0)


NCAA

Week 2: 3-4-1 (Pick of Week - 1-0)

Season Record: 5-9-1 (Pick of Week - 1-1)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Separated at Birth?



The fat guy from More to Love and the Lions franchise QB Matthew Stafford.

Hopefully for Detroit, a city that has suffered enough, this is not an ominous sign.

Friday, September 11, 2009

College Football Picks - Week 2

Live Week 2 (Week of the 'dogs) Picks from Vegas:

Iowa State +7
Buffalo +10.5
Marshall +19
Houston +15
UCLA +10
Missouri -18.5
LSU -14

Pick of the Week: South Carolina +8

Season Record: 2-5 (PoW: 0-1)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NFL Picks: Week 1

Going to Vegas tonight so this will be quick.

Picks

Steelers -5: Defending champs typically play well on Opening night.

Broncos +4.5: It's almost automatic, when the Bengals are favored, I'll take my chances.

Jaguars +7: Jacksonville always gives the Colts fits in Indy.

Ravens - 10: It will be an upset if the Chiefs score more than 10 points.

Panthers Pk: Carolina has some unfinished business after last year's postseason collapse.


Survivor Pick: Ravens


Season Record: 0-0

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

College Picks - Week 1 Recap

Some awful, some great calls in Week 1. Not exactly the start I was looking for, but it'll have to do.

Awful Calls

Nevada looked pathetic against the Irish.

Maryland got smoked early and often.


Good Calls, Sort of

USC didn't need to pass when they could run all over the field.

I now believe in Michigan.


Great Calls

The winning score in the Baylor / Wake game was 24, as predicted.

Alabama and V-Tech have some great athletes.


Record

2-5 (Pick of Week: 0-1)

Monday, September 7, 2009

NFL Props and Futures Picks

Win Totals

Chiefs - Under 6: Have the Chiefs improved at all from last year's disaster? They only won two games last season. This is my pick of the year.

Browns - Under 7: Again, where is the improvement going to come from? This team won four games last year and traded one of their best players (Kellen Winslow).

Broncos - Over 6.5: Denver plays Kansas City and Oakland twice each, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. That should be six wins right there.

Lions - Under 4.5: I feel like a broken record, but where are the five new wins coming from?

Packers - Over 8.5: The offense will be awesome. Hopefully the defense shows up.


Props

1000-Yard Rushers in the NFL - Over 16.5: I have faith in Peterson, Turner, Williams, Portis, Jones, Slaton, Forte, Johnson, Grant, LT, Jacobs, Jackson, Lynch, Gore, Ward, Smith, Westbrook, Brown, Rice, Parker, and Moreno.

Jason Witten Touchdowns - Over 6.5: Without TO in town, Witten becomes Option #1 in the red zone.

Matt Forte Rushing Yards - Over 1150: The presence of Jay Cutler only helps Forte, who rushed for 1238 yards last season.

Kevin Smith Rushing Yards - Over 1050: Smith was not the feature back last season. Now, he is.

Brett Favre Touchdowns - Under 21 coupled with Brett Favre Interceptions - Over 18.5: My hedge prop. I do not have confidence that Old Man Favre can stay healthy for an entire season. Betting on both of these scenarios independently could net me big money.

Percy Harvin Receiving Yards - Over 500: He will be a dangerous threat from Day 1.

Pierre Thomas Rushing Yards - Over 900: He's the feature back despite the presence of Reggie.

Marshawn Lynch Rushing Yards - Over 750: Lynch is out the first three games but this line seems incredibly low to me.

Jason Taylor Sacks - Under 7.5: A big reputation gets you nothing.

Fred Taylor Touchdowns - Over 2.5: This could happen in one game.

Vernon Gholston Sacks - Under 4.5: I hope I'm wrong, but I would take the under even if the line was 2.

Chad Ochocinco Receiving Yards - Under 1150: Without TJ Housh, Chad becomes the focus of the defensive gameplan. Plus, he's bound to be suspended for over-Twittering, isn't he?

Most Receiving Yards in the NFL - Vincent Jackson 20-1: He's the #1 receiver on a pass-happy team. Admittedly, it's a long-shot, but these odds are attractive.

Most Rushing Yards in the NFL - Kevin Smith 25-1: Again, not likely but the odds are attractive.

Odds to Win Super Bowl

Chicago 15-1: I'm not a proponent of betting on the Super Bowl champ this early because there are still solid odds when the playoffs begin. If I were forced to choose, the Bears would be my pick.


Note: Odds are from Bodog.com as of 9/6/09.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thoughts from the Couch on an Incredible Sports Weekend

College football, baseball, and US Open tennis make the first weekend in September one of the best sports weekends of the year.

Thoughts From The Couch

*I don't care how many outfield assists Hunter Pence racks up. He throws like a schoolgirl.

*I think football players should be flagged for excessive celebration when it's not warranted (ie anytime a touchdown isn't scored or change of possession does not occur). It's becoming pretty annoying when a running back gets stopped for a three yard gain on first-and-ten and the defense goes crazy. Pick your celebration spots.

*Last year, Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor wore eyeblack with the Buckeyes' emblem. During yesterday's narrow opening day victory, Pryor donned eyeblack that said "Vick." I wish I was making this up.

*I can't find a picture online, but the microphones on the umpire's chair at the US Open can best be described as anti-Bob Barker. They are ginormous. I thought advancements is technology would lead to smaller devices. Apparently, this is not the case for microphones.

*I am convinced Rafael Nadal wears a thong. No other type of undergarment could possibly cause that many wedgies in need of picking.

*Speaking of Nadal, at a charity event last week that was held near my office, Rafael Nadal was challenged with the task of returning 10 shots into the court of play against a ball machine set to a maximum of 50mph. All he had to do was put the ball in play 10 consecutive times to win the charity $10,000. He went 8-for-10. It was embarrassing. Based on this alone, I can't see the guy winning the Open.

*I saw Todd Martin on the street the other day. Somehow, he looks younger than he did during his playing days. I can't explain it. Maybe he's making a case to join Walt Frazier and Keith Hernandez in the next round of Just for Men commercials.

*Which professional tennis players wear adjustable hats backwards? First it was Nicolas Kiefer, then it was Lleyton Hewitt. Pony up the extra five bucks and get a fitted hat so we don't have to see the ridiculous forelock in the front of your head. Either that or don't wear a hat.

I am in no way a fashion expert, but even I can see that you look stupid.


More Weekend Observations / Things I Learned Recently

*JD Drew's real name is David Jonathan. Why doesn't he go by DJ?

*Thing I Hate Most About Fantasy Sports: Everyone is an expert. Quick story to prove my point.

At a recent draft, I was able to convince an opponent who claimed to be knowledgeable about football that Darren McFadden was an Irish immigrant.

*I haven't read Sports Illustrated in quite some time but they used to (and still might) have a little blurb called "The Apocalypse is Upon Us." I think a woman leaving college early to play professional basketball would qualify. On a related note, I wrote about this same Epiphany a few years back when she scored over 100 points in a high school game marking the only other time I have written about women's basketball. Hopefully, this will be the last.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

College Football Preview - Teams

The college football season kicked off inauspiciously last night (see Blount, LaGarrette).

Boise State played a solid first half, but I'm not convinced they are a National Title contender. College football has a way of weaning the pretenders out from the rest of the pack (think Penn State, 2008) and I would be surprised if the Broncos finished the regular season 12-0. My guess is they fall on the road at either Fresno State or Tulsa.

Here's my best guess as to what the final Top 10 rankings will look like:

1) Georgia Tech - At 50-1 to win the National Title, I love the Yellow Jackets. Just trust me here. Take a shot, sit back, and root for Jonathan Dwyer and this unconventional Paul Johnson offense to dominate the ACC.

2) Florida - The Gators' schedule consists of two tough games, a trip to LSU and the World's Largest Cocktail Party Game against Georgia. They will have two weeks to prepare for LSU, a team that has given them fits in Baton Rouge over the years, and Georgia has a brand new backfield this season.
I can't see them being beat during the regular season.
The National Title Game, however, is another story. By January, teams will be stacking the box with eight or nine guys every single play, making Tebow beat them with his arm.


3) USC - Before I started writing, I thought this was the year USC fell from the top of the ranks. Looking closer at the Trojans' sked, I can only see them losing two games, at Ohio State and at Cal. Both teams, however, are perennially overrated. I don't trust freshman quarterbacks. Neither should you.

4, 5, 6) Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma - They'll all beat each other and fall a game short of the BCS Title game. It will be a ton of fun to watch, though.

7) Penn State - It's Cupcake City, baby (channelling Dick Vitale)!!!! This schedule is laughable, the Big Ten stinks, and the Lions return a lot of talent.

8) Ole Miss - Hop on the back of Jevan Snead and enjoy the ride.

9) Southern Miss - Boise who? Here's my BCS-buster. They return a starting WB that threw for 3,000+ yards (Austin Davis), a RB that could break the all-time yardage mark in Division I, err, FBS history, and a WR that will be a top 10 pick in 2011 if he can stay healthy (DeAndre Brown). If the defense can hold up, this is your sleeper.

10) Alabama - The Crimson Tide don't have enough weapons this year, but fans should enjoy watching star linebacker Rolando McClain before he declares for the NFL Draft after the season.

Friday, September 4, 2009

College Football Picks - Week 1

The Picks

Western Michigan +13: I'll believe Michigan has turned the corner when I see it.

Baylor / Wake Forest Under 53.5: As we saw last night, it takes a while for the offenses to kick into gear. I could see 24 points winning this game.

Alabama / Virginia Tech Over 38: I know these defenses are good, but there are too many athletes in this game for us not to see some points scored.

Maryland +21: Cal is perennially overrated. Maryland is perennially underrated. Seems like a perfect match.

San Jose State +34: Matt Barkley might be a superstar eventually, but San Jose State can defend the pass. I don't like this matchup for him.

Miami / Florida State Under 48: It seems like every year this game is a defensive battle.


Pick of the Week

Nevada +14.5: I think Nevada has a shot to win this game outright. The media (ahem, Lou Holtz) have been all over the Irish pegging them to be a BCS-contender. Not so fast my friend.


Season Record: 0-0 (Pick of the Week: 0-0)

College Football - Season Picks

BCS National Champion

Georgia Tech: 50-1
Southern Miss: 100-1


Heisman

Jonathan Dwyer: 30-1
Joe McKnight: 30-1


Teams That Will Surprise (Good Way)

Colorado
Nevada


Teams That Will Surprise (Bad Way)

Virginia Tech
Ohio State


Over / Under - Wins

Georgia Tech: Over 8.5
Southern Miss: Over 8.5
Penn State: Over 9.5
California: Under 9
Houston: Over 7

Monday, August 31, 2009

Nightmare for Royals Fans Set to Continue

Unbelievably, Royals' GM Dayton Moore had his contract extended through 2014.

He inherited one franchise player (Greinke) when he took the post in 2006. Now, the Royals have one franchise player (Greinke). That's right, not much has changed.

Of all the articles I have read, Royals Authority summarizes it best.

HBT also weighs in.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Headline that makes me want to puke...

... and I'm not even a Royals fan: "Royals Considering Extension for Moore."

When will it end in Kansas City? Probably only when the Banter is running the show. In other words, it could be a while.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stat of the Week

The University of Oklahoma has never produced a quarterback who has started an NFL game, this despite having a Heisman Trophy winner and another Heisman Trophy finalist in the last decade alone.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Separated at Birth?

As suggested by loyal reader and new father, JohnnyStef (aka georgekaplan):

Actor Kevin Pollak and NY Yankee OF Nick Swisher

Friday, August 21, 2009

Separated at Birth?


Does Robinson Cano have a day job at Cafe 28?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stream of Consciousness While Watching MLB Extra Innings

As I have written countless times over the past four and a half months, I am a proud owner of the MLB Extra Innings package. "Up to 95 out of market games per week" was more than enough to sway me. I have not had much time to watch recently so I figured I would take advantage on a night that offered 11 out of market ball games.

Here are my thoughts while watching:

**Whatever happened to Delmon Young, uberprospect? Terrible build, no power, gomp-filled. It's awful. The guy was the first overall pick in 2003 for crying out loud.

**With Pablo Sandoval out of the lineup, the Giants offense is embarrassingly terrible (or terribly embarrassing). Never a good sign when Randy Winn hits in the heart of the order.

**Cliff Lee is dominant.

**There are an awful lot of balding baseball players. That can't all be steroids-related, can it?

**Is it too late for the Mets to have a fire sale? Would anyone buy any of these guys even at drastically reduced prices?

**Ian Kinsler does not get cheated when he swings; neither do Marlon Byrd or Josh Hamilton or David Murphy or any other member of the Rangers. Maybe that's Rudy Jamarillo's "secret to hitting": swing as hard as humanly possible in case you make contact.

**As much as they have been struggling, no American League team wants to face the Red Sox in the playoffs with Beckett and Lester atop the rotation.

**Mike Macdougal throws cheddar despite tipping the scale at <150lbs.

**The Padres announcer, while introducing the lineup, says "Hank White doing the catching" in reference to Henry Blanco. I love it. All names should be translated like that.

**Jose Reyes would be a lot less cool if he went by "Joe Kings".

**Not sure who has the better mullet-in-the-making: Jered Weaver or Mat Latos.

**If Kurt Suzuki is your cleanup hitter, it's probably best to plan for next season....immediately.

**My fantasy team is an absolute train wreck right now.

**HD is slimming (Exhibit A: John Kruk looks svelte).

**How dumb are these people going to feel if the tests come up clean?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mock Draft Voting

Some readers have complained the links below do not work. Fret not.

1- Go to www.fantasyballjunkie.com/

2- Find the article entitled "Results from the 2010 Mock Draft"

3- Vote for the team you think did the best (probably the Banter)

Preseason NFL and Mr. Strasburg

I went to the Giants-Panthers game last night. Unfortunately, after travelling a... umm, circuitous route, we arrived late in the first quarter to see the first overall pick under center. Unfortunately, it was the first pick of the 2002 NFL Draft, David Carr, but the game was enjoyable nonetheless. (This portion of the post would have been better conveyed on Twitter but whatever.)

Speaking of Twitter, I'm testing it out. Here's a shameless plug: follow me here @mspici

*******************

I cannot express in words how much I love the Stephen Strasburg deal. It's great for both sides and the city of Washington. Finally, Nats' fans have something to look forward to.

Side note: In general, I like Keith Law's work. However, in this article, I take a bit of umbrage (h/t Ryan MacAvery) with the following:

They [Washington] just added a potential No. 1 starter to their organization for maybe 10 percent of what an established No. 1 starter would cost in free agency, and Strasburg gets the opportunity to walk in as the savior for a franchise that desperately needs a pitcher just like him. That's a win-win.

10%??? How does Law come up with this number? Strasburg signed a four-year deal for $15.1m. Is Law suggesting Strasburg is worth ~37.5m / year? I'm assuming not (since that would be 150% more than any pitcher in history has ever received); so, he must mean over the life of a longer contract, Strasburg would be paid in the ballpark of $150m. I have no idea how he arrives at this number. Only one pitcher in history has seen more money than that (CC Sabathia), and Strasburg is a completely unproven commodity (unless you consider the WAC a baseball proving ground). Johan Santana signed a 6-year, $137.5m deal last year, but Stephen Strasburg is worth $150m? Please.

*******************

If you have some time to kill, check out this site. It's awesome.

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part VIII

The final two rounds of the 2010 Mock occurred last night. I nabbed Mark DeRosa and Brian Fuentes.

The Sports Banter's final roster.

C: Matt Wieters
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: Mark DeRosa
SS: Alexei Ramirez
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Alfonso Soriano
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: Jon Lester
SP: Adam Wainwright
SP: Tommy Hanson
SP: Matt Garza

RP: Brian Fuentes


The final rosters can be found here. (Feel free to vote at the bottom of the page.) There is also a story here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part VII

After adding Banter favorites Matt Wieters and Matt Garza, the catching and starting pitching spots have been solidifed.

My roster now looks like this:

C: Matt Wieters
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: (None)
SS: Alexei Ramirez
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Alfonso Soriano
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: Jon Lester
SP: Adam Wainwright
SP: Tommy Hanson
SP: Matt Garza

RP: (None)

I can't see this team losing any category.

Top 8:

1. Mark DeRosa
2. K-Rod
3. Joakim Soria
4. Brian Fuentes
5. Bobby Jenks
6. Brian Wilson
7. Jose Valverde
8. Brad Lidge

Saturday, August 15, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part VI

Adam Wainwright and Tommy Hanson are the newest memebers of The Sports Banter.

My roster now looks like this:

C: (None)
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: (None)
SS: Alexei Ramirez
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Alfonso Soriano
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: Jon Lester
SP: Adam Wainwright
SP: Tommy Hanson
SP: (None)

RP: (None)

I can't see this team losing any category.

Top 20:

1. Matt Wieters
2. Chone Figgins
3. Roy Oswalt
4. Matt Garza
5. James Shields
6. Jered Weaver
7. Rich Harden
8. Edwin Jackson
9. Max Scherzer
10. Derek Lowe
11. Ted Lilly
12. Scott Kazmir
13. Jair Jurrjens
14. Brandon Webb
15. Carlos Zambrano
16. Jon Broxton
17. K-Rod
18. Joakim Soria
19. Brian Fuentes
20. Bobby Jenks

Friday, August 14, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part V

I nabbed Alexei Ramirez and Jon Lester with picks seven and eight. Feeling very confident.

My roster now looks like this:

C: (None)
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: (None)
SS: Alexei Ramirez
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Alfonso Soriano
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: Jon Lester
SP: (None)
SP: (None)
SP: (None)

RP: (None)


Let the arms race begin:

Top 20

1. Adam Wainwright
2. Pablo Sandoval
3. Chad Billingsley
4. Chris Carpenter
5. Cole Hamels
6. Tommy Hanson
7. Roy Oswalt
8. AJ Burnett
9. Jake Peavy
10. Matt Garza
11. James Shields
12. Jered Weaver
13. Clayton Kershaw
14. Edwin Jackson
15. Rich Harden
16. Max Scherzer
17. Derek Lowe
18. Ted Lilly
19. Scott Kazmir
20. Jair Jrrjens

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part IV

I nabbed Dustin Pedroia and Alfonso Soriano with my 5th and 6th round picks, respectively. Again, both of these guys were very high of my "Best Available" list.

My offense looks incredibly well-balanced.

BA: 4 of 6 are great.
R: All 6 are great.
HR: 4 of 6 are great.
RBI: 3 of 6 are great.
SB: I will get contributions from 4 of 6. (Might address this with my next pick.)


My roster now looks like this:

C: (None)
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: (None)
SS: (None)
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Alfonso Soriano
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: (None)
SP: (None)
SP: (None)
SP: (None)

RP: (None)



It might be time to start thinking about some arms...

Top 20

1. Alexei Ramirez
2. Pablo Sandoval
3. Josh Beckett
4. Josh Johnson
5. John Lester
6. Adam Wainwright
7. Yovani Gallardo
8. Chad Billingsley
9. Matt Cain
10. Cliff Lee
11. Justin Verlander
12. Chris Carpenter
13. Cole Hamels
14. Jake Peavy
15. Roy Oswalt
16. Tommy Hanson
17. AJ Burnett
18. Matt Garza
19. James Shields
20. Jered Weaver

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part III

I picked up Ichiro and Josh Hamilton with my 3rd and 4th round picks. Again, I'm thrilled as they were both atop my "Best Available" Board.

My roster now looks like this:

C: (None)
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: (None)
3B: (None)
SS: (None)
OF: Ichiro
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: (None)
Util: Justin Morneau

SP: None
SP: None
SP: None
SP: None

RP: None

I have a minor dilemma with the next pick. I have nine outfielders rated very similarly but only one OF spot remaining. Do I lock up another position with my 5th round pick and hope one of my outfielders is still on the board when I pick in the 6th? Yup.

1. Aramis Ramirez
2. Jacoby Ellsbury
3. Nick Markakis
4. Curtis Granderson
5. Brian McCann
6. Alfonso Soriano
7. Carlos Quentin
8. Shane Victorino
9. Carlos Lee
10. Nate McLouth
11. Troy Tulowitzki
12. Adam Jones
13. Robinson Cano
14. Alexei Ramirez
15. Jayson Werth
16. Felix Hernandez
17. Josh Beckett
18. Josh Johnson
19. John Lester
20. CC Sabathia

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft - Part II

In the first installment of the mock draft, I selected Albert Pujols and Justin Morneau. Although I'm not a huge fan of using my Utility spot in Round 2, I am thrilled with this start.

Pujols (my #1 overall player) and Morneau (8) are studs in 4 of 5 categories.

By taking Ichiro with the first pick of the third round, I will lock up BA meaning I can take someone like Adam Dunn in the later rounds without thinking twice.

Here's my next 20. (Note: I have included no first basemen as I have no room in this format.)

1. Ichiro
2. Jimmy Rollins
3. Brandon Phillips
4. Duston Pedroia
5. Carlos Beltran
6. Josh Hamilton
7. Manny Ramirez
8. Jacoby Ellsbury
9. Nick Markakis
10. BJ Upton
11. Johan Santana
12. Jason Bay
13. Aramis Ramirez
14. Joe Mauer
15. Brian Roberts
16. Curtis Granderson
17. Carlos Lee
18. Carlos Quentin
19. Nate McLouth
20. Shane Victorino

Um, What?

How can the following sentence be published in a real newspaper with real editors:

When the Kings were preparing to retire the numbers of Vlade Divac and Chris Webber last season, some fans said they was undeserving of the honor because neither had won a championship in Sacramento.

That is a direct quote from The Sacramento Bee. Sure, it's not the most trusted name in news, but this is a publication with a circulation of about 300,000.

...some fans said they was...

Is that Ebonics? Was that a purposeful butchering of the English language? Come on.

Monday, August 10, 2009

2010 Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft

The Sports Banter gets the first pick and will select Albert Pujols. No drama here.

Potpourri of Thoughts

I'm a bit late the party here, but a few weeks back, Dave Cameron at FanGraphs.com put together his annual "Top 50 MLB Trade Value" articles (there are about 10 in total, but here is the recap). His goal is rank the 50 players with the highest trade value while taking into account contracts (full intro here).

Overall, Cameron does an excellent job, but I have a few qualms.

-Prince Fielder belongs in the top 25. Prince has 141 home runs in the equivalent of four seasons while maintaining a career OPS+ of 136. Sure, he's not fleet of foot, but he plays a passable first base.

-David Price does not. Were his 19.2 innings in 2008 (5.2 in the playoffs) really enough to warrant the rating he has received? I don't buy it. Plus, he's not all that cheap since he was signed to a ML contract after being drafted.

-Gordon Beckham belongs in the Top 40. Beckham made his ML debut one year after being drafted. He has become a fixture at the hot corner and has impressed from Day 1.

-Joba Chamberlain does not. Joba has been a product of the New York media hype. His results have been far from overwhelming.

-Josh Beckett belongs above Dan Haren, not 28 slots below him. Color me mystified at this one. Beckett has two rings.

-Clay Bucholz should not be on this list. Perhaps in time he will prove to be more than a AAAA player, but right now what separates him from Homer Bailey aside from the hype and the no hitter (admittedly, no small feat)?

-Matt Wieters has to do a whole lot more to earn top 6 status. I understand he is a switch-hitting catcher but let's relax a bit before crowning him a Hall of Famer.

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Best Quote of the MLB Trade Season:

"Frankly, I am flabbergasted that the White Sox would want to make this deal with him in his physical condition." -Agent Barry Axelrod in reference to his injured client Jake Peavy

White Sox fans rejoice... or not.

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MLB Post-Waiver Deal That Make Sense:

Houston trades Miguel Tejada to Boston for prospects. As the Astros fall in the standings, it makes sense for them to dump salary. Tejada has been fantastic this season with the stick and fits in perfectly with the Red Sox as a plodding runner and subpar defensive player.

******************
Beginning on Tuesday, I will be taking part in a 2010 Mock Fantasy Baseball Draft on FantasyBallJunkie.com.

Assumptions:

-10 team snake draft.
-5x5 roto format.
-Each team will draft nine batters (one utility player), four starting pitchers and a closer.

We will go through two rounds per day for the next seven days.

Check back to see what you think of my team.

******************
Sneak preview

Here's my Top-20

1. Albert Pujols
2. Hanley Ramirez
3. Miguel Cabrera
4. Chase Utley
5. Alex Rodriguez
6. Ryan Braun
7. Mark Teixeira
8. Justin Morneau
9. Evan Longoria
10. Prince Fielder
11. Tim Lincecum
12. David Wright
13. Jose Reyes
14. Carl Crawford
15. Ian Kinsler
16. Matt Kemp
17. Ichiro
18. Grady Sizemore
19. Matt Holliday
20. Ryan Howard

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Best Seven Free Agents After '09 Season

Best Seven Free Agents After '09 Season

If you are a Royals, Mariners, Padres, or Nationals player or fan, here's what you have to look forward to next year. Warning: These pickings are slim.

1. Matt Holliday, OF, StL - Trade to the Cardinals could net him millions.

2. John Lackey, SP, LAA - I'm not sure why the Angels haven't locked him up long term.

3. Jason Bay, OF, Bos - Quiet, dependable, solid.

4. Chone Figgins, 3B, LAA - Table setter that makes a lot of sense on the South Side of Chicago.

5. Rich Harden, SP, Chi - When healthy, he's been dominant. Could fit into the category below.

6. Bobby Abreu, OF, LAA - His one year gamble should pay dividends.

7. Orlando Hudson, 2B, LAD - See Abreu, Bobby.


Others To Watch: Healthy (alphabetical)

Johnny Damon, OF, NYY
Aubrey Huff, 1B, Bal - Quietly won the AL Silver Slugger Award this season. He'll be 33 at the end of the upcoming season so he'll be looking for his last long-term contract.
Marco Scutaro, SS, Tor
Miguel Tejada, SS, Hou - Does anyone know his actual age yet?

Others to Watch: Injury Concerns (alphabetical)

Adrian Beltre, 3B, Sea - Probably on the downside of the career but still only 30 years old.
Erik Bedard, SP, Sea - Will he ever be the dependable workhorse he was? Doubtful.
Hank Blalock, 3B, Tex
Carlos Delgado, 1B, NYM
Vladimir Guerrero, OF, LAA
Brandon Webb, SP, Ari


Notes: I fully expect the following team options to be picked up or these players would rank much higher: Victor Martinez (Red Sox), Carl Crawford (Rays), Cliff Lee (Phillies) and Jermaine Dye (White Sox).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

AL-NL Realignment

Why are there 16 teams in the National League and only 14 in the American League?

I assume the rationale for moving the Brewers between leagues in 1997 was to put an even (as opposed to odd) number of teams in both leagues so one team from each league would not sit idle every weekend. However, now that we have interleague play, why not move them back?

Makes no sense.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fundraiser

Tonight, I had the privilege of attending a fundraiser for the Pediatrics Department of Mt. Sinai. The night was hosted by Sadina Gadecki, host of the World Poker Tour and girlfriend of New York Knick (for now) power forward David Lee. There was a silent auction and half-hearted attempt at a poker tournament.

Sabina Gadecki
I got a chance to talk to New Jersey Nets C Josh Boone, John Starks and the aforementioned Lee and Gadecki. Any preconceived notions I had about any of these individuals has evaporated as they turned out to be incredibly generous, wholesome people.
Most importantly, I implored / begged / pleaded with Mr. Lee to re-sign with the Knicks. So, if he does and you are a Knick fan, you can thank me later.

David Lee, Mary, and Me


David Lee = the man

John Starks and Me


Guess which one is me.
For what it's worth, Starks was a really enjoyable person to talk to. Very down to Earth. I'm a fan.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thoughts on the Sports World

Been a crazy few weeks (will get into the details in a later post). Sorry for the delay, but here we go again.

***************************
I cannot believe I am writing this, but I actually like what the Pittsburgh Pirates are doing these days. Namely, I love the Freddy Sanchez for Tim Alderson deal. This team is not going to win this year or next, but the only way to win in the future is to plan for the future. I finally think they are doing that. (Full disclosure: I did not like the Nate McLouth deal at all, but once that move was made, the series of moves that have followed make sense.)

In other words, the Pirates are acting just like the Kansas City Royals ... except the exact opposite. Right now, the Royals are a joke of a franchise that seem to repeatedly stumble upon poor decision-makers.

Let this be my first official push for the general managerial post of the Royals.

***************************
Getting back to the Alderson deal, what were the Giants thinking here? I know Sanchez has been an All Star three times, but those appearances should be accompanied with a Barry Bonds-sized asterisk. Every team needs to have at least one All Star each year. If that requirement didn't exist, would Sanchez really have qualified three times?

In this day and age, if you are going to trade one of your organization's top five prospects (especially if that prospect makes his living on the mound), you ABSOLUTELY MUST get a surefire performer in return. I'm not sure Sanchez qualifies.

***************************
In another wise move out of the city of Pittsburgh, the Steelers signed Heath Miller to a six-year extension.

This kills me, more so now than it did in 2005 when I was working for the Mike and Mike Sports Talk Show. If you remember, the New York Jets traded their first round pick (number 26 overall) to the Oakland Raiders for TE Doug Jolley and a second round pick which eventually was used on K Mike Nugent. At the time, I expressed my displeasure on the air calling for the Jets to just draft Miller instead. Jolley and Nugent were busts, and Miller is now the third-highest paid tight end in football.

I'm counting on you Dustin Keller to make us all forget this fiasco.

Side note: If anyone has the archived tapes of the MMSTS, please let me know.

***************************
After stealing, err, dealing for Cliff Lee, I'm almost afraid to type this because I don't want Ruben Amaro to read this (yes, he's a regular around these parts). If they traded Kyle Drabeck, JA Happ and a few other prospects to Toronto for Roy Halladay, wouldn't they be World Series favorites this year and next year?

The only thing worse than seeing the Phils win the WS once would be seeing them win three times in a row.

***************************
If someone is creating a college fantasy football league, please invite me.

***************************
Omar Minaya should be fired.

***************************
Two Deals That Make Sense:

*Marlins trade Mike Stanton to the Indians for Kerry Wood and Victor Martinez. Indians get one of the top five prospects in baseball and payroll relief. Marlins get an offensive beast and bullpen help. The city of Miami gets excited about baseball.... well, let's not get that crazy.

*Blue Jays trade Roy Halladay to the Dodgers for the entire Albuquerque Isotopes roster. The Dodgers are not built to last. They have to make a run now.

***************************
All the talk about Kyle Drabeck has reminded me of Doug Drabeck which reminds me of how ugly Zane Smith was. Six degrees of separation or something like that. Good times all around.

***************************
Hopefully, my next absence will be for a much shorter period of time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Separated at Birth



The world's best tennis player, Roger Federer and one of the world's leading fund accountants, Drew Garrabrant.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Interesting...

Loyal reader Cowboy Bob Sanzillo sent in these stats:

Through their first 80 games, the Reds were 40-40 overall, 20-20 at home, 20-20 on the road, 36-36 in nine-inning games, 4-4 in extra inning games, 28-28 against right-handed pitchers, and 12-12 against left-handed pitchers.

Chances of making the playoffs: 50-50.

Chances of winning the World Series: 0

2010 NFL Mock Draft - Top 10

A way too early rendering of what next year's Top 10 will look like.

1. Detroit: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska – They found the leader of the offense this year. Suh will anchor the defense.

2. Oakland: Taylor Mays, S, USC – Huge surprise: Al Davis drafts a speed demon. Conveniently, Mays happens to be a ridiculous athlete as well.

3. St. Louis: Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss – Marc Bulger will be begging out of St. Louis by year's end.

4. Kansas City: Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee – Best defensive player in college football.

5. Cincinnati: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma – In a surprise move, the Bengals take a player without any major character issues or past arrests.

6. Tampa Bay: Renaldo McClain, LB, Alabama – Derrick Brooks Part II.

7. Seattle: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma – The 'hawks passed on Mark Sanchez this year but cannot wait any longer to mold their QB of the future.

8. Tennessee: Tim Tebow, QB, Florida – I'm not buying another 13-3 season in Tennessee. Kerry Collins can't last forever and Vince Young's best days are behind him. I love the idea of a three-headed bulldozing backfield: Tebow, Chris Johnson and LenDale White.

9. Denver: Colt McCoy, QB, Texas – They dealt Jay Cutler and need to replace him with another gunslinger. McCoy does a better job of not forcing passes into tight spaces although he does not have Cutler's arm strength,

10. Atlanta: Ciron Black, OT, LSU – The Falcons play a brutal schedule this year. I think they fall back to Earth a bit. Black will protect Ryan for a number of years.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Color me puzzled, but...

...for the life of me, I do not understand why the Blue Jays would release BJ Ryan this week. It makes absolutely no sense. Now, the Blue Jays are stuck eating the remaining $15m on his contract.

On the same day they made this boneheaded move, the Jays announced they would be fielding offers for staff ace Roy Halladay. Wouldn't it make sense to couple the two as a package deal?

Here you go, Philly. You can have Roy, but you have to take Ryan with him and we still want your best prospects.

That would have saved them $15m over the next year and a half. That's $15m they could have spent elsewhere this offseason. In this economy, that can buy a whole lot of talent.

Mind-numbingly absurd.

Separated at Birth?



Toronto Blue Jays LHP Brian Tallet and former Philadelphia Phillies LHP Mitch Williams

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gomp Theory

Gompiness (noun) is a state of being, a way of life. (See also: plump, husky, chunky) People existing in this state possess heavy midsections but normal-sized top halves of the body. Those that are "gompy" are occasionally called "frumpy," but the two are not interchangeable as gompiness requires some athleticism. The term was coined by a number of my college baseball teammates (circa 2004).

Gompiness is best exemplified in the form of baseball players. Allow me to convey my point in a college-type way.


Course Listing

Level 101 Intro to Gomp - Professor Giles: Brian Giles began his career as a relatively speedy outfielder with some pop. He recorded double-digit stolen bases in four of his first six full seasons. Since then however, Giles has devolved into a husky left fielder devoid of any speed with an ever-growing midsection.


Professor Giles

Level 301 Gomponomics - Professor Bell: Heath Bell has taken the Gomp Group by storm this season. As a member of the New York Mets, teammates considered him svelte. Now, only inebriated fans of his would make that mistake.


Professor Bell

Level 305 Anti-Gomp - Professor Upton: When looked at from the side, BJ Upton is practically transparent. His waist is microscopic.

Professor Upton

Level 501 Gomp Theory - Professor Beckett: Josh Beckett dumps like a truck. What, what.


Professor Beckett

Level 901 Group Gomp - Professors Berkman, Lee, and Rodriguez with Guest Lecturer Tejada: The Houston Astros employ the three gompiest Major Leaguers. In fact, one is aptly nicknamed "Pudge."

Professors Berkman, Lee and Rodriguez

Guest Lecturer Tejada

Note: Joe Torre would be considered "gompy" if he were not a robot. Robots cannot have this distinction.


Robot Torre

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thoughts and Observations

**Really John Franco? You are one to question the leadership of the Mets? Really? Sure, you are the Mets' all-time saves leader, but really that's not saying much. In fact, you are also the Mets' all-time blown saves leader with a mind-boggling 101.

You made one All Star team as a member of the Mets (1990-2004) and never led the team to a World Series championship, although the Reds won the World Series the year after you left. Should you really be the one spouting off?


**Khalil Greene was placed on the DL for the second time this season due to anxiety problems. This is ironic because he is a member of the Mennonites, a Christian sect that preaches calmness, tranquility, inner peace, and nonviolence.


**The Yankees have over $95 million committed to players in the year 2013! Only 12 teams have a salary higher than that this season. For what it’s worth, the Nationals have do not have a single dollar committed to any player after next season.


**Blast from the Past: I do not support his actions of the past, but I believe everyone deserves a second chance. I'll be rooting for you, Charles.