“What the hell kind of country is this where I can only hate a man if he’s white?”

That was said by none other than Hank Hill of the TV show King of the Hill.  Apparently some people don’t seem to comprehend that quote.  Take ESPN columnist Jemele Hill.  She recently wrote a column titled, “Is Race Still An Issue For NFL QBs?”  With the tag line, “The cases of Vince Young, Donovan McNabb and Jason Campbell raise the possibility.”  Immediately I want to dismiss this as lunacy because Hill is notorious for playing the race card every chance she gets but doesn’t she have a point?

Actually no she doesn’t.  Now, I’m not going to say some quarterbacks aren’t criticized more than others, I mean Carson Palmer and Jay Cutler don’t take much of a beating in the media despite both being turnover machines.  Granted Cutler’s team is doing well so I guess that helps, but nobody seems to be noticing that Palmer and the defense is largely the reason for the Bengals downfall this season.  People like Skip Bayless find a reason to blame Terrell Owens for some reason, so yea Palmer needs to be criticized a lot more than he does.  But back to the column, lets delve into it shall we?

“Has anyone else noticed all the drama surrounding black quarterbacks during this NFL season?

• Jason Campbell, who has been fighting for his job all season in Oakland, was benched for the second time this year against Pittsburgh on Sunday.”

First off as if black QBs are the only ones facing drama.  Ever heard of Favre?  He’s been called the worst starting QB in the league by some.  But he’s white and therefore doesn’t fit Hill’s argument so Favre’s name will not be mentioned in her column.  Well actually it is but we’ll get to that later.  Back to Campbell.  It’s worth noting Campbell has 7 TD passes, 6 picks and a passer rating of 75.8.  Should he really be the unquestioned starter?

“• Six-time Pro Bowler Donovan McNabb was replaced by Rex Grossman during the final 1:50 of a close game against the Detroit Lions earlier this month because Redskins coach Mike Shanahan claimed Grossman was better suited to run the team’s two-minute offense. Shanahan questioned McNabb’s “cardiovascular endurance.””

No argument here, that was idiotic.  Not that I’m a huge McNabb fan, because I never have been, always been overrated to me, but Grossman is awful and should never play unless McNabb and McNabb’s backup are hurt.  And yes I’m aware Grossman is McNabb’s backup, it was a joke saying Grossman should be the 3rd stringer.

“• And on Sunday, Titans coach Jeff Fisher demoted Vince Young to benchwarmer after Young threw a tantrum following Tennessee’s 19-16 loss to Washington. Although thumb surgery is the official reason Young’s season is over, Fisher made it clear before he knew the severity of Young’s injury that his 27-year-old quarterback was being removed as the starter.”

Well were Young’s actions becoming of that of a starting QB?  When’s the last time you saw a good QB throw a tantrum like that?  Keep in mind this is Young’s second such tantrum.  Lets also keep in mind Jeff Fisher had Steve McNair for 10 years and I can’t recall him ever being benched for anything other than an injury.

“In 2007, McNabb told HBO’s “Real Sports” that black quarterbacks in the NFL face more pressure and tougher criticism than white quarterbacks do. The responses were predictable.

Racism is not an issue in the NFL.

Stop pulling the race card.

Quit whining.

But if you’ve paid attention to how some of the league’s black quarterbacks have been treated this season, McNabb’s words seem even truer now than they were three years ago.

I’m not calling anyone out for being racist, and I realize this might seem like an odd conversation to have considering that Michael Vick is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated and his comeback is one of the best sports stories of the year.

I’m also not overlooking the facts that Campbell played poorly in the games in which he was benched, that Young’s antics in Tennessee are largely to blame for his problems with Fisher, and that Shanahan has had difficult relationships with plenty of white quarterbacks in the past.

But it still seems as if race is playing a role in how some black quarterbacks are treated, managed, perceived and, ultimately, judged.”

Racism is not an issue in the NFL, stop pulling the race card and quit whining Jemele.  First off I absolutely LOVE how you debunked your own argument before you even delve into the column by mentioning Campbell actually played poor when he was benched, Shanahan has really only clicked with Elway and nobody else, Young is really immature and Vick is being hyped as an MVP candidate.  Couldn’t it just be the case of these three guys who just so happen to be black are not very good?  Also if your going to talk about QBs being criticized why not mention the white ones?  Again, people have called Favre the worst starting QB in the league, Romo has taken plenty of criticisms over the years, Alex Smith is being called one of the bigger busts in the NFL and it may be because their teams are pretty irrelevant right now but I can’t imagine the local media outlets are being too kind to Derek Anderson, Chad Henne and Matt Hasselbeck.  I mean why mention Campbell’s benching if your not going to mention Henne’s, Anderson’s (who is back now), and Hasselbeck’s?  Oh right, again that doesn’t fit the mold of her argument.

“The first time Campbell was benched this season was during halftime of the second game of the season.

The impatience the Raiders have shown with Campbell is stunning. They gave up a fourth-round pick to get him, and were convinced he was the answer after things went south with draft bust JaMarcus Russell, another black quarterback.

Campbell will start on Sunday against Miami, but it’s baffling that he’s still fighting with Bruce Gradkowski — whose career record as a starter is 5-11 — for the No. 1 job.”

First off, I love that she mentions JaMarcus was a black QB like we didn’t know.  But why mention it?  Did the Raiders do him wrong too?  He would have played just as bad if he were Indian, white, Cuban or Asian.  I digress, yes Campbell was benched suddenly but he was also bad in the pre season, bad in the first game and bad in the first half of the game he was benched in.  What she fails to mention about Gradkowski is he actually played well for Oakland in 2009, the teams loves him and as a starter in Oakland he’s 2-2.  The wins were against a 10 win Cincinnati team and at Pittsburgh and I know it’s not to impressive but neither is Jason Campbell.  Lets not forget Campbell was a 1st round pick by Washington and then shipped out to Oakland in favor of McNabb.  So he was replaced by a black QB?  Clearly Washington hates white QBs!

“I know race doesn’t completely explain the Raiders’ treatment of Campbell or why he didn’t work out for the Redskins. But Campbell’s shortcomings are rarely clarified with the same perspective as some white quarterbacks.

You hear about his 25-35 record as a starter, but you don’t hear that he’s played for a different offensive coordinator in every season since the Redskins drafted him in the first round in 2005.”

Race doesn’t explain any of Oakland’s treatment of Campbell.  But if your going to bring up Campbell’s record and justify it by bringing up his multiple offensive coordinators why did you bring up Bruce Gradkowski’s record and not mention he’s played under 4 offensive coordinators since he was drafted in 2006?  Oh right, it doesn’t fit into your argument.  But if your going to talk about how “nobody talks about how Campbell has played under different coordinators each year” which by the way doesn’t make it true just because you say it, why not mention how Alex Smith (who, as I said is a huge bust) also played under his fair share of offensive coordinators?  Besides, when’s the last time a team with a good QB fired their offensive coordinator?  Just saying.

“Most African-Americans are familiar with the notion that we have to be twice as good just to be considered equal with whites. And considering that there are only six black starting quarterbacks in the NFL, there isn’t a lot of room for error.”

So why aren’t Mike Vick, David Garrard, Josh Freeman, and Troy Smith being criticized?  Last I heard Vick is an MVP candidate, Garrard has his team in 1st place, Freeman is developing into a really good QB, and Troy could maybe be the future QB for the 49ers.  I guess it’s because when black QBs play well they don’t get criticized.  But isn’t that true of any QB?  Oh well.

“Young and Fisher have had a number of problems over the years; and let’s not pretend that Fisher, who I consider to be a good coach, is totally blameless.

Young is 30-17 as a starter, and you could argue that he saved Fisher’s job last season after the coach reluctantly inserted Young into the starting lineup following the Titans’ horrific 0-6 start.

As the starter, Young led the team to an 8-2 record down the stretch. Had he started the entire season, the Titans might have been a bigger threat to make the playoffs.

During his time in Tennessee, Young certainly has shown some immaturity. He sulks. He refused to re-enter a game because the fans were booing him. He got into an altercation in a strip club this past summer, reportedly because a man insulted his school, the University of Texas. His behavior, at times, has been inexcusable, and it has undermined his incredible talent.

But is it possible that some of Young’s actions are a result of Fisher’s lack of confidence, which has been a persistent issue since the Titans drafted Young against Fisher’s wishes?”

Yes it is possible.  Now I’m not going to pretend Fisher hasn’t handled this situation poorly.  In fact if I owned the Titans they’d both be gone after this season.  But what’s this got to do with race?  Young is a good but come on, not a great QB.  He’s put up some good numbers this year (although the team’s most impressive win was beating the Giants in New York.  But to be fair, the Giants started off 1-2 and looked really awful in the process.  But again, isn’t it possible Young just isn’t Fisher’s type of QB?  Sometimes guys just don’t work in some places no matter how good they might be.  Kurt Warner didn’t work out in New York, Jeff Garcia didn’t work out in Detroit or Cleveland, heck Bill Belichick didn’t work out in Cleveland, oh and NFL MVP played for 3 teams before he landed in Oakland and played really well.  Again, Fisher and McNair were a team for 10 years so it’s hard to think that Fisher has a problem with black QBs.

“Fisher and Young had completely different accounts of what unfolded after Sunday’s loss to the Redskins. Undoubtedly, Young didn’t handle himself like a professional; but then again, I don’t know of any quarterback who would be happy about being replaced by a third-stringer.

Young wanted to play despite a busted thumb. If Brett Favre had done that, we’d say he was being fiercely competitive.

But this is Vince Young, so he’s being a brat.”

Well according to Fisher Young never asked to go back in and Young hasn’t said otherwise so where did you come up with the idea that he wanted to play?  Besides, if he needed surgery chances are he really couldn’t throw so maybe it’s better he didn’t ask to go back in, although if he had asked (something you know McNair would have done) it would have changed the whole situation.  So to say Young wanted to go back in is completely made up isn’t it Jemele?  But I love how you wrote a column about QBs being criticized and didn’t mention the leagues most criticized QB except in a positive reference.  Hilarious.

“I don’t question whether black quarterbacks receive opportunities in the NFL, because it’s obvious they do. But how fair are those opportunities? Despite all the progress that’s been made by black quarterbacks, why does it still seem as if they are held to a different standard?”

Are they?  Vick went to PRISON, was never that great of a passing QB in Atlanta, people thought he might have to go to the UFL or play running back and he got a shot at starting (over a white QB no less).  David Garrard hasn’t played that well ever since he took Jacksonville to the playoffs in 2007 yet he wasn’t benched.  In fact despite strong rumors of Jacksonville taking Tim Tebow in the 2010 draft Jacksonville stuck with him and now he’s having another fine season.  But I guess black QBs don’t get equal opportunities do they?  Out of the three QBs mentioned in Jemele’s article two of them are still starters so clearly they are still being given a shot.  In fact, this is each QBs 2nd team so aren’t they literally getting a 2nd chance?  And considering Washington replaced Campbell with a black QB and considering Philadelphia replaced McNabb with a black QB I REALLY have no clue how Jemele is forming these opinions.  I guess you just have to ignore a lot of facts and THEN you’ll see what Jemele sees.

“”Any franchise Caucasian quarterback will get unlimited opportunities to realize their potential,” says Shaun King, an African-American who quarterbacked the Tampa Bay Bucs to the NFC Championship Game in 1999. “If Jay Cutler left Chicago, and even if he played badly, he’s always going to be viewed as a franchise QB. For African-Americans, their value is strictly tied to their current performance. It’s tough to stick up for Vince Young because his immaturity has been a consistent issue, but a Caucasian QB that has been as successful as Vince Young wouldn’t be pulled as much as him.””

Well this is strictly a hypothetical situation so there’s no way to prove it but I for one don’t buy it at all.  If Cutler let say played so poorly that the Bears missed the playoffs and was another league leader in interceptions and the Bears cut him who would honestly view him as a franchise QB after that?  I’m sure he’d get a job but nobody would call him a franchise QB.  Secondly didn’t the Raiders said Campbell would be a franchise QB after he left Washington?  So there’s Shaun King’s hypothetical or there’s my real life situation, which one would you take?  Secondly, if Young is cut after this year he’ll be picked up by another team and probably be called a franchise QB, I know that’s hypothetical as well but mine sounds more convincing than Shaun’s right?  By the way, how many people still consider Matt Leinart or Brady Quinn franchise QBs after not really getting a good amount of time to play?  Nobody.

“In that interview with HBO, McNabb said this about quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Peyton Manning: “Let me start by saying I love those guys. But they don’t get criticized as much as we do. They don’t.”

He’s right. Manning has a Hall of Fame résumé and is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the position. But he isn’t facing an avalanche of criticism from the fans and media for the interception against the Patriots on Sunday that ended the Colts’ comeback attempt and sealed the game for New England.”

Well I do believe Palmer needs to be criticized more and I do believe it’s coming especially come draft time when the Bengals are looking at Andrew Luck.  But as for Manning, he is being criticized for that pick, but it’s Peyton Manning.  Are you really going to kill the guy for 1 bad pass when he’s made so many great ones?  I mean, should Manning honestly face “an avalanche of criticism” for that pick?  It’s one pick.  Meanwhile Eli Manning gets killed in New York after already having won a Superbowl every bad game he has, but again don’t mention ANYTHING that might debunk your argument.

“Manning accepted responsibility for the mistake, of course. But had that been McNabb, the reaction would have been downright vitriolic.”

I forgot has McNabb won 4 MVP awards and a Superbowl?  Oh wait he hasn’t.  Secondly, as I said, if that was the “other” Manning, the reaction would have been downright vitriolic.

“People are still searching for ways to blame newcomer Terrell Owens for the Bengals’ disappointing 2-8 season, even though Palmer has guided the Bengals to only two winning seasons and hasn’t won a playoff game during his seven years in Cincinnati.”

Who other than Skip Bayless is doing that?  Besides, when did we start talking about receivers?  Aren’t all the best receivers in the NFL black anyway?

“So why doesn’t Palmer get the Jason Campbell treatment? Why isn’t he labeled an underachiever like McNabb?

Palmer and Manning certainly have been criticized, but rarely in their careers have they faced the same microscope or backlash that McNabb, Vick, or most other black starting quarterbacks have.”

Palmer is the only guy I agree with Jemele on, he needs to be much more criticized than he is, but I believe it’s coming.  I live in Ohio and he’s already pretty hated among Benglas fans, it’s only a matter of time until ESPN jumps on the blame Palmer bandwagon.  But they are a little late to the party, I’ll concede that.  Although, I doubt it has anything to do with him being white.  The fact that play in a small market and made the playoffs may have something to do with it.

“The late Steve McNair and the Titans had such a bad relationship at one point that the organization locked him out of the Titans’ facility. On Tuesday, according to a report out of Nashivlle, Young showed up at the Titans’ practice facility and was asked to leave.”

Now this REALLY bothers me.  Jemele would have you believe the Titans have a “No Coloreds” sign outside their facility.  McNair wasn’t allowed in because he was going to be traded, and they didn’t want him working out with the team in case he got injured, meanwhile Young had no reason to be there and is basically a distraction right now.  Also, way to ignore the 10 good years McNair had with the Titans and zoom in on one bad moment.

By the way, where is “Nashivlle?”  I guess ESPN columnists can’t be bothered with spell check.

“McNabb, who despite being an 11-year veteran who has been to five NFC title games, had to listen to his coach essentially call him too out of shape and simpleminded to run his offense.

McNabb, by the way, has led 17 fourth-quarter comebacks and 25 game-winning drives in his career.”

Again I agree, that was stupid and indefensible but it wasn’t because he was black, at least, there’s no evidence to show that this was the reason.  Now, I know Philly fans can be tough but McNabb despite the 5 NFC championship games was 1-4 in those games, maybe that has something to do with the Philly fans hate of McNabb?  I mean you can’t call them racists because they love a largely overrated player in Ryan Howard so as tough and sometimes as annoying as Philly fans can be, their hate is not race based.

“I’m not saying black quarterbacks are above criticism or that race plays a role every time one of them loses his job. White quarterbacks are benched and second-guessed, too, same as black ones. It comes with the position, regardless of race.”

Exactly!  So Jemele you actually get it!  So why did you just write all of that previous nonsense only to debunk your entire argument?

“But if most of us agree that racism is still an issue in this country, how can we dismiss its influence in sports?”

Oh so now it’s not just QBs but it’s sports in general.  Well can we at least dismiss hockey and baseball since blacks really don’t play those sports (maybe those sports are racist!).  What percentage of NBA players are black?  In fact, I once heard people question if the Pacers had racist motives because they had about an even number of black and white players on their team.  Wouldn’t that make them the least racist team in the NBA?  In the NFL, most of those players are black too yet now it’s an issue?  Why because there’s only 6 black QBs starting in the league?  Uhh sorry?

“The history of black quarterbacks in the NFL isn’t pretty. Things have come a long way since Williams played, but it would be foolish to think that lingering perceptions and biases don’t still exist. Let’s not forget that while Vick was imprisoned for dogfighting, more than a few analysts suggested he should change his position when he returned to the field. That’s what NFL scouts once told Warren Moon he had to do if he wanted to be drafted at all.”

Yes how dare an analyst suggest that a below average passing QB after having not played in 2 years would need to change positions, as if rust wouldn’t affect him.  Oh by the way, Vick never did change positions so why bring that up because people suggested it?  And at the time, it was a very valid suggestion.  As for Warren Moon, he wasn’t drafted and had to play in the CFL for 6 seasons before he got a shot.  So maybe a position change would have gotten him drafted.  Turns out he just needed more time to develop into a really good QB.

“After McNabb made his comments to HBO, Campbell and Young were quick to say they didn’t feel like race was a factor in how they were perceived.

I wonder if they feel that way now.”

Yea I wonder too.  Jason, do you think being benched in Oakland has anything to do with you being black or does it have to do with the 42.9 and 26.2 passer ratings you posted in the 2 games in which you were benched?  Oh and Vince, lets say your thumb was fine and you would be OK to play on Sunday against Houston but instead you got benched, do you think it’s because you’re black or because you threw a tantrum and stormed out of the arena showing an incredible lack of maturity (for the 2nd time in your career mind you)?  Oh and Vince, before you answer, keep in mind you did text Fisher an apology and by doing so admitted you basically acted like a child.

Gee, I can’t wait to hear their responses, I wonder what they’ll say

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the world of pro wrestling there’s a saying called “putting someone over.”  Now in short what that means is when an older established guy loses to a younger guy so that the younger guy can become more popular and eventually be one of those established guys.  When you look at the way the Rangers beat the Yankees and how the Giants beat the Phillies, it’s easy to see that the Yankees and Phillies definitely put over the Rangers and Giants.  Course the Yankees and Phillies loss wasn’t scripted like wrestling is.

So where did these teams come from?  Well lets start with Texas.  For the past few years Texas was primarily an offensively minded team.  You knew when you played the Rangers you were going to probably give up a lot of hits and runs.  But you also knew you could score a lot of runs.  The Giants were quite the opposite.  The final year they had Barry Bonds on their roster the team was really just a sideshow.  All people wanted to see Bonds hit the big home run, or not hit it depending on your stance on steroids, or not steroids.  Whatever.

Since then the Rangers have been developing young pitchers and tweaking their lineup.  And it was one trade that REALLY put this team to where they are now (and no it’s not Cliff Lee, we’re not that far along in the time line yet).  I’m talking about trading Mark Teixeira to Atlanta.  Teixeira and a relief pitcher were sent to Atlanta and in return Atlanta sent back five prospects.  One of those prospects was Jarrod Saltalamacchia who was the prized prospect of the bunch never quite panned out as the top catcher he was supposed to be.  He’s since been traded to Boston and hasn’t done much there either.  Two of the other prospects were starting pitchers and the jury is still out on both of them.  But the two big names to come out of that trade were Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz both of whom were selected to the 2010 All Star Game.  Andrus is just 22 and is already penciled in as the future of the Rangers at short stop.  Feliz took over the closers spot after Frank Francisco struggled early in the year and Feliz never looked back.  This brilliant trade which gave Texas two big time players combined with their acquisition of Josh Hamilton in 2007/2008 (who is now the face of the franchise), the signing of Vladimir Guerrero and of course the trade that cemented their talented rotation of Cliff Lee, it wasn’t hard to see the Texas Rangers coming.  Did anyone think they would be this good?  Well, sure!  No, they weren’t talked about a lot before the Lee trade but I picked them to win their division.  Although they have no chance to resign Cliff Lee I admire them for giving it a shot to win it all this year and who knows, they just might.  But what’s scary is if their young pitchers can get a little better, they might be a legit world series contender next year even without Cliff Lee.

With the San Francisco Giants it was a trade that they DIDN’T make that got them to where they are.  Years ago they were the anti Rangers, they could pitch as good as any team but couldn’t score.  They won and lost a lot of 2-1 and 1-0 games.  And it seemed that this team needed a power hitter like Bonds, since his departure they just didn’t hit too many home runs.  So that’s where Matt Cane comes in.  He along with Tim Lincecum was a big time young pitcher who was going to be great for years.  Problem was, Lincecum was getting all the attention with all-star games and Cy Young awards.  Meanwhile Matt Cane showed flashes of greatness but never put it together.  Enter the Milwaukee Brewers.  The Brewers know that they don’t have a great chance of retaining power hitting first basemen Prince Fielder and they desperately need pitching.  So would the Giants pull the trigger and send out Cane for Fielder?  They didn’t and they were rewarded for it.  Matt Cane has since turned into an all-star pitcher and although he took a little longer to develop than Lincecum he’s almost just as dominate as he is.  You could almost say the same situation happened this year when the Giants debated trading pitcher Johnathan Sanchez for power hitting outfielder Corey Hart of the Brewers.  That trade never went through and good thing, the Giants now have 3 great pitchers.

But what about the offense?  Sure their pitching is better than ever but where are the runs coming from?  The runs are primarily coming from three men.  The first is Aubrey Huff the man who SHOULD have won the comeback player of the year award.  Huff has had up and down numbers throughout his career but for the most part he’s hit in the mid .200s and around 20 home runs.  So now lets put him in AT&T Park one of the hardest places to hit home runs, would he even hit 10 especially coming off of an especially bad year?  Yes, in fact he hit 26 and hit .290.  Who knew?  Nobody could have predicted that in AT&T park.

Secondly the Giants called up their top hitting prospect catcher Buster Posey.  The Giants traded Benjie Molina to the Rangers (so yea, he gets a ring no matter what) and Posey in his rookie year became the cleanup hitter for a team in the world series, safe to say he did a good job.  Not only did he live up to the hype he helped hit the Giants to where they are now.  Finally the Giants added just one last piece, Cody Ross.  Ross was an average player but like Huff, when he put on the orange and black he turned into an all-star.  Because the park is not conducive to home runs, the Giants like to double and triple teams to death and Ross was a perfect fit for this park.  As of writing this Ross was the MVP of the NLCS and almost single-handedly beat the Phillies and their three all-star pitchers.

Why should we watch?  Unfortunately I don’t foresee this as a highly rated world series.  Baseball’s season goes on way too long and right now the NBA and NHL are just starting up and NFL and college football is about in mid-season.  For me, October is the best month for sports, problem is with so many sports people don’t pay attention to all of it.  When the big market teams like New York, Philadelphia or Boston aren’t in it people don’t pay attention as much.  It’s a shame because I think this is going to be a really fun series.  Problem is ESPN doesn’t talk about teams like the Rangers or Giants and then it’s surprise they’re in the world series, OK everyone watch these two teams who you don’t know play each other.  My hope is that because the Giants and Rangers beat the Phillies and Yankees that maybe it will get people’s attention.  Maybe those series’ turned some heads and people said, “Oh, look at what those teams are doing, they just beat the teams in the world series last year, maybe there’s something to that.”  But I’m doing my part, if I got just one person to watch this world series who otherwise wouldn’t have I’m happy.  And maybe this will be a lesson to ESPN, you gotta pay attention to all 30 teams just like you do in football!

So who’s my pick?  I gotta go with the Texas Rangers.  I know everyone is picking them and everyone picked Philly and the Giants heard all the doubters and proved them wrong, thing is I don’t think the Rangers are going to be full of themselves like Philly was.  Would it shock me if the Giants won?  No.  I could easily see Lincecum outduel Lee and the rest of the Giants pitchers baffle those talented Ranger hitters.  However, I trust the Rangers hitting more than I trust the Giants hitting, course pitching wins championships and the Giants have that, but so do the Rangers.  However I think the Rangers pitching is just good enough to shut down the Giants hitters and that the Giants pitching is going to be good but not good enough.  Again it’s gonna be a great series but I’m going with Texas in… what the hell lets say Texas in 7, make it exciting!

I hate the BCS.  No, you don’t understand, I HATE the BCS.  I’m just going to say it, the BCS the exact opposite of everything that is right in sports.  In fact, it’s the anti-Christ of sports.  Do you realize if baseball used the BCS the world series would consist of the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies?  Yea, my point being not always do the best teams in the regular season mean they are the best overall.  But we knew that right?  So what’s REALLY wrong with the BCS?  Well lets face it, that’s been done to death.  Instead lets look at the BCS’ problem with a playoff.  Believe it or not there’s actually a website that lists the “problems” with a playoff cleverly named “playoffproblem.com.”  I guess the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA 1AA, NCAA D2, NCAA D3, MLS, UFL, Arena Football, CFL, and college basketball/baseball never saw this website because they all use a playoff.  What a bunch of idiots right?  Now what as I completely rip any and all credibility from this site and destroy it.  Ready?  Don’t blink.

The first thing you’ll see on this site is a banner which shows quotes from important people about the talk about the problem with a playoff (again the problems that no other sports league in the world encounter but that college football would).  Lets look at those quotes shall we?

The first one to come up is from Chris Petersen the Boise State coach.  Now I’m sure Boise appreciates the publicity and money but if you asked Chris after his team beat TCU last year if he would like a shot at say, OSU the Rose Bowl winner, and the winner of that takes on the winner of oh lets say Texas/Bama do you think he would have said, “No I think we’re good.”  Or would he have said, “Of course, we’d love to keep playing!”  Just something to think about.  I know Pete Carroll was adamant about a playoff and hating how his team had to stop playing when he felt they were good enough to win it all.  Would Pete not say the same thing?  For some reason I can’t picture a coach EVER saying that.  Next quote?

I saw a few quotes from Bill Hancock.  Who’s that you ask?  He is the BCS coordinator.  So basically they used a quote from a totally impartial source.  Way to go Playoff Problem.  I’m sure if I asked the McDonalds CEO what the best fast food burger is he’d say the Big Mac even though McDonalds is pretty nasty.  Weak stuff, next quote?

Another quote is from Gary Patterson the TCU coach.  His concern is on a 16 team playoff (which I’m not going to propose) and the student’s health with the extra games.  A fair concern (because like Petersen I doubt he’d want his team to stop playing had he beaten Boise last year do you?).  Well to that I say NCAA subdivision has no problem with a playoff and those players are apparently “less talented” than D1.  Can the D1 guys not take the extra games but the subdivision guys can?  Sorry Gary, don’t buy it.

Mike Riley the Oregon State coach says he likes the bowl games.  OK, nobody is saying we get rid of the bowl games, just the BCS bowl games.  Next?

There’s a few other quotes similar to the one’s listed including another Hancock quote where he basically says a playoff would create more frustrated teams than the BCS does which doesn’t make any sense to me.  But the last original quote is from Mark Richt the Georgia head coach, for now.  He basically says that college football has the most exciting regular season of any sport.  OK.  I disagree with that and I’ll explain later but lets say he’s right, lets say college does have the most exciting regular season.  Well then you also have the most boring post season.  Seriously half the bowl games, do you really watch them?  The Car Care Bowl, The Hawaii Bowl, The Emerald City Bowl, Music City Bowl, do you watch them?  I watch them only if I’m just that bored or if my team is playing in one (which almost never happens).  But those games are cool for the athletes and fans but largely people don’t care.

What about the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta bowl?  Well I do watch those and while it’s nice to see your team win the Rose Bowl what does it mean?  Honestly, it means you were the 3rd best team that year.  Lets be honest, how are the BCS bowl games NOT a competition for 3rd, 4th, 5th etc… place?  At the start of the season are you saying “I hope my team wins the national championship” or “I hope my team wins the Fiesta Bowl.”  The other BCS bowl games are nice compensation prizes but even if you have the same amount of loses as a team in the national championship game, you’re still only playing for #3.  So I ask you Mark Richt, is having the best regular season worth having the worst post season?  I say no.

Now as far as college football having the most exciting regular season, I disagree.  If anything it’s the most frustrating.  One loss and your chances at the title is over with, unless you lose earlier in the year.  Alabama, OSU, Nebraska.  Three good teams all with 1 loss.  Yet ESPN tells me Alabama has the best chance to make it to the championship game even if all three win out.  Well what kind of sense does that make?  What makes their loss better than Ohio State’s or Nebraska’s?  How come USC (2 losses) didn’t get to play OSU in the 2007 BCS game but LSU (2 losses) did?  How come unbeaten Auburn never got a chance to play for the title?  I could go on.  Do the computers really think some loses are worse than others?  OK well OSU lost to Wisconsin who’s only loss is to unbeaten Michigan State, Alabama lost to South Carolina who’s got 2 losses.  So wouldn’t that mean Alabama’s loss is “worse” yet Alabama is now ranked higher.  I thought the BCS considered “good” and “bad” loses.  Am I wrong?  Seems to me like losing to Wisconsin isn’t as bad as losing to South Carolina right?  But then Wisconsin’s winning margin was bigger than South Carolina’s, so does that matter?  Are you confused yet?  I am.  Wouldn’t it be easier to say, “to hell with all this, let’s have OSU and Alabama play?”  Guess not when you have computers to make sense of all this.  And that’s just the #8 and #10 team.  I could easily go into how Oregon should be #1 but Oklahoma is so how did the BCS determine that.  Who knows?  And playoffproblem.com has the nerve to say a playoff would cause problems.

I realize rankings right now don’t mean much and a lot of times things play themselves out but last year before the BCS games we had 5 unbeaten teams yet only 2 got to play for a championship.  How did they pick those two?  Who knows, it’s the computers so they know who’s best I guess.

Amazingly enough the main page of playoffproblem.com have the nerve to ask questions about a playoff.  Obviously I could ask the exact same questions about the BCS but that’s beside the point.  Lets go ahead and give them their answers.

Who would participate?  OK well the BCS picks 10 BCS teams (why 10?) so I’ll pick 10 teams to.  Lets make it a 10 team playoff.  I mean the BCS picks 10 BCS teams so I’m picking 10 playoff teams.  Seems fair right?  Check out the bracket.

You reward the better teams with a bye and force the other teams to play in.  Seems fair right?  I mean 16 seems too many and 8 seems to few so lets split the difference and go 10.  Again, the BCS sees fit to use 10 teams so lets use 10 teams ourselves.  Surely the BCS can’t argue against 10 teams since they also use 10 teams.

How many automatic qualifiers?  The division winners.  Again just like the BCS does.  Why is playoffproblem.com asking these questions when you could ask the exact same about their own system.  Imagine a reverse universe where we had a playoff and people wanted to install a BCS.  Now imagine a website called BCSproblems.com existed.  Wouldn’t that site be asking these same questions?  Whatever, moving on.

What would be the criteria to qualify?  Uh…. wins?

What would be the criteria for seedings?  How does the BCS seed their teams?  Why can’t we just use that.  If the season ended today Oklahoma would be the #1 seed and OSU the #10 seed.  I honestly have no clue how the BCS seeds their teams so asking playoff proponents how we would seed our teams is actually pretty laughable.  But in a BCS seeding is everything because if you’re not 1 or 2 you’re not invited to the big show.  In a playoff seeding isn’t quite as important since we still give teams 1-10 a shot at winning it all, you know, unlike the BCS.

Where would the games be played?  The home team hosts, it’s apart of the reward for being the higher seed.  Other sports use this tactic, it’s called “home field advantage.”  Google it.

When would the games be played?  How about a week after the seasons over?  I kinda hate waiting a month for the BCS games to be played but that’s just me.

If you could resolve all that would everyone be satisfied?  NO!!  By the way, they added that big angry “NO!!” not me.  But it’s not about pleasing everyone.  You’ll NEVER please everyone.  Obama could find a way to give everyone in America $10,000 on their tax return AND balance and his approval rating wouldn’t be 100%.  It’s about pleasing as many people as possible and right now the BCS doesn’t do that.  What, don’t believe me?

http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1410

What is your opinion of the Bowl Championship Series, or BCS, the system that college football uses to determine its national champion – favorable or unfavorable?  43% Favorable, 45% Unfavorably.

Do you think the Bowl Championship Series should, or should not, be replaced with a playoff system as takes place in college basketball?  63% Replaced, 26% Not Replaced.

I wonder what playoffproblem.com thinks of that.  So the numbers ACTUALLY show the BCS satisfies fewer people than a playoff would.  And they have the nerve to say people would still be unsatisfied with a playoff.  And that poll was done last year before Boise State finished the season undefeated again so who knows, maybe the numbers are even more in my favor now.  Fact of the matter is you can’t please everyone but you can please the majority.  A playoff would, the BCS doesn’t.  I got the numbers to back me up, you guy just have Bill Hancock quotes.

It’s about at this point that I’m thinking I’ve made my point.  But I promised I’d destroy every BCS argument possible so I’ve got one last section of this website to discredit, the “Q & A” section.  Alright, let’s go.

The first two questions have to deal with qualifying and revenue so I’m skipping them.  Although a playoff would generate more money.  I’m sure Tostitos would like the idea of having their logo on two or three games as opposed to just one, plus more games = more money.  I mean people say it’s all about money… just saying.

Is the current BCS system successful? Yes, since its inception in 1998, the BCS has delivered a matchup between the two top teams every year.  Prior to the formation of the BCS, the number one and two teams met in bowl games eight times in 56 seasons.  In contrast, since the conferences agreed to the BCS format 12 years ago, number one has played number two every year by BCS measurements and, according to the AP poll, numbers one and two have met nine times.  The BCS is the best format ever devised to match up the nation’s top two teams while preserving the heritage and success of the bowl system.”

Well I’ll say this, the BCS is better than when we used to just crown a champion based off of, uh, however we used to.  However you only crown the #1 and #2 team in your mind.  Like I said if baseball used the BCS then the Rays would be in the world series not at home.  My point is being the best in the regular season doesn’t mean you’re the best when it matters.  Remember when the Tennessee Titans were 13-3 and had the best record in the NFL?  Bounced in the first round of the playoffs.  Remember the Dallas Mavericks having the best record in the NBA getting bounced by the 8th seed Golden State Warriors?  Remember the Arizona Cardinals making the Superbowl despite being what the #3 seed in the NFC?  How does anyone know that Florida, Boise or Ohio State couldn’t have beaten Alabama last year in a title game?  We can guess, predict and assume all we want but the fact is nobody knows for sure until the games are actually played.

Finally to debunk the biggest BCS myth of all, that the regular season is a playoff.  Ever seen a playoff where if you lose you can still make it to the end?  Me either.  And if you can, how can one, one loss team not make a title game but another can?  But you know what’s better than a regular season that’s like a playoff?  An actual playoff!  And if the regular season is like a playoff how come a team like Boise State doesn’t have to play the same teams as Oregon?  Seems to me like the regular season is more of a race where all the runners are on different paths.  Boise gets to ride a bike downhill with teams like New Mexico State and San Jose State.  Oregon has to run uphill by playing teams like Stanford, USC and Arizona.  Ever seen a playoff like that where one team has such an easy path?  Sure in March Madness some teams to play in weaker divisions than others but not to the extent of the paths that Boise and Oregon have to go through.

So will we see the BCS die one day?  Honestly I think we will.  It’s gonna take time but the new generations WANT a playoff and really the only people who want a BCS are the old school guys and one day, they wont be in power anymore and when that day comes a playoff will happen.  Besides, once a system (like mine which I feel is perfect) is proposed and presented and it’s shown how much more money can be made with a playoff it will happen.  Like it or not money controls college football and once it’s made apparent how much more money could be made with a playoff (more games, more tickets sold, more commercials, more people watching) it’s going to happen.  Personally, I’d rather see it happen because it’s the right thing to do but if people cave to their greed and go with a playoff, well then that works too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First off let me start off by saying I know it’s been awhile.  I don’t really have a great excuse for the long lay off other than I’ve started a new job and that just having an idea for a blog doesn’t always give you motivation to write a blog.  But I’ll hopefully be getting back into the swing of things so with that said lets start this blog, which is two parts!

Here’s my pre season MLB predictions for playoff teams: Rays, Yankees, Rangers, White Sox, Phillies, Cardinals, Braves, and Giants.  And I really struggled with White Sox over Twins so needless to say I wasn’t shocked the Twins won.  Do I have proof of these incredibly accurate predictions?  Of course.  I proclaimed these picks on my radio show before the season and my co host heard them with his own ears.  On Facebook I then made the following predictions: Yankees over Twins, Rangers over Rays, Giants over Braves, and Phillies over Reds.  That’s 4/4.  But how did I know that?  Was it just a guess?  Did I get lucky?  No.  Call me crazy but I knew the results before they happened.  I would have been shocked if anything than what happened actually happened.  Allow me to explain and I’ll start with the Rays.

Tampa were the ESPN darlings all season and ended up with the best record in baseball so why would I pick them to lose to a team that had never won a post season series in the history of their franchise?  Sure it had something to do with Cliff Lee but not everything.  Looking at Tampa I couldn’t shake the fact that they were a team built for the regular season.  How do I know?  Lets take a look at their pitching for starters.

Throw out all the numbers and lets just watch the guys play.  Other than David Price which Rays pitcher would fetch the kind of money Cliff Lee or CC Sabathia would?  None of them.  David Price as good as he is, still very young especially for an ace.  Guys like Matt Garza and Wade Davis are good but they don’t strike fear into anyone.  Guys like John Lester, Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, they make you scared to play them.  You add in the fact that James Shields (don’t ever call him “big game” again please, thanks) is your #2, no, their pitching was never good enough to win in the playoffs.  It’s good enough in the regular season but not when it matters.

How about the Rays offense?  Well when you’re talking about the Rays offense you have to talk about how easily susceptible they are to the no hitter.  Now lets look at their best hitter in Evan Longoria.  He went 0/4 tonight in the big game and his lifetime post season numbers are 16/82 which means he’s hitting less than .200 in the playoffs.  If this guy played for NY, Chicago or LA he’d be getting killed in the media but because he plays for Tampa where nobody cares it goes unnoticed.  There’s no doubt Longoria would fetch the most money as a free agent but he wouldn’t get top dollar with those awful post season numbers.  Now before you say “Well NY gave A Rod a lot of money when his post season numbers were bad.”  Remember, A Rod did a VERY good job in the playoffs for Seattle and nearly single handedly beat the Twins in 2004.

And that’s how the Rays were exposed as frauds.  I said it all year and now I’ve been proven right.  I hate to pat myself on the back but I trust my eye test and it showed.

As for the rest of my picks, simple enough.

The Phillies just had a ton more talent than the Reds.  The Reds rotation was never going to be strong enough to beat Philadelphia.

Yankees always beat the Twins, obvious pick.

Giants and Braves was a tough pick but the Braves to me looked like a poor mans Giants team.  The Braves pitching is good but the Giants pitching is just a little better, the Giants offense also a little bit better.

So who makes the world series?  Well I picked Phillies/Yankees at the start of the year and I see no reason to change that pick.  Would I be shocked if it wasn’t that?  No.  But in the end I have to pick the better teams.  If Cliff Lee can pitch twice vs. NY sure Texas can win, but that’s a big if.  If Lincecum can shut down the Phillies offense which can vanish at times and beat Halladay does that give the Giants the edge in that series (especially considering Cain is better than Oswalt) sure it does.  But in the end, the Phillies have better players.

Now I said this blog was a two parter so here’s part two.

Shame on you Tampa fans.  Forget about the fact that you never showed up to the games all year long, you guys filed out in droves before the game was over when your team needed you the most.  Not that I’m surprised, the fact that the game was sold out only tells me the stadium was more filled with bandwagon fans anyway.  So what am I saying?  It’s time to move the team.

Even though I’ve proclaimed the Rays frauds the team was still good, why only average 23,000 fans a game?  Arizona, Seattle and Houston all had horrible seasons yet they averaged more fans.  Don’t give me the economy as an excuse because Detroit also averaged more fans.  And don’t tell me the stadium is bad so people would rather watch the games on TV because last year Minnesota averaged 29,000 fans and they played in that dumpy Metrodome.  Fact is, Tampa isn’t a baseball market, in fact, Florida isn’t a good baseball market.

I remember Rays manager Joe Maddon saying they want a new stadium, I say NO WAY.  You don’t deserve one.  Minnesota did and got one.  The Florida Marlins don’t deserve a new stadium either but they got one.

Here’s what I expect out of the Marlins new stadium and what would happen IF the Rays got a new stadium.  Here in Columbus we have a AAA team called the Columbus Clippers, they used to be the farm team of the NY Yankees so back in the day they were really good, 7 championships if I recall.  They actually drew a pretty good amount of fans but the Yankee star power will do that.  Once they switched to the Nationals the attendance plummeted.  People then started to say “Well to be fair the stadium is getting pretty old and crappy.”  True, it was.  So we get a new downtown stadium and switch to the Indians, not much star power although they were good (won a AAA championship) and the locals liked seeing the Indians.  But the stadium itself was really nice and once again the Clippers were drawing fans.  But back in the old stadium the fans they drew were the pure baseball fans, who would have shown up if the game were in a backyard.  The fans who were showing up at the new park were families looking for a fun night out with the kids (usually out by the 7th regardless of score) and the young professionals crowd who talk the whole game, cheer when they notice a home run and say, “Wow it’s the 6th inning already, I wasn’t even paying attention.”

Does the team care?  No, money is money.  But it’s the same way with Miami.  The families and young professionals of Miami don’t want to drive out there to Sunlife Stadium to watch the Marlins in a football stadium which has reminders of being the home of the Dolphins all over the place.  So you put the stadium downtown and make it really nice and climate controlled they bring in the families and young professionals because it’s a fun night out and it’s “cool to be seen” there.  Do I fault the Marlins for doing this?  No.  But in the end you might have a better attendance for a while but in the end you’re stuck with bandwagon fans who wont show up once the novelty of the stadium has worn off.  How do I know?  The Clippers despite winning it all had a drop in attendance.  In 2009 the stadium opens up and the team is awful and attendance is good, in 2010 the stadium has been around, the team is the best in AAA and attendance drops.  Now I know it’s just AAA and this is MLB but it’s still baseball and it’s still people.  People at their core are the same everywhere in America, just trust me on this.  In 2012 the Marlins attendance will be good and it will drop in 2013 because that’s just how it is.  So why does Tampa deserve a new stadium?  Miami is a bigger city and they can’t draw fans so why will Tampa?  In fact Florida other than NFL (minus the Jags) don’t even draw that well in pro sports.  I guess the Magic do well, although people who live in Orlando probably have nothing else to do except go to see the Magic since they all probably work at a theme park or hotel.  The Heat were a good team last year and didn’t draw too many fans, they will sell out now but it only took bringing in LeBron and Bosh to do so.

With baseball in Florida if you grew up before the Marlins and Rays came in you already rooted for a team because of spring training, especially in Tampa where NY has their spring training.  So here comes the Rays who are awful for so long and have to play 9 home games a year against NY (a team who played in Tampa before the Rays did) who will the bulk of Tampa root for?  And I’m not even counting all the transplants in Florida.  Combine the fact they have a dump stadium and a cheap payroll, baseball in Florida just isn’t going to work.  The Marlins win 2 world series’ and people still don’t care.  Now it’s too late for them to move since a stadium is on the way but the Rays have gotta get out of there.

Will it happen?  Honestly, it might.  If a team owner can’t make money in a city with a good team why keep the team there?  Especially if there’s no signs of a new stadium on the way, and it doesn’t look like there is.  Frauds or not, the team is good, not world series good, but they don’t deserve the small fan turnout they get.

It’s finally here, the start of the NFL season!  As of writing this very sentence we are T-Minus 80 minutes from kickoff.  So I’m just in time to offer my NFL predictions.  Now I’m not going to go and start picking the trendy teams, that’s just not my style.  In fact lets look at who the ESPN experts liked to win last year’s Superbowl: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/preview09/news/story?id=4424374

If you want to save yourself the reading basically it’s 16 people either picking the Steelers, Chargers and Patriots.  Yawn.  One of those failed to make the playoffs and the other two were bumped in their first game of the playoffs.  I can see nobody picking the Saints (although I picked them to win their division) but nobody even picked the Colts?  16 so called experts and not one of them even got one of the two Superbowl teams right.  Amazing.  So who are the trendy picks this year?  Lets take a look: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5528592

This time we have 25 picks so lets see who ESPN jinxed this year: Ravens (8 votes), Colts (7 votes), Packers (5 votes), Falcons, Cowboys, Saints, Chargers, 49ers (All 1 vote).  As for the Superbowl losers: Cowboys (4), Steelers (1), Chargers (2), 49ers (1), Ravens (3), Texans (1), Packers (8), Bengals (1), Colts(1), Giants (1), and Saints (2).  Wow, that’s a pretty big spectrum.

So according to the experts the most likely Superbowl winner is the Ravens and the most likely loser is the Packers, so I’m not going to be picking either team.  I could see either team make it, but my #1 rule to picking the Superbowl is don’t go with the trends, it rarely works out.  First let me go ahead and pick the divisions.

NFC North: I am going with the Packers.  I just don’t see Favre having another great year like he did last year.  I love Aaron Rodgers and the defense.  The Bears will once again be held back by Jay Cutler who I find highly overrated and the Lions, who will get better, are still a ways away.

AFC North: Give me the Bengals.  If Palmer can really step up his game this will be a very good team.  They are deep at receiver and if their defense can stay healthy (unlike last year) they will be tough to beat.  Pittsburgh will be hurt by the loss of Roethlisberger and I’m just not sold on Dennis Dixon being anything more than a flashy college player, a 1-3 start in this division might be too much to overcome.  I like Baltimore but I don’t love them.  Their best defensive players are up there in age and who’s playing corner for this team?  The Browns, if they can get something out of Dellhome, they will at least put up a fight each game but that’s about it.

NFC East: Give me the GGGGGGGG Men!  No not the Cowboys, simply put, I don’t trust their offensive line.  I don’t see them being able to run or pass protect very much.  The Giants will be back on defense with the addition of Bulluck and their offense will only get better as their young receivers get better.  The Redskins, well I think McNabb will help but I still don’t like their run game or skill position players minus the tight ends.  The Eagles I think could be a real sleeper, it just depends if Kolb can be what the Eagles want him to be.  I’m not totally sold on him but I could see him doing well.

AFC East: Patriots by default.  I’m not at all sold on the Jets.  Sure their defense is great but I think putting in LT over Thomas Jones is a downgrade and Sanchez didn’t exactly light it up last year, plus they were a 9-7 team that year that made it to the playoffs by beating scrubs.  The Bills will be the Bills.  Miami it really just depends on Chad Henne, I’m not sure he’s a franchise type QB myself but he’s got himself a very dynamic receiver now so if he can’t get it done it’s on him, no more excuses.

NFC South: It’s gotta be the Saints for obvious reasons.  I like the Falcons quite a bit, if their secondary can improve from last year they have a chance to make it interesting.  The Buccaneers I think will be better than people think because I do like Freeman at QB but there’s still a lot of work to do on that defense.  The Panthers will be in last, their QB situation is really shaky right now with little to no experience and I’m not even sure if the guys they do have on their roster are that good anyway.

AFC South: Again gotta go with a team by default and that’s the Colts.  Not that I think it will be easy because it wont be.  The Texans will need to overcome a really tough schedule and the loss of Cushing for a few games, I’m not sure they can.  The Titans will be interesting to watch because it’s all on Vince Young.  This is a no excuse year.  He’s sat on the bench long enough, learned, and he played very well last year, but not great.  Now he needs to be great and that defense needs to get a lot better too.  Jacksonville, I’m thinking it’s time to rebuild, Del Rio and Garrard are not the answer, and how they passed on Dez Bryant I’ll never know, he could have been huge for them.

NFC West: Again it’s the 49ers by default.  They are in a similar boat at QB as the Titans.  Smith has learned long enough and he’s shown flashes but he’s got to be great to be the franchise QB they need him to be.  But to win this division, he just needs to be solid because their defense and run game can get it done against their competition.  With the Cardinals I like them better with Leinart actually.  Derek Anderson isn’t a good QB.  In his “good year” he still had 19 interceptions and failed to get the Browns to the playoffs in the one game they really needed to win (at Cincinnati and he threw 5 picks).  With Leinart, yea he’s probably not going to be good but we’ve never really seen him play enough.  He might not be a big upgrade over Anderson but I think he would be.  The Rams will simply be focused on building up Bradford and the Seahawks I think will be evaluating their QB situation themselves.

AFC West: Who’s ready for a surprise?  Kansas City!  Will it happen, probably not but if it does you heard it hear first.  Every year has a surprise team to make the playoffs and if Cassel can play well and remain upright then why not them?  I don’t have a lot of reasoning behind this pick other than they will just play much better than people expect, call it a shot in the dark.  The Chargers I just think are on the decline, their players are a bit overrated and if they don’t have Vincent Jackson they are in real trouble on offense.  The Raiders will be a little improved but I don’t see Campbell as a franchise QB even if he did deserve a second chance, he’s a stop gap QB to me.  The Broncos will probably be in last place, their best defensive player is out for the year, their running backs can’t stay healthy, who’s going to catch passes from uhh Kyle Orton?

OK so here’s my NFC playoff teams: Packers, Giants, Saints, 49ers, Cowboys, and Falcons.

AFC: Bengals, Patriots, Colts, Chiefs, Titans, Ravens.

And now my Superbowl pick which probably wont happen but at least it wont be trendy and boring: Bengals defeat the Saints.

Look I’m not here to defend Morgan for throwing a ball at a fan or his shoving of the catcher but when it comes to last night’s brawl I will defend Morgan all the way.  Let’s recap.

The night before in the 10th inning Morgan was called out when he collided with Marlins’ catcher Brett Hayes.  As a result Hayes separated his shoulder.  Sure it’s a bad deal but it’s a collision at the plate and it looked 100% clean to me.  Plate collisions happen and injuries can happen but they are still clean plays.  Had Morgan gone in spikes up or tried to kick Hayes in any way sure I’d be angry but he didn’t it was a clean play.

The following night Volstad hits Morgan with a pitch.  I didn’t think this was warranted but it happened, I understand it but don’t agree with it but whatever, it happened.  So then Morgan steals 2nd and 3rd base.  This apparently angered the Marlins because they had a large lead at this point.  Now I gotta ask, why does this anger the Marlins?  Is Washington supposed to just quit in the 4th inning?  Yea I know they’re down 11 runs but an 11 run comeback is NOT unheard of at all especially still early on in the game.  So what happens when Morgan gets to the plate again?  Volstad throws behind him.  No he didn’t hit him but the message was clear “Don’t mess with us.”

Sorry but I don’t take Morgan’s steals as taunting the Marlins, I take it as a stolen base.  If Volstad doesn’t like it then try to pick him off, keep him close to the bag, throw him out.  Don’t let him steal and then get mad about it.  So Morgan comes out to the mound and swings at Volstad which no I don’t agree with that but then here comes Gabby Sanchez and totally cheap shots Morgan.  Pathetic.  Seems Morgan has some anger issues but on this issue I agree with him.  What the Marlins did was uncalled for and cowardly.  There was no need to hit Morgan in the first place and there was ESPECIALLY no reason to try and send Morgan a message for stealing bases.  Shame on the Florida Marlins.  Hopefully in the end people will see it my way but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case as ESPN has come out in favor of the Marlins for the most part (typical ESPN basing decisions on reputation and not actually thinking about it).  As for suspensions yea I’d suspend Morgan for charging the mound and throwing a punch (2-3 games) but Volstad and Sanchez I’d bring the hammer down on them, I’d give them 10 games each.  Seems harsh I know because Morgan got 7 for throwing a ball at a fan (I would have given Morgan a much longer suspension for that but that’s just me) but it’s time to put an end to needless revenge.  You throw at a guy once, fine, even if this one was uncalled for, but twice?  No that’s junk.  Send a message Bud.  I know you wont but I can still hope can’t I?

The term “winning with pitching” is not unheard of for national league teams.  Even right now just look at the 1st place Padres, they have a below average offense, stellar pitching and it’s working.  Well that was the idea that the San Francisco Giants had.  2007 was supposed to be the year that the Giants turned it around.  You see, ever since they came within a hair of winning the World Series in 2002 and then being booted from the playoffs by Florida in 03 the Giants were marred in obscurity.  They had made awful trades (Francisco Liriano, Boof Bonser, and Joe Nathan for A.J. Pierzynski) and the team essentially became a sideshow just waiting for Barry Bonds to pass Hank Aaron’s home run record.  Even worse the Giants offense had gotten so bad that Bonds in 2004 remains to this day the last man to hit 30 or more home runs for the team.

So by 2007 something needed to be done but it wasn’t all bad.  Noah Lowry was a promising young pitcher who had some nice years and Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain were on the verge of becoming big stars.  But a talented veteran was needed to head up the rotation.  The Giants looked no further than across the bridge to one Barry Zito.  But who is Barry Zito?

Sexy...

Mysterious...

A rock star...

So yea he was a pretty popular player in Oakland but Zito was a free agent and it was time to cash in on his success.  Oakland wasn’t going to pay him but somebody was.  Zito was a California guy but the Mets we’re one of the teams that wanted Zito and at the time you could see that working out, a guy like Zito in New York, sure, makes sense.  But despite playing in Oakland he lived in San Francisco and the Giants stepped up to offer him (at the time) the largest major league contract in history (7 years 126 million) and with that Zito was a Giant.  And it made great sense.  Zito, who was still only 29 and in his prime could head up a young staff.  The Giants made their intentions clear, we want to win with pitching and in the NL, that’s really what you have to do.  Offenses in the NL for the most part consisted of guys who could steal bases, get sack flies and maybe a cleanup hitter who could hit 30 or so home runs and bat in the low to mid .200s.

Now while pitching in Oakland Zito averaged an ERA of 3.49 a year and a record of 102-63 with a Cy Young award thrown in there.  Not too shabby.  The problem was out of the 6 years Zito spent in Oakland he was only the best pitcher on the staff twice, the year he won the Cy Young (2002) and his final year.  But even his final year numbers were only average (16 wins, 3.8 ERA).  So was he REALLY an ace?  The Giants thought so.  I mean he did have good numbers in Oakland and he would be moving to the worst hitting division in baseball so yea he could probably be an ace.  But I don’t think anyone thought what was going to happen, would happen.

Zito’s first year as a Giant he posted an ERA of 4.53 and a record of 11-13.  I can forgive the record because their best offensive players were Barry Bonds way past his prime, Randy Winn, Pedro Feliz, and Benjie Molina.  Not exactly the Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds of the 70s.  But the ERA of 4.5, that was a career high, what happened?!  Maybe it was just first year jitters, trying to live up to that big contract and having people boo you, can’t be easy.  But it was about to go from bad to worse.

2008 Would be Barry’s worst year as a pitcher with a dreadful 10-17 record and ERA of 5.15.  Zito started the year 0-6 with an ERA of 7.53 and the team had seen enough and sent him to the bullpen.  Zito didn’t make any appearances out of the pen but the message was loud and clear, PITCH BETTER!

2009 Was a little bit better for Zito.  He was 10-13 but the ERA was 4.03 so he was the victim of the occasional no run support but even so, he was brought in to be the ace and he was anything but.  An ERA over 4 is not ace stuff, it’s fine for a #3-#5 starter but not the ace.  But let’s be honest Lincecum and Cain were the #1 and #2 guys, Zito was #1 in name only.

But then came 2010 and it looked like the nightmare was over.  I mean Giants fans did have a lot to be hopeful about seeing how Zito did have a decent 09.  Things only got better when Zito started the year 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA.  Could it be?  Is this FINALLY the Zito the Giants paid for?  Yea those 3 years were rough but imagine if Zito finally got on track and turned back into the old Cy Young award-winning style of pitcher!  You’d have Lincecum the reigning back-to-back Cy Young award winner, all star Matt Cain, an up and coming Johnathan Sanchez who already had a no hitter under his belt, AND Barry Zito pitching like his old self?  Can you say playoffs?  Certainly looked that way early on, and to be fair, as of me writing this the Giants are still very much alive in the playoff race.  I mean look what Zito was doing!  His curve ball was unhittable!

But sadly it was not to be.  As it stands now Zito is 8-9 with a 4.07 ERA, that 5-0 seems like forever ago.  In August Zito posted a 6.23 ERA and 0-3 record.  So now what?

Part of me thinks if the Giants fail to make the playoffs this year, or even if they do, that the Barry Zito experiment is over in San Francisco barring a huge miracle.  He’s not pitching well, the fans don’t like him, and he’s lost 14 more games than he’s won.  All the things that made people in California like Zito (the laid back attitude, the yoga, the music) now people don’t like.  You can get away with being a little different or unique when you’re producing, when you’re not, you’re annoying.  Take a hint from the team across the Bay with what they did to JaMarcus Russell.  Sure you’ll owe him a ton of money (unless you find a trade partner which seems really unlikely) but sometimes you just gotta move on.  But don’t feel bad for Zito, he’ll land on his feet.  I can think of 10 teams off the top of my head that LOVE reclamation projects, good teams too like Boston and New York (not the Mets, I said good teams).  I mean everyone loves left-handed pitchers anyway.

But it makes you wonder, why has it not worked out?  Zito had everything in his favor, he was moving to the weak hitting NL West, he was pitching in a park that consistently leads the league in least amount of home runs allowed, he was pitching in a city he had lived in for 7 years, and that part of the country knew what he was capable of and loved him.  Zito isn’t the first player to flop after signing a big contract and he wont be the last but he is one of the more perplexing busts.  Usually it’s the other way around, pitchers from the NL can’t cut it in the AL (look up Chris Carpenters numbers in Toronto and then St. Louis, and then look up Javier Vazquez’s numbers in New York/Chicago and then Atlanta).  So might Zito be better off in the AL?  Maybe even as a #4 or 5 starter?  It’s possible.  I’m confident the future isn’t that bleak for Zito but chances are the future isn’t in San Francisco.