Monday, October 03, 2005

Weekend Thoughts

A ton of stuff to cover, so I will just go with some bulleted thoughts. Very Abboud, I know.

• Is it okay for me to hate Nick Kypreos? Actually, I don’t need permission. I hate Nick Kypreos. I like Darren Dreger, and can even handle Daren Millard, but “Kyper” is just about the stupidest hockey analyst I have ever had the displeasure of encountering. Every time he talks, I am dumbfounded. It’s like the NHLPA somehow paid off Sportsnet to sneak one of their operatives on the show. The guy actually thinks people who play seven minutes a night and intentionally injure goalies in the playoffs are worth a million dollars a year. I just happened to see his mug for a split second tonight, and it angered me. Just thought you should know.

• Here is a question: why is there an all Leafs panel on HockeyCentral on Sportsnet? Is it right to force viewers to watch Kypreos, Gord Stellick and Bill Watters? How is it possible that I am hungering for John Garrett? It’s like asking to listen to The Nylons, simply because it is better than listening to System Of A Down.

• Yes, I am reading Bill Simmons' book right now. And yes, I don’t care for System Of A Down. How can you tell? I am two-fisting my sports books right now. I have a biography on Mark Messier on the go, as well as the Simmons. The Messier bio is good for some random pieces of hockey gossip--like the fact that the Oilers could have gotten Jeremy Roenick from the Blackhawks for Messier, but instead chose Bernie Nichols, or that it was now CBS football analyst Armen Keteyian who was co-author of the infamous “Oilers on Drugs” piece for Sports Illustrated in the mid-80’s—but isn’t exactly the best book ever written. An excellent bargain book, which is exactly how I got it. Totally worth $7, and totally worth no more.

• I am sure I am not the first person to ever say this, but Arizona Cardinal quarterback Josh “Tears Of” McCown is an absolute dead-ringer for Dolph Lundgren. While I was watching the 49ers-Cardinals game in Mexico City on Sunday, I kept waiting for McCown to pummel Bryant Young to death, a senorita to scream “YOU CAN'T WIN!” at Tim Rattay from a stadium balcony, and see Brigette Nielson and Flava Flav having sex on the Jumbotron. Drago had a great game against the inept 49ers defense, gaining a ridiculous 58 points in our fantasy football league. I was tempted to pick him up, until I remembered that he was Josh McCown, quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, and not the big Russian. Someone else will forget that, however, and take the leap. My bet is on Kimmis. ***Two hours later*** Yup. Oh, Kimmis. Poor, poor Kimmis.

“You call him a killer. He's a professional fighter, not a killer. You have this belief that you are better than us. You have this belief that this country is so very good and we are so very bad. You have this belief that you are so fair and we are so very cruel.”

• Speaking of fantasy leagues, it was a great weekend for me on that front. I won my week in the football league, bringing my record on the season to 3-1. I am getting by so far with little help from either Tom Brady or my running backs, and so the record is a blessing. Hopefully the wheels won’t fall off.

• My baseball league wrapped up this weekend, and I was able to finish up in 3rd place. That is exactly where I ended the regular season. I am ecstatic about that placement because I was convinced that I was going to end up near last place (again) when we started the season. I had awesome pitching, but my offence stunk. Thankfully, I was able to make a couple trades, as well as a mind-numbing amount of drops/adds, to help out my offence. Once again, Avi won the regular season but failed to win in the playoffs. I beat him for 3rd spot, dropping him to a disappointing 4th. As he makes Bill James look like Joe Morgan when it comes to statistics, I will take the victory and run.

• My hockey league starts on Wednesday, and I think I have a good chance of taking it all. Here is my starting lineup: Spezza, Marleau, Rolston, Gagne, Samsonov, Zetterberg, Iginla, G. Murray, Kovalev, Gonchar, Zubov, Tarnstrom, Rafalski, Vokoun and Esche. I have Nedved, P. Bergeron, Sykora, M.A. Bergeron and Brisebois on the bench. We are in a Yahoo! League, and they haven’t added any rookies, other than Crosby, to the available players list. A little weird, I think, even though many players are sent down before the season starts. I don’t think they do the same with baseball.

• Why did I draft Tom Brady and Jarome Iginla? I know they are dominant players, but they also play for teams that I don’t particularly want to see do well. I am already kicking myself about Brady, even more so because his play is average and Abboud won’t trade me for him. I really hope the same doesn’t happen with Iggy.

• Here is a weird story from Yahoo! Sports about Brady:

Sep 29: Tom Brady appears as probable on the Patriots week four injury report with a shoulder injury. Brady has now been probable with the same shoulder malady for the last 20 weeks, dating back to week one of the 2004 season.

Views: This is likely a simple case of Bill Belichick showing his disdain for having to report all of his players' injuries. Knowing how Belichick operates, Brady's leg could fall off and he'd still be listed as "probable (shoulder)." Brady battled through the "shoulder" injury to post nearly 3,700 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2004, and so far he's managed to grit out the pain to throw for 316 yards per game in the first three games of 2005. His appearance on the injury list with the same malady for the 20th consecutive week is believed to be a modern-day NFL record. Pottsville Maroons' running back Hoot Flanagan once suffered from the same hangnail for a reported 25 straight games between 1925 and 1927, but that record is unsubstantiated.”

The Pottsville Maroons? Hoot Flanagan? Please tell me someone has written a story about THAT team. Did they play Jeb Crackstone and the Aquashicola Colonials in the big game, for all the marbles?

• One last point about the Cardinals-49ers game on Sunday. Joe “Runner Up For The” Theismann brought up the single point kick in the CFL, after Cardinals kicker Neil went 6-6 on field goal attempts and punter Scott Player kept hammering the ball through the 49ers uprights. Theismann of course played in the CFL, with the Argos, and should therefore know about the single point. But he also called it a “rouge” which I had never heard before. Admittedly, I haven’t paid any attention to the CFL in over fifteen years, but I would think the name would have rung a bell. It didn’t, and I had to look it up. Turns out there is a pretty interesting reason for the name.

• The most underrated story in professional sports right now is the 36 game hitting streak that Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins rattled off to end the season. It is the ninth longest hitting streak in Major League history, and the only major one, to my understanding, to end because of the termination of the regular season. Rollins’ streak will carry over next season, but I find it unlikely that he will be able to pull it off after that long of a break. Stranger things have happened, but the greatest record in professional sports, the 56 game hitting streak of Joe DiMaggio of 1941, is likely to remain intact. I do find it interesting that Rollins, if he is to catch DiMaggio, would be considered the all-time leader but not the single season leader. I realize that Rollins won't do it in one season, but it seems that the way he must accomplish it is tremendously more difficult than DiMaggio’s way. This seems like a ploy to keep DiMaggio’s record around, much like the asterisk that punctuated Roger Maris’ home-run record.

• Correction: according to this story, Willie Keeler has the longest hitting streak over two seasons, with 45. Keeler only got one of those hits in 1896, however. The remaining 44 were accomplished in 1897. If Rollins succeeds, his split between two seasons will be much larger. I don’t know if there were any other players who had over 30+ game hitting streaks over two seasons. The trusted Baseball Almanac reveals nothing.

• And lastly, a great story on pitcher Dock Ellis, who threw in no-hitter in 1970 while on acid. Murphy had mentioned the story at the Folk Fest, as he saw an artist perform a song about the event, but I didn’t bother looking it up until now. This is a must read story. It is very well written, and Ellis is a character. The guy never pitched a game in the Majors sober, and he once threw at every single player in the Cincinnati Reds lineup. Here is his take on Barry Bonds:

“Barry Bonds? I'd hit him at least once a game. 'Cause he's got all that shit on. Yeah, let's see that shit stop the ball from hurting him if I hit him on the motherfucking elbow or something. I'd hit him just to see, does it work?"


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