Gage's Picks of Confidence - Week 4 Edition

Minnesota (+1) over Buffalo
Alright, I shouldn't have been so quick to write off Minnesoata. That game last week really fucked all my bets. I picked the winner but they didn't cover. Oh yeah and don't forget about Carolina doing the same. Whoops. Losman will look lost in this game and the Vikings get back on the win column. Plus, they're getting a point? Cool.

Jacksonville (-3) over Washington
The Redskins, on the other hand, I don't believe in. Forgive me if I think Mark Brunell is a stiff and Santana Moss is overrated. The Jags defense is good. Going back to my Week 1 system, they get definite points for QB and defense. Bad prediction for the 'Skins: Portis has to make two seperate tackles after interceptions. Good predition: he manages to only twist an ankle.

St. Louis (-5.5) over Detroit
I'm really not sure about why I picked this one. Detroit is bad, St. Louis is not quite so bad and at home. That's enough for me. Plus, fuck Kevin Jones for screwing over my fantasy team so far.

Chicago (-3) over Seattle
Still on the Bandwagon. Shaun Alexander can pray all he wants, but I don't think they pull out this game on the road. Pray really hard and maybe you'll get some deep dish pizza. By the way, in a previous week I believe I said "fuck jinxes" to which I now say "fuck Jon Madden and his voodoo black magic." That dude has made a deal with the devil and I want no part of it.

San Fransisco (+7) over Kansas City
Trent Green is still out, that's all you really need to know. There's no reason to take a backup quarterback minus seven points, ever. Just seemed like too large of a point spread. Of course Larry Johnson could run for 250 yards and just remind me not to write him off. But, I still say seven is too many points.

Last Week: 2-3
Season: 9-6

Jon's Picks:

San Diego (-2.5) over Baltimore

Carolina (-7) over New Orleans

Philadelphia (-11) over Green Bay

Cleveland (-2.5) over Oakland

Seattle (+3.5) over Chicago

Last Week: 0-4-1
Season: 8-6-1


Life According to Madden. Boom!

Don't let their 2-1 record fool you. The Jets suck; Madden told me so (they're 0-3 coming into this week in Maddenland). To be honest, the whole idea was to do this last week, for the Jaguars game (I know ESPN does this simulation type thing every week--I'll get to that later). The only problem was that after trying to play the goddamned game 4 times, Madden conspired each time to make me lose in ridiculous fashion. All-Madden is absolutely merciless. You decide to go for it on 4th and inches on your own 45, and Madden takes it out on you the rest of the game. It's unreal. We're talking like 2 kickoff returns for TDs per half, copious amounts of INTs, muffed punt return catches, ridiculous fumbles returned for touchdowns, and the like. They were the kinds of games where you keep yelling at the TV, "You gotta fucking be kidding me!" Trust me, I was doing this. Just ask my woman. Anyway, on the 5th try or so, I finally played a close game and ended up winning, something like 45-42, with a last second Vinatieri field goal. Again, a lot of ridiculous plays, but hey, it was close.

I resolved to play the Jets game this week. Clean. No fucking around. Here are the ground rules: Standard 5 minutes quarters (I tried 15 minute quarters once for about a half; the score would have been in the 80s. It's just too ridiculous. Sorry, Dan). All-Madden level (because only pussies play Pro or All-Pro. I'm looking at you, Gage). Playing with all the regulars (i.e., Stokley, Bob Sanders, Cory Simon, and Curtis Martin were all in. I would have fixed this if I could, but I'm not going to fuck around trying to figure out such things).

Here's what I've learned from the week 3 Jaguars debacle: All-Madden doesn't like it if you run the same passing plays over and over again. Apparently the AI has this figured out. Who knew? So after resolving to be a little more creative in the play calling, it was time to give the Jets the biznass. Don't worry. I did.

Here's another thing I learned from this game: Joseph Addai will be a fucking beast this week. Also, I learned Dominic Rhodes is slow. Anyway, Addai didn't get to the century mark, but he must've broken off a couple 20 yard runs. Easily. It was beautiful. I-form, twin receivers, run to the weak side. It's foolproof. First drive, Addai runs it in from a few out. Peyton was 2-2 passing for like 30 yards. Just what you'd expect after ending a weak Jets drive of 6 plays.

After we traded field goals, I ended the half with a beautiful play action to Marvin for a TD, making it 17-3 at half. This is realistic, no? Anyway, the second half basically consisted of me playing out the inevitable. A couple of late garbage scores for both teams made the final 37-14 (ESPN's simulation has the Colts winning 35-17; this is how good I am at predicting things). Peyton threw for 348 and 3 TDs and Marvin caught 200+. No turnovers for either side the whole game. This could represent a problem with the accuracy of this whole enterprise; I'm fairly sure Pennington has a fumble or INT in store this weekend.

In any case, it was a Colts winner. Mark it down. Madden said so.

Musings on a Pale Hose-less Playoff Chase; or, Hope Springs Eternal: Lookin' at Next Year

So the playoffs are nearly upon us, and once again baseball has managed to give us all an incredibly interesting playoff race in the NL. So what if the AL winning the World Series again is a foregone conclusion? Does anyone doubt that divisional realignment and the creation of the Wild Card was ingenious? While Rob Neyer and Bob Costas were probably somewhere bemoaning the assault on the tradition of the game, the rest of us realized that perhaps, just maybe, more than 15% of teams should make the playoffs. You know, as long as it's not half the damn league like the NBA.

Is there a more compelling story line than watching the Cardinals collapse and Tony LaRussa chew a toothpick to splinters while the national media foams at the mouth at the prospects of getting Roger Clemens into "one last" (whatever the fuck that means anymore with Clemens) playoffs? Let me tell you, it does not look good for the Cardinals. Although they play a Brewers team that might as well show up drunk (oh wait, maybe that's the Bengals), they DO have to face Chris Capuano and Ben Sheets, two of the better NL pitchers. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are trotting out Jeff Weaver (yes, THAT Jeff Weaver, who has been cut by a lot of teams. A lot.) and Jeff Suppan against them. My prediction: the Cards lose those two games and then win the last one in which they face some scrub and have Carpenter pitching.

The Astros, meanwhile, face the Braves, which, really, could go either way. The most interesting thing about all of this is that the Cardinals may (and probably will, at this point) need to play a makeup game with the Giants, in St. Louis, to finish out their season. The Giants, of course, are out of things and would have to fly halfway across the country simply to play spoilers. Being a player, I can't really imagine giving a shit in a situation like that. Unfortunately, that may add up to a bullshit win for the Cards. Maybe Bonds will have to hit the juice once more for old time's sake. I'm sure Cards fans would be cool with that.

In any event, the Cards' potentially epic collapse made me wonder which is worse: losing it all at the end, or losing it, painstakingly, game by game, over the whole course of the second half, like the White Sox did? I'm leaning towards the latter. Prolonged shittiness trumps spectacular, immediate shittiness in terms of overall shittiness. Besides, there's something of a spectacle in watching a team go down in a blazing heap. Watching prolonged shittiness is akin to watching a Pants-Off Dance-Off marathon. You keep hoping it will get better, but in the end you just feel cheap and stupid for having put up with it.

In other news, the tentative schedules for next year came out a bit ago, and the White Sox' schedule is particularly interesting. Save for a 3 game set with the Angels, the Sox' entire September is against divisional teams. Perhaps more importantly, they play the Royals 7 times in the last 2 weeks. It's tough to predict baseball from year to year (see Detroit this year), but I think it remains safe to say that the Royals will suck. Detroit's schedule looks comparable, but, by contrast, the Twins finish at Detroit for 3 and Boston for 4. Too bad for them.

Whatever you do, never forget. Don't ever forget.

It's kinda like Gage confidently claiming (completely sober, and almost matter-of-factly) that Coldplay is the best band ever. You can't let these things die. So when Gage goes to the Ben-gals/Pats game this weekend, he must Must MUST unquestionably yell something to Tom Brady about his pet goat. How exactly this shall be referenced, I'll leave to the imagination of the commenters. The possibilities are practically boundless.

This whole enterprise is necessary not just because it fits so well with the spirit and title of this blog, although that certainly adds to the whole situation. It's because we must immortalize these moments. The moment when a professional athlete says, "Yes, it is a good idea to incorporate farm animals into my already weirdly sexual photoshoot." The moment when a friend says to himself, "Yes, I do believe I will abandon all rationality to become, in essence, a dumbed down Gwyneth Paltrow, slobbering all over Chris Martin."

Bask in them. Revel in them.

Avoiding Work With Gage - 9/29

- Big news of the day: Pedro Martinez is out until next season. Well goddamn. I generally loathe New York teams with gigantic payrolls but this is dissapointing on a few levels. First, I've always been an NL guy and it just blows nuts that now there's not one single team worth a damn out there. Can we get commissioner Skeletor to just call off the NL playoffs all together? Plus, love him or hate him, Pedro is both really good and really entertaining. There's only a select few players who actually give good quote instead of "it was a hard fought game and I'm just proud to be a part of it."

- I just realized while typing that last paragraph that I have no team to root for in the playoffs. Jeeze, maybe I'll get on the A's bandwagon. I like the fact that I don't know enough about them to hate them.

- I think I believe TO's story. Almost.

- For those of you not paying attention, which should be most of you, the Reds are still only 2.5 games out of the NL central. There is no way that they win the thing but this is so typical of a really bizarre season. Mathematical elimination probably won't happen until the last day or two of the year thus keeping me hanging by a thread for an entire summer. Of course, if there was some miracle and they did get in I would probably have a stroke. Not sure which way to root.

- I'm starting to feel pretty good about the Reds chances next year. Harang and Arroyo are solid and inning eaters. Milton seems to give them a QS two-thirds of the time and Bailey coming up in June and be a complete stud seems more likely than not. Obviously the bullpen is still a nightmare, but when they have to pitch 4-5 innings a game that will happen. Grrrr I shouldn't even be saying this. Jinx jinx jinx.

- Two big football games this weekend. First, Purdue @ Notre Dame. God I would love to win this one. There's nothing quite like seeing the looks of dissapointment on ND fans faces. A group that consists of east-coast rich kids, catholics and bandwagon jerkoffs who don't know any better. Look, nobody thinks the Boilers (4-0, by the way) can compete. And they almost certainly have inferior talent, but there are two things in their favor:
1) The "nobody saw it coming" game. Pundits talked all preseason about how tough the Irish's September schedule was while always managing to forget to mention Purdue. We all know these players watch SportsCenter (lord knows they don't study) and don't like being treated like patsies. This might be their biggest game of the season.
2) The "letdown game." The Irish know they shouldn't have won that game last week. MSU decided to give it away and Christmas came early to South Bend. It hardly seems possible that they are going to be able to get completely hyped for this game.
That said, before the 2004 game (one of my favorite games ever) the Boilermakers hadn't won in South Bend in something like 30 years. Not an easy place to play.

- Then there's the Patriots @ Bengals game. Frankly, this one makes me real nervous. The Patriots are still the kind of team whow knows how to get enough done during the season to make the playoffs. And with the Bengals coming off a bigtime road victory last week they could come in and steal one. I'm not sure if Palmer was trying to lull the Steelers into a false sense of security with the 10 sacks and multiple fumbles last week, but I don't know if that's the best strategy for winning games. Oh yeah and SI put them on the cover. Fuckwads. I still like the Bengals to win, but I'd guess the Pats have a good chance of covering.

- Finally, I will be present at the Bengals game again this week, and I would like to solicit comments to yell at the the New England players. I could be really vile towards Corey Dillon, but I'd like to avoid the jerk line if at all possible. It would be nice to be humorous so that the people around me don't get upset. So, I beg of yee all five regular readers, suggest any outbursts in the comments section. Together we might just have an impact on the game.


Mr. Red: Bringing Sexy Back

Way to go Mr. Red! Reports are stating that you've got a new look (same as the old look la la la). That's right Cincinnati, Mr. Red is bringing back the moustache. And I, for one, am wholeheartedly in favor of it. We all know the strength that lies in the hairlip. From moustache rides to NFL playoff runs. Just look at that diving catch. Apparently this is all part of the Reds' "Power of Tradition" plan. While that's the least catchy promotion name ever, I'm excited for what it means. Can we get some umpires wearing ties? Will there be a dress code for fans in attendance? Will players go back to working like endentured servants? Can we please get some sleeves on the uniforms? That aside, here's to you, Mr. Red(leg). Surely you'll be pulling in some sweet, sweet poon with your new 'stache. Strippers will love you, and you'll get less confused looks when cranking Def Leppard in your el Camino. I truly can't thank you enough for bringing the sexy back to Cincinnati.


Trout's Picks of Contrariety (Week 2) (for Week 3)

So my dearth of posting lately has really been due to two factors: I am disillusioned with sports right now. Just journey over to South Side Sox and read any number of posts about the White Sox (a team that is 1-7 in their last 8, a team that has only won 2 of their last 12 series), and you'll see why. After writing this team off when they got swept by Oakland, I was briefly under the illusion that they had a chance after yet another near perfect game by Freddy Garcia, but then I watched their beating at the hands of the Tigers on Wednesday night, and it just pissed me off all over again. It's a good thing White Sox games aren't on in Boston. This team is playing like they're tired and they want to go home to their wives and kids. Whatever. Factor #2 is that school started this week. Hooray, reading!

Despite all this, I still have enough time and desire to post my picks of contrariety. Lucky for you.

New Orleans (+4) over Atlanta
Gage speaks of two bullshit teams that New Orleans has beaten; apparently he forgot to look and see that Atlanta has beaten a Steve Smith-less Carolina team and a shitty Tampa Bay team (Caddylacky looks more like VW Golf. That's right, I made the car comparison. Fuck off). I'm picking New Orleans for yet other reasons: Drew Brees' face-eating mole, Reggie Bush's crazy running, and they're the feel-good story of the year (seriously, how smart was it to get rid of Aaron fucking Brooks? That, and the whole hurricane thing.) Atlanta is also the most apathetic sports town in the country (see the Hawks and the Braves... especially the Braves), and their team's defense only succeeded in shutting down two crappy offenses.

Minnesota (+3.5) over Chicago
My heart's really not in this one. I think Chicago will cover. Nevertheless, Minnesota does have players named Joey Goodspeed and Napoleon Harris. Those are cool names. Plus Fred Smoot. Don't underestimate Fred Smoot.

Miami (-10.5) over Tennessee
This seems like a ridiculously large spread for two awful teams. That said, Daunte Culpepper will not crap the bed in this one. Tennessee is so awful and Miami's defense is so decent that Culpepper will at least have many, many, many opportunities to drive the field. He will blow several of these, but by the law of averages alone, should score a few times. I need to believe this because I idiotically drafted Culpepper in my public fantasy league. Thank god I also drafted Chad Pennington. hahahahaha. No, really, I'm serious. Chad Pennington has bailed my ass out the first two week. Anyway, Culpepper can always just hand off to Ronnie Brown all game. Foolproof, right?

Tampa Bay (+3) over Carolina
My heart's not really in this one either. I'm kinda rooting to see Jon Gruden blow a gasket. He won't, though, because Mike Alstott plays like it's 2001 and rushes for 2 TDs. Man, do you remember when he used to pull trucks in the parking lot back at Purdue? That shit was legendary (I looked for a link, but I guess it's hard to find local news articles from 1994 on the internets. Who knew?).

Houston (+4) over Washington
Mario Williams decides it's time to play like he's the #1 pick. What better time to do it than against a brittle, slow, and retarded-looking Mark Brunell? There is none. Brunell is sacked by Super Mario 4 times, finally forcing Daniel Snyder to wake up from his coma and say, "Wait, you mean to tell me that MARK BRUNELL is the quarterback of my team?"


Gage's Picks of Confidence (Week 3)

4-1 week two. I wanted to brag about it all week, but I waited. Being so modest is what makes me truly awesome. That's right, only Detroit really screwed me over last week. Apparently they really are as bad as advertised. I'm well on my way to re-enacting "Two For The Money." Which, if you haven't seen it is exactly as you'd expect it to be. Which means I'm still months away from my total meltdown and wrecking a Ferarri or something. This week seems to have some more obvious picks than last week, so here's where I get my ass handed to me.

Atlanta (-4) over New Orleans
This line seems awful low for a tough Atl team that has really pushed people around. Their D is legit. Maybe the Saints have the emotion going for them on their first night back in the Superdome, but they are really the inferior team here. Seriously, you can't beat two wet noodle teams in a row (Cleveland, GB) have everybody on your team's bandwagon. Plus, I don't have Vick on any of my fantasy teams this year so I miss him breaking my heart by going 5/18 with 85 yards and 3 int.

Chicago (-3.5) over Minnesota
Brian Urlacher will eat your children. He is not human. It seems ridiculous to even pick against this Chicago defense, as much as it pains me. No, I don't think Grossman is the second coming (sorry to spill the beans on your next column, Mariotti), but this team is solid. More importantly, the Vikings only TD last week was on a fake field goal. You really want to get behind that team? Not me.

Tennessee (+10.5) over Miami
Dante has apparently forgotten how to be a good QB. I don't buy this bullshit about he lost Moss and all that. he has good recievers and a running back who I think can be a badass. So why am I picking against them? Because he lost it. Sometimes you lose it and it never comes back (see Ken Griffey Jr.). Kerry Collins is good enough to cover. Just barely.

Carolina (-3) over Tampa Bay
Easiest pick of the week. Carolina is DESPERATELY in need of a win. Steve Smith might be back and Tampa is gawd awful. Gruden's forehead is going to start growing new veins to pop out this season. John Fox is going to out coach him. This is my lock of the week. Which of course means Tampa wins huge.

Washington (-4) over Houston
Eek. This one sucks, these teams suck. Maybe Portis comes back and I'm vidicated. Come on shoulder! I'm picking against the Texans because screw texas. That is all.

Last Week: 4-1
Season: 7-3

Jon's Picks:
Atlanta (-4) over New Orleans
Chicago (– 3.5) over Minnesota
Jacksonville (+7) over Indy
Carolina (-3) over Tampa Bay
Detroit vs Green Bay - the Under, 39 (Gage's Note: Not sure if this counts)

Last Week: 3-2
Season: 8-2

Triathlon 2006: Better Bring Your 'A' Game

The holday season seems to come sooner and sooner every year. For me, it all kicks off on September 23rd this year (this Saturday). That's right, it's the 2006 incarnation of the event we simply call the "Triathlon." I think I can say without hesitation that this is the sporting event of the year. It's Christmas, New Years and my birthday all rolled in to one. It's a simple concept really. Take three 'athletic' events, a bunch of dudes on two-man teams, a free Saturday and a whole bunch of beer and you've got an event. Last year's event (the 2005 Triathlon, coincidentally) was a big hit and included cornhole, ping pong and hillbilly golf as the events. If you're not from the region of the country where cornhole is popular, you're missing out. This year we will be bringing back the 'hole and the 'pong, but with an added twist: Pop-A-Shot basketball!!! Awwww fuck naw. You know it.

The whole shebang goes down at noon Saturday at Camp Gage where everybody gets split into teams of two, by luck of the draw (Heidi Klum will be doing the honors). Then we play round-robin style at each event until the sun goes down. The point system is as follows: 5 points for a win in any one event plus bonus points for skunks and whitewashes. Then the fun begins. A single beer bong (at any point in the day) is worth one bonus point. A double (24 oz.) is worth three points, etc. Basically, at the end of the night, you can find the contendors for the crown doing whatever damage they can to their livers before the whistle blows. Teamwork really comes in handy at this point. You hold my bong and I'll hold yours.
The competition is wide open this year as last year's champions Bobby and Nugget have both gone into early retirement (I predict '07 comeback campaigns on both their parts). From what I hear, the field has really been conditioning in the off-season and are looking fierce. We're looking at 28 competitors this year (14 teams) which will be a new record. You can't show up with anything other than your 'A' game, or else this might happen. Bring it, and bring it all day long.


Sights & Sounds at PBS

I'm one of the lucky ones. As and Bengals fan I go to probably seven games a year. And my seats are pretty kick ass. With the exception of that bitchy old hag who asks me to sit down on third and short. Nothing could be better than that instant where I seriously think about pouring my beer on a 60 year old lady.
I've also seen my share of Browns fans. They used to come down in swarms bringing their pigpen-esque dust clouds all the way across the state. Seriously, is there a group more universally understood to be white trash? All I'm saying is ownership better be real glad monster truck rallies and wife beating seminars aren't held on Sunday afternoons. Back in the day, both games managed to meet the "pillow fight of the year" status and anybody could win. This year they came out, but in decidedly lesser numbers. Nobody was too rowdy. It was a day of harmony in the state of Ohio. A 34-17 home team rout will do that.

Other Sights & Sounds
- Apparently (thanks to a quick google search) I was sitting right by Frye Guy and the Bone Lady. Talk about in the presence of greatness. A lady who obviously needs a real job and a new hobby and a guy who has dedicated himself (and quite a bit of fabric) to cheering for an unproven QB from Akron. Way to pick your horse buddy.

- It was an absolutely perfect day, for those who brought their sunscreen. My brother went with me and by halfway through the first quarter his face was as red as a baboon's ass. I remembered to wear a hat, but I knew I was doomed too. Good thing I always keep an emergency supply of Aloe at the house.

- Some redneck Browns fan in front of us showed up wearing jeans. You could tell she was really warm. So, at halftime she dissapeared with her friends and showed up again with jean shorts. That's right, she cut off the bottom of her pants at the game. I'm pretty sure it's because she was hot. She could have just been offering her snatch to the entire crowd.

- $8 Beer. How did this happen? How many of these did I buy? Enough that I was shirtless for a quarter and a half. I'm not proud, but I refuse to be ashamed.

- Chad's Chicken Dance. Now, I'm sure to the rest of the world, this seemed totally lame, but in Cincinnati the chicken dance is iconic. This sonnovabitch really knows how to play to his crowd.

- Kellen Winslow gave me a thumbs up. Our seats are three rows behind the visitors' bench. I was drunk and yelled "Hey Winslow, you're a fucking soldier!" He turned around grinned like an idiot (already down three scores) and gives a big thumbs up. Question: did he think that I was actually cheering for him instead of making fun of him? The world will never know. (Also, I know this was a lame thing to yell, but I never thought he would respond anyway. I think if I had it to do over I would go with "Hey Winslow, really losing the war out there!" or "Winslow, nobody gives a shit about the U!" I dunno, maybe I did alright)

- Don't forget about a 34-17 beat down and a 2-0 record. Bitches.



After a sweep at the hands of the Oakland A's, I am officially declaring the White Sox season dead. I suppose technically there's still a chance that they make the playoffs, but it's not one really worth considering. It's a good thing I haven't been able to watch any Sox games the past month; it makes things easier, really.

You did a good job this year, Kenny. You put the players on the field to succeed. On paper, the Sox were the best team in baseball. A small amount of blame is due to Ozzie, but, in reality, the players (mainly the pitching staff) just didn't perform to expectations. And so it goes. Fix your eyes on winning next year, Kenny; two out of three ain't bad.

Trout's Picks of Contrariety (Week 1) (for Week 2)

If Gage loses, I win. Sounds like a safe bet to me.

Tampa Bay (+5.5) over Atlanta

Don't believe the Atlanta hype. The TBay defense confuses an already dumb Mike Vick, Derrick Brooks (does he still play?) smashes Alge Crumpler's liver, taking him out in the second quarter. In addition to this, Chris Simms plays more like his daddy than himself, which is to say, passably. Caddylacky will run for his hundred plus, getting off the schnide from last week (he has to; he has been killer for my Madden '07 fantasy drafted team).

Green Bay (-2.5) over New Orleans
Brett Favre likes being at home. Unfortunately, he will get injured in the first quarter, prompting Aaron Rodgers to lead the Packers to 7 field goals in a 21-10 victory over that francophile black and gold team.

Pittsburgh (-2.5) over Jacksonville
Pittsburgh will cover on the strength of Bill Cowher's mustache alone. That, and Leftwich will throw a lot of interceptions.

Chicago (-9) over Detroit
Roy Williams guarantees a Lions victory in this game. This means that the Lions will, in fact, get their asses handed to them. Bears score 2 defensive TDs, 2 offensive TDs, more than enough to beat Jon Kitna, no matter what sort of "game manager" he is. (He's an ugly-blowout-losing game manager in this particular game).

Oakland (+12) over Baltimore
Oakland's not that bad, Baltimore's not that good. Neither team will score much. Hence, Oakland covers. Side prediction: Randy Moss catches a TD as Jerry Porter plays pinochle with a fan in the crowd.


Gage's Picks of Confidence (Week 2)

Let's get this out of the way: Jon kicked my ass last week. Somehow this guy managed to go 5/5 on his week one picks. Plus, I understand he hit some big three team parlay to have a nice little weekend of gambling. I, on the other hand, went 3/5. However, I would like to point out that if the Colts had been able to convert a third and three up two points and run out the clock, we would have both gone 4/5. Instead they got stopped and kicked the field goal to just barely cover. Dicks.

Despite a winning record, this week I'm throwing out the system and going with my gut. Why? Because I'm not a man who settles for mediocrity. I'm not a smart man either.

Atlanta (-5.5) over Tampa Bay
I'm calling this "do believe the hype" Sunday. I'm jumping on everybody's bandwagon. Atlanta looked great last weekend and is at home for this one. Gruden considers benching Chris Simms for Major Applewhite. What happened to the Bucs? I never figured out why they were good (besides the incomperable Trent Dilfer, of course) but now why were they so bad last week? I think the O-Line is weak and John Abraham could have a large day. Falcons roll at home, even if Vick pulls a Vick.

New Orleans (+2.5) over Green Bay
Look, Green Bay is awful. They have been legitamately shitty since last year. At least they went out and got Charles Woodson. That's what your team needs, a defensive back. Reggie Bush seems like a nice guy, but if I'm him this year is dubbed "making the Texans look like complete idiots" season. And, if the Saints are smart they'll give him the ball as long as he wants it. My man crush on Drew Brees endures.

Jacksonville (+2.5) over Pittsburgh
The Jags seemed to get some confidence last week. They have serious potential to be my "team that I ride every week until they let me down" this year. I think one of my weaknesses in picking games is that I have certain players that just strike me the right way and fool me into thinking they are better than they really are. I'm pretty sure Byron Leftwitch has worked his voodoo magic on me. Even with that knowledge I'm betting this game.

Detroit (+9) over Chicago
Sigh...this week I couldn't actually find five games I felt strongly about. Last week we learned that Detroit's defense isn't complete garbage. This sems like the kind of game where the Bears defense outscores the offense. I picked against Jon Kitna last week and he screwed me. Never understimate his ability to inspire announcers to use the phrase "game manager." My point being, I just don't think either team scores a lot of points in this game so +9 seems really high.

Baltimore (-12) over Oakland
I'm tempted to just pick against Oakland the entire season. Talk about a train wreck, and that's just Aaron Brooks. Baltimore is another team where I'm buying the hype. That said, if Steve McNair gets out on the field with a walker, I want my money back. This whole team seems really old, but I think Oakland rolls over. Joey Porter is amused.

Jon's Picks:
"After a 5-0 Week 1 My selections for week 2 are as follows:"

New England (-6) over NYJ
Washington (+6.5) over Dallas
Minnesota (Pick) over Carolina
Detroit (+9) over Chicago
Cincy (-10.5) over Cleveland


Wanton for Football

I am a Purdue alumnus and a Purdue fan. I went to a Big Ten school knowing that I was going to see big time college sports. Maybe this shouldn't have mattered to me, but it did. I drove from Indiana to the Rose Bowl in the 2000 season, I still maintain there is nothing like being in the student section at a Big Ten football game. This is a serious part of my life, again probably too serious but that's another post.

Alas, as we dive headfirst into another season, I would love to write a long drawn-out post breaking down all the pointless minutia of this team. It would make my day to tell you all about Curtis Painter's footwork or how well the left guard pulls on a sweep right. Nothing could make me happier, but this 2-0 team heads into their third game and not a single one will have been on tv. Oh for three.

Which leads me to my point (two paragraphs late). I have 300 digital cable channels and get a ton of sports. These are the games I will be getting this week instead of Ball St. @ Purdue:

BYU @ Boston College (ESPN2)
If you can tell me one thing about either of these teams, you get a cookie. Is this on just because ESPN is in the northeast? Does the camera crew just want to save some travel money? Last I checked, Steve Young doesn't work for ESPN anymore, you don't have to show BYU just for him. Maybe those rumors about Mormons running the network are true. Division of Sports and Church!!! I demand justice.

Marshall @ Kansas St. (Fox Sports Something)
Why are these teams even playing each other? Is Marshall still in West Virginia? I can hardly see how anything good comes out of WV. Plus, this is a MAC team playing a lesser Big 12 team. Purdue vs. Ball State is a MAC team against an-admittedly not elite-Big Ten team. But I'm telling you, the Big Ten outweighs the Big 12 any day of the week. Don't give me Oklahoma and Texas because I will throw Michigan and Ohio State all up in your shit.

Kent St. @ Miami University (Fox Sports Ohio)
Woah, hold your jets there. Who decided this one? Just because there's two teams from Ohio playing they have to be on tv? What's that? You thought this was the University of Miami? Whoops. There's still time, give me some Purdue. You know you want to. (By the way, I understand that if you say "Miami Ohio" certain people don't take kindly, just a heads up to anyone traveling through the Oxford, OH area)

So there you have it. A Big Ten school with a HUGE alumni playing an in-state school can't get on tv, not anywhere. At least we have the MAC everywhere. Bleh.


Where have you gone, Timo Perez?

I'm just kidding; we all know that Timo was DFA'd from the St. Louis Cardinals in late August, now, don't we? Of course. Which is precisely when the White Sox should have signed him. Timo was, after all, a somewhat integral piece of the 2005 White Sox championship run. And when I say "integral," I use that term as loosely as one can possibly imagine. Timo was much less integral than, say, even Carl Everett was (also DFA'd, by the Mariners, this August), who had 23 homers and 87 RBI in 2005. Carl Everett is, though, I think, bat shit crazy. This team doesn't need bat shit crazy right now. They need Timo.

There's always something I liked about Timo. Maybe it's because he wore the lucky number 7. Or maybe it's because I'm taller than him. Anyway, I was thinking that since the White Sox' playoff chances have been tending to look dimmer with each passing day, they could use a good luck charm. Kinda like how the Yankees always seemed to somehow sign Luis Sojo everytime they won the World Series (I'm sure my facts are off here, but that's the way it seemed in my little world).

No matter. Timo isn't coming back and Luis Sojo is perhaps finally too old to bring his pixie dust to a franchise. This goddamned team is going to have to win games with what they've got, which, this season, has been phenomenal pitching when there is no hitting (not very often) and the best hitters in the league when the pitching takes the day off (much more often). The result has been a hell of a lot of frustration on the South Side, and the realization that World Series titles are mysterious, fragile, and fleeting mistresses.

At the time of this writing, Freddy Garcia -- yes, THAT Freddy Garcia, he of the nearly 5 ERA and bong-hitting pleasures -- has just had a PERFECT GAME broken up after 7 and 2/3 innings against the LAAAs. I think it is safe to say that no one who has been following the Sox remotely closely this year would have ever, ever, ever expected this from Freddy and his high 80s fastball. Of course, Freddy has also been known to admit that he doesn't try when it's not worth his effort. I guess he and the rest of the pitching staff have decided that, with three weeks left in the season, it's worth their effort, because they've turned in some pretty solid performances dating back to the Red Sox series in Boston.

So with a win today and a Twins loss, the Sox stand at 2-1 on the dreaded West Coast Road Trip and 1.5 games behind the Twinkies and (depending on the Tigers game tonight), either 3 or 4 games back of the division leading Tigers. The Sox have 16 games left in the season: 3 at Oakland, 3 vs. Detroit, 4 vs. Seattle, 3 at Cleveland, and 3 at Minnesota to close out the season. Obviously those games against Detroit and Minnesota loom large. Being a realist, I'm going to rule out a sweep of either of those series, meaning the ChiSox can only pick up a game against either team in those series (having won the coin toss, a playoff game with either Detroit or Minnesota will be played in Chicago). So going into that final weekend, they need to be no worse than one game down of Minnesota.

Let's take an absolute best-case scenario for the White Sox: they take 2 of 3 from all remaining teams (and 3 of 4 from Seattle), putting their record for the final 16 at 11-5. Not completely out of the question, and it's certainly hard for me to see them doing any better than that. The Twins have 17 games remaining at Cleveland (4), at Baltimore (3), at Boston (3), finishing at home against KC (4) and the White Sox (3). Now it's key that apparently Francisco Liriano may very well be out (or at the very least less than 100%) the rest of the regular season, particularly when it comes down to that final series in Minnesota. Let's say the Twinkies go 9-8 the rest of the way, dropping series to Boston and the Chisox, splitting against Cleveland, and taking 2 of 3 from the Orioles. Entirely conceivable, and probably about the best case possible for the White Sox. The Tigers could collapse too, but they'd have to go 7-10 the rest of the way to give the White Sox a chance, and they have 6 games left against the Royals.

If the White Sox are a game worse (10-6) than my prediction (finishing with 94 wins), then a playoff game with the Twins is imminent. So after all that analysis, it pretty much comes down to this: the Sox just have to win the series with the Tigers and, more importantly, Minnesota and take care of business against everyone else. The margin of error for the Sox doesn't really get any tighter than this. Check back in another week after the Tigers series and all of this will become much more clear.

But I still think there's a playoff game in store somewhere in there. Call up Timo, Kenny Williams, call up Timo. Even if he just sits in the dugout and farts on Sandy Alomar all game.


Reds Playoff Chances: The Competition

It doesn't feel like September. Not for me at least. With the Bengals pulling out a convincing victory in their road opener against a tough Chiefs team, and the Reds still not mathematically eliminated I can feel a buzz in the air in Cincinnati (or I'm sure I would if I actually lived there). However, while the Reds inexplicably hung on to first place in the wild card all summer, they managed to torpedo their whole season with one awful awful awful west coast road trip. But, frankly I don't blame them. I blame the time change and jet lag. So, I guess what I'm saying is that I blame the earth spinning on its axis for the Reds current predicament. Damn you astro-physics!
Anyway, the Reds sit 3.5 games back of the wild card leading Padres with 19 games left to play. AND, the Fathers are coming to town tonight for what appears to be a huge series for the Redlegs. This is where I insert a string of cliches about how they need to "put up or shut up" or possibly "put their money wheir their mouth is," etc. With this large series looming here's a rundown of the contenders (plus a picture of Ted Kluszewski and his guns to brighten your day).

San Diego (3.5 games up)
I admittedly don't know a lot about this team. I see that they have Jake Peavy and Woody Willams. Not bad. Plus they just recently acquired the Round Mound of Rebound from Boston for a song. But what is up with this lineup? Their best hitter is an over-the-hill Mike "Meat Lovers" Piazza. I guess Dave Roberts is fast (right Yankees fans?) but Mike Cameron doesn't instill a lot of confidence, one would think. The Verdict: Ask me Friday. I refuse to make any bold predictions. This series could go either way.

Florida (1.5 games up)
I can certainly tell you that Dontrelle Willis has had a down year. I know this because he sat in that "too good to bench, yet eternally frustrating" zone on my fantasy team all season. It seems like I have three or four of those guys every year. This must be why trout always destroys me. Apparently the Marlins also have some girl named Annabelle who threw a no hitter last week. How is this not a bigger story?? Wow. Anyway, the lineup is Cabrera who is still a stud and can beat you all on his own and a bunch of really young role players. Oh and a guy named Uggla, who I understand is not uggla at all. The Verdict: This team just strikes me as one of those feel-good stories that just doesn't quite get it done at the end.

San Fransisco (1 game up)
The Giants really handled the Reds the last couple weeks (5-2). Apparently Bonds finally got his new shipment of HGH and has started hitting dingers again. Jason Schmidt is unpredictable but good and Matt Morris is at least healthy (Side note: Schmidt is a FA this offseason. Could the Reds please make a run at him?) . But, between Bonds, Moises Alou and Armando Benitez closing out games disaster seems eminent. The Verdict: I just can't get behind a team this old that features both Felipe and Moises Alou. Just a little too "Expos" for me.

Philly (1 game up)
Jon Lieber is old, Cole Hamels is young. Both are playing pretty well. That was my attempt to not start this paragraph without talking about Ryan Howard. This dude is crazy. He alone legitamizes the entire lineup. And the starting pitching is strikingly deep, even though Jamie Moyer is getting Social Security now. The Verdict: This team could legimately go on a Meat-in-womens-underwear hot streak. One worry spot: Flash Gordon. His health could be an issue.

St. Louis (5 games up, just for fun)
Same old story, Cards are still the class of the division. Obviously making Poo-holes or Prince Albert jokes hasn't gotten him on tilt yet. He's still easily the best hitter in the game. I say we step it up a knotch. We're going to need a weak-willed clubhouse attendant and a whole lot of itching powder. Surely this will be treated as a harmless prank. A harmless prank that lands him on the 15 day DL with "chafing." The Verdict: Sorry Cards fans, it takes more than Carpenter and Pujols to get to the World Series. Enjoy the playoffs, still not your year.

What have we learned? Everybody is flawed. Can the Reds make a run? Sure, but it would take something special (and I'm not talking about Arroyo's cornrows). We know two things for sure. One, the picture could dramatically change by the weekend. And two, it should be an exciting finish.


Manning love fest, running commentary

So since this site basically rips everything off from Bill Simmons or Deadspin or somewhere else (we are, in general, quite unoriginal... just ask our friends), I've decided to do a running commentary of Manning Bowl/Love Fest/Circle Jerk '06. And to make this entry even more Simmons-esque, I'll start by saying I missed the day's NFL action (save for Brady's first-play fumble) because I was at Fenway watching the Sox salvage one game of a 3 game set with Royales. Mark Redman, the Royals "All-Star" was tagged (surprise!), Papi hit a homer, and I ate some fried dough. Not too bad. I spent most of the game staring at the left field scoreboard, willing the White Sox to score runs. It didn't happen. The highlight of my day was standing in line behind some disgusting woman with bad skin wearing a pink Red Sox jersey and her 4 misbehaving children, listening to her bitch about how she just spent $45 on chicken fingers, fries, and cokes. I guess maybe she thought it would only be $40. It was a lovely day at the ballpark.

I also feel it necessary to comment on Gage's "Picks of Confidence." By my count, he's 3-1 after the early games, but I don't really care about that (does anyone but Gage? I didn't think so). What I do have to say is that Indy is easily gonna beat the spread against the Giants; forget about them losing. The two-headed monster that is the Colts backfield will run for 100+ yards (if we have learned anything from Denver the past few years, it should be that it doesn't really matter who the RB is, it's the O-line), Peyton will get his 250 and a couple TDs, Tiki Barber will remember he should be past his prime, and Jeremy Shockey will break both legs. I guess maybe that last one is just something I kinda wish would happen...

7:50. So, as much as I want to watch Football Night in America for the gems Costas and company will dish out, I'm not going to. Flipping past, though, I barely caught Costas saying something about the game tonight being the "Peyton vs. Peyton" game. Either Costas is referring to some internal mental struggle Peyton will go through tonight, or he inadvertently revealed a serious man-crush, perhaps even rivaling Cris Collinsworth's affection for both brothers. I'm leaning towards the latter.

8:13. Nothing says football like Pink with a mullet, singing an uninspiring song. Thank you, NBC.

8:15. Popped open a PBR. Maybe this little blog will help me count.

8:17. My woman has a small orgasm at the mention of the name "Tiki Barber." I'm still waiting to hear "Jeff Saturday."

8:22. In case you forgot, tomorrow is 9/11... let's do justice to the memories of those killed by playing some ball!

8:23. First shot of mommy Manning. Thanks for bringing up the commercial, Al. I had almost forgotten this game was going to be tough on Olivia Manning.

8:25. John Madden has the feeling the Colts are going to come out passing when, indeed, the Colts just came out passing. Good call, John. "Feelings" are often correct when they come after the fact.

8:29. For approximately the 1200th time in the past few years, Madden tells us how the Colts' audibles work... 2 run plays and a pass play sent in to Peyton. Great insight.

8:32. Addai levels a Giants DB on a 10 yard run. The woman says, "nice way to come out in the NFL, eh." Yes, yes it is. And then he promptly gets pummeled by Strahan on the next play.

8:36. The first Vinatieri Colts field goal. Weird, but nice. Farewell, Vanderjagt, you mouth-running kicker, you. You're better off touring with Terrell Owens circus anyway.

8:44. The Colts defense is porous, missing arm tackles left and right. Do Purdue proud, Gilbert Gardner, and tackle somebody, for chrissakes.

8:46. Al Michaels references hot cars and bling. Don't act like those things are foreign to you, Al. I've seen how you and Costas roll.

8:47. Madden, in all his wisdom, pontificates about Eli "jamming it in." Too easy.

8:51. Michaels, riffing on Madden, marvels at Peyton "jamming it in" to Dallas Clark. That's what Colts fans have grown to love watching, Al--Peyton jamming, ramming, penetrating.

9:07. Eric Dickerson = ED = Erectile Dysfunction. Eric Dickerson must love this. I wonder if he goes to bars with Bo Jackson and Joe Theismann, both of whom delight in yelling across the bar, "Yo, ED!" Why I picked Bo and Theismann, I do not know.

9:13. Feely misses a FG. Didn't he miss like 4 or 5 field goals in one game last year? This is why he is not on my fantasy team. Not that I really know what I'm doing in fantasy sports. I got doubled up today... and that's even before my opponent has Tomlinson going. Thanks for nothing, Shaun, thanks for nothing.

9:23. Third shot (at least... oops... thanks to Dan for calling it #4) of the parents' Manning. Archie is non-plussed by the Peyton TD. I think maybe he's watching Grey's Anatomy reruns up there in the luxury box; not sure if he was actually aware there was something going on down on the field.

9:30. Gage points out to me that the home movies prove Peyton was always a crybaby. Good catch. Duly noted.

9:34. Wow, a Hot Shots reference to Emilio and Charlie Sheen. As soon as "Charlie Sheen" popped out of Costas' mouth, I was really pulling for "hooker" to follow. Maybe next time.

9:36. Plaxico Burress is tall and good at volleyball, except with footballs. TD Giants.

10:03. It doesn't matter who runs it, the Giants gain at least 5 yards a rush. Where have you gone, defense? Isn't it about time you created a turnover?

10:05. Shockey comes up gimpy after making his first catch. Perhaps a broken leg isn't too much to wish for. Scratch that. Shockey TD. John Madden wets himself with joy.

10:07. I remain confused as to why these Pepsi-machine-as-football-player commercials continue to get made. Is Pepsi getting fan mail from people saying, "Please make more of those. I was a Coke drinker all my life until I saw that commercial. Make more of them so the world will know the wonders of Pepsi."? I think not. Please stop making them. And please stop ruining people like Reggie Bush. Thank you.

10:09. John Madden marvels at how he could possibly "get his mouth around" all three Manning cocks at once (I can only imagine that's what he's referring to). I don't know how you do it either, John, but you do. You do. And that's what makes Sunday Night Football worth watching.

10:30. After a pretty clean game (save for numerous drive killing Giants penalties), 2 quick turnovers in succession. Maybe each Manning decided they wanted the other to win.

10:36. Parents shot count: approximately 7. We're on pace to obliterate my over-under.

10:42. Andrea Kremer is wearing enough makeup to look like a harlot. A no good harlot. What happened to the days of Melissa Stark?

10:46. So I'm noticing that Jim Finn is a Giant now. How are Al and John not pouncing on the fact that he used to be a Colt? This story should rival the Manning brother rivalry. No question.

10:56. Gage begs me to post the following: My issue with all this Manning vs. Manning bullshit is that it's way more over hyped than Ronde vs. Tiki would ever be. And those two aren't just brother's, they're fucking twins! And, they actually get on the field at the same time. Peyton will never tackle Eli, but Ronde could legitimately injure his own twin brother. How's that for irony? -Gage

10:57. I tell Gage it's because the Mannings are white. And also because they are both QBs. Both of these are things America loves: white dudes and dudes who put their hands on other dudes' asses.

11:04. Huge offensive pass interference call that leads to an INT on the next play. Contrary to Madden's and Michaels' opinion that the call was bullshit (as you could see Coughlin mouthing on the sideline), it did seem to me like the receiver pushed off with his forearm. Give us another angle on that, NBC. And yes, I am a Colts fan. Whatever.

11:17. The Colts fail to get a key first down that would enable them to run out the clock. This can only be an attempt to either ruin Gage's bet or boost ratings while trying to lose the game. My money's on Gage leaning towards the former.

11:22. It's always nice to see a game end with extraordinarily poor clock management. Way to go, Giants (especially you Jeremy Shockey. I'm glad you kept your legs unbroken so that you could stay inbounds like a complete freaking idiot).

That's all she wrote, kids. Good day.

Gage's picks of confidence

I've never been a sports gambler. I've never had any problem with it, just hardly seemed worth the anxiety. Until now. My good buddy Jon has been betting games for years and he has systems evaluating his systems. Today he challenged me to see who really knows their football, so for every week of the season I will be picking five NFL games against Jon's five games. I will actually be betting these games. Eat that, posers.

Philly (-5.5) over Houston
Just to spite Jon I've come up with a little system of my own. Basically, I'm taking any team that has the edge at two of the following three: QB, RB and Defense. This one lit up like three bars on a slot machine. Obviously I shouldn't buy into all the idiots telling me how McNabb is going to make some huge comeback, but I am. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Mario Williams will have less than 5 sacks in this game.

Seattle (-6) over Detroit
Look, fuck jinxes. I don't buy that shit. That said, if I'm Shaun Alexander I'm switching from laces to velcro. Just don't need any aded risk of trippage. Seriously though, I like Seattle big. Jon Kitna has small hands (but a big love for Jesus!). Does Detroit still field a defense?

New Orleans (+3) over Cleveland
Brees vs. ???, McCallister/Bush vs. ???, that's all I need to know for my system. Screw research. Unless Willie McGinnest can run, throw and catch the ball it should be a long day for the Brown turds on the lake.

Jacksonville (PICK) over Dallas
Seriously, can we start a "Fred Taylor's Hammy" hotline? Think of the fantasy sports and gambling ramifications. If I see the ESPN bottom line come up with a "Fred Taylor: Doubtful" at 12:30 pm Sunday I think I should really get my money back on this one. It's only fair. Oh yeah, and I have Matt Jones in two fantasy leagues, so he needs to step up. Ready, Gage on three..... "onetwothree GAGE!"

NY Giants (+3) over Indy
Put me in with the group that thinks this whole RB situation is going to hurt the Colts quite a bit. Don't they LIVE off that play action? The Giants get the edge in RB and defense. Giants win, Eli looks confused.

Jon's Picks:
Cincinnati (+1.5) over KC
Chicago (-3.5) over GB
Philly (-5.5) over Houston
Indy (-3) over NY Giants
Minnesota (+4.5) over Washington


An open letter

Dearest Carson,
If you're reading this, then my constant barrage of fan mail (and electronic mail) has finally paid off. I knew we would find each other eventually. Before we met, I was just a leaf blowing in the wind. I had no one, no quarteback if you will, to guide me. I tried to listen to my friends when they told me "it's ok if you settle for Akili, he really is a nice guy." And I tried, but honestly my heart was never in it. Something about him just didn't do it for me. Maybe it was the way he couldn't throw a spiral, or maybe it was because he was half-retarded. Then there was Jon. Jon was safe. But, ohhh Jonny boy. We really did have some fun didn't we? For a while there 8-8 really was good enough. But when it really came down to it I got tired of being safe. I wanted to see the long ball. No more long walks on the beach, I wanted long passes down the sideline. And then, you came along. I knew right away that you were the one. My friends all say there's no such thing as love at first sight, but when I saw you come back on the road against Baltimore I knew it was destiny. And last year everything was going perfect. We won the AFC North for the first time ever! And then, the worst happened. I won't bring it up. We both remember. At first I was in denial and then I was angry. How could you do this to me? Then I spent most of the summer in my bedroom crying and just holding your picture. Was it all over? It happened so fast. And then, before I knew it training camp was here! You were running and jumping and you told me not to get carried away, but oh boy did I. And now, on Sunday we'll finally be back together again. Believe me when I tell you I never gave up hope. Now go out there and do it for all three of us, because I think there might be a little QB on the way.



Apparently it was halfway to St. Patrick's Day. This is your team, trout. You defend this shit.


a little pep talk

Dearest White Sox,

I think that perhaps I expected too much from you this season. A World Series win followed by improving the roster on paper will do that, I guess. I miss the good old days... you know, like 11 months ago:

A season that you could tell was something special as it was developing is beginning to look like a perfect storm instead of the start of something really good. Despite the emergence of Joe Crede and Jermaine Dye as de facto superstars this year, it hasn't been enough. 11 months ago, Scott Podsednik was a World Series hero and bitch-hot girls all over Chicago were snatching up #22 jerseys. Now he can't get on base, let alone steal one (I'll let you decide which bases I'm talking about). 11 months ago, Juan Uribe was a defensive superstar in the making. Now he's just lazy, with flashes of brilliance. I wanted you to be the next poor man's Derek Jeter, Juan. Really, I did. What was described before the season started as the most formidable pitching staff in the league has degenerated into one of the worst. What happened to you, Mark Buehrle?

I trace it back to the mid-April orders to stop having fun on the field. This isn't the fucking Yankees here, Kenny. Let the boys have long hair. Let them play in the rain. Losing Aaron Rowand was only the start (and don't get me wrong, the Sox are better off -- on paper -- with Thome instead of Rowand this year) of this team losing its personality. The haircuts and the slip and slides were the last straw. As much as I hate butt rock and as much as I scoffed at "Don't Stop Believin'" being this team's theme song last year, there's something in that. You can't win for six straight months at a playoff-making pace if you're not having fun. Just remember that. Please.

Just because you won the Series doesn't mean you have to take yourselves so goddamned seriously. You lost some of your lovability this past year. Loosen up, boys, and beat those Twinkie Piranhas into the ground. I know you still have it in you... somewhere.


I suck at being a fan.

Nice first post by trout there. I look forward to contributing some sort of witty banter, but first - in the interest of full disclosure - I have to say this: I am not a good sports fan. Every "guy" knows that there are certain rules to cheering on your favorite teams. Most of these I have broken. And now, a few:

- Never give up on your team too early in the season
Let's just say it was hard staying upbeat for the Bruce Coslet years in Cincinnati (or the ten years before that). The crazy thing with the Bengals is that some years this strategy actually paid off. The major drawback here is that it gets really lonely when the bandwagon leaves you behind.

- Don't ever let your team become a little too important
This one reminds me of the 2004 Purdue football season and the time I decided to drink half a bottle of Wild Turkey after a heartbreaking loss to Wisconsin

- Be a good sport (aka Don't start fights with people just because you don't like their team)
Sigh... sorry to hundreds of anonymous Cubs fans

- Never get drunk at a game and curse at or around 1) little kids 2) old people
It's not the "around" part I feel so bad about, it's more than the "at" part. Let's just say that old people sitting behind you at a game, suck. It's like old people at a concert. If you wanted to sit on your ass all night, I understand there's a perfectly good couch just waiting for some cheek imprints in your living room. Certainly, it's more comfortable than your stadium chair. You're at a football game, not a spelling bee. For fuck's sake people.

- If at all possible, tailgate
I guess I'm just lazy and like to sleep in.

- And finally: never, ever look directly at Serena Williams heinie for more than 30 seconds or you could go blind
Look away, do it! Seriously I'm not fucking around here!

We are feedingthegoat, hear us roar

So I think gage and I would be lying if we said we weren't inspired to begin a sportsblog in part by Bill Simmons' numerous columns (although I fear Simmons has perhaps long since started becoming a caricature of himself. Whatever) and Deadspin, the sportsblog to begin and end all sportsblogs. While we will never have the commenters, wit, or cosmopolitan savvy of Deadspin, I don't think we care to. This is more a venue to let loose, spout off, and not worry about professionalism or "facts." Sort of like a sports-focused poor man's Colbert Report, if you will.

So, to finally get to the sports. Has anyone seen the ridiculous NBC Sunday Night Football Madden commercial talking about how football is toughest on the mothers (you can find it on NBC's Sunday Night Football site)? First of all, John Madden is starting to look like a fat old woman. Am I alone on this? Shouldn't football announcers make an effort to look somewhat manly? Just throwing that out there... Secondly, I doubt anyone really cares (outside of Indianapolis or the Manning household, anyway) that Peyton and Eli are facing off against each other in Week 1. Sure, the talking heads need something ridiculous to natter on about, but give me a fucking break. They're playing football here. This isn't the fucking Civil War. Besides, is this commercial really going to appeal to the High Life swilling Sunday Night crowd? Or since the game's on a network now, are they trying to get more moms to watch the game? I mean... shit... SNF is gonna be up against The Amazing Race this fall. You can write off the mom (and my fiance) viewership right there. What's the over-under on how Manning mom shots in the crowd Sunday Night? I put it at 8.