Lijit Ad Wijit

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I have one more reason to hate Eli Manning.
His response to Tiki Barber's comments questioning Eli's comfort level with being the leader of the offense was contradictory, if not hypocritical, at best.
Peyton's little brother took another step into No. 18's shadow by telling the press in so many words that he wasn't worried about what Tiki said and he wouldn't make an issue of it. He followed that up by sporting that stupidly sheepish grin you see on a seventh-grader who doesn't know the answer to an algebra question when called on in class.
He went on about how he "could have" questioned Tiki's leadership skills when he called out head coach Tom Coughlin in the media and announced his retirement prematurely. He also noted how nice of a transition Tiki has made to the media profession so far.
First of all, if it wasn't for Tiki the Giants would not have scraped by at 8-8 to make the playoffs. They could have dropped Eli, however, at any point in the season for Kelly Holcomb or Ryan Leaf and still had a chance at the playoffs.
That aside, Tiki may have been out of line, but the failure to recognize that you, Eli, have the upper hand and could have simply ignored Tiki, like Peyton would have done to any former teammate who called him out* and then proved yourself on the field during the season.
*Mike Vanderjagt doesn't count because he's a kicker and an idiot whether he's "liquored up" or not. Plus Peyton broke one of Dan Marino's records and has a ring so he has some more leeway.
If Eli had anything to show for himself on the field, he would show it instead of running his mouth and hiding behind his name and his expectations every time he's criticized.
Maybe he should have just went to San Diego. I'd like to think Tiki would still be in New York if Kerry Collins and/or Phillip Rivers were in town.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sting Ray

If Erik Bedard had a vote for the AL Cy Young winner, it would go to Josh Beckett. The modest Orioles ace would surely embrace the award, but knows he trails Beckett in one important statistical category--wins.
There is a strong correlation between Beckett's 15 wins and the team for which he plays. The Red Sox after all have the best record in baseball. It is Bedard, though, who leads the league in strikeouts by 33 over Johan Santana. It is Bedard's 2.98 ERA that is second in the AL behind Kelvin Escobar of the Angels (who have the second-best record in baseball.) Bedard is also among the 20 AL pitchers with a complete game shut-out. (Only Jeff Weaver, with two, has multiple shut-outs.) Beckett, for the record, has none.
So what then is holding Bedard from joining baseball pundits across the country in tabbing himself as a favorite for the prestigious pitching award? Statistically it may be the wins, but in reality it's a lack of two things: run support and a closer.
The Orioles will supposedly address the former problem in the offseason. But now with closer Chris Ray having Tommy John surgery performed yesterday the O's have to find a reliable closer for the 2008 season, which Ray is expected to miss.
Not that Ray was becoming the AL East's new Mariano Rivera, but he converted 33 of 38 opportunities in 2006. Now the Orioles have to rely on the unreliable Danys Baez to close out the rest of the season, and hope he proves fit for next year as well.
I don't mean to ruin the ending, but he won't.
Manager Dave Trembley says rookie reliever Jim Hoey will remain in the setup role, despite no earned runs in five appearances this year. Baez, meanwhile, has as many losses as Hoey does scoreless appearances. He was signed as part of the bullpen revamping project the Orioles proudly underwent in the offseason. Now they will be forced to revisit that area this offseason if they hope to find a true closer. Problem is that the market isn't going to be flooded with big names. (Francisco Cordero from Milwaukee may be the best outside option.)
Without someone to finish off what Bedard masterfully starts, it will be hard to convince him he can truly become one of the games elite pitchers in Baltimore. (Statistically anyway, Baltimore fans and others are quickly finding out that his stuff is as good as anyone's.)
Beckett has Johnatan Papelbon (with Eric Gagne setting him up, not a bad eighth and ninth inning rotation) and Escobar, along with John Lackey (15-7, 3.23, 129 Ks) have Francisco Rodriguez.
Erik Bedard has, well, nobody. And unless Peter Angelos makes a big move this winter, neither will the Orioles.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Zambrano, Buehrle, should cue Angelos, MacPhail

Erik Bedard, who leads the major leagues with 207 strikeouts, has his opponent down to its last strike. This time, however, that opponent is Baltimore Orioles.
When White Sox ace Mark Buehrle signed a four-year, $56 million extension, the Baltimore front office fouled off the first pitch. But they must have been buckling at the knees when the team on the south-side of the windy city gave Carlos Zambrano $91.5 million over five years today.
Bedard, who hasn't lost in 12 consecutive starts, will become a free agent after next season unless Peter Angelos and Andy MacPhail step in. Kudos to Angelos for completing a deal for No. 1 draft pick Matt Wieters, but now it's time to sign someone who can help the Orioles now, not in a year or two.
When asked in The New York Times about the possibility of playing for the Yankees, the closely guarded southpaw contemplated the question before finally answering, "I don't know." Well we don't know either because while the Orioles could have locked up their franchise arm long before his stock began spiking in late June, they have instead allowed him to serve notice to the rest of the league that he is a legit No. 1 pitcher, something Orioles fans have known since last year.
If Bedard doesn't stay, neither will Brian Roberts, and it won't matter who is throwing to the heir apparent behind the plate from Georgia Tech, or who is covering at second when he guns down would-be base stealers.
In the Chicago Sun-Times, Zambrano acknowledged that he wanted to stay with the Cubs all along. He's glad the deal was worked out before he went to the market.
‘‘Not everything is about money,’’ Zambrano said in the Sun-Times article. Maybe not where you're from. If the Orioles don't broker a deal this winter, 2008 will be about nothing but money.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

This is not the Masters

This Sunday The Masters will not be broadcast on CBS.
Phil Mickelson will not out-birdie Ernie Els to win his first major.
Tiger Woods is not going to erupt in disgust after failing to reach 20 under par.
Kirk Triplett and Padraig Harrington are not going to make aces in back-to-back pairings on the 16th hole.
If Saturday is any indication of what the final round holds at Augusta National Golf Club then I’m expecting Hooty Johnson to rename the tournament the Pre-US Open Invitational.
Brett Wetterich has already become the scaled-down version (figuratively and physically) of Jason Gore. Reteif Goosen had the low score on a day that saw the highest 54-hole lead in tournament history.
If that weren’t alarming enough to draw a parallel, Tiger shot even, moved up the leaderboard, and will be playing in the last pairing.
He will be paired with Australian Stuart Appleby, who stands alone at two over par—another reason to disregard this tournament as less of a tradition and more of one unlike any other.
You see, an Australian has yet to win the Masters. Seems they can’t swim with the sharks. Or was it the Shark that drowned?
In another twist, the players are looking greener than the course. A layout known for its azaleas and billiard-like surfaces is turning browner than the dirt over the tomb inside of which Bobby Jones is currently doing barrel-rolls.
There’s little to suggest that he envisioned a tournament scoring average near four over par with no amateurs making the cut.
Now there are tee boxes on properties Jones didn’t even own when the course was constructed.
That’s debatable, but you see the problem.
The Masters truly is a tradition; no cart paths, no electronic scoreboards and lifetime exemptions to champions. Now those lifetime exemptions are more like an exile. Billy Casper played his final Masters two years ago and didn’t break 100.
Arnold Palmer played his 50th and final Masters in 2003 and nearly broke something else—his hip.
The tournament is named the Masters because those are the people it honors—the masters. Not of the 21st century, but of all time.
That’s not to say it should be a casual get-together where all the gents post up at the 19th Hole for tea and scones, but Jones probably had higher hopes for his tournament.
Tomorrow’s outcome may be in doubt—sort of, ahem Tiger by three—but the results are not. The winner will not finish under par, the low-amateur who joins the winner (Woods) in Butler Cabin will have gone two days without playing to receive his medal, and Johnny Miller might show up in the 18th tower thinking this is the US Open.
Ideally, we would like to think that Bobby Jones will be there in spirit tomorrow, but he probably won’t.
The ideals of his tournament are as dead as he is and he’ll be better off watching NASCAR.