Thursday, February 28, 2008

College Basketball Roundup

We love college basketball and don’t write about it nearly enough. That’s changes now! We’re in the prime of the college basketball season and so many things are happening. I need to take a look at a few of them.

Readers note: I’m going to be asking questions to myself and then answering them. Extremely lame---I know. Pretty much I miss Under Review.

Who’s the best team in the land?

Who the F knows? Seriously. I know it’s cliché but this year is wide open. It all depends who you talk to and all depends when you talk to them. I could easily say one team one day and another the next day without any games being played in between. You get that? Tennessee just beat an undefeated-high flying Memphis team at their house but then came back three days later and lost to Vanderbilt. So long for that #1! By the way, when did Tennessee come the center of basketball? The Memphis Grizzlies completely blow and the only things I know about Tennessee are: Good Whiskey, Tennessee football and Country Music. Where did having three ranked big time college basketball programs come out of?

Anyways, since I need to make a decision, I’m going with Kansas. That probably will get ripped since they just had a horrible loss at Ok. State this weekend. Memphis has one loss but can’t shoot free throws. I don’t like this UNC team. They do only have two losses but they’ve played a fairly easy schedule. They’ve played one ranked opponent in the last 13 games and lost it. The best two non-conference games were Ohio State and Kentucky. They’ve lost to Duke and Maryland. There is a reason why they keep winning while Ty Lawson is injured---they aren’t playing anyone that great! Anyways, I can’t pick them. UCLA and Texas don’t have the depth that Kansas has.

If Kansas can just pull their head out of their ass for one March Madness they should get to the Final Four at the very least! They are a balanced team with four guys averaging over 12 a game and are 13th best in the country in points scored. Only four teams from the big conferences are ahead of them. They can fill it. If Bill Self didn’t look like Alfalfa from the “Little Rascals,” I think more people would be on their bandwagon.

Who is player of the year?

Our boy Michael Beast-ley! With all due respect to Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, D.J. Augustin, Chris Douglas-Roberts, DJ White and especially Tyler Hansbrough, I think Beasley is the best player in the land. The only other player you can make a case for is Hansbrough. You could make a hell of a good one, too. 23 points (7th in the country) and 10.5 rebounds (11th) on the 3rd ranked team in the land. Those are super numbers and he’ll win it. He’s an upperclassman on a better team with good numbers. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win. Plus, if you don’t vote for him and he loses the POY it’s a pretty good guarantee Tyler will be parked in your street in a shady looking white van with no windows with tons & tons of explosives in it.

My vote would still be for Beasley though. He plays on a pretty good team that is far less talented than UNC with numbers of 26 points (3rd in country) and 12.5 rebounds (1st) a game. Three more points and two more rebounds a game. He won’t win because he’s on an inferior team but his numbers don’t lie. If the Wolves somehow get lucky and get this guy next year, I’m buying one of those gay “Howl-pack” game packages for sure. Watching him and Big Al together would be entertaining as hell.

Who do you predict will get the #1 seeds?

Memphis, UNC, Kansas & Texas.

Honestly, the spot I’m on the fence the most is with the last spot. Memphis will enter March Madness with one loss so they have a #1 seed locked up. Duke will beat UNC the last game of the regular season but lose the ACC Championship so that puts UNC at the #1 over Duke. However, I don’t know how the committee would look at this. If one wins the last game and the other wins the ACC Championship against that same team, whom do they take? Either way, I’m taking UNC for the 2nd spot. I see Kansas and Texas both winning out but Kansas winning the Big 12 Championship, which puts Kansas ahead of Texas for that third spot because they will have less total losses. The last spot gets tricky.

If Bruce Pearl (above) can coach Tennessee to win out and win the SEC Championship, they are a lock at a #1. For some reason, I don’t see that happening. They play Kentucky and at Florida to round out their season, plus the SEC tourney. I see them slipping up. I’m not going to predict when because I suck at that. If they do slip up, I see Texas taking that last spot. That spot could go to Duke or UCLA also. I’m sticking with those four but those conference championships could mess everything up...

What do Stanford, Xavier, Butler, Kent State, & St. Mary’s have in common?

Teams in the top 25 that I have really no flipping idea how good they are and that will eventually kill my bracket because of my unfamiliarity with them. Stanford is eighth in the country and I haven’t seen them play once. The only team I’ve seen play a full game is Butler and I watch a fairly decent amount of basketball. Paul Allen from KFAN said that Xavier is a lock for his Elite Eight maybe even Final Four.

Xavier head coach Sean Miller

Granted I’m talking about the same Paul Allen that guaranteed TE Carlester Crumpler (who?) would have 10 touchdowns for the Vikings after the former 7th round pick came to us from Seattle with three total touchdowns in four years. Carlester finished with two catches on the year! So Paul makes some outrageous statements but he’s obviously watched Xavier enough to make that call. Myself on the other hand? No idea about them. The only thing I know about Kent State is they had school shootings back in the early 70’s. I know nothing about their basketball team in 2008. St. Mary’s? You guessed flipping idea. Here’s to hoping they all get bounced from the tourney early! Doesn’t Kent State just reek of a Sweet 16 bid?

Which team outside the AP top 10 right now can win it all?

A lot of the teams after the top 10 are very similar. You could make arguments for a few of them. What would you guys think about a team like Indiana? This is my pick. They are 23-4 and have a good chance of winning the Big Ten. However, anytime you hear the word “Indiana” it’s always followed by “Sampson” & “possible sanctions.” You don’t hear hardly any talk of their actual play on the court, which is pretty damn good I might add. If they could somehow squeak by the sanctions this year they could make a run. The players will be even more motivated with the “let’s win one for the Gipper” angle and they have the talent. They have one of, if not the best 1-2 tandem in the land with Gordon and DJ White.

And the stat that I love best about them is that they are 9th in the country in FT %. A huge stat when it comes to close games. These are the eight teams above them in this category: Cornell, Utah State, IUPUI, California, Florida State, Loyola, Houston and UC Santa Barbara. I went through all the teams and looked at records and it’s a realistic chance only Cornell gets in the tourney and fucking Cornell is getting bounced by UNC first round. So you could argue that Indiana is going to be the best free throw shooting team after round one. That’s called a weapon. By the way, the 11th ranked team in FT% after unknown UC Davis at 10...Xavier.

Three players I love: (not a question, I know.)

Mario Chalmers (Kansas)- Probably my favorite player in the country. His stats aren’t jaw dropping but he’s so clutch. He mostly scores in the teens but a lot of his buckets come late in the second half. Love his game.
Chase Budinger (Arizona)- Big white guy that can shoot the three and looks like he has a giant pile of pubes on his head.
Drew Neitzel (Michigan State)- A straight G. As in gamer. A prototypical college player that makes college basketball so great.

Three players I hate: (also not a question, kiss my ass)

Jerel McNeal (Marquette)- It’s pretty simple. He thinks he’s really awesome and shoots waaaaaay too much. Shooting 30% is his mojo and his single handily lost a couple games for MU. I hate him.
Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)- An overrated pile of shit. He’s 7’2 and averages six boards a game. That’s one rebound every six and half minutes. Come on dude, you’re the tallest chump on the floor every game---extend your arms. He moves like a guy with osteoporosis.
Shan Foster (Vanderbilt)- His name is pronounced Shane as we heard in the Tennessee game this week. Soooooo put a fucking “e” at the end of it!

Who’s your favorite mid-major team?

Davidson. You have the little man Stephen Curry whom is just flat out a stud, averaging 25 points while weighing only 110 pounds. Models weigh more than this kid.

You saw Davidson a lot early in the year with close losses to UNC, Duke, NC State and UCLA. They have six non-conference losses and zero conference losses. If they win their conference championship they are going to be an intriguing pick come tourney time. To be honest, I’m not a die-hard fan of these guys. I don’t hate them either. It’s just that my two roommates and co-writers love this team and love this Curry kid. And since we’re a mother fucking tri-pod, I’m obviously on board...

Finally, how about those Golden Gophers?

The Gophers RPI is 108 in the country. Besides the Illinois game, they have lost to everyone that is better (below) than 108 and have beaten everyone that is worse (above) than the 108 number. Illinois has a worse RPI and we lost that game. That’s it out of 27 games. Really no slip-ups but we didn’t steal one game. That’s incredible. Luckily are schedule was so cupcake early that they jumped to a 10-1 start. They aren’t making the big dance and need to win a couple more games to get in the NIT.

I like the promise going forward though friends. My favorite players in order are: Hoffarber, Nolen, & Damian Johnson. Well, they are all coming back with “Tubby’s Five” rolling into campus next fall. Can you say “Big Time” with a giant fist-pump? I can and I just did it to myself. I can’t wait to get some real talent in here. My least favorite players in order are: Tollackson, Tollackson, Tollackson, Tollackson, Tollackson, Coleman, & Kevin Payton. Loser Spence and I never reached my potential Coleman are seniors that are gone in about two weeks and won’t be getting any jersey’s retired or welcome back to Williams Arena showcases. Kevin Payton needs to get red-tagged. He pretty much averages as many points as he does! A great Division 1 player Monson stole from New Jersey.

Whatever happens this year it will be nice watching us at some postseason tournament. Anytime the Gophers are on National TV it’s great. The Big Ten Network is a complete buzz kill that needs to work a deal out to get it to a larger audience. Whatever. Maybe next year. What do you think of a starting lineup of: Nolen, Joseph (freshman), Hoffarber, Iverson (f) and Sampson (f) next year? All three of those freshmen are in the top 150 on Put them with the Minnesota kids and I say---We’re comin! We’re comin!


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Monday, February 25, 2008

Spring Training Preview

If I wanted to, I could start this post by waxing poetic about the birds and the grass and the trees all coming back into our lives as we transition from the doldrums of winter into the new life of spring. Then I would make a seamless transition into the changing of the sports scene from the ugly winter we’ve had with the Wolves, Vikes, and Gopher hoops team to the new life surrounding the only consistently productive team around, the Twins.

But I’m not going to do that. For one, we all know that winter is going to last for another month or two at least. Also, this is far from your typical Twins team from the last 6-7 years. It is a major transition period as we head toward the new stadium, and that transition is most evident in what you won’t be seeing in Fort Myers this spring.

Much has been made in both the local and national media about the Twins off-season. Gone are franchise staples Torii Hunter and Johan Santana, as well as the steady arm of Carlos Silva. Those three combined to sign for $279 million worth of contracts/extensions. Obviously those losses are going to hurt, especially Santana. Rather than dwell on the negative though, we’re going to move on with the team we have and look forward to the 2008 season. So without any further ado, here are the key things to watch for during the next month and a half as our favorite baseball team prepares to shock the world.

The Starting Rotation
This is going to be the biggest and most important thing to watch as we prepare for this season. As it stands right now, either Scott Baker or Boof Bonser will be starting for your Minnesota Twins on Opening Day. Yikes. After those two, the rest of the rotation will be filled out by Francisco Liriano, Livan Hernandez (at least for the first 3 months of the season), and either Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowey (my pick), or Nick Blackburn. To the casual Twins fan, that’s a “Who’s That?” kind of rotation. For those of us who know better, this is one of the more exciting things to happen in recent memory.

Every single year I hear about how great our minor league pitching is; about how much talent we have ready to step in when we need them. Well, we need them. Since we never trade pitching prospects (which made that Garza-Young trade so unexpected), it’s about time we saw what these guys have on the big stage. I don’t want to see anymore guys in AAA going 12-1 with a 2.05 ERA and wonder when he’s going to take over for one of the stiffs in our rotation with a 5+ ERA.

The future is now. Over the next 6 months, we are going to see the future of this rotation and this team take shape. Can Liriano return to anything close as to what we saw two years ago? Are Slowey and Blackburn anywhere near as good as their minor league records suggest? Is Perkins an over-hyped hometown prospect or a legit lefty threat? Those questions and more should begin to be answered, at least in part, over the next few weeks.

The DH “Battle”/Platoon
I’ll say this right off the bat: I hate platoons. Managers all over the league fall in love with the idea of having one guy bat against righties and another against lefties. They look at splits and believe that they are going to get the best out of both players. And it never works. Tom Kelly tried it with Jacque Jones for years and all it did was stunt his growth as a player. Now Gardy is taking a page out of his predecessor’s book and is going to do the same thing with Jason Kubel and Craig Monroe (the most over paid player in Twins history) at the DH position.

My hope is that one of these guys (most likely Kubel of the two) plays out of his mind during Spring Training and wins the job outright. But seeing Gardy’s track record, this probably won’t happen. Once he gets an idea in his head, it is almost impossible to get him to change (see: Punto, Nick).

Another much talked about position battle will be in centerfield. In order for that Santana trade to not be a complete disaster, Carlos Gomez has to be a fixture at that spot for years to come. But will he be there this year? I think most fans want him to have the opportunity to grow into the position and see what he has. He is by no means a lock, however. Jason Pirdie and Denard Span are supposedly going to be given an equal opportunity to win the job down in Fort Myers. Span even recently came out in the media saying that he was going to win the spot, which almost certainly means that he will not. Personally, I think you have to go with Gomez and let him take his lumps this year. He has a ton of potential, and there’s no reason to waste it the minors while we finish .500 this year.

The New Kids on the Block
There are a lot of new faces in the Twins clubhouse this spring. Mike Lamb, Adam Everett, Brendan Harris, Delmon Young, Craig Monroe, Livan Hernandez, and the Met boys all should play prominent roles on this team in 2008. It will be interesting to see how they get acclimated to their new teammates and the “Twins-style” of play that we always hear so much about. Even more exciting for most fans will just be watching and learning about these new guys that we know so little about.

By far the most potential in that group belongs to Delmon Young. He is widely considered one of the best young hitters in the league. Of course the problem has always been his attitude (you may recall that he threw a bat at an umpire a couple years back). For the time being, he’s saying and doing all the right things. Maybe a change in scenery is just what he needs to get his shit together. Or maybe he’ll blow up and get suspended halfway through the year. Either way, he is going to be a major factor in how well this team plays this year.

One last thing that might be worth watching is how well the leaders of this team, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, start off this spring. If we’re going to have any chance at being decent this season, those two need to have seasons closer to their 2006 numbers than their 2007 ones: like how Mauer went from hitting .350 two years ago to under .300 last year. Often, a hot start in March can lead to a very good season.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Voices from a Stranger

Here we are again with another installment from "Voices from a Stranger." This one comes from us from a St. Cloud native that likes to gamble now and again. Enjoy!

The big day has finally come. I watch all season as the participants battle it out to become the year’s best. I analyze their every move trying to decide who is going to take home the trophy on that Super Sunday in February where all the stars come out for a huge party. No, not the Super Bowl, THE OSCARS! For awhile it looked like this years Oscars might be headed for a glorified news conference like the Golden Globes. But the strike is over and the party is set. Now being the former St. Cloud Times Oscar Challenge champion that I am (Free movie passes at Parkwood 18 Movie Theater for a year), I thought this year I would share my picks with the rest of the world. Here we go...


This is the category known for upsets (See Marisa Tomei - My Cousin Vinny) and this year might be no different. It looked like Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There) had this category wrapped up when she took home the Golden Globe. But the SAG awards gave Ruby Dee (American Gangster) some momentum and people are really falling in love with her. I think what will hurt Ruby is Cate’s nomination in this category and her nod in Best Actress as well (Elizabeth: The Golden Age). She won’t win Best Actress so I believe the Academy will reward her with this.

MY FAVORITE: AMY RYAN (Gone Baby Gone) Wire fans know her as Beadie, McNulty’s latest fling. Great performance in this movie, just not enough screen time.


I feel bad for all nominees in this category not named Javier. There were some great performances but none have a chance in hell against the monster that was Anton Chigurh. Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) was the best villain movies have seen since Hannibal Lector (I’m not talking about Hannibal Rising Either). When he was on the screen you paid attention. And when he wasn’t on the screen you wondered where the hell he was. Epic performance.

MY FAVORITE: HAL HOLBROOK (Into the Wild) This old man’s performance was amazing and he had one of the greatest scenes in a movie all year asking young Chris Mccandless if he could adopt him. Maybe any other year.


This is a very strange category this year with no real big names and no real big movies. Julie Christie (Away From Her) has been collecting all the awards this year and looks like a solid lock. I’ve been hearing a lot of late buzz going for Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose). To pretend like I know who that is or what movie that is would be a lie. It would be nice for Ellen Page (Juno) to sneak a win but do you think anyone in the Academy understood Juno? Not a chance. Julie it is.

MY FAVORITE: ELLEN PAGE (Juno) If you haven’t seen her by now where have you been? Her and Paulie Bleeker should dominate the MTV movie Awards (Do they still do those?)


Like the best supporting actor category, this one is Lock #2. I really wish Javier Bardem would have been nominated as a best actor because he could have given Daniel Day Lewis (There Will be Blood) a great race. What a battle that would have been. Instead Lewis is going to run away with this award. When this guy gets into a roll he is one of the best actors we have ever seen. If it weren’t for him in this movie (a Movie I have renamed There Will be Boredom) it might be nominated for a Razzie rather than Best Picture. Another lock you can bet, there will be Heath Ledger references in his speech.

MY FAVORITE: VIGGO MORTENSEN (Eastern Promises) Dude should win based on the Sauna scene alone, even though I closed my eyes for 90% of it.


One thing is for sure; the Academy does not like Duo Directors and apparently doesn’t like the Coen brothers on top of that. With that said, they have no choice but to give the Coen’s (No Country for Old Men) the hardware this year. They are the only directors in this category with a previous nomination and have directed the best movie of the year. The Golden Globe victory of Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) might have the Coen’s a little scared, but this win is long overdue.



For awhile it looked like this was a two horse race with No Country for Old Men and There Will be Boredom. A lot of people thought that Daniel Day Lewis’s performance would give Boredom the edge, but the Best Actor winner has not led his movie to a Best Picture win since Russell Crowe in Gladiator. Some other people think that No Country and Boredom will split votes opening the door for Michael Clayton or Juno. With all that said, there is no stopping No Country this year. I think the academy will be a little hesitant to give another bloody, murderous movie the title after The Departed’s victory last year but I believe the non-Hollywood, controversial ending will win the voters over and it will be No Country’s night at the Oscars.



Best Original Screenplay: Juno
Best Adapted Screenplay: No Country for Old Men
Best Animated Film: Ratatouille
Best Documentary: No End in Sight (Although SICKO was the best, they will never let Mike Moore on stage again)
Best Costume: Atonement


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American Idol Smack- Part 2

Here is the recap from last night with the females.

Kristy Lee Cook- aka “Cowgirl” – First of all, WOW! Comes out with some ripped up jeans and a top that is two inches too short for her body which was insanely hot. Luckily for her that she is amazing looking because her performance was about as good as Clemems in the courthouse. Of course she is sick because there is always that top 24 finalist who doesn’t feel well. No sympathy votes from the judges because they lit her up.

Joanne Borgella- aka “MoTown” – She’s wearing very tight clothes and probably shouldn’t be. Simon will tell her eventually to get a better outfit but it’s her first night so he’ll wait until week 2 or 3 to tell her. She sang with confidence but that doesn’t mean she sang well. Simon destroyed her like Pearl Harbor and her parents looked like they wanted to throw Simon off the stage but whatever, it’s Simon and it’s his show so he’ll do whatever he wants.

Alaina Whitaker- aka “Clueless” (from the movie) – She’s 16 and could pass for 26 which probably has gotten a minimum of 10 guys in trouble. It seems to be Teen Idol this year because anybody over the age of 18 has been average to horrendous. All 3 judges looked like they were going to play cracker after her performance but it might be due to the first two women singing like I would after 21 beers, 4 shots and a tall morgan coke to cap off the night. I shouldn’t say it but she’s pretty good looking. I won’t be guy number 10 in jail due to her looks though, trust me.

Amanda Overmyer- aka “Wednesday Adams” – She came straight from her cult meeting and looks like she might have some cocaine in her cross chain “Cruel Intentions” style. She might be the best performer but she is very different and doesn’t have the absolute beauty which of course will shy voters away in this popularity contest. I think I’ve seen her at 1st Ave in the crowd but maybe on stage soon.

Amy Davis- aka “B-Davis” (inside joke about OTH) – Randy was “keepin it real” with her when saying she was very mediocre. The crowd of course boos Randy and tells the audience that he has to “keep it real”. Yeah, that’s your job Randy! Anyway, she’s got that country singer voice in her but I don’t see the judges or voters liking yet another female country singer. We’ve been there, done that already with this show so unless she changes her twang she’ll be singing “Leaving on a Jet Plane” real quick.

Brooke White- aka “NutJob”– She reminds me of Peyton Sawyer from One Tree Hill so that made me hate her immediately. I couldn’t even watch her because of hatred towards Peyton. It was like Britney Spears, it was great at times and dog shit at other times. The judges obviously didn’t watch her either because their responses were one of those where the fans don’t have a sniff if they liked the performance or not. I’m done with her already and hope she is booted week 1.

Alexandrea Lushington- aka “Paula Abdul circa 1988” – She came out dressed like Erkel and looks like him as well. She had more energy than a bull after it gets neutered so there definitely was enthusiasm. Paula and Randy loved it and we had a “hot one” but Simon said it was like a terrible show. How the fuck do these 3 judges disagree to the utmost on the same performance? They’ve only been doing this for 7 years now but the 3 judges can never agree. Whatever, she’s good and Simon can suck my pole.

Kady Malloy- aka “Barely Legal” – She’s 18!!! There is a guy out there who is really pissed off that he broke up with this blonde bombshell. She is off the charts looking and that will get her into the top 10 fo sho. She be gettin that fo sho! Judges hated her but who cares. The fans vote and there are some dudes who vote and can assure you that 100% of the male voters will put a vote in for her. Kady is comin!!!

Asia’h Epperson aka “J’son Stamper” – Why the fuck do some African Americans decide it’s cool to completely fuck with normal names? Are you kidding me with this shit? She spells her name fucked up but her singing is nothing short of spectacular. She has fun and has her own personality which is real for me and believable. The one issue besides the spelling of her name was the hoop earings she was rocking. It looked like she had a damn basketball hoop hanging from her ear. Pick it up Idol dresser.

Ramiele Malubay aka “Asian Persuasion” – That name deserves one big thank you to her parents. She was one of those that just did her thing and was solid. She will be consistently on top like Ron Jeremy and that’s a damn good thing. Judges were a bit surprised by her performance and I hope she can keep it up because I really like Ramiele (luckily I’m not saying that on the air because no clue how to pronounce that name).

Syesha Mercado- aka “Cans” – She is tall, skinny with a fro but she has some large EYES if you get my gist. You can tell she is full of talent and is very happy to be on stage. Her smile is worth a million bucks and after seeing Paula give her conclusion, she will be crying for Syesha later in the season for sure. I got her finishing on top….Yes, in this contest, you sick pigs.

Carly Smithson- aka “Asterisk” – After seeing all these young women, Carly strolls out at 24 years of age looking like she’s been singing since 1933. Experience helped her because I thought she took criticism the best from Simon and the judges have influence on the voters if you haven’t noticed that yet. It was 2 against 1 yet again with Simon thinking Carly is overrated but Randy and Paula loved her. She might be too old for this years Teen Idol.

Overall, the women weren’t great in my mind. The guys definitely have the stronger singers up and down and more top prospects as well. Several ladies have the appearance to be the next American Idol but they better step up their game quickly. Like our loyal reader Finn would say, “big time players make big time plays in big time games”.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

American Idol Smack

Well, it has come to that time of the year when American Idol begins its quest for the next “big thing” or like Randy would say, “a hot one”. It’s down to the top 24, 12 men and 12 women competing on the most popular reality TV series we might ever see. It was the men’s turn on Tuesday night to show America what they have to offer.

*Readers note* This piece is dead serious. We truly like American Idol. Call it a guilty pleasure. Call it whatever you want. It's legit.

David Hernandez – AKA “Livan”. He started the show off with some pizzaz and surprisingly all 3 judges agreed that Livan came out with a bang. Simon hated him on audition night but was a little surprised on opening night with his solid performance which might mean he will continue to surprise. Q drafted him 4th overall in our American Idol fantasy draft.

Chikezie – AKA “Jacuzzi”. Simon calls him “Jacuzzi” after he gets done singing a great song horribly and says, “Jacuzzi, Chikezie, same thing”. You know you’re screwed when Simon doesn’t give one shit about calling you the wrong name. This one name shit doesn’t get you votes in this league and is a potential one and done. On a side note, he’s been cut from auditions in past years and somebody who ever get cut from their audition doesn’t stand a prayer. Also was the only colored man in the competition and even Randy said he was terrible. He unsurprisingly went un-drafted.

David Cook – AKA “Dane Cook”. One of those outcasts type of guys who sang well but kind of went unnoticed which Simon says is always a bad thing. The judges pretty much said he was benchmark but expected him to be around next week. “Pain don’t hurt” is his favorite quote so I can respect him for now until he gets voted off. I drafted him 6th as my sleeper pick this year.

Jason Yeager – AKA “Yag Bomb”. He’s 28 years old and can’t see him having more than 3 friends with Taylor Hicks being one of them. A complete dink for being 28 years old and one older guy who had absolutely no stage presence at all. Judges didn’t have anything good to say and is one of my choices to go home the first week. Any three of us would’ve been crazy to draft this no talent pussy.

Robbie Carrico – AKA “Rock of Love”. This Brett Michaels-like singer was a “hot one” and seems to be an early candidate for a top 5 finish. The judges thought he did his own thing on state and did it well which can be a rarity on opening night. Simon is a little confused to what type of singer he is so hopefully Robbie takes his advice and finds his genre ASAP. He’s our Bo Bice this year and if guys don’t step up, he’ll be one of the last guys remaining. Q drafted him 3rd overall with his 1st pick.

David Archuleta – AKA “Danny” (Watch “The Score” to see the “Danny” reference). This 17-year-old youngster is phenomenal on stage but might be the worst interview this show has come across. Winning American Idol might require some interview skills so hopefully somebody sits this kid down to help him out because he doesn’t have a chance right now. The fans might hear some George W. Bush lines if this kid doesn’t seek help soon. His best bet might be just to smile on stage and let no sounds come out of his mouth. I chose him #1 overall for his singing abilities. Please help parents!

Danny Noriega – AKA “Mitch Kramer” (See: “Dazed and Confused”). His hair is straight from the 70’s and some of the tightest pants known to man. I believe his pants had something to do with Simon absolutely shredding this kid like Jim Rome put it to Jim “Chris” Everett. He is definitely not straight, which fine, but this about as blatantly obvious one male could be. His musical influence is Fantasia from a previous American Idol which also gives him no chance of winning this contest. We know you love those tight pants so you might as well keep them on for tomorrow night’s show and also the elimination show because Simon already hates you. Mitchy went un-drafted.

Luke Menard – AKA “GQ”. He probably doesn’t even dress that GQ but one of the only guys who wore something relatively normal. Luke is 29 years old and being that old makes it very tough to get a lot of votes because the voters are usually under the age of 21. The age isn’t going to be his problem though because he sang like he was getting butt-plugged in the county jail shower. His favorite quote is “Don’t fight. But if you have to...hit first and hit hard”. OK tough guy, you are the farthest from the fighting type so chill out and pray you aren’t gone on Thursday.

Colton Berry – AKA “Fuzz”. He has hair like our very own TK writer “Fuzz,” which I don’t know is a good or bad thing. The fans saw him sitting Indian style on the couch about 3” away from Seacrest so he’s got that great male vibe going for him as well. I enjoy the name Colton but the judges nor myself enjoyed his singing. He tried very hard and it was almost like when the Vikings drafted Chris Hovan and the analysis was “He has a great motor”. This type of person tries extremely hard but just isn’t that good as was the case with Hovan. The judges didn’t like him early but could be a late bloomer in my mind because he’ll get the teeny votes. He went un-drafted.

Garrett Haley – AKA “Steel Dragon” (See: “Rockstar”). “Go Big or go home” is his favorite quote which is classic but he was head over heels the worst singer on opening night. The kid was like a fucking mannequin on stage and didn’t know how to speak after his performance. I would be very surprised if he was still around for week 2. If he is, we can count on “2 and BBQ” for him because there is no way he gets by week 2.

Jason Castro – AKA “Bobby Marley”. His age of 20 is the perfect age to win this competition and his stage presence was outstanding. He has a great voice and does his own thing on stage with the long thick dreadlocks. Simon of course enjoyed him because he was wearing some sort of v-neck which Simon rocks every damn show. More v-necks will equal more votes for this tool shed. He was drafted 2nd overall by Fuzz.

Michael Johns – AKA “Desmond” (See: Lost) or “Jimmy Johns”. This Aussie-accent mother fucker is old but he can belt out some serious notes. The women will go crazy over his accent so he’ll some serious text message votes from every female out there. I don’t know if this over-exaggerated accent will win him the competition but he’s an early frontrunner for the crown. He was drafted 5th overall by Fuzz.

As you can see, Fuzz, Q and I took 2 dudes that we gave nicknames to and all will select two chicks after tonight’s performances. The first night was a successful one with all 3 of us prancing around like 9 year old girls. Yes, even for the dudes. Moment of the night goes to Simon ripping Paula into shreds every opportunity he got. I would’ve as well since she was 2 lines of cocaine away from holy shit. Honestly Paula, do yourself a favor and check yourself in.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Things I don't understand

It’s simple. Below is a list of things I don’t understand.

1) I don’t understand the optimism in the Twins having a legitimate chance at the postseason this year. We’re rebuilding, why can’t we accept that? I was talking to a die-hard Twins fan the other day that somehow is related to me and he pretty much said we’re the favorite to win the World Series. Ok, he didn’t flat out say it but his optimism for this season was alarmingly high. I don’t get it. Yes, our lineup has gotten better from last year’s squad. However, we scored the 3rd least runs in the AL last year. Does replacing Hunter, Punto and Castillo with Young, Lamb and Harris put us in the top half? I don’t see it unless the other staples like Mauer, Morneau, Cuddy and Kubel have better years. If they do, that might be a moot point because of the pitching staff.

Baker, Bonser, Hernandez and Slowey are almost locks for four of the spots in the rotation. Their ERA’s last year: 4.26, 5.10, 4.93 & 4.73 for an average of 4.75 on the nuts. A healthy Liriano hopefully fulfills the last spot but that seems to be in question to start the season. First off, he’s not even in the country. Get him on a flipping raft and send his ass over here. Why wasn’t this Visa issue worked out way in advance? Second off, he’s coming off MAJOR arm surgery and hasn’t pitched in 18 months. Anyways, if he starts in the minors you’re looking at a guy like Perkins or Humber. Two unknowns that haven’t proved shit in the Bigs.

The point being is that the stars will have to align for us to make the playoffs this year. We have a young squad and that pitching staff is very inexperienced. Give everyone 1-2 years of game experience and my tone will be very different. I just don’t see it this year.

2) On a truly serious note, I don’t understand people opening fire against innocent people. We’ve seen it quite a bit in the last year. It happened again last week at the campus of Northern Illinois. Some people just aren’t right up in the head for completing an act like this. If it’s that bad take your own life and don’t drag down innocent people with you. I cringe at stories like this. That’s pretty much all I’m going to say because the whole thing is extremely sad.

3) I don’t understand North Carolina’s hire of Everett Withers, the former University of MN defensive coordinator. Does the UNC AD look at stats? Here’s one for you: The Gophers finished LAST nationally in total defense. How in the F was he even a candidate? Well, they just hired a dude that orchestrated a defense that gave up an average of 518 yards a game last year---great hire Tar Heels. I feel like we just got out of a bad business deal. We should be popping the bubbly over this. You know, maybe Everett was sick of Brewster talking like a hillbilly with phrases like: “very-very,” “a dynamic player,” & “Gopher nation.”

4) I don’t understand NBA trades. Aaron Mckie was coached out of retirement to make the Gasol to the Lakers trade work. Now, Keith Van Horn was also coached out of retirement to make Kidd to the Mavs trade work. Mckie was a volunteer player assistant coach with the Sixers but the Lakers still had his trade rights. So to match up the salaries, he was included. He’s now getting minutes with Memphis! Keith Van Horn was probably living in Utah with his polygamous family when he gets the call that he’s been traded. He’s not even in the league at all!

I have a ton of questions on this: Why is this possible? Can’t they just get rid of this loophole of the trades? Does it have to be a player? Van Horn is probably going to get bought out and get a million dollars for this whole thing. He doesn’t even have to leave his 15 children and four wives. He can just chill and collect a million bones. Wouldn’t it be cool if the employee of the year in the organization could reap these benefits? Because Van Horn was a player he gets the extra money. Why can’t that be Mitch toolbag in Sales? As I’m writing this, I realize they do it because Van Horn is still probably getting a salary from Dallas and they need it to match the trade up. But, if they can find a loophole where players are sitting at home that get traded and don’t play a minute, they should be able to find a loophole for Mitch, the common man. I’m sick of these players getting richer. Ok, moving on because that whole paragraph has a 2% chance of making sense now that I think about it.

5) I don’t understand Yahoo. I would like someone to explain in detail why it was worth it for Yahoo to reject Microsoft’s bid of 44 billion dollars to buy them. Maybe I’m not smart enough to realize how much search engines are worth but 44 billion ain’t bad chumps. That says a lot about Microsoft too. They have the capability to offer 44 fucking billion dollars to buy something. How sweet would that be? It would be hard for me to offer 4400 dollars to buy something. I know I have a few friends/relatives who are economic people that understand this better than I do, so please explain why Yahoo took a dump on 44 bill.

6) I don’t understand Dwight Howard. Actually, it’s more that I don’t understand his genetic make-up. How can you be 6’11/270 and jump that high? I’m sure most of you saw or have seen clips of the dunk contest and you know what I’m talking about. A hell of a dunk contest I might add. Players keep getting more creative every year. Gerald Green’s blow out of the candle on the cupcake was awesome and Kenny Smith about lost it during the broadcast. Anyways, Howard has a 40-inch vertical leap. 270 pounds of muscle and the guy can jump out of the gym. It’s not fair. Fun Fact: He petitioned the NBA to raise the rim to 12-feet for the dunk contest but they said no. Come on---loosen up NBA!

7) I don’t understand the show LOST. I’ve watched for three seasons and change now and I still have no fucking idea what’s going on. Sorry for cursing but it’s really confusing. The show throws more curveballs at you every week that you can literally go crazy trying to come up with theories about what’s going on. The last scene of last week’s episode is so mind blowing that you sat there with your mouth on the floor like you just saw an alien walk into your living room. Without giving it away, I just don’t understand how those two could be on the same side. Ridics.

8) I don’t understand NASCAR. 200 laps of nonsense when really the only laps that matter are like the last five. Maybe just the last one to be honest. Mostly everyone that starts the race is in the same pack of cars heading into the last lap so whoever wins that lap wins the whole damn thing. Seems like the first four hours were a waste. Then to have the Daytona, the Superbowl of races, the first race of the year is confusing too. Whatever. Millions of people watch it and I still don’t get the appeal.

9) I don’t understand Kayne West. I like his music but can’t stand when he opens his mouth at these awards show. He’s the biggest self-promoting asshole on TV. Just stick to rapping Mr. Golddigger. I dislike the guy more and more every time I hear him speak. I don’t think I’m alone either and I think he’s ruining his image a bit.

10) I don’t understand Kelvin Sampson and Indiana University. We haven’t said anything about this and it probably should be covered. Last week, Indiana was slapped with five major violations that involved head coach Kelvin Sampson. Sampson is a slimeball. Thought I’d get that out of the way. Out of the five major violations the phone call violation is the main point. From 2000-2006 Sampson made 577 impermissible calls, which is a ridiculous amount. Sampson was put on probation but Indiana still hired him. After Indiana hired him, he made 100 more impermissible calls. So, little boy Kelvin didn’t learn his lesson and now he’s screwed. Indiana U is to blame too because they knew all of this prior to hiring him but hired him anyways. You hire a guy with a deep history of shadiness you deserve some of the blame when that shadiness continues.

Sampson is on a game-by-game basis before he gets canned and once that happens his college coaching career is over. I hope it was worth it you idiot. He’ll probably end up as an assistant coach in the NBA making good money so I’m not going to feel bad for him. I heard another intriguing point on the radio driving home today that I haven’t heard anywhere else. The ex Georgetown coach John Thompson (the Dad) was being interviewed and said some of the blame needs to be put on the kids for improper recruiting. This is a very interesting point and it sparked full phone lines on the show. Thompson, who is very respected, said that with the resources kids have that they should be held accountable for knowing if something shady is going on. And that kids are let off too easy these days. Kids are always innocent was his point. To an extent, I agree with him. Sampson is the professional and the adult here that deserves plenty of the blame but don’t tell me the kids don’t know how to work the system also. It’s a sticky situation but I thought it was decent point by Thompson that I’ve not heard anywhere else. If you have any thoughts on this, please comment.


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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Western Conference Arms Race

Bill Simmons of fame once referred to the NBA as the No Balls Association. The reason for his criticism was that no team ever took a chance by making blockbuster trades at the deadline to try and make a push for a title. That all owners and GM’s were too afraid of losing their jobs by making the wrong move, so they made none. Well, those days are apparently gone.

Maybe it was that Allen Iverson trade last season that began to change everyone’s mind. Maybe it was Danny Ainge’s rebuilding of the Celtics via trade (and their subsequent hot start) that shifted the culture of the league. Whatever the reason is, there has been a flurry of action over the last week or two involving major stars that has dramatically altered the landscape of the Western Conference in the NBA.

Kyle Korver to Utah
There wasn’t much noise made about this trade when it first went down. That might have been because Korver hadn’t done much in Philly this year and most fans had no idea who Gordon Giricek (the guy Utah traded) was. However it turns out that Korver’s penchant for outside shooting was just the thing that the Jazz needed. Immediately upon his arrival, Utah reeled off 9 straight wins to go from fringe playoff team to division leader. The team and Kyle have both cooled off slightly since then, but their balance on offense is now complete thanks to the shaggy-haired bomber.

Pau Gasol to the Lakers
I’m still amazed that Mitch Kupchak is not rotting in jail after this trade. This was a straight jack move. Memphis got roughly 6 cents on the dollar in this deal.

Kwame Brown is a non-factor at this point (although pairing him and fellow first round bust Darko Milicic on the same team has all sorts of comedy potential), and unless Pau’s brother Marco decides to actually come play in the NBA and plays well, then Memphis got absolutely nothing for a perennial all star. Side note: did anyone outside of Memphis have any idea in the world how good Gasol was until this trade? The guy is a machine and a legit inside-out threat. Who knew? I wonder what other great players are in the league that people have no idea about…

On the other side of this trade, the Lakers are now serious contenders in the West. When healthy, they’ll trot out a starting five of Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. Add to that a bench consisting of guys such as Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Ronny Turiaf, and Sasha Vujacic. Sounds like a very talented and very deep team. Of course, all of this depends greatly on the health of Kobe and Bynum…

Suns trade Shawn Marion to the Heat for Shaq
Why this works for the Heat: they get rid of an aging player whose stats were rapidly declining and has three years left on a very expensive contract. In return, they get a younger player who is not only a great offensive player, but also very talented defensively. Beyond that, the reason this trade works out so well for Miami is that it allows them to change their style. Now they can run and gun a little more, open it up offensively, take more chances defensively, and begin to build an identity as a franchise. Plus, this new open style of offense is much better for their star, Dwayne Wade. He is much better in the open court and attacking the rim than he is trying to play a half court game with an immobile big man.

Why this works for the Suns: I’ll be honest, initially I was a bit confounded by the trade from the Suns side of it. I mean you’re getting rid of a guy that fits your style of play better than just about anyone in the league. I know he’s been a cancer at times and is very much a “me first” type of guy (remember the interview last summer when Marion said that he wasn’t sure if he’d rather play for a contender or score 30 on a lottery team? Yeah, that might have factored into this a bit), but Shaq just seems like the exact opposite type of player than your typical Phoenix guy. Then I read Bill Simmons’ article on why he liked the deal for the Suns. In short, it gives them at least an occasional defensive presence around the rim, brings some life to a team that looked like it had been running through the motions all season, and is the perfect situation for an aging center to rejuvenate his career; getting open shots and dunks being much easier than banging in the post.

Of course the Bulls are going to have to sign Marion to a long term deal soon and the Suns are going to have to keep their fingers crossed that Shaq can actually stay on the court for a major portion of the season. But for the time being, this seems like one of those rare instances where superstars were exchanged and, on the surface, it appears to have helped both squads. Only time will tell if this will actually be true.

Potential Deals
Jason Kidd—all seemed well for Jason a few days ago. He was going to get his wish and get moved out of New Jersey to a contender in this, the twilight of his career. The Nets also seemed to be getting what they needed: fair value for a star who publicly declared that he wanted out, in the form of young guard Devin Harris. Each team threw in some bit parts to make salaries match and Dallas even gave up a bunch of cash and a couple of draft picks just to ensure that the deal would get done. Everyone was ready with their columns on Cuban’s reaction move to LA and Phoenix bolstering their rosters and Kidd himself was having flashbacks.

Then a funny thing happened. One of those “bit parts”, Auggie Tech’s own Devean George decided to exercise his right to block the trade. My first reaction was confusion. How could George possibly have the ability to block the deal? And why would he? Turns out that he’s been starting in Dallas for the last few weeks and didn’t want to give up that gig to go to a floundering Eastern Conference squad. Um, Devean, what do you suppose the odds are that you continue to start (or even play for that matter) when you are the sole reason that this team isn’t getting one of the premier point guards in the league? Way to think that one through.

Ron Artest—Ok, so admittedly I don’t know much about this rumor other than what the human Ken doll, Ric Bucher, told me on ESPN the other night. Apparently the Nuggets are having discussions with the Kings about bringing in Ron Ron. I know that Sacramento wants Linus Kleiza and that Denver is trying to work out a different deal, but I have no idea of any other names that would be included. What I do know is that adding the clinically insane Artest to a team that already had model citizens Kenyon Martin, Carmelo Anthony, and Allen Iverson just doesn’t seem like the best response that the Nuggets could make to keep pace with their newly reloaded Western compatriots. It sounds like an older, more expensive version of the Jailblazers from a few years ago.

So let the war begin. With New Orleans, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Dallas, Denver, Utah, and Houston currently making up the eight playoff teams in the West, we are heading towards the best (half) playoffs in a long, long time. Whoever can survive this gauntlet will then have the pleasure of destroying the winner of the Detroit-Boston Eastern Conference Finals and be crowned Kings of the Basketball World.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Minnesota Today

Four things involving MN sports teams happened today or will be happening. I thought I’d touch on them with some help from my fellow writers on the last one. This probably should have been out earlier, so I apologize.

Topics are: 1) Gophers Men’s B-ball at home against Illinois. 2) Wild at Edmonton. 3) Viking Kenechi Udeze has been diagnosed with leukemia. 4) Twins sign Pitcher Livan Hernandez.

Gophers Men’s B-ball at home against Illinois

A must win if they want any chance at making March Madness and having this team be the surprise team of the nation. If they make the tourney, doesn’t Tubby have to be up for coach of the year? Nine wins last year! Like I said in my stew earlier, they need to win five out of eight to make this even a possibility. Taking care of this home game is a must. I fully expect a W also. Illinois is coming off an emotional double overtime loss against Indiana where they spent a ton of energy trying to spoil Eric Gordon’s arrival to Illinois for the first time. I think the boys take care of them tonight. Hoffarber with four three’s and McKenzie with a good overall game is my prediction.

Wild at Edmonton

If you know nothing about what the Wild are doing this season, here’s a recap: They are first in their division and currently hold the third spot in the playoffs. They also still have 10 guys no one has heard of or can pronounce. The one problem with them that I’m noticing is that they aren’t beating a whole lot of the elite teams in the league. They’ve knocked off only a slight margin of these types of teams. They also play in a weaker division, which helps. Like Q said last night: “My life will revolve around Wild games once the playoffs start.” It’s so true with us. We don’t write about them because we really don’t know a lot about hockey. We don’t want to be frauds. Once playoffs roll around it’s a different story my friends. It’s waking up saying: “Game day!” The writers at TKOT will be taking turns driving the Wild playoff bandwagon. Hop on…

Kenechi Udeze has been diagnosed with leukemia

A horrible story. We don’t have a lot of information yet on the details because the Vikings are wisely respecting Kenechi’s privacy. It always throws you for a loop when you read things like this. He’s 24 years old! Doesn’t seem right. We can all hope he gets through this and beats this thing. Sports don’t mean much when you hear stories like Kenechi’s.

The Twins just signed Livan Hernandez to a 1-year deal around 5 million.

This was kind of an impromptu Roundtable. It was done like a conference call. We all dialed up and talked about the recent signing of Livan. I brought in a stenographer to record the substantial words that were said. Here’s the transcript that the lady with the 80’s fro wrote down:

Dogg: If this is for real, I like it a lot. He's like Silva but we only have obligation for one year. Lets roll!!!

Fuzz: I hate it. We aren't going to win the division this year with this guy. We just wasted $5 million on a guy that is going to take away innings from younger guys that need to develop.

Dogg: Why aren’t we going to win the division? I think we are taking this division by 10 games this year. Delmon Young is the AL MVP this year!!

Fuzz: With Detroit adding Cabrera and Willis? And us losing Santana & Hunter? What are you smoking?

Dogg: Willis can suck a D for all I care. He’ll get torched in the AL. Cabrera will gain 30 more LBS and be overrated. It’s the Tigers!!! They won’t win shit.

Fuzz: The Tigers went to the World Series two years ago and Cleveland won the division last year. Livan doesn't push us over the edge...

Dogg: He doesn’t push us over the top but he helps us…A LOT. Plus with all his postseason experience he’ll be prepared to challenge any team come that time.

Fuzz: We aren’t making playoffs so his playoff experience doesn’t mean rip to me.

Q: I actually don't mind the signing. I know it's more money than he probably deserves, but I think he still has something left in the tank (unlike Ponson and Ortiz last year). Plus, we're rebuilding now, not going for a division title. I realize that we need to get our young arms as much work as possible to see what they have, but you also have to realize that young pitchers tend to get rocked more often. As a result, your bullpen gets tired more quickly and then there are a ton of problems. Having one guy (Livan) that can eat innings and give your pen the occasional rest is a good thing in my mind.

Dogg: Like I previously mentioned, there is obviously something we don’t see with some of these young arms we have. The coaching staff sees something we don’t with several pitchers who we think have potential. Whether it be Perkins, Blackburn, Slowey, Boof, Baker, etc. Something tells me that half the young arms we think have potential don’t really have any.

Q: That's definitely a possibility. Or, with Liriano likely starting in AAA and Baker/Bonser tied for the team lead with 48 career starts, maybe they just decided to get one veteran arm in the rotation and let the other 2 spots rotate among the unproven young guys (Perkins, Slowey, Blackburn, etc.) until someone proves they are worth it. If more than one of those guys pitches well, it wouldn't surprise me to see Livan go to the pen or come down with an "arm injury" at some point. Hell, we might even move him at the deadline if he's pitching well.

Dogg: How about we put him at DH? If my memory serves me right, he’s a good hitter. $5M these days is like a box of sunflower seeds in the 90’s. Honestly, everybody makes millions in the league these days.

Fuzz: Fine, fuck you both. This is an awesome signing. Notice the sarcasm? It's there. I don't get signing a guy for one year. We're not winning the division with him so why pay $5 million to eat up innings so the young guys don't get killed so much? I don't get it. Throw the kids out there and see who survives. They'll be better off next year in this route.

Q: Because there is no reason to shatter the confidence of these young guys. Plus, what sense does it make to wear out your bullpen, possibly causing long term arm troubles? I know we need to make this youth movement, but you need to have one guy that is reliable to pitch into the 6th or 7th inning every time he goes out. We had that with Santana, but nothing until now. All of those other guys will get plenty of innings. I don't see the problem with this signing. We have a payroll under $50 million and it's only a one year deal. Plus we've shown that we have no problem demoting or releasing these guys if need be. It makes far less sense to come into a season with 5 starters who all have fewer than 50 career starts. At least Livan is a better option than Josh Fogg.

Dogg: Like I said, they obviously don’t have faith in some of these young kids and you need at least one guy you can count on to go 5+ innings each night otherwise like Q said, our pen will get destroyed. $5M is nothing for a pitcher like him and we weren’t going to use that $5M on anybody else anyways so lets roll. Maybe they think we can win the division and I’m starting to believe as well. Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Young, Harris are all young and getting better. This might be the year we have a few guys have career years and we roll. We have enough talent in our lineup but the pitching has to hold its end of the bargain. Hernandez will hold his end up and give us 200+ innings.

Fuzz: We should probably start scoping out our victory parade seats now, don't you think? Make sure we have the best seat in the house when Livan & company are yelling out: "No one believed in us!" Whatever.

Dogg: I am going to live and die with the Twins this year fellas because I think this Delmon Young kid is absolutely the real deal. I only saw him via highlights but he’s a 5- tool player who’s going to mature here in MN. Playing with other young and proven players like Morneau and Mauer, he’s going to be a top 5 outfielder in the AL. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if he makes the all-star game this year.

Q: Hey Fuzz, Dogg is the one putting in an advanced order at for his '08 Divisional Champions shirt and hat. All I'm saying is that the signing makes sense both because it's a guy who can save our bullpen a little and because we are spending so little money overall that the cost doesn't bother me. If you want to talk about a waste of money, we can talk about Craig Monroe. But that's another story entirely...

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