Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Week's Lines

Jeter celebrates being back in the playoffs.

This week's football picks that I love:
Baltimore (+2) at New England-- The Ravens are the best team in football as far as I'm concerned.
San Diego (+7) at Pittsburgh-- Pittsburgh is better than their record,but keeps games very close all year long.
Detroit (+10) at Chicago-- Jay "In the" Cutler is getting better each week and Da Bears should win by two TDs, easily.

Last Week Recap:
New Orleans(-6) at Buffalo--RIGHT
New York Giants (-7) at Tampa Bay--RIGHT
San Francisco(+6) at Minnesota--RIGHT
NCAAOle Miss (-4.5) at South Carolina-WRONG
South Florida (+14) at Florida State--WRONG
Miami RedHawks(+7) at Kent State--WRON

Guessing I should just stick to NFL from here on out...

Links and Such:
As much as I loathe OSU, this is very cool (via Deadspin):

This is Why You're Fat. If you haven't seen this site yet, it's deliciously hilarious and disgusting all at the same time.

Songs I've been bumping to lately include the following: Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi; Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z; Ragoo by Kings of Leon; Miami 2017 by Billy Joel; Everything, Everyday, Everywhere by Fabolous; Armageddon by Eminem; Forever by Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem; I'm a Man by Black Strobe.

Yankees quest for 27 starts soon, so expect some frequent updates and hopefully some bragfests from both meatballs. Also, once the matchups are set for October, I'll make picks in each series. Coming later this week, I expose Tony Romo with stats, not feelings and opinions like everyone else has done this month.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

This Week's Lines

New Orleans (-6) at Buffalo--I also like the over in this game (52).
New York Giants (-7) at Tampa Bay--they'll cover, easily.
San Francisco (+6) at Minnesota--could be close late and Favre might have to sneak the ball into triple coverage and you know what that means.

Ole Miss (-4.5) at South Carolina--I can see the Ol' Ballcoach getting it taken to him.
South Florida (+14) at Florida State
Miami RedHawks (+7) at Kent State--this could be our only (chance at a) win this year.

How'd I do last week? Not great.

New England at New York (Jets) O/U 45 1/2--OVER--WRONG
Minnesota (-10) at Detroit-- Minny to cover--RIGHT
Carolina (+6) at Atlanta--Atlanta to cover--RIGHT
Seattle (+1 1/2) at San Francisco-- Seattle to win outright--WRONG

Ohio State (-20 1/2) "at" Toledo-- Toledo will keep it closer than that--WRONG
Cincinnati (-1 1/2) at Oregon State- Cinci to cover--RIGHT

Mayweather, Jr. to win fight in Rounds 4-6 at 7/1--WRONG


Monday, September 21, 2009

AL and NL

A lot of people (including myself) make jokes about the National League, calling it Quadruple A and saying it's not close to as good as its American counterpart. NL fans disagree, pointing to the fact that almost half (four- Arizona '01, Florida '03, St. Louis '06, Philadelphia '08) of this decade's World Series winners are teams from the Senior Circuit. This may be the case, but I'm not arguing that the best team(s) in the NL couldn't stack up against the best in the AL, but rather the league as a whole is not at the same level.

TANGENT: While we are on the topic of World Series, baseball has finally decided to do something to draw more viewers to the Fall Classic. For the first time in 38 years, weekday WS games are scheduled to begin before 8 p.m., so kids can watch them and adults can get a decent amount of sleep after the last out. Unfortunately, they have no control over the level of competition as the last five Champs have a record of 20-2 (three sweeps). In the five year stretch prior to this recent run, the winners' record was 20-9 (including a Yankees sweep in 1999).


A better way to look at the level of competition here is see what guys do when they switch leagues. Since it is even more glaring when it happens in season, we can take a look at five guys who made the leap (actually the fall) from AL to NL in 2009.

Example A: Jason Giambi
One of my favorite Yankees of the decade, the Giambino was deplorable in the AL this year, having the lowest BA in the world (.193) when he was released by Oakland on July 19. After five weeks off, the Rocktobers picked him up and in 15 ABs he has 11 RBIs after driving in just 40 runs in 269 ABs. The sample size here is clearly small, but taking five weeks off in the middle of the baseball season after being one of the least effective players in the game, then knocking in almost a run per at bat is something to look at.

Example B: Matt Holliday
OK, the first thing that jumps out at you when examining the biggest leap in stats is that Holliday also benefited from having Pujols protect him. While The Machine has a lot to say about Holliday's production increase, he can't solely be responsible for the jump from 11 HR, 54 RBI and .286/.378/.831 in 346 ABs to 13 HR, 49 RBIs and .355/.413/1.058 in just 197 ABs. If he were to have equal ABs in the NL his power numbers would soar to 23 HR, 86 RBI in 346 ABs. His OPS is second only to Pujols in the NL (he doesn't qualify because of playing in the AL for the first two-thirds of the year). Pujols can help a hitter out, but this is astronomically better and a decent amount of his success has to be attributed to the league change.

Example C: Cliff Lee
The reigning AL Cy Young winner is obviously a very good pitcher, but became Cy Young himself in his first handful of starts for the Phils and has settled in to great. Lee improved his K/9 IP from 6.3 to 8.2 and cut his walks per nine innings nearly in half from an event 2.0 to 1.2. His ERA is a half-run lower and he cracked his WHIP from 1.3 to 1.07.

Example D: Jon Smoltz
The long-time Brave was unemployable in the AL (b)East going 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA and just pitching well enough to win one time (5 IP, ER, 7K vs. KC on July 11). He was released, took a couple of weeks off to refresh and landed in St. Louis to go 1-1 in five starts with a 3.21 and a 70% lower WHIP. He was able to improve his strikeout to walk ratio from 3.7-1 to 7.9-1.

Example E: Brad Penny
Mr. Not Worth a Penny had a Smoltz-ian 8.31 ERA over his last four starts for Boston in August, then went West to the Bay and has taken the ball four times to go 3-1 with a respectable 4.01 ERA. His WHIP has plummeted from 1.75 to 1.01 but interestingly enough, his Ks and K to BB ratio have both dropped.

More Evidence: Interleague Play
This season, the AL is 138-114, good for a winning percentage of .547. Overall the AL is 1,674-1,534 and went an astonishing 154-98 (.611 W%) in 2006, the most lopsided year of interleague play. The NL has just four teams over .500 in interleague play to the eight clubs the AL boasts.
And I'm sure you've heard the NL hasn't won an All-Star game since 1996. I didn't even have hair in my pits yet.

Video of the Week (thanks to Josh): So your son wants to take ballet?


Friday, September 18, 2009

Week 2 Picks that I Like

New England at New York (Jets) O/U 45 1/2--OVER
Minnesota (-10) at Detroit-- Minny to cover
Carolina (+6) at Atlanta--Atlanta to cover
Seattle (+1 1/2) at San Francisco-- Seattle to win outright

Ohio State (-20 1/2) "at" Toledo-- Toledo will keep it closer than that
Cincinnati (-1 1/2) at Oregon State- Cinci to cover

Mayweather, Jr. to win fight in Rounds 4-6 at 7/1

In other news, last night was phenomenal for television watching. I mean I watch TV anyway at night, so it wasn't like appointment viewing or anything, but The Office is back, Always Sunny is back and Community debuted. I'm a huuuuuuuge fan of Derrick Comedy, so I was enthused to see Donald Glover (also a writer on 30 Rock) get his first real network action in Community as former HS quarterback Troy. The Indian kid (Danny Pudi) was hilarious, especially standing out in the end of the second segment when he was reciting lines from Breakfast Club and Dirty Dancing. Looking forward to Ep 2.

Also, I don't understand what is soooooo freaking cute about the little Phillies fan girl who threw the ball back on the field. As a lifelong baseball fan and game-attender, I still have yet to grab a foul ball. I'm hoping I get the chance before I have kids so I don't have to give it to little Ghiorzi and can keep it myself. If and when I finally do get one and give it to my kid, and they toss it back, I might be inclined to toss them on the field after it, or just give them the silent treatment for the rest of the day. Maybe Brogi can explain this to me.

As some of you know, I work for a race track (cars/bikes, not horses) and I was still unconvinced that racing was a sport. That was up until this Wednesday, when I got the chance to take a High Performance Driving class. After going through that and only being around the track for 45 minutes, I have a new level of respect for riders and drivers. My arms, legs and backside are sore and I was mentally fatigued after a full day of drills and lapping. BOLD STATEMENT: Racing is more of a sport than golf.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

First Sunday Live Blog

1:18 pm: By the time I was able to get my first post up, Detroit is already down two scores on the strength of two Cool Brees TD passes.

1:20 pm: What a day in Central Ohio, blue skies abound to wash out scarlet tears from last night's game.

1:28 pm: A promising drive by Who Dey ends in an awful bobbled snap on a FG attempt. WOW the ball ended up all the way at midfield.

1:33 pm: ATL/MIA game is booooooring. Just 103 combined yards for both teams after one quarter of play. At least the stadium is named after a beer.

1:35 pm: Chop block by Moreno and Orton still gets sacked. He is terrible.

1:37 pm: Any fringe sport should just pay Gus Johnson Scrooge McDuck money to call their games. I would watch any game with this guy calling it... Jai Alai, Curling, Handball, women's basketball. Wait, not anything.

1:38 pm: AWESOME, another Peyton Manning commercial.

1:42 pm: What a day we have in store for TV- three time slots for football, Entourage is back, Mad Men.

1:50 pm: Best names in football off the top of my head- Knowshon Moreno, Channing Crowder, Nnamdi Asomugha, Sebastian Janikowski. Also, terrible call in the Browns/Vikings game on that Vickers fumble. The replay clearly showed the ball coming out of his hands before his knee hit the ground.

1:53 pm: Put in Dede Dorsey for something, Marvin Lewis, I want to see him. The Eagles D/ST is putting on a clinic vs. Carolina (and against me in fantasy) with a Return TD, a Defensive TD, a sack, a fumble recovery and a pick.

2:01 pm: Just saw a commercial for Couples Retreat (trailer here) and it looks pretty funny, but is Jon Favreau not the male version of Oprah with his up and down weight loss? Fit in Swingers, a cow in a Monk guest appearance, portly in the Break Up and now stocky in this.

2:11 pm: Eagles D with another sack and another INT. Killing it.

2:17 pm: About halfway through most of the early games, let's take a look at my picks from Wednesday:

NO (-13 1/2) over DET- NO started out great, and is now up 11.
CIN (-4) over DEN- it's a Krispy Kreme kind of day through :20 remaining in the first half with each team putting up a donut.
Dallas (-6) over TB- Dallas is down 7-6 with about a minute to go in the first half.

2:18 pm: Miami fumbles in the red zone for their second of the day, that's upsetting as this team led the league in TO margin in 2008.

2:20 pm: Hotlanta ends up getting a FG out of the turnover and a 6-10 point swing. In other news, Josh Cribbs houses a punt for 67 yards to give the Brownies a 13-10 lead with 90 seconds remaining in that game. Good moves and breakaway speed will get you far on special teams. What ever happened to Dante Hall?

2:36 pm: Madison is attacking her football toy. She knows it's footbal season.

2:38 pm: Laverneus Coles with three drops already, watch your back Braylon Edwards.

2:41 pm: So what it's early. Drew Brees is on pace for 128 TDs and 6,720 yards. I'm pretty sure both of those would not only NFL records, but maybe AFL records (RIP).

2:45 pm: The Meatballs Sports Bereau confirmed that those figures would also set the bar in the Arena League, breaking the current records of 117 TDs and 5,033 yards.

2:53 pm: Kansas City, the Kansas City Chiefs are beating the Ravens???

3:06 pm: Come on CP10!!! Pennington commits the third Dolphins TO. 2008 regular season- 16 turnovers, 2008 playoffs and first three quarters of 2009- 8 turnovers.

3:11 pm: Check that- 9 turnovers.

3:28 pm: Chad Pennington's rag arm is glaringly evident in today;s game with an average of just
5.5 yards per attempt.

3:38 pm: At least I should win my first round playoff matchup in fantasy baseball.

3:45 pm: CP9 is driving his team down the field like a champion.

3:48 pm: CP9 architects a 91-yard drive and all they have to do is kick a PAT for the lead and probable win.

3:52 pm: And St. Louis gets the snap off for the easy kick by Graham and the Cinci D just has to hold the seemingly inept Bronco's offense under wraps for 20 seconds.

3:54 pm: Someone stop the Eagles' defense! They are incredible today, with five INTs, four sacks and a fumble recovery.

3:59 pm: Holy Crap!!!! What an incredible play by Stokley to stay with the ball. Paul Brown Stadium was just completely deflated. Wow.

4:34 pm: Now that the early games have finished... I was wrong about Cinci, right about Dallas and right about NO.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Few Picks I Really Like This Week

-New Orleans to cover (-13 1/2) when the Lions come down to the Superdome.
-Cincinnati to cover (-4) as they welcome the Broncos to the Jungle.
-Dallas covering (-6) on the road against Tampa Bay.

-Texas covering (-33 1/2) at Wyoming. The only thing in question here is why would Texas travel to Wyoming?

-Joba to get at least 4 IP vs. the Rays tonight.

-Madison on the under for O/U times peeing in the house this week of 3.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

NFL Preview

I printed off all nine pages of the 2009 NFL season and picked a winner in each game to bring the Meatball fans predicted records of each team. It took a while, but I did it and I was obviously biased towards the Fins.

AFC East:
New England 11-5
Miami 10-6
Buffalo 7-9
New York 5-11

AFC North:
Pittsburgh 12-4
Baltimore 12-4
Cincinnati 9-7
Cleveland 4-12

AFC South:
Indianapolis 10-6
Houston 9-7
Jacksonville 8-8
Tennessee 8-8

AFC West:
San Diego 11-5
Oakland 4-12
Kansas City 4-12
Denver 4-12

NFC East:
Philadelphia 11-5
New York 10-6
Dallas 10-6
Washington 8-8

NFC North:
Chicago 11-5
Green Bay 10-6
Minnesota 9-7
Detroit 4-12

NFC South:
Atlanta 10-6
New Orleans 8-8
Carolina 6-10
Tampa Bay 3-13

NFC West:
Arizona 9-7
Seattle 8-8
San Francisco 6-10
St. Louis 5-11

Last team to lose a game: Dallas, week 7
Last team to win a game: Tampa Bay, week 9

AFC predicted playoff seeding: Pittsburgh-1, New England-2, San Diego-3, Indianapolis-4, Baltimore-5, Miami-6

NFC predicted playoff seeding: Chicago-1, Philadelphia-2, Atlanta-3, Arizona-4, New York-5, Green Bay-6