Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Going In on Cavs Fans

I know a lot of Clevelanders are *really* excited (OMG!!!!) that the Cavs beat the Heat last night. In Quicken Loans Arena. Good for you. I'm surprised that Dan Gilbert hasn't written a letter about it for the website yet.

I was feeling bad for you guys for a while this season, at least those of you who were Cavs fans during the Mark Price and Ricky Davis eras (AKA Pre-Lebron). You know I wanted him in a Knicks jersey but even if he had taken his talents to the Garden, the way he left still would have been so salty. But, I don't commiserate with y'all any more. Not after the myriad Facebook statuses and tweets about how this win makes up for all the losses this year; how redeeming it was; how good it felt to stuff it in LeBron's face; and so forth. I'll hit you with this analogy to sum up how silly a thought that is to have: it's like a girl who got ceremoniously dumped in front everyone by her awesome boyfriend. She's in shambles, only ugly, boring guys want to date her and she's having her worst year in a decade. Meanwhile, the guy embarrassed her is doing just fine, getting serious with a fox and not spending much time worried about how his ex is doing. Then one night, when they're both at the same party, the girl and her date look better and tear it up on the dancefloor while the ex and his new girl have an off-night with bad hair days and upset stomachs. He's still going home with a dimepiece and is a healthier relationship, meanwhile, 364 days a year, she is going to her dingy apartment with the date she doesn't even like that much.

How does that one night make all those awful evenings worth it? I guess it's this simple: girls are crazy, and so are Cavs fans.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Baseball Picks

Did I already make these? Maybe. But these are the ones I have money on, so these supersede anything else I've mentioned.

NL East Phillies
NL Central Brewers
NL Wildcard Reds
NL West Giants
AL East Red Sox
AL Central White Sox
AL West Athletics
AL Wildcard Yankees

NL Champ Phillies
AL Champ Yankees
WS Champ Yankees

NL Cy Young Roy Halladay
AL Cy Young CC Sabathia
NL MVP Prince Fielder
AL MVP Alex Rodriguez

Best Record Phillies
Worst Record Royals
AL Manager Buck Showalter
NL Manager Fredi Gonzalez

Monday, March 28, 2011

College Athletes Should be Paid [Mondays with Gus]

If a scholarship student is allowed to be paid a stipend for work in their fields, why then aren't college athletes given the same benefit? I have been lucky enough to have been granted a full scholarship plus stipend to study cultural anthropology and teach at Kent State University. I can't thank them enough. But this also begs the question, why am I worth more to the university than a college athlete would be?

Many people get angry at arguing for paying college athletes, because those kids are getting something that most people can't afford. I'm not arguing that these kids should make six figures (I'm looking at you, Chris Webber), but I am saying we should analyze their value and pay them accordingly. In order to understand their value, we have to look at what benefits they do get. First, tuition. Let's assume they get the benefit of about $12,000 worth of tuition expenses. They also get room, board, and food (if you can call what they make in the cafeterias food). Room and board at Ohio State, where I got my undergraduate degree from was worth about $8,000 a year. Food? I would say about $3,000 a year. That gives these kids $23,000 in benefits for each year. What kind of job would you normally get for that price? According to, telemarketers in Columbus, OH make $32,000 a year.

Now, let's analyse what they're worth to the university. For starters, they sell the tickets to their events. Most sports don't finance themselves, but sports as a whole certainly should. Second, the school gets to sell memorabilia, recruit a wider variety of students, and even start their own television networks to increase revenue. That's an awful lot of benefits for the school. In 2005-2006, Ohio State pulled in $2.9 million in profit from all sports combined. Divide that by all 36 teams at the time, and you get an extra $80,500 per team. The Big Ten Network added an estimated $6.5 million per school in 2010. Divide that by the 36 teams and you get another $180,500. That's a profit of $240,000 per sports team.

Coaches pay is just as significant. Why is it that major college coaches are worth $3-4 million in some cases? The argument is that they generate more revenue than they're paid. I find it more than slightly hypocritical that the coaches are worth millions and the players are worth thousands. Yes, the coaches are important, and my argument here isn't that the players are necessarily worth more than the coaches. But we should be making the same arguments for players and coaches. They're both worth millions of dollars to the universities. The difference is that the coaches can leave to go to the professional level immediately while players are often under restrictions that force them to stay in college rather than becoming a pro. While I could (and will one day) argue that it's smarter to stay in school, I still find it ridiculous that the schools take advantage of this.

I understand they have a great chance to make it to the professional levels and make a fortune, and that's very true. But that mindset punishes those kids that are making their schools a fortune but can't make it to the pros. I think it's time to start rewarding these kids based on how the school benefits from their talents.

-Gus Rafeedie

Friday, March 25, 2011


Dining and drinking at various bars and restaurants, I've noticed that people are getting careless with their tipping. When I was coming up, 10% was a tip for crap service (you never didn't leave a tip, which I'll get to later), 15% for good, expected service and 20% for excellent service. If you were a regular at a place maybe you went to 25% every so often. Now, I'll see people leaving a default 20% and its terrible. Waiters are getting conditioned to provide crappier service because they're seeing 20% almost every time. Sure it's easier to calculate 20% of a bill than it is 15% of a bill in just about every case, but that doesn't mean its deserved. More and more I'll see people dropping 20% (yeah, if we go out to eat, sometimes I'll peek on your bill to see what you tip, get over it) and it pisses me off. More than that, if you have crap service, I'll see people leave no tip, NO TIP! Maybe it's because my family has had a lot of waiters, busboys, chefs, cooks and bartenders in it but that's inexcusable. They still brought your food over right? They still poured some water in your glass, didn't they? 10% is the minimum, not 20%. Let's get back to that, please.

Tipping on Wine is another interesting issue. Wine, by most accounts is between two and three times as expensive in a restaurant as it is on the shelf. Just because you bought a $80 bottle of wine, should you tip on the whole thing? Especially if you ordered it from the menu with little-to-no input from the waiter. I lean towards no here. I don't have an accurate % of the total to tip on because clearly you shouldn't not tip on it at all BUT it's not like you ordered an expensive steak that requires careful prep and cooking. Most times (which isn't that often since I don't order bottles at nice places on the red), I'll tip on one-third or half of it. Not the best formula, but the best that I am going to come up with.

Getting a dish, appetizer, dessert, drink for free because the restaurant screwed it up/you had a coupon/you know a guy/they forgot to add it is no excuse to not tip on it. This is a simple one that people often forget, but you get something comped for one reason or another, the same amount of prep, service and time go into it, so you still need to calculate that into the total and tip on it.

Drinks. This is always puzzling to me. Do you tip a buck a drink? A buck each time you go to the bar (ordering 2-3 drinks)? How much more should you tip when ordering a complicated drink/shot as opposed to a beer/whiskey? What about Happy Hour/Dollar Draft night situations. Am I supposed to tip $1 every $1 beer I get? Then its not Dollar Beer night anymore is it? I really just make up new rules every time I go to a bar. You got something better, let me know and we'll post it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

NCAA Frozen Four Picks and Updated Madness Picks

Bracket here. Picks below.

In the First Round, I have Yale over Air Force (sorry Pauli); Minny-Duluth over Union; Merrimack over Notre Dame (the Irish are too young); Miami over New Hampshire (in New Hampshire, thanks guys); North Dakota over Rensselaer; Denver over Western Michigan; Michigan over Nebraska-Omaha (still makes me laugh that there is a D1 hockey team in Nebraska, and another in Alabama); and Boston College over Colorado College (vomit).

Advancing to the Frozen Four, I like Yale over Minny-Duluth; Miami over Merrimack; North Dakota over Denver; and Boston College over Michigan (vomit again).

I have all the top seeds making it to St. Paul, which is anticlimactic, but probable. Miami over Yale, Boston College over North Dakota. Miami FINALLY expunges a Boston team in the playoffs and takes home the first major sport 'Ship in school history. I'm so confident because I won't be attending any of these games and Miami always loses when I'm there.

Updated March Madness Picks:
Since I had only seven correct teams in the Sweet 16, including just ONE TEAM LEFT ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRACKET (Kansas, don't fail me now), here are my updated picks...unchanged from original picks are in italics.

Sweet 16
Ohio State over Kentucky
UNC over Marquette
Duke over Arizona
UConn over San Diego State
Kansas over Richmond
VCU over Florida State
Butler over Wisconsin
BYU over Florida

Elite Eight
Ohio State over UNC
Duke over UConn
Kansas over VCU
Butler over BYU (ugh I hate this region so much)

Final Four
Duke over Ohio State
Kansas over Butler

Duke over Kansas

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why Great Players Can't Become Great Coaches [Mondays with Gus]

There's a reason why Jim Brown and Michael Jordan never coached in the NFL and NBA, respectively. It just so happens to be the same reason why people like Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick can succeed without ever playing a down in the NFL. For starters, it's impossible to teach another person something that you have an unworldly natural ability to do.

Michael Jordan's greatest attribute (in my humble opinion) was his unbelievable ability to hold grudges and work tirelessly to prove people wrong. The man complained about how the NBA hated him (5 MVPs, ten-time 1st team All NBA) even after being inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, player of all time. In his hall of fame speech, he insulted his high school basketball coach, a man that had cut MJ from the team because he hadn't grown tall enough to play. How on earth could you coach that? You would never be able to convince someone to hold a grudge for 30 years. It was a natural hatred of doubters (also called passion) that made MJ impossibly good, and impossible to listen to.

Jim Brown? That dude was a freak with a vicious streak a mile wide. He hated the world, and for good reason. The racism he dealt with at Syracuse can never (and should never) be recreated. In fact, all of college football legitimately hated Jim Brown, purely because he was a strong black man. Dick Schaap once said that Jim Brown coming in 5th in the Heisman race in 1956 is the reason he never voted for another Heisman Trophy winner again. The hatred for Jim Brown went to the NFL, too. Deacon Jones, a hall of fame DL once said he tried to injure Jim Brown after every play in a game. Jones said the most frustrating thing he ever dealt with in his career was that Brown responded “Nice hit, Deac.” Again, how on earth could you teach that?

What I'm getting at is that the greatest of the great have a natural hatred of opponents, doubters, and all criticism whatsoever. They can't handle it. So, they take it out on their respective sports, and do it with a natural athleticism that few are born with. They can't ever go up to someone and explain how to do this. It's programmed into their DNA.

Bill Parcells? He can explain it, because he would have to pay attention to every detail imaginable to be a great player. He's a guy that doesn't have a natural ability to fall back on. If someone pisses him off, he's going to have to outwork them and outsmart them. While he has a similar desire to win as MJ or Jimmy B, he can at least sympathize with what a regular player is going through. He knows that you can't just go out there and dominate a game. You have to prepare for it, because you don't have the natural ability to fall back on. Jordan scored I believe 4,800 points one day while dragging an IV with him down court in that ridiculous flu game. How could you possibly teach that? Parcells never had to. He had to win through preparation, not reaction.

And that's the mark of a successful coach; preparation. The Parcells and Belichicks of the world will continue to be the great coaches due to the fact that they have to prepare like madmen just to compete. They have little in common with their players. They can't motivate them because they don't know what those guys are going through. They have to have the game won before they step on the field. Jordan and Jim Brown? They could have won the game whenever the hell they felt like it. That's the mark of a great player, but coaches can't play that game and hope to win.

*Special thanks to Snaps for stimulating the debate on what a jerk MJ was, and inspiring me to write this article.

-Gus Rafeedie

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brickety Brackets [UPDATE]

Since following the Knicks has lately become an exercise in frustration as they copped an L vs. another below .500 team (increasing the ratio from bad losses to good wins this year), let's focus on March Madness. Clearly, it's the best month of the year as demonstrated below in my takedown of Major League. Let's skip the talk and get to the chalk.

Last night I had UNC-Asheville and UAB winning. Half right. Tonight I have VCU and UT-San Antonio.

Now onto the real First Round. I'll go down the line in each quadrant:

Ohio State, Villanova, West Virginia, Kentucky, Xavier, Syracuse, Washington, North Carolina

Duke, Tennessee, Memphis, Texas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Penn State, San Diego State

Kansas, UNLV, Richmond, Louisville, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State, Notre Dame

Pittsburgh, Butler, Kansas State, Wisconsin, St. John's, BYU, Michigan State, Florida

Second Round
Ohio State, Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina (chalk)

Duke, Texas, Connecticut, San Diego State (chalk)

Kansas, Louisville, Purdue, Notre Dame (chalk)

Pittsburgh, Kansas State, St. John's, Michigan State (upset alert!!!)

Sweet Sixteen
Ohio State, North Carolina

Duke, Connecticut

Kansas, Purdue

Kansas State, St. John's

Elite Eight
North Carolina



St. John's

Final Four
Kansas over St. John's, Duke over North Carolina

Duke over Kansas

Hate it, but that team is filthy with Kyrie Irving back.

President Obama, are you for real with the filling out your brackets on ESPN BS again? What about, I don't know, RUNNING THE COUNTRY! Even the crazy liberals in Hollywood are jumping off your bandwagon, it's probably time to do something you campaigned for. It's cute that the First Lady is on Iron Chef America, but you need to get it together. America's getting soft and gas is $3.60 a gallon in the Midwest. That's NOT a good look for me.

Furthermore, why is Obama the sports president? If I'm not mistaken, Gerald Ford played football at Michigan, and more recently George W. Bush played D1 baseball at Yale and owned an MLB team for several years. Obama plays pickup basketball, do 50 million other people in the country. GET REAL.

Monday, March 14, 2011

NFL Lockout Talk [Mondays with Gus]

As soon as I leave the world of finance, labor, and human resources and enter the world of anthropology, labor relations becomes the new cool thing in the news. This makes me feel almost as smart as I did when I made my decision to become a financial advisor five years ago, and my accepting of a job as a public employee in the state of Ohio this past month. In order to help you, the reader, benefit from my awful timing (and expertise) I'm here to give you the skinny on the NFL labor dispute. ESPN's coverage is way to “OMG!!!!” for my liking, and frankly you deserve better.

For starters, this isn't a strike by the players. It's the owners telling the players that they are not allowed to play in the NFL until they come to a specific agreement with the owners. This is huge. If the players are unionized, this action is perfectly legal. When you organize as a union, it gives the employer a right to treat you all the same (in some scenarios). Since the NFL is the only employer in America for professional football players (XFL?? LOL!), the legal situation gets sticky when there is no union.

If they are telling a union to make an agreement, they're legally fine. If they're telling each individual employee that they're not allowed at work, then we get into proving whether or not the NFL is actually acting in it's best interest, or is it using monopolistic practices. I am of the opinion (warning: I'm not a lawyer) that the NFL is using it's status as the only employer of these players in an illegal fashion. You can't tell an employee that he isn't allowed to work anywhere (remember, NFL is the only employer for these guys).

So, let's look at both sides of the coin, here. Who is right and who is wrong? I will argue for each side, though I have written a previous article about why players are underpaid, so you all should already know which side I really believe in. But, I will do my best.

Owners: Owners take income based on the amount of risk associated with the business practices at hand. If the NFL collapses, the owners lose their investment. The owners, using this standard, cannot be acting in an underhanded manner because if the players leave the owners lose all of their money. The players should not be treated like owners (since 31 of the 32 teams are private companies), and as such should only be concerned with the amount they are paid, rather than the amount the owners make. Owners are owners, and players are players. Financial statements should mean nothing to the players, and fair compensation should be the only thing they are concerned with.

Players: The NFL owners do not take on normal business risk, so normal business procedures should be thrown out. Many NFL owners do not pay for the stadiums, and player contracts are not fully guaranteed. So, if they don't have risks with the buildings used, and don't have a risk with the employees, then what risks do they have? Since the players are the focus of the entire business model, it is only logical that the players be given access to financial statements as well as compensation based on the total amount of income generated by those players. Players are the only essential piece to a legitimate NFL franchise. Owners can be replaced, stadiums can be rebuilt, and teams can be relocated.

I'm not going to sit here and guess at how long it will take for this to be resolved, but I can say this: These two views are so conflicting, that taking it to court is probably the most sensible solution right now. These guys can't agree, why make them keep trying?

-Gus Rafeedie

Friday, March 11, 2011

March vs. October...Best Sports Month?

KEY: March/Jesse
October/Major League

March is always the best sports month of the year, just bringing it with action from several major sports leagues. My favorite sport, baseball, has Spring Training. Sure, guys report in late February, but things really don't start until you can watch a split squad Grapefruit League game where over half the players are wearing numbers like 87, 63 and 91 and have a 1% shot at making the big league club. The NHL and NBA heat up as they march (wordplay!) towards the postseason. College basketball's conference tourneys and the Big Freaking Dance add to the wonderful darling of a month that also features the NCAA Hockey Championships. The world's greatest race series, Formula One, begins and its the only month without an NFL game/combine/camp/draft- which just makes us appreciate it even more. And one last thing, it gets even better every third year with the World Baseball Classic.

Is there really any debate to the greatest sports month? Major League here, reminding you through the next few blog paragraphs why I get paid to write articles (not in the least bit true) and Jesse has Gus and others write insightful stuff for him. He’s the Pete Rose player/coach of writing. Yea he plays, but it’s really not great to watch and all he’s doing is hurting his image. Plus he’s sliding in head first to a $100 lost bet to your truly.

Now that I’m done ripping apart my opponent, he’s going to try and convince you all that somehow March is a greater sports month than October. I have no idea how he intends to pull this off. I think he has a better chance of convincing you all that Michael Bay has the best movie dialogue ever (Transformers spoiler: Umm at one point in the second movie, a human temporarily dies and goes to robot heaven. Just thought you should know.). Anyway, get ready to hear nothing but Opening Day, and March Madness come out of his mouth. I won’t be listening. I’m too busy in October, watching things like football, playoffs, and preparing my epic Halloween costume so I can go out and ogle girls wearing very very little.

Just like an Ohio sports fan (though more typical of Cleveland than of Cincinnati), it's not about his team/month as much as it is the other team/month. You see it with LeBron James/the Heat, Michigan football, the Yankees, the Steelers, etc...just makes me shake my head. My opener discussed the merits of March, not mentioning October once. That's what I do- keep the focus on why March is the best, not why October can't hang. Anyway I'll have to spend some time ripping apart the tenth month of the year as this debate rages on, so LET'S GET IT ON.

I won't even dwell on Opening Day too much because it's a relatively new addition to the month. Really it's an embarrassment of riches and I don't want to make Major League and October pull a Heat and spend the night crying into their hands. We'll focus on March Madness, Spring Training and the crux of the hockey and basketball seasons. Sports' greatest playoff, March Madness is the largest gambling event of the year and what American doesn't like filling out the brackets? It's big business and a massive decreaser of office productivity. Throwing some quan on the brackets is American as hating Duke, apple pie and being overweight. Since my competition decided to throw holidays in the mix, I'll take this time to remind him of his alma mater's Green Beer Day and it's big brother St. Patty's Day. If that Mick-Kraut is honest with himself, he'll relent that St. Patty's Day> Halloween because it's not like he has a shot with any of the 818s he's ogling anyway.

Oh snap, someone put on their big boy pants today. Before further delving into why March cannot hang with October, let me debunk this entire notion that St. Patrick’s Day holds a candle to Halloween. Even as an Irish catholic beer drinking SOB, I have to admit that the holiday only holds its ground in certain cities like Chicago. They do SPD right, the way that New York does being assholes right, and Cincinnati does riots on race right. That said, SPD is a bar holiday, and is devoted to a person no longer a saint. A very low percentage of America celebrates the holiday, and many that do decided to not ingest any Irish food or drink. How is that better than Halloween? The girls dress slutty, kids get to trick-or-treat, bars aren’t your only option, and did I mention that the girls dress slutty. More participation, more locale options, more whorishness. What’s not to like?

Let’s move on to why baseball is better in October. Playoffs vs. Opening Day. Opening Day only matter in one city, mine. Cincinnati has the best celebration of any team, and is the only team that matters come March. Opening Day really does stink though. It’s cold, usually rainy. Miserable weather is not the time to watch a regular season game. Cut to October. Still a few good weeks of weather in there for playoff baseball, which is an amazing atmosphere (firsthand and first time experience last year. I can only imagine what it would be like if we won a game.). Points to October.

And Jesse, can you never bring up sporting events like NCAA Hockey and The WBC. No one cares about them. The WNBA has more fans. Now if you don’t mind, I’m being fitted for my crown.


I think you had a typo in that second paragraph where you said "and is the only team that matters come March." You most likely meant to say "my team only matters in March." with the exception of 2010, the Reds aren't a top team in the game. You're right that October baseball is amazing, but don't get used it- you're setting yourself up for heartbreak when Votto moves back to Canada to play hockey. Opening Day is great for every team and every fan. Of course Posnanski, Kurkijan, Gammons and crew will tell you 100 times that every team is tied for first place that day. It's a cliche, but it got that way because it's true. Even Royals fans and Pittsburghers are pumped for baseball to return. Playoff baseball is not playoff football. It matters to the fans of the eight teams playing and a the diehards, that's it.

Maybe you should get those girls from Police Women of Cincinnati and start you up a WNBA team, because that's about the only league that would launch a franchise in your town. NCCA Frozen Four and the WBC are just side dishes to the main course of March Madness, Spring Training and late season action from the NBA and NHL. Those tournaments are like that cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, not everyone likes it, but the people who do, go nuts for it.

And back to holidays and celebrations, maybe you should try living in a real city once in your life that has parades. The St. Patty's Day Parade in NYC is legendary, as is the one in Dallas and they DIE THE FREAKING RIVER GREEN in Chicago. Don't remember any of that happening for Halloween. Even the NBA acknowledges the bossness of St. Patty's as the Knicks and some other teams wear green jerseys that day. No one except for minor league teams (like probably the Cincinnati Cyclones) would do that for Hween. Also, October is such a broke month, Oktoberfest doesn't even happen in October.

Check back next week as THE DEBATE RAGES ON...

Monday, March 7, 2011

The A-Hole Effect [Mondays with Gus]

One of the most intriguing conversations in sports revolves around listening to teams discuss the concept of the “locker room cancer.” T.O., DeMarcus Cousins, Ron Artest, everyone that plays for the Bengals, etc. Phil Savage, former front office guru of the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns once famously said that his teams prefer to avoid a team comprised of criminals but they “don't want a bunch of choir boys, either.” It's a fine line to cross. At what point does talent outweigh the amount of problems that come with someone that's just an outright jerk?

I have a theory that I refer to as “The A-Hole Effect.” Essentially, it works like this: If a college player is a complete a-hole, there is a 95% chance he will become an even bigger a-hole when he becomes professional. That's not to say avoid these players. Everyone deserves a second chance. But when you are evaluating them, I think it's smart to assume there will be zero improvement. Reward the guy if that happens, but don't assume it will. Why such a negative tone?

College players that are complete a-holes rarely become less of a problem in the pros, because giving a jerk a million dollars almost never makes that person less of a jerk. Money, pressure, and fame are a bad combination for a 21 year old millionaire, and most teams do absolutely nothing to give these kids an environment suitable to becoming a better person. There is a lack of respect for the amount of change that these kids are going through. Think about how much their life changes.

In college, they are the big man on campus but they still have to go to class and live in a dorm. When they hit the pros, they can live anywhere they please with nothing to worry about but practice and games. In college, they are restricted because they aren't allowed to take money from people, and in the pros they are handed guaranteed contracts and endorsements (sometimes). In college, they are surrounded by teammates and fellow students who are mostly broke, and in the pros they work with millionaires while their billionaire owner signs the checks. None of this makes for an environment conducive to being a better person.

This brings me back to the point about there being a fine line between bringing in talent and creating problems. Most people, in their own arrogance think they can change others. We see it everywhere in life. That's why girls date jerks (if only he was nice he would be perfect! Sorry, but that's his entire personality), and it's why owners and general managers think their locker room can handle the pressure of another jerk. What I'm arguing here is that talent evaluators should just assume that nothing will get better with the kid when drafting and signing free agents.

There are plenty of examples of kids this has happened to, and there will continue to be. While I doubt any GM's or owners will read this and have an epiphany, I hope that a few more fans will start to pressure teams that reward awful behavior and expect things to improve. Remember, it only took one e-mail to make Phil Savage look like an idiot and put the icing on his “leave town” cake.

-Gus Rafeedie

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Blog in the Truest Sense of the Word

What are kids thinking these days? I won't get detailed so as not to be extremely unprofessional, but my job has me interviewing current students and recent college graduates, and I'm taken aback by some of their behavior. No one sends thank you cards anymore; they rarely leave their phone numbers when leaving a message; cover letters are often generic and addressed to TWiMC; and they print their resumes on printer paper more often than you'd think.

-Lights Out
Yeah yeah, it's a boxing story about a former champ who was robbed in a split decision coming out of retirement. BOOOOOOOOORING. Except it's not. Holt McCallany is straight bringing it as the ex-heavyweight king and the supporting actors that make up his family have some good storylines as well. Not to mention the girl who plays is oldest daughter is a cutie patootie. So basically, if you're not watching it, start watching it, FX Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

-Yankees Predictions
Cisco Cervelli makes the roster as the backup catcher, but Zeus Montero replaces him by the Kentucky Derby after the kid lights up AAA. Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova win the awful battle to round out the rotation and go on to win 13 and 11 games, respectively. Jeter bounces back, but not quite to his 2009 form. After all he is in his late 30s and settling down with a dimepiece, so you can't expect the world from him. GGBG is slotted permanently in the leadoff spot after the All-Star Break as a result of Jeter not getting on base enough.

-Pelle's MLB Predictions
Remember him? Before Major League and the Gusball, the Pelican used to write posts on here. He emailed me his baseball outlook, and I'm sharing it with the people...
AL Playoff Teams: Red Sox (East), Tigers (Central), A's (West) and Yankees (Wildcard)
NL Playoff TeamsPhillies (East), Brewers (Central), Rockies (West) and Cardinals (Wildcard)
ALCS: Yankees vs. Red Sox
NLCS: Brewers vs. Phillies
World Series: Yankees vs. Phillies

He didn't explicitly give me a winner, but you gotta think he went with the Bombers.

-Knicks Playoff Chances
They CAN beat any team in the Eastern Conference in a series outside of Boston with their new lineup. They WILL beat Atlanta, Chicago and Orlando if that is the first round matchup. Otherwise, they will be in a classic series, losing in six or seven against Miami, but get clowned in five games if they meet Boston in round one. Next year, the Knicks will be undoubtedly be a top three seed in the resurgent East. Dream scenario would have the Knicks as a 6-seed, playing the Bulls in round one and the Heat in round two. Good for basketball to get those big market matchups and evoke nostalgia from the 1990s. Also good for the Bockers on account of their 4-2 record against the aforementioned opponents.