Thursday, March 29, 2012

Goodbye March, the Best (or Second Best) Sports Month of the Year


You came and went so fast, it was hard to truly appreciate you. Each year you compete with October for the crown of best sports month of the year. Let's recap what you meant to the sports universe and my world in 2012.

This is the one month where the NFL isn't supposed to reign supreme, but man did the shield bring it... Tebow to Jets! Manning to Miami Arizona Tennessee Denver! Payton gone for a year! Revis trashtalking Belichick! Gronk everywhere! The Ginger Hammer once again shows why the NFL is king and runs the one month it's supposed to be dormant. 

Miami Dolphins
Well, the 'Fins traded their best player in hopes to get another one for worse draft picks than they traded for him two years ago. That's not a good look. The team went hard after Peyton Manning only to get the stiffarm (stiff neck?) from #18. Then they watched the Redskins move up for RG3 while they looked at Matt Flynn and Alex Smith. After both those guys spurned them, Miami fans are headed to a depressing QB battle between Matt Less and David Garrard. Puke. Another terrible offseason for Ross and Ireland.

The Dwight Howard saga was wacky but ultimately anticlimactic as he stayed in Orlando. Two guys began the month as NBA coaches but ended it doing something else. The Bulls keep winning with or without D.Rose and look absolutely terrifying come playoffs. The Heat look like they're on cruise control and the Thunder, Spurs and Mavs look daunting out West.

New York Knicks
Woodsanity started to overtake Linsanity and the result was the same: winsanity. The Knicks went on a run winning eight of nine games after D'antoni was fired "quit." STAT got hurt and we thought he was out for a few days, then several months, then several weeks then a couple weeks now a couple or several weeks. Lin got dinged up but Melo started playing really well and the Knicks look good....for now.

March Madness
Two 15s upset a pair of deuces. A 13-seeded MAC team went to the Sweet 16. A Bluegrass blood-feud will end the month in a Final Four matchup. Quite the entertaining event, even though there was a lack of 

My Bracket/Miami RedHawks

Welp, they both sucked. That's all, nothing to see here, let's move on. At least Charlie Coles isn't in power in Oxford anymore.

Bobby Valentine is bumping his gums like its 1999 all over again. It will be nice to see him vilified when the Rays and Yankees (and maybe Jays) have better records than the Red Sawx this year. Bryce Harper is starting the year in AAA and the Nationals might not be terrible for the first time in the millennium. MLB started its season in Japan this year to resounding boos. I thought it was awesome when the league did this in 2004 because A-it was the Yankees and B-it was televised LIVE and C-I was in college so it was fine to wake up at 5 a.m., eat a dog and drink a couple Natty Lights. Since A, B and C are not true this year, I think the idea sucked.

New York Yankees
ANDY PETTITTE'S BACK! That was the major news of the month for the pinstripes. Team now expected to have a seven-man rotation and win 125-140 games this year. Also, the club released an alternate logo featuring the interlocking NY emblazoned on a steamroller. 

The Blue Jackets continued to suck, Sid Crosby came back and took up exactly where he left off and I don't remember what else happened.

New York Rangers
The Blueshirts stretched out their lead as the best team in the East/hockey. Lundqvist is a revelation and anything less than a Cup this year is going to be very disappointing. Luckily we know that Torts will flip out after every loss to ensure the team is motivated night in and night out.

I was in St. Petersburg for the Honda Grand Prix, the IZOD IndyCar Series season opener. It was warm, sunny and generally awesome. Helio Castroneves won and honored Dan Wheldon in his celebration. Also, C and I went back to NYC where we had our "worst" Sergio Martinez fight seats to date (still not more than a dozen rows back and right behind Omar!). We saw Sergio go wild after getting "knocked down" in the 7th.

It was quite the month indeed.

P.S. October, you better step up.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brackets Baby

Here are all my picks for the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament

2nd- Kentucky, UConn, VCU, Indiana, UNLV, Baylor, Notre Dame, Duke
3rd- Kentucky, VCU, Baylor, Duke
S16- Kentucky, Duke
E8- Duke

2nd- Michigan State, Memphis, Long Beach State, Louisville, Murray State, Marquette, Florida, Missouri
3rd- Michigan State, Long Beach State, Marquette, Missouri
S16- Michigan State, Missouri
E8- Michigan State


2nd- Syracuse, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Florida State, West Virginia, Ohio State
3rd- Syracuse, Wisconsin, Florida State, Ohio State
S16- Wisconsin, Florida State
E8- Florida State


2nd- North Carolina, Creighton, Temple, Michigan, North Carolina State, Georgetown, Purdue, Kansas
3rd- North Carolina, Michigan, North Carolina State, Kansas
S16- North Carolina, Kansas
E8- North Carolina

Final Four
Michigan State over Duke
North Carolina over Florida State

The 'Ship
North Carolina over Michigan State
This one will not be played on a battleship and will be closer than that affair, with the Tarheels winning 73-69.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pro Football Talk Confirms Meatball Report

In yesterday's blog, I said Peyton Manning probably wants to stay in the AFC due to his familiarity with the conference. Pro Football Talk confirmed that today. Catch up!

Looks like (almost) all signs are pointing Manning to Miami!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Peyton Manning to (Fill in Team Name)

In order to respect myself as a blogger tomorrow morning when I wake up in my mother's basement, I have to crank out a Peyton Manning possibilities breakdown. Since I'm clearly a Dolphins fan, you know who will be at the top of the list, but what about the rest? We'll do this Bill Simmons style, grouping 31 teams (that don't play in Indy) according to how will the team react when Peyton's agent calls them (or they call him).

Hit ignore button
Patriots, Giants, Saints, Steelers, Packers

These GMs don't even have time to think about Peyton with All-Pro or All-Timers already tossing the pigskin. They might even block his agent's number from calling again.

Not answering 
Panthers, Lions, Bengals, Eagles, Falcons, Tampa Bay

With big money vets (Eagles) or affordable, promising youngsters (everyone else on the list) taking snaps now, there is a small chance any of these teams takes much of a look at #18.

Let it go to VM, then call back
Texans, Bears, Rams, 49ers, Cowboys, Ravens, Chargers

You know just so you can tell your QB that you didn't take the call. Then probably send them a text or call back within 24 hours. He's not going to the Bears, too cold. The Rams are trading down because they don't want to draft a QB, so I don't think they'll sign one and move Bradford. The Chargers are happy with PHILLIP RIVERS even after a step back last year.  I don't see the Texans as a big possibility like Mike & Mike were blasting listeners with this morning. They kept saying, if Peyton is 75% of what we're used to him being, you have to do it. Why? Isn't that already what they have in Matt Schaub, at a better price? Why mess with it now? He fits very well down in H-town. Why aren't more people talking about him going to the Ravens? Maybe they don't have the money to do it, but with that defense and Ray Reezy at RB, this team is built to win right now and have a good WR in Anquan Boldin to catch tuddies from Peyton. He would look weird in purple though. The Cowboys present the most interesting option here along with the 49ers. This seems like a classic Jerry Jones move. Romo has gone from unrated to overrated to rated as an above average, but not top, quarterback. Peyton would be the star in the Star at quarterback that Jones has been looking for since Troy Aikman walked was carried away. The 49ers were awesome this year with Alex Smith, imagine how much better they are with Peyton. Yeah, pretty freakin good. They make/win the Super Bowl last year with him tossing bombs, right?

Pick up, pretend you didn't recognize the number
"Hello this is Mike (Tannebaum). Oh what? Peyton, no we're happy with the Sanchise. He's an All-Pro this year, just wait and see." Then send a text as soon as Sanchez is out of sight saying "call u 2nite when mark leaves". I don't see Peyton wanting to go to NYC or in the same city as his baby bro. Oh wait, the Jets play in both NYC AND his baby bro's town? Yeah, not happening.

Pick up
Bills, Raiders

Two clubs that recently spent big (money and picks, respectively) on QBs that didn't play as well down the stretch as they had hoped. They're definitely taking the call though I don't see Peyton fitting in either place with one too cold and the other too weird and poorly run.

Pick up on first ring
Jaguars, Vikings, Broncos, Chiefs, Titans

These clubs either have a guy who can take them to the playoffs, or a young gun who they think can do that. However one of these teams has studs (well the Broncos do in my man Timmy Tebow, but Elway wants a traditional passer) and all of them could use a Hall of Famer under center. Imagine the coverage Manning and Tebow would get in Denver, Sal Palantonio and Ed Werder would earn 10,000,000 points on their Holiday Inn members cards from basically living there.

Calling every few minutes like Mikey in Swingers
Dolphins, Redskins, Seahawks, Cardinals, Browns

The "Hey, we have nothing at QB" section spans teams bad (Browns) to a piece or two away from being really good (Dolphins, Seahawks). From this group, I like the Fins, Cardinals and Hawks as the best personnel fits, in that order. Seattle has a very good defense and a very good running back, but no one at wideout and play in a cold, rainy city. The last two parts of that sentence is what takes them out of the running. Arizona went from a Super Bowl team to below average in the NFC after losing a very good QB in Kurt Warner a couple years back. You plug in a passer of Manning's class into an offense with Larry Fitzgerald and a decent defense with dynamic special teams, you can make the playoffs for sure. It's warm, they play in a below average division and have done this before.  There's a lot to like, but the move to the NFC may be a little shaky for Peyton (my conjecture) as he's recovering and may want to stay in the conference where he knows the teams and defenses a little better. This leaves Miami as the best option. Warm weather for most of the season, good at WR, RB, defense and O-line, the team will be a playoff lock with a top shelf QB at the helm. Miami owner Stephen Ross wanted to make a splash at coach and QB this offseason. He got Joe Philbin for the first part, you can bet he will make sure to cannonball on the second half of that equation. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Pelican's MLB Picks

Here are the Pelican's 2012 MLB season picks! I'll make mine later this month.

NL WEST Giants
NL C Cardinals
NL E Phils
WC 1 Nats
WC 2 Rockies
NL CHAMP Cards def. Nationals
AL West Rangers
AL C Tigers
AL E Yankees
WC 1 Red Sox
WC 2 Angels
AL Champ Yanks def Rangers
Champ Yankees
NL Posey
AL CY Young Justin Verlander
NL Josh Johnson
AL Roy Yu Darvish
NL Alex White
AL MGR Cito Gaston
NL Mike Matheny