Saturday, April 30, 2011

Level One

Only two K's but Zambrano still notches another quality start. What a beast he is. Thumbs up right back at ya!

Clay's UFC 129 Picks

Welterweight bout: Sean Pierson vs. Jake Ellenberger
Welterweight bout: Nate Diaz vs. Rory MacDonald
Lightweight bout: Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson
Light Heavyweight bout: Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz
Light Heavyweight bout: Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida
Featherweight Championship bout: José Aldo vs. Mark Hominick
Welterweight Championship bout: Georges St-Pierre vs. Jake Shields

Ellenberger over Pierson. Diaz over MacDonald. Henderson over Bocek. Brilz over Matyushenko. Couture over Machida. Aldo over Hominick. St-Pierre over Shields

UFC 129 Weigh-in Highlights

Chael Sonnen and...Charlie Sheen?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Better Options Don't Equal Good Options

By: Dustin

An astute commenter read my recent post and pointed out that he took some umbrage with my assessment of the Cardinals' bullpen. He asserted that the bullpen would be OK now that Mitchell Boggs has assumed the closer's role following the inevitable implosion of Mitchell Report darling Ryan Franklin.

Two things came to mind when I read this:

  1. Holy shit, somebody commented on a post! Even though it's one of our very best friends and probably the only fucking person to read this blog, at least I said something interesting enough to actually elicit a response. I find as many opportunities to pat myself on the back as humanly possible.

  2. I don't really think the Cardinals' bullpen will be OK, at least not the back end. As I said in the comments section of that particular entry, citing the low St. Louis bullpen ERA is not necessarily relevant to its ability to close out tight wins. I maintain the Cardinals don't seem to have anybody on their roster with the right stuff to be an effective closer. Boggs is already sporting a brand new chink in his armor after last night's bed-wetting in Houston.

I won't lie to our seven readers; nothing warms the cockles of my heart quite like watching a St. Louis sports team take gut-wrenching losses. I know the Redbirds are tied for first place in the NL Central, but we've already covered just how little I think that means. Personal bias aside, however, I think the above points are made free of slant.

If St. Louis wants its true best option in the stopper role, it had better go ahead and let this Eduardo Sanchez start closing games. In his very limited MLB experience, he has shown better stuff than anyone else on that roster. Yes, he's a rookie, but I don't know how he's going to hurt the team any more than the current choices already have. Besides, look how well your last rookie closer worked out. I seem to remember him closing out the 2006 World Series.

number two

I was unable to watch the second and third periods of the hawks game seven loss to the canucks last night. However, i am getting the last word. Raffi Torres is currently floating around my shitter, covered with about half a pound of generic toilet paper. I think its time to flush. Ah! He smells like a late night gyro stand.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Goodbye to My Beard, Down With the Canucks

By: Dustin

If you read my last post and stayed up to watch the Blackhawks fall to Vancouver in overtime tonight (last night, technically, since it's past midnight here) you know my playoff beard is doomed and so are Chicago's chances at a Stanley Cup championship defense.

I'm already up past my bedtime, but I just want to get this out there before I fall asleep and lose my steam.

It's kind of a sports cliche that you tend to root for the team that knocks you out of the playoffs; if that team wins it all, you can at least say you were eliminated by the eventual champ. There's a bit of solace to be taken from that.

Well, fuck that. I don't want to see Vancouver win another game. Some of them strike me as smug pricks ( Coach Alain Vigneault and Roberto Luongo come to mind) and some of them are dirty, dirty thugs (Raffi Torres, you know what you are). Their GM, Mike Gillis, is a whiny pussy who pulled a bullshit stunt in the press to try and get a few calls for his team. I can't articulate it all that well, but very few of them are likable to me. And it's not just sour grapes. I had some of these feelings before the series even started, although certain incidents have obviously exacerbated said feelings.

So this is my official support of the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference semifinals. Knock these guys out. The Canucks, especially Luongo, have a reputation for postseason choking; they almost did it again in these quarterfinals, and it would still be a major gag job if the President's Trophy winner doesn't make the conference finals. Get it done, Preds.

A few other random thoughts:

  • Corey Crawford was a man in this finale. He made some unbelievable stops, and he had a good series overall. Hell, he had a great rookie season. If he plays from day one instead of the wasted months of sharing time with worthless has-been Marty Turco, Chicago probably pulls a higher seed. It certainly would've helped matters. Turco isn't worth a dried-up dingleberry hanging from my dog's ass. I never want to see him in a Blackhawks uniform again.

  • I do want to see Crawford in a Blackhawks uniform again. He's apparently due to become a restricted free agent in the offseason, and I think the team should do what it takes to bring him back. Let's not have a repeat of this Niemi situation from last year. For the second year in a row, you end the season with arguably the hottest goaltender in the league. Don't let another one slip away unless there's a damn good option in place.

  • The deciding goal in OT was on Chris Campoli, plain and simple. You have to take care of the puck, especially in front of your own net in FUCKING OVERTIME OF GAME SEVEN OF A GOD DAMN PLAYOFF SERIES. To be totally honest, the Blackhawks were careless with the puck for most of the series. That fact, combined with the fact they were physically dominated by the Canucks in the first three games and most of the seventh, is why they are done.

  • Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk are a great broadcasting duo. I especially love Foley's energy in the booth. I don't know if he ever gets any gigs to call national broadcasts, but I think he could do the job.

  • All season long, you kind of knew things wouldn't end the way they did last year. From the start, I didn't get the feeling that this team was special. It's hard to repeat, after all. With the salary cap and the heavy turnover it brings with it, you'll have this. Here's the thing, though. Chicago's talented core group willed itself into the playoff picture after an ugly first half of the season. Those guys aren't going anywhere, and this offseason will be an important one in terms of filling some key holes. This is a team that is set up to be good for a long time. I hope this prediction holds true, because I'm finding that very few spectacles in sports can beat playoff hockey.

The Chicago Blackhawks Are Putting My Playoff Beard on the Line Tonight

By: Dustin

There's quite a bit at stake tonight in Vancouver as the Blackhawks attempt to complete their improbable run in the Western Conference quarterfinals: a near-impossible comeback from a 3-0 series deficit, Chicago's postseason ownership of the rival Canucks, and most importantly . . . my playoff beard.

Being the spineless, pussy-whipped excuse for a man I am, I have generally been limited to sporting a goatee at my wife's "request." It's a "request" to which I have complied for fear of her unhappiness and/or hiring of a divorce attorney. My relatively newfound fondness for hockey, however, introduced me to a brilliant excuse for letting my facial hair grow — a playoff beard, just like the ones sported by most players on postseason teams.

As a Blackhawks fan and as a playoff beard-grower, you can imagine my dismay when the Canucks took a 3-0 lead and seems destined to dominate the series in much the same fashion I used to dominate Dean Hatten with my curveball in high school baseball practice. Conversely, you can also imagine my excitement as I watched the boys from Chicago storm back, seemingly putting Vancouver against the ropes going into tonight's deciding game at Rogers Arena.

Given the events of the series — Raffi Torres' filthy hit on Brent Seabrook, Roberto Luongo's apparent nonchalant attitude toward the Blackhawks despite the fact they've recently beaten him like a rented mule and even got him benched for Game 6, and Davey Bolland's Jesus-like return from the dead (or a concussion) and immediate renewal of his ownership of the Sedin twins — it appears this Chicago/Vancouver playoff rivalry is as strong as ever. If Chicago can become the fourth NHL team to erase a 3-0 series deficit and simultaneously eliminate Vancouver for the third straight year, this dominance of the Canuckleheads will officially be the stuff of legends and the Hawks will be forever hated in the vast, hellish wasteland otherwise known as Western Canada.

And, best of all, my beloved facial hair will survive to see another seven-game series, while my beloved Blackhawks will continue their Stanley Cup championship defense.

Monday, April 25, 2011

NL Central: Parity or Mediocrity?

By: Dustin

With a stunning 12-10 record, the St. Louis Cardinals emerged from their weekend series with Cincinnati as proud owners of the best mark in the National League Central. Milwaukee (11-10), Cincinnati (11-11) and Chicago (10-11) are all within a game and a half. Hell, Pittsburgh (9-12) is as close — or closer — to first place than the second-place team in the AL East, AL West and NL West.

Now it's super early yet, but I never miss a chance to take shots at the NL Central. Some optimistic folks may chalk these records up to parity; I don't disagree, I think the division is pretty competitive. What they may not agree with, however, is that this parity is derived from the division's overall blandness. If this division was a bag of potato chips, it would be a generic brand of the plain-flavored variety. It's not as good as sour cream and onion or even barbeque. It's not even better than the plain-flavored Lays or Ruffles that just have a way of tasting better than some bullshit store brand. It is, however, better than a plate of celery and radishes without any ranch dressing. Or corn dogs. I hate those things.

Think about it. There just isn't a team that you can honestly say is better than average. I thought it was going to be the Reds, I really did. Despite a manager who has tripped and fallen into more victories than any skipper could ever deserve, I thought this team was more talented. Looking around the rest of the league, most divisions have that good team . . . maybe even a couple. In all but the AL Central, it's hardly a surprise who that team has been so far. What's the deal with the White Sox, by the way? Oh well, that's another blog entry for another day.

I still feel Cincinnati is the best team in the bunch, though. If Zack Greinke is still Zack Greinke when he returns to action, the Brewers are also going to finish ahead of the Redbirds. I'm sure many Cardinals fans will crow about taking two of three from the hated Reds (a new development that really makes me like the Reds a bit more than I normally would), but I honestly like the Reds' lineup, rotation and defense more. Ditto that for the Brewers. In both cases, there's a lot more potential there. For St. Louis, I think 12 wins every 22 games is pretty much what you're going to get. I know Ryan Franklin blew a few saves, but if there was somebody vastly better than Franklin to close in St. Louis, he would've already had the job. The back end of the bullpen looks like something that will cost the Cardinals wins all year, regardless of which no-name(s) they end up turning to for the rest of the season.

When the dust clears, though, whoever wins this division will once again have the honor of being dropped like a bad habit in the divisional series. As confident as I am in the above thoughts, I say this with much more certainty.

La Russa's Daughter a Raiderette

This is Cards manager Tony La Russa's daughter. She is a Raiderette. I know what you're thinking and yes, she looks good. But I bet you she is an asshole. Not a bitch. An asshole. I wonder how many DUI's she's gotten out of thanks to her looks? I bet she has a penis.

The worst part about all this is knowing that some poor unfortunate woman had Tony La Russa force himself upon her resulting in a child.


The Hawks will force a game 7 against the Canucks on Tuesday thanks in part to Vancouver starting rookie goalie Corey Schneider. Schneider became injured on a game tying penalty shot goal by Michael Frolik, which forced Vancouver to bring Roberto Luongo. Ben Smith scored the overtime goal for the Hawks, who evened the series at three games a piece.

The Braves swept the Giants this weekend.

Andre Either extended his hitting streak to 21 games as the Dodgers beat the Cubs 7-3. Carlos Zambrano started the game and his rough first inning proved too much for the Cub bats. The loss is Zambrano's first since June 25 2010.

Albert Pujols was removed after the seventh inning of yesterdays 3-0 victory over the Reds citing mild tightness in his right hamstring. Pujols is only hitting .250 this season with 7 dingers and 7 RBI. If he keeps it up, maybe the Cards front office starts feeling a little better about not getting that contract signed.

UFC 129 is this Saturday and as always, the UFC brass is calling it the "biggest fight in UFC history." Granted, it is a lovely card featuring GSP, Jake Shields, Randy Couture and Lyoto Machida but does EVERY OTHER ppv have to be the biggest and most important ever? Apparently so. You might recall some other "biggest fight" cards like UFC 40, UFC 79, UFC 81, UFC 82, UFC 83, UFC 87, UFC 91, UFC 92, UFC 93, UFC 100, UFC 116, UFC 118, UFC 121 and UFC 126. Feel free to let me know about any I missed.

Fantasy News:
- Corey Hart is to return Tuesday to the Brew Crews lineup
- The A's traded for Jays RP David Purcey
- The Pirates claimed Brandon Wood off waivers
- The Giants optioned Brandon Belt to Triple-A
- After trading Nyjer Morgan to MIL, the Nats are looking for a center fielder
- Rangers closer Neftali Feliz is on the DL
- The Rangers are interested in the Padres Heath Bell
- Pujols' poor start has the Cubs seriously considering Prince Fielder for 2012
- The Marlins signed Gabe Gross and Chris Sampson

Level Three

Z didn't pitch well yesterday against the Dodgers but at least he did go five innings without an outburts or breakdown. Still waiting on A-Ram and Pena and Byrd to hit the damn ball.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Zambrano Threat Levels

By: Clay

Zambrano hasn't lost since last June 25th of 2010 when he had his most famous meltdown in the Crosstown Showdown. Granted, he was suspended by the team for a month or so that season but he has pitched well enough to not earn a loss in any of his starts or relief appearances since that day. Know Zambrano the way I do, which is exactly the same as all of you, I decided it would be helpful not only to us but to his fellow teammates if I developed the "Fiery Zambrano Chart" to correspond to this season.

Level One: All is well. You either just enjoyed a night out with Ozzie Guillen or k'd 12 batters while only giving up 8 walks in a 5-4 Cubs win.

Level Two: You didn't get any run support tonight and Soriano made a costly error. Good thing you took Trevor Miller yard for a two run bomb. Not bad.

Level Three: You didn't make it out of the fourth inning. But it's not entirely your fault. If only Carlos Pena could hit the damn ball, the Cards wouldn't be up 7-0.

Threat Level Four: When will Soto learn? When you are on the mound you make the calls. Nothing is more embarrassing then giving up a 7th inning lead. Oh well, Still struck out Pujols...Twice. Ka-ching!

Threat Level Five: Tonite you caught Pujols looking three times and, after giving up a homer to Edmonds in the first, you proceded to retire the entire Cards line-up in order for 8 innings with the exception of plunking Edmonds and Lohse. Helluva game.

Threat Level Six: Nothing fires you up more than showing up the opponent. Pass go and collect $200!

Threat Level Seven: That mother Fucker has been squeezing you the whole game. Go ape-shit on his ass. Miss two starts and pay 5K in fines.

Threat Level Eight: Unable to make up for your poor pitching by parking a couple of balls out on Waveland, take out your frustrations by breaking Randall Simon's bat.

Threat Level Nine: Some days you couldn't hit water if you fell out of a boat. Which is exactly why you should throw your glove like a crybaby brat and go destroy that bright orange Gatorade cooler that has been mocking you throughout the entire first and second innings.

Threat Level Midnight: All mental awareness, or what ever was left of it, checks out. Time to self destruct.

MMA News April 21 2011

By: Clay

-Vitor Belfort and Yoshihiro Akiyama will lock horns in August at UFC 133 in Philly.
-Randy Couture has announced that his upcoming April 29 fight vs Lyoto Machida at UFC 128 will be his last.

"I believe this is my last fight," "I know the UFC is probably going to have other ideas, especially with acquiring Strikeforce and all that. They're probably going to try to draw me into another fight but I don't think that's going to happen. I want to stick to my guns and this is the last one."
"I will miss the competition immensely but I want to go out on my terms I want to go out when I think it's time to go out and not because I lost this fight or lost that fight or because I had an injury that precludes me from training the way I want to train.
"I want to make the decision on my own."

-Chris Leben will finally get his wish to fight Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132 on July 2.
-Nick Diaz claims his next fight will be a boxing match unless he sees more money.

-Here's the trailer for the Anderson Silva doc.

Reader Contest

The winner of this contest will recieve a 2010 Allen & Ginter framed jersey relic of Phillies slugger Ryan Howard. All I require from you is to be the first reader to leave a comment naming all 25 MLB players who have 250 home runs and 5 gold gloves in their career? Just to clarify, Paul Bako is NOT one of them. Good Luck

UFC 121 with Norm McDonald

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

GSP/SILVA Doesn't Make Sense

By: Clay

I know alot of MMA fans are excited for a possible GSP/Anderson Silva superfight. But here is why I don't think it should happen.

Since the Zuffa(UFC) purchased Strikeforce a few weeks ago, all the top MMA talent currently resides with Zuffa. Dana White has stated that both fighting organizations will stay separate from each other, but do we really see that happening as we gaze in our crystal ball? Seriously, that's a terrible idea. Assuming GSP defeats Jake Shields, here's what I think...

Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz was arguable the best fighter not in the UFC. Now that they are all under one roof, why not have a Strikeforce/UFC welterweight superfight? GSP hasn't had any challenges at welterweight since he took the title from Matt Hughes in their second fight(the Matt Serra loss was a fluke). By having GSP and Daiz fight, it gives Zuffa the chance to make an even bigger superfight in the future by having an actual undisputed welterweight champ by unifying both titles. Then that winner can go on to face Anderson Silva. But only if he can rise to the challenges that I think he should face...

Anderson Silva must fight Yushin Okami as soon as both fighters are available. The UFC has dicked around with Okami for awhile and it is time they give Okami a shot. So, while GSP/Diaz and Silva/Okami are scheduled, Zuffa should name Michael Bisping and Chael Sonnen coaches for the Ultimate Fighter. The winner gets the UFC middleweight champ, the loser fights the previous title fight loser. Not a bad final four group. Then, in the midst of all this, Strikeforce middleweight champ Ronaldo Souza should defend his title against MTV Bully Beatdown host and former ICON middleweight champ Jason "Mayhem" Miller. Winner of that fight then defends that title against the current UFC middleweight champ.

If Nick Diaz and Mayhem Miller survive all this, then they must fight to unify their hatred for each other, whether there are titles on the line or not.

I think the MMA community deserves to see Nick Diaz take on GSP. Diaz would be the toughest opponent GSP has faced. Also, we deserve to see Sonnen fight Anderson again. The only problem with that is that Sonnen doesn't really deserve another title shot based on his out of the octagon problems. Whatever happens, happens.

MLB NEWS 4-12-11

By: Clay

-Carlos Delgado will announce his retirement tomorrow.
-Lastings Milledge cleared waivers and accepted a Triple-A assignment from the White Sox.
-The Cubs have signed lefty Doug Davis. Davis will earn a $900K pro-rated salary in the Majors with the chance to earn close to $2MM with incentives.
-Pitcher Ian Snell is considering a return.
-The Blue Jays signed Dewayne Wise to a minor league deal.