Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Deck the halls with Errant Balls

The Christmas season is officially upon us. Snow is falling, children are laughing, and rabid parents are stomping one another at the local malls to get their hands on the latest Rainbow Bright or He-Man dolls, or whatever it is the kids are playing with these days.
Something us regular folk often forget though, is that famous sports figures are people too, and that yes, even they have Christmas wishes. Lucky for you readers, Errant Balls sent out a survey to find out exactly what those wishes were, and got some very interesting responses.

Dick Enberg - sportscaster/Celebrator of all things Favre
1. Brett Favre authentic game jersey
2. Brett Favre coin collection
3. Pair of Brett Favre game used underpants to wear on my head during candlelight tributes to my Brett Favre hair doll.

Bill Belichick - Patriots coach/Bastard
1. New digital camcorder
2. To find the son of a bitch who's been cutting the sleeves off all my hoodies
3. Your mother

Kevin Garnett -
Boston Celtics forward/Intense enough to make you pee your pants
1. A looser jersey apparently
2. The heads of all who oppose him for a trophy room
3. To win a 2nd championship and ride off on a unicorn (Anything is possibbbbbllle!!!!)

Eli Manning -
NY Giants QB/True believer
1. Another Super Bowl ring
2. To finally see my wife's boobies
3. The new Hess Truck (I hear it's back and it's better than ever!)

CC Sabathia -
NY Yankee pitcher/Scrooge McDuck rich
1. A ridiculous contract
2. Hahahahahahahaha
3. N/A

Terrell Owens -
Dallas Cowboys WR/Self proclaimed media villian
1. One year's supply of popcorn
2. Yoga mat for driveway crunches
3. An invite to Tony and Jason's secret club meetings

Plaxico Burress - NY Giants WR/Self mutilator
1. Hand gun permit
2. Self-suture kit
3. A very special car

Dick Vitale - Beloved sportscaster/Raging psychopath
1. Hair plugs
2. A UNC/Duke game EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR BABYYYYY!!! (Coughs, grabs chest, collapses)
3. Defibrillator

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The biggest reasons to love the NFL in '08

After a short hiatus to focus on finding an actual paying job (I know, what kind of blogger talk is that?), Errant Balls is back! And have no fear, the search will no longer interfere with my weekly posts... because I've given up. So while I still have a computer and have not yet been forced into legitimate bummery, enjoy the biggest reasons I have loved the NFL so far in 2008.

The Manning Paradigm Shift
A year and a half ago, if you argued that you would honestly prefer Eli Manning as your quarterback over his brother Peyton, John Madden would have hunted you down and crapped in your cereal. We have always known Peyton as the golden boy, and Eli as, well... this. But in 2008? Not so.

Thanks to Eli and the Giants miraculous Super Bowl win, and their continued dominance this season, the argument for the better Manning is no longer such a simple one to solve (not even the good people at Nabisco could nail it down). Peyton still dominates the endorsement racket with an iron fist and a laser, rocket arm, but his Colts have looked unusually beatable this year and he has hardly approached the flashy offensive statistics we're used to.

Bottom line, 2008 has brought us an argument we'd never thought we'd see. So feel free to fight for whichever side you believe in, they're both legit. And if you're expecting to have John Madden crap in your cereal, you'll have to earn it the same way the rest of us do... by publicly endorsing the genius of Frank TV.

Just Say No to Diuretics
You've got to love this scandal that has popped up about an illegal substance that players didn't know was in a suppliment, but the league knew, but decided not to tell them, and didn't put the suppliment on their banned list, and let the players take it, and now apparently is forced to stringently adhere to its banned substances rules. Wait.... what?

Since when is the NFL such a staunch opponent of "banned substances"? I don't see anyone up in arms questioning how a mid-thirties Ray Lewis is suddenly playing like a coked up bull again. And why, if they knew this product contained a banned substance, would they not inform players? Now we've got ongoing court cases outside of the league to determine whether or not players, some on possible playoff teams (sorry Vikings, but this is karma for all the raping and pillaging your people did), could justifiably be suspended for the remainder of the season.

If the NFL is so worried about mystery performance enhancers, they may want to take a closer look at those 5 Hour Energy shots. At 4 bucks a pop they taste like donkey urine and have rendered Braylon Edwards' unable to catch a football. Now that's a real concern.

Plaxico Bullets
What can I say that hasn't already been said about this gem of a story? The Giants all pro wideout has provided the sports world at large with one of the most hilarious and retarded injury stories in recent history, and all I can really say.... is thank you.

Now all that's left to be offered is advice for those athletes who could potentially make the same mistakes. It won't be nearly as priceless the second time around, so here are a few hot tips to avoid this kind of trouble...

- Just because Jay Z makes your sweatpants doesn't mean they meet gun-toting regulations: Sweatpants can hardly be trusted to safely secure your chap stick. So be sure to wear proper, holster equipped legwear at all times when carrying your loaded firearm into a club.
- "Bleeding good in the neighborhood" is probably not the best alibi: If you are a major sports figure in the biggest media town in the world, just suck it up and admit what happened. Going to a hospital and telling them your name is Harris Smith, and that you were shot at a local Applebee's only adds to the ridicule you will already fall victim to. Please, limit your critics material. And if you're absolutely intent on taking a chance with a lie, at least have some riblets in a to-go container to solidify your story.
- Learn from Cheddar Bob: Remember your reaction when that kid accidentally shot himself in 8 Mile? Now picture the entire world having that exact same reaction about you... yeah, just leave the gun at home.
Honorable Mentions
- The auto industry crisis isn't nearly the worst thing happening to Detroit: The Lions are so laughably horrible I actually wondered if Dan Orlovsky purposely ran out of his own endzone in hopes of at least salvaging a clip on Dick Clark's blooper special from this season. And talk about throwing a guy under the bus, how could they so heartlessly pin this on Matt Millen after allowing him only 7 years to completely decimate the franchise?

- Will Pennington shoot down the Jets?: The noodle armed, baby faced quarterback was shamelessly cast aside by the Jets to make room for the cannon armed, all-that-is-man Brett Favre this offseason. Now the supposedly hapless Dolphins are part of the 3-way tie for the lead atop the AFC East and Pennington is an MVP candidate. So if the Fins pull off a miracle and make it to the postseason, does Chad inherit Brett's soul like in the Highlander movies? We'll know that for sure if the '09 Pennington sheds tears at every post-game press conference and dons suddenly omnipresent beard stubble.

- Dallas: The Reunion Show: There is simply no denying the intrigue and drama that is stirring up once again in '08 for America's Team. They came into the season Super Bowl favorites, now going into week 15, the 'Boys are clinging to the last playoff spot in the NFC. Suddenly, putty-faced owner Jerry Jones takes issue with his running back not toughing it out through a pinky toe injury, but has no problem with his quarterback sitting out with a pinky finger injury. Has such a blatant case of pinky-bigotry ever been witnessed?
Plus, I heard T.O. is sleeping with Jessica and that DeMarcus Ware helped deliver their bastard love child backstage at the American Music Awards.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A column for change

As you may or may not have heard, apparently we are in a time of change. Last night Senator Barack Obama was victorious in one of the most historic Presidential elections in our nation's history. The President elect rode a platform built on the promises of the change we need. He is young, he is the first African American elected to this office, he is charismatic, and evidently he is looking to shake things up. But most important to Errant Balls, he told Chris Berman he'd like to change the college football BCS to an 8-team playoff... now that is a candidate we can endorse! He clearly has his finger on the nation's most pressing issues, so in honor of his election, here are the rest of the big changes coming down in the sports world this past week.

- After the Phillies won the World Series, Philadelphia officially earned the right to call itself the City of Champions for the first time in over 20 years. Hopefully this change in fortune will bring about some similarly positive changes in the way Philly sports fans choose to celebrate. Maybe the traditional booing of beloved holiday icons will be replaced merry rejoicing, and maybe the ritual beat down of fans in visiting team jerseys (regardless of age or sex) will be replaced by, I don't know... the wave?

- In the first blockbuster trade of the NBA season, perennial All-Star Allen Iverson was traded to the Detroit Pistons. While this is a big change for the Pistons this year, who have evidently gone from the most team-based mentality in the league to the "let's sign a guy who takes more shots than our whole team combined" mentality, the real change could come 2 years down the road. Many say this is a veiled attempt at freeing up the cap space necessary to make a push for LeBron James in 2010. But really, convincing the biggest star in the sport to leave his unhappiness behind in Cleveland and come play in Detroit? That's like ditching the let downs of the Econo Lodge for the luxuries of a Super 8...

- The hot stove of the MLB free agent market is beginning to heat up, and many big names can be expected to change teams this offseason. The biggest name perhaps, being Manny Ramirez. Will LA be able to re-sign him? Or will we see the famous Manny doo rag and filthy braids combo in yet another color next year? One thing is for sure, his agent Scott Boras had better keep an extremely close eye on Ramirez at all times in the negotiating process. Otherwise, he could turn around to see his precarious client eating the orange crayon he just used to sign a 6-year contract that pays him in pogs and non-toxic paste to play for the Kansas City Royals.

- Rather than allowing him to play, buying him out, trading him, or waiving him, the Knicks have elected to take a different approach with beleaguered guard Stephon Marbury; pay him $21.9 million to sit on the sidelines. In an effort to alleviate the awkwardness of having him sitting at the end of their bench though, the likely next step will be a $5 million bonus for him to position himself discreetly amongst the crowd during games.

- In a move that head coach Romeo Crennel insists was not spurred on by the vicious booing of Cleveland fans, untested quarterback Brady Quinn will finally make his first NFL start on Thursday with only one day of practice to prepare. Crennel elected to make the change after Derek Anderson and the Browns dreadful collapse that led to a 37-27 loss to the Ravens last Sunday. Browns center Hank Fraley was the first to publicly discredit the move, which was likely a product of being less than thrilled with the thought of this guy being directly behind him so often.

- Are the Yankees changing their ways? In yet another move trending away from the huge free agent spending in the organization's recent past, the Bombers declined to pick up the options of two such players, Jason Giambi and Carl Pavano. With the first base slugger and the pitcher who had impressed them so much as an opponent failing to pan out though, it seems the Yankees may have learned some valuable lessons. Plus, with the cap space freed up in their absence the Yanks will now be able to throw their hat in the ring for Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia*, and Jake Peavy. (* It is unlikely however, that the Yankees will be able to match the Brewers offer to Sabathia for his choice of the racing sausages on a hoagie roll, so might as well just make that A.J. Burnett).

- It seems as though the Dan Orlovsky era is over in Detroit, as retired quarterback Daunte Culpepper has evidently changed his mind about retirement (and self respect), and has signed a contract to play for the Lions. The former Viking, who had one of the game's most prolific seasons only 3 years ago, could start for the bumbling Lions as early as this Sunday. As head coach Rod Marinelli put it: "We didn't even bother to tell our last quarterback that you're not allowed to run out the back of your own endzone... So no, we aren't stressing too hard about Daunte's lack of preparation coming in."

- For the first time in 17 years, the New Jersey Devils will be forced to man the crease with someone other than the greatest goalie of all time. Martin Brodeur suffered the first major injury of his historic and enduring career, and will miss 3-4 months of time after undergoing surgery to repair his injured elbow. In the mean time the Devils will now likely turn to backup Kevin Weekes to be their first, new everday starter since Brodeur made his career debut on the same night as the series finale of 21 Jump Street.

- In the face of so many changes, I'd like to close with the comfort of one thing that remains constant in our sports loving lives: John Daly's continued attempts at making changes are still failing miserably... and hilariously. The Chris Farley of the PGA was picked up by police at a Hooters restaurant in North Carolina last week after he appeared "intoxicated and uncooperative." The oft-troubled golfer was held by police overnight to sober up, as he had arrived with a touring group and had no means of transportation (Just as an aside: If you are a Hooters waitress and see John Daly arrive at your establishment in a party bus, is it the equivalent of watching this approach Tokyo?) His explanation? "They called 911 because I was sleeping with my eyes open and they thought I was dead." Wow. I've got nothing on that John... we love you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The week in photo captions you didn't see

It's 1:41pm and you have already officially thrown in the towel on doing anything productive with the rest of your afternoon at work. So naturally, rather than finding some way to build up your motivation, you turn to the savior that is the world wide interwebs to pass the devastating time that remains until the day is through. The only problem is, even surfing the internet has become a daunting task for the uber-sluggish members of the modern work world. All of that clicking and typing only to come across something that actually excites you every 10 to 20 minutes? Please, don't remind me.
Well have no fear, because here at Errant Balls we understand the plight of the idle, fruitless employee (as evidenced by the fact that this is being posted while at work on a Wednesday morning). So we bring it all to you here in one place. All of the most exciting photos of the past week in sports with the real captions that will melt your time away. Just click, and enjoy...

"Here, you throw this. I hear my cellie blowin' up on the sideline and I'm pretty sure it's that call I've been expecting from the Bears GM."

"Needless to say, our 401k was only worth $37.50."

"It's okay to cry Brad. I don't think you're too old!"

"Yes, yes I am here. Now sportscasters everywhere shower me with clever Jesus Shuttlesworth references!"

"Ummm, I think I'm gonna need a little help getting Jimmy out of the infield."

"Yeah that's her! That's the sideline reporter that I'm not supposed to be 'within 50 yards' of!"

"I am NOT losing to the Rams. Okay make the offer, 10k to each ref if they don't call a single penalty on us."

"Look, I don't know what you people want to hear from me. I'm only halfway through the book here myself."

"What do I have to do? Go wrist deep for you to make the right call?!"

"Okay, okay man. Be cool. We all know you're better than me, you can have the damn armrest."

"I swear on my mother. I don't know what you saw on TV but we are the only ones here!"

"Being 0-8 just gives us more reasons to devote extra practice time to our audition routine for the next season of America's Best Dance Crew."

"Well, in my day we played the game like it was meant to be played and only the gays wore headbands!"

"Bunch of birds got into that open Taco Bell truck behind the stadium... I'd be careful, it's getting pretty ugly out there."


"You heard the guys from the center for disease control, no more high fives until we get this whole staph infection mess under control. Let's go to the mid-air ass bump!"

"You are a mediocre fan at best and all you care about is yourself! You know, we'd all be a lot better off if you'd just get the hell outta here and hit the showers!"

"Stupid friggin hat! I didn't even hear him hit the ball!"

"I don't care how many people are watching we shouldn't have to hide our love any longer!!!"

"What? You think you're better than me with all of that fancy hair and your precious eyebrows?"

"AHHH! Got me right in the God damn bursa sac!"

"Dude, our flight over here from San Diego was like 86 hours. I'm seriously stuck in this position."

"That's what I have to say to sticking around Cleveland any longer than I have to."

"I'm winning with the Dolphins! I am ALL that is MAN!!!... Even in teal and orange!"

"You're offensive line may hate you Ben, but I'll be your BFF."

"Ahh my foot! Someone get me a hot bath of Epsom salts and the DVD box set of Murder She Wrote stat!"

"I didn't truly believe I had what it takes to be the starter until Larry Johnson spat that drink in my face and told me he'd kill me... thanks for the kick in the pants I needed LJ, you're a good friend."

"Don't feel too bad Vince. At least coach didn't give you Mike Golic's number and a NutriSystem brochure."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Championship showdown

Errant Balls brings you the point by point breakdown of both teams in the upcoming World Series. So before you choose sides, check out our detailed analysis of what really matters heading into the fall classic.

Nickname -
What exactly is a Phillie? I can't imagine some intellectual braintrust toiled for weeks on end coming up with this gem. The Philadelphia Phillies is on par with the Houston Texans for the least creative nickname in all of sports. Do you think anyone would really fear the Red Sox if they were called the Boston Massachusites? Don't bother, the answer in no. That's strike one Phillies.

Mascot - Phillie Phanatic
It's hard to say what exactly the Phanatic is, he seems as though he may be the progeny of some horribly mixed up muppet orgy. In any case I don't know what the hell it's supposed to be... but I like it. The Phanatic not only touts the reputation of being one of the most well known mascots in all of sports, but he is also a bonified badass. Look into his eyes. You know what that look says?
"Don't cross me man... you don't know what I'm capable of..." Even the cops know you can't be too careful when it comes to this rebel full of wild-eyed Philly pride.

Team superstition -
Rubber Ducky
The Phillies have figured out the secret of how to stay relaxed amidst the crushing pressure of the World Series... rubber duckies in everyone's locker. Evidently this is a reference to the old saying "Get the rubber duck out of your butt." Now I'm not sure if it's just me here, but I have never heard anyone say that in my entire life. I've heard "get the stick out of your ass," but then again, I can see how putting sticks in each player's locker may not have translated either. All in all... kind of a lame attempt at team unity.
A room full of grown men that each have their own rubber ducky? This doesn't say easy going baseball team, but it screams N.A.M.B.L.A. meeting. No good.

Celebrity fan -
David Boreanaz?
I don't know that this even counts, but it's all I could find after scouring the interwebs to find out who was the most famous Phillies fan. So while he may not be as high profile as the Yanks' Billy Crystal or Boston's Stephen King, he is technically famous, and he'll have to do.
You may recognize him from Fox's "hit" show Bones, but that is based on the assumption that you have at some point been the victim of forced audio-visual torture sessions. It is more likely though, that you remember our friend David as the unkillable-but-loveable-heartthrob-of-a-bloodsucker Angel, from his days on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (take a moment to scoff dismissively as though you didn't watch it... now look around cautiously to see that no one is paying attention... and proceed to squeal for joy at the thought of catching up with the box set of DVD's as soon as you get home).
So it's true that he's not the most notable of celebrity fans. But hey, it could be a lot worse.

Karmic hindrance sure to haunt them -
Brett Myers
Does it seem strange to anyone else that while an entire city is cheering wildly for the scrappy at bats and big-game mound presence of a veteran pitcher, they are quietly brushing aside the whole domestic battery thing? For each unlikely hit he picks up are we allowed to just forget each smack he laid down? I know the Philly fan base doesn't exactly have the reputation for being the most warm-hearted, but even the media is giving this guy a free pass as they shower him with praise.
To be fair though the events of that night were alleged, and I am as hesitant as the rest of you to just blindly believe that this seemingly timid gentleman would engage in such deplorable behavior.

Nickname - Rays
With their brand new, non-Satan related nickname the organization has seemingly closed the book on one of the most unsuccessful runs in sports franchise history. So you already have to like how positively their nickname has affected them.
They adopted what I like to call the Incredible Hulk approach, copying the success Marvel Studios had when it slightly changed the name of an unwatchable turd of a movie they'd already made, did it all over, and pretended as though the first one never even happened.
Devil Rays? Why sir... I have no idea what you're talking about.

Mascot - Raymond
Like his counterpart the Phillie Phanatic, Raymond also falls into the great litany of mascots that are completely nonsensical and totally unexplainable beings. From what I can gather he seems to be what Falcor the Luck Dragon from The Neverending Story would look like if he put on a baseball cap and then sneezed his brains out.
In any case though, I still like what he brings to the table. Forget having a mascot that actually represents your team name, that is so cliche . Just throw a jersey on the thing you pulled out of your clogged vacuum and let him dance on the dugouts all night long!

Team superstition -
The Rayhawk
What says team unity more than looking like unemployable, bring-down-the-man, fight for your right to party punks together? Nothing my friends, that's what. It's way more hip than the overdone playoff beard. And it's way more hardcore seeing a stadium full of these people, than it is bestowing your playoff hopes on some poor helpless animal.
The Rays have already established it, they're the too cool to care younger brother of the rest of the Major Leagues. And after they win the World Series... they're going to take the car without permission, smash the mailboxes of established veterans, toilet paper old man Selig's place, and swing by Jeanne Zelasko's house to show her what's what.

Celebrity fan-
Dick Vitale
Say what you want about Dicky V., but you can't ever call him a fair weather fan. The inimitable Mr. Vitale has held Rays season tickets since their inception, and now that they're actually winning... he's losing his friggin' mind BABYYY!! As evidenced by his gleeful dancing during game 7 of the ALCS, Dick is either ecstatic to see the Rays finally succeeding, or he is trying desperately to fend off an attacker just out of the frame. Either way, he's there, and he is making his presence felt.
And if you're the Rays, you've got to like the advantage of having the loudest mouth in broadcasting on your side. Just sit his ass directly behind the 3rd base dugout and watch as he systematically dismantles the collective psyche of the Phillies with an unstoppable barrage of inane catch phrases and carelessly frivolous alliteration!

Karmic hindrance sure to haunt them -
Steve Irwin
I'm sorry to bring it up, but it had to be said. For as loveable as the 2008 Rays are, we cannot forget just how deadly they can be. Not long ago one of television's most beloved and entertaining personalities was taken from us too young at the hands (barb) of a Ray. The Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's tragic death was a sobering reminder that even what we believe in the most can suddenly turn on us in an instant.
When it comes to sports we all love to see a good Cinderella story, but the Rays and their fans must be wary. They have made it all the way to the World Series on an improbable and seemingly unbreakable wave of success, but pride can be a dangerous thing. And if they're not too careful, by this time next week all of the happiness and hope put on this team could be snatched away by the unexpected and devastating sting of a Phillies sweep.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An odd week to say the least

The past week in sports turned out quite a few unexpected occurrences, and we run through them one by one.

Rays beating up on the BoSox
Regardless of their miraculous regular season it was still difficult to see this one coming. These are the Devil Rays after all, even if by a slightly different name. Maybe Boston should consider going as the Crimson Pantyhose before this season is a distant memory. This youthful team's roster has impressed in all facets of the game and garnered so many "young stud" compliments from commentators you'd think Mike Piazza was working the booth.

So who knows where the magic lies? It could be in Joe Maddon's rayhawk, or it could be in the frenzied yells of Grant Balfour threatening to burn your home to the ground, but any way you slice it the Rays are looking like a legitimate World Series favorite (tell me you called that last year and I promise I will have Balfour slap the lying teeth right out of your mouth).

Phillies' heroes come in pint sized or chunky
The Dodgers looked like the hottest team in baseball coming into the NLCS, but that took a quick turn once the Phillies bats caught fire. Shane Victorino (whose nickname is the Flyin' Hawaiian in case you had the games on mute for all of the 5 bazillion times announcers feel the need to mention it) has shown us two significant things during these playoffs; first, that he enjoys foods so thoroughly nauseating that he's being pleaded with to no longer eat them, and second, that he is a 5'9"monster at the plate.

On the opposite side if the size spectrum, is pinch hit hero Matt Stairs. I know what you're thinking, and the answer is yes, Matt Stairs still plays baseball. And his go-ahead homer in the 8th inning of game 4 gave the Fightin's a 3 games to 1 lead. The jury is still out however, on the likelihood that stairs may just be this man in disguise, back for one more shot at Philly glory.

Are the New York Jets phasing out the Jets?
For the second time in three home games the Jets donned their "throwback" Titans of New York uniforms against the Bengals this week. Now to be fair they have won both contests, so this isn't to say they shouldn't have worn them, it's more to ask why.

Why are they wearing these hideous blue and cat-poop yellow, Tecmo bowl-reject-looking monstrosities rather than their actual team colors? Why are they allowed to wear Titans jerseys when there is already a team in the league called the Titans? And more than anything, why are these considered throwbacks? A throwback is supposed to be a retro version of your team's old duds. But they weren't the Jets back then, so this isn't much of a Jets throwback. Does this mean we can expect the Ravens throwbacks to be Cleveland Browns or Baltimore Colts jerseys?

I say if they want to sport jerseys for a team that only existed until 1963, then they should have to use the 1963 equipment along with it. So you can keep your trendy alternate jerseys, just be prepared to enjoy them with a side of devastating injuries!

Some other quick-hit notables
Madden's Favre-like streak of games called coming to an end; Exorbitant gas prices make it unrealistic to run a bus full of John Madden's food supply, and John Madden, cross country so often.

Lions reaching levels of ineptitude once thought impossible; No longer bothering to even teach players the rules.

NFL order of position hierarchy thrown into tailspin as kicker takes egregious liberties with celebration.

Rather than being annihilated by washed up old man (Ken Shamrock), Kimbo Slice lit up by last minute replacement, pink-haired, smoothie stand manager. Looks like it's back to fighting bums for you good sir!

Adam "Pacman" Jones suspended again... whoops... wait that was for next week's column; "A predictable as the tides and in no way odd week to say the least."

Klitschko disposes of opponents, hangs on to soiled diapers; Champ uses "wee covered nappies" to ease his sore fists. Side note: If i ever see this ogre walking down the street with diapers strapped to his fists I'm sure I will promptly wee my nappies and hand them over.

China's focus shifts from underage gymnasts to the unruly public urination of drunken ping pong champions.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2008 MLB What if's?

With the 2008 MLB regular season in the books, Errant Balls has got some questions we'd like answered...

What if Manny Ramirez didn't cornhole the Red Sox?

He may have a collection of pop-up books more comprehensive than most pre-schools, but he's no fool, and there is no denying that Manny Ramirez totally played the Red Sox. By completely dogging it in Boston he raised the question of just how good the Sox could have been. Sure they got solid production in return with Jason Bay and they're still in the playoffs, but if they kept Manny and he put up the insane numbers he has in LA there is little to no doubt the Sawks would have blown away the Rays in the AL East, and left their playoff opponents in a cloud of dreadlock dust on their way back to the Series.

What if the Yankees' bodies didn't fall apart?

It has been fairly well publicized that the Bombers took their league-high payroll and rode it to an early vacation in 2008, but there is also no denying injury played a huge role. The collective losses of Chien Ming-Wang, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Alex Rodriguez and not to mention the unexpected absence of Carl Pavano made it so even a supposedly washed up pitcher tossing 20 wins couldn't save their season. But frankly, this is how it had to be, and even as Yankee fans we understand.
What if the Yankees enjoyed great success in Hank Steinbrenner's first year running the show? How much more of a self-entitled super douche could this guy have become? It could have reached apocalyptic levels, and God just could not allow that to happen to the good people of planet Earth.

What if Willie Randolph really wasn't the problem?

Willie Randolph was unceremoniously dismissed from his position as the manager of the Mets because he didn't get results. Upon his dismissal, the Mets have gotten the same exact result they did with him around.
But what if the reason the Mets are yielding the same crappy results each year is because they are a team made up of young, inconsistent talent and old, over-paid injury connoisseurs that are all held together by no discernable leader in the clubhouse? And who better to receive a 4-year extension than the mastermind architect of this hapless squad?
Strap in Mets fans, it may be a long road ahead.

What if we have an LA Freeway World Series?

Here at Errant Balls we are all for good baseball, and an Angels-Dodgers World Series would be just that. But for God's sake, join hands with us and pray as legitimate fans of the game that this doesn't happen.
I am not prepared to endure the World Series coverage of Fox's pre-game interviews with Shia LeBeouf on who he thinks the X-factor in the series will be. Or Miley Cyrus reading off the Dodgers starting line up. I do not need to spend the first three innings of every game watching cameramen scan the crowd to let us know which celebrity hot couples are in attendance... Why? Because no real baseball fan gives a rat's hairy ass. And I swear on all that is holy, if I see Victoria Beckham in a Manny Du-Rag or the Jonas Brothers waving rally monkies I will burn the Fox Sports headquarters to the ground.

What if the Cubs' curse gets worse?

This really seems like it could be the year for the Cubbies doesn't it? And doesn't that make you wonder if this is the year the curse is completely legitimized?
This curse was placed by a bitter, Billy-Goat owning fan. It was perpetuated by a black cat that stared down the club manager. And it was extended by an ill-fated dweeb who had his life ruined for trying to catch a souvenir. That said, it's been weird. If it gets any weirder, are we going to have to admit that this thing might be truly legit? If a hot bird crap from the heavens lands in Kerry Woods' eye and he blows a game seven save in the NLCS... then yes, yes we do.

What if the Rays had kept the Devil in their nickname?

How else is the sudden competence of the Tampa Bay Rays explicable if not for the intervention of some higher power? They remove the Devil part of their team name and suddenly go from one of the most laughably beatable opponents in the league to the champions of baseball's toughest division. Hardly a coincidence.
God smiles upon those who shun his enemy, and God has smiled on the Tampa Bay Rays. Plain and simple. And if they fall short of a championship this year, I say keep the trend running. Ladies and gentleman... your 2009 Tampa Bay Jesus Rays!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Week in Pictures

Let's see those bastards at ESPN try to ignore me this week!

Don't blame us, WE always made the playoffs.

I know, I know, I can't believe they're losing to the friggin' Dolphins either!

I told you guys we should have taken the time to watch that tape of their practice.

125 pitches? Suuuure, not like I was planning on pitching again after this year or anything.

No I don't cry EVERY time a microphone is put in front of me... how could you say such a terrible thing?!

Well I don't think it's really fair to pin ALL of the blame on the guy who's in charge of drafting and acquiring all the players.

No I'm not paranoid about the Mets, I have all of the confidence in the world... Oh God we're so f*cked!

Just give me the twenty bucks now Holmgren, I told you we could smoke the Rams with only half a team.

Okay, this is officially worse than the motorcycle crash.

Still proving all of the nay-sayers who said being 2 foot 3 would hurt my football career wrong!

Yeah you might be beating us, but that won't stop me from loving the iconic anthem "In the Navy!"


I'm guessing O.J. being O.J. isn't gonna be a viable argument here?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Top Headlines from NFL Week 1


Brett Favre’s debut in a Jets uniform was a resounding success in a 20-14 win over the Miami Dolphins. Sure beating the Fins isn’t exactly unheard of (I myself beat them twice last year), but Favre looked impressive putting up 192 yards through the air and throwing for 2 touchdowns, both of which were henceforth followed with celebrations of boyish jubilation and love for the game. You’ve got to enjoy the stark contrast between sports and the real world though; Favre throws a TD and proceeds to run around whooping and hollering and is praised for his youthful exuberance for the job… I do it once behind the deli counter after an exceptionally sliced pound of peppercorn turkey and suddenly I “might be retarded” and my slicer privileges are revoked.


Despite coming out of week one with a win, Patriots fans all over the New England area are “fah-kin ovah-whelmed with dev-uh-stay-shun” after losing Tom Brady for the season only 8 minutes into their first game. After taking a hit to the knee from Chiefs’ safety Bernard Pollard, Brady crumpled to the ground screaming in pain, and the grand opening of the new CBS Scene sports bar in Foxboro was marred by flash floods of Beantown tears. Personally, I don’t see what they’re so worried about. If this Brady-Cassel thing follows suit with the dynamics of the Bledsoe-Brady changeover, Matt Cassel will lead the Pats to 12 straight Super Bowl victories on his way to becoming the new Supreme Overlord of Earth.

The offensive attack of the Dallas Cowboys looked as effective as ever, putting up 4 TD’s and a total of 487 yards on the ever popular sleeper pick Cleveland Browns, and verifying themselves as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. While few were surprised by the efficiency on offense of Romo, Barber, and T.O., critics of the Cowboys’ defensive acquisitions were shocked to learn that Tank Johnson didn’t bring a single firearm to the game and that Adam “Pacman” Jones was only cited for one misdemeanor in 4 quarters of play. Bravo gentleman… looks like America’s team is back.


The Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay started off on a positive note on Monday night, as the new face of the Pack led them to a 24-19 victory over the rival Vikings, and only a dozen or so fans committed suicide when a name that wasn’t Favre was announced over the loudspeaker as the QB (far fewer than the pregame estimates of between two and three hundred). Rodgers looked steady and confident in his debut, throwing for 178 yards and a TD, and adding another on the ground. He even got his first shot at taking the Lambeau leap, which was successful only when fans were able to alleviate his short jump by pulling him into the crowd by his freakishly enormous shnozz.

The Raiders continued their astonishingly futile post-Super Bowl run with a horrendous Monday night performance against the Denver Broncos. This once highly touted rivalry was turned into a complete humiliation the likes of which made first year receiver Eddie Royal look like he must be the lovechild of Jerry Rice and Mercury Morris (Royal hung 146 yards and a TD on Raiders “star” corner DeAngelo Hall). The Raiders horrid defense allowed Jay Cutler to pick them apart for 299 yards, and their supposedly revamped offense wasn’t able to score until the 4th quarter when the game was already out of reach. And the worst part… the fans seemed shocked! I’m sorry Raider faithful, but no amount of commitment to the team or willingness to dress like Gwar is going to change the fact that your squad stands no chance of recovery so long as it is still run by this guy.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

2008 NFL Predictions Part II: NFC

It's time for Errant Balls' to tap into our psychic powers and conjure up predictions you'll surely see come to light during the 2008 NFL season. So read on for part II, insights on the NFC.

Dallas Cowboys- The offseason gamble off adding troubled corner Adam “I’m not Pacman anymore” Jones will pay off in dividends… dividends which will come in the form of hundreds and hundreds of dollar bills.

New York Giants- The Giants will elect to have Tom Coughlin coach from a heated booth starting in early November, in an attempt to avoid having to deal with his face falling off midgame.

Philadelphia Eagles- Quarterback Donovan McNabb will boldly predict 12 wins for his Eagles, and that he will only vomit on the field during 9 of them!

Washington Redskins- First year Redskin Jason Taylor will revolutionize the touchdown dance when he recovers a fumble, runs it back 50 yards for a quick 6, and proceeds to Samba with the sideline judge.

Chicago Bears- On average, 2.5 million fans per week will utter the phrase “I can’t believe Kyle Friggin’ Orton is a starting NFL quarterback” while watching the Bears game.

Detroit Lions- Recently released running back Tatum Bell will return to the Lions locker room on several occasions to continue his revenge through thievery; stealing Matt Millen’s wide receivers only draft board, Roy Williams’ trash talking thesaurus, and Christmas.

Green Bay Packers- No Brett Favre and you’re living in Green Bay, Wisconsin? Is it viable that an entire city be put on suicide watch?

Minnesota Vikings- Thanks to the super productive Adrian Peterson and a surprisingly efficient year by Tarvaris Jackson, the Vikes will win their division and make a run deep into the playoffs. Neither of which is nearly as cool as the Sex boat scandal… Where have you gone Fred Smoot? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you…

Atlanta Falcons- Rookie quarterback Matt Ryan will devastate the already beleaguered Falcon fans when it is revealed he is the mastermind behind an international midget tossing ring.

Carolina Panthers- When asked by sideline reporter Suzy Kolber about a dropped ball in the 4th quarter that could have cost his team the game, Steve Smith will punch her in the face.

New Orleans Saints- The offseason acquisition of tight end Jeremy Shockey will cause more irreparable damage to the city of New Orleans than its glancing blow with Hurricane Gustav.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs will suffer due to the complete absence of kickers or punters on the team, a repercussion of Coach John Gruden’s unorthodox decision to keep 9 quarterbacks on his roster.

Arizona Cardinals- Kurt Warner will strangle the life out of Matt Leinart when photos of the young quarterback hitting a beer bong with Warner’s 18 year-old daughter surface on

St. Louis Rams- The Rams will be forced to ban Howie Long, hall of famer and father of their first round draft choice Chris Long, from locker room access after he continually pushes to make the young players watch Firestorm during film sessions.

San Francisco 49ers- Recently named starting QB J.T. O’Sullivan will win most improved player of the year, but will be asked by league officials to kindly refrain from removing his helmet and revealing his carnie-freak face during the trophy presentation.

Seattle Seahawks- Spurned former running back Shaun Alexander will make a desperate attempt at regaining his spot on the team, claiming to be Tiki Barber at a midseason tryout.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2008 NFL Predictions Part I: AFC

It's time for Errant Balls' to tap into our psychic powers and conjure up predictions you'll surely see come to light during the 2008 NFL season. So read on for insights on the AFC, and be sure to check back on Thursday for the NFC segment!

Buffalo Bills- The Bills will struggle with team chemistry after it is revealed that Marshawn Lynch has been the one dinging up their cars in the parking lot.

Miami Dolphins- Thanks to the addition of new quarterback Chad Pennington, a surprisingly competitive Fins squad will win more than 5 games by systematically dismantling opposing defenses... in 6 yard increments.

New England Patriots- The coach/quarterback honeymoon in New England will end when it is revealed that the Tom Brady/Gisele sex tape that is leaked onto the internet was actually taped by a Patriots video assistant on orders from Bill Belichick.

New York Jets- Not only will the Jets compete with the Pats for the division title thanks to the cannon arm of Brett Favre, but the field in Giants Stadium will remain flawless throughout the season thanks to Favre's meticulous off-day mowing routines.

Baltimore Ravens- Despite issues at the quarterback position the Ravens, dubbed "God's team" by Ray Lewis, will begin the year by going a shocking 7-0 out of the gate. Because frankly... even God is a little afraid of Ray Lewis.

Cincinnati Bengals- Recently renamed receiver Chad Ocho Cinco will surprisingly not be the only Bengal to change his moniker, as teammate Chris Henry will officially be known as Inmate #7326 by season's end.

Cleveland Browns- Quarterback Brady Quinn will once again have his sexuality called into question when he celebrates a touchdown by spanking Braylon Edwards... in the team hotel... on a Wednesday... wearing only hotpants and a cape.

Pittsburgh Steelers- The supposedly alleviated "tall receiver" conflict will rear its ugly head around midseason, after a late game Roethlisberger interception prompts a frustrated Hines Ward to demand a quarterback that doesn't "crash and burn."

Houston Texans- Texans' coaches will question backup running back Chris Brown's commitment to the team after he is injured during a performance at the 2008 MTV Video Awards.

Indianapolis Colts- Star quarterback Peyton Manning's focus will suffer as he will once again inundate your television in countless off-field endorsements, including becoming the face of the Infected Bursa Sac Prevention Committee.

Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags will continue to perform above and beyond expectations based solely on the gut-wrenching fear instilled in them by coach Jack Del Rio.

Tennessee Titans- The Titans will see vast improvement from quarterback Vince Young after his unorthodox sidearm delivery is miraculously righted when teammate Albert Haynesworth stomps on his head.

Denver Broncos- Coach Mike Shanahan will be forced by team executives to see a skin specialist as a precautionary measure, after a farsighted ball boy unintentionally grabs his leathery brown face and tries to throw him to a referee.

Kansas City Chiefs- Coach Herm Edwards will break down in tears and take his own life during a week 6 postgame press conference when asked whether he thinks Brodie Croyle really gives them the best possible chance to win.

Oakland Raiders- Owner Al Davis will finally be forcibly removed from his position of power after he attempts a midseason trade of Jamarcus Russell for Ken Stabler and a half dozen beaver pelts.

San Diego Chargers- After playing against doctor's orders Shawn Merriman's knee will actually explode out of his leg in the fourth quarter in week 2. Merriman will return to practice only days later however, after strangely high testosterone levels allow him to grow a new knee within hours.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Seeya next week for an NFL Preview!

Thanks to a long night at a horrible Yankee loss to the friggin' Sawks, Errant Balls is taking a leave of absence this week to grieve the Bombers playoff hopes. Check back in next week for the annual NFL Preview!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The week in pictures

It's been a busy week in sports at home and abroad. And since most of you are lazy and largely illiterate, I'm bringing the news to you in the only way you can absorb it... pictures!

- "Yes another world record is great, but I am chafing like you would not friggin' believe!!"

- "You can't tell, but I'm not even wearing any pants. That's how I roll now. Why? Because I'm Michael Phelps damn it!"

- "Yeah, Rex Grossman is so bad the Bears assumed I'd be a better option at quarterback. It's time to party bitches!"

- "HAHAHA yeah bro, I was worried the Germans might beat us too! You're crazy man. I love you, but you're crazy."

- "What is the deal with all of this 'read the playbook' nonsense? My brain is feeling a bit fatigued."

- "You can take my gold medal record sir... but you can never take my dignity."

- "You may be blowing us out, but let's see how you stand up to my ultra-physical defense... Booby slap!"

- "Some of us are troubled by injury, some of us are troubled by the general statutes of societal law. Whatever, I'm back on the team!"


- "It is ridiculous to assume this is racist. I'll have you know we were suffering from a case of conjunctivitis that spread through the team like wildfire!"

- "What do you mean the commissioner didn't approve of me 'making it rain' reinstatement letters all over his desk?!"

- "Sure I cost the US the gold in the overall competition, but at least I can take solace in the fact that I am still smokin' frigging hot."

- "How in the hell did they come up with ironic 'Gay' headlines so quickly?!"

- "Okay, okay. So I'm not really old enough to be competing in the Olympics. But the only reason we did it is because the girl who was of age was far too hideously ugly to represent our nation on television."

- "That's right, it's time to take the Shawn Kemp child-siring program global baby!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

THE FAV-RUH REPORT: Gun-slinger, world shaker, heartbreaker

It looks as though it is finally over. The off-season battle between everyone’s favorite quarterback and his former employers has finally come to an end. We think. Landing in New York via a trade for conditional draft picks, his arrival will allow Jets fans to repeatedly utter the question Matt Dillon so brilliantly immortalized; What the f*ck is Brett Favre doing here?!

Now don’t fool yourself into thinking this indicates a winding down of Favre coverage (after all, the Chinese calendar did prophetically deem 2008 the year of the charmingly rugged man-boy), because you will still be inundated with every last Favre factoid by every last media outlet in the greater Milky Way, but at least we know where he’ll be now. New York City… er, well… East Rutherford, New Jersey. And you’d better believe Favre’s move east has had quite the ripple effect on the football world.

Luckily, Errant Balls was able to book time with some of those most profoundly affected by his move, and we’re bringing the inside scoop straight to you. So enjoy the insights, intrigue and estimations of the year’s most thrilling saga…


Aaron RodgersQB, Green Bay Packers

Errant Balls: Aaron, this has been quite the tough situation for you. All of the back and forth. Will he? Won’t he? Constant media barrages on how it is affecting you. Sympathy hugs from celebrity hosts. And yet, you seem to be dealing with it quite well. How do you do it?

Aaron: Wel… w… (clears throat). I reall… (coughs). I… (reaches out for glass of water, hand shaking violently spilling it all the while, takes tiny sip) I really just try to control what I can be in control of. I’m a football player, so that’s what I do, I player football. I’m not a controller, so I can’t just control everything. I just try not to obsess too much over things that are out of my control (Clump of hair falls out, casually slouches down to retrieve it and rests it back atop his head). It really hasn’t been as big of a deal as everyone has made it out to be (throws up in corner).

Chad PenningtonQB, Miami Dolphins

Errant Balls: Chad, you saw your time in New York come to an end thanks to Brett Favre. How does that make you feel?

Chad: I don’t know man. I mean, Brett’s one of the greatest of all time. I just don’t know if (making air quotes gesture with hands) “better than below average arm strength” is really as essential as the Jets are making it out to be.

Errant Balls: How do you mean?

Chad: Well I mean just who is it that decided you need to be able to “curl 20 pounds” in order to be a “real pro quarterback”? Sure, I can’t “grow a beard” yet. And yes, when I throw a baseball at the carnival radar game it “doesn’t register.” And maybe my shoulder might “turn to dust” on any given pitch to the running back. But what does that all mean, really? Does that really make Brett any better than me? I mean… “really?”

Eli ManningQB, New York Giants

Errant Balls: Eli, you and the Giants are coming into this season as the defending Super Bowl champs. And yet, in the preseason you have taken second banana in the media thanks to Brett Favre’s arrival in New York. What do you think of sharing the spotlight with another big time quarterback?

Eli: Well let me just say this, I do not mind taking the second banana to Mr. Faver. He is a future hall of famer, so as I go that means he gets dibs on the first banana if he wants it. I can wait my turn. Plus he is like so cool, have you seen those Wrangler commercials? He’s like a real life cowboy. I heard he even slings guns. I wanted to get a BB gun, but Dad said that was no way to spend my Wedding money. Maybe next year… Anyway, I can’t wait to spend time with Mr. Faver in New York. I’m hoping he can give me some sweet beard tips. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve let my scruff grow in a little myself. I’m even thinking of wearing a cowboy hat instead of a helmet this year. But that’s only if Mr. Faver thinks I can pull it off.

John MaddenFormer coach, current commentator/Lover of all things Favre

Errant Balls: Mr. Madden, not only are you a staple of the game of professional football, you are a true fan. Your love for the game and its history is so evident in everything you do. Some might say that over the years, you have expressed more admiration and adoration for one player over any other; that being the incomparable Brett Favre. What will it be like to have Favre suit up in a different uniform this year?

Madden: You know, I’ve been asked that quite a bit so far. But it’s like, (makes trademark, inaudible random Madden noises) brau-huhh, it’s just another year right?! I mean, I like Brett and all, but uh… hauh-hahhh, I’ve got other stuff goin’ on too you know?! BOOM!

Errant Balls: So you haven’t thought too much about seeing Favre in a non-Packer jersey this year?

Madden: Come on! I’ve got too much going on to focus on every little thing the greatest quarterback to ever lace them up does (sniffles). I mean… hauugh, I’ve got endorsements comin’ out the wazoo! How are your feet? Itchy? I can get you free Tinactin… BOOM! Plus I’ve got my video game comin’ out.

Errant Balls: Ah yes, that’s true. And who is on the cover of your game this year again?

Madden: (Begins wailing uncontrollably) BRRRRETTTTTTTT!!! (Rips his shirt off, revealing a green and yellow “Brett Forever” tattoo across his heaving, liver-spotted, old-man breasts) YOU’RE A PAAAAACKERRRRR BRETTTTT! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS???!!!! (Begins rubbing a wedge of Wisconsin sharp cheddar all over his bare body, all the while sobbing hysterically) THE JETTTTS?!! I DON’T WANT TO LIIII-HI-HI-HIVVVVE!!! (Snot drips from nose as he crumples in a heap on the floor) BOO-HOOO-HOO-OOOM!!!

Errant Balls: (Slinks slowly out of the room).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Making the trade

The 2008 trade deadline has come and gone, but it proved to be one of the most active and interesting in recent memory. Here are the break downs for all of the major mid-season moves.

New York Yankees
The Yanks were extremely active at the trade deadline picking up Pudge Rodriguez from Detroit along with Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady from Pittsburgh. While an in-season trade for a starting catcher is a bit of a rarity, landing Rodriguez was a necessity for the Yanks. With Jorge Posada down for the year the alternative option was platooning Jose Molina and Chad Moeller at catcher for the remainder of the season. Both have proven to be effective behind the plate, but largely useless when they stand next to it with that stick in their hands.

The addition of Marte and Nady also filled some noticeable holes in the Yankees lineup, giving them a lefty reliever which they had lacked and a left field bat to alleviate the injuries to Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon. Marte has given up some big hits since coming to the Bronx though, apparently confusing the translation of Bombers, but his fellow former Pirate has been huge. Xavier Nady has racked up 11 RBI and 4 home runs since putting on the pinstripes, and has proven himself quite the preferable alternative to sending Brett Gardner up to the plate with a wet newspaper. Yankees radio announcer John Sterling, who has given us such stimulating sayings as “Jeterian swing” and the always politically correct “A-Bomb from A-Rod!”, has apparently holed himself up creating clever quips for the new left fielder, only emerging unshaven and unwashed to announce Xavier’s heroics with unbridled dickitry . X marks the jackass!

Boston Red Sox
The Sox made the noisiest move of the trade deadline, finally electing to cut the cord from longtime headache Manny Ramirez (cutting the cord is not a metaphor by the way; they literally had to have him on a leash on road trips). In a 3 way deal with the Dodgers and Pirates the Red Sox were able to dump Manny and obtain All Star outfielder Jason Bay.

While it is widely accepted that Jason Bay is no Manny Ramirez, he is a solid producer and could potentially be a much better fit for the Sox chemistry-wise. The organization’s relationship with Ramirez had evidently become so strained they were willing to give up two promising young players and even pay the remainder of his 2008 salary just to get him out of town. Rumor has it they were even offering to throw Kevin Youkilis’ goatee and Dustin Pedroia’s unyielding grittiness into the deal if necessary.

LA Dodgers
LA cashed in on Boston’s dismay with Manny Ramirez, throwing their hat in the ring at the last minute to pick up the slugger. Early in the year the Dodgers weren’t thinking they’d need to make a mid-season addition of a big bat because they had signed Andruw Jones, but that hasn’t exactly panned out as they’d hoped. Dodgers front office officials now say they will not be signing anyone in the future without first thoroughly checking into whether they had become fat and useless the season before.

Manny however, has been on a tear since joining the boys in blue, seemingly relieved from the pressure of doing everything in his power to get the hell out of Boston. Now, out on the west coast, it should be interesting to see how he assimilates himself to Los Angeles. I’m guessing by the end of the year he has a reality show in which he wears a Viking hat and cape and hands out do-rags to possible mates at elimination ceremonies. So keep your eyes out for Finding Mrs. ManRam on VH1.

LA Angels of Anaheim of California of the United States of America of North America
Baseball’s best team made a huge move in signing the premier name available, former Braves first baseman Mark Teixeira. The addition gives the Angel’s a 2-time gold glover at the corner and adds a big bat that potentially makes them the favorite to win it all.

Teixeira fits in perfectly in the offensive scheme, finally giving Vlad Guerrero the protection necessary to keep him from swinging at every horse crap pitch within a 2 meter radius of the plate. Plus, between innings Teixeira can bench press Chone Figgins to bolster his strength and conditioning.

Chicago White Sox
When acquiring a consistently injured player hitting .265 is meant to boost your offense it is a sign of a much bigger problem, but that’s exactly what the White Sox had to do. Thanks to the uber-ineptness of Nick Swisher (.230) and Paul Konerko (.212), Chicago decided to pick up veteran outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. from the Cincinnati Reds.

Griffey seemed refreshed by the idea of joining a team that is actually in contention though (he hasn’t been to the playoffs since 1997) and has been a welcome jolt to the offense hitting safely in 3 of his 7 at bats for the Sox. The big knock is obviously his age and the fact that Chicago will need him to play center field on a fairly consistent basis. But look at it this way, even if Griffey pulls both hamstrings and breaks one of his arms, he still may be more effective than Swisher and Konerko.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NL Questions of contention

The MLB Playoff push is in full swing with July, and the trading deadline coming to a close. So as promised, this week we present the questions that each National League contender must address in their push for the playoffs.

NL East

Mets- The Mets have seen a lot of ups and downs this year, but thanks to the overall inconsistency of the NL East they find themselves in the division lead. The biggest question for the Amazins is their bullpen. As in if you have bullpen insurance, and your bullpen should happen to be wiped out in a “tragic and accidental” fire, are you entitled to an entirely new one?

Phillies- As usual the Fightin’ Phils are in the thick of the NL East race, but you have to wonder if their poor starting pitching will do them in. You’ve got to be a bit worried as a Phillies fan when your 2 and 3 starters are a mid-season acquisition with a 5+ ERA and a 5-12 record, and a guy who is old enough to be that mid-season acquisition’s biological grandfather.

Marlins- The Fish from Florida have been a big surprise thus far, having yet another year where they continue to win with as little as possible. The question here is how long will their minimalist ways continue to work out in their favor? They are like the sports equivalent of your college buddy who saves money and time by doing 5 shots of Devils Springs as soon as he gets to the bar. Sure he’s able to keep pace with everyone else with much less effort, but it’s only a matter of time before he wakes up naked next to some carnie with a fresh tattoo and a new pelvic itch.

NL Central

Cubs- The Cubbies have consistently been one of the league’s best teams this year, and look poised to make a legitimate run at breaking their 100-year curse… that is if nothing gets in the way. We know Bartman turned down $25k for an autograph, but what if the Wrigley Goat accepts the $50k proposition to just start showing and F’ing with everyone’s heads?

Brewers- CC Sabathia has been an absolute horse for the Brew Crew since his acquisition, winning 4 of his first 5 starts that have included 3 complete games. Missing two periods since his arrival in Milwaukee though, you have to wonder if the Brewers are just trying to squeeze as many pitches as possible out of Sabathia before he comes to the realization that he is pregnant.

Cardinals- The Cards have kept decent pace in the Central, but have struggled of late and are dealing with issues at the closer spot. Between Ryan Franklin and Jason Isringhausen the Cards have blown 13 save opportunities. I say bring in the real closer, she has cable’s #1 rated show of all time, she always gets the job done and plus, she knows drama.

NL West

Diamondbacks- Yes the D'backs have the division lead, but they could certainly improve upon it being that they are only one game over .500. Maybe manager Bob Melvin should focus a little more on why his team is hitting only .251 at the plate, and a little less on how much he loves Taco Bell’s new Fruitista Freeze.

Dodgers- The Dodgers are only one game off the division leading D’Backs, and could catch them easily if they could improve on their league 13th best run production. After promoting Don Mattingly to hitting coach recently, don’t be surprised if the boys in blue promote Donny Baseball to actually batting sometime in the near future.

Rockies- The Pittsburgh Pirates have begun trading away some of their best talent, having fallen out of contention in the NL Central, playing .462 ball and landing in last place. The Rockies however, have scorned suitors for their best player Matt Holliday as they are in third and only 6 games back of their division lead, despite playing only .449 ball. The only question I have is, just how bad would these reigning NL champs be if they didn’t play in the division for players with special needs?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AL Questions of contention

With July winding down talks of which teams will make it to baseball's postseason are really starting to pick up. This week we present the questions that each American League contender must address in their push for the playoffs. Check back next week for the National League breakdown.

AL East

Rays- The obvious question for the Rays is whether or not they will be able to keep up their unexpected run. They are a young and talented team, but they are largely unproven and inexperienced. Removing the “Devil” from their nickname has launched them into relevance, now all they have to do is remove this botard from their fan base and they’ll also gain respectability.

Red Sox- The Red Sox are the defending champs and obviously have what it takes to win it all. However, an injury to David Ortiz along with inconsistency from Manny Ramirez does leave them a bit vulnerable. Plus there is always the possibility that Manny gets the wrong in-flight meal and decides to go all “Manny being Manny” on the pilot and kills them all.

Yankees- The Yankees have enjoyed unexpectedly solid pitching, but due largely to inconsistent offensive production and injury, still find themselves in third place. So the question is, just how lucky is this gold thong? Can they clone it so it can be worn by 3-4 players at a time? And can they get a lucky gold bra to pick up Jose Molina’s batting average/bustline?

AL Central

White Sox- The southside boys have shown sparks of brilliance, but overall inconsistency this year. The real question for them is whether or not they will continue to be motivated by Ozzie Guillen’s garble-mouthed, expletive ridden tirades. If Ozzie’s psycho-rants become too passé, he may have to jump it up a notch and just start slaying people (I vote he start with A.J. Pierzynski).

Twins- With the Twins constantly letting their most talented players leave town, Minnesota fans have to wonder if they even want to win. Now one of their own players, pitcher Francisco Liriano, is asking for a union investigation as to why the Twins have not called him up to the majors. So the only real question here is, how the hell do they keep winning when they’re trying so damn hard not to?

Tigers- After an absolutely dismal start, the Tigers have shown at times they can be as dangerous as everyone thought they’d be, putting up 19 runs on 3 separate occasions. On the last occasion however, their “star” catcher Ivan Rodriguez struck out in the 9th inning against the Royals last pitching option, shortstop Tony Pena Jr. They’ll need to know if Major League Baseball will allow them to pinch hit Manager Jim Leyland in Pudge's spot in the order if they’re going to make any sort of run at the playoffs.

AL West

Angels- The Angels own the best record in baseball despite the fact that their team leader in batting average is hitting only .287. Unless their absolutely superb pitching can continue, the Angels may have to begin flapping their arms in hopes for some supernatural help at the plate.

Rangers- The Rangers, thanks in large part to a certain former drug addict you probably haven’t heard much about yet this year, have been unbelievable at the dish so far, landing in the top 3 in every major offensive category. So the question for Texas is whether Josh Hamilton can pitch too, because they also own the league’s worst ERA and batting average against.

A’s- Oakland is still in the hunt as usual, even after trading away most of their key players… as usual. Their trademark trades of talent in order to stockpile youth has got to have you wondering if Billy Beane’s ultimate plan is just to remain mediocre in the majors while dominating the minors with an iron fist for years to come.