Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Five

A little more pop quizzy today on the Five.

1. Name the five quarterback of the famous quarterback class of 1983.

2. Who did Bill Mazeroski hit his famous home run of 1960 World Series ending home run off of?

3. What about Bucky Dent? Who did he hit his playoff ending home run off of in 1978?

4. Who has appeared in the most Rose Bowls?

5. Which sports commercial is the most annoying?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Further Look at Andy Pettitte and the Hall of Fame

After the 2008 season—a season where he pitched better than he had in years—Mike Mussina abruptly retired. Never mind that his ERA was the lowest it had been since 2001; likewise his WAR—the lowest since 2001. And never mind that Moose had won 20 games for the first time in career, putting him at 270 wins for his career. 300 wins—and a guaranteed Hall of Fame invite—was within reach. Figure 2 to 3 more seasons (which the Yankees would happily offer him as they needed the pitching) of 10 to 15-win seasons— a reasonable expectation considering he just came off a 20-win season—and he’d be assured of the Hall.

Instead he left. Gone. Done.

The Mussina exit is interesting because a very similar situation is occurring right now with Andy Pettitte wavering on retiring. Coming off a bounce-back type season—where he had his lowest ERA for the Yankees since 2002—where Andy is showing that there are still rounds left in the lefty’s rifle, why would Pettitte retire? And more to the point of this article, why would he retire when he potentially close to Hall of Fame consideration.

Comparing Andy Pettitte to Mike Mussina—who should expect Hall of Fame consideration when the time comes—one finds very similar pitchers with very similar careers. (So close are these 2, that on Baseball-Reference’s “Similar Pitchers by Age” feature, for Andy Pettitte, the last 4 years that pitcher is Mike Mussina.) Pettitte’s win percentage is .635 compared to Mussina’s .638. Pettitte’s ERA+ is 117; Mussina’s is 123+. Both spent, if not the entirety, the lion’s share of their career in the AL East during the steroid era. And while Mussina’s lifetime WAR of 85.6 trumps Pettitte’s 66.9, Mussina did pitch over 500 more innings than Pettitte. And Pettitte, a well-known big-game pitcher does have 5 World Series rings, compared to Mussina’s zero.

However, where Mussina truly leads Pettitte in Hall of Fame consideration is the benchmark “300 Wins” consideration. Mussina is only 30 away and ended on a 20 game season. Pettitte is 60 away at 240 wins—though again, he does have practically the same win percentage as Mussina. The question is: If Pettitte comes back, what will it take to seriously aid his HOF chances?

At the bottom of’s page on Andy Pettitte, of the 4 Hall of Fame Statistics, Pettitte only rates as a Hall of Famer on one of them—the Hall of Fame Monitor. Pettitte is close on the Hall of Fame Standard statistic, just 8 points away from “average” Hall of Famer.

But is Pettitte really that far off? Compare Pettitte’s career to that of Hall of Famer Juan Marichal. Marichal ended his career with 243 wins, just 3 more than Pettitte. Marichal’s win percentage was .631, just below Pettitte’s .635. Marichal’s ERA+ was 123, just above Pettitte’s 117 ERA+. But consider that 2 important facts; one; Marichal pitched 500 more innings than Pettitte to get his 243 wins at a time when relief pitchers were far less common and two; Marichal pitched in National League during the glory days of pitching of the 1960s, instead of the steroid-era American League East.

Catfish Hunter is another good example. Hunter, a Hall of Famer has a lifetime ERA+ 105, far below Pettitte’s 117. His win percentage of .574 is also far below Pettitte’s Hunter despite that fact that Hunter pitched on the 1970s Yankees and A’s. Hunter though did have 5 20-win seasons compared to Pettitte’s 2, and was a Cy Young winner while Pettite only came in second once. Hunter though, pitched 400 more innings than Pettitte, won 16 fewer games (and lost 26 more) than Pettitte, and has roughly 140 less strikeouts. Like Pettitte, however, he has 5 World Series rings.

But the example I like to use when thinking of Pettitte’s Hall of Fame chances is Don Sutton. Sutton, a Hall of Famer has 324 wins, thereby guaranteeing his admittance. Yet Sutton’s win percentage is far below Andy Pettitte’s, at .559; this despite being on the Dodgers in the 60s and late 70s. Sutton also never won a Cy Young, won 20 games only once and has a much lower K/9 than Pettitte. And like Marichal, pitched in the National League in the non-steroid, glory era of pitchers, while Pettitte’s career enveloped the heart of the Juice Era in the AL East.

Yes, despite the favorable comparisons to Sutton, Mussina, Marichal (as well as Ferguson Jenkins, Phil Niekro, Early Wynn, and Gaylord Perry, among others) the sense is that Pettitte probably isn’t a Hall of Fame pitcher. Why? Because he doesn’t have the benchmark 300 wins and never won a Cy Young. Excepting Marichal, all the guys I mentioned have one or the other. What Marichal had was that he led the league in a number of categories; Wins, ERA, Complete Games, Shutouts, WHIP, ERA+, HR/9 etc, while Pettite only led the league in wins once and HR/9 once, both early in his career.

In a sense, what the zeitgeist is regarding about Pettitte’s Hall of Fame’s chances is that Pettitte didn’t dominate his time. He was a very good pitcher, a tough postseason pitcher, but not the guy the league looked to as the pitcher of his age.

I’m not sure there is anything Pettitte could do to seriously aid his Hall of Fame chances. It’s highly dubious that Pettitte could win a Cy Young if he hasn’t already. The same goes for dominating the WHIP, ERA, or Shutouts categories of the AL. And short of pitching another 4 to 5 seasons of 12-16 wins—something Pettitte doesn’t want to do and might not be able to anyway—Pettite’s chances for the Hall are about as good as they are going to be. If he wins 20 games this season, maybe the Hall would take kinder to Pettite—as they might do with Mussina and his final season—but that is a wild shot on an extremely dark day.

A while back I wrote about Pettitte’s chances for the Hall of Fame, and looking back at that article, I have to say I was wrong. I concluded that Pettitte’s 5 World Series rings would get him in. However, after reviewing my argument, I’d have to say that no, Pettitte won’t get him. While, yes, he did win 5 World Series rings, he was never considered the unquestioned “Ace” of the staff on any of those teams, as say a Whitey Ford was. And yes, his stats may measure up favorably with several Hall of Famers—indeed, in some areas, beats them quite handily—Pettitte has none of the yardstick-type requirements: the Cy Young, the 300 wins, or the sense that he was a the dominating pitcher of his time.

There is the old adage: “It ain’t the Hall of the Very Good. “And after further review, Andy Pettitte was a very, very good pitcher. But not a Hall of Fame one.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Best Logos in Sports (And the Worst)

Logos are important. They represent the team. And in some cases (The Cowboy's Star; the Yankees NY) they can become iconic and represent something more than just the franchise. Here, in no particular order, are some of the best and worst. Rate them and write back with some of your own.

Washington State Cougars:
Excellent Design, incorporating the "W" and "S" into a Cougar profile. Nice.

Rochester Red Wings;
How can you not like a steroid-juiced bird flexing?

Nevada Wolf Pack
Much better than the silly growling NC State logo.

Old New England Patriots Logo
A lot of people hate this old one. I love it. A bad-a$$ Patriot ready to rumble. Awesome. Also, love the fact that this was red, white and blue. No stupid silver (how is silver a patriot color?) to help sell jerseys. Very 70s. Very cool.

Old Idaho Blue Vandals Logo
Another discontinued one. Look at this grizzled dude. Needs a shave. Angry. Totally cool. I would definitely wear him with pride if I lived in Idaho.

Army Black Knights
Great name. Great logo. Nothing else to say. I mean, check it out. He's got a cape.

New Orleans Voodoo
New Arena Football team. Uses city lore. Cool. Bonus points for the skeleton wearing sunglasses

Boston Red Sox
I am a sucker for tradition and simplicity and this Red Sox logo is awesome. Big ups to Boston for going back to their old logo. Nice.

Indianapolis Colts
Speaking of simplicity. Love the simple horseshoe on the Colts here. Only 2 colors to their uniform. no stupid grey or black added—just the 2 colors. Simple, iconic. Awesome.

Richmond Flying Squirrel
There's simple and elegant, and then there;s this. Kudos to the designer for making a logo that's actually kinda neat for team with the name "Flying Squirrels."

Clemson Tigers
I'm tired of cats names in college sports. How many Wildcats or Tigers names are there. Come on, be more imaginative. That said, the simple paw print is elegant and cool. And of course, major cool, for making it a Mexican wrestling mask.

Now, some of the worst:
Kansas Jayhawks
A goofy bird with a sweater. Not exactly imposing.

Old St Louis Browns
Brownie the Elf. Right.

Western Kentucky University
It's a towel. Their logo is a towel.

Old New York Nets
Did CBS get residuals for this logo?

Lakeland Flying Tigers
What the hell is a flying tiger? A tiger head with giant wings? Looks like a crappy heavy metal cover band logo.

Old Kansas City Chief
Can't see why they got rid of this one? Who wouldn't want their logo to be a giant Indian running across a Midwest map with a tiny loincloth with KC on it?

And that's it for now. Suggest some of your faves and worst sport logos.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I can see Donovan McNabb in a 49ers uniform next year, can't you?

Or taking his talents to South Beach and wearing a Dolphin uniform?

3 years at about 9 million per for Ricky Nolasco? Ummmm......uh....sure, why not?

So according to Alex Marvel of, the Jets are headed in the wrong direction. Lessee, the Jets are 10-5, one week out from beating the Steelers in Pittsburgh, and are in the playoffs. So, yeah...the team is heading in the wrong direction. Oh please, Alex.

Sure the Jets have problems. And not small problems. But hell, everybody outside of the Patriots has serious problems. Check out the Steelers offensive line, or the Colts rush offense. Mainly, Marvel says that the Jets couldn't get a pass rush. Well, with an aging and hurt Shaun Ellis, replacement parts Mike Devito and Sione Pouha starting, the Jets aren't exactly loaded with Richard Seymour and B.J. Raji on their line. Schemes were what worked last year to cover a dearth of talent, and coaching is the only thin  keeping the d-line as decent as it is. And again, a 10-5 record with a 2nd rate d-line. Not too shabby. Not new coaches, the Jets just need better personnel.

I'm sorry...did Tim Tebow just throw for 300 yards against the Texans? Gary Kubiak, you are so fired.

Carl Pavano should really go back to the Twins. Whatever was happening there was working for him. Stay in the Twin Cities, Carl.

Don't look now, but the "On Probation" USC Trojans have the number 6 recruiting class in the country, including 2 of the top 4 quarterbacks in the class. They also have 4 kids who run a legit 4.4 40, and 3 of those 4 are over 6'1". Yeah, they sure seem punished by the NCAA.

Since beating Michigan State and winning the NCAAs 2 years ago, the North Carolina Tar Heels have gone 28-21. Things aren't going to get any easier with the ACC schedule coming up. Hey Roy, time to get your young team in order.

That Jimmy Clausen era in Carolina sure went fast huh? 

Nice win by the Knicks on Christmas Day. Even more impressive—and shocking—was Mike D'Antonio's defense. holding Rose and Boozer to 23 for 53.

Was that Kurt Thomas playing center for the Bulls? My god man, Kurt, you're so old, your Social Security card is number 000-00-0003, dude. When Kurt was first drafted, teammate Derrick Rose hadn't turned 7 years old.

One last thing on the Jets...once again, the Jets receivers couldn't catch a cold, much less passes that hit them in the hands. Off-season these guys gotta go to Keyshawn Johnson and learn how to catch the damn ball.

This is not to knock the Kansas City Chiefs, because, hey a 10-5 record is a 10-5 record. But it's not like they played the Patriots, Steelers, and Falcons to get that record.

Man, the Brewers suddenly look loaded. Grienke, Gallardo, Marcum and Wolf. To go along with that lineup. Damn, the frontrunners for the NL Central in my opinion.

AAPTBNL Man of the week? Easy, Aaron Rodgers. Coming back from a concussion and goes out and throws 4 TDs and over 400 yards against a pissed off Giants defense. Nice game Aaron.

And finishing up. As if the Bills season wasn't bad enough....they have to go and further demoralize their fan base by doing this? Mistake, Bills, mistake.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Love Song For Mark Sanchez

Nowhere else in the United States are things as overstated as in the sports world of New York City. There are only 2 choices there in describing athletes: Either they are the best. Ever. Or they suck, and should be dumped. Immediately.

Patience is not a virtue here.

When the Jets drafted Mark Sanchez, pretty much from the second he got off the draft stage he was dubbed "The "Sanchize" and for every Jet fan in the tri-state area instantaneously put all their hopes on him. Fair or not, the 23-year old rookie was now the lightning rod for how the Jets did. If the Jets won, he'd be a god and would never have to buy a drink or pay for a cab ride ever again. if he didn' previously stated, New York fans are not forgiving.

And Sanchez performed...well, like a rookie. Flashes of brilliance at times. Clueless at others.

To New York, though, being a rookie is no excuse. Either you are a prodigy or a waste of time. And, now, towards the end of his second season, articles from around New York City have been questioning Sanchez. Is he really the savior: Will he ever turn into the second coming of Bart Starr? Is he ever going to win the Super Bowl—He's had 2 frickin' years! And etc.

Like I said: completely unfair. Mark Sanchez just turned 24 and would still be a rookie had he stayed in school. But this is New York and the fans don't care about that. I'm sure there are some days Sanchez wishes he'd be drafted by Jacksonville or Arizona where he he might not be hung in effigy after a loss to New England.

Though is he as bad as some New Yorkers make him out to be? Well, Sanchez's biggest problem is accuracy, and if there's an area to improve, it's that. His accuracy is almost exactly where it was last season, at around 54%—low for starting quarterbacks, though to be fair, his receivers have had a serious case of the dropsies during Sanchez's time at quarterback. Just 2 weeks ago, Cotchery, Holmes and Keller had 4 drops on passes they should have caught that would have resulted in very likely, a Jets win instead of a loss.

Lack of accuracy and drops aside, Sanchez has made great leaps in lowering his INT percentage. Last year, it was a whopping 5.5%. This year however, he has more than halved that to a 2.6%. And combine that with the fact that Sanchez is being asked to through far more often than last year. Last season the Jets offense was run the ball, then run it some more. This season, in 1 fewer games played, Sanchez already has over 100 more pass attempts. Yet his interceptions are down from 20 in 2009, to only 12 so far in 2010. Nice improvement.

What does that tell us. It tells us that while the Jets were asking more of him, Sanchez is reading defenses much better than he had in the past. And that's something that usually takes quarterbacks a long while to do. Peyton Manning's INT % went from from 4.9 to 2.8 in his second season—comparable to Sanchez. Joe Montana's went from 5.5 to 3.9. Drew Brees' actually went up

Also, Sanchez's TD passes are up; his sacks per drop-backs has decreased; his average yards/attempt has improved dramatically; and is QB rating is up. Is he Tom Brady yet? No. Is he improving? Without question.

And you can see the result of Sanchez's better play in league standings. After week 15 last year, the Jets were 7-7 and scraping for a playoff spot (which they only earned when the Colts rested their starters at the end of the season). This year, they are 10-4 and masters of their own playoff destiny. And the better record comes with lesser team play—the Jets rushing offense is down from last year, when they were the best rush offense, to just 6th best this year. Same for the defense which was ranked 1st last year and is ranked 5th this year.

So with a lesser supporting cast, and much more asked of him, Sanchez has responded with fewer INTs, more TDs, less sacks and better yards per pass attempt. Sounds like solid improvement to me.

Again, he is not drew Brees. But then again, Drew Brees wasn't Drew Brees in his second season, when he regressed sharply from his rookie season. And look what a little patience did—now he's an All-Pro QB.

The same could be said for Sanchez. He's not there yet, but he is improving. Give him time, New York. I know patience is hard for you, but it may yield a Sanchize yet.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Can you imagine the 5-alarm coronary Tom Coughlin must have had after the game on Sunday?. Coughlin—who's been known to explode into a obscenity-filled, tear-his-shirt off, fit on his couch watching Cinderella with his grandkids—must have vomited his kidney up while screaming at his players in the locker room.

What was with all the wimpy junk from players complaining about playing outside in Minnesota. "It's too cold." "The field is too mean and oww-ey."  What do they think all the players did up into 1981 when the dome was built. "The field is all hard and hurty." Just go play. It's freakin' football.

You gotta respect what the Milwaukee Brewers are doing. Unlike all the other small market "close the checkbook" markets, they are going out, getting players and trying to win. San Diego, are you paying attention?

Said last week that the Brewers should trade for Grienke. And I'm glad they did. But man, they gave up a lot. And had to take Yuniesky Betancourt. Ouch.

Much respect for Charles Woodson. When asked if he thought the NFL should go to 18 games, Woodson straightforwardly said, in a year when concussions are at an all-time high, what makes the NFL think that players could stand another 2 games? Damn straight. Just count how many players got concussed the last 2 weeks. Now add 2 more games. It's scary.

And wonder what happens when Tom Brady or Peyton Manning gets concussed. The league will probably still go to an 18-game season, but now the rules for defensive players are you're not allowed to tough the quarterback except with the back of your left hand. And only in the quarterback's non-throwing arm.

Ahhhh! Bowl season! Can't wait to watch the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl! The glory! The history! The majesty!

Interesting article by Jon Heyman on why he didn't vote for Bert Blylevan for the HOF. Don't know if I agree, but he's right about one thing. It's the Hall of the Greats, not the Very Goods.

That said, there is no way Bobby Abreau should be considered for the HOF. He shouldn't be allowed in upstate New York, so he doesn't get too close to it.

Why do people keep asking if Atlanta Falcons are for real? They are 11-2. That's pretty damn real. In any league.

There are a bunch of gleeful, "Tee-Hee" articles comparing the Cliff Lee spurning of the Yankees in 2010 to Greg Maddux spurning them in 1992. One thing though. How many World Series did Maddux win with the Braves? And how many have the Yankees won since 1993?

Good to see Steve Francis being the model ambassador of the game.

For AAPTBNL Man of the Week, we're gonna go with Donald Brown of the Colts. After a season where the Colts couldn't run the ball anywhere, Brown goes out and averages 9.2 yards a carry including a nice run for 49 yards and a TD. Congrats Don, for keeping the Colts playoff hopes alive.

And finally, the Onion Sports gets it right again.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Five

1. Do you think Donovan McNabb deserves to be benched? Should he the QB next season?

2. What is the greatest rivalry in sports? Michigan-Ohio State? Red Sox-Yankees? Cowboys-Redskins? Lakers-Celtics? Something else?

3. L.A. Clippers owner is heckling his own player, Baron Davis, because Davis is playing poorly. Makes sense, or totally nuts?

4. How do you feel about this week's Vikings game being played outdoors in freezing, snowy conditions with the field having no ability to warm itself to "playable conditions?"

5. Is this the worst idea since "Skating with the Stars" or is it just me?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Knicks

Once upon a time, the New York Knicks were a religion.

Seriously, they owned the city of New York. Not the Yankees, the Mets, the Giants, Jets or any other thing you can think of. The city was their house, and their Hall was the Garden.

Charles Oakley, John Starks, Anthony, "Mase in yo Face," Mason and of course, Patrick Ewing, were ugly. They played a mean version of basketball—brutal and ferocious—just like the city they played for. They were nasty. And they were good.

They turned Madison Square Garden into a place no one wanted to play. In the 1992-93 season they went a ridiculous 37-4 at home, sending opponents home batted, bruised and beaten.

It was definitely not the brand of basketball that the NBA wanted—game scored were at an all-time low. Instead of fast breaks and Showtime, it was shoves, glares, and 24-second shot violations. But while the NBA frowned (heck, they invented the flagrant foul rule just to prevent the Knick's tough style from hurting the Chicago Bulls), New York adored them. And for the very reason the NBA hated them—because they were mean and ugly. Games against Jordan and Pippen and their high-flying brand of basketball became personal for every Knick fan from Bayonne to Bay Shore.

Eventually, after a few years of close calls and excruciatingly tough losses, these Knicks' time had passed. Players moved on. And they have been in a mis-manged funk ever since.

Flash forward to now. The Knicks are suddenly relevant again. With someone in the GM position who actually knows what he is doing, the Knicks have made moves to make them resurgent and start to get some respect around the league.

For me, however, these Knicks rings a bit hollow. I don't know—comparatively these seems like a team for hire. Stoudemire was a Sun for a long time (the Knicks actually passed on drafting him in 2002, trading their pick for a completely busted Antonio McDyess). Ray Felton was bought for a serious coin because the Knicks were desperate for a functioning point guard. Danio Gallinari is as soft as a extra-sensitive shaving cream. Wilson Chandler is a nice home-grown player, but overall, the team lacks a character. A soul. It's hard to root for "Who Dat?" guys and hired guns. There doesn't seem to be a personality to the team.

What personality? John Starks was bagging groceries before he became a Knick. Anthony Mason played ball first at "basketball star factory" Tennessee State and then in Turkey before the Knicks signed him. During the offseason, Charles Oakley, instead of heading to a mansion in Miami or in a boat in the Caribbean, would head back to his car wash and wash windows. Of the entire roster, only Patrick Ewing could be considered a star. And with his brutal glare and angry demeanor, he wasn't exactly on the front of the NBA brochures.

I hope this new Knick team does well. I hope it gets New York humming again about the Knicks. But for me, my Knick team is back in 1993 when John Starks dunked over Jordan and Grant. When the refs robbed the Knicks of a playoff victory by not calling a foul on Pippen in the last seconds of game 5. When Anthony Mason would shave a message into his hair before important games. When Oakley would rebound every shot that hit the rim even though he couldn't jump over a paper clip. That was the team that shook New York—where else would someone get a tattoo of a dunk?—that became a religion. Those were my Knicks. For my money, there will never be a team like that again.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What You Wish For: Is Missing Out On Cliff Lee A Good Thing For The Yankees?

In short: No.

Cliff Lee is a stud. A rock solid ace who makes batters look foolish and guarantees his team that they have a chance to win every single time out. Missing out on a guy like that is never good. previously stated on this web site, had the Yankees signed Cliff Lee to the 7 year contract, by 2013 the Yankees would be indebted over 130 million to a bunch of guys 33 and over. Very good players, yes, but players on the decline. That's a lot of money being handed out to players who's best years are behind them.

So where are the Yankees without Lee? Well, definitely in the short-term not as powerful a  juggernaut as they would have been. There is a hole in the rotation—no question decision need to be made between now and Opening Day. But what the "Failure to Sign Lee" forces the Yankees to do—hopefully—is to take their medicine.

There's a couple of the directions the Yankees can go in 2011 and beyond. Most likely, the Yankees are going to do everything they possibly can to go get another starter. And that's fine. Truthfully there ain't much out there. Justin Duchscherer, Brandon Webb and the lot are gambles at best. There's talk the Yankees might try to trade for the Twin's Kevin Slowey. But you know the Twins would ask for the world for a middling pitcher considering they know the Yankees are dealing from a weakness. The Yankees will find someone off the scrap heap and hopefully not pay too much in the process.

The other option—and the one I hope they take—is to give their farm system a chance. Cashman for years now is saying that the Yankees have to get younger; have to get cheaper; have to start using their own kids—all the while doing exactly the opposite. Now, realizing the Yankees can't always buy a rotation, they might actually have to what every other team in the major leagues does (except, seemingly Philadelphia). Bring up a kid from their farm system and go through the growing pains as they learn how to pitch in the bigs. As Mike Silva reported earlier, this isn't an option the Yankees are comfortable with—but come on, is Ricky Nolasco the long-term answer? Jeremy Bonderman? Why not go from within and try to build on of your own?

Look, last year's Yankee team won 95 games. Should Andy Pettitte come back—and I think the Yankees are going to give him oodles of cash to make sure that he does—the Yankee rotation won't be in the terrible shape everyone seems to think it will be in. With Pettitte back, the Yankee rotation is still better than 80% of most teams. Sabathia, Hughes and Pettitte make a nice front 3. And if new pitching coach Larry Rothschild can work even a little bit of magic with A.J. Burnett and get him to a place of halfway-reliability, that means the Yankees would have four awesome-to-decent starters.

I sincerely hope the Yankees ultimately make is the choice they have been doing their best to avoid. and that's go with their kids. There is no magic bullet out there in free agency. No hidden gem someone missed. All you have a busted shoulders and head cases. Why not try to mold your own starter. Ivan Nova showed enough in a cup of coffee call-up late last year to at least get a shot at the 5-spot. Down the line, after Pettitte retires, the Yankees could turn to promising kids Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Hector Noesi, Andrew Brackman, Shaeffer Hall, Adam Warren and Graham Stoneburner. And look, seriously, no one seriously thinks all of these kids will turn out to be quality pitchers, but if even just one makes it, that's a reliable starter pitching for 10 years in your staff, and that you control for a long while. And heck, what if 2 kids make it? Isn't that a chance worth taking?

At the very, very least, it will be cheaper than the alternative—spending money and prospects on a guy who—bet the farm—you know won't be the answer.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Say what you will about Mark Sanchez's performance yesterday—and he was very erratic. But the jets receivers did him no favors. Santonio Moss drops a nice touch pass in the end zone that hits him in the chest and not a defender around for miles. And Jerricho Cotchery drops a beautiful laser beam from Sanchez-on the run—that would have resulted in a huge gain on the final drive. Again, Sanchez was wild, but those 2 important plays could have turned the game around.

Looking back on the Matt Cassell and Mike Vrabel for Patrick Chung gotta give big edge to the Chiefs. Chung is a nice player and a good piece of the puzzle. But look how bad the Chiefs looked yesterday without him? And thrown in the versatile and still uber-athletic Vrabel. Big ups to the Chiefs.

If Hideki Matsui had any legs to run anymore, he would be getting a really nice contract this off-season. As wrote yesterday, Matsui had a very nice 274/.361/.459 with 21 homers for the Angels this past season. However after June those numbers flip to .300/.392/.498. Really nice numbers. Think Maybe Seattle could use a bat like that? I'm telling you, if he only had any getaway sticks on him, he'd be an outfielder much in demand.

16-9 with 8 wins in a row? Wait, I remember...there used to be a basketball team in New York called the Knicks. Are these those guys? I haven't seen them in such a long time.

If I were the Brewers, I would trade for Zach Grienke in a heartbeat. He'd be a perfect fit for that team...a team with a ton of bats but nobody to pitch for them.

I think the Miami Hurricanes made a very, very nice hire in Temple's Al Golden. A really nice hire. The Hurricanes are back, and sooner rather than later.

Said it before, will say it again: If the Steelers only had only a halfway-decent offensive line, they would be the class of the league—no debate. But 4 sacks, 8 QB hits against a depleted 2-11 Bengals tram. Just pathetic.

Sorry to all the Vikings fans who got gypped of a good game against the Giants, but that footage of the Metrodome collapse was really, really cool.

So the Jimmy Clausen era in Carolina is coming to an end. Well, that was fast.

Tend to agree with Rob Neyer. How can the Royals be psyched about these particular signings? What would the victories added due to these 2 signings? .2 of a game?

You know, in some small, small way, I do kind of hope the Yankees don't get Cliff Lee and instead give some kid the chance to pitch the number 5 spot and grow into the role with some growing pains. Not that that would ever happen. The Yankees would go out and get someone else to spot the 5th role in the rotation. But I would love the Yankees to give the kid a chance and start to build a rotation around kids with potential rather than aging hired—and very expensive—guns.

After watching the Bengals-Steelers games, the AAPTBNL Man of the Week award has to go to Troy Polamalu. Know it's a cliche, but the man does seem to be everywhere on the field. Delayed run play, deep pass play, he just seems to be in the right spot all the time. And yesterday was no exceptiong. 2 INT's one for a pick-6. Nice game, Troy.

And lastly, my good buddy, Pete has a new College basketball site. i speak from experience—the man knows his college basketball. He really knows everything. Go check out his new site. I guarantee it will be a good read.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Five

1. Will Urban Meyer coach college football again? If so, where?

2. If you were Cliff Lee, where would you decide to pitch?

3. Crawford goes to Boston. So does "Yo," Adian Gonzalez. Are they the favorites to win the World Series, now? What if the Yankees get Cliff Lee?

4. Does Vince Young play on another team next year? What about Albert Haynesworth?

5. Cleveland has "The Drive" and "The Decision." Buffalo has Nor-wide and Music City Miracle. Which city in America, has the worst luck, sports-wise. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Evil Empire? Boston Buys Ballplayers Too

I never want to hear Boston Red Sox owner complain again.

I never want him to refer to the Yankees as the Evil Empire, or that they buy championships. Boo hoo.

And I definitely don't want to hear how the Yankees "just buy players from markets that can't afford them anymore. Or that they trade their young talent to get veterans who will help them run to another championship.

Cause now, Boston, you do those things too.

A year after the Red Sox outspent everyone for John Lackey to the tune of 82.5 million dollars—as well as dropping 9 million on Adrian Beltre, 8.5 million on Bill Hall, plus the 15M they gave Mike Cameron—the Red Sox have outdone themselves. Heck, they've outdone everybody.

Just a couple of days the BoSox spent 154 million dollars on Adrian Gonzalez—a guy they got by trading away some young talent to a franchise that needs to "rebuild"—the Red Sox shocked everyone by outbidding Angels owner and billionaire Arte Moreno for Carl Crawford. They gave Crawford 7 years for 142 million—that's a little over 20 million per year for the mathematically challenged.

Let's not forget how they outbid everyone for Dice-K Matsusaka, by spending over 51 million dollars, just to talk to him. They then signed him to a 52 million dollar contract—meaning they spent over 103 million dollars on Dice-K. Or just under the 2010 Los Angeles Angeles entire team salary.

So if the Red Sox don't win it all in 2011—and really, as of now, there's no reason they shouldn't—no one should have to hear the whining from the direction of New England. "Oh, the Yankees are corporate. They just hire mercenaries. They are just a soulless business machine."

Well, Red Sox Nation. Your team just scored 2 of the most popular players from 2 of the smallest markets in baseball. And you got these All-Stars because those franchises couldn't afford them anymore—their most popular players.

And you bought them.

How do you feel now? Soulless?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Something Old, Something New: The 2013 Yankees

As of this moment, right here, the 2013 Yankees already have in the neighborhood of 109 million dollars spent. That's with arbitration, or new contracts. 109 million...for a season 3 years away.

What is that team going to look like? Is it going to be as old and brittle as some forecast? Well, maybe. Let's take a guess at what the lineup and rotation might look like by then.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Mark Sanchez could not have looked worse yesterday if he lobotomized himself just before he went out on the field.

Speaking of young QBs, Josh Freeman had a decent against the Falcons Sunday, but none of the commentators made the point that the last throw he made that was intercepted by Brent Grimes and cost the Bucs any chance of winning the game was a god-awful throw. Instead of putting the ball near the sideline where only his receiver could have caught it (as well as leading his receiver out of bounds and stopping the clock), it was way behind his receiver allowing Grimes to step in front of his sliding, reaching back receiver and intercept the ball. Terrible throw.

To say there is a pitching dearth in baseball now would be a massive understatement. I mean how can any team be very interested in Rich Harden? Are teams really that desperate for pitching. Just take your wallet and throw it in the incinerator...that's what you'll get out of Harden nowadays.

Not saying Zach Grienke will fail he is traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, which is the hot buzz so far. But pitching against the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and resurgent Orioles—and on Astroturf; he has a 4.95 ERA lifetime on the turf—will be a sharp wake-up call for him.

In the hyperbolic of the week, this dude from.....Huntsville, Alabama...declares that Cam Newton the best ever to play in the SEC. How do you make a statement like that and not feel stupid, And then follow it up with "The Shawshank Redemption is the best movie not to win Best Picture" Hello, Raging Bull? Citizen Cane? Miller's Crossing? To Kill A Mockingbird? Goodfellas? Come on, Man.

That said, Cam Newton, should he come out is the number one pick. So then, why is that I see the Buffalo Bills getting the number one pick and then passing on Newton for a safety?

Jason Werth blossomed while playing in a Phillies lineup with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul ibanez protecting him in the lineup. Hope he plays that well in a lineup with Roger Bernadina and Nyjer Morgan.

Nice article by CFN about the BCS and how it fared this year. Have a look.

The MLB baseball winter meetings are turning into some odd hoopla event like the NFL draft where fans invent scenarios and try to predict where the players will end up. And I'm totally on board with it.

Steelers-Ravens. Cold, cold night. Ben Roethlisberger. Broken nose. Now that's football.

For the AAPTBNL, I'm going go for Brian Urlacher. Sure he had a sick game: 17 tackles, 9 of them solo and half a sack. But mainly, I'm taking him because after a couple years of frustration, it's great to see him back healthy. Good going B.U.

And lastly, found this: Top Ten embarrassing sports endorsements. For me, it's GOTTA be Jimmy Johnson doing those Extenze commercials, although that 80's disco jeans commercial is a close second.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Is Peyton Manning Really on the Decline?

Some guys....well, the media just love to see them fail. They knock them when they fail and then question their success when they succeed. Peyton Manning is one of those guys.

First, at Tennessee, it was that he couldn't beat Florida. Then ESPN said that he was too cerebral and that Ryan Leaf was a better draft pick. Then, when he was successful in the NFL, it was he couldn't win the big one. SO he won the big one, and now, it's he failed to lead a dynasty. Right. as if the rest of the team had nothing to do with that.

The latest knock is that he's slipping; that Peyton Manning is not the player he once was. That he's living off his reputation.

Oh, please. Sure, he's not dominating like he once was. But let's look at all the facts before we start shouting that the sky is falling.

Let's start with a few stats. The Colts offense, in 11 games has 256 running attempts and 486 passing attempts. Why? Well, because the Colts can't run the ball. At all. The Colts are 4th worst in the league at running the ball with 82 yards a game. In the 5 games in November, the Colts earned, via the ground game, 340 yards in 102 attempts. That's 3.33 yards a carry. In the Colts five losses, the running backs ran for a total of 3.1 ypc. In short, Manning rightly feels that to score points, he has to do it all himself.

And because of that, Manning has completed and thrown more passes than anyone in the league. Manning has thrown for 182 first downs, 13 more than 2nd place New Orleans and 52 more than the league average. Indianapolis passing offense is rated 1st in the league all while defenses know what's he's going to do.

Well, so what, Manning has great receivers, right?

Well..........the Colts injury list looks like their regular season roster. Pro Bowl TE Dallas Clark and starter Anthony Gonzalez are out for the season as is backup TE, Tom Santi. TE Jacob Tamme is banged up as well, leaving the Colts relying on undrafted rookie Brody Eldridge, a fullback by trade, as a potential starting tight end. Oh and he's banged up as well. Starting WR Austin Collie has played 3 quarters in the last 5 games, leaving the Colts giving undrafted WR Blair White a lot of playing time. The running backs are in no better shape than the receivers.Joseph Addai, Donald Brown and Mike Hart are hurt with Addai  and Hart out and Donald Brown—questionable—as the healthiest running back of the 3 of them. Undrafted Javarris James (2.0 ypc) backs him up.

Also, Manning's offensive line this year is a shambles. Former 2nd round pick and left tackle Tony Ugoh was so awful he was cut before the season, leaving journeyman Charlie Johnson as Manning's main protector. According to, Johnson is the 28th rated left tackle in the league. The rest of the line is composed of undrafted rookie and second-year players and banged-up regulars. The result is an offensive line who can't pass protect for more than 2 seconds and who haven't a clue about run blocking. And with Addai out, Manning loses his best blitz protector.

As a result, Manning has to pass to get yards. And passing too much, with a banged up line, leaves opposing defensive lines salivating. They know Peyton has to pass, and they know the Colts offensive line can't hold them for long. So they can rush just 4 defenders and get to Manning, and leave 7 in coverage and make it difficult for Manning to find anyone open.

Despite all that, Manning has completed a 6th-best 65.6 percent of his passes—and his 2.3% interception rating-amazing considering the amount of passes he's thrown—is down from last year, and is lower than Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers. Using guys like Blair White, Jacob Tamme and Gijon Robinson, Manning still is 2nd best in the NFL with 22 TDs.

Is Manning not playing as well as he has? No question—he's not the world-beater he once was. Trying to do too much has made Manning less consistent and less effective. Yet despite his less-than-Manning-like stats, Manning may be having his finest hour. What other quarterback under similar circumstances could do what Manning is doing? Take Drew Brees' weapons and offensive line away and would he have the Saints in playoff contention? If Ben Rothelisberger lost Hines Ward, Rashard Mendenhall, Heath Miller and Antwan Randle El, would he have the Steelers atop his division? We he take undrafted players and make them better than they could ever be? Doubtful.

To say that Peyton Manning is living off his reputation is not just foolish, it's willfully stupid. It's a writer with an agenda trying to take a shot against a player. A hack ignoring reality and attempting to conjure up an issue. Guys like that make me ill.

The facts are that Peyton Manning one day will decline. He wont take over the way he once could and make the throws he once could. But that day is not now.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Five

1. If you were a Cavalier fan, would you have booed King James LeBron last night? Especially considering he did his silly "throw the powder" move last night in the faces of the Cleveland crowd?

2. If so, what would have been your clever and cutting shots at him?

3. How much would you pay Derek Jeter per year. How long would you sign him for?

4. If Auburn loses to the Gamecocks this week, should they still be in the BCS title game?

5. Should Qatar host the 2022 World Cup considering their population is about twice as few as the borough of Brooklyn?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jimmy V.

If this doesn't put a lump in your through and a chill through your blood, congrats. You're dead.

Go watch it again. Now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Greatest Yankee Pitching Season Ever

Getting away from the Jeter Contract-a-Palooza nonsense, let's talk actual sports related stuff. Topic: Who had the greatest single pitching season in Yankee history (And by history, we mean from  at least the 1920s). We didn't consider strike- or injury-shortened seasons. Here are some of the contestants.

Lefty Gomez—1937:
21-11, 2.33 ERA, 25 CG, 6 Shutouts, 194 Ks, 193 ERA+, 1.171 WHIP

Mike Mussina—2001
17-11, 3.15 ERA, 4 CG, 3 Shutouts, 214 Ks, 143 ERA+, 1.067 WHIP

Red Ruffing—1939
20-7, 2.93 ERA, 22 CG, 5 Shutouts, 95 Ks, 150 ERA+, 1.226 WHIP

Catfish Hunter—1974
25-12, 2.49 ERA, 23 CG, 6 Shutouts, 143 Ks, 134 ERA+, 0.986 WHIP

Sparky Lyle—1974
9-3, 1.66 ERA, 15 Saves, 89 Ks in 114 IP, 215 ERA+, 1.193 WHIP

Whitey Ford—1958
14-7, 2.01 ERA, 15 CG, 7 Shutouts, 145 Ks, 177 ERA+, 1.076 WHIP

Herb Pennock—1924
21-9, 2.83 ERA, 25 CG, 4 Shutouts, 101 Ks, 148 ERA+, 1.278 WHIP

Andy Pettitte—1997
18-7, 2.88 ERA, 4 CG, 1 Shutout, 166 Ks, 156 ERA+, 1.240 WHIP

Goose Gossage—1982
4-5, 2.23 ERA, 30 Saves, 102 Ks in 93 IP, 179 ERA+, 0.978 WHIP

Allie Reynolds—1952
20-8, 2.06 ERA, 24 CG, 6 Shutouts, 160 Ks, 162 ERA+, 1.191 WHIP

Waite Hoyt—1927
22-7, 2.63 ERA+, 23 CG, 3 Shutouts, 60 Ks, 132 ERA+, 1.228 WHIP

Ron Guidry—1978
25-3, 1.74 ERA, 16 CG, 9 Shutouts, 248 Ks, 208 ERA+, 0.946 WHIP

Spud Chandler—1943
20-4, 1.64 ERA, 20 CG, 5 Shutouts, 134 Ks, 198 ERA+, 0.992 WHIP

Mariano Rivera—2008
6-5, 1.40 ERA, 39 Saves, 77 Ks in 70.2 IP, 319 ERA+, 0.665 WHIP

Or pick another season from anyone in Yankees' history. There are some great seasons in the batch above. When choosing, consider the times in which the pitcher pitched, and let me hear which season and which pitcher you picked.