The random give and go from the Monday Exchange-
Talking to a close friend and frequent responder on the cyber waves today about soccer and here is what came away from my side. My friend has recently dived headfirst into the Premier League, a Soccer league that features some of the best players in the world. He laid it out note by note for me and all I could do was counter punch away.
The Soccer rant. If this were Swingers, I’d be Mike and my friend would be Trent, showing me the sweet science of dating. In general, I’m a new lover to soccer’s door. Let’s roll through the basics and opinions.
*The knock on soccer is correct. People hate this game because packs of men chase each other up and down a field for 2 hours and only score 1 to 3 goals. I’ve always seen this game as a test of stamina. Running, running and more running. I have had problems following it not for the boring factor but for the idea of getting into it and passionate about it. When people say something is boring, they can’t get into it or find a connection. When I throw in an indie film that’s slow, Rachel struggles to follow it so she whips out the smart phone solitare. This is a natural reaction for 80 percent of Americans. Sports is a community thing. The more people following it, the better. Without my close knit group of sports friends, baseball wouldn’t be as much fun. Sports are only as fun as the connection you hold with it and through others.
*Other sports seriously need to adopt relegation. Relegation is a tactic in the Premier League where the worst team in each division is wheated out into a minor league like section. Great tactic of trimming the fat off a sport and lining up the right teams in for a playoff run. Goodbye Pirates and Royals. Rebuilding years aren’t fun to watch. Every true fan wants competitive activity. 90 percent of fans are bandwagon drivers or riders.
*The Champion system in this league puts a high emphasis on games played and ensures no team takes off a game. The end is anti-climactic when the top team wins the tournament but there are no easy games in this league. La Russa would hate this because he couldn’t have his throw it in Memphis Sunday game where he hands the game over.
*Soccer basically trims off the annoying weak parts about other sports. Commercials, extra teams in divisions and throw away games. I love the non stop action. The nauseating part of any Cards/Blues game is seeing Ray Vinson 18 times a game. Soccer eliminates that bc they give back to their sport and don’t need extra advertising. Brilliant.
*The timing of the games does hurt the popularity in the states. Imagine if the NFL had the Sunday games on at 7am? This country would go nuts quickly. Everyone wants to see things live and soccer here is hurt because its origin lies in Europe. There are two barriers to overcome. Time of the match and the pace of it. You either have a connection and need to watch or you don’t. I am in the middle right now. I am not a simple casual fan who watches for a few minutes to impress people. I get sucked in for at least an hour. I’m nowhere near the level of commitment of a diehard fan like my friend Pj, but if I showed up at his place and he told me it was soccer, a dark stout and nothing else all day long, I’d be fine with it.
More on The Pacquiao-Marquez Fight/Decision
Look, when sitting on the fence, judges will always play it safe and hand it to a champion. When in doubt, think dollars and cents. Pacquiao went 1-4 at the plate, had a rough night against a guy who has constantly given him trouble. Both fighters did enough to earn a draw or escape with a decision but in no way was a man robbed. Anybody who harbors feelings for Marquez had preset conditions. Its not as if Pacquiao went out there and got schooled by Zab Judah. Marquez is a legit threat to Pacquiao, which is why Manny takes the Floyd fight next. Freddie Roach even seemed worried and offered after the decision that Marquez deserved a fourth fight. If Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is smart, he leans towards Floyd first. Manny must make adjustments or Floyd will pick him apart. Manny can land combinations with the best, hound a fighter for 12 rounds but needs to learn a defense mechanism. Punch, punch, block. Something like that. Roach and Pac will figure it out and the Mayweather Jr and Pacquiao fight will be glorious. If people want to be mad at a particular person, be mad at Marquez’s trainer, Nacho. He did tell Juan that he was ahead with 4 rounds to go. Big mistake. It’s a mistake to listen to anyone with the name “Nacho” but here it paid dearly. Bad idea if you’re a trainer to discourage your fighter from pushing the initiative. Trainers don’t control the fight but Marquez did slow up in the later rounds and it may of cost him the fight. End of story. Once again, the Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr. parties must get this fight done or they will deprive us of a potentially legendary night. Put all the emotions and get down to business.
The Pujols Equation
I’ll draw it up simple. The Cards should have taken care of Albert with Matt Holliday. 7-8 year deals with Albert getting more money. When they gave Holliday a long term deal and passed him up, a mistake was made. I’ve maintained through this process that the Cards are the ones who need to seek out Pujols and his people. Gold doesn’t chase the prospecter. Its simple business. Taking care of Albert would have saved this team dollars because it came before Ryan Howards 5 yr, 125 million dollar deal. Howard’s contract set the table for Alberts talks and this is where the Cards will play extra. Since they waited and waited for Albert to hinder his value, they will pay more. Thankfully, the talks come after a down year so a deal will get done. If a deal doesn’t happen, I will point a finger at the Cards for making a bad bet. However, Albert is fit to chase another ring this year and the next few years so I don’t see how he leaves. Chances of Pujols staying are 70-30. While not a sure thing by any means, I simply can’t think outside the box and see him going anywhere else. Its just not logical for him to take a walk or for the Cards to let him go. I’ve said this since the beginning along with tons of other things. If Albert holds true to his word, he will stay here. Let me break it down. He has always said he wanted to retire a Cardinal and only wanted a competitive team around him. Next year, the Cards are ready to attack the World Series again with established pieces in place. The Cards wasted opportunities to sign him before but would be crazy to not offer him a fair deal that suits his needs professionally and personally. Also, Pujols would be making a bold move to take his show on the road 11 years into his career, especially after winning the World Series and equipped to attack next season and the years after that. The Cards aren’t a sinking ship or preparing to lose. Why would he leave this hard charging train now? This is why he may sign a shorter than expected deal. 5-6 years that takes him to when he is 37 or 38 years old. It’s simple. Pay him 28-30 the first 3 years and slowly back it down to 15-18 million at the end of the deal so he isn’t worried about his reputation or lasting image. Pump up those last 3 years with stat incentives. Get it done. Florida/Miami isn’t getting him. The Cubs want Fielder and Albert wouldn’t go there over his dead body. The Rangers and Angels will seek out Fielder and only toss a friendly offer at Albert. The market isn’t where Albert’s agent, Dan Lozano, wants it to be. In short, The Red Sox and Yankees aren’t buying. I sincerely hope this doesn’t end in a 1 year deal because that would be pathetic on the Cards part and disappointing on Albert’s end. Cardinals, it’s time to pay up. I would disappointed at the Cards like you stated because this is a business decision they put off for 3-4 years and wagered Alberts health against their payroll. Now, they have to pay the difference. Do it! Either the Cards are incredibly stupid or the Pujols camp gets very greedy. We will see. I expect a move around mid December after the Winter Meetings.
The Rams Misery
The Rams are disgusting. Last year was a mere glimpse of an improvement but its gone. The Rams offense hasn’t won a game this year or scored more than 2 touchdowns in a game. Sam Bradford has talent but can he transfer talent into big game performances. He hasn’t had one of those yet and while his receivers don’t own Pro Bowls, other quarterbacks have dealt with less. I’m also tired of Fox commentators calling Bradford an elite quarterback. He isn’t elite at all. He’s sloppy, damaged, and can’t throw an accurate pass over 20 yards. He is average. He may imitate an elite quarterback at times but not right now. Why isn’t Bradford getting the same scrutiny as Colt McCoy, Tebow, Sanchez or Alex Smith. All, except for 1, are first round draft picks. Bradford is a top pick so why is he not getting put on a hot seat. The kid’s getting a pass while playing shitty football. Those other quarterbacks don’t have protection or a roster laced with Pro Bowlers either. It comes down to getting the job done. Ben Roethlisberger got the job done in 2008 while leading the league in sacks taken. He also won the Super Bowl. He is the future and the job is his but the elite talk needs to stop. Who do you want right now running a 2 minute warning comeback drive? Bradford and Tebow. Most NFL analysts and scouts would swallow a pigs tongue before admitting the truth to that question. Also, there’s no way Josh McDaniels runs this offense. His Denver team put up points with similiar talent. How can Spag’s keep his job another week with these results? Steven Jackson is doing all he can. His stats and effort are top notch. This team simply sucks. They collected 3 turnovers in the first quarter yesterday and took zero points away from them against The Seahawks. That’s pitiful. Excuses can be made but this much we all know. Steve Spagnuolo has to go. How much more time can he get?
The Blues Ability To React
This team does react well to coaching changes and it will be interesting to see if we can win on the road and maintain this fresher, faster more complete style of play. Hitchcock has definitely installed a sense of urgency here and the goal will now be to keep it going. This team is always on the cusp of playing very special hockey. I’m interested to see where Hitch takes them. Unlike Murray and Payne, he won a Cup in Dallas. How far can he push this team? Their performance on the ice is still chasing their potential. We play the Kings tonight at home, but the more interesting matchup comes Wednesday against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby is back and tallied 4 points in his game in 10 months since a hit in the Winter Classic gave him a concussion that knocked him for the rest of the season and the first month and a half of this season. The Penguins are offensive machines at home and the addition of Crosby makes them as deadly as it gets. The first true test for Hitchcock’s boys comes tomorrow on the road against a very good team. That’s the game that will tell us where this team is really at. If they can beat the Penguins on the road, anything is possible.
Tim Tebow Talk
Tebow is a fabulous athlete, elite competitor and a guy who would throw himself into Ray Lewis for a score. Besides his greatest asset which is his conditioning and quickness, I think what makes TT a good quarterback at this point is his ability to react and notice a defense. On the game winning drive, he saw that a linebacker was left in 1 on 1 coverage and he shredded him and won the game. I agree that he will probably not turn into a prototypical elite throwing quarterback or adapt into an arm like Vick’s, but his entertaining style and record will keep him at QB. All of your points are valid. Defenses will adjust and play him differently, crowd the box and even leave a receiver wide open to rush him, but he will take the challenge. The next 6 games are going to be thrilling football. Who do you want to be right now, A Denver fan or Rams fan. Given the lazy coverage, I doubt Bradford could have engineered that drive like Tebow did. As I mentioned, who do you want more with the game on the line? Sam or Tebow? Answer is simple. I want an athlete who can translate talent into performance. Rip off Rivers arm and attach it to Tebow and Godboy is a legend. With his own unique set of skills, Tebow is turning his talent into results, something Bradford can’t do. While he may not be a long term QB, Tebow will be an exciting player to watch. No one has worked harder to get where they are or sucked in so much crap from so called experts. There will be downfalls(Detroit killing) and high moments(Jets game) but Tebow will entertain and win games on pure athleticism and the ability to win under any circumstances. He’s always been a winner. Clear and simple. For now, he is a quarterback. The man can flat out play. I saw something special here.
More Tebow Hits–
-Unlike most young quarterbacks, Tebow can make that big play when his team needs him most. He may play 50-55 minutes of bad football and be unable to hit his grandma on a post route, but when the chips are down and the clock yells GO, Tebow turns it on. That is the one thing that will keep him at quarterback this year and maybe most of next at the very least. Denver would be smart to either bring in a veteran quarterback or young college kid to push Tebow to keep things the way Tim likes them. He plays at his best when everyone expects him to fail. His ability to make the big play separates him from Sanchez, Rivers, and Bradford.
-He is so much fun to watch back there. He is the only quarterback in NFL history who can complete 2 passes and win a game on sheer aggression and inner strength. How many times can you be told that you were a Josh McDaniels mistake and not simply quit. The kid is strong inside and out. Impressive. A special on ESPN called “Everything in between” chronicled Tebows training through the draft process up until his selection by the Broncos. Great stuff if you haven’t checked it out yet.
-In addition to being a ridiculous athlete and physical specimen, Tebow is also a good guy. He won’t get into trouble, like sniff cocaine off a girls ass on a yaht or get caught with a gun in a nightclub. He’s a perfect symbol for the Broncos.
-He can’t throw well but that can improve. The last 6 games will tell us what kind of arm he has but what if he finds a way to win 4 of those 6 doing everything else well. Fullback or tight end would work but the kid won’t back down from being a quarterback after everything he has done to this point. His throwing will either improve or he will find himself in another spot but I don’t expect him to get shoved out easily. John Elway and John Fox both didn’t want this kid and he basically bull-rushed the team depth chart and tore his way onto the field. This is the same kid who ran up and down the sidelines in Florida in college, blood rolling down his shoulders and head, screaming at his teammates that they could win this game. The kid is a beast and against all popular and sane opinion, will remain at quarterback for at least the rest of the season. Shoot Brady Quinn and trade Kyle Orton because they both suck and will get you nowhere.
Stan The Man Musial turned 91 on Monday. Holy fuck knuckles, that’s old. If I make it to 90 with my genetic blood pressure and heart ailments and the beating I have put on my body and the stress induced from running through walls of disadvantage, I’ll be a happy whop bastard. Here’s to the true knight of The Cardinals organization, a man who spent his entire career in St. Louis, fought in the war and came back to kick ass before finishing with a .335 plus batting average and tons of records. The guy symbolized what an athlete should strive to be. A good man and player, all in one. Long live Stan.
Justin Verlander wins the MVP in the Amercian League. This is the easiest decision the league could ever make. Verlander adds the MVP to his mantle to go along with the Cy Young Award this season. He joins the short list of pitchers that have accomplished the feat of winning both in one season. Verlander was the most valuable on any team in either league. Without him, the Tigers finish in 3rd place or worse in the Central division. He was dominant in the way Pedro Martinez annillated opponents in 1999. Remember when Pedro took the mound every 5th day and seemed to send a message to the other team that they were fucked. He blew smoke past a juiced up Sosa and Big Mac. Verlander is the same way. He attacks hitters in a way few pitchers do in the modern era. Fastball, fastball, curve! It’s unorthodox for a pitcher to win an award like this but he earned it. Look at his stats and they tell the story. He went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, .92 WHIP and 250 strikeouts. Rigodamndiculous!
Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout is delicious. Halfway through my 6 pack and counting the days until I go out and search for new beer again. I hold a six pack of Shocktop and 3 Landsharks in my fridge like a gunslinger keeps a rifle in the den. I seek out different types of beer because there’s too much taste out there. I could easily become an alcoholic in Friar Tucks.
Boardwalk Empire just keeps getting better and better. If you sincerely have no care to dip into FX entertainment, go for this two season slow boiling drama. I can say a character was dispatched on Sunday in the most shocking and brutal fashions that I have ever seen on television. The death wasn’t grotesque in any way. Just sudden. There are so many traces of Sopranos in here that it makes you feel like Tony will walk around a corner any minute breathing heavy.
Listen to the Black Keys or Mumford and Sons. You can’t go wrong there. Yes I have mentioned this exact line before yet since I didn’t get any response, I give it out again.
This guy had to write a poem for work this week. After years of blogging, essay writing and different formats of writing, I tackled poetry again tonight, writing a 191 word poem about my sons early struggles with his health. Writing is the same practice in the end. Find a subject, direct it, and let the hands go.
There is absolutely no reason for the Colts to trade Peyton Manning. Have they seen the effect of his absence this season that they think selecting a wetback like Andrew Luck will fix everything? Peyton makes a lot of money but he takes control of the team and if he is ready to roll, you go out and plug the holes around him and make the Colts a better team. They will finish 0-16 in 2011 and for a reason. Their head was cut off in training camp. There is no reason to trade Peyton. Don’t listen to Tony Dungy or Herm Edwards. Keep Manning, draft a QB, and fill in the spaces around him. The Colts relied on Manning for everything and now that he is back, they can rebuild those areas. Trading him doesn’t solve a thing. Who do you replace him with?
Parking continues to be a problem for humans. Parking between the lines is a huge problem. Saying you have no room to park between the lines means you are dumb or simply can’t operate a vehicle. When you drive to Walmart, through a parking garage or in a large parking area, the slow boil inside of you burns because you find out how bad human drivers are. All races, skin colors and tones. It doesn’t matter. I watch these fucksticks try to park and it’s like asking a 3 year old to spell his name with plato. Once again, the aliens aren’t coming here anytime soon because they get enough of a comedy show from a distance that getting any closer would affect their intelligence.
Working out in the morning is so much better than going after work when you are tired, beaten down and simply want to find a soft spot and stop moving for a little while. Working out early wakes you up, revitilizes the systems and sets you up for a decent day. If you want to start a fitness program, go in the morning. The rules are simple. Have good form, log some cardio and don’t forget about the abs. When you start dancing during a set, something is wrong. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. An hour on the bike or 6-8 miles on the treadmill. If it scares you, do it. Thats been my motto for over 10 years.
Unfortunate news for the Seattle Mariners in the death of young player Greg Holland. Holland was stabbed to death in his native Netherlands on Monday morning, and the kid was in his 20’s and only starting to realize his potential. Anytime a sports athlete goes down, it reminds us that these athletic celebs are as fallible as we are. Sad news. Unless, we find out Holland was a secret ninja, and died in a knife fighting incident. A little humor goes a long way.
ESPN Boxing Analyst Dan Rafael has a solid point in accusing the New York City Boxing Commission of causing a potential delay on the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito fight. Why did they wait so long to make Margs go back to the eye doctor and get a followup exam. There are 11 days until the fight at Madison Square Garden. The eye condition comes from several Manny Pacquiao delivered punches from their fight last November. Margarito suffered a broken orbital bone and hasn’t fought since. The second condition is Margarito’s illegal hand wraps discovered before the Shane Mosley fight have him on a limited license in The States. He got a license to fight in Dallas last year but New York is playing hardball and its too late in the game to cause a delay to a fight both fighters have trained hard to reach. A lot of show and tell here. Here’s the story by Rafael.
Also, everything considered, I think Miguel Cotto is going to destroy Margarito. This is putting my bias standing for Cotto aside. Cotto has everything to prove here. That he wasn’t beat by man alone and that Margarito was fighting with an aide last time. He also lost his father last year, a close confidant in his training, and Cotto tells a story about waking up in the hospital after the Margarito fight only to see his father watching him. The guy’s got a lot of built up anger and revenge tactics. Angry blood flowing through the veins.
Don’t forget. 2011 St. Louis Cardinals World Series DVD arrives today with Jon Hamm narrating. Live the moment one more time.
Now I am officially done. Fingers are bleeding, wife is hungry and Vin is telling me to schedule a meeting with a bottle.