The Other Maddux

When you hear the name Maddux you think of Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux was an eight time all star, won the Cy Young four times, won eighteen gold gloves, won a World Series, and won at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons. He also won more games during the 1990s than any other pitcher. For these reasons he is considered one of the best pitchers of all time and arguable the best of my generation. Greg Maddux had great stuff through his career, especially during 1992 to 1995 where he won his four consecutive Cy Young’s and had a remarkable record of 75-29 with a 1.98 ERA, while allowing less than one runner per inning. Even though he has 3,371 career strikeouts and ranks 10th on the all time strikeout list, Greg Maddux wasn’t known as being a strikeout pitcher. He was known as the best in getting batters to pitch to contact. This way he was able to throw fewer pitches and go deeper in games. He is known for being a great finesse pitcher and possible the best control pitcher ever. This made him one of the most successful groundball pitchers ever. Maddux relied on his command, composure, and baseball IQ to get hitters out by mixing in strikeouts with his strategy to induce the ground out. Thus, when you hear the name Maddux, you automatically think about Greg Maddux the Hall of Fame pitcher!

Mike Maddux is the older brother of Greg Maddux. He was a mediocre journeyman pitcher who spent 15 years in the major leagues playing for 10 teams. He was mostly a relief pitcher who appeared in 578 career games. In his career he won 39 games and lost 37. That is compared to his brother Greg who won 355 and lost 227. Mike Maddux has pitched 861 innings with a career ERA of 4.05. Thus, he had the opposite career of his hall of fame brother. One thing they had in common was there baseball IQ and great understanding for pitching. After he retired from playing in 2000 he started his career as a pitching coach first for the Round Rock Express, a Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. In 2000 his Round Rock Express staff ranked 2nd in the Texas League with a 4.11 ERA. Also, in 2000 the same team won the league championship. With his success it wasn’t too long before he was noticed for being an excellent pitching coach and was given a chance in the major leagues.

In 2003 he started his professional career as a major league pitching coach with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was the Brewers pitching coach for six years from 2003 to 2008In 2008 the Brewers staff ranked 2nd in the National league with a 3.85 ERA. This was the lowest earned run average for the Milwaukee Brewers in 16 years since 1992.

During the 2008 season Manager Ed Yost was fired and the new manager, Ken Macha hired his own coaching staff. Mike Maddux was not made to feel welcome with the new coaching staff. The Brewers should have been more aggressive to retain him. Mike was offered a position by the Rangers which he accepted. This was a big mistake for the Milwaukee Brewers. A good organization knows that the coaches have a big impact on the team, and maybe even more than the actual manager. The Chicago Cubs know this. The Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild has been with the Cubs since 2002. He has seen the Cubs go through three managers in Don Baylor, Dusty Baker, and now Lou Piniella. Cub’s management knows how important a pitching coach is and they have told the three managers that Larry Rothschild is the pitching coach. Lou Piniella didn’t mind because he was the first manager who gave Larry Rothschild a chance as a pitching coach back with the Reds in 1990 after Larry Rothschild was his bullpen coach. Dusty Baker wanted to bring in one of his guys in Dick Pole as pitching coach, but the Cubs said no, so Dick Pole became the bench coach. Dick Pole is currently the pitching coach for the Reds managed by Dusty Baker. Other organizations have had the same pitching coaches for a while, but very few out last the manager like in Chicago.

On February 6, 2008 Nolan Ryan was hired as the president of the Texas Rangers. The Texas Rangers have made their hitting coach the highest paid hitting coach in the game, until this past off-season where The Chicago Cubs lured him away from The Rangers. This is because they know the importance of good coaches. One of the first things Nolan Ryan did was hire Mike Maddux as their pitching coach on November 3rd, 2008. He joined Jackie Moore (bench) and Dave Anderson (third base) as new coaches for the 2009 season. Maddux decided to go from Milwaukee to Texas because of prior connections in the Texas Organization. This is because Maddux started his pitching coach career as the pitching coach at Double-A Round Rock from 2000 to 2002. That Round Rock team was owned by Nolan Ryan who is now the Rangers President. That team was managed by Jackie Moore, the new Texas bench coach. Maddux inherited a Texas pitching staff that had a 5.37 ERA, worst in the major leagues.

For the 2008 season the Texas Rangers pitching was terrible. The prior year they ranked dead last in ERA for team ERA of 5.37. That is why Nolan Ryan hired Mike Maddux to try and turn the pitching around. They had 8 shutouts for 17th place in the majors, gave up the most earned runs at 860, ranked 6th in walks at 625 free passes, and ranked 27th in strikeouts with only 963 as a team. Opponents batted a league best .288 against them. The Texas Rangers pitching staff was bad for a number of years having the 24th ERA in 2007 at 4.75 ERA, 9th in giving up earned runs at 755, and second in walking batters at 668

In his first season with Texas, the Rangers pitching staff had an ERA of 4.38 which ranked 8th in the American league out of 14 teams and 18th in the major leagues out of 30 teams. They had 11 shutouts and 8 complete games. Their 11 shutouts ranked 8th in the majors and their 8 complete games ranked 7th in the Majors. They were 7th in saves with 45. Their Achilles heel was converting saves where they were 45 for 58. Thus, the Texas rangers had an average pitching staff, but were much improved from the previous seasons.

The Texas pitching staff has much to look forward to this year. They are anchored by the veteran in Kevin Millwood. Millwood came up with the Atlanta braves in 1997 behind Hall of famers Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine. He was overshadowed by those great pitchers, but showed a lot of promise and potential. Then he played for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cleveland Indian in 2005. In 2005 for the Indians he had his best season since 1999. In 2005 he went 9-11 with a 2.86 ERA. Then he signed a big multiyear deal with the Texas rangers before the 2006 season. He struggled with the Rangers until this season under Mike Maddux. Maddux was able to get him back on track and be the ace he was supposed to be.

Then there is the magic he has performed with the other pitchers. This was Scott Feldman’s second year as a starter in the big leagues after pitching in their bullpen for a few years. Last season Feldman went 6-8 with a 5.39 ERA in 25 starts. This past season under the mentorship of Mike Maddux Feldman put his game together going 17-8. He had a 4.08 ERA in 31 starts logging a career high 189.2 innings only allowing 86 runs and 18 homeruns. He turned Feldman into a top of the rotation pitcher after barley being a 5th starter. Tommy Hunter pitched in 3 games for the 2008 season going 0-2 with a 16.36 ERA in 11 innings. He was able to make adjustments this season and went 9-6 with a 4.10 ERA in 19 starts. Under Maddux, Feldman and Hunter developed to being middle of the rotation pitchers with the potential of getting even better as they learn from one of the best pitching coaches.

This year he will have 2 new projects to make effective starters. Derek Holland made his debut this season going 8-13 with a 6.12 ERA in 21 starts in 33 games with a complete game shutout. He is a lefty with potential to grow next season. The 5th starter in the Rangers rotation will be Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy just needs to stay healthy because he has been injury plagued since his debut back in 2005 with the Chicago Whites Sox.

Thus, Mike Maddux may not be the Maddux everyone knows, but he has found his place as one of today’s elite pitching coaches.

Wes Welker vs. Randy Moss

For a list of who deserved to go to the Pro Bowl on offense and special teams, click here

For the second straight year, Wes Welker makes it to the Pro Browl and his compatriot Randy Moss does not. This boggles my mind. Again, Randy Moss leads the AFC in receiving TDs and again, Wes Welker is towards the bottom. The problem with these two receivers is that they have completely different running styles that it makes it hard to compare the two. Welker is a possession receiver and Moss is a deep threat, thus there numbers are going to look a lot different.

Welker is Tom Brady's "go-to guy"- which essentially means that if Brady doesn't have a receiver to throw to, he then will "dump" off the pass to Welker just to gain a few yards. The problem with this type of receiver is that 1) it inflates their receptions and catch rate and 2) it decreases their TDs. So when you look to see that Welker leads the league is receptions (122) and catch rate (76%), it looks pretty darn good. Add to that that Welker is second in the league in yards, it looks damn impressive. However, when the vast majority of the passes thrown your way are dump off passes over the middle, one would expect you to top the league in receptions and TDs. The same logic for Welker is the same logic for why QBs in a West Coast offense look so good. It's easier to have a high completion percentage when all your doing is tossing the ball of to your running back. In fact, this is evidence by Welker's extremely low YPR ranking 85th between Fred Davis and Antwaan Randle El.

But at the same time, Welker shouldn't be punished for doing his job so damn well either. Sure, Welker is only a possession receiver, but he's the best in the game at it. And sure he only gets dump off passes, but he's the top wide out in getting Yards After Catch. So the vast majority of those yards he's generating, are mostly because of him. Welker is also 2nd in DYAR (total value) and 13th in DVOA (value per play), both if which is better than Randy Moss. And when you watch him play, you can tell how valuable he is. Despite being a short yardage possession guy, he still generates double teams. This frees up space on the field for a guy like Moss to get open. And when teams take Welker out of the picture, Brady and the Pats tend to not have good games. A crude and brief look at Welker's and Brady's fantasy points help show this. Weeks 15, 12, and 2 were Welker's lowest scoring weeks. Those weeks also coincided with Brady's lowest scoring weeks and a Pats loss.

On the other hand, Moss also shouldn't be punished for doing what we does so well. While Welker is a possession receiver, Moss is a deep threat guy. Which means you should expect these players to have must lower receptions and catch rates than possession guys and much higher TD totals. Moss leads the AFC in TDs and 4th in the AFC in DYAR (total value).

However, this year, Moss is actually the 5th best receiver in the AFC, which means that he actually SHOULD be the odd man out. This year, Vincent Jackson, Wes Welker, Reggie Wayne, and Andre Johnson all have better overall numbers than Moss. Moss is 5th in the AFC in yards, 6th in first downs, 5th in plays of 20+ yards, and 7th in receptions.

So who is the better receiver, this year it's Wes Welker. But either way, Moss is a guaranteed HOFer and should absolutely be a Pro Bowler over Brandon Marshall this year.

An argument for Del Negro

I do not have a good enough basketball eye to be able to judge the ability of an NBA coach. I dont have enough knowledge of what plays they run, what defense they are running, what inbound plays they call(which cubsfan always criticizes). Basically, i dont have a good enough eye to be able to distinguish the difference between players not being skilled enough to execute plays, or the coach not being skilled enough to call/practice the right plays. And obviously many NBA GM's also can't because there have been hundreds of bad NBA coaches. So how can you Sexy Rexy, Cubsfan, or anybody really judge how good or bad Del Negro is?

All you are basing your opinions on is the word of so called NBA "experts". Experts have been wrong before, and they will continue to be wrong for many years to come. Del Negro took the Bulls to the playoffs with a crappy team that didnt even have Deng and almost knocked off the defensing champs. I would argue that Del Negro is no worse than an average coach. The fact that this bulls team has more than 7 wins this year is utterly amazing to me.

Nobody i know is skilled enough to judge the abilities of a basketball coach. The only legitimate reason to fire Del Negro is the negative perception of him that has spread throughout the NBA, such that free agents may shunt the Bulls because of Del Negro's perception. Perception is not always reality, but that may not matter to Wade and Bosh, hence Del Negro has to go.

Cubsfan4evr Top Sports Memory Of 2009

The past few days I have been seeing a lot of stories in the paper and segments on t.v. showing the best sport moments in the past year. So I thought I would share my favorite sport memory. I thought long and hard about the baseball season and the Cubs, but couldn’t think of many great memories. When I thought about the Cubs things that came to my mind were:

1. The Milton Bradley Saga
2. Kevin Gregg blowing save after save. One specific night comes into mind when I was at Champs with TBO and Sexy Rexy and the Cubs game was on. Gregg came in against his former team for the save and before I could blink the game was over and we lost.
3. Carlos Marmol getting himself in trouble by not being able to find the plate. He would walk batter after batter. I hope this whole off-season he is somewhere just pitching trying to get the ball with his movement over the plate.
4. Kerry Wood coming to Chicago and helping the Cubbies out by blowing some saves.
5. Soriano looking like age is catching up with him and his timing being a mess at the plate.

Hopefully the 2010 baseball season will bring me more positive memories for the cubs. I would have thought my best sports memory would be from the Cubs, but this was a bad and ugly season at times, so I had to think elsewhere. After the cubs I thought about the Bulls and Bears. The Bears had an uglier season than the Cubs, but the Bulls had some bright spots.

In 2009 the Chicago Bulls got lucky and had the number one draft pick in the NBA lottery. Instead of drafting Michael Beasley they choose Chicago native Derrick Rose. Even though I don’t know if he will ever be as good as Rajon Rondo or Chris Paul like some thought/think, he was the better choice. The Bulls were able to trade Larry Hughs and bring in John Salmons and Brad Miller that sparked the bulls. Even though it is still 2009 and they both look terrible, last season they were the spark plug that jumped the Bulls to make the playoffs and have an incredible run in the playoffs. So if you’re still reading this and a Bulls fan, then you may agree with me that the Bulls/Celtics series was incredible. That was some of the best basketball I have seen since the Jordan era and that was one incredibly fun series. Even though if they did have Kevin Garnet we probably wouldn’t of had a chance, but they didn’t, and that was some fun basketball with almost every game going down to the wire. So that series is my favorite sports memory in 2009.

Here is a clip of that Bulls Celtics series:

Watching it again makes me remember how much fun I had watching each game and where I was for most of those games.

What was your favorite sports memory for 2009?

Why Vinny Needs To Go Now

Vinny Del Negro needs to be fired now! Every day more and more reasons come out why he needs to be fired. There are many more reasons besides the fact that Vinny Del Negro is hurting the growth of this team . Vinny Del Negro is a first time coach at any level, and as we have found out over the past year and a half, he can’t coach. When Paxson hired him, it wasn’t because of him being a good coach or that he necessary even had the making of being a good coach. Paxson never directly said it, but if you listened to his reasons on why he hired Vinny and what he implied, it was because he thought Vinny Del Negro would be a good cheerleader. He thought Vinny would be good at brining everyone together and relate to the players well. He liked Vinny ideas to be a defense first minded team and his ideas for his coaching style. After coaching for a year in a half, the Bulls and Vinny have learned that his ideas are not possible, or at least not possible for Vinny to put into action.

The Bulls need to bring in a big star during the 2010 off season. No big star will want to come to Chicago and play for Vinny Del Negro. The Bulls need to bring in an experienced coach that players want to play for and that knows what he is doing to take us to the next level. Vinny Del Negro is not that person.

Over the past few weeks controversy has started to spread if Vinny will be fired. Then it recently came out that he has been fired and that the Bulls are just waiting to fine him until they find someone better. It is hard to hire a good coach in the middle of the season though. With rumors being circulated daily about the Bulls plans for their next coach, it is hard for the team to concentrate and play for Vinny when everyone knows it is only a matter of time before he is fired.

So the Bulls need to fire Vinny Del Negro and pick anyone to be the replacement. It doesn’t really matter who they pick if it is Bernie Bickerstaff, Pete Myers, or Gar Forman. I don’t think Bernie Bickerstaff or Pete Myers are good coaches or should be the coach for the long term, but they would be fine for the rest of the year. The Bulls should name one of them, or another assistant coach the interim manager and that this person will only be the coach until the end of the season. Then at that time the Bulls will have a thorough search for the next Bulls coach. This way they can move forward from the disaster Vinny Del Negro era and move forward.

Vinny Del Negro Stunting Growth Of The Chicago Bulls

Vinny Del Negro is hurting the Bulls by being their coach. This is why the Bulls need to fire Del Negro now and pick anyone else for the time being. Del Negro is a bad coach that is hurting the growth of this team. Last off season the Bulls decided not to re-sign Ben Gordon. By doing so they decided this would be a growing year until the 2010 free agent class. I agreed with this move. We took a few steps back this year with loosing Ben Gordon. With keeping him it would have meant we could make no other big moves and we went as far as we could have with Ben Gordon and the rest of the team the last few seasons making the playoffs and getting bounced in the first round. To go forward we need our young guys of Derrick Rose, Ta Gibson, James Johnson, Tryus Thomas, Joakim Noah, to continue to develop. Them with a super star the Bulls could be a good team. The problem is that James Johnson isn’t playing in this rebuilding year because Vinny is playing for his job. We need a coach who doesn’t care about winning this season and his job, but a coach who cares about us getting ready for the future. We also need Derrick Rose to mature into a better point guard which isn’t happening with Del Negro at the help. Lets hope a change comes sooner than later.

GOI Fantasy Basketball League Update

Every week throughout football season we gave an update of the GOI Fantasy Football League so here is an update of the GOI Fantasy Basketball team after two months.

After One month I was in first place. Now I Cubsfan4evr, have droped to second palce. The person in first place has 79 points and I have 78.5. It is very close and daily it seems the two of us in first and second place keep swapping places. At first glance my team doesn't look that good. I have no players in the top 25 for points scored. My team is also not doing well in free throw percentage and field goal percentage. The free throw percentage is a result of having many bg guys on my team who normally don't do as well in free throws. My team is very good at rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. lets hope I can get my way back into first. I feel that this will be a back and forth battle for the rest of the season.

The 'Bright' One is currently in 6th place, but usually does make a push in the second half as we have learned from fantasy baseball and fantasy football. We do have one team that has a team with star power with Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Joe Johnson, and on a lesser level Brandon Jennings, Eric Gordon, and Richard Hamilton who can all score. This team is only in 5th place, even with such a loaded roster because he doesn’t have a well balanced team which is what you need for fantasy sports.

We will see how the league shapes up over the course of the rest of the season.

GOI Football Predictions: Week Seventeen

Pigskin Pick 'Em
Here are my Picks for this week (Selection in bold) Seventeen:
Chicago at Detroit
New England at Houston
Jacksonville at Cleveland
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh at Miami
San Francisco at St. Louis
Cincinnati at N.Y. Jets
Philadelphia at Dallas
Indianapolis at Buffalo
New Orleans at Carolina
N.Y. Giants at Minnesota
Green Bay at Arizona
Kansas City at Denver
Tennessee at Seattle
Washington at San Diego
Baltimore at Oakland

This was a tough week because I am not sure which teams will roll over and which ones will give it their all. There are a few matchups that the team has clinched a playoff berth like New England, but the team there playing Buffalo isn’t that good. Even if New England did rest some players, they still may be able to beat Buffalo. This is the final week of football so after the last game we will see who won the Game Of Inches Pigskin Pick 'Em for 2009.

The Break Out Game For Devin Aromashodu

All GOI readers should know by now that since I went to Bears training camp I have been a fan of journeyman wide receiver Devin Aromashodu. A few weeks ago when the Bears receivers weren't doing much I lobbied for him to get more playing time. I said
I wish we would see more of Devin Aromashodu though. He was injured to start the season so he wasn’t given a chance. Devin Aromashodu was supposed to be ahead of Jonny Knox of the depth chart before his injury. He missed a few weeks, but has been back for a while. Now there is no playing time for him. I saw Devin Aromashodu at training camp and he looked good. He is tall at 6-2, fast, and seemed to have very good hands making some hard catches on the day I went. He has been on a few teams now for a reason, but I think if he was given a few throws his ways, he would wow Chicago fans. For now it is up to Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, and Earl Bennett to carry the load though.

After Devin Aromashodu saw some action I thought he would get more playing time. Cutler has always said good things about him and likes him because he is a big, fast target, who has good hands. Then DA had a good game which I thought would get him more playing time but I wasn't sure because Lovie Smith wasn't big on him. With Hester out and Knox getting injured DA had more playing time in the game on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

DA did get a lot of playing time on Sunday and showed why he should be out there even when Hester and Knox are healthy. He caught seven passes for 150 yards and had one touchdown catch to win the game! He looked liked a number one receiver. I don’t know if he will be that good, but he has a chance to be that on the Bears, and sure looks better than any other Bear receiver. I like Knox and his speed, but DA can go up and get the ball or stretch out using his length.
The Three big catches by DA:

I am excited to see the Bears play Detroit next week and see what DA can do against them. I am finally excited about the Bears for the first time since the season started thanks to him and Cutler!

FJM: Lance Briggs

Here's an article based upon what Briggs said a few weeks ago about the horrible season the Chicago Bears are having. His comments don't look quite as dumb with a MNF win over the Vikings, but they're still pretty dumb

Lance Briggs stepped to the podium in the media room at Halas Hall this afternoon and said he was ready to deliver some controversy.
I don't mean to be a dick towards Briggs, but... here we go
The Pro Bowl linebacker was joking, playing off an interesting Wednesday when wide receiver Devin Hester expressed his frustration with his role and the team's struggles.
Which then, with the front office having the self-esteem of a 14 year girl, forced Hester to recant his statements
"There is going to be a shakeup. There is going to be what I call a shake at the lake,'' Briggs joked.
If by shake up, you mean giving Ron Turner a swirlie, then yes, there will be a shake up. I wish he were talking about personnel moves, but alas, he is only a linebacker so I'm not really going to believe that a linebacker is really the best person to tell me about these sort of things.
Then, the team's leading tackler got serious and admitted that, yeah, things could be different starting in January.
Oh phew, he was just kidding about a shake up and being frustrated. And I'm also relieved that things will be better in January- where the Bears only have one game left and it's against the Lions. But before then, things will be the same.
"Obviously, with years like this, I'm sure something is going to happen," Briggs said. "Next year, I don't know what. But for me and the rest of the guys in the locker room, this year and this day will never come again.
I hate to break this to you Briggs but you play for a team with a coach that can't coach and will be your coach for at least two more years because he's owed a crap ton of money, a GM who can't draft, and an owner who's too cheap and/or dumb to do anything about making this team better. Yeah, you will be feeling this shitty for at least two more years.
"It's frustrating to go through years like this. The only thing, at this point that you can really do, or I feel I can do is for one, finish strong, two, not let this happen again.
Nothing like setting your goals so you can finish a season 7-9. I wonder what the Detroit Lions' goals are?
"I could say a bunch of different things about it. We're definitely not the team of the past, of those successful years (2005 and 2006). We don't play that way. It doesn't feel that way on the field and the results are not the same. So, any hope of that, people need to put that stuff to rest, really, and we need to start moving forward and continue to move forward and eliminate the questions of, 'Are you guys going to get back to this form?'
True you are not the team of 2005 and 2006. Yes, you technically have different players and thus are technically a different team. And yes, the results are not the same. In those years, you made it to the playoffs. Very astute observation.
"We need to move forward and develop the guys that are here, get better communication, play better football and work on success for next year.''
Very true. You do need to play better football to have success in future years. I also need to play better football next year so I can have a chance to play on the Bears as well. John Madden told you to say that didn't he?
Then, Briggs started talking about some of the players and coaches who are no longer here, mentioning ex-defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and secondary coach Perry Fewell, and players Thomas Jones, John Tait, Mike Brown, Ruben Brown, Chris Harris and even Ian Scott.
WHAT!? Did I read that correctly!? Did he just admit that Ian Scott should still be on the team!? Really!? That's worse than Chris Rongey preaching the importance of batting average! I mean, yes, everyone else you mentioned played very well for the team or seemingly contributed great things for the team. But Ian Scott!? Really!?

Also, you do realize that Mike Brown played a total of 9 games during the 2004, 06, and 07 seasons right? And only 12 in 2005. He did play 15 last year but was awful in coverage so it was easier for teams to throw on your defense. And as for Reuben Brown, he's old. He still would probably be better than Orlando Pace, but still probably really bad. Plus, he retired. On his own. What did you expect this organization to do?
"There are guys that are gone that we don't have," Briggs said. "I think sometimes when you believe in what we're doing so much, you think sometimes, 'Hey, we can let this guy go,' or 'We don't need this guy,' and we'll be just fine. I think in most cases that would be the case, but you miss some of those guys when you don't have them and sometimes you realize what you could have had when it's not there anymore. There are things that I do miss about some of those players.

"The thing is, in football nothing lasts forever. Who is to say if those guys are with us today we would be successful."
Listen Briggs, I love you as a player, but I hate to break this to you: Just because you went out and had a beer with some former players, does not mean that this organization would be a better team. In some instances, sure, having Thomas Jones and Chris Harris probably would make this team better. But the problem is a lot deeper than some players you like being released or traded.

I'm just glad he didn't pine for Adam Archuleta to be back on this team.

Making Light Of The Chicago Bears Season

This is making light of the Bears season. I did not write this or feel this way towards any of the Bears players or the Team. Someone sent this to me and I thought it was funny.

Too much truth here.........................

Q. What's the difference between the Chicago Bears & the Taliban?
A. The Taliban has a running game!

Q. What do the Chicago Bears & Billy Graham have in common?
A. They both can make a stadium full of people stand up & yell "Jesus Christ."

Q. How do you keep a Chicago Bears player out of your yard?
A. Put up goal posts.

Q. Where do you go in Chicago in case of a tornado?
A. Soldier Field - they never get a touchdown there.

Q. Why doesn't Rockford have a professional football team?
A. Because then Chicago would want one.

Q. Why was Lovie Smith upset when the Bears playbook was stolen?
A. Because he hadn't finished coloring it.

Q. What's the difference between the Chicago Bears & a dollar bill?
A. You can still get four quarters out of a dollar bill.

Q. What do you call 47 people sitting around a TV watching the Super Bowl?
A. The Chicago Bears.

Q. What do the Chicago Bears & possums have in common?
A. Both play dead at home & get killed on the road.

Q. How can you tell when the Chicago Bears are going to run the football?
A. Forte leaves the huddle with tears in his eyes.

Disclaimer: This was sent to one of the contributors of Game Of Inches and I thought it was funny. This is not true and entirely meant for entertainment purposes.

The NHL Winter Classic

This Friday is the NHL Winter Classic

This years version of Wrigley Field. The NHL is trying to recruit baseball fans to hockey!

Is it just me or does Arod look a lot like Brett Favre

GOI Football Prediction Results: Week Sixteen

1) Cubsfan4evr
Last Week: 10 out of 16-63%
Overall: 162 out of 239-68%

2) The 'Bright' One
Last Week: 10 out of 16-63%
Overall: 155 out of 239-65%

3) Sexy Rexy
Last Week: 7 out of 16-50%
Overall: 143 out of 239-60%

Fantasy Football League-The Playoffs

Third Place Game Recap

We had the two losers from the two semi-final matchups last week playing for third place this week. It was Sexy Rexy vs. Eagles! The winner was Eagles! 117 to 92. So Eagles! locked up third place overall in the league.

The Championship Game Recap
We had The 'Bright' One vs. Good Question in the championship game. As we said last week, the key for The 'Bright' One to make it into the playoffs and to the championship game was the play of his three receivers of Andre Johnson, Miles Austin, and Brandon Marshall. Andre Johnson had a solid game for 13 points. Miles Austin had 8 points, and Brandon Marshall had 3 pitiful points. Without good performances from his three receivers it was an uphill battle. He made it close because of: Philip Rivers with 22, Jerome Harrison with 18, England Defense with 10 and Rashard Mendenhall with 7.

His opponent Good Question was led by Adrian Peterson with 23, Matt Schaub 21, Antonio Gates 13, Pierre Thomas 12, Greg Jennings 11, and Matt Prater with 10. Good Question only had one standout in Peterson, but had good solid play from a few different players and was able to win.

So the winner for this year’s Game Of Inches Fantasy Football League was Good Question winning 98 to 89 over The ‘Bright’ One. Congratulations to Good Question!

That is it for Fantasy Football for this season!

Joakim Noah Making A Name For Himself

Joakim Noah was drafted by the Chicago Bulls 9th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. I was not a big fan of drafting him at the time because I didn't think he would be good in the NBA. My colleague TBO didn't like him for other reasons. When I looked at the Bulls centers before the season started I did like his defensive numbersin a limited role, but looked at Brad Miller for being a bigger option for the Bulls at Center. I did think Noah would have good numbers with more playing time but I did not think he would be this good.

In the two months of this NBA season Noah has stepped up to be the leader of the team. Yes, Rose is better and the best player we have, but he is on the quiet side and not that vocal leader which Noah has become on the court and off by being comical relief.

Noah has quietly put together a very good season and he is one of the few bright spots on the team. This season he is averaging a double double with 10.5 PPG and 12.40 PPG. You have often heard the Bulls and media say we need a guy like Carlos Bozer, Chirs Bosh, or Admare Stoudmire because we need a guy who can score inside and be that double double guy. Noah may not be a great offensive force, but he is a double double guy that many people keep saying the Bulls need, but no one talks that we already have one. Noah is also second in the league in rebounds behind Dwight Howard. So Noah may not make it to the NBA all star team, but he should as Dwight Howard's back up. So do your part and try to vote him in!

Meet your "Media Person of the Year"

Some website called Chicago Baseball Museum announced it's yearly awards in Chicago baseball. You will not believe who won "media person of the year". I'm giddy with excitement to announce the winner. The greatest, most influential, revolutionary voice in the history of sports media: Christopher Rongey. Take that numbers.

You all remember Chris Rongey, right? The glorious day DME called into The Score 670 to teach Chris Rongey, the White Sox pre and post game host, that numbers can tell you much more about a player than blind faith. Just because someone is "established" and "was once an all-star" doesnt make up for a 3 year decline is power, K/BB, speed, and defense.

"But I dont care about your stupid numbers, because numbers are not reality!! Oh, and your blog sucks cause it's obviously infected with numbers. Did I mention I hate numbers." - Yep, Rongey is definitely the "voice of reason"...for people who can't add.

Listen to Rongey getting owned by DME

Evaluating my Fantasy Football Draft in GOI

Each week after all of the football games we post the GOI football results looking at how the GOI staff did at Pigskin Pick 'Em and an update to our GOI Fantasy Football league. This is the last week of Fantasy football and after tonight we will know who the winner is in our league. I already know my fate and have finished in 6th place. I decided to look at how I drafted and see how the players did.

Here was the team I drafted. The number on the left was my pick and the one in parentheses is how the player was ranked overall. I feel that it is easier to find productive running backs in later rounds or by free agency, so I drafted many quality wide receivers as you see below. Out of the 15 players I drafted I have 6 of those players to end the season.

1.(10)Larry Fitzgerald-He stayed on my team the entire season and accumulated 173 points to be the 6th best receiver in the game and the 30th best player overall. That is not very good for my first pick.

2.(15)Andre Johnson-I traded him before the season started with Jeremy Maclin for Vincent Jackson and Chris Johnson. Chris Johnson ended up being my best player and that was a good trade even though Andre Johnson also had a very good season.

3.(34)Kurt Warner-He was my QB for the entire season and is ranked the 12th best QB and 24th overall. The 9th best QB was my back-up Eli Manning, but I only played him twice.

4.(39)Joseph Addai-I ended up trading Joseph Addai with Donald Driver and Vincent Jackson for Anquan Boldin and Marion Barber.

5.(58)Santana Moss-I ended up trading Moss with Donald Driver, Joseph Addai, and Vincent Jackson for Anquan Boldin and Marion Barber.

6.(63)Hines Ward- Along with Fitzgerald he ended up being one of my two WR for the entire season. He ended up with 137 points to be the 15th best WR and 56th overall player in our league.

7.(82)Cedric Benson-He was injured and missed a few weeks, but had a very good season for me, especially with him being my 7th pick. He turned out being the 12th best RB and 4oth best plahyer overall. He was one of my few good picks later on.

8.(87)Pittsburgh- I dropped him on October 6th before week 5.

9.(106) Le'Ron McClain- I dropped him on Sep 22 before week 3.

10.(111) Donald Driver-I ended up trading Donald Driver with Joseph Addai, Santana Moss, and Vincent Jackson for Anquan Boldin and Marion Barber.

11.(130) Anthony Fasano- I dropped him on Sep 15 before week 2.

12.(135) Eli Manning- He stayed on my roster the entire season, but only played twice. He was the 9th best QB and ended up 16th overall. I debated every week if I should play him or Warner.

13.(154) Heath Miller- He was my starting TE until I got Visanthe Shiancoe via trade.

14.(159) Tampa Bay-I dropped him on Sep 15 before week 2.

15.(178) Jeremy Maclin-I traded him before the season started with Andre Johnson for Vincent Jackson and Chris Johnson

As you see I didn't draft a kicker so once I made the two trades before the season started I picked up a kicker. I needed to make some trades to fill in my void at RB because I only drafted two. I made a good trade trading Andre Johnson with Jeremy Maclin for Vincent Jackson and Chris Johnson. My trades after that didn't help me that much those. I had a surplus of WR, but wasn't able to get good deals in return. There is always next year!

The Colts Taking Heat For Protecting Players

On Sunday the Indianapolis Colts benched their starters like Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai, and company. They lost and their coach is taking a lot of heat for doing it from the fans and media. I know they were undefeated and everyone wants to see the perfect season, but if they would have gotten injured, especially Peyton Manning, the Fans and everyone else would have been on Jim Caldwell for not making the move.

I can see the argument for both sides. The fans at the game payed a lot of money to see their team win. Every fan wants to see their team do the impossible (it has happened twice though) and no fan wants their team to give up in a game. If this was a team that I followed and was a fan for I would be disappointed. I would be frustrated the team didn’t give it their all, play hard, and gave up a chance for the perfect season. I would be fine with it though and not boo the coach and team. I would respect that decision, because Jim Caldwell has to make it. If he went the other way and someone got injured, no would support him in that move to play them.

If a key player would have gotten injured, especially manning the season and superbowl hopes would be gone for the Colts. Football is a physical game where many players do get hurt. I can’t remember a game where a coach did play his star players after they clinched and the player got injured, but it could easily happen. On Sunday we did see the Bears loose three players in the game due to injuries. The Colts are nothing without Peyton Manning and the players Caldwell did bench to keep healthy for the playoffs. By benching Manning we did see the rookie back-up quarterback play and he isn't ready.

It is disappointing to see your team lay a egg, but sometimes you need to plan for the prize and forget the unnecessary steps to get there.

Get to Know the Name Bryce Harper

If your a baseball fan you should already know the name Bryce Harper. He is a top baseball prospect that I mentioned in July. Harper is a catcher and third basemen and can also pitch. As a hitter he has monster homeruns over 500 feet and as a pitcher he has been clocked at 96mph. He decided to finish high school early to start his baseball career. He just received his GED in December 2009 and is going to take classes at the College of Southern Nevada. He will play baseball in the spring of 2010 for them. This will make him eligible for the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. You can read all about Bryce Harper’s potential at Yahoo Sports.

Here is a video to see him in action:

Here are some more links to learn more about him:
His Future
His Power

Chris Johnson Chasing History

Chris Johnson is having a great season rushing for 1,872 yards with 12 touchdowns. A few weeks ago there was talk about him breaking the single season rushing record of 2,105 yards. There is one game left for Chris Johnson and the Titians this season and he needs 128 yards to reach 2,000 and 233 yards for the single season rushing record of 2,105 yards. So it looks grim for him to break the record, but not out of the question. The Tennessee Titans play the Seattle Seahawks next week who rank 14th in the NFL in stopping the run. Chris Johnson has rushed for 228 yards in a game this season doing it against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 8 on 24 carries. Johnson has rushed over 100 yards in 11 games this season and rushed for or over 128 yards 8 times this season. Thus, he could reach the 2,000 yards plateau or the 2,105 single season rushing record. We will have to wait and see.

The Collapse of the Saints

The Saints were 13-0 after 14 weeks of play this season. With three weeks left there was a lot of talk about them going undefeated. They had one tough opponent left in the Dallas Cowboys in week 15. The Saints ended up losing this game. This was after many close wins including a banged up Atlanta team the week before, beating Washington the week before that by a field goal in OT, and a close game against the Rams in week 10. Then the Saints lost this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was the Buccaneers third win this season. The Saints had all of their starters in the game and still lost, so now doubt arises right before the playoffs about how good the Saints are. Earlier this season when the Saints rolled to 13-0 and after they beat New England with Drew Brees and the Saints offense clicking on all cylinders everyone thought they were unstoppable. Now after back to back losses, they look very beatable. Next week in the last game of the regular season the Saints play the Carolina Panthers who were just okay a few weeks ago. Now the Carolina Panthers tore apart the Giants and beat the Vikings two weeks ago, so this game will be much closer than everyone thought a few weeks ago. So the question is can the New Orleans Saints get back on the winning track to carry that momentum into the playoffs or will they be one of the biggest disappointments in NFL history.

Florida and Urban Meyer Get on Same Page

On Saturday Urban Meyer shocked the world by announcing his retirement. He evidently told Florida his decision to resign and said he would tell the media on Sunday after the bowl game. This news obviously leaked out on Saturday though. After talking Florida and him realized it would be better for him to take a leave of abensence if he needs some time off. Urban Meyer has made Florida's football program one of the best and he is paid well for one of the top programs. So everyone is happy. So instead of Florida having to look to find a new coach and worry about recruiting, they will still have Meyer's help and name to make sure they don't lose recruits. This way Meyer still gets paid, so everyone is happy. Sometimes people need to learn to think about their decision’s and not rush to any conclusions. It will be interesting to see how much time he does take off…………………………if any.

The Underrated Atlanta Hawks!

Before this NBA season started when you thought of the best teams in the Eastern Conference you probably thought of Boston, Cleveland, and Orlando. Well you would be right because right now each of those teams are in first place in their respected divisions in the Eastern Conference. The Atlanta Hawks have been quietly putting together a good season though. Not many people realize they are really good. They are currently 21-8 with a .724 winning percentage and only a ½ game behind Orlando who is 22-8. The Hawks were good last season to 47-35 finishing 12 games behind Orlando in their division, but they had the 4th best record in the East. Being in the east which is much weaker than the West, finishing 4th, and being the Atlanta Hawks they don't get much respect. The Atlanta Hawks have become one of my favorite teams to watch with: Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, and Al Horford. They only have one Superstar in Joe Johnson, but a good core of players around him. Then they have a decent bench lead by two former Bulls Jamal Crawford who found his role off the bench, and Joe Smith. They also have Zaza Pachulia, Maurice Evans, and Jeff Teague. Look out for the Atlanta Hawks Playoff time because I think they will cause some upsets and go deep into the playoffs.

The Suns High Scoring Offense

The Phoenix Suns used to have a high powered fast temp offense a few years ago under Mike D'Antoni. This is when they had Shawn Marion with Steve Nash and Admare Stoudmire. Then they traded for Shaquille O'Neal and he slowed the tempo of the team down and their offense. So they had to trade Shaquille O'Neal and move on. This season they tried to go back to their run and gun tempo and surprisingly it has worked. Even with Steve Nash being older at 35 and new comers like Jason Richardson, the Suns are scoring and winning. I thought the Suns missed their opportunity when they had the big three of Nash, Marion, and Stoudmire and needed to trade away their key players to re-build. Well it turns out they are scoring and winning like they used to. The Suns are 19-12 with a .613 winning percentage. They also have an impressive 11-2 record at home. The Suns rank number one in the league averaging 109.5 points per game, number one in field goals made per game at 40.9, more impressively number one at field goal percentage at .496, and number one at three point percentage at .425. So the Suns are the best scoring team in the league and winning. The question is can they continue to win and win in the playoffs?

The Marlins Need Matt Holliday

My disgust with Marlins owner Jeff Loria is well pronounced on this blog. The Marlins ownership is, to put it bluntly, both greedy and cheap. Yes, the Marlins have the lowest value of any MLB team and the smallest operating income to work with according to Forbes, but their revenue stream is almost identical to that of both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals. The difference? Whereas the Royals spend approximately 49% of their revenue on player salaries last season and whereas the Pirates (another black hole of spending) spent approximately 1/3 of their revenue on player salaries (to be taken with a grain of salt, as the Pirates are rebuilding and in no position to contend for even a wild card berth, unlike the Marlins), the Florida Marlins spent a measly 26.5% of their revenue on player salaries. In case you missed my calculations from earlier this week, I will share them with you again (below, click to enlarge):

The major league average payroll as a percentage of revenue has fluctuated between 45% and 54% over the past six years. Only once (2005), did the Marlins surpass the league average payroll/revenue mark. In fact, in 2006, the Marlins' payroll as a percentage of revenue was 1/4th that of the league average -- a pathetic 12.6%.

Some may make the argument that Florida is a small market team with limited resources and a great scouting department which can afford to squeeze pennies left and right. There is some credence to this argument -- that is, to the extent that the Marlins' GM, Michael Hill, has a great eye for talent. However, unlike other small market teams who spend well under the league average payroll/revenue rate (ie, the Pittsburgh Pirates), the Marlins are in a key position to contend -- not for the NL East, of course, but for the Wild Card. In terms of WAR, the Marlins were a top four NL team with respect to offense last season (+19.6 WAR). And despite the fact that their combined pitching value of +14.1 WAR ranked bottom half of the league last season, they were within 5 WAR of a top 4 spot in pitching (a gap that could be bridged with a Matt Holliday-like player (a +5.7 or higher WAR player each of the last three seasons, including his injured 2008)). Collectively, the Marlins were a +33.7 WAR team last season. That made them the sixth best NL team, behind the Dodgers (+43.3 WAR), Rockies (+42.3 WAR), Braves (+41.3 WAR), Phillies (+40.8 WAR), and Cardinals (+38.1 WAR). Next season, it looks the Cardinals will lose Joel Pinero (+4.8 WAR) and perhaps even Matt Holliday (+2.7 WAR for the Cardinals) and the Rockies will lose the value that Jason Marquis (+3.8 WAR) provided them. With a smart FA addition (specifically Holliday and perhaps a Valverde-like player), the Marlins stand in a good position to be a top four NL team next season with the right additions. As Fangraphs pointed out earlier this month, "the composition of a team’s talent and their relation to their division opponents can have a pretty significant effect on their internal marginal value of a win. A win to the Rays is significantly more valuable than a win to the Astros because of the respective effect of that win on the odds of either team making the playoffs."

In other words, the Marlins are exactly the kind of team that should be spending some money on the Free Agency market. And yet, according to Nick Cafardo's latest piece "there’s no doubt the Marlins are planning another payroll dump and Uggla would appear to be at the center of it."

Yes, Uggla is about to get a little pricey (MLBTradeRumors thinks Uggla will get a raise somewhere in the $7 million range), but he is still a +3 WAR (or more, as Uggla's 2007 and 2009 BABIPs were well below his xBABIPs) player, making him worth $13+ million in terms of free agency expenditure to replace his contributions to the team. Rather than pinching the pennies, shipping Uggla out, and relying on Bonafacio (.303 OBP, -0.4 WAR last season) and Chris Coghlan (a quality player, +2.3 WAR in limited playing time last season) to fill the hole that Uggla's departure would leave, the Marlins should instead keep Uggla, use Coghlan as well, and collectively signing both Matt Holliday and Valverde for $20-22 million, finding ways to saving some salary elsewhere (such as non-tendering Cantu) and improving the team without dismantling the farm system or disassembling a quality 25-man roster. Especially since it's essentially a crap-shoot as to who wins the World Series once the playoffs begin (at least according to BP's book Baseball Between The Numbers).

However, in the words of Cafardo, "the Marlins, who receive a ton in revenue-sharing and central-fund money, are looking to keep their profit margin high." It's a sad, sad situation. Loria is committed to pocketing every dollar and forcing others to pay his expenses. Something needs to be done about the Marlins situation before Loria ruins an already limited (in terms of revenue, not profit) franchise. They have the money to spend and they are in a situation where they really should spend it.

EDIT: I think Dan Szymborski said it best in his 2010 ZiPS projection for the Marlins: "The Marlins continuing to win 85-90 games relies on Beinfest and Hill continuing to spin straw into gold faster than Jeff Loria can give it away, which is a very difficult task."

Patrick Kane is magic

Tyler Hansbrough Just Getting Started

Reecently "The 'Bright' One" did a post on Tyler Hansbrough. As TBO mentioned in that post, I am a big fan of Tyler Hansbrough. I have been since his days at North Carolina, and I thought he would be a good productive NBA player. I didn't think he would be a superstar, or someone you build your team around, but a good average starter, or a very good role player off the bench. Ideally I think the best role for him would be a role player off the bench, and hopefully he will develop into a good number one or two man option off the bench.

Tyler Hansbrough is no where I thought he would be in his NBA career. Nor is he as good as Bob Ryan's makes him sound in the article that TBO talked about. Ryan makes it seem like Hansbrough is doing great, but he isn't. Hansbrough still needs a lot of time to adjust to the NBA and develop his game. He is a rookie who has only played in 24 games and needs to develop. His numbers look good on the surface like Bob Ryan said with him averaging 9.2 points and almost 5 rebounds in 19 minutes. When you look deeper he isn't doing good as TBO said with his .374 field goal percentage. It is way too early to judge him and I think he will improve his shooting percentage by the end of the year and be a solid player by next season.

Are the Bears A Running Team?

Lovie Smith was hired by the Chicago Bears in 2004. It is hard to beleoieve that he has already been here for six years. Since Lovie Smith has been head coach of the Chicago Bears he has said were going to be a running team. So I decided to look at how many Yards the Bears have rushed for each year since he has took over and see how they have ranked overall. The Bears still have two more games left for this 2009 season, but I think the sample size is large enough.

Year Yards Ranking
2009 1237 30th
2008 1673 24th
2007 1330 30th
2006 1918 15th
2005 2099 8th
2004 1624 25th

As you see the only years where the Bears have been a running team under Lovie was the 2005 season. All of the other years they have ranked near the bottom in running the football. The Bears were terrible rushing in 2004, Lovie's first season in Chicago. Then they did run in 2005 and they made it to a NFC divisional game. They continued to get worse in 2006 but they made it to the super bowl. After the super bowl appearance they got really bad and have been ranked among the bottom since. So the Bears have only been a running team for two years under Lovie Smith. So if he still says were a running team, then we need to get a coach who doesn’t live under a rock. The Bears could be a good competitive team if they did run the football like they did in 2005 and 2006, but they don't.

About Sports Science Shows

I recently came across these Sports Science segments on You Tube and I posted my favorites. I looked into Sports Science and found that in January ESPN will be having them as part of their brand. So they will be more known and popular once the deal with ESPN starts. I had trouble finding a website for Sports Science, but found out they are produced by BASE Productions with John Brenkus who is the host and CEO of Sports Science.


Thats .320 from the left and .285 from the right

Sports Science: Tests the benefits of doctoring a baseball

They have Whiffle Ball Leagues?

Sports Science: Hitting a Softball Harder Than Hitting a Baseball?

Sports Science: Vernon Davis Dragging Players Across The Goal Line on Sports Science

Sports Science: Evaluating Why Shaq Is Bad At Free Throws With Sasha Vujacic

Sports Science: What Hurts More Football Or Rugby (Withot Pads)?

Sports Science: Could Happy Gilmore Swing Actually Work?

Box Score Tonight: NBA Edition

Box Score Tonight is back bitches, again! Get ready to learn some shit
  • Zack Randolph has a rep for being a black hole. Yet, lefty is very skilled, shoots 46%, gets to the line, and scores 20 and grabs 11 per game. He's overpriced at 16 million, but i'd take him for 10. Dirk Nowitski is single-handedly carrying the Mavs. No chance they compete in West unless they trade for Chris Paul
  • Atlanta is the surprise team this year, except they have no depth. Only reliable guy off the bench is Jamal Crawford. Need to make a trade. Luther Head is back in the NBA with a strong 19 points.
  • Let's call this the Bob Ryan Tyler Hansbrough watch. 7-20 for 19 points. 11 rebounds. I steal. 35% shooting is not good, not good at all.
  • Houston Rockets continue to be the moneyball team of the NBA. By far most production from the least talent. Carl Landry is the run away 6th man. Little Rodman. New Jersey is 2-28, but are being sold to the Russian Mark Cuban so future is bright.
  • The Hornets are in hell. Team sucks, are over the salary cap for next 3 years. Dont be surprised if he is traded within the year. Rose and Paul combine for no free throws. Awesome. Joakim Noah is becoming the only untouchable guy on the Bulls besides Derrick Rose
  • Agent Zero, Gilbert Arenas, in the first 3 years of a 110 million dollar contract. Injured, injured, wish he was injured. Most untradeable player in NBA. Minnesota drafted 3 point guards in the first round and none were named Evans or Jennings. Oops. Kevin Love is basically Joakim Noah which is a good thing
  • Guess who leads the NBA in rebounding? Charlotte's guard Gerald Wallace. OK City is above .500 and Durant is dominating, but Jeff Green is struggling as the Pippen to Jordan.
  • Tony Parker needs to stop having sex and play some basketball. He's holding the Spurs back this year while Duncan keeps being Duncan. Brandon Jennings has come back to reality now only shooting 40%. Michael Redd is back strong from knee surgury
  • 76ers, see Hornets, except less talent and even more money owed. Elton Brand could not be a bigger bust. I expect Iguodala to be traded more so than Chris Paul. The Jazz are good, but not good enough. Derron Williams is awesome though.
  • Ron Artest tripped, fell down stairs, got a concussion. Lamar Odom has Tony Parker syndrome, playing like crap since marrying Khloe Kardashian. Tykere Evans is really good, but not tonight.
  • Steve Nash is the best, most underpaid player in the NBA. Only makes 10 million per year and is a 50-40-90 player. Thats FG%-3PT%-FT%. Elite. 90-96 from the line this year. Monta Ellis is a young Iverson. 30 points in 10 of last 18 games. Corey Maggette is like Zack Randolph, no love for putting up great numbers.

Drew Brees on Sports Science

Has anyone ever heard of Sport Science show before? I just stumbled across it.

Lingerie Football

Bill Simmons book signing at ESPNzone Chicago

Glasses for Intimidation

Chicago Bulls Opening Introductions 2009

I'm shocked

Rarely do I ever hear sports news that causes me to jump out of my seat. Learning that Urban Meyer is resigning from the Florida Gators following the Sugar Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats, who are also down a coach, was one of those rare occasions. We don't see a professional athlete leave competition in his prime too often, and rarely is it a smooth transition for the athlete or the fans. People still dont understand what Barry Sanders did, or Joe Gibbs did, or MJ did. And Magic Johnson having to retire due to HIV was a shock to all.

Despite me growing up as a Miami and Florida St. fan, with the Gators or the bastard stepchild coached by the bastard dad, I had to respect Urban Meyer and his ability to always live up to expectations. When he would take over a new program in Bowling Green, Utah, or Florida, everyone expected him to be the savior and bring the team to prominence, which he always did. Winning 2 BCS championships in 3 years is almost unheard of in the modern day of college football.

Meyer stated a health issue as the reason for his resignation. He has a history of an inflamed cyst in the arachnoid space of his meninges. Other sources say a heart condition is the reason. I guess we will find out within a week. The only sure thing is the SEC will not be nearly as fun next year with Lane Kiffin having no one to feud with.

Taylor Swift is good but this is one of the greatest raps of all-time. I SAID OF ALL-TIME! LISTEN TO ME!!!

I also love the live performance where nobody even bothers to pretend to sing.

FJM: Tyler Hansbrough

Bob Ryan, the old dude from Boston who periodically appears on Around the Horn and PTI wrote a column about the how Tyler Hansbrough is progressing in the NBA. Most people, including everyone on this blog minus Cubsfan, didn't project Hansbrough's college game to transfer to the NBA, but lets allow Bob Ryan to tell all of us why we are wrong wrong wrong.
A full-blown, four-year college star, and not just any star but the player logically anointed College Player of the Decade by the Sporting News.
Yep, he was arguably the best college player of the decade(Jay Williams, JJ Reddick, Shane Battier) who was not good enough to go to the NBA before graduation. No good player stays in college 4 years. If Lebron, Dwight, or Amare spent even 1 year in college, people wouldnt even know who Hansbrough was. I'm willing to bet the 1 season Carmelo, Durant, and Beasley spent in college will be glorified in history more than Tyler's 4.
Was there another choice, really? What college player’s résumé in the 2000s came even remotely close to the dazzling portfolio submitted by North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough, by far the most decorated collegian of the decade, and one of the most award-laden players of all-time?
The title of this column is Hansbrough elbowing into role in NBA and so far no mention of the NBA. Better title so far would have been Hansbrough was good in college and won many awards. But i'm no professional so what do I know about newspaper business. BTW, Joakim Noah won more championships than Hansbrough. Just sayin'
The numbers tell us he can play in the NBA. He has been coming off Jim O’Brien’s bench for an average of 18 minutes a game, collecting 9.1 points and 4.6 rebounds a game. You easily could project that into double-double territory with sufficient playing time.
I broke this paragraph into 2 specifically to show the dichotomy. The paragraph starts telling us that Hansbrough can play in the NBA. The second part of the paragraphs has stats that completely contradict this assertion. Oh, and you cant simply extrapolate NBA stats. If Tyler could average 20-10 playing 40 minutes, he would be playing 40 minutes. There is a reason he's only getting 18 minutes.
But critics have something to hang their hat on, too, citing his field goal percentage (.380) and the inordinate amount of his shots that get blocked. He has not yet demonstrated he can hit the mid-range jumper that was a major part of his repertoire as a Carolina senior. There are predictable defensive nit-picks.
So basically he's a worse shooter than John Salmons. Can't make more than a layup. And can't play defense, which somehow is expected. Also, i've never heard anyone get "his shot blocked" too often. That has never been said about an NBA player. Guess there's a first for everything.
“For a guy who missed training camp and then wasn’t able to practice much he’s doing fine,’’ declares his ultimate boss, Indiana team president Larry Bird (remember him?). “I think he can be a very good player. He’ll be in the league for a long time.’’
So him missing training camp is the reason he can't shoot and gets his shot block an "inordinate amount"? What about all those other basketball stats. Like him averaging less than 1 assist, block, and steal per game. Derrick Rose averages more blocks per game, and he's 8 inches shorter.

List of guys who have been in the league a long time: Lindsey Hunter, Eric Dampier, Jannero Pargo, Eddie Curry, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Ollie, Bobby Simmons, Tim Thomas, Kareem Rush, Malik Allen. Yeah, I dont know who any of them are either
Said Jackson, “Wrong sport . . . his skill level is not there for basketball. He’s a bruiser. He needs to be playing rugby, or something.’’
Agreed. Elbowing people in the face does not make you good at basketball. If he goes to play rugby, nobody will notice. Would you have noticed or cared that Rashad McCants, Gerald Green, and Salim Staudemire were no longer on an NBA roster if I didn't just state it? I didn't think so.
“They don’t like to get hit with elbows, they don’t like to box out - none of that stuff. When a guy is going all-out on every play, things are going to happen. [Hansbrough’s] not going to back down. He brings it every day.’’
Yeah, they don't like it because it's against the rules. Shaq has been called for a thousand offensive fouls for elbowing. Yeah, when a guy goes all out things are going to happen. He's gonna get ejected for excessive elbowing. Every day.
“Oh, yeah,’’ Bird offers, “he can hit that 15- to 17-footer. We see it in practice, when he gets his rhythm going.’’
I've heard rumors for 20 years that Shaq is actually an 80% free throw shooter in practice, but has been a carer 50% shooter his entire life in real games. I should never be correcting Larry Bird, but the point of defenses is to disrupt rhythm, hence Hansbrough will never get into rhythm in a real game
“He’s just tough,’’ Bird says. “He gets his hands on a lot of loose balls.’’
That's why they wear jock straps.
And, of course, you knew the critics would zero in on his defense. There are better athletes in the NBA; no one will argue with that... there’s a lot worse guys out there trying to do that than Tyler.
Wait, you're telling me a white guy with no hops or lateral movement can't guard Carmelo and Durant? But there are worse players out there than Tyler Hansbrough. Just like there are worse pitchers out there than Jason Marquis.
“Hustle is part of ability.’’
Shooting, passing, rebounding, and defending are also a part of ability. They tend to be important in the NBA.

Note to world: Lebron is better than Kobe

Lebron leads Kobe career wise in points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage, free throw attempts, steals, blocks, and PER efficiency.

Kobe leads Lebron in free throw percentage, championships, rape allegations

Give Lebron 20 years in the NBA and he will have every record that ever existed

Who Deserves To Go To The Pro Bowl: 2009 Edition, "Skill" Positions

Soon the Pro Bowl selections will be released, and like any all star ballot, those selections will be wrong. There are many things wrong with the football all star game like any all star game- who's is considered the best isn't determined based upon an entire year's worth of work; it's based upon a smaller and unnecessary sample size. But let me get off my soap box and tell you who really deserves to go (Also, I am basing my decision upon 15 weeks worth of work and the real pro bowl selection only went through week 12, but whatevs, I'll sure you'll be able to cope.

Starter: Peyton Manning (IND)
Backups: Tom Brady (NE), Phillip Rivers (SD)
Apologies to: Matt Schaub (HOU)

Starter: Drew Brees (NO)
Backups: Brett Favre (MIN), Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Apologies to: Tony Romo (DAL)

Starter: Chris Johnson (TEN)
Backups: Ray Rice (BAL), Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX)
Apologies to: Thomas Jones (NYJ), Ricky Williams (MIA)

Starter: Steven Jackson (STL)
Backups: Frank Gore(SF), Pierre Thomas (NO)
Apologies to: DeAngelo Williams (CAR), Ryan Grant (GBP), and Adrian Peterson (MIN). I know this choice might cause you outrage and might the THE top pick that you disagree with me on, but this isn't fantasy football, this is real football. AD is 2nd in the league in rushing fumbles. Jackson, Gore, and Thomas all have a better YPC, DYAR (total value), and DVOA (efficiency per play). Yes, Peterson has more yards than all but Jackson and is first in TDs, but let me tell you something- the 99 yards to get to the end zone is much harder and surprisingly more difficult to do that the TD itself.

Starters: Andre Johnson (HOU), Vincent Jackson (SD)
Backups: Reggie Wayne (IND), Wes Welker (NE), Randy Moss (NE)
Apologies to: Santonio Holmes (PIT), Brandon Marshall (DEN)

Starters: Larry Fitzgerald (ARI), Miles Austin (DAL)
Backups: Sidney Rice (MIN), Marques Colston (NO), DeSean Jackson (PHI)
Apologies to: Steve Smith (NYG), Robert Meachum (NO)

Starter: Dallas Clark (IND)
Backups: Antonio Gates (SD), Ben Watson (NE)
Apologies to: Owen Daniels for getting injured

Starter: Vernon Davis (SF)
Backups: Tony Gonzales (ATL), Viscanthe Shiancoe (MIN)
Apologies to: No one. No other TE from the NFC really is getting snubbed.

Starter: Dan Carpenter (MIA)
Backup: Nate Kaeding (SD)

Starter: Ryan Longwell (MIN)
Backup: Neil Rackers (ARI)

Starter: Shane Lechler (OAK)

Starter: Ben Graham (ARI)

AFC Kick Returner
Starter: Josh Cribbs (CLE)

NFC Kick Returner
Starter: Clifton Smith (TAM)

Chris Chelios getting it done at 47

Chris Chelios is a modern day Gordie Howe. Since most of you have no clue who Gordie Howe is, lets just say that Chelios is a modern day Nolan Ryan. Playing professional sports deep into his 40's and doing it without the help of a wheelchair.

Chelios is a soon to be HOFer who spend the majority of his career as the Captain of the Chicago Blackhawks. Having spent 26 years playing professional hockey is no easy feat and is one of the many reasons he is considered the greatest American defenseman in NHL history. Averaging 0.6 points per game is better than most forwards, showing his great offensive skill from a defensive position. He has only had a negative +/- twice in those 26 years and won Stanley Cups, with the rival Detroit Red Wings. Even while playing for the Wings, he was never booed at the United Center showing just how much he was loved in this city.

After playing only 26 games last season, most people assumed Chelios would hang up the skates and call it a career. But Chelios is not like most athletes, he refuses to stop playing until he simply physically do it anymore. The HOF caliber player gladly accepted a minor league contract from the Chicago Wolves, his hometown city. He has put up 14 points in 21 games with a +10 on the ice in even strength situations. Unlike Ricky Henderson and Evander Holyfield, Chelios is experiencing legitimate success while trying to break the 50 year old barrier. Maybe he will even be picked up by an NHL team as a 6th defenseman for the playoffs. I wouldn't put it past him

Guess where the Bulls attendance ranks. Guess?

Despite all the struggles that the Bulls are experiencing this season, they still rank as the second highest attendance in the NBA, trailing only the Cleveland Cavaliers by 12 tickets per game. This doesnt come as too big a surprise for several reasons.

1) The Bulls have had the 2nd highest attendance every year going back to 2004. Including the top attendance in the league during the 2007 season.

2) Like many teams, the Bulls give away many, many tickets for reduced prices to local businesses in hopes of getting people through the door and make up the difference in concession sales. Shucks, I've gone to games paying $20 for seats that normally cost $100 due to being a university student in the city.

3) Chicago is a large, corporate city with people that have deep pockets capable of buying up season tickets in the expensive sections. The United Center is one of the top 3 biggest stadiums in the NBA allowing for large attendance numbers.

The NBA is expected to announce just how much the salary cap is expected to drop for next season, due to a drastic drop in overall ticket sales this year due to the recession. Teams are estimating the cap to drop from 58 million this season to 52-54 million next year. Obviously this can have a drastic effect on who can afford the great free agents of 2010. The Lakers are going to be between 85-90 million next season, completely disregarding the luxury tax. Most other teams are not as fortunate. The Bulls seem to be in decent shape going forward. Definitely have the money for one top free agent. It remains to be seen just how high Jerry Reinsdorf is willing to with the cap to make the Bulls a real championship contender.

JR Smith Drains 10 3-Pointers In One Game

The 3-point record has always been fascinating to me dating back to my early youth. I vividly recall Dennis Scott draining 11 3-pointers to back in 1996 to set the record at the time. It has since been raised to 12 by Kobe Bryant and former Bull Donyell Marshall. The all-time leader in 3-pointers made in a career is the great Reggie Milled, though Steve Kerr is the all time percentage leader at a shocking 45.4%. For all the great 3-point shooters, there exist many more horrible ones. The leader in the shoot a lot, make a little club is Antoine Walker who once went 0-11 from behind the arc in a game back in 2003. Oh, and he gambled away his 100 million career earnings and is currently millions in debt to a casino. Oh, well

Meet your Blackhawks through Christmas Jingles

1:15 - Brent Seabrooke
1:40 - Joe Quinville
2:15 - Patrick Sharp
2:17 - Johnathan Toews
2:20 Dustin Byuglien
2:50 - Cam Barker
2:59 - Andrew Ladd
3:00 - Cristobal Huet
3:05 - Duncan Keith
3:50 - Brian Capbell
3:52 - Patrick Kane