Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sunday Night Baseball

Recently I have been watching ESPN and quite frankly I believe the Sunday Night Baseball commercials have eclipsed sportscenter commercials. For your convenience I have embeded the best commercials in my opinion. Personally, my favorite is the fielder-kinsler commercial.
Let the voting begin!

Ranking the Bears Roster

I always love when newspapers do the thing before the Super Bowl where they rank each team's players from 1-53. Well, the Bears bloggers just took a stab at it over at, and I think they screwed it up pretty badly. Jay Cutler at No. 1? Robbie Gould all the way down in the 30s? Um, sorry guys, but this is insane.

Here are my corrected rankings of the Bears, top to bottom. Where I disagree with the ESPN guys, I will note their ranking.

1. Lance Briggs (3)
2. Julius Peppers
3. Jay Cutler (1)
4. Brian Urlacher
5. Tommie Harris
6. Charles Tillman (7)
7. Devin Hester (9)
8. Robbie Gould (33)
9. Olin Kreutz (6)
10. Chris Williams

Briggs is the rock of this team and the emerging leader of the defense. Cutler still has a lot to prove. Urlacher and Kreutz are on the decline and may be overrated this high, while rating Robbie "Good As" Gould at 33 was an absolute travesty - he has been easily one of the best Bears over the last several years.

11. Matt Forte
12. Chester Taylor (14)
13. Chris Harris
14. Israel Idonije (29)
15. Greg Olsen
16. Johnny Knox (12)
17. Devin Aromashodu (21)
18. Josh Beekman
19. Nick Roach (19)
20. Anthony Adams (23)

Idonije is a stalwart on this Bears team -- he hasn't been *just* a special teamer for years, and even when he was, he was still crucial. It's great to have Chris Harris back. Adams' play was underrated last year.

21. Earl Bennett (25)
22. Roberto Garza (16)
23. Zach Bowman (8)
24. Desmond Clark (22)
25. Brad Maynard (40)
26. Frank Omiyale (17)
27. Mark Anderson (24)
28. Pisa Tinoisamoa (19)
29. Hunter Hillenmeyer (31)
30. Patrick Mannelly (53)

Again, the ESPN guys undervalue special teams. I had to bump Mannelly and Maynard, they've been great for the Bears for years. I dropped Bowman because although he's talented, he has gotten hurt way too often. The kid's gotta start more than a few games in a row before I'm ready to have much confidence in him.

31. Kevin Shaffer (35)
32. Corey Wootton (42)
33. Danieal Manning (27)
34. Major Wright (26)
35. Corey Graham (39)
36. Rashied Davis (50)
37. Caleb Hanie (30)
38. Marcus Harrison (32)
39. Brandon Manumaleuna (28)
40. Al Afalava (54)

These are a lot of guys who will either end up having to start a game or three at some point, or make a surprise impact, or excel on special teams. As for the rest of the roster, other guys I think can contribute include...

41. Tim Shaw (38)
42. Tim Jennings (41)
43. J'Marcus Webb (57)
44. Jarron Gilbert (36)
45. Kellen Davis (37)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Trivia: 1000 Games Managed by the White Sox

Ozzie Guillien has become just the 4th White Sox manager to manage 1000 games for the club. Can you name the other 3? (Note this is a hard one, I only got one correct)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Three Candidates Emerge To Fill Vinny's (Tiny?) Shoes...

SI's rumor page is reporting...that the Sun-Times is reporting...that the Bulls have three guys in mind for the newly vacant coaching gig. (Keep in mind that these are rumors...)

My ranking of the three:

1) Mo Cheeks - No reason other than "Mo is better" (I went there).

2) Doug Collins - He knows his basketball...not sure his style of play will fit with D-rose, Lebron, Bosh, and Noah next year.

3) Calipari - I would only contact him when I needed a crappy used least NBA players don't need to worry about their GPAs...

Who do you want for the job??

Eastcoast Sports Propaganda Network Talks About Chicago

I checked out this morning and to my suprise, three of the four lead stories dealt with Chicago Sports teams! Of course they other one was a Boston artilce.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Big Ten to Add 5 Teams? How Would The Conference Be Divided

ACSS reporter Derek Wilson is reporting

"A source in St. Louis familiar with the situation told NewsCenter 16 Thursday afternoon that Missouri will leave the Big XII and soon join the Big 10. Other schools expected to follow the Tigers are Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers and Nebraska."

Now should we believe this or not, is one thing. Instead of debating the merits of whether this is a good thing or this will actually happen, Derek and I debated how the conference should be arranged. Here’s what transpired

you believe it...?
i'm guessing its not 100% true. 16 would be gigantic

Stephen Noffke
to become the big 16?
so what, for football, you have two 8 team divisions, and they'd play each of the 7 schools in their division and 1 from the other
or would you do 4 4-team divisions
that's a lot of school

I like the 4 4 team divisions...but how do you pick the champ?
my guess is they move to a 9 or 10 game conference season
I wouldn't mind 10 (for IU)...two crappy non-conf teams to warm up
for OSU and those teams it makes it hard to want to play a good non conf team
...and what happens to IUs agreement to play mizzou in a few years..? haha

Stephen Noffke
well, I guess we are still agreeing to play them

haha yea
how would you map out a two division conference though...

Stephen Noffke
Here’s a picture of the schools locations

you have to do east/west break up right? for travel purposes

yea, i was thinking that
i got to Nebraska, Iowa, Mizzou, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota, Wisconsin
and Pitt, Penn state, Rutgers, Syracuse, Indiana, Purdue
not sure what to do with OSU/MSU/Mich

Stephen Noffke
I was thinking IU Purdue would be the split
there's that natural gap between MSU/OSU/MU
and NU, PU, and IU

so we wouldn't play Purdue every year?
I feel like they would have to be in the same division
Stephen Noffke
so you put us both in the east?

its weird geographically

Stephen Noffke
I feel like we can't split up OSU/MU/MSU. MU has to be in the same conference as MSU and OSU

it looks like by that map IU would be out east
DerekWilsonCFM 8:51 am
we have no natural rivals in the east

Stephen Noffke
could we send NU out east?

kinda in the same boat then...

Stephen Noffke
so, are we saying it's 8 team divisions, 10 leauge games, one permanent opponent, and 1 rotating across divisions?

that i could see
for sure
then you can do IU out east (and i wouldn't go to any games)...I’d day move Purdue out east. good bye
or northwestern

Stephen Noffke I’d go to Columbus, Ann Arbor or East Lansing

thats true
and we would have a shot at beating Syracuse!

Stephen Noffke
and Rutgers
talent wise, the east would be stronger

especially basketball I think

(Derek and Steve decided on this split up and the cross division game every year.)


Penn State
Michigan State
Ohio State

Cross Division
Indiana Purude
Michigan Minnesota
Michigan State Wisconsin
Iowa Pittsburgh
Ohio State Nebraska
Penn State Mizzou
Rutgers Northwestern
Syracuse Illinois

Stephen Noffke crap, I found a flaw with my 4 4-team conferences
how would you get a champ game (Editor’s note: Steve completely missed Derek’s comment earlier)

yea, that's exactly what i was thinking
you could do a BCS formula....haha
what you could do is big 16 conference...east - west divisions
then sub-divisions
something weird like that

Stephen Noffke
and then whoever had the best confrence record in each division (regaurdless of sub-division) would go to the title game
Here’s how the schedule would break out for each team. 8 Conference games. Of these 8 games 3 would be playing the 3 teams in your region. 3 games would be against teams that finished in the same place as you in the other three divisions. 1 rivalry game across regions (Indiana vs Purdue, Michigan vs Ohio State, Illinois vs Northwestern etc.) and 1 game rotating game.

yea i guess

Stephen Noffke
The only problem with that, is what Michigan was in the same sub-division as MSU, NU and PU, so they get to play those three every year, while Nebraska has to play Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota every year.
maybe not a great example, but Nebraska plays a harder schedule and MU gets an easy one?
I guess that's just luck of the draw

I think at this point its MSU #1 in that division
and they have an easy road
Michigan’s defense is going to be REALLY bad this year

Stephen Noffke
yea they are
or, Michigan plays OSU every year, will Purdue gets to beat up on IU every year

haha, but don't forget that IU is going to go 13-0 this year

Stephen Noffke
of course

wait, how did you pick sub-divisions? there is almost a natural geographic division that kinda works out...

Penn State Pittsburgh Rutgers Syracuse
Illinois Indiana Mizzou Purude
Michigan Michigan State Northwestern Ohio State
Iowa Minnesota Nebraska Wisconsin

Stephen Noffke
here is what I have

East/Lake Erie: Penn State Pittsburgh Rutgers Syracuse
South/Ohio River: Illinois Indiana Mizzou Ohio State
North/Lake Michigan: Michigan Michigan State Northwestern Purude
West/Mississippi River: Iowa Minnesota Nebraska Wisconsin

Yes I renamed the regions. North/South/East/West are generic, and yes I know, Rutgers/New Jersey Doesn’t touch Lake Erie and Nebraska isn’t on the Mississippi River.

so you went like, far east, near east, near west and far west in the divisions
haha i guess
yea, i didn't take into account any cross divisional rivalries or anything

Stephen Noffke
yeah I didn't either, the only difference between us in OSU and PU

yea, true

My Cross Division Games

Illinois Northwestern
Indiana Purude
Ohio State Michigan
Michigan State Penn State
Iowa Pittsburgh
Mizzou Nebraska
Syracuse Minnesota
Rutgers Wisconsin

So that's what Derek and I came up with. Clearly there is a lot to have to happen before this becomes reality. Even if it does happen there is a lot different ways one could break up the confrence. We just through out our ideas, but how would you guys out there break up the confrence? Any other ways besides the 8 and 4 team divisions?


Here is's Big Ten Blogger Adam Rittenberg's stance on the 4 4-Team Divisions

Chris from Kansas City, Mo., writes: Adam, what are your feeling on the recent report of the 4X4 plan? In this plan you would see the big ten take Missouri/Nebraska/Syracuse/Pittsburgh/Rutgers. Then put all 16 teams into four, four-team divisions?

Adam Rittenberg: The division argument has gained some traction among fans and media members, but I haven't heard much about it from legitimate Big Ten sources. This format likely would require two weeks of playoffs to determine a league champion, unless they had a way of selecting the top two division winners to meet in one championship game. Two weeks of playoffs seems pretty tricky scheduling-wise, especially for a league that saw plenty of resistance to moving the regular season after Thanksgiving. It would be important to create competitive balance within the divisions, and as I've said all along, geography shouldn't be the overriding factor in creating divisions. If putting Penn State with some new schools from the East makes sense, great. But if it screws up the competitive balance in the other three divisions, I'd rather see Penn State in the same division with an Iowa or a Wisconsin.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Meet The Double Baggers

I have been lazy in posting of late, and for that, dear reader (s), I apologize.

Today I thought I'd take a look at one of everybody's favorite online activities, and one of the worst to actually talk about. (It's not what you think).

It's fantasy baseball! My annual squad, the Double Baggers, is in first place in Yahoo Public 475862 after three weeks, although I'm currently getting beat down 7-2 thanks to a rough week for my starting pitching.

A word about actual strategy - I tend to ignore closers and go after a ton of starting pitchers, more because I like to watch SPs in actual games than anything else. Its not necessarily a winning strategy but when it works well, it REALLY works - you either dominate wins, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP, or you lose three out of the four, but if it's a good week, you're winning, period.

Anyway, here's three guys who have been playing well for me to start out the season, and three who have stunk it up.Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (first round pick) - He was the best available player with the fifth pick in the draft, although I seriously considered Tim Lincecum (see hilarious sportscenter video here -- I love Big Time Timmy-Jim!) or even Roy Halladay. But I really didn't feel great about the pick, and Braun started out slow. However, with the Brew Crew exploding offensively over the last two weeks, the 26-year old outfielder has rounded into form as one of the best all-around offensive threats in the league.

With 19 runs, 20 RBIs, 5 homers, and six steals over his first 97 at-bats, Braun is a complete five-tool player (currently #4 overall in the game) and I was wise to listen to the Y! Rankings over my own sentiment here. Go Brewers. Thumbs up to Braun. And yes, that is him and his ex-girlfriend after last year's season.

Victor Martinez, C/1b, Boston Red Sox (third round pick) - I figured this was about the safest pick I could make. V-Mart has always been consistent power and a lock at the catcher position, and I could even shuffle him to first if I wanted, right? Well, he has sucked so far. Between his O-Rank (Yahoo's projected ranking) of 32 and his ACTUAL rank of 874, Martinez is hitting just .235 (he's a career .300 hitter) and his OPS is off by over 200 points.

His lack of production out of the 3 and 5 spots in the Red Sox lineup is one reason why they're scuffling along at 11-13. Like Bostonians everywhere, I can only hope for a turn around. Till then, thumbs down on V-Mart.

Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Colorado Rockies (seventh round) - He already pitched a no-hitter this year. His numbers (5-0, 0.79 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 31 Ks) are ridiculous. He's only behind Lincecum and Roy Halladay in the rankings, yet he was drafted just after Yovani Gallardo and Jake Peavy. A big thumbs up on Jimenez.

Also, I have Mark Buehrle, SP, White Sox, whose perfect game was AWESOME and won me that week. But he has struggled ever since. Still, I will be keeping Number 56 on the roster - I'm willing to take the hit on his bad starts just to get his good ones.

On the subject of White Sox, how about Gordon Beckham, 2b/3b (eighth round) - There's no sugar coating this. Beckham is having a terrible spring. Like most of the Pale Hose, his batting average has hovered around .220, and he has scored just ten runs despite batting in the 2-hole, with a single home run and just four RBI. This, my friends, is a sophomore slump. Beckham is currently planted on my bench.

Lucky for me, I grabbed Brewer Casey McGehee, 2b/3b off the free agent wire! I also got Ricky Romero, Colby Lewis, and Hideki Matsui this way. McGehee is batting fifth in the Brew Crew order, which means he gets to follow Braun and Prince Fielder to the plate. How awesome is that? He's batting over .300 with 19 RBIs, tops among eligible second basemen.

So there you have it, my own personal three up, three down.

How are your teams doing? Who's been breaking your heart or carrying the squad? And does anybody care about fantasy baseball?