Tuesday, October 28, 2008

US Scareways

A tribute to Halloween.

One of the most scariest things I've encountered the past year has easily been flying US Airways.

Since I travel roughly 35 weeks out of the year, I have many horrific stories regarding travel. But none worse than than my recent encounter with US Airways.

My airline of choice is Continental. I can't recall any horror stories with Continental (knock on wood) and now I have status with the airline. So I don't have to worry about paying for checked bags, I usually can get bumped up to first class, and about a month ago I had a flight canceled and along with 60 plus others, was placed on standby for the next flight and was third on the list. So I easily made that next flight.

However last weekend I was forced to fly US Airways. I had no idea what was in store for me and every other traveler on US Airways. First off, I believe it is something like $30 for your first checked bag, it bumps up to $50 dollars after that. So for a round trip flight, you're looking at paying at least $60.

Fortunately, my bags made the trip, but a friend's bags were lost. So he had to pay US Air $30 to lose his bags. Gee, that sounds reasonable.

It gets worse. If you want any seat other than a middle seat, you pay extra depending on your status with US Airways. Of course no one wants to sit claustrophobic in a middle seat. So for an aisle or window seat you pay anywhere from $30-$50. Let me put this in more simple terms. A roundtrip flight with a connection will cost you at least $120.

You want to "upgrade" to an exit row? I think it's $50!

What the deuce?

On board, normally a beverage is complimentary and alcohol might cost you $5. On US Airways? $2 for a soft drink and starting at $7 for a beer! That's ballpark prices!

What next? $7 dollars for a blanket and pillow?

I totally understand the Southwest commercial and lived it last week.

I always regarded United as the worst overall airline. You know, connecting in Chicago and always missing your connection due to weather and high winds.

To my surprise, not really, US Airways is partnered with United. What a pair!

What's even worse? Boarding your plane and you see some ass clown sitting in your window seat that you paid for. You tell the guy, "Sorry, jackass. You're in my seat."

He replies, "You don't mind if I sit here do you?"

"Uh, nice dry douchebag! I did pay for it."

In more ways than one.

College Gameday: Penn St. At Ohio St.

A lot of excitement surrounding Week 9 of College Gameday as King James made a special appearance at the Gameday Set. Lebron showed up for the final segment to give his picks along side Corso and Herbstreit for ten games on the college football schedule.

Lebron went 5-5. He picked Arizona to upset USC. The Trojans won 17-10.

Another "celebrity" showed her face in the crowd-Sarah Palin, or wait, was it Tina Fey? The Sarah Palin lookalike might have been one of the most creative ideas in the history of the show. I guess this girl found her Halloween costume.

As for the game itself, the Nittany Lions won their first game at the Horseshoe since Penn St. joined the Big 10 in 1993. It was their first win at Columbus since 1978.

Penn St. looks well on their way to the BCS National Title game. Can you really see Texas and Alabama both running the table and finishing undefeated? I actually think Texas will lose this weekend in Lubbock. It's the biggest game in the history of Texas Tech sports. So you can bet the atmosphere and town will be electric.

However, if Penn St. finishes as the only BCS team undefeated, do they still get the nod over a once beaten SEC, Big 12 or USC team? Not playing an extra game in a Conference championship game could actually hurt the Nittany Lions. Where as a one loss Big 12 or SEC school winning an extra game against a Top 10 team may actually push them over an undefeated Penn St.

I'm sure the voter's will take into consideration the mediocracy of the Big 10 Conference and their record in recent bowl games. Penn St's schedule won't help their cause either. Their blowout win against Oregon St. gives them the edge over USC. But other than that, Penn St.'s nonconference schedule included games against Coastal Carolina, Syracuse and Temple. Add on the miserable Big 10 and looks like the Nittany Lions are lined up to be the third Big 10 team in a row to get shellacked in the Championship Game.

The Big 10 is so bad that teams like Minnesota and Northwestern are ranked and actually look somewhat competitive in conference play. Let's see how Iowa handles Penn St. as the Hawkeyes get them at home November 8.

Other than Texas, the last team I would want to play right now would be the Florida Gators. Since the Ole Miss shocker in the swamp, Tim Tebow has rallied the troops and the Gators have averaged almost 51 points a game in their last 3.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Joba Chamberlain Is Human

My first advice to Joba Chamberlain, stay out of Nebraska. I know it's your hometown and your family and friends live there, but you're so much bigger than the entire state.

Joba, you are the biggest thing to come out of Nebraska since Kool-Aid, Johnny Carson and Warren Buffet. So everytime you come home, your every move is under the microscope.

Since joining the New York Yankees, Joba's annual salary is "only" $390,000, just barley above the league minimum.

With that being said, Joba is an injury or boneheaded move away from his stock plummeting worse than Wall St.

Once Joba signs that $60 million contract, than I'm sure he'll have his own driver, move his entire family to better a place and hang out at more elaborate strip clubs. Um, maybe Scores in NYC.

For anyone who criticizes Joba for being arrested for DUI or being at a strip club is a hypocrite. We've all driven after drinking a few. We've all been to a strip club. I'm sure we've all done both on the same night.

Remember Joba, at 23 years old, is still just a kid. If Joba hadn't been pulled over, the New York tabloids would have never sent writers to Nebraska to dig up more dirt on Joba. Now all the sudden it's a crime Joba goes to local watering holes and ventures to strip clubs with friends.

Of course the tabloids want to find dirt on a young phenom from a small midwest town with a squeaky clean image who had to struggle growing up with a single handicapped parent.

Hey, it's not like Joba drug is girlfriend down a flight of stairs, was ripping zippers on the bar or pulled a Pac Man and shot up the joint. So lay off the guy.

And by the way, you don't need to show up at his sick father's front door to ask questions. Go to Joba himself.

I'm sure Joba has learned his lesson and will probably never show his face in his home state, where for the last two years the guy has been considered a hero.

Anyone from Nebraska knows the only thing to do there is consume large amounts of alcohol and pour your heart and soul out for Cornhusker Football. And also, Nebraska authority has nothing better to do than be "by the book" and arrest people people for petty misdemeanors and meth.

As for the bandwagon Red Sox fan who heckled Joba at the strip club? I'm sure the douchebag has already traded in his Tom Brady jersey for a Titan's Chris Johnson jersey and has his Kevin Garnett jersey hanging in the closet waiting for the NBA to tipoff. The same ass clown probably has saved every newspaper about the Joba incident and will tell his grandkids about it as he takes the biggest highlight of his miserable life to his grave.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Derek Jeter And Roger Clemens At Missouri/Texas Game

Roger Clemens is still a hit at his Alma Mater. Clemens showed up on the UT sideline Saturday night with special guest Derek Jeter. Clemens had no problem taking pictures and signing autographs with the fan friendly Longhorns' fans. Jeter did pose for a few pictures, but I didn't see him signing any autographs.

They did leave the game early, but who didn't. And I'm sure they wanted to catch Game 6 of the ALCS.

It was kind of an unusual duo. They're former teammates and all, but you would think Jeter would want nothing to do with Roger's negative light. Jeter has always been a class act and Clemens needs all the positive energy for his image.

Maybe the strangest aspect of the scene was instead of playing October baseball, Jeter and Clemens were on the sideline of a college football game.

By the way, Clemens' physical appearance was huge. Unless I misremebered, he's obviously not stopped his hard core workout program and what ever else he and his wife do under the table.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Red Sox Down 3-1

We all know the Red Sox have been here before.

Down 3-1, you probably couldn't ask for 3 better starters in the next 3 elimination games than Dice-K, Josh Beckett and John Lester.

So don't stick a fork in Boston just yet. Just ask the Indians or Yankees.

However, Beckett is hurt, you can easily tell from this year's post season numbers. The Rays clobbered Lester in Game 3. And Dice-K always seems to flirt with disaster but seems to walk through mine fields unscathed.

Literally, Dice-K has been an exception to the pitcher's creed. Don't walk the batter, let 'em hit it. Walks will kill you. But Dice-K always seems to walk a batter here and there to load the bases and always seems to get himself out of the self induced jam.

I have a feeling his luck is about to run out. Game 5 isn't a must win for Tampa, they're home for Games 6 and 7, if need be. The longer the Rays go without finishing off the Red Sox, the more the momentum swings back to Boston.

Tampa is not only young, but they seem so confident and relaxed, not what you'd expect from one of the youngest squads in baseball. And Joe Maddon is the best manager in MLB.

And let's face it, Boston's lineup is not nearly as potent as previous years. No Manny Ramirez, no Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek is at the end of career. Tek couldn't hit the side of a barn with a tractor. The only solid bats in the lineup are Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew.

Big Papi's era as the best clutch hitter in baseball seems to be over. Ortiz is 5-33 in this post season with 1 RBI. He hasn't hit a postseason homerun since Game 4 of last year's ALCS, that's 59 at bats and 15 straight games without a homerun in the postseason.

His production is obviously down without Manny batting behind him. But also because of a knee injury last year combined with the wrist injury that landed him on the DL this summer.

I would love to see Tampa win the World Series. USA Today's Danny Sheridan had the Rays as 50,000-1 to win the Series! Vegas would only give you as high as 100-1.

The AL East is far and away the best division in baseball, maybe the best all time, and it is only getting tougher. One of Tampa's coaches said they'll have at least 9! pitchers who could start in MLB. The Yankees and Red Sox will still compete. And if Toronto can keep it's pitching staff intact, the Blue Jays are a solid bat or two away from being serious contenders.

Dolphins/Texans Week 6

Since I'm always traveling for College Football on Saturdays, Sunday was a rare NFL Gameday for me. I was able to score a ticket to the Dolphins/Texans game. I went tailgating with some friends and we arrived at Reliant at 7:30 AM. Cracked my first beer at 7:35.

I like the NFL just barely over College Football. However the College Football Gameday/tailgating scene kills the NFL.

First off, tailgating for an NFL game your jaw isn't constantly hanging to the ground as you look on in disbelief at 30,000 beautiful coeds shot gunning beers, doing keg stands as they're all dolled up in sundresses looking like they're going out to the club, not a football game.

College football seems to have more passionate/drunk fans with a student body. Opposing fans beware as you will be heckled and yelled out to no end. You will see fights!

One other thing that sets college football apart from the NFL is the bands and the school fight songs. There's nothing like hearing "Boomer Sooner!" and "Go Gators!", to name a couple, played throughout a game.

My tickets to the Phins/Texans game were awesome! By the fourth quarter I was sitting in the front row right behind the Dolphins bench. I gave Ronnie Brown a couple of "War Eagles!" and he turned around and saluted each time.

I also had one of those Kangaroo TV's. If you've never seen one, they're pretty sweet. It's a palm screen that gives you every NFL game. You can have a sidebar of every NFL score and you can switch to any game. Along with scoring updates, you can also check any game/player stats. Definitely great for Fantasy Football junkies and gamblers.

The game started off great as it looked like the Phins would roll to their third win of the season. After Matt Schaub's second interception in as many drives, the crowd was chanting, "We want Sage!"

Running the "WildHog" formation, this Miami team is a lot of fun to watch. The Dolphins pulled out to a 14-3 lead on a "WildHog" running back pitch to Pennington with Chad connecting with a wide open Patrick Cobbs (North Texas) for 53 yards.

The play reminded a lot of the 2001 Nebraksa/Oklahoma game where back QB Mike Stuntz hit Eric Crouch for the electrifying winning TD on the Black 41 Flash Reverse.

Moments later, Pennington hooked up with Cobbs again on a screen pass that went for 80 yards. The Dolphins put together great down field blocking as this play developed.

The turning point of the game had to be Jacoby Jones' 70 yard punt return in the second quarter that gave the Texans new life.

Houston turned the ball over 4 times to the Dolphins, but Miami's defense was unable to hold up. The Texans finished with 485 yards of offense. Schaub had 379 yards passing and Andre Johnson burned the Miami secondary for 178 yards-all three of these numbers are Texans' team records.

It's safe to say that Miami's secondary is the weakest part of the team with much improvement needed.

The Texans were able to march down the field with the winning touchdown drive with 1:45 left in the game. The 12 play, 76 yard drive was highlighted by two crazy plays. First, on fourth down, Johnson made a circus catch somehow grabbing the ball away from Yeremiah Bell. Then on 4th and 2 from the 3 yard line, Gary Kubiak called a QB draw and Schaub was able to walk in untouched for the winning touchdown.

The Texans stunned the Dolphins (and myself) 29-28.

This Miami team will definitely be one of the surprises of the year in the NFL. The Dolphins are actually giving their fans something to cheer about. And Bill Parcells has put together a solid team just one year removed from a disastrous 1-15 season.

Heck, the biggest winner from the Brett Farve drama of the summer may be the Dolphins. Miami was able to land an experience quarterback in Chad Pennington instead of having to throw Jon Beck or rookie Chad Henne in to the wolves.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Torre Blows Another Playoff Game

At the conclusion of the 2008 regular season, everyone thought the Yankees might a huge mistake letting Joe Torre go. The Yankees had failed to make the Playoffs and Torre had just led the Dodgers to NL West crown, making the postseason for 13 consecutive years.

After Monday night's debacle, Los Angeles saw first hand what Yankees' fans had been putting up with for the last few years.

So Torre won 4 World Series while with the pinstripes. But we all know he was surrounded by the best talent money can buy.

The Yankees didn't make the postseason this year because of injuries up and down the lineup, lack of starting pitching (Torre was always gifted with great starting pitching), and the Yankees played in the toughest division in baseball.

Torre's Dodgers played in the worst division in all of baseball, maybe one of the worst divisions ever. Torre was given one of the best hitters in baseball, Manny Ramirez, someone Torre could never figure out how to get out or pitch around.

In fact, you can say it was Manny who sparked the Dodgers' run to the playoffs.

In Monday night's series deflating loss to the Phillies, Torre again made many questionable moves. First, pulling Derek Lowe after only 5 innings and 74 pitches. Lowe was pitching on three days rest and had a shaking first inning. He recovered, had the lead and was looking very much like the team's ace.

With a lack of starting pitching, Torre went to his already worn down bullpen. In the eight inning, Torre pulled Hong-Chih Kuo for Cory Wade. Kuo was looking solid and Wade had pitched two long innings the previous night. A game tying two run home run later and the Dodgers were in trouble.

Torre used a total of six relief pitchers in Game 4. Because of Torre's high number of calls to the bullpen, he didn't have a lefthander when he needed it most.

OK. Throw all of that second guessing aside. The Dodgers are down 7-5 with the top of the order due up in the bottom eighth inning. Rafael Furcal draws a leadoff walk. With Joe Torre always preaching small ball, Andre Ethier will bunt and move Furcal into scoring position with the big guns coming up. Wrong! Ethier swings at the first pitch and grounds into a double play. Scoring threat over. Rally over. Series over.

As a Yankees fan, this scene was far too familiar. If I had a dime everytime I watched Torre let his players swing away and hit into rally killing double plays, I might be owning the Yankees.

You bunt with your No. 2 hitter! You move the player from first into scoring position and you erase the potential double play! And then you only have one out with your 3 and 4 hitters coming up. Baseball 101.

Like I said before, Torre did win 4 Championships for the Yankees, he took them to the playoffs 12 times. He also had the highest payroll in baseball and he was only able to win 33% of the time.

Once again, Joe Torre blows another playoff series and this year will end the same way for him as the last seven seasons-no ring.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

College Football Week 6 Recap

So 6 weeks into the college football season and the Big 12 is looking for bragging rights as the best conference in the nation.

Not only does the Big 12 boast 4 teams in the top 7, but the conference has 4 leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy.

1. Chase Daniel-Mizzou
2. Sam Bradford-Oklahoma
3. Colt McCoy-Texas
4. Graham Harrell-Texas Tech

If Kansas doesn't blow their Week 3 game at South Florida, the Big 12 would have 5 teams in the top 10.

Two weeks ago, the SEC had 5 teams in the top 10.

The difference here? The SEC started playing conference opponents in Week 2. The Big 12 just opened up conference play last week. Sure, Kansas had South Florida scheduled and Mizzou opened up at a neutral sight against Illinois. But now Big 12 teams will be tested and we'll soon see who's a contender or pretender.

Texas won a tough road game at Colorado this past week. Folsom Field is always a tough place to play and come away with a W especially when Colorado has a decent team. Now the stage is set for the game of the week in the Cotton Bowl for the Red River Shootout vs. No. 1 Oklahoma.

The road doesn't get any easier for the Longhorns. After OU, they welcome Missouri at home, followed by Oklahoma St in Austin and then have to travel to Lubbock to play Texas Tech. No way the Longhorns win all 4 games.

Texas Tech silenced their critics last week by going on the road and crushing Kansas St. The Red Raiders are a scary team and know look like serious contenders in the Big 12.

Missouri blew through Nebraska and got their first win in Lincoln since 1978. Coming into this game, Mizzou's defense seemed to be the team's Achilles heal, but after only allowing the Cornhuskers 17 points in a night game at Lincoln, the Tigers just might have the complete package. Missouri hasn't had the lead for a total of 13 seconds this season!

As for the SEC?

So far, Alabama has shown Nick Saban is worth every penny. Saban has taken a young Crimson Tide team to the top of the nation's best conference. With one of the best offensive lines, Glen Coffee has been solid, running for 218 yards against Kentucky. Yeah the narrowly escaped Kentucky at home, but in the SEC, no game is a give me.

Vanderbilt had the biggest win it's school's history by beating Auburn Saturday night. The Commodores are 5-0 for the first time since the FDR administration, 1943!

Auburn might want to rethink the team's plans for offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. Franklin was brought in to bolster the offense with the spread attack. However the Tigers' offense has had problems putting up points. Remember the 3-2 victory over Mississippi St.? Franklin reminds me a lot of Bill Callahan coming to Nebraska to run the West Coast Offense. Didn't work out so much.

Auburn's lack of scoring is a complete waste of a dominant defense. War Eagle!

Don't look now, but Ohio St. is back in the BCS hunt. After a 20-17 win in Mad Town, the Terrelle Pryor experience seems to be working out. And Pryor will be running the Buckeye offense for the next 3+ years.

Pryor had his signature drive leading the Buckeyes from behind on the road in the fourth quarter. Pryor lead the Buckeyes on a 12 play, 80 yard drive and capped off Ohio St.'s win with an 11 yard touchdown run with 1:08 left in the game. Believe the hype with this kid. Already showing glimpses of one Tommie Frazier.

One game to mark on your calender-Utah at BYU November 22. Chances are both these teams will be undefeated and the winner of this game will receive a BCS bid. However, don't expect the winner to play for the National Championship.

I'll guarantee the teams in the BCS Championship will at least have one loss. One team might even have two losses.

The SEC and Big 12 will beat each other up and may not even have a representative in the Championship game. Penn St. has looked solid in the Big 10, but have yet to play a credible opponent.

Still, I don't see Utah or BYU going undefeated and jumping a power conference team with one or two losses.

What's this mean? It looks pretty good for an Ohio St. and USC. Championship matchup.

Wow! Could you believe that? This time the Buckeyes will have a healthy Beanie Wells and an experienced Terrelle Pryor. It still won't prevent Ohio St. from getting manhandled in another title game.

Go figure. Neither the Pac 10 or Big 10 have a Conference Championship game, you know, an extra game against a top 10 team.

But the door's still wide open for Bama, LSU, Florida and Georgia in the SEC.

And I think Oklahoma is solid, but they always seem to beat themselves somewhere down the road.

Monday, October 6, 2008

100 Years Later, Cubs Still Suck

"It's Gonna Happen!"

Yeah, maybe. It just depends on what you mean by "it."

This may be the dumbest, most annoying, most overused sign/slogan in sports today.
Every time you see/hear this phrase in regards to your favorite team, hit the panic button. I believe this was the same slogan for the Missouri football team last year.

If by "it," you mean higher gas prices, more hilarious Tina Fey/Sarah Palin impersonations or the Cubs having another October meltdown, well then duh!

After posting the best record in the NL this season, the Chicago Cubs pulled another traditional October by not showing up.

Hiroki Kuroda was able to tame the Cubs' mostly right handed lineup and the Dodgers had no problem sweeping the punchless Cubs. You knew it was over when Derek Lee K'd and threw his helmet to the ground. You could feel the team's frustration.

Chicago had many chances, but continued to shoot themselves in the foot. For the entire three game series, the Cubs were 5-28 with runners in scoring position. The defense contributed a total of 6 errors, including 4 in Game 2. The hard luck franchise has now lost 9 playoff games in a row dating back to the 2003 collapse against the Florida Marlins.

Alfonso Soriano finished the Series 1-14, .071 batting average. The past two years Soriano's 3-28 in 6 postseason loses for Chicago.

In 9 postseason series overall, Soriano is batting .213. Good thing the Cubs have him locked up through 2014.

Soriano's post season numbers make fellow All Stars Vladimir Guerrero and Alex Rodriquez look solid in the post season.

In 5 post season series', Guerrero is batting .250 with 1 HR and 7 RBI's in a total of 19 playoff games.

In this 2008 ALDS against Boston, Vlad has finally broken out of his post season slump batting .583 but has yet to drive in a run. Last night the Angels finally snapped an 11 game playoff losing streak against the Red Sox dating back to Donnie Moore and 1986.

The Angels have blown far too many chances stranding runners in scoring position. Anaheim has 36 hits and only 11 runs through 3 games.

As for A-Rod? In 10 Post season series', he's batting .279 with 7 HR and 17 RBI's in 39 total games.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2008 MLB Stats

With the season over and the Playoffs already started, here's some stats to ponder from the 2008 MLB Season.

Josh Hamilton cools down.

By All Star Break, not only was Hamilton the feel good story and comeback player of the year, he was also a shoe in for the MVP. And let's not forget all the talk about his quest for the triple crown.

Hamilton finished tied for 8th with 32 homeruns, won the RBI crown just edging out Justin Morneau-130 to 129, and finished with a .304 batting average-good to just crack the top ten.

Hamilton's batting average was as high as .337 on May 24. And through July, he had 104 RBI's, but finished the last two months with a total of 26 RBI's. Now his name is nowhere near being mentioned as a possible MVP candidate.

The Florida Marlins infield.

The Marlins became the second team in baseball history to have 3 infielders with 30 plus homeruns.
1B Mike Jacobs-32 HR
2B Dan Uggla-32 HR
SS Hanley Ramirez-33 HR

And only if 3B Jorge Cantu came up with one more the Marlins really could have made history. Cantu finished with 29 homeruns.

The only other team in baseball history to have 3 infielders with 30 plus dingers?

The 2001 Oakland A's.
1B Jason Giambi-38 HR
SS Miguel Tejada-31 HR
3B Eric Chavez-32 HR

2B Frank Menechino (you remember him) was the black sheep with just 12 round trippers.

C.C Sabathia

Sabathia is a MVP and Cy Young candidate after moving over to the NL and only making 17 starts in the National League. Not only did Sabathia throw the Brewers on his shoulders to the playoffs, he did so knowing he would not be part of the organization next year.

Sabathia's numbers give us an indication how much better the American League is.

With Cleveland, Sabathia was 6-8 with 3 complete games and a 3.83 ERA.

In the NL with the Brewers, he was 11-2, 7 complete games!, and a 1.65 ERA!

Could you imagine the Blue Jays' Roy Halladay in the NL?

After starting 2-4, Halladay's final numbers were 20-11, 9 complete games, 2 shutouts, and a 2.78 ERA. All this while pitching in the toughest division in baseball.


Many fans, writers, historians question the save statistic in baseball today.

The St. Louis Cardinals led the majors with 31 blown saves. The NY Mets second with 29. Of course the Cardinals fell off the playoff map sometime before September. The Mets collapsed for the second year in a row. A decent bullpen puts the Mets in the playoffs.

More proof? How about Francisco Rodriquez. 62 Saves!
The Anaheim Angels finished 100-62. K-Rod saved 62% of their wins! Obviously the Angels were involved in a lot of close games for K-Rod to have so many opportunities. Could you imagine where the Angels would be without a solid closer?

That's why I would vote Francisco Rodriquez the AL MVP.