Saturday, April 30, 2005

Would I vote for Bill Frist? Well, I don't know too much about him, but my early impressions of the man are not promising. I have already seen his name mentioned as a candidate in 2008, but that is far away. We just got done with one election, let's enjoy the break from the commercials.
I would always prefer a moderate Republican, one that is able to escape the "religious right" stigma. I worry that if the media and others keep repeating that the Republicans are controlled by the religious right, people will believe it, true or not. There is certainly a strong tie in between republicans and the Jerry Fallwell types, but I don't vote that way, and Bush didn't win the election because of some religious uprising.
There is a view that perception is reality. If something is said over and over, people believe it to be true. I am always concerned when a faction of a party becomes too powerful, but I don't believe we are at that point yet.
Have we heard much about the gay marriage amendment lately?
No. But we have heard Laura Bush telling jokes about being a "Desperate Housewife" and about going to a strip club with Condi (I use Condi because I can never spell her name correctly) Rice.

Credit? Not yet. I'll let Erik make that case. I would argue that if the Indians start winning, they will draw well again. Not as well as in the mid 90s, but well.
Dolan's philosophy seems to be if we draw, we win. That's always been my take on it.
The problem is that three years ago, Mark Shapiro mentioned 2005 as "the season." Shapiro has also been forced to look like a fool, going out and telling the fans that the ability to improve the club is dependent on attendance.
Yeah, that's an exciting sales pitch, especially when choosing between LeBron James and Ben Broussard.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The President's speech
I missed the whole thing due to work. I did, however, catch a commercial where a repair man shows up at a house to fix a drain, and destroys the whole house, which somehow relates to social security.
I guess they are pushing the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy.
But then you find out the commercial is paid for by the AARP. Think they have an agenda?
Yeah, destroying a house to save the sink really clarifies the issue for me. Thanks.

I was going to get all sarcastic and make a joke about the idea of group blogs, like the one that Arianna is pushing. I mean, it's funny, because I was just telling a friend how we just don't hear enough from the leftist Hollywood crowd. Oh wait, that WAS sarcastic. Sorry.

Indians lose, hitting starting to resemble Scooter Tucker
And I wonder how many will get the reference.
Eric, please, for the sake of the team, shave the stache.

Song quote of the day
What does it matter to ya
when you got a job to do
you gotta do it well
You got to give the other fella hell-Paul McCartney

You know it's a slow news day when ...
The AP runs a story on Hulk Hogan's return to wrestling.

It's been eight years since John Denver's plane went down in the Pacific Ocean.
Denver got a bad rap because he would perform with the muppets and didn't take himself seriously.
His music is not generally considered classic.
But you know what I notice when I watch TV now? Commercials with new, bad versions of Country Roads and Rocky Mountain High. Country Roads is used to inspire people to vacation in West Virginia. Hey, I love West Virginia, it's beautiful. But how many people want to spend their two weeks off there? It's a tough sell.
Then to sell Coors Beer, we hear Rocky Mountain High, Denver's most beautiful song.
But Denver's voice is never heard on these commercials, despite the fact that his versions are far superior.
John Denver may not personify cool to some, but very few were as consistent a writer as he was or as prolific as he was.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

My friend IMs me today after the Indians lose 10-3 to the Detroit Tigers.
"[S}till wanna say world series champs?"
The tribe certainly doesn't look like it in the early going, and are off to an 8-12 start, now having dropped their last two games.
I have looked for answers far and wide.
The pitching? Hardly. As long as Westbrook doesn't face the Tigers, he's been better than last season. Sadly, he's 0-5 because the offense can't seem to provide support. Sabathia has been great, Millwood has been good and the bullpen has been solid.
The defense? Yeah, pretty poor, but not without some improvement. Yes, Omar Vizquel is gone to San Francisco, and Peralta is not going to replace him. But he will get better with the glove.
The offense? Inexcusably bad. That hasn't stopped the Indians' public relations team -- otherwise known as the radio broadcasters, from making excuses.
Look, these guys are major leaguers for a reason. Save Coco Crisp and Ronnie Belliard and perhaps Travis Hafner, the Indians have been AAA-like so far.
Oh, and then there's Eric Wedge's porn star mustache, which he still hasn't shaved off. Maybe he thinks it makes him look like Dick Williams or James Gammon's Lou Brown.
The Indians are 8-12. It's early, but here's the thing: The White Sox, Twins and maybe even the Tigers aren't exactly going to wait for the Indians to enter the race.
Do I expect Chicago to keep up on its 16-6 pace? No, but they won't nose dive either, not with that pitching.
The future is now. It's time the Indians start playing like it.

NFL steroid hearings
I think it's time to put the "why just baseball?" argument to rest.
True, the NFL's policy is not perfect. But the penalties are severe enough, the downside is great enough, that I have more faith in the NFL. Not to mention that the league dealt with steroids years ago, instead of ignoring the problem.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

As someone who has ripped both Stephen A. Smith and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, it is a strange feeling to see one ripping into the other. But Gilbert essentially said today what I had wanted someone to say ever since Smith arrived on the scene.
Gilbert never mentions Smith by name, but it's obvious that Smith's allegations didn't go unchecked by the new Cavs owner.
Smith reported that Gilbert passed notes to coaches about which players to play:
Obviously, that is completely false. Can you imagine an owner doing that? It is so absurd, you have to laugh at it. Then again, the "ESPN Entertainer" who said it is the same guy who made up the story about "Jim Paxson being fired within 48 hours" when it was completely untrue and never even discussed here at all. He is also the same guy who made up stories about "LeBron's mother not liking the new ownership team." This guy, lets call him "John A. Doe" is an entertainer, not a journalist. Most people who know basketball realize what a phony this guy is and how he primarily blurts out fantasy on a daily basis.

Wow. I have wanted someone to slam Mr. Smith for YEARS. Who'd have thought it'd be the owner I'm so suspicious of?

Song quote of the day
There's a need and desire I have
to express what's inside of me
lets figure it out while it's still there--George Harrison

I can't vote for Tony Blair, or Tony Blair's party. But I would, and so would Christopher Hitchens.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Song quote of the day
Picture book,
of people with each other,
to prove they love each other
a long time ago -- The Kinks

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Brand New Day
It's day four of the draft ... of wait, just hour four. I actually spent most of the day flipping between the draft and the Reds game. Cincinnati lost, 4-2. Now I am watching the Cubs choke away a one-run ninth inning lead to the Pirates.
But it got me to thinking ... baseball is in the regular season, in full swing, and I bet the NFL whips them today in the ratings.
-Jose Mesa is pitching for the Pirates, looking for his sixth save. Somehow, this guy is not only still in the league, but a successful closer.
In 1995, Mesa was the best closer in baseball, but the ice in his veins met the deep fryer in game seven of the 1997, and that's what we'll remember.
Mesa has made at least 60 appearances since 1995, strange when you consider that he hasn't really pitched for a contender since 1998. Then again, that may not be true ...I lost track of him after the Indians dealt him to the Giants. Now I am searching my mind to remember who Cleveland got back in the deal. I seem to think Steve Reed and Trinnadad Hubbard. I also remember the Indians sending Shawon Dunston west as part of the deal.
OK, Erik, am I missing anyone?
Mesa has two outs and a runner on. The announcer said Jose is throwing about 95, impressive when you consider no one has any idea how old he is.
A base hit sends runners to first and third. This is the Mesa I remember, post 1995. Still, he usually, during the regular season, got the job done.
Sure enough, Mesa finishes with a strike out.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Draft Day
Each time the NFL draft comes along, I always think I will sit and watch it. Then it happens, and it's not the most exciting thing.
I was at Aaron's place last year to watch it, and remember that after Ben Roethlisberger went to the Steelers, I had to try very hard not to fall asleep.
Still, the Browns go number three, so they should be out of the way early, unless they trade the pick.
I'd do a list of the biggest Browns busts of all time, but that would require me to search for the name Mike Junkin, and that would just be far too irriatating.

Alex Smith goes to the 49ers, while the Browns took Braylon Edwards. I believe that's their first Michigan first rounder since Steve Everett in 1993.
Aaron Rodgers is still on the board. Cleveland, anyone?

Song quote of the day
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be--The Beatles

Fighting Mad (as in, insane)
Dig, Howard, dig.
When it was announced, I questioned the sanity of the Democratic Party for naming Howard Dean chair. Howard Dean's sanity (or lack there of) has never been in question.
I don't understand how a man who is far more divisive than the president he criticizes can be the head of anything. But if that's the direction the Democrats choose to go, more power (or again, lack there of) to them.
Hat tip Mike .

Van at the Last Waltz
Yeah, this quote sums it up.
By now it was after midnight, and the crowd was subdued. The momentum of the show had been lost halfway through Joni’s set … this was Van’s first appearance on stage in more than two years - and The Last Waltz was suddenly revived with a spectacular version of ‘Caravan’. Van burned through his great song - ‘Turn it up! Little bit louder! Radio!’ - complete with kicksteps across the stage at the end. Van turned the whole thing around. God bless him for being the showman he is.
Levon Helm

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Song quote of the day
You can spend all your time making money
you can spend all your love making time
if it all fell to pieces tomorrow
would you still be mine--The Eagles

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Three years after the Indians traded him, and ...
I still love to watch Bartolo Colon pitch. He made the Indians look like a collection of Triple A hitters Wednesday night. You just knew, somewhere around the fifth inning, that the game was over. This team couldn't hit Charles Nagy in the 1997 World Series.
The Indians, however, are not hitting, and they are running out of excuses as to why the offense hasn't responded. The bullpen killed the Indians last season, and right now, the offense looks to be the culprit.

The idea is just strange, because it means that:
A) Al Michaels will not be on ABC, or
B) Al Michaels will not be on Monday Night Football.

My first memories of MNF were in 1986, when the Browns dismantled the Dolphins on national television. Most Monday memories since have not been as positive, but MNF has always seemed like a happening. Now it will be on ESPN, along with such quality programming as Tilt and the stylings of Stephen A. Smith.
Sometimes the desire for change hinders good judgment.

Cavs out
Two games of intensity couldn't make up for a second half of woe. So despite the fact that the Cavs are the first team in Cleveland to have a winning record since 2002, they will not have the honor of being swept by the Heat in the first round.
It would be hard not to call this season a disappointment. A season that began so promisingly and went through such chaos has actually ended with two wins.
What follows is perhaps the most crucial offseason in franchise history. Owner Dan Gilbert has to mend fences with LeBron James and bring in the players that can bring a suitable tag of "supporting cast."
Under no circumstances, ever, should LeBron be traded.
Just needed to get that out of the way.

Andy Barch Draft Interview
Warning: This interview is uncut and uncensored, and therefore is, well, very raunchy. It is not suitable for readers under 18, or adults over 50 (Mom, Dad and Aunt Marilyn, that means YOU).
1. Andy, thanks for doing this again. My first question is an obvious question with perhaps not the most obvious answer. Who do you feel is the number one pick?
Hey Zach, thank you partner, my pleasure. This draft is referred to as a "need draft". There really is no clear cut "best player" or one can't miss prospect. Therefore this year's number one pick is a "need pick" for San Francisco. The only way that they wont pick here, is if Minnesota trades up to get Braylon Edwards which is still a possibility. San Francisco has more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese, so picking a WR here wouldn’t make much sense. A quarterback is always a possibility because they are ALWAYS over hyped in the draft. Lots of people like the long term potential of QB Alex Smith over Aaron Rogers, but teams aren’t interested in long term potential, they are interested in WIN NOW quarterbacks. Rodgers would be a popular choice because he is somewhat homegrown, and he has worked in a system that has helped him out a ton. If I were drafting, I'd go with someone who would make a bigger impact that one of those two quarterbacks who won't make a splash for a couple of years. I think they will go with Alex Smith because he's bigger, more mobile and has better long term potential.
2. Do you see any trade possiblities in the top five?
Again the only trade possiblity I see is Minnesota trying to move up to get Braylon Edwards. This is the kind of draft that won't allow many people to move around because the prospects at 11-20 aren’t that much better than the prospects at 5-10. This will have a domino effect, leaving the possibility of only the Edwards trade to make an impact.
3. Is there any chance Nick Saban will take a QB at number 2?
Not at all, Saban has more pressing needs than a quarterback. It hasn’t mattered since Dan Marino left who's been under center. They need some help along the line, but they also have an aging defense that needs help as well. That defense is getting old very fast, so drafting some re-enforcements might be a good idea. Cedric Benson or Ronnie Brown seem like good picks, but there is still a chance that a more proven back like Shaun Alexander or Edgerrin James could end up in South Beach in 2005.
4. What's your take on where the Browns are and where they may go with No. 3? Is Alex Smith or any QB a possibility?
The best option for the Browns would either be CB Antrell Rolle or LB Derrick Johnson. I think they should address that need before they start talking about QBs or WRs. Alex Smith is a nice long-term option, but Savage and Crennell will be ticket takers at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame by the time he makes an impact. Using Harris or McCown will make more sense. Going with a defensive player would make the most sense, since they lost a lot of their guys on that side in trades and free agency.
5. Does Maurice Clarett get drafted? By anyone other than Oakland? And where does he go, round-wise?
Yes he gets drafted, but he gets drafted very late on day 2. He has proven that he is a head-case, he's proven that he doesn’t have the top notch talent anymore that he once displayed at OSU, and he's proven to be more of a problem than a privledge. That being said, in a team sport, selfish individuals are not considered priorities, no matter how much talent they have. You have to think that he'll wake up at some point, therefore, someone and yes, most likely, Oakland will take him late on day 2.
6. Do you think I, the VZ, could be drafted?
Yes, the only problem is, you will test positive for the juice. While the lethal injection of VZ has proven to be a more effective masking substance than flacid oil, I still think the NFL would find a way to detect the juice while examining the urine samples which will also show the amount of venereal diseases you've obtained through sexual intercourse with hot skinnemax actresses.
Thanks Andy, give my best to West Virginia

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Song quote of the day
Oh it's enough to be on your way
it's enough to cover ground
it's enough to be movin' on-- James Taylor

Pope Benedict XVI
This will likely take some getting used to. Pope John Paul just seemed to bounce off the tongue.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Remembering Rosie Ruiz
Happy Anniversary Rosie! I give her credit. She cheated the old fashioned turtle and the hare sort of way. In comparison, it's more funny than sinister. I don't know any of the winners of the Boston Marathon, but I remember the story of a woman who came from the crowd (two weeks exactly before I was born) and made history by running a few blocks.
To all of us who are not good enough to compete but always wanted to taste athletic victory, Rosie is a misguided hero.

Bobby Fischer
Good lord, is that guy off his rocker.

Way back, in November of 2003 I wrote that LeBron James was a Godscend for Cleveland, but also wrote that I was expecting something to go wrong at any moment. Why? Because it's Cleveland. Something always goes wrong.
I expected James to blow out his knee, but instead, for a year, he carried the Cavs (and Cleveland sports for that matter) on his back.
Then, Gordon Gund sold the team to Daniel Gilbert, who apparently decided that despite the fact that the Cavaliers were heading for the playoffs for the first time in over half a decade, that wasn't good enough.
So within two weeks of taking over, he fired everyone in sight and turned the organization from a rising contender to what it was before the LeBron arrived-- a laughingstock.
I make it a point never to agree with Stephen A. Smith, but the man actually had an interesting and truthful piece of advice to Gilbert:
"Back off and write the checks."
Right on.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Tax Day
So, Washington hosts its first baseball game in over 30 years, and what's the headline on ESPN? Red Sox and Yankees of course. Lord I hate those two teams.
- Aaron Rund has posted on the Spike Lee-LeBron James-Knicks story. I have to agree with him. The Cavs should never trade LeBron. Period. No amount of players or draft picks will ever equal what he means to the city.

Song quote of the day
Rainmaker can you hear the call
Please let those crops grow tall--The Band

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Browns schedule released
The Browns start at home with Cincinnati. That ought to give the Browns a solid 1-0 start. Other than that, back to back road games in Green Bay and Indianapolis will be doom.
-Just like last year, draft guru Andy Barch has agreed to be interviewed regarding the NFL draft. He and I work drastically different hours, but hopefully we can work it out and provide you, the reader, with the best (and that's not overhype) look at the NFL draft. If there are any (serious) answers to questions you want to know, email or comment them and I'll take them to the Man.
- WWE released Matt Hardy and Molly Holly yesterday, two of my favorite performers. Nick Weber's comment: "That'll teach Matt to have his girlfriend cheat on him." Right on.
-In answer to my post about baseball numerals, check Erik's comment below it. He answers a few of my thoughts on the matter. And check his insightful sports blog, which is a terrific read.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

No Names please
Watching the Dodgers game, I noticed that LA has ditched the names on the back of their uniforms, instead going with larger numerals. Very Old School.
The Cubs have done the same, at least on the home unis.
Personally, I'd like to see all teams go back to the "just numbers" look. It always struck me as a bit redundent to have the names and numbers anyway. Fans should know the players' numbers.
As long as I have been alive, the Indians have had names on the unis, and I'd like to see them give "just numbers" a shot.
Dolan's already got a salary number like 20 years ago, so why not go all the way?

One can be constantly bemused by the views of certain political spectators. To them, you have to agree with everything someone or some party says to be part of them.
It can be seen on both sides.
Jerry Fallwell said that gays can't be Republicans, and today, Bill Clinton said much the same thing about a gay man who is trying to defeat his wife.
Yes, it may make the former president "sad," but I think he misses the point.
Look, just because I support the president on terrorism doesn't mean that I agree with him on guns or gay marriage, or anything else. It means just that.
So this man is gay, and married to his partner, something that is at odds with the GOP's widely held stand on marriage.
But does that neccesarily mean he is self loathing? I don't think so.
Is Clinton arguing that because this man is gay, he has to abandon all of his priciples? "Well, I agree with Hillary on nothing but gay marriage, so I guess she's OK to be senator."
It doesn't work that way, I was closer to John Kerry on certain issues than I was to the president, but Bush was closer to me on the issues that meant the most, so he got my vote.
There is no one, in their heart of hearts, who agrees with a party on EVERYTHING. It's not possible.
And, quite frankly, the cross over shouldn't surprise. The Catholic church has long decried abortion, but also is against the death penalty. How does one resolve this confict when choosing a party?
My point is that gays can be Republicans, and anyone can be anything. Anyone who suggests otherwise is guilty of, if nothing else, stereotyping.

Song quote of the day
I don't care how many letters they sent
morning came, morning went
pack up your money
pack up your tent
you ain't goin' nowhere--The Byrds (written by Dylan)

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Master
So Tiger Woods defeated Chris DiMarco in a playoff to win the Masters today.
But I must have missed something ... was Tiger the only one playing?
Excuse me for my bitterness about Woods. It's just that beginning this morning, the hype was in full force.
"Tiger's BACK," the sports reporters screamed.
Uh, just where did he go?
Look, I know sports telecommunications likes to hype and hype and hype, but it was pretty irritating to try to watch the Masters and see six hours of the Tiger Variety Show. Heck, why not have him invite guests while he crosses the eighth green?
I would have at least liked to have seen more of Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson, even if they weren't in contention.
And just for the record, Mass Media, remember that Tiger Woods, great as he is, choked away a three stroke advantage in the final nine holes before winning. Remind yourselves of that before you start praising him like one not of this earth.
I got the impression onlookers today were saddened that Tiger didn't romp, and saddened that a Tiger dominance is not on the horizon.
You probably know by now that I pull for not one player, but everyone not named Tiger in major tournaments.

Vitamin Z's Magnificent (and overhyped) seven
1. Yankees-Red Sox (Yeah ... we GET it. It means something to you guys, but did you ever notice that many of us in the Midwest don't CARE? We have our own teams.)
2. Michael Jordan (You know why I like you Michael? Because you proved them wrong. Like when they said you could never play MLB baseball ... oh wait)
3. Barry Bonds (Ever wonder why he's so great?)
4. LeBron James (Yes, I love LeBron, but if I lived in another city, I would say to wait until he made noise in the postseason before shoving him down everyone's collective throat.)
5. Tiger Woods (Reasons noted above)
6. Randy Moss (Should be obvious)
7. George Steinbrenner (Although the Yankee collapse will be fun to watch.)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

You know what's great about two-term presidents? They don't have to worry about re-election. Therefore, they can do what they think is right without thinking to much about appeasement.
At least that's the theory.
Still, I always got the impression that GWB never cared too much about polls, which is one of the reasons I like him.
-Of course, there are many who will argue that the president is stupid and evil.
Which of course are two conflicting points. Evil requires intelligence.
So when an former co-worker sent me a game where you get to try to drop a brain into Bush's head, I knew what he was doing.
He was trying to rile me up.
Of course, if the president doesn't care about his popularity, why should I?
Besides, Bush bashers may have been upset, deep down, if he lost last November. Just like Republicans may have been down if Bill Clinton was out four years ago.
Where's the fun in a president who is perfect?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Soul singing
-I never thought I'd say this, but I want Gordon Gund back.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Why are the Indians losing?
It's not the defense.
It's not the bullpen.
It's Eric Wedge's porn star mustasche.
Shave it off Eric, you're humiliating all of us.

Without baseball ...
1. George W. Bush would probably not be president.
2. George Steinbrenner would probably be someone that I admire rather than despise.
3. Gary Carter would not be in the Hall of Fame
4. Ernie Harwell would likely have been in insurance
5. Cleveland would be a much more optimistic town
6. Boston would still whine, but not as much
7. John Kerry would not have said the name "Manny Ortez" and thus may have won the election.
8. Jim Bunning would not be in congress.
9. Babe Ruth would not even have a candy bar
10. Going out with a hot girl from the bronx would be sweet, instead of sacreligious.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Six days on the road
"With steroids, without steroids, you're still watching the best baseball in the world, and that's what counts"-Paul O'Neil

"Exactly"--Bud Selig


Not so fast
Indians' fans were reminded Monday that Jhonny Peralta is not Omar Vizquel. But that doesn't mean we, as fans whould jump off the bandwagon just yet. Erik makes some remarks about the future for the Indians at shortstop. It's worth a look.

That'show many minor leaguers have tested positive for steroids, according to numerous sources. This problem isn't just going to go away.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

It's Wrestling Day at Vitamin Z
In excitement for Wrestlemania (and in an apparent need to rid myself of any left over shame) today is wrestling day at the site. Sit back, enjoy as I write about my favorite moments in this fake sport.

Magnificent Seven: Zach's favorite Wrestlemania matches
1. WM VIII Savage vs. Flair
2. WM III Savage vs. Steamboat
3. WM XVII Hogan vs. Rock
4. WM VIII Hart vs. Piper
5. WM XVII Rock vs. Austin
6. WM X Bret vs. Owen
7. WM XX HHH vs. Michaels vs. Benoit

The Pope passes
You will likely find more thoughtful, knowlegable obituaries elsewhere. The Pope made a lot of people's lives better, and helped pass along faith.
May he rest in peace.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

MLB Predictions
NL East
1. Atlanta Braves
2. New York Mets
3. Florida Marlins
4, Philadelphia Phillies
5. Mon--err --Washington Sen--err-Nationals
I will not pick against the Braves until someobody beats them. Technically (Despite three world series qualifiers coming from the NL East other than Atlanta) the Braves are the only NL East Champion since the breakup in 1994. Plus, the rotation should be as good as any in the NL. I don't like Smoltz in the rotation, but he will be solid there.

NL Central
1. Houston Astros
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Milwaukee Brewers
6. Pittsburgh Pirates
Why: Any of four teams could win the Central, but the Astros will likely be the most durable, and St. Louis didn't do much in the offseason after their emberassing performance in the Series. I love the Reds, but they never stay healthy. The Cubs are minus Sosa and plus a lot of overpaid, mediocre veterans. And injuries. Poor Lloyd McClendon in Pittsburgh, likely the first firing in baseball this season.

NL West
1. San Francisco Giants
2. San Diego Padres
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. Colorado Rockies

Why: San Francisco will be baseball's version of Geriatric Park. But looking at the roster, from Alou to Vizquel to Barry "Get my son in this shot" Bonds, they ought to be able to pull together one season before the bodies break down like an overused '86 Aerostar.

AL East
1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles
Why: Three consecutive years without a World Series ring have got to be taking their toll on George Steinbrenner. That's why he seems intent on stocking his team with nothing but superstars, while slowly but surely leading the Yankees to mediocrity. The Red Sox will win the division because they still have superior pitching, despite Pedro's departure. How much longer will Randy last? Who knows. But the Yankees free agent signings are still questionable (Jaret Wright?). The rest of the teams have no shot, but they do play on the east coast (save Toronto) so expect them to be on ESPN every three minutes.
Oh, and note to the journalism community: Most of us are insulted by the over-dramatization of the Yankees and Red Sox, not enthralled by it.

AL Central
1. Cleveland Indians
2. Minnesota Twins
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Detroit Tigers
5. Kansas City Royals
Why: No one is more critical of the Indians than yours truely. But the Tribe is stocked this year with nine solid starters and what should be one of the best rotations in the American League. The Twins are still great, but the division will hinge on one player: Bob Wickman. If he can set the bullpen right, the Indians will win 95 games. If he blows up, they nay win 80. But the Indians still are not getting respect, despite running close with the Twins until falling apart in August.
Some are even picking the Tigers. I will buy my Detroit buddy Joe a steak dinner if that happens. The reason? It won't.

AL West
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the surrounding suburbs of Southern California
2. Oakland A's
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Texas Rangers
Why: The A's still have the best rotation in the division, the Artists Formerly Known as The Anaheim Angels have the most overall talent. You learn after a while not to doubt the A's --in the regular season anyway. The A's are in many ways the Braves of the West. I pick the Angels, but it's really a coin toss.

Post Season
AL Wildcard: Twins
NL Wildcard:Cardinals
AL Champion: Indians
NL Champion:Cardinals
World Series Champion: Indians

Friday, April 01, 2005

Bill Maher vs. Jesse Jackson ...
arguing. I am so confused as to who to pull for.
and Alec Baldwin and Whoopi are on this show. This must be "guests that annoy Zach" week.

... to Kara

Like the PD's Bud Shaw, I have been impressed with the Savage/Crennel team so far. But one question remains: What are the Denver Brown-cos thinking?

What's going on?
I just saw De Lovely, and it was brilliant. I never had seen Ashley Judd in anything that I would call memorable, but she matched Kevin Kline the best movie I have seen in a very long time.
She should have won an Oscar.

Life in general
Terri Schiavo died today. Somehow. I suppose the story is just beginning. Is it right or wrong, what happened to her? I don't know. The columnists that I often read for insight seem divided on the matter.
I only know one thing: No decision on the matter would have prevented pain. She is with God now. She is in a better place.

Hitchens on Wolfowitz
My favorite writer of the left makes a compelling case that Paul Wolfowitz is not the monster some would have you believe. Hitchens is the best contemporary writer I have ever read. Agree with him? Not always. But he has an unbelievable talent that even his greatest detractors would have to concede.

Just a one more time
Last year for Wrestlemania 20, I wrote a piece on the greatest moments in the event's history. It's been a year. Wrestling is, in a way, my dirty little secret. I love discussing politics and history, and especially music. But it can't top my buddy and former panelist Phil having me guess the three biggest moments of Wrestlemania VII.
At one point, I was going to write a column about how pro wrestlers die so young and people don't notice. It made it through one round of discussion at 210 West, before I realized I hadn't done the leg work for an appropriate column.
Still, despite my misgivings about the business, I will be having friends over for the big show. These gatherings usually break down into discussions and the show simply serves as a backdrop for them.
It usually takes a wrestling show to get all my friends together. Maybe I should thank Vince McMahon for that.
Still, I remember sitting at a bar with some of my buddies when I saw a close friend from my "other" life. She knew me as a sports writer who once discussed the electoral system with former congressmen, and who challenged author Rick Bragg for saying that "W" was the worst possible president for these times. (Man, forgot to turn that "blatent egotism" button off. I moreorless politely voiced dissent, though the whoppers I have told since likely indicate otherwise).
I was able to cut her off before she associated me with the 300 pound behemoths flinging each other around on the big screen, and we started having a normal discussion.
Then a first blood match came on.
"I uhhh ... I gotta go," I said.
She looked at me with quizzing brown eyes.
"You like wrestling? she asked.
I don't remember what I said, but it must have worked, because we are still friends.
Now lets play some Pomp and Circumstance and wait for the Macho Man.