Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Panel: Week 17
Aaron Rund
Andy Barch
Joel Hammond
Nihar Vasavada
Phil Prusa
Vivek Vasavada
Curtis A.

Arizona at Indianapolis
1:00 p.m.
Taking Arizona: (C)
Taking Indianapolis: Zach, Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Aaron

Baltimore at Cleveland
1:00 p.m.
Taking Baltimore: Zach, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Aaron, (C)
Taking Cleveland: Andy

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets
1:00 p.m.
Taking Buffalo: Zach, Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Aaron, (C)

Carolina at Atlanta
1:00 p.m.
Taking Carolina: Zach, Andy, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek
Taking Atlanta: Joel, Phil, Aaron, (C)

Cincinnati at Kansas City
1:00 p.m.
Taking Cincinnati: Zach, Nihar, Vivek
Taking Kansas City: Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Aaron, (C)

Detroit at Pittsburgh
1:00 p.m.
Taking Detroit: (C)
Taking Pittsburgh: Zach, Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Aaron

Miami at New England
1:00 p.m.
Taking Miami: Aaron
Taking New England: Zach, Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, (C)

New Orleans at Tampa Bay
1:00 p.m.
Taking New Orleans (C)
Taking Tampa Bay: Zach, Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Aaron

Seattle at Green Bay
1:00 p.m.
Taking Seattle: Zach, Andy, Joel, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Aaron (C)
Taking Green Bay: Phil

Houston at San Francisco
4:05 p.m.
Taking Houston: Andy, Joel, Curtis, Nihar
Taking San Francisco: Zach, Phil, Vivek, Aaron, (C)

Tennessee at Jacksonville
4:05 p.m.
Taking Tennessee: (C)
Taking Jacksonville: Zach, Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek , Aaron

Chicago at Minnesota
4:15 p.m.
Taking Chicago: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, (C)
Taking Minnesota: Andy, Joel, Phil, Vivek, Aaron

Washington at Philadelphia
4:15 p.m.
Taking Washington: Zach, Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Aaron, (C)

St. Louis at Dallas
8:30 p.m.
Taking Dallas: Zach, Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Aaron, (C)

The Panel: Week 17

Denver at San Diego
4:30 p.m.
Taking Denver: Zach, Andy, Nihar
Taking San Diego: Curtis, Aaron, Phil, Vivek (C), Joel

N.Y. Giants at Oakland
8:00 p.m.
Taking Oakland:
Taking NY Giants: Curtis, Zach, Andy, Aaron, Nihar, Phil, Vivek (C)

Friday, December 30, 2005

Lerner, Collins
If Phil Savage is let go, most will blame president John Collins. But where is Randy Lerner? He's the owner. He writes the checks. He needs to know that what matters is putting a winning team on the field. Does he really believe Collins is more important to that process than Savage?
I heard Jim Brown on the radio a while ago talking about Phil needing "help" in contract negotiations.
So Savage doesn't like that, and he's out. Well, wait a minute. This is Savage's first general manager job. The Browns are way below the salary cap. How could a mistake in Savage's first season be worthy of his termination?
By the way, where is Romeo Crennel in all this? If I were him, I'd resign and wait for a better coaching situation than this chaotic mess.

Indians Network
The Indians, in an attempt to generate more revenue and (perhaps) put the money back into the club's payroll, will starting a new television network. Eventually, the team plans on making this into a 24-hour station.
Since I have incredible sources (and am dating a woman who works for the Indians), I have come accross a schedule for the 24-hour network.

Indians TV schedule
Noon- 3 p.m.
-Indians replay of the game the night before

3p.m.-5 p.m.
-Your finances and mine, hosted by Larry Dolan. The premise is how someone with so little personal wealth could own a MLB frachise and keep the payroll so low. I think the advice boils down to "make sure your brother is rich."

5 p.m.- 7 p.m.
Cities and Stadiums that Suck with Tom Hamilton-Here, Tribe broadcaster Tom Hamilton visits stadiums and cities around the country and proceeds to rip them all a new one.

7 p.m. -10 p.m.
Indians game (if in season). If not, the timeslot will be filled with a talk show hosted by Tribe public relations czar ... err... broadcaster Matt Underwood called "How do you like them Apples?" The show will focus on the positives of the Indians, and in fact cuts off any caller with a concern or complaint about the team.

10-11:30 p.m.
How to succeed in Baseball without really having any Ability with Casey Blake-Title speaks for itself here.

11:30-1 a.m.-
Up late with Matt Underwood- Conan better watch out. Underwood's hilarity will be complimented by house band Ben Broussard and the Ben Broussard mediocrities

Are you ready?

Savage out?
That's what ESPN is reporting. This would be pretty ridiculous if true. The Browns can't find success by pressing the reset button this often. Again, the details are sketchy, but it seems like a pretty odd move at this point. Forget odd. Crazy.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Week 16 Panel
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
1:00 p.m.
Taking Atlanta: Zach, Andy (C)
Taking Tampa Bay: Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, Aaron, Phil

Buffalo at Cincinnati
1:00 p.m.
Taking Cincinnati: Zach, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, Aaron, Phil, Andy (C)

Dallas at Carolina
1:00 p.m.
Taking Dallas: Phil
Taking Carolina: Zach, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, Aaron (C) Andy

Detroit at New Orleans(San Antonio, TX)
1:00 p.m.
Taking Detroit: Vivek, Nihar, Joel
Taking New Orleans: Zach, Curtis, Aaron, Phil, Andy (C)

Jacksonville at Houston
1:00 p.m.
Taking Jacksonville: Zach, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, Aaron, Phil, Andy (C)

N.Y. Giants at Washington
1:00 p.m.
Taking New York: Vivek, Joel
Taking Washington: Zach, Nihar, Curtis, Aaron, Phil, Andy (C)

Pittsburgh at Cleveland
1:00 p.m.
Taking Pittsburgh: Zach, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Joel, Aaron, Phil, Andy (C)

San Diego at Kansas City
1 p.m.
Taking San Diego: Vivek, Nihar, Joel, Aaron, Phil, Andy (C)
Taking Kansas City: Zach, Curtis

San Francisco at St. Louis
1:00 p.m.
Taking San Francisco: Andy (C)
Taking St. Louis: Zach, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Aaron, Phil, Joel

Tennessee at Miami
1:00 p.m.
Taking Miami: Zach, Vivek, Curtis, Aaron, Phil, Joel, Andy (C)
Taking Tennessee: Nihar

Philadelphia at Arizona
4:05 p.m.
Taking Philadelphia: Zach, Vivek, Nihar, Curtis, Aaron Phil, Joel
Taking Arizona: Andy (C)

Indianapolis at Seattle
4:15 p.m.
Taking Indianapolis: Aaron
Taking Seattle: Zach, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Phil, Joel, Andy, (C)

Oakland at Denver
4:15 p.m.
Taking Oakland: Andy (C)
Taking Denver: Zach, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Aaron, Phil, Joel

Sunday, Dec. 25
Chicago at Green Bay
5:00 p.m.
Taking Chicago: Zach, Vivek, Nihar, Curtis, Aaron, Phil, Joel
Taking Green Bay: (C) Andy

Minnesota at Baltimore
8:30 p.m.
Taking Minnesota: Zach, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Aaron, Joel, Andy (C)
Taking Baltimore: Phil

Monday, Dec. 26
New England at N.Y. Jets
9:00 p.m.
Taking New England: Zach, Nihar, Vivek, Curtis, Aaron, Phil, Joel, Andy, (C)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas List
One of the things I always enjoyed about Christmas growing up was the anticipation of it all. There is a buildup as a child, a hope, an excitement. To this day, I still get excited on Christmas Eve, if only because I am looking forward to the reaction that my gifts will bring.
But today, December 23, 2005, I woke up to a reality: I hadn't done any Christmas shopping. I can only imagine the reaction of my loved ones if I brought home no gifts for the holidays.
So, I drove 30 miles and stood in long lines with people who were not all that thrilled to be spending a chilly December afternoon with me. It occurred to me that if I had just chosen a day three weeks ago to do this, it would have been easier.
But I didn't. So I stood in line.
Still, it's always disappointing to see the holidays pass, to realize that January and February lurk without even a song written about them to perk up a disenchanted soul.
Still, I have to be thankful. Christmas is a chance to say "I love you" to everyone. And yes, these people should know that.
But that doesn't mean the words shouldn't be said.

Sportsline has a picture up of a former Indians outfielder. Being that the Indians have lost just about every other outfielder this winter, perhaps they should sign this guy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Holiday Inn
I have decided to celebrate the now annual "Zach doesn't post during the holidays" by watching Holiday Inn. I know I posted on this very topic a year ago. Bing is great, Fred is great, yada yada.
It does have its 1940s stereotypes, but it is still a pretty neat film.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Time Persons of the Year
Bill Gates, Bono and Melinda Gates.
Well, this is rather perplexing. Didn't anything happen this year? I'm surprised Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes didn't win.
What about General Russel Honore?
I'm not trying to mock the contributions of the three selections, but really, this is the best Time can do?
To quote the General, I think Time is "Stuck on stupid."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Panel
Lets do this.
Arizona at Houston
1:00 p.m.
Taking Arizona: Nihar, Vivek, Phil
Taking Houston: Zach, Curtis, Andy, Aaron (C), Joel

Carolina at New Orleans(Baton Rouge, LA)
1:00 p.m.
Taking Carolina: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Phil, Joel
Taking New Orleans: Aaron, Andy (C)

N.Y. Jets at Miami
1:00 p.m.
Taking New York: Aaron, Andy, (C)
Taking Miami: Zach, Curtis, Vivek, Nihar, Phil , Joel

Philadelphia at St. Louis
1:00 p.m.
Taking Philadelphia: Zach, Curtis, Joel
Taking St. Louis: Nihar, Vivek, Phil, Aaron, Andy, (C)

Pittsburgh at Minnesota
1:00 p.m.
Taking Pittsburgh: Curtis, Nihar, Vivek
Taking Minnesota: Zach, Phil , Aaron, Andy, Joel, (C)

San Diego at Indianapolis
1:00 p.m.
Taking San Diego: Nihar
Taking Indianapolis: Zach, Curtis, Vivek, Phil, Aaron, Andy, Joel (C)

Seattle at Tennessee
1:00 p.m.
Taking Seattle: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Phil, Aaron, Andy, Joel (C)

San Francisco at Jacksonville
1:00 p.m.
Taking Jacksonville: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek, Phil, Aaron, Andy, (C), Joel

Cincinnati at Detroit
4:05 p.m.
Taking Cincinnati: Zach, Curtis, Vivek, Nihar, Phil, Aaron, Andy, (C), Joel

Cleveland at Oakland
4:05 p.m.
Taking Cleveland: Curtis, Nihar, Phil, Joel
Taking Oakland: Zach, Vivek, Aaron, Andy, (C)

Dallas at Washington
4:15 p.m.
Taking Dallas: Zach, Nihar, Joel
Taking Washington: Curtis, Phil, Aaron, Andy, Vivek (C)

Atlanta at Chicago
8:30 p.m.
Taking Atlanta: Aaron, Andy (C)
Taking Chicago: Zach, Curtis, Vivek, Nihar, Phil, Joel

Monday, Dec. 19
Green Bay at Baltimore
9:00 p.m.
Taking Green Bay: Curtis, Vivek, Joel
Taking Baltimore: Zach, Nihar, Phil, Aaron, Andy (C)

Panel: Saturday Edition
Aaron Rund: Feeling Tampa Bay today
Andy Barch: Best broadcaster in the minor leagues
Joel Hammond: Without power in the Carolinas. Best wishes.
Nihar Vasavada: Still under the dillusion that he's a world champion
Phil Prusa: On a roll lately
Vivek Vasavada: No need for a coin this week
Curtis A.: So paranoid he doesn't want me looking at his picks
Zach: Needs to clean his apartment

Tampa Bay at New England
1:30 p.m.
Taking Tampa Bay: Aaron, (C)
Taking New England: Andy, Phil,Vivek, Curtis, Joel Zach

Kansas City at N.Y. Giants
5:00 p.m.
Taking Kansas City: Curtis, Joel
Taking New York: Andy, Phil, Vivek Nihar, Zach, Aaron, (C)

Denver at Buffalo
8:30 p.m.
Taking Denver:Andy, Phil, Vivek, Nihar, Joel, Curtis, Zach, Aaron, (C)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hitchens on Eugene McCarthy
Well worth a read.

Panel Records Week 14
Aaron: 11-5 (129-79)
Andy: 11-5 (126-82)
Joel: 11-5 (131-77)
Nihar: 13-3 (135-73)
Phil: 11-5 (136-72)
Vivek: 6-10 (112-96)
Curtis: 12-4 (141-67)
Zach: 11-5 (140-68)
Coin: 6-10 (97-111)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Schwarzenegger's denial
The Tookie Williams case has been big news, in part because celebrities have gotten behind the man and given their opinions. But the best case I have heard from a celebrity came from the one who made the final decision.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mets sign Franco for two years
I am not surprised at the level of interest teams had in Julio Franco. I am surprised someone signed him for two seasons, meaning the contract won't run out until he's pushing 49. Franco is quickly becoming the Ric Flair of Major League Baseball -- supposedly too old for the industry, but too good to be kept out of it.
I can hear my brother now ...
"There you go, bringing everything back to wrestling."
Still, Franco is an amazing player. Consider that the Indians thought he was done in 1997. They cut him in August and he ended up with the directionless Brewers. At that point, I figured his career was over.
And it seemed to be, especially when he did not play in 1998, and had only one at-bat for the 1999 Devil Rays.
Think about that. The DEVIL RAYS didn't think he was good enough.
But Franco just didn't go away. He returned in 2001, surfacing in Atlanta, where he would spend the next five seasons as a first baseman and bat off the bench.
The man had his first at-bat in 1982. Ronald Reagan was President, in his second year in office. The Clash put out Combat Rock and the movie Gandhi came out.
We've been through 23 years, four presidents, five ESPN networks, two Ken Griffeys, two Popes, four new baseball teams, four new football teams, eight original Rolling Stones albums, Live Aid, two Woodstocks, two Tonight Show hosts, 37 David Bowie hairstyles and 10 Cleveland Indians managers.
But Julio is still in the cages, preparing for April.
No need to face the strange Mr. Franco, your retirement is one ch-ch-change I won't be looking forward to.

Richard Pryor
What is there to say about Richard Pryor that has not been said by the more qualified? There was no denying his talent or his influence. Despite all of his on-air roles, one can't forget he was a co-writer of Blazing Saddles, one of the funniest movies ever.
Rest in Peace.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Panel: Week 14
Same as always

Chicago at Pittsburgh
1:00 p.m.
Taking Chicago: Phil, Zach, Vivek (C)
Taking Pittsburgh: Nihar, Joel, Andy, Aaron, Curtis

Cleveland at Cincinnati
1:00 p.m.
Taking Cleveland (C) Vivek
Taking Cincinnati: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Andy, Aaron, Curtis

Houston at Tennessee
1:00 p.m.
Taking Houston: Aaron
Taking Tennessee: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Andy, Curtis, Vivek, (C)

Indianapolis at Jacksonville
1:00 p.m.
Taking Indianapolis: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Aaron, Curtis, (C), Vivek
Taking Jacksonville: Andy

New England at Buffalo
1:00 p.m.
Taking New England: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Aaron, Curtis
Taking Buffalo: Andy, (C) Vivek

Oakland at N.Y. Jets
1:00 p.m.
Taking Oakland: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Andy, Aaron, Curtis, Vivek, (C)

St. Louis at Minnesota
1:00 p.m.
Taking St. Louis: Joel, Vivek, (C)
Taking Minnesota:Phil, Zach, Nihar, Andy, Aaron, Curtis

Tampa Bay at Carolina
1:00 p.m.
Taking Carolina: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Andy, Aaron, (C) Vivek, Curtis

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia
4:05 p.m.
Taking New York: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel , Andy, Aaron, Curtis
Taking Philadelphia: Vivek, (C)

San Francisco at Seattle
4:05 p.m.
Taking San Francisco: Vivek (C)
Taking Seattle: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Andy, Aaron, Curtis,

Washington at Arizona
4:05 p.m.
Taking Washington:Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Andy, Aaron, Curtis
Taking Arizona: Vivek(C)

Baltimore at Denver
4:15 p.m.
Taking Baltimore: Vivek
Taking Denver: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Andy, Aaron, Curtis (C)

Kansas City at Dallas
4:15 p.m.
Taking Kansas City: Phil, Joel, Aaron, Vivek (C)
Taking Dallas: Nihar, Zach, Andy, Curtis

Miami at San Diego
4:15 p.m.
Taking Miami: Vivek (C)
Taking San Diego: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Andy, Aaron, Curtis

Detroit at Green Bay
8:30 p.m.
Taking Detroit: Zach
Taking Green Bay: Phil, Nihar, Joel, Andy, Aaron, Vivek, (C), Curtis

New Orleans at Atlanta
9 p.m.
Taking Atlanta: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Joel, Andy, Aaron, Vivek, (C) Curtis

There was once a code among Presidents. The code was not to criticize those in the office once you have served in it.
If you had told me Bill Clinton would break this code by criticizing the man who succeeded him, I would have been ... well, not very surprised.
The former President still loves the spotlight, still loves to be loved, and still loves to be in the news. There are lots of current Democrats and critics out there who could make the same arguments he's making, and perhaps do it just as effectively.
But then we wouldn't get to see Bill on TV every day, would we?
Sometimes I think the reason Clinton wants Hillary to win in 2008 is so he can be an even more of a public figure than he already is.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Remembering Bud Carson
Also on
Former National Football League coach Bud Carson died this week, and the stories that followed focused on his work as an assistant in Pittsburgh.
It’s easy to understand why, since Carson, as defensive coordinator to Chuck Knoll, helped coach one of the best defensive units in history, the Steel Curtain. He worked with players like Joe Greene and Jack Lambert, and played an integral role in the Steelers’ winning two Super Bowls.
But that’s not how I remember him.
I remember Carson for his 27-game stint as head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1989-1990. He replaced Marty Schottenheimer, who had achieved a 10-6 season in 1988 despite injuries to four different quarterbacks during the course of the season.
But Browns owner Art Modell (and honestly, many Cleveland fans) wanted more. The Browns had twice come within a few plays of making their first ever Super Bowl appearance (in 1986 and ’87), only to fall short to John Elway and the Denver Broncos.
In 1988, Schottenheimer’s team was ousted in the first round. Soon after, Marty was ousted himself.
Now think about this. The Browns made the playoffs for four consecutive years, won three division titles, and had come close to making the Super Bowl.
And that wasn’t enough.
It was into this pressure-filled situation that then New York Jets’ defensive coordinator Bud Carson walked in 1989. He was supposed to be the man to take the Browns to the next level.
It didn’t happen.
The Browns went 9-6-1 in 1989 and again made the AFC Championship game. Again, they lost to Denver.
The next season, the Browns lost seven of their first nine. Carson was fired after an embarrassing 42-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills at home. The look on his face as he walked off the field told me, and every other Browns’ fan that he knew he was in trouble.
Since then, I have heard it said that Carson was a great defensive coach, but failed as a head coach.
The record and the quick firing certainly make it look as though Carson wasn’t a great in the position.
But really, the record in 1990 was less indicative of Carson than it was of the Browns’ talent and organization. The Browns limped to a 3-13 finish in 1990, and the next season Giants’ defensive coordinator (and current New England God) Bill Belichick took over.
The Browns didn’t win under him much, either. In the five years that followed, the Browns had one winning season and made one playoff appearance. Then they bolted to Baltimore.
So, was Carson to blame for the Browns’ mediocrity in 1990? A look closer would indicate the problems laid elsewhere.
The sad thing is that Carson never got another chance as an NFL head coach. He became defensive coordinator in Philadelphia afterwards, but he never again rose to the top position.
Would Carson have been more successful if given more of a chance? No one will know for sure. Nor will we know what he would have done if given the top position with another team.
But to anyone who thought that Carson was the cause of the Browns’ problems in 1990, remember this: In the 15 years and 12 football seasons that have followed, the Browns have never returned to the AFC championship game.
Rest in peace Bud. From a Browns fan, thanks for the memories.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Panel Results for week 13 (Or, if you didn't do well this week, there's no hope)
Aaron: 13-3 (118-74)
Andy: 10-6 (115-77)
Joel: 11-5 (120-72)
Nihar: 14-2 (122-70)
Phil: 16-0 (yes, you read that right, 125-67)
Vivek: 7-9 (106-86)
Curtis: 11-5 (129-63)
Zach: 12-4 (129-63)
Coin: 7-9 (91-101)
Now for a few thoughts:
I mistakenly wrote (and told Nihar) that he had gone 15-1 last week, but missed a loss in the counting. Phil's 16-0 performance is the best ever accomplished by a panelist, but it still leaves him a few games off Curtis' pace. Oh, and mine.
Still, what looked alike a two man race down the stretch now has three, perhaps four members. And remember, the fun doesn't stop at the end of the regular season. The playoffs and Super Bowl will also be included in the final standings.
The winner (provided it's not me) will get to make a victory post on Vitamin Z.
The post can be a victory speech, a thank you address, or rambling about the world.
Here we go. Crunch time.

25 years
There is no story in music like the assassination of John Lennon.
The man was more than a musician, he was a world icon of popular culture. In my earlier days, I read as much as I could find about the man who died some seven months after I was born.
I grew my hair like his, wore glasses like his, and listened to as much of his music as I could.
In college, when we brought in our favorite album for a class poject, mine was Imagine.
Time has allowed me to get into other things and other musicians.
But I still have a picture of Lennon in my apartment. He's standing in front of the Statue of Liberty giving the peace sign.
The man is gone, but the music remains. Lennon only lived 40 years, but produced so much in that short time that he became a legend.
He will continue to inspire future generations with his music, his thoughts and his spirit.

More Winter Meetings
One has to wonder what Bob Wickman is thinking right now. For the second consecutive season, the Indians went after other closers.
It was only after they were rebuffed in those attempts that they returned to Wickman.
That's like asking a girl to the prom after being publicly humiliated by the first three women you courted.
It's hard to imagine Wick having the kind season he had in 2005 -- an All-Star appearance, 45 saves -- but the Indians believed he was worth five million dollars, almost double his salary from last season.
I have to ask though, was anyone else offering Wickman five million? Was anyone else offering him anything? Ah well, better than going into next season with Casey Blake as the closer. Don't laugh, I am only half joking.
All of this is great, but where are the Indians on a bat? They decided not to offer arbitration to Jose Hernandez, and have also cut ties with Juan Gonzalez. Hernandez was actually pretty helpful to the Indians last season, but he'll likely be better off in the National League, where he can be used as a nightly bat off the bench.
But again, where does this leave the Indians?
The team will need to find a bat for either first or right field. I'll give Mark Shapiro the benefit of the doubt and assume he will allow Blake to fill Hernandez' spot as a right handed bench player.
Still, Reggie Sanders is out there, and Nomar has yet to be signed. A few days ago I assumed Garciaparra would end up in Atlanta, where he'd replace Rafael Furcal.
Sanders is apparently getting interest from Kansas City. Don't ask me why. I mean, the only thing I can think of is Kansas City wants to improve its waiver deal veterans so it can get better prospects in July when its 90 games out of first.
Either that or Sanders really likes steak.
Nonetheless, the Indians have signed a closer and a starter.
Now they need a hitter to play right or first.
And again, don't let that player be Blake.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Casey to Pittsburgh
Oh man, the people of southern Ohio will not be happy. I don't know to much about Dave Williams. I know he's 26 and went 10-11 last season. He's also left handed, which baseball people covet.
But as a Reds fan, I can't help but feel a little underwhelmed by the deal. The trade saves the Reds some eight million, and also allows them to move Adam Dunn to first base.
But is this the best they could do for a guy who will be a local hero in Pittsburgh? Or is it a straight money deal?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mr. Perfect
No, not the late, great WWF wrestler. Phil Prusa set an unbeatable mark again in the panel, going 16-0.
No, he actually picked every game right.
Nihar was 15-1 , but Phil beat him this week.
How will this affect the overall rankings?
Tune in next week and find out.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Week 12 Panel Results
Aaron: 11-5 (105-71)
Andy: 9-7 (105-71)
Joel: 14-2 (109-67)
Nihar: 13-3 (108-68)
Phil: 12-4 (109-67)
Vivek: 11-5 (99-77)
Curtis: 12-4 (118-58)
Zach: 13-3 (117-59)
Coin: 8-8 (84-92)

Week 11 Panel Results
Aaron: 8-8 (94-66)
Andy: 8-8 (96-64)
Joel: 8-8 (95-65)
Nihar: 10-6 (95-65)
Phil: 11-5 (97-63)
Vivek: 9-7 (88-72)
Curtis: 11-5 (106-54)
Zach: 9-7 (104-56)
Coin: 8-8 (76-84)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

ESPN too loud for its own good
Also on
Michael Irvin was a great football player. He was one of the best receivers of the 1990s, and is certainly worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.
Now, he's an analyst. And since I began to watch him a bit more regularly since he began on ESPN in 2003, I have concluded that as an on-air talent, he ... was a great football player.
Believe me, I would have written this column weeks ago. My problem with Irvin has nothing to do with him being arrested last week for having drug paraphernalia in his car. My problem is not with Irvin, but rather with what he represents.
The problem I have is not specifically with Irvin's legal problems, though I wonder about the idea of giving someone who has been busted twice for drugs such a high-profile role on a network.
Actually, the problem is not with Irvin, but with ESPN. Irvin yells, makes little sense, and adds very little to shows, aside from personal star power.
But he's not the only one. John Kruk has been just as frustrating at times.
ESPN used to be the network that I watched all the time. Any big sports fan that was lucky enough to have cable probably has fond memories of Chris Berman, Tom Jackson and the late Pete Axthelm on NFL Prime Time.
Berman could be overbearing at times, but he still had a likable quality. No matter how loud he was, he was pushing sports, not himself. He's still like that, for the most part.
Jackson is one of the best analysts in the business. He dissects plays and strategy without coming across as arrogant. At the same time, he has a natural, clear and calm delivery.
Most readers may not remember Pete Axthelm, who died in 1991. In truth, my memories are vague as well, since he died when I was 10. But I remember him being a nice balance with the others and a clear commentator.
That was the best of ESPN. But times have changed, and not for the better.
I'm not sure when ESPN's transformation happened. In 1992, the network used a marketing slogan that told viewers that ESPN was "in your face." I didn't really like the slogan then, and it didn't last very long. But now, 13 years later, ESPN has become what it claimed.Michael Irvin screaming, the reporters on Around the Horn bickering, and announcers bellowing "jacked up" on Monday nights is what greets an ESPN viewer.
Then there are the SportsCenter anchors. Years ago, in the days of Keith Olbermann, Craig Kilborn and Charlie Steiner, the show oozed with humor and creativity.
But now, those men are distant memories, and their replacements make me long for the dignified delivery of Bill Patrick.
Maybe Kilborn and Olbermann were just as interested in making themselves stars. But they were good. Their quips didn't seem to be rehearsed.
This would normally be the part of the column when I would contrast the anchors of yesteryear with a few of today's talent.
The problem is, they have all (with the exception of Dan Patrick and Linda Cohn) become unrecognizable. In fact, when I think of the show now, I just think of one red-faced, catch phrase spewing hack. But I have trouble coming up with a name. How ironic.
(In some ways, Olbermann and Kilborn, who crossed over to other areas of media, are to blame. Their success undoubtedly led the network to search for anchors who tried to emulate them).I'd just like to watch an ESPN program where catchphrases weren't used, where voices weren't raised, and arguments weren't so common.
I'd like ESPN to find a comfortable spot on my TV. Not in my face.
Note: Yes, I love Pardon the Interruption. But it's only good when Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon host it. Those two work so well together, and don't take themselves too seriously. Plus, they are funny. It's why I'm willing to forgive the occasional screamfest.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Panel: Week 13
Aaron Rund: Hates the McRib
Andy Barch: Hates the McRib
Joel Hammond: Hates the McRib
Nihar Vasavada: Hates the McRib
Phil Prusa: Hates the McRib
Vivek Vasavada: Hates the McRib
Curtis A.: LOVES the McRib
Zach: LOVES the McRib

Atlanta at Carolina
1:00 p.m.
Taking Carolina: Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Zach, Nihar, Aaron, Vivek (C)

Buffalo at Miami
1:00 p.m.
Taking Buffalo: Andy, Joel, Nihar, Vivek (C)
Taking Miami: Phil, Curtis, Zach, Aaron

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
1:00 p.m.
Taking Cincinnati: Andy, Joel, Phil, Nihar, Aaron
Taking Pittsburgh: Zach, Curtis, Vivek (C)

Dallas at N.Y. Giants
1:00 p.m.
Taking New York: Andy, Joel, Phil, Nihar, Aaron, Vivek (C)
Taking Dallas: Zach, Curtis

Green Bay at Chicago
1:00 p.m.
Taking Green Bay: Andy, Joel, Vivek, (C)
Taking Chicago: Phil, Zach, Nihar, Curtis, Aaron

Houston at Baltimore
1:00 p.m.
Taking Houston: Andy, Aaron
Taking Baltimore: Joel, Phil, Zach, Nihar, Curtis, Vivek (V)

Jacksonville at Cleveland
1:00 p.m.
Taking Jacksonville: Phil, Zach
Taking Cleveland: Andy, Joel, Nihar, Curtis , Aaron, Vivek (C)

Minnesota at Detroit
1:00 p.m.
Taking Minnesota: Andy, Joel, Phil, Zach, Nihar, Curtis, Aaron, Vivek (C)

Tampa Bay at New Orleans(Baton Rouge, LA)
1:00 p.m.
Taking Tampa Bay: Andy, Joel, Phil, Zach, Nihar, Curtis, Aaron
Taking New Orleans: Vivek, (C)

Tennessee at Indianapolis
1:00 p.m.
Taking Indianapolis: Andy, Joel, Phil , Zach Curtis, Nihar, Aaron, Vivek (C)

Arizona at San Francisco
4:05 p.m.
Taking Arizona: Andy, Phil , Nihar, Aaron
Taking San Francisco: Joel, Zach, Curtis, Vivek, (C)

Washington at St. Louis
4:05 p.m.
Taking Washington: Andy, Joel, Phil, Aaron
Taking St. Louis: Zach, Curtis, Nihar, Vivek (C)

Denver at Kansas City
4:15 p.m.
Taking Denver: Joel, Curtis, Zach, Aaron, Vivek(C)
Taking Kansas City: Andy, Phil

N.Y. Jets at New England
4:15 p.m.
Taking New York: Vivek, (C)
Taking New England: Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Zach, Nihar, Aaron

Oakland at San Diego
8:30 p.m.
Taking Oakland: Andy
Taking San Diego: Joel, Phil, Curtis Zach, Nihar, Aaron, Vivek (C)

Monday, Dec. 5
Seattle at Philadelphia
9:00 p.m.
Taking Seattle: Andy, Joel, Phil, Curtis, Zach, Nihar, Aaron
Taking Philadelphia:Vivek (C)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Despite the fact that McDonalds' McRib sandwich keeps coming back, I have a question for my readers: Is there anyone out there (besides Curtis A. and myself) who like it?
Just a question.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sports News and thoughts
Michael Irvin is in trouble at ESPN for not letting them know about his legal problems last week. I think Irvin is a disgrace to ESPN and the journalism industry as a whole.
Of course, I thought that as soon as he started at the network.
I hope if I ever get arrested for drugs and don't tell my employers about it, that I get a week off.
My dislike for Irvin is not personal, however. Rather, it is his style of screaming out sentence fragments and passing it off as analysis. I don't like Irvin as a commentator for the same reason I don't like John Kruk, who didn't even seem to know who Milton Bradley was two years ago.
But Irvin and Kruk are merely symbols of what ESPN has become. It went from the "world wide leader in sports," to the leader in ego-driven athletes passing as commentators and the top producer of hyperbole in this hemisphere.