Friday, August 29, 2008

For the Love of Whatever

Can someone please, please, please explain to me why Nick Punto is hitting second tonight and Alexi Casilla 8th?

[Nevermind. I looked it up, and for some reason Punto's numbers are better than Casilla's now. Shoot me.]

[And also when the hell did Gardy start looking at actual, you know, statistics? Perhaps my prior post motivated Gardy to become a more logical, rational, manager. That's right, DWG changing lives since '07.]

And here's a new picture of Wonderbaby. You can also see part of my kick-ass Cole Hamels T-shirt:

And also Jack Cust is awesome at baseball.

Gopher Football Preview

Anyone who reads this blog regularly, as well as having a pretty sad life, knows that although I have a passing interest in college football, my knowledge is as limited as Jason Kubel's range in the outfield. However, since this is, first and foremost, a Gopher blog I might as well give some kind of preview. Even if most of the info is directly stolen from other sites (including, but not limited to, The Daily Gopher, Gopher Football Blog, and Buck Bravo) at least I can give my own thoughts on this stuff.

Before I get started, let me address the big brou-ha-ha over Brewster recruiting academically questionable kids. Well, no shit. How else is a mediocre-to-embarrassing program going to turn around? By getting the same kinds of kids Mason got every year? No. And you aren't going to get the blue chip recruits with good academic backgrounds just by hiring a coach whose most impressive credential is being a TE coach and having a new stadium coming on the horizon. Winning brings the good kids in. At a place like Minnesota, at least for now, you're either going to sacrifice talent or character. They've been sacrificing talent, it's time to try something new. If it works, it's a homerun, but let's no vilify the guy if he whiffs. There are a million other reasons to vilify him.

With that said, on to the preview:

OFFENSE: Adam Weber is back to lead the offense after having the greatest quarterbacking season in the history of the world. He only loses one of his receiving weapons, Ernie Wheelwright whose claim to fame was earning All-American Status in NCAA 07, but what should we expect? The returning receivers aren't anything special - sorry Eric Decker, but you're not - although TE Jack Simmons has a chance to be an impact player. Not Dustin Keller impact, but impact. The overall receiving corps gets quite a nice influx of talent, with at least three high-profile freshmen expected to make a splash.

But will Weber be able to take his game up a notch with better weapons at his disposal? His numbers were excellent last season, but running the BYU/Houston/Hawaii style spread offense the QBs numbers are pretty much guaranteed to seem impressive. Add in the world's worst defense and all that comes with it, playing from behind as well as a lot of possessions, and of course his numbers will be out of this world. But from watching Weber last season, he has a long, long way to go. He was, without question, one of the least accurate quarterbacks I can remember not named Bryan Cupito, and the numbers back this up as he had one of the worst completion percentages in the Big Ten and threw the most interceptions. His rushing numbers look good because he would generally take a three step drop, make one read, and if it wasn't there take off running. Honestly, I've seen nothing out of Weber that makes me optimistic this season, and that's why this whole MarQueis Gray thing is such a bummer, as there is nothing behind Weber at all, so it's him, whatever may come. Great. Bring on Alipate already.

Oh yeah, there's running backs too. And an o-line. What used to always be the strengths of Gopher teams. Too bad the last two years pretty much haven't had anything that could qualify as a strength. Gone are the Barber, Maroney, and Russell days. The Gophers will likely have a multi-headed rushing attack again, but not due to too much talent, but too little. Unless one of the new guys can burst onto the scene, expect Jay Thomas and Duane Bennett to rotate being mediocre. Combine this with a line that could be a trouble spot, and the offense looks like a mess for the second year in a row.

How bad do you have to suck to be last in your conference in both rush and pass defense? It's the rare double dip the Gophers pulled off last sesaon, and giving up 42 points to Florida Atlantic is nothing short of stunning. The bad news is that there isn't much to look forward to. The good news is this preview is almost over.

Starting up front, if Willie VandeSteeg can rebound from his wrist injury, he's at least a pretty decent pass rusher. The rest of the line is experienced, but they are experienced at sucking. The best case would be for some of the youngsters to rapidly improve and take over starting spots early in the year.

Deon Hightower and Steve Davis are guys I've at least heard of. They're back and could bring some respectability to the LBs, although I doubt it. Gopher Football Blog guy has a crush on Simoni Lawrence, who could be either a safety or linebacker, and is said to have the "speed of a safety" and the physical tools of a linebacker. Maybe he should just play all the positions.

Brewster went for a major re-tooling of the defensive backfield, which was badly needed considering there wasn't a single player last year who could cover anybody ever. JUCO d-backs Tramaine Brock and Traye Simmons will immediately jump into the lineup, while former WR Marcus Sherels will probably start at a corner. Most of the depth will come from freshmen. Other than Kyle Theret and Ryan Collado, the whole unit will be new. What does this mean? I don't know, but it can't be worse than last year. Unless it is.


LOSS vs. Northern Illinois: Yes, the Huskies were only 2-10 last season, but they were hurt by injuries and have pretty much the whole team back. Watch for HB Justin Anderson to rip through the Gophers on the way to a high scoring win.

LOSS at Bowling Green: Wow, swept out of a home-and-home by a MAC team, huh? Believe it. Remember Tyler Sheehan? Threw for almost 400 yards against the Gophers last year? Yeah, he's back and so are all his receivers.

WIN vs. Montana State: Call me optimistic, but I think the Gophers can handle a I-AA opponent this season. I'm just a homer like that.

WIN vs. Florida Atlantic: Cautiously predicting a win here, based mainly on the revenge factor after losing at FAU last season. Expect this game to be 63-60, and the only two-game win streak of Brewster's short career.

LOSS at Ohio State: This one is going to be ugly.

LOSS vs. Indiana: A young team continues to build off it's success last season and plays even better this year. With four starters back on the O-Line to protect Kellen Lewis he takes another step forward in his Junior season. Pay attention Gopher fans, Lewis is what you want out of Weber.

LOSS @ Illinois: THE JUICE IS LOOSE!!!!11.s

LOSS @ Purdue: Drew Brees, Kyle Orton, Curtis Painter - it doesn't matter. It's a plug-and-play system up there and they pretty much light up the Gophers every time. Painter lost a couple of his weapons, but the receiver position there is pretty much plug-and-play as well.

LOSS vs. Northwestern: Yet another game on the schedule where nobody will bother to play any defense, the Wildcats are always tough for the Gophers to stop and with all their skill players back on offense could put up an 80 spot.

WIN vs. Michigan: I know it's weird to pick a win here, but I think Michigan is going to be way down this season. Of course, down for them is pretty good for anybody else. I think they'll manage to fight their way to a decent season, and the schedule sets up for them to come into the dome on a roll, where they will overlook the Gophers and get beat. Book it.

LOSS @ Wisconsin: Zero percent change of having the possibility of a prayer to even compete.

LOSS vs. Iowa: Did you know everyone in Iowa hates Ferentz now? It's because ever since he got the fat contract they haven't done squat. True Story. Still can beat the Gophers though. Handily.

So there it is. The blueprint to a 3-9 season. I also fully expect Brewster to have a full-on breakdown at some point, which will probably be the most entertainment Gopher fans get this season. Take heart, at least they'll have a high draft pick next year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Playoffs...Round 2.

The first round of the Playoffs is in the books and much to the chagrin of WWWWW Sergio found another way to finish 2nd. This time he was bested by dare I say the hot putter of Vijay Singh? Veej, who ranks 116th in putting this season on tour, finished the week in the top 35 for putts per round and putts per green in regulation; combine that with a top 15 in driving distance and top 10 (6th) in greens in regulation for the week and there you have the winning combination. Garcia did not disappoint nor did he choke anything away he just got beat. Kim (T12) and Casey (T7) did their best to help my picks have some validity but fell just shy.

Well that takes us into the second round, The Deutsche Bank Championship, played in Boston at the TPC of Boston. Boston like it or not is a great sports town as of late and having the playoffs there is awesome, especially when the tour has it end on Labor Day Monday. It is sure to attract a bunch of drunken chowds fresh off the water getting wicked drunk and yelling “you-r-ah da man” or “get-r-ah in da hole-r”. Sidenote: Why the fuck do these homos that live in the New England area pronounce vowels at the end of words that don’t have them and Rs at the end of words that do end in vowels. I mean seriously is it idea or ide-r, water or wata…Tards. Anywho, only 120 players survive into the second round and although that’s probably too many, 15 players this year compared to only 2 from last year transitioned from the top 144 at the start of the week to the top 120. Like I said last week everyone has a shot in the playoffs but the bottom 40 players or so will need to have a good finish this week to continue on, they do have 10 million reasons to care however so I hope we are treated to some major excitement in Bean Town. Sidenote #2: Stat boy Ryan Palmer will need a finish no higher than solo 10th to advance, he has the stats but he may as well book a ticket home and pack light for this trip, I smell a trunk slamming missed cut.

This is the portion of the post where I give you the picks, shitty as they may be, so here we go. It’s odd to think we are a year removed from Phil vs. Tiger in last years Deutsche Bank, Phil was able to fend off Tiger and win then said he was taking the week off and Tiger ending up winning the Cup. That was a real fag move, and there is talk that he may do it again. Well this time I don’t think he will have a win in the playoffs to cushion his position, Phil’s out. Tiger, nope still not playing. Hard to look past a hard charging Euro like Casey or Poulter, who switched his schedule to play back in the states this week to not only try to get in the hunt for the Ryder Cup but to also play in the minimum 15 events required to keep your tour card. That’s right no matter how much cash you win, if you don’t play in enough events (minimum of 15) or win on the PGA Tour you will not be fully exempt. Funny thing is there are a ton of events to play after the Tour Championship where he could fulfill this requirement, they are not by any means the marquee events but odds are that he already knows he is going to be chosen for the Ryder Cup team and Faldo wants him hear early to get acclimated and rested. Could all be hearsay but if its not you heard it here first. Back to the picks, hard to go against Veej or Sergio after last week so I won’t, this time Sergio takes home the trophy, maybe even in a playoff. Rounding out the top five; Veej, Stricker, Kim and Casey.

Ryder Cup Scuttlebutt
Insiders say that either Bubba Watson or JB Holmes is a lock for one of the Captain’s Picks. I think earlier in the year Azinger was shading towards Watson but Holmes is from Kentucky and that backwoods, sister screwing, chaw spittin redneck would like nothing more than to showcase his game, for his country, in his home state. Nod goes to Holmes.

Also rumored on the American side is that Verplank or Stricker may also be a lock, they are basically the same player, typically boring consistent golf and good putting. Nod goes to Stricker, but don’t be surprised if they both make it.

Americans who need a good week: Mahan, Snedeker, Zach Johnson, Sean O’Hair and Trahan.

Euros who need a good week: Casey, Poulter, Pettersson, Chopra, Montgomery and Clarke (both playing in Europe).

Early predictions:
US Picks-Stricker, Holmes, Rocco and Mahan

Euro Picks-This is a little harder as they calculate the 10 players that get in off of their play by using two different ranking lists and since my brain hurts now after trying to figure out who is on the cut line all I know is that Faldo hopes Casey and Poulter play their way in so he can pick Monty and Darren Clarke. If not one or two of those four will be on the outside looking in.

News and Notes
I had to mention this; the LPGA tour passed a rule that all their players must be able to speak conversational English. What this means is that they are tired of having these players (this is directed mostly at the Korean players that have dominated the Tour as of late) use interpreters during Pro-Am events and when they are addressing the media after winning/playing a tournament. I think this is awesome that a tour geared to what some may call a minority (dykes not women) is basically telling their players to speak fucking English or go back to Korea, China, France or wherever people think they don’t have to speak the language of the country that is currently giving them the opportunity to make more money than their third world ancestors could have possibly imagined. Why stop at the LPGA, why not institute this nation wide for everyone who works and lives here. If you can’t pass a conversational English test you get to live in Guam. I don’t give a fuck if you are 7 feet tall and quite possibly the best center in the NBA or some geek off the street, you can’t pass it well then you get to go to Guam and there are no second chances. Well I guess for now all we have is some dykes that will no longer be able to play golf on the LPGA until they can speak it (they are truly threatening suspensions of players), they get two years to conform that is if this doesn’t go to some type of court for a ruling or the ACLU puts on the pressure. This really couldn’t get any better, well Michelle Wie could all of a sudden forget how to speak English and be banished to Guam, but that’s the only way it gets better.

Whoa, lots of good stuff here and you thought Golf was boring, shame on you.


Book Review: Rose on Rose

(This is about a book. If you are unwilling or unable to read books, you will not be interested.)

I finished up Pete Rose's Autobiography, My Prison Without Bars, and boy oh boy is it something. If you hated Pete Rose before, you are really going to hate him now.

The book is 50% whining about how baseball is treating him, 50% bragging about himself, and 50% making excuses. Not just bragging about his baseball "ability", but plenty of other things as well. Among them: cheating on his wife, marrying a 19 year old when he was 49, and, this is my favorite, how he never played golf but could hit a 260 yard drive in the middle of the fairway whenever he wanted to. Not to mention how he was the world's best speaker, world's best entertainer, and would have a million different successful business ideas if ______________ wouldn't have happened. And also his son would have been an all-star in MLB if anybody would have given him a chance, but nobody would because he was a Rose.

He admits to betting on baseball, but spends a whole lot of book time complaining about how he was framed and the proof was fabricated. Although he now admits it. If you think that's confusing, it's pretty much how the whole book went. He cites a couple of quotes from doctors regarding his "thrill-seeking personality" and how he can't help what he does, and has the nerve to compare his problems with Jim Eisenreich's Tourrette's Syndrome (not the funny kind, the bad kind).

The book proves not only that he bet on baseball, but showcases just how much of a scumbag this dude is and was. And lest you think the apple falls far from the Tree, perpetual failure Pete Rose Jr. was not only mentioned in the Radomski affidavit as a steroid user, but he was busted in 2005 for distributing GHB to his teammates.

This was a horrible book that left me feeling scummy and dirty. If anybody wants it, just let me know and I'll send it to you, free of charge.

That being said, the dude still belongs in the Hall. Numbers don't lie, people.

I tried to warn you

So much for MarQueis Gray making an impact for the Gophers. He's pretty good in NCAA 09.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gardy Must Go

I'm sorry, but it's time. Lost in the Twins miracle season thus far has been the idiocy of Gardenhire. Looked past due to a much better than expected season, it's breaking out in full force lately.

Last night, with the Twins leading 2-1 and runners on first and third and nobody out with Nathan pitching, he had the middle infielders play back at double play depth. With a one run lead. And a runner on third. The tying run. Like, if that guy on third scores you don't win the game. I can't find a quote from Gardy on what he was thinking having them play back, apparently he's reached such status that you can't ask those questions, but it is one of two things:

1. He forgot what was going on
2. He was concerned about letting the guy on first get into scoring position.

I'm guessing it was #2, although #1 is certainly possible. Here's the thing - if you can stop them from tying the game, you don't have to worry about them winning. With the Twins bullpen in the state that it is, an extra-inning game is almost certainly going to go the Mariners way, particularly with the two good relievers, Guardado (more on him later) and Nathan already used up. Not to mention the old maxim "Play for the win on the road, the tie at home."

This was a seriously inexcusable mistake in judgement that I would have expected most D-League softball teams to get right.

Need more? How about yanking Kevin Slowey after just 91 pitches on Sunday? He was cruising along into the 8th, and gave up a couple of hits with one out. In trots Dennys Reyes to face Figgins, giving up a groundout and a run. More damaging was the fact that this turned the game over to the bullpen, and sure enough, Jesse Crain came in and blew the game after getting knocked around in the 8th - an inning Slowey very likely could have still pitched. But wait, wasn't it genius to make Figgins turn around and hit righty? No. He's a virtually identical hitter from either side (OPS of .709 vs. .692). The next batter was another switch hitter, Erick Aybar, who is actually better against lefties. Just another small game management mistake to add to the pile. Not as horrible as the previous one, but then again, what could be?

And who can forget the staggering amount of times he gets kicked out of games, usually in embarrassing fashion. Remember the hat kick thing? I've never been so embarrassed to be a Twins fan.

So let's cut him loose already. He has little-to-nothing to do with the team's success this year, which is based mostly on timely hitting (a .313 BA with RISP is extremely fortunate) and the development of the young pitchers, which has a whole hell of a lot more to do with Rick Anderson and the minor league coaches than that idiot.

I'm now too riled up to actually write about Eddie, so I'll just say it's a good move to at least try but don't expect miracles all of a sudden. For more, just read Aaron Gleeman's take. I can't even think about the Twins right now. God I hate that idiot redneck.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Twinkies v. Angels

I'm watching some show right now, and they are talking about some restaurant in Texas whose specialty is Chicken-friend bacon. Dear lord. I mean, you'd probably have a heart attack if you ate it twice in a year, but damn I bet that's tasty. Also, Texas is weird.

Also, guess who I'm friends with on Facebook now? The one. The only. The man, the myth, the legend: Rico Tucker. Sweet, sweet validation. Although his motto or whatever you call it is, "Rico Tucker is GRINDIN until he's tired, cause they say YOU AINT GRINDIN UNTIL YOU TIRED! Lookin to find a way thru the day, a Light for the night!". I don't really get it, but I'm old and white. And pretty much a square.

Anywhere, here we go, Twins/Angels. Yes, there's beer involved.

- I refuse to believe a guy named Joe Saunders can be a legit Cy Young candidate. Why not just give it to Pete Smith. Hey, Alexi is back. That's good news. The less Punto the better. Despite what I wrote that one other time. I'd link it, but I don't want to do all your work for you.

- Did I ever tell you about how my family won a trip to Texas to watch a four-game Twins series against the Rangers in 1987? And to make it even better for my 10-year old self, the Twins were on the same flight to Texas that we were. So we ran around with our baseball cards getting them signed. Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, and Tom Brunansky were all cool. Bert Blyleven has absolutely the nicest guy in the history of ever, taking time out of his day to help us out once we got to the Dallas Airport. Jeff Reardon was a total dick, and when he got arrested for bank robbery I was ecstatically happy. Way to go asshole! Maybe if you weren't suck a dick to two little kids who worshipped you, Karma wouldn't have made you a crazy retard who robs banks. Or you could have gotten away with it.

- Lexi is a really stupid name for a boy or a girl.

- Three freaking fantasy drafts this coming week. God I'm such a loser.

- I asked Mrs. W how she thought you'd pronounce Chone Figgins first name, and I got, "Chone? Cone? Hone? Onee? Idiotface?" I think it's safe to say if nobody can figure out how to pronounce your first name you should probably do something about that. Like, change it to Shawn. Or Shawon. Or Sean. Whatever. Fix it, jerk.

- Remember Domanick Davis?

- Do you ever wonder if guys like Vlad Guerrero or Kirby Puckett would be better if they had any semblance of an idea of the strike zone? I mean, on the one hand, if they were more disciplined it would cut down on their aggressiveness. Bu ton the other hand, that's a stupid argument and anyone making it should probably watch the olympics instead of baseball. Of COURSE they'd be better if they stopped swinging at pitches that were outside the strike zone. It's common sense, idiot.

- I love Ruiz hitting fifth here, since he's in for Kubel. Gardy is so predictable. Can't mess up the rest of the lineup. La la la. Oh crap, Punto is in anyway? And he's hitting seventh now? WTF? How horrible are you if you're Gomez and Everett? I almost miss Augie Ojeda.

- Dick just said, "It's so nice to see Gomez going the other way." Is that some kind of gay crack?

- Ha. Gay crack.

- Does anybody else think it's possible that Carlos Gomez is kind of retarded? It's like he gets out there and runs around like he's a little special. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but I think he should consider seeing a doctor. Just to be safe.

- Another Delmon Young homerun. Is he coming on? Is this what we've been waiting for? He just drove the crap out of that ball deep to right-center and gave it a Manny Ramirez like homerun stare. How awesome would it be if he finds his power stroke finally? Especially with how good Matt Garza has been (10-7, 3.71 ERA, 1.23 WHIP - 2 shutouts).

- Ok, Span is dumb too. At least he can hit. An OBP over .400 and OPS+ of 133 over 233 plate appearances mean I don't think it's a fluke. His linedrive % of 26% is off the charts good, and will probably regress - I mean it pretty much has to - but it shows the dude can hit. He's second on the team behind just Brian Buscher, who is at an incredible 30% (that would be first in all of MLB if he had enough at bats).

- You know who's hot? A.J. Cook. See, look:

- Remember Garrett Anderson? He was really good before roids became illegal. He's no Garrett Atkins. or Garrett Stephenson. Hey, did you see Alex Stepheson, formerly of North Carolina, is transferring to USC? He was ranked #41 as an incoming freshman, so it's a pretty good get for the Trojans. He's petitioning to be eligible this year - and might get it due to his dad's illness. If he does, he and Demar Derozan will form quite the frontcourt. Reminiscent of the Coleman/Tollackson frontcourts of the mid 00s.

- FYI - the US lost to Cuba in the semi-finals of the Olympic tournament, meaning they can win at best the bronze if they can knock of Japan in the third place game - which happens to be going on right now. If you want to read some really stupid stuff, just poke around and people having a fit about the loss and saying that MLB should have found a way to send the best players to the Olympics. There's no way MLB would even be ok with this anyway, and there's no way they're okaying a two week suspension of play during the olympics - nor should they. The World Baseball Classic doesn't even get the best players. And the whole thing is irrelevant anyway because this is the last Olympics where baseball will be a sport - for now. So shutup Keith Law.

- Brendan Donnelly doesn't pitch for Anaheim anymore but I know for a fact he once got grabs from banging some minor league groupie on a balcony of a team house. Word.

- Span homerun to make it 8-0. That should do it, even with this shitbox bullpen. I'm calling it a night. If I wake up tomorrow and the Twins' lost, I'm going to hunt you down.

Ping my Pong

Olympic Table Tennis is hilarious. If you can find it on, watch it.

And how is that an Olympic sport anyway? Some of this stuff is ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Everyone has a shot in the Playoffs!

That’s right its Playoff time! This week will start the 4 week run of playoff tournaments that will culminate at the season ending PGA Tour Championship in Georgia, where someone who isn’t Tiger Woods will hoist the trophy and cash in on the 10 million dollar first prize. Well I guess I should say 4 event run as the 3rd playoff event will be held three weeks prior to the Tour Championship to accommodate the Ryder Cup matches. But before we look at this week’s Barclays lets step back for a recap of the Wyndham brought to you by Arm and Hammer.

Hometown boy, well not really he is Swedish but he went to college and lives in NC, Carl Pettersson takes advantage of a weak field and wins his third PGA Tour event. Just as I predicted Pettersson would win with ease, oh I didn’t, well I meant to. Anyway, the real big movers came in the way of a trio of golfers throwing up some seriously low numbers to move themselves into the playoffs by getting inside the top 144 in points for the cup. Rich “I’ll have a Beem and soda”, JJ Henry and Martin Laird shot 63-62-63, respectively, on the last day to vault them into the first round of the playoffs. That means they will be in the field for a chance to win the 1.26M first place prize and keep their hopes alive to hoist that trophy at the end of the year.

The Barclays is the first event to start the playoff season for the tour and after last week’s shabby field, all the top players will be competing. This is a tough tournament to predict the outcome of, the field is strong, the purse is high and there will be many just jockeying for position to get into next weeks event when the field gets narrowed from 144 to 120 (based on the ever changing Fed Ex point structure). Throw in that this is a new venue for the players and really this week is a crap shoot. Well I can always count on Tig…shit, well Phil never seems to dissapoi…shit, Vijay is putting pretty wel…shit. Well alright I have no idea how to pare it down but here goes. Pettersson won’t win because he is fat, Swedish and possibly a gay. Kenny Perry I believe is still blind, he’s out. Sergio could surprise but don’t count on it. My gut says the winner will come from people who are trying to catch the eye of the respective Ryder Cup Captains or a totally random player that I couldn’t see winning the event even if he was the only person in the field.

Since Americans are known for only caring about money I will focus on the Euros vying for a spot on the Ryder Cup team, Paul Casey is starting to come around, T-26 last week and top 20 stats in driving accuracy, distance and greens in reg. Poulter needs to step up and win in America look for him to be there on the weekend. Freddy Jacobson another Swede, not portly like Pettersson but also a possible homersexual, could do well on this track as he makes the push for the Ryder Cup squad. As for Americans I can see caring and have a chance, Justin Leonard usually plays well on classic style courses, this is one, so he might. JB Holmes can play, he proved it for three rounds at the PGA he then was seen after the last round throwing his poop stained pants away behind the clubhouse but he could contend. Ben Curtis is also looking to follow up his recent stint of good play and I see him as a lock for no worse that T-20 this week. As for the winner, I gotta go with my horse Anthony Kim, but its close I think Paul Casey will be there, Kim is rock solid and cares about winning. GO ANTHONY GO, seriously I need a brake here, just win damn you.

There you have it, most likely we are looking at a decent look back and preview going forward sprinkled with absolutely shitty picks in the middle, great…


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Possible Gopher NC Schedule

The Daily Gopher has a possible Gopher schedule, which they got from who heard from this guy who knows this kid who saw Ferris pass out at 31 flavors last night. But seriously, it hasn't been officially announced, so who knows how accurate this is, but it's pretty blah. Again.

Vs. Louisville (Neutral):
This is good. This is the marquee game on the schedule, and it's not close. The Ville is going to be loaded - again - and replace their biggest loss of David Padgett with blue chip center Samardo Samuels. The Cards will be a favorite in the Big East, and the Gophers will be lucky to hang with them. This game will go a long way towards telling fans where the Gophers stand early.

vs. Virginia: ACC/Big Ten challenge game, which the Big Ten is poised to lose for the 25th year in a row. Virginia is not an inspiring opponent, and the Gophers have a lot more lose by losing than to gain by winning. They lost their only good player to graduation in Sean Singletary and their center was just kicked off the team. They have a little bit of a talent and some decent freshmen coming in, but if the Gophers want to be serious about being an improved team, they need to take the Cavs down at home.

vs. NDSU: Yes, it's cute that they almost beat the Gophers two years ago and won in football, but last year they got stomped and should again this year. Ben Woodside and his boyfriend Brett Winkelman are both back to annoy us for another year, but the talent levels are so disparate it shouldn't be close.

vs. Cornell: This should be a fun game. Cornell won the Ivy last season before running into the Sasquatch Twins and Stanford in the tournament. They return most of their firepower, including their top six scorers and the #2 and #3 returning scorers in the Ivy. Can Colt Iverson and Ralph Sampson Trey emulate the success of the Lopezes against Cornell? No.

@ Colorado State: They were decent a few years ago when they had like three white guys over 7-feet tall, but now they are just a crap factory. They were 0-16 in the MWC last season, and follow that up with one of the worst recruiting classes in the nation coming in. The good news is they have 17 ppg scoring guard Marcus Walker back. The bad news is he shot less than 30% from three and just 44% from the field. Hey, it's Lawrence McKenzie!

vs. South Dakota State:
Joke. The new Bethune-Cookman.

vs. Southern Miss: Doesn't Larry Eustachy coach here? U of M students, hide your women! Actually, the Golden Eagles have their top seven scorers back this year, and could potentially be slightly better than crappy.

vs. High Point: Joke. Well, they were third in the Big South last year, but on the other hand, it's the Big South. They also lost their best player from last season.

Tournament (w/ Bowling Green, Georgia State, and TBD):
Hey hey! A tournament the Gophers can win! That's fun! I'm guessing TBD turns into like, Radford or something. Go Team! Fight! Win!

If that's the official schedule, and let's say it is for fun, there's no reason they shouldn't come into the Big Ten Season with only 1 loss. Anything more than 2 would be a big ole signal that us fans are once again in for a frustrating season that leads to depressed binge drinking, beaten wives, and suicidal thoughts.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Don't Go Back in the Water. Again. For the Fourth time.

So I'm still drinking and the wife is still drinking and the baby is sleeping and somehow we're watching Jaws 4, which is, without question, the worst movie of all-time.

Now, I've mentioned both Jumper and Rudy as being possibly the worst movie ever, but that was just schtick. I mean, they're both top ten worst movies ever, but they aren't on the level of this piece of dirty dog poop.

Jaws is a classic. Possibly a top 5 movie of all-time, that still resonates. It invented the concept of the summer blockbuster. It influenced an entire population's behavior (ocean swimming) and still does today. Shark Week on Discovery probaby doesn't exist without this movie. It's a time tested kick ass movie that I can watch any time it's on, much to Mrs. W's chagrin.

Jaws 2 was a solid follow-up. Same basic cast, or at least same hero, and a decent, realisticish story. Well done. It's not Empire Strikes Back or Godfather 2, but it's a very good sequel, and another movie I can pretty much watch anytime it's on.

Jaws 3 took a bit of a bad turn, but solid casting from Lea Thompson, Dennis Quaid, and Lou Gossett, Jr. really helped. It takes a bit of a turn, changing the shark from a straight up realistic great white into a megaladon sized fantastical beast, and the story is a bit weak, but it's ok.

Then here comes this abortion of a film. Brought to you, live blog style. Whatup.

- Starts off ok. Same music as the rest, which is a clear shame and probably gives John Williams nightmares if he's even still alive. We get the same Mrs. Brody as always. Mr. Brody is dead, naturally Roy Schneider wouldn't deign to appear in this crapfest. And we get a nice ode to the pageant scene from part 2 with some Christmas Carols and pretty much the same cinematography style. If I didn't already know better, I'd think this looked good so far.

- So then, suddenly, Shark bites Shawn Brody (the youngest son)'s arm off. Randomly. Because he's trying to pull something off a buoy, even though there's no real reason why a shark would attack here. Oh, except Revenge. Because this whole movie is based on the entirely realistic premise that a shark would be out for revenge because some members of it's shark family were killed by Brodys. You know how Great Whites always hold a grudge. Even though they, you know, eat their own young and everything. Oh, and Shawn's dead now. Or maybe it's Sean.

- Now the dude from The Last Starfighter shows up, and apparently he's now Mike, who used to be played by Dennis Quaid who was too busy filming the Big Easy. Good move. That guy from the Last Starfighter should be ashamed.

- Turns out this was picked as one of the four worst sequels of all-time, along with the Phantom Menace (technically a prequel), Speed II, and Batman & Robin. This is pretty much by far the worst.

- Oh, and I forgot to mention that when that dude got his arm bit off, there was no blood. And his reaction was like, "Oh snap. There goes my arm. This is broke. Oh, and halp and what not." And then the Shark jumped up and grabbed him off the boat to eat him further. For Revenge.

- Mrs. Brody is all sad because sharks ruined her life. And that's pretty much the only thing that makes sense in this whole movie.

- Jesus Christ these St. Jude commercials are brutal. Just take my money already. HOLY CRAP it's Michael Caine. Wow, what a huge mistake. Also he is NOT the dude from Cocktail. That's some other guy who is like, Michael Caine light.

- Mrs. W just tried to take my beer when there was still at least 2 ounces in there. Looks like somebody is due for a tumble down the stairs. WATCH OUT FOR THAT DOOR KNOB!

- I have no idea how to play beer pong with actual paddles.

- Michael Phelps is the Babe Ruth of the Olympics. Alain Bernard is Home Run Baker.

- It's been hours I swear and no shark. Just Mario Van Peebles in dreadlocks with a bad accent.

- Ok, so I don't actually have a facebook thing because I don't understand it really because I'm old and also not gay (usually), but I have an account on there to screw around and I somehow found a group called "Spencer Tollackson Sucks Chode on a Daily Basis" and of course, I joined. it's funny.

- Van Peebles has a brutal Jamaican accent in this crapfest. So thick and bad you can't understand a damn word he is saying. Although, I guess that makes it pretty realistic. Nevermind. Bravo, Van Peebles! Viva la Jamaica! Usain Bolt! Reefer! Rasta!

- Ooh, Shark sighting. It attacked Michael Brody's boat. Just started eating the side of the boat while he was watching. And somehow there was suddenly blood in the water, so like, the boat bled or something. And the mom was at a carnival with Michael Caine, and suddenly stopped like that psychic in the Dead Zone because somehow she just knew her son's boat was being attacked. Nevermind that there was no reason a shark would attack that boat or even be around it. No chumming, no bait, not even fishing at all - no reason whatsoever the shark would attack. Oh, right. Revenge. I forgot. How silly of me.

- Uh oh. It's naughty time.

- Now they're playing craps. Man I miss Vegas. And I'll never get to go ever again. Stupid baby. I'll have to shoot for Turtle Lake at some point I guess. Sad.

- Michael Caine just kissed Mrs. Brody. Chief would be pissed. The son and Van Peebles are chumming now. They also have two anonymous black crew members on the boat. Gee, I wonder who will die first. Poor guys. Not only are they black, but they didn't even bother giving them names. They never had a chance.

- Nice homage to the original here, with Mike's daughter copying everything he does while they're sitting at the table, just like he did to the chief in the original. That was actually well done. Too bad the rest of this movie is dog piss.

- You know what the opposite of this movie is? Just Friends. That's hilarious. Not as funny as this commercial for ShamWow that just came on, but pretty hilarious.

- Oh noes! The shark is attacking Alex Rogan in his little underwater personal submarine thing! Death Blossom! Death Blossom! Whew, he escaped. Grig will be so relieved, but guess what? The shark roared. That's right, it roared. Like a lion. Underwater. For revenge.

- No, seriously, it roared.

- Oh oh, Alex Rogan's daughter is getting on one of those banana boat things being pulled by a speedboat. What do you want to bet it gets attacked by RevengeShark?

- Ha! Told ya.

- As Mrs. Brody tries to sacrifice herself to the shark god tokatikimechalachahiney-ho, I'm reminded once again how eye blisteringly awful these special effects are in this movie. The shark looks like a miniature toy they filmed up close, and for some reason is constantly leaving the water. Hey, where do most shark attacks take place? In mid-air, according to this movie.

- The Shark just ate a plane. Seriously. I mean, Michael Caine was in it or whatever, but still. It ate the plane. For revenge.

- Uh oh, now it ate Mario Van Rastaman. Guess how? It jumped in the air and roared and grabbed him off the boat. I know that the documentary Air Jaws showed that great whites will propel themselves out of water to hit seals on top of the water, but come on. Everybody this shark kills it flies out of the water to get. Oh, and I guess Michael Caine is still alive. I don't know what's going on anymore.

- So apparently there's some new technology now where if you let off a strobe light in the ocean, if there's a hellbent on revenge great white shark out there it will raise up in the ocean and expose it's soft, vulnerable underbelly. And roar. It roars too.

- Here's how this movie ends: after doing that strobe thing causing the shark to roar over and over again, they ram it in the soft underbelly with the front of the boat upon which is some sort of spear pointy thing. But get this, when they ram the shark in it's soft underbelly it explodes. IT EXPLODES! Like a freaking car crash. Like must have been one gassy-ass shark. I guess rastafarians are like chili.

- Speaking of car crashes, if you are in a car crash that causes multiple lanes to close on a major freeway between 7-9am on a weekday you should be arrested. I'm not even close to kidding.

- And speaking of rastafarians, Mario Van Peebles apparently didn't die even though the shark flew through the air like Peter Pan to grab him and almost sawed him in half. That means none of the main characters died. The total body count in this movie I think was 2. The brother at the beginning and the broad on the banana boat. Two. Two people died, none of them main characters. The shark roared. They made up weird technology that doesn't make sense. The shark exploded when impaled. Mrs. Brody quite severely overacted. This movie was more pathetic than my life.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Recap of a Preview

It's that time of year, when ESPN rolls out their ShootArounds, half-assed mini-previews in the dog days of Summer to whet your appetite for the basketball season, and they hit the Big Ten earlier this week.

For full preview, see here, but here's a kind of recap of what they said about each team, along with my spin on it a bit. They don't say much here, so I guess I'll have to. And I'm more interesting. And smarter.

Also I'm drinking.

1. Purdue: The Baby Boilers have matured into full-blown stars....

Let's not get crazy quite yet with the "star" label, but E'Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummell are well are their way after just one season. Fourth leading scorer and third leading rebounder Scott Martin has transferred out to Notre Dame, but plenty of fire power remains for the Boilers, with all five starters back and a nice recruiting class, highlighted by point guard Lewis Jackson, joining in. The Boilers are currently touring Australia, where they are 2-2 against Australian Pro Teams (no word on if they've faced Dusty or Rickert) and have already seen a 35 point outburst by E'Twaun.

Still, the Boilers have a weakness in the height and rebounding department, and they didn't address it in recruiting with all three incoming freshmen guards. Losing the 6-8 Martin isn't going to help, but if JaJuan Johnson can take a big step forward, they'll be just fine. Hell, they'll be fine anyway in this crapass crapfest of a conference.

2. Michigan State: Drew Neitzel's leadership will be missed, but the Spartans return loads of talent and will push Purdue for the league title.

That they do my friends, that they do. Kalin Lucas can step right in for Neitzel and I don't think they'll miss a beat. Raymar Morgan with another year under his belt, along with sophomores Chris Allen and Durrell Summers and yet another sick recruiting class for Izzo mean the Spartans are fully loaded for a run at the Big Ten Title. Again. It's predictable. The only surprising thing about that whole thing was there was no slobbering all over Izzo, pretty much an ESPN trademark at this point.

3. Wisconsin: The personnel rarely matters for Bo Ryan, who always finds a way to win...

I'd love to argue with this since I hate these queers, but it's pretty much a yearly tradition at this point. Although of all years lately, this is a year where they look pretty good, losing only Brian Butch of consequence from last year's team. Trevon Hughes is a dick, but he's back to destroy the Gophers once again, and Marcus Landry is going to torture Gopher fans again for his seventh senior year (Wade Lookingbill syndrome). A good recruiting class highlighted by Minnesota boys Jordan Taylor and Jared Berggren mean the Badgers will be in the mix, and boring, yet again.

4. Ohio State: Another year, another star freshman center.

Well this is pretty much a shot in the dark, but with so much uncertainty in the Crap Ten who knows? The loss of Kosta Koufos, Jamar Butler, and Othello Hunter mean the Suckeyes will be without their top three scorers from last season, but probably have enough to challenge for the top spot. Returnee David Lighty is sick good, but hasn't gotten an opportunity to show it - that should change this season. Evan Turner and Jon Diebler, assuming he relearns how to shoot, make up a solid wing attack. Add to that the best recruiting class in the conference, including yet another blue chip seven footer in BJ Mullens, and whoopity doo da, the cheaters from Columbus will be back in the dance to flame out once again. They'll likely be starting a freshman at the point, hopefully Anthony Crater isn't the next Mike Conley.

5. Minnesota: The Golden Gophers could be the chic pick to be the league's surprise team in Tubby Smith's second season....and Minnesota is a year a way from dancing.

Some very good praise for Minnesota, rightly so focusing on the excellent class Tubby brought in. Obviously it's always dangerous to rate a team highly based on unproven talent, but even so the Gophers should be light years ahead of the bottom six this coming season. I'll get into some deeper thoughts on the Gophers' future once we get a bit closer to the season, but this is pretty much where I would project them, with more upside than downside from here.

6. Illinois: There's hope for a struggling offense with the arrival of Kentucky transfer Alex Legion.....the Illini's backcourt should be strong....Questions abound up front

Remember last year, when I picked the Illini to finish third in the Big Ten, citing their "balance." Well, they were balanced alright, but balance with a pot full of craptacularless, and there's really no reason that should change, seeing as they lost both Brian Randle and Shaun Pruitt, they have NOTHING up front. At all. Like, Spencer Tollackson would be their best front court player by far. Unless freshman Stan Simpson is all-world Michael Beasley style, they Illini have zero chance. The aforementioned Legion could be good, and sophomore and worst name ever guy Demetri McCamey is capable, but this team is a joke. Dead last in a real conference.

7. Michigan: The Wolverines have a budding star in Manny Harris, the Big Ten's leading returning scorer (16.1 ppg). But besides Harris, who will step up?

I actually think DeShawn Sims is the guy who is most ready to take that next step, but who the hell knows? He plays for Michigan, so despite having a ton of talent he's likely a slacker whiner drug addled drunk who spends more time smoking the ganja and chasing tail than working on his jumpshot.

Other than Sims (and Harris of course) there are some talented guards here, but Michigan is just a mess. All the time. Even though Beilein finally got his nancy seven foot three point shooter in Ben Cronin (at least I think this is the guy who is Pittsnoggle Jr. I don't remember 100%, but I know Beilein was going after a slow, unathletic, seven foot whitey who could shoot the three ball. (note: this is Bogart's favorite kind of player. He LOVED Rickert.)

8. Northwestern: Northwestern has high hopes after landing the best recruiting class in program history.

Well that's just sad, considering the Wildcats' class is ranked just 8th in the Big Ten, but hey, like Bob Wiley said, "Baby Steppin'" I do think they could be a bit pesky this year. I was really impressed by Michael Thompson last season, and I think he has a shot to be a real difference maker at the point for them, and having the overrated Kevin Coble for a full season will help. The queerbait Craig Moore is back again to be annoying and chuck threes like that guy at the Y, and the aforementioned recruiting class gives them some size, and if these guys can play, the Wildcats will be less Mild and more Mediocre. Mediocrecats. I don't know. Shutup.

9. Iowa: Talent-wise there is no logical reason Iowa should be ninth and not 10th.....Somehow, Iowa will be respectable.

ESPN and I clearly have different definitions of respectable. I mean, I guess with their glacial pace and focus on defense they won't get blown out by 20 all that often, but it's not like they're going to win much. They won only 13 games last year, and Tony Freeman transferred to So Ill, and Justin Johnson graduated along with Seth Gorney and Kurt Looby. And Jerryd Cole had ACL surgery. The decent recruiting class - including Minnesota boys Anthony Tucker and Andrew Brommer - better be ready to play immediately, or you're looking at a team that the Hoosiers would have a chance to sweep.

Of course, I predict a Gopher loss at Iowa City.

10. Penn State: Jamelle Cornley is undersized, and Penn State is undermanned.

Well there you go, sums it up pretty well. Seriously, why even let Penn State in the Big Ten? I mean, I get it. It was for football. Fine. But what a joke of a team. And I'm aware that the Crispin Glover brothers were able to propel them to an NCAA tournament, possibly two, and that's more than Northwestern has ever had, but at least NW has been in the conference since the beginning or so. Penn State is worthless. Last year's Gopher squad beat them in their own place, that should pretty much tell you all you need to know.

And guess where their 2008 recruiting class ranks? 11th. In the conference. Shouldn't they fall into someone ass backwards at some point? The Gophers lucked into Vincent Grier. Baylor got Aaron "Not Jay" Bruce. Oregon State got Corey "Sweet Money" Benjamin. When the best player in your history is Geary Claxton you should probably just disband. Or go D-2. Ok, D-3.

11. Indiana: Kelvin Sampson's scorched earth will take a year to clear out and make Indiana respectable. It'll take two years to make the Hoosiers competitive.

Two years? Yikes, it'll take longer than that. Tom Crean must enjoy punishment even more than Maggie Gyllenhall in Secretary to take this job. He managed to snag a few decent late recruits after everyone else bolted, and between Verdell Jones and Nick Williams they'll have a halfway decent freshman backcourt, but I'd be shocked if they managed to win even four Big Ten games this year, and it's a down year.

In closing, I'd just like to say that although Vodka & Cranberry may sound and look like a girly drink, when mixed properly it packs quite a kick, and the Cranberry and Vodka flavors compliment each other nicely without being too sweet.

The Mariners keep giving

Great return to the Dome for Silva tonight: 3.1 IP, 9 H, 9 ER, 0 k, 1 BB

I actually feel a little bad for Chief, it isn't his fault the Mariner's front office thought it was a good idea to put a ground ball pitcher in front of one of the worst defenses in the league.

Liriano has cruised through 7, giving up only 2 unearned runs, even though he's still struggling with his control.  Since he's at/near 100 pitches, I assume he's done for the night.

My favorite Mariners-related news from the night has to be Jarrod Washburn's reaction to the Seattle front office declining the Washburn-for-Bonser swap, according to a Seattle Times report:

If that was the case, how much more do you think you're going to get?  A young guy with a great arm who's cheap.

Heh, good thing Washburn's not running the team or else the Twins would have a new, way-too-expensive, crappy starter.

Unrelated to the Twins...Michael Phelps is ridiculous.

The Mariners are teh stoopid

My initial reaction to the Twins claiming Jarrod Washburn off waivers, after WTF?, was that it had to be a defensive move to keep him away from the White Sox, who are desperate for pitching after Contreras’ Achilles heel asploded.

But that’s not the case, the Twins were apparently dead serious about getting Washburn and his $13mm salary through next season, offering up Boof Bonser on top of the 100% salary relief from the Mariners. Why the hell would they do that? The only thing dumber than offering that deal is to turn it down…thankfully, the Mariners are staking their claim to the worst-run team in all of sports. Don’t believe me? Here’s the USS Mariner reaction to the non-deal:

These people don’t deserve success. They deserve to be looking for new jobs.

Fire them all.

Of course the Twins homers on KFAN think Washburn will turn into Scott Kazmir since he’ll be pitching close to Wisconsin or that he can turn into a shut down 8th inning guy. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Washburn would be anything better than a white, thinner, left-handed version of Livan Hernandez.

Washburn is a flyball pitcher (sub-37% GB rate) who doesn’t strike guys out (5 K/9), has more control problems than anyone else in the Twins rotation (over 2.5 BB/9 each of the last four seasons), has a 1.45 WHIP, and pitches in an extremely pitcher-friendly home park. As a LHP his HR rate (just over 1 per game) would probably increase by 25% without the expansive Safeco left field*. For the record, both Boof’s and Livan’s peripherals are superior to Washburn’s.

*(Slowey has better stuff, strikes 34% more batters, but has similar FB tendencies and serves up 1.27 HR/game)

Before considering Washburn’s $10mm contract for 2009, this deal is stupid. But it is sheer lunacy for a small-budget team with this young, cheap pitching depth to consider bringing in a slug like Washburn. Attempted moves like this, or going after Alan Embree instead of Chad Bradford or LaTroy Hawkins, do not make me feel great about the current decision-making process in the Twins front office.

There is one positive though, the team appears to be serious about improving the roster and are willing to spend money to do it. They just need to be smart about it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Baseball Olympia

I know, I know, you're sick of hearing about Olympic Baseball, just bear with me for one post and it'll all be over.

Actually, I think it's a little weird that there is essentially no coverage for the Olympic baseball tournament. I suppose since it's going on during the MLB season and there are no major league players involved there isn't that much interest, but I heard Terry Tiffee is on the team so I thought I'd check it out a bit.

The most interesting thing about the USA roster is that Twins AAA pitching prospect Brian Duensing is on the team. Duensing was ranked the #10 prospect in the Twins system going into the season and had just an ok year at Rochester this season. The lefty compiled a 4.32 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP over 131 innings in 23 starts, striking out just 76. He's 25, and has moved fairly slowly through the system. He'll need to take a big step forward in the next couple of seasons to break through, but for now, he's an olympian and you're not.

He pitched well in relief in his only Olympic appearance thus far (USA is 1-1 right now), pitching to four batters and getting them all out, striking out two against the dirty Koreans.

A couple other interesting guys on the US team are Terry Tiffee (former Twin), Matt LaPorta (just traded in the Sabathia trade), and Taylor Teagarden (good catching prospect who was up for the Rangers for a bit and homered off Scott Baker). Thus far, Tiffee is 4-8 in two games, LaPorta is 1-8 with a homerun, and Teagarden is 1-3 in just one game.

Other names you might recognize include Canada's Rheal Cormier and Chris Reitsma, and Taipei's Tsao Chin-Hui and that's about it - and there's really no good reason to remember any of those guys listed above anyway unless you're a real nerd. So, in other words I guess, it's kind of a snooze fest. But USA takes on Cuba tonight at 10:30pm central, so be a real American hero and take a watch. [EDIT: Ok, I guess it's at 10:30 am tomorrow. And also I don't know if it's on TV. So just nevermind.]

In case you're curious, and I was, there are 8 nations involved (USA, South Korea, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Japan, and the Netherlands) who each play each other once, with the top four teams advancing into a four team, single elimination tournament. Also of interest, this is the last year baseball (and softball) will be an Olympic sport. RIP.

More Gopher Recruiting News

Seems we are in a hotbed of recruiting activity this time of year, which is news to me but whatever. A few quick notes on some goings-on:

The dude I'm most excited to see next year, Devoe Joseph, is seemingly having a wee bit o' trouble getting eligible for next season. According to, he's still awaiting word from the NCAA Clearinghouse for next season, and being from Canada sometimes makes the process a bit more difficult - which may be why his brother transferred to a prep school in Nevada for his final two high school seasons.

No clue just how serious this is, and his coach Ro Russell, thinks he will be cleared in a day or two, so that's good. Of course, I've heard coaches describe players like JR Rider as "misunderstood" so you can't really trust anything coaches say. Iowa signed a couple of Canadian a few years ago but neither was able to qualify.

Probably nothing, but still worth keeping an eye on. To cheer you up, here's a video of Devoe hitting a jump shot at the buzzer to win a game for his high school. It's old, from March, but I haven't seen it yet and if you haven't seen it it's new to you:


In 2009 news, offeree Sam Dower took an unofficial visit to Minnesota yesterday for about three and a half hours. According to his head coach at Osseo, he really enjoyed his visit and had a nice conversation with the coaches - pretty much what every recruit says about every visit ever. He also said that it being his hometown school definitely gives the Gophers an advantage.

I have to say I'm a bit skeptical about Dower. A commenter a few posts below here has watched him and has no come away impressed. I know it's weird to trust a random anonymous commenter over people who scout for a living, but I guess that's how often scouts have been wrong. I'm pretty sure they're idiots. And some of the facts back our commenter up. His scholarship offers haven't exactly come from high end schools here: Iowa, California, Penn State, St. Louis, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Gonzaga, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, George Mason, Montana, Marquette, Illinois State, Santa Clara and Drake. The Gophers, with the exception of Gonzaga, are probably the highest profile school in that mix. Makes me nervous. Very Monson-y.

On the other hand, he's left-handed. So we'll have to see.

[EDIT: Looks like the GopherHole snagged an interview with Sam after his visit. Nothing too earth shattering here, but if you're interested take a look.]

Finally, looking to 2010 the Gophers made an offer to Kentucky shooting guard Aaron "hey hey hey" Cosby. Cosby had originally committed to UMass, but re-opened his recruitment when coach Travis Ford moved on to Oklahoma State. He's one of the top recruits in Kentucky for 2010, but currently only has offers from the Gophers, Western Kentucky, Miami (OH), and Oklahoma State, but with teams like Louisville and Purdue sniffing around, things are sure to heat up in a hurry.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Not the year for Sergio.

Ok, so I am pressed for time this week and reeling from another winning pick that screwed me. I have a couple things about last weeks PGA Championship. First, Sergio did not choke, Harrington won. Yes Garcia did hit it in the water on 16 but that was arguably his only bad shot of the day, Harrington putted lights out and when that happens there is really nothing the other guys can do but try to play as good, it didn’t happen and this will not be the year of the Sergio. Second, everyone talking about this isn’t as great of a win because Tiger isn’t there is a moron, quit being apologists for the guy, there is no asterisk and Harrington should be given all the credit for the win Tiger or no Tiger. Lastly, in the ever going search for the next challenger for Tiger who would have thought it would be Harrington but that is just what he is, when Tiger returns I hope we can see them dual it out that will be fun to watch.

This week many of the tour's elite will take the week off as they near the Fed Ex playoffs, but you will still see some good action as many players try to jockey their way in to the playoff race. Like I said before this post is going to lack a little luster due to my time crunch but the winner will be one of these four players:

Kevin Stadler
Brandt Snedeker
Zack Johnson

But don’t be surprised if these guys make a run:
David Toms
Paul Casey
David Duval
Ryan Palmer--Stat Boy

OK, so the winner will come from these eight players, I promise better content and more of it next week.
Green this week for the Irishman pictured above!

EL CHUPACABRA LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111ljjjlajla!

And also I think the deputy here is played by Billy Bob.

This Must Stop

I'm sitting here watching the Red Sox/Rangers on ESPN because I refuse to watch Men's Synchronized Diving (not when the Chinese team dominates so handily, I mean really) and Josh Hamilton comes up and of course, the announcers launch in once again to the Legend of Josh Hamilton. Then the whole Home Run Derby thing comes up, and one of the guys says, "Do you think anybody will even remember that he didn't win five years from now?" And the other guy, who I wish I knew who he was says, "You know, I think by losing he really won."


Also I just realized my zipper is down.

Two Gopher Blogs are Dead

That's right, both Paging Jim Shikenjanski and Gopher Nation are closing their doors for good.

But fear not, blog fans, they are combining their efforts to form the Gopher Superblog The Daily Gopher. It looks good. It looks fancy. It looks slick. They are writing a lot and are packing each post with tons of quality. It makes me feel really badly about myself.

So head on over and take a look at the beginning of a new era of Gopher blogger. I'm going to be over here in the dark, sifting through my bullets to decide which would work best for a rousing game of Russian Roulette.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gopher Recruiting News

Since I initially started this site with the sole intent of writing about Gopher basketball before tangenting off into several hundred different directions, I figured once in a while I should take a peak at Gopher recruiting. Now seems about right, since there is a lot to discuss.

Darius Smith: I wrote earlier this week about the Gophers offering Smith, a 6-2 point guard from Illinois, and there is a little more information available. He was called "the best defensive player in the state and one of the best leaders" at the Nike Peach Jam and is known as a very solid rebounder, ballhandler, defender, and penetrator who lacks only an outside shot to complete his game. Bradley is after him hard, as well as Marquette and DePaul. The Gophers are late to the party, but their name recognition as well as high profile head coach have got to help, but of course, the Gophers lost that one big goofy guy to DePaul already, so who knows what kind of decisions some of these geniuses are capable of making. Smith sounds a lot like an Al Nolen clone, right down to the academic issues (current gpa of 2.4, ACT score of 16), and as long as he's eligible I'll be very happy with that.

Sam Dower:
Big man from Osseo who picked up an offer from Tubby early last week, Dower is a 6-9, 215 PF/C who averaged 13 points and 7 boards as a junior at Osseo last season and will be expected to take more of a scoring role with several good players graduating after last year. He currently ranks #130 on the Rivals Top 150. Obviously at 215 he needs to put on some weight and gain strength, but he has that big wingspan that allows him to block a lot of shots, and he has a very good game in the paint and from the high post. He recently narrowed his list to five schools: Gonzaga, George Mason, Minnesota, Marquette, and Cal. He's already visited GMU, and is expected to visit Minnesota and Marquette in August and Gonzaga in September. I'm not real excited here, but I suppose he's better than nothing. I think the Gophers have two schollys left for '09, and I'd rather they be used on one of the PGs and Rod Will, but it's nice to see that a consolation prize under Tubby would have been the keystone recruit under Monson. No, I'm not ready to let the Monson hate go just yet.

Johnnie Lacy:
Lacy, the 5-10 PG and Rivals #97 player from Wisconsin who recently reported that the Gophers were in the lead for his services has transferred to Notre Dame Prep School, reportedly with the hopes that it will help him get eligible for his freshman season in 2009. Notre Dame Prep is in Fitchburg, MA and is kind of a basketball powerhouse. They have three players on the Rivals150 for 2008: Terrence Jennings (#19), Kim English (#112), and Melquan Boldin (#147) but for 2009 Lacy will be the only one on the list there. He should get some high quality coaching as well as being assured they will do whatever they have to in order to get him eligible. The Gophers may have cooled on Lacy a bit lately, with the offer going out to Darius Smith as well as some sudden interest in another guard I'll mention next, Eric Bledsoe.

Eric Bledsoe: No relation to Drew, I'm assuming because he's black, Bledsoe is a four-star, 6 foot PG out of Alabama who ranks #73 overall on Rivals list. His scouting reports from all around give me kind of a semi, because he's basically a true pass-first point guard which I love unless it's that homo Jacque Vaughn. Scout says he lacks a perimeter shot, but ESPN says he can shoot it from deep, so who the hell knows, but they both say he has the instincts for the position and is a lightning quick creator and that is all that matters. Speaking of Creators, there is also a christian rock singer named Erik Bledsoe, and I really hope they don't recruit him instead. But again, that was probably more of a concern with Monson in charge. Bledsoe says the hometown UAB Blazers are leading for his services, and the only school to have offered a scholarship so far, but Alabama, South Carolina, Indiana, and the Gophers are also in the mix, as well as the Lord Jesus Christ.

Cory Joseph: Another PG the Gophers are looking at, this time for 2010, is the younger brother of future Gopher Devoe Joseph and could give them a Joseph to Joseph combo at the guard position, although some services describe him as more of an off guard who could play point in a pinch, much like big brother. ESPN describes him as having one of the best pure jumpshots in the class of 2010, and says he will end up being better than Devoe. If that's the case, let's go ahead and get him signed early. He ranks 75th on the Rivals 150 and will probably be moving up as his career progresses, now in the States after transferring to a Nevada Prep School, basketball factory Findlay, for his final two high school seasons. It's still early, but Joseph is getting chased by pretty much everybody, including Kansas, Texas, and Memphis.

Angelo Johnson: Interestingly, Tubby has declined to pursue the former Minnesota high school player after he announced he was transferring from USC after his freshman season due to playing time concerns. Angelo has said he will end up at either Baylor, Southern Miss, Seton Hall, or Cincinnati. Although he could certainly help out the Gophers and their point guard vacancy for 2009, Tubby remains firm that he isn't interested. A big ole difference from Dan Monson, whose bread and butter was to chase recruits he missed out on after they changed their minds and promise them if they would come to the U they could take every single shot they ever wanted ever.

Glen Rice, Jr: There was some interest in the 3-star guard out of Georgia on the Gophers part, but, like with Mfon Udofia, the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech signed him instead. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the Jackets in the coming years to see how these two clowns develop. Tech has a nice recruiting class going for 2009.

- Rodney Williams continues to dominate and continues to not sign here yet.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Bert just said, "Zach Greinke has so much potential it's scary." Zach Greinke. Career WHIP = 1.35. Career ERA+ of a just barely average 102. This season? WHIP 1.32. 151 hits allowed in 148 innings. He was a first round pick in 2002 and has the 13th fastest average fastball speed in the majors at 93.1, so maybe that's what Bert was clinging to. His most similar pitchers by age according to baseball reference include Moose Haas, Brad Radke, and Jeff Weaver so I think "so much potential it's scary" means something different to Bert than it does to the rational thinking universe.

Quick shout out to Bogart and Snake, who are in attendance at tonight's game down in KC with Snake's brother whose nickname is Barbarian or Conan or Thor or something. I think because he's like 6-6 and wrestles bears and kills deer with his bare hands and that kind of thing. If I know those guys, they'll be piss drunk by the fourth and will likely be escorted out of Kaufman Stadium one way or another by the seventh. At which point they will hit a series of bars in KC, taunting fat chicks along the way until some sort of confrontation develops. At the end of the night, they'll head home and play Madden into the wee hours of the morning, bitching at each other the whole way.

Also, Bogart has more money on the game tonight than I've ever even deposited into an account, so go Twins.

- I watched both Escape from New York, 21, and The Lost Boys 2 over the past few days, and the Lost Boys 2 is by far the best movie of the three. I know Escape from New York is considered kind of a "classic" and it is: A "classic" piece of crap. It's old, so maybe it just doesn't hold up, but it's pretty much garbage. 21 was ok, but didn't live up to the book. Lost Boys 2 was sweet. I'm a huge fan of the original, so that probably helped, but it managed to pay tribute to the original classic (a true classic) without dwelling on it so much that it didn't hold up as it's own film. Of course, if you aren't a fan of the first one, don't bother with this one. If you are, it's worth a rental just to get a look at sexy shirtless saxophone player 20 years later. And Autumn Reeser (above) is hot.

- Liriano can't find the plate, but still strikes out two and manages to give up no runs. He's either really lucky, or Nolan Ryan-level of wild but good.

- In case you're wondering now, the fastest average fastball velocity amongst starters is Seattle's Felix Hernandez, at 94.9. Of all pitchers, Joel Zumaya wins with an average velocity of 97.5 mph. The slowest non-knuckleballer is Jamie Moyer at 81.0. 81 mph fastball.

- Good to see Delmon Young keeping up his one homerun per month pace by going yard here for the fifth time this season. Bengie Molina has more home runs than that. Mark Ellis has twice that and he's like 5-6, 150 lbs.

- Missed the rest of the game. I went over to Dr. Acula's to play Guitar Hero and Tyson's Punchout (note: Dr. Acula can't beat King Hippo) and now it's the bottom of the ninth and the Twins are up 7-3 and I'm bored. Also, Bogart wants me to post a picture of this chick (Tiffany Lakosky) because he met her today at a Bass Pro Shop or some other white trash store:

Not bad. And she's probably easy since she hunts. You know the old saying, "Girls who hunt are easy."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Get Bent Detroit!

Well it’s Wednesday night and you know what that means, time for some golf. Oh you don’t care about golf, well start caring losers it’s the week of the final major and there is lots to talk about.

First off last week was great golf, if you didn’t watch any you missed out on a great field that didn’t disappoint at the WGC Bridgestone. Well actually it was just a star studded field, minus Tiger, going head to head with no one really taking full charge until Vijay finally wished in his last 4 footer for the win. My guy Perry played like a dog but I did tell you that Vijay could win if he made putts. As it turns out he could have routed the field if he would have made anything. The guy was missing short putts left and right but his extraordinarily good ball striking was good enough to make him the winner.

What is up with Phil? He managed to choke away another tournament with just a horrible putting performance on Sunday. Personally I believe he is just thinking too much. Ever since his last big choke job at the 2007 US Open he just doesn’t seem the same, he will tell you that it is not bothering him but he has sucked in big events ever since. He has a poor putter to blame for it; in 06’ he ended the year 5th on tour in putting, in 07’ he was 15th and this year he is 48th. For a guy known for his short game he has certainly become all too average. He is a great player don’t get me wrong and he has a great rack but his putting is what is keeping him from winning more. Tiger is gone and Phil should be taking the lead and instead he is playing like a gay. By the way if you didn’t know Vijay and Phil hate each other, maybe even more than Phil and Tiger hate each other, I just wish they would have just went toe to toe on Saturday it would have been epic

OK, so when you think of a great golf course, a course good enough to hold a major, you probably think it would be held in a great town well not this week. Detroit, the Motor City, formally Hockeytown USA and as I like to call it “Detoilet” is the city that will host not only the best touring pros in the world but the best PGA Professionals from around the country. God hates Detroit more than abortionists and queers, that town is the crappiest piece of garbage in the lower 48. They really have nothing going for them other than poverty, crime and pollution. But all things aside Oakland Hills CC, The Monster, is still a tremendous course that should create fits for the players over the course of four days. At 7400 yards and again playing to a par 70 this week the emphasis will again be on driving accuracy, greens in regulation and of course putting. The greens are very undulated (lots of slope) and I believe the key will be hitting approach shots to the right section of the green in order to have a putt that doesn’t break six different ways. You are going to see guys playing shots off the banks of the greens to try and get the ball close to the hole and putts breaking 30 feet. Not to overshadow the greens but this course also has some of the longest par 3’s, 9th is 257yrds 17th is 238yrds, which is just another reason the guy who wins will need to hit greens, in the right spots, and can manage his putter.

So as an homage to WWWWW let’s look at who the stats would say wins this week. The best player overall in driving accuracy + distance, greens in regulation and putting is Ryan Palmer. He ranks 18th in ball striking which ranks players by combining Total Driving (distance and accuracy) and Greens in Regulation (hit the green with a putt at birdie or better) couple that stat with being 56th in Putts per Round (3rd in Putts per Green in Reg) and there you have it your statistical pick to click. Now is he even in the field…ummmm…NO he is not…DAMN IT. This stat shit is hurting my brain; well let’s look at another stat. All Around, ranks the average of all stats kept by the PGA tour that should tell us the winner. Stew Cink is your all around best ranked player by the numbers, but as I have explained before Stew is a homo so he is out, not because of his sexuality but just because I don’t like him. Campbell, Scott, Kim and Mickelson round out the top 5. Well Phil might win but I think there is a greater chance that he looses it on the final day. Chad Campbell, get real. Adam Scott is a fun pick but Aussies don’t win Majors in America just ask Norman…too soon…Nah. So there he is again the young, brash, best American player under 30, Anthony Kim. He wants the win and he has the stats to back it up 35th in Total Driving, 48th in Greens in Reg, 42nd in Putting and more importantly 29th in Putting when hitting the green in regulation. So there it is your winner Anthony Kim, not just by the stats but I really think he will win and if he doesn’t…well…well…well I will be very disappointed.

Watch These Guys Too:
Lee Westwood
-He played too well last week not to consider him.
Vijay- Why not.
Hunter Mahan-This is his last shot to secure a spot on the Ryder Cup team.
Poulter/Garcia-Garcia played great here 4 years ago in the Ryder Cup, he hits his irons as well as anyone and if he gives himself good chances and makes some putts he will be there. Poulter is a wild card, he has the confidence but can he execute in America?

Sleeper of the Week:
Davis Love- In 96’ he three putted the 17th green and that cost him the title, look for him to be a surprise on the leader board

There it is my preview of the final major on the PGA Tour. Picks have been crappy but hopefully the content makes up for it and I have to get lucky here soon, but if not I will be back next week to tell you why Kim hosed me and breakdown how the winner got it done, until then enjoy the golf.


PS-Michelle Wie sucks and will always suck, she is the suckiest suck that ever sucked. I was never so happy than to see her grind out that 80 in the 2nd round last week and then explain that she played her best, new flash, if that's your best then stay home!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Gophers Offer Some Guy, Loads of Other Stuff

Top Story out there is that the Gophers have offered Darius Smith a scholarship. The by far weirdest thing about this is Smith's quote that he is not overly familiar with the program and that he has "Caught a couple games on TV. I know [Tubby Smith] is a great coach and it's a good program."

Smith kind of comes out of nowhere as far as the Gophers go - at least to my knowledge - but he sounds like a quality player. He is ranked 90th overall in the class of 2009 by Scout and 80th by Rivals, and has seen his stock rise since some excellent play in the Peach Jam AAU tournament. He's listed as a SG by Scout and a PG by Rivals, so it would seem he's another combo guard and at 6-2 I'm hoping, if he was to come here, he would be able to play the point.

He says he already has a favorite, and the Gophers are late to the party, so I would put the chances Tubby lands him as slim. Although the competition (Clemson, Marquette, Baylor, Iowa, Indiana, DePaul, among others) aren't the type to blow a kid away, so anything is possible. On to other things.....

Obviously there are some pretty big Minnesota stories out there right now, and I'll get to that, but first I want to take a second here to point out an article on about Clem Haskins. It's pretty much a fluff "where are they know" article, but it's written almost admirably. It seems mostly to stress that he's found happiness by staying away from basketball, and maybe it's because it was written by a broad but it seemed very complimentary of Haskins and the life he has "chosen" to lead.

I'm conflicted, because although I will always remember Haskins more as the one who brought the team to the Final Four than the one who brought the program crashing down, I'm not about to praise his decisions. Even if the accusations brought against him were overblown, as he still claims, there is no doubt he is one of the biggest cheaters in NCAA history - no joke. And I'm the kind of guy who is ok with a little rule bending if it means wins (judge me as you will), this was obviously at a level rarely seen. Which also means no high profile program would hire him. If he did want to come back, he'd have to start at a low, low, low major like a Morgan State (which is where fellow cheater Todd Bozeman ended up) or at an AAU type level (which is where Jim Harrick coached for a while). It's a joke to suggest he's some kind of courageous citizen by living on a farm in Kentucky rather than coaching somewhere. But then again, the article was written by a chick, so what do you expect.

- In Minnesota news, Franky Liriano pitched in his first MLB game since early in the season and managed to put up 6 shutout innings, giving up just 3 hits. It's not quite as sunshiney as you'd think, as Aaron Gleeman also pointed out. He walked three, which isn't a horrible number, but struggled to find the strike zone often. His fastball is nowhere near the 95ish number reported by the Twins, and failed to break 90 quite often. And pitching against the Indians isn't exactly the strictest test there is - because they suck.

All that being said, however, it was certainly a very encouraging outing after the early season debacles. He seemed to have good command of his pitches, aside from strike zone issues, and his slider looked to be at or near 2006 form. It is certainly a step in the right direction, and the fact that they made the right decision and dumped Livan instead of moving Perkins into the bullpen or something makes me smile. However don't expect six shutdown innings every time, and there will likely be some ugly outings, but he's back and he's on his way. I'm optimistic that by next season he will be very close to his old form and could be dominant again. Please.

- The other big news is that the Packers have contacted the Vikings about trading Favre, and all tampering charges against Minnesota have been dropped. So what does this mean? I think it's all a big charade by the Pack. I can't imagine any possible scenario where the Packers would actually trade him to Minnesota. I guess, if they think him being there is too disruptive he might, but I just don't buy it. I'm thinking they probably called the Vikes and said "Give us 9 first round picks and Adrian Peterson and you can have Favre." There. They talked to the Vikings. Looks good to the Favre fans now.

Plus, the Vikings probably shouldn't trade for him. I mean, he basically is Tavaris Jackson with a drug problem and no mobility. Seriously, they both make the same mistakes. They both try to force plays when they should just throw the ball away. Why trade for a washed-up alcoholic drama queen, when we have a young Mike Vick right there on the team already? Don't think Favre's washed up because of his nice stats last season? Guess what, it was all because of his receivers. Don't buy it? Check this out. It's a very compelling post from a nerdy football blog. Performance can't be as easily quantified in football as baseball, but they make a good case. To sum up, "The Packers receivers racked up more yards after catch (YAC) than any other corps in the NFL, even the Moss-Welker-Stallworth squad in New England. On a per-pass basis, Brett Favre's passing statistics were extremely inflated by the abilities of his receivers. In fact, 52% of his passing yards came from YAC, second (tied) only to Kansas City's defenseless Brodie Croyle." There's a whole lot more there, including a compelling case that YAC is NOT a QB dependent stat, but a receiver dependent stat and the point that a QB with a high YAC average is throwing an awful lot of dump offs (I'm guessing the Vikings are career leaders in this). It pretty much proves my point that Favre is basically a football Pete Rose.

- Speaking of Rose, I bought his book where he whines a lot for $3. Expect a review. Ok, fine, more like a throwaway comment when I'm drunk and typing.

- Speaking of books, I'm reading the Tony LaRussa book, Three Nights in August. It's ok. The stories are interesting, including how much of a dick LaRussa is to his family, but the write and notorious blog hater Buzz Bissinger is killing me. He spent the whole intro bashing people who are into stats, and has spent the rest of the book using mind-numblingly stupid analogies at every opportunity. I have it next to me, and on this one page alone we have, "blooping it into center like a falling Easter egg" and "like the steady spout of water from a fountain, where you can't quite grasp the mechanics of how it can flow so easily and yet so forcefully" - and that last one is describing a fastball. These are sprinkled in about one every 2-3 paragraphs, and they take me right out of the book every time. Horrible. And this guy is a professional.

- Have you watched this new American Gladiators? That "Wolf" guy has got to be about as gay as they come. Actually I think most of these guys are. HOT.

- Jesus Christ, Mike Lamb is hitting fifth because he's filling in for Kubel? Just like Redmond hitting third when he fills in for Mauer. It just drives me crazy when people say Gardy is a good manager. If Punto ever has to fill in at first does he hit fourth? And it doesn't matter if Lamb goes 5-5 with three homers, it's still dumb.

- Sure enough, he doubles in a run. Point stands.

- Speaking of Joe Mauer, have you heard the radio commercial he does for Sun Country Airlines? It's on KFAN sometimes, and it's not going to do anything to dispel the rumor that Mauer has no personality. He reads his lines with slightly less inflection than Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's brutal. Of course he also makes millions, built a multi-million dollar house which included a man-made lake with a golf green in the middle, and has his pick of ladies. But I can read lines with believable voice inflection, so eat it Mauer.

- Nick Punto just hit a homerun. I knew Miguel Batista was brutally bad, but I had no idea he was that bad. Also, the guy is a notorious headhunter. I fully expect somebody to get plunked here at some point after that one.

- Batista somehow won 16 games last year, despite a WHIP of 1.52, a BB/9 of 3.96, and an ERA of 4.29. Yet, people still evaluate pitchers based on win totals.

- DownwithYou is quickly becoming my favorite commenter.

- In between innings we're watching Friends, and it's the one where Ross dates a student. That chick is quite attractive (pictured above). AND from Minnesota.

- Dang, Batista's out. But I promise if he had stuck around he would have beaned somebody.

- I don't think there's a better hitter in baseball than Justin Morneau. Ok, I'm kidding, but dang man, how good has he been? He's pretty much the exact opposite of Mike Lamb.

- Game is boring. I'm tired. And that's pretty much all I got.