Friday, September 25, 2009

Thoughts on September's Final Weekend.....

I got my MLB Network back last night.....just in time to watch Brian Wilson torment and torture me one more time. With the Giants one strike away from pulling within 3 games of Wild Card leading Colorado, Wilson served up a 2-run home run to Jeff Baker. It was Baker's 4th home run of the season. The 26th home run of his 5 year major league career. I was crushed. I posted some very nasty words about Mr. Wilson on my facebook page. And apparently, he is not that well known to the non-San Francisco Giants fans, as I had several replies asking why I was mad at the Beach Boys. As I try to gather myself from yet another crushing Giants defeat, I offer up some of what I expect to happen on this, the final weekend in September.....

  • The Colorado Rockies finish with St. Louis, Milwaukee and the LA Dodgers. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves (only 3 1/2 games back now) finish with 7 of their last 10 games against Washington. By the end of the weekend, the Rockies and the rest of the world will be watching the Braves make a serious run at the Wild Card.
  • The New York Yankees will clinch the division against the hated Red Sox. This will lead to a lot of premature celebration on the Yankees part.
  • South Carolina will wake up Sunday Morning and be ranked anywhere from 15-18 in the AP College poll. They will get this ranking largely due to a win over an extremely overrated Ole Miss team. And then nobody will be able to comprehend how South Carolina struggles the rest of the season.
  • The Florida Gators will struggle for the first half against Kentucky, before pulling away in the 2nd half. This will lead voters to start doubting Tebow and the Gators. This will be a mistake.
  • The Miami Hurricanes will go into Blacksburg and beat Virginia Tech, vaulting them into the National Championship conversation. It will also give the Hokies their second loss of the season (both to top-10 ranked teams). They will then be ranked below South Carolina. That is a joke.
  • Texas will finally make a statement...against UTEP. So, really????
  • Houston will be shown that is not a true contender when Texas Tech beats them this weekend on their own home turf.
  • Penn State will avenge last season's loss to Iowa.....and it won't be close. But nobody will really notice because, yes, the Big 10 really is that bad.
  • Brett Favre will try to make too many plays in his home opener to impress his new fan base. And it will cost the Vikings the game.
  • The Cincinnati Bengals will prove that they are for real (they should be 2-0 as it is) when they get their signature win by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • The Detroit Lions will snap their 19-game losing streak, by beating the Washington Redskins 20-17.
  • The Miami Dolphins will continue to prove that they were the beneficiaries of an overly easy schedule last year, that led them to their 11-5 record, as they fall to 0-3.
  • The San Francisco Giants will find yet another way to tease me, then crush me this only they can do (well them and high school girls from 1989-1992).

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Plea to the Detroit Tigers

To: Mike Ilitch
CC: Dave Dombrowski, Jim Leyland, Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Brandon Inge, Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, Rick Porcello, Brandon Lyon, Fernando Rodney
Re: Please save baseball from the impending apocalypse

Dear Detroit Tigers,

Last night at approximately 11:35pm eastern time, I pronounced the San Francisco Giants playoff hopes dead. When your 2nd best pitcher is on the mound with a 3-0 lead (2 of the runs driven in by the pitcher, himself), and less than 45 minutes later you're losing 9-4....your playoff hopes are basically DOA. The Giants were largely considered the team that could make the baseball playoffs fun again - with Lincecum and Cain and Kung Fu Panda and a bunch of blue collar guys that were scrappy enough to cheer for. They're out. Now, you guys claim the throne of America's team. Why? Here's why: If the Twins overtake you guys for the AL Central crown, they will get thumped by the Yankees in round one. It won't be pretty. The Royals would put up a better fight. At least in that case, Zack Greinke could keep the Royals in a game. If the Twins face the Yankees, the Bronx Bombers will put up 30-35 runs in a boring 3-game sweep. And then, since the Red Sox have the Angels number in the post season for reasons that nobody can figure out, we will be headed for yet another Yankees-Red Sox ALCS, that quite frankly bores the hell out of 90% of America. If you live or lived in the northeast at some point in your life, you love it. If not, you're tired of it. ESPN's Jim Caple even wrote about it. The Yankees-Red Sox "rivalry" is a media-hyped illusion. Would it be a highly rated ALCS from a TV standpoint? Of course. So would the Yankees vs. the Tacoma Rainiers. New York is the biggest TV market in the US. People either watch the Yankees to see them win or to see them lose. But, you, the Detroit Tigers can save us from all the hyperbole and over-hyped media love a Yankees-Red Sox ALCS would bring with it. How? Simple - win the AL Central and beat the Yankees in the ALDS.

But we went 1-5 against the Yankees in the regular season, you say. No worries. In 1997 and 2003, the Giants went 5-1 against the Marlins in the regular season both years (and in 2003, the Giants had the best record in baseball). The Marlins promptly ended their season in the NLDS both years. So, you have history on your side. You also haven't played the Yankees since July. Your offense is better now than it was then. Their pitching is wearing down. Andy Pettitte's arm looks more tired than Brett Favre's. CC Sabathia has a career ERA of 3.62 in the regular season and 7.92 in the post season. In other words, he's eminently beatable. And AJ Burnett is the New York Yankees version of Nuke Lalouche. He has a million dollar arm and a 5 cent head. He's also never pitched in the post season. And we all know Alex Rodriguez just lives for the post season. And you guys have beaten the Yankees in this situation before. Remember 2006? You weren't supposed to beat the Yankees then. And after dropping game 1, you guys dropped them faster than Mike Tyson dropped Michael Spinks. Justin Verlander is good enough to shut down the Yankees offense. Edwin Jackson has nasty stuff and Rick Porcello is just young enough and just dumb enough to not understand the gravity of the situation - think Josh Beckett in Yankee Stadium in game 6 of the 2003 World Series.

You guys can do it. You can save baseball. Granderson and Cabrera and Inge and Ordonez. It's up to you guys to save baseball. Save us from the hyperbole. Save us from the media hype. Save us from an ALCS that nobody wants. Save baseball. Don't make me write a letter to the Angels. I'm still bitter from 2002.

David Krakower.....and the rest of baseball fans outside of New York and Boston

Monday, September 21, 2009

Owner of a Lonely Heart...

The Dallas Cowboys opened their new $1.2 Billion Dollar "palace" last night. The .2 part of that represents $200,000,000. The Florida Marlins ENTIRE FRANCHISE isn't worth the .2 portion of the Cowboys new home stadium. Jerry Jones, Owner of the Cowboys, has been mocked, ridiculed and publicly berated for his state of the art video board that hangs above the field. Mind you, it is well within the height requirements that the NFL dictates. But the media would have you believe that every time a punter punts a ball, it will hit this "monstrosity", causing a do-over and thus lengthening the game. Some reporters even joke that the game will now take 5 hours and punts will be the most exciting thing to watch during Cowboys home games. The following is an excerpt of an article written on Friday, on - "And you know what? I am genuinely excited for every single punt at New Cowboys Stadium. Oh, like you'll be turning the channel? Come on! This is gonna be great. Hit the scoreboard! Hit it! Hit it! YESSSS! I can't remember the last time I was this excited for something this stupid, and when the old farts in the media get riled up on Monday because five punts hit the scoreboard and somebody's wedge guy pulled a hamstring sprinting downfield for the fourth time in three minutes, even better."
Guess what? Exactly ZERO punts hit the scoreboard last night. None were even close. Jones, amid tremendous pressure and ridicule, chose not to raise the scoreboard. It would have cost him a little less than $2 million to do it (in other words 1/100 of the .2 portion of the stadium cost). So, clearly, he has the money to do it. He left it there, out of principal and because the height that it is at right now is the optimum viewing level for fans. And that is why Jones gets it. He is an owner who 100% gets the purpose of his job. Owners like Jones, Daniel Snyder, Mark Cuban, and yes, even George Steinbrenner get it. They all get mocked publicly for their behavior and their lavish spending. But ask any fan of any of those teams, and the answer will all be the same - their owner is trying to put a winning product on the field at any cost. Why do we mock that?

Why isn't there more public outcry for owners like Donald Sterling and Jeffrey Loria and Bob Nutting? These are owners who take fans' money and revenue sharing money from TV and other owners and then do not put it back into their teams- but rather pocket the profits. They don't care whether their team wins or loses. All they care about is a quick buck.

But owners like Steinbrenner, Cuban, Snyder and Jones - they all reinvest that money into their teams. Yes, they are multi-billionaires and have the wherewithal to do this, but the fact remains, they choose to do it. They are just as much fans as they are owners. They live and breathe their teams, just as we fans do. They care whether their team wins or loses. And that, in this day and age is noble. I would much rather throw my support behind an owner I know invests his money, his heart and his soul into his team, than an owner who is using his team as a tax shelter, while pocketing the profits.

Think about it, if I gave you $1 billion and told you to buy a sports franchise. First, you'd pick your favorite team, so you could run it your way. Then you would do anything and everything you could to make that team a winner. And that's all these guys have done. They are just like you and know, with a couple extra billion in their pockets.