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Vaca Time, Fantasy Football

Posted by rich on September 5th, 2008

Vacation time, yay, which oddly means I’ll probably actually blog more. It’s a funny thing, when I go away I always seem to have tons to write about, but when it’s a real work week, it can fall by the wayside.

This week the boss and I have been pretty impressed with the Sox resurgence. I don’t get it. I was ready to put them out to pasture not too long ago, and all of a sudden they’ve become pretty intriguing, some might even say frisky. Just like that September became a month to pay attention to.

Speaking of which, we’re certainly about to find out whether or not the NFL preseason really matters, huh. The Pats went 0-4 and I’ve not heard anyone get all gloomy and doomy. Most are still on the Pats bandwagon, that is unless you work for ESPN.com, and aren’t named Bill Simmons. It seems that the ESPN people are in LOVE with Jacksonville and San Diego even though the Jags still haven’t shown that they can really throw the ball if they need to and the Chargers have a QB coming off of reconstructive knee surgery and a star linebacker that needs it, but refuses to get it.


Okay, I said I”d run through my fantasy football team, so let’s take a quick look. Basically I’ve got a good shot at the playoffs just because of my running backs alone.

My backfield consists of: Ladanian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker. My backups are: Jacob Hester (LT’s backup), Jonathan Stewart (who is splitting carries in Carolina as a rookie, big upside there), and Chris Taylor (the backup in Houston, who is probably the first guy I drop if I need to pick someone up).

At QB I’m rocking with Derek Anderson and Jason Campbell. Anderson can wing it, but he’s a feast or famine type of guy. Some weeks he’s going to be huge for me, but other weeks he might kill me. Campbell’s kind of the same kind of guy, although he’s more of a game manager than Anderson.

WR is the spot that I really would like to upgrade at. I’m starting Torry Holt, which would have been great four years ago, and Patrick Crayton, of Dallas. I’m not loving either one, but they’re good enough to help me out. The backups are Joey Galloway, Jabar Gaffney and Ike Bruce. Gaffney at least gives me a Patriot to root for and Galloway and Bruce are both long in the tooth, but somewhat productive.

My K is Shayne Graham from Cincy. He’s a quality one, but a kicker, so he’s not going to make that big of a difference either way.

On D we’re going with Chicago. The Bears unit has been one of the best in the NFL over the past couple of years and should be up there again this year. I’m happy with them on the roster.

So there you have it, the Stumblin’ Irish v2.008.

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Sox, Pedroia, Fantasy Baseball

Posted by rich on September 2nd, 2008

Been a while since I popped on the blog, but it’s the end of the summer and I know that there are hardly any one reading blogs just before back to school any ways. Besides, I had to study for my fantasy football draft and try to sneak into the playoffs in my fantasy baseball league.

Mission accomplished on both fronts.

So, as I am wont to do from time to time, I’m going to hit on a few different points here.

Red Sox

They’re playing fantastic ball right now, really inspired stuff. But they’re still not going to win the division and they’re going to have to play California/Anaheim/LA in the first round, which is not a match-up that I care for this year. Still, you have to hand it to the Sox, when they came up against a tough stretch, they turned in some great games. Taking 2-of-3 at Yankee Stadium and then doing the same at home against Chicago was clutch.


Can the little guy win the MVP award? Probably not only because Carlos Quentin is having such a huge season and leads the league in homers, and homers are sexy. Make no mistake, though, Pedroia is the Sox’ MVP and one of the best players in baseball. The guy is a machine, and he just knows how to string together quality at-bats one after the other.

I’ve been saying it to anyone that will listen that he reminds me of Nomar when Garciaparra was one of the elite players in baseball. It seems every time he’s at the plate he’s scorching line drives all around the ballpark. And he’s got a cocky attitude that is actually endearing. I love how he brought the lineup card to Ortiz over the weekend to show him that he was hitting behind the big guy and that he tells people to enjoy the “laser show.”

His candidacy for MVP is legit, too, it’s not just a Red Sox Nation-inspired propaganda movement. Let’s look at his numbers compared to Quentin’s.

Hits AVG 2B 3B HR RBI Runs Total Bases SB OBP SLG
Pedroia 185 .327 42 2 15 70 107 276 15 .374 .488
Quentin 138 .288 26 1 36 100 96 274 7 .394 .571

Having either guy on your team is going to help you in a big way. The thing that pushes Quentin over the top, in my mind, is that he has higher OBP and SLG numbers, but it’s a lot closer than one might think. Pedroia has made this team go, and he has played some spectacular defense. With a month to go in the race, Pedroia is still right there to take it down.

Fantasy Baseball

On the line going into Sunday was my team’s four-year playoff run, and it was going to be close. I needed to go 6-3-1 against the team just in front of me in the standings to leapfrog him and get into the postseason. On the last day of the season it stood at 6-4, but he had a bunch of pitchers lined up for the day and I needed a miracle, especially since he had arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Brandon Webb, throwing for him that day.

Jacoby Ellsbury brought me my miracle. With two stolen bases against Chicago on Sunday I tied him up in steals that day and then later on Webb had his worst start of the year. I finished the series at exactly 6-3-1 and got into the playoffs. It’s nice when the miracles break your way, especially when you’ve already resigned yourself to not making it.

That’s it for today, tomorrow I think we’ll break down my fantasy football team and how it looks as the season’s about to start.

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State Of The Sox

Posted by rich on August 25th, 2008

Ask yourself this question: will the Red Sox win the World Series?

If you answered ‘yes’ you probably own a Red Sox Nation card and believe that JD Drew is in the discussion for league MVP this year.

Now ask yourself this one: will the Red Sox make the playoffs?

That’s a murkier proposition, and right now my answer is leaning towards no. There’s just something not right about the Red Sox this summer. The pitching is good enough to almost get you excited, but then it seems like someone new gets hurt every week. Beckett is the latest victim of the injury bug and we’ve seen Wakefield and Colon on and off the DL all summer. Clay Buccholz lost his mojo and had to be sent to the minors. Dave Aardsma is hurt.

Daisuke has a lot of wins, but he’s not exactly someone that gives you tons of confidence when he’s out there. The only guy that seems to be can’t miss is Lester, and he got lit up the other day.

Then there’s the lineup. Say what you want about Manny, he offered a lot of protection for Ortiz. Without him other teams can pitch around Papi a bit more safely. Youkilis, Pedroia and Bay have been great, but Ellsbury’s been horrid, Lowell’s hurt, Drew’s hurt, Varitek, with the exception of the last week, has been dead weight at the plate.

Basically the Red Sox are mediocre at best. They’ve been a .500 team the last couple of months. Unless they get really hot over the next month there’s no way that they’re catching Tampa, as crazy as that sounds, and they’re in a race with Chicago and Minnesota for the wild card, and that’s not gonna be easy either.

The next couple weeks will be interesting for sure. I just have a feeling they’re not going to be very rewarding.

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Olympics In The Middle Of The Night

Posted by rich on August 23rd, 2008

It’s 1 AM on Saturday morning and somehow I got hooked into the men’s soccer gold medal game. It’s so weird with the Games on the other side of the earth, this is a pretty big world-wide game, and it’s played in the middle of the night. I’m sure, though, that there aren’t too many sleeping Argentinians right now. In Nigeria they all probably woke up very early for this game, which will put a cramp in your weekend, but it’s the gold medal game.

I realized the problem with TiVoing these things yesterday. I was all jazzed up because I had taped the US Men’s basketball game and was looking forward to watching it. The game had started at like 8 AM, so I put it on around 10ish, and then logged onto ESPN.com out of habit, and there was the score and the result. Well that was a waste.

I still watched a good portion of the game, though, and I just love how the “Redeem” team is playing. Dwayne Wade, Melo and Chris Paul are awesome, and I have a new appreciation for the greatness of LeBron. He might be one of the youngest on the team, but he’s clearly the leader and the heart and soul. And, most importantly, it matters to King James and you can tell. That’s all we ever really wanted out of the men’s hoop team, was a little class and a lot of desire. This edition gets it, and it’s great. Heck I’m not even booing at my TV when Kobe touches the ball, and it is so weird to have to root for a team that he plays for. I personally can’t stand the guy, so to have to cheer for the Mamba is not easy, but it’s for the good of the country I guess.

I’ll be glad when these Olympics are over, though. I really didn’t think I cared all that much for the, but I’ll admit that I’ve gotten pulled in by them. I’ve watched so much and it’s great that they’ve got a few other channels with stuff on so you don’t just have to watch whatever’s on NBC proper. The reason I’ll be glad when they end is that I’ll have time on my hands again and be able to sleep a little earlier. All the stuff that’s on late at night has been pretty captivating.

Like I said, it’s the middle of the night and I’m watching Argentina celebrate the game’s first goal at 1:17 AM. It’s nuts, and it’s fun, although I can’t stand the Argentina crowd’s incessant music. It’s non-stop and repetitive. It’s like the Hades soundtrack.

Well that’s it for now, gotta figure out what time to set the TiVo for so I can see the men’s basketball gold medal game. I’ll have to remember to stay away from the computer.

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Umm I Love EA, But Isn’t This A Bit Blasphemous?

Posted by rich on August 20th, 2008

Tiger’s the man, absolutely. He’s not a deity though.

Okay, I wanted to get mad about this commercial. There are things about it that are just a bit over the line for me, but it’s still pretty cool.

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Lest We Forget Where The Olympics Are Taking Place

Posted by rich on August 18th, 2008

A few things you should know about me. One, I am a Christian. I make no apologies. If you’re not a believer, that’s cool with me. I think Jesus is cool, if you don’t, we can talk, but we don’t have to fight.

Second, I think China is evil. It’s easy to forget that the place is as bad as it is when Michael Phelps is piling gold like Fort Knox and the Redeem Team is doing so well and the Jamaicans are having so much fun being faster than everyone else. But, the games are still in China, and the government there is not good.

BEIJING - Chinese customs officials confiscated more than 300 Bibles on Sunday from four American Christians who arrived in a southwestern city with plans to distribute them, the group’s leader said.

The Bibles were taken from the group’s checked luggage after they landed at the airport in the city of Kunming, said Pat Klein, head of Vision Beyond Borders. The group, based in Sheridan, Wyoming, distributes Bibles and Christian teaching materials around the world to “strengthen the persecuted church,” according to its Web site.

The group arrived in China on Sunday and had intended to distribute the Bibles to people in the city, Klein told the AP in a telephone interview while still at the airport.

“I heard that there’s freedom of religion in China, so why is there a problem for us to bring Bibles?” Klein said. “We had over 300 copies and customs took all of them from us.”

The move comes as China hosts the Olympics in Beijing, where false media reports last year claimed Bibles would be banned from the games. The state-run China Daily reported last month that 10,000 bilingual copies of the Bible would be distributed in the Olympic Village, which houses athletes and media.

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Posted by rich on August 16th, 2008


For three years and 11 months we don’t really care that much collectively about sports like swimming. Sure the diehards do, but the bulk of the populace spends as much time thinking about swimming as they do shoelaces.

But then the Olympics come around and its cool for a few weeks. But this time around it became THE thing to watch, and for one reason, Michael Phelps. The man is amazing.

I got into sports writing because I love watching athletics, especially big games. Put me at Little League championship game and I’m into it. Men’s softball. Field hockey. If there’s a trophy on the line, I’m into it.

Something like what Phelps did though, that goes beyond. There will be so many adjectives thrown about concerning his feats this week, and they’re all deserved. Eight gold medals, seven world records, that unbelievable come back last night. It’s phenomenal, which makes sense because he’s a phenom.

After these games end swimming will go back on the back burner in America. It will get the type of coverage that the rest of the fringe sports do. But Michael Phelps will always be a star and we’ll be seeing plenty of him in commercials and the like for the time being.

What he did may never be matched. What he did was simply amazing. What he did was something truly special.

We were honored to get to watch it.

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Passed On Star Wars To Ride The Express

Posted by rich on August 16th, 2008

I went to the movies on Friday night with every intention of buying a ticket for Star Wars: Clone Wars. The funny thing was, I wasn’t excited about it at all. That had never happened to me before, with each of the previous six Star Wars installments I had looked forward to going into the movie, although that excitement seemed to drop with each movie.

I think I was going more out of a sense of obligation than excitement or want. I wanted to want to go to the movie. I wanted to enter the Star Wars saga again for two hours and have a good time.

To get ready for the movie I decided to see what the uber-Nerds over at Aint It Cool News had to say. I found reviews by four different people, all of whom love movies and were raised on Star Wars like me. The reviews could not have been worse. They were curse-laden diatribes about how the movie was pointless and poorly done. The only thing that I garnered was that I probably wasn’t going to enjoy it all that much.

So fast-forward to about 9:45 PM and I got to the Regal Cinema in Mashpee with money in hand. I was about to buy my ticket for Star Wars but called an audible at the last moment. Why am I bothering? I kept asking myself that. So I bought a ticket for a movie I wanted to see instead, Pineapple Express.

I’m glad I did. Instead of putting myself through a long cartoon that I probably would not have liked all that much, I enjoyed watching Seth Rogen and James Franco channel Cheech and Chong. I’m not a stoner in the least, but I like a good comedy and these two were outstanding. The movie was ridiculous, and we all need a little ridiculous in our lives from time to time.

I won’t bother with a full review because it’s not the type of movie that you break down. I’ll tell you that Franco was about as funny as he could be and Rogen was Rogen. If you dig Judd Apatow movies, you’ll love this one.

Me, I knew going to the theater that I like Apatow movies. I wish I still loved what George Lucas was putting out.

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Olympics Aren’t Programmed For The Dudes

Posted by rich on August 15th, 2008

So I was in the office this afternoon talking with Estah, who also has a blog on the web site here and she totally expected that I’d be glued to the Olympics, which apparently she is TiVo-ing at a maddening pace. She was surprised when I said ‘no.’

It’s just not programmed for guys. Sure it’s athletics, but the bulk of it is aimed at women. It’s a little after midnight right now, which means about 9:45 on the west coast, and what’s on? Women’s gymnastics. And they’re women only by name alone. These are little girls out there and you feel wrong looking at them in those outfits. Maybe it’s because I’m a dad, but I’m not into seeing these 16-year olds in those duds. And would someone please give them a cheeseburger. Some of them look so malnourished I keep expecting to see Sally Struthers come on the screen and tell me that for the price of a cup of coffee I can help the Chinese gymnastics team make it through the hard cold winter. Lyra thinks the Chinese girls look like they’re so underfed that they’re starting to have receding hairlines.

And they’re apparently supposed to be 16 to compete. Out of the mouth of my wife, not me, “they’re 14 at the most. They don’t look like they’ve hit puberty yet.”

Other than Michael Phelps, who is unreal, there isn’t much I’d care to watch so far. I think it’s funny that a wrestler threw away his medal today, and I guess in a “let’s all rubberneck the freeway pileup” it would have been interesting to see that weight lifter blow out his elbow.

I would have watched the USA hoops team today, but the game came on at 8 AM. What the heck? The men’s soccer team has apparently been knocked out, but if I could find an interesting game there I’d watch that. Heck I sat down and watched a half-hour of the Ivory Coast team a day or two ago.

But we just don’t get much guy stuff to watch. And it’ll be no better when the winter Olympics return in a pair of years. Why? Because all they show at night is figure skating. Sure it’s sports, but they program for the ladies. Thank goodness for the internet and the upstairs TV that gets NESN.

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Posted by rich on August 13th, 2008

If you happened to throw on the Sox game late yesterday you must have been a bit surprised to find a football score. I turned it on in the second inning and thought that it was a replay of a past classic game and that they were in a rain delay or something. It was 12-2 at that point.

Twelve runs? Huh?

And it just got weirder. A friend of mine I was with said “this is going to be one of those 18-16 games.” Mike could not have been more off. Come on, it was obviously going to be a 19-17 game.

Had they blown that game, and they almost did, we may never have heard the end of it. WEEI would have callers that were lining up at the Tobin.

It was a big win, and the next few weeks are huge for the Sox. They need to win the division, and here’s why. If they end up as the wild card team they would face Anaheim in the first round, and they want no part of the Angels. And the Rays right now are finally showing some chinks in the armor. Longoria is on the DL and so is Crawford. Without those two guys the offense is going to suffer, so the Sox have a big chance to make up some ground and get the division lead.

Now’s the time.

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