Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! - The Tim Lincecum Pro-stume

Note: For those who have no idea why I use the title "Pro-stume," it is a mix of the words "project" and "costume." End of commentary.

Okay, so firstly, I wish all of you a happy and safe Halloween night. Since I'm an oldhead, I've been relegated to giving out candy to young kids who don't really deserve it because they abuse the sugar privilege much like how some adults abuse alcohol. But that's enough of that.
The big reason why I'm writing on a chilly night like this is because of the little idea that I had around this time a week and a half ago while watching the NLCS on FOX [on mute].

After watching Game 4 of the NLCS and seeing all of the camera cuts they were making on Tim Lincecum, I had a stroke of genius. I started thinking "HEY! I have the same exact hair length that he does! If they were whistling at him in Philly as if he was a female, then maybe I should be onto something!" And the idea was born. I was going to dress as Giants ace Tim Lincecum for Halloween. I was fully aware that I was not going to be able to go to my school's Halloween Dance or go trick-or-treating, but the challenge alone would give me some entertainment and some stress relief as I made the costume.

Saturday, October 23 - I drove to a craft store with a friend to pick up some items for the occasion. Let's be honest, there was no point in me ordering a Lincecum tee-shirt and a Giants cap for $35+ on MLBShop where I can make my own fake merchandise at a way more inexpensive price. In all, I wound up spending a little over $10 for my stuff. I finally get home, and the project began. I started printing "stencils" out, and started drawing on the hat with an orange paint fabric pen and then tee-shirt as well as highlighting the lettering on the shirt with my squeezing fabric paint bottle.
After about three hours and a clinching victory, I had created these items:

Not too shabby for someone who isn't artsy, eh?
Friday, October 29 - The test day. Since I live in Philadelphia, the city that is still recovering from a postseason defeat and recovering from the Eagles' massive troubles going into a bye week, I was skeptical. To hide my identity, I wore my friend-famed aviators and drove up to school. Believe me, I was stared at several times on campus, but no vocal dissents were to be heard. My music ministry director thought I was dressed as a "Giants fan" which I guess can be considered close enough to what I was aiming for. My close friends got a kick out of what I did, and that felt good on the inside. To even poke more fun at what I did, I brought a right-handed glove and ball with me (I felt backwards with it since I'm left-handed) as well as a fake marijuana blunt. I did this to joke on Lincecum's marijuana possession charges from around the same time last year.

TODAY - I wore the shirt to work and put the hat and aviators on after my shift. A co-worker claimed that "I only did it for the hair," which is partially true. But since I haven't made a costume in about four years, I thought that it was about high time that I challenged myself and caught some people's attention with it. While giving out candy to trick-or-treaters, I got a lot of "Giants suck" comments and "that's not right"-related sayings from parents while giving their kids candy. Note that I didn't have the fake blunt on me this whole time; that was just a joke for Friday. But at any rate, I felt comfortable in what I did. I had a lot of fun this weekend.

And You'll finally get to see what I look like. (No hooray here.) I will not show the picture of me taken on Friday since I'm making an offensive joke to a professional athlete and I don't promote the practice of what is represented. I'm like C.J. Wilson...I'm "straightedge." Dead serious.

Aaaaand here we are:
 I didn't add the orange effects. The room I was in was dark and had orange window lights. I thought it was a nice touch.

The makeup job I did was brutal. I paled my face out, darkened my eyebrows, and added emphasis on my nose and apples of my cheeks.
Don't worry. I got all of it off.

And that was my weekend in a nutshell.
Now...back to drafting my writings as usual. Schoolwork too.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Eulogy Fit for an Eight-Legged Mindfreak

A few months ago, I decided to write an entry about the wondrous mystery that was Paul the Octopus. Today, he has left for the great beyond to make predictions and eat his boxed meals for another Higher Power. His stay on Earth may not have been a welcome one for many soccer fans around the globe, but whatever he did...he was good at it.

There are some that say he might not have understood what was going on and just happened to be on the side of coincidence; others claim that he was proof that animals may have a conscience and liked to mess with people's minds. With the posters and other items that people brought to games during the World Cup, you could tell he was taken seriously by many fans. Let's not forget how big of a religion this sport is in many parts of the world.

...Obviously, he wasn't.
Maybe he didn't like the retirement? He didn't make the choice to retire, after all. This might have been his final resort to leave the cruel planet and continue his journey of predictions and unprecedented wisdom. Take it from me, it isn't all that fun when you can't speak out an voice an opinion sometimes. Then again, he may have been humbled by the zookeepers' needs to protect him from the critics and the fans that loved to hate him. Aside from those who hated him, the people around him knew how special he really was. They love him so much that they're going to cremate him--not serve him in a sushi bar. What he did during his short time on Earth may have been a fluke, but his caretakers and his visitors saw him as an animal with true grit with a load on the undersea brain.

I hope they have the fish he likes in the place where he's going to.
Soccer fans and commentators alike are going to miss this guy whether they liked or hated. Not because he was different, but he gave us more to ponder about, whether it was knowledge, premonitions, or even what we don't realize what we have until it's gone.

RIP Paul the Octopus (January 2008 - October 26, 2010)
I won't ever look at calamari the same way again.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

AZ's Slant on Sunday - Texas Toast vs. The San Francisco Treat

Earthquakes vs. Dust Storms
Ahhhnold vs. George W. Bush
Bill & Sue vs. Chuck & Nolan
The Bay vs. The Alamo


Here we are, folks. This is for all of the marbles. Both of last year's top two contenders went down this year, and the teams that beat them will now meet here. The best teams from the west. What are we going to see?

We're going to see pitching. Lots and lots of pitching. Shoot, one of the owners was a pitcher during his time in the majors. Duels, Texas style? YES. OF COURSE. With guns like Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, C.J. Wilson, Brian Wilson, Neftali Feliz, and many more, we're going to see a lot of strategy and a lot of whiffs as well. In a game of pitching, you need smart hitting, and definitely smart running. It's like Risk. No, more like Battleship. At any rate, we have some big bats to accompany the stellar pitching. Championship series MVP's Cody Ross and Josh Hamilton have shown their strength by hitting home runs off of aces as if they were getting pitches from minor league guys. Aside from these two, small ball has gotten the job done as other players have been sparing with the extra-base hits.

"Curses" have plagued these two teams for a very long time. The Giants has [this is grammatically correct] not won a World Series since 1954--when they were still in New York. The last time they had made it to The Show was in 2002, in which they lost to a team who had never won a World Series before: The Anaheim Angels. Will this be the same case, as the Rangers are new to this stage as well? The Rangers have been defying the odds since their Game 5 win against the Rays in the ALDS. They have made it to the divisional series (and Championship series before 1994) only to lose and never advance for a fight to win a pennant. They finally did that on Friday, and now they'll be looking to scratch their name off of an infamous list that they share with the Mariners and Expos/Nationals.

Wednesday will be the start of an all-out war of two teams that have proven themselves worthy of being named World Champs. Will you be a part of the showdown in the Wild Wild West?

You want my opinion on who will win? I dare not say. Did anyone see who I called to win? I was only right with one bracket. That was it. Okay, fine. Rangers in 6. Now go enjoy your football games.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Wayne Rooney Post.

Already, most Americans who don't watch soccer or ESPN and are reading this entry are going, "WHO?"

C'mon, it's already a known fact that Manchester United isn't "America's team" and that Americans refer to their version of football as the NFL. For the uninformed, I will help by filling you in on who this man is.
Music please...

Wayne Rooney, born on October 24, 1985, is a forward for the English football club Manchester United. He first made his professional debut in 2002 with Everton and quickly caught the attention of football fans around the circuit. In 2003, he joined the Manchester United squad and continued his impact on the sport. 
Since then, he has made appearances with Team England during international competition and has also won numerous titles with the Manchester United club. Despite several injuries that he has sustained, he has been very successful. So successful that he would like to move on to another club...! (End music)

Now that we've given him a decent introduction, it's high time that I explain why I'm writing about this "stud." It appears that he does not wish to continue with Manchester United and would like to leave the team. Sir Alex Ferguson, their "skipper" as you will, seems rather put aside by this because Rooney is a huge part of the team and is a huge face of the club. But this is the big deal here: according to sources, just a few months ago Rooney was in good shape with the club and claimed that he was very happy with where he was. So it feels as if he just happened to have a change of heart in a short period of time and wants to go where the grass looks much greener.

However, when he leaves, he's going to be taking assorted problems with him. He has shown that he's rather prone to injury, and has also shown that he has a bit of a temper to go around when he's provoked. But wait...there's more! He has also been under fire for allegations of infidelity and having very wayward teenage years--you know, those times when you... [Oh, how do I put this in a nicer and PG-formatted way?] would "like to experiment" and all of that business. So of course, his personal life has been a subject that the European sports media has been preying on and off of over the course of a few months (maybe even years since I don't live in the UK and almost never hear of things like this). It's hard to really take a side on this topic, because regardless of how well you know the him through watching him on television or reading an online news story, you don't exactly know him personally. And believe me, we should all know how the media likes to sensationalize certain things. Okay, he's publicly admitted that he had done some bad things when he was younger, but he's a changed man, and he's looking to fix himself, or so we think.

In the case of playing with Manchester United and now requesting to leave the team, it's like being in a failing relationship. Externally, he might really enjoy what he's doing and says that he's happy but doesn't exactly mean it. Internally, it might only be messing his focus up and decaying his happiness of not just himself, but other things that he loves outside of his profession, such as his wife and child. It would make a lot of sense if he was only saying things that people wanted him to say just to prevent any upset or false allegations of management issues or egotistical matters. Then again, he has had injury issues as of late, and his benching may have just fueled the fire on his wanting out of the club. He also has the chip on his shoulder of the creeping infidelity accusations. Heck, his request to leave the club might even be a ruse to hide something even bigger that he doesn't want to be publicized.

If I may add, Sir Alex is taking this rather well, and he's making sure that his point gets out that he's doing the best he can in order to maintain stability in the club and to prevent any massive falling out with Rooney.

If and when he leaves, he's going to be scouted by many other big-name teams in Europe like Chelsea and Real Madrid [hello, Cristiano!], and during that time he's going to attempt to get back into tip-top shape and look "nice and purdy" for the competitors. Yes, it's going to be the end of an era for a lot of people who have watched Manchester United and have seen Rooney in devil red day in and day out, but we'll have to see the outcome of what Wayne thinks is the best option for himself during these tough times.

Let's just hope he doesn't continue doing this and mess up his reputation even more:


Sunday, October 17, 2010

AZ's Slant on Sunday - What Annoys Me as a Sports "Enthusiast"

(Warning to people outside of Philadelphia: I'm going to be using a lot of examples from a Philadelphia fan's perspective, so if you don't "dig that," I'm sorry. It's the only way that I know.)

Yeah, you read that right. I'm going to talk about what annoys me from a sports fan's perspective.
I figured I would take the last of my teenage angst out before midnight and write up a rant on what drives me nuts day in and day out about people that hang on the bandwagon or just refuse to understand. If I sound rebellious and irritating enough to you, then I'm doing my job.
Let's get started.

Ever since I was four years old, I was a Phillies fan. That means I've been a fan since 1994(ish), which was the year of the strike and the year after Mitch Williams gave a great pitch to Joe Carter and ended the World Series hopes for the Phils in '93. Even when they sucked in 1997 and every other year until Charlie Manuel came along, I followed them, and here they are with a playoff dynasty a-la the Braves from the 1990's. But when you come across a dynasty like this, you see some ugly stuff. You start seeing "fans" come out of the woodwork and you go, "Wait, what just happened? Where did they come from?" Once a team enters the playoffs, the fans get on the horse and are all about the team that they have barely followed at all during the year. I highly doubt it's the #1 reason for people to go to a bar and get drunk and be part of a party. Not everyone is like that. Why do people do this? I have no idea, but it annoys the die-hard fans because they've followed the team since game one and know the exact reason why the team is there and who was on the team doing it.

Here are two examples for you as to what annoys me (and other people):
If you asked a female Phillies fan who her favorite player was, you would probably get different answers depending on preference. Personally, I admire Chase Utley. I've liked him since he was brought up from the farm in '03. He has a respectable work ethic and he loves the game and shows it on the field. Then there are some females that say Jayson Werth is their favorite. Why? "Because he's cute." That's not a good enough answer. I am sorry.  Personally, he looks too much like Edge from WWE to suit my tastes. Anyway, it hurts as a fan to hear stuff like that, because you should at least like a player for a better reason than a physical trait. Sure, I like Cliff Lee "because he's cute" too, but he's also a heck of a pitcher and I absolutely love his ethic.

I digress.

It also hurts when you get someone watching a playoff game, and they're screaming at the television when they don't know the rules to the game or don't understand why something happens. That one hurts more than hitting your funny bone on a counter. They get excited when someone gets a base hit but then wonder why bullpen guys get paid so much money to come in for one inning. That, or they get upset when a guy like Ryan Howard strikes out when he gets paid so much money to play for the team.

And I digress a final time.

When you see the real fans, they still wear the jerseys of guys who haven't played for the team in 15 years because it brings luck or the vintage player tee shirts and other assorted things like that. They "hate," but they "hate with feeling" because they'll love the player or coach regardless of how much they just swore at the person in question five minutes ago. They know the players, the plays,
(FUN FACT: My younger brother and I got a picture with Curt Schilling during a photo day when he was with the Phillies in the late '90s. Where the photo is right now escapes me. I'll find it in my basement someday.)

Aside from this, it's cool that a city will show spirit and support for a team that has worked very hard to make it somewhere. However, I just wish it were more consistent in a huge city like the one that I live in. I hate to pick on Philly people, but good God, the love-hate relationship with the Eagles is incredibly painful.

A girl in one of my classes is from Indiana, and she loves the Colts regardless of whether they win or lose a game. Some Eagles fans are nowhere near that sometimes. Two weeks ago against the Redskins, people were totally hating on OB Kevin Kolb because of the type of game that he had. Today after beating the Falcons, people are going to be saying, "Wow, he had a great game! He's good for us!" Well, for now at least, right? (Ha, ha.)

Death to the Bandwagon. ...Or just the state of mind.

I might not know everything about a sport and know every stat about a player, but I try my best to respect the player's work  I also try not to be as biased. C'mon, people. It's a known fact that since I'm from Philly I will be as brutal as a fan as there will ever be, but now that I've branched out into other sporting interests and other teams, I'm "not that kind of fan" anymore. I'm what you would call an enthusiast that works hard to know the sport and to love it and give it some "hugs." I think if we give people more of a chance to understand the sport and give everyone a chance to appreciate it like I do, that would be nice. We wouldn't have so many people out in the dark. Isn't sports a way to bring people together and appreciate one another?? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad people come together to appreciate the sport, but I think we sometimes get together for all of the wrong reasons. I'd love for the bandwagon state of mind to diminish someday, but I don't think that will ever attempt to happen in my lifetime.

I know I'm probably going to be called an "elitist" after saying some of the stuff that I did (then again, I already was last night), but that's just how I feel about these things. It's my opinion. I'm not going to judge you if you're the type of person that I talked about in this entry. That's not my style at all. I just like to expose things and poke fun at them because I'm horrible at being a funny person.

On a lighter note and speaking of funny, here's a funny picture of Jonathan Papelbon fighting a bear Pokemon named Ursaring. I made this a little over six months ago because I was bored in school.

Oh hey, it's almost midnight...


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hey! No Fighting!

If only it were that easy.

In the 90+ years of the National Hockey League's existence, fighting has become a common sight on the ice. Did someone give you a cheap shot against the boards? Well then...knock his teeth in!! Ah yes, when it comes to sweet revenge, there's nothing like an all-out brawl on skates. However, people will bring up this argument: "Weren't we told at a young age that fighting isn't the answer to everything?" Of course, that statement is correct, but things go much deeper than that. In order to save face and make the game more "family-friendly," sporting officials and assorted activists have been pushing to ban the concept of fighting in the NHL. Fighting in hockey isn't exactly "glorified," as there are penalties that branch from it. However, some people are looking to end the "man's way of solving things" for good.

One of the biggest arguments suggesting the ban of fighting is the growth of the players in size. When you watch hockey, you're not seeing these scrawny guys that just look big because they're wearing layers on layers of pads anymore. You're actually looking at heftier guys that can take hits and dish harder ones out while still having pads on. Looking at the hard hits during the games, heaven help you if you meet one of these guys in a dark alley. The whole outlook of the game is much more physical and becoming more of a test of strength than skill. When you think about it, these guys didn't wear pads when the game was first played. Heck, helmets didn't even become mandatory until about 30-35 years ago. Scary, right?
Another argument is a hot topic today (again, it's on the blog somewhere too). Because of the increase of physicality in the game, many are afraid of the [BOOM] head shots that the players take; if a punch or check is hard enough, the player could earn a nice concussion for picking a fight with an opposing player. Then we go into the whole fiasco on how this affects the players in the future and how it can mess up their lives after their careers are long over.
The third and final argument (albeit cheesy) is that if fighting is banned, the product will be able to gain more sponsorships due to it's more "PG-rated" atmosphere and the organization will gain more revenue and money due to the increase in partnerships. In my humble opinion....that's a poor excuse of an argument. I'm sorry.

There are several arguments for the ban, but let's be honest, there is a huge upside to the use of fighting in hockey. Since it's a fast-paced game with several options to use against your opponent, you can sneak a cheap shot or hit (or slice...ouch). If fighting was taken out of the equation, you can get away with sneak shots whenever you want and the opponent couldn't do a thing about it unless if they flew themselves in front of the referee and complained and cried about it like it was pee-wee hockey again.
I remember when I was in grade school and for a class incentive-like trip we went to see an AHL game (it was the Philadelphia Phantoms versus some other team that I can't remember the name of) and the players were told that since it was an arena filled with grade school kids they were not allowed to start fights. Guess what happened two minutes in. Believe me, I have a pretty stellar memory of the olden days, and it wouldn't be the same sport if scuffling wasn't allowed anymore after this season or the season after that. Fighting is one of the few things men would like to see "on ice." Fighting is a natural thing. Men complain and try to solve things with their egos and their fists [No offense guys, you really do that.] and sometimes it can be fun to watch--especially if you lose your balance and fall down.

Aside from these arguments, there has been one concern that could change the face of the game. The big question is: "What if someone died on the ice while fighting or taking a hit?" Obviously, a man dying on the ice has never happened before, but it's still a question that lies in the back of every official's mind. There was one case in which a hit did take the life of a player after a game, but before I tell the story I'll have to remind you that this is back in the era when helmets weren't mandatory. In 1968, Bill Masterton took a hit during a game and slammed the back of his head on the ice (yes, there was blood) and died from a severe and inoperable brain injury two days later. Also, there have been several incidents in the more modern era such as one incident with goaltender Clint Malarchuk getting his throat slashed in 1989 and living to tell the tale [Side Note: There's footage of it on YouTube, but I'm not posting it here because it's incredibly gruesome and even I of all people have a hard time watching it.] and another incident with Richard Zednik with almost the same case as Malarchuk's in 2008.
Due to these horrific instances, advances have been made such as wearing helmets, face guards, throat guards, and just about every type of durable pad you can think of to make sure that each and every player is protected and safe from freak accidents and possible death.

But as for right now, everyone is civilized and concerned about having safety first. Let them eat cake, guys. Would you rather see dirty play in cheap shots, or would you rather see them handle it in a more manly manner? I choose the latter, thanks. I just hope it doesn't get anybody into any serious trouble in the long run.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Superstitions and Curses: Fact or Fiction

With the massive groups of fans in the world of sports, I guess you can call sports a religion. There is worship, condemnation, praise, teaching, and lots and lots of  "saints." There's another form of worship in the world of sports, and that form of worship is through superstition. It's common, and it can sometimes get out of hand. If it becomes a trend and later an obsession, these little eensy weensy superstitions can turn into these big fat worry warts we call curses.

Sports Illustrated, Madden NFL Games, the Billy Goat, the Bambino, William Penn, the list goes on. Many of these "curses" have been broken, but many of them are as alive as ever. Teams and even individual players can tell you how these curses have affected them even though they might not even believe in them. Last night, many people watched a curse break, as the Texas Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays and dropped the title as the only American professional sports franchise to have never won a postseason series. Unfortunately, not everybody can have this joy in breaking a curse, as several teams are still immersed in one. (cough cough Chicago Cubs cough cough Detroit Lions cough cough cough)

Sports curses don't just exist in the major sports leagues either.
According to my research...
There are curses that exist in racing and curling as well.

But let's cut to the chase here... are we taking these superstitions and curses a little too seriously? Are we becoming an obsessive-compulsive society? It seems like we're taking the expression "lucky" to a whole new level. I guess it's been etched in our heads as something "cool" or "necessary." Heck, I even did this one when I played softball before I went into high school: In the film A League of Their Own it was mentioned that if you don't cross your fingers while moving through a cemetery you'll never get another hit. I did it for about a year. Then I stopped. Then I noticed that it was a sham. It's weird how little things like that can make people go nuts. Parents have taken their children/teenagers to see psychiatrists because little obsessions like this have gone way too far. It's as if once the word "curse" is brought up, it emits a surging stigma through everyone within the same room and shocks everyone's innards until they're completely spooked and paranoid about the so-called "curse."

So here's the question: are these obsessions worth it? Are curses and superstitions real, alive, and well?
If I had to give a goofy, know-nothing response, I would say "blame it on the concussions" due to a previous entry that I wrote on this blog. However, in all seriousness, you might have to take a philosophical point of view on this. It's almost as if you're comparing it to whether you believe in Heaven and Hell or not at all. Curses and superstitions give you that mental assurance (or lack thereof) that something will go right or wrong depending on the situation that is before you. On the other hand, it could also be just a wacky case of coincidence that certain players, teams, and fans have been plagued with in their journey of appreciating and participating in sports. Every good once in a while, you get the determined men and women who work to "reverse the curse" or prove that a particular superstition is just a farce. Some have succeeded, some have failed. In comparison of spiritual truths, it's like the battle between good and evil on this planet--there will always be this mental force from our free will that will give us mental blocks consisting of "outer forces" (which I guess you can refer to as sin and temptation) and keep us from breaking the bad habits that we have. In conclusion, it's all up in the head. There's no reality to superstitions and curses at all.

Now it's your turn. What do you think? Are they real? Is it a load of bullhockey?

The choices are yours and yours alone.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Sports Writer's Block

Remember the essay tests or the SATs in high school? Do you even remember the dreaded essay booklets in college? Of course, you would start taking the test, and then you would get that one little essay question that you would have no idea how to write out no matter how well you knew the material. Don't lie, it happens to everyone. And I'll be the first to say that it's the most godawful thing to happen. In stating this, I'm starting to get my groove into sports writing. However, I'm still getting that little tumbleweed in my head once in a while when I want to write a really "beefy" topic. In short, here is one question I would love to ask: regardless of how much information that reporters and analysts receive after so many years, do they still get the massive writers block of old?

I'll admit, when I start thinking and drafting a topic that I would really like to write about, it can be incredibly hard to scribble complete thoughts at times. I'll be wide awake, full of food and other energy, and my brain will just refuse to work with me. It's very irritating, and I know that there are beat reporters out there that cannot afford to have that happen once in a while. It's even worse when you're a columnist and you're trying to either poke fun or "sport" an opinion about a topic. Believe me, it wasn't easy thinking about how I could make jokes about the Manning vs. Manning game while still stating facts and figures. That had to cook in my head for a couple of days.


If you've dug into this blog far enough, you have probably seen the entry that I was going to discontinue the blog due to other conflicts (mainly school) and then I wound up bringing it back a few weeks later. Schooling full-time and working part-time isn't exactly the easiest thing when you're trying to make spare time to write, and I often try my best to make the most of free time at the end of the day. Unfortunately, there are those times when you have so much free time inbetween and you can't capitalize on it. It's almost like how really bad baseball teams can't get that clutch hit with RISP and you wind up leaving at least 15-20 guys on base by the end of the game. Yes, the steam comes out of my ears. I even bought myself a notebook so when I get that spark of brilliance wherever I am I can jot it down and save it for later. Isn't that what comedians and songwriters do anyway?

I never thought I would get this far into writing, because as I state in the About Me section, I was never the reader/writer. Now that my feet have been submersed, as it were, I want to stay in as far as possible and make sure that I can think of something effective and enjoyable on the fly. I've found stuff like this to be very therapeutic, but being a writer isn't considered a "career" on my end yet, so why do I stress out about it? To prepare? To impress? To make others happy? I have no idea. I need to see a psychiatrist or something.

But reverting back to my question in the beginning, how on Earth do sports analysts and beat columnists keep going? I understand that the job is stressful, but at times there are just things that the brain cannot do at all. Am I really in over my head, or am I just missing something that will come in handy once I truly begin the journey?



Thursday, October 7, 2010

Because I'm Proud of it, I'm Posting it Here.

I made this in Paint in about an hour. All of this is in honor to Roy Halladay's no-hitter. Yes, I based it off of the movie poster. Without any further Apu, here you go:

It's very simple and looks awkward because it was made in Paint, but haters, you can keep on hating. I like it for what it is. I don't have all of these expensive computer programs to do this stuff.

Hope you liked my brief stint at being unoriginal.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Final MLB Slant for 2010 - Sorry, Champs Only.

[Insert Showcase Music Here]

My friends, we have just ended another regular season in Major League Baseball, any my goodness, was it an all-out brawl in some spots. After a while, only the top two spots in each division had a real chance at the division pennant, and it was a definite fight to the finish in almost each one.
To make things more simpler this time around, we're only going to talk about the top teams that are going to be competing in the postseason and give brief thoughts as to who will walk away as World Champs.
After that, I'll be poking in my thoughts as to who should be awarded the MVP, ROY, and CY honors for each League. Cool enough for you? Good. LET'S GET STARTED!


Oh good golly, these matchups are nearly dead even. I don't care about what the Vegas odds are, so I'm not even going by that. These are my thoughts and my opinions. Deal with it.


Philadelphia Phillies (97-65) - As the beasts of the East (and the MLB), these guys have high expectations after coming back from being seven games behind the Braves in July. The "H2O" combination of Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt are looking to help the team return to the Fall Classic and take back the title that they had lost last year against the Yankees.

Cincinnati Reds (91-71) - Dusty Baker's crew leads the league in numerous categories such as average, hits, home runs, and RBI. With MVP candidate Joey Votto on their side, they're looking to crush competition. One more thing--their bullpen is quite nice. Can they call upon the prowess the Big Red Machine had in the 1970's to overcome all competition?

San Francisco Giants (92-70) - For the first time since 2003, the men in orange and black have come back to play some October baseball. When you hear the the team "San Fransisco Giants," the first thing that comes to mind is their pitching staff and how it is extremely difficult to figure out. If their hitting decides to step it up and cream the competition, these guys can make a trip back to The Show.

Atlanta Braves [Wild Card] (91-71) - Chop-nation is looking to give Bobby Cox a nice going-away present: a big ring. Almost nearly collapsing at the end of the season, they proved their worth even without Chipper Jones at third base. If the bullpen and hitting staff can work together, the Braves will certainly be a force to be reckoned with.

Postseason Chances:
Phillies/Reds --> Phillies in 4
Braves/Giants --> Braves in 5
(Side Note: Are you serious? I don't want to relive a '93 NLCS between Philadelphia and Atlanta. I don't care if I was only 2 [Soon to be 3 a few days later], that seemed like a brutal series!)

NLCS (If Phillies/Braves) --> Phillies in 6


Tampa Bay Rays (96-66) - After senseless arguing over why their attendance amounts were so low, they have no more reason to complain. They're back in October, and their capitalization on errors and walks will make you cry for mercy. With the Tampa Bay Rays, speed is key. Then again, their pitching is too behind the likes of David Price. Why not? Their uncanny ability to get the job done is good enough to get back to the World Series and to win their first title in franchise history.

Minnesota Twins (94-68) - Repeat after me: There will be blood. It's a new year, a new stadium, and a heck of a lot more revenge. Led by ace Francisco Liriano and reigning MVP Joe Mauer, their eyes are set on the prize, and they are willing to brutalize the Yankees (the team that swept them in the ALDS last year) in the process. If they do that, Justin Morneau will be able to play in the ALCS with them. Nice little gift, I would say.

Texas Rangers (90-72) - Go go Texas Rangerrrrs! These southern boys have come a long way from the beginning of the season. Over the course of the year they have acquired powerhouse players and have strengthened longer-tenured players. If you don't believe me, look at their team average stat--they lead the league in that. AL MVP candidate Josh Hamilton looks to keep his return from injury a strong one and lead the team to it's first franchise postseason series win ever. Seriously. EVER.

New York Yankees [Wild Card] (95-67) - Eh, they've been down this road so many times before. Will this one be any different? Maybe. Their batting order is as strong as ever, but their bullpen might speak differently on their end. Although they're the second best team in the League, they need to abide by the saying "united we stand, divided we fall." Can A-Rod, Jeter, Sabathia and company lead the team to it's second straight World Series title and 28th overall? We'll find out soon enough.

Postseason Chances:
Rays/Rangers --> Rays in 4
Twins/Yankees --> Twins in 5

ALCS (If Rays/Twins) --> Rays in 5

World Series Prediction: [You bet I just predicted a 2008 rematch]
(BIG SIDE NOTE: A brief entry will be written about this when the time comes to see if I'm right.)
If Phillies/Rays --> Rays in 7


Now that we have that out of the way, let's get a little more personal and talk about the individual awards that will be given after all of the postseason business is said and done.



NL MVP - Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds - He earns this without a doubt. A nice burst through postseason would be a nice touch for him too. After overcoming depression and other inner demons, this guy can show you how to hit and how to gun a guy down all the way from deep right field.

NL CY YOUNG - Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies - He made a really nice transition into the National League by leading pitching in several different categories and racking up a franchise-high 21 wins with the Phils. Hey Doc Roy Toy, you're alright with me, dude.

NL ROY - Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants - I like this guy, and I like what he has to offer for the next couple of years. Sure, he didn't start the season in the majors, but did that stop Ryan Howard from getting the ROY title in '06? No. It won't do that either for "Mr. I'm So Versatile and Still a Darn Fine Catcher."


AL MVP - Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers - As a Triple Crown contender and an insane defensive outfielder, he's practically a shoe-in for this title, in my opinion. This would really be something special too, especially with the drug problem that he had a few years ago.

AL CY YOUNG - Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners - It's a shame that his real skill and stat is overshadowed and victimized by the misfortunes of the offense that needs to back him up. In a power-heavy League, his ERA is proof that he deserves some kudos and the award. I'll admit I may be disappointed if this award is given to CC Sabathia.

AL ROY - Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers - Here's a quick guy that hits for average, and shows a lot of versatility in center field. Having Jackson as my pick is a very tough decision, because if he isn't seen as a ROY in professional eyes, this award will go to closer Neftali Feliz.


And that, my friends, is that. This year was absolutely fun to cover, and I'm already looking forward to early February when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Return to Philadelphia: Donovan McNabb vs. The City, Players, and Fans

Tomorrow is the day that many football enthusiasts have been waiting for since the announcement of the NFL schedule. This day--is when Donovan McNabb would return to Philadelphia to face his former team of 11 seasons: the Philadelphia Eagles. After a controversial trade and a great amount of bottled hostility and sadness, football fans will truly find out who made the best move in giving away McNabb or receiving him in the trade. In recent history, the quarterback returning home would usually get the win against his former team (Kurt Warner, Steve McNair, Brett Favre, even Michael Vick, etc.). Will this be the same? Is the Eagles crowd going to make a difference?

Sure, they're infamous for being unique and loyal, yet very very. . .brutal.
On Sunday, they could either be:

Or. . .they could be like this:

(courtesy of your friendly neighborhood PAINT)
(in homage to ZWR)

Some say he will be booed, and others are saying he will be welcomed with open arms for his time in green. If this game can be considered a stalemate on paper, consider the fans at Lincoln Financial Field to be the difference in the game. They're going to bring some heat.

Anyway, let's look at the statistics going into the game... [Much love to]
Games: 3
Percentage: 60.8
Yards: 833
Touchdowns: 2
Interceptions: 1
Rating: 89.2

Games: 3
Percentage: 60.7
Yards: 750
Touchdowns: 6
Interceptions: 0
Rating: 110.2

Interesting. I didn't even put down their rushing so far for this year--both of which have half decent stats there as well. This is going to really depend on each of the defensive lines on Sunday, and both lines look rather hit-or-miss. I won't even talk about the Eagles' offensive line--many fans know how they have a lack of depth there. Aside from what the teams look like on paper, you have to take a look at the teams that the Redskins and Eagles have faced in the first three weeks of the season. The Redskins let the Cowboys beat themselves on penalties in Week 1 while Kevin Kolb went cold turkey against the Packs and fell behind. In Week 2, the Texans used tricky managing to outsmart the 'Skins, and the Eagles faced the Lions. What, were you expecting me to say something about the Lions? Oh. I have nothing to say about them. They almost got lucky, that's all. Meanwhile, last week, the Redskins had a rough run against a surprisingly ready Rams team, while the Eagles played the Jaguars. Again, I have nothing to say about the Jaguars.

In my view, I'd love to see this as a QB rushing extravaganza between McNabb and Vick just like the NFC Championship was hoping to be in 2005, but I think new management won't let that happen even now, especially with the list of wide receivers on each team. I know that we all have high expectations for this game, and we want to see McNabb have a great outing and work the fans in his favor. Then again, there are some people that want him to get booed out of the city because he "sucks so bad and choked one too many times in 11 years."

As for the results of this game, McNabb having a successful return could most definitely happen. However and I mean however. . .do you think a big sports city like Philadelphia is going to let that happen? Nah, man, they can move and motivate much more than Bluto from Animal House would with a frat party.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I call the Eagles to go to 3-1 after tomorrow afternoon.