Monday, September 04, 2006

Monday A.M.: First Take

Lead Item: NFL Waiver Mania! For one day, NFL GMs act EXACTLY like you do in your fantasy league:

They scour the list of players released by other teams -- as the final cuts, these are the best pickins -- and pounce:

Most notably, Gary Kubiak picked up his Broncos reclamation project Ron Dayne after Denver cut the disappointing RB. Yet another team for Dayne to offer the promise of productivity, but ultimately let the fans down. (I was high on both Morency and Lundy, and I hope that Kubiak doesn’t automatically give the goal-line carries to Dayne.)

Nick Saban claimed Lee Suggs (injuries and all), apparently continuing his strategy of filling his entire roster with players from the Southeast U.S.

I’m not sure where Najeh Davenport ended up, but the team should make sure there’s a clean hamper for him.

And Charles Rogers was released, thus ending what will go down as one of the Top 3 biggest draft busts of the ESPN Era.

(Finally – thankfully – the ridiculous Jeff George storyline in Oakland is over. Has a washed-up player ever gotten more publicity off of a one-week stint with a team? Sorry, Whitlock.)

MLB Wrap: Howard vs. Pujols. Anything you can do... I have Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard 1-2 in my NL MVP balloting. I’m just not sure which goes where.

My heart says Howard. My head says Pujols. If the Phillies win the Wild Card, I think it has to go to Howard. (Remember what I said Friday: Howard is the new “Face of Baseball.”)

Here is THE MLB storyline to watch: With a month left in the season and Howard at 52 HR, is it possible that he can top 61? And, if he does, can he claim to be the TRUE all-time Home Run Champ?

(If he did hit 62-plus, if I was him, I would immediately offer to take every level of drug test available to science, all the better to strengthen a claim as the REAL single-season HR champ.)

More MLB: Does anyone really think that Jason Varitek’s return to the Red Sox will mean anything? I didn’t think so...

Big Ben out 2 games: Is this just a blip on the season or foreshadowing of larger problems ahead? (Remember, as long as the Steelers make the playoffs and Big Ben can play for THOSE games, the Steelers are fine. Then again, it’s no guarantee the Steelers will get into the playoffs this year without a full-strength Big Ben.)

Andre Agassi: Career over! Here’s what I’ll always remember/appreciate about Agassi – he was sports’ Madonna: Able to reinvent his career (and persona), from “Bad Boy” to “Wise Elder.” Mostly, I think he exposes the bandwagoneers in the media, most of whom cursed him when he was brash and young. He wouldn’t have been “Wise Elder Andre” without “Brash Young Andre.” Strike that: He COULDN’T have been the Andre now without the Andre then.

USA Hoops: Bronze. I think the fact that the USA team beat Argentina is certainly better than losing, but if the team took any satisfaction out of coming in third, they’re destined to lose again. Anything but gold should be thought of as completely unacceptable.

Tonight’s Best: FSU-Miami. I’m not sure how much of the “Full Circle” coverage I’m going to engage in (beyond the standard game broadcast), but there’s something to be said for the end-zone-cam view (which could be dubbed the “Madden View,” inspired by that Slate piece on Madden ‘07 last week). I sat in end-zone seats at the Swamp on Saturday, and – while not as good as the usual seats I sit in – it really is fascinating how you can track the development of the plays so much better from an end-zone view. It’s the Maddenification of the fans. (Hell, when is the first crappy team going to try to market their crappy end-zone seats as “Madden Tier seating!”)

Sucks to be...: Michael Bush. The Louisville RB was an outside Heisman contender (though quickly moving up the rankings after scoring 3 TDs last night), right up until he broke his leg, ending his season. I guess it kinda sucks to be Louisville, too.

I’m traveling back from Florida to NYC today, but I’ll be back with a new Quickie-ish “Wrap” post tomorrow a.m.

BY THE WAY: If you live in/near NYC, don’t forget that I’m hosting my monthly sports reading series on Wednesday night at Happy Ending (302 Broome), featuring readings from Seth Mnookin, Jeff MacGregor and Warren St. John. It’s free and it’s a great night out!

-- D.S.

18 comments:

The NOVA Report said...

Sucks to be John L. Smith. Bush and Brohm had no business starting the second-half of that game. The score may have been "close", but there was no freakin way that Kentucky was going to win that game.

Zachary Geballe said...

Dan, how about a little consideration for Miguel Cabrera for NL MVP? The guy is posting an OPS over 1.000 in a serious pitchers park (unlike the launching pads in Philly and St. Louis) and plays in a lineup full of guys you've never heard of. Plus, his team has a $14 million dollar payroll and is just 2 games out of the wild card. To me, that screams MVP more than a lot of homers...

Kevin said...

Remember, the Steelers only made the playoffs by one game last season, and they are in an improving division with a tougher schedule this year. I don't think they'll make they playoffs with or without Big Ben this year.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Howard is the new face of ball, because it's important for the future of the sport that more African-Americans be playing it.

Gary Knopf said...

Just read the blog...good work Dan. I am definately getting Gabe an IU shirt so he can get out of those bliding Florida clothes

Jake C said...

Your comments on USA echo my thoughts and post exactly.

As for the Pujols/Howard debate...how quickly we forget and toss aside Beltran. You can go back to the Nash for MVP debate where many said look what happens when he's not there. Well, look how pitiful the the Mets offense was (even with Delgado and Reyes in it) yesterday without both Beltran and Wright.

61 HRs? I hope not. Not because I am rooting against Howard, but because if we are going to talk records, I hope he gets 74 (inconceivalbe) or less than 61. Again, as much as we love to speculate...nothing has been proven. PLUS, hitters are not the only ones! And...PEDs mainly help heal time and recovery...not how good your hand-eye coordination is...just ask Jo-Bu

Tacomaker said...

Kevin,
Let me get this straight. The Steelers had no significant roster changes from last year to this year, and if Roethlisberger is healthy you're still saying they'll miss the playoffs?!? Nothing like delusions of grandeur from a Bengals fan...

Andy said...

A.) This blogging site can thank you for my membership...I signed up to comment on your postings.
B.) I'm beginning to like this better than the Quickie (a weekend post? Can't beat that!)
C.) Ryan Howard should be MVP (if and only if the Phils make the Wild Card - this coming from a die hard Philly fan)
D.) Penn State will dominate Notre Dame this weekend in the top undercard game of the week behind the OSU-Texas game. (Expect the PSU Linebackers to put more than one game-altering hits on Brady Quinn; and also expect Anthony Morelli to outshine his QB counterpart).
E.) Good to be able to keep reading your look on sports...keep up the great writing!

Rafael said...

Starting Texas CB, who would cover Ginn, arrested.
100 Bucks says Mack Brown will drag his feet and bench him AFTER the OSU game.

Chris said...

any basketball team can lose one game. I'm not upset with the loss to Greece.

Chris said...

and zach - CBP is such a 'launching pad' that Howard has a similar rate of homers home and away

frostdude1 said...

Dan , I love reading your stuff every morning but dont kid yourself ...

Derek Jeter is still the face of baseball !! Hes clutch , good looking , 4 rings so far , shortstop captain of the Yankees , and hes gonna win the AL MVP this year , hes got it all and you know it

Kevin said...

tacomaker:

The Steelers made the playoffs by one game. They have two games each against Baltimore and Cleveland, both improving teams. Plus teams like Miami are better, and overall the AFC is much deeper than it was last year.

Plus, the losses of Bettis and Randle El have to hurt a little bit, and everybody will be pumped up when they play the defending world champions. All those factors combined could easily make a one-game difference.

Gary said...

I have to agree with Kevin...(as a Giants fan I have no bias towards or against the Steelers) I think that the potential of Charlie Batch starting one or more games to start the season could potentially start a dangerous chain of events into motion. The Steelers defense is still solid and will have to carry them early this season as Batch starts and Big Ben has to get re-acclimated into game action. Nothing like a motorcyclye accident and burst appendix to give you some jitters.

Bettis scored a bunch of TDs last year despite lack of overall yardage production. You can't overlook the fact that Jerome is gone and they'll need to find those points somewhere.

I think the Steelers will still make the playoffs, but they may be looking at another wild-card. Don't forget how good the AFC is.

Carson Palmer sure looked good in his return to action. Miami is going to be better, Jacksonville has another solid squad. New England and Indy are going to make the playoffs. Someone from the West will make it, and the other two competing teams will be pretty darned good. So that leaves nine teams looking for six playoff spots. (In no particular order)

1. Indy
2. Jacksonville
3. Denver
4. KC
5. San Diego
6. Pittsburgh
7. Cincy
8. New England
9. Miami

I know they are the champs, but not having Big Ben in there for two games could make the difference.

Just my long opinion

JichaelDick said...

Nova, I agree that it sucks to be John L. Smith. I wouldn't want to coach a bunch that nearly lost to Idaho myself.

Mark (Austin, TX) said...

I am torn about the Howard for MVP debate. If the Phillies win the wild card, they will likely do it at 4 or 5 games over .500. I think the MVP should come from a playoff team, but if its a team that is 84-78 or the like I am not so sure. I would still vote Howard over Pujols because Howard could lead his team to the playoffs AFTER a fire sale.

Pittsburgh could be ok if they can run the ball. But what happens when teams start putting 8 or 9 in the box and FORCE Charlie Batch to beat them? It's possible but I wouldn't be counting on it.

As a Raider fan, nothing convinced me more of Al Davis' onset of senility than the signing of Jeff George. Hopefully someone talked some sense into him or he got back on the meds...

Watching Agassi's career end was kinda surreal. Going down in defeat in that match was hard. I even got yelled at for having it on by my gf because his crying made her cry and she doesn't like tennis.

Tacomaker said...

Pittsburgh's offense is set up so that the QB needs only to be serviceable, something Batch has proven last season and in this preseason. Sure, Bettis won't be there, but his touchdown carries were from goal-line field position. If they can't score from those spots on the field without him, they don't deserve to make the playoffs. I'm going to say they'll be fine. As far as losing Randel El, people don't realize how overblown his loss has been. His impact last year was minimal at best. If not for his playoff trickery, I'm saying he's still with the Steelers. Santonio Holmes will be a major upgrade over Randel El.

Tacomaker said...

Either way, the AFC should be a blast to watch this year.