Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wednesday 08/29 A.M. Quickie:
MLB Pennant Races, Yi, Ainge, USA Hoops, More!

MLB Pennant Race Mania! With just more than a month to play, it is SO on:

Phillies pick up a game on the Mets, after a head-to-head win. Padres pick up a game on the D'backs in a similar way. The Cubs came back to hold off the Brewers, and the Cards took over second place in the NL Central. The Angels came back to hold off the Mariners, pushing Seattle out 4 games (instead of only back 2).

And, oh right: The Yankees beat the Red Sox. But with all of these other (more) compelling division races, this one is the least dramatic of them all – by far the least competitive division race of the six. How great is that?

(I'm not sure why the Yankees would focus AT ALL on the division title, when they should be concentrating on winning the Wild Card. The mantra should be: Make the playoffs, however it happens. In the Wild Card Era, who cares about division titles?) And, for now, the Yankees are 1 GB the Mariners, with Seattle getting one more game against the Angels before a brutal road swing against some of the AL's top teams.

Yi signs with the Bucks: Well THIS was an unexpected development, but kudos to the team for closing the deal (even if it took owner Herb Kohl going to China personally to make it happen). And, now, amazingly, Milwaukee might be the second-favorite American city for Chinese basketball fans, behind Houston.

MLB Stud (and Dud): Ian Kennedy (and Mike Mussina). The MLB vet was booted from the Yankees rotation in favor of rookie sensation Ian Kennedy. The future is now for the Yanks.

NFL Fantasy Watch: Is Jesse Chatman about to displace Ronnie Brown as the Dolphins starting RB? (Was it so long ago that Brown was a hot pick to be in the Top 5?) At the very least, sounds like they will split carries, making Brown's fantasy value proposition all the more shaky. (Will Chatman be this season's Maurice Jones-Drew?)

CFB: How bad is Erik Ainge's finger injury? And how much will it hurt the Vols when they play at Cal on Saturday in the Game of the Week? (I already was picking Cal to win the game; this just increases the number of people on that bandwagon with me.)

More CFB QB news: Todd Boeckman will be Ohio State's starter. Why do I have OSU ranked so poorly in my initial Top 25? Questions about the QB is the No. 1 reason. As soon as Boeckman proves himself solid, if not Heisman-style spectacular.

Meanwhile, USC Running Backs coach Todd McNair has a history with dog-fighting, convicted of cruelty to animals a decade ago. In the current environment, will that embroil him in a scandal that could cost him his job? If he was coaching in the NFL, definitely.

But under the shield of the college system – where a coach like Pete Carroll rules with no restriction (from either the NCAA or even the leaders of his own institution) – unlikely. Carroll will cover for one of his own.

Artest supports Vick: Sort of. He says "I want to support him and be there for him." To his credit, Artest also says, "I don't support the dog fighting. I can't watch it. I can't imagine another dog biting a dog. It makes me nauseous." (via NY Post)

USA Hoops: Still blowing teams out. The latest: Puerto Rico, in a nice catharsis from the Athens debacle. On to the semifinals. With a guaranteed Olympic spot to the top two teams of the tournament, a finals showdown with, say, Argentina isn't for much more than pride. But that's why they're all playing, isn't it?

NBA Scandals: The refs get a lawyer. (Why: Do they NEED one?)

Meanwhile, Rafer Alston was arrested (again). At what point does David Stern invoke a Goodell-style "personal conduct policy" and suspend Alston for the quarter-season "time-out" he probably deserves?

Tim Couch coming out as having used HGH shouldn't come as too much of a surprise: The pressure to use steroids or other PEDs has always been felt greatest at the margins. Oh, I'm sure the superstars do it too, but it's the guys who need the artificial boost just to get to the point where they stay be on the margins that must feel the greatest temptation.

Equipment Watch: Given the court ruling upholding a ban on metal bats in high school games, I think we're seeing the beginning of the end of the "ping."

CFB: By mistake, I didn't post my Heismania post yesterday. It'll go up today. Sorry about that.

Meanwhile, I submitted my Week 2 Blog Poll ballot, with a few changes. Dropping USC behind LSU. Moving Cal up a little bit. Putting South Carolina at No. 25.

But there's one constant: I kept Virginia Tech at the top of my ballot. I believe that I am the only college football-related pundit (mainstream or blogger) that has the Hokies picked to win the national title. (Please shoot me a note if you know that I'm not.) If the Hokies win at LSU ("if?" I mean "when"), EVERYONE will be on that bandwagon. And it will be here in a mere 10 days. Reserve your seats now. Still plenty of room.

Here's one of my favorite parts of the Blog Poll: The weekly roundtables off the poll results. This week's is: Who's overrated? Who's underrated? Lots of great stuff here. (None from me, this week.)

Alert: Stop reading here if you don't care about other people's fantasy teams. (I think that disclaimer should be standard before any item about your own fantasy team, particularly during the height of draft season.)

Fantasy Football: After a fierce draft battle among DS.com commenters, the results are in. Picking 4th in a 10-team league, I got (in this order): Larry Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Chad Johnson, Brandon Jacobs, Calvin Johnson, Vernon Davis, Reggie Brown, Santana Moss, DeAngelo Williams, Jon Kitna, Vince Young, Chester Taylor, Denver D, DJ Hackett and David Akers.

Finally, in case it's not on your radar today, don't forget to take a moment to consider the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the civics outrage it should continue to provoke.

-- D.S.

48 comments:

Pete said...

Danny Boy, as Curt Schilling pointed out on WEEI radio yesterday, there is quite a bit to be said for winning the division rather than the wild card since the wc team doesn't get home field advantage in the first two series.

Sparty said...

All this focus on the wild card vs. the division is bogus. If you chase the team leading your division, the likelyhood of making the playoffs as a Wild Card increase for a team like the yankees, or any other second place team in the AL (obviously someone like the Cards and Brewers in the NL have better shots at the divison rather than the WC). Besides, they really are at looking winning the game at hand, and not really how many games back they are of the Sox or Mariners. Win your games, that is all you can do.

pv845 said...

A conviction 10 years ago doesn't mean anything unless you are like a teacher and it was for some child sex crime.

No mention of the AL central and the race in it?

Yankees want to chase the Sox. If they finish within like 3 games of the Sox, then it is likely that they will win the wildcard.

So how far are you going to drop the #1 team in the land?

Clinton (Indianapolis) said...

I watched the NBC Nightly News last night, and they were broadcasting from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. They showed a comparison shot of the same stretch of land then and now. Then: Debris everywhere. Now: Nothing but a bunch of vacant lots. Very disappointing and sad, and tonight they're broadcasting from New Orleans.

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

Brian in Oxford said...

Dan,

I think you should get Larry Johnson the artist to draw you a picture for the one-year anniversary of the Quickie in blog format. That's obviously why you drafted him, no?

CubFan1981 said...

Just because:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgN5KEGaJcY

thr(3)e said...

Dan,

Can you please call your DS.com fantasy team "The Big Johnsons"? I mean, Larry, Chad AND Calvin? You gotta.

Big D said...

"The Danshanoff.com commenters fantasy league? come on - nobody cares about that crap!"

Just getting it out of the way for everyone else...

TheNaturalMevs said...

denver d? ouch.

Matt T said...

That team looks a lot better than your other ones you've posted. Denver D should lead the league in INTs.

Oh and South Carolina at 25? I thought i'd convinced you for UGA.

Ken Dynamo said...

good point on the team usa basketball. i wondered what the point of playing was and i guess pride is the best we've got, which speaks volumes to what a stupid stupid reason to risk injury for the NBA season thw whole thing is. after these next olympics can we stop putting pros in and go back to college kids and amatuers? does the usa REALLY need to prove anything? the whole thing is pathetic.

chitown italian said...

Dan - I thought we covered this....no mentioning the Cubs until a WS is won. I don't want any jinxing although if they get to the WS McCarver will screw us with some f'ed up analogy or dumbass comment.

Nope, not superstitious at all. Why do you ask?

Edmond said...

Wait...Tim Couch used steroids?!?!...What's that to enhance his sucking at NFL football even more?...if that's the case...GREAT SUCCESS!!!

Strike Em Out, Throw Em Out said...

Chad and Charles? Rename your team "Receiving Johnsons"

bird said...

Clinton(Indianapolis)'s comments about the two-year Katrina anniversary are absolutely right on. Knowing the history of government corruption in Louisiana, I'm not surprised at the amount of waste in terms of the state response there. But the federal response (or to be more accurate, the lack of response)? Well, this is the same bunch of bozos who went to war based on a pack of lies, and now more than 3000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead. I could go on, but this IS a sports blog! To that end--Go Hokies, beat LSU!

Dr. Zoom said...

Wait a mimute. Ron Artest said something sensitive and/or sensible? I feel like I'm taking CRAZY PILLS!

Richard K. said...

DS,

Love the draft although you may have reached a bit for Adrian Peterson.

In my keeper league I just pulled off a three team trade that resulted in me giving up Brandon Jacobs and a 15th round pick for Thomas Jones. My team name is "Vick owns Uga"

bkelly126 said...

a slap at Tennessee and some recognition for the ol' ball coach? you are really trying to get some Florida street cred

Boomhauertjs said...

Nice work Dan. You mention every other division except the AL Central. No love for the Tribe picking up a game on the Tigers? You might want to pay attention to the Jake tonight with a Santana-Sabathia pitching matchup.

CycleDan said...

Why is this such a big deal about Couch? I would guess that 31/32 of the starting QBs in the NFL at one time took an illegal performance enhancing drug. I would also guess that 100% of O-linemen, D-linemen and linebackers have taken PEDs as well.

You don't get to 260 lbs of solid muscle and still run a 4.6 40 just from eating your Wheaties and going for your morning jog.

If the NFL would seriously try to catch any and all cheats who use PEDs, there simply would be no league. Same for baseball, tennis, basketball, hockey, track and field, curling and darts.

CycleDan said...

I agree (for quite some time now) that the Red Sox have won the East. However I don't get the comment that the Yanks should be concentrating on the Wild Card. How do their actions show they are trying to win the division and not the WC? All you can do is win your games. Even if the Yanks sweep the Red Sox, they are still 4 games back. However the worst they will be is 1 game out in the WC.

3 games against TB and then 3 against the Mariners. What a series that will be if the teams are still within 1 game of each other or even tied.

CMFost said...

cycledan a sweep and the Yankees would still be 5 Games back not 4.

CycleDan said...

I don't understand why the Yanks find it fine to start Hughes, bring up Ian Kennedy (both 22 years old I believe), yet Chamberlain needs a day off for every day he pitches. I understand not wanting to hurt the arm of a young pitcher but why does starting a game hurt him? Just don't let him throw more than a specified pitch count - say 80-90 pitches.

One year Billy Martin had a great young staff with the A's but no bullpen. By the end of the season, he totally burned out the arms of his entire starting rotation. I dont' think starting a 21 year old every 5th game for 80-90 pitches will sacrifice his health.

CycleDan said...

CMFost, you are right, typo I guess since I knew they started 8 games back with a 3 game series.

I actually think the Angels are the best team in the AL and will beat the Red Sox out for the pennant. In the NL, I still think the Mets are a better team than the Diamondbacks. If Pedro Martinez can come back strong (50/50 chance at best), that would make the Mets a strong favorite. Even know, they have a good mix of speed and small ball along with some power when needed. Their starting rotation is solid but no major stopper. Their bullpen is suspect but whose isn't?

Sentimental favorite has to be the Cubs. I have always loved Lou Pinella and also have to feel for Cubs fans. For all the Red Sox fans moaning over the years, at least they were close once in a while.

malcolm said...
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malcolm said...

1) Thank God the bat ruling was upheld. I nearly saw a pitcher murdered by a comebacker off aluminum at a beer league game the other night.

2) If the NCAA goes to wood, does Easton cancel their contract, or do they start making wood bats? If Louisville, Mizuno, etc. got the NCAA contract, it'd be the greatest thing to happen to them. If Easton started making wood bats, though, watch out competition.

3) Is there really anything wrong with supporting Michael Vick in his rehabilitation? Friends and family should want nothing more than to see him come out of prison a changed man. Wouldn't it be great if he legitimately thought his actions were horrible when he left jail?

henry s said...

Ron Artest can't imagine a dog biting another dog...but he has no problem starving his own Great Dane...

Chad said...

I see, so a team such as the Yankees gets to decide towards WHICH race their wins count by focusing on one vs. the other race... Hmm. I'm intrigued. So did they elect to count last night's win towards the WC or the division? WOW. Who makes that decision? Caption Steely Eyed-Intangibles? How very hard it must be to decide whether to apply that W to the WC or to the AL East. You're a genius, Shamoff (well, whatever the opposite of genius is, really, but close!!! (not really close at all))

toddthesecond said...

From what I read yesterday, Couch ALLEGEDLY used these PEDs to rehab AFTER his shoulder surgery, and he hasn't played in the NFL since BEFORE that surgery, so what's the big deal?!? Whether he took them or not, dude HAS NOT PLAYED. So even if they prove he took them (which is still up for some debate), the WHEN of all this means it is a non-story at best.

Someone (*ahem* DAN) needs to read a TINY bit more into these stories before spreading them around...

PatriotsNation said...

Simmon's Tampa Road Trip.

link

CorrND said...

Dan -- if you'd actually watched the Yanks-Sox game yesterday -- instead of writing it off as the least competitive of the division races -- you would have heard the commentators mention that all the talk around the Yankees clubhouse is about catching Seattle. Seems like they're already doing what you think they should be doing.

chitown italian said...

I think the Orioles should be demoted to AAA and the AAA Champ gets moved up to the Major League level.

I feel for the O's fans, I really do but they need to do something besides fire the manager every two years.

Maybe they can get Ditka to un-retire.

Michael said...

Ahhh the Trop, nothing quite a great as watching baseball in an oversized warehouse.

Natsfan74 said...

The Baltimore Radio Station that carries Orioles games just dropped 10 games in order to play Maryland football games and the Ralph Fridg's Coach's Show. You know you suck when a radio station cancels you for a coach's talk show!

Where is the Heisman List? Who do you have #2, after McFadden?

CycleDan said...

I would love to see a minor league team rotated in. Whoever wins some minor league championship gets to play in the MLs the next year. Of course they would never do it.

I guess the European model is a bit different than in the US. In the US, the team owners own the league as well.

Jen said...

michael~ I felt like I was watching baseball inside a high school gym when I was at Tropicana Field.

The heroin sheik said...

Cmon dan you got to mention how well the rays have been playing the last week. The have outscored their opponents the last week 56 to 34. They had games of 15, 14 and 12 runs while only having one truly bad outing to the A's where they gave up 12. We have Boston and NYY for two series apiece still as well as the angels and the mariners. We could really make this last month of the season interesting for the teams trying to get in. Plus historically the rays play well in September. I think the last month of the season in baseball will be much more interesting than the first month of the NFL season at least for me as the Bucs look like doodoo.

Jen said...

@ hs~ David Boston getting a DUI last week doesn't help the Bucs any!

Why do these athletes and celebs even drive? Hire a driver to take you places if you're going to get juiced.

CycleDan said...

Well Sheik, I wish the Rays the best of luck against Seattle and the Red Sox. However, I really hope that the Yanks can take at least 2 out of 3.

I haven't been close to getting in football mode yet. Syracuse is going to suck again, the Jets and Giants look mediocre. Also there are just real exciting division and WC races in baseball right now.

The AL East is the only decided division now.

Also the Rugby World Cup Starts soon. However unless you have DirectTV, the only way to get the gamees in through Broadband. The company that offers the games is requiring $150 for an annual subscription to watch the games. For $20 or $30 I might do it, for $150, I will check out highlights online a day later.

Sparty said...

Wow. Todd Marinovich arrested again for meth and syringes while skateboarding. What a waste of a life. If you noticed I said again, very similar to an arrest back in 2004.

The heroin sheik said...

Don't dog the Trop. It is a great place to see sports but the Rays just don't draw anyone. I saw a lightning playoff game there against the flyers back in like 95 and it was so loud. It can be a great homefield advantage when it is packed. It set the record back in the day for largest crowd at a hockey game. It is so loud that concerts there suck. The food is among the best in all pro sports. Beer is cheap. Also security are cool as hell. They turn a blind eye to people smoking joints in the smoking area or in my case smoking a blunt in the cigar bar but they wont let you take off your shirt and paint your chest which is kinda annoying. I do however think that baseball and football should be played in the elements but with all the rain you get in the bay area a dome is a necessity if you don't want to reschedule all the time.

Brian in Oxford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian in Oxford said...

I was going to offer hope to the Rays at going 6-0 versus the Yanks, at least....

I was at the Trop in May '04. It seemed like there was just as many Sox fans there then as there are now. Not sure if I buy the whole bandwagon invasion thing. Day before, got seats in the 7th row behind the dugout. The question is clearly, why isn't there a dedicated fan base of at least 15-20K every night?

And one other thing....it's probably cheaper to fly down on Southwest and see a series in Tampa, than it would be to see the games at Fenway. Economically it makes sense to go to a road game -- I paid $15 for a great seat in Baltimore this year. Certainly couldn't get that at the Fens. Makes me wonder if you see more *real* fans on the road, rather than bandwagon-jumpers....

The heroin sheik said...

hell you can get tickets to Rays games for five bucks and they are decent outfield seats. My brother has had season tix since day 1. Originally they were a few rows behind Dick Vitale and his smokin hot daughter but he found that you can get on the second level behind home plate near where the announcers are and have just as good of a seat and be able to get foul balls and still only pay 18 bucks I think he said.

Kevin said...

Wow, Dan...you actually drafted a decent team for once. Not spectacular, but you probably won't finish in the bottom three of this league (like you will in the other two). LJ will probably break down this year, though...

The heroin sheik said...

anyone see how the bucs backup qb Bruce "unibrow" gradkowski's name came up in the toledo point shaving scandal. I wonder what the implications are for him with the NFL.

The heroin sheik said...

Fuck the WWL and Bill Simmons. You would think that since the Rays play in St pete that they would mention that he was in St pete not Tampa yet throughout his entire article for the magazine he keeps referring to being in Tampa. The ning and the yuks play in Tampa which is much more hispanic and younger whereas the rays play in st pete which is almost entirely white, rich, religious, and waiting to die and go to heaven. I think there might be nothing more annoying than saying a team plays somewhere other than where it plays. Kinda like saying the the Giants play in NY when it is actually NJ.

Johnathan said...

As soon as Boeckman proves himself solid, if not Heisman-style spectacular.

Umm what does this fragment mean?