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Sunday, September 25, 2016

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2011 MLB World Series Favorites: New York Yankees with Soriano in the Pen

The second post in a three-part series written by Alan Hull who is previewing the teams favored to win the 2011 MLB World Series.

New York Yankees

The Yankees seem to be in the middle of the World Series chase every single season. Of course when you have the payroll they do, it’s expected, but they’ve still done well reaching the ALCS the last two seasons. Though they were quiet this off-season compared to the Red Sox and even the Rays, they still are a World Series contender.

Off-season Moves: After missing out on all of the major free agents, the Yankees settled on adding complimentary pieces, signing back-up/starting catcher in Russell Martin, a setup man (Rafael Soriano – to the tune of $35 million) and a lefty specialist in Pedro Feliciano. They are still the Yankees and there is a lot to like.

Strengths: The Yankees are older on the positional side, but this is still a team of Hall of Famers and Hall of Very Good-types. Maybe Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin all won’t have comeback seasons, but I bet a few of them will. Combine that with a MVP-candidate in Robinson Cano and great guys/great hitters in Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner, and this team will put up some runs. The Yankees also feature a good bullpen, anchored by THE Mariano Rivera.

Weaknesses: They really, really needed to add a starting pitcher. Their number four and five starter, if Andy Pettitte retires, are some guys named Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. Those two started 10 games combined in 2010. If they ever had plans to convert Joba Chamberlain back into a starter, this is the season to do it. I certainly would. Look for the Yankees to get creative mid-season and pick up a good starting pitcher or two for the stretch run.

Summary: While I mock their starting pitching, I anticipate Pettitte will be back and their pitching will be pretty good … until they trade for Josh Johnson.

Also see Thursday W.S. favorite: Boston Red Sox

Bill Polian: Ben Roethlisberger Is on Same Level as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning

For pretty much the last decade, the quarterback debate amongst fans in the NFL has been Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. We already know Rex Ryan’s answer to the question, but after his Jets knocked both players out of the playoffs, one can’t help but wonder if other quarterbacks have caught up. Drew Brees’ Saints won the Super Bowl last year, Aaron Rodgers is playing in his first big one this year, and Ben Roethlisberger has a chance to tie Brady if he can win his third ring next weekend. So have some of these quarterbacks closed the gap and joined the elite ranks?

Bill Polian certainly thinks that is the case.

The Colts president told Sam Farmer of the LA Times “Bottom line, if you ask football people, they’re going to put Ben Roethlisberger up there with [Manning and Brady] almost unanimously. No one would leave him out. And others who have made the Pro Bowl, for example, wouldn’t even get consideration if you took a poll of all 32 general managers.”

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Free Steelers Tattoo Offered by Billy Hill Before Super Bowl

That’s right, passionate fans, now is your chance to show your devotion to your favorite team with some permanent ink. As I learned from PSAMP, Billy Hill and his tattoo parlor are offering free Pittsburgh Steelers tattoos leading up to the Super Bowl. They’ve made a lame video to go along with the promotion, but it sucks so badly I won’t post it up. Just know that in a week and a half, this guy’s artwork may be outdated:

I guess he figured his team was never going to win another championship. Just as long as nobody is going overboard like this guy or this nut job, I think we’ll be OK. And is it just me, or has this just become a played out trend?

Jeff Fisher-Brandon Fisher Nepotism Reportedly an Issue for Bud Adams

A surprising move happened on Thursday in the NFL when the Tennessee Titans and head coach Jeff Fisher announced they were parting ways. Fisher had been the Titans coach for the last 16 years, making him the longest-tenured coach in the league. The news would have been less shocking had it been announced weeks ago when most evaluations were being made. So if Fisher survived the evaluation and the team had decided on him over Vince Young, then what happened?

A report from John Clayton may provide insight into the news and timing of it.

Clayton was told that “one of the final disagreements that led to Fisher’s departure involved his son, Brandon. Fisher wanted to have his son on the staff as a quality control coach and thought it would be approved. Brandon Fisher helped out during the season while offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger was receiving cancer treatment.”

Apparently it was owner Bud Adams’ policy not to have family members hired to the staff and he reportedly stuck by that principle during their discussions. This report makes tons of sense because Fisher’s departure didn’t. Unless Fisher had another job lined up — which doesn’t seem like the case considering he says he’s tired and hints he wants a break — such a disagreement seems like something that could have led to them parting ways. I know I’d be plenty peeved if my team refused to hire my son.

Kevin Love Numbers Cologne Campaign Should Not be Needed to be an All-Star

The Minnesota Timberwolves P.R. department has done it again. For the second time in three years, they’ve come up with a creative idea to push Kevin Love’s candidacy for a league honor. Two years ago, it was this awesome sales pitch to make Love the Rookie of the Year (their effort fell short). This time around, they’re marketing a men’s cologne called “Numb#rs” to the media, which is a way to promote Love’s impressive stats this season.

As part of Minnesota’s push to get Love into the All-Star game, “A box was mailed to all Western Conference coaches that includes a bottle of “Numb#rs” cologne, a DVD with a 30-second commercial for the product that spoofs an ultra-serious fragrance ad, an advertisement that includes Love and a local model dressed to the nines and a list of his accomplishments on the back, and a bottle of face lotion just for good measure.” They’ve also created this awesome web site 612allstar.com that is full of comments from media members, coaches, and player describing Love’s talents.

The campaign is right up there with what the Blazers did for Brandon Roy, and what Chris Bosh did for himself.

The shame of it all is that Minnesota felt the need to launch a campaign like this in order to promote Love’s candidacy. We wrote a month ago that Love has a chance to join Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Bob Pettit, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the extremely exclusive 20-15 club. He’s playing at a historical level and proving he’s one of the best players in the league. Why should he be penalized for his team’s pathetic 10-35 record when he’d be putting up the same stats on a better team? The promotional campaign was catchy and creative, but it should not be necessary to get him on the All-Star team.

Here’s the funny Numbers cologne video, as first seen at The Basketball Jones:

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T.Ocho Show on Versus Still Struggling in Ratings Department

The T.Ocho Show talk show featuring Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens on Versus garnered headlines when either one of the players popped off. For instance, there was the time when Owens said Jason Garrett was the problem in Dallas, and he was quickly proven to be wrong when Garrett went 5-3 as an interim coach. Then the topper was towards the end of the season when Owens said the Bengals were underachieving from the top down — a direct implication of the coaching staff.

Neither player will likely be back with Cincinnati next season, and their antics have helped lead to Carson Palmer demanding a trade. You figure with all the controversy surrounding the team that many people would want to tune into their TV show to watch the weekly proverbial train crash. That line of thinking has not manifested.

The T.Ocho Show opened to embarrassingly low TV ratings — a 0.1 for their debut back in October. Sure, the ratings need to be taken in context compared to the audience the rest of the programming on Versus receives, but it still came in much lower than hockey on the network, for instance. There have been 16 episodes of the show, and the latest version registered a 0.1 with 123,000 viewers — a dropoff from Hockey Central before it, which had 184,000 viewers. What really commanded my attention was that their show did a 0.0 rating with 29,000 viewers the next night, but that was a re-run.

What this really tells us, besides that Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens really don’t matter to fans anymore, is that the NFL can thrive without divas. They don’t need touchdown dances or celebrations to draw monster ratings in games, and they don’t need loudmouths like these guys. That’s bad news for 81 and 85 moving forward, as many teams won’t be interested in signing either one as free agents.

Phoenix Suns Sol Patrol Member Nick Corrales Dunks Himself (Video)

Trampoline dunks are always a great way to keep the fans occupied during timeouts and breaks at a basketball game. As fans, we’re normally in awe of how much practice it must take for these little acrobats to be able to spring themselves off a trampoline and dunk without breaking their necks. A member of the Phoenix Suns Sol Patrol came dangerously close to doing just that on Wednesday night.

The young man, whom Deadspin informed us is an ASU student named Nick Corrales, caught a little too much air on the trampoline and ended up dunking the ball and himself through the basket. You have to see it to believe it, so check it out:

Corrales is one lucky guy.  If he had eaten one more meal the day that happened, they would probably have been plucking him out of the hoop with a cherry picker.

Hair Aside, Troy Polamalu and Clay Matthews May Not Change Super Bowl


This series is brought to you by T.G.I Fridays®, encouraging you to Rush in and Tackle their new Game Time Menu

One of the headlines surrounding the Super Bowl in the week off was the deal Packers linebacker Clay Matthews signed with a hair product company. That agreement rivaled a sponsorship deal Steelers safety Troy Polamalu has with a similar product, and the golden-locked linebacker received plenty of attention for the deal. Though both players are fantastic and receiving headlines leading up to the big game, I question how much they’ll be able to influence the contest next Sunday.

Looking strictly at Polamalu, the safety has seven interceptions in 16 games in addition to 70 tackles (playoffs included). He made a game-changing play against the Baltimore Ravens in week 13, sacking Joe Flacco and creating a turnover that helped his team win the game. A week later he picked off two passes against the Bengals. There’s little doubt that Polamalu is one of the finest safeties in the league, but how much of an impact will he have on this game?

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Brian Wilson George Lopez Interview Video Sailor Wilson Entertains as Always

MLB 2K is promoting its latest video game and darn did they do a great job selecting a pitchman. For the second year in a row they went with a Giants pitcher, but this time they picked a guy wacky enough to go viral and give them their money’s worth. Brian Wilson, who became known for his insane interview on Jim Rome is Burning (must-see if you haven’t), went on Lopez Tonight to promote the game Thursday night and the interview was nothing less than what you would expect from Wilson.

The man came dressed as a sailor complete with two sailor hats, raved about a trip to Thailand where he visited massage parlors, and he got in a brilliant Chuck Norris reference. Oh, and of course his buddy The Machine made an appearance (if you don’t know who that is, get caught up here). Check out this must-see video of Brian Wilson’s interview on Lopez Tonight:

Thanks to 22 Gigantes for the video tip and for the excellent breakdown of the whole interview.

Tracy Morgan Sarah Palin Video – ‘Great Masturbation Material’

During the pregame show for the New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat game on TNT Thursday night, Charles Barkley and the gang were joined by actor and comedian Tracy Morgan.  Personally, I don’t think this guy is funny.  I’ve seen his work a few times on 30 Rock and I’m always annoyed.  Something about a guy who makes money playing dumb just gets under my skin.

However, anyone that makes crude comments on the air that make everyone uncomfortable is okay in my book.  When we think of things that shouldn’t have been said or done on the air on TNT, we immediately think of Barkley.  This time it was Morgan providing the awkwardness when he called Sarah Palin “good masturbation material.”  Have a look at the video:

I love how Morgan reiterated it just in case we didn’t hear him clearly the first time.  Congratulations, Chuck — you’re off the hook for once.

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