Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fantasy Football Draft results

The fantasy football draft countdown was down to 30 minutes left when I signed on and discovered that I had the last pick. The random selection managed to screw me, but the snake draft format and stupid competitors saved me from being stuck with a sh*tty team. Having won back to back titles in FF, I am a little apprehensive to put my rep on the line in a new league.

The first round had a giant surprise with the #4 pick. LJ, Shaun Alexander and LT went in quick order, and then Lamont Jordan was selected with the 4th pick. It was a such a bad pick that a fellow competitor called me to ask if that guy was drinking at his computer. Sadly, alcohol was not an excuse. With Lamont Jordan being picked so high, and another team selecting Steve Smith with the 8 pick, I suddenly found myself looking at Steven Jackson, Edge or Rudi Johnson. To my wonderful surprise Rudi Johnson fell in my lap. I was a very happy FF GM.

Now who to pick with my next pick which was directly after my Rudi steal? I thought about picking up my boy, Julius Jones, but the injury bug worried me. I went with Ronnie Brown thinking that he is not splitting carries this year, which should push his yardage numbers up over 1000 and increase TDs. This established the rythmn that I had to consider picking two guys at once with the snake format. After the initial back to back picks I felt more comfortable and got into a groove.

My team is made up of D. McNabb, R. Johnson, R. Brown, D. Driver and Alge Crumpler as starters; Denver's Defense and Matt Stover as the kicker. My bench is deep: Deuce McAllister, Steve McNair, Eddie Kennison, Chris Cooley, Mark Clayton, and LenDale White. My thought was to stack up on RBs, and take flyers on the McNair/Ravens offense.

What was surprising was seeing Reggie Bush go 3 rounds ahead of Deuce and Joseph Addai go 3 rounds ahead of Dominic Rhodes, yet both rookies are back ups to the vets. Most analysts are expecting Deuce to get 15+ carries a game. I don't get why he fell to round 6. My big regret was not getting Ben Watson or Tom Brady. The Pats will be stuck throwing the ball a lot because Dillon is washed up and Maroney isn't ready yet. I saw the Pats/Skins pre-season game on Saturday and let's just say the Pats have two options when they pass: decrepit Troy Brown and Ben Watson. They need to resign Deion Branch. Both Watson and Brady were picked 3 spots before I could get them, so I will be keeping a keen eye on their progress so I can joke on that FF GM for stealing my picks. Stupid trends in my draft were drafting WRs going early and often and the back ups over starters thing mentioned above. Three different teams had 2 of their first 3 picks be WRs, with one FF GM picking 4 straight WRs. That guy's QB is Jake Plummer, with Brett Favre backing him up. Good luck bozo.

We'll see how things progress, and I will keep all y'all up to date with the "Narnia Centaurs" of the "LT Crack All Stars" league.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Josh Beckett: Buyer's Remorse

I wanted to kick this off with hyperbole because it is the only fair way to reach fans who consider their stars "the greatest __" and their opponents as "most overrated ___"; the average Red Sox fan. It is fair to say that the Josh Beckett experience is a frustrating one of amazing potential offset by a lackluster reality. The business world would say "overpromising while underdelivering". What do the Red Sox have to look forward to for the next few years? As it looks now, frustrating years of 4.50 ERA pitching and sore necks from the long ball.

Several years ago, Josh Beckett was pitching for the Portland Sea Dogs, the Marlins AA affiliate, and I watched him in person. He was Bull Durham come to life as he struck out many batters but also walked a handful and beaned a hitter. His fastball jumped from his hand, and one could see what might coem of him with MLB coaching. training and conditioning. Beckett is 26 now, having recently signed a 3 year, 30 million dollar extension, and it is fair to wonder if Beckett was worth the cost.

Beckett was acquired from the Red Sox for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, and other considerations. This trade would not be so painful for the Red Sox, if they had not blundered into signing Edgar Renteria to a 4 year contract when two of their best minor league prospects were shortstops. Renteria slowed up Ramirez or Pedroia's possible probing of the MLB scene. The Sox managed to pawn Renteria off on the Braves, but rather than keeping Ramirez, bringing him up to grow in the comfort of a Ortiz-Ramirez led lineup, they turned him over to Florida for Beckett. Putting around with Cora and Alex Gonzalez was a better idea than using Cora and Ramirez or Pedroia??? Ramirez is providing some speed on the bases, which the Sox lack, and is a whopping 22 years old. Sanchez has had some issues with walking batters, but is aagain, a whopping 22 years old. Two pieces of a great group of young players the Sox have drafted and developed were traded away for a pitcher who would help now? Did the Sox not consider the possibility of using Ramirez, Youkilis, Andy Marte (not theirs but acquired) and Pedroia as an infield with Manny and Ortiz as anchors in the lineup? The infield would have all been under 27 and cheap. No, no, no way to rationalize that to baseball's smartest fans. I think they would understand. The need to win now trumped this idea, similar to the *damn* Yankees.

Beckett could make up for this if he were living up to the "Clemens potential" hype. Problem is, he has never lived up to the hype except for a 3 week period (playoffs of 2003). Beckett has yet to pitch 200 innings in a season. Beckett has the problem of hitting the disabled list. Correct me if I am wrong, but the Red Sox did not sign Pedro to an extension because of concerns about durability. Let's look at Beckett's 2006 splits. Notice these ERA figures: 7.50, 7.50, 10.80, 8.71, and 2.35. Those are his ERA numbers versus possible playoff foes (ChiSox, Tigers, Yankees, A's respectively). His 2.35 is versus the Mets, kings of the NL. He has 15 quality Starts, but only 3 are against the foes stated above. Beckett reminds me of Kevin Brown a few years ago, when he was tearing up the Devil Rays and crap teams but being trounced by superior foes. Brown did not have a good postseason.

The scary part about Beckett is that he has given up a major league leading 32 home runs. This is the AL east, and it is a power hitting division. Still, this season has seen a lower amount of home runs at Fenway than normal. What would Beckett's numbers be like in a normal Fenway season? We will never know. Red Sox fans should look at Beckett's similarity scores on baseball reference, and look for the Hall of Famers. Better yet, count the names they can recognize (Mark Prior is not a positive right now). With the club option in 2010, it protects the Sox from being stuck with a mediocre pitcher for $10 mil. Hold on, the Sox have Matt Clement on the hook already. Beckett was acquired for top line prospects because of intangibles, potential, and the 2003 postseason. If the Sox do want to surpass the Yankees and become the dominant AL East force, they have to stop making trades like the Beckett trade, and start holding onto their young talent. The AL East is not for the weak. The success of pitchers who have left the AL East for the NL and the problems of NL pitchers coming to the AL East should be sign enough how difficult it is to pitch in the AL East. The Red Sox have several more years to enjoy watching Sanchez and Ramirez grow and develop in Florida while they turn away from inconsistent Beckett starts. Sox fans, more than other baseball fans, exhibit a blind eye and in a split second turn on their players. I wonder how many seasons they will let Beckett get away with this before they turn.... maybe they already have?

*****Side note: I am not going to feel bad for Roger Clemens gettign no run support from the Astros when he spent several years getting PLENTY of run support fromt he Yankees to bail him out of games he was losing, and to allow him to be 21-3 in a season where he was his team's second maybe even third best pitcher. Stop crying for him Sportscenter.

Monday, August 14, 2006

baseball and football

it's sad to be an orioles fan and know you have a decent team of position players but only one pitcher you trust. i just wish they could do a rotational program where an AL East team could play in another american league division for 1 season, while rotating a non-al east team into that division to face the 190 mil Yankees and 120 mil Red Sox 40 times. Not much separated them in 2004 from the division winning Minnesota Twins of the joke AL Central (AL Central rocks this year), maybe just Johan Santana. It's disappointing.

What is not disappointing is looking forward to the NFL season as a Cowboys fan. I severely dislike T.O., but he is an amazing talent. It is a deal with the devil to get to the Super Bowl from the weak conference. I still think that he is the closest thing we will see to a college age, irrational female playing in the NFL. With Clinton Portis separating/dislocating his shoulder, the division might be the Cowboys to lose early on. The Redskins have the talent in place on defense and the smurf wide receivers, but they need Portis big time to keep leads and pace the game. When he wasn't healthy in the playoffs, the Skins offense was terrible. Washington has a killer stretch in weeks 4-12, so if the Cowboys can take the first game from them and be 3-0 when they roll into Philly, it will put more pressure on the skins to do better than .500 in that tough stretch.

Once I figure out my fantasy football draft, I will let you know how my team looks. I am kind of worried about dipping back into the fantasy football pool again. I was back to back champ in my old league and would have enjoyed going out on top. I'm worried joining this new league may tarnish my legacy. Who am I kidding? It is another opportunity to trash talk with d-bags.