Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2011 Fantasy Football: Undervalued and Overvalued QBs

Undervalued

1) David Garrard. Sure, he's terrible... but he's not losing the job this year, he still runs the ball relatively well, and the AFC South is opening up all kinds of ripe targets. With Mike Thomas, Mercedes Lewis and Maurice Jones-Drew, his targets aren't that terrible, either. He's basically a free agent in most leagues, and will be a matchup play. If your roster is deep enough and you can live with the swings, put him on your bench and go for the ultimate in underpriced production.

2) Drew Brees. Last year was ugly with the turnovers, and he's going to throw it less this year due to a more effective running game. Some folks are also looking for him to miss Reggie Bush, especially in the red zone. But this misses the fact that Jimmy Graham is going to be a huge help for him, and Lance Moore and Marques Colston are looking fairly healthy for once. Vick and Rodgers will go before him, but at the end of the year, he's going to be the top player at the position.

3) Matt Schaub. Another post-hype play a year after he was a disappointment. Houston's pass defense won't be as terrible this year, so he'll get his hands on the ball a little more often; I also expect the Texans to run the ball a little less effectively this year. Add in health for Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels, and you're going to wind up with top five value, late in the second tier of QB selections.

Overvalued


1) Michael Vick. You pretty much have to take him in the top half of the first round, so he's pretty much overvalued by definition. It's hard to see how he does everything that's expected of him, since the turnovers more or less have to go up, and the health issues still exist. I'll also add in this little hidden bummer factor; if the NFC East is as weak as it looks right now, and the Eagles run away with the division, Andy Reid has a history of benching his regulars in advance of a playoff round. In a head to head league, you could wind up with Old School Manning here in Weeks 15 to 17.

2) Tom Brady. I'm not loving his top-line receivers, and I am loving his running game. Brady's almost always been a better real QB than fake one, and 2011 is pretty much the same story. He's also not as young as he used to be, and the Jets' game last year showed that your only real hope in beating the Patriots is to smack him around. I'm not loving the line, either. He won't fall apart, but he won't deliver to were you draft him, either.

3) Jay Cutler. Let's face it; drafting this guy means you have to root for him, and maybe even watching him. Not fun. With Mike Martz insisting on starting his worst two WRs, TE security blanket Gregg Olsen plying his trade in Carolina, and a special teams situation that won't make the difference that they used to, I'm not loving his situation. And one of these years, he's going to get hurt behind this line, and not get the job back. He's just not that good.

Top 10 takeaways from the Michael Vick deal

10) Anyone who thinks that he's really going to play for six years behind this offensive line, and with this play calling, probably smokes the same stuff Vick "used" to

9) If he pulls in the nine figures from this deal, he actually gets to keep some of it

8) There's more than a reasonable chance that Vick will be in town longer than Andy Reid

7) You can put two plus two together and start selling off your DeSean Jackson uniforms
i
6) The first time that Vck slides instead of stretching for a first time, Racist Eagle Fan will spout off that it's because he got paid

5) If there hadn't been a lockout, this would have happened six months ago

4) Now that he got paid, the Eagles will finally be able to attract some talent in free agency

3) Somewhere in Minnesota, Donovan McNabb is nursing a mean drunk

2) If he had only had a good preseason, he would have made $150 million from this deal

1) This is going to seem really silly after he gets hurt in the first half of the first game, and loses the job to Vince Young

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fantasy Football 2011: Over and Undervalued WRs

Now that my draft is over and the league is no longer able to use my published prep against me, it's time to let you all know what I think. Follow this advice to the letter, and you too could finish just out of the money in your league. And with that... on to the analysis!

Overvalued

1) Roddy White. Some call him the best in the game, what with his consistent production, health, quality QB and home dome conditions. And in terms of Actual Footballery, I'd be hard pressed to argue. But the trouble with White is that his situation was already ideal, and his value pretty much has to go down, now that he's got a reasonable #2 (Julio Jones) and even a quality #3 (Harry Douglass, back from injury and looking spry) to add to the mix. So while he's projected at over 1,300 yards and 11 TDs, I think it's more like 1,200 and 8 -- still a clear #1, but not worth the #2 slot overall. Let someone else overpay.

2) Mike Williams (TB). Beware the sophomore slump! Especially when it's attached to a guy with past character issues, for a team that probably overachieved in the passing game last year. Williams is another guy who will get less love from his QB this year as opponents scheme to make others beat them. He'll still get his, but not like last year's 964 and 11. More like 850 and 8.

3) Reggie Wayne. Just like Marin Harrison before him,the end could come without a lot of warning for this Colts #1 WR, especially if Peyton Manning starts slow from injury recovery. I also expect the Colts' ground game to be better this year, because there's little chance of it being worse, and Delone Carter gives them their first good back since the Edge. Add it up, along with possible health for Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon getting more of a clue, and I think you see 1,100 and 6 for Wayne this year, or 250+ yards less than last.

4) Stevie Johnson. Last year's waiver wire gold is projected for big things this year after the 1,073 and 10 that he picked up in 2010... but when you dig into what Buffalo did on offense last year, it was all in fluke game shootouts against terrible teams. This year, with the schedule getting harder, the rest of the team still a mess, and no one bereft of tape for what he and Ryan Fitzpatrick can do to a snoozing defense, the going will be a lot harder. He'll still get some in blowouts, but this duo aren't sneaking up on anyone this year. 850 yards, 6 TDs.

5) Chad Ochocinco. More sideshow than show-stopper now, with all kinds of bad juju coming out of Pats Camp, and a yards per catch and red zone rate that aren't anywhere near the press clippings. He was outperformed by Terrell Owens last year, and while Tom Brady is light years better than Carson Palmer, 31-year-old WRs who don't get separation don't win in any environment. The Pats will continue to pound it close and use the TEs to distraction, and Ocho's route tree isn't all that different from Wes Welker now, so the continuing rollup of press coverage with no long game will continue. Last year's 830 and 4 turn into this year's 750 and 5. Let someone else overpay for that.

Undervalued

1) Vincent Jackson. Take a top 10 talent. Put him in a situation where he's got a top-flight QB, a gifted but injury-prone pass-catching TE, and a running game that can't be trusted. Now, seriously downgrade a division opponent's pass defense, so that two shutdown games a year are now looking like pinball. I like him for 1,300 and 10 this year, and he just might be the best WR in fantasy.

2) Mario Manningham. The key is to not watch his games, because lo, he is maddening; easy drops, lapses in concentration and jaw-dropping mistakes for things like fighting for the ball in traffic. Instead, concentrate on the numbers and situation. Hakeem Nicks will be the #1 and get the attention, but Eli Manning spreads the ball around, and the loss of Steve Smith and Kevin Boss will mean that Manningham will get more touches underneath. He's got remarkable quicks and a growing role in an offense that's going to have many opportunities; pencil him in for an under the radar 1,200 and 12, and similar or better results than Nicks.

3) Brandon Lloyd. The smarts will tell you that he's just had his career year, that he's a 30-year-old guy with attitude issues and a shaky QB/coach situation, and throw last year's 1,450 and 11 under the bridge. But the reality is that, just like VJax, he gets back two games against the Raiders, and that last year's numbers were further degraded by the late-season presence of Tim Tebow, who is not exactly conducive to a #1 WR with a deep threat passing tree. While he won't quite reach last year's heights, he's going to get very close, and that makes him an odd buy-low candidate. Look for 1,300 and 10, and many happy days.

4) Davone Bess. Last year's sneaky sticks-mover looks like your classic third down specialist with a weak QB, but he's more than that. Chad Henne doesn't seem like anyone's idea of a good QB, and he isn't, but he'll be better than last year, if for no other reason than he'll have better luck; there wasn't a single game in 2010 where a defender dropped an INT ball. So with only marginal gains and better luck, the Fish are going have more possessions, which means more chances for Bess... and with the opposition focusing on Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall in the red zone, I like his chances to strike paydirt more, too. A borderline FA pickup will pay off handsomely, to the tune of 850 yards and 8 TDs.

5) Braylon Edwards. It's hard to remember that this guy was, not too long ago, a legitimate choice for the #1 WR pick after coming off a monstrous 17 TD year for the Browns. Now on his third team in four years, Edwards walks into a situation where the #1 WR (Michael Crabtree) is a head case, the team plays in a division with no defenses, and the QB is embattled and looking for any port in a storm to keep his numbers up. Expect an inordinate number of fly routes and pump and go chances for the Wolverine, and a boom-bust year that winds up as 1,200 yards and 10 TDs, half of which will come in four big games. He's going to be a streaming guy who will sometimes perform as a #1, which is all you can ask for in a late-round grab.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I've Lost My Mind: Poker, Football, Hurricane

There's fantasy football goodness below, but as wading through a raft of personal nonsense now appears to be what's expected in the industry (why, hello Matthew Berry! Please tell us more about your relationship and upcoming pregnancy! And let's not even get into the madness that is Peter King Oversharing)... well, who am I to complain? Let's just embrace The New Normal, where I get to bail out the basement that didn't leak once in the first 55+ years of the house, but now takes on water like something out of the Polish Navy. (Ah, Polish jokes. That's some old-time racism for ya.) So let's go back to the start on this...

The comedian Christopher Titus has a reasonably good routine about a crazy ex of his, more or less entitled "Crazy makes you crazy." Here's the winning two minutes; it sets the stage for everything else.



The new job's biggest client is, well, stabbingly crazy. They have incredible seasonal needs, the need to manage their own art in-house, a constant revision cycle that comes off as niggling and capricious remote, and just, well, nuts in the local. In 15 years of dealing with niggling and capricious and nuts people, they take the cake, then smash the cask into their faces and scream out, "AM I PRETTY NOW, MAMA? WELL? AM I PRETTY NOW?"

And... well, this is all moot because they are that big. So let's go to California for office face time now, rather than when it was planned, it mid-September. You know, weeks after my masochism weekend of poker game on Friday night, and fantasy league draft on Saturday afternoon.

Well, OK then -- I'll just do the draft prep on the plane. This assumes, of course, that you can remain awake long enough to do that, which kind of goes out the window when you are working two shifts a day for the job, which has been in a flood (ha ha, foreshadowing, your key to quality blogfill) stage for weeks. After a week or more of this level of work, you just get to a point of sleeping where you can, when you can. So even the 15 hours of coast to coast downtime doesn't help much, because I'm awake for maybe half of it. By the time I get back to the Philadelphia area at 2am on Friday morning, with a poker game happening in 18 hours and a draft going down in 36, my hopes were not good for getting through either with winning results.

Then, of course, the client pushed for even more more more, and since crazy makes you crazy, so did my coworkers.

Now, let's add in the first hurricane to make landfall in New Jersey in 100 years.

All things told, though, I can't complain too badly. I ran into big pairs in the big blind in the poker tournament long enough to make it to third and my first cash in that game all year; useful. The cash game saw good play supplemented by wildly better luck, as my misread bet into an overpair turns into a 2-out river escape. Fifteen minutes before calling the cash game done for the night, I flopped Broadway after making the what the hell King-10 offsuit call for a raised family pot, and rather than limp and watch someone else catch a boat at the close, I raise it at every step and get callers. Nice. All told, the poker game brought in a nice chunk that I wasn't counting on at all, especially the way I've been playing and running this year.

Which brings us to the hurricane. My natural inclination for these things is to think that people overprepare and wig out way too easily; staying in your shoes seems to be hard to do. So when people started to bail on making the live draft, it seemed like more of the same... but when the transit systems started going down, that point was moot. So we moved up the draft an hour early, which meant even less time to prep the room and/or catch a wink, along with more people on the phone, which winds up slowing things down.

Anyway, here's my draft. Auction keeper league, 12 teams, asterisks were keepers with an escalating salary, $300 to spend on 15 slots, 10 active, 5 bench.

QB - Kevin Kolb ARI ($18)
RB1 - Daren McFadden OAK ($17) *
RB2 - Cedric Benson CIN ($20) *
WR1 - Mike Sims-Walker STL ($33) *
WR2 - Malcolm Floyd SD ($36) *
WR3 - Sidney Rice SEA ($26) *
FX - LaGarrette Blount TB ($47)
TE - Vernon Davis SF ($38)
DEF - Detroit ($1)
PK - Rob Bironas TEN ($1)
B1 - Brandon Lloyd DEN ($50)
B2 - Kyle Orton DEN ($4)
B3 - Danny Woodhead NE ($1)
B4 - Braylon Edwards SF ($1)
B5 - Ben Tate HOU ($5)

A quick word about my protects; I realize that the WRs are reaches. Sims-Walker joins a St. Louis team that should be good and have lots of opportunities with Sam Bradford instead of David Garrard, but he's in a mix of new bodies. Malcolm Floyd is 30 already and the clear #3 option behind Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates, but I don't like the Chargers running game or the chances of both of those guys staying healthy; he's also in a division of teams that can't play defense. Rice is the best actual talent of the bunch with the worst actual QB; he's more or less a stash move for 2012, when the Seahawks end the Tavaris Jackson problem with an actual passer. Even this year, I think he'll have useful games when the Seahawks fall behind and air it out against weak teams, but it's not as if I'm going to run all of these guys out there as every week starters. As for the backs, Ced Benson is horrible, but he's all the Bengals have, and 30 carries of horrible can get you 9 to 15 points, so for $20, I had to keep him. The dog. McFadden's actually good.

In re the actual picks, they felt good at the time. I probably overpaid for Lloyd, but he was nominated out of position, and most of the good WRs were protected, with only Miles Austin coming close to #1 status. Blount was in a tier for me with the top five at his position, and I think he does better at the goal line this year. Davis is a difference-maker in the prime of his life, with a track record of success for his embattled QB. Kolb and Orton have the same bye week and both have issues, but they also play in terrible divisions with clear #1 WRs and weak defenses, and I think I can stream them for top-level production at a discount price. Edwards had talent, and Detroit's defensive line might be the best in football. And if Arian Foster's hamstring problems persist, Tate could be a monster.

So I was feeling pretty good about things. But another way to look at an auction is to figure out who your round by round picks would be in a traditional snake draft. Here's how I'd see that.

1st - McFadden
2nd - Blount
3rd - Lloyd
4th - Davis
5th - Benson
6th - Rice
7th - Sims-Walker
8th - Floyd
9th - Kolb
10th - Tate
11th - Orton
12th - Edwards
13th - Woodhead
14th - Detroit
15th - Bironas

And that's... probably not a good enough team to finish in the top 3 and cash out. But if any of the low-price guys can work out, or Lloyd and Rice enter 2011 as top 10 WRs, it'll be a good enough year. Keeper leagues in football are always a bit of a crapshoot for injury risks, but the defending champion started the year with Andre Johnson and Roddy White, Chris Johnson and Arian Foster, Josh Freeman and Hakeem Nicks... and enough cash left over to spend hard for Jahvid Best. And those three wideouts were kept for just $27 more than my reaches. That's got to change.

And if there is ever a year in which I don't love and hate my team in a bipolar way after the draft... well, that'd be a nice change, too.

Oh, and then there was the massive hurricane flooding my basement, which is how I've spend the last 24 hours. I'm sure it's all a good omen for the season.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Say It's Time To Mow Joe

We're going to be honest with you folks; this blogging thing just ain't paying the bills the way it used to. We need to be more innovative to keep the kids in burlap and more burlap (kids love burlap!), so we're starting a side business that's sure to make it rain. And if you get in on the ground floor, we'll franchise it in your town. But first, the pitch.

Are you responsible for your own yard work, carrying a grudge towards a particular athlete or coach from your childhood, with some disposable income and looking for a Peak Experience to validate your existence? Sure, we all are! So step right up, open your wallets and start the abuse as FTT Productions and the Make A Spiteful Wish Foundation Presents...

I Say It's Time To Mow Joe

That's right, our trained agents and bail bondsmen will find the infamous and down on their luck folks that ruined your early sporting life, hire them for the day, then get them to show up at your house and mow your yard. For an extra fee, we'll even bring the lawn chair recliners, string ties, white hats, mint julips and video cameras that will make this not just a treasured memory, but the YouTube clip you'll insist on playing at your funeral to a small crowd of confused onlookers.

And just look at who you can get!

Philadelphia - Joe Cowley, Mike Mamula, Bobby Hoying, Von Hayes, Shawn Bradley

Boston - Tony Eason, Antoine Walker, Dennis Boyd, Petr Klima

New York - Chuck Knoblauch. Lenny Dykstra, Derrick Coleman, John Vanbriesbrouck

St Louis - Don Dennkinger

Denver - Maurice Clarett

Seattle - Shawn Kemp

Dallas - Roy Tarpley, Quincy Carter, Bobby Witt

Bay Area - Billy Owens, Jim Druckenmiller, Chris Brown

Nationwide -- Stephen A. Smith

Please note that any abuse that you rain down on these men, as you question their competence to even use power tools or walk in a straight line, should be verbal only in nature. Though I suspect if you tip enough, a few Singapore style caning shots are probably in play, especially for the guys paying alimony and child support.

At I Say It's Time To Mow Joe, we're responsive to your needs and eager to add new wish fulfillment personnel to our ever-growing roster. So suggest yours in the comments. And thanks for your business!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top 10 Takeaways From The Niners-Raiders Fan Brawl


10) If only both of these fan bases were better at fighting, their teams wouldn't stink

9) It's all the fault of the state of California for failing to build new stadiums that would price all of the people who fight in public out of going to games

8) Realistically, there's little chance of either of these teams still being in playoff contention for very long, so preseason is the most heated time of the year

7) When push comes to shove, there's just something way too tempting about beating a San Francisco Fan to death

6) If only we could somehow take alcohol out of the equation, Raider Fan would become a completely controllable and friendly guy

5) People from the East Bay haven't quite forgiven the PEnninsula People for somehow sneaking the Hayward Fault onto their side

4) Let's face it: if you had to watch Jason Campbell and those wideouts, you'd probably be ready to throw down too

3) Since Dodger Fan did far much more damage, that means the Dodgers have better fans

2) No arrests have been made, which means that the perpetrators must be off-duty Oakland cops

1) The game only drew 47K people to a 60K stadium, which means that the Niners looking to lose this game isn't entirely done on altruism

Monday, August 22, 2011

FTT Off-Topic: We Do Not Deserve Our Technology

As always with FTT Off Topic, if you are not interested, go look at the rest of the Internet. Now, I'm gonna vent.

The great comedian Louis CK talks about how everything is great now, but everyone is miserable; he then goes into people complaining about the Wifi not working on a plane, or people moaning about their cell phone reception, or just the very act of complaining about travel in general, since historically, travel is damned deadly dangerous. Today, I started my day in New Jersey and ended it in California, and that's all kinds of crazy in any historical level, and probably indefensible from an environmental standpoint, but so be it. It's a miracle.

Brought low, of course, by the people who experience it.

I had enough time today, and not enough laptop battery life, to count how many plane trips I've made. I got up to a little over 60; enough to know the pre-flight safety speech by heart, but not enough to be utterly blase about the whole thing. I've also flown enough to know that if you want your flight to leave on time, it had best be the first one that leaves in the morning, because all of the others will have to answer for the sins of the father. Finally, I'm paranoid about security, and convinced that it will always take forever when it rarely does.

So today, I'm there on time despite a cloudburst en route to the airport and a raging fire by the side of the highway. I suffer a pretty awful moment of spilling a drink all over the laptop bag (joy), and then United moves the gate twice while leaving an hour late. As my time to transfer for my connection is just seventy minutes, that's all kinds of stress inducing, but I wound up not missing anything. So why complain, and why does this seem like such an ordeal?

It's simple: flying involves close proximity to the general public, and the general public... is generally horrible. Or, at the very least, seemingly incapable of realizing how to behave in public.

On the flight from NJ to LA, there's a screaming kid. I've got sympathy for this: I have kids, and the simple fact of life is that once you have kids, the screams of others is actually kind of OK, since they aren't yours. Phew. But after a couple of hours? Not so much. Drug the beast. And by the way, if I could fly an airline that legally discriminated against families with strollers, anyone in a wheelchair, and summarily ejected anyone who dawdles or tries to walk and talk with a cell phone... well, I'd probably still buy on price. But I'd so want you to succeed, even with the inevitable lawsuit.

On the flight from LA to San Jose, this should be the easy part of the trip. It's just 40 minutes in the air, after all, and the little jet is nice enough; I'm not a big guy, so the relative lack of leg room isn't a problem, especially on a shorter flight. But the people on said flight? Not so much.

The woman to the right of me has an iPad that she won't close or power down, setting the staff on edge. Once she gets the green light to use the thing for the 20 minutes that she's allowed, it's impossible not to sneak a peek; after all, it's a gorgeous gadget and video display, and we're on top of each other, after all. But how she uses it, with jabbing fingers of irritation that calls to mind nothing so much as a spoiled child? GAHHH. TEH HATE, IT BURNS...

But not as much, really, as the loudtalking coeds a row over, who are having one of those shout at each other conversations that I can hear every word of, despite the hum of the engines and my own earbuds. There was solid cloud cover over San Jose, and as I'm wondering just how far we have to go in the trip, the plane dives straight into the cloud bank.

It's something fairly magical, really; we're absolutely encased in the cloud, and it's otherworldly. Any sense of momentum is lost, and even gravity; I'm just staring at it, transfixed. Or would be, if only the coeds would stop talking for just a single goddamned second. The cloud turns slowly pink, then orange, and then the lights of San Jose blink into existence, as I realize that the colors are just refracted light from the city.

The coeds keep nattering on about how poor test scores don't matter, and that no one should ever make you feel bad about thinking different.

I beg to differ. Someone will make them feel bad, and I, for one, will be glad...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Job Is Detroying My Blog

Here's what's going on right now, Dear Reader who notices the middle of the night time stamps and wonders about my ever shrinking amounts of sanity...

1) The new job is work from home, which is great, except in flood stages. Then it's never stop working.

2) There's also much more travel involved, which means periodic timesuck days of getting to go through the airport ad nauseam. Honestly, I do not know how salespeople fail to pop up all the time with killing sprees.

3) My fantasy football auction draft is in less than a week, and I'm woefully unprepared. This is, of course, what I want the other guys in my league, who have been known to look at the blog from time to time, to think. Suckers.

4) There's, well, more than the occasional family demand on my time, seeing how Dad Works At Home should mean We See More Of Dad.

So... bear with me, and we'll all get through this hard time together. NFL picks columns, fantasy football tidbits, a travelogue to St. Louis to see the Eagles lose to the Rams in a shocking upset (bet the house! I'm going to be there, which means my tema is toast!)... it's all coming. Assuming I don't just start passing out in mid-senten

Friday, August 19, 2011

Top 10 Little Known NCAA Rule Violations

After reading today's lovely little moment of insanity from the NCAA, courtesy of a forward from a friend who actually cares about Slave Ball -- err, College Athletics -- I decided to do some more digging into the NCAA rule book. I mean, if we can realistically qualify having spread on a bagel (as opposed to plain) as a rule code violation in a situation where the champions are determined by computer and the corruption is so lush, there really should be a priest or Senator involved...

Well, it seemed like the possibility for High Larity was off the charts. And so it was!

10) Paying too much for a muffler, provided that the muffler is on a coach's, administrator's, player's or announcer's car or face

9) Driving with your hands at 9:57 and 2:05, also known as The Devil's Own Time

8) Failing to use the word "slobberknocker" as a noun, verb, adjective and epiteth at least 10 times per calendar year

7) Being a minority member, talented, and aware of basic injustice

6) Questioning the values of an organization that rewards teams for running up the score

5) Endorsing the idea of tiered and relegated professional leagues that would effectively remove colleges from the poisoned teats of quasi-professional athletics in non-major markets

4) Pointing out any historical parallel between the situation of the athletes and that of, say, Roman centurions or prisoner of war bloodsports

3) Failing to look appropriately penitent and miserable when caught violating any of these rules

2) Taking both sugar and fake sugar in coffee because you ran out of one or the other

1) Challenging the intelligence and need for an organization that's easier to mock than NAMBLA, and more odious as well

Top 10 consolations for Eagles Fan after tonight's loss

10) If you want Mike Vick in your fantasy league, the price just went all the way down to spectacularly overinflated to wildly overinflated

9) You weren't thrilled with the size of the bandwagon anyway

8) This will give credence to your decades-long quest to run Andy Reid out of town

7) Um, the Steelers are the defending champions of the better conference and were at home

6) Once Jeremy Maclin stops not dying and starts playing football, this will all be much better

5) Mike Kafka fulfilled the historic role of the Eagles 3rd string QB, which is to be the only one that looks good in preseason

4) Vick has clearly worked on his tackling after INTs, which might come in handy, really

3) We can be pretty sure that rookie MLB Casey Matthews isn't going to have a problem with overconfidence

2) If and when LeSean McCoy gets hurt, Ronnie Brown will be more than tolerable

1) People who pay too much attention to preseason games have serious mental problems

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Top 10 reasons why Ndamukong Suh is appealing his $20K preseason fine



10) Would rather have a reputation as a clubhouse lawyer than a dirty player

9) Knows that by appealing, more opponents will see the footage and wet themselves

8) Needs that $20K to complete his purchase of downtown Detroit

7) James Harrison called and told him to stop copying his act

6) Sincerely believes this play is not a justified fine in 2011, because he actually exists in 1974

5) Certain that if he can just get in front of a judge and note that he has to live in Detroit, all fines will be waived

4) Won't make back that $20K for, like, days

3) Feels that it's just wrong to be subject to fines in the preseason

2) Knows what Andy Dalton did and how he totally, totally deserves it

1) Believes that nothing he ever does to a QB is wrong, because, after all, they chose to be QBs

You Make Too Much Money For Privacy

News finally broke today that Eagles WR2 Jeremy Maclin, a huge part of their offense, has been cleared to return to football activities after a long time away. The illness, which was undisclosed for months, turns out to have been a cancer scare, which is more than a little trippy for a 24-year-old guy, but since the biopsy, bone marrow, blood and a battery of other tests have come back negative, we're all systems go.

Which isn't terribly reassuring if you are a Maclin owner in your roto league, since part of what the man has been dealing with is weight loss and mono-like symptoms. And for the life of me, I understand the desire to be private about your health and all... but dude? You make large coin living the American Dream, wearing the laundry of a fan base that starts at obsessed and goes, well, to obsessive. Big time obsessive. So just expecting them to sit back and be quiet until you and the doctors end the suspense just ain't realistic. Nothing personal, dude, but if you want to keep your physical ailments quiet, go get a job that doesn't involve tens of millions of people watching and wagering over your actions.

While Mac should be able to make the September 11 loss against the Rams (loss? Yes -- remember, I'm going to that game), you have to think that he's not going to be on the field for the majority of plays until the second half of the year... but, um, if he *does* get to full strength then, around the same time that Steve Smith might be able to turn it loose? We could be in for some Fun Times here, people, on both sides of the ball. Which isn't to say that they'd fall into the gutter without him; Jason Avant is a thoroughly acceptable guy to have in your mix, and I hold out long-term hope for the utility of Riley Cooper. There's also been signs in preseason that tight end Brent Celek is looking like something more than a non-blocker who is kept behind to get a close up look of Michael Vick running, and LeSean McCoy and Ronnie Brown can take a ball in the flat as well. Just an ordinary line and average accuracy from Vick could make this a team where you need to score 30+ points to have a shot, and against this seconary, that just shouldn't happen too often.

But all of that, of course, is beyond the point of relief that Maclin is OK, and will go back to doing what he does best -- giving my laundry the best 1-2 combo of young wideouts in the league, and a pairing that's in the top five at worst. And just like everyone else on the team, and in football, it comes with just two words of Bummer Factor...

Health Permitting. Which is, at least, looking a lot better than it did 24 hours ago.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Small Question For ESPN

I get that you are in bed with the NBA, and that they probably have some influence on what gets shone in your network, but...

If you never showed another WNBA highlight, would anyone complain or notice?

I'm serious about this. I'm pretty much assuming that the -- 50K? 100K? -- people that care about the WNBA in this country enough to watch regular season games do not rely on you for highlights. I suspect they all just go online, since the NBA has been good about doing Web stuff now for years, or just go to the games. It's not as if that costs a lot, or that seats aren't available.

And since, well, the NBA no longer exists, and will continue not to exist for the next four to six months before the players union takes whatever deal the owners deign to give them...

And everyone watching ESPN right now is far more interested in any fantasy football news, real training camp news, pennant race coverage, or any of the re-reported investigative journalism that you repost...

Well, seconds of television per hour add up, really. And after 15 years of pretending that anyone cares about this league, isn't it time -- high time --- that you stopped pretending, just because they used to provide you with content?

Walk Off Today's MLB Takeaways

> Ivan Nova won another game for the Yankees and that got a lot more play than his 7 ER in 5.1 IP against, um, the Royals

> The Astros actually won a game, no, seriously, with a grand slam off Carlos Marmol, who is becoming more Cub Like by the day

> Carlos Beltran let his team down by getting injured prior to a stretch run, which was so obvious, even the Mets saw it coming

> The Phillies honored the memory of Harry Kalas by having the bullpen do its best 2009 Brad Lidge impersonation that Harry checked out on, rather than stick around to announce

> AJ Pierzynski hit the DL, and it wasn't from a teammate or opponent induced injury

> Philly Fan actually put forth the notion that the team should throw games to the DBacks, so that they can avoid the Giants in the playoffs, and play road games in a quirky indoor bandbox

> A-Rod's minor league injury rehab is nearly done, which is good, seeing how all of those guys in Trenton are getting tired of taking his money in poker

> Garrett Jones hit a walk-off homer into the river in Pittsburgh off Arthur Rhodes, surprising nearly everyone who thought both men were out of MLB

> Kark Kotsay, Juan Pierre, Martin Prado and something named Brian Bogusevic joined Jones in having walk-off hits, proving that you don't need to be able to, well, hit to get one of these

> Cole Hamels will miss a start with mild irritation after receiving an MRI, which is making far too many Phillies Fans convinced that, combined with tonight's loss, The End Is Nigh

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top 10 things that Carlos Zambrano will do in the next 30 Days

With his recent latest meltdown, the Cubs' salary albatross was placed on the restricted list and will not return to the club for a month of non-payment, at least until the player's union gets Bud Selig and Jim Hendry's nuts in a vise. What will The Big Los(er) do with the time off?

10) Switch jobs with Morgan Spurlock, just so we can all enjoy the high-larity of a film crew having to deal with him, and Spurlock posting a lower ERA

9) Finally let himself go and eat what he wants

8) Get a small glimpse into what life will be like when he isn't making $18 million a year

7) Disguise his voice, call sports talk radio, and remind the town's increasingly football-only sports fans that he continues to exist

6) Work on his hitting some more, since that's the best part of his game now

5) Anger management, colonic cleansing, lather, rinse, repeat

4) Bill the sports bloggers of the greater Chicago area for all of the fodder he's given them over the years

3) Find a better way to break bats, coolers, hearts and minds

2) Try to remind Cubs Fan of all of the good times, in that we're fairly certain there have been some

1) Drunk dial Lou Pinella and cry

The Quiet Joy Of A Midwestern Clear 600

Tonight in Detroit, Jim Thome completed the quietest run to a major milestone in recent MLB history, getting to a level that only eight men have ever reached... and he's really the only recent member to the 600 Club to get there without needles in the ass. If you want to disqualify the cheaters, Big Jim slots at #5 all time, behind just Griffey Jr., Mays, Ruth and Aaron, and the first to ever get 599 and 600 in consecutive at bats. Nice trick, and for the true crunchers, he's also the second fastest to the level if you are counting just ABs, rather than age. (By the calendar, he's also the oldest.)

With the landmark and his needle-free reality, Thome is going to be a lock pipe cinch for Cooperstown five years after he hangs it up, but I'm kind of hoping he doesn't for a while. It's just nice to have him around, even if he seems near the end this year; a .254 BA and 11 HRs for the year certainly seem like limping to the finish. But that's not the case, since the man still takes his walks and goes long; his OPS this year may be his lowest since an injury-racked 2005 in Philly when he finally gave up the job to Ryan Howard, but .811 is still pretty damned good, especially considering that his home park is doing him no favors. DH isn't really a position where you are blocking anyone young, and you don't play for three teams in the last two years without just loving the game a whole lot. Especially when you've made over $138 million and counting, just $4.5 million of that in the past two years in Minny.

And sure, he was injury prone, something of a platoon guy in later yearrs, a natural DH, a guy that couldn't carry the Tribe to the World Series, and left Philly before they went there as well... but his average year included 39 HRs and a .960 OPS. That's kind of great. He's basically the best of his kind to ever play the game, and a guy that's hung around a long time without making an idiot of himself.

No wonder the media more or less ignored his run to 600, there will be little if any merch moved from this, and the fans that might have cared hardest about this gave him up in Cleveland a long time ago (2002, actually) as sort of the Proto LeBron. Philly Fan loved him, of course, as the original free agent who chose the town over others, then moved him out when they could deny Howard no longer, getting back Aaron Rowand in the deal.

Would this have been different had Thome simply stayed in Cleveland for all of these years, and gotten his 600 in the same place? Probably, but it's asking a lot from a guy to leave tens of millions of dollars on the table just to make his plaque in Cooperstown a little cleaner. The Tribe has been up and down since he's left, and so has Thome's teams, but it's not as if he bad-mouthed any of the towns he's left behind.

Instead, he's just gone out as often as his body and manager would let him, crushed his way to the three true outcomes of walk, whiff or yard, and became the 4th best guy to ever go yard in American ball without chemical cheating. Not such a bad legacy, really.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Join The FTT Fantasy Football League

Let's face it, folks: we've all been playing fantasy football for too long. Many of us should stop, but we can't, even though the fun is starting to drain out of the enterprise with repeat exposure and the same old rules. So why not mix it up a bit with me this year, and try something new?

Here's the rules of the FTT Fantasy Football League.

1) It will be a live draft where each draft pick comes out of a hat. So you could wind up with the first 15 picks of the draft, or none at all. I find that this keeps everyone on their toes.

2) Draft positions include punters, and you have to take a punter with your first pick. My grandpa was a punter. Miss you, Grandpa.

3) 278 yards in passing is the Magic Number. If your QB gets this amount exactly, you get double his point total.

4) There are no stats for punters.

5) Individual Defensive Player stats are collected, but only on third down. The other downs just aren't clutch enough.

6) It's a head to head to head league, where every week is a 3-way dance of death.

7) If you have the high score for the week, you lose one player from your roster. We find this helps promote parity, and adds strategy to selecting your roster.

8) You are not allowed to start any player in a Thursday Night Game, because Thursday Night Games are an offense against God.

9) Each return yard is counted as a thousandth of a point, and rounded to tens.

10) We don't play for money, just sexual favors from spouses. That way, they all have a real rooting interest in the game. Sometimes, disturbingly non-competitive interests.

So if you want in, just send a link to a photo of your spouse in the comments. We look forward to plowing your spouse!

FTT Off-Topic: I Run

One of the things that I like to do is set goals for myself, and this year, that's worked out well. Raise or new job, check for both and the latter. Drop weight, check. Clear the credit card debt, done. Ten visits or more to the gym ever month, done. And then there's the running.

I've never been a runner, either for distance or sprinting. I'm not particularly built for it, with my Muggsy Bogues-esque body; the long loping strides that eat up the turf just don't happen. Put me on a bicycle, I can ride all day and endure the pain in the seat, and I don't need gears to climb hills. But once it comes to setting feet to pavement, my body says no.

Which, well, is how you get old, and out of shape, and all kinds of things that are not anything that I want to have happen. So let's run.

That is, of course, where the complications kick in. My digestive system isn't what it used to be, so if I eat too close to eating, it's not nice. So let's compound the This Is Not Me issue by doing it in the morning, which is not a time of the day that's ever worked out. So this morning, we get to four miles and stay on the schedule, and it goes well...

For the first 80%, at least.

And then the knee starts barking, but I'm close enough to the finish line that I'm not going to stop, so I start doing the math in my head. 85% complete, 86.25%, 87.5%... a fresh calculation to take my mind off how slowly that clock is ticking, and how much the knee hurts, and how this is just going to lock up for the rest of the day and more when I stop, so don't stop? No, stop. Don't. 90% complete.

I hit the line and pretty much crash from the knee, but stagger off and do the weight work just to make sure that every part of my body hurts more or less equally, then go limp home and do the writing work for the rest of the day while keeping my leg still. Next month, 4.5 miles. It's good to have goals, right?

Hey Jealousy: We Go To The New Yankee Stadium

Yesterday, three of the guys from my fantasy league, a spouse and a kid joined me in going to the new Yankee Stadium, our first trip to the new yard. Here are some observations.

1) Was this place really necessary? No, of course not: the old place didn't lack space, history, site lines or anything else that you'd want from a ballpark. But it's not as if the world is going to resist the idea of new yard for less baseball for more money in New York, when that equation has worked in every other baseball market. The new place is easier to get around in the concourses, has better bathrooms, and... well, I don't sit in seats that show my Overlord status, so that's about all of the improvements that I saw in the place.

2) The game was noteworthy for Jorge Posada, seeing his first at bats in a week, hitting a grand slam as part of a 6-RBI day. From where I was sitting out in left field, the place just didn't roar like the old park, and if there's ever going to be a roar, it should be for a turn back the clock performance from a credible Hall of Fame guy at the end of his career. Maybe it was just our section, but at one point, a guy in the row ahead of us tried to get a "Hip Hip Jorge" chant going to no avail, then snarled, "What a bunch of deadbeats." Well, sure. You pay this much for seats and expect us to cheer.

3) The Yankees were kind enough to start Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez in this game for me and my fading A's fandom, which was nice. Neither man did all that much in the 9-2 laugher for the home team, but it was still nice to see them go to a better place. Kind of like giving up your children for adoption to insufferable rich people. They look happier, don't they? And isn't that what's really important? Maybe only rich people should have children. Or the Yankees, ball players. It's only right.

4) The Rays didn't do much of any note in this game, as you might expect. (OK, you might expect: I was hoping for a Phil Hughes meltdown, and he looked fine.) But there was one thing striking about this club, and that was how poor they were defensively, despite being young and athletic. Sure, BJ Upton can go get it in center, and Desmond Jennings in left is also fine... but Matt Joyce in right blew a ball for a single, Sean Rodriguez at shortstop is plainly out of position, and the catching wasn't doing nibble-riffic Jeremy Hellickson any favors. As for Hell Boy, he looked terrified of pitching in this bandbox to 45K swells from the word go, and spent most of the day with men all over the basepaths. If you didn't know any better from the standings, you'd think Same Old Rays.

5) In case you are wondering just how expensive it is to go to the most expensive baseball stadium ever, here's the breakdown. $30 for the round trip train ticket from the outer outer outer boroughs where I live, $5 for the round trip subway to get from Penn Station to the Bronx, $60 and change for the seats in left under the overhang with relatively little vision impairment from a fence, $17.50 for a pretty poor pretzel, sausage and drink... and that's it, since I wasn't going to go into crazy debt for any kind of souvenir. So the grand total is just under $115 for a three hour baseball game, for one guy, and not exactly living large.

By the way, when I lived in NoCal and went to Oakland A's games, this would have covered 2-3 games worth, with more food, the occasional present, and a day out with my eldest daughter. Let's just say that I won't be cultivating any further baseball fandom in her, or her sister. They've priced me out, in a big way.

But it's really not possible to compare what the A's do with what the Yankees do, after all. The Yankee fans will never see a beloved player from their farm system spend the prime of his career somewhere else, strictly for money. They'll never go to a game in a stadium that will be anything but a world-class experience for world-class money. They'll never have a spring training where it's plainly obvious that they aren't going to contend, a trading deadline where they sell off good players for questionable assets, a September filled with going nowhere call-ups while a disinterested fan base chants for football. They'll never have a weeknight game with an embarrassingly low turnout, sections closed off because the seats never sell, or any of the other hallmarks of what the last half-decade of A's baseball has been like.

And if all of that sounds like me wondering why I don't just throw in the towel and root for the Yankees already (since, after all, they aren't the Red Sox, rooting against Peter Angelos in Baltimore is sane and correct, the Blue Jays might whine more than anyone else in the league and the Rays are just going to become the A's in another 1-2 years)...

Well, hell, I don't know either. Oh wait, I do -- the $115 to see a game and eat some food, and the fact that way too many Yankee fans are like rats in a cocaine experiment. (Oh, and the Gin Blossoms suck. Enjoy!)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Today In Reckless Sports Blog Speculation: Will Tiger Woods Retire?

No.

Because, well, he likes the money, and given the means to which he's accustomed to loving, and the rather intense loss of take-home pay in the wake of his divorce, he might even need it. Besides, it's going to take a while until all of the endorsement dollars go away; advertisers take a long time to weigh in, and a longer time to bail, because agencies are not quick entities, and they are making a commission.

Woods is now 253-7 on making the cut, which is of course a ratio that any other golfer would be happy to have, but when you have been universally acclaimed for a decade as the era's defining force, making the cut holds no joy.

He's also 35 now, brittle, with a swing that's under repair and inconsistencies that never came up in the past. He's no longer breathtaking with his distance, a man that's prone to making golf courses look obsolete all by his lonesome, or possessing the master assassin vibe that used to make head to head opponents fail so often.

Finally, there's this: the old Tiger would never have received pity from other players for the way his ex-caddy danced on his grave last week. He also would not be hearing more than occasional snarking from a press corps that has long cliche-filled memories, or trying to put a happy spin on a highly disappointing tournament.

Until proven otherwise, he's just another guy now, and more likely than not to never again be more than that. And maybe all of this would have happened anyway with age and the field catching up to him. And maybe it's all from his personal life spiraling out of control.

And the only way he's get the mystique back, short of a dominating win, would be to disappear into the mist, with an airtight leave from the media and no exit interviews.

And if Tiger objects to this... just point out that he's really not Tiger anymore, so you can always just retire that name, and call yourself Eldrick. Because the guy in his shoes right now is no threat to win any tournament, let alone a major.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday's Fantasy Football Takeaways

Once again, folks, I read the craptastic newsletters and sites so you don't have to. Here's what hit the wire today!

10) Marques Colston misses fifth of six practice days

So long as I get to put him at TE in my Yahoo game, he's still draftable. What?

9) Arizona RB Ryan Williams is impressive

In that he's not Beanie Wells. That's always a recipe for playing time in Arizona.

8) WR Johnny Knox listed as backup in Chicago

Hey, they have Roy Williams now. What more could you want? Right, any other player than Roy Williams.

7) Rex Grossman is the starter for your NFC East winning Washington Redskins

No, seriously.

You want to live in Rex's world. Hookers are free, candy is better for you than vegetables, and arm punt interceptions are counted as special teams plays. Oh, and the Redskins aren't the clear bottom-feeder, and aren't owned by a bigger cancer than pancreatic. (Or that the Daniel is a performance artist. Either will do.)

6) Green Bay TE Jermichael Finley has a glute contusion

Honestly, you want to know more about this? Freaking pervert. There really isn't a good reason to go more into this, other than to wonder why

5) The Broncos will be cautious with WR Brandon Lloyd

Because when a guy has had one great year out of five, and might be the only good WR in town, you coddle him. Especially when his QBs are an embattled neckbeard, a guy who wasn't able to win a job in Cleveland, and the most open-ended gadget play in Christiandom. Roll them dice, gamers.

4) Reggie Bush listed as the starting RB in Miami

And the countdown to his next devastating injury starts... now. Fish Fan, you are going to miss the stalwart injury history of Ronnie Brown. Soon.

3) Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb is going to play a lot

And watch his average draft position go all over the place. Just remember, folks, that preseason numbers are not exactly a perfect predictor of future success. Or I wouldn't still be cursing the name of CJ Spiller.

2) Eagles WR DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin won't play in the first preseason game

Neither is of any surprise, but Maclin's continued absence is just creating all kinds of unhappy rumor here in BirdLand, and making everyone happy about the Steve Smith signing as a fallback. It would be best, of course, if all of them were on the field at once for Team Green and Vick's owners, and for less than the full complement for any individual WR owner, since this is looking like another Saints Circus Situation where you don't know who to own.

1) Cowboys QB Tony Romo said to be looking good in camp

The Cowboys never lose in August, and Romo's usually aces until the second half of the year. Use accordingly.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kickoffs Are About To Become As Useful As Mammry Glands On A Bull

In tonight's Eagles-Ravens game, rookie kicker Alex Henery approached the football on the kicking tee as the local announcers talked up the fact that the rook was said to be concerned about kickoffs. Making field goals did not concern him, since he's done that with aplomb during his college career, but this whole matter of kickoffs and getting possibly smoked by a return man was a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

So he approached the ball, put foot to it... and drove it 8 yards deep into the end zone for a touchback. Job well done, rook.

And the same job that was done 6 out of 7 times tonight, and the same job that will probably be done 6 out of every 7 times all year, since the league has pushed up the yard line where the kicker hits the freaking ball. Find something else to worry about, rook.

We're about to enter into a whole new era of useless, folks -- where we not only get ten minutes of ads from touchdown to kickoff to drive start, but where that kickoff is rarely of any consequence. So some of the greatest athletes in the world are going to spend an inordinate amount of time this year watching footballs fall deep into end zones and taking knees, all for the fairly useless PR story of saying that they are doing something about head trauma.

So if that's the case... why have the play at all? Just start every possession on the 25 and be done with it, outlaw onside and squib kicks. Maybe punts too, since those might be dangerous. Or passing plays of more than 20 yards downfield.

Or, well, the game of football entirely.

I will, of course, continue to watch NFL games, and so will everyone else in the audience; there isn't anyone out there that will be driven away from the lack of a kickoff. But will the games be less exciting, less fun, less prone to twists of fate. And if we're fortunate, maybe they'll roll this back to the way things were, when the special teams game wasn't broken, and it got fixed.

Until then, feel free to buy seats at the 20, folks. You're sure to see a lot of plays there.

Today's Top 10 NFL Summer Camp Takeaways

It's time to cram for this year's fantasy football drafts, kiddies. As a public service, I'm going to I read terrible, terrible update newsletters so you don't have to, then give you the skinny on how you should act on the info. Let's wallow together, shall we?

10) Peyton Manning Might Be (Really) Hurt!

A bulging disc in the neck for an overpriced QB in his mid-30s, for a smoke and mirrors finesse team in a division that can't possibly be as bad as they were last year? Run away! Run away! Until you remember that he's Peyton Freaking Manning, and that all of the house rules that give him a sneaky edge every year are still in play. (Those would be 8 games in a dome, great WRs, terrible run game, defense that gets off the field whether for good reasons or bad, and the fastest release since Dan Fouts.) But by all means, continue to panic. I'd like to get him after six other sexier QBs come off the board first.

9) DeSean Jackson / Assante Samuel / Andy Reid / Swoop The Mascot is on thin ice

The Philadelphia media might be the most annoying on the planet, mostly because they like to write the same stories over and over again, especially in the absence of any other event. And nothing gets them more geeked out than Big Name Is About To Die, because Big Name Is Always About To Die in football. Anyway... the upside for your draft is that the Eagles are going to be a sneak pick on defense, since the opponent is going to be throwing and behind frequently, and the secondary is now filled with guys who have pick numbers. Enjoy responsibly.

8) Darius Heyward-Bey can't stay healthy or atop the Raiders WR depth chart

Um, that's because he sucks, and the new Raider head coach doesn't feel beholden to try to pretend that he doesn't by playing him, so this is Bustville, Population DHB. If he weren't drafted in the first round as a reach several years ago, you would not know his name. And his QB is the immortal Jason Campbell. So unless your league goes 400 players deep, why are you bothering to read about him?

7) Steve Slaton might be dealt in Houston

And until he is, you can ignore him and these obvious attempts to inlate his non-existent trade value, unless your league goes to third-string running backs with fumbling issues. (Yes, Steve, still bitter about protecting you after your massive rookie year, then watching you turn into the biggest bust in fantasy. Goddamit.)

6) Mike Shanahan hasn't decided on a starting RB in Washington

And if you read past his name, and are still looking to own a guy in the original Death To Roto Players Camp, you deserve what you get.

5) Ricky Williams signs for the minimum in Baltimore

What, you thought that your Ray Rice move was going to just result in a final end to timeshare, two thousand yards and TDs play? This is the NFL, folks. If your RB isn't in a timeshare, you root for an idiot team. Sigh.

4) Plax Burress can't stay healthy

And everyone else in the NFL who didn't spend big bucks to bring in an aging jailbird, when they already have the same and better in Jericho Cotchery, snickers. The blowhard ain't always right, folks. Leave Plax to the guy who drafts to win 2006.

3) Austin Collie is back on the field in Indy

And is just one more concussion away from changing his name to Anthony Gonzalez, or Drooly McMumble. Roll them dice!

2) Andy Dalton has got the inside track to the starting QB job in Cincy

There might be an ownable player in Cincy this year, only because Fat Drunken Criminal Ced Benson is going to get 30 carries a game, which should result in 60 yards, and a touchdown every other game when the Bengals somehow manage to avoid getting shut out. And yes, I am talking myself into another horrible year of owning Fat Drunken Criminal Ced Benson! Thanks for noticing!

1) Chris Johnson is a no show in camp despite potentially losing a year in service time for free agency

And dammit, he should hold out, seeing how the life of a running back is roughly akin to that of a fruit fly, and he's grotesquely underpaid. Fight the man, Chris! (And yes, I don't own him in my keeper league, where he's the crown jewel of the defending champs for wildly below market rate. That has nothing, I tell you, nothing to do with my opinion.)

Come back tomorrow for more...

This Is Getting Silly

Today in Los Angeles, the Phillies finished up a 10-game road trip, the last two stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles. These trips never go well; those teams are usually good, enjoy a considerable home field advantage, and cross-country extended travel just has a way of taking all of the life out of a man. I know when I do it, I'm kind of a zombie for 1-2 days, and the most physically strenuous thing I do for a living is carry a laptop through airport security. The Phillies, of course, have to go compete against other baseball players, in front of hostile fans (although less of them every day, it seems -- this team is starting to get the same Road Fan Phenomenon that the Yankees and Red Sox have enjoyed forever), with body clocks that aren't adjusting and hotel beds that are never as good as the ones at home. Small wonder then, that in the mostly sordid 129 year history of the franchise, they had never had a 10-game road trip go as well as 9-1.

With fifth starter Vance Worley on the mound and looking like the magic had finally dribbled out of the tube, they fell behind by six runs to plucky Dodgpos, who are not nearly as bad as you might imagine a flea market team to be. (Hell, if baseball were just a game where you used your top 6 players, the Dodpos might make the playoffs, and if MVPs came from also-ran flophouses, Matt Kemp would be a favorite. But they don't and won't, so, alas. Doesn't stop Kemp's fantasy owners from loving him long time. Moving on.)

Anyway, down six, getaway day, 8-2 trip in the books, 8-game lead in the division, day game after night. Hit the snooze button, pull the regulars, get a jump on the traffic and rest on your laurels. No one would blame you.

Except, of course, their own damn selves.

So Worley singles up the middle to drive in some of the runs he gave up. Ryan Howard, in the midst of one of those summer hot streaks that seems to possess the man annually, goes opposite field for a two-run bomb. Hunter Pence, who plays the game with more joy than a border collie on meth now that he's been freed from the Houston Gulag and dropped square in the middle of the NL's dominant team, goes yard himself. Chase Utley, looking for all of the world like the spring's serious health scare never happened, knocks in another. The bullpen gives up nothing for four innings (honestly, have you ever heard of a team where four different guys have closed, almost all of them perfectly), and that's just your biggest comeback win of the year. Another day at the office, really.

They are now an absurd 37 games above .500 - a mark they have not reached since, gulp, 1977. Since the end of June, they are putting over 5.3 runs a game across, which makes them the best offense in the National League. That surge has coincided with the team getting healthy (well, OK, everyone but Placido Polanco, but so be it), the bench guys coming through in a big way, and...

Well, it's time, I think, to start noticing this. Jinxes be damned; this is a behemoth, a crusher of worlds, a team that won't let the opposition even be spared the ignominy of a sweep at home. They are not to be reasoned with, or spoken to. They might not even be human.

And their winning number, as I write this... is 37.

Kind of absurd, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Buckle Up, Folks: Kevin Durant Is Going To Turkey

Just in case you were still under any illusion that there was going to be an NBA season worth noting in 2011-2012 - I'm really thinking of just sending my nine-year roto hoop league trophy to David Stern, just to see if he will agree to go for a full hostage situation...

There's this little moment of fun. Kevin Durant, the best young player in the world, the 7-foot monster with the impossible range who ended the Internets last week with that crazy Rucker Park fourth quarter, is in talks to go to Asia Minor.

You know, just like Deron Williams, and anyone else who wants to play basketball for money. (And yes, he'll be one of Williams' teammates.)

Does this get NBA teams to say uncle? Well, of course not: they are already balls deep into this quagmire with no chance of a magical pixie pony to pull them out. Unlike the NFL, where every team more or less makes money and it's just a matter of how much and how often, the Association has a half dozen (or more) teams that do not, and will not. Unlike MLB, there is no farm sysem of thousands of relatively competent scab-ready players that a certain percentage of the fans will watch, because they just like to go to the park. And unlike both of these sports, the start of the NBA's season is more or less missed by anyone who isn't a hard core hoops junkie.

Now, here's the dirty secret about the NBA's regular season: it actually matters. In the West, you can be good and miss the playoffs, especially if you have injuries or a lack of focus. In the East, if you don't have home-court in the playoffs, you will lose to Chicago, Boston or Miami, and everyone knows it. The first 40+ games are spent for every team that had roster turnover (aka, every team) to develop defensive cohesion, because there are very few players that are so good on defense as to be able to just exist as a positive force on their own. Bench rotations are worked out, coaches figure out their end of game and quarter strategies, refs are gamed and defensive books are written for the games that matter.

And that's all going away, along with Williams, Durant, Ron Artest and more more more... and rest assured, there will be more. After all, Durant is young and devout and unsullied by free agency; he was supposed to be, if not quite a fire break, at least not quite like everyone else. But with this news, he's not. The Durtantula will get paid to play hoop next year. Whether or not there will be a league for him to come back to is a very open question. Along with wondering if I can get those Turk games on my tee vee...

Top 10 signs that you are overpreparing for your fantasy football draft

10) You are secretly pleased that there was a lockout, since it gives your no-life prep work a critical edge

9) Not only do you know who Mikel Leshoure is, you know how to spell his name, and are prepared to be depressed about his injury for months

8) Properly evaluating Darren McFadden (#1 back, run-friendly offense, talented... but lost his FB and coach, injury-prone and doomed by being a Raider) is keeping you up at nights

7) Like every other year for the past five, you've got two rankings -- with Favre and without

6) It's not a question of whether you have NFL Sunday Ticket, but if you are springing for the Red Zone Channel

5) If you win your league, you might just break even from your premium Web site access, annual magazines and stat geek book purchases

4) You are no longer able to actually watch live games, since you are in too many leagues to know what to root for

3) Hines Ward's offseason thrills you, since you know that the "Dancing With The Stars" win and DUI conviction will be sure to drive up his draft value to insanity

2) You know more about the Tim Tebow situation in Denver than the current condition of your home, girlfriend, spouse or child

1) Not only do you know about transactions for players that are in no way fantasy relevant, you've convinced yourself that this will give you the edge to win your league

Top 10 reasons why Kevin Durant is going to Turkey

10) Wants to see what it would be like to be on a team where the point guard gives you the ball

9) The last time he was there, it worked out well, and they gave him a gold medal and everything

8) Unlike the Rucker games, the Turks know how to provide security

7) After years of living in Oklahoma City, he's ready to go live in a big city with a better standard of life

6) Enjoys punking Kobe Bryant, since the Mamba was supposed to get this gig

5) Sees himself as the spiritual hoops descendant of Constantine and Attaturk, because he's deep and stuff

4) All part of the master plan of being a Knight Templar

3) Thinks that if he agrees to play there, they'll go back to calling it Constantinople, thoroughly messing up They Might Be Giants

2) Knows that his well-publicized Christianity will play well in a society where militant Islam is only tenuously held in check by a coup d'etatastic government

1) Turkey, unlike the United States, has a solvent men's professional basketball league

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This Just In: It's The Phillies' Year

Tonight in Los Angeles, the Phillies were holding a three run lead in the eighth against the plucky Expogers. It was one of those nights where the home team just had all kinds of base hits fall in, and when reliever Michael Stutes came in to face Roy Hallady, things just went all kinds of wrong for the road favorites. Matt Kemp started it off with a single, then stole second as if it weren't no thing at all. Aaron Miles followed with a knock to make it 4-2, still no outs. Stutes then blew a threw to first, putting Miles on second. A line drive by James Loney to straightaway center was barely flagged down by Shane Victorino for the first out, and that was it for Stutes. In comes Brad Lidge, new to the eighth but pitching well since his return from injury.

Rod Barajas is hitless in his life against Lidge, but he can still take a walk; the Dodgers then pinch ran for the catcher with rabbit Eugenio Velez. (Between him and Dee Gordon, the Dodgers are cornering the world with speed SS that can't get on base.) Juan Rivera then pinch hit and delivered another hit to left, scoring Miles, making it 4-3, and just putting everything into all kinds of tilt. You've watched enough baseball, you've seen this movie: shaky defense, alive home crowd, the avalanche keeps coming, especially on the road and on the West Coast. It's inevitable.

At which point Gordon grounded to second base, and Rivera decided to try to run through Utley like a rugby player. Easy interference call, perhaps a heady play by Chase to stay in the way, and the base runners remained at first and second with two outs now. But still, it's Brad Lidge, who has frittered away far too many leads to ever be completely trustworthy again, and this is just the false dawn before the deeper crisis... which is why the bounced wild pitch slider that moved both runners up a base just seemed like the continuation of the avalanche.

Then, Tony Gwynn Jr. decided to try to administer the tying shot RBI with a bunt. Odd, but Gwynn runs well, and with several shaky defensive plays already in the inning, maybe he just thought that the Phillies were going to give the whole road game away... but instead, Lidge hustled over and made that faddish flip play that all the kids make now. As if that play doesn't wind up over the first baseman's head every other year, really.

Add it all up, and it's yet another win for the Fightin's, who are just looking like the class of not just the NL right now, but possibly all of baseball. Unlike the Red Sox and Yankees, they can pitch deep into the rotation. Anyone they put in there to close games does it. With Hunter Pence in the lineup, they are scoring runs and solving the left-right balance problem. They catch the ball the way they have for years, the home field might be the most imposing one in the league, and most days, they start eight former or current All Stars (and Chooch Ruiz, who really should have gone by now) behind those aces. And they are winning games like tonight's, the ones that everyone else loses.

(And yes, all of that means nothing when the season begins again in October, the only season that has mattered to this team since Cliff Lee signed last winter. But you can only win the games you play today, and you should appreciate it as it's happening, really.)

Five Reasons Why DeSean Jackson Won't Turn Into Terrell Owens

(God, please not let DeSean Jackson be Terrell Owens.)

With DeSean Jackson holding out while employing Terrell Owens' old agent, there's all kinds of people thinking that his end in the laundry is nigh, and that Shenanigans Are Coming. I'm not so sure. Here's why.

1) This is his first team.

Terrible spent his formative years being told that he wasn't Jerry Rice, for an organization that was in open decay and decline. In his formative years, his QB went from a Hall of Famer that could get him the ball all over the field (Steve Young) to a Nintendo-esque figure (Jeff Garcia) that couldn't go past 20 yards unless it was a sideline fly. Whining to get out was inevitable, and being rewarded for it just exacerbated his sense of exceptionalism.

DeSean's been an Eagle for four years now, and has seen the team go from an aging question mark to a Houdini act and emblem of redemption. He's seen the defense get a huge importing of talent, and a cadre of young skill players that complement what he does without competing with it. He might feel bent about not getting paid, or concerned that the club isn't ever going to pay him due to injury concerns... but he can't be thinking that there's a better place for him to play in 2011.

2) He's not angry.

Owens played just about every down of his life angry; angry at the QB for not getting him the ball, angry at the CB for thinking he could defend him, angry at any defender for thinking he could bring him down, angry at the ref for not throwing a flag on any play that didn't go his way. He might have been the most physically imposing wideout of his generation, and he wasn't that much of a leaper. No one ever accused him of taking plays off, and while it's really too simplistic a point, the biggest problem is that Terrell might have cared too much. (About Terrell first, of course. But still.)

DJ is an entirely different animal. He's not about getting 15 balls a game; he's about going 50 yards when he gets it, and impacting the game like clear air turbulence, or lightning on a cloudless day. I've never watched a player in the laundry who seemed to radiate more pure joy, really. Even his knucklehead moments (the infamous Dallas early drop touchdown, the delayed touchdown routes, the general inability to just score and hand the ball to the ref) are more along the lines of an irrepressible kid, rather than a me-first malcontent.

3) Drew Rosenhaus is older.

When Terrible spent his summer ensuring the Super Bowl hangover was going to last all year long, Rosenhaus was a virtual unkwown, and a guy who seemed to be well on his way to being an infamous footnote. Now, he's still in the game, still prominent for a number of guys, and no more loathed than anyone else in his line of business. He's still a guy who is going to say and do whatever it takes to get the biggest commision for himself, but he doesn't seem like he's going to be leading a workout circus in a driveway, either.

4) He's got friends on the team. Lots of them, actually.

Nnamdi Asomugha, Mike Vick, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, possibly even Andy Reid... the list is long, and there really isn't anyone on the team that doesn't seem to have kind words for the guy. Hell, after the Miracle at the Meadowlands, I'm pretty sure he's beloved for life. So there won't be any real fights or snottiness in the locker room, or guys sticking the needle in over how he didn't get paid. At least, that's what I'm hoping.

5) Plenty of other guys got screwed this year, too.

It's the NFL lockout year: free agents didn't get paid worth a damn, and the Eagles cleaned up by convincing the solid talent to take less for the chance to join a winner with a national profile. Assuming he stays healthy and the team wins games -- which, of course, can not be assumed, but seems the most likely outcome right now -- DJ could be finding himself thankful to not be locked up.

And if he winds up putting the same big plays and numbers up... well, it's not as if there will be any shortage of suitors willing to pony up big cash to take the key to the Eagles' deep game away from them. But it'll happen in the off-season, after we know an awful lot more about life -- whether DJ stayed healthy, whether Vick stayed in one piece, and whether or not this all-in move got paid off. Unless the man's concussion problems return, he's gonna get paid. Just not right away.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Top 10 signs the Yankees are going to release Jorge Posada

10) They keep asking him if he'd like to see more of Bernie Williams

9) Too much praise for that durable and affordable Eric Chavez

8) Outside of Boston, there's not much call for catchers who can't throw, hit, or catch

7) The legal limit for DHs is three

6) Unlike some people, he doesn't have a crippling contract and counting total record to keep sucking down ABs

5) Jesus Montero has placed a call to Amnesty International

4) One too many cracks about how he doesn't even wear the World Series rings he has

3) The other teams in the AL continue to send cards of support and appreciation to the club for keeping him around

2) Dropping him from the lineup before a nationally televised game has a certain finality to it

1) Have already sent him the Old-Timers Game uniform

The Championship Of Each Other

With 11-year DE Shaun Ellis going from the Jets to the Patriots for a 1-year deal this week ($910K, the veteran minimum), the rivalry goes up a bit, don't you think? The inevitable juicy Rex Ryan quote is "The fact that he chose them... there's no way I'm going to wish him well... I don't want him to play that well." For the Pats, it's something of a no-brainer; if Ellis is spent, he won't cost them much, and if he's got one big Vengeance Year in him, that's money (very) well spent to upgrade the biggest problem on the roster. But it speaks to a bigger truth, really...

For years, the Patriots geared up to work the Colts like a speed bag. They built the line and backs to handle the Colt speed rushers, worked as many defensive looks into the mix as possible to save pick chances against Peyton Manning for late, and basically measured themselves against that team to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. The division was an afterthought, and while the Jets might look a little scary at times, they didn't concern that team more than, say, Baltimore or Pittsburgh.

Now? Not so much. And not just because the Colts are increasingly looking like a smoke and mirrors team that will fall to below .500 as soon as Manning The Greater

Darelle Revis got Randy Moss out of New England more than any other factor. Watching the Jets' ground game turn the Patriots into mush, a year after the Ravens did the same trick, prompted the risky Albert Haynesworth signing. Watching Mark Sanchez have all day to throw and complete the playoff comeback last year pushes the Ellis signing. They signed WR Chad Ochocinco not so much for what he can do against Revis (um, Chad's pretty horrible in those matchups), but how his name might draw Revis away from the actually productive parts of their passing game (the TEs and underneath game with WRs Wes Welker and Julian Edelman).

For better or ill, New York, you have the Empire's attention now. They also have your heart and soul guy for the past 11 years, and while he might be close to spent, he wasn't last year, when he was your best DLer on the field in that win in Foxboro.

And for the rest of the NFL, and the rest of the country that's more or less trapped in the 12 month Boston - New York - Red Sox - Yankees - Patriots - Jets - Celtics - Knicks - Bruins - Rangers clusterpluck... well, um? That's not ending. Potentially ever. But that's what we all want, right?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Coach Taylor, No!



Dammit, Buddy Garrity should have never sold his bar for that Frito-Lay factory, then gone to his friend to bail him out of a fiscal crisis. Now Coach Eric Taylor has got to whore himself out to this conglomerate to hawk junk food. There's no way this won't come back to bite him in the ass later, especially when the Pennsylvania high school coaches association catches wind up of this. I smell a forfeit of a game that his Vikings depserately needed to win to qualify for the playoffs, and little baby Gracie getting hooked on the chips that get sent to his house, especially with his wife so busy at her new job as dean of admissions. He'll rue the day he did this! Especially when his local obsessive high school radio DJ starts pounding him about this for day after day.

(And if I've just lost all of you with that, it's because you didn't watch "Friday Night Lights", and wonderful satire has been lost. Alas. Hope you put the money to good use, Kyle Chandler. Clear eyes, full wallet?)

Ten MLB Saturday Takeaways

I sat down for the Fox MLB of the Week double header this week. Here's what I've learned...

10) Giants Fan doesn't care if his team wins or loses, because he gets to float in water in nice weather, which is something that the broadcast audience needs to be reminded of on a routine basis

9) The state of Yankees-Red Sox is now at the point where Joe Buck tells you how many minutes the inning has taken, because you haven't wasted nearly enough of your life in these games

8) The Giants feel that Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff are sure to forget who they are and hit, any day now

7) Ken Rosenthal's wacky necktie fetish shows that Craig Sager's influence exists, and will be a problem

6) The addition of Carlos Beltran to the Giants is just what a defending World Series champion needed, since Carlos has been such a big winner over the last few years as a Met

5) Since the Giants lost today without getting their heads kicked in, no Phillie hitter had to be thrown at

4) If I just avoid getting a cell phone, I won't be part of any idiotic dance troop flash mobs

3) We all care very deeply about how much facial hair the Giants' relievers have

2) Eric Karros and Kenny Albert each talked about Cole Hamels "taking a deuce", which he more or less did on the Giant hitters

1) When a beer vendor spills onto the field in Boston, that's pretty much a generation-defining event

I Tilt Myself

Normally I love hosting my poker game. Last night, not so much. But hey, bad times for me usually result in amusement for you, so let's vent...

The Man Space can get a bit toasty with 20+ meat bags in it -- it's basically a 350 square foot rectangle with a low ceiling and no ventilation -- so I've tried a number of steps to make it more habitable. Two ceiling fans run more or less nonstop despite the height, I put some curtains near the stairwell to cut down on the cold air loss, and I have a portable unit that goes out one of the small basement windows. Since the windows are small, you can't just put an ordinary unit in the window; you need something with a smaller vent tube, and customize the window installation. One of my regulars wanted to bring his dad to this week's game and had a portable unit he wasn't using, so all right. Let's give it a shot, with the guy and our mutual contractor doing the honors.

They installed the unit on Wednesday night, and I couldn't be around for much of the work, as my West Coast start up required me on a late conference call. When I got back to the area, the unit was in the wall, but I was told not to use it just yet. The fuses for my breaker were said to be up to the job, but not my surge protector. So I didn't test it before the event.

Now, something everyone should know about poker players, or at least the guys at my game: herding cats might be easier. Getting them all to come on time, having the people who say they are coming not change their plans at the last minute, or having others parachute in... it's more or less a constant. In the usual day of an event, anywhere from 10 to 20% of the field is going to email, text or call to change things up, and I'm going to wind up changing the room to match it up. We run a yearly points total to aid repeat business and add intrigue, so it complicates set up. We also frequently wind up on the 2-3 table cusp, and the tables fit 8, 8 and 10 players respectively, so I try to keep things even. It requires some doing.

Finally, I also usually run errands the night before, or the day of, the game. There's soda to buy and load into the fridge, a new water cooler that required a spare 5-gallon jug, soft pretzels, etc. I also wind up moving a lot of furniture, as my sectional sofa moves to the other side of the basement to make room. There's a lot to do, but it's something I enjoy, and as I've said, I like putting on a good game.

Usually.

Last night, not so much.

I knew I was in trouble for, well, days before the event. It's been a rough month financially, so the added contractor expense wasn't a happy moment, and you rarely play well when you are tight on dough. It's been a very busy week for the start up (witness the Wed PM call), so the errands fell to the Shooter Wife. It was a very busy day for the start up, so the room prep didn't happen until late. And the second AC unit didn't get turned on until late, either... and when it did? I discovered the tube was about a foot too short to position the unit in any useful direction. Irritating. And so is the bigger than usual flurry of player add/drops, as we go from 25 to 20 in the span of an hour. Fine. Gah. Whatever. We've still got enough for three tables, we're starting on time, everyone's happy. Let's roll. What do I care that the second AC unit shuts off when someone uses the coffee maker? It'll all work out. Room's OK, though not exactly cool. We'll be fine.

The first hour goes well for me. I chip up early despite not catching much, and the crazy aggro player at my table doesn't show up on time, which also helps. The rebuys are popping off like popcorn to make for a big pot, and the final hand before the hour goes my way and makes me the chip leader, though not a dominating one. Crazy aggro guy is short stacked, I don't feel overwhelmed by my table, I'm finally going to cash in my tournament this year. (It's been a very bad year for me in my tournament.)

At which point... we all start to notice how wet it's getting near the second AC unit. Visible dripping. Joy. I need some cups and maybe a bucket, let's turn this thing off and I've been dealt Ace-6 out of position, um, uh, crap, fold I guess, my freaking room! Dammit, I more or less live down here now with the work from home job, and that's not good. I mean, I own a dehumidifier and all, but still... Wow, all-in on my big blind, and I've got an Ace and your stacks isn't big, so I guess I call...

I make it to the final table somehow with a decent stack, thanks to flopping a full house against that all-in move. We're paying out five tonight and I really do need the cash, so I should just stay patient and hmmm... 9-10 suited when the table is going all-in crazy. I've folded something like 9 out of 10 hands or more most of the night, so maybe a limp will look like I'm trapping with a big pair if I come in early, so let's give that a shot. The flop is a rainbow that gives me an open-ended straight, and the table is aggro enough that there's no way I'm going to see the turn or river with checks... so let's bet into it and go 2X pot. It works for everyone but the previously mentioned late maniac on my right, who shoves for 80% of my stack. Dammit.

(Here's a little side pot of misery: the room has a new player who won't give me his last name for the player of the year contest, and is slow with his antes to the point where I feel like I have to monitor his play for the rest of the night. Oh, and he's also doing the whole fake ignorant thing on the size of bets to call, rebuys twice in the first five minutes before putting together a monster stack, and has managed to ingratiate himself to, seemingly, everyone in the room but me. But maybe that's just because my floor is turning into a swamp from an unexpected expense that's causing electrical issues. Yeah, I'm just a festival of good decisions right now.)

The only smart move here is to fold. I need to cash. This maniac has owned me for six months. He's such a maniac that I'm not even sure I've got the worst hand right now, really. Even if I'm wrong, 8 outs with two cards left isn't the worst odds I've ever played into. Drip. Drip. Drip. Dammit, I need to win one of these freaking things, not just cash for my buy in, especially given my financial situation. GAHHHHH. Drip. Drip. Drip.

Call. Like a complete on tilt moron. Call.

And of course he's got J-10, the same draw that I have, but also top pair, and just about the worst thing for him to have. So there goes most of it, and the last is gone two hands later when no one raises my big blind, I hit bottom pair and bet into a stack with more. Well, so much for those three hours. I play the cash game for ten minutes with my heart not in it, since my floor needs attention, and the room gets my overall pissy vibe and starts bailing out early.

Everyone, of course, that isn't the previously mentioned side pot of misery. He's counting chips after everyone has left to make sure he gets every possible dime of what's coming to him (this, after clearing $175 in the tournament, and taking a miss on my tip jar since he's brought his own), thanking me for the fourth time for the courtesy of having him (the first three times were enough, really), and asking me when the next game is. Oh, and he's spilled a beer and congratulated himself by telling me about it, and how honest he is for saying so.

Um, dude? This is my home. My swampy, swampy home that needs hours of cleaning and work, with no desire for company, especially yours. He finally gets the hint and leaves, and now it's time to get the place back to habitable. So let's grab the dehumidifier and the towels and the vacuum cleaner and... hey, the tip jar is at its lowest level ever. Can't say that's a surprise, really.

Yeah, that second AC unit? It's time for that to go. Like, post haste. So using the power of hate and gym muscles, I get the thing to the garage -- and yes, it's absolutely engorged with water, adding to the weight and my general rage. Which leaves just the hose in the window, which comes out with a simple screw driver. And a whole in the window, with a custom and perfectly placed piece of wood that ain't going nowhere. Ruining the efforts of the dehumidifier. The wood has got to go. Somehow. At 4am.

Let's find a saw! Sure, that's a win at this hour. But we don't have a hand saw, we've got an electric one. In the box, brand new and after 45 minutes of looking at the instructions and trying to get it to work... that's exactly where it goes back. GAHHHH. Well, at least there's one Darwin Award moment dealt with. (I wound up using the tool of every tool-challenged moron; duct tape. Worked for the day.)

So... many hours later, the room got back to status quo. Twenty days from now, it will happen all again. And if the room's too hot... the room will be too hot. And I hope it puts them on tilt, because it's not going to for me.

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