Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So long Marvin...for now.


As sad as I am to say that Marvin Harrison will not be an Indianapolis Colt next year, I am ok with the decision. Marvelous Marvin was not interested in cutting his nine-million dollar salary for the 2009 season. Now Marv, I love you, and I mean that in the straightest way possible. You are a Philly native, you play for my favorite team and are quite possibly my favorite receiver in the history of the game, but last year you posted 60 catches, 636 yards, and 5 touchdowns. These totals are the lowest you have had in a season that you played more than 12 games. In these times of economic turmoil you have to be willing to take a pay cut sir. In actuality, the economy is just a ploy to say that you are, as sad as it is to say, getting old Mr. Harrison. I cannot imagine anyone signing you to a nine-million dollar deal that would last at most two years. So let’s see where the man could end up shall we?

Let’s start off with the one that most people think…Philadelphia. The idea sounds good, Donovan and Marvin teaming up again like they did as Orangemen, and the Eagles need a big name wide receiver. But with T.J. Houshmandzadeh still on the market, I can’t imagine the birds putting up the money for a receiver that may only be there for one year. If Donovan McNabb can get three or four years out of the possible deal in a new contract, Houshmandzadeh would make the better choice as a 31-year-old receiver. Harrison is on the other end of 30 and the knee injury he had in 2007 is enough to turn the Eagles off from picking him up. Sorry Roman Catholic fans, Marv won’t be seen in Eagles green.

So what about the Tennessee Titans? I mean he would get a chance to shove it in the Colts’ face twice next year that they didn’t re-sign him, and the Titans wide receivers are Chris Davis, Biern Ealy, Justin Gage, Lavelle Hawkins and Paul Williams…not exactly first ballot Hall of Famers. So what better man for the job of teaching than Marvin? Eh, I wouldn’t bet that he would go here because for starters Harrison wouldn’t be the type of guy to go to a rival because of a grudge against the Colts. He asked for a release and the Colts gave it to him. No bad blood, no Favre style drama, just a release and a thanks. Plus, Titans have bigger problems with Kerry Collins’ contract being up which leaves Vince Young at the helm right now, and also star defensive lineman Albert Haynseworth is potentially being offered a “monster” contract. So on to the next candidate.

How about daaaaa Bearsssss? I mean they are hurting at the position (Devin Hester is their number one receiver right now) and they finally got their quarterback situation under control last year. Kyle Orton, the Boilermaker, finally showed that he can command a team with a 9-7 record and a whole 2,972 passing yards…awesome. No wait, that’s actually not awesome in the least. Kyle you threw six more touchdowns than you did interceptions last year. I think the Bears should aim for a solid QB in either the draft or in the free agent pool, so this makes it pointless to get a wide receiver that might be good for maybe a year. Thanks for attending Chicago but we are going to have to keep moving.

So let’s travel ten miles north to Minneapolis. Hey it kind of rhymes with your old city? No? Not on board? Well how about this, you have some young to average experienced receivers that you could teach the way of the respectable wide out. Also, you have a bevy of potential quarterbacks that could be lofting you balls down-field in a dome atmosphere that you are used to. But the quarterback situation could be the biggest reason not to go there. Frerotte is in his fifteenth season and he has been on seven different teams. John David Booty is going to be entering his second year and doesn’t quite have a handle on the offense yet. And need I mention Tarvaris Jackson? The man should just switch to a wide receiver himself or at the very least a running back. He would service the team better there. Anyway, the trouble with not having a steady quarterback is problematic for Harrison because he works best when he has chemistry with whoever is throwing the ball. Peyton Manning entered the league in 1998 and Marvin Harrison (in 12 games) had 59 catches, 776 yards, and seven touchdowns. Let’s go to the next year where Harrison played 16 games and had 115 catches, 1,663 yards and 12 touchdowns. That’s quite an improvement after one year of getting to know his quarterback. So time is the Vikings biggest enemy when it comes to acquiring Harrison. They would only have them for maybe two years max, and they’re not even sure who is going to be their starting quarterback at the end of the season.

It seems as if Marvin is not going to fit in anywhere. I mean the previous four teams are hurting most at the receiver position but none of them are just right for Harrison. Well let’s try out one last one…the Atlanta Falcons. They don’t really have great receivers but they get by with Roddy White and Jerious Norwood, so the addition of Marvin Harrison could help all of their good receivers become great. Plus, Matt Ryan had a great rookie season last year with these mediocre receivers. Imagine what he could do in his sophomore season with the likes of Marvin Harrison. Harrison could help push the Falcons sixth ranked offense up in the statistical categories and make them an even bigger threat (remember the Falcons-Cardinals playoff game? What a shootout 30-24). And don’t forget Marvin…no one has number 88 there…just putting it out there.

I really think Harrison should go to the Falcons, and not only because it is a good fit for him but for the Falcons as well. Next season I think he will have better stats than this past year, but nothing like he was in his prime. Harrison will always be a Colt and who knows come training camp he may be one again… http://blogs.nfl.com/2009/02/24/colts-owner-irsay-plans-meeting-with-harrison/

Thursday, February 19, 2009

DID YOU SEE THAT!?

Ok, I haven't seen Wayne Gretzky play during his prime and I'm not well versed in hockey but...wow.
That goal that Alexander Ovechkin had last night against the Canadiens was outstanding and not just because he shot it from his side on the ice. He came directly from a line change and did a figure skater-esque pirouette around Canadiens Defenceman Roman Hamrlik. Then from there, skated down the ice only to get tripped up by Canadiens Forward Kyle Chipchura and skipping the goal right past Goaltender Carey Price...fantastic. Not only this but Ovechkin says this wasn't his most impressive goal. At first glance you may agree but let's reflect on the goal against the Phoenix Coyotes in January of 2006 shall we?


The man is incredible and not annoying like (in my friend's dads words) Cry Baby Crosby (Thanks Mr. Gordy). I agree with Ovechkin that the goal against the Coyotes was better. It was very reminiscent of the aftermath of the famous Bobby Orr flying goal photo.Definitely one for the ages, but Mr. Ovechkin last night's goal was pretty sick. Kudos.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Can we move on already?


I don’t know about the rest of you but I am sick of hearing about Alex Rodriguez. I know I wrote about him last week but that was when it was still new and fresh. Seriously, he admitted, apologized, and nearly cried thanking his teammates. Now guys like Jayson Stark, Tim Keown, and Buster Olney do not trust everything he has said. Stark wonders what Rodriguez isn’t telling us, Keown says he is a liar, and Olney says his future is at stake. How about we get a word from a hall of fame third basemen eh boys? I mean none of you actually played the game so let’s hear what a former player has to say about one of his own.
Phormer Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt says he would accept Rodriguez into the Hall of Fame. Hmm, that’s funny seeing as his future is at stake and he is lying about what he has said.
When asked if he would have used performance enhancing drugs if it was apparent during his era Schmidt said, “Most likely. Why not?”
So why do these writers (who are basically just fans) find the need to incite arguments about things that well known established players don’t care about? Sir Olney, Stark, and Keown I know the economy is tough right now but why not write about other things that are more important , like the upcoming season or about trades that have happened? It would please me and I’m sure everyone else from the maddening escapade you call Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. Really, let’s get on to talking about the actual baseball season.

*more questions to Rodriguez*

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

NL Central...yawn

So after the shocking development of Alex Rodriguez’s use of performance enhancing drugs, let’s keep on keepin’ on in the breakdown of each division. Today’s guests, the National League Central Division, and first up the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs seemed like they were going to break their 100 year losing streak with the way they entered the playoffs last year. But it’s the Cubs. They are nearly as good as choking as the Mets. They had the best record in the National League but still fell short, losing three straight to the Dodgers. So what’s up this year? Hopefully the Cubbies can get back to their winning ways because they have what it takes to go the distance. This off season they picked up Right Fielder Milton Bradley from the Texas Rangers to help pump up their lineup. Bradley had a .321 average last year for the Rangers and hit 22 homeruns. Not that the Cubs needed help during the regular season because they scored the second most runs in the entire league (855). Hopefully it will pay off come playoff time though because their bats more silent than Helen Keller in church (six runs through three games…ouch). The loss of Mark DeRosa hurts at second base but the pickup of Aaron Miles isn’t awful. He just hits for average more than anything and he has been good in the field. Only had four errors last year, one of them while he was playing shortstop. Rest in peace Mr. Caray, but this year the “Cubs win! Cubs win!” their division again but don’t bet on them to win it all.

Crack a cold one for the Brew crew who did very well in the last half of the season. They met their match in the playoffs when the Phightin’ Phils took them down in four. Yeah it was awesome, but this year the Brewers lost the main reason they were even in the hunt last year. He went 11-2 in 17 starts with the Brewers…disgusting. Now he is a Yankee and the Brewers pitching staff is abysmal. Their starting five (which include a former closer) were a combined 35-34 last year. Wahoo! And other than Prince Fielder, their offense is mediocre. Don’t look forward to the Brewers making the playoffs this year. At best they’ll have a .500 record.

The Houston Astros haven’t done much this offseason to help their woes, but I imagine they will do better than the Brewers. The one thing I do like that they did was the pickup of Mike Hampton from the Braves. He was only 3-4 last year and is getting kind of old but he should help the Astros pitching staff from what it was last year. The batting average against them was .264 which was 11th (of 16) in the National League and they had 1095 strikeouts for 10th. Hampton isn’t going to be the deciding factor for the Astros and won’t send them to the playoffs but will ease the pain of Houston Texan fans every now and then.

Seriously though, the National League Central is a friggin’ thorn in my side. The Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates aren’t going to surprise anyone this year. The Cards kind of want to get Manny but probably won’t get him. The Reds acquired Willy Taveras which is a step up from Corey Patterson, but not a big enough step to get them in the playoffs. And the Pirates…THE STEELERS WON THE SUPERBOWL! Yeah it’s that bad for them, but who knows maybe their awful pitching, batting, fielding, and beautiful park will achieve the 70 game win plateau…or maybe they’d be better of becoming actual pirates?

Monday, February 9, 2009

A-Roid's on the List


Photo Credit: http://www.sportssafetyiq.com/2008/01/steroids-and-ki.html

On Saturday, Sports Illustrated ran an article about the highest paid Major League Baseball player, Alex Rodriguez, alleged steroid use. The information came from 2003 survey testing conducted by Major League Baseball. Rodriguez’s name was one of 104 who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Today Rodriguez sat down with ESPN’s Peter Gammons to settle the details.

Rodriguez says that he was “young, stupid and na├»ve” during his time with the Texas Rangers. From the sounds of it, A-Rod sounded genuinely sorry, and I think this is an excellent thing for a professional baseball player to do. Rather than having a great clip like Rafael Palmero’s finger pointing lie, A-Rod did the stand up thing and admitted his wrong-doing. Also, he makes a great point saying that he has played the best baseball of his career since he stopped the steroid use (2003).
Being one of the most highly touted names in not just baseball but professional sports, this move by Rodriguez will hopefully bring an end to the Canseco, McGuire, and Clemens trials. If these players really did use steroids, they would not lose as much respect if they admitted it. Now I know everyone knows I hate the Yankees but I really hope this opens up the privacy of steroid use in the MLB. Hopefully other players will admit to using it before as well. I really don’t care if they used it at one point or another. If they admit it then more power to them but I don’t think they should be blacklisted for it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

American League East Breakdown

Baseball is a hard topic to cover because nearly every day, from February 25th to late October, there will be a baseball game played. Need not worry fans of Shaun Gallagher, I WILL WRITE AS OFTEN AS YOUR LITTLE HEARTS DESIRE!

Any who, today I break down the AL East. Last year was a shocking turnaround from the usual Red Sox/Yankees duel that is very media friendly. Frankly, the Bo Sox-Yankee rivalry has lost some steam in the past few years. The Tampa Bay Rays came roaring from the caboose of the division all the way to the top. They had a 32 game swing from 2007 winning 97 games in 2008. Not only that my friends, but they had the second lowest team salary in the league! Take that Steinbrenner! Truly astonishing, BUT they still lost to those Phightin’ Phils in the World Series…ah it feels good.

The signing of Pat Burrell will help them get some more power in the lineup. His stats from 2008 put him as top five in the Rays lineup in average, RBI’s, Homers, and Slugging/On Base percentage. But, don’t forget about that infamous Pat Burrell Shuffle that I am all too familiar with (136 strikeouts was second on the Phils in 2008 behind strikeout King Ryan Howard). This year look for them to stay competitive and maybe vie for a Wildcard spot. The Wildcard is nearly sealed to come out of the AL East seeing as they are the most competitive division in their league.

The Bo Sox are friggin haaadcooore…c’mon I had to. Really though, this offseason they made some good pickups with Rocco Baldelli, who when healthy, is a great hitter. The trick is when he is healthy. He hasn’t played over 100 games since 2004 and I can’t blame him. The man has mitochondrial myopathy…I don’t know what it is either but from what I have read it is a disease that causes damage to the small energy producing structures that serve as the cells “power plants.” These are very important to the energy that your brain and muscles need. Also, symptoms can range from muscle weakness all the way to blindness or heart failure…pretty serious and this guy still goes out and plays ball. Plus, with Kevin Youkilis on the field you know that you are guaranteed a huge goateed single at the right time. Need I mention their pitching staff? Because I’m gonna…they picked up Brad Penny from the Dodgers and his stats do not prove how good a pitcher he can be. That said he is still at the very best a number three pitcher on the Red Sox staff behind Dice-K, Josh Beckett, and could flip flop with Jon Lester, and don’t you forget one of my favorite pitchers, The 42 year old knuckle ballin’ sensation Tim Wakefield. Wakefield may have been rocked during the playoffs but I still love the man…and ask around, I can throw a pretty mean knuckle ball as well (in wiffle ball, but still). Bo Sox will go to the playoffs, but whether it’s the Wildcard or first place is up to the Rays.

Sigh…time to talk about those damn Yankees. Alright even though I hate the team they did do a lot of big things this offseason to improve their team from last year. I mean they had to give away their first born sons to do it but still. While some find it sad that Mike the Moose Mussina retired, less than a month later the Yankees signed CC Sabathia AND A.J. Burnett. That should solve some of the rotation problems they had (other than Mussina, no big starting pitcher had an ERA better than 4.00). Sabathia and Burnett will be a strong one, two in the lineup with the possibility that Joba Chamberlain could join them. Don’t count on it but it could happen. They also, recently resigned Andy Petite which gives them a solid three man rotation. Also, the Yanks signed Mark Teixeira in the offseason. This signing was big news in the media but didn’t do much for me. Teixeira is like Andruw Jones to me, in that he has a big bat but just doesn’t produce when the time is right. He’ll hit 30 home runs this year but more than half will be when his team is either up big or down big and the game is already decided. Yanks playoff hopes depend on the Rays this year. Wildcard or nothing for these guys.

Fortunately, for Blue Jays and Orioles fans they have other sports teams that are contenders in their respective sports…well sort of. The Blue Jays just might be the best team in Toronto which isn’t saying much because the Raptors are in dead last and the Maple Leafs are 11th in the east with no hopes of heating up (4-9 in January). So Toronto, keep on keeping on in your beautifully clean city. The O’s aren’t much better. I mean they picked up David Pauley…umm well how about Felix Pie? No? Tough crowd. Well how about the re-signing Nick Markakis? 6 more years in B-more! And don’t forget CESAR IZTURIS! He is a great Shortstop so look for that to brighten your year. Ok that’s a good note to go out on. Next up NL Central.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Good job Steelers....let's go Phils

Super Bowl XLIII had a pretty sweet finish and personally, I think that Santonio Holmes' catch was greater than the last year's catch by David Tyree. Not only was it a textbook receiver catch (securing the ball and then tapping both feet down perfectly), but it was the game winning touchdown. Tyree's catch was amazing, don't get me wrong, but it did not win the game. It only prolonged their drive to the Plaxico Burress touchdown. Holmes' catch was fantastic because with under a minute to play from inside the 10 yard line, Ben Roethlisberger rifled a pass to the back of the end zone past three defenders. THREE DEFENDERS! Even Big Ben said he thought he blew the game. That pass was almost as good as the Joe Montana pass to Dwight Carter against the Cowboys or Randall Cunningham to Jimmie Giles on MNF vs. the Giants. Those pass plays were quite memorable and the Holmes catch will join them as top plays in history. (In case you didn't see Holmes' catch.... http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80e84a39)

Anyway, now that football season is over it is time for us to look at baseball, which means we are going to look at what happened last season. THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES WON THE WORLD SERIES!!! When talking about baseball it is very hard for me to stay objective when the Phillies are the topic. So I will get this out of the way early...I love the Phillies and everything that has to do with them and they are better than your team, no matter what team you like. The Phillies are the best team in all of baseball...hands down. Ok, now that you know that lets talk America's favorite pastime.

Since the Phillies are World Champions, let's talk the NL East first. The Phillies ended the season with a 92-70 record. Pretty respectful if you ask me seeing as the NL East is one of the tougher divisions in the MLB. The biggest problem this off season, as much as I hate to say it, was losing Pat 'The Bat' Burrell. The man was as fast as a sloth but he was a big contributor to the morale of the team. He was the face of the Phillies for many years and he is now a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. Good thing we won't have to see him until a possible World Series rematch. The loss of Burrell won't be felt in the field but his bat will be missed. I really like the pickup of Chan Ho Park from the LA Dodgers. He is a pretty solid starter and does anyone remember the fight he got into?
Can you say bad ass? He will definitely fit in this city and look for the Phils to repeat as NL East Champs (Really? If the Phillies starting lineup were eight women over the age of 90 and had a donkey as their ace I would have still picked them to go the distance.)

As for the Mets, they picked up K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez in the off season. I am sure New Yorkers are excited about this pick up, but remember, nearly every player the Mets have picked up in the last five years had their best season the year prior to joining the team. Look for Rodriguez to join that club and bomb as he faces the hearts of the Phillies, Braves, and Marlins lineups. Hope you learned the Heimlich in the off season Jerry Manuel because remember that your old Uncle Charlie two hours south of you is going to out-manage you again this season. Look for the Mets to pull up lame in third or fourth this year.

The Florida Marlins are always a team that plays spoiler late in September with their young talent (nine straight wins at one point last year in the fall), and this year should prove to be different. I believe that the Marlins acquisition of Scott Proctor and their usual young talent will make them contenders come August or September. However, I still don't think they will make the playoffs falling into third or fourth as well (whichever spot the Mets don't fit into).

The Atlanta Braves may have lost Mark Teixeira but that is not where they needed their most help. The Braves pitching staff has not been what it once was. The names like Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz are etched into their history forever but they currently they have no big names. That was until the signing of Derek Lowe. He had 147 strikeouts last year which is better than all of the Braves pitching staff. I believe that he will help the Braves get into second place and a wild card berth this season.

As for the Washington Nationals...they did next to nothing in the off season and I can not imagine them doing anything but being a thorn in the side of a team trying to make a run at repeating as World Champs (Let's go Phightin's). So don't look for them in the playoffs but make sure you are aware for them at the end of the season. They were the worst team in the league last year so maybe they will catch that Tampa Bay Rays fever and get first place, but I wouldn't put the house on it. Look for them to maybe ruin the Phillies, or Braves chances of making the playoffs.

So that is it for the NL East. Next I'll be working on the AL East and quite possibly the Yankees selling their soul to the devil may pay off for them this year. But I can not wait for Spring Training and Opening Day (Sunday April 5th!), and if all else fails at least I know I will be enjoying a dollar dog, and the Phanatic this year at Citizens Bank Park.