Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Following the numbers

You know gambling is legal here in Ireland, right? As opposed to say, the USA? I like rubbing that in every once in a while. Easy comeback for you guys Stateside would be to rub in the fact that it is almost impossible to get good peanut butter cookies here in Ireland.

The available prices for the Red Sox to win the World Series for 2007 were absolutely all over the place from April right up 10 days before the Sox wrapped up the series against Colorado. There were several interesting 'checkpoints' through the season.

For most of April, as the Sox embarked on their mission, they were readily available at 10/1. Yes, 10/1. The Yankees, playing strong behind Mr April himself, Alex '$$$' Rodriguez, were hot 7/2 favourites.

As the Yankees hit a poor patch and Boston shifted into 'awesometh' gear, the betting changed dramatically and the Red Sox became 4-1 faves. When NY were knocked out of the playoffs and Boston swept through Anaheim, Boston became the even money faves to take the title.

Then came the dramatic 1-3 ALCS deficit. Cleveland looked strong and Boston were skating on thin ice. The Red Sox were freely available at 6/1 and higher in some places. Josh Beckett pushed the series to 2-3 and when Boston took game six the betting changed dramatically. Suddenly the Red Sox were even money again. Going into the Colorado series they were a ridiculously short 2/5 and then, when 2-0 up, 1-50.

What does all the above mean? Well, not much bar that at various stages this season, the Red Sox were available at 10, 4 and then 6 to 1 to take the title.

Looking forward, I wonder what the chances are of the below 'coming true'?

€1.5 Trixie

DH,R4 Event/Market description Selection Price Status
100p 2007 World Series : Competition Outright Boston Red Sox 4/1 Won
Superbowl Xlii : To Win Outright New England Patriots 4/1 Open
Nba Championship 2008 : Competition Outright Boston Celtics 14/1 Open

Potential return: €825.00


Hey, a New England boy can dream, right?



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Monday, October 29, 2007

I have but one question...

....when does Spring Training start?



Oh what a night..need some highlights? Check them.




Good times. One last enjoyable moment, coming from the Chief, Peter Gammons, commenting on A-Fraud's decision to announce his impending free agency during game four of the World Series.



''..Pedroia and Jon Lester are doing something Alex has never done..''
Mr Gammons, you rock.


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Sunday, October 28, 2007

A chance for something special

How great would it be?



This incredible man has a chance to put a wonderful exclamation point to a crazily enjoyable season.



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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dennis Leary and Lenny Clarke bringing the house down

'Ya happy Braveheart?!'

Do yourself a favour, bring a little laughter to your Saturday afternoon. Check this out. Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke, in the booth with Orsillo and Remy (who almost dies laughing) discover that Red Sox 1st baseman Kevin Youkilis is Jewish and hilarity ensues



Online Videos by Veoh.com

Wait for the hilariously understated moment where Lenny Clarke mumbles 'Are we in trouble?!'


Fantastic


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Friday, October 26, 2007

The Dublin Hurricanes baseball club get a 'shout out' on FOX

I absolutely promise, last post on this subject. I swear I'll shut up after this. Honest. It's not often an Irish league baseball club gets mentioned during the World Series. Thanks to Eric 'Vegas' Valkys, the Dublin City Hurricanes did just that.

Enjoy. Oh and Jason, this one's just for you.






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Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Hurricane hits FOX during Game one of the World Series.

The sexiest baseball club in Ireland just got that little bit sexier. Last night during game one of the World Series FOX sports commentator Joe Buck advertised that if you emailed them he would read it out, particularly if you were from around the Globe.

Dublin Hurricanes baseball - it's a worldwide affair

Sure enough Dublin Hurricanes third baseman Eric 'Vegas' Valkys sent him in a quick email and it was read out during the seventh inning. FOX's shout out to the 'Canes went as such;

''Dublin Hurricanes baseball club all tuned in together at 2:30am in the morning watching live from Ireland!!! How about a little "shout out" to us?? Our Guinness pints are raised to the Red Sox!!''

Pretty funkalicious that came to pass, the Dublin Hurricanes and Irish league baseball getting a little advertising in front of millions upon millions of people as the Red Sox clobbered the Rockies. I immediately got three or four texts from Hurricanes team mates, asking who on earth sent that in?! I even got one from Manila in the Philippines, as Brian Connolly, the Dublin Blacksox baseball club veteran sent me the following;

'I am watching game 1 in Manila and I have just heard the Dublin Hurricanes get a mention on FOX!!'

I like that 'scene', Brian sitting in a bar watching the World Series and suddenly one of the clubs he played against in 2007 gets a mention during the broadcast.

Really, Isn't it just the smallest of worlds?



Now, how about those Red Sox?


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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Celebrate good times, come on...

I actually came across these pictures about a week ago (Thanks, Mike, you stay classy) however at the time the Boston Red Sox were 1-3 down in the LCS and I felt it would be somewhat asinine to post them.

Now, thanks to ''Captain Kick a$$ of the f**k yeah brigade'' (Josh Beckett) and Dustin 'Little big man' Pedroia, well, now that's all changed.

Throw hard, party harder

So, I give you, the Boston Red Sox celebrating taking the AL East for 2007 in some random Boston bar. Great pictures. Couple of things jump out when you check them out. First off, that Papelbon guy is completely wired. Secondly, this team looks tight. They obviously have no problem hanging out together and blasting a few Jagermeisters, Sammy Adams or Tequilas together, and that can only be a good thing when you are three one down and staring at Big CC Sabathia and the business end of a 97 mph fastball fireballing out of his huge paws.

Anyway.
Enjoy.



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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

''Pedroia launches one into left....''

I could watch this 7,675 times in a row and still get the same tingly sensation...



Awesome.

The little guy can rake


.

Red Sox players gone wild

Dear oh dear. I was wondering when this was going to surface on the Internet. You know the Red Sox closer, Jonathon Papelbon, the guy that stares batters down with a menacing glare, and pumps 97mph fastballs past the best hitters in the Majors? Yeah, well, apparently he likes to dance.

My word.




I mean really, is there anything further to add to this? No? Let's just move right along.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Comeback

results for: comeback


    1. A return to formerly enjoyed status or prosperity: The film star made an unexpected comeback.
    2. A return to popularity: Wide ties are making a comeback this year.
  1. The act of making up a deficit, as in a contest or game.


Now THAT was a comeback


''Now they (Boston) are they are the team with so much talent and tenacity that if you get them down you need to drive a stake through their heart. If not, they'll come back and break yours.''
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports

World Series


1. Wed, Oct 24 – at Bos, 8:23 pm EDT (FOX)

2. Thu, Oct 25 – at Bos, 8:23 pm EDT (FOX)

3. Sat, Oct 27 – at Col, 8:23 pm EDT (FOX)

4. Sun, Oct 28 – at Col, 8:23 pm EDT (FOX)

5.* Mon, Oct 29 – at Col (FOX)

6.* Wed, Oct 31 – at Bos (FOX)

7.* Thu, Nov 1 – at Bos (FOX)




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Friday, October 19, 2007

You stay classy, Cleveland

Nice job Cleveland Indians front office. Your childish, pathetic attempts to rile up Josh Beckett worked pretty fantastically eh? I wonder, do the good people from the Tribe's upper management who gave the green light to last nights genius plan to unsettle the Sox starter feel responsible for all of the eleven strikeouts Beckett amassed or just a few of them?

Great ideas in action - ''This is REALLY going to piss him off....wait, have we thought about this, is pissing Josh Beckett off further a good idea?!''

In an incredibly crass move the Cleveland Indians last night invited country singer Danielle Peck, an ex-girlfriend of Beckett's, to sing the national anthem and "God Bless America" at Jacobs field, with Beckett due to start the big game.

Got distraction?

Beckett's reaction was superb.
(Rude word warning, by the by..)



Excellent retort.

Apparently whoever thought this was a good idea has never come across the theory of Sports Karma before. What an unbelievably retarded thing to do. Almost as bad as handing out those pathetic white hankies with 'World Series 2007' printed on them. Another classy move, Cleveland.

Are the Indians trying to hex themselves?

The Sports Karma Gods noted the goings on at Jacobs field last night. Interesting to see if they take further action over the course of this comings weekend action at Fenway.

You stay classy, Cleveland.


"I don't get paid to make those (expletive) decisions, She's a friend of mine, that doesn't bother me at all. Thanks for flying one of my friends to the game so she could watch it for free."







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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cometh the hour...

....cometh the man?



Sometimes there's a man, sometimes, there's a man. Well, I lost my train of thought here.

8:00 PM ET
Boston
Cleveland
FOX
BOS: Beckett (2-0, 1.20 ERA)
CLE: Sabathia (1-1, 10.61 ERA)


''
65 teams have trailed 3-1 in a postseason series and 10 teams have come back to win that series. The last one? The Boston Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS.''
Sports guy

.

Steve Staunton has to go.

A quick note on the state of Irish soccer.

Watching last nights debacle against Cyprus (Ireland got a last minute goal to draw 1-1 against a team they should be stuffing 4-0) I couldn't help but think back to a story my friend Paul told me about when he was a barman at a posh bar in Dublin and now Irish manager Steve Staunton was hassling the female staff, asking one straight out 'Do you f***?'.

So not only is he stubborn, he is ignorant too.

With excellent, talented midfielder Liam Miller watching from the bench Staunton played a defender in centre midfield. Poor Joey O'Brien looked like a fish out of water. Ireland were without any shape or sense. This has to stop, Staunton is completely and utterly ruining Irish football.

How can you, Joe Punter, help? Check out the petition to have Steve Staunton sacked. Sign it, then sit back and relax knowing you just did your good deed for the day.

In the meantime, if you are an Irish soccer fan, and you are depressed at the state of the team and that sordid effort last night, well, comfort yourself with this little gem of a blast from the past. Ladies and gentlemen, Ireland's finest footballing talent ever. The great Liam Brady.

Enjoy.



Only goal of the 1987 game between Ireland and Brazil




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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Strong men also cry, strong me also cry..


As we sit on the edge of the Red Sox exit from the 2007 season at the hands of the Indians, it isn't any one thing in particular that's bothering me. There were actually things to enjoy last night, amongst the carnage, that is. The back to back to back home runs were rather cool, and Lester's defiant relief work was really promising long term.

It's not just one thing. It's just this odd feeling. Right now, as the 2007 season is about to end prematurely for us Red Sox fans, I feel. I feel as if I am 17 again and a girl I have been seeing for the summer, who I got very attached to, has just told me that maybe things aren't working and maybe it's about to end. She'll decide in the next four nights. Doesn't look good though. She keeps saying that. Doesn't look good.

She says, 'If this relationship was an ALCS you would be 3-1 down and facing elimination'.

That's what it feels like.



''Are you suprised by my tears Mr Lebowski? Strong men also cry, strong men also cry''




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Monday, October 15, 2007


How to spend 26 years rooting for the Patriots
(from over 3,000 miles away)


I'll never understand my Dublin Hurricanes team mate, the best infielder in Irish League baseball, Andy Martin. He was born in raised in Boston but is a Yankees fan. I am not saying if you are born somewhere you have to automatically root for that team, but what confuses me most is he is a big Patriots fan. I think the Patriots and the Sox are two of a kind. Hard nosed, working class underdog type teams, not like those snooty fat cats from New York.

At least we will always agree on being Patriots fans, even from over three thousand miles away.

'' What they say is true. Everything is bigger and better in Texas, especially the Patriots''

What does it actually involve? Supporting a team from that distance. Well, first of all it involves spending fifteen years of your life supporting a team that seems like it is going nowhere slow. In the days before the Internet it involved snippets on late night English sports shows, which graduated in the early nineties to flashy reports off the new fangled Internet, and the new glossy Sunday night coverage on Sky Sports TV. Now It involves daily visits to the Boston Globe for the latest news on the boys from the Razor, and wearing a 'Bruschi' jersey to the cinema on a Friday night before a big game on the forthcoming Sunday.

It all started in 1985. I was on holidays with my parents and my Aunt from Connecticut, Essie, and she gave me a present of a stat book from the '84 NFL season. It wasn't much to look at, small, red, with a picture of a San Francisco player on the front, but it was stacked full of statistics, results and hundreds of pages of ways of clogging up my fertile teenager's imagination.

Old Football books (and cards) are cool

I devoured it. I would check every statistical category and hope that a Patriots player was in the top ten. Having been actually born in New England they were the obvious choice of teams to root for, and besides, I kind of liked their logo, Pat the Patriot, and they had cool players like Steve Grogan, Mosi Tatupu and Stanley Morgan.

The old Patriots logo, 'Pat the Patriot', doesn't exactly strike fear into the hearts of opponents, but looked pretty cool to a 13 year old..

Mosi Tatupu became something of a legend even after his career with the Patriots was over. Always a charismatic, interesting guy, he achieved global notoriety status when his name was invoked by some South Pacific tribes peoples on the Simpsons. I remember I was watching a video of the episode when I heard one of them shout 'Mosi Tatupu, Mosi Tatupu' and I rewound a few times wondering if I was hearing things.

'Mosi Tatupu, Mosi Tatupu!!'

Sure enough Tatupu was mentioned on the The Simpsons during Treehouse of Horror III. His name, said twice, was intended to be translated "The blue-haired woman will make a good sacrifice!"

Tatupu's son, Lofa, is now a dominating linebacker with the Seahawks, or, with the Patriots in my Franchise game I have running in Madden '08 on my PS2 (Had to give up some draft picks and Donte Stallworth to get him. Oh, did I just say all that out loud?).

They were a hard nosed, working class team and had a good '85, a time when American Football was covered pretty comprehensively by the new, chic, Chanel 4 of the UK. C4 had lots of new drama and some pretty controversial shows, you were pretty much guaranteed a couple of topless shots in some show or another late at night, which, at the time, caused pickets in Ireland with people protesting that C4 was allowed on Irish TV.

Sunday night C4 had highlights of the early games, extended highlights of one game and some decent commentary and analysis. It was exciting stuff, long before the Internet, WAP. Long before sitting at dinner on a Sunday night following the Patriots on wap with a phone hidden between my legs, watching every play in text format.

At mass in my early years I would close my eyes and visualise Tony Eason dropping back to throw a touchdown. I would construct whole drives in my head, then dash home to see if the Patriots could do it that night.

Along came the '86 season, and the wonderful Patriot's run to the Superbowl. They were underdogs every week but the Patriots won three road playoff games on their way to Super Bowl XX and a date with the Bears.

Everyone knows what happened next. It was, at the time, the worst Superbowl loss ever.

The team then floundered a good bit, splashing around uselessly for a few years, years where Chanel Four lost it's right to cover the game to then new station 'Sky' (Think Fox, slightly less inane) which in those days was essentially pay per view.

Working in Cape Cod for the summers of '93-'95 I got a first hand look at the rebirth of the Patriots, after the drafting of the amazing Drew Bledsoe. People are so quick to forget. Bledsoe was basically the catalyst that gave birth to these new Patriots that all of New England loves and calls their own. He was a superb passer and a class act to boot. The Superbowl run of '96 was allot of fun

Bledsoe - The good times get started in New England

I'll never forget what Bledsoe did for the Patriots. It was pretty sad for me to see journalists absolutely slate Bledsoe and jump on the Tony Romo bandwagon so fast, forgetting the Cowboys were putting up 29 points a game before they canned Bledsoe so easily, bowing to inane public pressure. How lost has Romo looked, for example, the last two weeks against Buffalo and New England?

One of my favourite Patriots memories was the AFC Championship game in '01 where Brady, the new guy at the time, twisted his ankle and Bledsoe came off the bench to quite literally lead the Patriots to the Superbowl, throwing two touchdowns, one an absolute beauty. And that was all she wrote on the Bledsoe era. With the incredible drive to set up the winning field goal Brady announced his arrival.

I was watching in Dublin at home with my brother and Father, and best friend Paul, the same people I watched the 1986 slaughter with. I'll never forget watching as Brady spiked the ball with just a few seconds left, it was like it was all in slow motion, the ball bounced back up, he twirled it on his finger for a second and flipped it to an umpire. How unbelievably calm and poised for, basically, a rookie.


As the winning field goal split the uprights my brother and I literally jumped off he sofa and hopped around the living room hugging. The unbelievable, upset win over the Rams in the 2001 Superbowl was the first Championship any team I had supported in my early teens, from 1987, to adult life had won. I simply had no clue how good that felt!

That signalled a bizarre period of five years leading up to today where the Patriots suddenly became the class of the NFL. Winners of three Superbowls and the team no one ever wanted to cross paths with.

Brady just gets the little things, like turning up at several Red Sox games and wearing the cap to press conferences. Basically he knows how to appeal dorks like me who should know better. Call him the 'anti LeBron'

Brady completely epitomized this sudden transformation from also rans to NFL Champions. The best part was he did it the hard way and the right way. From a difficult College career where he had to share time with a lesser player because of shady insider team politicking, to standing on the sidelines his first NFL season, to being the first player at training every morning Brady became the hard working face of the Patriots. Coach Bill Belichick awards a prime parking spot to the player who is most dedicated to the offseason conditioning program. Brady has earned that coveted piece of real estate in all five years since the Patriots moved to Gillette Stadium. Call him the anti T.O.



Allot of Brady's appeal is he is not a incredible athlete like Michael Vick, he doesn't have Brett Favre's arm, but he has a little bit of all the good qualities that make a terrific Quarterback and he has something 80% of them don't have, the most unbelievable will to win. This guy just despises losing. His focus is shockingly concentrated.

Brady throwing a golf club after a bad drive. School report: Possibly too competitive, may struggle to make it in future life

I will never forget settling in to watch the 2004 AFC Championship game, having been reading the last couple of days that Brady had a debilitating flu, and watching the Patriots slide from 3 to 5 point underdogs going into the game against the powerful Steelers. The pundits said Pittsburgh were going to get revenge for 2001, the Patriots, with their QB sick and probably wishing he was in bed, would be swept aside.

As Brady stepped under centre I saw it immediately. The same look Ali had the night he beat Foreman. The same look Wade had against Dallas. The same look David Callaghan had against Serbia in the 2004 European Baseball Championships. He just was not losing that game. Flu be damned.

''Brady played his best game of the year in Pittsburgh despite requiring IV treatment the previous night when he had a temperature of 103 degrees.'' The Patriots torched the Steelers 41-17.

There is an incredible comfort in watching Brady and the Patriots play. They work hard for each other and, for me anyway, play the game the right way. Watching them dismantle Tony Romo and the Cowboys in Dallas was rather enjoyable.

Just remember though, before you label the Patriots boring and call them the new Yankees. This didn't come easy, all this success. There were plenty of sour years before the sweet.

Go easy on us Patriots fans. We had dozens of years in the wilderness before we could enjoy this, this absolute steam train that's rolling through the NFL right now.

I'll tell ya, that Colts game is going to be a doozy.




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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Throwing traffic cones incomplete

Is there anything more annoying than those stupid, frustrating 'Sports impotence' dreams? I don't know if you have ever experienced them but they are a d-r-a-g. A real buzz killer. You wake up thinking 'Oh man.' Not like that though, like, a full drawn out 'Ohhh maaaan, am I really that bad at whatever sporting activity I was dreaming about? Really?' It's deflating.

What happens is, you are having a dream and you are playing a sport you like, say, for example, basketball. Maybe you are amongst friends, having a good time, ready to shoot a few hoops. This is never easy in a 'Sports impotence' dream. Every shot you put up is a brick. Or worse still, the ball turns into a 42'' LCD TV screen or something, and that's pretty hard to shoot threes with.

So anyway last night I had a 'sports impotence dream'. I like throwing the old pigskin around on occasion. In my dream I was working out with a new team who expected great things of me. It's dark, I think I have a Raiders jersey on (what?! huh?!) and it's also raining. You can tell this isn't going to end well.

The teams lineup and I am in shotgun, waiting for the snap. I think to myself, 'Man I hope this goes well.' The centre snaps the ball and suddenly I am holding a traffic cone in my hand.

I throw it. It doesn't go too far.

I stand there embarrassed as I miss the receiver by about twenty yards. 'Sports impotence' dreams are zero fun whatsoever.

I wonder, is Eric Gagne having them in bunches right now?

''Back in 82', I used to be able to throw a pig skin a quarter mile''


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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Red Sox v Tribe - Let's break it down

So what have we got here, a juicy little ALCS by the looks of it. Two good teams, two great pitching staffs, two rabid fan bases. Without further ado, let's chop it up!

Let's get it on

Position = C.
Upperhand = Even
Jason Varitek v Victor Martinez
How is this even? It's a legitimate query after the way Victor M absolutely destroyed Yankee pitching in the ALDS. Did you know Cleveland annihilated the Yankees in the ALDS? Just checking. Anyway, Varitek is good for a clutch hit or three, and also is a top class defensive catcher who handles his eclectic staff of pitching with aplomb. Tie

Position = 1b.
Upperhand = Even
Kevin Youkilis v Ryan Garko
Garko has a touch more pop, Youkilis has the better eye and has shown incredibly steady defensive skills at first. Why is this a tie so? Garko went nuts in the ALDS, where Cleveland apparently knocked out some team called the Yankees.

Position = 2b.
Upperhand = Boston
Dustin Pedroia v Asdrubal Cabrera
Cabrera is a nice little player, and has a great future. Pedroia's future appears to be right here and now. A real gamer, a Trot Nixon 'Dirt Dog' type player with smooth fielding skills and a penchant for big, clutch hits.

..size isn't everything...

Position = 3b.
Upperhand = Boston
Mike Lowell v Casey Blake
If it wasn't for Mr April (A-Rod) doing what he does best, ie: tearing it up when it doesn't count and then running and hiding when it does, Lowell might have had a chance at the AL MVP for 2007. Instead it's going to a guy who couldn't buy a hit, or a clutch moment of any sort, in the playoffs, not just this year, any year. Just shows how useless stats are often as a barometer of a players value. Sneaky snake/agent Scott Boras is soon going to be shopping Mr April to teams as the 'Greatest player ever'. How does that work, if he can not function in October? Back to the topic at hand, Lowell is a 9 out of 10 where Blake is a perfectly acceptable 7. This is Lowell's year though.

Position = ss.
Upperhand = Even
Julio Lugo v Jhonny Peralta.
Someone smack that Peralta guy upside the head and tell him it's Johnny, not 'Jhonny'. Seriously. What is with all these weird, deliberately mispelt names? Peralta is a decent little player and had a good ALDS against the Yankees. Give Lugo credit, he turned a early train wreck of a season into a very passable effort. Lugo just looks like someone who might decide a game with a big hit.

Position = lf.
Upperhand = Boston
Manny Ramirez v Kenny Lofton
Lofton had a super duper series against the Yankees. Sadly for the Tribe, Manny just woke up. And he's pissed. And he's carrying a big bat. How vastly different does Boston's lineup look when Manny is slugging?

Position = cf.
Upperhand = Even
Coco v Grady Sizemore
This is closer than it looks despite Grady's obvious skill set. Coco is a superior and spectacular fielder, and has the same if not better speed. here's the thing. Coco is going back to show his former employees what they could have had. He looks good with a chip on his shoulder.

Position = rf.
Upperhand = Boston
JD Drew v Franklin Gutierrez
Drew, really? Yes, really. He is streets ahead of Gutierrez in terms of talent, and even better for Boston fans, his bat has recently come to life. There are going to be a serious number of people with egg on their collective faces having spent an entire summer bashing Drew mercilessly.

Position = dh.
Upperhand = Boston
David Ortiz v Travis Hafner
Hafner is a very respectable player, and yet this isn't even close. Ortiz looks hungry, and he has Manny back to his old self. Ortiz by a landslide.

...and for my next trick..

Position = sp.
Upperhand = Boston
Beckett, Schilling, Matsuzaka and Wakefield v Sabathia, Carmona, Westbrook and Byrd
Clevelands sensational big two make this closer than it should be, the vast difference in class comes with the three and four starters. Matsuzaka looks like he is enjoying the playoff atmosphere and his 'stuff' has never been in question. Wakefield is as steady as a rock. Westbrook is an up and down kind of guy who is currently heading into one of his 'down' slants, and Paul Byrd was extremely lucky against the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers had him on the ropes all night, but he managed to squeeze out of several serious jams. He won't get lucky this time. Boston could absolutely destroy him. Put it this way, if you had to pick one pitcher out of that bunch who might only last one inning, who would it be? Paul Byrd, easy. So maybe Beckett, Schilling, Big CC Sabathia and Carmona even each other out, but Boston has a clear advantage with the three and four spots.

Position = the pen.
Upperhand = Boston
I could warble on for hours about this guy and that guy and somebody maybe being slightly better than somebody else, but what this comes down to is, Papelbon is going to pitch Boston out of trouble a couple of times, Joe Borowski, the Indians 'closer' with his eight blown saves and massive era, is going to cost the Tribe one if not more games.

You think the Indians will feel safe with Borowski pitching in the ninth with a one run lead, a runner on, one out and Ortiz at the plate?


Didn't think so.



Let's get it on.



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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Frank Black rocks harder than us

Is there anything better than re-finding an old CD you haven't listened to in an age and just dropping yourself right back into it? Other than the Yankees being smacked out of the playoffs by those upstart Indians, obviously. That little nugget aside, is there anything better than delving into songs you used to absolutely love but simply forgot about over time.

The great Frank Black - he rocks harder than us

I re-found Frank Black's tremendous solo debut, made way back when in 1993, today. It's titled, simply, Frank Black, and if you are into indie rock at all, it's pretty much a collection essential. The CD is absolutely chocker block filled to the brim with little gems, it's 46 minutes of Chocolate Fudge Sundae. Thanks to Paul for introducing me to Frank Black and the Pixies back in the day, and scoring that loan goal to lose just 9-1 against Andrew in our annual Christmas FIFA ('95 edition) 'Championship of the Universe showdown', when Andrew needed to win 9-0 or better to get past me for the title.



I think this Red Sox playoff run is making me a little emotional. I don't care what anyone says. Sports transcends.


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Your boys took a hell of a beating!

....and with the final out at Yankee stadium, a crackling, lonely voice rose through the radio airwaves from Columbus to Akron, his urgent, frenzied call to go down in history..

"Woody Allen, Rudy Guliani, John McEnroe, Tony Soprano, Tupac Shakur, Spike Lee, George Gershwin, Jackie Gleason, we have beaten them all, we have beaten them all. Billy Crystal, can you hear me? Billy Crystal ... your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!"



With respect and apologies to the great Bjørge Lillelien (March 29, 1927 – October 26, 1987)





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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bengal Stormtrooper

I know my friend Paul is going to get a huge kick out of this. I saw this fella last Monday night at the Cincinnati v New England game, but I was too tired and drunk to write about it. Did I say that out loud? Anyway. This is how you root for your team. This is how you support your favoured side.

This is his world. We just live in it.

Pretty cool huh? Would you argue with this guy at a game? I know I wouldn't


Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, The Cincinnati Bengal Stormtrooper. Shame the Bengals stink so bad though!



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Friday, October 05, 2007

Bron-Bron, say it aint so!

James, Jamie, Jimmy, what on earth were you thinking? The wonderfully gifted LeBron James, NBA superstar, turned up at Jacobs field last night to watch the home town Indians take on the very much out-of-town New York Yankees, in game one of their ALDS showdown.

Bron-Bron's choice of headwear? A Yankee cap.


SI.com reported on it and called him 'LeBronx Bomber'. Cute. Not so cute were the expletives being rained down on the greatest NBA player ever to bounce a basketball in Cleveland. What on earth was he thinking? This would have been like Tom Brady showing up at a crucial Red Sox game wearing a Yankee hat. Have a think about that for a second. I know Brady was photographed in Manhattan wearing a Yankee cap, I am discounting that, imagine him showing up at Fenway wearing one of those ugly NYs? The entire city of Boston would be enrolled in group therapy.


ESPN's Sports Guy on Bron-Bron's wardrobe for the evening at Jacobs field;

Speaking of Cleveland, how 'bout LeBron wearing a Yankees cap to the Yanks-Tribe game last night? Why not just hold a press conference to say, "I'm signing with the Knicks in two years?" Has there ever been a bigger and more random slap in the face to an entire city of sports fans? Even if you're a Yankees fan, don't you have to hide this in a PLAYOFF GAME THAT'S IN CLEVELAND???? I'm still speechless. I'm without speech. We're within three years of Knicks GM Anucha Browne Sanders introducing Bron-Bron to the New York press as Spike Lee sobs happily in the background.

The fella's right, stupid move on Le Bron's part, or, if anything, a completely crass move, if it wasn't the beginning of a slow extraction from his being in Cleveland, then it was just dumb, and ugly.

I tell ya, thank goodness gracious for the likes of Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown and other class act athletes who 'get' what it means to be a role model in a given community.

Here's to another Tribe dismantling of the Yankees tonight. If you haven't seen Faustino Carmona pitch yet, you are in for a treat.



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Yankee arrogance

There is a great scene in the Hunt For Red October (I don't care what anyone says, I love that movie!) where a Russian sailor calls his superior arrogant and blames them for their imminent destruction. Goes a little something like this;

[the Konovalov's own torpedo is about to strike the Konovalov] Andrei Bonovia: ''You arrogant ass. You've killed *us*!''

Well, has the Yankees own arrogance destroyed their post-season, their Konavalov?

For me, their stunning 12-3 wipe out at the hands of the Indians hinged on one moment of baseball-arrogance that eventually scuppered their entire game, and perhaps more.

It all came in the fifth inning with the Tribe clinging to a 4-3 lead. Big CC Sabathia had pitched well but had managed to get into a tight spot. Yankee Pinch-hitter Shelly Duncan led off the fifth with a single and Damon walked, setting up Abreu's one-out double that cut the Tribe's lead to 4-3.With A-Rod up the Indians chose to put him on, loading the bases with just the one out, and with Sabathia's pitch count up over 100.

Up came Posada. Here's a guy that the sycophantic Yankee commentary crew drool over on a nightly basis, fawning over the way he 'plays the game right' and other drivel. Perhaps tired, perhaps nervous, Sabathia let the count slip to 3-0.

3-0, bases loaded, score at 4-3. A walk the game is tied. A base hit, Yankee lead, maybe Yankees win. What do you do in that situation? Surely make Sabathia throw at least a strike, possibly two, right?

Wrong.


When you are as arrogant as Posada and the Yankees, you swing away no matter what!

The pitch came in and bordered the inside edge of the plate, quite possibly ball four. Posada swung away and fouled it off.
"I don't know if it was a strike or ball," Sabathia said. "But he swung, fouled it off, and it helped me out huge."

With a new lease of life, Sabathia got Posada to go down swinging on a 96-mph fastball and the Jacobs field crowd went crazy recognizing that the Yankees had basically just made a huge mistake and taken the throttle off the inning. The crowd went even crazier a few moments later, when Matsui popped out to short to end the inning.

With that went the Yankees last chance in game one and they now face a buoyant Indians side with home field advantage and the knowledge that, if all else fails, maybe the Yankees arrogance will help them take this series.



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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Rally Gorillas - chopping it up with Garret Pearse episode 1

So, if Aneheim have that inane, asinine 'Rally Monkey', can we Boston fans say we have the 'Rally Gorilla'? (Read the post below this one!!)

Great win last night. Beckett was superb. Best part of my morning so far? Chopping it up online with Hurricanes veteran and h-u-g-e Red Sox fan, Garret Pearse. Gar was in Boston last week and made it to a game, a fact he has been rubbing in my face ever since. Read on.

Cormac says:
...and a good day to you sir!

Garret says:
It is indeed. Josh Beckett is a nasty man

Cormac says:
He is a dirty nasty man and he throws harder than normal human beings.
Did you catch any of it? It was almost, and I hesitate to say this, too easy.

- Note: remember, last night's game started at 11:30 pm Irish time! So asking if he caught any of it was actually a interested 'did you, parent of two raucous kids, stay up that late? are you that crazy?' -

Garret says:
His stats are incredible = 80 out of 108 pitches for strikes, relentless. Did u watch it all?

Cormac says:
Sounds like Tom Brady's completion stats for this early NFL season. I did yes, as I am a real fan, did you watch 2 innings and pansie out of it?

Garret says:
no dude - I prefer to travel over to the games for real

Cormac says:
Touché!

Cormac says:
I loved how he was firing fastballs past the Halo hitters that looked like foul balls or something but the ball was already in the catchers glove. Both the hitter and me were confused. He was really burying his fastball.

Garret says:
That's funny - I could see that from some of the highlights - his curve was filthy too- very hard to pick up. If Dice K gets it going tonight it could be over quickly - but lets not get ahead of ourselves

Cormac says:
yes he had that low, hard breaking curve going, the one the Yankees caved in to in 2003. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. So who are we playing in the ALCS?

Garret says:
Steady! I am hoping the Indians do a number of the Spanks

Garret says:
on the Spanks

Garret says:
I meant to say

Garret says:
If they want to do a number of them too, that's fine with me

Cormac says:
Yeah don't worry, I know the full punishment that is handed out by the Sports Karma Gods when you get ahead of yourself, just for clarification I was only joking! I was only kidding! The Tribe have to match up well against NY surely? Big CC and then Carmona as a 1-2 punch with those crazy Indians hitters waiting to pounce on Mussina's 78 mph fastball?

Garret says:
They need to win the first 2 games

Cormac says:
Who, the Indians? Can they not go 0-2 and then come back and win 3-2? Isn't that how NY roll in the playoffs?

Garret says:
I'd forgotten that - sorry

Cormac says:
You had forgotten that? Sure you had!

Garret says:
Good to see Papi back on form - excellent timing

Cormac says:
Well for a couple of weeks now he has looked like Papi version 2004-2006, not Papi version early-no punch-2007. He really clobbered that one last night. Pow. What did you make of the Fenway crowd? I have seen rowdier atmospheres at a James Blunt concert.

Garret says:
He is hitting it the opposite way too - he had two in the game I saw - that's always a good sign

Garret says:
Do you mean last night or at the game I was at?

Cormac says:
I meant last night and stop gloating

Garret says:
The atmosphere at the game I was at was pretty good- there were a lot of tense moments particularly in later innings - crowd on their feet

Garret says:
you'd have to have been there

Garret sends:



Cormac says:
Dude...cut it out. Seriously though, having watched the incredible Champions league game at Glasgow earlier in the night, the Fenway atmosphere was, sadly, pathetic, no?

Garret says:
I didn't see enough this morning to judge - But I don't think the Angels will ever get the blood flowing like a Yankees series does

Cormac says:
I assume it was a case of a bit of a corporate crowd for game one?

Garret says:
Also - Its looks like Beckett was so dominant that the crowd was almost unnecessary

Garret says:
Saving it for the 1-0 victory tonight

Garret says:
just realized Sox game isn't till tomorrow, that sucks

Cormac says:
..maybe Beckett did take the steam out of things a little but in the early innings it could have been a relatively meaningless April showdown if you went by the crowd reaction to events. 1-0 victory tonight? You mean tomorrow night, right? Day off today for the Sox. Why? Because they won the AL East and get to choose when they play their first round games. That's how we roll.

Garret says:
I would prefer to keep going while we have momentum

Garret says:
u rooting for any NL team?

Cormac says:
You are never happy, they win the AL East for you and you aren't happy! I am indeed sir, a strange choice (for me) too, the Phillies, I like their style. Their home crowd is amazing, incredibly loud, very passionate. Reminds me of Fenway back when it was flooded with unspoilt, 'real' fans that gave a damn. I finally know what Eric Wilbur meant by 'the pink hat brigade' The last 3-4 Phillies games I have watched have been very enjoyable so I thought, let's run with this and see where it takes me. Plus I put €1 on them at 22/1 to win the World Series, you know, because gambling is legal in Ireland.

Garret says:
Alas, we are becoming the Yankees of the 2000's

Garret says:
only $1?



The face (or the cap anyway) of the new Yankees
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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

In the air tonight

Tonight, tonight, tonight. Red Sox, Angels, Rockies and Phillies fans around the world are excited. Most MLB fans are excited, bar the Mets fans, who are busy booking group therapy sessions after their shocking September collapse.

If you are a baseball fan at all, you are excited about the start of the playoffs. I mean, check this Gorilla out. He is seriously excited.





Someone needs to show this to Josh Beckett. Actually maybe not, he is probably amped up enough as it is.


Is it game time yet?




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Previewing game one - Angels @ Sox

Pretty big game tonight.

Tim Marchman in the New York Sun comes up with this when describing the Sox lineup going into the ALDS;

''The Red Sox's methods are not eclectic; they bludgeon pitchers with a set lineup consisting of well-rounded hitters and anchored by the monstrous David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez''

It's true, they are quasi monstrous. Marchman also warns that although the pitching matchup looks great tonight;

'' It could also be a thrashing—Lackey gave up 10 runs in 9.2 innings in Fenway this year and has a 6.27 ERA against Boston in a career that's been short enough for that to be relevant.''

Finally he makes one fascinating point which could be one of those little details behind the scenes that becomes a huge factor in the series;

''
Much will be made, especially given Ortiz's looming presence, of the team's lack of a reliable lefty — former-Met Darren Oliver is the only portsider in the pen.''

David Ortiz and JD Drew have nothing to fear from Darren Oliver. Marchman's final analysis?
''PREDICTION Boston in four.''

Chris Ruddick of the Sports Network alludes to the Halos injury issues in his piece on the first round matchup;

''The Red Sox's methods are not eclectic; they bludgeon pitchers with a set lineup consisting of well-rounded hitters and anchored by the monstrous David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez''

He also points out that although public perception has the Angels as the running team;

'' Boston can also run, as Coco Crisp and Julio Lugo became the first Boston teammates with 25-plus steals since Tris Speaker (42) and Al Janvrin (25) ran circles around the AL in 1914.''

Ruddick's final thoughts?
Prediction: RED SOX IN FIVE

MLB.com has a pretty nice page dedicated to the series right here. It has all sorts of stats and what not but also has a few nifty features like Youk's blog, and some good articles on the people to be involved in the Halos v Sox showdown.

Here is the ESPN page akin to the above, which would be great except for those stupid 'ESPN insider' pay-per-view columns. Seriously, in this day and age, charging to view basic sports content? Oy vey. Interestingly 95% of ESPN's pundits go for the Sox to take the series, Jim Caple is the sole journalist to pick the Angels.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has a nice piece on the basic series matchup, and almost sums up the entire series with his first line;

''There are noticeable differences in style, but the most pertinent difference might be health.''


Hurt? Just how bad is big bad Vlad?

Finally, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald weighs in with his 2 cents on the opposing lineups. His preview is a detailed breakdown position by position. He finished with;

'' Series prediction: Red Sox in 5. Two pivotal figures will be Drew and Escobar. If Drew stays hot, the Sox offense is too strong and too deep for the Angels pitching staff. If Escobar comes up aces, the Sox’ odds get a lot tougher.''

Game one can't come soon enough.



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Monday, October 01, 2007

The ALDS - playoff first round

This is all you need to know right now..

  • October 3, 2007 @ Boston: Beckett vs. Lackey
  • October 5, 2007 @ Boston: Matsuzaka vs. Escobar
  • October 7, 2007 @ Anaheim: Schilling vs. Weaver
  • October 8, 2007 @ Anaheim: Beckett vs. Saunders *
  • October 10, 2007 @ Boston: Matsuzaka vs. Lackey *

* If required

You excited? I'm excited.

..he's excited too


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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

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