Friday, January 30, 2009

Wait a second, Matt Cassell is Irish? Really?

This from the always excellent Reiss's pieces in the Globe - printed early 2008 however I am only seeing it now;

Do you have any plans for your time off?
“My wife and I are going to take a trip to Ireland and check out some of our heritage. Then I’ll just come home, relax a bit, and get ready to go.”

So Cassell has Irish roots? Nice one.

If Matt Cassell didn't get that sweater in O'Carrolls Irish gift shop I don't know where he got it!!

Is it compulsory for Patriots QBs to have Irish roots? Apparently Brady's family is from Cork originally.

Art in the snow..

If you are a fan of the Cubbies, look away! Everyone else admire this work of, well, art?


I guess Ronnie Cedeno didn't take news that he had been traded all that well?


At the end of the day, when all is said and done, at least the perpetrators didn't burn this into Derek Lee's front yard!



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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Are we looking at a 100 loss season for the Orioles?

I feel the same way about say, for example, Luxembourg, as I feel about the Baltimore Orioles. I am aware both exist, however I don't really have a solid opinion on either, they are neutral, in many ways.

Come '09, that might turn to honest to goodness pity for the latter, when you consider the schedule they face in the up-coming MLB season.

By my estimation the Orioles will have to play the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox a combined total of 54 times. That's almost a third of their 2009 schedule. 54 games against three of the most stacked lineups in all of baseball. 54 games against what might be the three best starting rotations in all of baseball.

Check out this incredible late season stretch the Orioles face;

Mon, Aug 31 NY Yankees
Tue, Sep 1 NY Yankees
Wed, Sep 2 NY Yankees
Fri, Sep 4 Texas
Sat, Sep 5 Texas
Sun, Sep 6 Texas
Tue, Sep 8 @ Boston
Wed, Sep 9 @ Boston
Fri, Sep 11 @ NY Yankees
Sat, Sep 12 @ NY Yankees
Sun, Sep 13 @ NY Yankees
Mon, Sep 14 Tampa Bay
Tue, Sep 15 Tampa Bay
Wed, Sep 16 Tampa Bay
Thu, Sep 17 Tampa Bay
Fri, Sep 18 Boston
Sat, Sep 19 Boston
Sun, Sep 20 Boston


If they got on a bad roll early on in that stretch, we could be looking at a historic losing streak. The punchless O's lineup could potentially be facing the following pitchers in a 12 game span of potentially nightmarish consequences for Baltimore.

Beckett, Lester, Sabathia, Burnett, Wang, Garza, Price, Kazmir, Sonnastein, Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka

There could be a few cold bats during that spell.

This is what we had to say about their World Series chances in '08. Bear in mind they hadn't completely tanked it as yet, as they did towards the end of the year;

''On the face of it, team four is not totally out of it. However, you know they are, really. They are perfectly mediocre. Not too far off .500, 5-5 their last 10, they have scored a few, they have conceded a few and they might even play spoiler in the run in. You know though, when all is said and done, they will be a good 15-20 games out in the AL East and really, what hope is there in Baltimore for the future? The Baltimore Orioles will not, it is safe to say, win the World Series in 2008. Sorry Pat.''


Check out their horrific 2008 pitching AL rankings;

ERABAAOPSSVWHIPQS
5.13 .277 .796 35 1.56 60
13th13th13th10th13th13th

Oh boy, those are some nasty, nasty statistics, and the lineups ahead of them just got better! Apart from saves, their pitching stats actually can't go any lower, is that good news?

The Orioles actually haven't had even an 80 win season in the last seven years, and have had over 90 losses three years in a row.

YEARWLRSRA
20086893782869
20076993756868
20067092768899
20057488729800
20047884843830
20037191743820
20026795667773

Can they top 100 losses and over 1000 runs conceded in '09? Yes they can! 2009 could be a historically bad year for the Orioles. Baltimore fans, be prepared!



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Playing for Peanuts Episode 4.1

What is Playing for Peanuts?

"Playing for Peanuts" is a new TV show about minor league baseball. The show uses reality TV and documentary techniques to follow the South Georgia Peanuts in their inaugural season. The Peanuts are made up of a mix of rookies and veterans, all hoping to get back into affiliated minor league baseball.

Episode 4 of Playing for Peanuts is now online. The episode is divided into four segments and each segment is sponsored by HittersInc.com:

Playing for Peanuts 4.1
Playing for Peanuts 4.2
Playing for Peanuts 4.3
Playing for Peanuts 4.4

Get the Playing for Peanuts DVD for $24.99

DVDs ordered on or before December 22 will arrive before Christmas



The DVD is actually 3 DVDs - a 3 disc set that features all 10 episodes that were broadcast nationally on Comcast Sportsnet, along with tons of bonus features, including unreleased "Prank School" and "Instructional Minute" segments as well as the hilarious "Snake Prank" and interviews with Conor Jackson and Ron Darling.

Click the image below to pre-order the "Playing for Peanuts" DVD for $24.99 plus shipping and handling.




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Privacy.

So, apparently it is big news now to be seen on a beach. You may have heard that a certain Patriots QB was photographed, well, relaxing on a beach, this weekend in Mexico with his supermodel main-squeeze.

No big deal there, right?

Oh, very wrong, oh so very, very wrong. The 'story' has gripped the Boston media, amongst other sporting reporting online entities. Shockingly, the main slant appears to be that, somehow, Brady has 'let the side down' by 'allowing' himself to be photographed living it up in Mexico.

Say what?

Yes, seriously, that's how one of the most senior members of the Boston Globe is putting it, anyway.

''But he's a football player, damn it. And it is not OK for him to be photographed like a little boy eating mushy food spooned out of a Gerber jar.''


Wait a second, before the inmates completely take over the asylum, did Brady ask to be followed around and photographed? I don't think so. Did he ask for the Boston (and others) media to print private photographs of him and his girlfriend enjoying what was supposed to be a relaxing break? Again, one would assume not.

Of course, it is an easy target, no doubt. It is there, open for ridicule, speculation and sensationalising. It is there ready to use for any lazy, boring, old journalist, who claims to hate the influx of 'fan boy bloggers' and new wave media, and yet is starting to make his living by commenting on the content of same.

Surely, surely a vaunted publication like the Boston Globe can't have stooped this low? Journalists complaining about an athlete 'allowing' himself to be photographed by other members of the media, who probably took the pictures under cover? This is how pathetic and salacious media coverage is getting?

I know we are in that dreaded vacuum, that boring lull before the Superbowl, but this is the best the Boston Globe could come up with? Can you say, New York Post?

If there is any justice in the world, someone will follow said, senior, Boston Globe journalist on his next family vacation, and take snaps as he wobbles into the warm water of whatever resort he is at, so we can all poke fun at him in a private moment.

Look! An ageing journalist taking a swim! Har de har har


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Monday, January 26, 2009

Looking for someone to blame for the Varitek fiasco?

Look no further than the obvious choice, Scott Boras. If you read the bare bones on the story, it is pretty clear that Scott Boras has two groups to apologise to, for how he has handled Jason Varitek's attempts to find meaningful catching work in 2009.

First he needs to say sorry to Jason himself, and he then needs to say sorry to those Red Sox fans that have enjoyed watching Varitek work over the last several years.

Make no mistake, it is Boras's completely botched negotiations that have, perhaps irreparably, screwed the Varitek situation up.



The simple fact is Varitek could have accepted a one year deal and arbitration from the Red Sox, and he would have taken in anywhere between $10 and $11 million dollars. A one year deal for ten million for a mid thirties catcher, surely that's perfect, right? No Sir, Boras cajoled his client into saying no to the Sox and trying to get a longer deal for more money on the open market. Slight problem, the market for ageing catchers is down, way down, so much so that as we speak baseball guru Peter Gammons is saying there is zero market for Varitek. Nothing, nada, zip.

''Now, I'm not sure anybody is going to sign him. One player said to me, 'Well, the Marlins might sign Varitek for $5 million.' No, they won't . . . they Marlins aren't giving up a first-round draft pick for Jason Varitek. Can't happen. I don't know what's going to happen''


In this day and age it is refreshing to see a respected, informed journalist call someone out for what they are, which in Boras's case, is a greedy idiot;

''It's too bad. How Scott Boras looked him in the eye and said, 'By the way, I turned down $10 million [in arbitration],' is beyond me. He turned down arbitration -- he would have made a minimum of $10 million, maybe $11 million.''


You would have to imagine that Varitek pursuing the open market was of greater financial benefit to Boras, same as how Manny cheating his way out of his Boston contract suited Boras better.

What we are witnessing is one greedy, disgusting individual using players as pawns to further his own financial gains. Who comes out worst? It's a little hard to feel sorry for millionaire players, so basically the teams, and their loyal fans, end up as the ones who should feel hard done by.

If you are any way on the fence about Boras, give yourself an education in just how twisted and depraved his style of 'work is, by reading this superb, insightful article on the man and his corporation in the New Yorker. This particular quote stood out, it displays the simple arrogance of the man perfectly;
''At one point while I was in his office, Boras took a phone call, and explained afterward, “The draft is looming.” I asked if he planned to travel to Orlando, where the draft was being held. He smiled. “I think the draft is here,” he said. “It’s not in Orlando. We’re in the room”—he pointed up, toward the war room—“and we’re telling teams who they can draft, who they can’t. That’s basically how the thing goes.”


If you enjoyed the Jason Varitek era, and will be sad to see him go, why not drop Boras a line to let him know how you feel about him? He is the single reason we probably won't be watching Varitek behind the plate at Fenway Park in 2009.

  • Scott Boras
  • Scott Boras Corporation
  • 3 San Joaquin Plz Ste 100
  • Newport Beach, CA , 92660-5944
  • Phone: 949-760-0188
  • Website: www.scottborascorporation.com

Have fun with that!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

A little Lionel Messi on a Saturday night

Another Saturday night, another masterful showing from the little Argentinian genius Lionel Messi, as Barcelona dismissed Numancia 4-1, a scoreline which does not reflect Barce's superior quality on the night. 15-1 might have been more accurate. Messi was at the heart of absolutely everything, the poor Numancia defenders may as well have been chasing ghosts.

For my money, Messi is the stone cold obvious greatest soccer player on the planet right now. Ronaldo? Give me a break. That sulking, selfish brat couldn't hold a candle to the majestic Messi at the moment. Try La Liga some time, the Spanish premiere division is wildly exciting, fast, flowing and skillfull football, head and shoulders above the quality on show in the English Premiership. There isn't one team in England that can entertain like Barcelona are doing right now, and Messi is at the heart of everything they do.

He is an absolute joy to watch, spinning out of trouble, drifting fast clueless defenders as if they weren't even there.

Tonight's 4-1 win meant that punters were happy too, having lumped in on the minus 2 at 13/10. Punters from Dublin to Krakow to Riga filled their boots, like these happy gentlemen below.


It all starts with Messi though, and if anyone tries to tell you any other player is the best in the world at the moment, just slap them upside the head and insist they watch this clip.






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Friday, January 23, 2009

Bring back Pat!

The New England Patriots have unveilved their 50th season anniversary patch. I assume this will be worn as a patch on the jersey?

It is pretty slick.

Gets you thinking though (if you happen to be a Patriots fan, or perhaps just a fan of old school logos), fact of the matter is the 'Pat the Patriot' logo is wildly cooler than the 'Flying Elvis' that was introduced in 1993. Give the people what they want, Bob Kraft!

The Globe is running a little poll on the topic, and the results are dramatic;

Which Patriots logo do you prefer?

The old Pat Patriot version
69.0%
The newer Flying Elvis logo
31.0%
Total votes: 11525


It is time. Bring back Pat the Patriot.





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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Please, enough with the Joe Buck!

Muck, Joe Buck, muck..

Something that only really hit me fully while watching the higlights of the Eagles v Cards NFC Championship game. My question, is there really nobody, no one, not one warm bodied individual better than Joe Buck for major sports events commentary? Joe Buck is the pinnacle? Really?

All right, game. Be more interesting. Except for you, Joe Buck. You stay comatose. We don't want to have the slightest implication that you'd rather be playing FreeCell.

Everybody, every single Joe Punter, Billy Blue Collar on the street completely hates him, to the point of physical violence, he is an absolutely brutal commentator, and yet still he is the inane, boring voice we are forced to listen to game after game after game?

His painfully poor commentary on the NFC Championship game highlighted a new weapon in his arsenal of awfullness. It would seem, while listening to him, that, all in all, Joe Buck rather be nappin'. As the game grew slowly better and better, Buck remained on level -1. For example, here is a transcript of his call on one of the biggest plays in the NFL this season, the sensational 47 yard bomb to Kevin Curtis;

"Caught. Run. First dowzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...."

Then again, you might be quiet too if you were trying to crash study the names of any Cardinals players not named Warner, Fitzgerald or Boldin.

Even his grandiose, eulogistic statements fell flat on the night. "You are witnessing the revival of this franchise..." ...and yet, it sounds like you're in a mausoleum, Joe.

Of course he still managed to bring one of his staple commentary styles to the table, the ability to be frighteningly obvious. How about this little beauty; ''McNabb used his legs for a ten yard run''. Really, Joe? I thought he used two cans of Chunky Soup and some string. I am shocked Buck didn't tell us that McNabb 'Pumped his fist using his arm.' Slowly America grows dumber and dumber just listening to the (fraud) man.



Joe Buck's commentary brought to you be Xanax, Prozac, and Lithium.


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Monday, January 19, 2009

That's not a hit, THAT'S a hit...

For those uneducated few who still say Rugby is tougher than American Football, I give you , Ryan Clark meets Willis McGahee.

Still not convinced? Well then, try the video...








McGahee spent the night in a Pittsburgh hospital and word this morning is that he is "neurologically intact," so at least he has more going for him than Joe Buck.

The hit does look a little 'helmet to helmet' which is, by definition, illegal in the NFL. So you have to ask, has any team in NFL history been dirtier than this year's Steelers? They have spent the season laying receivers out (somewhere Wes Welker is nodding quietly) and breaking out very dubious crack-back blocks on players all over the league.

It would almost make you root for the Cards, if Kurt Warner wasn't such an insufferable goon.


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Save me, Jeebus..

It is one thing that, in their game against the Falcons, the Cards were allowed repeatedly jump offside without a flag from the officiating crew. Quite another that last night in the NFC Championship game Philadelphia’s Kevin Curtis was tripped, preventing him from making a crucial first down catch, with no pass interference flag thrown by the gutless, spineless official who was just a couple of feet away and staring right at the incident. It was stone cold pass interference, and even the bland commentating crew were bemused – ‘Looked like clear pass interference to me’. Instead the cowardly official kept his flag in his pocket and is now the toast of Arizona, while the rest of the NFL wonders what might have been.



Instead of a cracking encounter between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, we are left with what is probably going to be a Superbowl that is over by half time. You can take this to the bank; Pittsburgh will absolutely destroy the worst team to ever make the Superbowl. The Cards won the worst division in the NFL, the Steelers qualified from a tough division even facing the toughest regular season schedule in living memory.

Pittsburgh beat up New England pretty bad. The Patriots absolutely embarrassed Arizona. Where is that going to lead? We shall see in two weeks.

Arizona v Pittsburgh.

It’s a matchup games consoles won’t even accept. In a fit of rage after watching ‘Zona continue to cheat their way into the greatest sporting event of the year I slotted in Madden ’09 and tried to set up a Superbowl matchup of the Steelers v ‘Zona, just so I could pummel the Cheatin’ Cards 72-0 with the Steelers, the Cards helpless without input from the Zebras. The Playstation simply popped up a message ‘You have to be kidding – pick another opponent!

Seriously though, how on earth are we supposed to root for these referee assisted Cards? Their running back openly wants out, he spent the entire season and the early section of the playoffs demanding a trade in the off-season, openly wanting out of Arizona, because he isn’t getting enough ‘touches’. Now we are supposed to root for him in the Superbowl? This spoilt, selfish and ungrateful millionaire cry-baby? In his post game interview last night. Edgerrin James actually had the disgusting gall to say, the reason the Cards were going to the Superbowl was they finally ‘released the dog’. Nothing wrong with his ego so.

As for the quarterback.

Unless you really, particularly, want to have Kurt Warner arrogantly ramming his religion down your throat in his post game interviews, you should really be hoping the Steelers win the Superbowl, if only to avoid that scenario.

Hopefully Sports Karma will intervene and stop the Cards from doing any damage. Hopefully their own arrogance will eat them alive. Anybody else notice they started playing ‘We are the Champions’ over the PA system after the game? Maybe it was a simple mistake and they forgot there is actually one more game to play.


Finally, it should be noted, we are about to witness Matt Leinart at the Super Bowl, party central, in the biggest strip club city in the country. What are the odds that the bong master himself gets into a little trouble? Oh wait, he has the Lords messenger there to look after him. How about that deliciously awkward hug between the young, party animal QB, and the ‘holier than thou’, God-Squad veteran near the end of the game? ‘Matty bong-bong’ was smiling, His Holiness the Warner was not.


So, anyway, when do pitchers and catcher report?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

World Baseball Rankings released.

The first International World Rankings ever for baseball have been released by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF). First shock? The United States is not top. That honour goes to Cuba, who are a major power-house in International play (while the States can't even make the finals of the tournaments it plays in and it would appear many of the high profile US players aren't even bothered showing up).


The Irish baseball team - group shot from 2001

Sadly, the IBAF only printed the top 45, out of their 126 strong International affiliation. Naturally from an Irish perspective it would have been interesting to see where we rank! Before you snigger, consider this. There are actually three teams on the list that the Irish baseball team has beaten in the past, plus others the Irish team has had close games against in European play. The teams Ireland has beaten and their current ranking;

  • 23. Great Britain
  • 39. Austria
  • 40. Lithuania

Ireland beat 40th ranked Lithuania 8-7 in the 2002 European Pool B Championships held in Stockholm, Sweden.

Ireland scored seven runs in the first inning and, thanks to the determined pitching of Brian Morris, held on to win 8-7, over a team that had won 22-1 the day before!

Ireland beat 39th ranked Austria in a memorable extra innings game in the 2004 European Pool B Championships held in Regensburg, Germany. Chris Gannon, who plays in the German league, pitched the Irish past the strong Austrian lineup, Ireland scoring the winning runs in an exciting 8-2 win in the 10th inning.

Finally, Ireland defeated 23rd ranked Great Britain on their own home field in London, two games to three in a three game series in 2006, held in preparation for the 2006 European Championships. In the Friday evening series opener, West Virginia’s Brendan Bergerson was the dominant starter as Ireland spanked Great Britain 14-6. In the first game of a double header on the following Saturday the English won a tight one 6-5 to tie the series. However, in the final game, Nat Anglin pitched Ireland past their hosts 6-5 and Ireland took the first ever series between the two neighbours 2-1.

Although Ireland does not appear on the shortened list of the top teams, clearly the foundation is there for the ‘Boys in green’ to appear higher on the list in future, considering they have beaten several teams in the top echelons. Considering how recent those games were, particularly the Great Britain series, you could make a case that Ireland deserves to be placed in the top 40, at least. Perhaps a few friendly series against the likes of Cuba, Australia or Spain might bump the Irish up the list. Of course, it might prove tricky to convince players to travel to such far away, non exotic places. Wait a second…baseball in Havana, anyone?




Sean Finn - one of Ireland's young rising stars

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Braves offer Lowe gigantic contract

So the Atlanta Braves will offer former Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe $60 million over four years and yet won't pony up $5 million for one year for the former face of their organisation, John Smoltz? Goodness gracious, how angry are Braves fans right now?

On the plus side, bars all over the City of Atlanta are rejoicing as we speak.

If you are Red Sox fan, did you ever think you would see these words in print;

''SI.com reported Monday the Braves are in serious discussions with Lowe, who is one of the top pitchers left on the free-agent market.''


I guess Carl Pavano is off the market, in fairness.

Seems like a panic move by the Braves, who have been slowly falling apart in the offseason. Lowe, a solid but not spectacular pitcher, benefited from pitching in the very pitcher friendly confines of Dodger Stadium, and should see his numbers inflate dramatically. Are the Braves going to score more runs for him than the potent Dodgers lineup? Probably not. It could be a long season for Mr Lowe. Note to self: Trade Lowe off my fantasy team STAT.



Unless the Mets come up with a whopper of a deal, looks like D-Lowe will be playing his trade for the Braves in '09.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

2005 AL batting champ, anyone?

Reports surfacing that career .300 hitter Michael Young wants out of Texas (in fairness, who doesn't?) after they suggested they wanted him to move to third base, from his natural shortstop position.

Reliable, consistent and patient at the plate, remind you of the kind of player a certain team likes to have in its lineup?


Career highlights and awards
  • 5x All-Star selection (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
  • Gold Glove Award winner (2008)
  • 2006 MLB All-Star Game MVP


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Sunday, January 11, 2009

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Friday, January 09, 2009

If Matt Leinart and little Timmy Tebow met at a party.

I am not bitter, however f&*% Tim Tebow. F*&^ him to high hell.

Yeah yeah, I just used the words 'Tim Tebow' and 'hell' in the same sentence, undoubtedly I will be struck down by the ebola virus, lightning and a really bad cough on the way home tonight. Seriously though, exactly how sanctimonious is this turgid, sycophantic, borderline home-erotic rubbish going to go?

What did we all find out last night, while watching the BCS final, about the almighty himself, Tim Tebow? For starters, did you know he basically cured the Philippines of, well, everything? The reporters were falling over themselves to tell us Tebow and his family or whatever had spent time in the Philippines working with the poor and needy, spreading the word of Jesus. Next stop, the Middle East. The little matter of the debacle known as the Crusades would not stop a man of Tebow's ilk. Jeebus Christ!

Tim Tebow - saving the world one heathen at a time

With the slimy, incessant fawning that was going on all night long about the big lug you would think it was he that stopped the Sooners dead on the goal line not once but twice, forever swinging the momentum of the game.

One of the commentators, Thom Brennerman, actually said the following, this is a direct quote;

''If you're fortunate enough to spend five minutes, or twenty minutes around Tim Tebow, your life is better for it.''

Tebow shows more leadership skills - our lives are improved immeasurably

If there is any justice in this world, Tebow will be drafted as a third strong backup for the Cardinals, where he can learn how to hold a clip-board and watch Kurt Warner play for the rest of his sanctimonious life. Maybe hanging with Cards second string party animal Matt Leinart would loosen him up a little. Couldn't do him any harm anyway, could it?

Well lucky for us, Tebow and Leinart actually met at a party recently, under some auspice or another, and luckier still, someone taped the conversation. Let's listen in.

[Scene: Tebow, in chinos and a nice, well ironed shirt, is standing on his own at a raucous party. Leinart, in Bermuda shorts and shirt is holding what appears to be a rather large bong]

  • Leinart: ''Hey, aren't you that guy?''
  • Tebow: ''Hello Matt, I am Tim Tebow. Bless you.''
  • Leinart: [Clearly drunk] ''Awesome, I thought you was that guy, awesome, hey, aren't you like, in Vietnam or something?''
  • Tebow: [sipping on an ice cold glass of water] ''Sorry, what?''
  • Leinart: ''yeah so like, I heard you did, like, three tours of duty in Vietnam? For Jeebus''
  • Tebow: ''Gosh darnit, what did you call the lord out savior? Vietnam? What? I am in college, like you once were, my friend.''
  • Leinart: [distracted] ''Hey broseph, who's the dude giving you the eye?''
  • Tebow: [annoyed] ''What are you talking abo...oh..don't mind him my friend, that's just Thom Brennerman, he's a big fan of mine.''
  • Leinart: ''Cool deal man, that's cool, whatever way you roll is fine with me, want some?'' [offering Tebow the enormous, possibly home made, bong''
  • Tebow: ''My friend, I do not even know what that is, is it a complicated smoking device?''
  • Leinart: [laughing] ''Your crazy, your crazy man, but I like you''
  • Tebow: ''Have you found Jesus?''
  • Leinart: ''You know what's crazy broseph, I feel like, I feel like, having been, like, fortunate to have spent, a few minutes around you, like, my life is better for it, or something, you know what I mean?''
  • Tebow: ''Well my friend I get that a lot. Now excuse me. I have to go save the Philippines from communism and the Muslims.



Tebow gets in some game time man love

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Corruption - New York City style

This one is rather tasty. Turns out New York City officials were pretty much holding the Yankees to ransom during the building of the spanking new gazillion dollar stadium. The New York Times is reporting that the city is giving up a 'perk' luxury suite, for cash, after a public outcry upon the revelation of the deal.

''The city’s acquisition of the Yankees suite had drawn scrutiny, especially after e-mail messages surfaced in November showing that aides to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had zealously pursued the luxury box, as well as free food and access to post-season games.''


So, while many companies in New York go bust, while thousands lose their jobs and homes, the mayor of New York was 'zealoously' persuing a luxury box, and all the free food his fat, greedy stomach could eat. Beautiful. Baseball, the peoples game indeed.

This part of the story is particularly damning;

''The e-mail messages revealed that after the Yankees made concessions over the size of the suite and the food, the team received an additional 250 parking spaces, as well as the rights to three new billboards along the Major Deegan Expressway and whatever revenue they generate.''


Breaking that down like a fraction, it wasn't until the Yankees guaranteed the Mayor and his party posse would get a whopper of a suite with all the food they could stuff down their greedy throats that the Yankees were given the parking spaces they would need to run a functioning stadium.

For those of you who subscribe to the theory that the USA is becoming more and more like ancient Rome on a daily basis, the image of the Mayor of New York sitting in regal conditions in his ultra modern executive box watching the gladiators/baseball players below would lend substance to that theory. Imagine him hosting his first party in the luxury box, and turning to his party posse and joking 'Are you not entertained?! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!'

The whole affair is pretty disgusting.



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You stay classy, Rey Maualuga

Next time someone asks do you do the 'Rey Rey' you should probably say no. Yet another reason to feel good about USC and, in particular, their linebacker, Rey Maualuga. And you thought the Rose Bowl was boring? Think again!






USC have moved swiftly to diffuse the matter, issuing this statement;

"The situation was addressed immediately," the statement said. "Rey both e-mailed and spoke to Erin and apologized to her. He realized he made a mistake and used poor judgment. He deeply regrets his actions."


First thing that jumps to mind, what is Maualuga doing with Erin Andrew's email address?! If only, if ONLY this had been Tim Tebow breaking off a little shuffle, then we really would have had a story!



Erin Andrews

Got Smoltz?

Well now, a little bit of festive season cheer, finally, for Red Sox fans. With all due respect to Joshua Bard, the news that it appears John Smoltz might sign with the Sox is the best news we Boston fans have had in a while.

ESPN are reporting that Smoltz is 'on the verge of' a deal with the Red Stockings.

How Boston would use Smoltz is unclear by design, the Sox always try to stockpile as much pitching as possible going into spring training, and this is part of that tactic.

Braves fans appear none too happy that Smoltz is apparently being allowed walk by Atlanta:
''With almost none of the Braves' boatloads of money spent so far, I'm pretty dissapointed that Frank Wren couldn't bring Smolzie back. Regardless, Smoltz has done more than enough for the Braves over his career and if this report is true, all I can say is good luck John!''

Meanwhile the Boston Globe chips in on Smoltz and the possibility that Rhode Island's own Rocco Baldelli is also about to sign on the dotted line.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Are we looking at a 100 loss season for the Orioles?

I feel the same way about say, for example, Luxembourg, as I feel about the Baltimore Orioles. I am aware both exist, however I don't really have a solid opinion on either, they are neutral, in many ways.

Come '09, that might turn to honest to goodness pity for the latter, when you consider the schedule they face in the up-coming MLB season.

By my estimation the Orioles will have to play the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox a combined total of 54 times. That's almost a third of their 2009 schedule. 54 games against three of the most stacked lineups in all of baseball. 54 games against what might be the three best starting rotations in all of baseball.

Check out this incredible late season stretch the Orioles face;

Mon, Aug 31 NY Yankees
Tue, Sep 1 NY Yankees
Wed, Sep 2 NY Yankees
Fri, Sep 4 Texas
Sat, Sep 5 Texas
Sun, Sep 6 Texas
Tue, Sep 8 @ Boston
Wed, Sep 9 @ Boston
Fri, Sep 11 @ NY Yankees
Sat, Sep 12 @ NY Yankees
Sun, Sep 13 @ NY Yankees
Mon, Sep 14 Tampa Bay
Tue, Sep 15 Tampa Bay
Wed, Sep 16 Tampa Bay
Thu, Sep 17 Tampa Bay
Fri, Sep 18 Boston
Sat, Sep 19 Boston
Sun, Sep 20 Boston


If they got on a bad roll early on in that stretch, we could be looking at a historic losing streak. The punchless O's lineup could potentially be facing the following pitchers in a 12 game span of potentially nightmarish consequences for Baltimore.

Beckett, Lester, Sabathia, Burnett, Wang, Garza, Price, Kazmir, Sonnastein, Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka

There could be a few cold bats during that spell.

This is what we had to say about their World Series chances in '08. Bear in mind they hadn't completely tanked it as yet, as they did towards the end of the year;

''On the face of it, team four is not totally out of it. However, you know they are, really. They are perfectly mediocre. Not too far off .500, 5-5 their last 10, they have scored a few, they have conceded a few and they might even play spoiler in the run in. You know though, when all is said and done, they will be a good 15-20 games out in the AL East and really, what hope is there in Baltimore for the future? The Baltimore Orioles will not, it is safe to say, win the World Series in 2008. Sorry Pat.''


Check out their horrific 2008 pitching AL rankings;

ERABAAOPSSVWHIPQS
5.13 .277 .796 35 1.56 60
13th13th13th10th13th13th

Oh boy, those are some nasty, nasty statistics, and the lineups ahead of them just got better! Apart from saves, their pitching stats actually can't go any lower, is that good news?

The Orioles actually haven't had even an 80 win season in the last seven years, and have had over 90 losses three years in a row.

YEARWLRSRA
20086893782869
20076993756868
20067092768899
20057488729800
20047884843830
20037191743820
20026795667773

Can they top 100 losses and over 1000 runs conceded in '09? Yes they can! 2009 could be a historically bad year for the Orioles. Baltimore fans, be prepared!



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Proportionate response.

Euro-basketball riots, who knew? Crazy news from Turkey where an Israeli basketball team was basically harassed off the court in a Euro league game against a Turkish side.

An American player on the Turkish side had this to say about the incident;
''They were throwing coins, pens, lighters, and one shoe during the warmups.''
Rumours abound that the Israeli's responded with tank fire, rockets and offshore Naval artillery.


2009, the year of the proportionate response!



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Vincent Jackson - not very bright

First former NBA star Antoine Walker, now current NFL star, San Diego Charger Vincent Jackson gets caught on a DUI. Do these guys now watch television? Those gaudy, anti DUI advertisements were on all festive season, how could you miss those things?

NBA, NFL, who's next? NHL? Aren't you allowed, nay, encouraged to drink/drive in Canada though? More likely MLB so, and would you be shocked to see a headline tomorrow;

'Roger Clemens in trouble again after DUI arrest'

Admit, you would barely raise an eyebrow!

Back to Vinnie Vince Vince, I wonder..

  • Did a tidal wave of booze pour out of his car when he opened the door?
  • Did the Cop know who he was?
  • Will he play this weekend?
  • How excited is Norv Turner about this development?
  • How retarded is Vincent Jackson, seriously, you are playing in the NFL playoffs this weekend!!


Vincent Jackson's next squeeze? They seem to have a lot in common


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I shoot you, I shoot you good!

Gun law sure is confusing in the United States! I'll tell you that much for nothing. Let me see if I have this straight.

Is that how it works?

That aside, now that it is clear that he is probably not going to jail, one has to note that Marvin Harrison even escapes criminal prosecution quietly and professionally. You have to admire that.



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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Checking in on the Devil Rays

Word on the street is that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays signing of Pat 'the bat' Burrell has made them the most dangerous lineup in the AL East, yes, even more so than the Yankees. A heady statement indeed. Before we go handing over the AL East crown however, how about we take a peek at the Rays potential '09 lineup?

1. Akinori Iwamura, 2b
2. B.J. Upton, cf
3. Carlos Pena, 1b
4. Evan Longoria, 3b
5. Carl Crawford, lf
6. Pat Burrell, dh
7. Matt Joyce, rf
8. Dioner Navarro, c
9. Jason Bartlett, ss

Not bad. Not great, but not bad. Where do I get off on saying 'not great'? Easy, two through six that's a great lineup, there are plenty of question marks at the leadoff spot and seven through nine. Iwamura, Joyce, Navarro and Bartlett is not a modern day murderers row by any stretch of the imagination. In regards the 'studs' like Upton, Pena and Longoria, they will not be able to sneak up on anyone in '09 and teams will take greater care charting them and will have had a whole offseason to look for any potential hole in their swings.



Look, the sophomore slump is a genuine phenomenon. My questions to those who want to scrap the '09 regular season and throw Tampa right into the playoffs would be;

  • Tampa struggled to score runs in the '08 regular season, is Pat 'the bat' going to make that much of a difference?
  • Can Tampa's bullpen come back as strong in '09?
  • Will Scott Kazmir's arm fall off for once and for all?
  • Is it fair to expect David Price to beat all comers in his rookie season based on a few high octane playoff outings?
  • If teams adjust to Tampa's stars and the sophomore slump hits the Rays, what's left to trade for help, or can they spend any money in free agency?

There's no doubt the Rays had a fabulous '08, the thing is, '09 is going to throw a whole new host of challenged their way. My point is, maybe we should all let them play a few games before we anoint them the best team in the AL East.


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Oh, Toine

I will admit freely, I was always a big Antoine Walker fan. What was not to like, as far as I was concerned? A big man with little man ball dribbling skills, a 50/50 three point jumper that had a habit of going in during clutch game moments and a certain panache to his game. I even enjoyed 'the wiggle' (somewhere out there Dan Shaughnessy just felt a sharp twinge in his side).

Having said all that, I was not wildly shocked to read Walker has started down the slippery slope towards crazy town.

MIAMI (AP) — Former NBA player Antoine Walker was charged with suspicion of drunk driving in Miami Beach early Monday morning, further hurting his chances of playing again this season.


No word yet if the arresting officer asked Walker to step out of the vehicle and wiggle in a straight line. Also, that figure under the blanket in the back seat may or may not have been Vin Baker, nobody will ever know.

As a sort of sad side note, did you know 'Toine is only 32? Plenty young enough to still be playing in the NBA, with a few years extra tacked on to boot. Sadly it appears his career is going in a different direction entirely.

Oh well, once more with feeling, the old Antoine Wiggle.


I wonder is this where Will Ferrell got 'Frank the tank'?

Monday, January 05, 2009

The weekend that was in the NFL playoffs: The common sense factor.

Common sense should have ruled the weekends NFL playoff picks. When you look at what actually happened, it's easy to see how things unfolded. Breaking the games down one by one, with a 'common sense' note attached to each..

  • Atlanta @ Arizona: The under dog home side cruise through to the next round, beating a rookie QB in his first playoff game, common sense prevails.
  • Indianapolis @ San Diego: The under dog home side get through against a team they have owned in the last several seasons. Common sense once again prevails.
  • Baltimore @ Miami: The powerful road team, who destroyed the Tuna earlier in the season, destroy them again, common sense prevails.
  • Philadelphia @ Minnessota: The Vikings young QB, who has looked awful down the stretch, looks even worse in the playoffs, shocker, common sense prevails.

Looking back at it now it all makes total sense!


''Gooooooooo common sense!''

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Another question. This one regarding gambling.

A question that starts with a statement. Land of the free? Land of the free my big fat white posterior. Why is it, in the so called land of the free, you can walk into a shop and buy a shotgun, a handgun or a semi automatic weapon, however an adult can not walk into a shop and place a wager? Where is the logic in that? Think about that for a second. An adult in the USA can purchase a handgun, however he or she cannot place a wager.


None of it makes any sense. All the major sporting news entities display prominently the ‘lines’ for all the big games. A few clicks of the mouse and you can find out what the line is in tonight’s big NFL playoff games, or the upcoming college bowl games. The NFL demands, nay, forces (under threat of financial penalty) its teams to produce detailed injury reports before game day. Why do they do that? Why else other than so that people know if Brian Westbrook can go this weekend, or if LT really has a damaged groin or is about to rip off 300 yards against the Colts. That type of information is pretty important to people placing bets on the games.

Thus we are left with this pathetic nudge nudge, wink wink, arrangement where everyone, NFL head office included, knows that millions of people are betting on the games, the NFL and the sporting media are providing detailed information for betting on the games, and yet still it’s illegal.

The arguments against gambling? It’s dangerous. Really, more dangerous than a firearm? Most level headed, non right wing types would probably agree that an adult placing a wager is less dangerous than an adult with a loaded firearm. My favourite, ‘Gambling funds organised crime.’ I see, and firearms don’t assist organised crime in any way? That’s the ‘lowest common denominator’ argument. The real retort to that particular argument is that if gambling were not illegal, organised crime would not use it as a funding mechanism!

There really is no logical reason to keep gambling illegal while you can freely purchase a firearm. It simply doesn’t make any sense. Whatever you do, don’t throw that inane 'constitutional right' argument at me, the founding fathers lived in a world where you needed a firearm. They lived at a time when bear attacks were more of a hot topic than the credit crunch. Actual real live bear attacks. There is no viable reason why a human being, a Joe Punter, man on the street, average person ‘needs’ a semi automatic weapon in this day and age.

Over the holiday season the NFL and College Bowl games were littered with those never ending references to those ‘brave men and women’ overseas, and how it’s thanks to them that Americans, as the sporting commentators often put it, ‘enjoy the freedoms that we have.’ Freedom? I’ll give you freedom. Two minutes after finishing this I can go out my apartment door here in Dublin, Ireland, I can walk down the street to a bookmaker shop and place a bet on a sporting event. That’s a form of entertainment, see. It has been for thousands of years. If you are reading this in say, Manhattan, or Boston or most other major US cities, you do not have the freedom to do same. Instead you have to resort to finding alternate, borderline illegal means to place a bet on, for example, tonight’s NFL games. This despite the fact that every single sporting media outlet is throwing, hurling betting information on those very games at you from every angle.

Look, clearly someone isn’t telling us everything. Keeping gambling illegal has to benefit someone, so it probably isn’t going to change. Perhaps powerful lobby groups attached to the Vegas Empire contribute towards keeping it illegal so that Vegas remains a veritable cash bucket, an oasis in a non-gambling country.

Meanwhile, the lines for tonight’s NFL games. I could tell you, but I really don’t need to, as every single major US sporting print and online entity has the information for you, despite gambling being illegal in most areas of the USA. God bless that sweet taste of freedom, eh?


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Throw the flag, zebra!

So, I have to ask, why is it the six or seven times the Arizona Cardinal’s defenders jumped offside pre-snap it wasn’t flagged? Naturally, this is going to sound like sour grapes, but seriously, is it not important for the integrity of the NFL that home field type officiating is stamped out? The zebras simply completely ignored the offside rule on about at least seven occasions where the Cards defenders had at least an entire step before the snap. That’s offside! Throw the damn flag! The NBC commentators alluded to it, the Falcons sideline were screaming at the officials, we could all see it on television and yet they wouldn’t throw the stupid flag!

With 11:01 left in the game the arrogant zebras actually did throw a flag, on a false start by the Cards, and while doing so the head ‘blue’ actually laughed, in a smug, ‘yeah, I’ll throw one, why not’ kind of manner.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Helping you avoid backing Arizona

After all is said and done, if you are still thinking about back 'Zona, the most one dimensional team in the NFL playoffs, well, once again I cry, 'think again, I implore you' - and I offer more evidence in the form of a simple Matt Ryan highlight. Don't do it, come in off the ledge..do NOT back 'Zona!


Friday, January 02, 2009

Teams that are NOT going to win the Superbowl: Team number 12 - The Arizona Cardinals.

So here we go. The Detroit Lions and everyone else watching from the outside as the remaining teams battle it out for the Superbowl. Of course some might have more chance than others. Some, although they are indeed in the playoffs, still have the same chance as those Lions of Detroit.

Where do you start with the Arizona Cardinals? One word really, BONG! Well, a few words would describe them better, like 'Matt Leinart Bong party!' - this is because nothing describes the Arizona Cardinals better than their Heisman winning, party going, Bong toting backup quarterback, Matt Leinart. He parties harder than Tara Reid on speed. The Cardinals should be taken about as seriously as their young backup, which is, not very.

Aint no party like a Matt Leinart party

It's funny how there is often an aspect to a game that really doesn't get talked about much and yet is going to have a huge impact on same, in the case of the Falcons @ Cardinals, it's the run game. The Falcons will run, run, run right over the Matt Leinart party posse. Arizona can't stop the run, and Tuner and Norwood of the Falcons can't stop running.

The bludgeoning the Cards line is about to receive should probably be like Matt Leinart's picassa collection, censored! Once the Cards are softened up, Matt Ryan will play-action them to death. A balanced, strong, young and talented footballing side against, well, the Arizona Cardinals.

Got Leinart?

If you have even a faint hope that the Cards are a playoff team, if you think 'Well they can sling the ball round a lil and they are at home', just remind yourself of the absolute thumping they took in New England a couple of weeks ago. If that doesn't do it for you, then just refer to the below picture. That's their backup QB, I am not even slightly kidding. The Arizona Cardinals, NOT winning the '09 Superbowl, you can take that to the bank.


Leinart - hardest working backup QB in the biz


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Wait, Romo, THE Tony Romo, really?

Meanwhile, ESPN are conducting a poll on the sporting personalities of the year. You can find it here. Plenty of worthy names on the list. Amazingly though, one Tony Romo appears on same. Tony freakin Romo. Who created the listing of sports types one could vote for, Tony Romo's Mom? Jessica Simpson?

ESPN's blurb on Romo;

''Tony Romo: Romo makes the list for a variety of reasons. Not only did he enjoy another fine statistical season, throwing for more than 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns (despite missing three games due to injury), he also accomplished a number of good deeds off the field. These good deeds included helping a couple change a tire on the side of a road and inviting a homeless man to watch a movie with him.''


It fails to mentions the 'negative' deeds some might attribute to him for '08, for example 'being a part of the biggest NFL track wreck of a team, like, ever.'

Still, he is getting 0.1% of the vote. Who knew Jessica Simpson had a computer!




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Christmas search high jinx - ammonia sniffing? Really?

So, looks like there might have been a lot of sacks of coal being dropped down chimneys by the big fat guy in the red hat this Christmas, if the number of searches on ammonia sniffing that end up on this site are anything to go by.

In the last two weeks there were 27 searches that used the keyword 'ammonia' in some shape or form and ended up on 'Boston Irish', probably due to this old eulogistic posting on ammonia sniffing in the NFL.

What is really screwed up and, well, funky, is that all of the searches came from 27 different IP addresses, meaning basically there were 27 people in the space of two weeks trying to find out more about sniffing ammonia. Sweet baby Jesus, what's going on out there?!

Here are some of the searches that were entered:

  • Ammonia sniffing
  • ammonia sniffing
  • weight lifting and ammonia
  • sniffing ammonia
  • ammunnia sniffing
  • sniffing ammonia NFL Randy Moss

Some questions. Ammunnia sniffing? Really? It should be a requisite that you would need to be able to spell ammonia before you use it, actually, you should be able to spell ammonia before you use the Internet, period. The search that singled out Randy Moss, why? Is it important to know how Randy Moss sniffed ammonia (allegedly, of course) on an NFL sideline as opposed to any other player?

I tell ya', I just don't know anymore!


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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy freakin New Year!

Great line-up of College football games today. Let’s dive right in.

  • 4.00pm Live South Carolina vs. Iowa - Outback Bowl - The South Carolina Gamecocks face the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2008 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay
  • 9.30pm Live Penn State vs. USC - Rose Bowl - Pete Carroll and his USC Trojans face a stern test against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the 2009 Rose Bowl

Those are just the games live on Irish television. It’s funny, isn’t it? Over the other side of the Atlantic Ocean people will be watching the big College Bowl games of the day. It’s not just Americans living in Ireland either. There is a pretty big American football league here, so many of the thousand or so people who play in that will be tuned in. As will those who got hooked to the NFL when it was on C4 in the eighties. Plus the new batch, the ‘blow in’ NFL fans who came upon the sport more recently on Sky TV.

Looking at the three games. First up South Carolina against Iowa. First thing that jumps off the page, recent form. South Carolina is coming off losses to Florida and Clemson by a combined score of 87-20. Iowa won five of its final six games, including an upset of Penn State, to reach its fifth January bowl game since 2002. That’s finishing with a flourish. ESPN’s college scouts predict;

‘’ The running of Shonn Greene and a stout defense will carry Iowa to an Outback Bowl win over South Carolina.’’


From what I have read it’s hard to see past Iowa. The line? Iowa –3.5. That’s pretty appetising.

Penn State against USC. Ex Patriots coach Pete Carroll against the old stalwart Joe Paterno. Two brilliant defences slugging it out, and 11-1 Penn State getting nine points. Take the points and run. Enjoy the hits, 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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