Saturday, October 23, 2004

Saturday's Smack!

Today is an historic day! It's October 23rd of 2004. Why is it historic? Well, it's the beginning of the end of the curse. Tonight at Fenway Park, game one of the World Series is on tap between the Red Sox and the St.Louis Cardinals. In just eight days, the Red Sox WILL find themselves back atop the baseball world. Nirvana will be reached and the world be right again.

Yes, I know many Red Sox fans believe the Curse of the Bambino ended with the unbelievable and yes, historic, comeback of the Sox from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS to defeat the dreaded Yankees. But, alas true historians, the Curse said that the Red Sox would never win another World Series after trading Babe Ruth to NY. After 86 years, the Curse WILL be broken now.

Now, we could sit here for hours on how much better the Red Sox bullpen is or about what a stud Curt Schilling is or about how home field advantage that the Sox will use to win the series. Yet, just believe! Blind faith. It's something most Red Sox fans live with but don't truly enjoy the fruits of its merit. If you truly have blind faith and believe good things come from faith, then this WILL be your year Red Sox fans!

I hit the nail on the head with the Red Sox in 7 over the Yankees (oh yeah, didn't exactly predict the exact now did we..ha ha..ha)!

Here's my World Series prediction: Red Sox in 7 (would you have it any other way than the Sox breaking the curse on Halloween night in Boston?)

Now, on to some other Saturday smack:

*** --- Are you kidding me? Senator John Kerry was taped hunting with a rifle two weeks before the election. Don't you think it's a little too late in the game to try and get some NRA votes. My guess is that it did more harm than good to your die hards Mr. Kerry.

*** --- Cher is giving political rallies in a disco now? The true sign that the apocolypse is coming.

*** --- Finally got around to seeing Mona Lisa Smile. Great "chick flick" but a brilliant job by Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles on people going through life and the differences on being who you want to be, who you should be and what others want you to be.

*** --- The true injustice of the week: ESPN letting Jon Miller and Joe Morgan do the radio call of the World Series instead of Dan Shulman and Dave Campbell. Soup and Shulman are the best radio duo, bar none, in the game today. Now, having said that, please do listen to every pitch of the World Series on Sportsradio 99.7FM and AM 790 the Score.

*** --- Who would you rather see in Playboy: Brittany Spears, Jennifer Aniston or one (or both) of the Bush daughters?

*** --- Battle of undefeated's at Foxboro this week with the 5-0 Pats hosting the
5-0 Jets. I'm a devout Jets fan, but even I realize that no matter what the outcome is Sunday, this is two levels equivalent to USC taking on Boise State in a BCS Sponsored Bowl. You can put them on the same field with unblemished records, but there's a big gap on where one is and where one wants to be.

*** --- A true leader puts in his time no matter what the stake or what the game. A true leader doesn't need let others do the work or make the decisions for them. A true leader just gets it done. Thank you Curt Schilling.

*** --- Finally, I recently discovered GAC on Direct TV channel 326. It's Great American Country for those unaware. Yes, now I'm a country junkie. Besides, who could resist Gretchen Wilson when she calls for the party!


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

NFL picks (Crowe vs. HTC)

here ya go:

Hank the Crank:
Atlanta +4 over KC (I can pick Atlanta right? This is the best bet this week).
New England – 6 over the Jets
St Louis -6 over Miami
Seattle -6 over Arizona

Crowe's picks:
Raiders -3 over Saints
Ravens -6 over Bills
Chiefs -4 over Falcons (just to spike HTC)
Bengals +6 over Broncos

HTC: 11-12-1
Crowe: 8-14-2

Thursday, October 14, 2004

NFL picks (Crowe vs. HTC)

here we go for week 6. please let us win a game this week since last week, we sucked. hank the crank and myself a combined 0-7-1. ouch!!!!

HTC's picks
Jets -9 over San Fran (Ok I hate Crowe’s team, but I am not a moron)
Jacksonville +2 over KC
Eagles -8 over Carolina
Minnesota -3 over New Orleans

Crowe's picks
falcons -6 over chargers (san diego's coming on but vick has to have a breakout week sometime!!!)
saints +3.5 over vikings (vikings on back end of two road games)
lions -2 over the packers
jaguars +2 over the chiefs (chiefs coming off the bye but the stronger play is the jags coming off a bad loss at the chargers)

last week:
HTC: 0-3-1
Crowe: 0-4

HTC: 8-11-1
Crowe: 7-11-2

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Red Sox vs. Yankees ALCS Preview

One more time!!!

That's right, it's October again, so that must mean Red Sox vs. Yankees in the ALCS. For the second straight season and third time in six years, it's Boston vs. New York for the right to head to the World Series.

And baseball wouldn't have it any other way.

This is the way it's supposed to be. These two teams battled through seven electrifying games in last year's ALCS. They battled all off-season long for Alex Rodriguez and Curt Schilling. They excited us for 19 regular season games (11-8 Sox by the way!). And now, the American League Pennant is on the line.
Let's break it down:

Jason Veritek vs. Jorge Posada

Veritek is the heart and soul of this Red Sox team. The edge goes to Tek defensively. Offensively, Posada gets the nod.
Edge: I'll call it a draw.

1st base:
Kevin Millar/Doug Mienkiewitcz vs. Jon Olerud/Tony Clark

Millar's cowboyed up in the 2nd half to be an offensive catalyst. Mienkiewitcz will play every game defensively. Olerud's not what he was a few years ago in Seattle and Toronto.
Edge: Boston

2nd base:
Mark Bellhorn vs. Miguel Cairo

Bellhorn may strike out alot but he grinds out starting pitchers by being patient and comes up clutch every few games.
Edge: Boston

Derek Jeter vs. Orlando Cabrera

Cabrera has saved the Sox defensively in the ALDS vs. the Angels with two great plays in game one and a run saving play against Figgins in the 10th in game three. Having said that, Derek Jeter is Mr. Clutch for the Yankees.
Edge: Yankees

3rd base:
Alex Rodriguez vs. Bill Mueller

A-Rod has been on fire since nestling himself in the 2-hole behind Derek Jeter. Plus, he gave the Yanks the ALDS in game four: double, steal and scoring on a wild pitch. That's why he's the 2nd best player in the bigs (kudos to Mr. Bonds).
Edge: Yankees

Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon (Gabe Kapler) vs. Hideki Matsui/Bernie Williams (Kenny Lofton)/Gary Sheffield

Manny's the MVP of the league and Damon is arguably this team's usnsung MVP. But if there's one guy I don't want to see with a bat in his hand for NY, it's Gary Sheffield.
Edge: Yankees (very slight)

Designated Hitter:
David Ortiz vs. Rueben Sierra

What a great matchup! Sierra can get it done every once in awhile. Ortiz has got it done all year long.
Edge: Red Sox

Red Sox get the edge for no other reason in that they will use their bench a lot in this series. Reese, Mienkiewitcz, Kapler and Roberts will see more time for defense and speed than Enrique Wilson, John Flaherty and Bubba Crosby.
Edge: Red Sox

Starting Pitching:
Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Bronson Arroyo, Tim Wakefield vs. Mike Mussina, Jon Lieber, Kevin Brown, Javier Vasquez/El Duke

Schilling and Martinez are the horses. They'll set the tone where the Yankees home field could be negated. Two caviats: Schilling's ankle and Pedro's head against NY. Kevin Brown's last two starts give the Yankees a big boost of confidence.
Edge: Red Sox

Two of the best closers in the league in Foulke and Rivera. Mo's the best of all-time though. Quantrill has struggled down the stretch. Gordon has been the go-to-guy to get to Rivera. The questions are Heredia, Sturtze (who's been very consistent) et al in a big spot. For the Sox, can Timlin get after it every night as Francona has used him in the ALDS? Myers, Lowe and Leskanic need to come through in clutch time for the Sox to win.
Edge: Draw (if they can get to their respective closers, they'll be ok. But, can they get there?)

Terry Francona vs. Joe Torre

Torre over the past 8 years has been the prince of postseason. Francona will have to pass the Grady Little test: will he make the right move with his pitchers at the right time. If you leave your starter in too long, you will be gone like Little.
Edge: Torre

Yankees have the home field and history. Red Sox have the curse to motivate. If history tells us anything, the Yankees always find a way to win.
Edge: Yankees

Series prediction:
Red Sox in 7

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Why is this year different?

So, the Red Sox are on their way to the ALCS for the 2nd straight season. One Big Poppy long shot last night brought that to fruition. But, I ask you long suffering Red Sox fan, how many of you lost the faith when Vlady Guerrero sent shockwaves across New England with a granny to the right field stands?

Believe me, I was with you for a brief moment. A 6-1 lead thrown away after a brilliant Bronson Arroyo performance to get them in a position to win easily. But easy is not what this team is all about. Mike Myers and Mike Timlin struggled and alas a 6-6 tie was born.

Yet, even with that distress, I never lost faith. Just ask "Mr. Aldo Montoya himself (a.k.a fellow Score producer Nick Cattles). This year IS different. Not only does this team have the attitude carried over from last year that they can rebound from anything. They are the most well equipped team left in the playoffs to deal with adversity. This team now has the horses to carry out that attitude.

Let's start with the lower level heroes from Friday.

First up, Derek Lowe. I didn't see any pouting. No sulking. I just saw a guy, who I would've liked to see earlier in the 7th during the bases loaded crisis for a ground ball instead of a Vlady blast, who got the job done. Reward him by using him in the ALCS again in the pen.

Next up. Orlando Cabrera. What a great play in the 10th to get the Sox out of a 2-on, 2-out Angels rally. Nomar's not getting Chone Figgins out on the chopper to short. Cabrera did. And let us not forget the two great plays in game one to help out Curt Schilling.

Keith Foulke. Didn't have his best stuff on Friday. Yet still was able to strike out Garret Anderson and Troy Glaus in the 9th to get out of a jam.

Terry Francona. He chose not to pinch run for Ortiz and it came up big time in the 10th. Enough said there.

Mike Scioscia. Yes, he's a Red Sox hero this morning. How in the world do you leave you're closer, Troy Percival, in the pen when the game's on the line. I get the lefty-lefty matchup with Jarod Washburn vs. Ortiz, but Angels fans have a lot to criticize this Saturday morning. If I were an Angel fan, I'd much rather see K-Rod or Percival take on this task. But, heck, I'm not an Angels fan, so thank you very much Mike!!!

So, now it's on to New York (epic!) or Minnesota. I want the Yankees for another round. Let's rehash last year's baseball tragedy. Let's put more salt into the open wound. Let's get Grady Little to throw out the first pitch. It's the only way you move on and enjoy the baseball Nirvana.

After the last two games, the Yankees appear to be getting things back in order in NY. But, let's crank it up. I'll take Curt Schilling and Pedro "oops I meant to say the Yankees are my bitch instead of my daddy" Martinez in NY anyday. Yes, the Yanks lineup is the best in baseball offensively. Yet, we've got the horses on the mound to get the job done.

Attitude and the means to back it up. The difference last year to this year. It's easy: Curt, Keith, Orlando and Doug. We're better up front starting pitching wise. We're better at the back end of the bullpen. We're better defensively.

We just need to make sure that we tell Terry not to keep anyone in too long. Maybe Grady can send him a note to remind him.

ALCS preview in extended mode later this weekend after the Yankees clinch against the Twins. Included will be the roster battle. Can someone please send me Ramiro Mendoza for the ALCS roster??? But, alas..another story for another time.

Remember, you'll hear every game of the ALCS and World Series as well as all the games this weekend (Saturday: Astros/Braves Gm. 3 at 12:40pm on 99.7FM; Yankees/Twins gm 4 at 4pm on 99.7FM and AM 790; Cardinals/Dodgers Gm 3 at 7:30pm on 99.7FM and AM 790). If there needs to be a game 5 for the Yankees, it would be on 99.7FM Sunday at 7pm.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

NFL picks review

so, Mr. Gresh, start thinking about that skirt! Yes, after four weeks, HTC and myself are at .500 for the season.

HTC: 8-8 (last week 2-2)
Crowe: 7-7-2 (last week 2-1-1)

Crowe's picks for this week:
falcons -7 over the lions
broncos -5.5 over panthers
saints -3 over bucs
cardinals +1.5 over 49ers

Hank's picks for this week:
Buffalo +7.5 over “Da Jets”
Arizona +2 over San Francisco
Miami +14 over New England
Seattle -6 Over St Louis

Saturday, October 02, 2004

An Open Letter to Pedro Martinez

Dear Petey,

Ok, now I get it. It took awhile to get there but now it is clear. Very clear. I now fully understand what you're doing and what you're going through this season.

It's a tough transition to go through. It doesn't matter if you're a top notch, million dollar ace or a corporate exec or a guy just trying to get through his everyday job on a daily basis.

You're not the new guy. You're not the vocal guy. You're not the guy with the brazen bravado and the wherewithall to use it. You're not that guy who dominated the Yankees with 17 strikeouts on a Friday night in New York. You're not that guy who took the team on his back and led them to ALDS glory against the Indians. You're not that guy who everyone loves and adores for being you.

Are you one of the top guys in your field? Absolutely. But the problem is that you've been taken for granted all these years in Boston. Here's the resume in Beantown: 117 wins, never having had a double-digit loss year, two Cy Young Awards, you led the league in ERA in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003. You won the triple crown for pitchers in 1999 while also being named the All-Star Game MVP. And going into this season, you led all active pitchers in ERA; 50th all time amongst all pitchers.

Not bad, huh? Well, guess what Petey? Some fans think you as worthy as your "little friend" Nelson. You're just not worth the big bucks anymore!

In general, everything you've done doesn't matter any more. It's what have you done for me lately. For that, you've lost four in a row. And for that, you are now considered a has-been and not a guy that will take the Red Sox to baseball nirvana. That job's now taken. You no longer are needed to fill the position, according to some.

It's like the Bush-Kerry campaign. It no longer matters that President Bush has kept America's homeland safe from a terrorist attack every day since the tragic morning of September 11th. It doesn't matter that he took down Saddem Hussein. It doesn't matter that we are now more informed on intelligence matters than at any point in our history. It plainly just doesn't matter. Senator Kerry likes to say about Iraq: "wrong war, wrong time, wrong place." In this case, it's wrong guy, wrong time, wrong idealogy."

The saddest part of all this is that it's not even you're fault. You're being blamed for not being Curt Schilling. You're being blamed for not being human. You're being blamed for now voicing your opinion about why the Yankees are "your daddy."

If you go out and win in the playoffs, all will be forgiven. If you go out and lose, you will be booed unmercifully out of town. Hey, get rid of the bum, he's not worth the money. That's what they'll be saying all around New England.

Don't you think you deserve more than that? Don't you think you've earned more than that? Don't you think you are worth more than that? You are arguably the greatest pitcher in Red Sox history. And now, we the fans, are willing to let you go without concern.

Pedro, you have every right to leave. In fact, it might be the best thing to do. Then, and only then, may you truly be appreciated to the fullest. It would be the toughest decision you may ever have to make. You say you love the team, the town and the fans, yet you are being taken for granted.

There's an old adage, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. Red Sox fans of Roger Clemens sure do. Well, there's also another old adage, those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it.

P.S. When you make your decision, drop me a line. I sure could use the advice and the insight.