Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Post That Will Only Interest My League: 2011 Fantasy Team Rankings - Part 1

Just to prove that the fame (minimal) and fortune (non-existant) has not gone to my head since my breaking the news of what really happened in Jose Canseco's Boxing Controversy (linked on both Yahoo and Deadspin), I have bent to my league's demands (and since I have nothing better to write about) to provide my league's preseason fantasy baseball rankings.

12. John
Summary: This team is so boring, you may fall asleep while reading through the roster.
11Joey Votto, Cin 1B
14Kevin Youkilis, Bos 1B
35Jayson Werth, Was OF
38Zack Greinke*, Mil SP
59Hunter Pence, Hou OF
62Corey Hart, Mil OF
83Stephen Drew, Ari SS
86Max Scherzer, Det SP
107Mark Reynolds, Bal 3B
110Neil Walker, Pit 2B
131Ricky Nolasco, Fla SP
134Miguel Montero, Ari C
155Drew Storen, Was RP
158Andres Torres, SF OF
179Jonny Venters, Atl RP
182Logan Morrison, Fla OF
203Dexter Fowler, Col OF
206Ricky Romero, Tor SP
227Brandon Lyon, Hou RP
230David Murphy, Tex OF
251J.J. Hardy, Bal SS
The Good: For some reason, I really like his Baltimore Orioles picks.  Even though he is going over to the tougher league in a less ideal ballpark, Mark Reynolds crushes the ball.  If he can get his batting average up to .250, he's a huge asset at third base which is not a position with a lot of depth.  I also like Hardy to have a good year as he had to deal with a wrist injury last year, so I think he can show some of the power that he displayed during his Milwaukee days. Also, Ricky Nolasco's fantasy stats have to match his advanced stats eventually, right?

The Bad: There seemed to be a ton of draft picks that lacked upside.  Werth, Pence, Hart, and Walker all seem like pretty boring picks. I'm also not real high on Logan Morrison being a great fantasy option in his first full year.  Same goes for David Murphy, because, well, he's David Murphy.  If everything goes right, it's a middle of the pack team, but unless this team gets immaculate luck, this is not a championship caliber team.

11. Chad
Summary: At least he won't be short on steals. Unfortunately, every other category could be a problem.

1Albert Pujols, StL 1B
24Cliff Lee, Phi SP
25Ryan Zimmerman, Was 3B
48Jason Heyward, Atl OF
49Tommy Hanson, Atl SP
72Heath Bell, SD RP
73Roy Oswalt, Phi SP
96Aaron Hill, Tor 2B
97Michael Bourn, Hou OF
120Brett Gardner, NYY OF
121Rafael Furcal, LAD SS
144Francisco Cordero, Cin RP
145Brandon Morrow, Tor SP
168Adam LaRoche, Was 1B
169Anibal Sanchez, Fla SP
192Carlos Lee, Hou OF
193Ian Kennedy, Ari SP
216Edwin Jackson, CWS SP
217Raul Ibanez, Phi OF
240Kurt Suzuki, Oak C
241Frank Francisco, Tor RP
The Good: He got Albert Pujols, I hear he's good. He also got Zimmerman when a pick finally came back around to him.  I could also see Aaron Hill having a bounceback year this season.  Getting Francisco in the last round is a really nice pick since Toronto has said that he has the closer's job when he comes off the disabled list.  And for some reason, even though it makes no sense as I'm typing it, I kind of like Carlos Lee to be good again this year. Somebody on the Astros has to be good, right?

The Bad: He drafted Michael Bourn and Brett Gardner back to back, so he must really like steals. When you take Adam LaRoche, you've clearly stopped caring. He's also depending on Rafael Furcal staying healthy at shortstop and can't be expecting much at catcher with Kurt Suzuki behind the plate.  This is another team that just fails to excite me.

10. DW
Summary: Things didn't start well, and they didn't end well either, but there was a solid middle.
3Roy Halladay, Phi SP
22Nelson Cruz, Tex OF
27Ryan Howard, Phi 1B
46Jose Reyes, NYM SS
51Brian McCann, Atl C
70Yovani Gallardo, Mil SP
75Brian Wilson, SF RP
94Howard Kendrick, LAA 2B
99Casey McGehee, Mil 3B
118Clay Buchholz, Bos SP
123Adam Jones, Bal OF
142Madison Bumgarner, SF SP
147Jose Valverde, Det RP
166Vernon Wells, LAA OF
171C.J. Wilson, Tex SP
190Brian Roberts, Bal 2B
195Jake Westbrook, StL SP
214Kyle Drabek, Tor SP
219Justin Smoak, Sea 1B
238Denard Span, Min OF
243Jair Jurrjens, Atl SP

Good: Jose Reyes and Brian McCann back to back are really good picks for the fourth and fifth rounds.  Yes, Reyes is an extreme risk, but he is in a contract year and he might just explode this year.  If he's healthy, it's great, but it could still bite him in the ass.  Shortstop is a very shallow position, so having somebody with this much upside is great to have. McCann is nearly the opposite.  He is low risk.  Worst case is that he's an above average catcher, but he has the potential to be the top catcher in the league. I also like B-Rob as a good late value who can really pay off if he's healthy or you can drop him when he has yet another horrible injury. 

Bad: Roy Halladay at number three is bad.  He could be the best pitcher in the league and still be a regrettable pick at number three.  Casey McGehee doesn't excite me in any way. Brian Wilson seems like a guy who is due to regress this year, and he's already hurt which isn't a good sign to start the year. Also, the Justin Smoak pick is simply a waste of a pick.

9. Cory
Summary: Cory's an old soul, so he drafted a bunch of grizzled vets for his fantasy team.
2Hanley Ramirez, Fla SS
23Prince Fielder, Mil 1B
26Jose Bautista, Tor 3B
47Victor Martinez, Det C
50Chris Carpenter, StL SP
71Jered Weaver, LAA SP
74Paul Konerko, CWS 1B
95Curtis Granderson, NYY OF
98Torii Hunter, LAA OF
119Kelly Johnson, Ari 2B
122Ted Lilly, LAD SP
143Aubrey Huff, SF 1B
146Daniel Hudson, Ari SP
167Adam Lind, Tor DH
170Bobby Abreu, LAA OF
191Brad Lidge, Phi RP
194Trevor Cahill, Oak SP
215Fernando Rodney, LAA RP
218James McDonald, Pit SP
239Brandon McCarthy, Oak SP
242Jorge De La Rosa, Col SP
The Good: I really like his first two picks. Hanley's one of the few five category studs, and Prince Fielder has a lot of hitting talent around him, so there's no reason he can't produce big numbers this season. Another pick I really liked was Curtis Granderson as he actually started hitting lefties last year, so if he can mash righties like he has in the past, he could put up a monster season. On the pitching side, I think James McDonald is the kind of guy you want to take a chance on late in the draft as he put up really good numbers at the end of last year, but it is still a small sample size. Maybe it works great, or maybe he's an early drop, but it's good to have the chance to find out.

The Bad: Joey Bats at 26 is not the type of chance I would want to take off of one season's work. I don't see him falling off the face of the Earth, but I also see him more at 30 home runs than the 50 he hit last year. I also don't really like the Aubrey Huff pick, because Aubrey Huff has killed me in fantasy in the past, and when I finally gave up on him, he started hitting again. This might just be me being bitter, but I have some serious issues with Huff, and I really don't think he'll put up the numbers he had last year. I'm also not high on Brad Lidge as I'm pretty sure he's thrown his arm off and it may never come back.

8. JVD
Summary: We all hate JVD. I'm glad his team will suck.
7Troy Tulowitzki, Col SS
18Josh Hamilton, Tex OF
31Mike Stanton, Fla OF
42Ichiro Suzuki, Sea OF
55Josh Johnson, Fla SP
66Mat Latos, SD SP
79Kendry Morales, LAA 1B
90Ben Zobrist, TB 2B
103Geovany Soto, ChC C
114Pablo Sandoval, SF 3B
127Brett Anderson, Oak SP
138Chris Perez, Cle RP
151Jordan Zimmermann, Was SP
162Tyler Colvin, ChC OF
175Andrew Bailey, Oak RP
186Aroldis Chapman, Cin RP
199Ryan Raburn, Det OF
210Michael Pineda, Sea SP
223Derek Holland, Tex SP
234Brandon League, Sea RP
247Derek Lowe, Atl SP
The Good: I'm not gonna lie, I love Troy Tulowitzki.  I wish I could somehow disparage everything in this draft, because this JVD character is the punching bag of the entire league. But while we're on the good, I also really like Josh Johnson as I thought he was underrated going into this season.  Later in the draft, he made some nice picks with Geovany Soto, Pablo Sandoval, and Brett Anderson.

The Bad: Outside of their team owner being a douche, this draft completely fell apart down the stretch. Tyler Colvin?  Regression year. Aroldis Chapman? Setup man, whoopty doo. Ryan Raburn? Who? Michael Pineda? Growing pains. A lot of people will also have problems with Mike Stanton in the third round, but if you really want a guy and you don't think he'll be around later, then you go for it, and it's not like Stanton isn't loaded with potential. Also, the Latos, Morales, Zobrist streak were all questionable decisions. I'm betting against all three.  And finally, did I mention their owner is a douche?

7. Mike D
Summary: Taking a glance at this team, you'd be surprised they're ranked this low. If you knew Mike D, you wouldn't be.
6Carlos Gonzalez, Col OF
19Tim Lincecum, SF SP
30Jon Lester, Bos SP
43Buster Posey, SF C
54Dan Haren, LAA SP
67Jacoby Ellsbury, Bos OF
78Francisco Liriano, Min SP
91Carlos Marmol, ChC RP
102Gordon Beckham, CWS 2B
115Carlos Pena, ChC 1B
126Carlos Quentin, CWS OF
139Ian Desmond, Was SS
150Ian Stewart, Col 3B
163Edwin Encarnacion, Tor 3B
174Manny Ramirez, TB OF
187Ryan Dempster, ChC SP
198Chone Figgins, Sea 2B
211Angel Pagan, NYM OF
222Derrek Lee, Bal 1B
235Grady Sizemore, Cle OF
246David Aardsma, Sea RP
The Good: I really like some of the mid-round values that he found.  Two that stand out are Gordon Beckham and Carlos Pena.  Beckham was a huge disappointment last year, but he actually started hitting well towards the end of the season.  Pena is moving to the weaker league and a hitter's ballpark, so 40 home runs is definitely a possibility.  I also like Chone Figgins and Manny Ramirez late as they are two guys who could also have bounceback years in 2011.

The Bad: Although his pitching is strong, I think Lincecum went too high. He had ups and downs last year and pitched a ton of innings last year. I can see him showing the wear of last year during this season. I'm not a big Jacoby Ellsbury fan, because he's going to have to battle for playing time. It doesn't seem like the Red Sox are exactly in love with the guy, so I could see them pulling the plug on him very early.  And on top of that, he's injury prone. Ian Desmond seemed like a desperation pick to just get some sort of a shortstop out there, and at that point I probably would have waited towards the end to just see what was left out there.  

Tomorrow, we go over the contenders now that we're done with these pretenders.

-Joe

P.S. Sad about the Bulls losing to the Sixers? This may be a few days old, but it will cheer you up.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Truth About Jose Canseco's Boxing Controversy

Yesterday, I wrote about news reports that surfaced this weekend about a celebrity boxing match that had scheduled Jose Canseco, but instead had Ozzie Canseco show up in his place.  The match was cancelled when the promoted realized that Ozzie was smaller and did not have Jose's distinct tattoos.  At least, this was what was reported by the major news sites. 

Jose claimed that these reports were false, and the promoter, Damon Feldman, was lying to the public about what really happened this weekend.  I attempted to contact Jose by e-mail, but have yet to receive anything in return.  He did tweet that he'd be willing to subject himself to a polygraph test to expose the truth.

And just a little bit ago, I received this press release from his publicist, who I have been in contact with recently.  I have printed it out in its entirety to give people a first look at this document, as I have yet to see it published on any other sites.

JOSE CANSECO CHALLENGES BOXING PROMOTER DAMON FELDMEN TO A POLYGRAPH TEST

For interviews contact:
Nadine Christine
Euphoric Media and PR
323-863-6779

nadine@euphoricent.com


In the throws of dealing with his much beloved father death, Jose Canseco is also facing an onslaught and barrage of negative media surrounding Damon Feldman, a boxing promoter and currently on probation in Pennsylvania  for fixing fights.

On Saturday, March 26th, fans lined up at the Hard Rock in
Hollywood, Fl. expecting to see Jose Canseco in a boxing match, when in actuality it was his brother Ozzie Canseco that came in to fight for Jose.  The media is spurning that boxing promoter Damon Feldman “didn’t know it was Ozzie and it was a bait and switch”, when in fact Feldman knew a week before that Jose had thrown his back out and wasn’t able to fight.

Jose called Feldmen to advise him that he was dealing with severe depression regarding his father’s death and had thrown his back out on his way back from
Miami, where he laid his father to rest.  “There was absolutely no point and time that Feldmen wasn’t aware that Ozzie was coming in to fight for me” stated Jose.  “I have fought for Feldmen four times before and he knows exactly what I look like and who I am".  Witnesses were in the room with Jose when he called Feldmen to state that he wasn’t able to make it and that the fight should be canceled.  Feldmen then agreed with Canseco to allow his brother to come in and fight for him.

Upon tuning into the fight on ustream.com, Jose heard his name mentioned and immediately called Ozzie and asked what was going on.  At that point the Canseco brothers thought it would be best for Ozzie to leave.  As is the norm with all fighters, security assisted Ozzie out of the hotel.  When Feldmen realized what was happening, he started to spin the negative media surrounding the Canseco brothers because he knew they would be publicly humiliated if he created untrue and ridiculous stories about what truly happened that night.

After all the positive feedback and press that’s been coming around for Jose Canseco because of his participation in “Celebrity Apprentice” and all of the great charity work he has been doing lately, this has really came as a shock.  But for Jose it would seem a normal way of life in the public eye and people will continue to take advantage of negative media to secure themselves, much as Feldmen did in this case.

Canseco is calling out Feldmen on national television. “I know the truth behind what happened and if Feldmen believes his version of the story, he’ll take a polygraph and put these rumors to rest”, stated Jose.

Jose is working on his third book deal “The Truth Hurts” where he reveals so much of the pains and struggle he’s had to deal with as a baseball star and being a celebrity in general and currently in "Celebrity Apprentice".  When asked what he's up to these days, Jose says "It's about keeping it real, keeping the truth, making sure my fans are happy and giving back". 

 ************
So does this settle the matter?  Going by only a press release, it's tough to say.  It's basically one man's word against another man's word.  When taking a closer look at the other side of the situation, Jose's story starts to gain credibility. 

Although Jose is often lambasted in the media, he is a man who doesn't lie to the public to advance his public image. Damon Feldman, on the other hand, is no boy scout.  Perform a Google search on Damon Feldman, and the first story that pops up is him fixing celebrity boxing matches and promoting without a license.  To take this man's word and treat it as the gospel seems like a pretty risky proposition.

Meanwhile, Jose has a history of telling the truth, even when he knows it will hurt his public image.  Although at times, Jose seems desperate for money, the risk of this plan far outweighs the reward.  Jose seems to get a lot of bad publicity for any story involving him, and this story is no exception.  But when you take a step back and look at who you are going to believe, I think the answer is obvious: Jose is telling the truth.

-Joe

P.S. If you are tired of all the negativity towards Canseco, here is a more positive story involving the former slugger.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jose And Ozzie Canseco Pull A Switcheroo...Or Do They?

It has been quite a while since we last checked in with Jose Canseco.  Between him putting people in their place on Celebrity Apprentice, talking shit to A-Rod, and warning Chuck Liddell that his girlfriend is a scam artist, it's tough to come up with a lot of interesting tweets for his followers.  But fear not, Canseco fans, Jose was back at it this weekend to provide entertainment for all to enjoy.

Jose Canseco
let's see who is smart enough to figure out what happened at the boxing match
Boxing match?  The only notable boxing match I knew about was Pacquiao vs. Mosley (because I saw the commercial 100 times this weekend), but that isn't until May.  Wait a minute...you don't think...no, he couldn't have...but maybe...was Jose Canseco in another celebrity boxing match this weekend?  Only with Jose could the answer be both yes and no.  

Jose was scheduled to appear in a celebrity boxing match this weekend in Miami.  According to "news" reports (I put those in parenthesees, because I'm not sure if you consider MSNBC, The Miami Herald, and ESPN news sources), Jose sent his twin brother Ozzie to pose as him for the celebrity boxing match.  The switch was figured out when the Jose that showed up did not have Jose's tattoos and looked smaller than normal. I hate to break it to you, boxing promoter, but these tattoos aren't real.
This promoter must be a real dumbass.

But let's say this is true, that he really sent Ozzie in his place, I would have no choice but to no longer consider him the most awesome human being around.  Instead, I will have to put him in another category, because it is unfair to compare mere human's awesomeness to Jose's.  He attempted to pull off a trick that was made famous by The Killer Bees and perfected by the Olsen Twins.  I can't even begin to put into words how awesome that is, but I know that nothing could ever compare to it.

But is it the truth?  Well, that's a little tougher to know for sure.  Let's look at the evidence.  Jose followed up with these tweets

Jose Canseco
is anyone out there smart enough to figure it out or are you all a bunch of hateful morons
Jose Canseco
how can you haters being so ignorant it's amazing
Jose Canseco
I am still waiting for an intelligent scenario
Jose Canseco
by the way e s p n is owned by major league baseball of course they are going to lie
It's clear to me that a bunch of idiots thought that these "news" stories were facts.  But it's just ignorance that would make people believe this.  Nobody could even come up with an intelligent scenario, because they are brainwashed by ESPN.  And don't get caught up with the MLB owning ESPN, because he was not speaking in literal terms.  But MLB has ESPN by the balls, so ESPN will follow MLB's plan to destroy Jose Canseco's life for exposing the truth about steroids in baseball.  And here is yet another piece of evidence.

Jose Canseco
Be very careful with Damon feldman who runs celebrity boxing he will not pay you if you fight for him
How would Jose know that Damon Feldman did not pay him if he wasn't even there?  The ignorant hater response would be that Ozzie could have just called Jose on his cell phone to tell him about not getting paid.  Unfortunately, that argument is unlikely.  I highly doubt Ozzie can afford a cell phone.  
And finally, Jose's most brilliant tweet of this ordeal.

Jose Canseco
just remember the media is write 20 percent of 50 percent of the time
Does this mean that the media is only right 10% of the time?  Maybe.  But more likely, it means that the media only does what one would consider writing 10% of the time.  Coming from someone that is writing his THIRD book, I think anyone who isn't a total hater will give credence to his opinion. 
If there's one thing that Jose stands for, it's the truth.  So why would he deceive people?  Can you explain that one to me, Mainstream Media?  No, you can't, because no matter how much you haters lie about him, Jose will rise above it all to show us the truth.

UPDATE: Jose's side of the story revealed.

-Joe

P.S.  I e-mailed Jose to get his side of the story.  Since we have a ton of mutual respect for each other's work, I'm sure he will try to get back to me, but things are crazy right now so he was unable to respond at the time of publication.  I will be sure to post Jose's response when he finds the time to e-mail me back.
P.P.S.  To help prove Jose's remark about the media, this may be the dumbest article I have ever read, and it is in one of the most well-respected newspapers in the country.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Most Overrated Quarterback In The 2011 NFL Draft

Blaine Gabbert is the most overrated prospect in the entire NFL Draft.  Somehow 90% of mainstream talent evaluators have blatantly ignored the serious flaws that he has as a quarterback.  What they see is a big, strong kid who runs well and can really spin a football.  Those are all good traits for a quarterback, and I can't deny any of them.

Most evaluators believe that his shining moment came against my beloved Iowa Hawkeyes.  He was 41-57 for 434 yards.  Clearly, those are impressive numbers.  But if you watched the game and tried to evaluate him as a prospect, it was not nearly as impressive as a performance.

The majority of his passes were five-yard outs and crossing patterns where he used his receivers' speed advantage on Iowa's linebackers.  These were very easy pitch-and-catch throws that most high school quarterbacks could make.

He also showed two major flaws in the Iowa game.  He cannot read the field, and he cannot handle pressure.  All of his plays required him to read one side of the field and ideally fire the ball out of there as quickly as possible.  If that is not there, he is slow to look to the other side of the field and his first instinct is to scramble out of the pocket instead of checking out what other receivers he has available.  He also seems to get a bit of tunnel vision when throwing it to his receivers.  Against zone coverage, he will often lead his receivers into tough spots and put them in position to take big hits. 

The other big thing is that he does not handle pressure well.  The second that he feels pressure he tries to sprint at an angle that takes him backwards and towards the sideline.  When he does this, he just focuses on getting away from the defenders and completely loses track of where his receivers are.  If he manages to avoid the rush comfortably enough to look down the field again, he's usually ten yards further back, making a meaningful completion highly unlikely.  And although he has good speed, he is not especially adept at avoiding the rush, as he is not that quick, and he basically has to turn it into a straight sprint away from the defense as opposed to shuffling his feet to buy a little extra time and fire the ball down the field.

His game against Illinois provides great video evidence of what I'm talking about.

When watching Blaine Gabbert, there is one name that keeps coming to my mind.  It's a guy who was put in a very productive offense in college, much like Gabbert had at Missouri.  He put up good, but not great stats compared to other QBs in that system.  The good news is that this quarterback led his team to a Super Bowl.  The bad news is that it's Rex Grossman.
I know that anybody who likes Gabbert as a prospect would have rather had me stab their cat (Missouri Tigers, get it?), but let me explain.  The college comparisons are definitely there, and Rex Grossman was also seen as a first-round talent coming out of college.  Hence, he was drafted 22nd overall.  Most people seem to forget this, but there is such a thing as "Good Rex."  Good Rex did a very good job for the Bears in a lot of games.  But these were the games where his first option in Ron Turner's offense were open.  When that first option was not open, he went into "Fuck it, I'm throwing it deep" mode.

I basically see about the same things happening for Gabbert.  You can't tell me that this doesn't look like something Rex Grossman would do.

If he is an offense where his first look is consistently open, he will look like a pro bowler.  If not, he will have people screaming for Brian Griese to take the starting job.  I'll admit the comparison is a little on the harsh side, so if you want to call Gabbert a rich man's Rex Grossman, I won't argue against that.

While his physical attributes will make some talent evaluators salivate, I wouldn't even think about him until round two.  Could he develop into a great quarterback?  Maybe.  But I don't think it's very likely.  There are too many glaring holes in his game right now.  Calling this guy the next great QB prospect is just plain false and overlooks nearly everything that he's shown in games. 

But there's no need to fret, quarterback needing teams.  Next week, I will reveal the quarterback prospect that I feel is the most underrated in the draft.

-Joe

P.S.  Don't worry, Iowa hating readers, my underrated QB prospect is not Ricky Stanzi.

P.P.S.  In "Troy Tulowitzki is more awesome than you" news, he is allowing fans to pick out his walk-up song for next year after coming out to Party in the USA last year.  Needless to say, I sent in my suggestion of Seal's "Kiss From A Rose."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How BYU Students Have Fun, And How They Impress The Ladies

The BYU Honor Code has been a hot topic as of late with Brandon Davies was suspended from the basketball team for the rest of the season for, presumably, sexing his girlfriend.  Personally, I don't give a shit about the debate of whether BYU did the right or wrong thing (I really only care about Soaking when it comes to Mormon culture), because it's a really boring subject.  Davies is cool with it, BYU is cool with it, therefore, I'm could give two shits about it.

But there is something interesting that people have not been giving nearly enough attention.  How do BYU Students have fun?  The normal vices of the everyday world like caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and sex with strangers are all banned by the honor code.  So where does that leave us?

Since I remember the good ol' days when the wrath of God helped influence my decisions, and I thought about what I did back then.  Let's just say that if I were at BYU, my dorm room would double as the battle place between GI Joe and Cobra.  Don't be jealous Cougars, but I am the proud owner of GI Joe Headquarters.
No big deal.

But this being their everyday activity would require every single student at BYU to be totally awesome.  Without drugs and alcohol, this seems highly unlikely.  So I decided to do some research, and holy shit, I could have never come up with things this lame.  Seriously, after reading this shit, you'll realize that playing with GI Joe's would have made me The Fonz of BYU.

Before I get into the BYU dating scene, let's take a look at how BYU Students celebrated St. Patrick's Day.  This entire article blew my mind, but I want to point out a few excerpts for those too lazy to read the entire thing.

Ashley Nef, a junior majoring in English, said she likes to celebrate the holiday in the traditional way by wearing and eating lots of green.
Am I the only one who thought the traditional way was getting so drunk, you either start kissing or fighting random people?  I feel like this is the general consensus on traditional St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

“On St. Patrick’s Day, I’m going to take my fiancĂ© to the Green Burrito,” said Mikeal Godfrey, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering. “Honestly, I hope she forgets that it’s St. Patrick Day so I can pinch her when she forgets to wear green.”
Seriously dude?  You get excited at the thought of pinching your girlfriend?  Come on.  I kind of want to go to Provo and find this guy's fiance.  I will then proceed to give her the speech that Clubber Lang gave Rocky's wife in Rocky III to force Rocky to fight him.

We would then proceed to break the BYU Honor Code in, oh, so many ways.

But as lame as their St. Patrick's Day celebrations were, it doesn't even compare to the shit that I uncovered when looking for BYU-approved date ideas.  I want everyone reading this to imagine the lamest date idea they can.  Now prepare for that idea to be blown away in lameness by these REAL BYU date ideas.  The source that I used can be found here.  I had to limit this to five, because otherwise, I may have blown my brains out.

5.  Play with kids' toys (great when it's cold outside)
God damnit BYU.  I made that GI Joe Headquarters remark as a joke, and here you go, and take the idea seriously.  Seriously, you're going to bust out your X-Men so they can take on her Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a fight for supremacy.  This didn't impress girls in third grade (trust me, I tried), how do you think it's going to work with college chicks? 

4.  Hike out into the middle of the woods with some blankets and a laptop. Watch a scary movie (hopefully one involving a forest like The Village or something). Make sure you tell her the plans or she may try to mace your face or something.
Something tells me that him talking about getting maced is hindsight and not foresight.  Other advice that he failed to mention.

A.  Make sure the female is your girlfriend.
B.  Use duct tape, not electrical tape to secure her hands and feet.
C.  A stronger dose of chloroform will make sure to silence her screams to ensure she doesn't ruin the movie.

Overall, this may be the best BYU-friendly date idea of them all.

3.  Finger painting! Get butcher paper (a big roll of paper) & fingerpaint and then go anywhere outside.
BYU Students are clearly just living out the dream of Peter Pan.  They refuse to grow up.  I'm not positive, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that this man is a BYU student.
 Come on BYU Students, you're not even trying.  Finger painting?  Really?  If I had just seen playing with kids toys, I may have thought you were playing a funny joke on the world, but this confirms that this is seriously how you have fun.  There must be an incredibly high number of post-graduate BYU students becoming horribly alcoholics.  Anything to drink away the memories from college.  I'm depressed reading these ideas; I can't imagine living them.

2.  Go to the most amazing swingset in the world! There's a park in Pleasant Grove (around 1500 North on 100 E [100 E is also called Canyon Drive]) that has a gigantic and awesome playground. And an awesome swingset (there's a map at the front of the playground - look for the "Sympathy Swings"). This is one of my favorite dates.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this swingset is boring for children.  Not Mormon children, but children with imaginations and who like boobs.  And let me remind everyone that this is not just to waste time when you are bored out of your mind from a lack of alcohol and drugs, this is used for a DATE.  This is a go-to move when a guy wants to impress the ladies.

1.  Get some sand from the store [or from the volleyball pit at The Riviera, you can take it back when you're done!], get it damp, and make miniature sand castles using kitchen tools
You know what is the worst part of going to the beach?  Getting sand all over everything when you get back to your house.  In this BYU student's mind, he is skipping the fun part to just get to the worst possible part of going to the beach by bringing sand into his house.  He's not only bringing it in his house, but he is also getting it all over the utensils that he uses to consume meals.  Sand will always find its way into the worst possible places (How do you think the term "sand in the vagina" got started?), so he is going to have a whole drawer full of utensils covered in sand.  This idea must have barely beaten out, "Shave each other's genitals, using only a rusty gardening shears." 

Most people seem to think Honor Code is pretty harsh to students.  After reading these date ideas, it's clear that the Honor Code was actually implemented when they realized none of their students had the social skills to get laid.  The honor code is used as an excuse to hide their lameness.  I used to think Soaking was weird.  After seeing this, I realize that it is the most badass thing a BYU student could ever hope to achieve.

-Joe

P.S.  Anytime I talk about Mormons, I feel it would be a disservice to my readers to not bring up the most offensive cartoon ever made, aka the Mormon belief system.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Everybody Hates Iowa Wrestling

Yesterday, I mentioned that the Iowa Hawkeyes are the most hated wrestling team in the nation.  For those that don't follow the sport of wrestling, you're probably wondering how a simple school from the heartland could be so hated by every other wrestling fan.  Well, for the average wrestling fan, it's super simple, Iowa is better than everybody else.  They go out and kick everybody's ass.

For people who follow wrestling a little bit closer, they might hate Iowa because they perceive Iowa as a dirty team.  It's tough to say they aren't.  They often give up points for unsportsmanlike conduct.  At Nationals, they not only gave up match points for unsportsmanlike conduct, but lost two team points for behavior from their coach and one of their wrestler's.

And if you're a hardcore wrestling fan, you probably look at Iowa as being a bunch of assholes.  If you ever watch an interview where an Iowa wrestler wins a decision, the wrestler will act as if he did terrible and say that he should have been more aggressive and gotten bonus points.  If he gets a major decision, he believes it should have been a tech fall.  If he gets a tech fall, he believes he should have pinned the guy.  And if he pins the guy, he says he should have done it quicker.  No matter what Iowa achieves, they always want more.  If a fan of another team sees an Iowa guy beat their guy, followed by the Iowa guy complaining about how he should have done better, I could see how that might irritate people. 

So Iowa wins all the time, they use questionable tactics, and winning isn't good enough for them, because they are always searching for annihilation.  The three reasons that people hate Iowa are the three reasons that I love Iowa.

The first and last reasons are easy to love, winning is awesome.  And winning big is even more awesome.  I could understand how people would compare the Hawkeyes with the Yankees where it can't be that fulfilling to win championships when it happens so frequently.  Well, there are two major differences with that argument.  The first is that the Yankees have a competitive advantage with their payroll to help them win championships.  Iowa is still just Iowa.  It's rare for Iowa to have the top recruiting class, but they win because they get wrestlers who are willing to put in the work to become champions.  The second major difference is that the World Series is the pinnacle of what you can achieve in baseball.  While the National Championship is great, at Iowa, the goal is to win an individual title at all ten weight classes.  It's incredibly unlikely to reach that goal, but every year, that is what Iowa wants, for every single starter to become a national champion.  They always want more.

With the second reason, I can understand how people see Iowa's style as somewhat "cheap" or "dirty," but it's much more simple than that, they wrestle hard until the whistle is blown.  If a guy is dumb enough to stand out of bounds waiting for a whistle, they're gonna get a hard shove if the ref doesn't blow that whistle in time.  Does Iowa have any chance of scoring in that situation?  Of course not, but Iowa is always going to be aggressive.

On top of that Iowa wrestlers literally don't know how to stall.  Iowa has lost matches in the final seconds, because they don't know how to flee like other schools teach their wrestlers to do.  There were actually two awesome examples of Iowa's disdain for defensive wrestling during the past weekend.  The first one was while Tom Brands was being interviewed about a previous match.  An Iowa wrestler (Derek St. John) was in a bad position near the edge of the mat.  The exchange went something like this:

Tom Brands:  Come on St. John.
Interviewer:  You want your wrestler to get out of bounds right here.
Tom Brands:  No, I want him to improve his position and keep wrestling.

This was not a case of the interviewer saying something dumb.  Every other school in America would want their wrestler to get out of bounds in that situation, but that isn't the Iowa way.  Iowa believes that no matter how bad of a position he is in, as long as he keeps wrestling, he should be able to get in an advantageous spot and score points.  There is no such thing as defense at Iowa; they're always looking for offense.

The second example was even more amazing.  An Iowa wrestler (Tony Ramos) was down big going into the third period.  But he did what Iowa does; he kept wrestling.  He kept taking his opponent down and letting him up.  Finally, he had tied up the match.  All he needed to do was ride out his exhausted opponent to take it to overtime.  But instead, with just 30 seconds left, Iowa told him to cut his guy loose.  With the escape point, his opponent took the lead, but Iowa always stays aggressive.  As time ticked down, his opponent did everything he could to avoid the Iowa wrestler's attempts.  And because of a generous ref who did not decide to call him for stalling, the Iowa guy lost the match.  Iowa could have easily ridden the match out and taken it to overtime, but that isn't the way Iowa wrestles.  I can understand how people would call that a stupid decision, and I really can't argue against that.  But this isn't a case of being smart or stupid, it's a case Iowa believing that their wrestler could get the win.  This time, it bit them in the ass, but it's not the Iowa way to look back; they're always looking forward, trying everything they can to score points.

My second favorite quote about Iowa wrestling (First has to go to Dan Gable's, "I shoot, I score.  He shoots, I score.") actually comes from StateCollege.com's Steve Sampsell as he tried to figure out the reason the Hawkeyes were able to surprise the top ranked Nittany Lions by defeating them in Happy Valley:

The Hawkeyes compete hard every minute. They never stop.

They’re Iowa. And you’re not.


And that's the best way to put it.  Every Iowa opponent knows that they're going to have to go through 7 minutes of hell when they face the Hawkeyes, and every Iowa wrestler knows that he's a Hawkeye, and his opponent isn't.  They're Iowa.  And you're not.

So what happens next year?

Honestly, it's probably going to be a lot of good things.  Going into the year, Iowa had only one returning starter from the previous year in this year's starting lineup.  Iowa was ranked 12 going into the season as everyone saw it as a rebuilding year.  They proceeded to go undefeated in dual meets.  They finished a disappointing third at nationals.  Yes, third is a disappointment, even in a rebuilding year.

Anybody who follows wrestling had to be astounded at the progress that the Iowa wrestlers made throughout the season.  It's a young team that is only going to get better.  Iowa will lose two wrestlers in 5th place finisher (and 7th year Senior), Luke Lofthouse as well as Aaron Janssen, who although he didn't place (Top-8 become All-Americans), wrestled incredibly hard after getting upset in his first match at Nationals.  149 was our weakest weight class this year, but that will be greatly helped with the return of Dylan Carew who tore an ACL early in the season.  Iowa also had a top recruiting class last year, and since everybody redshirts at Iowa (to give their wrestlers the best chance to win as many individual titles as possible), some of those guys should be ready to step up and contribute next year. 

It's a year away, so it'd be really tough to make an accurate prediction.  We know that Penn State is loaded for next year, but if you put a gun to my head, I guess I'll go with Iowa coming in...uh...yeah, 1st Place.  The Hawkeyes will not be the defending champs, but Iowa will right that wrong next year. 

-Joe

P.S.  I've watched this video about thirty times, and it's GLORIOUS every time.

Monday, March 21, 2011

All Is Right With The World - One-Legged Man Wins National Championship

As anybody who watched much SportsCenter this weekend, Anthony Robles wrestled for the national title at 125 pounds.  This story would have gotten approximately zero coverage in most years, but as you can see from the picture above, Robles was born without a right leg.  In the finals, the world was treated to the ultimate good vs. evil story.  Robles, the inspirational story who has overcome the odds taking on Matt McDonough, from the defending national champion from the most hated wrestling program in the nation, the Iowa Hawkeyes.

In the end, good won over evil, and Robles defeated McDonough 7-1.  Congratulations to Robles as it is an amazing accomplishment to win a national championship for someone with two legs, so to win it with one is truly an unbelievable story.

Not only did Iowa lost the title match at 125, their string of three consecutive national championships was broken as Penn State became the first team east of the Mississippi River to win the national title in something like 400 years.  Good for them.

In wrestling, it's all about the little things, and there are literally 1000 situations that I could bring up to demonstrate this point.  Instead, I want to focus on just the two wrestlers that were Iowa's best hopes for national titles, Montell Marion and Matt McDonough.

In the semifinals, Marion took on number one seeded Kellen Russell.  In their first meeting, Russell got the win against Marion in overtime.  It was another awesome match.  It wasn't high scoring, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a ton of excitement in it with some amazing wrestling.  Again, they went to overtime.  The first minute period is sudden-death.  Marion was able to get in on his best shot of the match and got an advantageous position.  There was an incredible scramble, and there was a moment where the ref threw up two fingers to signify the takedown for Iowa.  That moment was followed by another moment, this one of the ref waving off the takedown.  Personally, I think that when that two goes up, that should be the end of the match, but that was not the case.  The Iowa announcer thought that Russell put weight on his hands with Marion behind him which does constitute a takedown, but the match moved fast, and I honestly can't say for sure that this was the case.  After eleven minutes of wrestling (which is an unbelievably exhausting thing to do), Russell was declared the winner 3-3, with a slight edge on riding time.  Russell would go on to win the national championship.

Now onto McDonough vs. The Inspirational Story, Anthony Robles.  I would like to stress the fact that I believe it is awesome that Robles was even able to compete at college level with one leg.  For him to be an All-American is an amazing accomplishment.  And when it comes down to it, Robles won the match.  When you look at the score, he won it decisively.  7-1 is a very big victory in wrestling.  But things definitely could have worked out differently.  I do not fault Robles for anything that happened, but I would say that the reffing of the match was questionable.

Robles got the early takedown and had wrist control on McDonough.  McDonough knew this, so he knew that he had to maintain his position and not take any stupid chances.  The ref called him for stalling.  I disagree with the call.  Was McDonough doing anything?  No, he wasn't.  But Robles was parallel with McDonough, and if you want to get points, you have to get perpendicular to score.  With the way that McDonough was positioned, it would have been a risk for Robles to go perpendicular, because of the likelihood of giving up an escape or a reversal.  Luckily, the ref has the option to call a stalemate and restart the match in the center.  If he calls a stalemate, there's a good chance McDonough works for an escape.  With that confidence, he could take down in the second period and get another escape.  Then we're looking at a 2-2 match going into the third.  It's anybody's match at that point.  Instead, Robles was up 7-0 after the first, and he stalled out the final four minutes of the match, and it only took three minutes of stalling for the ref to finally call it.  He did call it twice, but at that point, Robles knew he had the match and was content to hold position for the win.

I don't fault Robles for his style.  It won him a national championship.  I do fault the ref.  Not only was the stall call on McDonough questionable at best, but he did not call it the same way throughout the match when Robles was clearly stalling out the final two periods.

I could come up with a "What if..." situation for every single Iowa wrestler, but that's not necessary (especially since I could do it for just about every wrestler in the tournament).  When it comes down to it, Iowa lost and Penn State won.  No hypothetical is going to change that, so it's best to look forward to next year.

Tomorrow, I'll explain why Iowa is so hated, why I love them so much (Hint, it's for the exact reasons that people hate them), and how Iowa will be even better next year.

-Joe

P.S.  Here's a different style of wrestling.  I seriously have no idea how a show that starred "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Jesse "The Body" Ventura as crime fighting detectives in a show called "Tag Team" did not get picked up during the height of professional wrestling's popularity, but this clip is still awesome.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Rant On Rose, Rondo, Simmons, and ESPN The Magazine: Part 3


I love how Rajon Rondo is universally hated by Bulls fans. It’s partially because of the playoff series from two years ago, but people hated him even more when he was competing against Rose to be on Team USA this summer. Rose won that battle, but people still hate Rondo more despite him losing that battle. I'm guilty of this myself, but I can't help but hate Rondo. 

A lot of my hatred stems from the misconception that Rondo is an elite point guard.  He's good, but he's never been and never will be elite.  Just comparing him to Derrick Rose. the only advantage I see for Rondo is steals.  I won't even give him defense, because Rose has made huge strides, and very quietly, Rose leads all point guards in blocks (he led by 15 the last time I checked, but that was before this weekend’s games), and is only getting better.

But enough about Rondo.  We all hate him.  Let's focus on the man who matters, D-Rose.
This entire season, people have said, “Rose is the MVP so far, but we’ll see if he can keep it going through the entire season.” I would have been ecstastic had Rose kept up his same level of play through the entire season, but honestly, he hasn’t.

He’s gotten BETTER. But more on that later, let's address the haters first.

Early in the season, as good as Rose was, the advanced metrics (fancy statistics) despised Derrick Rose's play (by despise, I mean they saw him as a very good, not great player).  Despite this, I feel that advanced metrics are a very good way to judge NBA players, Since I have the tendency to nerd out when it comes to sports, I enjoy browsing through different things to see how players stack up.

With that being said, statistics in basketball will never be able to tell you the whole story, and they’ll probably never come all that close.  Everybody wants their stats to work like baseball's, but baseball is much easier than any other team sport, because the major encounter, pitcher vs. hitter is a one-on-one battle.

But no matter what advancement they make in statistics, it will never tell the whole story. Just off the top of my head, we can come up with a stat called should be assists where a person gets credit for finding an open guy even if the guy doesn't make the shot (we're going to ignore the difficulties in deciding what is an open shot). 

So say a guard drives to the hoop, a defender crashes in to help, and the guard passes it out to the guy that is now open.  Even if the defense gets away with one with a guy missing an open shot, I can guarantee they do not want to let that person get that open look again. The next time the guy doesn’t come to help on the guy driving to the hoop, maybe nobody helps, maybe somebody else helps, but that great drive and dish may have not led to immediate points, but it did lead to holes showing up in the defense and helped create better shots in the future.  With so many possibilities on every possession, there is no way for a stat to definitively tell us who is the most valuable player in the NBA. 

Back to Rose.  Even though the advanced metrics did not see his value at nearly the same level that fans did, the stats have slowly become more of a fan of Derrick Rose as the season has gone on.  And anybody who has watched the Bulls has also seen Rose grow as a player as the year has gone on.  This is why I see the advanced metrics as working as they do give us an idea of the value of players, but you still need to watch players to really know.

There’s no stat for team confidence or, even though I shutter every time I hear it, swagger. That doesn’t mean it does not exist. It’s there; it’s just not measurable. Even though I think the Bulls enjoyed playing together for the most part, this year they have confidence in the game plan which brings their play to another level. They are buying into the scheme, and that is why Tom Thibodeau was probably one of the top five signings of this past summer.

Now the Bulls have the best record in the East, and D-Rose (with help from Thibs) has this team playing at a ridiculously high level.  Although many don't think the Bulls can win a Game 7 on the road, I'm not as worried as most.  I just want the Bulls to be in the top two seeds so they don't have to face the Hawks or Knicks in the first round.  When I look at the way Rose plays, I just don't think that he'd let the moment intimidate him in any way.  He's got the killer instinct, and I can't wait for Rondo and the Celtics to be gasping for their last breath as Rose stomps on their throats (metaphorically, although literally would be awesome too).

A Rose by any other name is still NBA's MVP.

-Joe

P.S. Here is an awesome article on human mascots, not humans in mascot uniforms, but human mascots:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

West Coast Rap's Love of Iowa Wrestling

Yesterday, I learned of the tragic passing of iconic rapper, Nate Dogg.  As someone who is known to regulate anybody who gets out of line, this was very tough to hear.  I needed a way to honor the West Coast Rap Scene.  Since "Regulate" is a flawless song already, I decided to turn to a different West Coast Rapper.  With today marking the start of the NCAA Wrestling Tournament, I have slightly altered (and also made it PG-13 since every rapper knows to play to their audience) Tupac's legendary rant at the end of "Hit 'Em Up" to show Mr. Shakur's love of Iowa Wrestling.  Oh, you didn't know that rappers loved Iowa Wrestling?  Well, I think this photo is indisputable evidence that they did.
Now you tell me who won
I see them, they run (ha ha)
They don't wanna see us
Whole Penn State wrestling click
Dressing up trying to be us
How the hell they gonna be Hawkeyes?
When we always on our job
We national champions
Pinning ain't fair
But somebody got to do it

Oh yeah, Arizona State (uh)
You wanna mess with us
You little young ass redshirt freshmen
Ain't one of you wrestlas missing a leg or something

You're wrestling with me, Cornell?
You wrestle around and catch a seizure or a heart-attack
You better back out of bounds
Before you get taken out of bounds

This is how we do it on our side
Any of you wrestlers from Oklahoma State that want to bring it,
Bring it.
But we ain't singing,
We bringing drama
Pin you and your mother loving mama.
We're gonna kill all you passive wrestlers.

Now when I came out, I told you it was just about Penn State.
Then everybody had to open their poll with an overrated ranking
Well this is how we gonna' do this:
Beat Cornell,
Beat Oklahoma State,
Beat Penn State as wrestlers, a football team, and in women's basketball too.
And if you want to be down with Penn State,
We'll beat you too.
Iowa State, we'll beat you too.
All you wannabe wrestlers,
We'll beat you too.

All of y'all stupid cowards,
Screw you, die slow Nittany Lions.
My single-leg  make sure all your kids don't grow.
You Ivy Leaguers can't be us or see us.
We bonus pointin Hawkeye riders.
Midwest till' we die.
Out here in Iowa,
We warned ya'
We'll take down you weak ass wrestlers.
We do our job.
You think you the best, Cael, we the undisputed best
Ain't nothing but killers
And the real wrestlers, all you Hawkeye rejects feel us.
Our streak goes from triple to four quadruple
You wrestlas laugh 'cause our team got cups under they black and gold singlets
You know how it is and we drop records they felt
You wrestlas can't feel it
We the winners
Screw 'em.
We wrestlin' pinners.
************
So yeah, I'm definitely picking the Hawkeyes to win the national title. I'm sure the Hawks plan on racking up some bonus points for their dead homies.

-Joe

P.S. I understand my slight alterations do a great job of honoring both Tupac and Iowa Wrestling.  This recording of a song does not honor Buster Posey.