Thursday, April 30, 2015

What Would You Give Up For Johnny Manziel?

With the draft coming up this week, there are teams that are still trying to figure out what to do about their quarterback situation. Obviously, two teams will solve their issue with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Although I like Brett Hundley, I doubt he will set the world on fire from day one, and I can't imagine he will earn a starting job to start the 2015 season. Still, that leaves one guy who might be worth a shot in solving a quarterback problem. That man is Johnny Manziel.

A lot of people think that Manziel is already a bust, but I'm not sure if we learned much of anything from his performance. Before the draft last year, there was a consensus that Manziel was a first round pick. Just because he struggled in limited playing time in an offense (both in scheme and personnel) that didn't exactly play to his strengths, it doesn't mean that the guy has no chance at success in the NFL.

The fact that his off-the-field concerns have only intensified in the last year is a pretty bad sign, but it also presents an opportunity. Cleveland is doing everything they can to avoid committing to him, so they may be ready to sell. The question becomes, what would you give up to acquire Johnny Football?

The first thing to figure out is whether you want Jonathan F. Football at all. As a team without a good quarterback (Bears), I am definitely interested in the opportunity to acquire a young quarterback with potential. Ideally, the Bears could just do a straight swap of Cutler for Manziel, but with the draft this week, I think it is best to look at it from a draft pick perspective.

Would I give up a first round pick for Johnny Manziel? That is a pretty easy answer. No, I would not give up a first round pick for Johnny Manziel.

Would I give up a second round pick for Johnny Manziel? On talent alone, I think the move would make sense, but he does have some pretty big question marks that have surfaced, both on and off the field. I'm certainly not paying sticker price for Manziel, so although I would give it some consideration, I think I would pass on the opportunity to get Manziel for a second round pick.

Would I give up a third round pick for Johnny Manziel? Aw crap, we're really on the border now. I think I would need to get a 5th back in the deal to pull the trigger on it, and that would make it worth it. They could probably get me with a 6th if they decided they really wanted to push it. The talent is still there with Manziel, and you have to take chances to get a quarterback who has the potential to be very good. It's worth the risk at that point.

Would I give up a fourth round pick for Johnny Manziel? No negotiations necessary, I would immediately make this happen.

But I'd still rather trade Jay Cutler for him instead.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Most Overrated Players in the 2015 NFL Draft

Yesterday, I showed my positive side by looking at the most underrated prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft. But with every yin, there must be a balancing yang, and today is that balance of negativity as I look at the most overrated prospects in the upcoming draft.

QB - Bryce Petty - Baylor
Here is my in-depth look at Petty; I've also seen a lot of love for Garrett Grayson, and he was another guy that I just couldn't get behind.

RB - Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin
I don't think Gordon is a bad runing back, but I also don't think he's worthy of a first round pick. The people saying that it's close between Gordon and Gurley have definitely watched those two guys play and are basing that purely off statistics. Melvin Gordon is the best running back to come out of Wisconsin in recent years, but is that really that great of an accomplishment? Every Wisconsin back has put up impressive numbers, but considering the success of Ron Dayne, John Clay, Montee Ball, and James White (although I am still a James White believer), it's tough to say how great of a back Gordon really is. What I'll say is I think he's good, but I'm not sure if he's any better than the second tier of running backs, so I would hold off instead of using a high pick on Gordon.

WR - Sammie Coates - Auburn
Yes, he's big, fast, and explosive as an athlete. But he can't catch, and that's, like, a really big deal for a wide receiver. There are certain things a coach can help with, but if Coates hasn't learned to reliably track a football and complete a catch at this point in his football career, it probably ain't happenin'.

Edge - Randy Gregory - Nebraska
Honestly, I think Gregory has fallen quite a ways with his failed drug test, but he was seen as a top-5 pick after the season, and I just never saw it. There's not a lot of power in him, so he's going to have to be a speed rusher, and I didn't see enough moves to give most offensive linemen trouble. Rushing is his biggest strength, and I'm not sure if it's enough to make him a full-time pass rusher.

CB - Trae Waynes - Michigan State
I don't get this guy at all. Okay, I guess I get him a little bit, he's very athletic, but there is no way this guy is a shutdown corner. I don't see him as a first round prospect, and I don't see how anybody who watched him against Baylor could think that he is. I have consistently seen receivers get open, and it's not that the receivers are doing anything special, but Waynes isn't physical and doesn't change direction very well. That's not a great combination for a cornerback.

SS - Landon Collins
I am leery of any Alabama safety. Just looking at their success at the NFL level, it seems like they are not a good bet. Safeties are really tough to scout from the sideline view, but there are already plenty of question marks about his ability to react to passes and how he will hold up in coverage. This is a weak draft for safeties, but even with the lack of top-tier talent, a first round pick is likely to be a mistake.

Prospects get hyped for different reasons, but I feel as if these guys hype far outweighs their future potential. Still, best of luck to them. They are all about to be a whole lot richer than me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Most Underrated Players in the 2015 NFL Draft

With the draft coming up this Thursday, it is a good time to look at the prospects that I like more than most people. Some of these guys aren't the deepest of sleepers, but I do feel they are being underrated by the general public/cornucopia of draft gurus. Ultimately, my goal is that my favorite team, the Chicago Bears, will see this list and follow my recommendations, but I would settle for the Buccaneers taking my recommendations as they are the team I live closest to these days.

QB - Shane Carden - East Carolina
I talked about him extensively here. Honorable mention for Brett Hundley.

RB - Todd Gurley - Georgia
Gurley is the best player in this draft. He needs to have a full recovery from his knee injury, but it looks like things are going well on that end. Now, even had he not injured the knee, he isn't worth the top pick in the draft despite being the best player. Running back is not as important of a position as it used to be, but Gurley is a guaranteed stud in a draft that really doesn't have another one. It would make zero sense for the Bears to draft him, and yet, I would actually be kind of pumped if they did. He's that good.

RB - David Cobb - Minnesota
He got downgraded because of an unimpressive 40 time, but 40 times are pretty worthless when it comes to running backs. This guy is just a good running back. He can punish defenses and grind out yards. People talk about this running back class being loaded and then talk about Gordon and Gurley at the top, but the depth is stupid good. I could have easily mentioned Tevin Coleman, Duke Johnson, David Johnson, Mike Davis, and probably some others. This is a good draft to take a running back.

WR - Stefon Diggs - Maryland
Maryland has had pretty poor quarterback play these last few years, so Diggs was never really given a chance to shine. Still, the skill-set is there, as the guy is smooth in and out of his breaks and knows how to get open and create after the catch. He will make a receiver-needy team very happy with a mid-round pick.

TE - AJ Derby - Arkansas
This is mostly a homer pick (former Iowa QB) as I only saw the big highlights from Derby's season, but there was enough there to dream on. He'll probably go undrafted, but the guy has good athleticism, he's big and strong, and he's shown enough potential in running routes and tracking the ball. This is a bet on athleticism, but that's the type of guy that is worth a flyer in the 7th round, or definitely as a free agent.

OT - Jake Fisher - Oregon
Fisher seems to be getting overlooked as a first round option, and I have to say I'd be pretty pumped if my favorite team was able to get him in round two. He's a very athletic lineman, and Oregon's offense ran much smoother when he was healthy. A guy like TJ Clemmings may have a higher ceiling, but Fisher offers a high ceiling with a reasonably high floor as well.

DT - Grady Jarrett - Clemson
Jarrett is a guy that I really like, but is made for the Bears old defense and not the new one. Still, he's a guy with Geno Atkins-level upside as all he did in college was make plays. He's not a nose, but he can cause havoc in the backfield as a three technique DT. He was really overlooked, but it seems like his stock has been rising in the media the past few weeks. We'll see if that carries over to his draft position.

OLB - Vic Beasley - Clemson
I am so ridiculously high on Vic Beasley for this year. I want the Bears to get him at number seven so badly. He'll probably be available, and the Bears will probably pass on him for Randy Gregory or something stupid like that, but man, Vic Beasley is fun to watch, and I'd really enjoy watching him on a team that I cheer for.

ILB - Eric Kendricks - UCLA
I talked about him yesterday, and the point stands. Inside linebackers are underrated right now on the whole, and if you have a chance to get a guy with the floor of a good player and the ceiling of a pro bowler, it is a no brainer to take advantage. This guy has great instincts, and he makes plays, which is the single best skill at translating to the next level.

CB - Senquez Golson - Ole Miss
I'll admit that I haven't done enough studying on later round guys to make any sort of proclamation, but I have heard some good things about Senquez Golson, who I will support since he is my height and had good college production (definitely supporting more for the former than the latter).

Tomorrow, we'll look at the opposite end of the spectrum with the most overrated players in this draft.

Monday, April 27, 2015

What Should The Chicago Bears Do In The 2015 NFL Draft?

Going into the draft, the Bears, as well as every other team outside of the Buccaneers have three options with their first pick. They can trade up, they can stay in their position and draft, or they can trade down. Let's break down those options and see what is the best move for the Bears with their first pick:

Trade Up
This is the least likely of the scenarios and for good reason. The Bears just have way too many holes on their team to be sacrificing draft picks. They basically need an entire defense, half of an offensive line, a quarterback, and another wide receiver. Outside of that, they're set. The only way I can see them trading up is if Lovie Smith wants to be reunited with Jay Cutler and agrees to trade down six picks for that privilege. Does anybody see that happening? So, yeah, I think the Bears should avoid trading up.

Stay and Draft
That brings us to our next option, stay at number 7 and make the pick. Honestly, there are four guys that I would love to see the Bears get at number 7. Four is a good number, but when there's six teams selecting in front of you, it's not a great number. Let's take a quick look at all four guys:

Jameis Winston 
I mean, it's not likely that he falls that far, but I'd be pretty dang excited if he did.

Marcus Mariota 
I mean, it's not likely that he falls that far, but I'd be pretty dang excited if he did.

Leonard Williams 
I don't see him as a can't miss stud, but I do really like him, and I admittedly have trouble scouting the talent in 3-4 defensive ends. There is a lot of subtlety that they bring on plays, and their responsibilities aren't as flashy as other positions. Still, if he falls for some reason, I would be incredibly pleased if the Bears could add an essential piece to their defense.

Dante Fowler Jr.
Twitchy. That is the first word that comes to mind when watching Dante Fowler Jr. Although it doesn't sound like a good thing, it is emblematic that this guy is just loaded with fast-twitch muscle fiber as he can explode into any movement. It can be frenetic, but this is a guy that could be successful in a variety of roles. He was never a full-time pass rusher, but I think he could do some serious damage if that was his primary role while also being effective holding up in the run and dropping into coverage. Even when he doesn't make the play, he finds ways to cause havoc.

Vic Beasley 
Most mock drafts have Beasley falling well beyond the Bears selection at 7, so some may consider this a reach. This is not a reach, and I really hope that he makes it to 7, as this guy is the real deal. He's my favorite pass rushing prospect since Von Miller, and he does things like this that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
I like that. This clip made me exclaim, "Holy shit," and that is just about the highest honor a prospect can get. The only thing higher is if he keeps doing ridiculous things to the point where I start laughing at how ridiculous the guy is. He is the most likely guy to be there when the Bears draft at seven, and I would be ecstatic if they took him to be a key piece in their transformation into a 3-4 defense.

Trade Down
The last option the Bears have in the draft is to trade down. Speculating on who they could trade with and what they could receive is a fool's errand, so I'm not even going to try. Still, I did want to go over a few options that could be targeted later in the first round.

Danny Shelton
The thing with Shelton is that he is a good nose guard, but he's not on the level of a guy like Haloti Ngata. I have heard quite a few Vince Wilfork comparisons, and I do like the comparison for a ceiling, but Wilfork was far better at shedding blocks and creating havoc in the backfield than Shelton is at this point. I have very little doubt that Shelton is an above average nose tackle, but I don't see him as the type of game changing talent that you need to be looking for with the seventh pick in the draft. He's the type of guy that if the Bears traded down and got him, I would be good with it. He has a good motor and makes some nice moves. At the same time, if they traded down and didn't get him, he's not a guy I'd be heartbroken on missing out on.

Brandon Scherff
This may be some Hawkeye bias shining through, but Scherff is a monster. I do question his ability to stay at tackle, but they could build one hell of an interior line if they had Scherff at one guard and Kyle Long at the other spot. Their defense should take precedent, but I will never be disappointed with a team that drafts a stud offensive lineman.

Eric Kendricks
I think this guy is going to be available late in the first round, and possibly even lasting until the second, but that seems pretty ludicrous to me. This guy is just a really good football player. Nobody seems to doubt this, and yet, the middle linebacker position has quietly become undervalued, even though I still think it is essential to a great defense. If he goes late in the first (or later), I feel like the worst case scenario is that people say it was a solid pick, but it still brings upside as the guy could be a pro bowler who captains your defense.

As I said before, the Bears have a lot of holes on their roster. This draft isn't going to turn them into a contender, but it can give a jump start to the rebuild. Nailing that first pick is essential. As for the later rounds in the draft, I will be posting my most underrated and overrated prospects in this draft the next couple days.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Shawn Michaels Became The Heartbreak Kid

As I go through the years of pro wrestling on WWE Network, one of the most fascinating aspects is watching how wrestlers are able to change over the years. The physical changes are obvious, but the personality changes are far more interesting. Shawn Michaels is one of the most fascinating character changes over the years. The most well-known characters that Michaels portrayed was a bland babyface as one half of The Rockers, and his portrayal as the cool guy sex symbol as The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels. But in between there was a period where he was neither, as he switched from a babyface who didn't quite yet know how to be a heel.

Although throwing your tag team partner through a plate glass window is a great way to get heat, Shawn Michaels didn't yet know who his character really was beyond, "Bad guy." Everybody could see that he had way more potential than Marty Jannetty, but I'm not sure if anybody really knew where it was going. But he kept getting time, first with his interview show, The Heartbreak Hotel, but even then he was a little stiff. The most important thing that happened to him was when Macho Man left, and he was allowed to take over commentary on Raw for several weeks.

When he first started on commentary, he knew to take the heel perspective but didn't quite know how to talk it out. Vince McMahon may have been shitty at commentating wrestling matches, but he was always willing to set up his broadcast partners. Now some, like Rob Bartlett, took the ball and ran it into his own end zone, laid down, and shit his pants. But, Shawn Michaels slowly warmed up to talking during the matches. It started as the bad is good, good is bad trope that is easy and predictable, but he went from arrogant bad guy to conceited, self-absorbed, sex symbol bad guy, and the latter led to a very long shelf life.

I think that people remember Shawn Michaels as a great talker from his career, but that was never his greatest strength. I mean, it's not like you remember any great HBK lines outside of the lyrics to his song (which was written by Jimmy Hart). Where his real strength lied was in reacting to things as he was always comfortable giving the proper reactions whether it be with words or looks. Too many people in wrestling will agree with the guys on their side and disagree with the guys against them, but Michaels actually used some nuance. Him, Diesel, and Undertaker were going to tag together against Yokouzuna, Owen Hart, and British Bulldog. They had a promo together and Shawn and Diesel are keeping things lighthearted, and Undertaker takes it to a way darker place, and HBK gets a WTF look on his face, and then Undertaker finishes, and he goes into the "Yeah, what he said," reaction. It's subtle, but it makes him relatable instead of a caricature of how a person would react.

Although I still frequently listen to Sexy Boy, I'm not the biggest mark for HBK. Still, he had one of the ten most successful wrestling careers of all time, and that never would have happened had he not been given the chance to fail. He wasn't great at first, and had he not been able to refine his act subtly during commentary, he may never have caught on like he did.

WWE usually uses one wrestler to do commentary for one segment during Raw each week. Letting different guys take over an entire show and helping them find their voice may lead to some awkward moments, but it could also help WWE uncover the next great superstar. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Oz - The Most WCW Gimmick Ever

The crown jewel of the WWE Network is all of their WCW stuff. I was a WWE kid, so the early years are all a total mystery to me, and you get to find out how great people like the Fabulous Freebirds were. Then you get into the Nitro years where things are legitimately great with the Cruiserweight division for great matches and the nWo which is basically the Michael Jordan of wrestling factions. Then the final two years are probably the most amazing of all, as it is so amazingly bad that I cannot help to enjoy it.

The one thing that I learned from the early years is that WCW was great at identifying talent but truly awful at developing that talent. They had Triple H, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash well before they became big stars in the WWE, but they weren't able to do anything of note with those guys. Today, I want to focus on Nash who had three awful gimmicks in WCW. At first, he was one half of a tag team called the Master Blasters, then he became Oz, followed by a run as Vinnie Vegas. They were all bad, but I believe Oz had that special something that truly made it stand out awful.

Kevin Nash was a big guy who moved well, had a good look, and the ability to at least form complete sentences. To have a guy like that, you would think you could just send him out, let him dominate, and reap the profits of creating a new star. Instead, they gave him a shitty tag team and made him a Vegas Wiseguy. In between was Oz, and Oz was somehow the worst. My favorite thing, by far, is that WCW creative had a conversation that went something like this:

Executive 1: We've got this big guy with a great look and a lot of charisma, how can we capitalize?
Executive 2: Considering we already gave the guy one half of the Master Blasters, I'm not sure if we can do much better.
Executive 1: Heh heh, Master Blasters. That was a good one.
Executive 2: Yeah, it's what I call my weiner.
Executive 1: Me too (high five). But what if we went with something that was popular right now?
Executive 2: Popular now?
Executive 1: Yeah, like WWF had success with music, so what if we did television or movies?
Executive 2: Movies? I like that. The great thing about movies is that they are timeless.
Executive 1: That's a great point?
Executive 2: And therefore what was once hot shall always be hot.
Executive 1: So even something that is 62 years old is still a great idea for a wrestling gimmick.
Executive 2: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Executive 1 and 2 (simultaneously): WIZARD OF OZ GIMMICK!
Executive 1: Oh man, that is perfect.
Executive 2: It will really appeal to the new generation, and wrestling fans will really identify with a a movie that has a woman as the protagonist as we have such a large population of female viewers.
Executive 1: Yeah, the only gimmick that would be better would be a Vegas gambler, but let's keep that as our ace in the hole.

I mean, just look at this debut video from Oz. It's incredible in how ill conceived it was.

As stupid as the Great Wizard is, that isn't even near the same level of stupidity as fake gray beard. When I first watched this, I was speechless. After watching it again (and again), only one thought is going through my mind: Bring back WCW immediately.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why Do I Always Have To Poop When I Run?

I usually go for runs 2-3 times a week. Usually the runs are anywhere from 3-10 miles, although occasionally I'll black out and go longer. But no matter where I am, what the distance, or how fast I am going, I will inevitably get that rumbling in my guts and have the need to take a poop. Today, I try to discover why.

Just Poop More, Dummy
Yeah, this probably would have been my first guess if I weren't me. I poop every morning before I get any sort of workout on. I'm a man who relaxes on the toilet. I play some Trivia Crack, check Twitter, and update my fantasy teams. If there's still some crud in my colon, I might read part of a book, but trust me, I do not rush the process. I take care of business, clean up, and start stretching for my routine. Yet no matter how long I'm there, I will inevitably have to poop when I go on that run.

A Little Extra Boost
Obviously, when you have to poop, you're going to get some farts first. I use these farts to push myself forward on the run, as I can use my sphincter to take some stress off of my legs. It's basically like attaching a steam engine to my backside. It also encourages me to run faster, as I definitely don't want to linger around in that smell.

This is the most likely answer. As possibly the most evolved human ever, my body natually makes the optimal decisions for my benefit. You never know what might happen when you go out for a run. I could be chased by bears, lions, elephants, or birds. By getting rid of all of my waste, I become lighter and even faster.

So, there you have it, I'm just so physically evolved that my body is constantly in survival mode. "Fight or flight" works for some, but "Rumble in your pooper means you'll run super" is the way I live my life (Alternative life motto: "Drop some weight, delay Heaven's gate").

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finn Balor Is a Can't Miss Superstar

NXT is probably the best wrestling show since WCW Monday Nitro (the early years). Literally, everyone who gives it a shot immediately falls in love with it and is hooked. It's referred to as WWE's Developmental System, but it is really more WWE's Independent Wrestling Show. It's a small arena, rare traveling, and extremely colorful characters that are perfect for NXT but may not yet be ready to translate to the big stage.

One guy, more than anyone else on the NXT roster, who is ready for the big stage is Finn Balor. Now I guess I should just get this out of the way. Balor is awesome in the ring, but that doesn't really separate him from a lot of guys in NXT with Hideo Itami, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens around, in-ring talent is not an issue for many guys at that level. The thing that truly separates him is charisma. Finn Balor demands your attention.

Although I love Sami Zayn, nobody has anything close to what Balor has with "The Beast." That crazy full body paint and creepy crawl to the ring will make him an instant hit with any child, and honestly, even as a 30-year-old adult, I think it's pretty cool too. But kids love face paint, so the whole design is going to make them think he's the coolest thing to ever be in a WWE ring. I remember being a child, and I loved all face paint guys, Ultimate Warrior, Sting, Tatanka, and even Great Muta were all some of my favorites, and I don't think them all having face paint was any sort of coincidence.

I was there for WrestleMania weekend, and even at Axxess, everybody stopped to watch Balor, both in his entrance and then his matches. Then, the crowd blew up when he came out in full "Beast" mode at the live NXT show on Friday night. Finn Balor has a presence to him, and just as much as his wrestling, that will translate when he moves up to the main roster.

Where guys like Sami Zayn might be a huge superstar, there is no doubt with Balor. Finn Balor will be a huge superstar. He's got everything it takes, and he is already WWE's golden ticket to a main event superstar.

Still, I wouldn't mind seeing him stick around the best weekly hour of wrestling for a while longer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sacks Are Worse Than Interceptions

So the title of this article may be slightly misleading, but it is meant to make a point. Obviously, in a game, an interception is far worse than a sack, but when it comes to evaluation, a lot of times those sacks show more negativity about a prospect than an interception would. Stats in football are still in its early stages, and although they get better every year, I still favor the scouting side of the game over anything that numbers may tell me. That is why I would likely feel more comfortable taking a quarterback with issues with turnovers than one who has issues taking sacks.

Don't get me wrong; interceptions are bad, and they are often worrisome. But a lot of times, these turnovers can be explained away. If you see a quarterback try to force a ball in, it could mean that he has trouble reading defenses, but it could mean that he is confident in his abilities to squeeze a ball in there. The best way to learn is by making mistakes, and if a quarterback can learn from throwing interceptions, it can serve as a valuable lesson as opposed to a reason to dock a player. I'm not trying to go as far as saying interceptions are a good thing; I just want to point out that they are not nearly as bad as people have made them out to be.

The problem with sacks is that they often show a lack of awareness. Some sacks can be explained by poor offensive line play, others can be explained by well-executed blitzes, but even in the most extreme circumstances, they can never explain away all the sacks. Pocket awareness is incredibly important for a quarterback to be successful. If the first option isn't open, it means that a quarterback may have to maneuver the pocket to buy some additional time to find that open receiver. If he can't do that, it is incredibly unlikely he can have a successful NFL career.

In evaluation, stats are a news article, and scouting is the editorial. You can learn what happened from the stats, but you can't possibly know the reasons or the future impact without the scouting. Sacks and interceptions are both bad, but just because interceptions are worse during a game doesn't mean they are worse for a quarterback's future.

Monday, April 13, 2015

My Dog Pooped In My Car

Well, the title really tells the story. My dog pooped in my car. We were driving over to her favorite park, so I could throw the ball for her and wear her out. It was about 8:00 Sunday morning, and I wanted to get her out before the weather got too hot for her, as she is basically a princess who likes to take it easy when it gets too warm.

So, we are going through our normal routine. Me in the driver's seat, her riding shotgun with her head out the window, getting all of that precious fresh air. As we were turning into the park, she started really sticking her head out of the window, as she got further and further outside the car. I had to convince her to calm down and stay in the car, as she looked like she was ready to jump out of the moving car. 

I smelled it before I saw it.

The car stunk, and I thought she just farted, but then I looked down on her seat to see one juicy turd laying on the passenger seat. She was even more adamantly trying to get out of the car, but I calmed her down enough to at least not jump out, as we only had about 30 seconds until we could safely park and she could be let out. I was also impressed that she was being very careful not to step on the turd that she had dropped off in the passenger seat. At this point, I was more miffed than anything as I was still processing everything that was going on while making sure my dog didn't seriously injure herself.

I finally park to let her out, and she of course jumps to my side of the vehicle to get out of the car. In her anxiety to get out of the car, she managed to somehow turn and spin to get every single one of her paws into the turd. She spread it all over the front seat and got a significant portion onto my driver's seat. Also, I noticed that her nub was bleeding, and there was actually shit and blood all over my front seats. Amazing. 

She took a big old dump, and then I gathered up a bunch of toilet paper from the nearby restroom to wipe up as much as I could, but, not surprisingly, my car still reeked of shit. 

At this point, we were already at the park, so I figured we still might as well play a little bit. I threw the ball for her for a few times, but she knew that she messed up by pooping in the car, so she wasn't all that into it. Either way, it gave the car a little time to air out, but it still smelled like poop when we got back inside. 

Anyway, we got home, I cleaned my interior (luckily it's leather, because I'm a BOSS), and went on to have a nice little Sunday. And that concludes the story of when my dog pooped in my car.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ten Years

My friend Dan is the only person who I will ever say was better than me. He was taller, more muscular, better looking, more athletic, and got better grades than me. The only thing that people may give me the advantage in was humor, but nobody made me laugh harder than Dan. Most importantly, Dan was a better friend than me, and that's the one thing I'll never get completely over.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of my friend Dan passing away. Passing away is the nice term when, in reality, Dan committed suicide. That is the first time I have ever typed those words, and even ten years after the fact, it isn't easy.

I met Dan in sixth grade. It was my first public school experience, so I knew zero people when coming over from my Catholic school upbringing. Dan and I had a lot of classes together, and we quickly became friends. We made each other laugh, and that was always our strongest bond. We pushed each other to be better, but I could never push past him. But that was Dan. He was always pushing the limits in his interactions with people. It's tough to explain, but he would mess with people without ever being mean about it.

Dan was the best. Literally, the best. Nobody made things look easier than him. He excelled at everything, and God, that was irritating sometimes. The guy had washboard abs in middle school; meanwhile, a mosquito bite would have doubled my bicep size. Judging a book by its cover, nobody was more blessed than Dan.

In high school, it was more of the same, Dan excelled in baseball and football while also doing pretty well with the ladies. He helped me see naked girls for the first time, and introduced me to marijuana, both of which were pretty neat experiences (I've long given up the latter, but still very much enjoy the former).

But one event during sophomore year is the best story I can tell about Dan as a friend. I was driving by myself and passed out while driving and totaled my car. My face was all bruised and swollen, but I was lucky to be alive. I spent the night in the hospital. The next day I went home, and Dan came over. Instead of just hanging out at the house, he took me for a drive. I was a little uneasy being in a car at first, but we put down the windows, sped down some backroads, and listened to Jim Croce. It sounds so simple, but it was exactly what I needed. Dan had no experience in how to handle that situation to help a friend, yet he still did the perfect thing. It's something that was so important for me, and I never told him how much it meant. He was my best friend.

A little bit after that, Dan started to do weird shit. It was mostly harmless, but it made people turn against him. He had always loved fucking with people, and I thought it was just more of Dan messing with people because he could. It was never malicious; it's just that he never had to play by the rules of in order to be cool. Still, he did enough weird stuff where he became an outcast. I never turned on him, but he wasn't quite the same guy, and we started drifting away.

Then he was admitted to the mental hospital for the first time. My friend, Ty, and I went and visited him. I was nervous, but we got to see Dan and it was the strangest thing - Dan was Dan again. Dan was in a very depressing place, and he found a way to have fun with it. We were sitting at a table and Dan started talking to another patient who claimed he owned six of the United States. Instead of ignoring him, Dan engaged him. When Dan asked where the states were and the guy replied, "The Midwest," Dan shot back "Oh, those are the good ones!" without missing a beat. Only Dan could find a way to have a good time in the mental hospital.

It was that glimpse of Dan that made me believe everything would be alright. There was one time where he came over to my house and we were hanging out with my parents. He would just start randomly mumbling to himself and laughing his ass off. After he left, my Mom asked if he was okay, and I lied and said that he was, that he was just messing with people for the fun of it. I went up to my room and cried while still holding onto the fact that the positive glimpses of Dan would win out over what I saw that day.

And you know what? Dan did bounce back. After high school, he got an apartment with a few other guys from high school and was working towards getting his life back on track. They had parties at their place when we were all back in town for winter break, and I remember Dan making fun of me for throwing like a girl (he wasn't wrong), but most importantly, he was the old Dan I knew, and he was happy.

After that, things start to blur together. I went back to college; Dan ended up struggling again and moving back in with his parents. He seemed to be making progress. His parents left him alone while they went out of town. That's when he went to the garage and ended his life. He was 20 years old.

I'll never forget when I heard the news. Sports Column in Iowa City for FAC. I was out with friends when my buddy Chris called me to give me the news. I calmly walked back inside and let everybody else know. Then I calmly called my parents to let them know. And finally, I calmly walked home. When I got back, I stopped being calm. I used a textbook to repeatedly pound the wooden post of my bed, because although I was angry, I was still smart enough to know that breaking my hand was not the best way to go about things. I didn't let anyone see me cry; Dan wouldn't have wanted me to.

In fact, nobody ever saw me shed a tear for Dan. The only time I was close was at the cemetery, and that was more out of guilt that everyone around me was crying and I wasn't. It still hadn't fully hit me.

It wasn't until five years later until I finally let it all out and cried for Dan. I went for a walk and crossed by the mental hospital building where we visited him. I walked by the entrance, and it may have not been until that point that it fully hit me - Dan was never coming back; the most talented person I ever knew would never tap into his potential. It was pretty late, so I just walked in darkness and bounced between fits of laughing and crying. It was a sad ending, but man, there were a whole lot of great times before that.

At first, there was rarely a moment where he wasn't on my mind. But those thoughts slowed down to once an hour, to once a day, to once a week, and finally, I only really think about him about once a month. Sometimes, it's just a funny anecdote, and I go about my day. Sometimes, it is enough to make me stop in my tracks thinking of what could have been.

I remember going over to his parents' house a year after his death and hanging out with his Dad. We obviously got to talking about Dan, and he told me that this time of the year really didn't mean much to him when it came to Dan, because by that time, Dan wasn't Dan anymore. It was his birthday and holidays that were the toughest. And he's right; Dan wasn't Dan by the end. Yet I still had the opposite feeling, and the reason this time of the year sticks with me more is this was when his potential wasn't met. No matter what happened, I always assumed he would bounce back and do amazing things; I didn't have a single doubt until I heard the news. And to this day, ten years later, it still doesn't seem right.

And here I am today. The thoughts may be less frequent, but they still haven't changed. Mental illness is a motherfucker. If you know somebody struggling with mental health, my only advice is to be there for them. There is no perfect method, and even if there was, you would want to find it from somebody far more qualified than me. But just be there. That's my biggest regret. I could have been there more, and I wasn't.

Even though I can't be there for Dan, I can do the next best thing, I can be there for my friends, and if you are reading this, I do consider you a friend and wish you nothing but the best. I can be there for my family; in fact, my parents could probably use a call right now.

Most importantly, I'm going to be there for my wife. She's the first person I can consider my best friend since Dan died. I wasn't there as much as I should have been for Dan, but I'm not going to make the same mistake twice. I'm lucky to have her in my life, and I'm going to continue to do my best to make her happy.

Dan, I love you, I miss you, and if there is an afterlife, I am sure you are having a blast fucking with people up there. Rest in peace, buddy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The 39 Best Matches From WrestleMania 31 Weekend

I went to WrestleMania for the first time this year, and it exceeded every expectation that I could have possibly had for the experience. Sure, I could nitpick here and there, but overall, every single event that I went to was pretty awesome. Yes, Axxess was unorganized, but I met Hulk Hogan, and it gave me and Big E a chance to reminisce about picking up chicks at the Field House during our time at the University of Iowa. Meanwhile, I went to not one, not two, not three, but four wrestling events from Friday-Monday. Every night was something different with NXT on Friday, WrestleCon on Saturday, WrestleMania 31 on Sunday, and Raw (with a dark match and Superstars taping) on Monday. There is no perfect way to recap the weekend, but I saw a lot of incredible wrestling, and although the matches were very different, they provided a ton of great moments, and even the worst of the bunch were fine.

39. Prime Time Playas vs. Adam Rose and Heath Slater - Raw (Dark Match)
Things I learned during this match:
1. Heath Slater and Adam Rose are a tag team, I guess?
2. They do not sell bottles at the SAP Center.
3. They didn't open half of their concession stands despite having a sold out crowd in the arena. Whoever is running that arena did a piss poor job.
4. The Prime Time Players won, I think.

38. Fandango vs. Jack Swagger - Superstars
Fandango wrestled Jack Swagger. Fandango hit his finisher. He danced with Rosa Mendes before and after. This is a match that happened.

37. R-Truth vs. Luke Harper - Superstars
This is another match that happened, but it gets rated slightly higher because R-Truth seemed like a nice guy at Axxess.

36. Jason Jordan vs. Bull Dempsey - NXT
Jason Jordan was referred to as a jobber during the whole match. They apparently all forgot his great run as the tag team partner of Tye Dillinger. Who is Tye Dillinger? Aw, crap, nevermind. Anyway, Jordan showed some good power in throwing around Dempsey in some suplexes towards the end of the match. He surprisingly won, but it's not too surprising, since it is just Bull Dempsey.

35. Baron Corbin vs. Rhyno - NXT
A pretty blah match that Corbin won. Baron Corbin has great size for NXT so he can be dominant, but I don't see where he fits at the next level. Rhyno kind of had the same story in ECW where he can be impressive against small opponents, but then you see real big guys, and it loses some luster. Corbin won, but Rhyno hit him with the Gore afterwards, so everyone went home happy.

34. Stardust vs. Damien Mizdow - Raw
It was another fine match. There really isn't much to it, but Mizdow is way over, so he got the win, even though Cody Rhodes is awesome and should be in a much better position, because the dude had his wife hand out cookies as they left his photo in the Elimination Chamber at Axxess.

33. Rusev vs. Goldust - Raw
Rusev crushed Goldust. Rusev is pretty great, so even though it was a pretty blah squash match, it is still entertaining to see Rusev crush.

32. Havok vs. Tessa Blanchard - WrestleCon
Havok is not a lady to be trifled with, like seriously, she would absolutely crush me. Tessa is the daughter of an original Horseman, so that makes it an even matchup as far as I was concerned. It was a solid match which told the classic tale of giant using power versus speed and determination. The power dominated and eventually, the power won out, and Havok took out Tessa.

31. Cedric Alexander vs. Brian Kendrick - WrestleCon
This was a fine match, but nothing really grabbed me about it. It followed up a mixed tag match that we'll get to later that was one of the best matches I saw all weekend, so it was a tough act to follow.

30. Bayley and Alexa Bliss vs. Dana Brooke and Becky Lynch - NXT
Dana Brooke still flexes a lot, and Becky rocks harder than most people can imagine, but Alexa Bliss has glitter, and Bayley was in her hometown. I think Bliss is stepping up her game in the ring. She was still probably only the third best wrestler in there behind Bayley and Lynch, but it was good to see her start closing the gap. Overall, it was a fine, safe, women's match where the crowd really amped things up with their love for Bayley and freaked out when she hit the Bayley-to-belly suplex.

29. AJ Lee and Paige vs. The Bella Twins - WrestleMania
This was a necessary match. It wasn't going to tear the house down, but it wasn't meant to. It was meant to give people a chance to breathe. It was a totally fine women's match that was enhanced by being at WrestleMania.

28. Solomon Crowe vs. Calisto - NXT
This was a fine wrestling match, but I am not in on Solomon Crowe, so it kind of takes me out of his matches. I want to like him, and giving him a submission finish instead of that stupid splash is a step in the right direction, but I'm not buying Crowe yet. Calisto is great, and it was a good match, but it didn't really grab me.

27. Disco Inferno vs. Mr. TA - WrestleCon
This was the first match from WrestleCon, and I honestly couldn't believe that Disco Inferno was opening the show, because I thought they would save him as he was such a big name. This may be a sign that I love late-era WCW more than I should, but damn, Disco will always be a star in my opinion. Mr. TA was a Teaching Assistant, and he put up a good fight. There really wasn't too much special about this match, but Disco did win it with a Chart Buster, which Stone Cold stole and named a Stunner. The match wasn't anything special, but Disco danced afterwards, so he gets bumped up a few points for showmanship.

26. Man Scout, Jake Manning vs. Matt Striker - WrestleCon
So, on pure wrestling, this probably has to go last place, but somebody in the crowd told Striker to stick to commentary, and Striker stopped the match, got a mic, and went on a tirade that included telling the guy that he looked like Bill DeMott's abortion. After that, he kicked a man who was dressed up as a boy scout in the gut and hit him with The Pedigree. There may have only been about ten seconds of wrestling, but I was thoroughly entertained, so nice work, Matt Striker.

25. The Hardy Boys vs. RVD and Sabu - WrestleCon
This was a hardcore match, so there were lots of cheap weapons being used. This match ranks this high almost purely based on nostalgia and the venue. Like seeing The Big Show at Mania was nothing, but if Big Show had been at WrestleCon after some time away from WWE, I would have freaked out and automatically given it a top-5 ranking. I honestly never really cared about these guys out of early RVD being pretty cool, but seeing them here made it a lot more fun. Still, it was a hardcore match. It was disorganized, and eventually it ended.

24. Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt - WrestleMania
This is a nostalgia pick as nothing really great happened in this match. For two guys that I am just not that into, their is still a mystique when it comes to The Undertaker. People are really happy Undertaker didn't get concussed, but that is a pretty low bar to clear for me to get pumped about another match for next year. Still, the spot where Bray Wyatt did the spider walk and then had Undertaker sit up was a good spot that gave me a good chuckle, and it's Taker at Mania, I don't think I'm allowed to put it below Disco Inferno.

23. Seth Rollins, Big Show, and Kane vs. Randy Orton, Ryback, and Roman Reigns - Raw
This match wasn't bad, but it was horribly disappointing. The first two hours of Raw were hot fire. The third hour was just waiting for something big to happen. This entire 6-man tag match was just waiting for some big debut or run-in, but it never came. Another thing that hurt it was the crowd doing the wave and chanting, "We are awesome," two of the douchiest things a crowd can do at a wrestling event. If WWE did have something cool planned, I wouldn't blame them if they just decided to wait a week and give it to a crowd that actually is there for the show instead of to be the show. As for the match, it was fine. Ryback getting The Big Show up for the Shell Shock was cool to see, but nobody outside of Ryback gave a shit about this match, and I really can't blame them.

22. AJ Lee, Paige, and Naomi vs. Brie and Nikki Bella and Natalya - Raw
This match was actually solid, but the crowd really took a turn for the worse during this match. They were pretty positive up until this point, but they turned on the Divas hard, as they called out the five ladies who are in relationship with wrestlers by insinuating that they perform oral sex on their significant others. If you are trying to make the point that wrestling fans are the lowest common denominator of human beings, this is a pretty good example. I'm blaming the chants for causing AJ's retirement, and I believe that CM Punk can travel through time, saw this happen, and retired a year earlier. But the ladies put on a solid match, but it wasn't NXT level good.

21. Murphy and Blake vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady - NXT
This was the big hope that maybe they would do a title change as Enzo and Big Cass are majorly over with the NXT crowd (and Carmella is majorly hated). The Vaudevillains are over as well, and nobody is really sure what is going on with Murphy and Blake. I have no idea what their gimmick is, but they are actually putting together the tag wrestling side of things. It was just a good tag match with some decent spots in there. Nothing special, but the crowd was way into it, so it added a lot of fun. Unfortunately, no title change.

20. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose - Raw
I'm in the minority where I'm not really into Dean Ambrose. He's fine, but I don't find him particularly compelling with this character. He was far more interesting as a member of The Shield as opposed to the lunatic/stupid person he is now. Still, they put on a really good match for two guys that I'm just fine with and have no strong opinions on. It had a lot of good action, and I will admit that I'm happy that Cena is going to just keep going up against surprise challengers.

19. Curtis Axel vs. Neville - Raw
I'm very excited for Axtreme Rules, but Neville dominated this match. He hit a bunch of high spots and delivered exactly what he should have. It was a quick squash, but hopefully it leads to Neville getting pushed into a higher tier of opponent where he can really shine in full matches.

18. Chris Hero, Drew Gulak, Brian Myers, Tommaso Ciampa, James Storm, and Abyss vs. Colt Cabana, Matt Sydal, Big Zeke, Tommy Dreamer, Bubba and D-Von Dudley - WrestleCon
This match was a lot of fun, but the big issue is that 10 guys standing on the apron made it really hard for half of the audience to see what was happening in a lot of the match. Still, putting this many former WWE guys in a single match brought a lot of nostalgia and fun. It wasn't meant to be the best wrestled match of the night, it was just meant to be fun, and at the end, everyone got their spots, and it was a very fun match. It might have moved up a couple spots if Big Zeke's sweatpants hadn't blocked a lot of it for me, but it was still enjoyable.

17. ACH vs. John Morrison - WrestleCon
I had heard of him but never seen ACH before, because I have zero Indy street cred. But I was way too excited to see the guy who used to be Johnny Nitro, although I was slightly disappointed that he was not accompanied by Eric Bischoff. This match had a lot of Lucha elements to it, and it made things really fun. Also, ACH was stealing Stone Cold's shtick, and Morrison was stealing HBK's. It was a good back and forth match where I wasn't sure what was going to happen until Morrison hit the Starship Pain and won the match.

16. Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal - WrestleMania
It's a 30-man battle royal. That is incredibly fun to watch. I will admit that with that many guys in there, it can be a little tough to follow the storylines, but WWE knows what they're doing and gave guys enough separation from the crowd of wrestlers to tell fans, "Hey, look over here" for anything developing. It was stupid for the most part, but any time you give me Cesaro feats of strength, I'm going to be a big fan, and I had no issue with The Big Show winning it this year.

15. Jack Evans vs. Aerostar vs. Andrew Everett - WrestleCon
I have to admit that I didn't know a single one of these guys before the match. I think they knew that, and they worked incredibly hard to put on a fun show. There was a lot of high flying and some nasty bumps during the match. They kept an incredibly high pace, and Aerostar won it with a top rope Canadian Destroyer, so yeah, safety was definitely not their number one concern.

14. Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville - NXT
This was a very good match, but I think I had too high of expectations for it. During Axxess, I thought they put on a better match (I'm not including Axxess matches, because there were a ton of them, and they rarely had my full attention). Still, it was a good match, and Balor came out as The Beast which was really cool. Those two guys can go, and they are probably both ready for the big show. Neville is now up there, and Balor is ready anytime they need some fresh blood.

13. The Ascension and Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. New Day and Lucha Dragons - Raw
This match was about as awesome as the WrestleMania tag match. The Ascension being involved after they have already been castrated from having any impact hurts them quite a bit, but having Calisto around, especially working with Cesaro, is something that is very awesome. Sure, it's completely ridiculous that he did a backflip off of Cesaro's shoulders, but those are the type of moment that make wrestling awesome. In the end, it ranks below the Mania tag, because of Sin HuniCara being involved.

12. Triple H vs. Sting - WrestleMania
Yeah, the match was just fine. It was great considering the ages of the two guys involved, but it was a fine wrestling match. But seeing the nWo, especially Hogan, come strutting out and fighting DX was just a really fun moment. That's the beauty of wrestling; it's not always about what happens in the ring, as what happens around the match is just as important. Was it stupid? Of course, but that's what makes pro wrestling so enjoyable.

11. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro vs. Usos vs. New Day vs. Los Matadores - WrestleMania
Cesaro is my favorite wrestler, so I will support anything he does. Also, Tyson Kidd and I shared an in-depth conversation about BK Chicken Fries at Axxess, so I'm pretty cool with him too. This was the first match of Mania, and it had a ton of energy and gave everybody a chance to shine. Clearly, Cesaro was depended on to shine brightest, but there were a lot of good spots, and it helped give the crowd energy for Mania, despite about half of the crowd still working their way through the gates/concessions to their actual seats. I'm very happy I got there early and didn't miss a second of this match. Before Mania, I said that I probably wouldn't yell much as I was already losing my voice. This match ended that plan, and I don't regret it a bit.

10. John Cena vs. Rusev - WrestleMania
Rusev entered on a tank in what will probably be my favorite entrance ever. Also, Rusev always has good matches and Cena puts it together when it matters. It was a fun match that may not have provided a magical moment, but it was super enjoyable throughout, and that's an important and underrated aspect of good wrestling.

9. Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan - Raw
I think this match may make it higher on a lot of people's lists, and I thought it told a great story, but I can still only get it to this number. This was much more of a fight than a wrestling match, and although that was highly entertaining; there is practically nothing better than these guys getting in there and wrestling. The crowd gave this match a standing ovation during the match for what they were doing, so yes, it was totally great, and you will never hear me complaining about headbutts as headbutts are awesome. This was a great match, but it was not the greatest match I saw this weekend.

8. Hideo Itami vs. Tyler Breeze - NXT
This was the first match on the NXT card, and although the crowd was hot going into it, this took it to another level. Hideo Itami is somebody who is still putting it together on television, but that due is the hottest of fire in person. Tyler Breeze seems like just a goofy gimmick, but he puts on really good matches. He's not quite on the indy-darling level of Zayn, Owens, or Balor, but he's right below that. Like in all of Itami's matches, people wanted him to use the GTS, since he was using it before Punk but has yet to use it in the WWE. They teased it, but Breeze escaped. They went back and forth, and it led to Itami going into psycho strike mode which is super fun to watch in person. Then he put Breeze up for the GTS again, and the crowd rose to their feet, because they had never teased it twice. Sure enough, he hit it, and the crowd went ballistic. I'm still smiling about seeing him hit that GTS. It was a good match up until that point, but seeing the first GTS in person definitely bumped it up to greatness.

7. Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins - WrestleMania
Even without that insane RKO, it was a great match that had a lot of great spots and tons of excitement. Rollins is about as sure of a thing that the WWE has right now, and Orton will always put on great matches against great wrestlers. It was a great match, and we can never forget that this happened.

6. Roderick Strong, Kazarian, and Christopher Daniels vs. AR Fox, Ricochet, and Jushin Thunder Liger - WrestleCon
This match was truly the best of both worlds from WrestleCon. It had the nostalgia with guys like Liger and Christopher Daniels who have been around forever but are still very entertaining (And bonus for Daniels and Kazarian going full cosplay as the Legion of Doom). And it had the up and coming stars in AR Fox and Ricochet who can just do ridiculous things and put on an awesome show. I had heard great things about Ricochet and he delivered, but AR Fox did some things that made my jaw drop. It was just good, fast-paced wrestling where everybody got some spots, and there was rarely a chance to catch your breath. Probably the best wrestling match of WrestleCon, but not quite the most entertaining one.

5. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte - NXT
If you would have told me that I would have loved a women's match by far over every other match I saw on a card a year ago, I would have thought you were crazy, but the NXT Women's division has changed that, and Sasha and Charlotte put on an absolutely awesome match. It was high-paced, back and forth action that totally made sense and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire match. Also, it was a great decision to give Sasha the clean win, because she's The Boss, legitimately, her wrestling is next level, and if she won the Divas Title tomorrow and didn't lose it for two years, I guarantee it would be awesome.

4. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins - Raw
So the fact that this wasn't technically a match that ever started hurts it a little bit, but this was still totally awesome. Being there in person and being promised a World Title match got me pumped beyond belief. Pro wrestling is so wonderful in that you can get lost in the moment, despite knowing that it is scripted. Seth Rollins walking into the ring and going right up to Lesnar and raising the belt in his face made me believe that Lesnar was literally going to rip his head off and throw it into the crowd. And then Rollins bowing out of the match because his foot hurt from too many curb stomps. It was perfect. Then Lesnar goes on a rampage, and when Rollins does a backflip out of a German suplex and then kicks Lesnar in the face, he has that moment where he thinks that he can handle Lesnar, except he looks up and realizes that nothing hurts The Beast. It was all pitch-perfect. Rollins escapes, and then Lesnar destroys everything in sight, and he proves that he is probably the greatest pro wrestler alive, because everything is more important with him doing it.

3. Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Dean Ambrose vs. R-Truth vs. Luke Harper - WrestleMania
I think this match is getting overlooked because all ladder matches are great, but this match really was awesome. Everybody got their chance to shine in the match, and there were plenty of "Holy shit" moments. I didn't think there was any chance that Barrett would suplex Stardust off the ladder, but it sure happened. And, even though I was cheering for Ziggler, the ending was absolutely fantastic, because headbutts are the best.

2. Zane Riley and Caleb Konley "The World's Dudest Tag Team" vs. Candice LeRae and Joey Ryan "The World's Cutest Tag Team" - WrestleCon
What are usually the worst wrestling matches? Mixed tag matches. You can't get in a tag rhythm, and everything ends up stilted and boring. But OH MY GOD, this match. The World's Cutest Tag Team comes out to The Darkness's "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." And do you know why one team is known as the World's Dudest Tag Team? Because Zane Riley is just a dude, with a beard, dressing in women's wrestling gear. That means it wasn't just guys against guys and girls against girls; it was a goddamn free for all, and it was one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen. Candice LeRae straight up GOES. Somebody called her female John Cena, and they weren't wrong, but she does more risky moves and nothing can stop her. At one point, she grabbed Konley by the balls to do a balls suplex off the top rope, but Riley came in and grabbed her like a bowling ball with his thumb up her butt and a finger in...well, you know, and then Joey Ryan came in and got the whole thing started by lifting up Riley and everyone went tumbling back for a huge superballsplex involving everyone. I thought the match was over at one point, and that was only the halfway point of the match, as they just kept doing high spots, and I was all in on this match. The World's Cutest Tag Team won, because Joey Ryan is awesome, and Candice is an unstoppable force, God, this match was so awesome.

1. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, and eventually vs. Seth Rollins - WrestleMania
There were people who cried their eyes out about Roman Reigns got to main event WrestleMania. They did it, because he wasn't ready, yet they all wanted him to win the Royal Rumble the year before when it came down to him and Batista. Anyway, Brock Lesnar is the greatest thing in pro wrestling and him and Reigns told an awesome story that I was totally into. Lesnar just a dominant beast welcoming Reigns to suplex city, while Reigns is too stupid to stay down. Finally, Reigns gets a glimmer of hope and finally gets some offense on Lesnar for Seth Rollins music to hit and him to come sprinting down, putting in a great 40 time, to make the match a triple threat. Rollins curb stomps Lesnar, but it's not enough, and then he gets put up for an F-5, only for Reigns to save him with a spear. Rollins thanks Reigns with a curb stomp to him and gets the pin. The crowd went insane for Rollins, who yes, everyone realizes is a total heel, but also realizes that the guy has been the best thing on Raw for the last six months. Rollins, not Reigns, is the champion that we want to boo. Wrestling fans can boo him vigorously while still appreciating everything he does. It was an incredible moment.

I saw a ton of incredible wrestling during WrestleMania weekend, and honestly, if I saw a live card with the ten lowest ranked matches on this list, I still would have thought it was a pretty solid card. But in the end, there could only be one match at the top of this list, and that is the main event of WrestleMania. It's the pinnacle of the wrestling year, and it delivered beyond my wildest expectations. I waited 30 years to go to my first WrestleMania, I'm not going to wait that long before attending my second.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Review of My 2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft - Part 3

Last week, we had our annual fantasy baseball draft, and it sure was a doozy. I am going to break it down round-by-round in three separate parts (this is part two), but before we get started, I have given each team a nickname based on the jobber that they most represent. Here are my explanations.

Norman Smiley – Because my dance moves are sick.
Vinnie Vegas - This guy is a gambler, and I respect that.
3 Count - This guy looked like a boy band member in high school, so this is fitting.
Eugene - Idiot who tries to take other people's gimmicks, but he can't pull it off.
LA Gore - If you told me LA Gore was his real Dad, it would explain so much. He ruined his family line of being man enough to wear cutoff jean shorts.
Dr. Isaac Yankem, D.D.S. - I have no idea who this clown is, but somebody else referred to him as "a doctor, but not a real doctor." That describes dentists pretty well.
Bob Backlund - Crafty, sometimes unintelligible, but shockingly effective as he kicked ass in the 2014 season.
El Dandy - He's Mexican, and Bret Hart let us know that he should not be underestimated.
Zack Ryder - Had a moment of glory, but is now firmly stuck in jobber territory.
GI Bro - He thinks he's like Booker T, but he's just a cheap knockoff.
Viscera - Large and sexually charged. Has glasses that are referred to as "The Big Nasties."
Kerwin White - Shockingly good at golf.
You can check out the first part here, while part two is here, but now it is time for part three.

Round: 17 (Keepers: Nolan Arenado)
(193) Norman Smiley - Jonathan Papelbon RP
(194) Vinnie Vegas - Adam Eaton CF
(195) 3 Count - Carlos Beltran RF
(196) Eugene - Huston Street RP
(197) LA Gore - R.A. Dickey SP
(198) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Scooter Gennett 2B
(199) Bob Backlund - Drew Smyly SP
(200) El Dandy - Denard Span CF
(201) Zack Ryder - Travis d'Arnaud C
(202) GI Bro - Nolan Arenado 3B
(203) Viscera - Arismendy Alcantara 2B
(204) Kerwin White - Chris Tillman SP
Best Pick: Adam Eaton
The only question with Eaton is health, and although I think he may miss some time with a small injury, I think he can play 140 games and provide value in a lot of different ways for a fantasy team. I could also see his stolen base numbers trending upwards this year to provide even more value.

Worst Pick: Denard Span
Already hurt this year, and he's not a guy with a great upside to begin with, so he's probably the worst of this round, but we are definitely reaching the point where the worsts are all that terrible.

My Pick: Jonathan Papelbon
This was one of my least confident picks, but at this point, getting a sure thing is probably a solid decision. He was incredibly undervalued, and although Papelbon has the potential to be traded, he will almost certainly take over the closer's role for whoever he is traded to. I mean, is there any closer more established than Papelbon at this point? The guy stays healthy and produces. It's my least risky pick, which does inevitably mean that he will be injured or ineffective this year.

Round: 18 (Keepers: Anthony Rendon)
(205) Kerwin White - Taijuan Walker SP
(206) Viscera - Wilin Rosario C
(207) GI Bro - Andrelton Simmons SS
(208) Zack Ryder - Marlon Byrd RF
(209) El Dandy - Brandon Belt 1B
(210) Bob Backlund - Anthony Rendon 2B
(211) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Aramis Ramirez 3B
(212) LA Gore - Dalton Pompey CF
(213) Eugene - Mike Napoli 1B
(214) 3 Count - Yasmani Grandal C
(215) Vinnie Vegas - Aaron Sanchez SP
(216) Norman Smiley - Neftali Feliz RP
Best Pick: Yasmani Grandal
This one made my jaw drop, as I had every intention of making Yasmani Grandal my catcher. I looked over the other teams and saw that all but one other team had a catcher. I figured I was safe, and that I could snag Grandal with no issues. I mean, why would anyone take a backup catcher? Well, this stupid asshole from 3 Count thought he needed two catchers. Anyway, as for Grandal the player, he hit really well in the minors and has shown flashes in the majors. Getting out of Petco and having consistent playing time will be essential for him, and I would not be surprised to see him as a top-5 catcher this year.

Worst Pick: Marlon Byrd
Quick, name who Marlon Byrd plays for. Waiting...well, I hope you answered correctly, because I have no idea. I'll guess the Phillies or Royals, but you could convince me it is the Mets. Anyway, Byrd is very old, and he probably isn't going to be that great this year. Hence, worst pick of the round.

My Pick: Neftali Feliz
I always like to have three closers, so I was very happy that Feliz fell all the way back around to me. I could have waited if he wasn't there, but Feliz can be an absolute stud reliever, so the value was too good to pass up.

Round: 19 (Keepers: George Springer)
(217) Norman Smiley - Kevin Gausman SP
(218) Vinnie Vegas - Kyle Hendricks SP
(219) 3 Count - Scott Kazmir SP
(220) Eugene - Derek Holland SP
(221) LA Gore - Matt Garza SP
(222) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - John Lackey SP
(223) Bob Backlund - Danny Duffy SP
(224) El Dandy - Michael Morse 1B
(225) Zack Ryder - Jesse Hahn SP
(226) GI Bro - Steven Souza RF
(227) Viscera - Desmond Jennings CF
(228) Kerwin White - George Springer RF
Best Pick: Steven Souza
I don't know what to think of Steven Souza. He's super old for a prospect, but a lot of the projection systems love him, and the Rays seem to agree as they traded a lot to get him. He might be really valuable this year. Yes, he could be terrible, but it's the 19th round, just drop him and add another outfielder at that point.

Worst Pick: Kyle Hendricks
Vinnie Vegas loves him some Cubbies. Kyle Hendricks reached his ceiling last year, and good for him, but I have a feeling his floor is far lower than the gambler would like it to be. Even with his ceiling, he doesn't get strikeouts, so he's not likely to provide a ton of value this year. I will be surprised if Hendricks is still on his team in May.

My Pick: Kevin Gausman
I was strongly considering Gausman in the 16th/17th rounds but decided to get the closer who had dropped quite a bit, as I had Gausman and Tillman rated as my top two guys on the board, and a lot of other starters that I still liked if they were both taken. Tillman did get taken, but I like Gausman's upside. If he cuts loose this year, he can live up to his prospect hype and become a top guy.

Round: 20 (Keepers: Michael Brantley)
(229) Kerwin White - Joaquin Benoit RP
(230) Viscera - Brian McCann C
(231) GI Bro - Nathan Eovaldi SP
(232) Zack Ryder - Ryan Howard 1B
(233) El Dandy - Coco Crisp CF
(234) Bob Backlund - T.J. House SP
(235) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Matt Shoemaker SP
(236) LA Gore - Carl Crawford LF
(237) Eugene - Hector Rondon RP
(238) 3 Count - Michael Brantley LF
(239) Vinnie Vegas - Josh Hamilton LF
(240) Norman Smiley - Matt Moore SP
Best Pick: Nathan Eovaldi
Eovaldi is learning a split to add to his repertoire, and since he already has velocity in abundance, this could be exactly what he needs to take a big step forward this season. He flashed plenty last year, so the natural maturation should help him be worthy of this pick, but the extra pitch provides nice upside for him.

Worst Pick: Matt Shoemaker
He's already been released, so that is a good sign that this was not a very good pick. Had he not been released, it would have been a tossup between Shoemaker and Hamilton who is obviously got a lot of question marks around him at the moment.

My Pick: Matt Moore
He's an injury stash. We have three DL spots, so I might as well use them. Also, my last three picks were all predetermined, as I needed a shortstop since ESPN didn't recognize Bogaerts as a part of my team yet, I needed a catcher, and I had Gregory Polanco as a keeper. So, it was Matt Moore time. Hopefully he comes back better than ever.

Round: 21 (Keepers: Phil Hughes/Dee Gordon)
(241) Norman Smiley - Brandon McCarthy SP
(242) Vinnie Vegas - Addison Russell SS
(243) 3 Count - Rajai Davis LF
(244) Eugene - Brett Lawrie 3B
(245) LA Gore - Torii Hunter RF
(246) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Adam Lind 1B
(247) Bob Backlund - Avisail Garcia RF
(248) El Dandy - Wade Davis RP
(249) Zack Ryder - Phil Hughes SP
(250) GI Bro - Kennys Vargas DH
(251) Viscera - Addison Reed RP
(252) Kerwin White - Dee Gordon 2B
Best Pick: Brett Lawrie
I'm never going to stop believing in Brett Lawrie, so maybe this is the year he puts the pieces back together. Plus, Billy Beane agrees, so the Moneyball community needs this.

Worst Pick: Addison Russell
Vinnie Vegas has picked every Cubs player possible, but it got ridiculous at this point. You could make the argument that Russell has keeper potential, but even if everything went right for Russell, it would still take an injury to a big leaguer for them to call him up this year. The benefit is minimal, and the cost of a lack of roster flexibility isn't worth it.

My Pick: Brandon McCarthy
Seems like a solid pick. He had some bad luck last year but finally put it together after going to the Yankees. Now he is back in the NL, so as long as he can stay healthy, he should be good to put up solid fantasy numbers this year.

Round: 22 (Keepers: Corey Kluber/Matt Harvey)
(253) Kerwin White - Francisco Rodriguez RP
(254) Viscera - Chase Headley 3B
(255) GI Bro - Sean Doolittle RP
(256) Zack Ryder - Santiago Casilla RP
(257) El Dandy - Andrew Miller RP
(258) Bob Backlund - Corey Kluber SP
(259) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Tanner Roark SP
(260) LA Gore - Mike Fiers SP
(261) Eugene - Matt Harvey SP
(262) 3 Count - Aaron Hill 2B
(263) Vinnie Vegas - Carlos Rodon SP
(264) Norman Smiley - Wilson Ramos C
Best Pick: Chase Headley
I love Headley this year, and had I not already gotten two third basemen early in the draft, I would have gone hard after Headley, probably two rounds before he was actually taken. I think Headley puts it together for the Yankees and gets his power numbers back in the 20-25 range and hits around .280.

Worst Pick: Tanner Roark
He is the odd man out in the Nationals rotation, so unless we add the long relief appearance category, he's probably not going to be too useful in a fantasy context.

My Pick: Wilson Ramos
Wieters, Zunino, and Ramos were all there for me still. I went with Ramos, as I think he can be around the 10th best catcher in fantasy. He's nothing special, so if he fails, I can get rid of him with limited consequences, but if he's solid, his value won't be much different than the third or fourth ranked catcher.

Round: 23 (Keepers: Gregory Polanco/Javier Baez)
(265) Norman Smiley - Gregory Polanco RF
(266) Vinnie Vegas - Javier Baez SS
(267) 3 Count - Jung Ho Kang SS
(268) Eugene - Josh Reddick RF
(269) LA Gore - Ervin Santana SP
(270) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Joe Nathan RP
(271) Bob Backlund - Tyler Clippard RP
(272) El Dandy - Byron Buxton CF
(273) Zack Ryder - Jon Gray SP
(274) GI Bro - Trevor Bauer SP
(275) Viscera - Dustin Ackley LF
(276) Kerwin White - Alex Rodriguez 3B
Best Pick: Trevor Bauer
He is still young and after taking some major steps backwards early in his development, he has started to progress forward. How much further he can go is a question, but he'll definitely get his chance to make an impact (And fun note: He was dropped before the season started).

Worst Pick: Byron Buxton
He barely played last year, which means his best experience was dominating low-A two years ago. He might still only start in High-A, so I am still putting his ETA as late-2016, and there would be nothing wrong if he took even longer than that.

My Pick: Gregory Polanco
Polanco made sense as a keeper. He struggled after a hot start in the majors last year, so if he sucks, he can easily be dropped, but he has big time potential, so I made a trade last season to acquire his rights. I'm hoping it pays off.

Round: 24
(277) Kerwin White - Yu Darvish SP
(278) Viscera - Brad Boxberger RP
(279) GI Bro - Alex Guerrero 2B
(280) Zack Ryder - Matt Wieters C
(281) El Dandy - Tony Watson RP
(282) Bob Backlund - Jason Hammel SP
(283) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Brandon Phillips 2B
(284) LA Gore - Carlos Martinez SP
(285) Eugene - Clay Buchholz SP
(286) 3 Count - Christian Bethancourt C
(287) Vinnie Vegas - Nick Castellanos 3B
(288) Norman Smiley - Chris Owings SS
Best Pick: Yu Darvish
He can be stashed on the DL the entire year, and then he gets him for a 22nd round pick. Really, what's the difference between a 24th round pick and a free agent? With Yu getting his surgery a little later than Harvey, it may not pay off to that extent, but it should still be a valuable addition considering that Jose Fernandez went in the 10th and will be coming back later this season than Yu next year.

Worst Pick: Christian Bethancourt
It's the second-to-last round, so I honestly wasn't sure if some of these were joke picks. Are Brad Boxberger and Tony Watson real people or are they made up? It's impossible to know. Still, getting a second third catcher who is known for his fielding and not hitting seems like a slight waste of a pick. Three catchers...I...I just...I just can't even fathom the thinking behind that.

My Pick: Chris Owings
I had no choice but to pick Chris Owings, and I actually really like him, but I have already dropped him for Brett Cecil, who was somehow not even drafted, to give me a fourth closer.

Round: 25
(289) Vinnie Vegas - Wade Miley SP
(290) Vinnie Vegas - Jake McGee RP
(291) 3 Count - Mark Teixeira 1B
(292) Eugene - Maikel Franco 3B
(293) LA Gore - Daisuke Matsuzaka SP
(294) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Ken Giles RP
(295) Bob Backlund - Henderson Alvarez SP
(296) El Dandy - J.J. Hardy SS
(297) Zack Ryder - Miguel Sano 3B
(298) GI Bro - Micah Johnson 2B
(299) Viscera - Jarred Cosart SP
(300) Bob Backlund - Mike Zunino C
Best Pick: Jake McGee
Because closers are incredibly undervalued. Also, shout out to Mike Zunino who fell to the final pick in the draft, and he'll probably outproduce Russell Martin.

Worst Pick: Maikel Franco
Yo, are we sure Franco is even good? I'm almost positive that he's not good. So drafting him and stashing him until a callup seems like a bad idea for a bad player. I bet he's dropped before April 15th.

My Pick: Nobody
I don't waste my time in the 25th round with the rest of these jobbers.

So, after breaking it down, one thing is perfectly clear, my team is going to cruise to a championship. I doubt I'll lose a single matchup this year. As for the rest, well, here's what the numbers of the best and worst picks say:

Bob Backlund 3
Vinnie Vegas 6-3=3
Viscera 3-1=2
Kerwin White 3-2=1
Eugene 2-1=1
GI Bro 2-2=0
Dr. Isaac Yankem, D.D.S. 2-3=-1
3 Count 2-4=-2
Zack Ryder 1-3=-2
El Dandy -3
LA Gore -3

I guess the most interesting thing about these results are that I had at least three thoughts on every team, but I had the most thoughts, by far, on Vinnie Vegas. This doesn't surprise me, as I always like his teams, and they always finish in 10th-12th place, so shoutout to Mr. Vegas for taking crappy players before I can. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Review of My 2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft - Part 2

Last week, we had our annual fantasy baseball draft, and it sure was a doozy. I am going to break it down round-by-round in three separate parts (this is part two), but before we get started, I have given each team a nickname based on the jobber that they most represent. Here are my explanations.

Norman Smiley – Because my dance moves are sick.
Vinnie Vegas - This guy is a gambler, and I respect that.
3 Count - This guy looked like a boy band member in high school, so this is fitting.
Eugene - Idiot who tries to take other people's gimmicks, but he can't pull it off.
LA Gore - If you told me LA Gore was his real Dad, it would explain so much. He ruined his family line of being man enough to wear cutoff jean shorts.
Dr. Isaac Yankem, D.D.S. - I have no idea who this clown is, but somebody else referred to him as "a doctor, but not a real doctor." That describes dentists pretty well.
Bob Backlund - Crafty, sometimes unintelligible, but shockingly effective as he kicked ass in the 2014 season.
El Dandy - He's Mexican, and Bret Hart let us know that he should not be underestimated.
Zack Ryder - Had a moment of glory, but is now firmly stuck in jobber territory.
GI Bro - He thinks he's like Booker T, but he's just a cheap knockoff.
Viscera - Large and sexually charged. Has glasses that are referred to as "The Big Nasties."
Kerwin White - Shockingly good at golf.

You can check out the first part here, but now onto part two:

Round: 9 (Keepers: Jose Abreu)
(97) Kerwin White - Evan Gattis C
(98) Vinnie Vegas - David Wright 3B
(99) 3 Count - Elvis Andrus SS
(100) Eugene - Brett Gardner CF
(101) LA Gore - Lance Lynn SP
(102) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Ryan Zimmerman 3B
(103) Bob Backlund - David Robertson RP
(104) El Dandy - Dellin Betances RP
(105) Zack Ryder - Michael Wacha SP
(106) GI Bro - Doug Fister SP
(107) Viscera - Ben Zobrist 2B
(108) Norman Smiley - Jose Abreu 1B
Best Pick: David Wright
David Wright had a really terrible year last year, but he definitely has the potential to bounce back to get to his 2013 form. He has been a very good player for a long time, and I think he is probably going to at least produce around the 100th most value this year, but he has the potential to be about 30 spots higher than that.

Worst Pick: Lance Lynn
I feel like Lynn reached his ceiling last year, and that is what you have to be expecting to draft him this high. He is a big time regression candidate, and there were a lot more exciting options available at this point, including his teammate, Michael Wacha.

My Pick: Jose Abreu
Bravo to me picking Jose Abreu in the 11th round last year. Kind of a no-brainer to keep him.

Round: 10
(109) Norman Smiley - Jose Fernandez SP
(110) Viscera - Alex Wood SP
(111) GI Bro - Rusney Castillo CF
(112) Zack Ryder - Jimmy Rollins SS
(113) El Dandy - Mat Latos SP
(114) Bob Backlund - Charlie Blackmon RF
(115) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Mark Melancon RP
(116) LA Gore - Daniel Murphy 2B
(117) Eugene - Cody Allen RP
(118) 3 Count - Hyun-Jin Ryu SP
(119) Vinnie Vegas - Josh Harrison RF
(120) Kerwin White - Matt Adams 1B
Best Pick: Alex Wood
For some strange reason, Alex Wood got removed from the Braves rotation for part of the season despite being one of their best pitchers. He got back in the rotation and dominated some more. With him definitely having a spot in the rotation, I think he will provide excellent value for the 10th round.

Worst Pick: Jimmy Rollins
Again, there are a lot of middle infielders that I would rather have than Rollins, as I see no upside in the pick but plenty of room for downside.

My Pick: Jose Fernandez
I try my best to be diabolical when it comes to fantasy sports. If there is a loophole, I want to find a way to exploit it. If there is any edge I can find, I will find it, and I will not feel bad about it; in fact, it will raise my self-esteem. I had a feeling that GI Bro wanted a player, so I casually threw out a trade offer to Kerwin White, plainly explained how I wanted to use his pick to screw over Xavier, and sure enough, Dempsey was in on the plan. We swapped our 10th and 11th round picks, and I chose Jose Fernandez, who Woods was planning on drafting with his next selection. Oh, and I still like Jose Fernandez. Yeah, he's out for the first couple months, and yeah, pitchers struggle with command when they come back, but those are normal pitchers. Jose Fernandez is a freak, in the most positive way possible, and if anybody can come back and dominate, it is going to be him.

Round: 11 (Keepers: Nelson Cruz)
(121) Kerwin White - J.D. Martinez LF
(122) Vinnie Vegas - Neil Walker 2B
(123) 3 Count - Alex Rios RF
(124) Eugene - Salvador Perez C
(125) LA Gore - Nelson Cruz LF
(126) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Chase Utley 2B
(127) Bob Backlund - Lucas Duda 1B
(128) El Dandy - Yadier Molina C
(129) Zack Ryder - Pedro Alvarez 3B
(130) GI Bro - Melky Cabrera LF
(131) Viscera - Trevor Plouffe 3B
(132) Norman Smiley - Xander Bogaerts 3B
Best Pick: J.D. Martinez
Matinez seemed like a guy that may have just had a couple good months in Houston and his career had fizzled. Then he made some mechanical changes in Detroit and set the world on fire. If those changes are real, then this is great value. I doubt he's quite as good as last year, but he probably won't fall off as much as others may expect.

Worst Pick: Chase Utley
I hate doing this, because I LOVE Chase Utley. Even had him on my team last year. He had a really nice year for Chase Utley at this stage in his career, and that made him about the 120th most valuable player. That was when his body held up for the most part and he played about as well as can be expected. This pick lacks any upside, but because of age, provides significant downside.

My Pick: Xander Bogaerts
So my incredible plan to screw over GI Bro worked doubly well with the second half of that trade with Kerwin White. Full disclosure, GI Bro's real team name is Xandy Brogaerts, yet he did not get his man. He must feel like a pathetic loser, and he has implied to me as much. But I really like Bogaerts to live up to the promise he showed before last season. Going back to his original position will help him feel more comfortable and just having a year under his belt where he had to deal with struggles will lead him to success.

Round: 12 (Keepers: Aroldis Chapman, Christian Yelich)
(133) Kerwin White - Jayson Werth RF
(134) Viscera - Ian Kennedy SP
(135) GI Bro - Wil Myers RF
(136) Zack Ryder - Aroldis Chapman RP
(137) El Dandy - Adam LaRoche 1B
(138) Bob Backlund - Ben Revere CF
(139) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - A.J. Pollock CF
(140) LA Gore - Francisco Liriano SP
(141) Eugene - Howie Kendrick 2B
(142) 3 Count - Kenley Jansen RP
(143) Norman Smiley - Christian Yelich LF
(144) Norman Smiley - Trevor Rosenthal RP
Best Pick: Ben Revere
Is there really a difference between Revere and Chris Carter? I mean, yes, they are completely different players, but they are both excellent in one category, Revere in stolen bases, and Carter in home runs. Carter will get more RBI, Revere more runs. And yes, stolen bases are easier to come by, but the difference in batting average is probably enough to make up for that. Ben Revere isn't a very fun guy to have on your team, but he is an effective one.

Worst Pick: Kenley Jansen
I don't know how you take an injured closer over a healthy one, and there were plenty of healthy ones on the board. In fact, I picked one of them two spots later.

My Picks: Christian Yelich and Trevor Rosenthal
I managed to get an extra 11th round pick for a basketball trade, and then I turned that pick into Christian Yelich in the 12th, because Vinnie Vegas only wanted to keep Javier Baez, so he traded back up to the 11th, and I got Yelich at a steep discount. Nothing more to say there except I'm a genius.

I cannot express how undervalued closers are in this league. Rosenthal was just sitting there, and it came to the point where it was dumb not to draft him. Greg Holland had a historic fall last year, but to get Rosenthal at the end of 12 provides great value and gets my bullpen started in a nice way.

Round: 13 (Keepers: Johnny Cueto)
(145) Norman Smiley - Anibal Sanchez SP
(146) Vinnie Vegas - Andrew Cashner SP
(147) 3 Count - Homer Bailey SP
(148) Eugene - Yordano Ventura SP
(149) LA Gore - Johnny Cueto SP
(150) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Shin-Soo Choo LF
(151) Bob Backlund - Jose Quintana SP
(152) El Dandy - Fernando Rodney RP
(153) Zack Ryder - Michael Pineda SP
(154) GI Bro - Russell Martin C
(155) Viscera - Oswaldo Arcia RF
(156) Kerwin White - Joc Pederson LF
Best Pick: Shin-Soo Choo
There were some pitchers I liked in this round, but I think Choo will bounce back and get near his old established levels. This is the part of the draft where hitting starts to thin out while plenty of pitching is still available, so I Choo Choo Choose Choo as the best pick in this round.

Worst Pick: Russell Martin
I feel like Russell Martin is just as valuable of a catcher as the next 10-12 guys that went after him. Is he really going to provide more than Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos? I really doubt it, and catching is tough, so they can fade fast, and Martin is no spring chicken.

My Pick: Anibal Sanchez
This was a tough decision, as there were a few guys who could provide similar value. Sanchez's health is definitely a concern, but he has shown the ability to make it through a season fully healthy, and I'm hoping he can repeat that. I strongly considered Yordano Ventura, and even now I can see the merits of either pick.

Round: 14
(157) Kerwin White - Jhonny Peralta SS
(158) Viscera - Justin Verlander SP
(159) GI Bro - Khris Davis LF
(160) Zack Ryder - Austin Jackson CF
(161) El Dandy - Zach Britton RP
(162) Bob Backlund - Jedd Gyorko 2B
(163) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Jered Weaver SP
(164) LA Gore - Collin McHugh SP
(165) Eugene - Alcides Escobar SS
(166) 3 Count - Martin Prado 3B
(167) Vinnie Vegas - Eric Hosmer 1B
(168) Norman Smiley - Danny Salazar SP
Best Pick: Jedd Gyorko
I love Jedd Gyorko. I loved him last year, and it was tough to see him go this year, but there were a few middle infielders still high on my board, so I passed him by. I think he bounces back and gets back to his 2013 levels, but it's probably for the best that we separate for a while, as it will make our reunion all that more wonderful.

Worst Pick: Justin Verlander
Stick a fork in him; he's done (as a top level pitcher). His ceiling means he could be about the 150th most valuable player, but that ain't nothing to hang your hat on.

My Pick: Danny Salazar
So, this is definitely the worst pick in the draft, as the Indians sent him down, and I dropped him to pick up Daniel Norris, but before that happened, I wrote this ballad:
Oh, Danny boy, my team, my team is drafting, from round to round, one day you'll be mine. I have no idea the melody of the song from there, but Salazar is a guy everybody loved last year, and I love him again this year, maybe even more. I think he lives up to his potential this season, as he really put things together at the end of last year.

Round: 15 (Keepers: Brian Dozier)
(169) Norman Smiley - Jean Segura SS
(170) Vinnie Vegas - Yan Gomes C
(171) 3 Count - Justin Morneau 1B
(172) Eugene - Jake Odorizzi SP
(173) LA Gore - Dallas Keuchel SP
(174) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Rick Porcello SP
(175) Bob Backlund - Erick Aybar SS
(176) El Dandy - Curtis Granderson RF
(177) Zack Ryder - Joe Mauer 1B
(178) GI Bro - Brian Dozier 2B
(179) Viscera - Glen Perkins RP
(180) Kerwin White - Rougned Odor 2B
Best Pick: Jake Odorizzi
I really like Odorizzi this year. He really put it together after a rough start last year, and there is no reason to expect him to regress. I could definitely see him going about 50 picks higher next year.

Worst Pick: Justin Morneau
Although I used to refer to him as Justin MorYES, those days are long since gone. He was good last year, but he is going to be in a platoon situation, and he'll be another year older which means more worries about regression and injuries.

My Pick: Jean Segura
I took Segura to finish out my middle infield. He was excellent in the first half of 2013 before fading towards the end. I think a lot of his fade had to do wit him being in the majors for the first time, so I don't see that as being an issue. As for 2014, it was a total disaster of a year, especially off the field. I think he gets back to slightly below where his 2013 numbers ended up, and I have no doubt that he'll be incredibly valuable in the steals department.

Round: 16
(181) Kerwin White - Yasmany Tomas RF
(182) Viscera - Asdrubal Cabrera SS
(183) GI Bro - Koji Uehara RP
(184) Zack Ryder - Steve Cishek RP
(185) El Dandy - Danny Santana SS
(186) Bob Backlund - Shelby Miller SP
(187) Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS - Drew Storen RP
(188) LA Gore - Michael Cuddyer RF
(189) Eugene - Steve Pearce 1B
(190) 3 Count - Matt Cain SP
(191) Vinnie Vegas - Lorenzo Cain CF
(192) Norman Smiley - Drew Hutchison SP
Best Pick: Shelby Miller
I think Miller could take a huge step forward this year, so I was very disappointed that he was snagged before I could take him at the end of the round. The stuff has always been there, but his command has come and gone. I think he settled down last year, and I think his stuff could take him to another level.

Worst Pick: Yasmany Tomas
I think this is a total hype pick as all the other Cubans have been dominating, so why not this guy? He might turn into a good player, but I think it is going to take some seasoning in the minor leagues, and the bat isn't enough of a guarantee to hang on to him.

My Pick: Drew Hutchison

A solid Plan B. Hutchison is a guy that a lot of the fantasy gurus (who all know just as much as you and me) are touting for this season, which really angered me, because had they not, I probably could have gotten him four rounds later. Anyway, Hutchison has a lot of statistical markers that he could be much better this season than he was last year, and I got a Blue Jay pitcher after the unfortunate injury to Marcus Stroman.

And that wraps up Part 2. Part 3 should be up in a couple days.