Move Over 2010, It’s A New Year Of Trash Talk!

It is hard to believe 2010 is over and gone already, but nevertheless we have blasted through another year here at Emptywheel full of substantive and important issues on the merits and fun and relaxation with Trash Talking. And another year of football is heading down the stretch. Big props to the TCU Horned Frogs who capped a perfect 13-0 season with a solid game and huge win over the powerful Wisconsin Badgers. By the way, non-AQ schools are now 4-1 vs AQ schools in BCS bowl games, those stuck up holier than thou Big-10 and SEC school officials ought to just shut the fuck up about TCU and Boise State not belonging on the big stage.

After yesterday’s debacle, however, you have to wonder if the Big 10 belongs on the big stage. The three yards and a cloud of dusters managed to go 0 for five in New Years day bowl games and actually managed to lose four of them all in the same time slot. In all, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin all lost. Michigan and Michigan State just flat out got embarrassed. Pretty bleak, and Ohio State still has to play another SEC school, Arkansas, so if the past decade’s record by the Big-10 against SEC schools is any indication, it could still get worse for the Big-10. To be fair, my beloved Pac-10 did not, except the Ducks and the Trees, have a really great year overall either, and we still do not know how those two will perform in their respective bowl games.

Now, on to the pros, who are completing the final Sunday of the regular season. The biggest game by far today is Da Bears at Green Bay. Hard as it may seem to believe, the Pack needs to win to even get in the playoffs. But Aaron Rodgers is back from his concussion and absolutely shredded the Giants last week, throwing for over 400 yards and four TDs. The Bears cover two pass defense is not a good matchup for the GB passing attack, so Julius Peppers and the line are going to have to get constant pressure on Rodgers if they want a chance to win. Bears have looked very solid for several weeks now, and Jay Cutler has been playing surprisingly consistent QB for them; but the edge has to go to the Pack on the Frozen Tundra today.

Their records may not be very good, but the Rams and SeaSquawks are playing for the NFC West title and attendant home playoff game. Will it be an 8-8 St. Louis or a 7-9 Seattle that emerges? The Rams have really been surprising this year, even though young Sam Bradford has had a little bit of a slump the last few weeks. Seattle QB is a concern, Hasselbeck is questionable and Charlie Whitehurst inexperienced and shaky. But the game is in Seattle, which evens things out quit a bit. This is a toss up, but I am rooting for the Rams.

The Giants not only have to beat the Skins, but have to also have the Bears beat the Packers to make the playoffs. Coughlins job is probably safe with a win irrespective of whether that results in a playoff berth or not, but a loss to Washington might make his retention shaky. Especially with Bill Cowher indicating he is ready to return to coaching. The Giants should win this game in spite of it being at Fed-Ex Field. Jacksonville needs to beat the Texans in Houston and have the Colts lose at home to the Titans in order to win the AFC South and make the playoffs. Neither are likely to occur. Look for the Texans to play for Kubiak’s job and win over the David Garrard less Jags, and Peyton to take care of business for another division title.

Philly hosting the Cowboys should be an interesting game; Cowboys are playing much better and the Iggles are suddenly in a funk; but the game is in Philly and I will take Mike Vick and the Eagles for that reason. Dallas reportedly is going to make Jason Garrett head coach for next year. The rest of the schedule is mostly just marking time; look for Niners over Cards, Tebows to lose to Rivers and the Bolts, Saints over Bucs, Falcons over Carolina, Chefs over Rayduhs, Ravens over Bengals, Steelers over Browns and Pats over Fish. That leaves the Jets and the suddenly semi-respectable Toronto Bills. Jets are already in for a wild card and have little to play for, which makes this a toss up.

That is the schedule folks. Blend up some Bloody Marys and cut that hangover edge, get your couch freak on and let’s rumble!

Fat Trash

Hi-de-ho folks, are you feeling as large and as inflated as I am? Jeebus. Santa sent me a box of edible goodies from Zingermans and then my wife started cooking. I believe I need just one more wafer thin mint…..

The NFL schedule is well under way for week 15. The Steelers already crushed the Panthers last Thursday night, and the hapless Cardinals won a squeaker over the feckless Cowboys last night. It was a pathetic, yet curiously fun game to watch. The best quarterback in the game was a rookie from Fordham. Scary.

The game of the day today is likely the Teh Jets at Da Bears. The Jets QB is nursing a sore shoulder; Rex Ryan would be far more interested if it was Sanchize’s foot instead. But Sanchez will start, and Ryan better focus on Brian Urlacher and the Bears defensive line, lest he suffer the agony of defeet. Jay Cutler is not exactly lighting the stat board up like Kurt Warner, but he has played a lot better and more consistently since being shepherded by Mike Martz. This game is really a tossup, maybe slight edge to the homeboys.

The “other” New York team, the Gents, are also in a huge game, which just so happens to be on the Frozen Tundra in the land of cheese. Aaron Rodgers is back for the Pack and should be fine, although the Giants have been rough on opposing quarterbacks this year. Both teams suffered crushing losses last week, the Pack to Brady and the Pats in a surprisingly close game without Rodgers, and the Giants, of course, in the soul crushing last second loss to Mike Vick, DeSean Jackson and the Iggles. Another pickem, with a slight edge to the home team.

I can’t decide which of the other games are the third best story today, so it is a tie between Vikes at Eagles and Peyton and the Colts visiting the Black Hole in Oakland. The latest from Adam Shefter is that the Eagles/Vikes game is postponed until Tuesday because of the wild winter storm invading Philly and the more tha half foot of snow expected during the game. More time for the Geezer to get ready! Now Favre versus Vick – that would be some kind of fun. The Colts really need a win against the Rayduhs, but it will be a lot harder than they want. I look for Manning to insure enough points to pull it out, but am very tempted to take the Silver and Black for the upset.

The Saints in Hot’Lanta Monday night should be a great game, but neither team’s playoff hopes ride on it. The Saints are coming on and Matty Ice and the Falcons never lose at home. The rest of the games are okay, but not great. Bucs should easily dispatch the SeaSquawks and the Bolts will kill the Bengals, who have just quit. Houston at Denver is only even worth a mention because it figures Gary Kubiak will be coaching one of these teams next year; which one is a good question. Sexy Rexy Grossman and the Deadskins should lose to the Jags and the Chefs should be able to cook the suddenly lost at sea Titans (unless Kerry Collins goes off, which he can still do). Ravens over Brownies and Bieber Brady and Pats over the Toronto Bills. That leaves the battle of the NFC West bulge, the 5-9 49ers at the 6-8 Rams. Obviously, with records like that, this game will likely decide the winner of the division crown and a playoff home game.

UPDATE – Ooops! Forgot the Kitties at the Fish. Cats eat Fish, then smack their lips.

Snowy and Wooden Trash

The noticeable lull in the NFL for a couple of weeks is over. We are down to the last three weeks of the season and there are big and interesting games everywhere on the schedule. And the cold and snowy weather is harshing on the pro’s mellow, which always makes things even more exciting. So let’s get down to it.

The Show Me State Showdown. Go figure, but Kansas City at St. Louis is both an important and very interesting game. Young Sam Bradford has the Rams much improved and at 6-7 they, incredibly, have a real shot at winning the NFC West. The Chefs at 8-5 took a large hit last week losing Matt Cassell’s appendix and the game to the Bolts. But they still have a game lead on the Bolts, if they win out they win the AFC West. Not sure why, but I think the Rams get it done.

Saints at Rayvens. Don’t look now, but Drew Fookin Brees has got Reggie Bush back, and with him the juice in the offense has returned. People do not give Bush enough credit for what he provides the Saints. The advancing age of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and the Ravens defense really showed when they were gassed at the end of last week’s game against the Texans. Saints going to put another chink in the old armor.

In some ways, there is no bigger game that Jags at the Peytons. Jacksonville has a one game lead on the suddenly injury depleted and pedestrian Colts who, at 7-6, likely would miss the playoffs if they lose to the 8-5 Jags. But the won’t, Peyton will get this done and pull the Colts into a tie for the AFC South. Falcons at SeaSquawks looks like an important game too; but it’s not. Falcons have quietly been the class of the NFC this year and Seattle is no match. This is why the Rams game is so important. The Donkos visit the Black Hole, a lovely garden spot for Tim Tebow’s first start. The Rayduhs are gonna crush the kid.

Eagles at Giants. Eli, Vick, the weather, and Santa is safe from the Philly fans as the New Yawkers are much more hospitable. Doesn’t get any better than this. I have felt the Giants were slowly turning into a surprisingly solid team for a while now. The Eagles have been on a tear since Vick took over. Both teams are 9-4 and tied atop the NFC East, so this is a huge game for playoff seeding and since the Iggles won the first meeting, they would take a commanding lead with a win. Both teams are banged up at receiver, with the Gents losing Steve Smith for the season and the Eagles DeSean Jackson nursing a banged up foot that will not feel good on the cold field. This is probably a pickem; I would take the Iggles were it in Philly, but in NY it is anybody’s guess. Slight edge to Vick and the Eagles because they have more ways to score points.

The Jets Jets Jets wander a little dazed and confused into Stillerville. Polamalu is out with a flaring achilles. Dirty Sanchez suddenly looks lost. This game is not as good as it looks on paper or ought to be, Big Ben and the Steelers are built to win this kind of game, and they will. Same with the Packers visiting the winter wonderland at Foxborough. Even with Aaron Rodgers the Packers were going to get smoked; without Rodgers, still out with a concussion, it could be brutal. Oh, and Bieber Brady has not lost a home game since 2006. That leaves the Da Bears at the Vikes at the alcohol free University of Minnesota outdoor stadium. If the Geezer were able to go, this might be damn interesting game. Joe Webb can run; but not on this field against Urlacher and the Bears. Game over.

That is all the snowy part, now off to the Wooden segment of today’s Trash. In case you have not heard, Geno Auriemma, Maya Moore and the UConn Lady Huskies are on the doorstep of history. They have not lost a basketball game in two years, eight months and 13 days, a streak of 87 games. With a win this afternoon over 11th ranked Ohio State in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden the top-ranked Huskies would match the 88-game winning streak of UCLA’s men’s teams from 1971-74.

This is one of those Joe Dimaggio hitting streak like records most people assumed would never be broken. Honestly, Geno and the Huskies are due all the credit in the world, but it is not the same as Wooden and the Bruins. Give them their own space and respect in the women’s game and stop the comparisons with the men and John Wooden. Please.

Each are entitled to their own space. But in that space, stop for a minute and give UConn their due, because what they have done, and are doing, is truly remarkable. And a win today over OSU and high scoring star center Jantel Lavender will not come easy. There is also some history as Ohio State coach Jim Foster was influential in getting Geno Auriemma into coaching at the start of his career.

So with that, let’s get yer trash on!

Militarized Trash Talk

When Dwight Eisenhower warned of the creeping military-industrial complex, little did he know it would invade even the football trash talk of the liberal blog set. But, yet, here we are this week all soldiered up.

That is because the big story today is the Army/Navy game. The reason I say Army/Navy is the big story is because I refuse to discuss the sham going on at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York where the Heisman Trophy is going to be handed to a professional athlete who is also a petty thief; Cam Newton ought to be disqualified as ineligible to compete instead of playing for a national championship and receiving the Heisman. The NCAA and the BCS are both corrupt and sick jokes.

As to the game itself, it looks like a fair fight for once. The Midshipmen have won eight in a row over the Black Knights, many of the games not even close (Navy has outscored Army 89-6 over the last three games). But his year both teams have had good seasons and are going bowling, with Navy to the Poinsettia Bowl and Army to the Armed Services Bowl. The Black Knights are ranked ninth in the country in rushing (260 yards per game) and tied for 12th in turnover margin at plus-one per game. But Navy is on a roll behind senior quarterback Ricky Dobbs and the vaunted triple option offense has been grinding over opponents. There is also the measure of the common opponent both teams played this year; Navy crushed Notre Dame, while teh fighting Irish fairly easily dispatched Army. So, prediction here is another solid victory by Navy, but Army may finally at least be able to get in the endzone for the first time in four years.

PROS: There are only four games of real interest this weekend: Giants at Vikes, Pats at Bears, Iggles at Dallas and Chefs at Bolts. The Giants have had an up and down year, but seem to be generally getting things together down the stretch. Bad Eli has been a turnover machine and, of course, the Vikes have the king of turnover machines, the Geezer himself. But the Geezer is hurt, can he play? Will he start? Of course he will, that is what he does. But I would not be surprised if he is ineffective and sits down after about a quarter; especially considering that Tavaris jackson has been okay in relief the last couple of weeks (although not nearly as good as the scores of those games would lead you to believe). This should really be an interesting game; for the most part, the Vikes have played better than their poor record indicates, but they are nowhere near last year’s team. The Vikings are at home and want to finish off the Read more

The Walking Wounded The NFL Treats Like Disposable Trash

The bad news: Due to technical difficulties beyond our control, arrival of your Trash Talk thread has been delayed. The good news: The pilots have slept off most of their intoxication and managed to stumble into the cockpit and are ready for take off! I don’t know why, but it just seems like football, both pro and college, is in a weird doldrum recently. Boise State’s hard knocks overtime loss to Nevada took a lot of the anti-BCS anarchist intrigue air out of the balloon – although, to be fair, TCU is still there in that role I guess. Doesn’t seem the same though. And in the NFL, there just are not a lot of overly compelling story lines right now, although I think that will change when we get down to the last three weeks of the regular season.

Before we get down to the weekly game talk, there is a serious side of the business of football, a part that is not a game, that needs to be discussed. The long term health concerns of the players. As seemingly well paid and glamorous a job professional football player seems to be, the fact is when their career is over, these men are still relatively quite young chronologically but much older, physically compromised and beat up physically and, far too often as we now know, mentally too. The video from former NFL player and current NFL Player’s Association staff member Nolan Harrison describes player injuries as they relate to health and safety on the field and once a career is over.

The National Football League is insanely profitable. The average NFL game attendance league wide is 67,519. For every game of a 16 game schedule, and if you were not aware, teams make customers buying season tickets also buy tickets to at least two, sometimes three, preseason games at full regular season face value as part of the season ticket package. That is before you even get to the otherworldly television broadcast packages the NFL has negotiated, which are the most lucrative, by far, of any in the entertainment/sports industry. For the period of 2006 to 2013, the broadcast rights fees generated are: CBS $622.5 million/yr, Fox $712.5 million/yr, NBC $650 million/yr, and ESPN $1.1 billion/yr for a total yearly broadcast revenue of $3.085 billion per year. That is without delving into perhaps the most profitable income streams for NFL owners, the ancillary modalities such as merchandizing, advertising and concessions. There is a lot of money being made here, total revenue for the league was estimated to be over $6 Billion a year five years ago; it is undoubtedly significantly higher now.

With NFL owners threatening a lockout unless players agree to major concessions, the NFL is headed for a labor dispute that would leave stadium seats empty, TV screens blank and the Emptywheel Blog Trashless next fall. The knee jerk reaction may be that it is hard to get too worked up over a battle between billionaire owners and millionaire players, but keep in mind that the average NFL player is not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, has a average salary of well less than a million dollars a year and the average NFL career is only 3.5 years. That is pretty limited compared to the owners who have a lifetime license to sit back print money.

So, when the expected shutdown and lockout by the fat cat NFL owners occurs next season, keep in mind the disparity between the owners and players, and the very real long term health issues the players face as a result of earning the owners all that money and providing Sunday enjoyment for the rest of us. Beneath the high dollar glossy surface, it is still a fairness in a dangerous workplace issue with a union trying to better the conditions for the rank and file workers. Oh, and also keep in mind that the owners have negotiated TV deals that guarantee them revenues approachng $4.5 billion even if games are not played in the 2011 season. Coupled with the elimination of $4.4 billion in player salaries and benefits during a lockout, it could make a 2011 season without games still very profitable for the owners.

[Am going to add more substantive content shortly, but wanted to get this up for the peoples to yammer on in the meantime since both Quackers-Beavers and two chumps from the pay to play SEC Conference are currently in action]

Turkey Trash: Eat the Bird and Pass the Damn Ball

Times are tough all over. Why I even have some Big Wheel trying to repossess my Trash Talk. But I done securitized, privatized and lobotomized the damn thing to where she can’t really get her claws on it. So, I’m back!

First off, let me, and on behalf of Marcy, give you all the greatest of thanks for patronizing this blog. As I have said many times before, and I truly mean it, you folks are the greatest, brightest and most wonderful group of folks imaginable; and please know we completely realize and appreciate it. Thanksgiving and joy to one and all!!

Now, back to business, cause you know we never get sidetracked here (okay, that may not be totally true). I do not know diddly squat about food other than I like to eat it; this is a sports post and it will so reflect. Arrrrr! So, it is the traditional weird Thanksgiving schedule, and we are trashing way early; this post may maintain on through the Sunday slate, it may have to be superseded, we shall see.

In the first substantive thing on the slate, I would like to convey a big fuck you to the President of Ohio State University (sorry KLynn), who in true ugly Sweater Vest arrogant 2 yards and a clod ‘o sod fashion, has made a total ass of himself. From the NY Daily News: Read more

Trash Talk: Last Call For The F1 Circus, Crunch Time in NCAA Football

A little late to the post with Trash this weekend, had an issue crop up last night after a long week. But we are getting down to crunch time in both Formula One, last race of the season and it will decide the Drivers’ Crown, and it is now down to the last make it or break it couple of weeks in college football ahead of the conference championships. And, of course, there is a full slate of NFL games too.

So, I will be along in a bit with some actual content. Or maybe Marcy will slide some in too. I am sorry, long night and a bit of an aimless day so far and i need to get the post up and quit waiting for my fingers to spew out some malarky from me. So chat away, make your own prognostications and let loose. See, you get what you need!

Update: Okay, two bits of content, at least.

First, I think this is all a plot to make sure Boise State has a shot at #1 by the end of the year.

The No. 2 [Auburn] Tigers brushed off the storm brought by allegations of a pay-for-play scheme with another dominant offensive performance, beating Georgia, 49-31, in front of 87,451 to clinch the Southeastern Conference West championship and a berth in the conference title game.

There was a renewed allegation last week from an agent’s representative that Cecil Newton Sr., Cam Newton’s father, solicited money from Mississippi State when his son was being recruited. That is an N.C.A.A. violation that could result in Newton’s being declared ineligible, even if Cecil Newton did not solicit money from Auburn.

This is all headed to Auburn being disqualified just in time to leave Boise State with the best record.

And then there’s the NFL game of the weekend. Well, maybe not. While I’m looking forward to the Pats-Stillers game, I think the Brownies thumping of the Pats exposed the real New England, so I expect the home team Stillers to win handily.

Which brings us to the Ryan bowl.  In the Manning bowl, the expected winner–Peyton–won. And you gotta place $$ on Rex here. But I’m going to bet Rob Ryan’s Brownies surprise the J-E-T-S-Jets this weekend.

And in the loser bowl? The Bills will finally get their much deserved first win against the Stafford-less, Hanson-less Lions (though I hope not). Go Kitties.

Zenyatta! An LA Woman Runs For The Roses & History

There is great football this weekend, both by student and professional athletes. Obviously, that should be discussed in comments. It’s what we do here. Bizarrely as it may be, this blog exists in its current form because of some weird joining of legal thought and passion for football, with a smattering of divine intervention by Phred and perhaps a few too many pitchers of Beamish. Go figure; that is the randomness of entropy and the blogosphere. Nevertheless, here we are.

And so, here we are and I serve up a prime weekend Trash Talk of horse. Sue me if you object; my attorney, Mary, she of midwestern common horse sense, will answer and defend. Aggressively.

The story of Zenyatta was first adopted and incorporated by the Emptywheel blog just over a month ago when she ran to defend her crown in the Lady Secret Stakes at Hollywood Park in the City of Angels, California. Well, we are all in now. So much so that we had an official liveblog reporter at Hollywood Park for the Lady Secret, Rosalind. Rosalind not only went to Hollywood for the Lady Secret, she took pictures and came to feel the force that is Zenyatta. Although a bit bottled up and not quite as focused as normal, Zenyatta brought the heart of the champion she is and closed out a win, and defense of her crown, in the Lady Secret.

The Lady Secret win at Hollywood park made Zenyatta an unprecedented 19-0 in her racing career. She won the Breeders Cup Classic last year; other than the Triple Crown races of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, the biggest, and arguably more annually competitive, horse race in the world every year. No woman had ever won this bring all comers race before, but Zenyatta closed out all the best boys in the world, in the biggest race in the world. In style.

Last years’ Breeder’s Cup Classic win made Zenyatta a star, and fixture among the greatest horses of all time, and almost certainly surpassing the truly remarkable and astounding Rachel Alexandra to take her place as the greatest filly of all time. But now comes the 2010 Breeders Cup Classic. Rachel Alexandra, other fillies, and indeed almost all other horses regardless of sex are either in the backseat, or paying damn close attention as Zenyatta makes a move on unquestionable immortality.

A second Breeders Cup Classic win against the best male horses the world has to offer would put Zenyatta in the untouchable category. Babe Ruth and Secretariat land. Where, arguably, no horse, male or female, has gone before. This is truly stunning stuff.

Now, I have no idea whether this horse can close the deal or not. But, at a remarkable and unprecedented 19-0, Zenyatta has earned the reputation, and buildup, that puts her in this position. Seriously. In spades. The last horse that came into a race like this with the weight of history and expectation of otherworldliness on it’s shoulders was Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes. We know what happened in that race.

So, we shall see. There is stiff competition from the boys (so to speak). She will have to beat some studs including Paddy O’Prado, Blame and, perhaps most significantly, Bob Baffert’s Lookin at Lucky. Despite her eternal greatness, the odds and history are stacked against Zenyatta. While there is almost no chance Zenyatta will pull away from a talented field like Secretariat did in the 1973 Belmont, may the modern day Pegasus fly to a win of any nature and history!

There is also, of course, college and pro football; not to mention the penultimate race in the F1 Circus this year, the Brazilian Grand Prix. Somewhat incredibly, Fernando Alonso of the real red animal, the prancing horse of Ferrari, leads Mark Webber of Red Bull by eleven points going into Sao Paulo. Red Bull is fast in practice, but it is Sebastian Vettel leading the way. With only this race and Abu Dhabi left in the season, the race is indeed on!

It has been a long hard slog this week folks, let’s rip this joint and trash it up!

Trash Talk: It Is All About Dallas

Sometimes you just have to focus on what is important. And despite the concern over the Jack Tatum like tendencies of those out of control thugs in Pittsburgh, the most important story this week is Dallas. And it is hard to figure which Dallas is having a crappier week, Cowboys or Clark. You see, the Dallas Cowboys, well, they suck. And Dallas Clark suffered a severe wrist injury, apparently during the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s win over the Redskins, that will require season ending surgery. This is a huge injury as Dallas Clark is Peyton Manning’s safety blanket, with a 100 catch year last season and well on the way to another one this year. Not just any catches either, Clark is clutch. Comes at a horrible time for the Peytons too, as wide receiver Austin Collie is out and running back Joseph Addai is nursing a shoulder with nerve issues. The Colts have a bye and it looks like they need it.

NFL: It is not really an appealing slate of games this week. By far really the best one looks to be the Vikes visiting the Geezer’s old stomping grounds at Lambeau. They still do not resemble the team they were last year, but the Vikings seem to be coming together a bit finally. The Packers were pegged by many as Super Bowl bound, but have been literally decimated by injuries and are a disappointing 3-3 after six games. Help may be on its way for Green Bay though, with Al Harris, Atari Bigby and Clay Matthews all expected to return to the field. That is a lot of help, so it should be a fair fight. What could be better than a Sunday night game in the late fall in Lambeau with the Geezer playing the foil? No clue who will win, but it ought to be a hell of a game.

The Giants at the Boys doesn’t exactly carry the weight it usually does, but Dallas is desperate, and NY can really make a step toward the top of the NFC with a win; for a team that was said to be in turmoil just a couple of weeks ago, the Giants are suddenly looking pretty solid. Pats visit the curiously flailing Bolts. Heck, the Chargers are such a wreck even their former stars are off the road. Pats are plugging along; the offense will always be there and you just know Bill Bel will have the defense gelling as the season progresses. Tough week for the Bolts to rebound, even though they are at home; I’ll take the Pats. Raiders at Broncos could be interesting – maybe – but it is at Mile High, so edge to the Donkos. Eagles at Titans and Skins at Bears are the only other games even worth mentioning. Both are hard to read. If I had to bet, I would ride with the two Read more

Trash: They Might Be Giants

Was discussing the state of the NFL last night with Marcy, and the prevailing opinion was an unusual lack of particularly exciting or compelling story lines. A strange parity and blaah seems to have set in to the league that hardly ever suffers from that. So, guess what, screw it I’m going with baseball as the lead.

The rookies on the LCS big stage Texas Rangers had the mighty Yankees on the ropes last night and forgot to step on the beast’s throat. Can’t do that with the Yanks, and the Rangers paid the price by giving up five runs in the eighth and losing game one 6-5. The young Rangers needed to close out the opening win at home and failing to do so has got to be deflating and forfeits home field advantage. Not a good sign; the Evil Empire looks to be on the road to yet another World Series.

However, the biggest and most compelling sports story of the weekend by far is the battle of aces in game one of the NLCS. Halladay of the Phillies versus Lincicum and the Giants. Dayn Perry at Fox Sports is wondering if it is the best pitching matchup in postseason history. I dunno about that (and Perry seemed to forget about the Bob Gibson showdowns with Denny McClain and Mickey Lolich in the 1968 World Series and the Gibson-Jim Lonborg game seven matchup in the 1967 Series), but tonight’s Doc v. Freak show is right on up there. Both are former Cy Young winners, Lincicum has two and Halladay will almost certainly win his second this year. All Roy Halladay has done is throw the second no-hitter in MLB playoff history (after throwing a perfect game during the regular season). And Lincicum, well some folks think his two hitter against the Braves the night after Halladay’s no no was an even better pitching performance than Halladay’s no hitter. This is going to be some must see baseball teevee. Read more