Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Bowl Thoughts (College sports)
Chris Coste Stuff
NFL "Expert" Picks
2007 - Welcome!
Good morning and Happy New Year to everyone! I am not going to have a whole lot new for you today. I actually stayed away from the computer most of the weekend, only updating the results of the football games on Sunday. But, I did want to post something to welcome you all to 2007. I am just going to link to some sites and stories and welcome any comments you may have. Of course, with the end of the NFL regular season, it marked the end of the end of our Expert Picks for the year. I don't think anyone will be surprised when you read who the winner was. So, I'll just have a few sections and we'll see where it goes today! Thank you again for your readership. I truly wish you a healthy and successful 2007!
I always used to write about the Vikings in previous years. If nothing else, I would jot down a few thoughts before their games and something after as well. Well... The Vikings season came to an ending on Sunday afternoon. I did watch much of the game. I have to concur with, I believe Stick & Ball Guy, who said that the Vikings may have had the worst thing possible happen in 2006. In previous years, they were always disappointing, but they were always entertaining. In 2006, the Vikings became incredibly boring to watch. Believe me, I was looking for excuses to not watch them.
There were a few positives to the Vikings season though. First, the defense definitely made some major strides forward. There is still plenty of room for improvement still, but that interior line is tough. Secondly, I would think that that highly paid offensive line would come together next year. If they can, well, I think Chester Taylor is a legit back and if Tony Richardson is healthy, the running game could be strong. Finally, after his game in Green Bay, I heard people say/write that Tavaris Jackson reminded them of Spergeon Wynn. OK, I remember Spurgeon Wynn's start or two. He was not good. He did not have an arm and wasn't very mobile. Jackson has a strong arm, has great mobility and makes the 'touch' passes too. Anyway, I would definitely like to see Brad Childress get another year or more. I do think he is a good coach who can win given time. He will not be good for ratings because he's boring, but if they want a chance to win, he is probably the right guy. They just need to get Jeff Treadway, I mean, Chad Greenway healthy and have another solid draft.
Just to add to the Vikings terrific season, Travis Taylor was arrested (and tasered) at about 2:30 am on Monday morning. I don't care how much blame Mike Tice took in previous years for the lack of discipline off the field. No coach controls the players after the games and after practices. Call me crazy, but no good happens when you're out past about midnight. Professional athletes are noticeable and they are targets, so they should all be smart enough to not put themselves in bad positions. Unfortunately the absolute worst possible example of this happened at about 2:00 am in Denver when 24 year old defensive bad Darrent Williams was shot and killed in his stretch hummer after a confrontation.
By the way, Denny Green became the first coaching casualty of the offseason when he was fired by the Arizona Cardinals yesterday. Not at all surprising. The team was considered a possible playoff team in the preseason, but ended up being one of the worst. As was the case with the Vikings, the Cardinals were all about the offense, and they had very weak defense.
BOWL SEASON (and Bobby Knight Thoughts)
Well, I have watched a lot more Vikings football than college football this year as well. New Years Day is a big bowl day. I watched bits and pieces of the USC/Michigan game yesterday. USC pretty well dominated, making me wonder how they would have done given a shot at Ohio State. John David Booty (brother of another one of those highly touted QB turned baseball flops, Josh Booty, like Drew Henson. Is Joe Mauer the only example of one of these guys who made it?) threw for nearly 400 yards and four TDs, and over 200 of those yards went to David Jarrett, who was named the MVP of the game. After one of his touchdowns, he was hit just into the end zone by a Michigan safety. Jarrett was taunting big time, but the Michigan guy got the unsportsmanlike penalty. On the next drive, Jarrett made a nice catch and was tackled. He handed the ball to the same Michigan safety. Brent Musberger called it a form of taunting. It is a blatant, completely uncalled for form of taunting in my opinion. Musberger said that he only wished there were more WRs who were like (Minnesota native) Larry Fitzgerald, and less like Terrell Owens. Me too1 It's annoying. I am a huge fan of end zone celebrations, but I am equally against taunting your opponent. Why the need to disrespect the opponent? I don't get it. And, it really seems to just be the Wide Receivers. Of course, with examples like Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson and so many other flashy WRs, what do you expect? Why can't there be more people who admire the great RBs? Barry Sanders didn't taunt. Emmitt Smith didn't taunt. Ladanian Tomlinson doesn't taunt. I just don't get it.
The funny thing is that the NBA is the league known for showboating. That is also true. But the NFL is no better. Maybe that's why I like baseball. You just don't see the taunting. Maybe an occasional bat flip or something on a home run, or standing and watching it, but nothing like what you see in the other sports.
Speaking of bowls, I heard on New Years Eve Day that Gophers football coach Glen Mason was fired. It almost surprised me. If he has made it this long and he has four years left on a contract he just signed a year ago, the timing does seem a bit strange. However, it was the right thing to do. Here is a great example of how much I have followed college football, particularly after the long layoff in the bowl season; apparently the Gophers had a 31 point lead over whoever they were playing a few days earlier in whatever minor bowl they were playing in. And they lost! That's just funny! It will now just be interesting to see who the University can con into coming to Minnesota. I don't know what they would promise a potential coach? "We like to talk about how we want a strong football program, but we don't really do a lot to get there and you will not be a priority and we never really win and that's ok, just graduate players!" Maybe Nick Saban will come there! Ha!
If you are a big college football fan and want some excellent coverage, please check out The Baseball Savant. He has done a wonderful job all fall of talking all things college football.
UPDATE - before posting this, I was flipping through the channels and turned to the Boise State/Oklahoma game. Oklahoma was attempting a two point conversion to tie the game. After a few penalties, the Sooners got the two points and the game was tied. On the ensuing play, the Boise State QB threw a bad interception that was returned for a TD by the Sooners, giving them the 7 point lead. With just over a minute to play, Boise State got the ball back. There was one play that took them near the 50 yard line. Then, on 4th and 18, Boise State ran a hook and ladder and went in for the touchdown with seven seconds to go. The game went to overtime. I can't stay awake for the final, or maybe I will, but that was awesome!
UPDATE 2 - Adrian Peterson scored on a 25 yard run on the first play of OT for Oklahoma. Boise State had a long drive and scored a touchdown on their first OT drive. Oklahoma scored on the next possession. But then Boise State scored again, and they decided to go for two. They got it and won the Fiesta Bowl, shocking a lot of people.
I am equally apathetic to the college basketball season. The Gophers? I have no idea how they're doing. I saw they beat someone on a tip-in near the buzzer the other day. Dan Monson was fired, so that is a positive. The big news is that Bobby Knight and Texas Tech won yesterday. The win gives Knight 880 wins in his career. Tell me all about the loyalty his players who played 4 years have for him, or how much money he donates to the library, or his players graduate. Tell me that he is a wonderful human being and a great basketball coach. Tell me whatever wonderful things about Bobby Knight that you want to, and my opinion of him will never change. Want a player to listen to you? Grab him by the neck? Want him to look you in the eye? Slap him up a little bit. Whatever it takes to win, right? I guess that's what it's all about! Oh yeah... congratulations Mr. Knight!
THE CHRIS COSTE SECTION
Last year, my first blog entry of the year was a Q&A with Chris Coste. He had just re-signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies and answered a lot of questions about life in the minor leagues, some of his former teammates and what it would be like to make it to the big leagues as a 33 year old rookie. It was a very entertaining article. It was made even better when he came up with an incredible spring training and only because of a deal for David Dellucci a day before the season opening, he was still sent down to the minors. Charley Manuel said that he had made a great impression and they knew what he was capable of, and if necessary, he would be brought up to help the Phillies. Despite a rough start at AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre, the Phillies were true to their word. When utility man Alex Gonzalez retired in mid-May, Coste was brought up to the big leagues. Coste played very sparingly the first month and did not get a hit in his first 13 at bats. But, he finally got his first hit off of Tampa Bay's James Shields. And he didn't stop hitting after that. As you can see on the left of the screen, he had great numbers. His first home run came off of the Padres' Mike Thompson, but he later added home runs against two future Hall of Famers, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine. To me, as exciting as the 2006 Minnesota Twins season was (and it was the most exciting that I remember), the Chris Coste saga was equally exciting.
So, with this being the first blog entry of 2007, I thought it would be good to post a few links to some recent Chris Coste articles.
The Fargo Forum decided that
Coste was the #3
story of the year for their paper. I like this part regarding his
very first major league baseball card:
"It said I was a third baseman. I was playing first base, and all I had ever done in the majors was catch. I was upset at first, but then I started laughing. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It just symbolizes my whole baseball."
As I mentioned last week though, the Rod
Barajas signing by the Phillies certainly makes his roster spot a
little less certain. And that is too bad! Here is some class:
"The last two months of the season, our pitching staff did awesome, not because of me, but in spite of me. It goes to show I can catch a good pitching staff."
this version of the story by Dennis Deitch of the Journal
Register News Service:
"(Jeff) Conine and Coste received nifty Christmas presents from the Phillies Thursday for their 2006 efforts: Conine got a one-way ticket to Cincinnati‚ while Coste watched as Rod Barajas signed a one-year deal with the Phils to relegate last year’s feel-good story to third-stringer. Next up for Pat Gillick: A Christmas Eve reindeer hunt."
Coste will join Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and NL MVP Ryan Howard at the Philadelphia Sportswriters Banquet. Tickets are available, if you're in the Philly area.
And finally, I thought that it would be good to post a few Twins notes on this... Twins blog.
Well, if you're in Hennepin County, the New Year marked the new sales tax to pay for the new Twins Stadium. You will now have to pay an extra three cents for every $20 you spend. I suppose there will be several complainers, huh?
Congratulations again to Pat Neshek who got married on Saturday in Las Vegas!
Chris Bahr of SportingNews.com says that Michael Cuddyer is somewhat 'suspect' as a fantasy baseball player in 2007 because he loses his eligibility as a 2B and 3B.
According to the Lodi (California) News Sentinel, Jason Bartlett's Breakout season was the #3 story of 2006. He finished behind an 80 year old ping-pong player and a local high school basketball team that won the section tournament!
Patrick Reusse seems to believe that the Barry Zito, seven year, $126 million contract means that the Twins will lose Johan Santana to a big market city. That is probably the general consensus. However, I am a bit more optimistic when it comes to Santana sticking around. I think that he will stick around. I don't' think that he will come cheap, but I think that if the Twins are willing to go up to $17 or $18 million for him, he would sign. Personally, if I was Terry Ryan, I would try to add two or three years to his current contract. If I was Santana, I would probably wait until next offseason to actually sign. That said, two more years and $37 million or so would be hard to say no to. That said, if Zito gets a contract like that, what would Santana get? Eight years? $200 million? More?
I also like the Reusse makes mention of Yohan Pino in the article as well as Oswaldo Sosa. Both are currently 5-0 in Venezuela!
Pat Neshek (and The Baseball Savant) went to Butler University, and he recently took part in a three part interview for CSTV.com (College Sports)
Nick Peters of the Sacramento Bee says that the AJ Pierzynski for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser trade may be the worst in franchise history.
Finally, there is a great Q&A with the Pawtucket Times which includes Twins pitching prospect Jay Rainville. He missed all of the 2006 season after shoulder surgery but sounds ready to go. His hockey responses were interesting too.
Anything else going on with any of the Twins or any of their minor leaguers? If you know of anything, please let me know! Send me an e-mail. Thanks!
NFL "Expert" Picks
How appropriate is it that in Week 17, Kyle Waldrop went 11-5 and was tops in our 16 person panel. It was appropriate because he has been in sole possession of first place for the entire season; yes, since week 1! He won by an incredible ten games in the overall standings! I won't rain on his, or anyone's parade, by pointing out that his 65.6% correct rate would have put him in seventh place a year ago! I think that the NFL has its parity. The only reason I even checked that was because it really seemed as though making picks each week this year was so much more difficult.
I really want to thank each of our panelists for participating this year. In the past, we have had twelve participants. This year, we went up to 16. Next year? Well, we shall see!
If you have any questions or comments, e-mail me or leave comments below. If you would like any information on the panelists, or the updated standings, check out the Official SethSpeaks 2006 NFL "Experts" Picks page. Here are our Final Standings for the year!
|Kyle Waldrop||Twins Pitching Prospect||11||5||68.7%||168||88||65.6%|
|LaVelle E. Neal III||Mpls Star-Tribune||10||6||62.5%||158||98||61.7%|
|Will Young||Will's Twins Blog||8||8||50.0%||156||100||60.9%|
|Roger Dehring||Several Blogs||9||7||56.3%||155||101||60.5%|
|Cory Hepola||WENY Sports||9||7||56.3%||154||102||60.2%|
|Bill Ferris||Detroit Tigers Blog||7||9||43.8%||154||102||60.2%|
|Al Bethke||Al's Ramblings||8||8||50.0%||149||107||58.8%|
|Trevor Born||Twins Junkie||7||9||43.8%||147||109||58.3%|
|Stick & Ball Guy||Stick & Ball Guy||7||9||43.8%||147||109||58.3%|
|Kevin Slowey||Twins Pitching Prospect||10||6||62.5%||146||110||56.7%|
|Mike Brasel||Fantasy FB Guru||6||10||37.5%||145||111||58.0%|
|Seth's Mom's Class||St. Pauls School||10||6||62.5%||143||113||55.4%|
|JD Arney||Reds Reporter||7||9||43.8%||141||115||57.9%|
Well, that is it for today. Thank you again for stopping by the site. Please feel free to e-mail me or leave some Comments below.
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