Saturday, April 25, 2009

Aaron Curry

That's what I'm talking about.

The Other 103

Something I thought about the other day which no doubt many others are thinking about. Are we going to learn the names of the other players 103 who tested positive for ‘roids along with Alex Rodriguez?

Isn’t it a guarantee that there are going to be names on that list that we really, really, really wish weren’t on there? No one is going to be surprised if (come on, who am I kidding) when Bret Boone’s name appears on that list given season out of nowhere followed by his toss-a-boulder-out-of-an-airplane-at-30,000-feet free fall. But what about other names? What if Edgar Martinez shows up on that list? Would you be surprised? I wouldn’t be, but that’s because while I am overly sentimental at times, I’m definitely far more cynical than I’d like to be. I’m hoping, and pretty much everyone I know who roots for the M’s is hoping, that he’s clean and he’s always been clean. But the fear I have about his name showing up lingers.

It would be such a devastating revelation that I don’t want to think about it, but it’s there. We all know it’s possible. If ‘roids use was so widespread, why would he be immune? Why would he be shielded?

I’m preemptively asking why when there is no proof linking him with any usage, but that doesn’t mean I’m not worried about it.

Coming Around on Junior

I neglected to write about what I saw from Griffey the other day. I must admit, the guy is reeling me back in. Not because I necessarily like him, but it seems like he, and Mike Sweeney, have had what can only be considered a positive impact on the team. Attitude means a lot in sports and evidently those two guys have ensured that the any negative attitude that this Mariners team shows is stomped out completely and immediately.

If the attitude is the only thing that changed about the team and they were still losing, I wouldn’t care at all. But they are winning, so I do care. And it’s cool.

While I like what I see in Griffey, the weirdest thing for me is to see him at the bat about 1.5 times the size as he used to be. His swing is still beautiful and he’s always had an ass on him, but he’s just so unbelievably thick. I only saw snippets of him when he played for Cincy so I never really noticed just how large he got. It’s pretty remarkable. He’s got like a full inch layer of extra thickness all over his body.

Another striking thing about him is the way that he runs. On Jackie Robinson day when he scored from first, he rounded the bases in a very un 1995-like way (of course, that was 14 years ago). Simply put, the guy is 39-years old and runs accordingly. He’s slow. But I will say this, he looks like he’s running smartly so as not to burst his hamstrings or rupture his Achilles. He’s been through enough injuries to know just how far he can push himself before catastrophe ensues. The way that he’s running, it seems abundantly clear that he should spend next to zero amount of time in the outfield. His speed has run away from him and he can no longer catch up to it. That’s fine. Keep being a good guy in the clubhouse and making this team of former losers into winners. If that’s the reason they brought him here (and not for pure sentiment) then I applaud it.

Apologizing for the Good Dude

Another reason I’m concerned about drafting a QB is due to my affection for Matt Hasselbeck. I love nearly everything about his game, with the huge exception that he tends to lose the strike zone on deep balls and also tends to throw what look to be horrible interceptions. However, I’m almost certain that at least half of his INTs are due to WRs doing the wrong thing or a miscommunication between QB and WR. I say this because some of those INTs are so egregious and there is no way he simply throws that bad of a pass. We, at home, don’t have the benefit of seeing what happens downfield and we don’t know the playbook so it’s hard to determine what went wrong on INTs. Anyway, I maintain that it’s likely not all Hasselbeck’s fault. You can call me an apologist for him and you’d probably be right.

In addition to Hasselbeck being a good QB, he’s shown himself to be a good dude off of the field. As I’ve said before he could be a great color guy at some point for several reasons, but even when the camera isn’t on he holds up. A friend of mine relayed this story to me. A father of a senior in high school ran into Hasselbeck in the grocery store and chatted him up a little bit and told Hasselbeck that his son and a few of his son’s friends were considering going to Boston College in the fall and if he (Hasselbeck) didn’t mind, could he stop by his house and talk to them about going to school there. Hasselbeck said sure, got the address, and time to be there and moved on. The dad didn’t think that he’s show up because he certainly didn’t have to. So the kids are all over at his house and the doorbell rings and it’s Hasselbeck, his wife, and his kids. He’d come to talk to them about going to B.C. and all sorts of other stuff. I guess he just hung out with the kids and answered any questions that they had and was super cool.

Tell me, how do you not root for a dude like that?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pre-Draft Wavering...

I’ve changed my mind. I no longer am pining for the Hawks to take Sanchez. I think that he has a very good chance to be good in the league, but I’ve been enamored with him simply because he’s possibly the best QB this year. That’s not the reason to take him, especially if there are players available who are very likely better prospects at their positions, like Curry, Smith, Monroe, Crabtree, or even Maclin.

It used to be that the draft was the only way teams could get quality play out of the QB position. If they missed out on a surefire prospect like Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, or Eli Manning, they were somewhat doomed and had to keep using either their own subpar QBs or sign a veteran QB through free agency. There were exceptions, like Brad Johnson or Trent Dilfer, but by and large, successful teams draft their own QBs, who they believed were great, if not once-in-a-franchise players.

Now, with the resurgence of guys like Kerry Collins, Kurt Warner, and Drew Brees, coaches and GMs are probably more apt to only go after the QB early in the draft if they fully believe in his abilities, otherwise, they’ll go after good vets who can be trusted to not wilt under pressure and execute gameplans.

This is my roundabout way of saying while I really like Sanchez and Stafford, they don’t look like surefire guys to me and therefore aren’t worth it.

If Sanchez is the pick at four tomorrow, I’ll probably be excited, but I’ll be extremely worried that they’ve just dumped a ton of cash on a guy that they don’t need right now, and who cannot help them win next year or even the year after, instead of a linebacker like Curry who will come in and play great from day one (e.g. Patrick Willis, DeMeco Ryans, Lofa Tatupu, LeRoy Hill, Odell Thurman—w/o the rap sheet). I’m leaning toward him and will be overjoyed if they nab him.
They can always take Curtis Painter (QB, Purdue) or Willie Tuitama (QB, Arizona) in rounds 5-7 and that would be just fine.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Silky J

Just a quick snippet here, but I said a few weeks ago that I wanted to date Wayne Ellington and Danny Green’s jumpers. Well, that’s still the case, but they are just flings. I would like to marry Ray Allen’s jumper. Consider this a proposal. I’ve known this for awhile, but I can't fight it anymore and his jumper was sublime down the stretch tonight.

Pulling for the [Blue] Devil

I love that Greg Paulus is going back to football simply because football is my favorite sport and if anyone can play it, then I believe that they should. I always get disappointed when a player decides to forego an uncertain football career, rife with injury dangers and a short professional shelf life, and decide to focus on a safer career with a much longer lifespan, such as baseball; to deny me the joy of watching them on the gridiron is just plain selfish.

Matt Tuiasosopo did it by spurning the chance to be a QB Messiah for the UW Football program in ’04 and entering the MLB draft. Before him, Grady Sizemore shunned UW and got drafted by the Cleveland Indians and is enjoying a really nice career in the majors replete with panty-tossing female fans. I guess he made the right choice… for him. But not for me. I would have preferred seeing him Lawyer-Milloying people up at safety.

So anyway, good for Greg. He tried his hand at playing PG for Duke, which I can’t blame him for doing, although he must have known that the chances for playing success beyond Duke as a PG is infinitesimal, maybe he just wanted a free Duke education? Or he thought he could buck the trend, but being smart, I’m sure he knew that was folly. Duke PGs do not go on to bigger and better things on the court. Whether it’s talent, or lack thereof, that holds them back (Steve Wojciechowski, Will Avery) or karmic vehicle interference (Bobby Hurley, Jay Williams), Duke PGs flame out on the court after they leave campus. Paulus, bucked that trend, he actually flamed out while at Durham, as a senior. As such, having his basketball career shuttered, he now turns to football, which is where he was once breathlessly tabbed as the best QB in his class.

No one knows if he can still be a good QB in college or beyond, and it’s probably been a very long time since anyone has stuck their helmet in the middle of his back, but I’m guessing that the guy can still toss the rock around. He’s a bright guy and college football, especially Rich Rodriguez’s offense, is not the least bit complex.

Amazingly, I find myself pulling for the guy, hoping that he makes it at Michigan (or wherever he ends up), and getting a crack at the NFL. Good talent is hard to find and if the guy had “it” once, it’s possible that he finds it again.
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