Nov 26, 2006 

New England And Brady Bring Bears Down In Week 12

Right now, the Raiders (+13 1/2) look like the best/worst team in the NFL. Does that make any sense? I guess it does when the Raiders look like the best value on the board for the last four weeks and until they start winning consistently they will continue. The big stats of the week is that Oakland has lost 12 consecutive division games. They are not getting blown out, though. San Diego is a scoring machine and LaDainian Tomlinson eats up the Raiders. The Raider defense won't win a game by itself, but they will keep the score low and close.

New England (-3 1/2) is a juggernaut. When Brady's Pats are the featured game of the week they usually deliver. Brady is cool under pressure and Chicago's Rex Grossman....isn't so much. The names may change on Belichick's defense but the results never do. The Monsters of the Midway will meet their match, at least, on this Sunday.

The Giants are reeling but I'm still sticking with them for a date in Miami. A road game in Nashville, might be confluence of bad omens starting with the rise of the Titans' (+3) Vince Young. It seems like he's getting the hang of competiting at this level and with a home crowd behind him taking three points seems like a safe bet especially if they can keep the score low and hope for N.Y.'s Eli Manning to make mistakes.

The Record: 26-14-2.
Last Week: (Thanksgiving) 2-1.
The Wager: $20 Pick 3
The Winnings: $420.00

Nov 25, 2006 

Fan Reaction To Bonds In Oakland Says Something About A's Fans

Of course, this posting goes without saying. In no uncertain terms should Barry Bonds ever don the green-and-gold, unless he decides to use his chemically-enhanced muscles to play linebacker for the Green Bay Packers.

Sending out feelers to gauge the public’s stance towards Bonds playing in Oakland is despicable enough, but the quick backlash says more about the people of the East Bay than anything else.

Having principles like integrity is something just about every fan of every Major League club seems to possess except for the fans of the San Francisco Giants. The shrill opposition found in numerous public chat rooms, including the den of A’s thought, Athletics Nation, and numerous letters to the editor will probably be duplicated in the next city that voices some interest in signing the discredited slugger. The uproar in Arlington , San Diego or New York , though, will never be as intense or to the point as it was in Oakland because we’ve been his roommate for so long.

The armpit of the Bay Area that is Oakland (some parts) has gained a whiff of the stench from AT&T Park in concentrated doses. Being a baseball fan in the Bay Area it takes quite a bit to be inoculated from discussing the hypocrisy of Bonds and the Giants.

To know the destruction of moral values pertaining to sports in the Bay Area is to watch the broadcast of a Giants game last year while reading the excellent work the San Francisco Chronicle’s Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada. Overlay the two opposite storylines of the Giants announcers praising the enduring greatness of Bonds at the same time the Chronicle details the dirty methods that got him within a half-season’s worth of homers from Henry Aaron’s 755 and feel your blood pressure rise.

For pure audacity, isn’t it exactly like President Bush repeatedly saying the war in Iraq is going swimmingly while the New York Times reports Iraq is dangerously teetering on Civil War. Both scenarios defy logic and imagine supporters of the two as ostriches with their heads in the sand.

Call San Francisco a red city in a sea of blue when it comes to Bonds. Giants’ fans, when it comes to their tainted slugger, just don’t get it. When a Padres fan threw a syringe at Bonds on opening day in San Diego it was like the S.F. fandom could not fathom why someone would perpetrate such an act, not because it was dirty or dangerous, but it was as if they could not recognize the symbolism of a syringe and Bonds any more than a piece of cheesecake and Bonds. The fact is they need each other and this symbiotic relationship is the root of the problem.

Nobody wants to deal with Baroid’s antics or poor public relations except for possibility of financial reward. The Giants, more than any other ball club, need a huge draw like Bonds. Being the only privately-financed park in the last 40 years, the Giants need to keep the stands full or risk defaulted on their $30 million mortgage note. This is the downside to keeping the Giants in San Francisco and a unique problem. One the A’s and every team don’t have to deal with. Flirting with Bonds for others is about winning and whether you and your fan base can stomach the three-ring circus that is Bonds.

The assertion that A’s general manager and guru to those enamored with the numbers game, Billy Beane, made probably stokes the fires of the A’s nation when he casually spoke of Bonds’s outrageously high on-base percentage; a certain statistics that Mr. Beane’s finds particularly alluring. The problem was that the every statistics linked to Bonds is tainted. When new A’s manager Bob Geren seemed intrigued by a reporters question about the possibility of coaching Bonds next season, he acted liked a five-year-old boy who was just offered a million pieces of candy.

Spouting Bonds’s recent performance as fact without mentioning the means that he attained to garner such lofty praise does a disservice to any team that thinks about signing him. If Beane spoke of Bonds in the context of an aging superstar looking for one last hurrah like a Rickey Henderson, for example, who is judge on his accolades of fifteen years ago rather than Bonds who is lauded for his recent crooked body of work rather than his early 90s resume, the hypocrisy would be significantly lower. It’s as if Beane wouldn’t mind to sample a bit of Bonds’s black heart if it can get him what he wants: a ring.

The problem with fans of Bonds and apologists of him is that you must accept he is fraud and his work too is tainted beyond recognition. From 2000 to today, the supreme aura of greatness that Bonds attained is not to accept as part of his already stellar career. When Beane and Geren gush about his recent exploits it only gives the impression that the A’s hierarchy is no better than the Giants or anybody else. They view him as mercenary who can get them what they want: a World Series title. It’s precisely this sort of logic that pushed Barry Bonds, Tim Montgomery, Rafael Palmeiro, Marion Jones and every offensive linemen in the NFL to take steroids in the first place; to win at all costs even if it risks losing your soul.

Nov 11, 2006 

The 'Feel' Says Take Oaktown, San Fran & D.C.

This is one of those "feel" games which is different than going with your "gut". A "feel" game is a step below a "gut" in certainty and far less worrisome than going against your "gut". Washington (+7) has burned me a few times this year with their inconsitency. A home game with the tide turning for the 'Skins was should cancelled out anything Philadelphia has going for it.

The 49ers (+6) are even more maddening than the Redskins, but there's a method to theirs. The Niners with six points at home versus Detroit would have been a no-brainer for a young team that play comfortably at the former Candestick Park, but giving those points at Detroit is worrisome. Even after a big win last week for the Lions, this sort of team that gives away chances often seems ripe for San Fran to pick up an unlikely road win.

Like the Niners, the Raiders (+9 1/2), that is, the Raiders' defense plays with far more purpose at the Coliseum than they do in enemy territory. This will be a low scoring game not because Denver and Oakland have two of the best defenses in the NFL, but solely because Andrew Walter can't garner anything close to a 100 yards of offense. This fact and the other that Art Shell handles Denver well, although not earlier in the season, but a second look should help the Raiders.

The Record: 23-11-2.
Last Week: 4-0.
The Wager: $20 Pick 5
The Winnings: $480.00