Feb 6, 2007 

Why Is Clemens Dodging Spring Training Again?


My entire life has happily revolved around the coming of spring--spring training--that is, when the weather begins to change, the land begins to thaw and pitchers and catcher trickle in to camp for a new baseball season.

This is one of the most beautiful aspect of the game, then why does Roger Clemens seek to ruin it every year for the past three seasons?

Whom outside of New York, Houston or Boston cares about Clemens hemming and hawwing about whether he'll play in the upcoming year?

Who cares? And why should we celebrate a pitcher who purposely works part-time? He's a Hall of Famer, sure, but there comes a time when this guy needs to quit the third way and decide whether he's a full-time Major Leaguer or not.

After three straight seasons of this, the Players Union should get involved. Just because Clemens cannot handle dealing with a normal life with this wife and kids shouldn't have any bearing on whether he's taking another Major Leaguers spot on the roster.

The Yankees are bending over backwards, something Derek Jeter does very well, for Clemens' services this season. The two years before, the Houston Astros did the same and you can also sprinkle in the Boston Red Sox in all those years.

Man, talk about an ego. When has there ever been an athlete in any sport that has been enabled to be held hostage by Clemens? The media doesn't pose this question because their in awe of his persona. They've also failed to ask Clemens whether the last half of his career might be an abberation in the era of steriods.

If Barry Bonds and others are queried for miraculous comebacks late in the careers when others have historically begun the physically breakdown why hasn't Clemens be fingered? After faltering for three years in Boston his career seemed done when he was traded to Toronto in 1997. Suddenly, he was fit and throwing as hard as ever. He won the Cy Young that year and has been the same type of pitcher well into his 40s. Clemens' return the top of baseball follows the same steep trajectory as Bonds's. Which leads to this:

Is Clemens sitting out spring training and half the season because he's hiding something? Major League Baseball tests for steriods in the spring. You do the math.

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Feb 5, 2007 

Colts Win SB XLI In Disguise

You never know what's going to happen in a big game. Look at Florida throttling Ohio State in the BCS Championship last month. Sure, the Colts beat the Bears to the surprise of just about no one except this blog. The most stunning aspect of Super Bowl XLI was the shocking role-reversal of the two participants.

The Colts thoroughly bullied the badass Bears all game long. They ran the ball like a championship team should--forced game-breaking turnovers--and most amazingly won the game with their big-name superstar quarterback shunning the glory by cooly handing the ball off to Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes. Peyton Manning literally lulled the Bears to a long post-season hibernation with the most prolific time of possession difference in Super Bowl history.

The Colts didn't need Marvin Harrison. Used Reggie Wayne for one important touchdown strike and beat the Bears to the point that their big game kicker, Adam Vinatieri, wasn't needed to pull his team into the win column with three seconds left as he did three times for New England.

In the lead up to the game, one important statistics was overlooked, at least by me, that this was the fourth Super Bowl that a former underling faced his mentor. In the previous three occasions the assistant failed to win. Dungy's win over former lieutenant Lovie Smith was nearly as comprehensive as Tampa's Jon Gruden's thrashing of the Raiders and Bill Callahan in Super Bowl XXXVII.

The Colts are Super Bowl champions for the first time in Indianapolis and the first time for the franchise in 36 years. Can we stopped talking about Manning's ringless fingers in relation to the unnaturally tanned Dan Marino and move onto the next deserving guy. Whomever he is?

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Feb 3, 2007 

The Bears Are Being Disrespected By All


If you want to talk about disrespect, point to the fact that Indy was quickly a seven point favorite over the NFC Champion Bears. The rather large spread between two fifteen win teams is mostly due to Las Vegas ’ reliance on the quarterback factor and Peyton Manning is far more known and talented than Chicago ’s Rex Grossman. The Colts are not seven points better than the Bears on any scale and the public is being blindsided.

First off, Grossman is not the worst quarterback in Super Bowl history going into the game or coming out of it. The worst is without a doubt the late QB of the Miami Dolphins David Woodley. With that out of the way, Grossman has put up some numbers that are more than pedestrian by the standards of 2006. The man has won 15 games this year while throwing 23 touchdown passes and over 3,000 yards passing.

He is not the Trent Dilfer of 2000 who quarterbacked the Baltimore Ravens to the World Championship, but the defense on that team should be instructive to what the Bears may do on Super Sunday.

The Bears may not be better from top-to-bottom than the Colts, but look for a combination of take aways and points from those turnovers plus the running game of Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson putting Indy away. They have done it every one of their 15 victories.

Weather may also be also be a factor in this Super Bowl, which would be historic. A non-dome Super Bowl has never had inclement weather before. If either team can settle in with their running game, they should win. Peyton Manning's receiving corps will be muted by the rain, but it's imperative that the Bears keep handing the ball off because of the two QB's he's the least experience and might be more proned to mishandling the pressure of the game itself, in addition, to the slick ball.

This should be an entertaining Super Bowl with two old-school franchises. The Bears will win this one. Take the touchdown being offered by Vegas.

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