Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lakers DISMANTLE Clippers...

... 115-77. I mean seriouly they really should have a mercy rule in some NBA games. It was more like a pro team playing a high school team. These Lakers truly look to be on a mission this year...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's KOBE time!

Nothing like the start of the NBA season to take the sting off a heartbreaking baseball and fantasy baseball season. Yes, the 2008-2009 NBA season started tonight. My Los Angeles Lakers had a very easy time disposing of the Portland Trailblazers 96-76 in front of a sell-out crowd at Staples Center. As usual, Kobe Bryant led the way, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Pau Gasol added 15 points and seven rebounds. It was such an easy win for the Lakers that no one played more than the 33 minutes both Kobe and Pau put in.

And for those interested, the "World Champion" Boston Celtics didn't need the help of their sixth man (i.e.: referees) against the Cleveland Cavaliers in their 90-85 win tonight at Boston Garden. The "zebras" actually called a very fair game tonight, but the key to the Celtics winning was actually the Cavs all-everything Lebron James missing four of five free throws at one point in one sequence down the stretch. As I've said before, the main difference between Kobe and "King James" is that one makes their free throws during crunch time, while the other doesn't. Perhaps one day, Mr. James will get that part of his game on a par with the rest of it.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Rule #1 of Fantasy Football...

... don't spend any time studying for your draft! Seriously, why bother? With draft cheat sheets and average draft position tables just sitting there at your disposal, what's the point in studying? So, were you fortunate enough to land the #1 pick in any of your leagues and go with the consensus top pick, L.T.??? Or how about other stellar running backs like Joseph Addai or Larry Johnson with your first round pick? Wide receivers? Did you take the always reliable Torry Holt, rising star Marques Colston or the irrepressible Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson with an early round pick? Tom Brady? Fellow Patriot Lawrence Maroney? If you drafted any of the above players early, more than likely you're a little disappointed at this point of the season for one reason or another.

Now raise your hand up high if you had Clinton Portis of the Redskins as the number one point producer amongst all non-QB's as week 8 of the season ended. We always knew he had it in him as long as he could just hold onto the ball! Five straight 120+ yard rushing games. Impressive stuff, Mr. Portis! If a draft were being held today, you would be hard pressed not to take him at #1.

Yes, folks. The bottom line is that players are going to underperform and/or get hurt. It happens! Conversely, for every player who underperforms, there are players that will perform beyond expectations. And yes, there are still guys out there who are doing pretty much exactly what you thought they would be doing when you picked them - the Drew Brees and Philip Rivers types for example. The reality is that the fantasy football draft is just a crapshoot. Yes, this is why I don't study for football drafts.

The above said, you can help your chances out a lot in leagues by thinking ahead and drafting smart. Avoid the guys on the downside of their careers and focus on drafting guys with upside and opportunity. How about Kurt Warner? With All-Pros Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald along with a young up-and-comer named Steve Breaston to throw to and a nearly non-existant running game, what was not to like on draft day other than a lazy ex-USC Trojan quarterback standing in his way? Warner was the 22nd QB taken on average in ESPN drafts. Hardly to my surprise, he's been a consistent top 5 producer all year. Breaston was a great receiver in college and was a natural fit in the Cardinals offense. Yet he went undrafted in pretty much all non-keeper format leagues. Boldin got hurt and look who's stepped up BIG TIME? Or how about the latest rookie causing waves, the Rams' Steve Avery? With the aging Isaac Bruce in San Francisco, someone needed to step up and complement the aforementioned Holt. Why pick a backup running back with little upside with your 15th or 16th round pick when someone with blazing speed, ability and LOTS of upside is out there and available? Avery hardly got a look on draft day, not even in keeper leagues... No, I didn't draft either Breaston or Avery in my non-keeper leagues, but I must confess I did draft them BOTH in a contract keeper league this past summer - and they're locked up for me through 2011! :)


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why I Want the Phils to Win in 5...

...sadly, the main reason I want them to win (OK, I admit I still root a little for ex-Dodger Jayson Werth) is because I don't want any game of a World Series delayed because of an inconsiderate politician. Baseball is America's pasttime. Senator Obama should have shown a little more respect for it than he did. For those of you who don't know, if there is a Game 6, it will be delayed until 9 PM ET/6 PM PT thanks to Obama buying network time on the major networks.


Monday, October 20, 2008

It's Been Awhile...

Yes, I know it's been forever (well almost 2 1/2 weeks) since I last blogged. I'm not sure if it was just life catching up with me, or a combination of baseball-related disappointments that killed my typing fingers and creative mind... whatever it was, I guess I needed a little break.

So, for those disappointments. Well, first off I lost one of my fantasy baseball leagues this year by a single home run. Yes, ONE, UNO, 1! 278 home runs led this particular 10 team league. Alexei Ramirez' grand slam against the Detroit Tigers on September 29th gave me 277 of them for the season. Three other owners also had 277 home runs, giving me 7 1/2 points in the category. I lost that league by 1 1/2 points - the leader finished with a total of 70 points, I finished with 68 1/2. Another home run would have given me a tie for first (9 1/2 points) in the category. Those two points would have given me a total of 70 1/2, and the title by a mere 1/2 point.

I've been playing this fantasy baseball game for 10 years now, and this was definitely my most heartbreaking loss ever! I mean, I also could have tied for winning that league with just two more wins from my pitching staff. A special assist from the Mets bullpen must be noted for blowing six of my staff ace Johan Santana's games this year!!! I also could have also won that league with just two more stolen bases! The number of different ways I could have won that league is practically countless, and yet I somehow lost! It's now three weeks since the regular season ended and honestly I'm STILL not over it! Perhaps by this time next year, I'll be over it. Yes, it was even worse than losing a league last year thanks to my pitching ace, Jake Peavy being forced to start game 163 for the San Diego Padres against the Colorado Rockies. I went from a tie for first in a league at 79 points to 2 1/2 points back after he predictably got torched by the eventual 2007 World Series runner-ups. With what's happened to me the past two years in those two leagues, I'm almost afraid to see how my heart is going to get broken in 2009. At least last year, I had the solace of winning one league going away and knowing nothing was going to take that away from me as September started.

In my other four leagues, I was in it right until the final weekend. I had two teams finish in third, one 2 1/2 points out, the other 4 points out. My other two teams came in fourth, one 3 1/2 points out, the other 8 1/2 points out. Combined, I lost the five leagues by a total of just 20 points! With just a few breaks in any direction, I could have won every single one of those leagues... Needless to say, I will be playing my fantasy baseball leagues with more than just a little chip on my shoulder next year...

As bad as the 2008 fantasy baseball season turned out for me, at least I had the solace that maybe that Freeway World Series I'd been dreaming about since I was little would finally come to fruitition. The Angels had the best record in baseball. The Dodgers, well they were team that NO ONE wanted to face as they were on a complete roll thanks to Manny Ramirez being in a Michael Jordan-like zone in his two months with the Blue Crew.

Well, it's October 20th and as I type this, we have a World Series coming up between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The best laid plans... :( The Angels went out meekly (save the heart of the lineup) against the Boston Red Sox for the second year in a row... But hey at least the Dodgers swept the Cubs in their first round series! Unfortunately, the same guy (Rafael Furcal) who planted the pivotable bunt to send Carlos Zambrano and his Cub teammates reeling, also was the man most responsible for the Dodgers exit against the Phillies, committing a key error in game one of that series to get Derek Lowe into trouble, and three more errors in one inning in game five, putting a 3-1 game all but out of reach at 5-1.

And now for the reality of it all. Presumably, K-Rod has saved his final game as an Angel and D-Lowe has started his final game as a Dodger. Those guys basically aren't replaceable, and unless something REALLY crazy happens, they will be playing baseball elsewhere in 2009. Don't be surprised if both don't wind up on the once again heartbroken New York Mets. Sorry, Dave! And what about Manny? It will probably cost an arm and a leg for the Dodgers to re-sign him, but I really think they should. There's no doubt he put people in the seats and energized the Dodger team and fans like no one else since a guy with two bad legs hit a home run off "the Eck" twenty years ago to spur them to their last World Series crown. Has it really been twenty years since Kirk Gibson and Orel Hershisher did all of their magic? Wow, how time flies!

So what else have I been doing? Well, watching lots of football both college and pro. Yes, those were my UCLA Bruins who lost 59-0 to BYU back on September 13th. Conversely, my crosstown rival USC Trojans put a 69-0 lashing on Washington State this past weekend. Ah yes, is it time for basketball yet???


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dodgers Sweep Cubs!

In an improbable upset, the Los Angeles Dodgers finished up a 3-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Divisional Series for their first post-season series win in 20 years. James Loney's two run double in the first inning off of Cubs starter Rich Harden was all of the offense the Dodgers would need as starter Hideki Kuroda shut the opponents down in his 6 1/3 innings of work. Cory Wade pitched a strong 1 1/3 innings, giving up a run. Jonathan Broxton came in to get the final four outs of the game, striking out three including Alfonso Soriano to end a 3-1 Dodger victory. The Dodgers now await the winner of the series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers to see who they will be playing for the National League pennant. GO DODGERS!