Saturday, June 14, 2008

R.I.P. Tim Russert

Why does his death suck? Because with the death of the last true journalist, assholes like us are going to take his place.

And for the record, I can't remember a time when someone so important and influential to society died at the top of their game. The only name I can think of is Paul Wellstone. Anyone who can come up with a better or more recent example of someone in society (not an athlete or celebrity) dying while still making an impact gets Straight Up Sports stock options.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Day the Boston haters died: A diary of the monstrosity that was the Game 4 performance of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers

8:55pm: I am already becoming angry white boy as I see some kind of biblical passage flash on the big screen before the Lakers starters are introduced. I am as die-hard a sports fan as anyone on this blog or anywhere else; but it is more than a little absurd that words like courageous, brave and heroes are used when discussing athletes other than Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Ted Williams. Making a jump shot over two defenders is not an example of courage or bravery, just a great athletic play. Oy

9:00: NBA blatantly rips off Knicks jumbo-tron highlight clip-show where they show Patrick and Starks and LJ"s 4 point play and instead insert great clips of NBA finals past. Worst of all, they belittle the very franchise they ripped this off from by showing Tim Duncan destroy the aforementioned LJ in the paint during gone of the middle 3 games of the 1999 NBA Finals. Sadly, this makes me happy the same way Reggie's last game at the Garden made me happy, it reminds(ed) me that the Knicks were once relevant in the NBA.

9:08: Mark Jackson is clearly trying desperately to get a coaching job as he takes any chance he can get to critique/praise any minute coaching decision such as calling the first play of the game for a struggling Lamar Odom so as to "Un-confuse" his big man. Although Jackson might be right, I will view any comment he makes about a coach as an attempt to impress onlooking NBA GM's.

9:09: Pierce with early air-ball. Good to see. "Us" die-hard Lakers fans need him to suck. And thats promptly followed by a Ray Allen shot that barely grazes the backboard. Great signs a whopping 103 seconds into the game.

9:12: Why are Laker fans chanting MVP when Bryant already has won the award? Ugh I hate rooting for the same team as these Hollywood frauds. Boston hate will make you do some strange things.

9:15: Apparentley I should have been less skeptical of Jackson's comments. Odom move paying ealry dividends as he has 6 points on 3-3 shooting. Why is Jesus guarding Kobe?(no not that jesus, though I'm not sure he could guard Kobe either). Make that 4-4 16-6 with 8 minutes to go in first time out Boston !! MY LAKERS!!!!! (!!!= the sound of Whiteboy Clapping)

9:22: White boy Senior enters. 20-6 this is awesome! 24-7!!!!!!!!! this is crazy. Sr. says, "this is just like watching a hockey game, Randmanovich, Vujacic" .

9:30: Phil Jackson is greatest coach ever. He motivates his players better than any coach I have seen. Odom is now 6-6. 26-7.

9:35: The ex-Knick Trevor Ariza comes in and makes 1 of 2 but some white guy makes a 3 and its now 35-14 at the end of one. Jeff Van Gundy makes a great poing that "Doc Rivers can't be happy" Thanks Jeff. As a sidebar, how many more NBA Finals do I need to see ex knicks in. Mohammed, Mcdyess, now Ariza, I'm not saying we are cursed but if Steve Francis is in the finals next year I'm , as Devo would say "Calling Bullshit."

9:41: Former Knick killer Sam Cassell enters, is he the Celts human white flag? 37-14 this game might be over.

9:45: Ariza is putting on a hustle clinic, good thing we gave him up for the aforementioned Steve Francis a bastion of hard work and intensity.

9:52: Jeff Van Gundy asks "if anyone is funnier than Kevin James I wnat names". Sr. and I instantly come up with Larry David, Chris Rock, Rodney Dangerfield, Jerry Seinfeld and Robin Williams. Oh its now 45-21 about which is about the time you start talking more about the announcers than the game itself.

9:58: Okay this is an unreal statistic. The Lakers despite being up 45-21 have only gotten 3 points and a startling 0 fg from Bryant. He does have 6 assists but still.

10:00: I beat Mark Jackson to the point that Phil Jackson called a great timeout here after the C's go on moderate 5-0 run. Nobody calls smarter and more perfectly placed time outs than Phil.
10:04: now its down to 45-33 if Celtics cut this to 10 or less by halftime thats an awful sign for the Lakers.

10:08: whfew back up to 17 50-33. Emphatic dunk by Gasol.

10:14: 54-39 with free throw coming after gasol makes a layup and is fouled. 9.1 seconds to go if they keep it at 16 thats big. Never-mind a foul very far from the ball though Rondo misses ft. JORDAN FARMAR!! big running 3 point jumper in lane 58-40!! great ending to half. Okay yanks till 2nd half. I'll spare you my random outbursts about Yanks bad situational hitting for another post. See you in 20 minutes.

10:42- quick 8-2 run for Boston to start half this could be an interesting quarter. Sr. fears that this game is now "in the danger zone" oh yea he bet on the Lakers.

10:43- But a quick 6-0 LA run scratches that idea. Kobe has his first 2 fgs of the game here in 2nd half. Hopefully that augers well for LA (if you don't know what auger means I'm sorry I'm a doctorate student and I don't apologize for using it)

10:46: Timeout Boston!! 68-48 LA. "I love LAaaa, I loveee it". I hate myself.

10:54: 7-0 run for Boston 70-57 with 435 t0 go in 3rd. Lets see if this is another generic run by an NBA team or if C's can pull within single digits.

10:56: 256 remaining in 3rd and now the lead is down to 11 72-61 LA this game is now very much in play. Oy vey.

11:03: Pierce just made an amazing "rip through" move, thanks jeff for that term, and 1. with this free throw its now a single digit game 73-64 LA.

11:05: We have an amber alert on the Lakers its now only a 6 point lead 73-67 with under 1 minute to go in 3rd.

11:07: I sit with my mouth wide open its now a 73-71 LA lead. An amazing comeback. This would be one of the all time single game choke jobs in a Finals game if this holds up.

11:14: The fix is in! Pierce breathes on Kobe and is called for offensive foul. sweet. Too bad Lakers can't score or get a defensive board.

11:16: Tie Game truly sickening.

11:17: If Sr. says that Pierce is better than Kobe one more time I"m going to.... well nothing cause he is my dad but its pissing me off.

11:25: whfew back up to 4 Kobe is finally asserting himself. For those of you scoring at home and who doesn't score basketball games? That is now 5-17 for the league MVP and a guy I basically called G-d in my finals preview article (G-d= Jevoah, Adonai, His/Her holyness) under 6 minute tv timeout.

11:29: Pau Gasol! a leaner in the lane Lake show back up 3.

11:31: Celtics have lead 84-83 and now have ball back on a turnover. Kobe is choking his team is choking. This is a horror show.

11:35: This is one of the most shocking sporting events I have ever watched. The Lakers are up 5 now with barely 2 minutes to go. Mad props to the C's they deserve this title.

11:40: Pierce shooting two up 3 with 1:44 to go. This game appears done. But as i say that pierce misses ft and makes second. 4 point lead . Kobe makes layup 2 point game.

11:43: In good news Matsui hit a grand slam in Oakland and its 4-1 Yanks. But I don't even care too much right now because I hate the Celtics too much. 3 point lead 46.8 to go Kobe is all over Pierce but is overaggressive and keeps fouling him very far from the basket. Kobe really looks lost out there. I'm as shocked to be seeing is it as I am to be typing it. Pierce Makes both 94-89 Boston.

11:46: game is over Allen takes it down to final seconds of shot clock and makes layup 5 point lead 16.5 to go. I congratulate the 5 real die-hard Celtics fans that went to games last year. The rest of you can go watch my Giants DVD. I live at..... Okay I won't give my address but you can email me and I'll give you my address there. I'll give you some popcorn and giants towels to cry into. 18-1 forever.

11:52: Oh yea, I'm the asshole, I thought this would be Kobe's coming out party. Instead it is a showcase for the greatness of Paul Pierce. I thought that the Celtics would need Pierce to outplay Kobe to have any chance in this series and he has. But he has outplayed him so much more than I ever thought possible that I am left flabbergasted. But don't worry critics, I WAS WRONG, I PREDICTED THIS SERIES WRONG. Hope that appeases whomever is reading this article.

Dear Plax, Do What You Gotta Do

A contract is a sacred thing. It binds two parties such that one performance binds another party to perform. In the instant case, Plaxico agreed to play for the Giants and the Giants agreed to pay Plaxico $5 million per year. This is less than other wide receivers, but the important thing is that this is what Plaxico agreed to. Had Plaxico signed the contract under duress (either your name or your brains on the paper) then he would not be held to the contract. But no, Plaxico was well informed of what he was getting himself into. He should be forced to honor the contract, no?

Nope. If this were baseball, basketball, or even the sport formerly known as hockey, he should be forced to honor his contract. After all, NBA, NHL, and MLB players will get their money no matter how little they play. (See Pavano, Carl) But in the NFL, where the owners have the right to deny players their benefit of the bargain (except for signing bonuses) Frankly, as annoying as it can be for fans, there's no reason for any of these players to not hold out and get what should be theirs, because they could be out of a job within hours if they're not performing. And granted, they're not exactly in need of a welfare case worker, but still, do unto others as they would do unto you. Do what you gotta do Plax.

A Few Mets Points,because apparently MissMet, SHMUCK, Merloni, BH and Yinzer are having a party and I wasn't invited

-Michael Kay, on his radio show, made the point that only Yankee fans really like Willie Randolph and want to see him keep his job. Mets fans will be happy to see him go, as he never really grew on them. Way to defy the odds Michael and make a good point. Didn't know you had it in you.

-Ron Darling said something last night that bothered me. In reference to some pitcher throwing a good game and getting an RBI, he basically said, "It's like in little league when you throw 5 great innings and get hits every time up." Way to relate to the common man, Ron. Allah knows that I'm not the most talented athlete in the world, but I don't think that's happened to me since T-Ball when I'd go the whole game without striking out and make a miraculous catch. You saying that is like me saying "yeah, it's just like when you bang 3 Playboy bunnies in one night." Sure, obviously I can and have done it. But is it really possible for the Ron Darlings of the world? Not likely.

I Was Waiting to Write Again Till the Mets Won...

...which they did last night (barely). Unfortunately, they lost in 10 to Arizona this afternoon, so my happiness was short-lived. During this horrendous stretch against the Padres and the Diamondbacks, the Mets have lost 6 of their last 7. Four of those games were lost by one run. Five of those games were lost in the later innings. After two straight days of great (if not practically flawless) starting pitching from Pelfrey and Santana, the bullpen has screwed it up. Last night, Billy Wagner gave up a game-tying home run in the top of the 9th, with Beltran saving his ass in the 13th. Today, aided by so-so pitching from Joe Smith in the 8th and Wagner's 3rd straight implosion, the Mets aren't looking too hot.
As a fan, I can speak for a lot of us who are just feeling like the wind is out of our sails. After the awful series against the Padres and the weird game (complete with a tornado) on Tuesday night against the D-Backs, it just seemed like things were swinging back in our favor during Pelfrey's outing. Both the SNY guys and the WFAN guys were high on Pelfrey. He pitched well against the Ace Brandon Webb. He actually OUT pitched him, which says a lot. There was a shut out and he even got his first hit of the season. When Willie left him in to hit in the top of the 8th, I thought that he even might get a complete game.
Once the 9th started, Pelfrey was ready to go. Then, he gave up a lead-off single. As if he had springs in his cleats, out popped Willie Randolph from the dugout. The fans booed, but I understood where he was coming from. It was a nice outing, but let's not get carried away. Give the ball to the closer and end this thing. Oh, if only it were that easy. Ever. Before we all (including poor Mike Pelfrey) knew it, the god damn game was tied. A practically perfectly pitched ballgame- ruined. Morale went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows from Flushing to Jersey and back. Once Beltran won it with a walk-off home run 4 1/2 innings later, most fans were happy and even a few were jubilant. Others were just relieved that they had pulled that one out.
Back to today's game. I for one thought that it would be kind of easy. I was expecting to turn on my car on my way home from work to find the Mets winning, which is exactly what happened. Then, on my way home from my second job, things had gotten a bit stickier. Smith had given up two in the 8th and the Mets had failed to score on some golden opportunities (what else is new?) in the bottom of the inning. So, come on in, Billy. Give up hits and walks to load the bases with no outs. Let the tying run score from 3rd on a very close play that would have gotten the final out at second. That is part of what is so frustrating. How many times have they come this close to eking out a win or a scoreless inning with everything bad happening at the very last minute. I just don't get it.
What I do get is that this past week has been ugly and I don't know what can be done to make things better.
Also, to add more shit to this pile, Moises Alou was back from the DL for 3 (three) at bats and one game (which he did not play in) before he was sent there for the 3rd time this season. I feel awful for him, but it kinda makes me want to throw up.
Oh also, in the above picture, Mr. Met has turned to food in times of struggle. Apparently, he's a stress-eater.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I puked outside there once or twice.

A few thoughts while putting out an Amber Alert on the rest of the SUS staff


-So Shockey is in minicamp but Plax is holding out? Is this some sort of relay race? Shockey starts it out strong! Hands to Plax, who reports to camp right as Pierce holds out, taking the baton from Plax. And finally, Shockey takes the baton back as he demands to be traded the day that Pierce reports to camp! What a relay!

No but seriously, it's good to see Shockey back with the team. Anyone who thinks that the Giants are better with out Shockey is clueless. (And more importantly, doesn't have a mancrush on the man like certain slightly biased bloggers.) And Plax wants more money? My guess is that his performance last year while destroying his knees has to take a few years off of his career. That said, no one on the Giants earned a raise more than Plax. And apparently Reese & Co. have some money to play with now that Strahan is done.

Oh, and Plax not practicing? Well I'm not a superstitious man, but he didn't practice last year. And the season seemed to end alright.



You had a good run, but alas, you were the first professional sport since MLB nearly 90 years ago to have gambling completely, thoroughly, and more importantly, publicly infiltrate the game. And Babe Ruth aint walking through that door.

My dad has been predicting a moment like this in one of the 3 major sports or hockey for the last 5 years. He's not the only person to come up with this, but he's been pretty emphatic about it. Needless to say, since the new Donaghy allegations came out yesterday, he's been walking around with the sort of swagger that Dubya would have strolling out to a press conference after finding thousands of nukes in Iraq.

Let's hope that Sen. Specter shows some willingness to correct a problem that doesn't involve a Pa. team.

The sad thing? More likely than not, the only thing separating the NBA from the NFL, MLB, and NHL? The dudes in the NBA got caught. Too much money is on the line for these games for this not to have compromised all 3 major sports. And hockey.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lets Playyy, which NY Baseball teaammm suuuucks mooooore (cue applause and cheesy game show music)

Both New York Teams have been impressively mediocre so far. The Yanks, after today's awe inspiring 3-2 loss to the Royals are back to 500 and the Mets, after a stellar 2-5 road trip are now 2 games under. Given that both teams have an off day and both have about 100 games to turn around their seasons, here is a breakdown position by position of which NY team is more mediocre.
(Worse player is the 'winner' at each positition. Though there are no winners in this comparison.)

1st base- This one is no contest. Jason Giambi has been red hot the last 2 weeks raising his average to respectability as his on base percentage creeps towards .400 and his power numbers begin to resemble the Giambi of old. Carlos Delgado still sucks. He can't hit a fastball and his defense is at best as poor as Giambi's. Furthermore, he is emblematic of the Met's blase, indifferent, and disinterested approach to playing the game of baseball. He has made several mental errors in the field and his sub .220 average makes him less than a major league starter at this point in his career. THE WINNER: Carlos Delgado

2nd base- This one is somewhat tricky. Luis Castillo receiving a 4 year contract is not quite as pathetic as the Giant's signing of Barry Zito, but it is pretty laughable. The guy has zero power and does not get on base enough to truly utilize his speed. His balky knees and lack of productivity in the 2 hole hurts the Mets chances of getting David Wright an opportunity to drive in early runs. However, he has good speed overall, plays sparkling defense and his switch hitting is a plus. Robinson Cano has had a terrible season so far. His 230 average does not even do justice to his immature and impulsive approach at the plate. He swings at way too many first pitches and when he doesn't, he inevitably chases a third strike out of the zone. He has been brutal in clutch situations as he has only accrued 20 RBI's even though he is surrounded by guys who are often on base. Although I am not a Castillo fan, Cano's overall play this year has belied the fact that he is in fact a career .300 hitter and his poor play has really hurt the Yankees chances of putting together any kind of winning streak. THE WINNER: Robinson Cano

Shortstop: This is an interesting debate. Both guys have underperformed this year. Jeter is hitting well under .300 and Reyes has seemingly taken many days off despite being in the lineup and playing on said days. Jeter can't afford to hit under .300 if he can't get more than a single and Reyes can't afford to play poorly because he is the Met's spark-plug, most important player, and most talented player. Reyes has all of the physical tools to be a perennial gold glover but makes too many mental errors. Jeter has all the savvy to continue to play the position but his complete lack of range and tendency to throw the ball away has made him a real liability at short. However, because Reyes is the Mets most talented and most important player, his inconsistent play wins him the award in this category: THE WINNER: Jose Reyes

Third Base: This is also a fascinating comparison because neither has really been disappointing. Wright's average is a little below what you want from your three hitter. He has never been a great defensive player. But Wright is a phenomenal hitter. He has power to all fields and has the chance to be a hall of fame player based on his offensive prowess alone. However, he has to take on the leadership role on this team even if he is younger than the more chatty vets like Billy Wagner (more on that fuck in a minute). A-rod's only problem this year, besides his horrendous numbers with runners in scoring position, is the fact that he had his first DL stint ever. His absence really destroyed the Yankees offense and I am not certain the Yanks can even climb back in the race because of the games the Yankees gave up during his absence (a horrible rotation won't help those chances either). I guess, because neither of these guys has done anything to merit a "this guy sucks" label, I will call this a draw : The WINNER: Nobody. You both cool with me

Centerfield- Melky Cabrera busted out of the gate this season. He was on pace to blast 30 plus home runs through the first month of the season and this seemed like more than enough offensive from a very good defensive player. However, Melky is still stuck at 6 long balls and has developed a horrible habit of swinging and making outs at first pitches. If a guy is not going to be a power hitter, he needs to be patient enough at the plate to allow the runners on base to run and to help run up a starting pitcher's pitch-count. Beltran is probably the most overrated player in the game though I am not sure by who. Met fans can't stand him and I don't blame them. He is too sensitive for New York and despite technically having 5 tools, he isn't outstanding at any one of them. He plays too deep in centerfield and he never even threatens a .300 BA. Even in the year he almost won MVP, his home batting average was under .250. Because Beltran is supposed to be a more important offensive cog in the Met's lineup than Melky is for the Yanks lineup, I give the nod to Beltran here THE WINNER- Carlos Beltran

Corner Outfield: This is no contest, Matsui, Damon and Abreu have been great this season for the Yanks. They have hit for average, driven in runs and all have excellent On Base Percentages. The Mets corner outfield has been an unmitigated disaster this season. Church has been great but he is suffering from Eric Lindros disease and who knows when/if he comes back this season. Moises Alou, was scheduled to come off the DL today but he tore his ACL washing the dishes. Okay so that is not true, but would you honestly be shocked if you read this on in the next 25 minutes? Endy Chavez is a fun guy to watch but hes a poor man's Joey Gathright. Winner- Mets

Catcher: This category will also not yield a winner. Jorge has been hurt for almost half of the season to this point and Brian Schneider has also missed significant time with various ailments. Schneider seems to have worked out better than fans had hoped and Jorge has already hit a dramatic game tying home run in the 9th during Saturday's 12-11 win vs the Royals. WINNER- To be determined

Rotation: Both Rotations have been disappointing. The Mets prized off-season acquisition of Santana has worked out fairly well so far but it hasn't worked out quite as well as I and most others expected it too. Santana's 7-4 record is solid but you would expect better from the game's best pitcher in the watered down NL. However, the real problem for the Mets has been enigmatic Oliver Perez. Oliver Perez seems kind of like the Eli Manning of the Mets. He pitches great in big games but has the tendency to really inexplicably suck against inferior competition. John Maine has continued his ascension to all star status but Mike Pelfrey has only pitched well against the Dimitri Young and (Sox legend) Willie Mo Pena led Washington Nationals. If Pedro can pitch more like he did in San Fransisco Tuesday (6 innings 3 ers) and less like he did Sunday at San Diego (5ip, 4er) then he might give the Mets a solid 1,2,3 and take the burden off a collapsing Perez.

Now, deep breath Whiteboy............ The Yankees rotation is a complete and utter mess. Mike Mussina has been fantastic this season. He has an under 4 era and is 9-4. That sounds great right? Add to this the fact that Daryl Rasner has also been great fashioning an under 3 era in his 7 starts. The problem is.... WANG AND PETTITE HAVE BEEN AN UMITIGATED HORROR SHOW! Wang, after going 6-0 in April has been atrocious, not registering a single quality start in over a month. Pettite has been amongst the AL's worst pitchers over this same time period. Pettite reached the apex of awfulness Saturday allowing 10 ers to the freakin Royals. Joba should stabilize this staff once he his diapers are taken off and he actually pitches 6 plus innings. Still, with the return of Pedro for the Mets and the scary bad pitching of Wang and Pettite, the Mets rotation looks more promising than the Yanks pitching staff. Oh yea, the experiment of trying to rebuild the starting staff with Kennedy and Hughes has been somewhere between humiliating and nauseating (even though those two terms are not on the same continuum).

Bullpen: Both Pens are kind of similar now that Joba has joined the rotation for the Yanks. Both have excellent closers (though only one is great) and mediocre middle relief. Rivera, despite a terrible weekend vs the Royals has been un-hittable most of the season this season despite having less hair than some of our folliclly challenged staff (not me, I got the brown curls and Jew Fro working) and being on the wrong side of 35. Billy Wagner as usual puts together great stats but chokes in games the Mets really need to win. I'm sure every Met fan saw what happened on Sunday so I shan't rehash it here. The Mets probably have a stronger rest of the pen however. Duaner Sanchez and Pedro Feliciano are solid setup men while Farnsworth is a horrible 8th inning pitcher and Jose Veras is not yet proven he can be relied upon in that spot. Edwar Ramirez could use his changeup as the key to becoming the Yank's lefty specialist (this despite the fact that he is right-handed) because of the tailing action his changeup has away from lefty bats. The Mets have a good lefty in Feliciano but they have a head-case in Aaron Heilman. If the Mets avoid using him in the late innings of close games, their pen will be fine. However, I also think the Yanks pen will stabilize once they invoke the FarnsVerMO plan I previously advocated for. Overall, the Yanks pen has to be favored as the stronger one as it is anchored by the legend himself.....

THE WINNER is: The Mets

Overall: The Mets offense is what is killing them while the Yankees starting pitching is killing them. The Mets go in prolonged stretches of strong play and then sink back to mediocre play while the Yankees seem to more closely resemble a standard 500 team winning 2 then losing 2 and winning 3 then losing 3. Both Managers have made a lot of mistakes this year but Willie has had this same group for 4 years and should have figured out a better way to communicate with, utilize, and motivate them by now. The Mets offense and the Yankees pitching are not good enough to get them into the playoffs. However, given the lofty expectations put upon the Mets once they acquired Santana, I think the suckstastic champion must be the Mets given their losing record.

THE WINNER is: The Mets

Monday, June 9, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes: Michael Strahan Tribute Pt. 2

I wish I were Michael Strahan. Or Ken Daneyko. Both of these guys were able to leave the field of play as champions. In Strahan's case, there's absolutely no reason to come back. He has achieved everything he possibly can in the sport. To paraphrase Brian Kenny from earlier today on 1050, uh, maybe you want to come back to win a Super Bowl? (Nah, 18-1 says hi.) Well maybe one more year and the network heads will offer you a pre-game studio spot. (Are you kidding me? He had this locked up years ago.) Well maybe you want the Giants' sack record? (Got that too.) Well maybe you want to come back and prove your hall of fame credentials? (Again, he had that years ago.) You can make a lot of money. (What's the point when it all goes to the wife?)

Strahan has accomplished nearly everything that one can hope to accomplish in the game of football. He leaves a winner, as one of New York's sports heroes. A man who was once a great individual player whose performance seemed to be inversely proportional to his team has brought Giant fans their first championship in what feels like an eternity. Now he joins the likes of Messier, Namath, Reggie, and Frazier; guys who can wear swastikas on their arms and still get a hero's welcome in New York.

As one of the bigger Giant fans in this area who is driving the train that's being tailgated by the bandwagon, allow me to be one of the many in this town to say thank you Mike, for returning the Giants to their rightful place as Super Bowl Champions. May you have a relatively alimony-free retirement.

The Strahan Legacy: What a Difference a Year Makes, Pt. 1

Very few professional athletes have changed their legacy by prolonging their retirement by one season like Michael Strahan. To illustrate this, we're going to give you two Strahan tributes: 1 had he retired before last season, and one for his current retirement.

Part 1: A Michael Strahan "Tribute" following a retirement announcement of September 1, 2007

So Michael Strahan retires with 132.5 sacks, 2nd on the Giants all-time to the man who literally invented the category. He was often the face of the franchise, his gap-tooth grin perfect for the bright lights of New York City. In Strahan, the Giants had a perennial pro bowler, and unarguably one of the most feared defensive ends of his time. Hell, the man broke the sack record.

But let's examine his legacy a little more closely, shall we? Sure, he was a great pass rusher, and he'll easily enter the Hall of Fame in his first few tries, but what was his legacy to the team? Well, first off, he has the most bogus claim to a record this side of Barry Bonds. What play comes to mind when football fans think of Michael Strahan? Sure, it could be a sack followed by his patented muscle flex, but isn't it more likely to be his record breaking sack of Brett Favre? And for what it's worth, fantastic pursuit by Strahan on that play, chasing after Favre just enough so that Favre could slide into him. Yup, that's Michael Strahan's big claim to fame. A sack record gift wrapped to him by Mrs. John Madden.

But what about the team success during this time? Well, he played for Dan Reeves, Jim Fassel, and Tom Coughlin. And he was a part of some very good teams, most notably the 2000 team that went to the Super Bowl. Lest we forget, the team also made the playoffs in '93, '97, and '02. So the '93 team had a good run, but let's focus on the '97 and '02 teams. Strahan was the leader and best player on both of these defenses. (Though a surprisingly good case can be made for Jason Sehorn in '97.) And how did the Giants' seasons end in '97 and '02? Historically embarassing. In '97 they blew a two score lead with roughly a minute left, and in '02 the team blew a 30+ point lead to Jeff Garcia, T.O and the 49ers. In both of these games, a simple defensive stop would've saved the game for the Gmen. And in both of those games, Strahan and his defense came up embarassingly empty. He's not the only guy to come up empty during those moments, but he was conspicuously present in body only in both of those games.

And let's delve further into this. Sure, Strahan has had some fantastic seasons with the Giants, but when did one of them coincide with great success for the Giants? His record setting season was 2001, where the Giants suffered a post-Super Bowl hangover, going 7-9. In fact his 4 greatest statistical seasons, with sacks in parentheses were '01 (22.5) '03 (18.5) '98 (15) '97 (14). Meanwhile, the Giants' record in those years were 7-9, 4-12, 8-8, 10-5-1. And in '00, '02? 9.5 and 11.0 respectively. Good numbers, but this certainly helps prove the theory that the less that Strahan did on the statsheet, the better the Giants were. And that, friends, will always be Strahan's legacy. A great player, who put up great stats, but never when the Giants needed them. The A-Rod of the Yankees, if you will.

Time for everyone's favorite quiz show sensation:

Guess which 1.5 of NY Area SUS Staff (Devo, White Boy, BH, Mahatma, MissMet, SHMUCK) has herpes!

Winner gets a free sticker. And 8 lifetimes worth of horrible images.

FarnsVerMo: The solution to the Yankees Pen issues

I'll keep this short to cater to all my ADHD brothers and sisters. Watching the last two games between the Yankees and their newest arch rival, the Kansas City Royals, I solved the Yankees bullpen problems. No, this solution can't make up for the gaping hole in the pen created by Joba's gradual movement towards being a real pitcher in the starting rotation. However, it can allow the Yanks to boast a formidable 7th, 8th and 9th inning attack and cater to their band of 6 inning warriors. Jose Veras has been outstanding this year. He has a blistering fastball, does not walk anybody and has a solid slider as well. He is emerging as the ideal setup man for the best pitcher in the game. The B.I.G. alerted me to the stats posted on YES that Kyle Farnsworth, yes the same Kyle Farnsworth who I told you sucks in a previous post, (Editor's note: Way to go out on a limb. In other news, A-Rod=good.) has an under 3 era in the 7th inning as a Yankee. This tells me that Kyle is too much of a pussy to handle 8th inning duties but when the pressure is off, he can be a reputable option.

So there you have it, Farns in the 7th, Veras in the 8th and Mo in the 9th. But I'm sure Brian Cashman in his infinite wisdom/ stubborness of trying to prove to everyone that his 3 year signing of Farnsworth was not a horrendous mistake, will keep forcing Joe to trot out Kyle in most 8th innings and leave the 7th to the disgrace to baseball that is Latroy Hawkins. Please Joe and Brian, it is time to implement FarnsVerMo.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hot Time Summer In The City

I swear to God if 90 degree June days become a NY fixture, I'm moving to Edmonton, with an eye on Anchorage. I wasn't Daniela Hantuchova (pictured above) on Saturday night, if only because my nipples weren't as hard, but it was damn close.

Was in NYC on Saturday and Sunday on this, the weekend of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Apparently it's impossible for white people to talk about the Puerto Rican Day Parade without referencing this Seinfeld clip.