Friday, February 29, 2008

Pink Hat Nation Hall of Fame

With this inaugural post, I hereby create the Pink Hat Nation Hall of Fame. First inductee is English footballer Stephen Ireland. He drives this:His mates must be so proud. Welcome, ya poof.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Opening Day Prequel

Today is the first day of Spring Training. I watched One on One with Bud Black last night (and the dreadful Jane Mitchell. Can I please have her job? I promise to be 500 million times more likable and interesting) and got all fired up. Buddy said he's here for one take the Padres to the series. Could this be the year?

Ya gotta believe!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

PHN Draft Preview: The Top 5

The big Tuna, now fishing for talent as as head of the Dolphins.

1) Miami Dophins

The War Room: The NFL's only one-win team comes in with a new GM (Parcells) and newly hired head coach Tony Sparano. Hoping to use multiple picks to fill their many holes and compete with the Patriots is the East, rebuilding this fanchise will be a tough task. The Dolphins do have two additional second round selections from trading away Wes Welker and Chris Chambers, so it's also possible that they go ahead a pick a franchise cornerstone type of player, and beef up on other positions in later rounds.

The Pick: Unless the rumored trade with the Cowboys involving Marion Barber and two first-rounders goes down, look for The Tuna to take 3-4 defensive end Chris Long out of the University of Virginia. With a his father Howie's work ethic and his "high motor" on the field, Chris has all the markings of a Bill Parecells type of player. But is drafting a rich man's Patrick Kerney/Grant Wistrom really worth the number one overall price tag that he will come with? Considering great pass rushers such as Michael Strahan, DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman were drafted nowhere near the top five (Merriman and Ware were top 15 players, Strahan a second round pick), Parcells may have to question the value that he is getting with this pick. That being said, it seems that Long has very little potential to be a complete bust. And from a marketing standpoint he will take over recently released Zach Thomas' role as the "Belovedly-Scrappy-White-Guy on Defense."

The Potential Sleeper: If there's any other player the Phins will look at here, it's a potential long-term answer at left tackle in the form of Michigan's Jake Long.

2) St. Louis Rams

The War Room: What is head coach Scott Linehan REALLY trying to do here? He ostensibly brought the successful Vikings run-heavy, deep-passing offense in which Randy Moss and Duante Culpepper flourished, but he's only succeeded in compiling a losing record and more mileage on running back Stephen Jackson. American football is won on the front line, down in the trenches, and that's where the Rams need to start. It was the first overall selsection of Orlando Pace in 1997 that jumpstarted Dick Vermeil's juggernaut Rams that won a Super Bowl.

The Pick: Former first-round draft pick Alex Barron may still have potential to start at left tackle, at least for the 2008 season. But look for St. Louis to go defense and draft off-the-charts stud Sedrick Ellis, defensive tackle out of USC. With a pick this high, teams are looking to minimize risk, which is why they may avoid oft-injured LSU tackle Glenn Dorsey. Ellis will be able to play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, but is more suited to a 4-3, which is something to consider once La'Roi Glover and Leonard Little eventually move on. It will also give them the flexibility to move Adam Carriker back outside if they so choose.

The Sleeper: Jake Long is again a possibility here, but a sleeper could be ouside linebacker and pass-rush specialist Vernon Gholston out of Ohio State.

The order of the following three teams will be selected by a coin toss, but we'll just go ahead and preview their selections anyways. The teams all have different needs, so it may pan out this way regardless of selection order.

3) Oakland Raiders

The War Room: With Al Davis still running the show, is there any reason to believe that the Radiers won't take the most hyped, athletically gifted, super-freak with their first pick?

The Pick: Darren McFadden, running back from Arkansas. This seems like the biggest no-brainer of the top five, as D-Mac has shown the ability to be explosive and tough in his college career.

The Sleeper: If the Raiders decide they are set at tailback with Justin Fargas and Dominic Rhodes, it wouldn't be a shock for WR Desean Jackson to be picked here. No doubt Davis took notice of his standout career at Cal, and he is the kind of speedy playmaker on the outside that Davis covets.

4) Atlanta Falcons

The War Room: With a new head coach and a recent barrage of roster cuts, the Falcons are in need of talent at just about every position on the football field. Mike Vick's incarceration leaves a gaping hole at quarterback.

The Pick: Seemingly another no brainer, as Boston College QB Matt Ryan has established himself as the top player at the position going into the Combine. Smart, accurate and relatively mobile, he should help to at least stabalize the position so the franchise can start filling their other needs.

The Sleeper: Brian Brohm from Louisville put up better numbers during his college career, but there are lingering questions reagarding offseason ACL surgery and whether or not his success in a pass-heavy offense will translate to the pros. But there's a chance Atlanta decides to pick the regional prospect with a slightly higher upside.

5) Kansas City Chiefs

The War Room: The Chiefs weren't the biggest disaster in the NFL last year, but they weren't all that far off either. The re-vamped offensive line couldn't block, the quarterback position was inconsistent at best and aging veterans with declining skills were plentiful on both sides of the ball. GM Carl Peterson is paying the price for not developing young players and infusing them into the roster, and Willie Roaf's retirement during the offseason was a huge blow.

The Pick: If Jake Long is available here, it would be a huge shock for the Chiefs to pass him up, even if they pick at #3 overall. By all accounts Long is a relentless run-blocker, something Kansas City needs to get Larry Johnson and their off-tackle running game untracked.

The Sleeper: With Ty Law and Patrick Surtain aging and mere shells of their former Pro-Bowl selves, the Chiefs will need to start loading up at conerback soon. Like, now. Leodis McKelvin out of Troy State dominated at a lower level of competition, but appears to have the physical tools to be the number one corner selected in the draft. His ability to double as a return man may make the Chiefs think twice about passing him up, since Dante Hall has moved on.

Hope everyone enjoys, and please let me know if there are any errors or idiotic statements here.

Coming up next, spotlight on quarterbacks...

Heath Bell for Closer

Yesterday, I came across this heartwarming tale about Tony Gwynn Jr. and Trevor Hoffman (basically, to sum up, Trevor sucks in big games). So to celebrate pitchers and catchers reporting today, I am starting a campaign to instate Heath Bell as the Padres closer (because, you know, I have so much say in these things). Sure Trevor has more saves then anyone in history and okay, fine, he loves San Diego and is good for the city, but let's face it, if Bud Black left Heath Bell in while in Colorado, the Padres would have gone to the series.

Who's with me?

Draft Preview, it's coming...

University of San Diego QB Josh Johnson hopes to play on Sundays like his cousin Marshawn Lynch

Hardcore Draft Heads will be pleased to know that I'll be doing as much NFL Draft stuff as possible. Hopefully time will permit to do a frist round mock, gather info on specific teams and prospects from around the web, cover the combine, and do a sleepers/busts type post.

For now, everyone who cares about Hoosier Hoops can read about what a sleaze head coach Kelvin Sampson is. Seriously, most people should have seen this coming.

And for your Inspirational Sports Quote of the Day:

“The only good race pace is suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die.”

-Legendary long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Doldrum Days

Have you noticed that you have a lot more free time at work? Are there long silences during conversations with friends? Is your wallet oddly fatter than usual?

Welcome, my friends, to The Worst Time of the Year for Sports.

Football is over, spring training hasn’t started, basketball is going but we’re only at the midway point, the NHL is going but I’m the only person who cares about that, there’s no Winter Olympics this year, and cock fighting is still illegal.

Nautically, the doldrums are a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Athletically, the doldrums is that time of year when otherwise rational people try to get into NASCAR.

So to keep you from free of sports scurvy (and Pit Lizards), here are some suggestions of things to do while waiting for something besides a Congressional hearing to happen in the wide world of sports:

Get addicted to eBay! Red Sox slugger/cosmonaut Manny Ramirez is selling a car on eBay and donating the money to charity and sports writer Bill Simmons is selling a jersey on the auction site, also for charity. The online auction site has lots of other stuff too.

Read a book! Just kidding. Watch scripted television! The writers’ strike appears to be over. Most new episodes of scripted shows won’t be back until March or April, but a few are coming back sooner. Also, if you’d like to save a sports related show from being cancelled, go here.

Go see a band! A couple “buzz worthy” acts are touring right now, including Vampire Weekend, The Black Lips, The Lovemakers, Black Mountain, Be Your Own Pet, Beach House, Jose Gonzalez, my favorite of this group Tokyo Police Club, and tons more. If you’re not into finding new music, old standbys Radiohead, Kanye West, Built to Spill, Pinback and REM have all announced upcoming dates too.

Go outside! Temperatures in Southern California have been in the 70s for the last few days and the warm weather is expected to continue. If you’re reading this blog and live in New England or some similar cold place … Invest in long johns. Sucker.

Cheat your co-workers! Take advantage of everyone’s insatiable thirst for gambling and tell them you’re starting a March Madness pool. Then, skip town with their cash! (Just a thought. Though I’m sure someone, somewhere, has done this).

That’s all I got for now. If anyone else has any suggestions, let’s hear ‘em!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Because apparently England's not big enough

I’ve confessed my un-American love of soccer before, and here’s another blasphemous divulgence: I also like international sports. That’s right, I watch the Olympics. Even the winter one!

This is kind of a combination of both things – the soccer and the international. Apparently the English Premiership League is going to host some games around the world next year. Not sure if any will be in the US or not, but what's interesting is that this is following a trend in American professional sports where teams play in other countries. The NFL has played in London; MLB has gone to Japan, etc.

Being the odd duck that I am, I think this is really cool, but I know some people hate it. What do you guys think?

OK, I'm ready to talk about it

I don’t expect you to understand.

A sports franchise can easily go an entire generation or longer without a championship. Plenty have. Boston franchises have been very successful lately, and with such a large and vocal following, the rest of the county has had to listen to New England fans tout the recent success – and bemoan the previous failings – of their teams for the better part of this decade. And hearing other people blowing their own horn for nearly ten years is really fucking annoying. I get this.

So I know that you don’t understand.

The New England Patriots got caught spying on opponents. They were accused of running up the score on opponents. Their quarterback is a GQ cover boy who dates super models and left another girlfriend pregnant. I get why people dislike this team. I get why people were rooting for the underdog Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

With a little perspective, however, you may look at things differently, if only slightly. For example, did you know that for decades the Patriots were the laughingstock of the AFL and then NFL? That the Jets and the Dolphins used to come into Fenway Park (where they once played) and then later the junk heap that was Schaffer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium and run up the score all over the hapless Patsies? Did you know that for decades, the joke ran that if a crime was committed in eastern Massachusetts, the first place the cops looked for suspects was the Patriots’ locker room? That their two prior Super Bowl appreances ended expectedly with them representing sacrificial lambs at the alters of the Mighty ’86 Bears and ’96 Brett Favre Coronation?

The Patriots were – in short – an embarrassment for many, many years. Then, in Super Bowl XXXVI, after the St. Louis Rams came out individually, shaking their butts and hollering to the crowd as their names were called, the announcer said: “The New England Patriots have requested that they be announced as a team. So, lady’s and gentlemen, the New England Patriots.” And nothing has been the same since.

I don’t expect everyone to suddenly turn around and join New England fans in weeping for history lost. I get why you don’t like the Patriots. But all things considered, this wasn’t so much the slaying of Goliath as the slaying of the Bad News Bears. The Patriots are not so much the Yankees as the Major League version of the Cleveland Indians. It’s just been spread out over a few years rather than one season.

So now this incarnation of the Patriots, which scored more points and broke two kinds of touchdown records, goes down as chokers rather than The Best Team Ever. They had a great year and blew it when it mattered. For the rest of the country, it’s an historic upset and reason to cheer. For Patriots fans, it kind of just feels like old times.

Weekly Crotch Shot: Across the Pond Edition

Here's an unfortunate bloke not minding his tallywhacker on the pitch. Please enjoy:

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Joey H talks Football and Smurfs Communist Theory

Putting the Joey Heisman gameface on to represent Harringtons around the world.

Last Friday, Atlanta Falcons quarterback and University of Oregon legend Joey Harrington appeared on NPR Radio's "Not My Job" show, in which "interesting people come on to answer questions about uninteresting things." Apparently he is a fan of the show and those who have followed his career know him to be an intelligent young man who plays piano with such luminaries as Third Eye Blind and John Popper. This also makes (some) fans and players think he is kind of a wuss. Either way, here are some highlights. It's pretty refreshing listening to a conversation with an athlete conducted by a non-member of the sport media:

-Joey H. and the hosts joke about NPR's listenership in NFL locker rooms, or lack thereof.

-Joey H. talks about having to "find the fun in the game" in the professional ranks, as opposed to playing the game at a younger age.

-Joey H. tries not to talk bad about quitter coach Bobby Petrino, but wonders why he couldn't "take a deep breath for seventeen days" and finish the job.

-Joey H. answers Smurf trivia, and listens to a guy in the crowd for the right answer. The guy quits after two questions, Petrino joke ensues.

-Apparently the United Nations made an anti-terrorist film with the Smurf Villiage getting carpet bombed

-Joey H. answers the final question right, corretly citing the "Smurfs as Communist Propaganda Theory."

Good job, Joey, as I myself (a fellow Harrington) have cited this theory on many occasions, several while inebriated. The leader wears a red cap, everybody is assigned jobs and they are at constant conflict with the capitalist pig Gargamel. Connect the dots, people.

Always a pleasure to hear from you, Joey, we'll always remember that scrappy college QB with the heart of a champion.

Teaching youngsters how to unleash their inner Harrington.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Game Prediction Wrong, Simmons Prediction on the Money

That Patriots jersey at your restaurant not lookin so good these days, eh Senior?

It's just all too easy. Two posts down it was prognositcated that BS would reference his lucky Welker jersey and the Larry Bird Celtics in his next column. Per today's ESPN Sports Guy column:
Much like the Patriots, I choked heading into the weekend: Somehow, I
forgot to pack my good-luck Wes Welker jersey and headed to Sunday's game
without any Pats gear.


Anyway, the Patriots won their two playoff games and set the stage for
another great father-son sports moment in a lifetime of great father-son sports
moments. We went to the triple-OT Suns-Celts game together in 1976. We went to
Games 5 and 7 of the Sixers-Celtics series in '81. We saw the Celtics clinch
titles in '84 and '86, and we saw the game when Bird stole the ball from

Sorry Bill. Just put some Bravery on your ipod, watch Rounders a couple more times and call me in the morning.

I'll write about it when I'm ready

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Perfectville, Population (still): 1

What a game, and what a huge upset of the Patriots! Rather than blogging myself, here is '72 Dolphin Mercury Morris for his reaction:

Sorry Mr. Belichick, your application has been reviewed by the Perfectville Homeowners Association, and been denied.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Picks

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Super Bowl XLII predictions from two Chargers fans and a Boston Grrrl!

Liz’s Pics

Winner: Patriots
By how much: 5 points
Company with the best commercial: Apple Computers
Number of relentlessly advertised new Fox shows that will be cancelled before their 5th episode: 4
Accidentally exposed body parts at half time: 1, Tom Petty’s bald head. His hat will come off, revealing he’s been wearing one of those hair-attached-to-hat wigs for 17 years.

Red’s Pics

Winner: Patriots.
By how much: 15 points
Company with the best commercial: Pepsi
Number of snarky comments I will make about Ryan Seacrest to cover the fact I am actually totally in love with him: 50
On a scale of 1-10, how bad will Paula Adbul suck in her pre-game performance even though it was pre-recorded: 11

Dave’s Pics

The Victor: Patriots
Score: 31-24
Player who suddenly decides to suck just ‘cause they’re playing in the Super Bowl: Giant’s running back Brandon Jacobs. He’s pulling a Stephen Davis for sure.
Odds that Bill Simmons references his lucky Wes Welker jersey and the Larry Bird era Celtics in his next column: 2 to 1. Jersey possibly still at dry-cleaners due to J-Bug love stains.

Best commercials that didn’t make the cut: Michael Vick for PetSmart and Pacman Jones' “Got a Little Captain in You” spot.
Innovative new feature in Fox coverage: Hiring of computer-animated football named Booter to explain intricacies of game in an entertaining fashion. Rupert Murdoch denies rumors of nepotistic favors and/or blackmail by ex-baseball analyst, Scooter.
Tom Petty half-time show surprise: “Fog Machine Malfunction” during Last Dance with Mary Jane, coupled with the setting of the all-time Super Bowl record for Churo sales
Aggravating compulsive gambler’s moment of the game: Patriots cover the spread after Belichick calls for Matt Cassell to Junio Seau touchdown pass with one second on the clock.

And there you have it, Patriots across the board! That means they have to win, right? Right?!? I'm going to go throw up now.