Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Random Thoughts from the Passionate Sports Fan's Mind V

We know Tom Coughlin may be fired, but would the Giants seriously consider trading Eli Manning?
Calm down, Giant fans. Yes, Eli has had a bad year, but you are turning him into the new Roger Maris: excellent player, overly unappreciated. If they trade him, your team will be mediocre for years afterward.

If the Jets face Kansas City in the first round of the playoffs, they WILL lose.
You need to run the football to win in January, and Kansas City can certainly do that. With the defensive struggles of Gang Green in recent weeks, what makes you think they will stop Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones on the ground?

Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell calls America "a nation of wusses" after the postponement of Sunday's Eagles game due to the Blizzard of 2010.
Imagine if a blizzard happens the day the Meadowlands hosts the Super Bowl. What will the NFL do then?

Devils fire John MacLean, rehire Jacques Lemaire.
Johnny Mac should be grateful he's away from this mess. With Marty past his prime and Ilya under contract for 14 more years, get ready for a decade of mediocrity, Devils fans.

Andy Pettitte still undecided about retirement.
It's as simple as this for the Yankees: If he comes back, there is hope for #28 in 2011. If not, wait until 2012 to hope.

The 7-8 Rams visit 6-9 Seattle Sunday night to determind the NFC West champion.
Do yourself a favor and root for Seattle. I want to see the outcry from the fans, league, and media over a 7-9 division champion!

With one week to go before the playoffs, my Super Bowl pick at the moment is Patriots-Eagles.
This is despite last night's no-show by Vick and co. With their playmakers, I expect Philly to make a lot of noise in January. But if they don't make it, don't be surprised if the Saints make it again.

And my non-sports thought of the week:
Is anyone else happy to not have to deal with Christmas music overkill on the radio until next year? I mean, starting Christmas music non-stop on some stations BEFORE Thanksgiving? No wonder we are all so overindulgent at Holiday time!

Everyone have a safe, healthy, and happy New Year! Next week will be my NFL regular season wrap-up, plus awards and playoff predictions!

NFL Picks for Week 17 (2-2 last week, 19-21 overall)
NE -4 over Mia
NO -7 1/2 over TB
Buf +3 over NYJ
SEA +1 1/2 over Stl

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Worst Chokes in New York Sports History

Maybe I have a morbid fascination with death, or I am simply a drama whore. Either way, despite the fact I am not a Giants fan, I couldn't help but marvel at one of the most unforgettable NFL games of my lifetime this past Sunday. When the history of the NFL is written, we will talk about Sunday's 38-31 Eagles comeback in the same breath as the Buffalo-Houston, Giants-San Francisco, and Jets-Dolphins epic comebacks. Giant fans will take this loss to their graves, no matter if their team makes the playoffs or even makes another miracle Super Bowl run.

It got me to think of the worst chokes in the history of New York sports. And there have been plenty between all eleven professional sports teams in the Tri-State area. New York sports haters, this is your day to smile! Here we go...

10. Reggie Miller scores eight points in the final 12 seconds of Game 1 of the 1995 Playoffs to shock the Knicks.
This was the lowest moment of the Patrick Ewing era. Miller had scared the living daylight out of the Knicks in the previous year's playoffs with his epic Game 5 performance, and he shattered their hearts into pieces the next year, and relished every single moment of it. The Pacers go on to win the series in 7 games, thereby ending possibly the last legit chance for the Knicks to win an NBA title in the Ewing era.

9. Dan Marino's fake spike against the Jets in the 1994 season.
In one of the biggest regular season games in the history of the Jets franchise, they held a 24-21 lead in the final seconds. Marino took a snap, then looked up and froze dead in his tracks, thereby throwing off the rhythm of the Jet defense. Suddenly, Marino threw a perfect strike to reciever Mark Ingram in the corner of the end zone, shocking the Jets and ending their opportunity to move into first place in the AFC East. The Jets would go on to lose their last four games and finish 6-10. Head coach Pete Carroll was fired after the season.

8. Miracle at the New Meadowlands.
You know how it happened. 31-10 Giants with 7 1/2 minutes to go. The Eagles score. The Eagles recover an onside kick the Giants were totally unprepared for. Michael Vick ran wild. The Eagles tie the game. Punter Matt Dodge fails to punt out of bounds. DeSean Jackson goes all the way. Tom Coughlin throws Dodge under the bus on the field. The Giants blow their chance at the NFC East title.

7. Giants blow 38-14 lead in 2003 playoffs to San Francisco, lose 39-38.
This all culminated with journeyman long snapper Trey Junkin's botched snap, and the failed hail mary desperation pass by punter Matt Allen (with a missed pass interference call). This marked the beginning of the end of the Jim Fassel/Kerry Collins era. Two years later, Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin arrived.

6. Mariano Rivera blows 2001 World Series Game 7.
Even the greatest of all time is human. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Mo in the bottom of the 9th inning in Arizona. An errant throw, a double down the right field line, a hit batsmen, and a bloop single over a drawn-in infield. It was the end of the Joe Torre dynasty, as Paul O'Neill and Scott Brosius retired, and Tino Martinez left as a free agent. The Yankees would suffer more postseason failures until their 27th title in 2009.

5. Jets lose '86 AFC Division playoffs to Browns in Double OT.
Gang Green appeared to be on their way to the AFC Title game with a 20-10 lead close to the two minute warning of the 4th quarter until Mark Gastineau got flagged for roughing the passer. Given new life, Bernie Kosar led the Browns to a touchdown and a field goal before the end of regulation. The Browns would win the game on a Mark Moseley field goal in the second overtime period, ending the Jets' best chance to win a Super Bowl in the Ken O'Brien era.

4. Brooklyn Dodgers blow a 13 game lead, lose pennant to Giants in 1951.
Whether or not the Giants were stealing signs, the Dodgers still pulled off one of the epic regular season collapses in the history of baseball, culminating with the Shot Heard 'Round the World, which still resonates to this day.

3. Mets blow 7 game lead with 17 games to play in 2007.
This collapse still haunts this franchise to this day. The Mets became the first team in MLB history to blow a 7 game division lead with 17 games to play, ending with future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine allowing 7 runs in the first inning of Game 162 against the Florida Marlins. The Mets missed out on the division and wild card (to the archrival Phillies no less) as a result. The next year, though not as epic, the Mets again lost to the Marlins on the final day of the regular season in the final game at Shea Stadium to miss the playoffs by one game.

2. Miracle at the Meadowlands (1978).
They say every cloud has a silver line, and this is the greatest example in the history of the NFL. The Giants were a sad-sack franchise at the time. Joe Picsarcik fumbling a handoff to Larry Csonka, recovered by future Jet head coach Herm Edwards and returned for a touchdown to give the Eagles an unfathomable victory was rock bottom for the G-Men. But not only did this play change the franchise for the better, but it changed the NFL. As a result of this play, every single NFL team (or football team, for that matter), instructs their quarterback to take a knee with possession of the ball and lead in the final seconds of a game, simply to avoid a similar fate. As for the Giants, they fired their entire coaching staff and front office, and brought on George Young. He would go on to hire Bill Parcells as head coach, and draft Lawrence Taylor and Phil Simms. This lead to a new era in Giants football, including two Super Bowl wins. The Giants have become one of the most respected and classy organizations in all of sports since.

1. Yankees blow 3-0 series lead to Red Sox in 2004 ALCS.

Honorable Mentions
Yankees blow 1995 ALDS to Mariners
Yankees blow 1981 World Series to Dodgers, Steinbrenner breaks hand
Mets lose 1988 NLCS Game 4 on Mike Scioscia's HR
Giants blow 1997 playoff game against Minnesota
Doug Brien misses two field goals at the end of regulation, Jets lose 2004 AFC Divisional playoff to Steelers in OT
Jets miss 2008 playoffs with Brett Favre and Eric Mangini after 8-3 start.
Knicks blow 3-1 series lead in 1997 playoffs to Miami after Game 5 brawl at the Garden
Chris Drury scores with 7.7 seconds left, Sabres beat Rangers in OT in Game 5 of 2007 Conference Semifinal
Rangers blow 3-1 series lead to Capitals in 2009 playoffs
Devils allow two goals in final minute of Game 7 of 2009 first round to Carolina

NFL Picks for Week 16 (1-3 last week, 17-19 overall)
GB +2 over NYG
CLE +3 over Bal
Sd -7 over CIN
Det +3 1/2 over MIA

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Now for the Yankees?

For the first time in over a decade, the Yankees did not get their man. Nearly 95% of their offseason was banked on a potential high-priced acquisition of Cliff Lee. Now that he has chosen to return to Philadelphia, the Yankees have major holes in their starting rotation, and have likely fallen behind the hated Red Sox with their acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. Before all the irrational, media-manipulated Yankee fans jump off the George Washington Bridge, it's important to remember that they made it to Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS with essentially the same roster they have right now. So it is not out of the question that the Yankees can return to October glory in 2011. But they will need help.

The remainder of the Yankee offseason should be centered around the following five strategies:

1. Do NOT trade for Zach Greinke.
Forget his social anxiety issues and the potential to become the next Ed Whitson in New York. Greinke has only had one ace-caliber Major League season, his 2009 Cy Young season. If you look at his stats from last season and 2008 and before, what exactly screams the word "ace" to you? In 2010, he went 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. In 2008, he went 13-10 with a 1.28 WHIP. Solid, but not ace material. Before 2008, Greinke did not have ONE season with a .500-plus record since his Major League debut in 2003. There is no denying this man's talent, but to me, he is more of a number 2 or 3 starter. If the Yankees decide to mortgage the farm for him, they'd better realize what kind of pitcher they are getting. Then pray he can handle New York.

2. Convince Andy Pettitte to come back for one more year.
Let's face it, the Yankees need Ol' Reliable Andy now more than ever with Lee out of the picture. Before second half injury issues, Pettitte, at age 38, was on his way to the best season of his career. He went 11-2 with a 2.70 ERA, made the All-Star team, and was highly considered a Cy Young Award favorite. Who's to say that if he stays healthy throughout 2011, that he can't at least approach a 20-win season? Of course, it will cost the Yanks more money to convince him.

3. Trade for a viable #2 or #3 starter behind CC. As mentioned before, Greinke would be a good fit as a 2 or 3 starter, IF makeup weren't such an issue. The Yankees will have to get creative here. Josh Johnson of the Marlins would be a perfect fit, but the Marlins wouldn't dare trade him one year before opening their new ballpark. Carlos Zambrano? Don't even get me started. Chad Billingsley? It may take top prospects Jesus Montero AND Austin Romine to get him to New York, and that is far too much for a non-ace. Other possibilities may be Fausto Carmona of the Indians and Francisco Liriano of the Twins, but both may not be available, either.

The man the Yankees should seriously consider trading for is Derek Lowe of the Braves. Atlanta is desperate to unload his contract, and Lowe would be a perfect innings-eater for a depleted Yankees staff. Assuming Pettitte returns, The Yankee rotation would consist of Sabathia, Pettitte, Lowe, Hughes, and Burnett. That is a solid enough rotation if all are healthy, especially in the AL East. Lowe is a gamer, knows the AL East well from his years in Boston, and would fit the Yankees nicely. Also, the Yankees may not have to give up their A-list prospects for him.

And by the way, if anyone even thinks the Yankees will throw money at Carl Pavano, I will personally come after you on the streets in a Ferrari filled with supermodels and hemmorhoid medication in the glove compartment!

4. Bring back Kerry Wood and spend, spend, spend on the bullpen!
At this point of the offseason, Kerry Wood is better suited to returning to the Yankees, since no teams seem desperate for a closer. Perhaps he is waiting to see what Rafael Soriano does before he makes his move, but Wood was a perfect fit as the 8th-inning bridge to Mariano Rivera last season. Maybe the Yankees can convince Soriano to be the set-up man, giving the Yanks a potential 6-7-8-9 inning combo of David Robertson, Wood, Soriano, and Rivera. That would be scary for the rest of the American League. Also, the Yankees should take a long look at Pedro Feliciano for a second lefty to complement Boone Logan, as their lefty options are running thin at this point. As for Joba Chamberlain? I personally believe he will be traded in a potential deal for a starting pitcher. If not, he provides incredible depth in an already deep pen assuming the Yanks load up.

5. Pray, PRAY A.J. Burnett gets his act together.
The Yanks are stuck with him for the next three seasons, with what is essentially an untradeable contract. Burnett is the key to the Yankees' success in 2011, and I'm not talking about the clubhouse pie-throwing contests. Burnett's 2010 season will go down as one of the most historically bad in baseball history. A playoff team that boasted a pitcher with a 10-15 record and a 5+ ERA reveals two seperate dynamics for next year's team. If Burnett duplicates his 2010 year, the Yankees will struggle to make the playoffs. If he goes out and has the best season of his career, and his mechanics are completely fixed by new pitching coach Larry Rothschild, the Yankees should at least get in to the postseason as the wild card. Burnett has the talent to be an ace on half the Major League staffs. At age 34, time is running out for him to show it. Next year needs to be that year.

NFL Picks for Week 15 (2-2 last week, 16-16 overall)
Phi +3 over NYG
DAL -6 over Wsh
NO +2 over BAL
PIT -6 over NYJ

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Random Thoughts from the Passionate Sports Fan's Mind IV

The Jets get destroyed by the Patriots 45-3.
If this doesn't humble the Jets, nothing will. Also, for those that believe the Jets have been lucky, this kind of loss may cripple their season.

Steelers defeat the Ravens 13-10.
The more talented team didn't win Sunday night. The team with the most heart did.

Josh McDaniels out as Broncos head coach.
Can one man single-handedly ruin a great franchise? This man came damn near close. It will take years to clean up the mess he made.

Boston acquires Adrian Gonzalez.
If they can sign Carl Crawford and get bullpen help, pencil them in for a 115 win 2011 season, assuming they stay healthy. God help us all if so. Oh by the way, do any more Red Sox Nation members want to continue to complain about the Yankees' payroll?

Nationals sign Jayson Werth for 7 years, $126 million.
Similar contracts: Giambi, Jason (NYY); Zito, Barry (SF); Hampton, Mike (COL); Wells, Vernon (TOR). I thought Washington needed to curb reckless spending? Enjoy this contract, Washington. Which brings us to the Nationals potentially...

...Offering Cliff Lee a 7 year deal.
1. Can we call the Nats Yankees South if this happens?
2. Good luck signing Ryan Zimmerman!

The Knicks are playing competitive basketball again.
YAWWWWNNNN. Wake me up if they make the finals.

The Rangers have the best road record in the NHL, but one of the worst home records.
Can this team get some consistency, please? Then, trade for Brad Richards and make a deep playoff run, perhaps? Oh yeah, fire Sather, too.

Rutgers misses out on a bowl game for the first time since 2004.
Not to split hairs with Greg Schiano, but where is this great football program we all expected?

And my non-sports thought of the week:
The fact that President Obama had to bow down to the GOP and allow for an extension for tax cuts for the wealthy in exchange for an extension for unemployment benefits is an out and out disgrace. It brings several things to mind:
1. The Republicans want the lower and middle classes to die in this country.
2. This economy won't be fixed during this current administration.
3. For the first time, I am leaning toward not voting for Obama in 2012. He caved in to the pressure and showed that he doesn't have the guts to take a stand or make difficult decisions in the White House. But that will NOT mean I am voting Republican. The day I vote Republican for anything is the day the sky turns green.

NFL Picks for Week 14 (2-2 last week, 14-14 overall)
DAL +3 1/2 over Phi
Cle +1 over BUF
Atl -8 over CAR
NE -4 over CHI

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Previewing the Two Biggest Games of the NFL Season.

Steelers v Ravens, Sunday Night.

PIT: Big Ben's numbers since the end of his suspension have been typical of his career, but he needs to get rid of the ball quicker against the relentless Baltimore pass rush, especially with a bad foot.
BAL: Joe Flacco has yet to take the next step toward superstardom, but a huge performance will go a long way.
Advantage: Steelers

Running Backs
PIT: Rashard Mendenhall has had a breakout season, but the Steelers' overall run game has been inconsistent at times.
BAL: Ray Rice is Mr. Consistency, and Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McLain will tough out the short-yardage situations.
Advantage: Ravens

Wide Recievers
PIT: Hines Ward is banged up, and they may have to rely on a big play by Mike Wallace to have a chance to win this one.
BAL: The big three of Anquan Boldin, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, and Derrick Mason have been inconsistent at times, but Boldin can run off a big play at any moment.
Advantage: EVEN

Tight Ends
Heath Miller and Todd Heap are mirror images of each other. Expect key roles from both players for their teams Sunday night.
Advantage: EVEN

Offensive Line
PIT: They are missing three starters, and needs to stop taking careless penalties.
BAL: Michael Oher is banged up, but is more trustworthy and healthy.
Advantage: Ravens

Defensive Line
PIT: They really miss Aaron Smith, but Lawrence Timmons and Lamarr Woodley are as feared as anyone in the game.
BAL: Haloti Ngata is one of the most underrated defensive tackles in the league.
Advantage: Steelers

PIT: James Harrison apparently could care less about being fined for helmet-to-helmet hits, and Sunday should be no exception. James Farrior is still a force at age 36.
BAL: He may be on the downside of his career, but Ray Lewis is still as feared as ever.
Advantage: EVEN

Defensive Backs
PIT: Major weakness at the corners. William Gay should not be on an NFL roster. But the long-haired one still patrols the backfield.
BAL: Ray-Ray may be the spiritual leader of the Baltimore D, but Ed Reed is the quarterback.
Advantage: Ravens

PIT: Mike Tomlin's team has shown a lack of discipline in the second half of games, especially with dumb penalties and a lack of killer instinct. They will need both if they have a lead late Sunday night.
BAL: John Harbaugh sometimes does not get the credit he deserves. All the Ravens have done under his tutelige is win.
Advantage: Steelers

Prediction: Steelers 13, Ravens 10.

Jets v Patriots, Monday Night.

NYJ: Mark Sanchez is maturing week by week and is showing remarkable poise when faced with adversity. Monday could be a defining moment in his career.
NE: Tom Brady is the NFL MVP at this point of the season.
Advantage: Patriots

Running Backs
NYJ: L.T.'s renaissance has made folks forget a disappointing season from Shonn Greene.
NE: Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead are capable, but nothing to write home about.
Advantage: Jets

Wide Recievers
NYJ: Jerricho Cotchery is banged up, but Santonio Holmes can always be counted on in crunch time.
NE: Deion Branch has resurrected his career back with the Pats and Brady, and Wes Welker is the most dangerous slot reciever there is.
Advantage: EVEN

Tight Ends
NYJ: Dustin Keller is one of the most underrated TE's in the game. He is Mr. Dependable for Mark Sanchez.
NE: Despite a great game in Pittsburgh, what else has Rob Gronkowski done?
Advantage: Jets

Offensive Line
NYJ: Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson are studs.
NE: Virtually a no-name line, but will protect Brady 100% every single play.
Advantage: Patriots

Defensive Line
NYJ: Shaun Ellis and Vernon Gholston can overpower anyone at any time.
NE: Vince Wilfork is an excellent player, but nothing to write home about besides that.
Advantage: Jets

NYJ: David Harris, Bart Scott, Jason Taylor, and Calvin Pace. 'Nuff Said.
NE: Quick! Name a Patriot linebacker!
Advantage: Jets

Defensive Backs
NYJ: We all know about Revis Island, but how about the year Antonio Cromartie has had for Gang Green? Oh yeah, Jim Leonhard is a very underrated player, and Kyle Wilson looks like the real deal.
NE: One of the worst secondaries in the league, and could be a massive liability come playoff time.
Advantage: Jets

NYJ: Don't be surprised if Rex Ryan pulls a page out of Broadway Joe's book and guarantees victory Monday. So far, his team has backed up nearly all of his talk.
NE: Bill Belichick is still Bill Belichick. You know he wants to destroy his opponent this week. When he is angry, watch out.
Advantage: Patriots

Prediction: Patriots 27, Jets 20

Picks for Week 13 (3-1 last week, 12-12 overall)
KC -8 over Den
NO -7 over Cin
Stl -2 over ARI
ATL -3 over TB

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Random Thoughts from the Passionate Sports Fan's Mind III

Jets pull off another miracle win, this time vs. the Texans.
If this isn't a sign that this may be the Jets' year, I don't know what does.

Brad Childress finally fired as Vikings coach.
If the players really hated him as much as we think, then don't be surprised if the Vikings run the table.

The current Super Bowl favorites are the Patriots and...
Not the Giants. Not the Eagles. Not the Falcons. Not the Saints. How about...
The Green Bay Packers? Yes. Even with all their injuries, look who they have beaten. Don't be surprised if they are in Dallas come February.

Victor Martinez signs a 4 year, $50M deal with the Tigers.
The Red Sox have now lost their two top catching options for 2011, along with John Buck signing with the Marlins. How does a platoon of the headcase Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the ancient Jason Varitek sound, Boston?

Jeter's agent calls Yankee tactics "baffling".
If you think these negotiations will get messy, just wait until Jorge Posada's negotiations next year.

Now that Phillips and Childress have been fired, guess who the next coach to go may be?
How about Jeff Fisher? If Titans owner Bud Adams sides with Vince Young after Sunday's disgraceful show of emotion, Fisher will be shown the door. And it will be a fatal mistake.

Mets hire Terry Collins as manager.
But the most important move Sandy Alderson SHOULD make is to trade Jose Reyes. That's right, I said it!

Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto named League MVP's.
Don't you think this means more to both than any Comeback Player of the Year award can?

And my non-sports thought of the week:
A round trip train ticket from Hamilton to New York is now $30. Thirty. Two years ago it was 20. Imagine what it will be in 2015. Nice going, New Jersey Greedsit.

Everyone have a save and happy Thanksgiving!

NFL Picks for Week 12 (3-1 last week, 9-11 overall)
NE -7 over DET
Phi -3 1/2 over CHI
SF -1 over Ari
Min +2 1/2 over WAS

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Random Thoughts from the Passionate Sports Fan's Mind II

Michael Vick accounts for 6 TD's (and 57!!!!! Yahoo Fantasy Points) in Monday night's 59-28 demolition of the Redskins.
But don't even think about voting him the NFL MVP. Also, I pose this question to Anti-Vick Eagles fans: if he wins you a Super Bowl in February, what will you think of him then?

A young New York Jets fan, 8, is tackled by a drunken Browns fan after New York's 26-20 overtime victory in Cleveland.
Let's pray something like this never happens again. God forbid this defenseless young man died in a melee in the parking lot over a football game.

Lebron James nominated for Time's Person of the Year.
Great! Maybe I could be nominated for taking my talents to South Beach while waving a sign that says WHO CARES?

The AL Cy Young winner is announced on Thursday.
Felix Hernandez does NOT deserve to win this award. CC Sabathia does. Call me a Yankee homer all you want, but Sabathia won 20 games, and effectively held the fort for a contending team while Andy Pettitte was injured, A.J. Burnett turned into Kei Igawa, Javier Vazquez was banished to the bullpen (again), and a revolving door of 5th starters put forth whatever they could. Having a miniscule ERA and astronomical strikeout total is nice, but a 13-12 record? It's a mockery of the system.

Rumor has it that Justin Upton is on the trade market, and Arizona wants a starting pitcher, relief pitcher, and outfielder in return.
If I'm the Yankees, I'm giving them Joba Chamberlain, Brett Gardner, and Ivan Nova. NOW.

Tiger Woods finishes 2010 without a victory.
Get used to it, folks. He will never be the same golfer again. Also, Jack Nicklaus' major record just might be safe.

The Devils' woes continue.
Lou Lamoriello is hailed as a genius, but did you know that in six seasons since the lockout, the Devils have only won two playoff series, while the hated Rangers have won two AFTER the fact, and once at New Jersey's expense? Just sayin'.

Brett Favre's 2011 Dog-and-Pony show is already underway.
He tells the NFL Network's Adam Schefter last week that he is done for good after this season. Sure you are, Brett.

The Cam Newton controversy gets bigger and bigger every week.
You know what the sad thing is? He is most definetly not the only college athlete that has pulled the alleged stunts he has.

And my non-sports thought of the Week:
From the Only in America department: Sarah Palin's new reality show was the highest rated program in the history of the TLC channel. Are people in this country so uneducated and brain-dead that they have to make themselves feel better by watching an hour dedicated to a politician that makes George W. Bush look like a genius?

NFL Picks for Week 11 (1-3 last week, 6-10 overall)
Atl -3 over STL
NE -3 over Ind
DAL -7 over Det
Oak +8 over PIT

Monday, November 8, 2010

NFL Midseason Report

I have been watching this sport for almost 20 years now, and I can honestly say this has been the most unpredictable NFL season in years. Basically this NFL season is like a blind date. It will either be incredibly bad or incredibly great. The girl could be pure gold or a total psycho. One week, a team could be showered with accolades and crowned the next Super Bowl champion. The next week it will be ridiculed left and right and calls from angry fans to sports radio stations calling for the coach's head fly left and right. But then again, who has a stable relationship anymore?

But if anything else, I've learned that the NFL season flys by like no other sport in the world. The baseball and hockey regular seasons are grueling, often boring marathons. The NFL season ends in the blink of an eye. We've already reached the halfway point of the season, and like a bad relationship, it's time to give praise but take a lot of shots at the same time. And for a diehard NFL fan like myself, I wouldn't have it any other way. Here's my awards, wrist slaps, and 2nd half predictions for this grueling relationship.

Biggest Surprise: AFC West
If you had told me that by Week 10 the CHIEFS and RAIDERS would reign supreme in the AFC West, Lamar Hunt would roll over in his grave and I'd advise you and Al Davis to seek some counseling. But it's true. Kansas City has emerged as a playoff contender due to outstanding running from Jamal Charles and Thomas Jones, and big plays from Matt Cassel. Not to mention their defense has staked its claim to being one of the best in the league this year. The Raiders, while half as talented, have recieved outstanding play from quarterback Jason Campbell, and the team seems to have shaken off the stench left behind by the JaMarcus Russell epic fail. Even Darrius Heyward-Bey (yeah, him) has stepped up. But the key behind the revival of the Silver and Black has been the play of the league's #2 rushing offense with a breakout year from Darren McFadden) and #3 pass defense, led by Nnamdi Asomugha. This all being said, expect a revival of the Chargers and eventual overtaking of both teams by the Bolts by the end of the season. But the revival of two old AFL rivals makes for a nice first-half story.

Biggest Disappointment: Dallas Cowboys
I was going to lump the Minnesota Vikings into this category as well, but after all the drama surrounding Mr. Favre and Mr. Moss and Mr. Childress, they saved their season with a dramatic comeback against Arizona last Sunday and set themselves up for a possible 2nd half surge. But wasn't this supposed to be the year Jerry Jones got a Super Bowl in his own back yard? Wasn't this supposed to be the year Tony Romo rose to the elite? Wasn't this supposed to be the year the Cowboys broke through with their sixth Super Bowl title, proving Wade Phillips could win? Guess what, Cowboy haters? CELEBRATE! The 'Boys are 1-7, Jones had to fire a head coach within the regular season for the first time after Sunday's 45-7 disgrace in Green Bay, Romo is possibly out for the season, and the team is not inspired to even leave the locker room on Sundays. You could point the finger at the coach, the owner, or the players, but the truth is you should point the finger at the business model of the Cowboys: make money, lots and lots of money, and pray the team on the field delivers a Super Bowl. Major changes are in store for this franchise.

Best Team
Last week it was the Patriots. The week before it was the Jets. The week before it was the Steelers. Week before the Ravens. Week beforrrreeee......
In other words, take your pick. There are no elite teams in the pack of simply good to very good teams in the league after four weeks. They are as follows: The Jets, Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Giants, Eagles, Packers, Saints, and Falcons. That's a heckofalota teams right there. As per the theme of this season in my intro, you just don't know week after week.

Worst Team
Tie between the Bills and Cowboys. The Cowboys for the reasons explained above, and the Bills simply because they are 0-8. However, the Bills come to play week after week, and are no pushover. They will eventually get a win as long as Ryan Fitzpatrick plays out of his mind. The Cowboys simply don't compete. So if you put a gun to my head, I'd lean toward Dallas. God, it feels good to be a Cowboy hater these days.

Best Player
Once again, it is Mr. Manning from Indianapolis. His offensive weapons have been decimated by injuries. His favorite target, Dallas Clark, is out for the season, and arguably the poor man's Wes Welker, Austin Collie, is hurt once again. Other than Reggie Wayne, his options are the overrated Pierre Garcon, Blair White, and Jacob Tamme. Strikes a lot of fear in your heart, doesn't it? But of course, it is Peyton's place, and he is the glue, the heart, the soul, the foundation, and the infrastructure of the Colts. Without him, they are nothing. He is showing why once again.
Honorable mentions: Tom Brady, Clay Matthews, Eli Manning, Michael Vick, Matt Ryan, Chris Johnson, Arian Foster.

Worst Player
Randy Moss. He is already on his third team this season. The circumstances behind his departure from the Patriots were simply business. The circumstances behind his departure from the Vikings are simply despicable. Whatever the situations, Moss has simply quit on two different teams this year. If he is quitting on Tom Brady and Brett Favre, how in the world can Vince Young or Kerry Collings possibly make him happy?

Best Coach
Tom Coughlin, Giants. After a 1-2 start from the Giants, Coughlin survived calls from the media and fans for his head and enormous pressure from within to lead the G-Men to the top of the NFC and a 6-2 record. Coughlin gets beaten and tortured in the media day in and day out, and is roundly criticized by fans, but he continues to go about his business with class and dignity, and has not only saved his job, but put New York in position for a Super Bowl run. Honorable mention: Mike Smith, Falcons; Mike McCarthy, Packers; John Harbaugh, Ravens; Rex Ryan, Jets; Tom Cable, Raiders; Todd Haley, Chiefs.

Worst Coach
Now that Wade Phillips is out of the picture, the overwhelming choice is Brad Childress. Amid in-fighting with his recievers, conflicts with ownership, questionable play calling, and an overall mediocre record, Chilly is the next to go with one more bad loss.

Breakout Player
If you drafted Arian Foster of the Texans for your fantasy team, you look like an absolute genius. Foster has established himself as an elite running back in the NFL, leading the league in rushing (864 yards) and touchdowns (10), including 231 yards and 3 TD's on opening day. Honorable mentions: Darren McFadden, Peyton Hillis, Kenny Britt.

Top Storylines for the Second Half

1. Can the Vikings rally for a playoff spot? Yes, but if any only if: the ancient Favre can stay upright, Brad Childress can get out of his own way, and they can beat the Bears and Packers the next two weeks. The Randy Moss drama ended, and the Brett Favre sexting drama appears to be on the shelf for now. Is this Favre's last hurrah? Please. But if so, and we're not sure, he will want to go out with a bang. They will be dangerous in the second half.

2. Can the Chiefs or Raiders or both make the playoffs? I think the Raiders will fall just short, but I believe the Chiefs are talented enough and hungry enough to squeak in. I believe the Chargers will end up winning the AFC West despite another mediocre start, but in a wide-open AFC playoff picture, it's possible Kansas City can sneak in.

3. Can Donovan McNabb lead the Redskins to the playoffs? McNabb's benching by coach Mike Shanahan in Detroit created unnecessary controversy in the Nation's Capital. With the Giants pulling away and Eagles showing signs of a playoff team, the time is now for both to co-exist and guide their new team to the playoffs. It won't be easy, though.

4. Can the Houston Texans finally take that next step? It's still too difficult to tell. They have all the talent in the world on the offensive side of the football, but it's the defense that has prevented Houston from taking that next step. Betty White could throw for 500 yards against that secondary, and how much longer can Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster survive shootout after shootout? I still say they make it in.

5. Will the NFC West champion have a sub-.500 record? It would be sad yet fascinating at the same time. Any one of the four teams can still win this awful, awful division. Imagine, for instance, the 49ers fighting their way to a 7-9 record, finishing tied for first with Seattle. But by virtue of a tiebreaker, they miss out on the division title? I believe the division winner, no matter whom it is, will finish 7-9.

And now, my favorite part of this unhealthy relationship: the 2nd half predictions!

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Sam Bradford, Rams
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ndamukong Suh, Lions
Offensive Player of the Year: Arian Foster, Texans
Defensive Player of the Year: Clay Matthews, Packers
Coach of the Year: Todd Haley, Chiefs
Most Valuable Player: Peyton Manning, Colts

Playoff Predictions
Seeds in ( )
AFC East: Jets (2)
AFC North: Steelers (1)
AFC South: Colts (3)
AFC West: Chargers (4)
AFC Wild Cards: Patriots (5) and Texans (6)
NFC East: Giants (1)
NFC North: Packers (3)
NFC South: Saints (2)
NFC West: Seahawks (4)
NFC Wild Cards: Falcons (5) and Eagles (6)

First Round
Colts 30, Texans 24
Patriots 20, Chargers 18
Packers 27, Eagles 21
Falcons 37, Seahawks 14

Divisional Round
Steelers 17, Patriots 14
Jets 23, Colts 21
Giants 30, Falcons 27
Packers 35, Saints 28

Conference Championships
Steelers 24, Jets 14
Giants 28, Packers 23

Super Bowl
Steelers 31, Giants 24

Picks for Week 10 (1-3 last week, 5-7 overall)

NYG -15 over Dal
Min -1 over CHI
ATL -2 over Bal
Hou +1 over JAX

Friday, November 5, 2010

MLB Free Agency Preview

Fire up the hot stove. Arguably the best time of the baseball season has arrived, and it certainly does not involve any games played on dirt and grass. With the lack of a salary cap, huge market franchises and limitless spending potential, the MLB offseason just may be better than the regular season. We'll leave the postseason out of this, as it is an entity unto itself. You know the Yankees and Red Sox will be involved, but will a sleeper team step in and make a splash? We'll find out in a matter of weeks.

Here are the top 10 free agents in MLB this offseason, and where I believe they will end up.

1. Cliff Lee, Rangers

Like his best friend, CC Sabathia, two years prior, Lee will be one of the most sought-after free agent pitchers in the history of free agency. A proven postseason performer, Lee carries a Cy Young award and a stabilizing, calming factor to any rotation he has set foot upon the last two seasons. He has catapulted two franchises in two years to World Series berths, and single-handedly carried the Texas Rangers into the ALCS with two brilliant performances against the Rays. And go figure, which team needs him the most? Not Texas, but the team he beat in the ALCS, the Yankees. And you don't think the pinstipers are prepared to wheel in at least five armored cars worth of money to his Arkansas home? When the Yankees want something, they get it, and Lee is their man.
Prediction: Yankees, 5 years, $125M

2. Carl Crawford, Rays

Here's another situation in which the Yankees can throw oodles of cash at a young, athletic, but experienced outfielder. But with Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson set in center and right, and the emergence of Brett Gardner as a cheaper alternative a year prior, and Derek Jeter possibly switching to the outfield in the next two years, will the Yankees really need him? Probably not. But if their archrivals, the Red Sox, covet him just as much, maybe the Yankees drive up the price to keep him away. That being said, should the Yankees break the bank for Lee, it will leave Boston and possibly the Phillies or Angels left to pay him. The Red Sox emphasize defense now, and who knows if Jacoby Ellsbury or Mike Cameron can stay healthy next year?
Red Sox, 6 years, $115M.

3. Mariano Rivera, Yankees.
Umm, you're kidding, right?
Yankees, 2 years with a mutual option for a third, $34M.

4. Derek Jeter, Yankees.
See 3.
Yankees, 4 years with a player option for a fifth, $90M.

5. Jayson Werth, Phillies.
With top prospect Domonic Brown being called up mid-season to the Phils, and oodles of cash tied up in their aces and homegrown core, Werth becomes expendable. The team that really needs him, the Rays, may not be able to afford him. A team like the Angels can swoop in and add his bat, especially as a DH, but his defensive liabilities may turn them off to him. You know who could use him to bolster their offense a little more? The World Series champion Giants. Pat Burrell had a nice run by the bay, but his World Series performance shows he is not the player he used to be. Werth just may be a perfect fit.
Giants, 4 years, $70M.

6. Victor Martinez, Red Sox
As mentioned before, the Red Sox want to emphasize defense, and Martinez is arguably the worst defensive catcher in the sport. It is concievable that with Adrian Beltre gone and Mike Lowell retiring, the Sox could move Youkilis to third and bring back Martinez at 1st. But will the Sox attempt again to trade for Adrian Gonzalez? If so, the only use Martinez could have is at DH, and the Sox have excersized their option on Big Papi. A team in need of a big bat would covet him, and Colorado has shown interest in the past. Here is their opportunity.
Rockies, 3 years, $44M.

7. Adam Dunn, Nationals.
If you want to talk about perfect fits, imagine a power hitter like Dunn in Yankee Stadium as a full time DH. 50, maybe 60 homers? A team that missed Hideki Matsui's big bat in the 2010 postseason, Dunn provides that ultimate fear factor in an already stacked lineup. Dunn is the perfect fit for Yankee Stadium, especially with the short porch in right field. If Cashman wants to make up for the failures of last offseason, Lee and Dunn will go a long way.
Yankees, 1 year, $13.5M.

8. Paul Konerko, White Sox
Konerko is getting up there in age, and despite a career year in 2010, it is difficult to imagine a team throwing more than 3 years and $50 million at Paulie K. He is a beloved player among White Sox fans, and if he is allowed to walk, not only will Chicago's offense suffer, but there would be a strong PR backlash, similar to what the Yankees would face if they let Jeter or Mo walk.
White Sox, 3 years, $48.5M.

9. Derrek Lee, Braves.
Similar situation in Atlanta, where Lee's big bat would provide a major boost to an already thin lineup. He'll draw interest from several National League teams, but ultimately, the Braves need him the most.
Braves, 3 years, $44M.

10. Carlos Pena, Rays.
Despite an enormous amount of power and a very good glove, Pena's stock took a major hit this past season as his batting average hovered around .200 throughout the entire season, reminding everyone why multiple organizations gave up on him in the past. The Rays, already facing free agent questions with Crawford and closer Rafael Soriano, his price just may have decreased enough for the Rays to bring him back for a shot at redemption.
Rays, 1 year with a player option for a second, $11.5M.

Honorable Mentions
Javier Vazquez, Yankees: Nationals, 1 year, $10.5M.
Rafael Soriano, Rays: Phillies, 2 years, $19.5M.
Manny Ramirez, White Sox: Angels, 1 year, $17.5M, with a mutual option for a second.
John Buck, Blue Jays: Red Sox, 2 years, $15M.
Bronson Arroyo, Reds: Dodgers, 3 years, $43M.
Kerry Wood, Yankees: Brewers, 1 year, $14M.
Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks: D'Backs: 1 year, $12.5M with a team option for a second.
Johnny Damon, Tigers: White Sox, 1 year, $9M.
Vlad Guererro, Rangers: Rays, 1 year, $12M.
Adrian Beltre, Red Sox: Angels, 1 year, $10.5M with player option for a second.

NFL Picks for Week 9 (2-2 last week, 4-4 overall)
BUF +3 over Chi
MIN -8 over Ari
GB -9 over Dal
HOU +3 over Sd

Friday, October 29, 2010

Random Thoughts from the Passionate Sports Fan's Mind

Joe Girardi gets a 3 year, $9M extension from the Yankees.
What, Stump Merrill wasn't available? Guarantee at least two huge games will be blown next season by the MicromanaGirardi.

Kristen Lee rips into New York fans.
Not that I condone the behavior of the New York fans, but Mrs. Lee: do you remember a little place called Philadelphia? Tell us a story about the fans there! Bottom line (no pun intended): degenerate fans exist in ALL ballparks, and your husband, Cliff, will take the contract with the most $$!

The Giants and Jets currently own the best records in their respective conferences.
I STILL think there will be no Big Apple Bowl. Take it to the bank.

Tony Romo is probably out for the season.
You never wish for anyone to get hurt, but if you are a Cowboy hater, there was no sweeter sight than Romo lying on the Cowboys Stadium turf, symbolizing the end of Dallas' season.

The Miami Heat lose their first game of the Miami Thrice era in embarrassing fashion.
Yeah, I STILL don't care about the NBA.

The San Francisco Giants lead the World Series 2 games to none.
Texas is NOT, I repeat, NOT done. Don't be surprised if they win three in a row in Arlington.

Mets hire Sandy Alderson as their new GM.
Just hope, Met fans, he doesn't hire Wally Backman as manager, or for that matter, Joe Torre.

The Devils have the worst record in the NHL by Halloween.
It's still very early, but how's that Kovalchuk deal looking, Lou? Just a reminder: 15 years. Enjoy!

And my non-sports thought of the week:
Do any of you gullible fools believe a Republican-controlled Congress will alleviate our country's problems? If so, just vote for Sarah Palin in 2012 and prove to me how much trouble we are in.

Week 8 NFL Picks (2-2 in Week 7, 2-2 overall)

Pit +1 over NO
DET -2 1/2 over Was
KC -7 1/2 over Buf
Mia +1 1/2 over CIN

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Most Important Yankee Offseason in Years plus NFL Picks for Week 7

So you want me to act like a spoiled Yankee fan and not give credit to the Texas Rangers on winning their first American League pennant, cry about the 27 rings, or even throw in a "BOSTON SUCKS!" just for self-preservation?

Well, like the Yankee team in practically the entire series except for 10 total innings, I lost interest in getting upset or throwing a fit. It's not worth my time or my health.

I don't want to say the Yankees quit in this series, but considering the way this Texas team dominated them through six mind-numbing games, it sure seemed that way.

This was the most listless, lifeless performance by a Yankee team in a postseason series since the 2006 ALDS against Detroit. They played like they didn't belong in the Major Leagues, much less an American League Championship Series. In other words, they deserved to lose this series, and everyone knows it.

Does age have something to do with it? Maybe. Is terrible coaching and management to blame? Maybe. Is a lack of effort to blame? Maybe.

The bottom line is this: This offseason may define the direction the Yankees take in this decade. Many, many questions face this team after a disappointing exit.

How much longer will the "Core Four" stay together?

In all honesty, I believe next year is the year the "Core Four" becomes the "Core Three." I will be surprised if Andy Pettitte comes back next year. Based on his body language and hesitations when faced with the retirement question, coupled with a groin injury that sidelined him for two months, I believe this is the end for Andy. Derek Jeter will get paid by the Yankees, and I mean really overpaid, but how much longer will be produce at a high level? 2010 was arguably the worst season of his career, and it really makes you wonder if he will be the same player again at age 36? But look at it this way: at mid-season next year, he will become the first Yankee ever to achieve 3,000 hits. And all probably before the age of 37. You can already bet on one special moment in the 2011 Yankees season, and there it is. 2011 may also be the final year in pinstripes for Jorge Posada. His bat remains a force in a stacked lineup at age 39, but his defense is an immense liability on a team that lacks a truly above average defensive catcher. With the two top prospects in the Yankees' minor league system both being catchers (Jesus Montero, whom despite being a defensive liability himself, has the potential to be the next Miguel Cabrera offensively, and Austin Romine, a great defensive catcher with a good bat, a la Buster Posey), and both possibly ready for the Majors in 2011 and 2012, Posada may become expendable as his contract expires. Mariano Rivera, at age 40, is still the best at what he does and is once again showing no signs of slowing down. You can bet your life he will be re-signed in the offseason.

Is it imperative the Yankees sign Cliff Lee?

There are three answers to this question: Yes, yes, and yes. If the Yankees are hell-bent on winning #28 in 2011, this is the man that must be signed. With the aforementioned Pettitte likely retiring, the ineffectiveness of outgoing free agent Javy Vazquez and headcase A.J. Burnett, the youth of Phil Hughes, and no prospects ready for the big leagues, the only truly reliable pitcher in the Yankees' rotation will be CC Sabathia. Which means the big man will have to help lure his best friend to the Bronx. If you know anything about baseball, you know that Cliff Lee is the one of the best postseason pitchers in history, and of course, only one month matters in the Yankee Universe: October. How different would this ALCS have been if Brian Cashman had pulled off the deal with the Mariners for Lee? And let's face it, the Yankees may be the only team that will be able to afford him. If Hank and Hal Steinbrenner have the same lust for winning their father did, Lee will be in pinstripes before Christmas.

Should Joe Girardi be fired?

The organization probably says no, but the fans emphatically say yes. Girardi is the definition of a micro-manager: going by the book 99.9% of the time instead of by his brains and guts. This is a man that single-handedly cost the Yankees huge games in both 2009 (Game 3, ALCS) and 2010 (Game 4, ALCS). When you have a manager that is capable of such a feat, he may not be the man for the job.

What other big-name free agents should the Yankees sign?

If the Yankees believe Brett Gardner is a fourth outfielder, they will attempt to sign Carl Crawford. If the Yankees are tired of Nick Swisher's postseason ineptitude, they will attempt to sign Jayson Werth. Other than the aforementioned three big names, there are no potential franchise-changers on the market the way CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were on the market two years ago. If it were up to me, Lee and only Lee would be shown the money, and maybe a savvy trade or two would shore up the outfield or the pitching staff, especially in the bullpen. Which brings me to:

Who should stay or go in the bullpen?

This may be the end of Joba Chamberlain in pinstripes. Girardi's reluctance to use him in the biggest spots of the postseason shows a lack of confidence by the coaching staff and possibly the higher-ups as well. Don't be surprised if he is traded this offseason. David Robertson's inconsistency is also a concern. I believe he will return, however. Kerry Wood's 8th inning dominance shows that he needs to be re-signed, and if Damaso Marte comes back healthy, the Yankees have two potential dominant lefties in the 'pen besides Boone Logan. Don't get me started on Sergio Mitre.

Will A-Rod be A-Rod again?

The Yankees are stuck with him for the next seven years, so they'd better hope he produces a few more 30 HR/100 RBI seasons. But the inclination is to say he may not be the same player again at age 35, and coming off a major hip injury, he may not reach the heights of 2003, 2005, or 2007 again. Steroids or no steroids. The bottom line is, the Yankees will need him to be great to win another title, and it's a 50/50 shot at this point.

Brian Cashman and co. will have a lot of work to do to put the Yanks in a position to win #28, and it starts with locking up Jeter and Rivera, and signing Cliff Lee. For now, it's a long way until pitchers and catchers in mid-February. Stay tuned.

NFL Picks for Week 7:

FALCONS -3 over Bengals
Vikings +3 over PACKERS
RAVENS -13 over Bills
Redskins +3 1/2 over BEARS

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Are the Yanks in Trouble? Relax, Yankee fans.

Let's channel the mind of a passionate Yankee fan after Game 2 of the ALCS against the Rangers.

Fan: "We're in huge trouble!"

Friend: "Relax, it's only Game 2."

Fan: "But Lee is starting Game 3, and Burnett is slated to start Game 4!!"

Friend: "Maybe Lee will choke."

Fan: "What, are you kidding me?!?!? Lee has never lost a postseason game in his life and the Yankees are intimidated by him! And I don't trust Burnett any further than I can throw him!"

Friend: "Isn't Pettitte starting Game 3?"

Fan: "So what? We had to win the first two games in Texas, and Sabathia and Hughes both bombed! We're done!!!"

Friend: "Watch the Yankees win the series anyway. I'll laugh at you."

It's easy to panic as a Yankee fan when you live under the Steinbrenner Doctrine: Win the World Series or your season is an utter failure. It breeds pressure on the players, the coaches, and especially the fans. But you know what exacerbates this sense of urgency and entitlement? The Media. That's right, I said it.

My advice to Yankee fans is to ignore the prognosticators. Ignore the columnists. Ignore the so-called "experts" that make Cliff Lee out to be bigger than God himself. Yes, Lee is a great pitcher and will probably end up with the Yankees next season for 20 million or more a year. Yes, he is nearly perfect in postseason play with a 2-0 record against the Yankees in the 2009 World Series with the Phillies. Yes, he has the vibe of Mike Scott circa the 1986 Postseason (and if I hear that Lee scuffs the ball one more time, I am going to choke someone. Get real, folks!).

Have these fans forgotten this is baseball? Anything can happen. The sport is a crapshoot every single goshdarnmothertrucking day, no matter how good or bad the opposing teams are on paper.

Have you also forgotten that Andy Pettitte, wins wise, is the greatest pitcher in postseason history? His next victory will be his 20th, Cy Young caliber in the regular season, and unprecedented in postseason play.

Have you forgotten how shaky Texas' bullpen is? A full-blown implosion in Game 1, and agita-filled moments in Game 2?

The bottom line is, if Game 3 is close in the late innings, and Texas holds a slim lead, say, 3-2, will there be any doubts in your mind that the Yankees can rally at home? The Yankees once again led the major leagues with 48 come-from-behind wins in the regular season, and 3 of the 4 Yankee playoff wins have been of the comeback variety.

All Andy Pettitte needs to do is pitch a Vintage Pettitte game, and the Yankees will have a chance. Is it possible Pettitte can implode the way Sabathia and Hughes did? Yes, but isn't Lee due for a bad postseason start as well?

Relax, Yankee fans. Texas is a much better team than Minnesota, and they showed it in Game 2. This series is still a long way from over.

Of course, this all being said, should the Yankees lose Game 3 and throw A.J. Burnett in Game 4 with the season potentially on the line, THEN you may panic.