Results tagged ‘ Brett Favre ’

None of it makes any cents…

Wells, that was not quite the answer I was looking for…

I have never been a big fan of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Vernon Wells, and was one of many who quietly laughed when the Angels took his financial albatross of a contract off the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays.  But I guess it is apparently better to have the last laugh and that would not be me.  The move allowed the Blue Jays to re-group to the point that they now have arguably the best team in the American League East.  And, as health would have it (or lack there of), the Yankees find they have the need to take what’s left of Wells off the Angels hand so that they can pay those hefty contracts belonging to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.  Granted, the Angels will be paying most of the freight to bring Wells to the Bronx (assuming the deal goes through as expected), but he has been the Crown Prince of Disappointment for so many years.  Yes, he’s had a good spring, but so have a lot of guys who didn’t amount to a hill of beans in the big leagues.

At first I heard that the Yankees would be paying less than $10 million on the Wells contract which has $42 million more to go until it expires following the 2014.  But the latest word has the Yankees paying up to $13 million which means it will probably be more like $15 million or more when the deal is finally announced.

With the opening day absences of Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira, the Yankees need proven production in the lineup.  Robinson Cano is only one man.  There’s question marks at every turn, but the likelihood of Curtis Granderson’s return is far better than Mark Teixeira (who some say could miss the season).  This means I would have preferred to see the Yankees allocate resources toward an alternative first baseman.  The prospect of outfielder Juan Rivera playing first on a full or part-time basis is just not very satisfying for me.

But speaking of first base, the only talk I hear is the potential acquisition of first baseman Lyle Overbay from the Boston Red Sox.  Overbay can opt out of his deal this week and that would put him at the forefront of Yankees’ attention.

None of these acquisitions will give anyone illusions of a championship.

At some point, the Yankees are going to have to just blow it up and start over…

This is the time of hard cuts.  I saw today that the Cleveland Indians cut Daisuke Matsuzaka.  Okay, I don’t consider that a hard cut, but there will be notable names mentioned in the coming days.  It is hard to believe that the Yankees will be powering up Yankee Stadium just one short week from tomorrow.  As for the Yankees, I remain hopeful that both Ben Francisco and Brennan Boesch will travel north with the club despite the apparent acquisition of Vernon Wells.  While I’ve been pulling for Boesch, I have to say that Francisco has played well enough to start at least as part of a platoon.  I seriously doubt that Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis will make it through the season injury-free so at some point, Wells will probably start to take the majority of the at-bats at DH.

I guess there should be plenty of drama this week as MLB teams shape up their opening day rosters.

It’s just a number…

As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I am still trying to wrap my head around Greg Jennings playing for the Vikings.  After Darren Sharper, Ryan Longwell, and Brett Favre, I should be used to this.  Jennings may not have the athleticism of departed slot receiver Percy Harvin, but if healthy, he is a weapon.  It’s interesting that he selected #15.  I can’t say that I can remember another Viking who wore the number although I am sure a few have.  Of course, #15 for me is always going to be Thurman Munson but that’s a different sport.  Greg Childs currently holds Jennings’ Packer number, #85.  After missing his first season due to injury, I can’t say that his grasp on #85 is very strong.  Perhaps Jennings is just biding his time until he can retrieve #85.  Childs’ childhood friend and lifelong teammate, Jarius Wright, is clearly the favorite to fill Harvin’s role.

Decisions…

Part of me wants the Vikings to sign former Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, but of course, the sensible part of me only wants guys that can be part of the future as the door is starting to open for the Vikings again as a play-off contender.  I would like to see the Vikings to find a way to bring Antoine Winfield back to purple and gold.  I have faith in the younger guys and GM Rick Spielman has shown that he knows a thing or two about the NFL Draft so I am sure the secondary will be addressed next month.  I am anxious to see what Josh Robinson is capable of, but it would be nice to have Winfield to help the transition.

Hey Zygi…

I like the job that Leslie Frazier has done with the Vikings and I am hopeful that it will lead to a long-term contract.

Next month is a big sports month.  Opening day in Major League Baseball and the NFL Draft.  It should be a very fun time.  And for my friends in the East and Midwest, it should mean a little less snow…

–Scott

Hey, this team’s not so bad after all!…

 

As the Fonz said, I am ‘wrrrro…, I am wwwrrroo..’…

I was a pessimist in spring training…a non-believer.  I didn’t think the Yankees could compete with the Boston Red Sox with their current roster after the off-season spurning by pitcher Cliff Lee.  At the time, the Yankees were trying to piece together a rotation that was void of both Lee and Andy Pettitte, who opted to retire.

At the trading deadline, the Yankees were silent while the Red Sox were busy acquiring infielder Mike Aviles from the Kansas City Royals and pitcher Erik Bedard from the Seattle Mariners.

Yet, on the morning of August 16th, the Yankees found themselves in a first place tie with the Boston Red Sox.  Not bad for a team that has been rated as inferior to the Red Sox by so many, including me.  It is no secret that the Red Sox have owned the Yankees in their head-to-head match-up’s but of course that doesn’t mean a thing in October.  Still, if the Yankees had been able to at least play .500 ball against the Sox, they’d have a fairly comfortable lead in the division.  That’s probably where Lee and Pettitte would have made a difference, but who knows, perhaps they could have been even worse.

Despite the team’s success, I still do not like the prospects for October against the Red Sox and the Texas Rangers.  Like the Red Sox, the Rangers were able to add some quality arms to the bullpen when they picked up Mike Adams from the San Diego Padres and Koji Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles.  I do not like moves for the sake of simply making a move so perhaps the Yankees did the best thing by standing pat.  But the team still has too many shortcomings that can be exposed in a short series.  Part of me pulls for a Bronx return by Hideki Matsui who has cleared waivers for the Oakland A’s.  Matsui has shown there is still ‘clutch’ in his bat and used in the right spots, he could be a valuable weapon.  The team is counting very heavily on the return of Alex Rodriguez, but they need a contingency plan.   The DH spot has been weak, for the most part, with Jorge Posada and Eric Chavez.  Granted, Posada had a recent 6 RBI game that that’s clearly an aberration at this point of his career.  I haven’t seen too many timely hits off his bat this season.

GM Brian Cashman is making the usual comments that he does not envision any trading activity this month, but of course, you never really know what is up his sleeve.  So much of it has to do with posturing and trying to make the opposition believe that you aren’t desperate.

What have you done for me lately…

As for Posada, I am ready to cut ties.  He has been a long and faithful Yankee, and certainly a very passionate one.  However, I do not see a role on the 2012 Yankees for him.  At this point, he has become a liability, and if he wishes to extend his career, I am okay with it being in another uniform.  Hopefully, he doesn’t decide to go someplace like Boston, but I’d hope that he would make a respectful decision for the Yankees fans.  All things considered, I wish that he’d simply hang up the catcher’s mitt at the end of the season and call it a career but I don’t think that’s going to happen.  If I have to pick between Posada and Jesus Montero on the roster next year, Montero wins hands down.  Sorry, Jorge, but I am looking forward to your participation on Old Timer’s Day.

A quiet major milestone even if it was a booming blast…

Congratulations to Jim Thome for slugging his 600th home run against the Detroit Tigers last night.  It was an interesting stat that he was the first player to hit both his 599th and 600th home runs in the same game, and no one had ever hit his 600th in the next at-bat after 599.  Babe Ruth was the closest, needing two at-bat’s.  Thome’s march to 600 was one of the quietest milestone marches that I’ve experienced, and I even call Minneapolis home these days.  I’ve never thought of him as a superstar, but he has consistently been a home run producer for many years.  In my mind, he was never top shelf talent but he was always in the next tier and his career has spanned longer than many top shelf players.  Does that qualify for entry to the Hall of Fame?  It will be an interesting debate.  He is certainly not a first ballot shoo-in, but he’ll probably find his way eventually.

Time to see my guys…

The Yankees will be coming to the Twin Cities this week, so I’ll be at one of the games this weekend.  During my short time in Minneapolis, I have come to appreciate Target Field.  I am a fan of many of the newer ballparks, and I like some better than others.  But Target Field has a good feel to it, and I like its downtown location.  I intend to wear my Yankees cap, which might not be the best idea when walking downtown, but I am sure that I won’t be alone…

Waiting for the opportunity…

As a lifelong fan of the Minnesota Vikings, it was tough a few years ago when I had to adjust to the sight of longtime enemy Brett Favre in purple.  I actually did enjoy his first year, although the second one was a disappointment.  But it is probably harder for me to accept the sight of Donovan McNabb in purple.  Okay, I wasn’t one of those guys who booed when the Philadelphia Eagles selected McNabb in the draft over RB Ricky Williams, but I was never overly impressed with McNabb in his Philly days.  I even lived in the area during his final years with the Eagles, and perhaps my impression of McNabb is tainted by the bitterness that Eagles fans held toward him.  Yes, he won, but he never won the games that truly counted.  It’s a team sport so you can’t hang total blame on him, but he is just not someone that I’ve ever been able to embrace as one of the game’s best QB’s.  Maybe he will change my opinion of him.  I definitely think that he has something to prove after his disastrous year in Washington, and I won’t be surprised if he rises to the challenge.

I am a fan of QB Christian Ponder.  There’s no doubt that I wanted the team to draft Jake Locker, but it was not meant to be so Ponder is certainly the next best thing.  Intellectually speaking, I think Ponder is at the head of the class and I look forward to seeing how he grasps the Vikings playbook.  But, there’s no way that I think he is ready to start this year, particularly with the lockout shortened off-season.  I think that Aaron Rodgers benefited greatly by sitting on the bench for those first few years, and the same holds true with Ponder.  McNabb gives the Vikings the flexibility to allow Ponder to grow into the position…unless McNabb shows that Washington wasn’t a fluke.  I am sure that we’ll see #7 line up behind center at some point in the regular season, but until then, I’ll be content with McNabb.  Well, until he proves otherwise…

There were two Vikings that I really hated to see leave as free agents.  WR Sidney Rice was one of my favorites, and he is now in Seattle with former Vikings QB Tavaris Jackson.  I am not sure that Michael Jenkins or Bernard Berrian can be anything close to what Rice was, but I will say that WR Percy Harvin has been one of my favorite Vikings, if not the favorite.  Now that his migraines appear to be behind him, I am looking forward to seeing if he can take it to the next level.  The guy clearly has the talent and the heart to succeed.  The other loss was LB Ben Leber who signed with the St. Louis Rams.  But with Leber’s loss, it does create an opportunity for Erin Henderson to step into his shoes.  I really like what I’ve seen from Erin, and it is a great story if he starts next to his brother, middle linebacker E.J. Henderson.  But regardless of what the final roster looks like, I feel very confident in the decisions being made by head coach Leslie Frazier.  I don’t want to diss former head coach Brad Childress, but this is the most confident that I’ve felt about a Vikings head coach in a very long time.  I can never recall a time where I was content with the heads of both the Yankees and the Vikings but I am very comfortable with both Joe Girardi and Frazier.  Now, let’s see if it equates to a few championships…

–Scott

Time for a change…

 

 

The dawn of a new day…

This is tough for me.  I started my blogging on MLBlogs and consistently ranked in the Top 20 during my two year association with the site (for fan blogs).  I’ve decided it is time to go to a stand-alone site, and just enjoy doing what I like to do…talk about the Yankees and whatever other sports topic that might cross my mind.  This is not about trying to seduce other bloggers to visit your site to boost the popularity numbers.  Hopefully, there will be key words or tags that lead people to my new site (http://scofid23.blogspot.com/).

I have truly enjoyed the blogging community regardless of what service you subscribe to.  People who like to write are a very passionate crew, and there is definitely a strong camaraderie that exists among the “family”.  Maybe nobody ever reads this blog, but is that really the point?  Everyone has an opinion.  I am no different than anyone else.  I like to write, and this is my release.

Well, this is a sports-related blog so let’s get it going…

 

A huge week ahead…

This is a very crucial week for the Yankees as the trading deadline approaches.  Of course, I always feel like there needs to be a caveat attached to the July trading deadline as teams still have to the end of August to make trades albeit subject to the waivers process.  Yeah, like Evan Longoria is going to clear waivers.  Granted, there’s no way the Rays would be foolish enough to trade Longoria but you get the picture.

I still think if the Yankees make a move for a frontline pitcher, it will be a potential trade that we’ve heard nothing about.  There is no way that Ubaldo Jimenez is going to find his way to the Bronx.  I really don’t think the Colorado Rockies are motivated to make the move, plus I don’t think the Yankees would be willing to part with the talent that would be necessary to swing the deal.  At this point, I am not expected a frontline pitcher although I realize that is probably the only hope for the Yankees chances to compete for their 28th World Championship.  They have a good team, but not good enough to advance past the Boston Red Sox or the Texas Rangers in a short series.

You could say that this week will determine the fate of GM Brian Cashman, who’s contract expires at the end of the season.  He is in a tough spot as no team is going to hand him an ace, and if he fails to advance in October, there will be a press conference to announce him as some other team’s new GM in the off-season.

I am glad to hear that 3B Eric Chavez is about to come off the DL.  With Alex Rodriguez still a few weeks away, it will be nice to have Chavez in the lineup…even on a part time basis with Eduardo Nunez.  I like Brandon Laird but his day will come.  For now, it’s time for him to go back down to Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

 

Down, set, 244, 244, hut, hut…

I am glad the NFL has finally settled their differences with the Players Association.  Granted, there was no way that either side was going to pass up huge pay days, but it sucks for us fans that they put us through the lockout for the past few months.  As a Vikings fan, it is the end of July and I don’t know if WR Sidney Rice will be wearing purple or catching TD passes from some other team’s QB this fall.  The most experienced QB on the roster is a one year veteran (Joe Webb) who was originally drafted as a WR after playing QB in college.  I am a Christian Ponder fan but I don’t want Ponder to start until he is ready.  I would definitely prefer a stopgap at QB until Ponder is ready to take over, so I am okay with a signing of Matt Hasselbeck or a trade for Donovan McNabb.  But, as Brett Favre rumors re-surface, I really don’t want to see #4 back on the sidelines for a third season.

I am excited about this football season.  I’ve been a Vikings fan all my life, but I’ve never attended a home game.  I’ve seen the Vikings play on the road over the years, but I wasn’t raised in Minnesota and hadn’t lived in the state until last week.  Work brought me to Minneapolis, so I am now within walking distance of the Metrodome.  Rest assured that I’ll be attending my first Vikings home game this fall.  Skol Vikings!

Have a great week, everyone!

–Scott

Take two aspirin and call me in the morning…


It was a great win by Freddy
Garcia
on Saturday (six innings, two hits and no runs) in the Yankees’ 5-2
victory over the Texas Rangers.  The
superlatives about Garcia poured in after the game including one comment that
compared Garcia to David Cone in terms of the latter pitcher’s ability to find
ways to win when he didn’t have his best stuff. 


Freddy Garcia gets a pat on the back from Yankees captain Derek Jeter for a job well done.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images


I do not doubt Garcia’s
ability.  I can recall many times over
the years when Garcia completely shut down the Yankees.  It didn’t matter if he had been struggling at
the time or was fighting some ailment. 
He always seemed to shine in the most difficult moments.  My concern with Garcia is his ability to
sustain the effectiveness he showed yesterday. 
There’s no doubt, in my mind, that we’ll see Kevin Millwood and/or
Carlos Silva in the rotation at some point. 

I am not trying to be
pessimistic, but rather just a realist. 
With Phil Hughes on the DL, it is not an automatic that he’ll regain his
velocity by simply receiving rest and treatment.  A.J. Burnett showed that he is still
vulnerable after giving up two home runs in one inning against the Baltimore
Orioles last week after pitching so well in the prior six innings.  We’ll have the opportunity to see what
Bartolo Colon can do, but my concern about him is not with his arm.  His weight and ability to stay healthy are
the key issues.

It was disappointing to hear
that reliever Pedro Feliciano will need season-ending surgery.  Given that lefty Damaso Marte is also on the
shelf, the Yankees will need to find another lefty to complement Boone
Logan. 
Unfortunately, the rest of the
league knows that and they’ll be looking for a King’s ransom in any potential
trade.

At this point in the season,
it’s nice to see the Yankees in first place with an 8-5 mark, while the Boston
Red Sox sit in last place at 3-10. 
However, with just under 150 games still remaining, I would be very
foolish to think that the current standings will stay unchanged.  The Red Sox will figure it out and they’ll be
an offensive force through the summer.  I
am concerned that the key reason the Yankees have been winning is their home
run production (24 homers in 13 games). 
Hopefully, they’ll begin to find other ways to win as the season
progresses. 

It bothers me that the
Boston Red Sox will avoid a luxury tax penalty by delaying the announcement of
Adrian Gonzalez‘s extension until this week. 
Perhaps they did the same thing with Clay Buchholz, but the Gonzalez
signing was a foregone conclusion.  It
was obvious that the Sox had reached an agreement with Gonzalez before the
start of the season.  It was clear they
simply circumvented the system to avoid paying the additional tax.

To go a bit off topic, I am
excited about the upcoming NFL Draft despite the current lockout.  I remain hopeful that the owners and players
will reach an agreement before the loss of any games.  With the draft, I really hope the Minnesota
Vikings can find a quarterback.  However,
their draft position at #12 is not ideal for their search for a franchise QB.  The top tier QB’s, like Blaine Gabbert and
Cam Newton, will be gone and it will be too early to take somebody like Jake
Locker
.  It will be interesting to see
what the Vikings can do.  The Vikings
chief rival, the Green Bay Packers, seem to have a knack for finding QB’s.  They coaxed one great season out of Don
Majkowski
.  They traded for Brett Favre after
they missed out on the opportunity to draft Troy Aikman.  They drafted Aaron Rodgers despite having
Favre and a few other highly touted former college QB’s on the roster.  Hopefully, the Vikings can replicate the
Packers blue print to find their next great QB…

–Scott

 

 

And I thought all the sports talk about Jeter was bad…


I was disappointed to see no resolution for the Albert Pujols contract
negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals. 
With the passing of Albert’s deadline, we’ll have to tolerate an entire
season of discussion regarding Albert’s future before the contract negotiations
resume after the season.  I may be a
die-hard Yankees fan, but I have no desire to see Albert play his career
anywhere except St. Louis. 


Albert Pujols - 2004

Scott Rovak/Getty Images


I really thought that the Cardinals organization would have put forth a
highly competitive offer prior to the deadline. 
It really makes me wonder why the Cardinals would invest $8 million in
former Yankee Lance Berkman who has clearly seen his better days rather than
look for a less expensive option with similar production to invest the Berkman
dollars toward the re-signing of Pujols. 
I realize that $8 million for one year is insignificant in terms of what
it would take to sign Pujols over 10 years but there are ways the organization
could subsidize the contract without sacrificing the team’s play-off
chances. 

If Albert does become a free agent after the season, I agree with those
that say the Chicago Cubs would make a very strong play for the future Hall of
Famer.  Nothing against the Cubs, but I’d
hate to see that happen.  It’s not unlike
Brett Favre and his decision to play for the Minnesota Vikings after a Hall of
Fame career with the Green Bay Packers. 
Granted, they were separated by Favre’s one year in New York with the
Jets but his decision to play for the Vikings did adversely impact the way he
is viewed by the Packers fans.  Perhaps
Favre will be able to salvage a relationship with the Packers fans but he’ll
never hold the stature of former Packer QB Bart Starr or current Green Bay QB
Aaron Rodgers now that he has won a Super Bowl in Green Bay.  Albert deserves an untarnished legacy and he
should be remembered the way that Stan Musial is when his playing days are
over.  Hopefully, the Cardinals
organization will use the days and months between now and the end of the season
to sharpen their pencil…

I wish reliever Neal Cotts the best of luck in his attempt to come back
from injuries.  The Yankees released him
today after reviewing the results of his physical.  I had hoped Cotts would experience a re-birth
under his former pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, but it was not meant to
be.  Hopefully, this does not mean the
end of Cotts career but wherever he goes and whatever he does, I wish him the
best.

I had hoped that reliever Brian Schlitter would clear waivers and return
to Yankees camp but he was selected by the Yankees latest nemesis, the
Philadelphia Phillies.  Losing Schlitter
wasn’t so bad since he probably would not have found a spot in the bullpen, but
losing him to the Phillies was bittersweet. 
It used to be that my second favorite is any team that beats the Boston
Red Sox.  My new second favorite team is
now any team that beats the Phillies.  In
a Phillies-Red Sox World Series, I would pull for Boston and that’s something
that I thought I’d never do…

Personally, I want a Yankees-Dodgers World Series!  A Bay Area resident, I am withdrawing my NL support for the Giants and aligning myself with the Don Mattingly-led Dodgers.  There is no way that I could root against my baseball idol from younger days…unless he is playing against the Yankees, of course.  Granted, I am not crazy about the whole Frank McCourt divorce situation and the Dodgers don’t have the Giants pitching staff but I have faith in Donnie Baseball…


–Scott

 

Another Yankee Killer on the verge of Pinstripes…

The morning started with word that the Yankees were nearing a deal with outfielder Andruw Jones, but there have been no further updates.  I am sure the Yankees are actively working on their arbitration eligible players like Phil Hughes so that’s probably a bit of a distraction.  Nevertheless, I like the idea of signing Jones as the Yankees fourth outfielder.  He is not the player he once was, but the last two years he has averaged 280 at-bats and 18 home runs.  Not bad for a bench/role player…
AP/Jeff Chiu
With Marcus Thames apparently on the verge of signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, I think Jones is a better version of Thames…well, at least one that can play the field.  I’ve wanted the Yankees to sign Jones the last two years but he signed with Texas in 2009 and the White Sox in 2010.  Perhaps the time is now for Jones to finally land in the Bronx.  
Andruw Jones watches his three-run home run in the third inning of Game 1 of the World Series against the New York Yankees in New York, in this Oct. 20, 1996 file photo. At right is Yankees catcher Jim Leyritz. The Atlanta Braves are cutting ties with  Jones, saying they can't afford to keep the perennial Gold Glove center fielder who's spent his entire career with the organization.
AP
I liked the Washington Nationals move to acquire Chicago Cubs starter Tom Gorzelanny today.  They paid a potentially hefty price, but Gorzelanny is a solid addition to the Washington rotation.  Only 28, he is the type of pitcher that I’d like to see the Yankees pursue for the hole(s) in their rotation.  I am not saying the Yankees should have pursue Gorzelanny, but I like the idea of pursuing a late 20′s pitcher that has not reached his potential.  I know, it’s chasing lightning in a bottle, but it would be great to accurately catch a pitcher on the verge on his breakout season.  
I was disappointed to see Jeff Francis sign with the Kansas City Royals but I can certainly understand his logic of pursuing an opportunity that should guarantee a spot in the rotation while playing with less pressure than say New York or Boston.   He has a chance to restore the promise he showed a few years ago with Colorado.  
When I think about who the Yankees should acquire, all roads keep leading back to Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona.  With CC Sabathia as Carmona’s mentor once again, I like the possibility and the promise that Carmona could bring to the rotation.  It’s certainly a better prospect than Sergio Mitre.  Ivan Nova is going to be a question mark going into the season.  The Yankees don’t need two question marks…
Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer
I am prepared to see reliever Joba Chamberlain go in a trade for a starting pitcher.  The Yankees have a few pitching hopefuls that could potentially fill Joba’s role in the bullpen now that the Yankees have signed closing/setup specialist Rafael Soriano.  I know that he still has the chance to experience great success in the big leagues but I am starting to realize that he probably won’t be able to realize that potential in the Bronx.  More than likely, the Yankees would have to part with one of their catching prospects in any trade.  At this point, I am most fearful about losing Gary Sanchez even though he is not as advanced as Jesus Montero or Austin Romine.  Sanchez has the chance to be the best of the group.  There’s no doubt that Montero will be a great hitter, but questions remain about his defense.  Sanchez may not be the hitter that Montero is, but he appears to be a more complete player.  
Somehow, I think manager Joe Girardi is going to have a very fun time trying to decide what pitcher to bring in from the bullpen.  He’s going to have some options for almost any situation.  It sure beats the days of Jose Veras or Kyle Farnsworth.
To go a bit off topic, I was glad/relieved to see the retirement of QB Brett Favre today.  Hopefully, and finally, he’ll stay retired.  He should start looking into life-after-football opportunities.  If he decides to come back to play again, I definitely hope that his days in purple are over.  I don’t know who will be the 2011 Quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, but at this point, I’d take Joe Webb over Favre any day.  I don’t want to see someone like Donovan McNabb come to Minnesota but hopefully the Vikings can find a solid QB option to allow Webb (and perhaps another young QB like Cam Newton) to grow and develop.
TSN.ca
Note to the St. Louis Cardinals:  Please do whatever takes to make Albert Pujols a lifetime Cardinal!
AP
Note to the Chicago Cubs:  I know you’re quietly building a play-off contending club, but I see what you’re doing!  Let the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers get all the pre-season championship accolades.  The Cubs are shaping up as a clear surprise player for 2011.  GM Jim Hendry has to be congratulated for the moves that he’s made this off-season.
AP/David Kohl
–Scott
  

Weekend in New England…

 

Well, it’s time to pay off one of my two debts owed to Julia of Julia’s Rants for several wager losses.  I should have been more responsive to my obligation but business travel and work have been very challenging lately.

 

The two losses were the final regular season series loss by the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox and the Halloween dismissal of the Minnesota Vikings by the New England Patriots.  It goes without saying which teams Julia was pulling for.  Sadly for me, the results were in her favor. 

 

For the loss by the Yankees, I owe Julia a couple of signs on my blog.  I promise that I’ll have them up by Thanksgiving.  With the loss by the Vikings, I have to write a blog about Julia’s favorite football team.  I know this is very off-topic for a baseball blog but keep in mind this is for Julia

 

THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

 

 

 

 

 

When I was a kid, I remember reading about the old American Football League (AFL) and its original members.  The Boston Patriots were one of those teams.  In fact, when they were awarded their franchise in 1959, they were the eighth and final team. 

 

 

 

Mike Holovak is the guy who stands out to me as the head coach of the Patriots in the 1960′s, however, it was long-time Buffalo Bills head coach Lou Saban who was the team’s first head coach. 

 

My first real meaningful recollection of the Patriots was after they moved to Foxboro and became the New England Patriots.  By that time, the head coach was Chuck Fairbanks.  The year that stands out for me is 1974.  The Patriots started season 5-0 behind QB Jim Plunkett, RB Sam “Bam” Cunningham, and WR Randy Vataha.  They would only win two more games that season to finish 7-7, but one of the wins came at the expense of my Vikings. 

 

 

81394434, Sports Illustrated/Getty Images /Sports Illustrated

Dick Raphael/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

 

 

I know, Julia‘s favorite was actually this guy (Steve Grogan)…

 

 

Before the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, the Patriots did play in one championship game, the 1963 AFL Championship.  They lost 51-10 to the San Diego Chargers, and would not advance to post-season play again until 1976.  They won their first AFC East division championship in 1978, but like in 1976, they were eliminated in the first round of the play-offs.

 

My next significant memory of the Patriots happened in 1985.  The Patriots made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but it coincided with the great Super Bowl Shuffle by the legendary Walter Payton and the Chicago Bears as the Patriots lost 46-10.

 

 

 

 

Sorry Julia, but it’s hard to pass by Walter Payton’s name without giving him some sort of tribute.  He was one of the greatest players to set foot on the gridiron…

 

As the organization moved into the 1990′s, their long history of futility began to change.  In 1993, Bill Parcells was named the head coach and the following year, the team was acquired by owner Robert Kraft.  Parcells would get the Pats to the Super Bowl in 1996 but they’d lose to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, 35-21.  Hmmm, no wonder Julia dislikes #4!…

 

Brian Bahr/Allsport/Getty Images

 

 

After Parcells left, Pete Carroll was brought in for a few seasons.  Despite making the play-offs two of his three seasons, the results were unimpressive and he was discharged.  Still, a decade of some success had transformed the organization into one with a winning tradition despite the absence of Super Bowl success.

 

The arrival of the 21st Century also brought championship success for the Patriots as they won the Super Bowl in three of four years (2001, 2003, and 2004).  If memory serves correctly, the new century also had a positive impact for another Boston area team that shall go nameless!  ;)  With head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady, the Patriots emerged as the team to beat in the 2000′s. 

 

 

 

 

The Patriots did miss out on football immortality in 2007 when the team went undefeated during the regular season but lost to what I felt was an inferior New York Giants team in the Super Bowl.  How many teams can say that a 18-1 record was a failure?  None, except the New England Patriots.  I am sure that there were a few former Miami Dolphins celebrating that day…

 

 

The Patriots remain a championship quality organization and they have been able to successfully replace aging stars and over-priced free agents through the years.  They are currently tied for the division lead in the AFC East with a 6-2 mark and seem well positioned for much success in the second half of the season.  With Tom Brady at the controls, it is a certainty that they’ll have a say in who represents the AFC in the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. 

 

 

Tom Brady

 

P.S.  They won’t miss Randy Moss but I think I will…  L*

 

*Brought to you by the Fire Brad Childress Immediately Committee.

 

 

The Return of #28…

 

I am glad that the Yankees moved quickly to re-sign
Manager Joe Girardi.  It’s not like
Girardi was going anywhere, but the team has much greater things to be
concerned about than negotiating with Girardi. 
Once the Chicago Cubs named Mike Quade as their permanent manager, there
was really no question that Girardi would be back in New York.  Of course, to listen to Girardi, Chicago was
never an option, but I have to believe at some level it was.



 


From everything I’ve read, Girardi was more like
the 2008 version in September than the 2009 version that was more relaxed and a
better players manager.  Was it
uncertainty about his own future or the sluggish play of his team?  Who knows, but whatever the cause, Girardi
has the comfort of knowing he should be able to call Yankee Stadium home for
the next 3 years. 



 

For me, I had held a glimmer of hope that somehow
Don Mattingly could get the job but of course that was nixed the moment the Los
Angeles Dodgers made Donnie Baseball their manager following the departure of
Joe Torre.  Outside of Mattingly, there
really was no other manager that I would have preferred to see hold the Yankees
job than Girardi.  Well, maybe Terry
Francona, but rumor has it that he already has a job.

 

2011 will be a very challenging year for the
Yankees.  They have an albatross or two
to deal with.  It’s tough to sink over
$80 million into a pitcher that was a nightmare for most of the season (A.J.
Burnett).  I saw a recent fan poll that
actually showed Yankee fans would prefer Javier Vazquez over Burnett.  That’s bad. 
The first order of business for the new pitching coach, whenever he is
named, will be to restore Burnett to the pitcher he is capable of being.  Also, decisions have to be made regarding the
Core, primarily Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. 
Assuming DJ re-signs with the Yanks, he’ll continue to play at short but
will he lead off?  Based on comments at
Girardi’s press conference, it would appear that this is being heavily
reconsidered (and rightfully so).  As
Posada, the time is clearly now to move on to the next great Yankees catcher,
Jesus Montero. 


Jesus Montero Yankees catcher spring training

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

There are many hard decisions to be made between
now and spring training so hopefully Girardi and GM Brian Cashman are prepared
to make the right decisions for the best interests of the 2011 New York
Yankees.

 

So far, the World Series has been all San Francisco
Giants.  It was clear they had superior
pitching in the NLCS but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at their play in the
first two games.  I’ve always been a fan
of Matt Cain and he certainly has raised his game to a higher level during this
post-season.  With a 2 games to none
lead, the series now shifts to Arlington, Texas.  I am sure that we’ll see a much different
Rangers team in their home park, but if the Giants can win a game or two on the
road, I really like their chances to win the World Series. 



 


I spent 14 years in Dallas and used to go to
Arlington to watch the Rangers play quite often.  You’d think that I would pull for the Rangers
but as an American League fan, it is hard to pull for anyone other than the
Yankees.  Plus, many of the times that I’d
go to Arlington, it was to see the Yankees so I was consistently cheering
against the Rangers.  Meanwhile, I’ve
always been a fan of the Giants in the National League even though I didn’t
move to the Bay Area until about 5 years ago. 
So, given my current geographic location, it wasn’t hard to pull for the
Giants. 



 


Finally, I just don’t think there is any way that
Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress pulls the plug on Brett Favre’s
consecutive games playing streak this Sunday against the New England
Patriots.  While the best decision is to
probably start Tavaris Jackson, it’s a no-win situation for Childress if he
pulls Favre.  So, win or lose, expect to
see #4 on the field when the Vikings take the ball. 



Tom Olmscheid/AP


As for the Vikings-Patriots game, I have made yet
another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. 
The loser of the game must write a blog about the highlights of the opposing
team’s history.  I know, the Patriots
have a more illustrious history than the Vikings, but I personally will like
reading about Joe Kapp, Fran Tarkenton and the others who made the Vikes such a
great success in the late 60′s and 70′s. 



Zuma Press

 

I know, I still owe Julia for another lost wager at
the end of the baseball season.  I will
try to make good this weekend.



Caffalo/NY Daily News

 


Finally, here is a great video of an awesome Giants fan who just can’t stop believin’…



Buck’s Statement Series Against the Yanks…

 

Revenge is best served cold…

 

 

Gail Burton/AP

 

 

Unfortunately, the last laugh belongs to former Yankees manager Buck Showalter.  A funny thing happened to the Yankees on their way to the AL East Championship; they were derailed by Showalter’s Baltimore Orioles.  Following an 8-game winning streak, the Yanks have now lost three games in a row including the first two of their latest series with the O’s.  As the O’s were pounding the Yankees tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays were thumping the Boston Red Sox to move closer to first.

 

 

Daisuke Matsuzaka

The Boston Globe

 

In a dead heat, it is hard not to give the Rays the advantage due to their superior pitching staff.   Frankly, I am not so sure that the Yankees have the pitching to advance very deep into the play-offs regardless of whether they win the AL East or get in as the Wild Card.  I want the Yankees to win, of course, but when the O’s can pummel your ace like a batting practice pitcher, and the next pitcher in line, A.J. Burnett, no longer trusts his stuff, how can you get excited about your team’s chances?  No one knows how Andy Pettitte will perform, and there is a very good chance he’ll have some rust to shake at a time when there is no time.  Javier Vazquez is finished as a frontline starter in New York at least, and Phil Hughes is about done as he nears his innings ceiling.  The second best starter on the staff right now is rookie Ivan Nova.  The missed opportunities to get either Cliff Lee (regardless of his recent health issues) or Ted Lilly will haunt the Yanks in October.  I realize that it wasn’t necessarily Brian Cashman’s fault, but looking back, I was so surprised last off-season when the decision was made to bring future ex-Yankee Vazquez back to New York.  I thought it was a mistake at the time, and now it appears to be a catastrophic error. 

 

 

 

 

When the Yankees win, things are fantastic, but when they lose, it’s doom and gloom, I know.  But realistically speaking, win or lose, the Yankees simply do not have the horses in the starting rotation beyond CC Sabathia to excel in the play-offs when clearly good pitching beats good hitting.

 

The Yankees have a great offense, but without top line pitching, their hitters can’t power their way to October wins.  The injury issues with Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher have hurt, as has Derek Jeter’s slump.  Lance Berkman is starting to figure out AL pitching but is it too little too late?  Time will tell. 

 

This off-season will be one of transition for the Yanks.  They’ll have to make some hard decisions, and they’ll need to look at replacing some of the old guard.  The Boston Red Sox have proven that no team should get too attached to any player.  I know the Sox will most likely miss the play-offs but that’s only because of the toll the injuries have had on the team (which is beyond Theo Epstein’s control).  Otherwise, it is not outside of the realm of possibility that the Yanks could be in third chasing the Rays and the Sox. 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to believe that the NFL season is now upon us.  My team, the Minnesota Vikings, open the season on Thursday night against the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.  Brett Favre will get the chance to prove that he should have run instead of attempting to pass, but it will be hard to re-capture last year’s magic.  Favre’s favorite target, Sidney Rice, is on the sidelines thanks to hip surgery.  In reading many Minnesota news reports, you come to the conclusion that the media feels strongly this is the final year of the Vikings’ window of opportunity.  I know so much rides on Brett Favre’s arm, but the rest of the team does have some talent.  I was sad to see fellow Iowa native Sage Rosenfels traded to the New York Giants, but something had to give to protect QB prospect Joe Webb.  I am not a fan of backup QB Tavaris Jackson, but I am also not so sure that Webb will be ready to take over at QB when Favre retires (for good) at the end of the year.  I was quietly hoping the Vikings would make a play on free agent QB Matt Leinart before he signed with the Houston Texans.  I know that Leinart failed in Arizona, but I do believe that he has the talent to succeed in the right system.  He is signed to just a one-year deal so hopefully he’ll be one of the options the Vikings look at when trying to replace Favre for next season.

 

 

Matt York/AP

 

I guess this is a ‘glass is half empty’ kind of night…

 

 

 

 

–Scott

 

A BIG Part of the Rotation…


Nineteen and counting…


 



After a season of overusing words like stellar and
incredible when trying to describe CC Sabathia, he continued with more of the
same in one of his best pitching performances of the year in defeating the
Oakland A’s 5-0 this afternoon in the Bronx. 
The win moved CC’s record to 19-5, and put him in outstanding position
to win 20 games in his second year with the Yanks.

 

Over the years, the Yankees have had some great
free agent signings and some not so great. 
CC has clearly put himself in the Top 5 best signings in just under two
years in New York.  Then there’s A.J.
Burnett.  Oh well, nobody’s perfect…except
maybe CC!  ;)



CC Sabathia ties career high with win No. 19 as ace throws one-hit ball over eight innings as Yankees sweep Oakland A's at the Stadium, 5-0.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

CC’s game today was a one-hit shutout.  Fortunately, the hit occurred early in the
game on a legitimate hit (single in the second inning).  It would have been much worse had the hit
happened late in the game.  September 1st
call-up, Jonathan Albaladejo pitched the 9th to secure the win and
shutout for CC. 

 

The game also featured two home runs by the
recently rejuvenated Curtis Granderson. 
He has definitely found his sea legs in New York, and is starting to
play like the player the Yanks thought they were getting when they acquired him
from the Tigers.  I am sure that New York
City is starting to look much better through Grandy’s eyes now that his bat is
starting to catch up with his reputation. 

 

With the win, the Yanks moved to 1 ½ games up on
the Tampa Bay Rays, who had the day off. 
They remained 8 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox, who defeated Buck
Showalter and Baltimore Orioles 6-4.  I
would never count the Red Sox out, but on September 2nd, I certainly
feel much better about an 8 game lead than I would if it were only 2 or 3 games
(okay, that’s a statement of the obvious…sorry).  This has been a tough year for the Sox, and I
would never seek to found glory in their injuries.  The latest word has Dustin Pedroia seeking
season-ending foot surgery in an attempt to avoid any setbacks that would cause
him to miss time in 2011.  Pedey is a
gamer so I am sure that whatever decision he makes will be in the best
interests of both he and the Red Sox organization.



David Ortiz (left) and Dustin Pedroia (right) celebrated Pedroia's first inning homer.

Jim Davis/Boston Globe

 

Off-topic
stuff…

 

It’s hard to believe the NFL season is upon us once
again.  My team, the Minnesota Vikings,
will once again be quarterbacked by 20-year vet Brett Favre.  I have my doubts if Favre will be able to
last the entire season so hopefully Tavaris Jackson has grown during his time
as a backup to Favre.  The team may not
have needed T-Jack in 2009, but he’ll see plenty of the pigskin in 2010. 

 

My hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, now have the
reigning Stanley Cup goalie in the fold. 
Antti Niemi won salary arbitration against the Chicago Blackhawks and as
a result forced himself out of Chicago’s budget.  They subsequently severed ties with Niemi and
signed former Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco. 
The Sharks signed Niemi on a one-year, $2 million deal.  He’ll join another free-agent signee and
fellow countryman Antero Niittymaki plus Thomas Greiss in net.  Former goalie Evgeni Nabakov, who the team
cut ties with earlier in the off-season, signed to play in Russia.  Will this be the year the Sharks finally make
the Stanley Cup?  Well, I certainly hope
so.

 

Roger Clemens deserves jail time…

 

Aroldis Chapman is the real deal.  The Cincinnati Reds are having a terrific
season and they’ve just added an ace arm to the bullpen for the stretch
run.  There must have been collective
groans in St. Louis when the Reds called Chapman up from the minors.  Here’s hoping that he has a much better run
than fellow rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg who is now on the shelf for 12-18
months due to Tommy John surgery.  I
still wonder why the Yankees never entered into the bidding for Chapman.  I hope they don’t make the same mistake
when/if Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish comes available.

 

I was really surprised to see Andy Roddick make
such an early exit from the US Open in Flushing Meadow, NY (second round).  I’ve been to the US Open a number of times,
and Roddick has always been a fixture in the later rounds.  This year, he’ll be watching from the stands
like the rest of us.

 

Manny Ramirez looks pathetic in a White Sox
uniform.  It wasn’t that long ago that I
admired Manny the Hitter, but I have to admit that I’ve been turned off by his
ugly departures from both Boston and Los Angeles.  Chicago may be excited for now, but it is
inevitable that they’ll be glad to see Manny leave town.

 

Is it really September?…

 

–Scott

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.