Monthly Archives: December 2008

Penny Signs Contract to Piss Off Ex-Girlfriend.

Thats right. It wasn’t because he thought that the Sox would give him the best chance to win and resurrect the kind of career that would have meant fat Yankee money had he not spent last season injured, making only 17 starts, going 6-9 and having an ERA above 6. Penny DushkuIt was because he wanted to screw with super hot chick and native Red Sox fan Eliza Dushku, who he used to date. This way she’ll be forced to root for him every fifth day. Imagine how her new boyfriend (some assclown who is not on the Sox) is going to feel when she is sitting next to the dugout, wearing Penny’s jersey (I’d make sure to have one sent over to her) and cheering for the guy who used to do her. 

On the other side of the deal is that it is a smart one for the Sox. Penny signed a 1 year $5 million deal that can go up to $8 million with incentives. Before mechanical issues and injuries limited the righthander last season, he had posted two consecutive seasons of 16 wins and was seen to many to be the ace of the Dodgers staff. If he can round back into that kind of form (Farrell is a wizard), he will definitely be the best fifth starter in the majors. I also like it because he was yet another member of the ’03 Marlins and has great experience beating the Yanks when it counts (how is Sabathia’s  record against the Sox again?). 

Josh BardThe other deal that the Sox signed this week brings back an old friend who’s departure brought about a police escort two years ago. Josh Bard had trouble with the knuckler and  had to be shipped out of town early in the lost season of ’06 to usher back in the magic that was Doug Mirabelli. Now he returns as a decent pressure point for Varitek (where are the other options for him again?) and also a guy who can fill the back up role if Theo refuses to give up Buchholz for my friend Salty (reports are that that is what it would take). This one is a safe bet, but an unspectacular one, on a guy who had two pretty good years before last season. He has little power, 9HR/51 RBI career highs, but hit .338 after leaving town in ’06 and .285 in ’07 before crapping the bed worse than Varitek last season (.202). It will continue to be interesting to see how the catcher position plays out. (Make the F@#$ing deal Theo, we want Salty)

Congrats to Jonathan, Ashley and the Rest of the Papelbon clan on welcoming Parker Alice into the world. May you all have happiness, health and the closer on diaper duty in the new year. Also to Matty Ice and Jerod Mayo on winning the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards (respectively). 

The last note on a snowy New Years Eve: The Bronco’s fired Mike Shanahan yesterday after 13 centuries of him in the organization (21 years). The response from a shocked MN Preacher (he’s from Denver, just does his professional Jesus loving in Minnesota) was that this was a very ballsy but good call from Pat Bowlen. I’m just sure going to enjoy seeing Mangini effing up Denver’s team next year. 

Bruins win ninth straight.

43 Days.

Done.

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Today, In the News.

Man Arrested for Operating Zamboni While Intoxicated.

I just had to share this with everyone.

 

Though this picture has nothing to do with the caption... who hasnt wanted to drive a zamboni while drunk?

Though this picture has nothing to do with the caption... who hasn't wanted to drive a zamboni while drunk?

StartMattCassel

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Lost in Transition

Matt Cassel and Tom Brady.

Matt Cassel and Tom Brady.

About a week ago, after the Pats beat up on the poor defenseless Arizona Cardinals, the question about what to do with Cassel seem to come to a conversational head. Idiots were (and still are) calling sports talk radio shows and calling for Bill to cut Brady, Trade Brady for Ditka and Da Bears, Trade Cassel for seventeen first round picks and a player to be named later… the list of possibilities has gone beyond helpful. The infinite list of experts have been encouraged, if not exacerbated, by the rumors that Tom Brady will need additional surgery to repair scar tissue in his knee, that he is between 6 weeks to a year behind rehab schedule and worst of all, that none of this would be an issue if he had just gotten his surgery done on the East Coast, at Mass General, the best medical institution in all the free world.

The most commonly referenced solution to The Great New England Quarter Back Controversy is to apply what is called the Exclusive Franchise Tag to Cassel. People are mostly familiar with what this means; a one year contract, worth the average of the top 5 paid players at that position ($10.7 million) and a decently enforced no-trade clause. It stands to reason that this would be a suitable option considering the Brady rehab rumors and Cassel’s apparent success this season.

Scott Pioli, Bill Bilichick, Bob Kraft and Jonathan Kraft.

Controlling the Cap: Scott Pioli, Bill Bilichick, Bob Kraft and Jonathan Kraft.

There is another option, as discussed in my column a week ago, Oblivion’s Edge, (yes, I probably think the title is cooler than it really is), the Transition Tag. I wanted to circle back to this and elaborate on it a little further as not all of the information in that article was articulated properly. (As in… some of it was wrong.) The Transition Tag stipulates that the player will be paid the average of the top 10 highest paid players at his position, which is about $10.1 million. Per the NFL: “If another club offers a contract to a transitioned player, his original club has seven days to decide whether the original club will match that offer or not. If the original club agrees to match, the player is forced to sign with the original club at the terms agreed to in the offer by the other club. If the original club declines to match, the player signs with the other team, and the original team is offered no compensation, as they would be if the player had received the franchise tag.”

Tom Brady... When youre winning, Tom, all your Hollywood bullshit is just fine by me.

The Most Desirable: Tom Brady... When you're winning, Tom, all your Hollywood bullshit is just fine by me. Please come back to me.

The most desirable option is called a Non-Exclusive Franchise tag. Though the most expensive option, it encompasses all the perks of the Transition and Exclusive tags, and offers added incentives, 2 first round draft picks if the player signs with another team. 2008, the cost to apply this tag to a QB was $12.8 in GUARANTEED millions, a figure that will increase slightly in 2009. As stated: “A non-exclusive franchise player may negotiate with other NFL teams, but if he signs an offer sheet from another team, the original team has a right to match the terms of that offer, or if it does not match the offer and thus loses the player, is entitled to receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.”

As was discussed in Oblivion’s Edge, the prohibiting factor against using one of “the Tags’ is generally the salary cap implications. With Brady’s cap hit approaching $14.5 million and a highly paid offensive line, it would appear that carrying two quarterbacks making over 12 million dollars may not make the most sense. The Patriots have, however, been historically good at working the Cap numbers, by strategically structured contracts laced with obscure bonuses (Brady makes a million dollars if he “makes the active roster” each season) and by releasing overpaid defensive backs… ala Asante Samuels.

So there’s the breakdown… what’s your call?

StartMattCassel

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Update: Jets Can Mangini

Awesome. F Mangini.

I just found this out while eating lunch at a bar with a television.

Thank God for technology.

ALSO: Romeo Crennel has been fired by the Browns. Would be nice to see him come back as a “Defensive Backs Coach.” And, No, I don’t want to see Weiss come anywhere near the Pats. McDaniels can stay.

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No Help From Jets. Favre Still Sucks.

Morris charges on... theres always next year.

Morris charges on... there's always next year.

A recap of the Pats land-attack on the friggin 7-9 Bills is almost futile. Though the game itself was pretty interesting. Gusting winds of up to 70MPH limited Josh McDaniels play calling, Cassel had 6 completions on only 8 attempts for 78 yards. The players of the game, if anyone cares, were New England’s Offensive line, the left side in Particular. Morris, Jordan and Cassel combined for 168 on the ground and Jordan had the game’s only touchdown. Jarvis Green also did a hell of a job on the other side of the ball while filling in for the injured Richard Seymor.

Belichick added a Quick Kick to the list of obscure football plays when Matt Cassel pooched a 57 yarder (17 yards plus a 40 yard roll).

Writing about this game sucks.

So there it is… 11-5 season… down the freakin drain. And yes, if Brady was the QB, we would have made the playoffs. I am working our sources for info about the knee situation. For those of you that haven’t heard, there are conflicting reports about his progress, some saying that he is likely to miss 2009 and will need more surgery to repair scar tissue limiting his mobility and another report, by Sports Illustrated, claiming all is on track. More info on this as soon as it’s available.

*****************

Go fornicate yourself with an iron stick, Eric Mangini.

Go fornicate yourself with an iron stick, Eric Mangini.

Baltimore killed the 4-win Jaguars and locked up the wildcard and Miami handled Brett Favre and the Dog Ass Jets with little trouble. I have to admit, I didn’t have it in me to root for them; I apologize if that means the outcome of the game was my fault. It’s just that every time I saw that lifeless old dog that should have been Old Yellered seasons ago standing intensitylessly on the sidelines while Chad Freakin Pennington marched his Miami Freaking Dolphins down the field I wanted to imitate a mother bird feeding her young.

It’s not thet I think Mangini threw the game, though we do know that they saw the score of the Baltimore game at half time and knew they were out of the hunt, it’s just the second half of that football game was one of the most lifeless displays of football I’ve ever forced myself to sit through.

*****************

So great. Next weekend we’ve got the Wildcard round. I’ll be sure to recap the lowlights do keep myself from dying of sports boredem while I wait for Baseball season and the April Draft… when football will be fun to talk about again. Though I know it’s at least better when the interim teams are good (Bruins having the best start in their post-strike era and the Celtics are the best team in the NBA), Hockey and Basketball are just tide-me-over sports in this town.

What Sunday felt like.

What Sunday felt like.

StartMattCassel

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Reg Season Results are In: SMC Domintes All

Final Results:

If you would like to participate in the Playoff picks, email us at MyBallpark@gmail.com – We’ll send you a pick sheet & publish picks for bragging rights only.

Favorite Spread Dog
Done SMC ABA
At TB -13 Oakland TB TB OAK
At GB -10.5 Detroit DET DET GB
At Philly -1.5 Dallas PHI DAL DAL
At Minn -7 NYG MIN MIN NYG
At Hou -3 Chicago CHI CHI HOU
Carolina -3 At N’O NO NO NO
At ATL -14 STL ATL STL ATL
At Cinci -3 KC CIN CIN CIN
At Balt -2.5 JACK BAL BAL BAL
Tenn -3 Indy TEN IND IND
At Pitt -10.5 CLE PIT PIT PIT
At NYJ -2.5 Miami NJY NYJ NYJ
NE -6 At Buff NE NE NE
At ARZ -6.5 SEA SEA SEA ARZ
At San Fran -3 Wash WAS WAS WAS
At San D -8 Denver DEN DEN SD
Last Week: 8 & 8 8 & 8 7 & 9
Overall: 81-67-4 82-66-4 75-73-4
This Week: 7&8&1 8&7&1 11&4&1
Final: 88-75-5 90-73-5 86-77-5

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Clash of the Titans

Even Rudolphg was rooting for the Cs

Even Rudolph was rooting for the C's.

Well Christmas day has officially come and gone and though I’m full of food and love for my friends and family, I’m feeling a bit hollow inside.  It all started about six months ago when a rivalry between the NBA’s two most storied teams was renewed.  In game 7 of last years Final’s team Green won and by a large margin (131-92), putting to rest in no uncertain terms any qustions as to which was the superior team.  From that day on right up until 5:30pm Thursday evening, the Los Angelas Fakers (woops Lakers) have been like a woman scorned, biding her time until she had a chance to unleash an ungodly fury.  I didn’t even want to look at today’s headlines or here comments from people who supposedly “knew this was coming”.  But as it’s my duty to you the Ballpark, and out of sheer curiosity, I needed to know.

First things first, the bad news is that we lost our first of twenty games, 92-83 to the Lakers.  But there’s a few important things to remember.  First, it was just one game.  This was not the playoffs and this was not a seven game series.  The Celtics are still the better team but that gap between the two has narrowed.  To the Lakers credit they came into last night with a 23-5 record (third best in the league), make no mistake about their talent because they are very very good and coached by the leagues best (arguably).  Kobe (27 points) had to play like that other guy that Phil Jackson coached who wore number 23, and he did.  Kobe came out on fire obviously trying to make his mark early on the game, but surprisingly enough he wasn’t the real reason they won the game.  That belongs to the young fella Andrew Bynum (9 points).  

Hes big... and hes good.

He's big... and he's good.

Bynum missed last seasons playoffs due to a dislocated kneecap courtesy of Lamar Odom’s foot.  He is a young player with a tremendous upside as he gets older.  Right now he doesn’t need to score many points to be effective but when he does that’s just icing on the Lakers cake.  What he allows them to do is play their natural positions and that’s when the Lakers are dangerous.  Pau Gasol (20 points) can play power forward, and it gives them a tremendous amount of length aroung the basket.  Gasol actually put the last nail in the coffin last night with 7 of his twenty points in the last few minutes.

So should the Celtics faithfull be worried?  Not really.  But we did all see some things that were very uncharacteristic of the team.  Early foul trouble severely hampered Rondo’s ability to get anything going.  We had 17 turnovers.  I’ll say it again in case you didn’t get that 17 turnovers.  Players (Ray Allen) were frustrated and it showed, especially when he took time out to chastise Rondo during play in front of everyone and then Pierce had to push him back to his spot on defense.  The disunity was disheartening and very unlike a championship caliber team with veterens who know better.  Tony Allen looked a mess just barrelling into the lane trying to draw fouls and throw up garbage shots.  Defensively we looked horrible, I tried counting how many open shots the Lakers had and half-assed

Of the Christmas Day game, Kobe said, It shows how much weve progressed since the finals. Put it up on the chalk board, KG...

Of the Christmas Day game, Kobe said, "It shows how much we've progressed since the finals." Put it up on the chalk board, KG...

attempts to put up a late hand, but gave up and kept telling myself that the game would be won or lost in the last five minutes.  It was, but really all these factors combined to doom the Celtics on Christmas night.  Apparently winning 19 straight will take it out of you, and when you see some of the things that were on display last night you can only wonder how long it will take to regain the composure of a champion.   But all is not lost and the Celtics will bounce back.  On a side note, Rondo had 6 points and 12 assists.  As I have noted in the past when he scores in double digits we don’t lose because he controls tempo.  It wasn’t the worst game ever and we showed real resilience but it was evident the Lakers wanted it a bit more in the very end.

Dont Worry, Team Green... We Aight.

Don't Worry, Team Green... We Aight. Here's a lesson in Game Face.

AngryBlackAle

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