January 28, 2009

Vote early & often (okay, just vote once, please ;)

YOUR VOTE CAN HELP BMC’S SPARK CENTER WIN $25,000 (and enter to win plane tickets)

The SPARK Center is a Boston Medical Center program that helps impoverished children with HIV/AIDS and other debilitating diseases. Virgin America will be launching in Boston soon and as part of their promotion, the SPARK Center is one of the charities that can win $25,000 if it receives the most votes. By voting, you are entered to win Virgin airline tickets around the world!

The charity that gets the most votes will receive $25,000 from Virgin America on their launch day of Feb 11th. Please take 2 minutes to help BMC’s SPARK Center win $25,000: -

Click on:

- Click on the vote icon next to the SPARK Center listing
- This will take you to a page to create an ID, but this is very quick;
- Once you’ve made your ID, you’ll go back to the ‘vote’ page; please click the 'vote' icon to the
left of the SPARK Center logo

January 24, 2009

On paper different than execution, but...

But, I'm looking at the Sox and Yankees from a half-full kinda way these days, and I'm pretty happy with the ways things're setting up. I'm also curious to see the outcome of a few things, among them:

- Who will have a better season, Smoltz with the Sox or Lowe with the Braves -- not absolute numbers, because /Smoltz may not be in there right away, but on average. And, at least accordng to Simmons, Atlanta is a Mecca for hooking up - think D-Lowe will fall back on his rumored older ways (I was going to put 'self-destructing', but he still ddoes well either way)?

- Very strange the Sox & Tek haven't just said okay, 12 mill, 2 years, plus incentives (and, as we all know Tek could've had 11 for 1 yr if he accepted arbitration, but he's gotta just lookit that as spilt milk). I heard the Sox aren't budging ffrom a 1 yr deal on the radio, so who knows? I would not be stunned if, at the 11th hour, they pull a Salty Teagarden Montiero outa the terible new hanging Sox hat (to be seen at select away games at a theatre near you, rated 'V', fo vomit) .

- As it is right now, the Sox bullpen looks about 20 feet taller and a whole lot scarier than any Green Monsters. Think about a lot of the losses last year... they happened in games where the connection fom the starter to Paps dropped the ball -- while ramping Masterson up, going w/ on again off again Delcarmen, etc., something tells me Bill James and the Jamesettes sang a song at Yawkey way about the statistical possibilities with a team of strong mid-relievers.

Picture a starting bullpen off Beckett/Lester/Dice-K (especially the Diceman!)/Wake/Penny-Smoltz having to only go 6 - and yes, maybe even 5 on occassion - to essentially lock up games. Less innings, less wear on the arms, and a bullpen that can be relied on to give up zero to 2 runs before handing the ball to Paps. Again, this is on paper, but this doesn't even take into account some other pitchers that are sure to get a call-up to Boston occassionally... Bucholtz - if he gets the slot right, Bowden who seems very likely to step in... The 'pen has been improved by a possible factor of ten (pulling that number from my posterior's orafice) and the starting five/six is definitely an improvement, with solid pitching in the wings.

I would posit that more games were lost last year by either a mid-relief staff that blew the game, or Tito letting a starter go farther in the gamer than he should have, as opposed to games not won, due to the offensive drop off from Manny Ramiewz to Jason Bay.

- Yankees picked up CC (2-9 vs Sox, o8), Burnett, Tex & Swisher (who, I can only think was their safety net/smokescreen? in case they didn't get Tex). Moose knocked down 20 teams last year -- not a lot of 20-game winners in baseball anymore. That's a big number to match up to. Pettitte didn't have a great season, but there's no doubt he's a workhorse that always seemed to give the Sox problems when we least could afford it. Burnett is a very good pitcher, but comes with almost the exact opposite reputation.

- Yanks snagged Tex from the Sox in such a way, to me it was reminscent of the World Series paint being started in Fenway Park in '03 before Grady-ball took place. Both times, the Yankees decided they were not going to lose. But I think Tex would've meant more to the Sox than he will to the Yankees, this year -- overall, Tex will be a great face of the franchise, especially with Jeter on the back nine (not saying his play has declined, just saying he's no longer a young Turk!) and A-Rod skipping Spring Training for Kabala tutotials. Tex would've replaced Lowell - gotta love the man, but Tex is flat out better. As far as I can tell, Tex & Swisher are replacing Giambi & Abreu -- I'll take the latter two for overall better numbers (at least last year, which saw Giambi actually crushing the ball again).

- Damon and Matsui will both be back, but they are putting on the 18th green at this point -- I will be surprised if they play more than a combined 200 games next year.

- There's always the chance that Cano will return to his former brialliance, but who knows?

- I'd expect Jeter & A-Rod to do more of the same this year

- I'd expect Bay to be about the same, with a mid-June slump

- Even though I would've said bye-bye to Ellsbury for Hanley Ramirez (and Clay for that matter), I think Ellsbury will beat his last season.

- Rocco Baldelli portends some interesting possibilities filling in for both Drew/Jacoby/Bay -- let's hope this new disgnosis gives him the energy he needs. With his hometown just past the late afternoon shadow of the Pru, he'll have a lot of support.

- So, I guess I'm just saying, on my paper, the Sox should do as least as well as last year, while the Yankees will be lucky to finish as well.

AL East prediction: Sox, Yanks, Jays, Rays, O's

January 15, 2009

Admit it - Boston is no longer Sports Town USA...

A buddy of mine from NYC emailed a bunch of us up here in Boston and mentioned that if the Eagles take the Superbowl, we will have to pass the title of Sports Town to Philadelphia. while posed as a serious email, we all know that he loves to just say stuff to see if he can get a rise out of us -- and it worked for a couple of emails... we catelogued this incredible decade, while pointing out that no other city has had nearly the same good fortune.

But, he wouldn't budge from his indefensible stand, which is when the, admittedly, very low watt light bulb went on over my head, and I realized how much he must laugh everytime he sees that we emailed back a retort to his position. Realizing we've been played, I decided we should just give in to his demands of reliquishing the title of Sports Town, USA...

"You know, you have a very good point, my leg-pulling New York friend. Before, I was always dying to have my teams just make the finals, let alone win it all. Now that we have so many wins under the belt, at a pace where teams are practically taking turns being the heroes of Boston every year, it's gotten kind of old.

I just don't care about it as much -- it's practically antiquated. Every time I see/hear Sportscenter talking about my teams in a disproportionate way, as compared to the rest of the entire universe, I find myself yawning and realizing that I've grown fond enough of SpongeBob Squarepants, that I can watch his clever quips with Patrick & Squidworth without the kids around. And so I do. Hearing about the day to day dealings of my teams on a national forum -- as if no other teams really mattered -- is frankly, a little bit embarassing. I've had to take a long hard look in the mirror -- and I just didn't like what I saw -- I saw a city that owns the best every league has to offer, and I saw a country that knows it. It was like looking into the sun. It hurt.

So, darn it, I think you're right, we should pass the torch on to some other needy city, as Zeus first touched Hercules and gave him back his qualities of the gods, once he had proven himself worthy. We now, as a city - nay, a region - must realize that we cannot crow about our dominance so unforgively. We must just let it exist as an entity. As a young high schooler, Peter Parker learned a valuable lesson when he let a thief pass him by without trying to stop him - a thief that would later kill his Uncle Ben... With great power comes great responsibility.

We wield a grossly disproportionate amount of power, almost too many championships across the spectrum of all imporatant major sports in these United States, and we have discussed it at length, lo' these many years. Even though there has been little ebb to this great tide of winning -- nay, it's actually gained ground on this lonely beachfront, considering the first half of the 21st Century's first decade was dominated by two sports, and we're now looking at four sport domination -- we must in fact lessen the stranglehold on the title Sports Town USA.

In letting the storied title purposely slip from our grasp - for there is of course no true contesting wannabe titan able to scale our slippery mount - we may in fact find that we have already reached the tanscendent state, that no city or region has ever held over such an extended period of time. Sports Mecca of the World. Philly, New York, LA, London for that matter... whoever... here... here is this title which has given us much happieness. In giving it to whomsoever among you can wrest the title from your bretheren, we look down upon you from our lofty perch with fondness. The game is, of course, on."

With a smug smile I emailed my missive off -- only to open his reply and read in a straight-faced note that it looks like I'm agreeing with him. Whaddyagonnado?

Pittsburgh Mayor Changes Name From Ravenstahl To 'Steeler'stahl

PITTSBURGH -- Bye-bye Luke Ravenstahl and hello Luke Steelerstahl.

With the AFC Championship game between the Steelers and Ravens on Sunday, Mayor Luke “Raven”stahl doesn’t want to be mistaken for a Baltimore sympathizer.

Pittsburgh's mayor has modified his last name to honor the Steelers, who are vying for the AFC Championship.

Ravenstahl, er, "Steelerstahl" said he decided to remove raven from his name just as the Steelers will remove the hated Baltimore Ravens from contention on Sunday.

"They called the office, made the recommendation and of course, as soon as I heard it, I thought it was a great idea," said Steelerstahl. "Have a little fun with this weekend's AFC Championship game."

Ravenstahl made the ceremonious change on Wednesday and will keep it at least through Sunday.

Coincidentally, stahl is German for steel.

January 12, 2009

Steelers, Eagles, Cards, & Ravens...

... but this is what I've thinking about, as opposed to match-ups, when I hear the final four for SB possibilities.

Fitting that the Steelers and Ravens are playing each other for the SB appearance. One of them has to win the SB this year, it's just simple deductive reasoning.

Steelers are the only non-bird team (Eagles, Cardinals, Ravens), so they win
Ravens are the only team that was never part of the Steelers, so they win:
- Steelers are the Steelers
- In 1943 the Eagles & Steelers were combined for the season, due to the heavy loss of personnel in WWII; called the Steagles
- In 1944 the Cardinals (then in Chicago) & Steelers were combined for the same reason, called the Car-Pitts (pronounced carpets)

But, maybe the Ravens - When the original Browns moved to Baltimore they became the Ravens. So named after Poe's adopted town, Baltimore. However, Poe was in U.S. srevice and stationed at Fort Independence on Castle Island, in south boston, prior to his literary career.
although, there is a Boston tie-in for the Eagles...

But Bostonian Mark Wahlberg starred in the movie that chronicles a regular Philly joe who tried out and became an Eagles receiver.

Leaving the Cardinals - heck, it'd be great if they won, since the Pats shmushed their statisticians who dressed for the Pats/Cards December game.

January 2, 2009

Sox, Bruins, Celts, & Pats (sorry, no Blazers)

- Is Mark Teixiera better than Giambi in his prime (last yr w/ Ok. and first with Yankees up to, but not including, '04)? I don't think he is, even though he is a superior fielder -- that said, it'd be nice to have the Lowell/Tex conundrum, I'm just trying to look at the glass half-full. As of today, I'd trade Clay and Jake for Hanley in a heartbeat, if that is really an option, moving Ramirez to CF.

- Yanks are looking very very strong, but I'd wager the Sox pitching will outperform NY this season ~ which will be a cold comfort on which to hang my hat if they have no bats by the time they get to Spring Training. Will Cano rebound? Will Damon get through the season? If you had to answer the question of who will rebound from last season's injuries better, who would you pick, Matsui or Ortiz? I lean Kong-like while carrying Papi-wishes.

- Green going 1-3 on the West Coast ~ did they charter their flight through the NY Jets on some kind of package deal? Half-full: Kind of thought they may have a least a two-game skid after losing to the Lakers - splash of cold water now and again will keep them feeling hungry (still on pace to brwak the 68-win season).

- Bruins in a 10 game win streak - best since '73, with this continued pace, they may... or they can... well, someone will be able to... okay, okay... I know next to nothing about the NHL! But I like watching games live (been to a Bruins game in the last year), and they are the last Boston hold-out for success. I do love that we have two first place teams in our wintersports playing in the same building though. I wonder if the league champs of two different sports has ever been done in the same building in the same year?

- I think the Sox will break their sold-out streak this season. Can you believe that some scalpers were not able to resell some playoff tickets this season? Economy woes are what they are, and the Sox will need to add something to the party even after freezing ticket prices ~ a mid-August Royals match-up during a 6-day heat wave may spell sellout doom. (There are a lot of companies that buy up a lot of tickets that are not going to be spending that extra greet and gras dough this summer).

- I think the Rays are gonna have a sophmore slump.

- Pioli looks to be trading in the Red, Blue and Silver for Brown; if he can help turn them around he will be a God in Cleveland....

Bud-Lite hangs its hat on 'Drinkability'

Seriously… Drinkability? so they’re saying that their beer is definitely a semi-non-toxic liquid? (not counting the alcohol toxcity, which I’ll never really count ;). Wow! I guess they have a leg up on all the other brands of beer that can’t lay claim to such landmark feature. It's not just a beer, it's a beer you can drink!

I would pay money for a video of the presentation meeting of Arnoild, BBDO, FCB, or whatever agency presented this to A-B in St. Louis…

A-B: So… you’re saying that our multi-million dollar account is looking to own the ‘Drinkability’ reputation?

Agency: Exactly!… you’re following us… you see where we’re going… it’s so simple! Noone has ever staked a claim to this feature of beer — now anyone else who does looks like they’re copying us.

A-B: Ummmm, not too many people try to share stupidity.

Agency: Hmmmm…. good point. Okay, think of it another way… you just got bought out by a European beer company, who will be employing their own marketing staff, so you’ll likely be working at Sam Adams or Miller Lite, competing against Bud Lite — you’ll be stacking the deck!!

A-B: You know… ‘Drinkability’ speaks to us…