284 thoughts on “Short SEC picks”

  1. After a postseason where we saw the Phillies play the friggin’ Devil Rays, I’m hesitant to say any season is a lost cause.

  2. The Phillies were a very, very good team. The Rays had a bunch of young talent mature at the same time. I don’t see the 2009 Braves looking much like either one.

  3. I’m not saying we have the resources (at this point) that they did, but a lot can happen in this game.

  4. True. And let’s not forget the Cards in ’06. But I don’t want to be forced into hoping for a best-case scenario. I advocate a couple of under-the-radar moves this offseason with an eye toward 2010/2011. If things look promising in June, make a move then. I don’t want longterm deals for guys like Burnett (Hampton II) or Pat Burrell.

    Can you really imagine a 36 year old Burrell plodding around LF when we’re trying to compete in 2012? And sucking up $15 million of precious payroll at the same time.

    Bridge the gap to 2010 with short-term deals to keep us respectable. When the young guys (hopefully) arrive, fill in the gaps with Free Agents and make trades with your stash of minor leaguers.

    Let’s face it, we’re a midmarket team now. We can’t compete every year anymore. We have to go to the window system. Every few years the window opens with young talent. Throw the kitchen sink at winning while the window is open. The window is not open in 2009.

  5. I agree that Burnett doesn’t deserve five years. When the average age of your pitching staff is 35, 36 (skewed by JJ) like the 2008 Braves, you can’t be surprised when everyone gets hurt.

  6. I don’t remember seeing any Braves interest in Burrell. Is that just from all the rosterbation around here?

  7. Today, Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson announced that he will only play his 3rd string players in order to give Tennessee a chance.

    On the flipside, Urban Meyer announced (since he is a complete scumbag anyway) that he heard a ‘rumor’ that someone on the Citadel campus may have said something less than complimentary about the state of Florida and that even if they are up 70, the Gators will keep Tim Tebow in the game, late in the 4th, call timeouts and only play their best players.

  8. Meyer might be a scumbag, but he didn’t encourage and allow his players to all rush the field after a touchdown. Tasteless.

  9. On Burrell,

    The Cox system doesn’t like him anyway. Too “3 true outcomes”.

    However, if he is on a level, not increasing contract at say 13 a year for 4 years, you can move him as a DH to an AL team as long as he keeps hitting. And, I think he will keep hitting pretty well.

  10. What is Bobby Cox’s ideal baseball player?

    Chipper Jones?

    Then Bobby may as well retire.

    Also, now that I beat the first 4 missions of RoboKill, I need something to do

  11. Clarke,

    Considering Mark Richt’s never run up the score on any team ever, and Meyer has run up the score with Tebow playing and throwing late in the 4th Quarterm 5 times this year, you have a FUNNY IDEA on what tasteless is, especially considering Richt suggested “4 guys” celebrate in the end zone to fire the team up only to have Urban whiner use this as “faux anger” motivation.

    No question the Gators are a lot better this year and kicked our butt, but Meyer is as classless as they come in all of football, college or pro. Mark Richt has apologized for his ONE INCIDENT EVER, and not only apology has left the lips of Urban Meyer for Tebow throwing late in the 4th when the Gators were up big – the Kentucky game being the most glaring example.

  12. Yes the Burrell idea was from rosterbations around here. Pretty much all names other than Peavy, Burnett, Furcal, and Ludwick have been pure speculation, yes?

  13. Alex,

    Are you kidding me? You’re gonna sit there and believe that Mark Richt had NO IDEA that his whole freakin’ team was going to run out there on the field? Yeah, right. But, it’s cool; I’d rather have Florida beat them like a drum and not think anything of it than have cheap celebrations.

    And you act like running up the score is something that isn’t necessary in this system. I would fully expect LSU, Georgia, Kentucky, whoever, to run up the score on us if it meant it would put them in a better position to be in the BCS championship. And BTW, I don’t know if you’ve been watching the games lately, but John Brantley has been getting more snaps in the fourth quarter than Tebow has lately. Georgia fans of all people should know that our second team has been playing 4th quarters recently; that’s the only way you guys got in the end zone. No celebration then, huh?

  14. Yahoo has a piece talking about McCann losing 20+ lbs this off season already (down to 226 from 248)… sounds like going higher protein, lower junk calories, and he’s running (which is a prettier picture than him doing yoga). My only concern with that regimen is the damage running may do on his knees.

  15. Well since Tebow didnt play in the fourth quarter against Kentucky, that’s weird that they were running up the score, oh wait it was John Brantley, their redshirt freshmen
    Kentucky Game

    And in the south carolina, Tebow was in for one play in 4th:

    So yeah the run up the score- Georgia can’t do it sorry. In this BCS climate where points matter to your standings, you got to. And especially if they end up playing a Big 12 team that averages over 30, they gotta know they can put points up on the board.

    PS. Thanks rob

  16. Who gives a crap about running up the score? It’s college football and the hatred is what makes the games more fun. I encourage anything that breeds more hatred between rivals as it makes the games that much more exciting and meaningful.

    If the score gets run up on you, then shame on your for not playing better and stopping it from happening. Meyer doesn’t care that Dawg fans won’t invite him to their tea parties.

  17. I agree with one of Alex’s points: Richt apologized.

    Richt’s a good guy and has been a classy individual for his entire time in Athens, save the Jacksonville game in ’07. He made a mistake then, and he’s apologized for it.

    Meyer is an unapologetic [Richard], and that characterization is hardly limited to his propensity to run up the score. (See: “Hey, Jevan, we’re only recruiting Tim as a linebacker—come play QB for us!”)

    Were I to have a football-playing son, I would much, much rather he be under the watch of Coach Richt. And I’m no UGA fan.

  18. I was never crazy about UGA’s antics in ’07, but, after all the Spurrier-related indignities, I really wasn’t too concerned about orange-and-blue feelings. Let’s not forget that UF had 55 minutes to respond. Instead, it took them a year and 55 minutes—good for them, I guess.

    UGA did what it did in ’07 & UF did what it did in ’08 (plus the Spurrier stuff), and that’s all fine. That’s what makes for a rivalry, albeit a nasty one.

    What won’t be fine is when a star player gets hurt because you’re trying to run up the score. To a degree, the silly rankings system we use encourages this.

    “Oh wow, Team A beat Team Z by 50 points!”

    “Oh, Team B only beat Team Y by 17.”

    Because they’re playing the rankings game, I’m not exactly blaming Meyer for trying to score late on people—it’s a Spurrier-led UF tradition, right?

    My coach won’t do that and I’m fine with that, too.

  19. As a loyal Citadel alum, I have to say I think we can hold them under 90. And we scored 17 on Clemson, and 21 on App. St. (which counts as a Big 10 school). I say 77-10. But my gosh, I wish we’d stop playing BCS teams.

  20. What would surprise you more next year? Hampton winning the CY Young for us or Jeff Francoeur being an above average OF’r?

  21. If a Meyer coached team had 93, don’t you think he’d find a way to hang triple digits on the opponent?

  22. sam, i think we all know thats more likely, just having a little fun. In all honesty though, I think Francoeur is more likely to have last years numbers than 2006’s

  23. Or went for 2, then tried another onside kick.

    The difference between Spurrier & Meyer is that Spurrier basically admitted he was running up the score & took verbal shots at the opposition after doing it. That made gamblers & Bull Gators very happy.

    I always thought that Spurrier and old Oklahoma hoops coach Billy Tubbs were evil cousins.

    I remember that Tubbs’ Sooner squad once beat some SW Sisters of the Poor State College by about 80 points. Oklahoma had left in its starters (incl. guys like Mookie Blaylock & Stacy King) for most of it and full-court pressed the entire game.

    A writer asked Tubbs why he did that and his response was, “If they don’t like it, they should get better.”


  24. I’d prefer they were just rivals, without the hatred. I have enough to get riled up about without having to actively hate Alabama or Georgia fans. Or Mets or Phillies fans, for that matter.

  25. #34
    Not me.

    When it comes to that kind of stuff, I’ll take a Vince Dooley over a Steve Spurrier anytime, thanks.

    Rubbing it in wouldn’t make beating our rivals any sweeter. The party’s always gonna be hearty.

  26. I wish Spurrier still ran up the score. USC would have killed UT except he called off the dogs after halftime.

  27. I don’t like running up the score, but it helps to do so, and I don’t really see it as a moral issue or anything. At the end of the day, if it benefited Florida to hang 93 on Citadel, I’d be for it. I don’t think anything short of winning this game 100-0 will help Florida this weekend.

  28. @18

    Florida has been running up the score, though less than Missouri was when they were still relevant

    Not true at all with regard to Missouri. I’ve either been at or seen all of their games this year, and outside of the Nevada game where they pulled out a fake field goal to get it on film, Mizzou hasn’t really ran up the score. In the K-State, Nebraska, Nevada, Buffalo, SEMO, and Colorado games, Daniel was out by the fourth quarter and sometimes the third. They’d let the backups run the offense, but the first string would be out. If their opponent can’t handle the backups, then they deserve what they get.

    As for not being relevant, they’ll be in the Big XII title game with a BCS shot on the line. Granted it’s not a Natl Championship, but as the postseason is currently set up, it’s pretty relevant.

    Sorry, I just graduated in May and we’ve been down for awhile, so I get a little defensive.

  29. I really hate to change the subject from the second best conference this year, but Jon Heyman reports the Braves are interested in a reunion with Kevin Millwood. He at the very least provides a lesser head of hair than he did his first go around. He has two years at $12 mill left on his contract. I imagine he would be viewed him as a last resort if/when the Braves strike out on the free agent pitching path. Your thoughts ?? I wouldn’t mind it assuming he is mainly a salary dump and wouldn’t cost too much in the way of prospects. I know he would welcome a return to the NL. I think there are worse options out there (Garland, Ollie Perez, etc.)

  30. Agreed Rob. In a system where possibly 8 or 9 teams will finish with the same record trying to qualify for a single championship game, it’s all about who you played and bad you beat ’em.

  31. Oh man, I posted before I saw what Ethan put. Ethan, as you may or may not know, I’m a big CU fan, and have been watching Big 8/12 football for 20 years and Mizzou and Kansas screams to me as nothing more as a nice year or two but nothing that inspires a sustained run of dominance. Once Daniel, Coffman and Macklin are gone, let’s see where Mizzou is. It will be Colorado and maybe Nebraska (as much as it pains me to type that) fighting for the North, just like it’s always been.

  32. Yeah, during the Colorado game this year it was something absurd, but they pulled him at the beginning of the fourth quarter. They were up pretty big versus Nevada as well, but pulled him halfway through the third. They only broke sixty once the whole season, and it was because of a late pick six vs Nevada.

    The rule they’ve had pretty much the whole season is to go full throttle through three and then pull Daniel, Maclin, etc. at the start of the fourth if the game was no contest. I don’t see that as running up the score and I think you have an obligation to the fans to keep your starters in that long.

  33. @43

    We’ll see. Pinkel’s got them up and running pretty well and that entire coaching staff has been together 7 years straight now. Losing the Chases and Maclin will hurt, but I’ve only heard good things about the 5 star QB, Gabbert, that we’re redshirting this year. Plus, we’ve locked up the state of Missouri. How many other BCS schools can say they’ve got an entire state with two 2 million plus metropolitan populations under control with no real in state competition? There are some real inherent advantages to the Mizzou job that before Pinkel, no one has been able to take ownership of.

    With regard to next year, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. But for this one, I was there. 58-0. Maybe your boy Hawkins should have realized he had a good thing at Boise St.

    As for KU, they were never good. They were decent last year and had a schedule that would make Ohio State envious. They’ll be 6-6 this year and after Reesing’s gone they’ll be lucky to get that.

  34. #40 jj3, I would pass on Millwood. I would rather let Redmond, Hanson, Medlen, and any other young starter come up than to trade for someone who’s posted a 5+ era and a 1.59+ whip the past two years. 443 Hits in 340 innings is way too alarming for me.

    then again, he’s really only been bad since being in Texas. Maybe coming back to the NL would help.

  35. What is the deal with the mania for bringing back players who used to be with the team when/before they were good after they have stopped being good? I swear, if I took this stuff seriously you could almost put together a whole team.

  36. csg, and Mac I agree 100%. I just don’t think Bobby agrees and would rather run Millwood and Furcal out there, which scares me to death. I was just saying, I’d rather have Millwood the next two years, than sign Perez or Garland for three to four years.

    Ethan, my man, we should probably continue this conversation privately, because I’m sure nobody on here cares.

    Pinkel getting 2.5 mill a year is laughable. I remember three years ago all the Mizzou fans wanted him fired and replaced by Mizzou alum Gary Barnett. So I guess Pinkel has all of a sudden become a much better coach. Who cares if there is nobody in state to recruit against, Missouri is not exactly a hotbed of football talent. That’s a fact.

    “Seven years now.” Alrighty then since this is Hawkins’ third year on the job. He’s won everywhere he’s been and will have CU bowl eligible (after CU beats Nebraska).
    Hawkins has got more good recruits (Darrell Scott, etc.) than Pinkel has in his entire tenure. I don’t think there’s much doubt in who’s the better recruiter.

    Bottom line, Mizzou and Kansas have been beneficiaries to the only time in the last 20 years of the Big 8/12 than Colorado, Nebraska and K-State have all been “down” at the same time. Things are certainly back on the right track at CU, Nebraska certainly has a better coach now than with Callahan, and we’ll see what K-State does with their new coach. Mizzou hasn’t been any good for any stretch since the Big12 was established, and has had the perfect storm of events happen for them to be good, and once Daniel, Macklin, and Coffman are gone, it will be the same as it has been for the last 50 years. Hope you enjoyed the last two years.

  37. Let’s see…

    C Estrada (to back up)
    1B LaRoche
    2B Giles (hasn’t been suggested yet, but it will be)
    SS Furcal
    3B Renteria (because Furcal is at short)
    OF Dye
    OF Andruw
    OF Vacant (maybe Jordan is up for another comeback)
    SP Millwood
    SP Byrd
    SP Glavine (oh, wait)

  38. Guess that means we can expect Mark DeRosa in a year or two as well. At least Denny Neagle’s retired.

    Good chance we’ll see at least 2 Big 12/SEC bowl games this year: MNC & Cotton.

  39. 3B with Renteria. I’m shocked. Pete Orr has manned the hotspot many times.

    OF Vacant ??? Langerhans is available you silly gooses!!!

  40. Why all the beef will Millwood? He’s posted a FIPs of 3.95, 4.62, and 4.05 the past three years, and that’s not account for the fact that he’s been playing in Arlington (inflating HR rates, etc.). I think he’d be a fine addition at $6 million per for the next two years, provided we’re not giving up anything more than, say, Gorkys Hernandez to make it happen. I’d much rather make that deal that give Lowe 4 or Burnett 5 at 16 million per year.

    And as one of the other Gator fans on the board, I really don’t get what all the complaining is about “running up the score”. The Florida offense is explosive. If you don’t want them to score, you have to tackle their players from time to time. Not like they have some big back who can plug it away up the middle for 4 yards a carry and just move the chains to run out the clock when they’re up by four TDs at the start of the 3rd quarter.

    The backups are playing for basically the entire 4th quarter, so what’s the problem? UGA game time-outs aside, I just don’t get it.

  41. mraver, it’s $12 per the next two years. Not 12 combined the next two. A slight difference. Like I said, I’d rather trade a minimal prospect and pay him for the next two than pay Garland or Perez for 3 to 4 or even sign Byrd for two.

  42. Oh, I see. Earlier, you said, “Two years AT $12 million” and I read it as “two years AND $12 million”. Clearly my mistake. :-)

    And yes, that’s a huge difference. At that price, any deal for him ought to just be a salary dump. Give up an organizational guy or something like that, not even a live arm. I still don’t think it would be bad to have him on the team, though.

  43. As much as I enjoyed watching Millwood come up an then pitch for the Braves, I think that the Braves should pass–unless Texas pays a significant part of his salary. I doubt that any of these (above) scenarios will happen though….

  44. @48

    You may have a point about the forum.

    Hawkins has got more good recruits (Darrell Scott, etc.) than Pinkel has in his entire tenure

    Give me one player Hawkins has recruited better than Jeremy Maclin. Ever. Compare Scott’s and Maclin’s freshman years and tell me who comes out on top. You make no sense when you attribute Missouri’s current run to the presence of recruits Daniel, Coffman, and Maclin and then demean the very recruits who are responsible for it. So yeah, unless he’s got another son to come play QB that I don’t know about, I think whose the better recruiter is is definitely in question. I also think this year’s NFL draft will help clear that up.

    Who cares if there is nobody in state to recruit against, Missouri is not exactly a hotbed of football talent. That’s a fact.

    Really? What fact book did you get it from? Missouri isn’t Texas or Florida. But it also isn’t Nebraska or Colorado. And that is a fact. Go to Rivals.com or whatever ranking system you use and confirm it. Teams like Colorado and Nebraska used to be able to take the best talent from Missouri. That is not the case any more. Pinkel has sealed the borders. Of course it hasn’t hurt that he’s done very well in Texas as well.

    Things are certainly back on the right track at CU

    You’re 2-5 in the conference. We just beat you for the third straight year with combined scores of 141-26. (And we didn’t need a 5th down to do it). Your incoming class is ranked ninth in the Big XII.

    While things might be on track at CU, I’m not sure what you’ve seen this year to help you reach that conclusion. But good luck at Nebraska.

  45. @49
    I’d nominate Kenny Lofton for the vacant spot on the “Thanks, but No Thanks,” roster.

  46. Love the nostalgic rosterbation. We should at least give Julio a chance to play past age 50.

    Is Tony Graffanino available?

  47. I am just glad that Corky is not getting ready to suite up as a member of the 2009 Braves….

  48. Seriously, what’s wrong with a two-year commitment to a #4-type with some “not in Arlington anymore” upside? A little pricey, sure, but would you honestly rather throw that money at Lowe and have to deal with his age 40 season?

  49. I just wanted to say that I’m enjoying Big XII smackdown.

    Post #57 may be victory by fatality unless CU can overcome “141-26 (and we didn’t need a 5th down to do it).” Appropriately chesty.

    On the Braves, I’d rather keep the Esco-KJ middle infield and make the team prove that we’re just one or two guys away before trading the farm. We’ll still have the prospects to trade in season, if we want, and won’t have to pay as much. I like Peavy but I don’t have to have him. Other guys will be available in June/July. I’m for 2009 being a development/retrenching year and jettisoning Bobby afterward for a career well done (since it doesn’t look like we’ll get to that this offseason).

  50. To be fair, Millwood has been incredibly hit-unlucky the last two years. His fielding-independent ERA in 2008 was 4.06, more than a run lower than his real ERA; the Rangers are a very bad defensive team. His strikeout rate hasn’t gone down that much, and there’s no real reason he should be giving up 11 hits per nine.

    I’m still against it.

  51. On a less depressing subject…

    I might take Millwood for someone like J.C. Holt if the Rangers would keep most of his 2010 salary.

  52. I am following the game on CBS Sportstracker….The field goal is by far the best part of the animation….Go Vandy!

  53. I’m watching the UT-Vandy game & Vandy couldn’t have played a worse first half. Bad pass, a pick for a TD. A good pass, through the WR’s hands, off a helmet & an INT that leads to a FG.

    Maybe this one will be the reverse of last year’s game.

  54. Ethan, like I said, I hope you enjoyed your nice little two year run. As for ’09 recruiting, I didn’t know it was spring practice already and recruiting was done, thanks for letting me know. According to Rivals, Hawkins has finished ahead of Pinkel every single recruiting class he has had, so that’s why I said he is a better recruiter. Overall. Maclin is a stud, no doubt and he and Coffman will both likely be first rounders. It only took eight recruiting classes to get a couple of gems. Congrats. I’ll let you get back to watching your Brad Smith highlight tapes. Ryan Miller and Darrell Scott are two in Hawkins first three classes that were 5 star guys, so we’ll see how they pan out.

    Please remind me who has won the North the most since the Big 12 was created. That would be CU 4, Nebraska 4 in the 12 years. I don’t think we need to even bring up Big 8 history.

  55. Cary, I remember reading somewhere that he is looking for more money than Kuroda got last year. He’s already 33 now, I wonder how long Japanese pitchers usually pitch for. Seems to me like they throw alot more innings at a younger age than most US pitchers, but I don’t really know.

  56. hanson ended his AFL season with a 5 inning, 3 hit,1 run, 8 strikeout performance.
    tyler flowers, on the other hand, is having a rough game going 0-4 with 2 passed balls and an error. Youch!

  57. Ole Miss will be a better Cotton Bowl representative for the SEC than LSU. They may be the 3rd best team in the conference (yikes), but no worse than 5th (behind UGA and USCe perhaps).

  58. That Florida, running up the score again. Darn redshirt freshmen quarterbacks and third string running backs. Seriously, what are they supposed to do? Punt on first down?

  59. braves14’s new SEC bowl projections

    MNC-Florida 12-1
    Sugar-Alabama 12-1
    Capital One-Georgia 10-2
    Cotton-Ole Miss 8-4
    Outback-USC 8-4
    Peach-LSU 8-4
    Music City-Kentucky 7-5
    Liberty-Vandy 6-6

  60. @89. And what a great game! It went to OT where State won on a Field Goal. 16-13. Blech. Not sure if you could say they both played good defense(I don’t think so) or that bot offenses just sucked so bad:)

  61. Anyone else watching this Oklahoma/Texas Tech “game”? Amazing. This is more dominant than the UF/UGA game or the UF/LSU game… hech, maybe even more than the UF/Citadel game. Oklahoma just looks so much better up front on both sides of the ball.

    I actually thought Texas Tech might turn it into a contest when they were coming off their score and had Oklahoma on third down. If they’d made that stop, they’d have had a chance to pull within two scores before halftime. But nope. They gave up two feet two much and then that busted screen play went for 20 yards!

    So, what, does this make Oklahoma the clear favorite coming out of the Big 12?

  62. Mac–I am impressed with your picks, but I wish that you had been right about the game in Nashville….

  63. Stephen – It seems everything we did right early in the year went the other way in the last few games. Is this just the law of averages catching up to us?

  64. Parish–after the Duke game I could not help but think that Vandy this season has continued to mimic Sisyphus–always rolling the boulder up the hill—only to watch it come crashing down as it nears the top….

    Maybe Vandy was tired ( a depth issue) or possibly overachieved early until a number of teams took notice.

    One of the worst things about it is that Tennessee will soon return to being a power and Auburn will not take Vandy lightly either. We can’t just say ‘Oh well….we just beat Georgia next year’….

  65. I never thought they can beat the Panthers. I don’t care if the Falcons lose all their remaining games, this team has a bright future ahead of them. For once, Arthur Blank finally hired the right people! I guess all owners have to go through a learning process.

  66. Right now, the Falcons are in a three-way tie for the last wildcard spot with the Cowboys and Redskins. However, they have to finish better than both under the rarely-used “Fox gets to put the Cowboys or Redskins in the playoffs if there’s a tie” rule.

  67. No, but the PTB act like they are. They’re like the Knicks — the media acts like the Knicks are this legendary franchise, and not a team that’s won two championships in its history and whose greatest player is Patrick Ewing. The Redskins get far more attention than they should because they’re in DC.

  68. Well, Patrick Ewing was a great player, he was just couldn’t beat Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller. Maybe it’s all John Starks’s fault.

    The Falcons will end up 9-7 even if they only go 2-3 in the last five games. That by itself is an amazing achievement considering what they went through last season.

  69. I believe that Walt Frazier is the Knicks’ greatest player.

    They Knicks had 2 sustained runs. One is genuinely legendary—they made 3 Finals & won 2 titles during a time that the NBA didn’t have a team in every market. And the Eastern Conference included 3 great teams—the Knicks, the Celtics & the Bullets.

    The ’70 Knicks were a terrific team, an absolute joy to watch. They played defense, were unselfish, always seemed to make the right pass and everyone could shoot, even the center. Anyone who saw that team play will always have some trouble with the egofest that the NBA has become.

    As great as the ’70 team was, man-for-man, the ’73 Knicks were better. They basically added Earl Monroe & Jerry Lucas, 2 of the most talented guys in the era.

    The Ewing-led Knicks had a good collective, but never had that great second player. The other Knicks run will always be judged against Jordan’s legacy. Even if they had won the title in ’94, they’d always be looked at with a big “yeah, but Jordan was playing minor-league baseball.”

  70. Well, nobody can take those titles away from and judge against Hakeem even though he never needed to beat Jordan to get his titles.

  71. Let’s see… Of the NBA 50 at 50, I count four who I think of as primarily Knicks (Ewing, Frazier, Monroe [though his best years were really in Washington], Reed) and one who was about half a Knick (DeBusschere, who really shouldn’t be on the list). I think it’s between Ewing and Frazier.

  72. kc,
    The fact that Houston won 2 consecutive titles gives them a unique spot in recent NBA history.

    But in your heart of hearts, do you think Houston wins those titles if Jordan never leaves? Nobody’s saying they have to return their trophies, but I don’t think they win.

    Frazier (an Atlanta native, BTW) was a better all-round player than Ewing. Different time & a different team that required different things, sure, but Frazier’s play, especially on the defensive end, defined that team.

    Everyone makes a big deal about Willis Reed’s Game 7 comeback in the ’70 Finals vs. LA—it makes for a great story, yes—but, more than anyone, Frazier won that game.

  73. I grew up watching how unbeatable the trio of Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman were (and man did I hate Armstrong and Kerr). Nobody could beat that team, and I don’t think every team nowadays can beat that Bulls team. Michael Jordan is precisely the reason why I have a hard time enjoying any NBA games nowadays. They all suck in comparison to that Bulls team, even if you are talking about the existing Lakers and the Celtics teams.

    Btw, I hated that Bulls team because they were so damn good…

  74. What sports are you guys talking about????? I’ve never heard of a Pippen or Rodman or Hakeem (whatever that is) that played major league baseball or SEC football. Am I in an alternate universe or something????

  75. KC i agree with your sentiments, the Lakers and Celtics, of the 80’s then the Bulls of the early 90’s were great TEAMS, the stuff on the courts now is lame in comparison.

    I am a NETS fan, i do not know most of their team, have you looked at that Roster, Yikes, they would lose by 40 to any of those classic teams.

  76. @128 HA!
    I still cant believe they traded Richard Jefferson, I did not even know until i looked at a box score one day and did not see his name. Guess i am not really a fan, casual observer is more appropriate.

  77. I have a friend who’s a Nets season ticket holder & he usually punts a Nets/Hawks game off to me each year. The place they play is now called…The Izod Center. (I don’t know if they’ll ever play in Brooklyn at this point.)

    I tried to be a fan of New Jersey teams when I moved to the area. (Initially, I lived in Hoboken, N.J.) It was the days of Kenny Anderson, Drazen Petrovic & Derrick Coleman—good, but flawed players all. I wound up loving the Meadowlands hockey team, but I never became a hardcore Nets fan, although I still root for them when they play the Knicks.

  78. Did I ever share my “Kenny Anderson killed Drazen Petrovic” theory? I mean, he didn’t literally kill him. But if the Nets had drafted Dikembe Mutombo instead of Anderson (remember, they already had Mookie Blaylock) they probably would have still been playing, or would have been only recently eliminated, and Petrovic wouldn’t have been in Europe to die in a car accident. Plus I read that Petrovic was thinking of leaving the team to go back to Europe because of “tensions with teammates” and I figure that was probably Anderson.

  79. Kenny, a native New Yorker, probably hated the fact that Draz was much more loved by the fans than he was. Coleman, of course, was in a different category there.

    Petrovic was one of the greatest shooters I ever saw. He was also one of the worst defenders.

    Mookie remains one of my favorite players of all time, not to mention an answer to a Grunge Era trivia question.

  80. It’s best that Pearl Jam changed their name, but I understand why they started out as Mookie Blaylock: it’s just a terrific sports name, rolls off the tongue easy as anything. When I was growing up and actually watched the Hawks during the offseason, I loved him.

    I should watch the Hawks and Falcons more.

  81. Rob, nothing going on on the baseball side, and we have been talking about football anyway…a little NBA conversation wouldn’t hurt anything, ha.

    If not for Kenny Anderson, the Hawks would have never gotten Mookie…

  82. The Red Sox also appear to be hot after AJ Burnett which means we’ll have to try & get something done with Peavy and the Pods or basically throw in the towel in 2009 (which even w/ Peavy, our offense will be too terrible to erally compete if we lose Yunel) so basically, anytime Boston or the Yankees show remote interest in anyone we might like, we basically have to quit even thinking about them.

  83. I’ve never had my hopes up for Burnett, Lowe or Sabathia. As long as the Yanks & Sawx are on spending sprees & CC looks to the Left Coast, I don’t see us playing in that sandbox.

  84. To Walt Frazier,

    The legend of Clyde is unmistakable. you youngsters may not know, but there has NEVER been an athlete who set a style standard for cool that was more copied, loved, appreciated, and followed than that of Atlanta’s own, Walt “Clyde” Frazier.

    I won’t re-share my Clyde story with you.

    And another thing, how does a 60 plus (I think 63 or so) year old man look like that on TV (the Just for Men commercials, if nothing else)? Damn the guy looks just like when he left the NBA 30 years ago.

  85. So, why couldn’t the Chris Nickson who showed up Saturday have been the same Chris Nickson who looked like Randall Cunningham in Lexington?

    Come one, Stu. The Orange is the common enemy.

    Uh, can we talk about college BASEball yet?

  86. Yes, let’s talk SEC baseball. (I can’t answer your question, hank. It’s a mystery to VU fans.)

    My comment stems from the Tazawa story and not anything to do with the big-name FAs.

  87. Stu,
    I was more responding to Alex R, although my post could exist in its own vacuum, of course. I’m not convinced we’ll come away with a “#1 starter” before spring training, sad to say.

    Do tell.

    Walt Frazier was not only cool, he was great. Quite a combo.

  88. I will say while we don’t play in the Boston/New York sandbox, we do have a lot more cash to spend this year.

    It doesn’t mean we should waste it, but being freed from Andruw and Hampton’s contracts alone make a huge difference.

  89. Many people say that you can throw out the record books when Alabama and Auburn play. That really hasn’t been the case in the last 15 or so years. As much as I hate to admit it, Auburn has clearly been the better team for 4 of the last 6 years at least (and the other 2 years were pretty close) and the fact is that the favorite usually wins. As I see it, much of the time in recent history both teams have played about as well as they can play.

    Given that, I will say Alabama 31-13. I think Bama will get off to a good start, and will put Auburn away via the kicking game in the 4th quarter. Auburn will play well, but will come up short.

  90. No way Saban lets up this year.

    He knows Tuberville is like a gasping fish that can’t get back in the water and hasn’t forgotten to remind his team about Tuberville holding up the fingers to indicate how many Auburn has won in a row.

    This “feels” like a major butt kicking waiting to happen.

    Bama, 38-3.

    And I predict the Auburn field goal will come really late in the game as Bama will go for a shutout and come really close.

  91. And with the blowout I suspect will happen, this sets up the SEC Title Game as the biggest of all time with the winner getting Miami and the loser getting New Orleans.

    As a Georgia fan looking ahead to the Bama-Florida match-up:


  92. I’m rooting for academic violations of epic proportions. Perhaps a cheating scandal involving Alabama players stealing Florida professor’s exams and then supplying them to Florida players, but with changes so as to try to sabotage the UF players’ eligibility when they inevitably fail their exams worse than they normally would.

    Both teams get the death penalty and the universe rejoices.

  93. “Academic violations of epic proportions”? Sounds a lot like Tennessee while Fulmer has been at the helm. Fortunately UT players rarely have to worry about failing exams unless their designated test takers get sick or the Chair Stacking 101 course turns out to be harder than expected. The NCAA has proven over the last several years that they don’t care a whole lot about academic improprieties.

  94. Doesn’t UT have a higher graduation rate for football players than Bama?

    Scratch that, they don’t.

    As for the Iron Bowl, I think Auburn will play well, like the did against Georgia, but still lose badly. 30-14 at least.

  95. I don’t think the talent differential is as great between Bama and Auburn as y’all apparently do. I think if Auburn plays “well,” they won’t lose by 3 scores.

  96. I agree with you Stu and I think it could be a close game. Auburn has been good (but inconsistent) on kickoff and punt returns, their punting hasn’t been great, field goal kicking has been bad, and their kick coverage hasn’t been very good either. If there is a differential of more than 10 points I think it will come down to the kicking game. Auburn may also be in trouble if they get behind early and are forced to abandon the run.

  97. I say Bama by an insurance score, something like 24-13, yes.

    And let’s not forget that we’ll see some Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate kick off in Sanford Stadium at noon on Saturday.

    In his 7+ years at the helm, Richt still hasn’t lost to Tech. It’s certainly possible that UGA’s lack of pass rush won’t factor into this one. With Tech’s new offense & UGA’s 2 weeks of preparation, it should be a fun watch.

    And how’s this for more BCS BS? With Texas, Texas Tech & Oklahoma finishing in a possible 3-way tie for its Big 12 Divison, how do you think the conference determines its Championship game finalist?

    Yup, its ranking in the BCS, which of course is partially determined by human voters. Who are human voters? Mack Brown & Mike Leach. Who is not a human voter? Why, Bob Stoops.

    See a problem there?

    But, once again, someone will raise the crystal trophy & many people will forget about the ridiculous way we crown our Division 1 football “champion.”

  98. Then the word human is overly restrictive when identifying what factors effect the BSC ranking. Perhaps “voters” without the qualifier would be more sufficient. Whatever you think Stoops is I’m sure it casts a ballot.

  99. No, he doesn’t. He opted out last year.

    But the point is that the coaches, whose teams are part of this thing, get to vote for their teams and against their rivals. There’s no dressing it up—this system is horribly flawed.

  100. We need to blow up the system and implement something similar to the system for resolving disputes in the movie Robot Jox

  101. Considering that Bob Stoops is the single worst offender for running up scores on teams (until Urban Meyer yanked that mantle away this year), let me announce a lack of tears to be shed if Stoops were NOT included in the dance.

    Yes, I agree with the President-elect on instituting a tournament as the only fair way EVER to decide a champion, but if there’s any universal justice left in this world, Urban Whiner and Bob Stoops will not be a part of that game in Miami.

    An Alabama-Texas match-up sounds just fine to me.

  102. Or, go the Woody Allen route & give all voters a sock of manure and let them have at it in a BCS battle royal. We’d probably have a clearer winner than what we have now.

    This year (like many) would have a great playoff scenario. Imagine Florida’s offense vs USC’s defense, Bama’s ground game vs Oklahoma’s quick strikes, Urban Meyer vs his old Utah squad, Penn State getting a chance to prove something for their league. Storylines for weeks.

  103. If the report about the Giants signing Renteria is accurate…wow. $18 million over two years is an awfully big financial commitment to Edgar. My, how valuable a young, cheap, productive shortstop is…

  104. Notre Dame should be included in any playoff format, just for the amusement of the masses. Every playoff should kick off with a play-in game a la the basketball tournament that includes Notre Dame.

    Like how the Romans used to let the lions kill people before the gladiators came out to fight.

  105. Two years? That not a major economic commitment at all. I’m not thrilled about the move for the Giants, though. I guess they’re counting on him bouncing back because he’s in the NL.

  106. I’m happy for Edgar — guys can play WAY past their use-by date in San Fran. It’s the best possible situation for him.

  107. That much for Renty? That’s crazy, but whatever. Our guy’s better.

    I love that idea. Boise State or Utah or Cincinnati vs. Notre Dame every year. The Irish would just have to be “play-in eligible.”

    TV would get their ratings & the rest of the country would be satisfied. Much better than “Dancing With the Stars.”

  108. So, if Renteria is 18 million over the next 2 years, then, barring a trade, that is the cheapest shortstop the Braves could replace Yunel with. So Peavy (11) + shortstop (bad one at 9) = low offer for Sabathia (19.6) plus Yunel (.4).

  109. my bad, apparently MLBTR is changing its tune and saying the deal isnt close and they are still interested in Furcal also

  110. Just don’t pay attention to those guys. Seriously. These were the people who said that the Braves were going to trade Andruw (during the season when he hit 52 homers) for Brian Anderson.

  111. Hear me out guys. The Braves should make a semi-serious overture to C. C. (Charles Cleveland?) Sabathia.

    How do I define that? 6 years at 20 per year, level.

    IF we could at least get him to come to town and look around, meet some people, etc.
    For a U. S. born African American, Atlanta might be an o.k. destination. MANY athletes coming through Atlanta (with only minimal connections) have located here. Who knows.

    IF we get him, great. If we don’t, we opened a door. If we try, we probably pull Towers’ string pretty harshly.

  112. It’s not that the MLBTR guys are the ones making these untrue rumors, it’s that they sometimes misjudge the reliability of them. I must say, if a radio host reported it as fact on WFAN, I have trouble faulting the MLBTR guys for reporting that.

    Anyway, as always, their sources are linked to and you’re free to judge the reliability of said sources yourself.

  113. Read this on Deadspin, spoken to Clay “Fulmer’s Girlfriend” Travis:

    4. “You’re from Tennessee? I wish Rodriguez would move to Tennessee and die.”

    My question: What’s the difference?

  114. @188


    This isn’t the best season for Michigan fans to be taking shots at Notre Dame.
    With that said I will now return to lurking.

  115. There is never any cause to stop making fun of Notre Dame. We suck and expected to suck. Ask any Notre Dame fan what they expected out of year 4 of Weis’s stewardship. I’d be shelling out the $21 mil to cut loose as fast as I possibly could.

    Imagine if Captain Ahab hired a white whale to help him catch Moby Dick…

    If Michigan is still “returning to glory since 2009” 15 years from now, then maybe I’ll decide it’s time to lay off ND. For now though, I can at least take solace in the knowledge that Michigan’s 2008 season was not as bad as ND’s 2007, and was a million times more justifiable.

  116. Im guessing that Butch Davis will end up @ UT. After seeing his team lay an egg against a hopeless NC State team. Something’s up

  117. Dix,

    Hey, I don’t disagree that Notre Dame has spent the last 15 years flopping around. The coaching hires have been horrific.

    Based on the first two years of Weis’ tenure I never imagined year four would look like this and I’m sure you didn’t either.

    Recruting wise he has been lights out, no one can argue that. Now the problem seems to be in the development of those recruits and an inablity to run the ball. We’ll see how that plays out. He’s getting at least one more year.

    But I stand by my assertion, Michigan fans are in no position to be jawing about Notre Dame. 35-17 and it wasn’t even that close.

  118. Notre Dame always has these “great” recruiting classes and then three years later you look around and the team is as untalented as ever. My theory is that being recruited by Notre Dame is worth one and a half stars on all recruiting services.

  119. I have no dog in this fight, but I’m reminded of Beano Cook’s ill-fated prediction of TWO Heisman Trophies for Ron Powlus.

    Also, before last weekend I’d never heard that neither Michigan, Ohio State, nor Tennessee had ever suffered an 8-loss season. That stunned me. Even more amazing is that two of the three might lose that claim in the same season (if KY beats UT).

  120. The same thing happens in college basketball with Duke. Duke always gets a huge number of McDonald’s All-Americans and then two years later, everyone wonders how they’re not really panning out. The reason that no one is willing to consider is that people are named McDonald’s All-Americans because they’re being recruited by Duke. Much the same probably happens with Notre Dame, although at least Duke basketball is still respectable and everyone’s always falling all over themselves to kiss Coach K’s ass. Notre Dame has been mediocre consistently for the last 15 years. Why they still get the kick in their recruiting ratings, I have no idea.

    And why no one in the national media seems to be able to move on from Notre Dame is equally perplexing. Other traditional programs have a bad year or two and they’re completely off the national radar. Tennessee is completely off the national radar this year (at least we were until we started engaging in a coaching search). When Alabama was horrible, no one talked about them (again, unless they were in a coaching search). Pretty much no one is talking about Michigan anymore, and if they’re in the tank again next year, you can erase the “pretty much” from that statement. Yet Notre Dame is still a huge national talking point despite the fact that they haven’t been relevant since 1993. Why is that?

  121. A) ND has its own network.
    B) In the northeast, where there isn’t really a tradition of strong college football, there’s a concentration of (largely Irish Catholic) ND fans, and the northeast dominates the media.

  122. Mac,

    Not true about the recruiting rankings. I don’t personally follow recruiting sites but I do follow football boards that discuss recruiting and from what I understand it’s worked the opposite. Players sometimes drop after commiting to ND. Of course it doesn’t always work that way but it’s not what you proposed either. I think the ranking is sometimes influenced by WHEN the player commits.

    If you choose to continue buy into the undertalented, slow Notre Dame then so be it but you should probably look at the list of schools offering their commits. They are pulling the top players from all over the country. That’s one reason this season is so unsettling. They have players but there is obviously a huge problem with coaching.

    The only position they are thin or undertalented at is D-line.

  123. C’mon guys, why do you think they have their own network? Maybe because the demand is there? I am the furthest thing from a North East Irish Catholic but they are the only team I’ve ever followed.

    It’s all pretty simple.They draw ratings and they travel well because they mantain a national profile. This is the main reason they don’t join a conference.

    They traditionally play schools nationally that they have history with(navy, michigan, usc, michigan state) or match up with academically(duke, stanford, unc).

    ND fans would love to start a series with Bama. It would be a blood bath at this point in time but they would still love to see it happen.

  124. if furcal comes back, is there any chance we just keep escobar and kj? kj could go back to left field. we would just, somehow, have to get rid of francoeur and pick up dye. rosterbation and lineup. ya know, he has never been very good at 2nd.

    furcal (13 mil)
    dye (11 mil)

    #1 (16 mil)
    hampton (5 mil)
    hanson/piece of scrap we get for francoeur


    (i dont think this would work, considering smoltz is playing for nothing in my scenario)

  125. maybe Wren feels as if we cant get one of the FA pitchers and if we sign Furcal then it free’s up Yunel in a trade for an ace. Its an expensive and risky way to find an ace

    update: I thought I read where Furcal didnt want to be moved to 2nd and thats why the Mets moved on. If Furcal is back then surely Yunel would be the one to go.

    Im guessing this is one of Bobby’s ideas and it sounds like a stupid one

  126. By David O’Brien

    November 24, 2008 8:31 PM | Link to this

    Marty, all I know is that, as has been reported here (and elsewhere) for weeks, the Braves consider Furcal a leading option if they have to replace Escobar.

    But until they have to replace Escobar, until they trade him in other words, I wouldn’t expect them to sign Furcal, unless they already have an unannounced deal in place when they sign him.

  127. would it be okay to assume that by getting Furcal in FA and then trading Yunel for a pitcher it wouldnt cost you a draft pick that signing Lowe, Burnett, or CC would?

  128. …or Wren knows it’s inevitable one of Yunel and KJ will need to be traded to get either the ace or a power bat…and the Braves have absolutely no faith in little Brent. If there is one thing I like Wren, it’s his awareness of the truth and not relying on any miracles such as hoping Chipper will play more than 120 games or Prado/Infinite will play above their heads if they become everyday players.

  129. Say we end up not spending all our money, you think we’d go after one of the top draft Boras picks that may slide down a few spots from teams unwilling to pony up?

  130. 212 — or relying on miracles like 3 day trips to the minors to fix a severely flawed approach at the plate? Granted, it’s much suspected that it wasn’t fully his decision, but we still have to wait and see how this situation shakes out. I don’t think your hope in Wren’s reasoning is without reason… we just have to wait and see.

  131. If we sign Furcal, it’ll be because we’re trading Escobar. It would be stupid to have either Escobar or Johnson at 2B. Those are two of the strongest infield arms in MLB and you want to put one at 2B? No way. Besides, Escobar is worth way more trade-wise than Johnson.

  132. Notre Dame is a Midwestern school, as in closer to Indianapolis & Chicago than it is to Newark & Hartford. But its Catholic connection makes it a national school—that and its long tradition give them the TV deal/ratings.

    I went to Catholic school K-12 in Columbus, Ga., and, even there, Notre Dame football was certainly part of that experience. In Pennsylvania, where I’m going for Thanksgiving, the college football fans are either Penn State people or Notre Dame people, sometimes depending on which church they attend.

    They will always have fans, but in the coming years it’s looking like they’ll be fans in the West Point or Annapolis sense than anything from the Joe Montana Era.

  133. Butch is NOT going to UT…

    we just got commitments from 3 4* recruits AFTER we laid and Egg against State; all of whom we’re also considering Tennessee…so, go to Tennessee with Butch or Stay at UNC with Butch…i think a recruit would an idea of what is going on…so, they picked Stay at UNC with Butch.

    Butch didn’t prepare our kids well enough, and i could imagine that this whole “is he going to UT” thing is messing with him…

  134. #213

    i know what you mean:

    Steven Strasburg (he will NOT fall to 7, but you never know)

    Alex White (could fall to 7)

    Grant Green (probably will fall to 7 due to sign-ability issues)

    Dustin Ackley (probably not falling to 7)

    Aaron Crow (will be around at 7)

    Kyle Gibson (will be around at 7)

    bext case scenario for us: Strasburg falls to 7 ’cause Boras wants the moon. #2, Alex White falls to us. #3, Grant Green falls to us. All three could be playing for us IN ATLANTA at the start of the 2010 season.

  135. 35-17 and not that close? The game was MUCH closer than the score. Michigan turned it over inside the 20 on the first possession, then fumbled the following kickoff. Neither were ND’s doing.

    Why don’t you check the box score before making a moronic statement like “it wasn’t even that close”

    Michigan had 21 first downs to ND’s 14
    Michigan outgained ND 388-260
    Michigan ran for 3.8 yds per rush to ND’s 3.3
    Michigan outgained ND passing 229-147
    Michigan outgained ND rushing 159-113
    Michigan won time of possession by 4.5 minutes
    Notre Dame punted 6 times to Michigan’s 4
    Michigan had 6 turnovers to ND’s 2
    Michigan lost 4 fumbles out of 7 total fumbles.
    Notre Dame lost 0 fumbles out of 3 total fumbles.
    Both teams threw 2 INTs

    Fumbles are a high variability statistic that has more to do with luck than anything else, especially in the context of a single game as opposed to the course of one entire season. ND falls on its own fumbles and returns one of Michigan’s for a TD. It’s pure luck and its the difference in a ballgame otherwise dominated by Michigan.

    The difference between Michigan and Notre Dame:

    When Michigan is at its lowest point, ND lucks its way into a win that looks big on paper but should have been a loss.

    When Notre Dame is at its lowest point Michigan destroys them 38-0 and completely dominates statistically.

    As I said before, there is NEVER a reason to stop making fun of Notre Dame

  136. “Those are two of the strongest infield arms in MLB and you want to put one at 2B?”
    but think of the double play combo. ground ball pitchers would absolutely DIE to pitch for that tandem. it would be the best double play combo since glenn hubbard and andres thomas.

  137. Stu, there is no point to be upset. The Japanese are only going to one of NY, Boston, or LA. You know it’s going to happen even before it starts.

  138. I decided to see how true this is (after noting that kc skipped over Seattle). The list below includes:

    1) All players obtained directly from a Japanese team
    2) All Japanese free agents who, at the time they signed here, still had enough career juice to at least somewhat pick and choose (this is somewhat subjective — I read through the BR Bullpen bios of several to make my determination)

    Arranged by city:

    NYC (9)
    Takashi Kashiwada — NYM
    Masato Yoshii — NYM
    Satoru Komiyama — NYM
    Tsuyoshi Shinjo — NYM
    Kazuo Matsui — NYM
    Norihiro Nakamura — NYM *
    Hideki Matsui — NYY
    Hideki Irabu — NYY **
    Kei Igawa — NYY

    Los Angeles/Anaheim (6)
    Hideo Nomo — LAD
    Kazuhisa Ishii — LAD
    Takashi Saito — LAD
    Hiroki Kuroda — LAD
    Norihiro Nakamura — LAD *
    Shigetoshi Hasegawa — ANA

    Chicago (3)
    Kosuke Fukudome — CHC
    Shingo Takatsu — CHW
    Tadahito Iguchi — CHW

    Boston (3)
    Hideki Okajima
    Daisuke Matsuzaka
    Tomo Ohka

    Seattle (3)
    Kazuhiro Sasaki
    Ichiro Suzuki
    Kenji Johjima

    Also-rans (1 each)

    Akinori Otsuka — SD

    Keiichi Yabu — OAK

    Kazuo Fukumori — TEX

    Masahide Kobayashi — CLE

    Yasuhiko Yabuta — KC

    So Taguchi — STL

    Akinori Iwamura — TBD

    Masao Kida — DET

    *Nakamura signed stateside twice — he signed with the Mets in 2002, but reneged following negative publicity. Then with the Dodgers in ’05.

    **Technically, Irabu was signed by the Padres. But he insisted that he would only pitch for the Yankees, so he was traded after a couple of months of negotiation. Since the question is where do the Japanese players want to play, I listed him with the New Yawkers.

  139. 221, 226,

    Which is why I think you may see the Braves go for Donovan Tate, one of the highest rated high schoolers (the Braves go high school more than college) if he is still available.

    And, the “take the Georgia guy” thing sure has worked good with Heyward, hasn’t it?

  140. I don’t understand the resentment towards Notre Dame, in particular, and the northeast and midwestern teams in general. The fact is, that’s where most of the US population is; you may not like Big 10 football but it covers much of the United States and the schools themselves produce a lot of graduates that spread out over the US. I live in the DC area but my sense is that most people north of the Mason-Dixon line don’t give a damn about southern football. I was in Madison, Wisconsin over the weekend and I saw just as much enthusiasm for a mediocre Wisconsin team as I saw in the South for SEC football (and the weather was a hell of a lot colder than in the South). And, of course, people come from all over the country to attend Big 10 schools, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Purdue, whereas not too many people from outside the area go to SEC schools except for Vanderbilt. So, if you are wondering why Notre Dame or Ohio State or other northern teams get so much attention, it’s because a lot of Americans would rather watch them than watch Alabama and Florida, regardless of the relative quality of the teams.

  141. sansho1, good call (and my bad) on missing Seattle (which has Japanese ownership) and Chicago. Adding the two to NY, LA, and Boston, they are pretty much THE destinations for high profile Japanese players. You will note that other Japanese players acquired by the other clubs have much lower profile. This is all understandable as the Japanese players are only aiming at the big market teams to increase their own exposures. Yes, they do earn salaries from their baseball activities, but their own advertising income in Japan is probably much higher. Besides, young Japanese loves living in the big cities.

  142. Dix, quit embarrassing yourself. And take a breather. 35-17 is a whoopin no which way you look at it. Sorry, but quit being delusional.

  143. Cliff,
    I’ve been talking about Donovan Tate on here for weeks (months?), but I don’t think many people expect him to still be around at #7.

    While I considered the Braves an underdog, I didn’t “know it[ was] going to happen even before it start[ed].” Seemed like we had a chance, and it still seems like we made the highest offer; he just preferred Boston’s “development plan” more.

    And I’m still bummed. I was really hoping we’d get Tazawa.

    It’s only the Northeast that doesn’t care about football. Everyone knows Midwesterners care; it’s just that they only have crappy teams for which to cheer. :)

  144. Oh, man, I love Notre Dame apologists. Some of them are even starting to acknowledge that Weis was a bad hire.

    My question: when he’s fired, will they (a) view (and confess) that as evidence that they treated Ty Willingham like crap; or (b) pretend that their treatment of Willingham was justified because, you know, Notre Dame now just fires all subpar coaches before their first contract is up?

    I have a guess.

  145. Weis isn’t in his first contract really. He started with a 6 year deal, and he hasn’t reached year 6, but he signed an extension anyway so they kind of renegotiated.

    Of course, that reverts back to your point. Weis got offered a 10 year $30mil deal halfway through his first season as head coach, when Willingham won like 10 games his first season with ND and was never offered an extension and ended up getting fired before all his best recruits developed into professional talents.

  146. I’m reasonably neutral about ND, but I agree that their recruiting classes have been extremely high ranked with very little return. Dirt mentioned about NDs D-line being thin and I think that’s a big part of the problem. If you look at the really good teams, they start with linemen and find several impact players but don’t oversign at the skill positions. I think it’s much harder to oversign linemen.

    I know that Bama and ND had an O-line class that was ranked 1-2 a few years ago (Bama’s included Andre Smith, but a few of the others haven’t panned out yet), but I’m not sure what kind of a job ND does of signing to their needs – apparently not great. A great O-line/ D-line recruiting class doesn’t have the same appeal as signing a load of 5* RBs and recievers, but I would argue that it’s often a much better class. I also think that strength and conditioning is extremely important with linemen and I wonder what kind of program ND has in that area.

  147. The one guy that I don’t see on that list is Mac Suzuki, who was a Royal for a little while (he never played pro in Japan, he signed out of high school). Actually, seems like the Mariners signed him — way the hell back in 1993, before the Dodgers signed Hideo Nomo — but he sort of bounced between the minors and majors, briefly went to the Mets, then came to the Royals.

  148. The Northeast (not including Pennsylvania, which feels more like the Midwest) doesn’t really care about college football. But it loves NFL football.

    And yes, there is a contingent of Notre Dame fans in the NYC area. Haven’t been to any ND football games, but I have seen the Irish play hoops here & they bring a decent-sized group.

    But why do people hate Notre Dame? Let me count the ways.

    A very old reason was rooted in anti-Catholic feelings, which was much more overt years ago. Eg.—A sign seen at the ’81 Sugar Bowl between UGA & ND: “The Pope’s a Dope!”

    If it wasn’t genuine prejudice, there has certainly confusion over the faith & the school. Priests! Nuns! Leprechauns! Weird! Growing up Catholic in the Deep South—not unlike Vince Dooley, I might add—I saw plenty of it.

    Another reason is ND’s track record. People hate the Yankees & love it when they lose; same thing with ND.

    Third, the money. The fact that they have their own network deal really chaps a lot of people.

    Then, there’s that “we’re-better-than-everyone” attitude, which is real. (ND came recruiting to my high school, so I saw it.)

    One one hand, it’s “we’re-an-academic-school-and-a-legenday-program”; on another, it’s “we-can’t-always-compete-because-our-school-is-too-tough.” That never goes down too well either.

    BTW, ND knows better than anyone that Weis looks like a bad hire. But they have way too much money invested in him at the moment. It’ll cost them something like $40 M to change coaches now.

  149. I don’t see anything saying the Red Sox have signed Tazawa.
    Am I wrong?

    Clearly, the Red Sox have a record of being interested in and culturally accessible to Japanese players. That will count for something.

    However, if the Braves offer a Major League contract, I don’t see the Red Sox doing that. That means either he is on a 25 man roster in 3 years or he is a free agent. With a minor league deal he can be held in the minors for 4 years and then 3 option years. That is a big damn deal.

    Plus, signing Tazawa should generate interest from Japan and thus Japanese revenue. I realize most of the “streams” are MLB controlled, but I have seen several estimates on Daisuke and Ichiro at 5 million plus. If Braves offer 6 and get 3 back over 3 years we have a VERY GOOD signing. With no other Japanese
    players of note (we did sign an 18 year old catcher about 3 years ago. Any word on him?) , the marginal revenue of Tazawa is higher to us than to others.

    Another reason to push. The more Towers sees us getting pitching in order, the quicker he will cave.

  150. Has Tazawa officially made his decision yet? If he has, I haven’t seen it reported. Granted it’s extremely likely that he’ll choose the Red Sox. Also, I’m pretty sure that the Rangers made the biggest offer to him, so we can’t really complain about him not taking our offer on the grounds that it was better.

  151. O-Line is also one of Michigan’s major problems and a huge reason why the team is so awful right now. Over the past 4 recruiting classes Michigan has had fewer O-lineman coming in than normal, which made it imperative that we not “miss” on them. Well, it turns out we “missed” on just about all of them, including our 5-star stud who hasn’t panned out, partly because he spent his freshman year out with mono, but still, its been bad overall. There is so little depth at Michigan’s O-line that when 2 starters were injured before the first game, we opened the season with a Guard who had been a Defense End in spring practice.

    I’ve also heard what Mac is mentioning about players’ rankings being inflated if there is any reciprocal interest between the recruit and Notre Dame. Apparently people who do follow the players in high school think that Scout and Rivals seem to be more willing to tack on that 4th star if ND is interested in a player.

    In the past, that may have not been a bad way to go. One of the best ways to judge a player’s ceiling is to look at the teams that kid had offers from. When Michigan signs a 4* guy with Syracuse, Rutgers and Iowa offers I’m not as excited as when we bring in a 3* guy with offers from Florida, LSU and Penn State.

    Some coaches at the biggest schools might not be that good at identifying the talent because they essentially have their picks of 4 and 5 star players. Guys like Urban Meyer, and I hope Rich Rodriguez might be better at unearthing the high upside lowly regarded prospects because that is what they had to do to compete at places like Utah and WVU.

    Charlie Weis had no recent experience with identifying high school talent for the college game before he took the ND job.

  152. I believe that Donovan Tate is a Boras client, so I think that the Braves will probably pass on him–if they got the chance. Too bad, because he would have been a great player at #7….

  153. Michigan also has the problem that they have a lot of linemen who are suited and trained for a pro blocking scheme being asked to block for Dick Rod’s spread scheme. The same thing happened at Auburn, where a promising young line has been completely shredded.

  154. All the big-time programs, including Bama and Michigan, get the recruiting rankings bump for their commits. Notre Dame may get even more of a bump, but I don’t think it’s much.

    You can trust that VU’s commits don’t get any bonus points for coming to Nashville, though! Sometimes, you even lose a star after spurning a bigger program in favor of Vanderbilt.

  155. I see this as an example of the fact that if we’re gonna sign anybody big, we’re gonna have to overpay. If we really wanted Tazawa, we could’ve thrown several money bags in his direction and he probably would’ve come. If all things are relatively equal though, he’s going to the Red Sox. Now, I’m not saying that’s what we should have done in the case of Tazawa. Probably would’ve been a little imprudent, in fact, but it just highlights the fact that if we want Burnett or Lowe, we have to come in with the best offer. If we don’t come in with the best offer, then we don’t seriously want them. And if that means overpaying (and it most certainly will), so be it. And if we’re not willing to do that, then we’re not gonna get anybody worthwhile, and therefore the only way we’re gonna markedly improve our pitching staff this offseason will be via trade.

  156. #166,

    Regarding your ridiculous Bob Stoops comment. Where is your proof? You must be an SEC fan. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a game and during the second half, third quarter etc, where we take our starting quarter backs out and just run the ball the rest of the time. You ever thought that we are just GOOD? Apparently not because the Big 12 always gets looked down upon. Show me some proof oh wise one.

  157. Nick,

    For once I think you might be right. Of course, it also means we will have to overpay to replace whatever we trade away (our shortstop for example) and I’ve been saying all along that I’d rather overpay for a pitcher than a shortstop when we’ve already ot a good young shortstop.

  158. “i think a recruit would an idea of what is going on…so, they picked Stay at UNC with Butch.”

    Chris, I hope he stays at UNC and doesnt come to the SEC, but I can guarantee you that he’s not out there telling people that he may be gone and telling recruits where he might end up. While at UNC he’ll be recruiting for UNC and if he does make a move then he’ll make the recruits aware of it. I hope he stays put though

  159. Even though I know not a single one of you cares one iota about Michigan’s football team, I’m putting this here anyway since I have no other audience.

    It’s kind of proof that Rich Rodriguez might not suck.

    1 2006 4.27
    2 2003 4.25
    3 2007 3.97
    4 2008 3.91***
    5 2005 3.89
    6 2004 3.83
    7 2002 3.82
    8 2001 3.59

    Those are Michigan’s season long average yards per carry for each of the past seasons back to 2001. This years team was better than half of them, and 2 of those years were with Anthony Thomas, Michigan’s all time leading rusher.

  160. rumor has it that Donovan Tate’s parents want him to go to school for 4 years and not play baseball at all.

    UNC is recruiting has as a QB and he may commit this coming weekend…

    HOWEVER, that could all be a ploy to get a massive, and i mean MASSIVE signing bonus.

  161. csg–

    i can dig that, yet, the bigger issue would be, why recruit at all if you know you’re gone?

    in other words, why not “steer” a kid you really want to a future destination?

  162. Because he’s not a complete scumbag? (Or because he doesn’t want to face a massive, and I mean MASSIVE, lawsuit?)

    Butch is no saint, but he’s not Saban or Meyer, is he?

  163. Because you might not be gone. Once upon a time, Bobby Bowden was a lock to be the next Alabama head coach. But the UA president was nutjob Joab Thomas, who wanted to “deemphasize” football and hired Bill Curry instead.

  164. I supported Curry and liked him pretty well, but I’m not sure if he would have ever equalled his 10-0 start and 10-2 season at Bama. IMO his problem was that he relied too heavily on his coordinators (Homer Smith, Tommy Bowden – I don’t remember the defensive guys). When he lost a coordinator, his team suffered for a good while – this was extremely evident at Kentucky.

  165. If Moose makes the HoF I think the Yankees cap will be what puts him over the edge. I personally don’t rate him as a hall of famer.

  166. I know Mussina doesn’t seem like a Hall of Famer. Don Sutton didn’t either — but eventually they had to put him in. If Mussina isn’t a Hall of Famer, there are a lot of guys already in who have some explaining to do:


    WINS W
    1 Warren Spahn 363*
    2 Greg Maddux 355
    3 Roger Clemens 354
    4 Steve Carlton 329*
    T5 Don Sutton 324*
    T5 Nolan Ryan 324*
    7 Phil Niekro 318*
    8 Gaylord Perry 314*
    9 Tom Seaver 311*
    10 Tom Glavine 305
    11 Randy Johnson 295*
    12 Tommy John 288
    13 Bert Blyleven 287
    14 Robin Roberts 286*
    15 Ferguson Jenkins 284*
    16 Jim Kaat 283
    17 Mike Mussina 270
    18 Jim Palmer 268*
    19 Early Wynn 261*
    20 Jack Morris 254
    21 Bob Gibson 251*
    22 Jamie Moyer 246
    23 Dennis Martinez 245
    24 Juan Marichal 243*
    25 Frank Tanana 240
    26 David Wells 239
    27 Whitey Ford 236*
    28 Luis Tiant 229
    T29 Catfish Hunter 224*
    T29 Jim Bunning 224*

    *Hall of Famer

    I know it’s just one stat, and it’s team dependent. But come on.

  167. Mussina is Blyleven II. Really, really good, but just lacks that certain something to push him over the top. I wouldn’t lose any sleep if either were voted in.

    Maybe Mussina just seems too nice. It’s probably the Stanford pedigree. If he had a snarl, or some interesting facial hair, I think he’d be a better candidate. He really should have grown a Fu Manchu.

  168. Well, he could join Jim Kaat. I have never understood why Jim Kaat is not in the Hall of Fame. He was before my time, so I’ve never seen him pitch and don’t really know anything about him, but if you look at his numbers, it just makes absolutely zero sense to me. And more than that, while everyone’s whining about Santo or Rice or Murphy or whoever else, everyone always seems to overlook Kaat and John and Blyleven. Hell, John should be pushed over the top for his surgery alone, you could argue.

  169. Blyleven is the single most deserving player not in the HOF.

    Jim Kaat has a career ERA+ of 107. He’s hardly HOF material.

  170. If Donovan Tate were to sign with the Tar Heels to play football, then it might make the Braves more likely to select him. It would be interesting to see just how far he might drop and then some team might get him by gambling with a lower round pick. The Braves would still have to deal with Boras, but at least Tate might not cost a first round pick.

    Obviously, a lot will happen between now and June, but it would certainly be nice if the Braves could find a way to add Tate to their organization…..

  171. I personally am not a proponent of looking at the worst players in the hall of fame and using them as an argument for why another player who is better should get in. Maybe I’m irrational that way but I think I could defend that position if forced into it. For now its just a feeling or opinion though.

    And Mac, you come on, its Wins.

  172. Those players, except maybe Hunter, aren’t among the worst players in the Hall of Fame. Mussina (and Blyleven) are better than lots of Hall of Famers.

  173. Sorry, I didn’t mean it to sound like I thought your list was a who’s who of the worst players in the Hall, I realize it isn’t.

  174. ERA versus league, 1946-2008, min. 3000 IP:


    1 Roger Clemens 140 3.12 4.38 4916.2
    2 Whitey Ford 140 2.74 3.84 3171
    3 Randy Johnson 134 3.26 4.36 4039.1
    4 Kevin Brown 131 3.28 4.30 3256.1
    5 Greg Maddux 130 3.16 4.11 5008.1
    6 Jim Palmer 130 2.86 3.72 3948
    7 Tom Seaver 128 2.86 3.66 4782.2
    8 Warren Spahn 127 3.08 3.89 5229.2
    9 John Smoltz 125 3.26 4.09 3395
    10 Mike Mussina 124 3.68 4.56 3562.2
    11 Don Drysdale 124 2.95 3.65 3432
    12 Juan Marichal 123 2.89 3.56 3506
    13 Curt Schilling 123 3.46 4.26 3261
    14 Bob Gibson 123 2.91 3.59 3885
    15 Billy Pierce 121 3.27 3.95 3295
    16 Gaylord Perry 117 3.11 3.63 5350.1
    17 Tom Glavine 117 3.54 4.13 4413.1
    18 Nolan Ryan 116 3.19 3.72 5386
    19 Chuck Finley 115 3.85 4.43 3197.1
    20 Bert Blyleven 115 3.31 3.81 4970
    21 Orel Hershiser 115 3.48 4.00 3130.1
    22 Robin Roberts 115 3.40 3.91 4689
    23 Don Sutton 114 3.26 3.71 5282.1
    24 Dennis Eckersley 113 3.50 3.96 3285.2
    25 Jim Bunning 113 3.27 3.70 3759.1

  175. Now you’re starting to change my mind about Moose, but his career ERA is also the second highest on that list, only Finley’s is higher.

  176. Dix,

    First off, I have in no way been rude to you or ventured into childish name-calling and would appreciate the same civility from you. My intentions with starting our discussion was nothing more than a little chain pulling between fans of rival schools. I assume that was missed because I’m not a known commodity on this board, so be it.

    Someone, I think Stu, mentioned Notre Dame apologizing for treating Willingham poorly in the firing. You do realize he just got canned at Washington right? They allowed him one more year than he got in South Bend, which was nothing more than an extra year to run their program into the ground.

    The thing that people unfamiliar with this situation miss is that Willingham wasn’t fired from ND solely for his record. It was a combination of poor play and utterly inept recruiting. The ultimate example of this is that Notre Dame wasn’t even recruiting Brady Quinn. He only wound up there because Ndukwe’s (a receiver recruit) father suggested that they might want to take look at the quarterback throwing his son the ball. The fact is Willingham spent more time playing golf than he did on the recruiting trail and that was ultimately his undoing. He made the mistake of thinking that Notre Dame would recruit itself. Obviously it doesn’t.

    When he was sent packing he left behind a depleted mess of a team. The O-line was paper-thin, barely enough to field a team. From there Weis has done an excellent job of restocking. It’s one of the few things he has done well but now he seems to have trouble developing them.

    Dix, as you stated and I mentioned last night the list of schools offering a recruit is a good indication of the quality of talent/player. I completely agree and will put ND’s players side by side with anyone in the country. And if you are going to claim Notre Dame has sub par talent then you are the one that’s making moronic statements. To name a few: Jimmy Clausen, Michael Floyd, Sam Young, Armando Allen, Steve Filer, Duval Kamara, and this year Cierre Wood, you might want to take a look…

    As for the stats that you threw out it’s pretty simple. When your are playing on a short field the entire game and you have a quick strike offense it’s conceivable to have fewer first downs, yards and less time of possession. Turnovers are part of the game. And if recall correctly it was 35-10 with Michigan scoring a late on the second string defense.

    I don’t disagree that Notre Dame is in a bad spot with Weis. After losing to Syracuse last weekend I feel like Weis has officially punched his ticket out of town. Even though he may deserve it, there is no way he can be fired after this season. He has gone to two BCS bowls in four years and he has recruited extremely well. Now if he lays another egg next season then I think he will be gone no questions asked. But to do it after this season would truly make the job a tough sale to any decent coach.

    And finally to the person who mentioned fans making excuses about the restrictions and academics limiting Notre Dame’s success, there is a grain of truth to that. Notre Dame runs their program differently than most schools in the country. They don’t except Juco transfers, the grade requirements are a bit higher, they don’t red shirt and character is major determinant in recruiting a player, so they are choosing from a smaller pool. With that said, it is in no way an excuse for the lousy football being played now or under the two previous coaches. Notre Dame can still attract the talent to be a top team; they simply need a coach to develop them.

    Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this diatribe. I hope that this will be my last Notre Dame post. Go Braves! And since I rarely have the chance to do this, Thanks Mac for the great site. It takes up far too much of my time.

  177. Kaat, by this measure, is 52nd among pitchers since WWII. Only 56 pitchers (Joe Niekro is the last) have pitched 3000 innings with an ERA below the league in this period.

    Two pitchers have pitched 3000+ innings with ERAs worse than the league (since 1946). Guess who.

  178. ESPN is a fucking joke cramming this Mayne Street BS down everyone’s throat. Some shitty video is the top story on the main page. WTF WWL?

  179. dirt,

    Didn’t mean to call you any names. I thought I said it was a moronic statement that the game wasn’t even that close but it’s too far up the screen to go find. Anyway, I think the game was much closer than the score, despite that one dude saying I was being delusional. Apparently he’s never read Life on the Margins.

    Don’t let me run you off, I’m happy to have an ND fan to bash friendlily. The fact that you’re proud enough in your team to defend them even when they’re so obviously swirling down the toilet is a personality trait that we both share.

  180. Dirt,
    I never said there wasn’t a grain of truth to those Notre Dame academic/sports attitudes. I just pointed out that non-ND fans find it annoying.

    And let’s face it: Any school that wins (or has won) will always have its haters, for reasons real or imagined.

    And Mac,
    I said “people,” not all people. The Bama people I knew didn’t like Curry from the beginning (a Tech guy!) & they couldn’t wait to get rid of him, even during that season.

  181. Mussina is totally deserving. Longevity is the only “knock” against him. Otherwise, he was at least as good a pitcher as, say, Tom Glavine. His peak was better, and he has very impressive rate statistics. It’s easy to forget some 15 years later, but he was the ace for an Orioles team that nearly made the World Series. He was dominant in the early 90s and has had a very strong career since then.

  182. i found this amusing…

    per Bowman…Earlier this month, Axelrod told the San Diego Union Tribune that Peavy was concerned about the fact the Braves would likely need to include Yunel Escobar in the package.

    Since then, Axelrod has said that he was simply speaking in a general sense. He says the same would have been applied if he was talking about the Astros and the possibility that they’d include Hunter Pence in the trade package, or about the Cubs, if they were offering players like Mark DeRosa or Derrek Lee.

    so, the cubs losing Derosa is equiv. to us losing Esco?? Is it me or is that just not the same?

  183. Longevity is the only “knock” against him. Otherwise, he was at least as good a pitcher as, say, Tom Glavine. His peak was better…

    I wouldn’t go that far. Glavine won two Cy Young awards, was the ace for two NL Champions, and won 20 games five times, including three in a row. Glavine’s 1991-93 and 1998 are all better than any year of Mussina’s.

  184. Man,if the Braves dont do something soon it is going to get ugly on these boards.
    A heated discussion about Mike Mussina and Bert Blyleven, yikes.

  185. I’m sorry, but Mike Mussina was never a dominant pitcher.

    Just because you are very good relative to the league doesn’t make you dominant. Pedro Martinez was dominant. Randy Johnson was dominant. Greg Maddux was dominant.

    Mike Mussina was very good & worthy of a HoF discussion. It wouldn’t be a travesty if he made Cooperstown—I just remain unconvinced.

  186. Peavy needs to quit being such a pansy and start being a clubhouse cancer in SD, alienating fans and ownership, and demanding that the Padres accept ten cents on the dollar for him in a trade to the Braves.

  187. Didn’t Kaat also have 16 Gold Gloves? That seems like it should count for something. Combine that with 283 wins…I wouldn’t be upset if he were in.

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