Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pathetic

Sorry to break from our menu of sports talk but this morning I opened up my Yahoo! Music Jukebox and nearly threw up in my own mouth. As soon as my nausea passed, I realized that I HAD to do a post about this on Big P.

To give you a little background, I was a HUGE Black Sabbath fan growing up. I never actually got to see Sabbath in concert but did see Ozzy Osborne several times and also took in a few Deep Purple and Rainbow concerts. For any of you too young to remember (or too smart too care), after Ozzy's departure from the band in the late 70's, Ronnie James Dio took the helm for a few semi-successful albums -- most notably Heaven and Hell. After Dio's departure, Deep Purple singer, Ian Gillin took over. Both were pretty good but it IMHO, they were much better with their former bands, Dio and Deep Purple.

The funny thing was that back in the late 70's and early 80's, I loved horrifying my parents by listening to Sabbath's "devil music". I knew Ozzy was a little bit of an overweight, over-the-hill turd but didn't care. I also managed to overlook the permed hair and fringed leather of Iomi, bassist, Geezer Butler and drummer, Bill Ward. In the 90's, I started to realize how un-hip these pseudo-devil worshipping dildos were. However, nothing topped what I saw this morning...

I mean, WTF? Does Dio (third from left) not realize that he looks like my 87 year old grand father with a brown wig on? I mean seriously. And now these guys are touring? It's just sad.

I know that this new trend of bands from the 60's - 80's that pissed all their money away in drugs and mismanagement getting together for reunion tours is getting a little ridiculous but this is too much. Poor Black Sabbath. May the memory of when they were cool rest in peace.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ugueth Urbina Sentenced to 14 Years

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Ugueth Urbina was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the attempted murder of five workers on his family's ranch, the Attorney General's Office announced Wednesday. The 33-year-old free agent was accused of joining a group of men in attacking and injuring workers with machetes and pouring gasoline on them at his family's ranch, located about 25 miles south of Caracas.
We always knew he was a little crazy when he was with the Red Sox. He had all the qualities that make closers great:

1. A slightly disturbing nervous tick
2. A good fastball with questionable control, and
3. A great nickname that fans can chant at the top of their lungs

If we'd only known he was skilled with a machete and gasoline we might have really had a Hall of Fame closer on our hands.

Good luck in jail Uggie.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Reason for Concern?

I'm feeling pretty good about the Sox this season. Based on what I've read and seen, that seems to be the general consensus of the national media. However, after reading Shaughnessy's article in this morning's Boston Globe, I am minorly concerned about the following three things:
  1. Varitek - will he hit this season or is he Benito Santiago 2.0?
  2. Coco Crisp - is he the center field equivalent of Kerry Woods/Carl Pavano?
  3. I thought we could survive Dustin Pedroia this season if everything else clicked. If Varitek and Crisp hit below the Mendoza Line, slots 7-9 in the line-up will be mighty painful to endure.
Now I don't normally put too much thought into what Shaughnessy writes but he brings up some valid points. I'd love to get the groups thoughts on this one.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Last Night of the Patriots Dynasty?

I'm going to break ranks from the baseball talk for a second because I need help with some football questions. Namely, why is everybody bending over backwards to hail the Patriots for these free agent signings -- particularly the receivers? What in the name of Daniel Snyder is going on here?

Let's recap for a second WHY the Patriots needed to sign free agent wide receivers:

1) They've received little to no return on the first round draft pick they spent a year ago on Chad Jackson
2) The highly touted tight end position -- and the assumed ascension of Ben Watson -- hasn't really played out
3) Their best receiver is suiting up for the Seahawks, their most consistent playoff receiver is in Tennessee and the replacements for those two may have cost the team home field in the AFC title game last year

The bottom line is: the Patriots' mismanagement of the receiver position may have ultimately cost them the Super Bowl last year. In response, they've gone out and obtained Wes Welker, Donta Stallworth and Kelley Washington. While Welker has been productive, Stallworth is in the drug program and Washington hasn't even had 400 yards receiving in a season (shades of the David Terrell signing last year). Why do I get the feeling that these guys are on the Patriots roster because they were all that was out there on the market? It seems to me that the Patriots have been backed into a corner at this position to the point where they have had to scrap some of the criteria they use for evaluating players before signing them. This is a new direction for their front office -- and one that certainly hasn't worked well for others such as the Redskins.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Baseball 2.0

Curt Schilling gets it... not at the level of NASCAR, but he's onto something. If you haven't seen it yet, check out his new blog. It is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Check out this quote from today's post:
"Kevin Millar, even when he guesses right, can’t make himself swing at my curve ball... [snip]... With one out in the second Gibbons chased a good split, and then Millar comes up. For 3 years he’s talked trash, in person, through text messages, over the phone, about how I better never throw him my curve ball. Last year in Baltimore I started him off with it, he took it for a strike.

Today I shake ‘Tek 3-4 times, Millar calls time out, steps out and says to ‘Tek “What the hells he want an 0-0 curve ball?”, curve ball strike one. Curve ball again, yanked foul, now he’s laughing, and I am trying not to. Curve ball again he lays off. Count gets to 2-2 and he freezes on a 2 seamer inside for strike three. I don’t know if he’s debating the call or just talking, one never knows with him, but he never looks my way as I go into the dugout."

Occasionally, I'll meet someone who doesn't understand that NASCAR is possibly the only professional "sport" (let's just accept that driving around in circle at ~200 mph for a looooooong time is a sport) that truly caters to its fans. It's usually a painful conversation that has the other side leaving, resigned that I'm a redneck heathen.

Stats don't make a sport, so don't even start with fantasy football and rotisserie baseball being fan-centric. NASCAR lets fans in on the action, using in-car cameras and radios that peek in on pit crew negotiations. I don't even follow NASCAR and I know this much... speak to someone who really loves NASCAR and you'll be blown away by how they're constantly finding new ways to bring fans closer to the sport.

Back to today's post from Curt. This is the first time I've ever really felt part of one of the "major" sports. Sure being there for Game 2 of the World Series in 2004 was pretty kick ass, but this is a new paradigm. This is truly inviting fans into the game. Think about almost every time you go to Fenway... nice day, cold beers, interesting game, some truly great moments, but do you ever really feel like you're in the game? What would you pay to actually be in the meeting on the mound in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded, two outs and Big P getting ready to face ARod in late September? How about free? Would it be worth it?

Thanks Curt!

ps... Millar just joined the conversation. I love Baseball 2.0!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hard Time Getting in the Mood

I live just outside Boston, MA and we just got pounded with a late season Nor'Easter. It's 12:30 AM and I am soaking wet after shoveling out from over a foot of snow and sleet. This comes on the heels of visiting sunny Las Vegas for our company's Community 2.0 Conference.

It was warm in Vegas. 80 degrees in fact. I was out by the pool on the last day of the conference thinking about spring in New England. I should be -- it's only a few days away. Visions of opening day danced in my head. Thoughts of Dice-K Matsusaka, the Sox prized new pitcher, throwing out the first pitch at Fenway made me long to be home. And then the snow fell.

Why am I surprised? This happens every year. It wouldn't be New England if it didn't. While the Red Sox wrap up in the confines of sunny Florida, I'll be slogging through slush and muck for the next few weeks. My new friend, Mukund Mohan, whom I met at the conference invited me out to CA to do a webcast today. I know he was joking but I might just take him up on his offer!

Friday, March 02, 2007