Thursday, February 25, 2010

Who Should Play Fenway Park This Summer?

What band should play Fenway Park this summer? A simple question, but there are a few rules:

1. The band/act must be actively touring (US or elsewhere) over the summer.
2. The band/act cannot have played Fenway Park already.
3. The band/act cannot have completely destroyed their legacy by playing the halftime show at a recent Super Bowl.

Who do YOU think should play the park? Who would cause you to call in a bunch of favors to score tickets?

Note: Here's the list of bands/acts that have played Fenway in the past (h/t @twalk).

Monday, February 08, 2010

Who are the Top 10 Position Players Ever in Baseball?

Enough of this "foot ball" nonsense; time to talk about a real game.

You can use any standard you want -- hitting, fielding, baserunning, well-roundedness, character, historical impact, whatever. But don't mince words: give me your all-time top 10 for baseball.

Play ball!

(Image source.)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Big P Makes Their Big Game Picks

I asked some of the team at Big Papelbon their Super Bowl predictions, here they are in no particular order:

This game features two very good teams with interesting flaws. To my mind, the most interesting flaw is the Colts’ lack of a running game, which ought to put to rest the old saw about how you win playoff games by running-and-stopping-the-run. They make up for it, of course, with (maybe) the most cerebral quarterback in league history and (certainly) a corps of receivers that is second to none. Plenty of teams in the league would be happy to have Garcon as a #2 receiver, or Collie as a go-to slot guy in the Welker mode; on the Colts, those two guys understand their place down the totem pole from Wayne and Clark . . . and yet Manning still seems to love throwing to all of them.

Brees is smart, scrappy, and spectacularly accurate. He has good receivers to throw to himself, and all bets are off if Bush has one of his occasional rush/receive/return monster games. But the Saints needed a goofball final play from Favre AND a lucky coin toss in overtime to beat the Vikings. If this game comes down to the wire – and I have a hunch it will – which passer+receivers group would you rather bet the farm on? I like the odds of Manning-to-Wayne, Manning-to-Clark, and Manning-to-Youngster-X about as well as I like the odds of anything in sports.

Colts by 3.

No question in my mind that the Saints win. The Colts are banged up. The city is behind the Saints in a BIG way i.e. they need this. Dwight Freeney being hurt REALLY hurts their chances against an amazing passing attack. The Saints D is just scrappy enough that they hold Peyton et al. to 28 points. Saints score 35.

Saints by 7.

As much as I'd like to think otherwise, the Saints don't stand a chance. Peyton Manning and the Indy offense are going to open up the first half with two quick scores and never look back on the way to a 42 point outburst. Meanwhile, Drew Brees and the Saints are going to spend most of the first half trying to get out of their own half of the field. Reggie Bush is going to run for 250 yards (side to side) and Brees is going to spend more time looking up at the beautiful Miami sky than he will down the field at his receivers. Several late scores make it seem closer than it was.
Colts 14. "42-28"

Let me state for the record that my heart is rooting for the Saints, but my wallet is rooting for the Colts. Peyton Manning is playing at a level never before witnessed in professional football, and doing it with a grade-B receiving corp. The Colts defense is highly underrated and it looks like Freeney will be fine for the game, but even if he isn't that doesn't matter. The Colts are going to run away with this game and as much as I want to see a good game AND see the Saints win I'm predicting a rout.
Colts by 11. "31-20".

Saints by 3. "31-28".

Indy by 4. "35-31".

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Brett Favre Problem

Thank you to Tim for making me write this post and re-evaluate my own thinking.

The debate had been raging recently on the top QBs in history and in nearly everyone's list Brett Favre was ranked below the fifth position. Interesting when you consider:

  • Favre is FIRST in completed passes, having nearly 1,000 more than Dan Marino and 2,000 more than Peyton Manning (closest active player).
  • Favre is FIRST in passing yards, having more than 8,000 more than Dan Marino and 19,000 more than Peyton Manning (closest active player).
  • Favre has won one Super Bowl and appeared in two (same, at this moment, as Peyton Manning).
  • Favre is FIRST in TD passes, having 77 more than Dan Marino and 131 more than Peyton Manning (closest active player).
  • Favre is FIRST in Interceptions, having 40 more than George Blanda and 200 more than Kerry Collins (closest active player).
Favre is VASTLY ahead in many of the offensive categories we consider most important for a QB and he has won the Super Bowl and MVP. Yet, people had him below Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Johnny Unitas, Warren Moon, Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman and others. That is ABSURD!

Put away your annoyance of Brett Favre and his disrespect for his teammates, because that is what his retirement yo-yo actually entails. Shove that vision of Brett Favre in his wranglers to the part of your brain you reserve for bad memories. Now look at the numbers one more time and respect what the man has accomplished.

I was fortunate enough to watch Brett Favre play live on an October day in Green Bay. At the time my friend Alex Hahn was working for the Redskins and got tickets for me to go to the Frozen Tundra and watch the Skins versus the Packers. No, literally, I had field passes and actually stood on the Frozen Tundra. Does it rank as the top live sporting event of my life, even over famous ALCS games during World Series runs? You bet it does! I got to high-five with Gilbert Brown and get in a mini-shouting match with then Packer Terry Glenn (I was wearing a Deion Branch Patriot jersey to the game, yes, I can be a jerk sometimes about my football).

The game was an exciting one and midway through the Third Quarter Brett Favre was PUMMELED and down for the count. People around me acted as if the Pope had been kidnapped. At the time Favre had the most consecutive games started by a QB in the NFL, somewhere around 200. This man had played one of the most dangerous position in the NFL (even with absurd rule changes) and not missed a game in the span of 12+ seasons. After missing one series Favre came back into the game and ended up leading the Packers to victory in the fourth quarter.

After the game we tailgated for a few more hours and a young girl, probably 23 or so, said to me,
"I'm not sure I would ever watch football again if Brett Favre wasn't playing."
She was completely serious and I wish I could talk to her now and see what she has done the past two years.

The point is that Brett Favre has not only survived in a violent sport, but excelled in this violent sport at an age at which we believe he should be done. Perhaps the Brett Favre retirement saga was ultra annoying and it may become the same this offseason, but take a look at the numbers and I honestly can not see you rating Favre lower than third in your list of all-time QBs.