Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Miscellany: Snapping the Streak

Through the lenses of red-and-gold glasses, it is indeed a glorious, glorious day, a Monday morning feeling of spectacularity that ChiefsNation has not felt in a long, long time. The Kansas City footballers have gotten themselves off of a 12-game, 11-month schneid, and done so at the expense of the Denver Broncos. Sweet, illustriously good times. That said, there were a few bad notes to Sunday's festivities, and we'll touch on those, as well as the good, after the jump.

As always, Tradition Weekend was a pretty good God-damned time. It's never as good for the fans of the losing club, as a loss overshadows many laughs, good eats and champion adult-beverage consumption. It's still a blast, however, to hang, and talk football-related smack (to an intelligent degree, and amongst non-strangers).

I'm certain that the Iron Triangle set a Tradition-weekend record for minimal amounts of invested time in the shut-eye category; it was an amazing feat that there was no snoozing done at the Head of Arrow. In fact, it was semi-miraculous that the Triangle was able to converge, as Old No. 7 equalled his December '07 traveling woes, topping snow-laden, trailer-in-hitch mountain-pass highway accidents with smashed $8000 storage-facility gates, fictitious tales of itinerary details, and hagglings of many a stand-by variety.

But he was there, nonetheless, in time to consume smoked-meast sandwiches, and even take the mound for the first pitch of backyard beer-can baseball, which sort of turned out to be a double-header. So, going on a mere two hours rest, the HoG staff matriculated its way to the Truman Sports Complex, perhaps more confident than ever, that the home team would not in fact win. Upon arrival, we made scraps of efforts to sell House of Georges merchandise (Editor's Note: Get your Hank Stram t-shirt today only for the we-broke-the-12-game-losing-streak discount price of $10.99!), and fed our guts with more vittles, and a few cans of Wisconsin-brewed pilsner. It should also be noted that the newest, most envy-invoking article of tailgating supplies was on display in large varieties on this day, and that is none other than the individual shitter tent, a mechanism that is in fact a small tent, tall and lanky in nature, that serves the purposes of avoiding long lines and lost drinking time at the parking lot johnnies. Quoth the Hootster: "We will have one of those for next year."

Inside the stadium, we enjoyed the contest from the club level, and watched as the Chiefs took an early 6-0 lead. Having received the opening kickoff, the home team put three on the board, which was mildly disappointing in that it was not six. The ensuing Denver possession, though, resulted in a fumble that the Chiefs recovered, and conservative-as-always Herman Edwards elected to kick instead of trying for a touchdown from fourth and a short goal. I confidently expected the Broncos to then score a touchdown, and easily eliminate a difficultly acquired Kansas City lead. And they did, but Kansas City was not interested in packing it in early this year, at least not on this day. They were able to put a touchdown of their own on the board with a one-yard Larry Johnson score. Denver then tied the longest field goal ever kicked at Arrowhead with a 56-yarder. Halftime score: 13-10 Kansas City.

In the second half Denver notched another three-pointer, and Kansas City answered with one of their own. There was then a Jay Cutler interception, followed by a Larry Johnson fumble, followed by another Cutler interception, which was funny, obnoxious, and confusing for all parties in a very short span of time. A little later, Damon Huard hit the greatest tight end of all time on a touchdown pass, putting the Chiefs up 23-13. Denver answered with another tres, and Kansas City did the same, and then the Broncos, again kicked another, 26-19.

Late in the fourth, however, Larry Johnson would seal the victory with another KC touchdown, for a final of 33-19, Kansas City.

In the midst of these field goals and touchdowns, were some interesting events. "Interesting," of course, is a poor choice of words, but Father Time insists that I return to reality, and punch the work clock. More on Tradition Weekend, Installment One, 2008 later today. For now, though, we'll relish the rest of the morning knowing that we can at least say we're as good as the Raiders, and better, if only slightly, than the Rams. This of course does not translate to good times, but I'm happy to say that it's not awful times...
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Sleeping With the Enemy: Week Four, Broncos @ Chiefs

This is a very special week for the House of Georges, as our two clubs face off on Sunday, and we're going out of our way to provide minimal coverage of the contest. We're not so lazy, though, that we wouldn't even deliver one installment of "Sleeping With the Enemy." That would be ri-donc-u-lous. I've taken the lumps of pain and agony to sit down with a Denver fan, who of course I'm automaticallly required to hate. Worse, though, is that he calls Kansas City home, thus upping my levels of forced despite. For the purposes of this exchange, our guest selected the sobriquet "Diez y Cinco," likely in an effort to show his love for one snow-throwing, woman-beating, drunk-driving, McDonald's-bag slipping, self-loving Brandon Marshall, wide out for the Denver Broncos. And for the cave dwellers, this is an effort to mimic the trials of another stand-up NFLer who goes by, went by, goes by again jersey purchases pending will some day be remembered (I think) as Chad Johnson. For the record, it is engrained in me to point out the wrong in everything associated with the mile-high franchise, even if it's a fan, one that shared his time with the House of Georges, nonetheless. And that is this: If one wishes to say "fifteen" in Spanish, the appropriate term is quince, and not diez y cinco, but I expect nothing less from the fan of a ref-bribing, chop-blocking bunch of dummies who may or may not have won a championship or two since I've been alive. Anyway...

Bankmeister: Tell us, please, the fascinating story of how you came to be a Broncos fan, one that lives in Kansas City no less. It's been an interesting start to the season for us fans of AFC West teams. The Chargers, having just pulled off win number one this evening, were stunned by back-to-back last-minute losses. This obviously put a hitch in their stride as your team of orange and blue has notched three straight wins, and looked, more or less, like an offensive machine. I had a hunch this would be Cutler's year, but he seems to be getting better protection than I anticipated from his o-line. Of course Clady was a huge addition, but talk about the play of those other four guys thus far. Also, it's clear that Eddie Royal is a stud. My colleague Cecil was hyping him up throughout the pre-season, but for him to come in and be such a presence (especially in week one in Marshall's absence) this early is amazing. His play, coupled with that of B-Marsh is downright frightening. How can they be stopped? And don't say they can't.

Diez y Cinco: Well Mister Meister, first off thank you for having me. Your invite is an honor, and you're Web site is an insiration that Chefs and Donkeys can truly live in harmony. (Editor's Note: The House of Georges, or any of its staff do not agree with or resemble anything associated with that remark.) Well, I, like any true Broncos fan, became one through birthright. Born in Aurora, Colorado, a suburb right outside the Denver area, my adopted grandparents out there instilled in me a passion for one of the most entertaining sports teams of all time. With the amazing comeback kid, more affectionately known throughout the country as "Horse Face," leading us through pretty much all of my adolescence, it was easy to stay a stalwart fan. In my ever-changing life as a military brat, the ever-present image of Elway striding down the field in the last moments of a game always gave me a connection to home. And when we finally ended up being transferred to this wonderful city, everyone just opened up their arms for us...until they found out my dark secret of Donkey Love. Then the slander and jeers commenced.

Lucky for me during my sophomore and junior years, we proceeded to go to the big game back to back and win both. That gave me all the ammunition I needed to silence any Chiefs fans who would begin to slang the proverbial poo. When it would start to fly forth from their lips, all I would respond with was a simple, "And the last time your illustrious squad was Super Bowl-bound, Gatorade was invented. Correct?" (Note: High marks for originality; never heard that one before. Ever.) Tails would snap between legs and feet would run furiously for the door. Now onto the post-Elway era. Very difficult to watch at first, which is easily understandable, rebuilding after a great leaves isn't always as easy as putting in he who backed him up. The quarterback rotation would ensue and demoralize us for the next couple years. But then hope arrived in the form of a goofy-looking kid (gotta beat you to the punch) out of Vanderbilt. Cutler was his name, and his arm was quite strong, but just not steady, who, in his fist game he started looked quite progressable, going 10 of 21 for 137 yards and two TDs and two INTs, one of those TDs to #15 Brandon Marshall, another rookie on the team, who we'll get to later. Luckily I happened to be in Denver on this night, so envisioning the future was actually enjoyable. Ending the year 81 of 137 for 1,001 yards, the man-child proved he was worth the first-round pick.

And progress he did, his first full year was quite the step, 297 of 467, 3,497 passing yards, 20 TDs and 14 interceptions, this man grew into his stirrups. Now, as the media has no interest in stopping with telling us, with his diabetes under control he looks downright amazing. Behind Shanahan's (I know it's quite late to finally be mentioning this great man as well, but his successes just seem to speak for themselves (146-95 overall, 8-5 postseason -- oh yeah and those rings!)) masterful workings of the o-line, as you've pointed out, he has all day to hit his targets. Clady of course being the easiest to mention as he was a first-round draft pick, and an excellent one at that. And then Wiegmann being a free agent was a huge help to us as Pro Bowler C Nalen is on I/R with a knee injury. Then Kuper, Harris, and Hamilton, are just having stellar seasons as well, with Cutler only feeling the turf once so far this season.

This is my favorite part: the receivers. Who to start with? We'll follow your lead and go with Mr. Royal. It was quite easy to see in the pre-season that this kid was impressive. With B. Marshall's off-field antics having us all worried who Cutler would turn to, it was quite nice to see this young man step up. A rookie with his speed and his hands used to be almost unprecedented, especially to start over veteran Brandon Stokley. But this kid truely shined. Especially in that first-game win over Oakland with the 146 yards and one TD all eyes were on him and his speed. Probably would be double teamed if not for the aforementioned Stokley, the not-yet-mentioned TE tandem of Scheffler and Graham, both capable receivers, and the shortened suspension of, my man and number-one receiver in the league (please stay out of trouble!), Sir Brandon Marshall. This giant of a man just overwhelms most defenders, at 6' 4", 230 lbs, you often see DBs just shoulder-height to him. His career has just been impressive. Hampered early with injuries, the man bounced back strong in 2007 with 1,325 yards. And now, in just the two games this year, 24 catches for 321 yards and 2 TDs pretty much just speaks for itself. His knowledge of holes in the D, his progressing chemistry with Cutler, and the fact Cutler seeems to look for him on every down, he'll just keep the stats going. You ask how to stop this powerful offense? Tie chairs to cheetahs and balance quite well.

B: Okay. I have absolutely no idea what that means, but the rest of it's well-thought-out stuff, 15. The offensive capabilities are no secret; that we can agree on. Let's talk defense, though. The Chargers and the Saints, even if their efforts came in spurts, were able to almost score at will. I think it's safe to say that a few other teams might have the same successes against your Broncos. As most coaches will tell you, it starts with stopping the run, which, when you play the Saints doesn't really count because they're seldom handing off for those north-south runs, rather dumping screens to Bush in the flat, etc. LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles ran for a bit of success, as did Justin Fargas in week one. This run defense needs to find better way to plug the gaps, and get off the field. In the secondary, Champ is still any Denver fan's bukkake daydream, but Dre Bly awaits rights to the patent of "suckiest Bronco with six letters in his name." How will Denver improve on that side of the ball? This includes the middle of the field, too, as I've yet to see much pass rush from the 'backers?

15: Ah yes, the ugly side of the team. From back in the days of being the Orange Crush to the patheticness of becoming the Orange Slush. How easily this team can give up a 17-point lead in one quarter is one of the most pain-staking and stomach-turning events of all. I won't even be as polite as you were and point out Champ's never-ending shut down cornerness, because Bly, as far as i've seen, opens up the field. Then the stopping of the run. The only way I can see us stopping the run in the future is a new line. The reformed Cleveland Brown line that Shanahan thought would be so awesome, simply wasn't. Giving up nearly 1,265 yards, 10 touchdowns, with only one sack over the three games...those stats are just a hair short of what our all-mighty offense has produced. DJ williams is the only semi-impressive LB I've happened to even catch the name of. It has been my horror to have such a powerful offense show up, to be followed by such a porous defense. How high can our offense really score seems to be the question as we go into Jacksonville, New England, and Carolina. Maybe Coach has a few defensive tricks up his windbreaker, but I doubt it. I miss the days of old...wait, i'm beginning to sound a little like a Chiefs fan.

B: Hilarious. Since time is of the essence, a few parting thoughts for you to chew on: 1) Will a featured back emerge from the trio of Hall, Pittman, and Young, or will the Rat continue to use the three when and where they're best suited? 2) If you project the team's three-week performance over the course of the season, is Cutler your 2008 MVP? If not, who? 3) How will this Chiefs game shake down? Will Denver manhandle KC, or will it be a dogfight?

15: Well, I know I want to grab that third one first, but that's just rivalry talking. So I'll go in order: 1) I believe he will go for the three-man "Colorado shuffle." They've just got a good combination of running skills. Hall and Young are the faster of the three. With them two switching out, fourth-quarter exhaustion is less of a factor. Throw in a strong, smash-mouth, downhill runner like Pittman in goal-line situations, and everyone stays healthy and less likely to lose play calling should an injury arise. Sadly we might not see a 1,000-yard back, but with the blocking scheme, and yet again the aforementioned o-line, each back will still be quite adept at helping to keep third downs under 5 yards. 2) So, far of course. His co-stars on the line give him time to survey the field and make the intelligent passes. His ability to scramble if the seldom-seen pressure is actually applied, and then add to that the strength of his arm so that cross-body passes can be thrown downfield while on the run, the man is quite the athlete. Now I'm not saying league MVP quite yet, but it's always a back-of-the-mind hope. 3) And now the fun one: First, it depends, which of your non-injured quarterbacks is starting? Man, oh man, considering I will be at the game, in full Broncos attire, I'd love to say it will just be a curb stomping of utmost proportion, but I'm not sure I can.

Cheering proudly and extraordinarily loudly next to my fellow Broncos fan everytime the ball is kicked into the arms of our returner, with the knowledge that the strongest offense in the league will soon step onto the field, will be a tiresome and enjoyable activity each and every time. But then as the six and subsequent seven points are put onto the board, my voice will quiet in fear of the oncoming travesty, and subsequent surrounding trash talking that will follow. The beer will not be nearly enough to drown out that most horrible of all touchdown songs if it resounds throughout the stadium. While I don't think the Chiefs have a high chance of winning, I'm still uncertain if our luck will hold out if it's close. How many bad calls and missed field goals can one team truly have before the football gods turn away? I pray it's not a close one, our defense stands up, and the Chiefs get the painful stampede they deserve as the second-worst team in the NFL.

B: Fair enough. Score prediction?

15: Man, I didn't want to go there. Hoping that all atrociousness will not appear, I'll go 37-21. But that's with both fingers crossed and an eye on that D.

B: Wow. You're giving a)the Chiefs more points than they've scored in any game so far, b) the Chiefs more points than our Falcons fan gave them for the Atlanta game, and c) me a funny feeling below the belt at the thought of three touchdowns in one game. Nevertheless, thanks for joining us, DYC. It's been a pleasure having you, and here's to hoping the Chiefs give Cutler the Tom Brady treatment on Sunday. Go Chiefs!
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Baseball in the Daytime: 9-25-08

We've got a duo of light-free baseball on the docket today, and they might be boring games, but to a couple of fan bases out there in America, these contests mean something. Interested in reading our brief dronings about them? Click, my friend. Click into the other side, the alter-world beyond the jump.

Tampa Bay @ Detroit, 12:05 (Eastern): Scott Kazmir, his 12-7 record, and his playoff-bound Rays face Armando Galarraga (12-6) and the Tigers today at Comerica Park. Yes, the Rays are in. No, they have not yet clinched the AL East. Yes, their chances of doing so against a sputtering Tigers club is nice. While the Ray-trailing Red Sox are three games behind, they could gain some ground by knocking off Cleveland and coupling that with a Tiger win. Boston has the pitching edge (Sowers vs. Lester), and home-field advantage as well. The Rays-Tigers game can be viewed on DirecTV 722 or 723, or heard on XM 179.

Arizona @ St.Louis, 1:15: No, things do not look good for the D'bags, and no the pitching match doesn't offer much hope either as 6-8 Doug Davis faces the 6-7 Joel Pineiro. Yes, the Dodgers have clinched a berth, and yes, Arizona still could, too. No, though; their chances look bleak, as they've dropped to an even .500 record, and are three and-a-half back of LA. Yes, DirecTV has this one (724 & 725), and yes, you may listen to it as well on the XMs, 185 to be exact.

Three games left in this 2008 regular season, folks, which means a mere two more possible days of Baseball in the Daytime. Tune in, for old time's sake.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Musings From Roy F. Almania: Color Me Pleased After All

From time to time, us House of Georges cats hit up our cousins to talk baseball with our readers. In the past, Old No. 7 has recruited his cousins, Brian, Blanche Feverpiss, and Anachro Capitalist (mean parents, I imagine) to scribe on California Angels baseball, the American League West, and sundry MLB trades, respectively. My cousin Roy hums a narrower verse for the game as his knowledge comes only in the form of the Kansas City Royals. His spirits were down the last time he checked into the House, but this afternoon, he's got a bit more spring in his step, if you'll pardon the awful cliche.

When I was last asked to write for the House of Georges, I was pretty disappointed with Trey Hillman and the KC Royals. They were on their way to the Bronx, and in the midst of some just plain sub-mediocre baseball. Now, late in September, things feel amazingly different. They got one game left against the Tigers, and have just slipped past them in the standings, and it's been five long years since they weren't huddled 'round the basement furnace in September. Tonight, they'll wrap up that series in Detroit, and take the morrow off before heading to Minneapolis to squabble with those Twins that just won't quit. Now it seems rightful easy that in the span of those four games, they could slide back down to last place in the Central, and call it a season. I'd rather they didn't, but if it must be so, I'm not too tore up with that option either.

Through 23 September days, the Royals are 15-7, which, as I mentioned, slides them into fourth, but it does more than that. It brings their record to 72-86, and gives them a .456 on the season. That's up 30 points from last year, and continues a three-year trend (56-106 in 2005; 62-100 in '06; and 69-93 a year ago) of losing less games than the previous year, which obviously means winning more. And I got to admit that that makes me just pleased as punch. This year the Royals have teased the idea of playing .500 ball on the road, and have done a smidge better than that at home.

Individually, they've got two guys -- David DeJesus and Mike Aviles -- with 400+ at bats that are hitting just over .300. They've got three hitters with 15 or more homers, and nine guys with 20 doubles or more. Any fan of the game'll tell you that those aren't big-time numbers, but they're Royal improvements to say the least.

From the hill, our numbers one and two guys have earned 13 wins a piece, and have combined for over 350 strikeouts. And of course, Joakim Soria came close to setting a new franchise record with 41 saves and counting (Editor's Note: Jeff Montgomery and Dan Quisenberry are tied with 45).

So the Royals might not get the sweep against Detroit this evening, but they actually have something to play for with only four contests left in the season. They'll then face the Twins who sit a game and-a-half back of the White Sox, and those two teams are in the middle of a series with one another. Thus, it will be a tough and challenging home stretch for KC, but it's not too far-fetched to think that they could finish 76-86.

It ain't .500 ball, but it's pretty durn close. They'd also wind up somewhere in the vicinity of 10 games out of first. We all know how pretty that ain't, but I'm hear to tell you it's a sign of good things already in the making, and better things to come. I'll keep faithful down here in Joplin that the days of hoping not to lose 100 games are gone, as are the days of finishing 20+ back in the Central. Now get out there and get 'em boys. Roy's a-rootin' as always.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baseball In The Daytime: 9-23-08

This regular season really just refuses to die. I love baseball with all of my soul, but Jesus this is unbearable. No one cares. No one.

We have a marginal day game today, a game that has a potential for postseason implications. The Bay-Rays of Tampa have a magic number of five for clinching the Al East. Try and wrap your brain around that one, smart guy. Barring a Mets-like collapse, the FUCKING DEVIL RAYS are going to WIN THE AL EAST.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Joe Maddon should win Manager of the Year. Baseball should then take that award and throw it in the God damned garbage for about a century or so. Retire that shit. It is impossible to imagine any manager for the rest of my life coming remotely close to the job Joe Maddon has done this year. Sure, they've got some great young players--Andrew Friedman has cashed in on his draft picks and built a hell of a roster. And they've been lucky with injuries and the bullpen has coalesced and blah, blah, blah. Joe Maddon is either a god or a demon, but he has otherworldly powers. That much is certain.

Tampa @ Baltimore, 3:05 Mountain Maddon has selected James Shields to start this game. He may have done so via mental telepathy, or he may have used a pen and a lineup card. Shields will face Garrett Olson at Camden Yards, and he'll try to drive one more spike into the chances Boston wins this division. Have a crab cake and Play Ball!
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Tradition Tuesday: Making Sausage Out Of Lemonade, Or Something

Back when the U.S. economy was somewhat solvent, a few brave but dumb men started The Tradition. We various Broncos and Chiefs fans made the fateful decision to accompany our teams as they meander throughout this twice-annual rivalry. Coloradoans were introduced to tender barbecue and the anarchy of unregulated liquor sales. Missouri, um, people got to see women, women with all their teeth no less. And early on we nearly always watched the home team lose.

Last year, for only the second time in the history of The Tradition, the home gladiators did not defend their coliseum. The Denver Broncos strolled into Arrowhead in Week 10 and assembled a 27-11 victory. They'll try and make it two straight at the Truman Sports Complex on Sunday, with the staff of the House of Georges in attendance. This is Tradition Tuesday, your weekly state-of-the-rivalry address.


I don't exactly remember what I was going to write about--I've been thrown off my game by the mounting national scandal that is RefGate II. O noes! The poor, poor Saints were screwed by evil officials hellbent on securing unearned victories for the league darling Broncos!

I've gone on the record as saying I'm glad Ed Hochuli botched last week's game. Not because it handed my team a win, but because the San Diego Chargers are a big fat sack of crybaby punks. Look at those clowns. Their fans barely sold out their stadium last night--do real NFL teams have close calls with local blackouts?

As for the alleged injustice done to the Saints, I'm no fan of that. New Orleans is already America's punching bag. They've lived through hurricanes, floods, FEMA incompetence, government graft, Paul Prudhomme and the Manning family. They don't deserve any more heartache.

I have full confidence that Matt Drudge is currently on his way to Oakland, hoping to find evidence of some chicanery from the Broncos' season-opening win against the Raiders. It's only fitting that every win this season come with an asterisk in the minds of hopeless losers objective football experts. Assuming that the conspiracy theorists find the incriminating Zapruder Film from September 8, these Broncos and their zebra partners in crime will have to get awfully creative to find a new way to steal a win in KC. My suggestion is the old broken replay equipment trick. We already did that? Then I guess it's back to the drawing board.

I suppose the Broncos could try to simply win the game straight up. Nixon, after all, was going to win anyway in 1972. The Watergate break-in was totally unnecessary, and yet the paranoid president left nothing to chance. Surely the Mastermind and his own personal G. Gordon Liddy (NFL Supervisor of Officials Mike Pereira) will deliver the goods.

As for actual football analysis, this game does scare me quite a bit. The Broncos have succeeded this season for two big reasons: Jay Cutler and good old-fashioned spunk. There is some serious enthusiasm on this club. Gone are the sour old veterans and coming out flat. These kids shoot off the ball and play with fire.

Will that same energy be present in the former house of horrors known as Arrowhead? Will the double-digit point spread and seeming gulf in talent between the two clubs create a sense of complacency that acts as an equalizer? These Broncos still seem prone to mistakes--red zone turnovers have nearly doomed the last two games and I'm still scared to death of the kicking game. A million things could go wrong, and Denver is a long, long way from being a dominant team that can overcome a bunch of mistakes and win. Even against the Chiefs.

That being said, this game will be decided by the men taking snaps from center. I saw absolutely nothing from Tyler Thigpen that would lead me to believe he can win on this or any other Sunday. His footwork and decision-making are worse than awful. I find it hard to believe that any name free agent QB could do worse, whether that fellow (Chris Simms? Tim Rattay? Vinny?) knew Herm's "playbook" or not.

And as far as Jay Cutler has come, he's still prone to fits of poor play. For much of the Saints game he was inaccurate and unpolished, and it was only when a few second-half adjustments put him in the old Jake Plummer throw-on-the-move mode that he straightened out. If the O-line can keep Cutler upright and on balance, he should be able to put enough points on the board to take a W back to Denver.

That doesn't mean I'll be confident Sunday. I'll enter Arrowhead like I always do--wary, suspect, and with my head on a swivel. At least I know we'll have the refs on our side.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Late-Night Lambasting: Our Very Own Unsolved Mystery

And there you have it. The Chargers won, and have eliminated their win-column goose egg, leaving the Chiefs with the Browns, Bengals, Rams and Lions as the really bad teams in football. Know what? It's time to call Robert Stack. We've got a mystery to solve here in Kansas City. I'm hear, with the help of some other bloggers, to tell you all about it.

It was indeed a manic Monday, in that I probably got online 47 times today, all in an effort to ease the pain. Each time, I was checking for news. A shred, a morsel, anything to make this deep, dark pit of awful seem shallower. Here, in no particular order or relevance, are some of the scraps I uncovered:

We'll start with Browns Gab, who reported that Kansas City called Cleveland to inquire about the services of the most overrated quarterback in Notre Dame history. Arrowhead Addict tells us that the Browns allegedly want two first-rounders and two seconds. Un. Real.

Then there's our other Chief friend, Arrowhead Pride. They've linked to this Pro Football Weekly story. AP boxed this quote exactly, but it's pertinent enough to do the same here:

“He’s an awful evaluator,” said one veteran pro evaluator with firsthand knowledge of Edwards’ personnel acumen. “First of all, he can’t stay awake long enough to watch the film. He’s one of those guys that can watch 15 snaps and then go off for a half hour about what the guy could or could not do for him in his system.”


Other key excerptions from the piece:

"Said one veteran NFL evaluator a few days before the Chiefs’ 38-14 shellacking by the Falcons: 'When you are sitting on the five-yard line and you cannot score against New England (in Week One), and then you get whipped by an organization as dysfunctional as Oakland (in Week Two), I don’t know how you could have any hope.'"

"Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards continues to put up as good a front as he can in his exchanges with the media...'We’re building,' Edwards said earlier this week. 'I’m going through it with everybody else, and I don’t like it. But it’s the best thing for this organization.'...What might not be the best thing for the organization, according to some sources close to the scene, is for Edwards to have any significant input in the team’s personnel decisions."


Warpaint Illustrated also weighs in on things with news that Brodie Croyle is likely out eight weeks (Editor's Note: A tentative return date is set for October 19 when the Chiefs host the Tennessee Titans), and the suggestion that KC actually pull the trigger on a Quinn deal if it actually exists. They further suggest that the Chiefs, after giving Cleveland a first for Quinn, should send a second to Arizona for Anquan Boldin.

Not that it's a difficult task, but Michael Lombardi from SI.com has added his opinion to our NFL's worst by actually eliminating the two Ohio clubs from the mix, and saying that the Chiefs, Rams, and Lions are the three bottom feeders. He simply calls the Chiefs "bad TV."

SI also throws in a tidbit about some more Mile-High home cookin'. Apparently, Sean Payton has a beef with an offsides non-call (pictured below and courtesy of Pro Football Talk) that would've kept a New Orleans drive alive.



But that's not important right now. What is is that there's a cat named Jim Barton who blogs here. He wrote this post over a year ago, and -- surprise -- it's about Herm Edwards being a bad football coach. Highlights include the following:

*Why in the world is Herman Edwards still a coach in the NFL? He is without a doubt the most overrated field general in the history of the game. What in the world has this chump ever accomplished?

*...Herman Edwards is a terrible and tremendously overrated football coach.

*...I am convinced that Edwards is the football equivalent of 'jumping the shark': after hiring him, successful teams just go down the tubes.

*He has a history of taking good teams and running them into the ground. Let’s look at Mr. Edward’s career. He was hired as head coach of the New York Jets the season after the Jets went to the AFC Championship game under Coach Bill Parcells. With a veteran team in place, this was like handing Edwards the keys to brand new Cadillac, which he then promptly wrapped around a telephone pole. Sure, the Jets headed back to the playoffs under Edwards, but that was more a result of his having a very talented team than his coaching ability. In the end, Edwards spend five years with the Jets, compiling a less than stellar record of 39 wins and 41 losses. In his last twenty games as Jet’s coach, he guided them to a dismal record of five wins and fifteen losses...To Kansas City headed Edwards, once again inheriting a talented team that had gone 10-6 in the season prior to Edwards’ arrival. Not just any ordinary team, mind you…one that had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL under former coach Dick Vermeil. What did Edwards do in his first season as coach? Well, he wasted no time in bringing the team record down a notch by going 9-7 in his first campaign. This season? They’re already 0-1, after losing on Sunday to the woeful Houston Texans by a score of 20 to 3. The joke now is that the best way to stop the high-powered Chiefs offense was to hire Herm Edwards as the head coach.

*He does a poor job preparing his team before the season. With the exception of the 2004 New York Jets, no team coached by Edwards has EVER had a winning record after six games. That is abysmal.

*He’s not qualified to be a head coach. Of the 32 coaches in the NFL, all but three spent some time prior to their head coaching jobs as either and (sic) offensive or defensive coordinator. In fact, Edwards has never been a coordinator at any level of football. Incredibly, he has even admitted in an interview that he never wanted to be a head coach: 'There’s no way I wanted to be a head coach. I just wanted to coach my eight or nine guys. I don’t want that head coaching stuff.'"


Guess what, Herm? Neither do we, bro. Neither do we. Thus, it's a mystery. What will the Chiefs do to make this pile of terrible diminish? Sign another unproven schlep to take snaps? Relieve Coach Edwards of his duties? Dump a bunch of future picks for other teams' property?

I dunno, but the Broncos will be in town in six days, and if the Chiefs don't act fast, they might beat us by 60 points. No foolin'.
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Monday Mourning: Bring Out Your Dead

Week three of the 2008 NFL season won't be complete until the San Diego Chargers host the New York Jets this evening, but it may as well be. The only reason to mention that is because it's possible that the Kansas City Chiefs could have more company by night's end. I doubt they will, but as it stands, their (winless) peers are the likes of the Houston Texans (who are clearly better and have had a bye), the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cleveland Browns, the St. Louis Rams, and the Detroit Lions. Think about that: the Browns, Bengals, Rams and Lions are the clubs with whom we lump the Chiefs. There are reasons cited to prop up any argument, or debate. There are statistics that can be listed. There are defenses to counter each angle. The truth of the matter is, however, that the Kansas City Chiefs are a really bad team.

Now the Lone Reader has asked for some sort of defense of Head Coach Herm Edwards' "handling of the QB situation in the past 12 months."

I don't even have the slightest clue what that means. I don't think that I've ever defended Edwards on any ground whatsoever. In fact, when it comes to TLR's Chiefs rants, I spent considerable time defending (former Offensive Coordinator) Mike Solari under two premises: a) give him a chance, and b) his boss is Herm Edwards/what do you expect? I will say this for starters: Read this Bob Gretz article.

From it, we learn that Herm Edwards has made 15 starting quarterback changes in 51 NFL games.

Do the math: that’s a change at quarterback every 3.5 games. We aren’t talking about sending a guy in to mop up at the end of a bad loss or big victory. No, it’s 15 times since the opening day of the 2005 season that because of injury or performance, Edwards has scratched out one quarterback’s name and written in another...Is it the types of quarterbacks Edwards has on his roster? Is it something in the team’s training methods? Is it the water? A simple answer to his quarterback woes evades detection by the head coach.


And that piece was written before Damon Huard got "hurt" against the Oakland Raiders, so make it 16 in 53, or whatever. It's pretty cut and dry in my eyes: Herm Edwards doesn't know what he's doing. His mantra is to build a strong, defensive-minded team that's young, and control the ball and the game clock with that corps. At this point, he couldn't possibly have failed more miserably.

I spent the weekend with Old No. 7, and in his estimation, "the Chiefs don't have a quarterback on the roster that is capable of winning a football game." He has a point, and it's a damn good one. I still think Brodie Croyle is capable of winning a football game. Probably more than one. His fragility, though, is far from a secret, and Damon Huard is 35 years old. I don't care if Tyler Thigpen, at some point in his future career, wins a Super Bowl. Right now he is awful. Pitifully pathetic.

To TLR's point, Edwards had last season, the off-season, and pre-season to figure out what to do with the quarterback position. Given his history, and the stats in Gretz's article, one would think that he would've considered the possibility of injuries, and better stacked the roster with actual NFL-caliber quarterbacks. He didn't, and the Chiefs are atrocious for that very reason. They put 14 points on the board in Atlanta yesterday, which almost matches their offensive output from the first two games. In doing so, Thigpen also threw three picks, and a lot of really, really bad other passes. He. Sucks.

Steve Tasker and Gus Johnson made an interesting point about Thigpen during yesterday's broadcast, and that's this: Thigpen set a bunch of passing records at Coastal Carolina, but that's pretty damn easy to do when you're a starting quarterback in a program that didn't freaking exist before you got there. I initially predicted the Chiefs to win six games this year, and two of those were against the Raiders and the Falcons.

Oops. My bad. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if they lost all 16.

Herm Edwards' Chiefs can't control the game clock. They can't stop the run, and they most certainly can't generate any offense, and I'd argue that no team could put points on the board with Thigpen at the helm. Old No. 7 was right when he said that building a winning football team starts at the position of quarterback. This, as history has proven, is Edwards' Achilles. He isn't geared for assessing talent at the position, or estimating who (on the roster) gives the team the best chance to win.

Clark Hunt said in the off-season that renewing Carl Peterson's contract at the end of '08 would hinge highly on whether or not this club is a playoff contender. Clark -- they're 0-3, which translates to not even a regular-season contender. The Chiefs are awful. Peterson put Edwards in charge, and he's not accomplishing anything other than misery for the entire fan base, and every player on the roster. He must be removed. There is no time for ultimatums or hot seats. That time came an went somewhere in the thick of this 12-game losing streak.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Luck vs. Competence


Personally, I'd take either. But when it comes to tackle football, particularly the variety played by the Broncos of Denver's Mile High Kingdom, I have a little trouble sussing out the difference.

For instance, each of the last two weeks, we've had a 21-3 lead over our opponent--and each of the last two weeks, we've blown it. We've scored touchdowns in bunches and given them right back in bunches of similar size. It would be hard to imagine two more nose-crinkling performances than those last ones, and we're a blown call and a missed field goal away from being 1-3 instead of 3-0. But what does it all mean?

Don't look at me. Fuck if I know.

I do know that we have the lead in the division. I know that Cutler is still a little rough around the edges. I know that Brandon Marshall is a stud and that a horse runs around our field after we score and that Karl Mecklenburg was awesome. I know I drank a shit-ton of Miller Lite today and it's making me gassy.

I also know that this next weekend we revisit The Tradition, aka the more-than-rough focus of this blog, for the first time in 2008. I know that we'll be devouring smoked meast, drinking too much Kansas City corn liquor and wearing team jerseys like 10 year-olds. I know that the Bronco-rootin' contingent of 7 and I will say untoward things to enormous, glowering hillbillies, spill full cups of beer on innocent senior citizens and be thankful that at no point will we have to play hockey.

I know that, despite every indicator to the contrary, The Administrator will be pissing vinegar about his squad's chances, practicing his tomahawk choppin' and parking us next to squadrons of like-minded, Crown-swilling teenagers with undeveloped ideas about their own sexuality. I know this, all of it.

And while it may not be much, I further know that the Chefs stand as much chance of winning this game as I do of staying at all sober throughout the long weekend.

Predictions will come later, but for now, this fan of the NFL's Luckiest Team is ready to climb into that Arrowhead Catbird Seat. Bring on the Thigpen!


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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Shorty: Brief Choncosphere Scopage

Somewhere in the back of my brain is the tendency to hope/believe that the more I think/write about the upcoming game, the better the Chiefs' chances of winning are. While this clearly isn't true, I can throw that misguided optimism into the winds of possibility, and at worst case, be better armed with reasons why Kansas City would've won if I'd been wearing the headset on the sideline. In any case, it's fun to take a look around the Web, and see what more professional sports bloggers are saying about Chiefs/Falcons and Broncos/Saints. It's not that I care about the latter beyond a poor performance by Cutler, an Eddie Royal injury, and a Saints victory, but more so an obligated feeling to touch on the Denver squad's contest since the other slouches in this House make my laziness look like Olympic training compared to theirs. So we'll have a slanted look at both, just after the jump.

Big Knoxy over at KC Chiefs Football has put together a post consisting of key matchups for tomorrow's game. Number one on the list is "Tyler Thigpen vs. Tyler Thigpen," which I couldn't have said better myself. Hopefully, he participated in some tackling drills this weekend, because if he telegraphs passes in Atlanta like he did against the Raiders, he'll frequently be the last line of defense.

To a degree, we're all homers, right? I know the three of us here are, but realistically so. Earlier in the week, Mile High Report sat down with SaintSational, who writes for the Canal Street Chronicles. Their aim was to of course discuss tomorrow's game, and SaintSational is of course picking Brees and Co. to get the win, 35-34.

Finally, a writer out there agrees with me on Brodie Croyle and the Chiefs. His name's Pat Clifton and he writes for Warpaint Illustrated. The piece he put out earlier this week hints that Croyle -- in terms of quarterbacks currently on the roster -- is certainly the number one:

"Croyle isn't a winner" is "an unfair assessment. Dwayne Bowe has a bad record in a Chiefs uniform, but no one is saying he’s not a winner. Glenn Dorsey’s 0-2 as a pro, but he’s not yet been labeled a loser. This team, as a whole, over the last 18 games has not been much of a winner...The lesson to be learned here is that the Chiefs go from mediocre to really bad when Croyle is not playing...He’s not a great quarterback, but Croyle is an NFL-caliber player, something that can’t be said for Huard or Thigpen, who may develop into a decent player, but...he's not even close right now."


In this business (Editor's Note: No, I don't know what business that is.) slants are a good thing. I'm sure Ian over at BroncoTalk would agree. He's compiled a list of statistics that apply to this Broncos/Saints game that make it look like club from the Big Easy's got its work cut out for it. Well, at least the "Quick Facts" section makes it seem so. Either way, a good read.

The gang at Arrowhead Pride sat down with Dave the Falconer (of The Falcoholic fame)for a quick Q&A. The piece touches on some key factors for the matchup, and though it has multiple interviewers, it fits a mold similar to our Falcons' blogger Q&A.

More importantly, though, is how Broncos' first-rounder Ryan Clady is fitting into the mold of a Denver offensive lineman. How, you might ask, can we check on that? Well, we can ask Cecil's best buddy Bill Williamson.

"Denver Broncos rookie left tackle Ryan Clady got a "Welcome to the NFL" greeting from the league office. The No. 12 overall draft pick was fined $5,000 for a chop block on San Diego defensive lineman Igor Olshansky in Denver's 39-38 win over the Chargers on Sunday...Two years ago, Olshanky and Denver center Tom Nalen had an incident in which both players were fined."


Wow. That didn't take long at all. I mean, really...double-wow. Two weeks into his professional career, and Clady's chop-blocking and getting fined $5K for it. But, wait; stop before you cast judgment, because every other team in the league does it, and they do it just as often as the Broncos do. Riiiiggghhhhttt....Let's look around and see how many other rookie offensive lineman have been rung up for chop blocking two games into the '08 season. Hmm. None. Maybe there weren't any other O-lineman drafted this year. Yeah. That's got to be it.



And that's your Saturday fix, folks. Let's cheer that gold NFC team to victory, right after we leave the red-and-black one hurting at home.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Sleeping With the Enemy: Week Three, Chiefs @ Falcons

It's time once again for another episode of "Sleeping With the Enemy," and this week we're coming out you from the Household of our very own Old No. 7. He's not very happy to be hosting the wife and I, and he's even grumpier that I'm using his computer to write about the Chiefs. Thus, I've snuck around and made myself scarce, and am left to hammer out this post and get it published early.After an impressive season-opener in New England, and the most embarrassing game in NFL history in week two's loss to Lane Kiffin's Raiders, the Chiefs are again on the road, and look to get win number one at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. Gerald from Bleacher Report was kind enough to join us this week, and you can find samples of his high-quality writings about the dirty birds over at Flying High. Our conversation about this Chiefs-Falcons matchup, after the jump.

Bankmeister: I'll be honest from the get-go: I know very little about the Falcons, and if it weren't for fantasy football, the Vick trials, and the AFC West transactions with Atlanta in the off-season, I probably wouldn't know anything. I do pay some attention to the draft, but not much beyond my own team. Obviously Matt Ryan went to Atlanta, but how, in your opinion did the Falcons fare otherwise this past April?

Gerald: The Falcons had a very good draft if you look at the overall picture of what the team needed. Many fans were just dying to add Glenn Dorsey to the roster but this team needed a QB in the very worst way. Besides Ryan, OT Sam Baker from USC filled a need and so far has done very well for a rookie thrown right into the mix. The Falcons added some depth at LB, DE, CB, and WR. Many of the new faces have already been in the starting lineup and have had to grow up quickly. Post draft I would rate the Falcons as a B+ but as anyone knows it takes at least 2 full seasons before the jury is completely in on any draft.

B: Tell me about the 53-man roster. Ryan being a rookie will have its ups and downs I'm sure, but he's got Michael Jenkins and Roddy White to throw to, so that's a plus. A backfield with Jerious Norwood and Michael Turner sounds pretty threatening. What, in your estimation, are the strengths and weaknesses of this club?

G: Running back is certainly a position of strength right now. Despite last Sunday's setback in Tampa, this running back tandem can run over almost any team right now. Once the OL improves there will be no stopping them. Speaking of OL, that would be an area of great concern for the Falcons. Last week Sam Baker went down with an injury (he's back this week) and there was a noticeable reduction in pass protection and run production. So far the starters have been a capable bunch but once one of them goes down, their stability and their production drops signifigantly. WR is quickly becomming a strength with White, Jenkins, and second year player Laurent Robinson. The DL has a true beast in John Abraham but on the other side is Jamaal Anderson who has not proved that he is worth last years #8 overall pick. Our CB's are tiny but so far have handled the big boys pretty well. So if I were to pin it down to a single strength and a single weakness, I'd go RB and OL.

B: Regarding fan impression, how do the Falcons faithful view this club in the aftermath of Mike Vick's situation and Bobby Petrino bailing? I heard an unfounded rumor that ticket sales were not good at all, and that there may even be some flailing overall enthusiasm for this team, from its fans.

G: The Falcon faithful are just that, faithful. Sadly their numbers are few and far between. The majority of the fans that go to the home games are fair weathered fans who rise on fall with the teams win/loss record. The departure of Mike Vick had thousands of "fans" returning their tickets. Atlanta sports teams have always had a history of fickle fans. For years it was the excuse that Atlanta was a transient city and with so many transplants the home teams had trouble drawing fans. The truth is that Atlanta sportsfans will come when you win and there hasn't been much winning in Atlanta for years. The real fans are very excited about the teams' new GM (Thomas Dimitroff from the Patriots), Coach (Mike Smith from the Jags), and all the new faces. The general consensus is that this team finally has a top level front office in place and with that the team will achieve the success that has eluded them for so many years.

B: The off-season was an interesting one for Atlanta and the AFC West. The Broncos sent over Domonique Foxworth, and Jason Elam was nabbed as well. DeAngelo Hall was allegedly unhappy, and now he's a Raider. And the Chiefs nabbed Demorrio Williams via free-agency. All of these moves are interesting considering it happened to be prior to the season the NFC South plays the AFC West. Do you think each of these moves were good ones for the organization? I mean, certainly the Falcons front office does, but how about fans and media?

G: The new front office certainly took no time to in cleaning house and creating their own blueprint for winning. If they felt you didnt fit the new mold or had questionable character, you were'nt going to be part of the new Falcons. DeAngelo Hall and his antics would no longer be tolerated. Based on how he played against Denver two weeks ago, it was a great move.

Williams is a good young player whom the Falcons probably wanted to keep, but not at what KC was offering. So far the fans have had few problems with the offseason moves. Sure it took time to swallow and digest but as things progress I think the fans are seeing the big picture rather than just a single season. No one likes to say goodbye to players who helped shape the past. Guys like Warrick Dunn and Alge Crumpler were marquee players on this team but all good things come to an end and it was time for them and this team to move forward. As far as the media...they have never been one to like anything the Falcons do and the fans have learned to tune them out years ago.

<B: How about the departure of Alge Crumpler affect the offense? And how will the defense hold up through 17 weeks. They gave up 20+ points in weeks one and two, but that might be par for the course. Clearly Mike Smith is a defensive-minded head coach, and he has an awesome defensive phenom assistant in former Chief Emmitt Thomas. Brian VanGorder is the mystery in the mix as far as I'm concerned. Is three too many defensive minds working for a common goal, or is it the perfect mix?

G: With the new offense run by Mike Mularkey, the emphasis on the tight end will be as more of a blocker. Crumpler, while being a great player, was as successful as he was in Atlanta due mainly to Michael Vick. He was Vick's favorite target and many feel that was because Vick had difficulty reading the defense and used Crumpler soley as his primary target even when the play called for him to be the safety valve.

B: This weekend's game could actually be a sleeper. I imagine that the Chief (or anybody) could play worse football than they did last Sunday against Oakland. They've had trouble stopping the run, and they'll certainly have their hands full with Turner. How do you see this matchup panning out?

G: The Falcons are coming off a big loss and the arrest of team leader Lawyer Milloy on a DUI charge. Matt Ryan was harrassed all day last week and got his official "Welcome to the NFL, Rookie" game out of the way. I expect the Falcons to respond big this week. Coach Mike Smith will have this team inspired and fired up. Watch for the run game to be established early and often given KC's history over the past two weeks. Expect Matt Ryan to be more of a complimentary factor rather than in the spotlight. Mike Mularkey will continue to earn his nickname of "Inspector Gadget" by incorporating several unique and dazzling plays into the mix. Dont expect a large crowd or the noise to be a factor in anyway. Despite last weeks adversity and lack of a large home crowd the Falcons should run wild over the Chiefs: Falcons 27 Chiefs 13.

B: Excellent analysis, and an interesting score prediction, Gerald. I think, given that the Atlanta offensive line is, as you estimated, the weakness, that that could be a bit generous to give the Chiefs 13 points given that they managed 10 in week one, and a mere eight last Sunday. Nevertheless, I'm hoping beyond hope that Tyler Thigpen acts like he's been in a football game before when the Chiefs offense takes the field. He couldn't have looked more lost than he did at home versus the Raiders, and if I were in the KC front office, I'd be looking to cut him if he repeats that performance in Georgia. I will, however, play the homer card, and predict a Chiefs win. And, heck, since you gave them 13, I'll raise you a point, and say that the visiting squad takes the victory, 14-10.

Either way, the House is grateful to have had you over as a guest. Come back and visit us again sometime.

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Baseball In The Daytime: 9-19-08

No matter where you sit on the Cubs bandwagon (I ride in coach, and I will jump off quickly if the going gets rough), we can all agree that St. Louis is bad news. Oh God, everybody hates St. Louis. Booooo.

Whatever, let's just start these playoffs already. We all know that the Brewers and the D'Bags and the Twins ain't making it, so let's just get this shit going today. No one really cares about MVP awards or statistical milestones--give me more playoffs. You'll find one of the teams that will participate in October (and one that will not) after the jump...

St. Louis @ Chicago, 12:20 Mountain Carlos Zambrano makes his first start following his no-hitter of the Astros, and Adam Wainwright flies the Card colors at Wrigley. Like anyone watches the players, we all just want to get some hot red-tank-top poon shots from the crowd. Remember Arne Harris, the old WGN producer from the Harry Caray days? That cat was some kind of perv. All he'd do is seek out fine young women in the bleachers and put them on the screen. Whatever Ryne Sandberg did was secondary. Have one on me, Arne, and Play Ball!
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Midseason Report Card: NL East

At long last, the cycle is complete as we bring you our final installment of MLB Midseason Report Cards. We've spared no expense or chunk of time in doing so, as the fact that it's mid-September clearly illustrates. Today, we'll have a look at the National League East, and our guest expert is none other than Mr. Geoff Bousum, who graced us with his presence in this same fashion last year. Our other features from this year can be found here, here, here, here, and here. All your NL East goodies for 2008, however, are just after the jump.

Bankmeister: Let's start with the bottom of the division and work our way up; that seems to be a pleasant way of scouring clubs. The Washington Nationals are a very bad baseball team. I mean they're scrapping for title of worst with the Mariners right now. I've got a soft spot for them because I used to dig on the Expos as a kid. The move from Canadia to our nation's capital was supposed to do them some good. What's the deal with this team? A glance at their roster resembles a glance in the toilet after swilling Hamm 's for three days straight. There's some liquid in there. There's some crap in there. There's some shit you don't recognize, and there's the overwhelming sense of "Christ. I shouldn't have done that." What's in store for this franchise in the next three years? Any progress?

Geoff Bousum: Your question pretty much answers itself. I really doubt the Nats are going to be much better in the next 3 years. As long as there are teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City (no offense, brah) in the league, they at least have the chance to no be the worst team in the league. Things are pretty ugly when Lastings Milledge is your clean-up hitter and has the most HRs on your team with 14, although that may be one of the greatest names ever. If I ever have a butler, his name is going to be Lastings Milledge. I think Howard and Utley combined have more homers than the Nats. Injuries have been a big part, but that aside, the obvious truth is that there is really no talent on any part of this team. Who was their all star? Cristian Guzman? He probably saw five innings of that shit all-star game. No talent=no wins. I say last place for the Nats in the NL East the next three years.

B: You might be right there. The poor bastard. Then there's Atlanta . The proverbial NL East stronghold for many years is nearly 20 games under .500 right now. As Durango 's once-famed band SuperBee once titled an album, "What the Crap?" has happened to Club Schuerholz? They were loaded with talent for some time, and perhaps hung onto a few of those meaty cuts beyond their reccommended expiration dates. Are the Braves as respected in the talent-scouting department as they were, say 15 years ago?

GB: I don’t think that the Braves recent lack of success is due to poor talent scouting. I have to say, I saw this coming for Atlanta. They had such a great core of players for so long; it’s hard to keep that going for a few years, let alone for 14 division titles. Again, an injury plagued season……but, nobody there to pick up the slack. McCann had a nice season, as did Chip (white trash) but the bullpen sucks, the starting rotation is not much better, and they cannot win on the road. That's a bad combination. Personally, I love it. For almost 15 years of my life I watched this team own my Phillies, and it is nice to see the tables turned. I gotta say though, it is will be a sad day when Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz are all retired. Those are a select few that the game will miss. Does that sound gay?

B: Good points, and yes -- it sounds very gay. Not as gay as when we talk Florida Marlins baseball, but pretty gay. In talking Marlins though, we seldom mention phrases like exceeding expectations. Sure. They won a series, and opened 2008 as tough as their AL counterparts in Tampa . They've managed to stay competitive, but have dropped in the standings to third, likely because the Mets and Phils are just plain better. Is this club on the verge of becoming an annual contender, or has this season been semi-flukish?

GB: I think that the Fish could be the pests of the NL East for years to come. They were putting together a nice season until the Phillies, then the Mets got hot and the Marlins went in the opposite direction. They can score runs, hit the long ball, but they also strike out a lot and make some errors. Their pitching is pretty shaky, and that punk Scott Olsen...I would like to grab the brim of his big stupid hat and put my knee into his little beak nose. Seriously though, I admire what this team has done with the pathetic fan base and lack of support they get from that city (that goes for you too, TAMPA !) That said, I wouldn’t care if they moved the team to Vegas and called them the Dice. They could join the AL West. They are trying to get a new stadium approved which may help, but I doubt it. It will just look less empty than a Joe Robbie’s Pro Dolphin Player Stadium or whatever it’s called.

B: I think it's called Miami Stadium Where Seldom Plays a Pro, but I could be wrong. Finally, though, there's Philly and New York. I'm pretty certain no two division rivals have flopped first and second place more times this year than these two. LA and Arizona have been close, as have Chicago and Minnesota , but this could be a last-day dual for Eastern Division bragging rights. Since your Phils are in second today with a mere half-game separating them from the Mets, how have you felt about their play this season? They've got a pretty stacked roster, as do the Shea Stadium kids. Would you say it's typical that these two clubs have been as competitive as they have been with one another?

And the Mets. They've got some girth to their giddy-up, but can they muster a push strong enough to hold off Philly? If they can, what will the post-season look like for them? Choke city?

GB: Mets v Phillies has always been a great rivalry, but it has been magnified over the last few years of course, as these two teams have been the contenders for the division. As I write this the Phillies have a half-game lead on the division, in first place, where they have been most of the year. Contrary to what the idiots in the media are portraying, the Mets are not on track for the epic melt down of last year. Last year was a Chernobyl-scale melt down, where as this year’s meltdown (if it indeed happens) would be more like a cheese fondue. I think the biggest lead the Mets have had in the division was like three and-a-half games and it was for only a few days. It’s not like they had a commanding lead all season and have all of the sudden shit the bed, but that’s what the writers want us to think, because it makes a better story. Failure is a far better story than success. These are the two best teams in the NL East, and maybe the two best in the NL. The Phillies probably have a more complete team than the Mets and the Phillies have a much better chance to go deep in the playoffs. The Mets have too many weak spots (particularly the bullpen) to win a playoff series. If they make the playoffs (which I think they will as the wild-card), they will lose in the first round. If the Phillies win the Division, or even make a wild card, Ryan Howard has got to be the MVP. Forget the .245 average and the 200 strikeouts. The guy is the most feared hitter in baseball and he is even starting to make some Web gems! I am watching the game right now; I still don’t know who this J.A. Happ guy is, but he is pitching well. Kyle Kendrick anyone?

B: Hard to argue with. Well, we'll call it a wrap there, and look to see your Phillies go deep into October. Thanks for joining us.



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Baseball In The Daytime: 9-18-08

Rest assured there is day baseball today, kids, lots of it actually. I just don't have the time to detail it in a snarky way. Oh, I could play it straight and just give you the facts--records, starting pitchers, local weather. But if you wanted straight you'd go to the big boys. The reason you are reading these very words, dear readers, is the snark. I'm sorry I can not deliver.

So I send you off to the land of corporate sport. Be careful. While you can find the basic info you seek for an afternoon of lazy baseball-watchin', you'll also have your soul slowly ripped from whatever part of the body a soul resides. Stay focused and keep your head on a swivel, and join us tomorrow for some real snarky shit. Read more

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Midseason Report Card: NL Central

Ha. Had you fooled twice! Not only is it not mid-season, it's Cleveland that Jesus hates! Whoa. I'm embarrassed to have included exclamation points in consecutive sentences. Oh, well. Wilier things have happened in this House.

Anyway, it's practically mid-season for the NFL, so we're par for the course in Tokyo, or something. Today's focus is the NL Central, and our guest is actually not a guest at all; he lives in this House, and his name is Cecil. He was kind enough to take time out of his daily grind to sit down, and tell us how it be in baseball. Somehow -- must be the genius that he is -- he was able to come up with really good answers to my really awful questions. Pick up on what he's puttin' down, after the jump, and if you dig it, the other editions of this feature are as such:

NL West, AL East, AL Central, AL West


Bankmeister: Let's work our way from the bottom up. Shall we? Okay. Good. The Pittsburgh Pirates. What. The fuck. I'm beginning to consider this team the Arizona Cardinals of Major League Baseball. It seems that every season, folks are thinking the Pirates have gotten it together, and are ready to play some better baseball. Not the case. Right now they sit at 60-84, a cool 26 games out of first, and nestled deep in the basement. Do you pay any attention to this team? Is there any reason to?

Cecil: Me? I barely even recognize Pittsburgh as an American city. Does it exist? Those big sandwiches with the fries in 'em, that's all fake, right?

So, no. I keep up with the Pirates only as far as checking Nate McLouth's stats in the box score. I drafted him in our fantasy league in like the 413th round this year, as you'll recall.

Which is kinda sad, at least in the context of baseball history. I mean, these are the flippin' Pittsburgh Pirates. Roberto Clemente, the 1960 World Series, Honus Wagner. It's a franchise with history flowing over its belt. 1979, We Are Family, Willie Stargell. These are iconic bits of American sporting life. Almost as much as their crazy-ass old round caps with the lines on 'em. Jesus, those things were hideous.

They also had Kent Tekulve, whose delivery I used to attempt to imitate in the backyard. Turns out the submarine isn't for everyone.

B: True indeed. Although, being the homer that I am, I always pretended that Tekulve ripped of Dan Quisenberry. Along the same vein as you expressed, the Pirates are to me, a team of the past, a team well-remembered from my youth, but seldom thought of in today's game. I'm sure there are Pittsburgh fans that would have me slain, but it's the truth.

The Reds, however, are a different animal, if only by species, but different nonetheless. They seem to occasionally wrap their hands around some talent, and the organization appears to be run fairly well, now that a certain she-devil has passed. Yet, they can't seem to get all the gears to run simultaneously. Their record right now isn't much better than Pittsburgh's, but I certainly take them more seriously. Your thoughts on the not-all-that-big-anymore Red Machine?

C: Speaking of Quis, I found a button with his likeness on it in a Seattle thrift shop. Keep meaning to give it to you -- I'll bring it out for the game.

The Reds are different, absolutely -- but it's hard to judge by the numbers, as you say. They always have talent, they always have the fans, they have more history than any other franchise in baseball--they are the oldest extant, even more so than my ancient Cubs -- but in recent years, something's definitely been missing....

Maybe starting pitching? I mean, without really doing any research or thinking about it too hard, that seems to be the Reds' bugbear. They have Edinson Volquez now, and he's pretty good, but before that...Joaquin Andujar? Seriously, I just can't think of one. I know they play in a matchbox, and they like sluggers and 10-9 games, but at some point you need pitching, right? All the Adam Dunns and Junior Griffeys in the world can't change that.

But their success when we were kids, plus that of the relatively recent past -- they did win a Series in 1990, after all -- kinda pushes them farther up the list than Pittsburgh, even if neither franchise has really done anything recently.

B: For sure. Johnny Cueto looked like he was going to have a monster season early on, but then he plummeted to the likes of sub-mediocrity. Flippin' Bronson Arroyo has managed to net 14 wins and upwards of 150 fans, but his E.R.A. stays in the high fours. Then there's Aaron Harang, who loaded bushels of Ks into his stats last year, but hasn't been much worth mentioning since. The rest of their guys aren't even household names, including former Rock and Royal Jeremy Affeldt.

But alas, there's another red team to discuss, and that of course is none other than the ass-pounding Cardinales de St. Louis. I can't stand that franchise, and I imagine you feel the same. Perhaps this is our commonest baseball ground?

C: Eh, fuck the Cardinals.

I mean -- this is a year when, finally, I can kinda sit back and just forget they even exist. And you know what? That flippin' rules.

From photogray lens-wearing La Russa to Pujols to their red-clad, huge-gutted fanbase, I can say without reservation that I absolutely despise that team. Seriously, how many Series have they won? I'm too lazy (not to mention behind the 8-ball at work) to look it up, but it's a lot. And then, '06, when they squeeze into the playoffs with a record barely-over-.500 record and win it again? Christ. It makes my teeth hurt just talking about it. One of my co-workers is a Cards fan and magnaminously suggested that hey, maybe they lose that one -- "because we already have so many."

Die. Die. Die die die die die. And I don't mean the German usage.

Ah, but now, they have a fairly mediocre squad (even though they have a winning record) and former assholio grande Jim Edmonds is now playing for the good guys. They've been ravaged by injuries and Rick Ankiel joins Troy Glaus in shooting up a neckful of horse semen during the 7th inning stretch. This is what I like to call a good season. Sit tight and suffer, O still-proud owners of McGwire jerseys.

B: I'll cheers to that. And I'll even add in the Charlton Heston voice quoting "Cop Killer" to enhance my hatred for them. But since it is one of those seasons, let's move on. The Milwaukee Brewers. What, in God's name, has happened to this club since their mid-season run of excellent baseball that took off before and flourished after they acquired his Sabathianess? It's almost like they're trying to lose. Can they even save face and cling to that slimming shot at a wildcard?

Er, update...apparently Ned Yost has been fired.

C: Ah, nice call on Moses. I had forgotten all about that...

The Brew Crew. At one point this season I was legitimately worried that they'd catch us -- after all, they added one of the best pitchers in the game, their lineup is studded with quality bats and they have kids in giant sausage costumes racing around the diamond during the 7th inning stretch. That's a tough combo, there.

And then...it all just disintegrated. They couldn't have picked a worse time to have a losing streak -- as if there is ever a good time -- than they just did, because that was practically the only time all season that Chicago's division lead was vulnerable. But lo, they squandered their one chance, and now it's fire Ned Yost time.

They just don't have the pitching depth they need. And they aren't going to be able to keep Sabathia. Even with all the talent on that squad, I see them taking a dip next year. Way to waste your shot, Milwaukee.

B: True to it all. Hate to see a wasted shot for that club.

Finally, your Cubs. Their pitching has been great most all year, and their hitting, while spotty, has obviously managed to get the job done. There've obviously been plenty of reasons to support the speculation behind possible tankage, but now, in mid-September, they've cranked it up a teense, have won five in a row, and extended their division lead to nine games. Clearly, there's no way the Brewers could catch them now, so we'll go ahead and give them the division.

How do you see their post-season realistically shaking out?

C: It all depends on Zambrano and Harden -- simplistic, yes, but those two guys are their best starters and both have had health issues, Zambrano this year and Harden, well, always.

Assuming we can keep all of our fingers and toes crossed for another month or so, and Mr. Glass can maintain as he has been, I like their chances versus basically anybody. Of the potential playoff teams -- Mets, Phillies, Dodgers, Milwaukee or maybe Houston -- the only team that freaks me out is the Phillies, because of their sticks and that teensy bandbox they play in.

Soriano has really developed into a drink-stirrin' straw, Soto looks like a 10-year vet, D. Lee is a stud and they have quality role players throughout the order who come through in the clutch.

Man...I don't wanna jinx anything, but that's the chemistry of championship baseball: excellent pitching, an offense that isn't overly reliant on one or two guys and depth in the bullpen.

B: Got it. So, venture out on a limb and give me your NL playoff predictions up to, and including the Series.

C: NL East: Philadephia

NL Central: Chicago Cubs

NL West: LA Dodgers (Hi, Humberto!)

Wild Card: New York Mets. Let's just assume they don't turn into a folding card table again this year, although they might very well.

National League Division Series:

Cubs v. Mets, Cubs in 4 games.

Dodgers v. Phillies, Dodgers in 5.

National League Championship Series:

Cubs v. Dodgers, Cubs in 6.

World Series:

Cubs v. LA Angels (I just can't buy the Bay Rays. Sorry.), Cubs in 7 in a classic fall classic. The curse is lifted, the country erupts, Harry Caray rises from the dead and shows up on Blanche's doorstep to utter a "HOLY COW!"

B: And there you have it. Of our panelists who've made predictions, all three have included Los Anaheim in the Series. Two have included Halo victories, and now, one for the Gipper. Tune in just before the Cubs and Angels square off for our NL East installment. Yes, indeedy.
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Baseball In The Daytime: 9-17-08

And down the stretch they come. Tampa won a nail-biter at the Trop last night to regain a one-game lead over Boston in the AL East. The Phillies ascended once again to first in the NL East. In the AL Central, the White Sox are capitalizing on the fading Twins and hold a two and a half game edge. And out in the NL West it appears that the Dodgers could have finally locked up their race, holding a four and a half game lead with 11 to play.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of that same NL West, a couple of sorry clubs wrap up their season series with an afternoon delight at Coors Field. Watch it, if you must...

San Diego @ Colorado, 1:05 Mountain Livan Hernandez gets the nod in this one, and that's pretty much all you need to know about the Colorado Rockies this year. To find a culprit in the crime that is the 2008 season look no further than the performance on the mound. Instead of going after Dan Haren, Dan O'Dowd stood pat and watched Jeff Francis, Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales (remember him?) flounder. Livan came over in a deadline deal for the playoff push that never materialized. Lightning in a bottle only strikes once, kids--get some pitching.

As for the Padres, it's the Josh Geer Show today. Who's Josh Geer? It really doesn't matter, because we've got a San Diego team visiting a Denver team. There will surely be some umpiring tomfoolery afoot, what some may label home cookin'. In fact, I hear Ed Hochuli is throwing out the first pitch. Play Ball!
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits: Hints of Hermgasm

This is a little too long, and quite painful on the ears, but somehow, the satire in it makes it worthy of posting:



And this might be the best thing I've ever seen.

(both doo-hickies courtesy of FireHerm.com.)
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Tradition Tuesday: Tradition Week Matchups Recap, the Year 2004

The rough focus of this blog is pee-wee football. Just because these kids have Chiefs and Broncos helmets on means nothing to us. Occasionally, over the last eight years, the scribes that call this House home, have attended a professional contest or two between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Bronocs of NFL-status. Sometimes, the players on the field are that small because our seats are that bad. Sometimes, we can trace the vulvi of Chiefs cheerleaders because our seats are that good. Most of the time, the contest on the field is really bad. Like Cameron Frye in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," however, we sit in our cheap cars and bash our heads on the steering wheels murmuring "I'll go, I'll go, I'll go..." It's a hoot and six hollers in either stadium.

We've already been graced with one installment of TT today, and every third Tuesday of months that start with 's,' we throw up two. Today is that day.

The year 2004 was Spack-tacular in Tradition terms. By that I mean that, as usual, the road team lost, visiting HoG clans were bummed in each stadium, and everyone got flippin' hammered. The NFL schedule makers graced us with a gift on Kickoff Weekend, as Denver hosted Kansas City on Sunday night to open up the season. I matriculated to the Mile-High city with my girlfriend -- who, for good measure, I later wed and still call my wife -- and 'twas there that we greeted Old No. 7, and 76 of his closest Bronco fans. I might take this opportunity to mention that he had matriculated from a six-hour distance in a 24-foot moving van that was loaded with an entertainment center, two couches, a television, three barbecue grills, a few lockers packed with meast marinated with various rubs and oils, and a portable liquor store to make any Berbiglia owner jealous. There was of course a generator to run this getup, and there was of course Mayor McVesco's lone chore of procuring fuel for said generator, and there was of course the mayor's failure to do so, but that's a different story for some other post. There was also our then-difficult chore of procuring permission from Cecil's wife for Cecil to come out and play for a few hours, at which we succeeded. There was also a certain ticket fiasco including regular seats, obstructed-view seats, and seats that the InVesCos thought we'd forged, but digressions...

In the parking lot, there was consumption of aforementioned measts and spirits, and a lot of talk about Quentin Griffin. I, of course, sated with spirits, said "Fuck that clown." I later said "Oops."

In the stadium, the Chiefs, with the likes of Priest Holmes, Tony Gonzalez, Eddie Kennison, Johnnie Morton, and Trent Green, matriculated down the field and scored a touchdown on their first drive. No. That is not a typo. The Chiefs actually scored a touchdown on their first drive. This of course was back in an age where the Chiefs still knew how to play tackle football.

The Denver side of the ball included some Jake Plummers, some Garrison Hearsts, some Reuben Droughnses, and the aforementioned Griffin. Jason Elam was there. He kicked a field goal to make it 7-3. In the second quarter, Mr. Griffin, who I might add, did in fact for a short time cross over, scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, while the Chiefs were content on fine-tuning their punting skills, 17-7 Denver. Elsewhere in the quarter, John Lynch made an appearance with a token personal foul, more punts happened, and the Chiefs' Lawrence Tynes failed to split the uprights.

After the break, Plummer showed fans that, like Green, he too can throw interceptions, and Tynes added three to the score, 17-10. Plummer then throws another pick, and Holmes finds the end zone, tie game. Ensuing possession, Griffin goes nuts again: touchdown. Priest Holmes says he can do that too: touchdown. It's 24 all, one of the better contests (to this point) in Tradition history. That takes us to the fourth quarter where Elam booted another three, Plummer threw a touchdown pass, and that was pretty much it. Denver takes a tight game, 34-24, and the crew wearily makes its way back to the Mayflower, to find Seven's kid brother, and some homeless guy named the Catfish, passed out on the matriculated couches. Turns out the InVesCo box office had made a faux paus, and printed two copies of the same ticket, or some bullshit, in which they assumed that young Seven had forged something, and there were some ejections. Lucky for all involved, the yoot can really handle his liquor, especially when it's in the form of liters and liters of straight vodka. Family feud, kid brother storms off, older brother almost gets in fight with several large, line-cutting men as we wait for taxis in our plan to abandon the Mayflower for the night, and kid brother makes off with all of elder's American currency. Happily angry, I might add. It was quite the evening.

The Kansas City game was, as it seemed to have been for many years, in December. And I'll note, for those of you that haven't had the privilege, December in Kansas City can occasionally be a touch chilly. Like 12 below.

Either way, the game fell on my 30th birthday, or there about. On this weekend, Seven was the lone member of the House to matriculate out to Kansas City, and unbeknownst to the both of us, my wife had been planning (for some lengthy amount of time) a surprise party. I traditionally don't care about my birthday. I almost always work on it, unless it falls on Tradition Weekend, in which case I take six weeks off for livercide, and the ensuing recovery. I had attempted to acquire some tickets for KU basketball, and my wife secretly contacted my sources to tell them to tell me there were none to be had. It was odd, given that both had all but guaranteed them. And her efforts of course came after she had broken into my e-mails and cell phones for party-planning purposes.



Game Day eve, I want to take Seven to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which I'm sure my wife thought was code for cocaine-hooker parties, and we argued over time departures and arrivals to the point that I didn't even want to speak to her anymore, because she wanted to take me out to dinner, regardless of our out-of-town visitor. I was not a fan, and thusly invited Seven to join. He accepted, then backed out, which was also odd. Nevertheless, there was a massive party, I was surprised, and everyone got good and liquored up. So much so, that we woke up late for stadium departure, and Seven, via his bowels, did permanent damage to our plumbing. Insert the ingenius idea of coffee and McDonald's breakfast for our drive to Arrowhead, and by the time we've parked, my bowels are pressing hard for some tenant eviction. The nearest Johnny had 12 -- yes, 12 -- women in line in front of me, and they all had 47 layers of clothing on. How I did not soil my game-day drawers that morning is still a mystery.

Our tailgate party looked like this: two guys, six tickets, four hands too cold to even hold beers. We went in. At the concession stand, Seven, in his non-library, Asian-impersonating voice, announced to the all-Asian all-star vending team that he'd really like some hot sake. Awkward...

"Beer, then," he said. The Asian point guard repeatedly pulled each beer tap to demonstrate that there was no malt beverage flowing; they were all frozen. We moved to a portable stand, and stood in line, in the shade, for easily 15 minutes before discovering that the guy two spots in front of us has wiped the all-Asian AAA team out of tall boy cans. An Asian power forward is dispensed to locate more. Mind you, these are all women with plastic gloves on their hands, and they are all also, very cold, but unaware of the concept of quick movement being synonymous with blood flow and higher body temperatures.

When she returns, priority one becomes to stock the cooler with the practically frozen cans of beer. The guy in front of us gently hints that they might be slightly chilled already. Her gloved fingers, however, are too numb to open them, and guy in front of us goes behind the stand and (somewhat postally) opens roughly 37 Miller Lites to expedite the process. We get to our seats finally, and our boogers have turned into ice capsules while the liquid in our eyes is threatening to also freeze.

Just before kickoff, we look high and to our left, and spot a crew of fans with the letters "D-A-N-T-E" spelled out, to which Seven jabbers, "Yeah. Dante. We love you, blah, blah, blah."

He later said "Oops." Like nine seconds later, as Dante Hall took the opening kick to the house. Denver punts, the Chiefs march -- and include some receiver named Samie Parker (see earlier note on Griffin) -- down the field, and Larry Johnson, sans diaper, scores a touchdown, 14-0 home team. Tatum Bell is not stealing luggage on this day; he's in the mix. And so is Rod Smith. Denver embattles the cold, and throws a seven up on the board. In the second quarter, there were some punts, a Jake Plummer interception, a good old unnecessary roughness call on Lynch, another KC touchdown, and then another KC touchdown, 28-10 as we head to the third.

Ashley Lelie is in the building today. He's the intended target for another Plummer interception, and KC converts that turnover in the form of a 48-yard touchdown pass to Parker. It's 35-10, and it hasn't gotten any warmer out I might add. Kennison's always good for a touchdown against Denver, 42-10. There were then many sacks and incomplete passes courtesy of both quarterbacks, and Todd Collins comes in for some action. He engineers a field-goal producing scoring drive. Denver answers with a touchdown from Hearst. Game, set, match: 45-17.

Though each in its own rite, these two games were entertaining, and as usual, resulted in sour trips home for the visitors, ever-enforcing the notion of good, good times.
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