Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tradition Tuesday: Camp Bailey

The rough focus of this blog is the rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs (heralded by Bankmeister) and the Denver Broncos (championed by Cecil and Old No. 7). It may seem unfair that it's two versus one, but once KC gets that second Super Bowl win we'll even out the delegation.

Seven years ago we started The Tradition, in which Bronco fans travel out to the Truman Sports Complex with their team, and Chief-lovers return to the Rocky Mountains with theirs. We tailgate, we talk massive amounts of shit, our wives are occasionally assaulted by rival fans, and we almost always watch the visiting team lose. It's grand old time.

Here at the HoG, we're going to keep The Tradition going with Tradition Tuesday--a weekly state-of-the-rivalry address.

Back in olden times, Denver Broncos training camp meant one thing: road trip. To Greeley. To inhale the ass fumes of a hundred thousand cows, and check out the sweet new rides in the players' parking lot, and to down a burger and a beer at the Smiling Moose. You'd buy a program from a pint-sized huckster on the sidewalk and size up the squad under the blistering August sun.

The Broncos don't train in Greeley anymore. They don't really go anywhere, they just practice in the same damn place they do the rest of the year. So it's not really "camp" now, is it? It's just practice. What we talking about, practice? Practice?

But just because we've dispensed with the corny college campus atmosphere and the Smiling Moose is closed, that doesn't mean we can't get down in our three point stances and dissect the things we like and the things we don't concerning the Denver Broncos right now. For Chiefs coverage today, I would go to lemonparty.org.


The Tight End Position

Everybody laughs at me when I say that Dan Graham is going to the Pro Bowl in a conference with Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates. When I offered an over/under on his touchdowns at 7 1/2 at the pub the other night, I had so much money thrust toward me you'd think I had silicone jugs. But I think Dan Graham is going to have a memorable season in Denver. If Tony Scheffler can return and give the Broncos anything--anything--then this offense will be prepared to kick some tail. The flexibility they'll have in two-tight-end sets, with Graham's blocking prowess and Scheffler's speed, will create some matchup nightmares. It also moves the aging offensive line from the "Things That Scare The Shit Out Of Me" category to the "Things That Merely Cause Me Facial Acne For The First Time Since High School."

Travis Henry

Every time your team acquires a new player, be it through the draft, trade or free agency, you wonder how he's going to look in your uniform. Jarvis Moss, for instance, looks like he needs to put on several hundred pounds to play NFL defensive end. Seriously, dude, fucking eat something.

Henry, on the other hand, looks like a one-man army of man-crushing destruction. Where he's normally appeared dumpy and made out of dough, he clearly spent this offseason eating fluorescent light bulbs and washing them down with turpentine. Mean, lean, and ready for a monster season. I apologize, but I couldn't find the photo that made me think all these things. I did discover a bunch of shots that made Henry look dumpy and made out of dough.

Man To Man Coverage

Obviously Champ Bailey is the NFL's only true stopper at corner, and more obviously the death of Darrent Williams puts the Broncos in a horrible personnel position. But Dre Bly still has a year or two of top-level coverage ability in him. The double threat of Champ and Bly will make game-planning team with multiple deep threats (cough, Colts, cough) a little easier.

The Young D-Line

I don't know if Moss, the NFL's only anorexic player, will provide the pass rush the Broncos have missed since the days of leather helmets. I don't know if the other rookies (Tim Crowder and Marcus Thomas) or holdover Elvis Dumervil will flourish or flounder. But I like these kids, so long as Thomas doesn't go all Ricky Williams on us. Hopefully they'll provide the energy needed to spell large gasbags like Sam Adams, Jimmy Kennedy, and Gerard Warren.

The potential on the O-Line

Don't get me wrong, I'm scared shitless by this offensive line. It's thin, short on talent and too reliant on the comeback of Matt Lepsis. But I love Ryan Harris, the rookie out of Notre Dame. I'm intrigued by Montrae Holland , the ex-Saint. Most of all, George Foster is nowhere near Dove Valley, which in my opinion makes the line six times as good as last year.

Coach Bates

Word is that new defensive coordinator (I know his title is different, relax) Jim Bates is a hootin' and a hollerin' all day long in camp. Although I hate the fact that Larry Coyer was scapegoated for last season's collapse, I think Bates might be the shit. The players seem to buy into his scheme, we'll just have to see what that scheme is.

JC, The Messiah

Either he's ready, or he's not. But Screamin' Jay Cutler is the key to the season. And since the tingling in my loins indicates that the Broncos are going to being fucking awesome this season, I guess Young No. 6 is going to be fantastic.


Every Wide Receiver Not Named Javon Walker

Mark my words, the search for that elusive third WR is over. In its place is a new search, for a simple starter opposite Mr. Walker. The obituaries are already starting to materialize for Rod Smith, who is, at least for the time being, on the PUP list. Brandon Marshall, Smith's anointed successor, is busted up as well and watching practice from the sidelines. Brandon Stokely is coming off an Achilles' tendon injury and, well, white. And today the Broncos lost Dominik Hixon to a separated shoulder. Guh.


No matter how well D.J. Williams does moving inside, the loss of Al Wilson will be felt. The unquestioned strength of the team, the loaded linebacker corps, is now a question mark. I guess Warrick Holdman looks good thus far in taking over Williams' strongside spot, but Bates' pattern of placing mammoth DTs in the way of these 'backers needs to work, or there will be a revolving door to...


There have actually been knowledgeable insiders that have discussed the Denver Broncos trading for Greg Wesley. Greg Wesley is horrible. The faint cheering you hear to the east is the City of Kansas reacting to that trade rumor. But that's the state of affairs in the middle of Denver's defensive backfield. John Lynch is ancient, and Nick Ferguson is another vet returning from an injury-plagued '06, and Sam Brandon got axed. There's some filler on the roster, but the fact that the Broncos did not make a play for Donovan Darius will turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes of what was otherwise a productive offseason.

Special Teams

As usual. I have no idea who'll return the kicks, or who'll kick off, or if Sauerbrun is on or off the magic juice, or what Elam has left in that leg, or what the supply of backup linebackers (the bread and butter of any good ST unit) is. So I'm calling this a negative until further notice.

The Arrogance Of Coach Shanahan

There, I said it. Every time Shanny has been faced with doubters, over his playcalling or personnel decisions or what not, he's reinvented himself and succeeded. If you don't think he' still one of the five best coaches in the game you need to lay off that crack. But sometimes, when a borderline g-word like Shanahan gets toys like Walker, Bailey and (maybe) Cutler, he gets a little crazy. I hope that' not the case this season.


Morbidity, And Team Chemistry

Look, the Williams/Nash mourning angle is going to be beaten to (sorry) death. Every game, every media outlet and every city the team visits are going to be focused around the loss of these two young men. My feeling is that this club is going to gel and lock out distractions better than any team in the NFL because of it. You want tragedy, lack of discipline and excuses? Go visit the New York Giants. This team has its eye on the prize, son. But no predictions from me yet, those will come later. This is merely a taste of my impression of training camp, and now it's done.

Editor's Note: The photo at the top of this page is of Domenik Hixon attempting a one-handed catch in front of HoG favorite Kevin House. We'll go ahead and attribute it to Omar Vega, who was a character in Pulp Fiction and also works for the Denver Post. Minutes later, Hixon got knocked the fuck out. Lesson: Nobody messes with the House!
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Model Citizen

This guy is the apple of the American eye. He works for free, makes time for children, and frequently drapes his parka across threatening puddles that feeble old women must cross. Clean as the snow indeed. Except for this small stain of Eskimo pee. If you don't have a New York Times account, and can't access the page, allow me to assist:

N.F.L. Investigates Shanahan Lie

The National Football League is
investigating whether Denver Coach Mike Shanahan broke a rule when he lied about
quarterback Jake Plummer's injury in San Diego on Sunday.

The Broncos
initially said Plummer sustained a concussion in the second quarter of their
37-13 victory over the Chargers. After the game, Shanahan announced that Plummer
had separated his right shoulder.

Shanahan said he lied because the
Chargers would have had an advantage if the backup Steve Beuerlein had been
injured and Plummer had been forced to re-enter the game. Denver carries two
quarterbacks on its roster.

The league spokesman Greg Aiello said the
league expected injury information to be as accurate as possible. Rules for
reporting injuries during games are not as specific as pregame injuries, which
require a designation: out, doubtful, questionable or probable. Shanahan could
be fined if the league determines he broke a rule. (AP)

And this.

And, well, I suppose there's this, too. Other than that though, the guy's practically the 13th disciple.
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Adios, Bear

Hard core fans of the HoG (both of you bitches) may have noticed some changes with our graphical interface. Gone is the tribute to Bear Grylls, as he seems to pretend to survive in the woods whilst kicking it in motels. We'll sure miss you buddy.

The House of Georges accepts none of these shenanigans when it comes to whom we choose to honor. Absolutely no cheating is allowed. Unless you're a bad-ass punter who likes anabolic steroids, or you really want a second-rate coach who's under contract and you need to violate tampering rules.

We're looking into the resumes of the other "Heroes" displayed on the right. It seems that Dre has been accused of taking credit for others' fat beats. Ms. Jameson has had work done. Hank Stram frequented transsexual prostitutes, and Herb Brooks was actually Canadian. But Shanahan turned up clean as the driven snow. Not a shred of dirt on Coach. Read more

Down To The Deadline

So we sit an hour away from the non-waiver trading deadline in Major League Baseball, and I have to admit: this is pretty damned exciting for a nerd like me. The only blockbuster deal so far was yesterday's exchange that sent Mark Tex-her-ea to the Braves, but there's a lot cooking on this stove right now.

I'm sitting in a bar, stealing a wireless signal, and watching the closed captioning on a tiny TV. It's like old times again. I'm very surprised to announce that television is kicking the Interwebs' asses right now in terms of giving me frivolous trade rumors. And in another blatant shocker, ESPN is leading the way. They've handily shut down the network and given the keys to studio host Karl Ravech. We're getting regular dispatches from Gammons and Buster, which are masterful. Their unfiltered excellence is, of course, balanced by the unmatched stupidity of Steve Phillips. God damn it I hate that fucker. He's horrible. He makes John Kruk and Eric Young look like Branch Rickey and Vin Scully.

Anyway, the most interesting potential moves deal with relievers. Octavio Dotel is all but a Brave, reportedly in exchange for starter Kyle Davies. I think that's actually a pretty sweet pickup for the Royals. Davies is nothing special, but he can eat up some innings and he's young and cheap.

Folks are talking about Chad Cordero maybe heading to the Mets. Everybody needs starting pitching, and nothing is out there, so when the A's dangle Joe Blanton and the White Sox field offers for Jon Garland, the shit gets frenzied.

Two of the biggest names floating about are Eric Gagne and Jermaine Dye, and the odds-on favorites to get both, amazingly, are the Red Sox. It might meaning parting with such promising young relievers as Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen, low-ceiling starter Kason Gabbard and/or strikeout machine Wily Mo Pena. Fucking. Do it. The idea of former Cy Young winner Gagne as a setup man to Papelbon and former World Series MVP Dye as the fourth outfielder creates wood in my short pants.

Update: ESPN has shit-canned the excellent trade deadline programming and replaced it with some Jeremy Schapp Outside The Lines hooey. Because every baseball fan is more interested in further discussion of Barry Bonds and steroids than things that might actually affect this season's pennant races. Jackasses.
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Monday, July 30, 2007

Fatlock Follies: Give It A Rest, Broseph

As much as I'd love to pay zero mind to the columns written by Jason Whitlock in The Kansas City Star, it remains impossible. That's what makes the man successful, which makes it even trickier, but I can't stay on one side of the fence with this guy.

He's now made it his personal mission to call out Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes for fraudulent intentions. I'm not going to do his pieces justice by creating links to them; find them yourselves if interested. Whitlock, however, has gone out of his way to suggest that Holmes is: a) being used as a pawn by Peterson in the Larry Johnson contract dispute, b) full of himself and overestimating what he can contribute to the Chiefs, c) interested in nothing more than money, and d) secretly interested in getting cut so that he may be signed by a team that rhymes with Halas Plow Toys.

Whatever, dude. People, and by people I mean the media, never understand why athletes and organizations are constantly fed up with the media for swirling around cartloads of fecal-reeking hogwash. Prime example: Fatlock's newest campaign to scoop a major story and land himself more national accolades. This man has spent so much time basing Chiefs General Manager Carl Peterson that he now needs, for the sake of his career, for the Chiefs to fail and remain unsuccessful. I've had enough. Chiefs reporter Bob Gretz apparently
has, too (Editor's Note: Sweet typo, Bob).

I believe Holmes will make this team and I believe he wants to. Until I see his name on the "Cut" list, I want to hear nothing more of these ridiculous shenanigans. Just because the man spent his injury-recovery time with his children doesn't mean that he's not a leader. I posit the contrary. Holmes can, like he says, contribute serious leadership to this club. If his comments were discreetly directed at Johnson, so be it. Maybe the young man needs a spark and Holmes carries the flint to light it.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Eve of Camp; or, a Little Davis For Your RIng

Congrats to TD on the Ring of Fame, here's hoping the ossified Hall selectors grow a pair...

The Broncos reported today and practice tomorrow. This isn't the time or place to go into the individual battles, the specific storylines, we'll get to that later, I'd just like to say Fuck Yes. Finally.

All the rookies will report on time, no holdouts. Holdouts piss me off. I always figure those missed two days of practice might be the difference between losing 34-30 and losing 34-33. But none of that this year, nossir.

These opening days can provide some comedy, occasionally a window into the future: when Dale Carter showed up that first day on his cellie, blowing off the press, the collective stomach of BroncoWorld tightened. We knew that fucker was trouble. What else are you gonna get from the Chiefs?

Greg Wesley, maybe. That's the rumor at any rate, repeated enough to seem true--and I do believe I heard Adam Teicher talking on Denver sports radio about the Chefs' desire to include one Dominique Foxworth in the deal. That, to my mind, is a shitty trade, unless Peterson is giving up a 3d or better.

Wesley hasn't been a bad player. But he's gettin' on, and it's not exactly like Kansas City's pass defense has dropped anyone's undies the past few years. Foxworth, on the other arm, is smart, young, willing to sacrifice for the cause (witness his largely unsucessful attempt to cover Brandon Manumaleuna, who outweighed him by literally 100 pounds, in last season' second game against the Chargers), and has that elusive upside.

Greg Wesley has a garage full of stolen stock footage showing Clinton Portis buckling his knees. Upside, not so much.
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Friday, July 27, 2007

Your Mother's A Drunken Astronaut

This day in sport...

Vick was suspended by Nike. It took this long?

I believe in due process and the rule of law. Innocent until proven guilty. Right now, Vick's not guilty of anything. But there's no question in my mind that he did it.

And the fact that he did makes him a spectacularly bad person.

I admit that my prejudgment is colored by emotion. I think that those who abuse animals are less than human. But look at the facts as we know 'em--why would the feds get involved unless there was some multi-state felony action going on? They've obviously got a strong case, and a timeline showing how Vick and his boys built the Bad Newz Kennels. There was also a mention of further superseding indictments, which are supposedly (I thank the legal beagle Munson on the Leader) almost always extra charges, rather than vice versa.

Whatever the end result, Vick is a glowing chunk of Plutonium to the corporate world right now. His sponsors, with their fingers eternally to the wind, know that people like dogs more than they like Mike.

So g'bye, Nike. See you never, Reebok (who stopped making Vick jerseys).

And it couldn't have happened soon enough. Fuck this bloodthirsty moron. Instead of prison, they should let rabid hyenas gnaw his face off.

And this just in as I write: one of his boys is gonna cop a plea. Say goodnight, Gracie.

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You're Not Off The Hook, Kansas City

There are occasionally sports stories that I feel are interesting and deserve a post, but I back off because everyone else has already walked down that path. I tend to assume that every reader on this site follows the same pattern of blog-reading that I do, which is heavy on Deadspin, With Leather, The Dugout, and Hattie's Web.

But you know what? I have a lot of friends that read the HoG, and most of my friends are fucking idiots. They can barely read, and they certainly can't keep up with the brilliant sources of comedy that I personally enjoy. For some of you mopes, the HoG is all ya got.

So this story is worth a peek. It seems the Yankees started a game back in June and didn't finish it on account of some raindrops. The contest was suspended and will resume tonight, and once they're done with it they'll play the regularly scheduled game with the Orioles.

First off, let me say that the whole "suspended-game" thing is goofy. Whenever we have a situation like this there's always some kind of shenanigans, and I remember one story about a suspended game that resumed later in the season. There was a guy who played for Team A in the initial segment, and by the time it picked back up he'd been traded to Team B, and so in the box score he was playing against himself.

That's not the point. The point is that the Yankees will play a weird doubleheader this evening, and could technically pick up a game and a half on my Red Sox by going back in time to June 28.

Even goofier, if A-Rod hits a jack in the resumption of the suspended game, it will not count as his 500th. Since this is the completion of the June 28 game, a homer would be credited to that day and be the 493rd of A-Rod's career. The bomb that left The Kauff on Wednesday night would then become No. 500. Weird, wild stuff.

One more thing...every time I put up a link to a USA Today story I get a ration of shit from people, and by people I mean Cecil. Look, I know it doesn't have the strongest journalistic cred, but it does have stories like this. Some might get upset at the thought of drunk-driving astronauts, but I feel that if you're going to strap me to a missile and shoot me into space, I'm going to sip a little whisky beforehand. And by a little I mean a five gallon bucket.
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Feelin' Flustrated

Sigh. Alright. Enough of the rosy optimism. Things have certainly looked better. And by better I mean not worse.

The Kansas City Chiefs arrived in River Falls, Wisconsin yesterday to settle in for their 2007 training camp. Missing were star running back Larry Johnson, first-round pick/wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, and surprise-return running back Priest Holmes. Present were everyone else (yes, the damn fifth-round kicker signed just in time), the nerdiest, non-soul-having black man in history (Editor's Note: Some Chiefs call the guy "Coach"), notwithstanding.

Here's the part where I start prognosticating, which, for the thousand-some-odd new HoG readers of this fine day, typically means piles of accuracy. So pay attention.

I may light up my new-equipment-possessing colleague in the comments, but the simple truth is this: I am afraid that Brodie Croyle will in fact be our starting quarterback on opening day. Hold on a minute. Understand that this is not because I don't have faith in Croyle. I think he's a fine talent, a nice southern kid and someone who deserves to prove the injury gossip-mongers wrong. The deal is that I just don't think this is the right year to do it, and, more importantly, I don't think Herm "I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is" Edwards is incapable of judging the matter soundly. Period.

Don't get me wrong. I won't call him Herm "Stupid is as stupid does" Edwards, and there's a galaxy of difference. There really is. Edwards wants to make the team younger. He's proven that he can motivate -- at least on occasion -- teams of not-so-high caliber. He's passionate, knowledgeable, and, unfortuneately more often than not, amusing for all the wrong reasons.

Edwards' problem? Focus. That's right. He'll throw the 'f' word around left and right in press conferences, perhaps even on the field and in the locker room. I just don't think he has much of it himself. Edwards, in his one-and-only season as HCIC, spent way too much time (Note: WAY too much time) telling and re-telling his story -- how he made it, how long he's been in the league, how firmly he believes in the shield, how he does this but not that, last time I checked this, the great thing is that... -- and not near enough time coaching football.

Hang on a sec', there. I said coaching football. I don't mean pulling up to the stadium at four a.m. and going home at one a.m. the next morning six days a week and wearing a whistle around your neck and telling the media how you never see your wife. I mean coaching football. Edwards mishandled the quarterback situation last year worse than an intoxicated Chris Henry handles an automobile. Why should I believe he's changed? I should give him the benefit of the doubt for the first-year/new-regime bullshit, but I'm not.

Edwards needs to prove to me that he's a smart football coach. A bloach even. Step one starts not with training camp drills, not with roster cuts, not with drafting a kicker in the fifth round, but with the quarterback situation. All the Croyle naysayers can tread shark-infested water. I ain't one of 'em. I do happen to think, however, that 2007 is the year of da'Mon.
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tall Hog Back in The Saddle

Look, I haven't a clue myself as to what that title means. Or what the photo of Lil' Rich is about. I just love me some tall hog.

Here's what happened. I've been skulking onto this website like a Turkish thief in a wartime hospital. I'd no computer to call my own, necessitating the borry of my wife's work machine. It was an ugly situation. I couldn't even ogle the occasional free tit.

But now, thanks to the gifts of providence and my dear mate's job, I have a computer to call my very own. It's pretty fuckin' spiffed out. Not to brag or anything, but it's definitely better than what you're using. What you're using might as well be an Apple 2E. Forget that, it might as well be an abacus. Two sticks and a tanned piece of moosehide. Oh, and can yours shoot gaseous jets of bat piss? Right. Didn't think so.

Nevertheless, that gear-driven piece of old Navy equipment that enables your daily fix of porn and college football news is more than enough for the House. To the headlines!

I'll even number 'em because your attention span is...uh...

1. How about that Tour de France thing? Just more ugliness. Once, the Tour was something for every sports fan to be proud of. It was an historical event, an athletic contest that transcended national boundaries. How can you not root for dudes riding fucking bikes up the Pyrenees? Past French families drinking wine and portly men dressed as the Devil?
Cycling is unfortunately and unquestionably the dirtiest sport in the world. The East German women's swim team circa the '76 Olympics could have picked up pointers from these lightweight Eurocheaters. And to have the overall leader removed from the Tour? Even though the story behind it is hardly more than opaque--there seems to be some confusion with the excuse he gave for missing a drug test--you'd have to be terminally naive to think that the event, and possibly the sport, have metastasizing problems.

Barry Bonds chases Hank's record. Since I think that Bonds betrayed the game by drugging himself with cow juice when he could have gone down as the greatest natural ballplayer of all time, I won't spend any more time on this subject than: fuck Barry Bonds.

3. There's still no way Selig should miss it. He should sit behind home plate with his "wife" and drink in every moment. Gorge himself on the Greek tragedy that this has become, consider, as a longtime Milwaukeean, the irony of having to watch the fruit of his cowardice and disinterest break his friend Aaron's record. The record. Grab a beer, Bud.

4. This isn't necessarily sports related, but this story rules.

5. Training camp days are almost here again. I'll cover this in more thorough, if not to say exhaustive, fashion in upcoming weeks. But to start this puppy off with an unrelated salvo: Administrator, your team is going to depend on Brodie Croyle as the starting quarterback this year. That is all.

(And yes, I know that last year's Huard-bashing didn't turn out for me. But seriously--Brodie Croyle. Is going to. Be your quarterback. This year.)
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Baseball In The Daytime: 7-26-07

Once again, Thursday brings a bevy of action on major league diamonds. Most of these games suck dog balls, but they beat watching competitive eating.

Today's leadoff game is the Pirates and the Mets, at 10:10 Mountain on XM 189 and DTV 734. New York, after floundering for much of July, is finally hitting its stride a little and is looking for a sweep of Pittsburgh. The Mets give the ball to Oliver Perez, while the Pirates hopes rest with Paul Maholm.

At 10:35, Camden Yards is the site of a D'Rays-Orioles episode on XM 182 and DTV 735. Expect offensive fireworks as Edwin Jackson and Steve Trachsel pitch. Baltimore is actually playing pretty well, having won seven of their last ten, but most of that has been at the expense of lousy Tampa.

Same time, different channel (XM 183, no TV) for the Brewers and Reds from Great American. It's the rubber game of a three-game set between the NL Central clubs, and Dave Bush and Bobby Livingston are your starters. The Brewers, whose division lead has slipped to a mere two over the still-hot Cubs, made a pretty crappy trade for Scott Linebrink last night. Not that the Padres fleeced GM Doug Melvin or anything, I just don't see the trade really helping either team much. San Diego needed offense much more than prospect pitchers, while Milwaukee could really use a starter with Sheets on the DL and Suppan struggling.

And the games just keep getting worse, as the Nationals and Phillies are forced to play another game at 11:05. John Lannan makes his big-league debut for the Nats, and we wish him luck against that meaty Philly lineup. Adam Eaton should have slightly better luck for the home team on XM 185 and DTV 736, and if he wins the Phils garner a sweep.

And wrapping up the Daytime slate is a game from the South Side of Chicago, Tigers-White Sox at 12:05 on XM 180 and DTV 737. Justin Verlander takes his sterling 11-3 record and 3.40 ERA to the mound opposite John Danks, bro. There's a feature on the dizzying ESPN.com preview of this game called Accuscore, which claims that Detroit has a 64 per cent chance of winning this game. Call your bookies, and Cheers!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We Are Hot Chicks: Learning The Lesson Can Be Hard

As reported in yesterday's Tradition Tuesday post, the Broncos (along with the rest of the dadburned NFL) report to training camp this week. On the sweltering fields of Dove Valley will be dozens of big fat sweaty dudes looking for a j.o.b. Some will be highly paid returning starters going through the motions, while others will be castoffs from other teams trying to catch on in Denver.

Finally, we'll have the rookies, fresh-faced lads just out of college. Most of them have been the best player on whatever team they graced, but now they're chucked into a furnace of no-compromise scrutiny and criticism.

When we attend games at Invesco this fall, we'll watch these rooks during the game, and when they're taking a break we'll watch some other rookies strut their stuff--the newest Denver Broncos cheerleaders. Following some truly stunning developments at this year's auditions, the squad is strapped with lots of new talent. Can they succeed? Let's find out...

Our first newcomer is Kaoruko Horiike, who's like from Asia or something. I like Chinese food as much as the next guy, but Ms. Horiike is all forehead and no rack. I compare her to the undrafted free agent kicker from Virginia Tech, Brandon Pace. If the cheerleaders had the same training camp as the football players, Horiike would be on the same bus out of camp as Brandon.

Next up is Mary Johnston. Now I'm not going to turn this into a Gregg Easterbrook Cheerleader of the Week disaster, where I overanalyze the biographical information as a justification for ogling Mary Johnston's tits. Mary Johnston chose to try out for this team, just as Roderick Rogers chose to declare for the NFL Draft. So if I can point out that Roderick Rogers is a step slow to play safety in the League, I can also point out that Mary Johnston is cursed with excessive gums and could use a little artificial augmentation.

Sara Oliver is a married fifth-grade teacher. For a cheerleader, that's a bit abnormal, and some less enlightened than myself might call it "baggage." Bronco rookie Marcus Thomas brings his own baggage to the season, what with the third-degree marijuana habit and dismissal from the LSU football team. But I have high hopes for both Sara and Marcus--even though they're both a bit heavy, I can see both making big-time contributions this season.

Another fresh face is Jamie Dukehart-Conti. She says she's from Arvada, but that's a blatant lie--the hairdo and stance scream Texas. And just like second-round pick Tim Crowder, a defensive tackle from UT, I'm predisposed to dislike her for her Longhorn roots but willing to give her a chance if she can perform in the clutch.

Look, all of these broads look fantastic from the 500 level. And just like a missed blocking assignment from ex-CU center Mark Fenton may go unnoticed by the layman, the considerable flaws evident on the visage of Katie Layman may slip by more desperate men. Fenton is not strong enough to hang in the AFC West, and Layman has the nose of a heavyweight boxer. Yikes.

Growing up, we all had a friend who's mom was hot. Nicole Moore could be your buddy's hot mom, if your buddy's house had wheels and a meth lab in the kitchen. I'm starting to think that this exercise of comparing the rookie cheerleaders to the rookie players is a huge jinx on the Broncos.

Whoa-ho, doctor! Was I ever wrong. Saving the rookie class is Rebecca Bolan, a super-cutie straight out of Aurora. I'll pair her up with Ryan Harris, my man-crush offensive tackle the Broncos took in the fourth round out of Notre Dame. In Rebecca's bio she says she "loves to tickle he little nephew." That's funny, because I'm tickling mine as well.

Next in line is Shelby Britton, who looks like she was selected because someone lost a bet. Jesus. She says her favorite book is Pride & Prejudice, because P&P is always the book that former fat girls can relate to. I'll make the hasty pairing of Shelby and receiver Marquay McDaniel (sorry Marquay, I'm sure you're a nice guy) and let's just move on.

The unquestioned first-round pick of this class, the Jarvis Moss if you will, is Jessie Greenberg. Ms. Greenberg is a diamond dealer during the week, and that sentence is not at all Jewish. She sports an awesome set of cans, or at least I assume if you unstrapped that unwieldy bodice you'd get a beautiful nipple in the eye. I'll bet you a million sheqels that Jesse's a raging bitch, but I couldn't care less. If she'll just mesmerize me with her Hebrew goddessness all season, and Jarvis Moss can collect ten sacks, I'll love 'em both unconditionally. Except for the above conditions, of course.

Bringing up the caboose of this project is Valerie Scott. Although it's nice to add a little chocolate for dessert, Ms. Scott is a little frail for my tastes. Not to mention bat shit crazy. When asked which two people she'd like to have dinner with, she answered (noted cross-dresser) Tyler Perry and (Federal Reserve chairman) Ben Bernanke. That is without a doubt the shittiest dinner table I could ever imagine. Valerie, meet Selvin Young, the rookie RB out of the University of Texas. You two have fun.
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Best Backfield Duo To Return Minus Amateur Footage and Pedophilia Celebration

I am one jazzed-up motherfucker.

Priest Holmes is healthy and plans on being in River Falls for Chiefs Training Camp on Saturday. What does this mean for Larry Johnson's still non-existent holdout? Nothing at all. Maybe it puts some pressure on Johnson to perform, behave and be a leader. Maybe it doensn't.

In my book, it means you better axe somebody what to do with our offense on third down, beeatch.

This footage is dizzying and retarded but it was all the YouTubes had to offer. My apologies.

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Baseball In The Daytime: 7-25-07

Today's slate of action gives us three games. So turn off the phone, put your feet up, and absorb a little Baseball In The Daytime.

Our leadoff contest is Minnesota at Toronto, at 10:37 in the a.m. Mountain. Why they start Canadian baseball games at 10:37 as opposed to 10:30 or 10:35 I'll never know, but my anti-Canuck stance is well-known. Carlos Silva takes up the American flag today against the great Northern menace known as the Blue Jays and Jesse Litsch. I care not that Silva is from Venezuela while Litsch hails from Florida, this one's for the pride and honor of the Continent of North America. In the lower 48, and for a fee, you listen to this game on XM 181 (no TV info available). If you want to tune in and you live in Canada, figure it out hoser.

At 1:05, from Coors Field in Denver, the Rockies attempt take the rubber game of their series with the Padres on XM 188. Last night's San Diego win pulled them to within one of the NL West lead, while the home team is treading water, five and a half behind the Dodgers. Your pitching docket is hotshot rookie Justin Germano against young vet Aaron Cook. My father-in-law will be in attendance, so if you see a silver-haired gentleman with a few Newcastles in him sitting two rows behind the Rockies dugout, tell him you dig on the HoG.

Finally, at 1:35 on XM 178 and DTV 734, the Oakland Athletics visit the Angels of Los Anaheim. The A's are hopelessly fucked this season, but the Angels are clinging desperately to a slim 2 1/2-game edge over those nutty Mariners in the AL West. Not a bad pitching matchup, as fat Joe Blanton takes on slightly slimmer yet slack-jawed John Lackey. There will be women in attendance, and they will be smoking hot, and they will be wearing red tank tops. You gotta love baseball, in the daytime, in sunny Southern California. Cheers!
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tradition Tuesday: Packing for Camp With or Without Draft Picks

The rough focus of this blog is the rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs (heralded by Bankmeister) and the Denver Broncos (championed by Cecil and Old No. 7). It may seem unfair that it's two versus one, but once KC gets that second Super Bowl win we'll even out the delegation.

Seven years ago we started The Tradition, in which Bronco fans travel out to the Truman Sports Complex with their team, and Chief-lovers return to the Rocky Mountains with theirs. We tailgate, we talk massive amounts of shit, our wives are occasionally assaulted by rival fans, and we almost always watch the visiting team lose. It's grand old time.

Here at the HoG, we're going to keep The Tradition going with Tradition Tuesday--a weekly state-of-the-rivalry address.

The proprietor of a snazzy little outfit called
Steamworks Brewing Company in Durango, CO, once told me that one day he woke up and realized that his life was split into two halves: football season and not football season. And it occurred to me that, not only was that a brilliant statement, but it applied to me as well. Kudos to him for his wisdom and for offering me and Old No. 7 employment during the heart of our illustrious academic undergraduate careers at THE Fort Lewis College.

At week's end, The HoG's beloved Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs (I suppose the 30 other not-as-savory teams in the National Football League will follow trend) will head for their respective training camps. At the time the statement was uttered by the Steamworks icon, I didn't really consider football season to be football season until, at very least, pre-season games began. Now, however, the HoG staff in its entirety, hungrily devour the draft, training camp commencement, and of course, the regular-season contests.

The Broncos will make the painstaking jaunt south to the outer confines of Englewood, Colorado. Their camp can be found spittin' distance from I-25 on Arapahoe, which is apparently the same as the corner of Potomac and Broncos Parkway. Their camp sessions are free and open to the public, and will run from July 29-Aug. 4 and from Aug. 6-11. Their we talkin' 'bout practice schedule looks a little something like this:

Sunday, July 29
8:30 a.m.
3:50 p.m.

Monday, July 30
8:30 a.m.
3:40 p.m. (Special Teams)

Tuesday, July 31
8:30 a.m.
3:50 p.m.

Wednesday, August 1
8:30 a.m.
3:40 p.m. (Special Teams)

Thursday, August 2
8:30 a.m.
3:50 p.m.

Friday, August 3
8:30 a.m.
3:40 p.m. (Special Teams)

Saturday, August 4
8:30 a.m.
3:50 p.m.

Monday, August 6
8:30 a.m.
3:50 p.m.

Tuesday, August 7
8:30 a.m.
3:40 p.m. (Special Teams)

Wednesday, August 8
8:30 a.m.
3:50 p.m.

Thursday, August 9
8:30 a.m.
3:40 p.m. (Special Teams)

Friday, August 10
8:30 a.m.
3:50 p.m.

Saturday, August 11
8:30 a.m.

Monday, August 13
Preseason game at San Francisco
5 p.m. PDT,

and like most things, is subject to change.

The Broncos' free-agency acquistions (not-so-gracefully whined about here by yours truly)will be joining fourth-round selection Marcus Thomas (defensive tackle out of the University of Florida) as new members of team Predominantly Orange.

(Editor's Note: Thomas was the Broncos final selection of the 2007 draft; they sent this year's sixth- and seventh-rounders, along with next year's third-round pick, to Minnesota in order to acquire him. This transaction, in Head Coach Mike Shanahan's mind, was not steep if Thomas is still on the roster down the road. Ingenious.)

Still unsigned are: third-round selection Ryan Harris, offensive tackle from Notre Dame (Note: Go Irish); second-round selection Tim Crowder, defensive end from the University of Texas; and first-rounder Jarvis Moss, defensive end from the University of Florida.

The Kansas City Chiefs, however, head north; they must escape the grueling humidity of KC summer, and therefore, will travel a bit further. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls, in fact. This will be the Chiefs 17th year utilizing the campus facilities, and their schedule looks a bit like this:

Thursday, July 26th: Depart for Training Camp
Friday, July 27th: Begin camp
Friday, August 3rd: Practice with Minnesota Vikings -- Mankato, MN
Saturday, August 4th: Practice with Minnesota Vikings -- River Falls, WI
Wednesday, Auguest 8th: Family Fun Night -- River Falls
Saturday, August 11th: Kansas City at Cleveland -- Cleveland Browns Stadium
Wednesday, August 15th: Break Camp
Thursday, August 16th: Kansas City vs. Miami -- Arrowhead Stadium
Thursday, August 23rd: Kansas City vs. New Orleans -- Arrowhead Stadium
Thursday, August 30th: Kansas City at St. Louis -- Edward Jones Dome,

and the Chiefs have been kind enough to say that more information on practice times, dates, and camp policies will be released at a later date. Seeing as how the team leaves in two days, I'm curious as to what that date will be. The Broncos were thorough and prepared enough to remind fans: to get to the Valley early enough due to limited parking; not to use cell phones unless outside the fenced area; what size chairs would be permitted; that still cameras are acceptable, etc., etc. But whatever.

The Chiefs made some free agent signings as well, most notably: linebacker Napoleon Harris from the Minnesota Vikings; tackle Damion McIntosh from the Miami Dolphins; linebacker Donnie Edwards from the San Diego Chargers, and a bunch of other corners and linebackers who may or may not make the cut.

Joining these new Chiefs in camp will be: fifth-round pick Kolby Smith, running back from Louisville; second-rounder Claude "Turk" McBride, defensive tackle from Tennessee; third-round selection DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler (Note: my cat comes up with better nicknames for my dog's stool), defensive tackle from North Carolina State; but not: seventh-rounder Michael Allan, tight end, Whitworth; sixth-round snag Herb Taylor, tackle from TCU; fifth-round kicker Justin Medlock, UCLA (Note: really? The kicker's holding out?); and first-rounder Dwayne Bowe, wide receiver, LSU.

Here's what I don't get from NFL squads these days: Why are your effin' picks not signed yet? We've sort of gotten used to first-rounders being greedy bastards and not making it to camp on time. But look at these two teams. The Broncos start camp on Saturday; they have one of four signed. The Chiefs leave town Thursday; they have three of seven signed. Combined, that's one team's entire draft. What's going on here? If this is the trend that's developing, why do we even care if other players threaten to hold out until they get fat new contracts?

If Chiefs running back Larry Johnson isn't going to report to camp, why would anyone bat an eye? Why not say, "Dude, half the rookies aren't going to be there, and we need them to be, so go kick it with Jay-Z, homes." I thought camp was crucial to a team's potential for building success. This trend is utterly redonculous.

Supposedly, this stuff will work itself out like it always does. The HoG, however, will have dropped the better part of ten green benjamins by week's end on Tradition-related expenses, a.k.a. tickets. Bankmeister (Note: yes, I'm pulling a Rickey Henderson) wants to see D-Bowe scoring touchdowns at AmVesCap. Seven and Cecil are hungry for Crowder to sack Brodie Croyle Damon Huard at Arrowhead.

This stuff is infuriating. Sort of. In fact, if these picks -- all seven of them -- are not in their respective camps by week's end, the HoG may very well boycott the NFL this year.

Update: No we won't.
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Baseball In The Daytime: 7-24-07

Those wishing for a pleasant diversion on a summer afternoon have a couple options today. It all just depends on your time zone, and your definition of the word "afternoon."

Batting leadoff are the Tigers and the White Sox at 12:05 Mountain. That would be five minutes "after noon" where I live, so break open the beers. One might look at the pitchers in this game and proclaim that it's a mismatch in favor of the Tigers. One might be wrong. Although Jeremy Bonderman is 10-1 while his counterpart Javier Vasquez sits at 7-5, their seasons are actually very similar.

Bonderman's ERA is 3.53 and Vazquez's is 3.73, but they've yielded the same number of runs (53 apiece). Only 47 of Bonderman's runs were earned, however, so Detroit's crappy defense actually makes Bonderman look better. Vazquez has more strikeouts, a lower WHIP and fewer hits allowed (in more innings pitched). What kills Vazquez is that his team scores 4.21 runs a game as opposed to 5.84 for his opponent today, and that the White Sox bullpen has a putrid 6.06 ERA this season.

And here's a few more numbers for ya: this game is available on 179 on the XM and 749 on the DirecTV Extra Innings package.

Then at 3:05 is a gem of a game, and by gem I actually mean the only people watching will be the friends and families of the players and hard-up NBA refs who need a little action. The Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers will play an AL West division game on XM 179 and DTV 736. Your pitchers are Ryan Feierabend and John Rheinecker, who combine for 20 letters in their last names and over 21 runs in their ERAs. Hideous.

Also, let's all wish Barry a happy birthday.
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Monday, July 23, 2007

Hunkerin' Down

There's no day baseball today, but we do kick off a number of important series in the majors. For a more complete rundown of what's going on all across MLB, including an excellent analysis of the Royals' recent hot play and trading-deadline decisions and some news about Barry and A-Rod's special balls, check out, as always, Buster.


Sure, you're being overwhelmed with Barry crap right now, but it's not every day that someone passes Hank Aaron. The Giants have rigged Barry's playing time in order to let the beast get his record in San Francisco, and now AT&T Park welcomes its genetic freak home for seven days of delirium. I think we're all hoping we can just get this over with sooner rather than later, and the first episode goes down tonight at 8 Mountain on ESPN2.

The Braves are quietly hanging around in the NL East race at 3 1/2 back, as the Mets still can't put either Atlanta or Philadelphia away. Smoltz pitches tonight, and Barry has eight jacks against him in his career, and blah blah blah...Joe Morgan can fill you in on all this shit later.


Two of the better teams in the American League hunker down for a scrum at Jacobs Field, starting tonight at 5 on ESPN2. The Red Sox are embarking on their most difficult stretch of the second half, as their next six series are at Cleveland, at Tampa, home vs. Baltimore, at Seattle, at Los Anaheim, at Baltimore. They get Jon Lester's feel-good story on the mound this evening. He had cancer and blah blah blah...talk to Joe.

Boston is seven and a half up on New York following the Yanks' blistering of the D'Rays over the weekend (45 runs combined on Saturday and Sunday, yo). The Tribe sits a game back of Detroit, who despite dropping a series to Kansas City is still playing lights-out ball. So this series is pretty stinkin' big.


Bankmeister informed me this morning that he'll be taking in at least one of these games, which is a good thing. Otherwise I might have had to revoke his access card to the HoG's palatial corporate headquarters in suburban Overland Park. There's a lot happening here, including:

Kansas City's remarkable run (24-19 since June 1) combined with the wretched play of the White Sox has the two teams tied for fourth place. KC has a chance to finish somewhere other than last for the first time since 1896. Wait, did I say 1896? I meant 1896.

The Yankees come in smoking hot (9-3 since the break and 30-17 since June 1) and are clearly back in the postseason picture. In addition to pulling within shouting distance in the East, they're 6 1/2 back of Cleveland in the wild card standings, with only Seattle standing between them and the Indians.

KC doesn't really care who you are or what your record is, as evidenced by their play last week. They strutted into the homes of first-place Boston and first-place Detroit and took two of three from both clubs. These aren't your father's Royals, but they aren't your older brother's version either.

Best of all, tomorrow is some anniversary of George Brett's pine tar home run, and the Royals are running a t-shirt promotion with a powder-blue Old No. 5 smeared in faux pine tar. Bloody brilliant. Now don't fuck it all up, Royals--the nation is watching you in your quest to topple the hated Yankees. Finish the job.


All of their hard work this season has garnered the Colorado Rockies exactly nothing but a chance. They're in the divisional picture at 5 1/2 out of first, and they get the second-place Padres and the first-place Dodgers at Coors all week. If they can win either or both series, they're officially legitimate. Tonight's starters are soft-tossing maestros Greg Maddux and Jeff Francis. One of these guys is a future Hall of Famer and who's fond of Internet chat with underage boys, and the other one is the only professional athlete named "Francis" not to have been labeled "Franchise" at some point in his career. Until tonight. Or maybe not.
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Friday, July 20, 2007

Midseason Report: NL West

This is the House of Georges, and this is the HoG’s Midseason Baseball Report. In it we’ll examine each of baseball’s six divisions with a fan of a team in that division.

Today’s selection is the National League West, and our divisional expert is Cecil. In addition to forming the third leg of the HoG's famed Iron Triangle, Cecil is a devoted follower of Denver pro sports franchises. Among these are the purple pioneers of the Colorado Rockies.

You can find the Midseason Reports on the American League here: East, Central and West, as well as the National League East and Central.

One more thing...this exchange is very late and brazenly out-of-date. It got lost in the mail, or a dog ate it, or something. So quibble not with the statistical accuracy embedded within. At one moment in time it was spot on.

Old No. 7: After several years of serving as everyone's punching bag, the NL West is asserting itself as a deep and competitive division this season. It still seems as though the compliments are of the left-handed variety, though, with "deep and competitive" being euphemisms for "mediocre teams beating up on each other." Let's try to make the argument that the NL West is better than the consensus best division, the AL Central. First, pitching...which division has the edge?

Cecil: OK. The first time I did this, I wasted about an hour doing a team-by-team comparison of the AL Central with the NL...Central. (Editor's Note: This comparison is pretty flippin' excellent, so if you see it on a slow news day don't be surprised.) So much for reading my assignments.

So--I'll try and get it right this time. The question was, can we make the case that the NL West is at least the equal of the toughest division in baseball, pitching-wise? Yes. Yes, we can.

Whereas my last attempt discovered--shockingly--that the pitching in the NL Central, outside of the Cubs and Brewers (and it's not like either of them is the 1968 Tigers) can't compare, this one is easier on its face. Let's see the players:

AL Central:
White Sox

NL West:

Without the stat-heavy team-by-team I did the last time, we'll go over what we know already. The Tigers have two No. 1 starters, and a generally good staff; the White Sox have a bunch of big names without the production you'd expect, although they do have Bobby Jenks ("greatest closer I ever saw!!!!!!!!"--Some Old Guy We Know); the Twins are fairly deep with relievers and have the best Santana in the majors; the Royals blow and Gil Meche is their only semi-good pitcher; the Indians, like the Tigers, boast a pair of number ones in Carmona and Sabathia as well as solid depth elsewhere. Top to bottom, these teams are generally stocked with quality arms. Except for the Royals.

Now, the NL West.

The Rockies have some talent in Cook and Francis, but no relievers worth mentioning beyond Fuentes. OK--maybe Manny Corpas, but now we're stretching the definition of "worth." They need long help, and a few more big-game starters. How is it that Cook, with that killer sinker, is 5-6 with an ERA of 4.60? Francis could pitch anywhere and might be on the verge of true Ace status, which would be weird, because you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Rockies pitchers who ever fit that bill.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, have historically always been loaded with arms. Brad Penny is a totally sucky 11-1, Derek Lowe has an ERA of 3.05 even though he's only 8-8, Randy Wolf is a good solid starter and between Broxton and Saito they have solid relief, with lots of additional help from other pen-dwellers. Rudy Seanez is 6-1. I'd take this rotation over any in the AL Central, even Detroit.

And how about those Padres? Even though I hate them for what they did in '84, and even though their aces are falling off the early season's pace, it's hard to argue with the staff management has put together here. Just look at Chris Young and Jake Peavy, respectively 8-3/1.97 and 9-4/2.30. I'm OK with those two as my lead starters. And throw in a semi-resurgent David Wells, the ageless Greg Maddux--neither has great numbers, but these are two of the best big-game pitchers of the last two decades--effin' great middle relief and one of the game's best closers in Trevor Hoffman. It adds up to one of, if not the best, staff in the majors (I might get some argument from you Boston fans there, sure).

The Giants are tough. They have some of the best young pitchers in the bigs in Lincecum and Cain, but neither is setting anything alight this year. Barry Zito cost them half of Marin County and sucks. Hennessey hasn't exactly jumped right up and grabbed the closer's role. Matt Morris and Noah Lowry...eh. Potential everywhere, but not enough production.

Arizona's team always seems to have a few studs, but that skeletal misanthrope Randy Johnson has seen much better days. Brandon Webb remains one of the best starters around, though, and their relief--long and short--is quite fine, between Jose Valverde, Tony Pena, Brandon Lyon and Doug Slaten. Even with no fully engorged Johnson, this is still a better staff than the Royals' or Twins'.

So it appears that we didn't have to fit the facts to the hypothesis here. An even-handed comparison finds the NL West with much better pitching overall.

Old No. 7: Very well. You're assuming the devil's advocate role even more brilliantly than I could have projected. Let's now examine the offensive abilities of the two divisions, with one very important distinction for the sake of the argument: the AL clubs don't get their designated hitters. So Travis Hafner is off the Indians, the Tigers are minus Gary Sheffield, the White Sox must bench Jim Thome and the Royals lose Bill Pecota. The Twins rotate their DH slot a lot as Jeff Cirillo (?) has started there twice this week, but Joe Mauer is often relieved of catching duties to DH so he's fucking out of there as well. Thoughts?

Cecil: Take away the DH and things do change some--the Tigers are a little less ferocious, for instance. Sheffield may have the all-time worst case of hoof-in-mouth disease, but he can effin' rake. So, OK, no DH for the striped ones--they still roll out Magglio, hitting an anemic .360, have couple good contact guys/run scorers in Polanco and Guillen (and Guillen has 14 dongs to boot), and power throughout the lineup. I'm not sure there's a roster in the NL West that compares to that.

The White Sox, on the other hand, are a buncha overpaid free swingers. If they can't have Thome, who has the highest average on the team (.288!), then they have to muddle through with Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko as their big bats. Konerko in particular is having an OK season (.526 slugging percentage) and neither is a bad player, but...eh. This team does nothing for me. Maybe because they're a buncha gasm-stained south siders.

Cleveland, like the Tigers, can flat out hit. Even without Hafner. Fuck Hafner. The Victor Martinez/Grady Sizemore/Ryan Garko/Jhonny Peralta (I really made a good decision cutting him in the fantasy league our readers don't care about)/Casey Blake axis are all in double figures for home runs. Not many hit for much average, but Martinez is chugging along at .321. Pretty solid.

The Royals have a ton of potential in guys like Alex Gordon and Mark Teahen--and wasn't Tony Pena Jr. a phenom a few years back?--but the only guy on their squad with more than 7 homers is a catcher, John Buck, who is currently batting .245. They also show an amazing lack of plate discipline, as pretty much everyone on the roster has struck out a lot more than they've walked. Potential, yes...but you'll get potential when you're always drafting in the top 5.

The Twins lose Joe Mauer, with his .300+ avg., but he's only hit 4 homers this year. Torii the Royal Teaser is having a fine year, as is Justin Morneau. Luis Castillo has less power than I do, but hits north of .300. Other than that, the squad is just OK. Michael Cuddyer is having an alright year, but he's nothing to yell about.

So--which NL West teams match up positively?
The Dodgers: Better than the Royals and White Sox. Not close to Cleveland or Detroit. Roughly Twin-like. They steal more bases than practically anyone. So, we give the edge to the NL West here, just because I say so. Edge: NL WEST

The Padres: Positively Soxian. Only three guys who have been hitting for power in Khalil "Only Baha'i in Baseball" Greene, Adrian Gonzalez and Mike Cameron. Not one of those dudes is over .270 on the year. They're better than the Royals. Freh. Edge: AL CENTRAL

The Giants: Eek. Almost as bad. Get beyond Melonhead's 19 homers and ass full of cow steroids, and it's damn near a desert. How 'bout that Omar Vizquel, with his two taters and .235 average? When your team's second-best hitter is Bengie Molina, your team has issues, friends. I would take the Royals over these guys. Edge: AL CENTRAL

The Diamondbacks: Well, they're better than the Giants and Padres. Eric Byrnes is having a career year---he wasn't good enough to play for the Rockies, remember--they have a few guys who can hit for power in Mark Reynolds and Chris Young, but overall, the depth is just not there. Ahead of the Royals but a touch behind the Twins. Edge: AL CENTRAL

The Rockies: Coors Field or no, these guys can hit. Matt Holliday's shitty stat line for the year: 59 runs scored, 16 homers, 73 RBIs and a .333 average. I'll take it. Tulowitzki is sneaking up on becoming a real threat, with his double-digits in homers and .285 average, Atkins dropped off from last year but still has 14 homers, Hawpe is having almost as good a year as Holliday, Helton is at his usual .310, even if his power is off, and they have a host of complimentary players in Matsui, Spilborghs, Taveras, etc. This team can swing with any of the big boys in the AL Central. Advantage: NL WEST.

So, what have we learned? We've discovered that the heavy lumber in the junior league is heavier, but not by much, than that in the National. And the clearly superior pitching out here swings the comparison westward.
Check and mate, bitches.

Old No. 7: There are a lot of baseball fans in Colorado that are like you and I--we love the Rockies, but when we were growing up they didn't exist and thus we have a different favorite team. What are your personal ground rules for your relationship with your mistress (the Rockies) versus your wife (the Cubs)?

Cecil: To answer your question, it's really basic. I root for the Rockies unless they are playing the Cubs or unless their winning would somehow negatively impact the Cubs' chances.

There's nothin' wrong with the home team. They've had their ups, their downs, they've provided some great drunken moments for the five people reading this, they play in a beautiful park in the capitol city of a truly fine state. But the last few years I've watched 'em play my team, my team has lost. And humiliatingly so.

I didn't wanna pay $150 for my wife and I to watch the ancient and honorable Chicago Cubs lose to a Rockies team starting J.D. Closser. Not only did I miss Maddux in his last go-round with the club whose logo he'll select to adorn his cap in the Hall (if in fact they do it that way--I recall some ruckus with Clemens a few years back...but come on, won't he?) but I had to sit through shit losses to the likes of Aaron Cook or Josh Fogg or whoever it was. One of them has sideburns, I know that much.

Still, I root. They've got some players these days, even if, as a fan, you fear attachment in the shadow of sure loss. You gotta know the Monforts won't pay to keep anyone who performs. So goodbye, Matt Holliday. Goodbye, Garrett Atkins. Goodbye Jeff Francis, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ian Stewart and Joe Koshansky down in Triple A. At least the Cubs, with their slavering worldwide fan base, have to at least pretend to be players.

Old No. 7: Talk to me about the Rockies. Is there a formula that you think could lead to success for this franchise? Because I'm stumped for solutions, other than bitching about management. That's always fun.

Cecil: There is one--and it's the one they started off with. Collect big bats, stack that roster 1-8 with guys who can swing it. Assemble a staff of tough guys who don't give a rat's ass about ERA and can go relatively deep relatively often. Add one firebreathing closer.

Say what you want about Bob Gebhard--and I know you will--he understood how the game needed to work in this town. Ever since they canned him, they've bounced from philosophy to philosophy, never sticking with one long enough to have it pay dividends. Small ball, big-money pitchers, now grow through the farm and mimic Billy Beane's A's...I mean, I don't necessarily think that's a bad idea, and it's certainly more realistic than trying to win with Buddy Bell, Jeff Cirillo and Denny Neagle, but it sure took 'em long enough.

Of course, it's not as easy as it used to be. They got Dante Bichette in the expansion draft. Galarraga was considered almost washed up, and certainly not a big power guy any more. Ellis Burks had been hurt. These days, getting an equivalent three players would destroy the team's salary structure and leave the Monforts selling oranges on I-76.
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Baseball In The Daytime: 7-20-07

First of all, allow me to wish my wife, who never reads this blog, a happy birthday. That way if she does read it I'll score major points, and perhaps get to watch a game this weekend.

It is Friday, and the Cubs are at home, so there's a day game to discuss. But I think we're all sick of digging through the minutiae of the Chicago National League Base Ball Club, so after the jump I'll get into a little math concerning the tightening race between two teams no one is sick of, the Red Sox and the Yankees.

First off, the mandatory Ferris Bueller special from Wrigley. Those wacky Cubs have closed to withing three and a half of the first-placed Brewers and today take on Arizona. At 12:20 Mountain, you can find this Brandon Webb-Jason Marquis showdown on XM 185 and DirecTV 734. Webb, last year's NL Cy Young winner, has a nice 3.42 ERA but only an 8-7 record to show for it. His club is likewise off--after losing 11 of 14 and five straight entering the All-Star break they sit 4 1/2 out of the NL West.

Now, on to the AL East. I watched the Red Sox lose again last night, after a two-hour rain delay. During this downtime, NESN ran a bunch of their canned filler programming, all of which dealt with the "panic" that's supposedly gripping Boston in the midst of the Yankee's surge and Red Sox slump.

The Bombers have closed to within seven games, which is certainly noteworthy if not newsworthy. I mean, the Rockies and D'Backs are fewer games out and almost no one outside their home cities gives either a snowball's chance of making the playoffs. But these are the Yankees, and they've won this division nine years in a row. They have to be taken seriously, so break out the old abacus for some fun with numbers.

The Sox are currently 56-39, while the Yanks sit at 48-45. They have six games remaining against each other, and these games are obviously the Yankees best chance at closing ground (or the Sox best chance to pad their lead). Those head-to-head games don't start until August 28, however.

Now obviously, if the Yankees were to sweep those six games that would all but erase the current spread, but we all know that's not going to happen. Boston will win at least one game. What could get dicey would be if the Bombers take four of the remaining six, which would knot the season series at nine apiece and potentially set up a one-game playoff for the division, a la 1978 and the Bucky Dent fiasco. Bad times.

As Buster Olney pointed out last week in his indispensable blog, the Red Sox and Yankees enjoy the two easiest second-half schedules of any AL contenders, mostly because of the Devil Rays. New York has ten games left with Tampa, starting tonight, while Boston gets the worst team in the bigs a whopping fifteen times. Almost a quarter of the Red Sox remaining games are against the Rays.

If Boston were to play .500 ball following their inevitable easy win over awful Jose Contreras tonight, they'd reach 90 wins. New York would need to go 42-27 (.609) over the same span to tie them, in which case you'd go to the aforementioned head-to-head record. I find it impossible that a team with this much talent could lose half it's games, so let's go ahead and let the Red Sox go 37-30 (.552) from here on out. That forces the Yankees to win 45 more games at a .652 clip to tie, at 93 wins. And 40 Boston wins out of their last 67 games (.597) would mean the Yanks would need to play .696 ball (48-21) just to tie.

Yes, I'm concerned, but there's no way I'll freak unless the lead gets under five. Then the cyanide pills come out--Cheers!

Update: Don't forget to peruse Winning The Turnover Battle's take on this topic.
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Baseball In The Daytime: 7-19-07

Bit of a late start on the day baseball beat today, but that happens when you make a seven-hour round trip to see Hank Williams III at get home at 3 a.m. If you've never taken in a Hank III show I highly suggest you pass--I guarantee you are not man enough to handle the large-testicled Americana he'd shove up your lilly ass.

Baseball players also take part in an indigenous American art form, only most of them are now of Dominican descent. They also have very small testes following years of the juice, but the game's still fun to watch on a summer weekday. The first one on tap this fine Thursday is the Angels and D'Rays under the lights and on the plastic grass of Tropicana Field. Mmm, drink in the nostalgia. You can find this bad boy at 10:10 Mountain on XM 182 and DTV 734, and Kelvim Escobar and Andy Sonnanstine are your starters.

At eleven, strap on your A-Rod signature dildo codpieces and feel the thrusting magic of a Yankees-Blue Jays tilt. Yes, I know that the Yanks are on fire, and following the inexplicable series loss at the hands of the Royals the Red Sox hold a mere seven game lead. Yes, this morning I'm officially worried for the first time all season. What? Like it was not going to be a race? New York has won this division like 12 times in a row! Dustin McGowan throws his cheese for the Jays, where he'll match wits with The Wang. Your broadcast options are XM 176 and DTV 735.

At roughly the same time, on XM 181 and DTV 736, the Twins and Tigers try once again to untangle the knot of confusion that is the American League Central. Jeremy Bonderman takes on young Scott Baker, and somewhere in the bowels of the Metrodome Jim Leyland is sparking up.

Miller Park's massive vulval wings will spread wide open to let in a shaft of Wisconsin sunshine at noon, unless it rains. Then she'll clam up tighter than a snare drum. The occasion is Arizona Diamondbacks v. Milwaukee Brewers, as the Rattlers try to salvage a season on the brink and the Crew attempt to stave off the mad hot Cubs. Starting assignments go to old fat Livan Hernandez and young handsome Yovanni Gallardo. If it were a dating game show Arizona would have no chance, but it's a baseball game, on XM 186 (voiced by Bob Uecker!). No TV data available, so listen to Harry Doyle and like it.

Finally, those crazy Cubs do a little business themselves as they host the Giants at twenty after noon. Matt Morris, who looks like he drives a van with no windows near elementary schools, accepts the challenge from Ted Lilly, who's richer than Nick Lechey. I wouldn't watch this game if you held a firearm to my genitals, but you feel free to tune in to the brilliant high definition of DirecTV's Extra Innings SuperFan High Definition showcase on channel 731, or regular def for you cheap idiots that refuse to upgrade on 738. Also, Ron Santo and Pat Hughes give you an old-timey radio call on a newfangled satellite channel, XM 185. Cheers!
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Fatlock Follies: Rollin' Solo; Playin' An Interesting Form of the Race Card

Eris Banks, of Conyers, Ga., the guy pictured here on the left felt, for perhaps constitional-rights reasons, it necessary to display his clever, non-hilarious poster at yesterday's Atlanta Braves home game. The story is not that the Braves outhit the hapless Reds 10-18, or that they let the Reds take a two-run lead in the top of the 15th inning. Nor is the story about the run the Braves produced in the bottom of the 15th, or that they ultimately lost 5-4. Exciting game, huh? No. The story is that Banks, along with who knows how many other Atlanta locals intend on supporting Mike "Dawg Killa'" Vick and his entourage.

I'm aware of this photograph because it appears next to today's column by The Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock. Whitlock, as I've said in other posts about the sports writer, has an interesting take on race, arguably our nation's biggest issue. Whitlock continues to suggest that the forlorn behavior of numerous contemporary African-American athletes has large ties to, and is inseparable from, the hip-hop/prison culture so often associated with black lifestyles.

Allow me to elaborate. The hip-hop side involves lyrics and images in rap and hip-hip music wherein "characters" continuously sell drugs, tote firearms, and act misogynistic. The prison side has something to do with the inexplicable misconception that doing time is cool simply because so many African-American males are, at one time or another, incarcerated; it's a shared experience, a bonding of sorts. The most obvious thing to transcend prison life onto American streets would be the oversized tees and baggy pants, a style that expresses the generic, non-fitting prison shirt and the lack of belt privileges in the can, thus the falling-down drawers and the massively oversized tops that, one would think, should cover up the backside of one's boxer shorts.

Nevertheless, Whitlock, regardless of his years spent being the first to play the race card in almost every race-related, sports-affiliated issue, has abandoned that camp and erected a shelter in which he, for the time being anyway, stands alone. Though I badger him on the InterWebs and annoy him with e-mails he won't answer, I hold a tremendous amount of respect for him for this endeavor. I can't say if it's self-promotion or genuine; I'd like to think the latter is true. I will say, that if it is in fact genuine, he'd better recruit some folks to take up arms with him. That's because, thus far, in the Michael Vick debacle, everyone else seems to already be playing that damnable race card.

Cecil's boy Colin Cowherd received a slew of e-mails on "The Herd" yesterday on ESPN radio, several of which he read over the air. One was from a listener named Jamie in Albany, NY that claimed the only reason the feds indicted Vick is because he's black. Several callers to "The DA Show" (KCSP/610 AM) here in Kansas City this morning offered similar musings. Luckily, both hosts put their respective audience members in their places.

I never thought I'd say this before, but it's time to wake up, people. Listen to -- you don't have to agree -- what Whitlock is saying

Banks is right. Vick is innocent. Right now. He's also entitled to a fair trial, just like any other man or woman. The National Football League and the Atlanta Falcons are doing the right thing by not offering statements or handing down discipline until the legal system has evaluated the situation. Things don't look promising for Young No. 7, though. If you have a large piece of property from which canine corpses are exhumed, operate a business called "Bad Newz Kennels" from that property, lie about the frequency of your presence on that property, and have documents circulating the Internets about how said corpses were executed (allegations of electrocution, drowning, hanging, beating), I hope for your sake you saved some of that signing bonus to hire intelligent legal representation, 'cause you in troubs, homes. You in troubs.

And don't get me wrong. If Vick was white, I'd say, "That's quite a pickle you've gotten yourself into, Lester. Quite a pickle."

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Guest DJ Scratchin': The Lone Reader Brings On the Soccer in the Motha'Effin' Nighttime

Editor's Note: Welcome back to Guest DJ Scratchin', our guest writing "series" on the House of Georges. Like our other features, it's sure to be a massive failure huge success, something we all bask on for months and years to come. The debut effort by the one and only Lone Reader, wherein he examines the infinitely popular game of soccer can be found here, his follow up here. This installment, you guessed it, is also about soccer. There's some soccer happenin' out there in the world, and TLR's gonna break it down for y'all.

Yes sirree, folks, the Men’s U-20 World Cup STILL ISN’T OVER. The future of world soccer is down to four teams. When is the Women’s U-20? Now that would be worth watchin’. There ya go,bankmeister, WAHCW featuring soccer starlets and that HOT team USA pitcher. I digress.

I went a solid one for fucking four with my picks last round. That’s a goddamn disaster. It sounds like a single-game stat line for a Colorado Rockies MVP candidate.

North America’s quest for world soccer domination fell short, and we’re left with a couple of fuckin’ Europeein’ teams, and two South American powerhouses.

From here on out, I can do no wrong. Put your money on the table.

Czech Republic vs. Austria (The Europeeing showdown)

Fuck this game.

Austria snuck by the USA with the help of a downpour and some sloppy bounces. The US could not answer, and the surprising Austrian team moved on. Spain’s predictable choke came earlier than I anticipated as the Czech Republic proved a worthy adversary. The Czechs have a history of showing up in tournaments, and have played solid in all phases of the game. Rain isn’t in the forecast, and the Czechs are hot. The Czech Republic will win the pissin’ contest 2-0.

Chile vs. Argentina

This may well be the game of the tournament. Chile has yet to give up a goal, and Argentina seems to score at will. I don’t have a fuckin’ clue where to go with this one. The Argentinians WERE the clear favorites, but Chile has a lot more to prove. Much like hockey, a hot goalkeeper is tough beat. I think that’s the way it’ll go. The Chilean defense will frustrate Argentina early, but will give up their first goal late. It won’t be enough for the Argentinians. Chile will face the Czechs in the final after defeating Argentina 2-1.

Book it, sergeant. These picks are done like the Broncos piss-ass, hand-me-down D-Line.

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We Are Hot Chicks Wednesday: Bosom Buddies

Welcome back for another installment of We Are Hot Chicks Wednesday. This week we'll have a look at articles/behaviors women use to make their upper torso region that much more appealing to men. Yeah. Tough task. Women, nevertheless, do have their work cut out for them, and men will always want more. That said, it's an interesting concept when you think of what women will do to make those thanks for the mammaries more obvious and erotic than they already were in their natural state. Oh, we've got a doozy of a lineup, too, so grab your adult beverage and your deepest box of Puffs. You're in for the long haul.

Marketa Brymova

The folded arms/lingerie combo never hurt anyone. Toss in a sultry stare and some spread legs, you've got one hell of a sandwich. Dee-nair es reh-dee.

Breeann McGregor

Also a fan of lingerie, Miss McGregor likes the attire while hanging out in the flower garden. This delicious photo was taken just after I'd helped her trim her rose bush. The thing was in full bloom and, what with the heat and all, it was time to say goodbye to that cumbersome top.

Ines Alecsandra

Boob shots from behind are an under-appreciated rare breed. It's always a nice touch, too when you find yourself distracted by the adorable peach fuzz on the buns. That whacky Ines. She'll do just about anything to distract a fella. Come to think of it, she'll do just about anything to a fella.

Lauren Stagg

The kitty-cat crawl almost always results in some boob draggage, a sure-fire recipe for good times, especially when it's across my comforter in a sassy little outfit like that. Raaaair...

Jillian Beyor

When a young gal with the knitting capabilities of Miss Beyor sluttily innocently holds her hands in front of her new-sweater-adorned chest, it just has wholesome written all over it. Of course the microscopic mini-skirt with beckoning mound beneath never hurts either.

Erica Kelly

Sometimes, it's just best to be blunt.

Ariadne Artiles

The innocent/exhausted/naive approach never hurt anyone, though.

Amanda Wright

Silk shirts and pearl gorgeous necklaces have been man's favorite breast enhancement since the beginning of, well...clothes and jewelry. In our most recent House of Georges staff meeting, it was unanimously agreed upon that that trend will not likely change anytime soon.

Kyla Cole

Miss Cole gets the double nod for this installment. Why? Well, looking smokin' hot while smokin' spread-legged with heaving breasts in the back of a limo will get you prizes in at least 49 of our 50 states. You never know what those crazy Texans are thinking.

Oh, wait. Yeah, I do. They're thinking, "We like our girls lightly oiled, topless, and adorned with cowboy hats, preferably near the jacuzzi. Yee-haw."

Diora Baird

Having gotten the superb setup from Miss Cole, we'll wrap it up this week with Miss Baird, our knock-'em-down closer. She blows her junk past all of the competition since she a) has a pretty rad name, b) is wicked hot, and c) borrows from each of the my-boobs-rock-even-more-so-now categories.

That's a wrap, boys and girls. Now that Miss Baird has gotten us the save, we'll need her to knock out that Tommy John Surgery. Or at least come over and help clean up mine.

'Til next time...

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