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Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

It happened again.

Alex Rodriguez has once again been implicated for using performance enhancing drugs.† Biogenesis of America, an anti-aging clinic in Miami, closed last month leaving a paper trail of PEDs, steroids, human growth hormones, and testosterone that all came back to implicated Rodriguez as well as Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, and Gio Gonzalez. The head of the clinic is well known as the physician who supplied Manny Ramirez with PEDs years ago.

This time, there was no shock.Weíve all seen this before. Same players on the same stage. I think if the last month has done anything, its deadened sports fans to any sort of shock. Weíve been on a confessions overload. Armstrong, Tíeo, hell even the recent Ray Lewis story; none of it can be seen as terribly surprising.

The one surprise connected to this story is the idea that this may be enough. Iím not talking about baseball cracking down on PEDs. That will likely never happen in any meaningful way. Sports in general has only shown that if you arenít cheating, youíre probably more of a freak of nature than the guys spraying deer antler on themselves.

No. The story here is that this could be it for Rodriguez. With subpar post-season performances and compounding injuries, the Yankees are looking to cut ties with A-Rod. The Yankees are exploring any and all avenues to cut ties with Rodriguez and rid themselves of his remaining $144 million dollar over the next five years. While they would have to wait for the MLB to take action against Rodriguez, the Yankees are currently mulling over whether they can void the deal due to A-Rod using a doctor outside of the teamís approved staff. Unfortunately, many believe the fact that the Yankees took no action after A-Rodís first admission may weaken any attempts to void the fallen starís contract.

In the end, you have to look at where Rodriguez has gone. While I was never a big fan, Rodriguez came into the league with a lot of promise. Rodriguez was the first high school player to try to make Team USA. Failing that, he merely became one of the youngest players to make his MLB debut one year later at the age of 18. Over his first six years in Seattle, Rodriguez garnered a lot of national attention, but fell short in MVP races and other accolades. He made the 40 HR-40 stolen bases club.

In 2000, A-Rod would enter infamy as the highest paid sports figure in history at the time, signing a $252 million dollar contract and possibly pricing Jeff out of Rangers tickets for several years. He sparked national debate over how much an athlete was worth and began the 9 figure salary trend. His four seasons in Texas didnít yield a plus-500 season. In 2004, Rodriguez and his monster contract were traded to New York for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. Rodriguez reached new heights in New York and even won a few MVPs. Still, outside pressures and doubts continued to swirl around Rodriguez as his first 4 years in New York yielded no championships. In 2008, the team failed to make the playoffs after doing so for 13 straight seasons.

2009 could have been one of Rodriguezís best years when the Yankees won another championship in October. This was also the year that things began to unravel for the slugger. Amidst rumors, Rodriguez broke his silence and admitted to using PEDs. The work and toil of the Yankees latest championship fell to scrutiny. Rodriguez tarnished his own reputations and that of one of baseballís most prized and honored teams.

While numbers will speak kindly of Rodriguez, his actions and decisions will likely keep him blacklisted from the HOF. If the recent lack of inductees has shown anything (aside from how asinine the voters are), it shows that the voters are also unforgiving of those who cheat. For all his promise and talent, Rodriguez will most likely be shed or traded by the Yankees and remembered as a player who should have done more and could have done everything honestly.

Alex Rodriguez, verb

to slap

Knowing he would be gunned down at first, Hank decided the classy move would be to Alex Rodriguez the ball from the first baseman's mit.

Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

The snow is here. Those of us in the midwest are fully aware by now that we're getting a White Christmas a day later. I just got down to Akron to visit my grandma. Our plan for today is to hunker down and shiver through.

I got some neat stuff for Christmas. My lady and I got our first cookie jar for our moving in together this summer. Kinda like this, but in cookie jar form. They don't have any pics of it, but it's pretty sweet.

Otherwise, I got a nice Tigers pic for the living room and some Ohio State gear. I got my yearly Barnes and Nobles gift card from Lara's grandparents, which means I get to go be a book nerd for a bit. No one really complains about that.

I really hope you all had a great Christmas. I got Christmas with my family including IHM†when I get back. Got him some awesome Tigers gear. I hear I got something similarly†awesome. We have a tendency to give folks hints about their Christmas stuff.

In the spirit of the anticipate baseball HOF announcements, I figured I'd share some of my past thoughts. Here again is my ongoing support for Lee Smith and the closers role in general.

Lee Smith: Ok, if Goose got in, Smith deserves in in my book. Smith has more saves (478 v 300), fewer strikeouts (1251 v. 1502), and a nearly identical ERA (3.03 v 3.01). Smith was a good closer and earned 3 times more Rolaids relief awards.

familiated

To be humiliated in front of ones family.

Its not a good feeling to be familiated.
Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

Well, I got out there and voted yesterday. I then proceeded to spend as much of the rest of the day avoiding the election as possible. While I didnít get any more robo-calls, I still saw the ads on TV and couldnít help but see the chatter on Facebook. Today should be the best day for chatter, as everyone steps out to make wild proclamations about what is going to happen under our new president. If Obama wins, prepare for socialism and having your guns taken away. If Romeny wins, I imagine Iíll see a lot about jobs being sent away and being sold out. Heck, I have kids at the high school Iím at in a state of doom and gloom over the mere possibility of Romney winning.†
I hate to break it, but nothing major will change right off the bat. Even at that, the president has to get whatever bills and measures they want through our do-nothing Congress (which hopefully received a big shake up overnight). This will sound odd coming from a blogger, but people need to cool it with the speculation. At this point, there is little anyone can really do and we should know nothing major will happen. I doubt any president would repeal the second amendment. I respect the office enough to know no president would sell his country out. If people are pissed, I only want to hear it if they votedÖ.for everything Congress and amendments included.
Aside from watching all the crazy gadgets and light up ice that came with election coverage, things have been slow. I was bummed out that Albion lost to Adrian College this weekend. Coming into last weekend, the Britons had a strong chance to win the MIAA and cement a spot in the D-3 playoffs. We only had to get through the Bulldogs of Adrian. Historically, weíve had trouble with Adrian. We never beat them while I attended Albion. In the end, Albion fell a point short in OT and lost 20-19. Luckily, Albion can cheer itself up by beating the damned Dutchmen of Hope this weekend.
While next week will be the biggest week for awards announcement in the MLB, a few trophies have been given out recently. The Gold Gloves were handed out. Comeback Player of the year was given to Fernando Rodney of the Tampa Bay Rays and Buster Posey of the Giants. For all the heart attacks Rodney gave me in Detroit, I am glad to see him recover and put things back together. His remarkable .60 Era also earned him the honor of top reliever in the game.†
The MLB also announced the winners of the Hank Aaron Awards. I have to admit that I had no idea what this award was. Thanks to the internet, I now know that this award came to be in 1999 as a means to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron beating Babe Ruthís home run record. The award is given to the top offensive players in the AL and NL. A Rod has won 4 of these over the years, most coming during his days in Texas. This year, the honor was given to Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey. Now, I like the idea of the award and the means by which it was founded, but I must admit it makes me nervous. In the short duration of this award, only 3 players have won both the Aaron award and MVP (A Rod, Barry Bonds, and Albert Pujols). Also, if MLB voters are anything like college football voters, giving these nods to guys this early usually serves as something of a consolation prize. Now, most folks believe that Posey has a pretty secure lead in the NL and I tend to agree. The AL, on the other hand, is still very much up for grabs between Cabrera and Mike Trout. The new stat gurus love Trout. I hope that winning this honor and the Triple Crown donít serve as consolation prizes for Cabrera. Weíll find out next Thursday, November 15.
Well, thatís it for me this week. Iíve got finals to get ready for my history class. I got to condense human history into 10 weeks and got from pre-history to the Italian Renaissance. High school history can be interesting, but itís frustratingly short and incomplete. I didnít get to touch on the early Americas, as students in Michigan generally study that period in middle school. Thanks as always for stopping by. I leave you as always with your word of the week.
Nerdist colony, noun
A place where people of a geekier nature can be themselves without the fear of ridicule; an area where cosplay is accepted as being normal and out of costume people are rejected and despised. Normally a comic book store or a gaming shop.
Craig: Um... dude, why are you dressed as Spock?
Geoff: Oh. I'm heading over to the nerdist colony to flash my sonic screwdriver at some orion slave girls. Wanna come?
Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: HMS Bounty Halloween NBA NBA disloyalty World Series NHL Cam Newton Vince Young

Happy Halloween Gabbers! Itís gonna be a damned cold and windy one here and lord only knows what kind of celebration folks out East will be able to have between the flooding and wind damage and the snow over in the Appalachians. Mother Nature proved she can be pretty damn scary this week. Hell, she brought down the HMS Bounty this week. Made as a prop for promoting the film of Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando, the ship has recently been restored and was used in The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and sailed to various festivals during the summer. The ship went down in the midst of Hurricane Sandy and took a female crew member and the 63 year old captain with her.
You know what else is scary? The idea of moving Halloween. Itís being considered in my hometown of Warren, MI. Now, I can see doing this in places that were directly affected by the hurricane, but weíre a good ways off from the disaster zone. Granted, the weather has been better. Weíve gotten a taste of the wind and rains, but trying to move the whole damn holiday to Friday is a bit much. Our genius mayor thinks this is a good idea as tomorrow is still calling for wind and light rain. To hell with that! I went through far worse to get candy as a kid! The year I got to dress up as a Tigerís ball player, I had to hide most of my costume under my Starter jacket. It sucked because I had a mock batting helmet, jersey, and everything. Of course, I was still out WALKING in the wind and rain to get my treats. Most kids donít walk anymore. Mom and dad drive them from house to house, meanwhile whatever the hell neighborhood they leave to come to mine has fewer and fewer houses giving out candy.
To hell with this new generation of trick-or-treaters! A lot of them are too damned old to be out in the first place. Most of them donít wear costumes. Hardly any of them know enough to say ďTrick-or-treatĒ much less ďThank youĒ. My light will be on tonight. I will have candy in a bowl, the good stuff, chocolates. I will have all my decorations ready to roll. Theyíve been out enduring the wind and rain. If you want candy, get your pampered self out of the car (and not in my damn driveway that is for MY car), wander up to the door (I might pass candy from inside if it is that crappy), and knock on the door and ask. Halloween is on the 31st. Donít expect me to go along with any bull shit moving of the holiday.
You know what else is scary? Some of ESPN rumor mongering about the NBA. Why does ti scare me? I just think that with David Stern gone the NBA will finally stop trying to show how damned rigged it is. LeBron is up in free agency in 2014. Stern is gone. Kobe may be on the way out in LA. LA will need a new draw. LeBron fits the bill. Now, all these Heat fans are crying that LeBron would never leave them. Heís got D-Wade. Heís got a family. Really? You remember Cleveland? Hell, Lebron will not only leave Miami given the chance, but heíll host a damned two hour special about it live on ESPN. Does anyone really think this guy has loyalty to anything but himself? Can these fans be so naive?†
The NBA is the picture of self-fulfillment and greed. I just installed a picture of it on the Wikipedia page for greed (not really, but itís a great idea anyone with a membership or whatever the hell you need). There is no loyalty from the players to any franchise, fan base, or contract. The owners need to wise up to this and figure that if these guys want to use them as pawns, they need to get proactive and use the players. Orlando had a prime chance to limp Dwight Howardís gimp leg off for a few players and some draft picks. Would they have gotten fair value? No. But they had way better deals than what they got from LA and Philly. They got no one. Brooklyn at least offered the lesser of the Lopez brothers and Mr. Kardashian.
You know who got it right: the Thunder. They know they have three guys up for contracts. Each guy is going to want the maximum deal. They canít afford that. So, you take the less talented of that three, James Harden, and ship him off for an expiring contract and some draft picks. Harden, who people will claim was blindsided, gets a chance to be the man for the Rockets and the Thunder actually get something for a player. Fans canít be sentimental in the NBA. Fans that are tend to remind you of that guy who blubbered on about how wrestling is still real to him. The NBA has done all it can to build up the franchises it wants to see succeed. Itís a watered down league who is letting the players run it into the ground. Player loyalty has left in a big decision. Fan loyalty left just as fast, or at least it should.
I was also pretty scared by the Tigersí World Series slump. Now, all credit goes to the Giants first and foremost. The Giants had an amazing series and completely dominated in every facet of the game. Heck, the Giants intelligence and ability on the base paths even got everyone a free taco today. (I forgot to get mine, but I hope some of you got yours.) Still, the Tigers were on the threshold and just didnít show up. Iím not trying to bash the tigers either. They ended the season in the best way possible considering they looked out of it as of September. After the late September/October run they put together, itís very hard to be upset with this team. I had figured as had the team that not being idle during their wait for the Giants would help. Despite going up against the best their farm could offer, the Tigers bats werenít there and even JV, the rock of this team, was shaky.
You know whatís so damned stupid, itís scary? The labor negotiations between the NHL and the players. Look, you have a small, but loyal fan base that wants hockey. You start to lose more fans with every game you cancel. Youíre going to cancel the best thing youíve done in the last few years IMHO, the Mid-Winter Classic at the Big House, due to the idiocy of Bettman-Fehr. Youíre league only recently clawed back from the damage of 2004. Get something done and put something out there. You wonít survive another lost season.
Iím a bit scared that the Lions are wasting what should be a talented roster. Iím worried that the Roar Restored is shrinking back to a yelp of fright. On paper, the Lions have a great squad. In actuality, we have guys slumping at the worst possible time and players not living up to potential. Maybe some of our guys were just graded too high, but weíre looking eerily similar to the lovable losers who tried to claw back from 0-16 than the high powered offense that made it back to the playoffs last season. Iím afraid weíll be shut out of the playoffs this year.
Iím afraid for Cam Newton. Iíll admit I figured Newton would be a bust, but not many busts put up the numbers that Newton has. People have started comparing Newton to Vince Young. In my opinion, Young never got enough of a chance. Really, Youngís numbers donít bear out a terrible comparison. Young went a strong 8-8 his rookie year. Newton led a mostly young Carolina team to a 6-10 record last season. Still, Young came back to lead the titans to the playoffs in 2007 and 2008 with 10 and 13 win seasons each year. What came next was the strange part. Young battled injuries. Young came back in 2009 to have an 8-8 season, but struggled in 2010 eventually losing the job and maybe his mind.†
I think the pressure got to Young. This was a kid who came out of Texas on fire. Heíd beaten the highly lauded USC team starring Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. He was called a Hall of Famer by ESPN the year he was drafted. He was under so much pressure to win and distanced himself from Bush and Leinart so quickly that he just came apart under the scrutiny. Weíve all seen it before. Weíll see it again. Last year, Newton played to silence his critics and took a lot of the strain himself. He had to some games since he had little help outside of a revitalized Steve Smith. This year, the magic isnít working. Newton canít do it himself, but heís still trying. I only fear this may lead to his undoing. I fear he might come apart under the criticisms. Iíd like to see Young reach out to Newton. I think heíd be a good mentor and maybe get Newton to take it slow and remember he has a team.
Well, thatís about all Iím scared of for this week. Well, outside of bears, but Colbert kinda helped with that. I hope all of you have some great times trick-or-treating. If you get kids without costumes, I suggest getting a big bowl of fast food condiments to hand out. I know I have a bunch saved up. I expect to see some costume picks from the parents. Thanks as always for reading and I leave you with your word of the week.
frankenstorm, noun
A Frankenstorm is a hurricane and winter storm hybrid, involving a "monster" combination of high winds, heavy rain, extreme tides and snow. A Frankenstorm carries with it a risk of fatalities, power outages and severe property damage.
Farewell! I leave you, and in you the last of humankind whom these eyes will ever behold. Farewell, Frankenstorm!
Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB playoffs OSU v TCU coaching

With a little chill in the air and shortening days, we step into October. To be honest, Iíve been ready for October for some time. I got to the cider mill early this year. I went into late August. I got my usual cider and cinnamon donuts as well as a cider cooler (apple cider slush mixed with soft serve vanilla ice cream). You add some cinnamon to it and it woulda been apple pie in a glass.
While we donít get to see the World Series in October anymore, we do get to see some great baseball. Unlike last week, most of the races have been settled. The White Sox couldnít keep pace and the Tigers got hot, resulting in the Tigersí clinching the AL Central last night. Itís a great and welcome distraction from the Lions march backwards.†
Of course, the most interesting race is the AL West. Texas currently holds a one game lead over the Aís. As luck would have it, the Rangers are finishing their season out against the very same Aís! The Rangers lost a close 4-3 game to the Aís just last night. They square off tonight at 10 and have a final game Wednesday. The winner of this series gets to play the Tigers in the first round. The loser gets either the Yankees or the Oís in a one game playoff. As luck would have it, the Yankees and Oís are also battling for their final spots. The Red Sox are relishing the role of spoiler for the Yankees and currently lead their game 2-1 about midway through. The Oís are playing the Rays who, despite being out of the hunt, wouldnít mind keeping the Oís in the wild card. Still, how great would it be if the Oís snatched the East from the Yanks? (Well, not so much for our few Yankee fans out there, but the rest of us would love it.)
As it stands in the AL, the Oís and Aís will play in the one game wild card match-up. I like both of these teams. I donít think many folks saw either of them being here. I know I didnít. Buck Showalter had the Orioles playing really well as 2011 wound down, but I wasnít sure if theyíd be able to keep it up. The Red Sox implosion may have helped, but here they are. The Aís, on the other hand, always have young talent. Still, they never seem to be able to gel. This year, however, they did. I see Oakland as the hotter team right now and whether they play the Oís or the Yankees, they walk out of the wild card with a win. I wouldnít be shocked to see them move onto the AL Championship series either.
On the other side of the coin, the Tigers have caught fire. We have some solid starters (Sanchez has started to put some ball games together) and the hitting has improved, but they still struggle at the set-up man and closer positions, which can really cost a team in the playoffs. Couple that with the fact that the Rangers have had our number this year (Rangers lead the series 7-3) and you have a tough first round match-up.†
While things could flip entirely today, this provides a great match-up. Both teams are pretty evenly matched. Detroit has the best hitter of the season in Miguel Cabrera, while Texas has some solid hitters and the next best thing in Josh Hamilton. As far as pitching, I give Detroit a slight edge. I just like Verlander, Scherzer, and Fister a little better than Harrison, Darvish, and Dempster. Still, the Rangers have an edge in the bull pen and Joe Nathan has been notoriously nasty to Detroit. Iím optimistic for my team, but realistically pick the Rangers to win the series.
Barring any sort of miraculous comebacks or horrendous meltdowns, the NL is set. Youíve got Washington, San Fran, Cincy, Atlanta, and St. Louis with LA having as much of a chance as a snowball in downtown LA. What doesnít help LA is that they wrap up the season against the Giants. What does help them is that the Cards wrap up against Cincy. These are huge rivalry series, so itís anyoneís guess how theyíll shake out. Still, I donít see the Giants losing two.†
Thatíll give us an Atlanta v. St Louis one game playoff. Two storied franchises will get one chance to make it to the next stage. Tim Hudson against Kyle Lohse (I would guess). If only Chris Carpenter was healthy. Can you folks picture much better than a Tim Hudson-Chris Carpenter gun fight for that last playoff spot? Statistically the Cards have the offensive edge, but not by a terribly wide margin. I do, however, give the Cards the edge in experience. I think that will make the difference here. I take the Cards to move on.
The Cards prize is to face the Nationals in the next round. Washington will be without fireballer Stephen Strasburg, but they still have a formidable staff anchored by Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez. The Cards, in my opinion, have a much deeper rotation. They also have a lot more experience. I give the Cards a pass to the next round in a hard fought, seven game series.
The other match-up in the NL features the Cincinnati Reds and the San Francisco Giants. As I said last week, the Giants have a heck of a rotation with a revitalized Barry Zito. If Tim Lincecum can do what heís done in previous post seasons, this really is a scary team. The Reds have an up and coming offense and Joey Votto has returned just in time for the playoffs. Still, I take a good rotation over a strong offense most days. Letís not forget that San Fran has gotten itself some pop even without Melky. I think the Giants move on to face the Cards. My apologies to Bandit (though I would be perfectly happy to see the Reds move on).'
The story around Detroit is Miggy chasing down an achievement that your superstitious author was hesitant to bring up. Seriously, think of the pressure that going for this achievement has to be putting on the man. Heís looking to join names like Carl Yastrzemski (the last to do it), Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, and fellow Tiger Ty Cobb. Itís a relatively short list, but itís long on hall of famers. Barring serious injury, I can see Cabrerra joining these men in the hall, but itíd be great to see him join them on a certain achievement list.
OSU president Gordan Gee will get a chance to eat his words come 2018. The Buckeyes have signed an agreement to play a home and home series against TCU. Gee famously called TCU a ďlittle sister of the poorĒ when asked about non-BCS schools playing for the National Title. Who knows, the Buckeyes might actually be eligible by 2018. Wouldnít it be poetic if TCU kept them out of the title game?
Some of you may have noticed that I havenít talked about my high school team lately. The reason is simple: I had to resign. As we ended practice a few weeks ago, our head coach asked for a joke. One of the seniors gave one at my expense (pretty much implying that I have no genitalia). Now most schools that costs you a game at least and a shit ton of running. My head coach laughed it off, broke practice and thought nothing of it. Being an unpaid volunteer, I was pretty pissed at my head coachesí reaction. †When I asked him about it, he first told me it was just a joke and nothing to worry about and then tried to convince me that I misinterpreted a 17 year old boy. I spent four years studying English lit, I think I can wrap my head around a 17 year oldís lewd jokes. Long story short, I didnít feel the right kind of respect, sense of team, or backing from the head coach and resigned. Iíve had the support of the school staff and one of the guys I used to coach with at Center Line was frankly shocked at my ability not to want to slug my former head coach. Frankly, Iím just happy to put it behind me.
Thatís it for this week. Thanks as always for stopping by to read my thoughts. I hope everyone is ready for some MLb playoffs. I leave you as always with your word of the week.
woman cave, noun†
A sanctuary in a home free from males and kids, where a woman can go to get some peace.
Sheila retreats to her woman cave to clean her gun after a long day on the job.
Teresa likes to watch movies in her woman cave when the kids go to bed.
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