Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring Training

It is spring, you know what that means! Baseball and Soccer right around the corner. I’m usually not one to be super excited about baseball, but it finally feels like the Mariners have done some actual moves in an attempt to be competitive. I like that. However, I’ve been excited before and been completely disappointed. I’m looking right at you Richie Sexson. I’m pointing my finger at you Adrian Beltre. That being said, I get an irrationally positive feeling for the new signees. I get some good vibes. I feel like these guys are a step in the right direction. I hope I’m right; it would be nice to have more reason to watch Baseball this year than fantasy leagues. Yes, I just properly used a semi-colon in a sentence, I’m almost ashamed.

Now Soccer! It looks like Major League Soccer is going to have a season, despite their labor dispute. This is good news for me because I’m addicted. A word of support for the players though, I think they deserve a better deal. I’m not saying they should make money on par with other sports leagues in the United States, but they deserve to have a little bit of free agency. I think MLS is missing out on some talent and making things unnecessarily complicated when they do land the few that are willing to sign. I’d go into more detail, but instead I’ll use a poor simile. It is like a pie that is owned by everyone and a piece gets cut and that piece says, “I’d like to go to either Harry or Sue.” You then have a raffle based on who got the last piece and the winner bargains with Harry and Sue. The point is that if the pie wants to go to a certain person they should be able to go to the Sounders…I mean Harry or Sue.

At this point I gotta say, I’m also incredibly excited for the NBA post season and March Madness. That’s the thing about basketball and me: I don’t like regular season games. The players in the NBA play at a much higher level when every game counts. The College players play well in regular season games but I can’t seem to get excited about them during my “NFL is over” hangover. It takes until at least March before I snap out of the empty NFL void and realize there are other sports. If I had my way the NBA and College Basketball wouldn’t play in anything but post season games.

Finally, Hockey. That was an exciting game, USA V Canada. It is almost enough for me to get back into hockey. But it can be really hard when the NHL team closest to me is named the “Canucks.” No thanks, for now I’ll remain mildly aloof and claim the hockey is only a Canadian sport.

All for now,


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stasis Completed

I’ve been in a writing hiatus. Actually more like a writing stasis. That’s what happens when you are looking for a new job I suppose, writing takes a back seat. But I’m back! And I have a couple of things to talk about briefly to catch the blog up.

Super Bowl: I was not really cheering for either team, I like them both. However, the commentary about New Orleans Katrina catastrophe caused me to make the following potentially offensive statement. “If we listen to the news and all the puff pieces, when the Saints win the victory will spontaneously re-build all the broken houses downtown and the suffering of Katrina will be forgotten.” Seriously, I’m happy for New Orleans, but let’s not tie a natural disaster to a professional sporting event.

MLS CBA dispute: It seems like every sporting division is having labor disputes or struggling to get a new CBA done lately. However, Major League Soccer should not be one. It is a World Cup year, USA is in a bid for a future world cup and the owners stand to gain from a USA bid. I’m not saying they have to agree to a plan that will make them lose money. However, they WILL lose money if no plan is agreed upon. Unfortunately, they realize the players will lose more out of a strike or lockout than the owners will. And that’s where we are right now.

Winter Olympics: This may be blasphemous but I can’t get behind any sport that uses subjective judging as the criteria for victory. This includes half-pipe snowboarding. I like watching those sports, but I care less about who wins and more about the entertainment value. Curling is another sport I just have a hard time watching because I have this vague feeling that if I practiced I could be on the Olympic team. Look, I can rub a sponge broom back and forth on the ice real fast, it wouldn’t take that much learning to figure out how to do it so that the stone travels far enough to clunk the other team’s stone out of the target area.

Speaking of Winter Olympics, the starring sport final is on right now. USA v Canada in Hockey. I’ll be back more often. The stasis is over, but for now U S A U S A!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Alles Le Toux

MLS held the expansion draft for the expansion team Philadelphia Union on Wednesday. I was prepared to lose a player, after all Seattle was a playoff team and had left some decent players unprotected. I was quite shocked when I found out that the player was Sebastian Le Toux. I’m still a little perplexed by their choice.

I love Le Toux, he’s a hard worker and a fan pleaser. But the reality is, his salary to play quality ratio was a bit skewed. Sure, he’s a great sub and a nice fill-in guy. However, for 100,000 dollars against the cap I think Seattle could do better. Really, so could Philadelphia. Personally, I was hoping that Philly would have taken Pete Vagenas off of our hands especially since he had little play time and is a huge hit for the salary cap, but monetarily speaking, Le Toux was a good choice for the Sounders coffers.

Despite being an advantageous choice for Seattle’s coinage, there was a great outcry from the fan base. Le Toux was one of those players that when he came on the field, the stands would erupt in a cheer of Le TOOOOOOOUX. You could feel the pace of the squad pick up and the energy of the stadium would become more electric. It is very nice to have a player like that.

However, as a fan, we must remember that we are fans of the entire team. That means the team is bigger than one player. While Le Toux will be missed, we should not get hasty and claim that he should have been protected. We should not deride the organization for making tough decisions. Sometimes players go. Sometimes, even good players get cut. Sometimes our favorites are out of favor with the Front Office.

While I will miss Le Toux, I liken his departure to other favorite players of my favorite teams. I felt a bit of loss at first, but also a hopeful optimism that the organization (in this case) is doing what they can to increase the depth of the team. At least in this case I can hope that Le Toux will have an impact with Philadelphia.

In honor of Le Toux’s departure from Seattle I am picking 5 sports departures that have happened in my life that were more devastating than Le Toux to Philly.

1Sonics to OKC (It doesn’t get a whole lot worse than this).
2Jerome Bettis to Pitsburgh (was my favorite player on the Rams at the time)
3Kurt Warner to New York (Led the Rams to their first and only Super Bowl)
4Ken Griffey Jr. to Cincinatti(Was everyone’s idol at school when I moved Washington)
5A-Rod to Texas(This was about the time I stopped following the Mariners religiously)

Hopefully we can all keep things in perspective.


Sunday, November 15, 2009


Every franchise that should, refuses to say it but I think it’s time that the Seahawks do it. Rebuild! Like every fan, I hate that word. It’s almost like quitting but sometimes it’s better to quit before you’re too far behind.
We have the pieces to build around i.e Aaron Curry, Max Unger and Brandon Mebane, John Carlson even Justin Forsett looks like he has a bright future if given the chance. But there is a point where you must realize that signing veterans to fill a gap here and there doesn’t work (Housezdheaamdhaahfh, Julius Jones, Ken Lucas even Edgerrin James proved that point. I know that injuries have played a major part this year. Again! But injuries to key players in consecutive years are a subtle hint.
You have to BUILD A WINNER because you can’t just piece one together. There’s a huge difference between adding a player to put you over the top then adding that type of a player to a team where the foundation has already starting to crumble. I thought that Housezdmahahahahaha was that guy, it’s only been a year so the jury is still out on him. After the departure of Steve Hutchinson, Robbie Tobeck and the demise of Shaun Alexander we knew that the running game and the O-Line was in a serious trouble. Look where we’re at today. Hasselbeck had to throw the ball over 50 times to beat the Lions … the Lions. That is not a knock on Hasselbeck, I believe he can be productive for two more years. Just enough time to develop one.
What do we do?
Here’s what we do. The secondary needs to come down. I like Josh Wilson and Marcus Trufant but we need to do something with the rest of them. Kelly Jennings wore out his welcome a longtime ago. Deon Grant is getting old. Jordan Babineaux is a great nickel and dime guy but a starter ... c’mon. And Lucas sucks, he can’t cover the Cardinals, just watch what Fitzgerald and Boldin have done to him the last 3 years and we signed him, give me a break I believe the O-Line has potential but they need stability because. I really like the guys we have but they’re all out of position. If we could get a pure Left Tackle and some solid backups then that would solve a lot of problems. What Forsett did to day against the Cardinals gave me some hope for the O-Line.
All we need is another Running Back. I really believe that Forsett could help but we need someone who puts his head down and runs defenders over. Can I get an Amen?


The Inescapable BCS problem

I realize that in college football it is difficult to decide a national champion. There are way too many teams for there to be an accurate assessment of which teams are better than others, especially with the nature of football as a rough sport. However, there has to be a better way than the BCS, which in all fairness is better than the previous “National Champion” decider.

The reason why the system is flawed is pretty simple. Playing football is not the deciding factor on determining the winner. Sure, the premise is that the computers calculate rankings based on games. But games are more than stats and score lines. Games are matchups. Two top ranked teams that never play each other may match up very well or there may be a disparity in a running game or a defense. The point is, we don’t know if they don’t play.

In particular my gripe is that teams that are in mid conference schools are doomed to have doubt cast upon them. They have to schedule difficult non-conference games. They have to win difficult non-conference games. Then, they have to be perfect in conference to even be considered. Consider Florida’s Non-conference schedule with creampuffs like Troy, Florida International and Charleston Southern. Only Troy has a winning record while FIU has only 3 wins and CS is at .500. To me, it seems that Florida’s number 1 ranking is unwarranted due to their non-conference schedule. Sure, they have beaten SEC teams, but not impressively so. The scheduling of these schools strikes me as a way to increase their hype through dominating beat downs.

Now when you consider Boise State or TCU their ranking is dependent on their non-conference games. The reason TCU is above Boise is that TCU has been blessed with ranked opponents within conference. I hate to wonder what if, but let’s suppose for a second that Fresno State has beat Wisconsin and Cincinnati, two teams that they lost to by 8 points or less. Boise would likely be ranked ahead of TCU. In short, it seems odd that ranking is not decided by how you play, but who you play. Florida is rewarded by winning against SEC schools while Boise and TCU are punished for not having the privilege of playing SEC schools. Especially when you consider that the only reason for BYU’s ranking was a victory over a very weak Oklahoma team (YES THEY ARE WEAK) and Utah’s ranking was shaky as well (no victories over ranked opponents).

I understand why TCU is considered the better team. But, a system that is nearly entirely determined by how your opponents play and rewards schools for scheduling cream puffs needs to be abolished. On one hand you have Florida which continues to be rewarded for scheduling weak teams but has a strong conference. On another hand you have TCU which scheduled decent opponents, but benefited from overrated in conference competition. And, if you were an alien and had a third hand, you have Boise which attempts to schedule as strong a non-conference schedule as possible and struggles due to the mediocrity of their league. There are only two solutions in my opinion. Either create a playoff so we can see which teams are truly better all around, or allow schools to be able to shed conferences specifically for football, since this problem seems to be specific to that sport. For example, I would support Boise State being able to oust Wazzu from the Pac-10, since at the moment they are dead weight. I love the Cougars, and want them to win, maybe they could win in the WAC. They Beat Idaho! Just sayin.


Friday, October 30, 2009

See? Draws can be fun.

Major League Soccer playoffs. Really this is the first time I have even been interested in them. Why? Because this is the first time I have a team that I’ve cared about in them. Tonight the playoffs opened up with a bang. If one were to pick up the paper and see the scoreline, which happened to be a 0-0 draw, one would not grasp the implications of how important and dramatic this game was in actuality.

For starters, it was the Sounders first MLS playoff game and it was played in front of 35,000 fans. Fans that booed, cheered and displayed their support by bearing flags and colors and scarves. In short, ravenous fanatics. I believe in literary terms they would call the drenched in green Qwest field: The setting. And it was marvelous.

The Uniforms: Bright Green(Seattle Sounders) and Bright Orange (Houston Dynamo)

The Brawl: About midway through the first half, things were looking pretty on par for what you’d expect of a playoff game. Both teams were creating chances. Both teams were playing with pace. And both teams were playing pretty rough. Until Seattle got a corner kick in which Houston’s Keeper, Pat Onstad, bumped into Seattle’s Fredy Montero. Fredy, as he is known to do, took the opportunity to try to draw a foul. Pandemonium ensued. Which is to say that for the next 2 or 3 minutes there was a dog pile of bodies on the soccer pitch getting things sorted out; school yard style. Indeed, the teams were getting to know each other.

The blood: Also in the first half, not long after the melee, Seattle’s Nate Jaqua went for a header and instead found a boot. A small gash was opened up on his forehead slightly above his eye. Eventually he had to change out his jersey and have a bandage around his head. He looked like a war veteran you might see in a civil war movie. Except he was wearing bright green and trying to score goals. Coincidentally, Jaqua had the same thing happen to him in Seattle’s Open Cup semi-final against, you guessed it! The Houston Dynamo. I will now refer to Jaqua as the Dynamo Soldier. (Because of his bandage and because his previous team also happens to have been Houston).

The disappointment: The game ended in a draw. In all honesty, this is probably the most accurate result as both teams had plenty of chances but could not finish. There was more than one time where I leapt up on my feet only to be disappointed by a ball cleared off the line or bouncing off the goalposts. Although I was sitting at home, I jeered the referee when he did not make a call in favor of my beloved Sounders. In other words, the cats are still hiding from me because that’s the same voice I use when they get into something they aren’t supposed, only I was shouting for about 90 minutes instead of 1 or 2.

The good news: It’s a 2 leg playoff and there will be a winner. The Dynamo Soldier’s eyebrow will be avenged! The second part is in Houston and will not be as kind to the Sounders in terms of fan support. The 0-0 draw means that 1 goal can advance the sounders to the next round, or send them packing their bags back home to plan for next season. Though the drama was high tonight, it will most certainly be much higher for the next game. Welcome to Major League Soccer Seattle.

Take ‘em all!


Monday, October 26, 2009

I'll talk about something different next time, I promise...

Many things to talk about today. First things first, Sounders are in the playoffs. Hooray! I’m supporting a team that is winning! Now that I got that out of the way I’d like to continue my analysis of future Rams QBs. I watched soccer this weekend and was overjoyed, I watched football and was disheartened, here is why.

I looked at 3 QBs this weekend, 2 of them purported to be top picks that any professional team wants. I was disappointed by those 2. The third plays well on a mid major team and I have concerns about his size and his desire to enter the draft when the Rams need him, which is RIGHT NOW.

Jake Locker was the first of the 3. He’s a Junior for University of Washington. Unless he’s surrounded by idiots waiting to cash in on a big NFL draft check, he should be a Senior for UW next year. His fundamentals are sub-par. He gets points for leading a drive against USC this season, but I saw several concerning plays. Most notably on a short red zone possession. Coach calls in a short pass to the back of the endzone and instead of giving a little lob, Mr. Locker tosses a bullet, a QB basics no-no. That pass needs to be where it can only be caught by a receiver or out of bounds. Instead it was a Duck interception and the huskies held their heads in shame.

Second on the Rams QB menu was Tim Tebow. I’ve heard plenty about Tebow. I’ve seen a ton of highlights of him running in touch downs. That’s excellent for college, but for the NFL you have to be able to pass or you ride the pine. Tebow can pass, no doubt about it, but he can also make very poor decisions. Twice the Gators held their heads in shame as Tebow threw touchdown passes to the opposing team. Although eventually the Gators ended up winning, it was in spite of Tebow not because of him. Needless to say, the Rams already have 2 quarterbacks that are good at throwing interceptions for touchdowns and having an overhyped young kid with lots of pressure on him that can do the same thing is not ideal.

Dessert was Kellen Moore from Boise State. I’ll admit to bias because I watched him play in high school since his school used to play against my brother’s team. In addition, my brother sacked him one time so whenever I see him on a highlight show I get to shout with glee “My brother sacked him in high school.” All joking aside, Moore is good. I’m concerned about his size. I am also concerned that perhaps he is not playing against talent that tests his abilities to the limit that gives us an idea of what he would look like in the NFL. Despite that, I note that he has the best passer rating in the country and is very good at finding receivers. Of the three QBS of the night, he looked most professional. Unfortunately, he is only a Sophomore and the chances he joins the draft are quite slim

Since I have only studiously watched four QBs (read: wondered what they might look like in a Rams uniform during their games) I only have 4 on my top 5. However, Only Colt McCoy has impressed me at this point. Therefore, there is no QB on the 2 spot.

1. Colt McCoy (Awesome name, played through a bruised thumb).
2. ?
3. Kellen Moore (Probably won’t declare for draft anyway)
4. Tim Tebow (Not impressed with his passing)
5. Jake Locker (Probably needs another year)

Too preoccupied with scouting,


Mark McGwire ... the hitting coach?

Rumors have come out of St. Louis that former bash brother Mark McGwire will be the Cardinals hitting coach in 2010. Are you kidding me, seriously … honestly, C’MON? I’m sorry if you’re a fan of the roid-raging masher but I don’t see him giving pointers to Albert Pujols. Do you? My ideal hitting coach would be a Tony Gywnn, Paul Molitor, Robin Yount or George Brett. These guys were professional hitters, they could hit to all fields for average and on the occasion hit a home run or two. All McGwire did was swing for the fences hitting a lot of HR which is nice but doesn’t take a whole lot to do especially when you’re 6’5 and 240 lbs.
So, I thought it would be fun to go through some of the Cardinals lineup and see just what kind of advice Big Mac would give them.

Colby Rasmus:

Mark: “Colby, you had a great rookie year but you need to work the count more to get on base, 36 walks in 450 at-bats isn’t gonna cut it.”
Colby: “I know and I’ve been trying this new …”
Mark: “What you need to do is pretend the pitcher is a committee of congressmen and the ball is one of their questions. So when the pitch is on the way you take that question and plead the fifth, you know what I’m saying?”
Colby: “I don’t know how pleading the fifth has to do with baseball?”
Mark: “Listen Colby who’s the hitting coach here?”

Yadier Molina:

Mark: “Yadi you’re a bit on the chubby side and I think if you hit the weight room and beef up a bit you could be a great hitter”
Yadier: “I’m actually an All-star catcher that can hit a little bit.”
Mark: “Hey I’m the hitting coach here and I want you to hit the weight room … and uh-hmm see this guy about this power shake.”
Yadier: “How is a power shake gonna make me a better hitter?”
Mark: “Because I’m the hitting coach dammit!”

Albert Pujols:

Mark: “Albert you are great player!”
Albert: “I really appreciate that …”
Mark: “But I think you can be even better, I have this stuff in the stall that I want to show you.”
Albert: “I don’t feel comfortably about …”
Mark: “Who’s the hitting coach here, me or you?”

The Pitching Staff:

Mark: “Gather round gentlemen, gather round. I have 3 words for you ‘Grip it and Rip it’ that’s all I have to say to you.”
Cardinals Pitcher: “There’s more then that to it right?”
Mark: “Of course it is! I’m the Hitting coach.”

- Gaerts -

Monday, October 19, 2009

Scouting Draft Picks

As any NFL fan knows there comes a point in any season where you stop cheering for your team to win and start cheering for your team to lose. Why? For draft picks of course. There are three winless teams currently and all three are in contention for the number 1 overall pick. The Rams are, of course one of these teams.

Any team that is at 0-6 at this point in the season should seriously begin thinking about folding their hopes into a little box called “the draft.” While it is possible a team could win 10 consecutive games and end up with a respectable record, it is highly unlikely. In my opinion, the Rams have 2 more tries in which I will be cheering for a win. Likely I will reserve that cheering for Rivalry games.

The hard part now is watching college games for future Rams players. If the Rams have a viable top 5 pick, I am hoping they will pick a Quarterback. So, from now on I’ll be watching football for the “potential Rams QB.” I started this weekend actually. My game of the week was the Red River shootout featuring glass cannon Sam Bradford and Colt (can you wish for a better name?) McCoy. McCoy won the shootout since Bradford was injured in the first half.

The game was sloppy, but McCoy showed some poise and was willing to throw in tough situations to help his team win. It was probably not the best game he’s had, but it was the only one I’ve seen this year. I think he is showing potential.

If there is one thing that keeps me interested in college football, it is the NFL draft. Now that the first week of the BCS standings are out, I can begin to compile my scouting list of players on big name teams that inevitably the Rams won’t pick so I can be disappointed for another season. So, from here on out, whether it is read or not, I’ll be talking about *gasp* college football games. Only games featuring quarterbacks that I’d like to see wearing the Blue and Gold, assuming I’ll get them on my standard cable package.

This weekend I’ll be watching Oregon vs. Washington because it is the most likely locally shown game featuring a quarterback the Rams could possibly draft. Jake Locker, this is your chance to prove to me you can win the St. Louis lottery.
Since I’ve only scouted 1 game and McCoy played through a bruised thumb while Bradford was injured yet again, McCoy makes my first ever “Top 5 Quarterbacks the Rams should draft” Board. Which is currently as follows.

1. Colt McCoy (Awesome name, played through a bruised thumb).
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?
5. Profit

Until next week,


Go Yankees … sort of.

As much as I hate to say it, the Yankees belong in the playoffs. To utter such words is blasphemy, but hear me out.

First I want to take you back to November 4, 2001 … Does anyone know where I’m going with this? Well if you don’t or you would like to take a trip to memory lane you should check this out.

For those of you who remember that night, do you remember how it felt? I can’t explain how exciting it was to watch the Yankees walk off the field in all their arrogance and … glory. What bliss, I might have cried … probably did. I don’t know how you Athletic fans felt when the Yankees beat you but I remember what they did to Seattle: Alfonso Soriano’s 2-run walkoff against Kasuhiro Sasaki in game 4, and Lou Piniella guaranteeing that the Mariners would return to Seattle only to lose game 5 while Yankee fans chanted “Overrated!” It was hard on me but it was all wiped away on November 4th. Was it like that for you guys in Oakland? I hope it was. That year they were supposed to be “America’s Team,” quite frankly if you rooted for the Yankees because of 9/11 then you’re a TRAITOR. But I digress.

Every story needs the “good vs. evil” and no team calls hell home like the Yankees.

Would it have been nice if they lost to the Twins in first round?


Or they collapse against the Angels?


How about we tease them into thinking that they’ll win it all … you know get everyone in on it like replacing Melky Cabrera in center with Brett Gardner and bringing in Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 9th of game 7 and BAM! They lose?

That would be AWESOME!!!


- Gaerts -