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 -

Monday, October 12, 2009

Will the 90's of Yesterday be the 2010's of Tomorrow?

Let’s see if you know who I’m talking about?

He left as the winningest coach in team history, their Quarterback missed much of the season due to injury and their future relied on a top draft pick.


Chuck Knox was the coach, Dave Krieg was the Quarterback and yes … Dan McGwire was the future!

These are my first memories of the Seahawks and what should follow throughout the 90s was a constant reminder that my team sucked.

There is no one more emotionally attached to their favorite team then a young kid. How many grown men do you see walking around wearing sweats with their teams colors or one of those huge winter jackets with their team on it and trick or treating as their favorite player? Young kids literally wear their teams on their sleeves. I didn’t do that but I was so emotionally attached to my team that when they lost a close game I cried.

I remember this one game. It was the Seahawks vs. the 49ers. I was a Hawks fan and my brother was a Niners fan. Dave Krieg was scrambling and had gotten a much needed 1st down that would have allowed Seattle to run the clock out and hold on to a 22-17 win. Instead some Niner had stripped Kreig of the ball and recovered, which allowed Steve “ %^&*#ing” Bono to drive the Niners to victory. I was so pissed off I cried and all my brother could do was throw it in my face. Funny thing about that fumble was that it put Kreig at the top of the all-time list for career fumbles!!!!

I think that loss can be summed up in two words for the entire decade; lost opportunities.

For example the in the 1991 draft Seattle took a 6'8 QB out of San Diego State Univeristy by the name of Dan McGwire. They could've used a Running Back but they passed on Ricky Watters. Their Defensive line was aging and Ted Washington was available. Just imagine Washington and Cortez Kennedy jamming the middle of the D-Linees. They even passed on Brett Favre, need i say more?

While preparing this blog I think that I've found a scapegoat, Tom Flores. Flores was general manager of the Seahawks and was one of the culprits responsible for drafting McGwire. When Knox quit Flores named himself head coach. I'll admit that I was excited that he would be the coach. The guy had won two Super Bowls while coaching the Raiders, I think that anyone would be excited about bringing in those types of credentials but look who else was hired in 1992: Mike Holmgren, Bill Cowher, Dennis Green and Bobby Ross all of those guys turned around their programs while Tom Flores went 2-14, 6-10 and 6-10. I might use him but there are plenty of other guys ... I'll let you be the judge.

So after suffering through the injuries of last year’s 4-12 debacle and seeing how the injury bug has hit our foundation along with this year’s slow start it makes me wonder… are the 90s of yesterday the 2010s of tomorrow?

I sure hope not.

- Gaerts -

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Backstreet boys, Spice Girls, Britney Spears….there are plenty of things about the 90s to be embarrassed about, but here at Sports Illiteracy we consider the 90s to be a special kind of hell. Mainly, football fan hell. The 90s as a decade held 10 years of both Seahawk and Ram mediocrity. The only fond memory that can be found within Sports Illiteracy is that it was possible to cheer for the opposing team since the Rams and Seahawks were not only in different divisions, but different conferences as well.

Why do we bring up the 90s? Because we are re-living the 90s as sports fans. Aside from new Uniforms and a flashy new conference, the Seahawks and Rams have reverted back to their 90s form; not a good thing.

For my part, as a Rams fan, I am seeing an eerily similar team take the field. On top of that, the media recognizes how horrible the Rams are and continually I hear them described as “worst team in the league” or “joke team” and my personal favorite “morale booster for the other team.” While this is disheartening, it gives me time to analyze the similarities and potentially come up with a formula to warn myself of the next cycle of terrible.

In the 90s, the ownership of the Rams was in a transition and eventually that transition lead to their move to St. Louis. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the current state may lead to another move. Or, in a worst case scenario, Rush Limbaugh will become a part owner. That last part is not a joke Limbaugh has actually tossed his hat in the ring to be an NFL Owner. I have a bad feeling about this.
The 90s version of the Rams consistently had a decent running back with no line or any other offense to support him. Yea verily the Rams of today have Steven Jackson and the rest of the team struggles to contribute. Gone are the likes of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, two players that despite their age, still catch the ball when it hits their hands. Also gone is the shunned but honored Quarterback Kurt Warner, playing now for a team within the division. Twice last year the Arizona Kurt Warners beat the Rams in retribution. What’s that? Their real name is the Cardinals? The announcers fooled me yet again as they fool me every week into believing that Minnesota’s new mascot name is “Favre.”

The nail in the coffin that makes this team a continuation of the 90s tradition is the overpaid quarterback that does not earn his pay. Although Bulger was an excellent backup, his ability to throw the ball away from his receivers is unmatched. Bulger does own an impressive “come from behind” record. However, it is important to note that teams in the NFL that have a lead generally play prevent Defense. Congratulations Bulger, you can pass against the Prevent, something every NFL quarterback, through 3rd string should be able to do.

There is more in this remake of the 90s season, we’ve yet to hear the Seahawk side, Josh will enlighten you to their plight in part 2 so stay tuned.


Monday, October 5, 2009

So Who Do I Root For Now?...

Another baseball regular season is coming to an end and for the 8th consecutive year my Seattle Mariners will not be in the playoffs which has me wondering, who do I root for now?

Yankees: Bunch of Cheaters, I refuse to root for the Yankees on principle. First of all they have Alex Rodriguez, quite possibly the biggest Douche bag, trying to barter a signature for box seats for his girlfriend Kate Hudson at Safeco Field. If there weren’t any other reasons not to root for the Yankees and there are, that would be it.

Red Sox: How dare they give us Heathcliff Slocumb and call it good!

Angels: They can go to hell for all I care.

Tigers: I remember a time when the Mariners caught up with the Angels and forced a 1game playoff and then beat the crap out of them 9-1. Think about that Detroit when Twins put you in your place!

Twins: What a way to say goodbye to the Metrodome with a championship run. In every baseball video game I’ve played, I hated playing in Minnesota. I can’t wait to never see that marshmallow looking roof ever again. Ka-boom never sounded so sweet!

Phillies: If Brad Lidge had a "mullet" and ran out to Wild Thing I‘d think about it. Oh yeah RAUL IBANEZ, way to Represent!

Cardinals: Everyone seems to forget about the Cards. Every year they fly off the radar, but when you have Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter and … who was I talking about?

Dodgers: What’s the point?- they’ll be out in the first round in four. I’d feel more comfortable with the Nationals going in to the postseason with 100 losses then with the Dodgers late playoff history.

Rockies: What the Rockies have done this year gives me hope for the Mariners next year. So here’s what I’ll do, I will live through the Rockies postseason success and imagine the possibilities for next year.



Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sounders til I die!

Yet again my Rams had a terrible outing. I was hoping for some points but instead received another shut out straight to my retinas. Indeed my eyes burn.

However, all was not lost this weekend as the Sounders (gasp! Soccer!) went into Columbus and beat the Crew ending a 22 game league unbeaten streak. The Crew has previously won or tied their last 22 league games there and until recently had a non-league win streak as well. Usually this would be an occasion all by itself, but the victory was made particularly sweet by the fact that the Sounders gained a leg up on all their competition for a playoff spot.

I was a casual soccer fan until the Sounders launched their season in Major League Soccer. I enjoyed following the national team and occasionally catching a game on TV here and there of MLS. But when it was announced that the Sounders would be an expansion team for this year, I was stoked. I began following the US Open Cup, in which the USL Sounders lost in the semi final last year. And then there was a crescendo when the opening game hit the air waves. And I’m still at that peak. I’m addicted to soccer. I’ve been watching English Premier, MLS, US national team and admittedly I watched a full game of the Under 20 World Cup.

Maybe this is just a bi-product of the “Summer of Soccer” in which ESPN marketed plenty of soccer matches and we were actually exposed to the sport if we chose to take a look. Maybe my new found hooliganism is a result of the Rams losing 31 of their last 36 games and being shut out twice already this year. It could also be that I am just addicted to the exciting style of soccer that the Sounders play. Whatever the reason, I am hooked.

I used to watch baseball in the summer, because it was on and sporting events were few and far between, unless I wanted to watch the WNBA. But from now on I will be watching the Sounders, and with their recent US Open Cup victory and a chance to win the MLS cup, perhaps they will be a winning team I can cheer for.
Here is to hoping the Sounders become the Evil Empire of MLS