Monday, March 26, 2012

The Glory Days of Fantasy Baseball

I don't remember exactly what age I started playing fantasy baseball, I was probably between 13 and 15 years old. I do vividly remember the first league I did. I won it by .5 points on the strength of a big final week from Andujar Cedeno and a key Wes Chamberlain free agent pick up. I won saves with only Lee Smith and Stan Belinda. I remember that and it was probably close to 20 years ago yet I can barely remember much about any league I've done in the last few years.

Back in the early days of my fantasy baseball life SportsCenter was must see TV. We'd watch it together for the baseball highlights and there would be a "he's on my team!" yell from someone during every highlight. Each Tuesday a stat report was mailed to my house. I could have been hanging out with my friends but I would leave just to get home to get the mail (even if the friends I was hanging out with were in the league too; I wanted a stat report to myself). Now instead of SportsCenter, leagues have an up to date stat keeper. I can't remember the last time I watched SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight just to see how my team did.

Draft prep used to take weeks, a few magazines and about 20 sheets of loose leaf paper. At the draft, if someone asked to borrow a magazine they would be ridiculed. If someone drafted a player who was already picked it became a running joke for the rest of the draft. It was great. But the best part, especially for someone who loved it, was that those guys who did the pre-draft legwork or religiously scoured through box scores were always the guys who won. There is no reason to even prepare for the draft anymore. This might be the first year ever I didn't even buy a magazine. There is no point. I'll identify players that I'd like to try and draft but I'm not going to make a "sleeper" list. Why bother when everyone in the league can read a few sports web site's "sleepers" list and get the same information. Those guys do that for a living. When I did prepare for a draft I'd do it for a week. I'm not going to find somebody that they're not.

I used to love the draft. Everyone shuffling through papers and flipping through magazines are gone. The online draft also takes away one of my favorite draft phenomenons which is when 12 people can collectively forget about a player and him going two or three rounds later than he should have (although I think that had more to do with us all assuming he was taken and not wanting to be made fun of for bringing him up again). That doesn't happen any more. You do an online draft and you can have it ranked by the average draft position of every player in all the online drafts that have been done so far across the world. There is no way for a guy to slip through the cracks anymore. I miss that.

It's crazy to me that there was a huge portion of my life that I lived where the Internet didn't exist. I can say that the Internet has improved my life in countless ways but the one thing it destroyed for me was the truer fantasy sports experience.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Tim Tebow Rant

Throughout this post I'm going to make a lot of justifications for the Tebow trade, I'm going to talk about grand upsides and great hypotheticals but I want to go on record that I would have preferred the Jets didn't get Tim Tebow. But as I fan, I have to accept that it happened and start the process of convincing myself it will be okay.

The Jets are getting a lot of crap from making what was deemed to be a financial decision over a football decision. While I don't fully agree with that statement necessarily (although it obviously played some part), why is that so wrong? When a player is cut or player leaves a team to sign somewhere else, both the player and the front offices will say how they get it, it's a business. Why doesn't that work both ways? Why can't a team get a player and have it be partially a business decision?

Another reason they are taking a lot of heat for this is because everyone thinks Mark Sanchez's psyche is so fragile that bringing in a guy to play behind him that a lot of people will want to see get on the field will break him. I'm a Mark Sanchez backer. And I don't see the correlation between turning the ball over during a game to being a head case off the field. Please don't think this is a head to head comparison but Brett Favre threw more that 15 picks a year for more than half his career. So maybe Sanchez's ceiling is a 30-16 (TD-INT) type QB. You can win with that. I'll admit he regressed last year but I vividly remember his first two years in the league and that I was oddly comfortable with him in the 4th quarter. I also vividly remember his 9-3 (TD-INT) ratio in playoff games. And it's not like the Jets backslid from 9-7 to 11-5 to 3-13. They backslid to 8-8. they were a right tackle away from probably making the playoffs again. And even though he turned the ball over something like 22 times last year, he also accounted for 32 TD (26 passing and 6 rushing). So he is capable of making plays. And who knows, maybe finally having a guy threaten his playing time will actually be good for him and not have him crumble like everyone already thinks he will.

I've been subjecting myself to sports talk radio the last few days and there seems to be this overwhelming feeling that the Jets are going to now revamp the entire offense for Tebow. I don't see how that's true. You can keep the same offensive you have but add in a Tim Tebow package of plays? I understand Tebow is a huge name and a former first round pick but he's not making a ton of money. There are other back-up QBs in the league that actually make more money than him. From a financial standpoint there should be no obligation to play him. The bonus is that he'll be a back-up QB who actually contributes on the field for a few plays a game. And it's not like the Wildcat offense and the Jets is new. They aren't doing it because they got Tebow. They've been doing it anyway. They dialed it back last year without Brad Smith but they still ran it a few times throughout the season and now they have a pass option behind it.

Like I said above, I would have preferred Tebow went elsewhere. I didn't want to hear calls for Tebow every time Sanchez had a bad game. But in listening to the Jets front office, Sparano likes the Wildcat and Rex hated defending so if I take them at their word that this is Sanchez's team and Tebow will see the field a few times a game in gimmick packages then I'm willing to give it a shot and see where it goes. I keep hearing "Tebow didn't come here to be a backup!" But the fact is, he didn't come here, he was brought here and now has to accept his role which is hopefully that of a back-up QB who gets a few gimmick reps. But if the Jets start making changes to accommodate Tebow's style on a scale unfitting to a back-up, that's where I start calling for heads.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Finally Know What My Problem with Rick Is - The Walking Dead

This isn't a review of the Season 2 finale so there are no spoilers in here.

I think I figured out one of my main problems with The Walking Dead and more specifically with Rick as the leader of the group.

When I'm watching television shows or movies I tend to try to put myself in the character's shoes and base my reactions as such. And since the beginning of the series I think it bothered me that Rick met up withe group and automatically claimed a leadership role. It's never clear how long Rick was in a coma but I'm going to assume it was 6-8 weeks. By that time, roles in a group have started to develop but then this guy comes in and automatically starts to call the shots because he's wearing a sheriff's uniform? Wearing a sheriff's uniform in situations like that is as meaningful as if was wearing a Burger King uniform. Those jobs don't exist anymore. And if it was important to have a law enforcement guy in charge then why not just let Shane have the reigns. He's naturally more experienced in keeping those people safe by virtue of not being in a coma when the whole zombie thing spread (and as far as I remember, Rick and Shane were partners. And if Rick was Shane's superior in the pre-zombie world then screw it, things have changed.) And I'm not saying Rick wouldn't have eventually been a guy you looked too but he went from not part of the group to leader way too quickly and for some reason that bothered me because I think it would have bothered me if I was in that situation.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NCAA Tournament - Potentially Live Lower Seeds

Taking a look at the potential of the lower seeds in this year's tournament:

16 Seeds
UNC-Asheville, Mississippi Valley State, Western Kentucky, LIU-Brooklyn, Lamar, Vermont
Most "live" 16 Seed - LIU-Brooklyn
Unfortunately they got Michigan State which is not a great matchup for them (like any 1 seed would) but they have Julian Boyd, Jamal Olasewere, Jason Brickman and C.J. Garner who were all last year and no what it's like to play a giant of a college hoops program. They actually played a decent game against UNC last year. Gave serious consideration to UNC-Asheville. Five upperclassmen scoring in double figures led by Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm.

15 Seeds
Loyola(MD), Lehigh, Norfolk State, Detroit
Most "live" 15 Seed - Lehigh
I feel that Duke is a weak 2-seed this year. Lehigh has some star power in C.J. McCollum where if Lehigh can pull it off it will be on McCollum's back. He's just the type of guy who has potential to become a tournament darling. He will play in the NBA. Detroit is more talented but in taking opponents into account, Kansas is a tougher opponent than Duke. Ray McCallum would be a tournament darling too if they could pull the upset.

14 Seeds
St. Bonaventure, South Dakota State, BYU, Iona, Belmont
Most "live" 14 Seed - Belmont
Belmont has the perfect formula for an upset. They are a high scoring team that as a whole shoots the three well. They've played a giant this year and lost by 1 at Duke and Columbus, Ohio will be alot more friendly environment than Cameron. Take in to account that Georgetown is susceptible to early tournament upsets recently( especially to mid-majors Davidson, Ohio and VCU in their last three tourneys) and I'm taking them to win in my brackets. I gave some thought to Iona. They are more talented than Belmont but they aren't a better team. I'm not sure they get past BYU in the play in game and Marquette is a tougher tournament opponent than Georgetown. The 14's have some good players that can make them all worth looking at in Nate Wolters (SDSU) and Andrew Nicholson (SBU)

13 Seeds
Montana, New Mexico State, Davidson, Ohio
Most "live" 13 Seed - New Mexico State
I'm actually taking Montana and New Mexico State in my brackets (a 14 and two 13's, my bracket will be done quickly) but if I'm picking only one I'm going with New Mexico State. New Mexico State will be able to neutralize Cody Zeller with their size and rebounding ability. They don't shoot the three well but they are a good offensive rebounding team. The thing that kept me from putting Montana largely has to to with Wisconsin.

12 Seeds
Harvard, VCU, Long Beach State, California, South Florida
Most "live" 12 Seed - South Florida
Four out of five of these 12-seeds could win a game or two with the right draw(with California being the team I don't believe in). Unfortunately for Harvard and VCU they drew Vanderbilt and Wichita State. New Mexico won't be able to intimidate Long Beach State after the teams they played this year but missing Larry Anderson for the first game makes me weary. A part of me doesn't think that South Florida should be in the tournament but they play the perfect style to pull off some upsets. They do have trouble scoring but they also play good defense so they should be in tight games.

Monday, March 12, 2012

NCAA Tournament Bracket Reactions

Above is what a friend and I came up with for our projection of what the bracket should be.

As you can see we missed two teams. Iona and California got in over Seton Hall and Tennessee. But we also had 14 teams mis-seeded.

-We chose Seton Hall and Tennessee because they actually beat some people. It looks like the DePaul loss was the dagger for Seton Hall because for me, beating VCU, UConn and Georgetown are better wins than St. Joseph's (Iona's best RPI win) and Oregon (Cal's best RPI win). Tennessee was a reach because it was largely believed that they weren't in the bracket going in to the SEC tournament and would need to play their way in but it was too hard to ignore sweeping Florida and beating UConn and Vandy as well. We didn't have Drexel for the final 2 spots. I love Iona being in the field, I love mid-majors but I just don't think they earned their way in (2 sub-200 RPI losses too). I think this is one of the biggest examples of the selection committee going by the "eye-ball" test that I've ever seen. Cal is only in based on them being in the PAC-12. I'm sure of it.

-I'm not really going to complain too much about seedings but I think Louisville should have jumped Marquette as the 2nd Big East team. We had them as a 2 seed and they got a 4. It seems to me that the committee didn't really weigh the Big East tournament championship. They were probably a 4 seed prior to the tournament anyway.

-Why was St. Louis so comfortably in the tournament as a 9 seed? Other than winning 2 of 3 against Xavier, I don't see where their other good wins came from. And a 198 non-conference schedule doesn't impress me at all. I'm surprised they didn't have to sweat on Selection Sunday.

-I'll admit we underseeded Indiana. I think we were just familiar with Indiana so we didn't dig in to their profile enough. But after looking at them more closely, we were definately wrong. 8-5 against the top 50 is as good as anyone else along that seed line.

-I hate Wichita State and VCU playing in the first round. Two teams I'd really like to root for.

-I will never call the Tuesday and Wednesday games anything other than the "First Four" or "play-in" games. The first round starts on Thursday and the NCAA has to stop kidding themselves.

-It seems this year the selection committee really leaned on the RPI more than I can remember in the past. By the criteria they went by it looks like Marshall was probably closer than we think to a bid since they were the only bubble team with a sub-50 RPI not to make the tournament. It seems like the cutoff was 53 (West Virginia). And that also explains why there are rumors that Oral Roberts was the team that got bumped by St. Bonnie's winning the A10. Their RPI was 55. And back to Iona, theirs was 42 which is literally the only postive number on their profile other than the names on their roster.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Doing something fun tonight with a crossover live blog of tonight's UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann with my buddy over at DixontheWall. Between fights you should go over there and check his site out.

Thiago Alves vs. Martin Kampmann is not a main event caliber fight. Could be interesting but it doesn't do much for me as a headliner and definately not one that deserves to get 5 rounds(should it need it) to sort out. The real main event for me the is the introduction of the first ever UFC Flyweight tournament. I'm a fan of the lower weight classes and it's going to be fun to see Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez fighting in their natural weight classes.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Perfect March

March is the best month of the year. This is how I'd ideally like to spend mine.

March 1st - March 4th

St. Louis, MO

The Missouri Valley tournament is always fun and I've always wanted to go to Arch Madness.

March 5th
Richmond, VA

One day I'd like to see this tourney in it's entirety but I'll settle for what should be a really good Colonial final.

March 6th
Hot Springs, Ark

I'd like to see the Horizon final on the 6th but since I don't know which campus site it'll be at, I head over to Arkansas to see the Sun Belt final.

March 7th - March 10th
Cleveland, OH

I've been to the MAC tournament a few times and it was great. As a Buffalo alum I'm planning to stay until the 10th because they do have a shot to win it this year.

March 11th
Back to Long Island

I have a St. Patty's parade that morning and predicting the bracket all afternoon

March 13th to April 2nd

Zone out and watch the NCAA tournament