Thursday, May 31

The Best: Wide Receiver

This one comes with a major caveat: I absolutely think that Steve Smith is the best receiver in the land. But after taking the group pick yesterday, I'll stray from the gospel. Marvin Harrison was out from the jump because of his Linda Blair-esque playoff stats. Chad's been spectacular against mediocre opponents and only has one playoff game his ledger. I have a quiet respect for Torry Holt, but something about that whole Rams dome/alien qb/hall of fame teammates makes him seem a little suspect. Keep walking walking walking down the line, to my pick, Hines Ward.

Hines runs away in the grit competition, and packs in enough speed a big-game pedigree to steal the cake. His 8 touchdowns in 10 games compare favorably with Smith (8 tds in 7), and place Marvin's 2 TDs in 14 playoff appearances (both came in 03 against Denver- one year before they picked up Champ Bailey!) firmly in Freddie Mitchell territory. He also has a Korean mother and despises everyone from Iowa.

Weak Three

2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

That's a recipe for cake. Here's a suitable variation:

Sunday, September 23rd 1:00 vs. Lions

Wednesday, May 30

The Best: Big Fat Athletic Men

As previously stated, you build a football team from the inside out. This tried and true method of football creationism has been espoused by brilliant minds throughout the NFL. It has been assaulted by bad coaches, with bad results, throughout history. Richard Seymour is a clear choice for the defensive side. The offensive side is a little different. Building a franchise requires youth, injury-resistance, and leadership. Talent is a must. Size is essential.

So where do you go? Clear talent is abundant. Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson, Alan Faneca. But age rules out Jones and Faneca. Hutchinson is 29, and clearly a dominant player, but let's go younger than that.

Let's go to Shawn Andrews. Sure, he broke his leg early in his career and missed a season. That's not being injury prone, that's just bad luck. And who on the Eagles has been more dominant, outside of veteran Brian Dawkins. He's shown versatility, moving from tackle to guard. He's shown dedication, by having stopped eating so many delicious cheeseburgers and roast pork sandwiches. But most importantly, he's clearly the most dominant lineman on the Eagles, and probably in the division given the decline in Strahan's abilities.

Suit him up.

The Best: Coach

I said I'd make a strong effort to avoid using already chosen players and staff, but when it comes to picking the league's best coach, there's just no way I'm going against Belichick. He is as dominant a force in pro sports as I have seen, and that includes the ranks of Jordan, Woods, and the kid on Nickelodeon GUTS that ran 20 meters across the top of a pool in under 4 seconds. Belichick is so serious that he divorced his wife so he could spend more time in the office. He's so successful that he can wear hobo clothes without snickering. Halberstam even wrote a book about him. I wish he was my coach, so I too could learn the joys of playing through multiple concussions in late August.

Tuesday, May 29

Week 2

Monday, September 17th 8:30 vs. Redskins

Unless Jason Cambpell comes out this year as the next incarnation of Mark Rypien, the Skins are gonna struggle to pick up 6 wins. This will not be one of them. Again, I'm looking for McNabb in the luxury box with AJ, Kevin Kolb, or anyone else behind center. If there's any way to get beat by Washington, it's in the air, where they now boast a fearsome safety combo that's bound to lead the league in suspensions. And facemasks. And bad dances. Birds move to 2-0.

The Best: Quarterback

Ask this question a year ago, and you would have had four votes for Tom Brady. Twelve months later, and look how far we've fallen. In our talking heads world, this is how quickly public opinion (even among professionals) has fallen. Peyton Manning and the Colts had a wonderful run on their way to a Super Bowl victory, but he is simply not on the level of Tom Brady, who has put together three Super Bowl runs without the help of one receiver on his way to the hall-of-fame and another who is making yearly trips to Hawaii in January. He also dates the foxiest chicks and wearsfar more heart-attack inducing Yankee hats. He carries a man-purse and no one ever calls him gay. Tom Brady is the quarterback to judge all others against. Once when he rain out of whiskey he removed his own liver, squeezed out the liquids into a glass and threw it down with no chaser. Check back after two more rings for a more meaningful discussion.

The Best: Player I'd Start a Franchise With

As preparation for my job with ESPN 17 in the year 2046, I'm following along with ESPN's "The Best" series, playing out on the worldwide leader through June 8th. I'm making a concerted effort to name a fifth player, shying away from those already chosen, unless they throw out 'coach I'd most like to see run the ball,' in which case I'd have no problem throwing some more votes on for King Andy.

As for the player I'd start a franchise with, I'll take Richard Seymour in an amphetamine heartbeat. There is no more dominant, disruptive force on either side of the line. Seymour controls the crux of the game, taking with him a minimum of two o-lineman. He's also relatively young, heading towards his 28th birthday, and appears to be nearing his peak talent. Seymour, not Brady, was the singular talent that snatched victory from us in the 04 Super Bowl (although you could make a strong case for McNabb here). Of all the garbage that Andy Reid has fed the media through the years, the one thing I've become convinced of more than any other is that you must build your teams from the inside-out. And with my second choice, I select, from the Mishawaka School District, WR Freddie Mitchell.

Friday, May 25

'I don't know what car wash you worked at before'

But I'll bet whoever owned it would have had the sense to avoid needing to pinch hit with Adam Eaton with two on and two out in the top of the 10th. Just what was your plan for the 11th, Charlie? Miserably, a good bit of Manuel's ineptitude got lost in the shuffle with a wasted bases-loaded spot in the final inning, but he's gonna have a tough time avoiding criticism as he continues to lead a talented team into mediocrity.

Having missed the first half of the game, I was left to assume that we had lost couple players in the 4th inning 50-man shouting match, and was thrilled-to-death upon learning that the only player out of the game was Abraham Nunez, after being punched in the back of the head by Miguel Olivo's throw to second. Charlie's poor grasp of the double-switch is inexcusable, but running out of bench players by the start of 10th is criminal. Where's Jim Leyland when you need him? Grinding all day in Detroit. 10 to 10.

Wednesday, May 23

That's a W

A costly, ugly W. If up four in the ninth isn't enough to secure a win (with your closer in for a non-save opportunity- or so we though), then it's tough to say what is. In the end, we did manage to eek a victory out of a total CF, even if it did come with the loss of Brett Myers for an unknown amount of time (not to worry- Tom Gordon and Ryan Madson are back!). But what can't be left out of the conversation regarding this game was that we took home a win in a situation where we're almost always left with a long night of cursing into the pillow. We won our first extra-inning game of the year, on the road, against a team that has given us more trouble over the last decade than Bobbi Brown gave Whitney Houston (vice versa). Also lost in the shuffle were the three insurance runs we tacked on in the 9th, a timely blue moon to say the least.

While the final verdict of this outing will lie in Brett Myers' health, it's worth noting the positives in a game that bounced us back to .500 for the third straight time. At some cost, the Phils scraped out a win tonight. Sometimes these things even come twice in a row- they call that a winning streak.

Thursday, May 17

Well, that was interesting

The Phillies took 3 of 4 from what was formerly the best team in the National League? It certainly shocked me. I got a Ryan Howard MVP Bobblehead (awesome), saw Cole Hamels pitch some shutout innings, and still got the chance to question some of the ridiculous moves they made.

But is this a sign of things to come? They dipped back under .500 today, but clearly have been playing well over the last couple weeks. There are still obvious issues with the bullpen, and the hitting has been spotty from a large section of the line up.

They're still 6.5 games back from the Mets, who show no signs of slowing down. Essentially, the point is this. The baseball season is long, and teams go through long streaks, good and bad. Sure, get excited that the team is playing better than they started, but better than absolutely atrocious doesn't exactly impress me.

Tuesday, May 8

Wait, how long is this gonna go on for?

So now that Flash is pretty much on the way out, and Brett Myers is on the way in, the Phillies are presented with a new confounding question.

Why can't Mr. Myers pitch more than just the 9th inning? Are there established rules for how many outs your closer can get? Mariano Rivera used to get the ball in the 8th from time to time. Sure Brett Myers is no Rivera, but he's been a starter for his whole career....we all know he can pitch more than one inning. Sure, if your pitcher is going to come up in the 8th, you can't do this. But there have been multiple instances where this was not the case, yet there was no Myers in the 8th.

How many games will our middle relievers have to blow before this happens?

Thursday, May 3

"Tom" Gordon

Looks like he's gonna have to drop the 'Flash' title after leaving the team for a doctor's visit. Tom has been less than stellar so far this year, with opponents batting a robust .308 with him on the mound. Hopefully the medical staff will be able to remove the chicken bones stuck in his throat and get him back out there in time to add to Barry Bonds' (who my mom called 'Bondy Ronds' this weekend) assault on the all-time steroids home run record.

Wednesday, May 2

Men's Tennis is Half Empty

While women's tennis is still filling the seats with natural sleights (see: Anna Kournikova, Maria Sharapova, etc.), the men's tour is resorting to far more intricate and grossly unnatural measures.

Roger Federer fell today to apparent half-court specialist Rafael Nadal in one of the most meager, yet expensive tennis ploys in recent history. The court, which reportedly took 19 days and just over $1.6 million to construct, was built with the intention of eliminating the surface advantage which has dictated the outcome of the rivals' previous 6 non-hard court matches (they've split those 2-2).

While the clay/grass combo is an interesting concept, the result was not quite peanut butter and jelly, and leaves me and my buddy James as the reigning kings of gimmick tennis after my 6-2 victory last summer in which I used a 2x4 against his Pro Staff 6.2.

First And Long

Today we're breaking ground on our way too early road to Miami season, or as I'll be referring to it from here on out: another super loss to the Patriots. I truly don't understand how the league is expecting to compete with that team with anything short of catastrophic injures to Brady, Seymour, and Belichick. Double yikes. Nevertheless, we'll be playing in 16-20 games next year, and I'll be happy to guide yall through them.

Week 1: 1PM at Packers
I really, really, really hope that Donovan sits this one out. Knee injuries scare me more than getting stuck with a male masseuse, and we're going nowhere in January without Five. These first few will be the perfect chance to showcase AJ Feeley so we can squeeze another pick out of the Dolphins. Plus there's the nostalgia factor every time Al Harris steps on the field. Thanks to the guys at for saving me a Favre joke, I think we're all getting the point where a simple chart can give us all the smiles we need. I'm calling this one a shootout (Birds only) victory: 41-13.

Tuesday, May 1

Even Better Than Cole Trickle... and Just as Handsome

Happy Cole Hamels Day! In a city becoming more and more devoid of uplifting sports stories by the hour (see: NFL Draft, Sixers Season, etc.), at least we have one constant to look forward to, other than Donovan's parents coming to his side after someone hurts his pheelings.

Hamels' starts have officially become a must-see event, and in honor of this occasion, I'll be watching Days of Thunder on repeat until tonight's 7:35 first toss. Normally, a day game would help me out here, but in Cole's case, that might not be best scenario.