A tipster's tale inspires the following rant

The Big Dead Sidebar staff has received its first complaint in the inbox, and it comes from the Super Bowl.

Tipster "CT" has encountered some trouble with some of folks during their first trip to a Super Bowl. Problems start with massive crowds, rude people, poor policing, etc.

While I'm not here to exactly tell the horror story of every individual (because that's not what this blog is about) I feel as if I can use this forum to call out people on their stupidity.

So here it goes.

Target No. 1 - Autograph Hunters

Nothing frustrates me more than middle-aged money grubbing "super fans" who push past children in search of an autograph only to turn around and sell it for a few bucks on eBay. Here's a bit of advice to these life-less sacks of bacteria: Get A Life!

In fact, get a job. I don't care where, preferably you're nowhere near me, but go do something legit to make money. Go flip some burgers, but if you really want to handle money on a daily basis then you can shoot for the stars and become a cashier.

Trampling children isn't cool ... mostly because they will likely be your boss one day.

Target No. 2 - The Police

The job of a policeman is simple: to serve and protect. And if you have to work a large crowd, your best bet is not to rattle crowds to the point where if you shake them they will eventually explode. You want to contain, not douse the fire with gasoline.

And please, don't confuse this with some type of f*ck the police kinda stuff because I respect authority figures ... as long as they respect their constituents and their badge. If not, their uselss to the community and therefore a disgrace to the uniform.

Target No. 3 - Overzealous Fans

I'm not saying "CT" is wrong because they have some pretty condemning stuff ... but again ... this isn't that kind of sports blog.

But some advice for "CT" for the future:

As someone who has dealt with all kinds of fans in all sorts of environments, I've learned that taking children to events such as ESPN's coverage of the Super Bowl isn't the best idea. I understand you want to show your family a good time and you did not deserve to be mistreated, because nobody does, but big crowds aren't good for young children.

It's just better for all parties involved.

Keep the American dream alive and keep cheering for whoever you'd like.

Stat Boy Presents: 36 points later

NCAA BASKETBALL: DEC 08 Hawaii at Illinois
The Minnesota Golden Gophers beat the University of Illinois Fighting Illini, 59-36, on Thursday.

Allow me to repeat that final score for ya. With boldface type and a little bit bigger font.


I guess this would be a great time for my alter ego Stat Boy (a.k.a. State Boy) to break it down for you.

The Illini scored 36 points ... in the entire game.

Does this need further breakdown? Sarah Palin says, "You betcha!"

  • The SIU men's basketball team scored 39 points ... in the first half of the team's win against Missouri State.
  • Minnesota scored 37 points ... in the second half of its game.
  • Chicago State guards David Holston and John Cantrell scored 41 and 40 points, respectively in the team's 123-121 FOUR-OT loss against Utah Valley.
  • Oh yeah, Utah Valley guard Ryan Toolson scored 63 points in the same game.
  • Davidson guard Stephen Curry has scored more than 36 points on his own five times already this season.
So why did the Fighting Illini go cold as a Minnesota night in the woods?

Is it karma for Coach Bruce not calling me back in regards to my Kent Williams story?

Well, maybe.

Apparently the lesson here is to call me back a.s.a.p., which is fine by me.

BREAKING NEWS: That Bryan Mullins kid is pretty good

NCAA First Round - Southern Illinois v Holy Cross
At SIU men's basketball game's, I sit on my perch on press row high above the SIU Arena, I think to myself where the heck the Salukis would be without Bryan Mullins.


Kevin Dillard is good and will be great. Ryan Hare will be remembered as the absolute steal of this recruiting class. And Justin Bocot is progressing rather well after not playing organized basketball for one year.

But Dillard and Hare are freshman, and will likely eventually hit the freshman wall. Bocot is even more likely to hit the wall, even though he looks like he might just crash through it.

In Thursday night's 67-58 win against Missouri State, Mullins notched a double-double (13 points, 10 assists) with only one turnover - which probably should be attributed to senior forward Tony Boyle.

He probably would have had 20 assists had his teammates hit open jumpers and layups down low.

I digress.

If his career ended tomorrow (which hopefully wouldn't happen) he would be a sure-fire Saluki Hall of Famer. In addition to his already stellar numbers, Mullins' grit, hard work and leadership skills are the icing to his scoring, assists and steals numbers.

Without B-Mull, Southern would be like a lost puppy.

Fitting, I guess.

Instead, SIU is 5-5 in MVC play and 10-11 overall. Not enough to fit for Saluki standards, but taking into consideration the turmoil of the early season, it's a sign of progress.

Pujols: Cards should sign Manny

We'll call it Albert just being Albert.

Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals' all-world first baseman, told the Associated Press that it could be in the club's best interest to sign Manny Ramirez, the incredibly talented yet overly irritating slugger formerly of Dodger and Red Sox fame.

Apparently Pujols and Ramirez are buddies who chat regularly on the phone and have discussed the possibility of teaming up in St. Louis.

Now, I am in no way questioning Ramirez's talent. He is probably one of the most gifted hitters of all-time.

The question is, is Manny being Manny worth Manny protecting Pujols.

Should the Cards move on Pujols' advice, and there is absolutely no indication they would do so, the Cardinals would have a middle lineup that would include Pujols, Ramirez, Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick.

The Cardinals are already crowded in the outfield position. So much so, that super-prospect Colby Rasmus may have to wait in the minors for another year to get a legitimate shot at as a featured player.

In this blogger's humble opinion, Manny is not worth the hassle. But that being said, should Ramirez opt to wear the birds on the bat, I'd be the first to say a Albert/Manny one-two punch would be the most prolific in baseball without a doubt. Maybe even one THE most deadly combo in baseball history.

Here is a look at one bloggers take on the best one-two punches in baseball history... Manny is already on that list while he teamed with slugger David Ortiz.

But the real question is, is Manny worth it? I say no. Others say yes. Pujols says yes.

Obviously, it will help the team win ballgames. But on the other hand, it could be a bad situation for the clubhouse.

It would no doubt create an excitement around the team heading into the season. So maybe, just maybe, I'd be willing to change my mind if Manny signed.

But until he does, I'll go on record and say it's a bad idea.

He Gone!

Blagojevich Speaks During Closing Arguments At His Impeachment Trial
G-Rod can't hold that Cubs sh*t over you any more.

Neither can his wife.

Now that he's been impeached, I'm sure he's got a lot of time to sit in the bleachers if he's not invited to Club Fed, first.

As for Illinois' new governor, I can't wait until he finds himself in a controversy after trying to sell some White Sox seats at U.S. Cellular Field.

On behalf of the part of the TBDS staff that resides in the state of Illinois, good luck Pat Quinn.

As for the rest of us, I am unsure we are adequately prepared to live in a world where our President and Governor are both White Sox fans.

I think I better bet Obama/Guillen for the '09 World Series.


In a very sad day for me personally, the White Sox super utility man and extraordinarily goofy World Series hero Juan Uribe signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants.

I loved this guy's humor and his total disinterest in taking a walk. He also played phenomenal defense in Joe Crede's absence from the hot corner down the stretch.

And you can't forget the homer hands either. Or the time he referred to a certain No. 1 starter as "Mike Bailey".

Best of luck.

W-Hoops: I remember that story

It's actually been a while since I wrote that story about the women's basketball program. Almost an entire year to be exact.

I haven't really taken a moment to ever really reflect on that whole debacle since it happened over the course of the season and eventually peaked after the Salukis lost in the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference season.

At the time, rumors had been swirling on message boards, sources were emailing me anonymous horror stories and the entire department was as tight lipped as you would imagine.

I didn't know what to make of them immediately because it was my second year covering the team and I knew what a fiery personality the coach had. To be honest, to this day I never really had a problem with what went on and I told her that (Although I'm sure she still wanted to rip my head off anyway...figuratively of course).

For the most part while I was reading these emails I was thinking, "boo hoo". These people get their education paid for and you had to have known you were going to deal with a screamer when you signed with the program. My other thought was, if you can't handle the heat get out of the kitchen.

And get out of the kitchen most of the team did.

To be honest, other than maybe one or two players I didn't see SIU losing a whole lot with the defections other than garnering a whole dumptruck full of bad PR.

But the whole situation was too much to ignore when, on senior night, a few of the assistant coaches and the head coach were absent from the festivities. The coaching staff blamed it on confusion but something didn't seem right.

It was almost spring break at the time of that game so I followed the team to Illinois State to get a jump start on my drive home. The Redbirds were the top team in the MVC at the time and I figured the Salukis would get smoked for the upteenth time but SIU won in dramatic fashion and for one night everyone seemed happy again.

Anyone familiar with the situation knows how the story played out but it reminds me now why I just can't like college sports the way I used to.

Everything is behind closed doors in a college environment. There isn't a single "clean" coach out there in my opinion and you can check into it. Everyone bends the rules to some extent, then there are the boosters and so on. It's just a messy system in general.

There are defections in every program in any sports setting be it free agency, personal reasons or otherwise.

The thing I noticed in the pro environment is that the players are so much more up front about it. If they don't like the situation, they come out and say it. It doesn't have that dictatorship feel that college has because the players have the money and the control.

It was just so frustrating to be able to try to talk to anyone with the program because everything was a big secret. To be honest had they just come out and said that there were significant problems than it probably wouldn't have been a big deal but the situation got out of hand in a hurry.

I also never understood why the group of players she coached followed her from Missouri-Kansas City to SIU if they hated her so much. They claimed she changed over time and that the departure of "the good cop" (now in charge of Wichita State) was a big deal.

Those are feasible arguements to a certain extent but part of me thinks that a bad season got out of hand and the seniors didn't produce like they did the year before when the won the regular season title.

Either way, I thought it was a risky gamble to give the coach a contract extension after a second round WNIT appearance. Now the situation isn't as ugly, as far as I know, but the results are just as bad if not worse.

Sounds like someone we know.

Speaking of Jerry Wainwright, doesn't he look like the guy from Breakfast Club.

Just a thought.

I'm pretty sure he's one of the "good guys in sports".

Must be why he can't win.

Storyline on the hush

I have a feeling when a certain TBDS staff member reads this post, he will cringe and then strangle me virtually.

Oh well.

We're gonna have ourselves a nice double-header today at the SIU Arena as long as the weather holds up.

The SIU women's team is hosting Wichita State at 5:30 p.m. The Shockers are coached by Jody Adams, who was the Salukis' associate head coach when the team went 21-11 en route to a Missouri Valley Conference championship.

Adams left after that season and was the head coach that sparked Murray State to a 24-8 record. Back in Carbondale, SIU slumped to 10-20 as head coach Dana Eikenberg battled player defections and accusations of verbal abuse in what was a total 180 turnaround from the season before.

Now, Adams is back in the Valley and will be on the other side of the court leading the Shox against her former boss.


Your move, Cubs fans

It's good to see the Cards are making use of the landfill behind the new Busch Stadium.

Thank you, Deadspin!

Florida State's crappy 'D' isn't limited to football

Sorry about that David Beckham thing earlier.

But you know what I'm not sorry about: My allegiance to the No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels.

And while Jon Scheyer was chuckin' and duckin' as No. 1 Duke was knocked off, Tar Heel point guard Ty Lawson did this.

UNC 80 FSU 77 [Daily Tar Heel - only to show love for a fellow student-run newspaper]

No. 1 knocked off (again)

Maryland v Duke
Ding-dong, the Blue Devils are dead.

Man, is this blog getting all religious up in here or am I just going nuts on the idea of Catholic universities with Demons and Devils as their mascots? I must be the only one in the world that finds that odd.

Anyway, No. 4 Wake Forest knocked off No. 1 Duke on a shot in the low-post by a guy not named Jeff Teague.

Seriously, the guy is off the hook.

He's averaged 21.5 points per game including 34 against North Carolina and six other games in which he scored at least 24 points. Absolute stud.

But did you know he was some fatherly advice away from being a Saluki.

Jeff Goodman dropped this nugget on the world a few weeks ago and I've sat on it hoping for the right moment:

Imagine Jeff Teague playing at Southern Illinois. It nearly happened.

"Teague was one of those late-bloomers. There were always one or two guys that came out of nowhere at the ABCD Camp in New Jersey – and Teague was one of those guys a few years back.

'I was about to commit to Southern Illinois before ABCD Camp,' Teague said. 'But my dad talked to me about it and convinced me to wait.'

Goodman goes on to say, "I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say he’s the best guard in America, but he’s certainly put himself in the conversation along with Stephen Curry and James Harden."

The idea of Teague in Saluki maroon makes my heart flutter and eyes tear up a little.

Imagine Teague, Mullins, Dillard, Hare and Bocot. I'd run a five-guard offense for the heck of it and dare my Missouri Valley Conference foes to stop all five of them at once.

Ugh, why is David Beckham in my top plays?

Sports News - January 29, 2009
Dear David, you're a sack of crap and the reason I don't respect soccer.

Sorry, can't do it.

I understand that it's the world's game and there is a passion for "futbol" or "football" or whatever you want to call it. It unites nations, builds rivalries that go beyond teams into cities, countries, continents, etc.

Stateside, I understand that middle-upperclass parents use soccer as a babysitting tool for their unathletic kid because, you know, because everyone's a winner and we don't want to hurt the fragile psyche of the future middle-managment types of the world.

Don't even get me started on your acceptance of sister-kissing, also known as ties. Even Donovan McNabb doesn't get it.

But you come to America, more-ballyhooed than the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Spice Girls combined and make millions of dollars to put forth a below average effort as you "battle injuries" and adjust to the American-style of the game. Then you go back-and-forth between the LA Galaxy and whatever Euro-star team you're playing for out there, teasing a dwindling fandom in the U.S. of A. that actually cares about you.

And now it looks as if you're gonna stay there for good and apparently decide that you're going to stay there and resume your spot as one of the game's best international players.

Thanks David for making me waste 20 minutes writing this post calling you and your game out.

Paul Bako re-connects Cubs to Dusty Baker Era, again

Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles
Buried under all the news of the acquisition of Jake Peav..er..Aaron Heilman is the news of the likely return of Paul Bako to be the Cubs' No. 2 catcher.

To that a say, "yack!"

Rumors have Bako signing a one-year, $750,000 deal to return to Chicago.

This is coming off the heels of Henry Blanco, one of baseball's best reserve backstops, signing a similar deal with the San Diego Padres. So let's look at the seven stages of front office stupidity as played out by the Cubs.
  1. Decline $2.5 million option on Henry Blanco, team expects to re-sign him at a lower price.
  2. NL ROY Geovany Soto says Blanco was his mentor, expects him to re-sign with team.
  3. Cubs say they have no money.
  4. Re-sign P Ryan Dempster to a four-year, $48 million deal. Sign OF Milton Bradley to a three-year, $30 million deal after dealing P Jason Marquis and the versatile Mark DeRosa.
  5. Blanco signs one-year deal worth $750,000.
  6. Cubs without back-up catcher.
  7. Bako nears deal to return to Chicago.
Here is the one stage all Cubs fans are probably going through. We'll just call it the "OhmyGodIcan'tbelievetheybroughtbackthatsackofcrap!" phase.

Don't believe he sucks, Baseball-Reference.com presents to you all the evidence you will ever need.

Bako hasn't played two years with the same team since ... well spending the 2003-04 seasons with the Cubs. That just tells me that the Dodgers, Royals, Orioles and Reds figured one year of his .200ish average, .300ish on-base percentage and his ugly mug scaring away the 10s at the bar was one more than necessary.

Then there's the whole Jake Peavy issue, and depending on which news source you trust more, he might be coming eventually or he isn't coming at all.

The problem is both stories use the same quotes from front office big-wig Randy Bush.

From the mlb.com story that says there's still a chance, headlined "Cubs won't rule out adding more arms":

"You certainly can't close your eyes and you can never say, 'Oh, we're done.' ... You have to keep your eyes and ears open and continue to work hard right up to Opening Day. And if there's a way to make the club better, we're going to do it."

Right now, there's an imagine in my mind of Cubs fans outside of a big store gigantic display window staring at a shiny new Jake Peavy just waiting to be bought.

Then Randy Bush pullying you away from the window so you can go visit crusty old grandpa.

"We've had no talks about Jake Peavy since they were well-documented during the Winter Meetings. So there's nothing to add about that. No talks."

So consider me the first person to doubt the Cubs' ability to defend their back-to-back NL Central crowns.

Because I'm not sure how replacing Kerry Wood, Mark DeRosa and Hank White with Kevin Gregg, Aaron Miles and Paul Bako is making a 97-win team better.

LOL at an NBA line

Korver walks off
In need of a good laugh, well, consider Kyle Korver your comedian:

Jan 28 G Kyle Korver played only 14 minutes and went 1 of 5, air-balling a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left that could have brought the Jazz within one after Manu Ginobili committed an offensive foul in the backcourt with the Spurs leading 104-100.

Reason #4538 Creighton sucks: Korvers

Southern Illinois Salukis: Floor General U

Southern Illinois v Connecticut
In a subplot that doesn't involve ice, snow, more ice, more snow and frigid temperatures, former SIU star Kent Williams returns to his alma mater as a Missouri State assistant coach.

So he'll be repping Midwest Maroon, just a different logo.

I had the opportunity to speak with "Kid Kent" who was a heck of an interview that helped spawn this feature piece on one of my favorite Salukis. Oh and then there was this DE blog. I was scheduled to meet him today before tip-off but with the postponement of Wednesday's game to Thursday puts that meeting in jeopardy.

So it got me to thinking about my favorite aspect of college hoops. Guard play. That's when I realized, "damn, SIU has had some really great guards."

And while SIU football is known in the Football Bowl Subdivision as "Running Back U" I figured the basketball team need something other than "Floorburn U."

How about Floor General U? Sounds about right. Check out these former backcourt ballers.

  • Troy Hudson
  • Chris Carr
  • Chris Lowery
  • Greg Starrick (because Mike Reis would probably never talk to me ever again if I forgot his radio partner)
  • Kent Williams
  • Darren Brooks
  • Stetson Hairston
  • Jamaal Tatum
  • Tony Young
Soon enough you'll be able to add Bryan Mullins to the list of elite Saluki guards. Then, in four years, you might as well clear some space in the rafters and prepare to retire the No. 1 for DB and Kevin Dillard.

Did I mention Walt Frazier is an SIU alumna, too?

I know I'm missing many more, but that's a whole lot of talent in the backcourt.

God, Save The Blue Demons

DePaul v Marquette
Asking The Almighty Power to save a team called the "Blue Demons" sounds blasphemous, but it's OK because there is a point to this blog.

See, my mother is a DePaul alumna and she loves her Blue Demons. And at 8-13 overall and 0-8 in Big East play, it's safe to say that they stink.

Anyway, Ma goes back to the day's of the little arena under the 'L' tracks and Demon Dogs -- which was the best hot dog joint in the city before the Chicago Transit Authority bought them out as they rebuilt the Fullerton 'L' stop that is in the heart of DePaul's campus.

So as a child, I was a Blue Demons fan. I'll admit it. I'll take you back to the days when Pat Kennedy somehow brought in Chicago high school stars Quentin Richardson, Bobby Simmons and Lance Williams to form a formidable Conference USA squad.

That squad was among the nation's best, but, as a wise man once told me, the money ran out and Richardson and Simmons skipped town for the greener pastures of the NBA. I'm still convinced to this day that Williams is sitting at a McDonald's somewhere in the Chicagoland area asleep in a Playland ball-pit after downing a dozen double cheeseburgers.

I digress.

The real fall of DePaul begins when Imari Sawyer got a scholarship over Dwyane Wade. You might have heard of him.

If not, let's run down his career, briefly.

Wade went to Marquette and took Tom Crean and the Golden Eagles to a Final Four. Then he went to the NBA's Miami Heat and won an NBA title. A few years later he would go on to become an Olympic Gold medalist.

Sawyer is either starring in a rec league somewhere or sharpening his NBA Live skills at his buddy's house.

Dave Leiato tried to save the Demons as he took them to the NCAA Tournament and brought them a few extra dollars once they moved into the Big East.

And really, that's when a slump turned into an immdediate downward spiral.

After convincing DePaul fans and administrators he was there for the long haul (or at least until mentor Jim Calhoun left UConn), Leiato headed east to coach the college hoops juggernaut known as the University of Virginia. Enter stage left Jerry Wainwright and cue the Big East blues.

DePaul's bigs can't hang with the beasts (or benchwarmers, for that matter) of the UConn's and Pitt's of the world. Their guards can't keep up with Rick Pitino's Louisville super-studs or Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone.

So how can God save the Demons.

By reclaiming its dominance in Chicagoland recruiting.

Seriously, how do you let Derrick Rose head to Memphis? I know Coach Cal of the Tigers is a charming fellow, but when you've got a talent like D-Rose in your city limits, you handcuff him to a post until he signs with your team.

Do you think DePaul could find a use for Chicago's own Osiris Eldridge or H-F's Kevin Dillard?

Just saying.

After Coach K, Bruce Weber, Chris Lowery and Tom Crean (once he gets settled in Indiana) finish claiming the city's top prospects, what kind of Chicago recruits are going to be left for Wainwright?

Here are my suggestions on improving DePaul hoops (only to build a family rivalry between my Dawgs and my mom's Demons):
  1. Use Lincoln Park trixies as a recruiting tool.
  2. In addition to their b-ball scholarship, free use of CTA transportation.
  3. Bring back Demon Dogs.
  4. Turn back time, never tear down Alumni Hall. Play in front of 5,300 loud and crazy fans.
  5. Move out of the Big East.
That's all I got.

And before you even ask, no, you can't have C-Lo!

Garrett Olson, we hardly knew ye

Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles
Remorseful Cubs fans can be found around the world hanging their heads in disbelief as Garrett Olson, who came to Chicago in the Felix Pie trade, was sent out to Seattle (with Ronny Cedeno) in exchange for Aaron Heilman.

Olson, who was perceived to be the Cubs' savior if you consider "savior" to be a key piece in a potential Jake Peavy trade, saw his North Side career end only days after it began.

In a press conference held in front of a mirror in Olson's mom's basement, the former top pitching prospect said he plans on making the Cubs pay for shipping him out.

"That's why they haven't won in 100 years, they run their best players out of town before they can shine," Olson stated as a tear came to his eye. "Gary Scott, Kevin Orie, Jayson Peterson, Corey Patterson all should have starred in Chicago. Instead they gave guys like Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol and Ryan Theriot a shot."

"You can't win with 'em. You can't coach 'em. You need winners in Chicago. And I'm a winner."

Olson, and his career 10-13 record and 6.87 ERA hope to catch on at the back end of the Mariners rotation.

CUBS TRADE: Ronny C departs Aaron Heilman comes on and we'll be back

In a deal that makes some sense for both teams, the Chicago Cubs moved Ronny Cedeno, potential middle infield starter, and newly acquired starting pitcher Garrett(Mary Kate and Ashley) Olson for Seattle Mariners newly acquired hurler Aaron Heilman.

In many ways Heilman has the same pedigree, bust label as Olson did but once again everyone will assume this is somehow involved in the Jake Peavy trade talks.

Bruceeeeeeeeeeeeee Levine of ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago broke the story and also mentions a possible Juan Uribe signing by the Cubs as well.

I'll be heartbroken if !PROFUNDO! leaves for the north side after many loyal years in a White Sox uniform. I'll especially miss the "homer hands".

Repeat? Doubtful. Playoffs? Certainly. - Philadelphia Phillies Preview 2009

There isn't a whole lot left to accomplish after the Philadelphia Phillies won a division title for the second consecutive year en route to a World Series title in 2008.

But most of the team is still young and should be able to at least get to the playoffs for the third straight season even if it doesn't yield another championship.

Unlike most World Series champions, the Phillies didn't lose a whole lot in terms of talent that wasn't replaced by anything better or at least equal.

Pat Burrell departed for the Tampa Rays but left fielder Raul Ibanez will fill the void without any problem.

Although Ibanez' age (36) may suggest a decline coming soon, he has been one of the most consistent and underrated players in baseball for the last four years. In 2008, Ibanez posted his third straight 20-home run, 100-plus RBI campaign in a pitchers park for the Seattle Mariners.

Much like the New York Mets, the heart of the lineup returns for another year with enough firepower to remain one of the best in baseball. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins should be even better this year if he avoids injuries while second baseman Chase Utley hopes to be back from his injury by opening day. Of course there's first baseman and subway pitchman Ryan Howard bringing 50 home run potential and let us not forget the versatility outfielder Shane Victorino gives them.

World Series MVP Cole Hamels returns to head the rotation with a brand new contract and Philadelphia also added Chan Ho Park to the fifth starter mix.

Park and fourth starter Jamie Moyer are the only major questions for the fightin' Phils because Park could revert to his Texas-like numbers in a pitchers park while Moyer is 46-years-old and probably doesn't have another 16 win, 3.71 ERA season left in him.

New Yawk Mets Preview 2009

So it's Mr. Met that gets you excited eh?

There are plenty of reasons to get excited for the 2009 New York Mets but I doubt any fan can shake the feelings that Chicago Cubs fans have.

You know... this feeling.

But all feelings aside the Mets are absolutely stacked from top to bottom and will christen their new digs, Citi Field.

I would pick this team to be the 2009 wild card winner if they don't win the NL East because of all the moves they've made throughout the offseason.

Pitching depth in the bullpen was a cause of concern even before Billy Wagner's career-threatening surgery but general manager Omar Minaya did everything he could to fix the mess he had on his hands.

Through smart trades and big spending, Minaya added former all-star Seattle Mariners closer J.J. Putz (awesome name) and former Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim closer Francisco Rodriguez after he set the single season saves record.

Minaya also handed out an incentive laden deal to starting pitcher Freddy Garcia and he's still holding out hope to resign Oliver Perez. If Perez resigns and Garcia reverts back to form, it will form one of the most powerful rotations in the National League because of the success Johan Santana has had leading the way for young guns John Maine and Mike Pelfrey.

Couple all of this good news with the fact that the entire lineup returns for 2009 including superstars Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado.

The only issue for this lineup should be Delgado's age (37 in June) potentially catching up to him.

Not that there were any excuses as to why the Mets collapsed down the stretch for the second year in a row but there certainly are even less excuses this season.

Couldn't be as super

As this.

Reason #6972 why ESPN sucks...

...Chris Berman.

Seriously, who does he think he is?

I understand that he has worked at The World Wide Leader since the inception of time, and I'm sure Hines Ward knows where to get some "duex, duex, duex" but c'mon. I like how another reporter said "the rest of us are over here."

Kudos to you.

But seriously, what a dick!

Super Bowl XLIII: Chris Berman's Own Private Media Day [Deadspin]

This post is gonna be Super!

NFC Championship: Philadelphia Eagles v Arizona Cardinals
To the victors go the spoils, everyone knows that. But to the losers go the really big headlines so to not forget how much of a failure you are.

So while Super Bowl week will revolve around the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, let's remember the teams that didn't make it with a moment of silence.


Thank you.


Now, let's talk some Super Bowl.

No one expected the Cardinals to be here, not even the biggest, baddest most die-hardest fan of the former Chicago franchise. But let's be honest, how many people expected the Steelers to be here, too.

Look at the preseason prognosticators and you'll see a lot of New England, Indianapolis, San Diego and Jacksonville projections for the big game. And all of those teams had good cases in the preseason, while the Colts and Bolts had a chance to make their mark because they actually made the playoffs.

The only team with a complaint should be the Pats.

They won 11 games and beat the Super Birds by a convincing 527 to negative-12 score in snowy Foxboro, Mass. If this was the B.C.S. (which it thankfully is not) every blogger in America would be pitching a bitch-fit over this injustice that would get blown so out of proportion, it would rival the inhumane treatment of sweatshop workers according to guys hanging out in their parents' basement.

I digress.

Arizona is who we thought they were: A team that won its games if (AND ONLY IF) they outscored its opponents. Granted, you can't win if you don't score and you can't win if you score fewer points than the team you're playing ... but the birds were at their best when they soared in shootouts.

As for the Steelers, they're better than we thought they were: A gritty defensive club with just enough offense to get by. A healthy Willie Parker, a steady Hines Ward and the emerging presence of Santonio Holmes (who moves faster than those Steely McDong photos across the internet) make Pittsburgh's pummeling team dangerous.

And before you say the Cardinals have no chance to upset the Steelers, I will go on the record and say that they do.

They made it here, didn't they?

It's A White Out!

If you live in the southern Illinois region, take a look out your window.

It might look a little something like the picture above.

Good ole white out conditions out there aren't really that good on the wheels. My car is more iced out than an NBA superstar's entourage.

But the Snow Day (and the ensuing day off that comes with said Snow Day) has allowed me to put forth a full day of blogging. And everyone knows how much I love to blog.

So I hope you're ready to get (snow) blown away.

The Jake Peavy Saga Continues

MLB v Japanese Professional Baseball in Game 8.
Billionaire Cubs fan Tom Ricketts is inching closer to officially becoming the owner of his childhood favorite team.

So with a new owner seemingly in tow, is it time for me to install a Jake Peavy countdown app to put on the sidebar under Twitter?

According to this mlb.com story, yes, and it is more likely to happen now than ever before.

But since I don't want to I won't. He hasn't earned it yet.

See, I refuse to totally give in to the rumor monster who somehow, someway linked the Cubs as a potential suitor for the 2007 NL Cy Young winner to the point where GM Jim Hendry inquired about his availability. Then had the nerve to get so close to a deal, it bothered Cubs fans when it fell through.

It was like the Brian Roberts Situation, but instead of being secluded, he reportedly sang "Go Cubs Go" and signed "Go Cubs" on an autographed baseball.

That's where this crazy plotline is interesting. It is almost as if the Peavster is as hell bent on joining the Cubs as their fans are on having him.

I've heard of requests for Peavy replica Cubs jerseys to be made. I've seen profile pics with Peavy photoshopped with a Cubs hat and Cubbie blue pinstripes.

And for the millionth time, I am sick and tired of writing blogposts about nothing in particular.

Rumors. Whispers. Hearsay. All of it has dominated this blog when it relates to Jake Peavy.

And I'm tired of it.

Look, I want him on the Cubs. Cubs fans want him on the Cubs. He wants to be on the Cubs. Jim Hendry apparently wants him on the Cubs. And Kevin Towers wants to oblige and send him to the Cubs.

And if all it takes is a handful of prospects ... it's time to pull the trigger.

Our long national nightmare must end soon.

The 100-0 Backlash

First off, let me make this clear: When it comes to pouring on the points in any sports game this is how I feel.

In Texas, Covenant smashed Dallas Academy 100-0. The girls on the losing team didn't complain and the head coach of Covenant Micah Grimes lost his job. No, not this Grimes.

I don't see the problem with running up the score regardless of the fact that it was high school girl's basketball.

What is the winning team supposed to do, take a knee?

So the story goes Dallas Academy has been a bad team for a while while Covenant is one of the state's best teams.

If the program is that bad, switch conferences, fire the coach or shut down the program.

The only problem with the whole situation was that Covenant was firing up three-pointers in the latter half of the game. Other than that, I don't know what they were supposed to do.

Athletes are taught to be the best and that sportsmanship is still important but we constantly see on television that the latter is no longer true.

We live in a world of me-first sports driven by highlights of antics and big plays. Why should a team hold back? I bet if they got blasted by another team they wouldn't complain.

As a big Kansas State fan I remember football coach Bill Snyder getting blasted for running up the score against bad teams.

People forget his Wildcats were on the opposite end of the stick for a long time.

If you can't stop a team, how is that their fault?

Daily Dosage: Snow Day Edition

80th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
I spy with my little eye someone who will be getting a day off.

And that guy needs to shave.

Jessica Alba is always gracefully beautiful. Always.

Sports. Snow. And midday naps.

That's what I'm talking about!

And of course your Daily Dosage.

Saluki tennis near the top. It's not every day where SIU tennis gets top billing, but when you get some preseason love (projected second-place finish in the MVC) and take home a couple of individual titles by Eric West and Anton Leonenko ... it means you've earned it. [Daily Egyptian]

3-ball doesn't fall, stalls SIU men. The Salukis men's basketball team has been one of the premier 3-point shooting teams in the nation. Yes, the nation. SIU ranks ninth in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage. But the team's inability to knock down the big three was one of the reasons it was unable to pick up a road win against Illinois State on Sunday. [Daily Egyptian]

Qualiy Linkage:
  • Benchwarmers and blogging. [Redshirt Year and Beyond]
  • A breakdown of Joe Torre's "controversial" book. [NY Times]
  • Add Martellus Bennett to the list of athletes that can't rap. Some language NSFW [Landry Hat]
  • The Stanford Tree is a P.I.M.P. [Deadspin]
  • SLATE's big words aren't welcome in the sports world. [With Leather]
VIDEO LINKAGE presents objective reporting by the Big Ten Network:

"Big Ten basketball ranks right up there … arguably, could be the best conference in basketball right now. ... Tell you what, it's certainly the most entertaining.” [The Big Lead]

More on this to come...

Reality T.O.

In an unforeseen turn of events, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens has put his put his name back in the center of the sports world despite his teams failure to actually win a playoff game.

Owens has agreed to star in his own reality TV show on VH1 that will see him and two of his friends — publicists Monique Jackson and Kita Williams — re-examining his the controversial Cowboy's life.

Owens has formerly co-starred in HBO's "Hard Knocks," an amazing show looking at a few weeks of NFL training camp. Apparently, T.O. couldn't handle not getting a featured role and wanted to show the rest of the world that his world is indeed much more entertaining than that of quarterback Tony Romo or tight end Jason Witten, who are apparently conspiring against Owens together anyway.

"Hard Knocks" was great and I must admit that Owens' inclusion in the series made the show exponentially better. I will certainly give VH1's new show a look, but I really doubt how good it can be.

I mean, there is a difference between an HBO reality show and a VH1 reality show. I want to see T.O.'s struggles to go through a grueling training camp. I don't want to see him become the next Flava Flav.

But I think VH1 could have though on a much broader scale here. They could have taken the entire Cowboys team and made a reality show similar to the movie Ed TV, where a camera crew follows around each member of the family.

A show that chronicles the events of owner Jerry Jones' life, Romo's love life, Romo and Witten's secret affairs, T.O.'s insecurities, Adam 'Pacman' Jones' absurdities and nearly any other story line that the Cowboys certainly have no shortages of would be extremely entertaining.

Surely it would be more exciting than just watching T.O., who will undoubtedly show a sympathetic side of himself to win over the public interest.

Will I watch? Maybe... even if it is for just one minute or two. Will it be good? Probably not.

Feeling Brave: The 2009 Atlanta Braves Preview

After making the playoffs each season for what seemed like my entire life, the Atlanta Braves were shutout of the postseason for the second consecutive year.

To make matters worse, the NL East is as strong as ever with the Florida Marlins on the upward trend and the New York Mets having reloaded the entire bullpen. Don't forget about the defending World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies adding outfielder Raul Ibanez to offset the loss of Pat Burrell.

The Braves had to make a move or two this offseason and they made plenty thus far in response to a terribly disappointing 72-90 finish in 2008.

Pitching was the focal point of the offseason plan for Atlanta and the goal was to build on the young guns in the rotation. With John Smoltz departing after an injury riddled season to Boston, Tim Hudson needing surgery and Tom Glavine's status up in the air for a 2009 ETA, the new era had begun at Turner Field regardless if the Braves were ready or not.

Jair Jurriens put together an outstanding rookie season, pacing the team with a 13-10 record coupled with a 3.68 ERA. Jurriens should continue to get better and won't be counted on as the staff ace thanks to the moves made so far this offseason.

The first order of business was trying to get former Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy from the San Diego Padres. But much like the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta found this to be an extremely daunting task. After realizing it wasn't going happen, the Braves shifted their attention toward Chicago's Javier Vazquez.

Vazquez had a terrible second half of the season punctuated by an epic collapse down during the White Sox' stretch run toward a division title. He had an ERA of 6.25 in September which ballooned his season ERA to 4.67. On top of that, he also lost 16 games on a team that hit the most home runs in the league and went to the playoffs.

They don't call him little-game Javy for nothing in Chicago.

At this point in his 10-year career, he is what he is. Vazquez has a career ERA of 4.32 and the years he pitched better than that were on bad teams for the most part. His 200 strikeouts led the White Sox and he'll probably lead the Braves in that category too.

To expect anything more than an ERA less that 4.32 though may be asking to much at this stage of his career unless Atlanta is out of contention most of the season. The switch from the American League to the National Leauge should also help his numbers.

For all the evidence stacked up against his favor there are plenty of things to like about this move. For one, the Braves get a legit 200-innings-a-year starter with the capacity to easily amount 200 strikeouts and to take the ball every time his spot in the rotation comes up.

The free agent signing of Derek Lowe was also an extremely important move to overhaul the rotation.

Lowe has always had a sterling reputation as a post season pitcher and put together another solid season with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 with a 14-11 record and an ERA of 3.24 in 211 innings.

The two additions aside I just don't think this rotation scares anyone but I do see a drastic improvement with this club if Glavine returns to form later in the season, ditto Tim Hudson.

The offense will feature plenty of familiar faces and if Braves' brass had their way, it would like even more familiar to fans.

Former shortstop Rafael Furcal had all but signed with Atlanta before making a last-second move in resigning with the Dodgers. Former center fielder Andruw Jones was granted his release after a debacle of a season in Los Angeles.

Jones may offer the Braves a cheap option in center field and a chance to breath life into his stalled career while giving the team a chance to move young outfielder Gregor Blanco from center field to left field.

The move would only be a short term one at that because the farm system is loaded with talented outfielders including Jason Heyward and Jordan Schafer.

Larry "Chipper" Jones will once again man the hot corner while Brian McCann made the trading of catching prospect Tyler Flowers (in the Vazquez deal) easy to swallow.

The season will likely be another rebuilding one for the Braves as they wait for their duo of outfielders to come up through the minor league system along with ace-in-the-waiting Tommy Hanson to do the same.

The NL East is simply too strong right now on paper for Atlanta to finish above the Phillies or the Mets.

Yar...I got me a Marlin - 2009 Florida Marlins Preview

Nobody expected the Florida Marlins to go 84-77 in 2008 after unloading two top players in Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers.

This offseason featured more unloading for payroll reasons as first baseman Mike Jacobs was unloaded to the Kansas City Royals while starting pitcher Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham were jettisoned as well.

While the historically cheap Marlins likely will avoid any further spending they return the majority of their key pieces from last season in addition to welcoming uber-prospect Cameron Maybin to the fold.

Maybin was the centerpiece of the Cabrera/Willis deal that should eventually work out evenly for both teams even if Willis doesn't return to form.

Florida's lineup is chock-full of consistent young power threats with speed to boot.

Shortstop Hanley Ramirez, the pull from the Josh Beckett trade, has been as advertised for the fish since the day he stepped foot on the field. Ramirez paced the lineup with an outstanding mix of speed, power and precision hitting .301 with 33 home runs, 35 stolen bases and 125 runs scored.

His middle infield parter Dan Uggla had an outstanding season as well outside of his defensive play in the all-star game (and the second half in general). Uggla clubbed 32 home runs, drove in 92 runs and scored 97 runs.

Jorge Cantu had a quietly impressive season as well, which made the trade of Jacobs make sense. Cantu will take over first base duties full time after hitting .277 with 29 home runs, 95 RBIs and 92 runs scored.

Add in the potential of Curtis Granderson clone Maybin and the early part of this lineup is as good as any in the league.

Unfortunately, it will be the pitching and defensive questions that limit any growth in the standings due to playing in the same division as the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.

The Marlins rotation simply isn't on par with the Mets, Phillies or even the Atlanta Braves' staff.

That doesn't mean there isn't anything to look forward to this season for all 4,000 Florida Marlins fans out there.

It will be interesting to see if ace-to-be Chris Volstad can build on his rookie debut. Volstad went 6-4 in roughly a half season with a 2.88 ERA.

Fellow youngster Josh Johnson also did well in his half season with a 7-1 record and a 3.61 ERA but the key will be the two wild cards in the rotation in Andrew Miller and Anibal Sanchez.

Sanchez was hurt for most of 2008 and wasn't effective when he was healthy. He is looking to duplicate his phenomenal rookie season that included a no-hitter and an ERA of 2.83.

Miller on the other hand hasn't had an ERA under 5.60 in his three-years of limited MLB experience. He was a gem in the Tigers system and came with Maybin in that very same blockbuster trade. Miller's age 23, and high ceiling are causes for hope.

All this being said, there isn't a whole lot of wiggle room in the NL East for the Marlins to make that much progress in the standings. However, the continued development of the pitching staff will be key in terms of this team being a contender in 2010.

Lebron should be there by then right?

The Combust-a-Bulls starring Vinny Del Negro

NBA: JAN 15 Cavaliers at Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are terrible, and if it wasn't for Derrick Rose, I would not be paying any attention to the "professional" basketball team that resides on the West Side.

Ben Gordon's a nice player and should be on the Bulls next year only because he can score the basketball. Kirk Hinrich is a scrappy defender with good intangibles and all that other good stuff NBA analysts on ESPN say about white players. Drew Gooden is a 12 (point) and 8 (rebound) guy who has a spot on an NBA roster.

After those guys and Rose are safe, blow it up. Blow it all up. With Vinny Del Negro, John Paxson and everyone else involve in the suckfest that is "Da Bulls."

In tonight's episode of suck, the Toronto Raptors (a team I haven't cared about since Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady skipped town) outscored Chicago's kids 23-4 in the last 6:19 of the fourth quarter.

D-Rose played a role in all four points, of course. Rose dished a dime on Luol Deng's jumper to make it 94-92 with 5:22 to go.

The Raptors scored the next 18 points before Rose knocked down a pair of free throws.

Ouch, babe.

The weekend in which I take over Bloomington-Normal

NCAA BASKETBALL: JAN 18 Missouri St at Illinois St
It's Friday and that can only mean one thing ... another exciting weekend of college basketball.

And in my world as the Daily Egyptian SIU beat writer, that means a trip to the non-Bobby Knight Bloomington and a shot at the Illinois State Redbirds.

This is the test SIU and its fans have been waiting for.

Since the dawn of 2009 began with the departure of two reserves and a loss to Drake, the Salukis have played solid basketball the way observers have become accustomed to seeing. Solid defense with enough offense.

Freshman guard Kevin Dillard is a five-star stud. He leads the team in scoring and is second in assists. He is averaging 17 points per game in Missouri Valley Conference play and has scored in double digits in each of his games against MVC foes.

And I'll be honest with you, my beloved readers. As much as I love and admire the play of senior guard Bryan Mullins, there is no one on the team I want to take the big shot more than KD.

Opposite of who I think is the front-runner for Valley freshman and newcomer of the year is the conference's preseason player of the year.

Osiris Eldridge.

"The Big O" has done everything in his power to keep ISU (red) near the top of the standings. He can score, defend and rebound ... and at a legit 6-foot-3 (I've met him and talked to him in person, so I'll vouch) he might be the Valley's best pro prospect after another year of seasoning. He's only a junior.

As I said a moment ago, I was able to speak with Eldridge in the beginning of the year at the MVC's Media Day in St. Louis and have no ill will towards the competition. Well-dressed and well-spoken, Eldridge was able to break down how he embraced having the bulls-eye on his back and how much he enjoyed carrying a team.

We also spoke about his now infamous "fro-hawk" and how the Dawg Pound was among the most creative hecklers. As for those who were bad or just insulting, he said he torched 'em.

So a word to the wise: if you're not going to bring it, just keep it in your mouth.

I'll be pulling double-duty for the paper this weekend as I will also report on the Saluki women, who are still in search of their first conference win. Yeah. Sad.

Well, at least my weekend ends with a night in Chicago, which is about a two-hour drive from the Redbirds' nest. Maybe I can talk Tom Ricketts into finding me a job with the Cubs' as a media relations specialist or beat writer for the team's web site after I graduate.

Or maybe just the acquisition of Jake Peavy will do.

Those who can't be Rams, become Lions

There is a saying in the education business (that I may or may not be privy to) that says 'Those who can't do, teach; and those that can't teach, teach gym.'

The NFL has its own saying. 'Those who cannot make it as a St. Louis Ram, make it as a Detroit Lion.'

Today's news out of Detroit reveals that former St. Louis head coach Scott Linehan has been tapped to run the Lions' offense, making it the second time in the last three seasons an ex-Rams head coach has gone on to coach at one of the few NFL franchises more pitiful than the Rams.

Mike Martz was given the offensive coordinator's position in 2006 after his dysfunctional relationship with St. Louis' front office finally resulted in a divorce.

Linehan was fired by St. Louis after he lost four consecutive games to open the 2008 season. Linehan was hired to replace the estranged Martz. Now, Linehan has apparently took a play from Martz's playbook and thought Detroit a good place to start.

The Lions recorded the NFL's first perfect 0-16 record last season, so obviously Linehan is being set up for success in this job post (blatant sarcasm). But he will get a crack to make some noise with the first pick in this year's NFL Draft.

But Linehan has been in this position before. The Rams had the 13th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft and selected defensive lineman Adam Carriker. The Rams went on to a 3-13 record, although let the record show that the team had inspiring wins against the Atlanta Falcons (2007 version, not 2008) and the San Francisco 49ers.

After Linehan's tumultuous second season with St. Louis, Link
he was again given the grace of a premiere draft position. The coach took Chris Long, who very well may become a good player for the Rams down the road.

However, that team went an even worse 2-14, which is obviously enough to get you a gig with the Lions.

Taking a look at the Lions' offense, Linehan should have some weapons to work with.

Kevin Smith recorded nearly 1,000 rushing yards in his rookie season and rushed for eight touchdowns. And Calvin Johnson has emerged as one of the top receivers in the league. If Johnson was on a solid team, he would be one of the best.

Quarterback remains an issue for the Lions, but that could be addressed with the draft pick. Detroit could select USC's Mark Sanchez or Georgia's Matthew Stafford.

So potential is there for the Lions' offense to become solid. But do we really think Linehan will turn it around. This is a guy that could barely lead a Rams offense that has Steven Jackson and Torry Holt.

So let's just keep this in mind and start scouting ways that newly-hired Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo can help the Lions. I mean after Linehan fixes the offense, I'm sure Detroit will be looking for some help with its defense.

Remember, those who can't be Rams, become Lions. And those who can't even be Lions, become Lions coordinators.

May I have your attention please

I think I may have found the best name in baseball while I was looking up information for another preview story.


Tom Ricketts just put Tribune Co. in the black

The Tribune Co. has held the Chicago Cubs and their fans for 28 years.

Their reign of terror is over.

Billionaire Tom Ricketts, who grew up a Cubs fan and met his wife in the Wrigley Field bleachers, has purchased the Cubs for a whopping $900 (pinky finger to the edge of my lip) MILLION DOLLARS!

So, finally, the Cubs and their fans have a face instead of a corporate building downtown to relate to. They have someone who cares about the team as much as they do. That's nice. Now go win a pennant.

Let the record show that Ricketts paid $879.5 million more than the Tribune did when they bought the team back when dinosaurs, 8-tracks and polyester ruled the world.

There are a few things that really heighten my interest in this story.

Numero uno: When you spend $900 million on purchasing the baseball team, how can you go about affording the day-to-day baseball team stuff. You know? Free agents. Taxes. A hot dog at the ball park. I have a problem spending money on beers, hot dogs and more beers at a game. How can someone not flinch at the idea of spending $900 on an entire franchise?

I guess it pays to be rich.

Numero dos: Tom Ricketts is a Cubs fan ... is that a good thing? Will he be willing to throw money at the Cubs as if he was PacMan Jones and the Cubs were his personal strippers? Does he care? Is he going to lead the Cubs to the promiseland?

Numero tres: Will he introduce me to my wife in the bleachers? Dear God I hope so.

Numero quatro: Did Tom Ricketts just save Tribune Co.? Seriously, when you get $900 million for a baseball team, shouldn't that take you out of the red? I think so. Because I know if the DE just added $900 million after selling a baseball team, we would be good for the next ... oh ... 900 million years!

Maybe we should buy the Miners.

To the East we go: The Washington Nationals Preview

After an admirable effort to lure first baseman Mark Teixera, the Washington Nationals are in relatively the same place as the 2008 season.

Stuck in neutral.

They have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball and general manager Jim Bowden wasn't opposed to adding it for the right piece but with so little talent all around, the question asks where should he begin?

The rotation is chock-full of guys you've probably never heard of and if you have heard of them, you know they stink.

Scott Olsen, he of an 8-11 record in 2008, is the no. 1 starter in the rotation be default. Perhaps even more terrifying is the fact that Baltimore Orioles castoff Daniel Cabrera may be the guy slated at the two spot. Cabrera was hilariously close to a 1-1 strikeout to walk ratio in 2008 with 95 strikouts and 90 walks.

John Lannan may be the most respectable starter of this bunch with a 3.91 ERA in 2008 but he couldn't find much run support in 2008 and it shouldn't be any different in 2009. Lannan is 24-years-old and should continue to get better after a respectable first full season in the majors.
It would also help if former No. 1 draft pick Ross Detwiler made the team via a strong spring training.

To be honest I never saw what scouts saw in Detwiler that made their jaws drop. I watched the guy pitched three times when Missouri State played Southern Illinois years ago and didn't think he'd amount to anything more than a back of the rotation innings eater.

But the pressure is on Detwiler to carry the load because the Nationals "Plaxico Burress'd" themselves in the 2008 draft by running out of time to sign super-stud pitcher Aaron Crow out of Missouri. Crow will now play independent league baseball to prep for the 2009 draft. Frankly, this seems dumb for both parties.

The offense isn't a pretty sight either aside from the potential the outfield has to shine.

The middle infield, second baseman Willie Harris and Christian Guzman, maxed our in terms of career years and I wouldn't expect them to improve anymore on what they already did. That being said, if they can duplicate their 2008 numbers it will go a long way for this relatively punchless offense.

Nick Johnson is a borderline major leaguer at this point after hitting .220 at first base while former five-star third base prospect Ryan Zimmerman struggled the majority of the season but finished with a respectable .283 average coupled with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs but Washington was expecting him to be a 30-100 guy for years to come. Zimmerman is only 24-years-old so there's no reason to think he won't improve this season unless there's a lingering injury.

The outfield is probably the most interesting part of this team. The Nationals have two enigmas in Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes patrolling center and right field and if they continue to build on the progress they've made last season, the outfield could be one of the strongest in the division with the new addition of Josh Willingham.

If nothing else, Washington should hope for continued improvement from Milledge, Dukes and Zimmerman in hopes that they can eventually settle into a dominant 3-4-5 punch in the middle of the order. But until then, it doesn't make any sense to start spending money wildly.

Glaus to miss three months

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Troy Glaus is expected to miss the next three months after getting arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.

This will cause Glaus to miss opening day, which begs the question: Why the hell did he wait until the middle of January to get surgery?

Glaus' backup is unclear at this point, but it's expected to be a four horse race at this point between Brett Wallace, David Freese, Brendan Ryan and Joe Mather.

First off, if Brendan Ryan is an opening day starter for the Cardinals, I'm going to blow a fuse. Last season, he hit .244 in 197 at-bats with 30 runs, 10 rbis and ZERO home runs. That's unacceptable for a starting MLB third baseman.

I'm not real high on the Mather bandwagon as well. In 133 at-bats last season, he hit .241 with eight home runs and 18 rbis, but did that while playing in the outfield. Would he be a defensive reliability at third base? His numbers a slightly better than Ryan's, but still not starting quality.

David Freese is a bit more intreaguing. The 26-year-old, who came to St. Louis from San Diego in the Jim Edmonds deal, hit .306 with 26 home runs and 91 rbis in 464 at-bats last season in Triple-A Memphis. I think Freese will be a very good MLB third basemen, but he's not quite my pick.

That brings me to Brett Wallace. The 2008 first round draft pick of the Cardinals hit a combined .337 between Class A and Double-A with eight home runs and 36 rbis in 202 at-bats. While his defense can be suspect, this is going to be just the 22-year-old's third year playing third base, Wallace is the Cardinals third baseman of the future and they need to get him some MLB experience at the position since this is the last year of Glaus' contract.

Reason #5847 why the Cubs haven't won a World Series in a billion years

Twins v Red Sox
Poor player management by the front office.

Explain to me how the Chicago Cubs can justify shelling out $30 million for an oft-injured right fielder who thrived last season only because he spent of the majority of the season as a designated hitter. Then explain to me how you can continue the hunt for Jake Peavy who will cost you $63 million over the next four years and then not be able to re-sign backup catcher Henry Blanco.

No, Blanco won't make $60 million, $30 million or even $3 million. Hell he won't even make $1 million.

Hank White, the mentor of All-Star catcher Geovany Soto, will make $750,000 next season playing for the San Diego Padres.

Being a Cubs fan is like being married to the girl who burns a frozen dinner. You wonder why you even are together in the first place.

Daily Dosage: Confessions

Kanye West Performs At The 2006 Cipriani/Deutsche Bank Concert Series
I want Marissa Miller to be the mother to my children.

There, I said it. Now I can get back to business.

There's nothing like sleeping in after driving to and from Terre Haute, Ind., which I felt was very reminiscent of Indianapolis ... and not in a good way.

I'm glad SIU was able to walk away with a victory because road trips that end with losses truly aren't fun for anyone involved ... except the home team ... which brings me to poor Indiana State.

Nice building. Nice people. I really wish they were better because the Hulman Center is too nice of an arena to host a team that's 4-15.

That's it, here's the rest of your Dosage.

Saluki 'D' brings down Sycamores. A solid defensive effort reminiscent of the good ol' days of SIU basketball helped spring the team to a 58-47 win against Indiana State. The Salukis shot 52.8 percent from the field, but turned the ball over 22 times. It's as simple as this: cut down on the turnovers and you'll score more points.

Southern's guards (Dillard, Hare, Mullins, Clemmons, Bocot) combined to score 48 of the team's 58 points. Now that, my friends, is backcourt production. [Daily Egyptian]

Quality Linkage:
  • Bloggers (myself included) beware. Calling out big brother in your blog isn't a good idea. Bye, Kyle Whelliston. [The Big Lead]
  • So you're saying there's a chance? Gisele isn't engaged yet! [BH: Inside Track]
  • Jay Mariotti is not fond of the Sun-Times. [Real Clear Sports]
  • I'm sure Vinsanthe Schiancoe got the invite for this Vikings Party. [Deadspin]
  • Top 10 wreslters of all time. [Sun Sentinel]
  • If Stanford's cutting back, what about the rest of the athletic depts. [The Sports Economist]

So, Lovie, how close are the Bears?

Chicago Bears v Houston Texans
The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl.

It is still hard to type on my computer without feeling as if I am making a mistake.

But it's true, and it got me to thinking how close are the Chicago Bears to another Super Bowl appearance.

Upon further review, not close at all.

Kurt Warner is out of Kyle Orton's lead, and that's almost sad to say because Warner was a washed-up grocery bagger before the St. Louis Rams picked him up off the scrap heap.

Ater leading the Rams to a Super Bowl title he became washed up again before finding the second fountain of youth in Arizona. And now he is a borderline NFL Hall of Famer.

The only thing I trust Orton to find in out west is a poppin' bar with cute co-eds on college night.

The Cards have two No. 1 wide receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. The Bears have none. In fact, they're saddled with a team full of No. 3 receivers at best. Devin Hester is a project who happens to have excellent speed and adequate hands.

But to be honest, who wants to throw a clutch pass to adequate hands? Not any quarterback I know.

Arizona's potent offense ranked fourth in the NFL. It averaged 365.8 yards per game en route to scoring an average of 26.7 points per game. Chicago ranked seventh ... from the bottom.

You can't win if you don't score, and the Bears are having as much luck scoring as a young Steve Urkel. There isn't enough Old Spice Swagger in the world to save the most offensive offense in football.

Again, how close are the Bears?

At this point, it is almost immesurable.

Adam Dunn's price is droppin' like it's hot

Dunn hits grand slam home run
Outfielder Adam Dunn picked the wrong year to be a free agent.

The slugging, left-handed power stick will hit you 40 home runs, drive in 100 runs and get on base about 40 percent of the time. Yet, he is still on the open market ... probably because he also strikes out a ton and is a defensive liability in the outfield.

But it is Jan. 21 and after coming into this offseason looking for a long-term high-paying contract, he is likely at home sitting by a phone hoping that one of those calls is a major league general manager instead of someone asking about how he feels about his internet service.

I wonder if he is left out in the cold that the Chicago Cubs could find a place for him on their roster.

Defense be damned.

Stick him in right and Milton Bradley in center and hope they can outhit their fielding inefficiencies.

Imagine this lineup:
  1. Soriano
  2. Theriot
  3. Bradley
  4. Ramirez
  5. Dunn
  6. Lee
  7. Soto
  8. Miles/Fontenot
That's the sickest lineup one-thru-eight in the National League.

Heck, if you want to get really creative you can try to find another home for Derrek Lee or Alfonso Soriano. Or you could just be down right cruel and tell Kosuke Fukudome his visa expired.

Somehow. Someway. The Cubs should find a way to get the Big Donkey in blue pinstripes.

Daily Dosage: Back to business

Neighborhood Inaugural Ball
Didn't Mariah Carey look absolutely stunning last night?

Wait. Doesn't she look that good all the damn time? Yeah, that's what I thought.

One day I will need to ask Nick Cannon how he was able to land Christina Milian, Vanessa Minillo and Mariah Carey in the same lifetime.


Call this canned Dosage because I'll drop some posts on you throughout the day as I prepare for a trip to Terre Haute, Ind., tonight.

Salukis against the State(s). The SIU men's basketball team will take on a pair of ISUs as the Salukis travel to Indiana State and Illinois State. The road trip starts in Terre Haute where SIU was upset last season when Marico Stinson hit a game-winning 3-pointer in overtime.

Good news: Stinson is no longer with the team.

More good news: the Salukis seem to be coming together at the right time. Let's see how this one works out.

SIU hoops hopes to continue streak at Indiana State; Lowery: We're doing it the right way [Daily Egyptian]

Quality Linkage:
  • The Sports Lounge presents DE Pulse Editor Luke McCormick and yours truly dishing on how President Barack Obama can improve the sporting world. [DE Sports]
  • Well, BJ Mullens got half of that trash talk thing done right. [The Big Lead]
  • Video Game SportsCenter. [College Humor]
  • The HighLife goes brief with its commercials. [Awful Announcing]
  • The Boston Red Sox's new acquisition: PapelBonds! [Deadspin]