Monday, November 28, 2005


NEW YORK - The New York Mets made history Monday, winning a World Series championship before their season even started. It's not the first time a World Series has been won in November (the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in the extended 2001 season in a November World Series), but it is the first time a team has won a World Series before Opening Day.

The Mets accomplished this historic feat by signing 34-year-old fireballing closer Billy Wagner, solidifying a shaky bullpen for the first time in years - even more so than their National League pennant-winning 2000 season (need we mention Armando Benitez?).

The Mets signed Wagner for $43 million over 4 years, with a club option for a fifth, leaving open the possibility of defending their title one year from now. Wagner has 284 career saves, meaning he will become the 20th Major League pitcher to reach 300 saves sometime before the All Star Break.

The Wagner acquisition comes on the same day the Mets introduced their new first baseman, World Series MVP Carlos Delgado. In another dose of good news, Delgado announced that he would join his Mets teammates on the field whenever "God Bless America" is played, rather than hiding in the dugout or in the tunnel to the clubhouse. This eliminates what could have been a big distraction en route to the world championship.

With holdovers Pedro Martinez*, Tom Glavine, Kris Benson, and Steve Trachsel in the starting rotation, along with up-and-comers David Wright and Jose Reyes anchoring the infield, with Delgado at first, and Comeback Player of the Year Carlos Beltran* joined by Cliff Floyd in the outfield, the Mets sport their best lineup and pitching staff in a good five years.
I need to put this disclaimer - the Mets have actually NOT won the 2006 World Series...yet. They're still the Mets, and after what has happened to the Jets this season (Super Bowl aspirations = 2-8), we can't take anything for granted. While Billy Wagner is an exciting acquisition, there's no reason he won't blow out his arm in April, and never reach 300 saves. Carlos Beltran* is not guaranteed to hit above .267. While Wright and Reyes are sure bets, Pedro* could realistically get hurt. And Delgado could drop to 12 home runs at Shea. All that said, I don't think all of those things will happen, and I am very excited about Billy Wagner as the closer, Carlos Delgado as the first baseman, and the Mets' chances in 2006. I just know what the Mets are capable of sometimes, in the negative sense.

One more note - Billy Wagner's agent's name is Bean Stringfellow. That's gotta count for something.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

11:55am on Sunday - I need to post the picks quick - busy Thanksgiving weekend, you know:

KC -3 NE: Me, Kansas City (maybe because they're home), Dave and the wife, New England

CIN -9 Bal: Me, Baltimore, not to win, but to cover, Dave and the wife, Cincinnati

Car -3.5 BUF: Me, Carolina - they have to bounce back against the bad Bills, Dave Buffalo, wife, Carolina

TB -3 Chi: I think Chicago will win outright, Dave and the wife take the Bucs

SD -3 WAS: I don't think the Chargers will beat the Redskins in Washington - I take the 'Skins, Dave takes San Diego, the wife takes Washington

MIN -3.5 Cle: I actually think Minnesota's on a roll, I take the Vikings, Dave and the wife take the Browns

TEN -8.5 SF: In Tennessee, I think the 49ers will cover, maybe even win, Dave takes the Titans, wife takes the 49ers

STL -3 HOU: I take Saint Louis, so does Dave, the wife takes the Texans

Jax -3 ARI: All three of us take Arizona - watch out for the upset

OAK -7 Mia: I take Oakland - it's in Oakland, and Miami laid an egg last week, Dave and the wife both take Miami

SEA -4.5 NYG: I think Seattle wins this because they're home, I take Seattle, Dave and the wife both take the Giants.

PHI -4.5 GB: I think Philly played very well with McMahon last week, I think they can beat the Packers, so do Dave and the wife

NO PK NYJ: Saints. Dave and the wife, ironically, take the Jets

IND -8 Pit: Seems like a lot of points, but I take Indy 30, Pittsburgh 20. So Indy covers. Dave and the wife take Pittsburgh plus the points.

Thanksgiving Day Dave and I were 1-1, and the wife, of course, was 2-0.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

This week's special Thanksgiving picks edition of features the big debate: Will the Indianapolis Colts go undefeated this season? I have enlisted the help of a Patriots fan, and Colts hater, Dave in Brighton, and he will argue against the Colts going 19-0 (or at least 16-0). I will tell you why Indianapolis will finally shut up the '72 Dolphins.

First, me:

The Colts have a much tougher road than the '72 Dolphins, because there are two more regular season games, and they're going to have to go 19-0 instead of 17-0. But they can do it, and here's why.

First, the remaining schedule for the Colts:
Monday night vs. Pittsburgh (7-3)
Sunday, Dec. 4 vs. Tennessee (2-8)
Sunday, Dec. 11 at Jacksonville (7-3)
Sunday, Dec. 18 vs. San Diego (6-4)
Saturday, Dec. 24 at Seattle (8-2)
Sunday, Jan. 1 vs. Arizona (3-7)

It's not the easiest go for the Colts, but they can (and I say they will) win all of those games. Obviously, the games they have to worry about are Seattle, San Diego, Jacksonville, and Pittsburgh. Tennessee and Arizona should be blowouts, (even if the backups are going against Arizona, which I don't think will be the case).

Everything is clicking for the Colts right now - they are able to turn it on whenever they need to. The Colts' closest calls so far this season came early on, when they had successive 7-point victories over the Jaguars and the Browns, but they got enough to win. And the defense stepped up, which is something that hasn't happened for them in recent years. Then, last week, when the defense disappeared, the offense reappeared, putting up 45 points in a 45-37 win over the Bengals. They get what they need each week to win, and that will continue.

The top reason, though, why the Colts will win it all, without losing at all, is Peyton Manning. He does it all, and does what it takes to win. He made the decision last week, when the coaches were pulling the offense off the field on a 4th-and-1, to go for the first down, then he proceeded to get the first down. He's a smart player, he runs a great offense, and he is able to win his teams games, and he will continue to do that.

Finally, this is one of those "monkey off your back" seasons for the Colts, and they're doing that in extraordinary fashion. The Colts got the big win they needed against the Patriots, in Foxboro, on a Monday night in front of a national TV audience. That is a huge confidence-builder. The fact that they are wrapping up home field advantage throughout the playoffs is huge too, because they're not going to have to go through another city (including not having to make another trip to New England) in order to advance to the Super Bowl, which is part of the reason they haven't been to the Super Bowl in previous seasons. The other big "monkey" has been the Colts' D, and last week notwithstanding, that monkey is finally off Tony Dungy's back, because this year's Colts D is fierce.

The Colts should make life difficult for whoever is playing quarterback for the Steelers Monday night - even if it is Ben Roethlisberger, and not Tommy Maddox. The Colts should win the rematch with the Jaguars, but that game will not be easy. The one blemish could come Christmas Eve at Seattle, and here's the problem - if things are wrapped up for the Colts by then, Dungy might start resting some starters, and try to take some pressure off the Colts by making that a game they could lose, therefore not having to worry through the playoffs about staying undefeated. But I believe that nothing will keep Peyton Manning from sitting out games down the stretch, and other teammates will follow his example, and the Colts will cruise to their next big test - in the playoffs and Super Bowl, and who knows who'll they'll face then.
"Dear JohnnyJets,

Some old guy came out recently and said thinks the Colts have the right mix to go undefeated. I forget his name. Something Shula. I'm sure I know more about this topic than he does, so I will give you three good reasons the Colts will end the season with at least one loss.

1. Lightning in a bottle. To go undefeated, the Colts need to play six more games without any major breakdowns. That's 24 quarters of focus, something that is nearly impossible in the Any Given Sunday NFL.

2. Look at the schedule. Unlike the parade of creampuffs and prep teams they faced in the first seven weeks before their bye (how convenient -- a bye before facing the Pats. Topic for another email), the Colts must actually face teams with winning records. Pittsburgh, at Jacksonville, San Diego, and at Seattle.

3. Resting their players. The Colts lead their division by three games, and lead in the race for homefield advantage by two. I predict they'll have everything locked up going into week 15, week 16 at the latest, which means they'll have two games to sit their starters, or let them play just a series or two. While the Cardinals are unlikely to take advantage in week 17, I bet the Seahawks will, at home on Christmas Eve.

Dave in Brighton

PS Atl -3, Den +1.5"

One more thing for me to mention - I hate Peyton Manning when he plays the Jets, but I really like him overall. I liked him in college, when I used to read about him delivering pizza to the fans waiting in line for Tennessee tickets. I have also since heard from University of Tennessee alumni that Manning is still god-like to them...that's gotta count for something. But I do believe that he is a truly nice guy, and he's easy for me to root for in seasons like this. Also, I like Tony Dungy, and hear from all corners of the earth what a wonderful guy he is.

Oh, another thing I should mention. This might be tough for others to follow (others being people who root for teams who are consistently good), but since I am a Jets fan, I have gotten into the habit of rooting for other teams down the stretch who I want to follow into the playoffs, since it's rare that the Jets are still playing worthwhile games in December and January. This isn't a frontrunner thing, it's just to have rooting interest. Anyway, in the late 80's, early 90's, that team was the Oilers, and I liked to root for them in the playoffs. In the early-to-mid-90's, the team was the Packers. Now, I find myself torn between the AFC and the NFC, and I'm rooting for the Falcons, because I love watching Michael Vick, and the Colts, because I want them to win in a year the Jets aren't in contention. I will root for the Colts to win it all, and then the Falcons I'll root for in the Super Bowl another year down the road. But I do want an Atlanta-Indianapolis matchup this year. Just FYI.

Lastly, the picks. As you saw, Dave goes with Atlanta and Dallas. So do I (Atlanta is giving three in Detroit, and Dallas is getting two at home versus Denver). The wife takes Atlanta and Denver. That's the Thanksgiving picks - the standings after eleven weeks are pitiful. I was 5-11 last week, the other two were 6-10. Now I'm bringing up the rear at 71-85-4, Dave is 64-76-4, and the wife is 78-78-4. Someone needs to step it up.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Things are happening on the hot stove!

Pending approval (for monetary reasons), the Mets acquired Carlos Delgado from the Florida Marlins today in exchange for Mike Jacobs and Yusmeiro Petit. This is a great deal for the Mets. For so long, third base was the black hole in the Mets organization. Since 1962, something like 130 different people have played third base for the Mets.

That position has been locked up now, with David Wright expected to play third base for the next 20 years at Shea. Since that lock-up, though, first base had become the big question mark. John Olerud helped the Mets win some playoff games in the late 90's, but besides him, first base has been tough for the Mets to fill since the Keith Hernandez days. (Including the failed Doug Mientkiewicz signing last year, and the Mo Vaughn debacle a few years back.) That should no longer be a problem, at least for the next few years, now with Delgado. It's not a question, at least who will play first base, as it has been for a while.

Mike Jacobs showed a lot of promise, and it would have been neat to see him blossom at the major-league level next year. But the Mets really got themselves a shot in the arm with Delgado - there's no need to wait to see him blossom - he's a proven major leaguer. The problem might be that Delgado is 33 years old, and has already blossomed, but he produced last year, and hopefully has a couple of more good years in him. It's tough to get too excited about something like this with the Mets, because there's always the reminders of the failed moves (see Vaughn, Mo; and Carlos Beltran* hasn't lit anything up yet), but this seems like a good move right now.

One thing about Yusmeiro Petit - he could be a really good pitcher, and has received tons of minor league acclaim - but you just don't know how that will translate in the majors. As a matter of fact, you just don't know how his first name translates. It's worth the risk to make the Mets real, real contenders for the next three years.

Here's the way I look at the Mets next year:
Catcher - maybe Paul LoDuca, maybe Ramon Hernandez, with Ramon Castro as a backup - still most likely more production than last year, with Piazza/Castro.
1st Base - Carlos Delgado - huge upgrade
2nd Base - Not sure yet, but there's a possibility it will be Mark Grudzielanek - can't be worse than last year.
Shortstop - Still THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED, Jose Reyes - improving every year.
3rd Base - Future Hall of Famer David Wright. Enough said.
Left Field - Cliff Floyd - tough to say he will repeat last year, and how he will respond to the trade of his best friend, Mike Cameron.
Center Field - A lot is going to be expected of Carlos Beltran* next year - hopefully it only takes him a year to adjust to New York, but you have to think it'll be better next year.
Right Field - Who knows? Hopefully it won't be Manny Ramirez out there, but I think the Mets could do better than Xavier Nady, too. We'll see who fills right field - it could be a Nady-Victor Diaz-type platoon.
Bench - just wanted to throw this out there - the bench will be weaker because the Nationals signed Marlon Anderson.

I think the Mets are out of the running for Ramirez, because rumor has it he wants to go west, and Petit was a big cog in the rumored trade...I really don't think he'll bring a good personality to the Mets' mix. (Not that I know what Carlos Delgado brings, but I think he's a good teammate.) Maybe the Mets hold on to Lastings Milledge, and he answers some of the questions in right field.

You know what I would love for the Mets to do? Sign Nomar Garciaparra to a one-year deal, and see what he's got out in right field. I think he is at a point where he's got a lot to prove, and he's willing to switch positions, and he has the arm to play right. I would love for him to come here and play right field for the Mets (well, not here - he'd be worthless in Framingham...but you know what I mean). That's my two cents.

The other impact of the Delgado deal, coupled with the Josh Beckett trade, is that the Marlins are taking themselves out of the running for next year, which is big for the Mets. That leaves the Nationals and Braves, and the Phillies, who, as you know, don't scare me. So that bodes well for the Mets, too, because the Marlins are a big thorn in their side.

Lastly, the Mets offered Billy Wagner a 3-year-deal worth $30 million. There's room for a fourth year as well. I think he's coming to Shea. Another huge upgrade. Next year is going to be exciting! Stay tuned for more hot stove news!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I'm feeling a bit of blog envy. My friends write better blogs than me. See the "Orange Couch" (which seems to be losing a bit of steam, now that I bring it up), and (this should be a link, but I can't even manage to make it a link...exhibit C as to why I'm feeling inferior blog-wise). Anyway, naturalbl0g is the best thing to hit the internet since Or johnnymets/ Check it out.

A little bit of Jets success, though, as I discussed with the author of the naturalbl0g, would go a long way to improving my interest in this writing I guess I'm not totally responsible. On to the Week 11 picks.

I was wrong. I thought, in his spotty appearances, that Brooks Bollinger was capable of leading an NFL team. He's not. Credit the coaches for realizing that and making an effort (albeit it was with Vinny Testaverde) they need to get themselves a capable plan B, in case Chad Pennington's worst case scenario comes through next year.

Also, a note on the Herman Edwards situation...apparently, Edwards is a serious candidate for other head coaching jobs that might open up across the NFL after this season, in particular Kansas City. Edwards insists he'll stay in New York, but the speculation is rampant. Everything I'm reading talks about what a better fit Edwards would be for Kansas City, while Edwards is saying all the right things, that he wants to be in New York for at least 10 more years, etc. I want to believe Herman Edwards, because if nothing else, his credibility has been a big part of his coaching career so far. And I think he'll stay, as long as it's his decision. If he gets fired, I think he would be a lot happier with the lifestyle in Kansas City, where I'm sure there's a lot of passion for football, but let's face it, it's not New York. But from what I'm seeing, Edwards will not be fired, and I'm betting he'll be back in New York next year, with a pretty good crop of rookies after a high draft pick this year. That high draft pick will come after a bad loss to Denver this week, but I think the Jets will somehow manage to pull out a backdoor cover of the 13-and-a-half-point spread in Denver. I think maybe it'll be Broncos 30, Jets 17. With a late Jets' touchdown to get the spread covered. (Dave takes the Broncos, the wife takes the Jets.)

By the way, this is by far turning into my worst football season ever. The Jets suck, my picks suck, and my fantasy team(s) suck. I went 4-10 last week, Dave was 7-7, and the wife took charge with a 9-5 record. She leads at 72-68-4, I'm next at 66-74-4, and then Dave is 58-66-4. Dave is predicting another .500 week for himself. I just want more than 4 wins. By the way - the bye weeks are now over, so there are 16 games per week to pick. Here they are:

A big NFC matchup gets things started - the Bears hosting the Panthers, with the Panthers favored by 2-and-a-half. I know the Bears have been playing well, but they still need to show me they can beat a team like the Panthers. I take Carolina giving the points. (Dave and the wife also take Carolina.)

In Tennessee, Jacksonville is favored by 4 points. That seems about right. Jacksonville will probably win by 6, I take the Jaguars. (Dave and the wife also take Jacksonville.)

In Cincinnati, the Bengals once again host a tough AFC opponent, in the Colts (they lost to Pittsburgh earlier in the year). The Colts are 5-point favorites. I think the Bengals are now better than the Steelers, and could beat them. But I don't think they're better than the Colts. I look for them to go 10-0, and to cover the spread. (Dave and the wife take Cincinnati as well.)

The Patriots host the Saints, and are 9-point favorites. I don't think the Patriots will lose this game, but I think the Saints might keep it to a 7-point game. I take the Saints plus the points. (Dave and the wife both take New England.)

Saint Louis is home to Arizona, and are 9-and-a-half point favorites. It's always emotional when the Cardinals come back to Saint Louis...actually, no it's not. I take the Rams to win by ten. (Dave takes the Rams, the wife takes the Cardinals.)

Atlanta is at home, and is a 6-point favorite over Tampa Bay. This is a tough matchup for the Falcons, but I don't think Tampa is going to keep things rolling with Chris Simms. I think people are overblowing last week's performance a little bit. We'll see. Either way, I take Atlanta minus the points. (Dave and the wife take the Buccaneers.)

Washington hosts Oakland, and is giving 6 points. Washington should beat Oakland easy, unless they're so beat down by last week's disaster against Tampa Bay. I take Washington minus 6. (Dave and the wife also take the Redskins.)

In Dallas, the Cowboys are 8-point favorites over the Lions. The Cowboys should really win this one, as both teams head into their Thanksgiving games. I take Dallas. (Dave takes the Cowboys, the wife takes the Lions.)

The Giants host the McNabb and Owens-less Eagles, with New York favored by seven-and-a-half. I could see this game being the type where the Giants fall asleep against what has become a subpar team (see Minnesota last week), but I don't think it will happen two weeks in a row. I take the Giants. (Dave and the wife take the Giants too.)

Cleveland is a home favorite over the Dolphins, by 2 points. I'm not sure why. The Dolphins should win this game outright. I take Miami. (Dave and the wife take Cleveland.)

In San Francisco, the Seahawks are 12-and-a-half point favorites over the 49ers. Seattle is a crapshoot on the road anywhere, even if it is San Francisco. I'll take them, though, to win by two touchdowns...I'm not sure why I'm doing that. (Dave takes the Seahawks, the wife takes the 49ers.)

In San Diego, the Chargers are 10-and-a-half point favorites over the Bills. These have been two tough teams for me to pick this year - the Chargers because I don't like them at all, and the Bills because I can't figure them out. And it's not made easier by the fact that J.P. Losman is back and starting this week in San Diego. My dislike of the Chargers overshadows the inability to pick the Bills this week. At least for the spread. I think the Bills might win, but I'm definitely taking them plus-10-and-a-half. (Dave and the wife both take the Bills.)

There's No Line on the Steelers and the Ravens, in Baltimore. Tommy Maddox is starting for the Steelers. I'm taking the Ravens. Just a hunch. (Dave and the wife both take Pittsburgh.)

Kansas City is in Houston Sunday night, with the Chiefs favored by 7. I take Kansas City, although they haven't been playing too well lately. (Dave takes the Chiefs, the wife takes the Texans.)

Finally, Monday night it's Green Bay hosting the Vikings, with the Packers favored by five. I take the Packers, because they're home. (Dave takes Green Bay, the wife takes Minnesota.)

Tune in Wednesday for the Thanksgiving picks.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I've managed to tear myself away from internet poker long enough to write the picks.

As we've talked about, the Jets finally wised up and are giving Brooks Bollinger the start this week against the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately for Bollinger, that's a tough team to start against - worse than the Ravens when he faced them. I do think, though, that the Jets can keep this one close, and cover the 8-and-a-half point spread. (Dave and the wife also take the Jets.)

In Buffalo, the Bills are 2-point favorites over the Chiefs. This game is a tough one to figure, because though the Chiefs are without Priest Holmes, they haven't lost much else, and they're still dangerous. I just don't feel good about the Bills being the favorite, so I'm taking the Chiefs +2. (Dave and the wife both take Buffalo.)

In Tampa Bay, Washington is the road favorite, by a point. Tampa's season is done. I take Washington. (So do Dave and the wife.)

The Patriots look to rebound from the loss to the Colts against Miami, in Miami, with New England favored by 3. They should come back just fine - I take the Patriots, -3. (So do Dave and the wife.)

Chicago is home to the 49ers, and the Bears are giving 13. They should be able to cover - watch Cedric Benson have a big game. I take the Bears. (Dave takes the Bears, the wife takes San Francisco.)

The torrid Giants are home to the Vikings, with New York giving nine-and-a-half. The Giants should win this one easy - I take NYG -9.5. (Dave and the wife also both take New York.)

In Detroit, the Lions are three-and-a-half point favorites over the Cardinals. Maybe it's Joey Harrington (who I believe is starting again), maybe it's stupid...but I'm taking Arizona plus the points. (Dave and the wife both take Detroit.)

In Jacksonville, the Jaguars are six-point favorites over the Ravens. Jacksonville should win by 7. (Dave and the wife also take Jacksonville.)

Big spread in Indianapolis - the Colts are favored by 17 over the Texans. I think Houston might keep it close - a little bit of a letdown by Indy after last week's big win. I take Houston. (Dave takes the Colts, the wife takes Houston.)

In Oakland, it's Denver favored by three. Tough pick here - I like Oakland lately, and Denver definitely plays better at home than on the road. That's the biggest reason I'm taking the Raiders as the home 'dog, getting 3. (Dave and the wife take Denver.)

Another tough call - in Seattle, the Seahawks are six-and-a-half point favorites over the Rams. Saint Louis has been playing well - I think they can surprise Seattle. I take the Rams, plus six-and-a-half. (Dave and the wife both take Seattle.)

In Atlanta, the Falcons are nine point favorites over Green Bay. I don't know how it will happen, but Green Bay WILL find a way to lose. I take Atlanta. (Dave takes Atlanta, the wife takes Green Bay.)

Sunday night, Pittsburgh, without Roethlisberger, is a seven-and-a-half point favorite over Cleveland, in Pittsburgh. That Monday nighter the Steelers played versus the Ravens scared me, and that was with Big Ben. I take the Browns getting the points here. (Dave takes Pittsburgh, the wife takes Cleveland.)

And Monday night, the T.O.-less Eagles are still favored, at home, by 3 over the Cowboys. I take Dallas, despite Drew Bledsoe's idiocy...Philly will begin a tailspin here. (Dave and the wife take Philly.)

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Just a quick update to get some things off my mind:

Terrell Owens missed someone in his apology to the world the other day: Fantasy Football Owners of Terrell Owens. He really screwed up my season. Maybe I was dumb to draft him, but by the time I had my draft, things seemed to be settled with the Eagles, I thought he would play out the season. What a jerk.

Wayne Chrebet is expected to retire after suffering another concussion on Sunday. As soon as his head hit the turf, I knew his career was done. It's a little sad - a big change for the Jets. But it would be even more sad if Chrebet winds up brain damaged. We'll never know, because he kept to himself as a retirement, I doubt we'll ever hear from him again.

Brooks Bollinger will start for the Jets in Carolina on Sunday. About four weeks too late. That's the first mistake I will peg Herman Edwards with in his head coaching tenure - not turning the reins over to Bollinger sooner. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a bunch of jerks for not blowing out the Jets when Vinny returned....I can't believe the Jets won that game. It ruined the season. Bollinger throws a nice-looking ball. His only problem is he's short. He's been able to make runs late in the games where the Jets have trailed and he's replaced Testaverde. If he had started, the Jets might have won a couple. I don't care about a high draft pick...if that's going to happen, fine, it's going to happen. But let Bollinger throw the ball, and anything could have happened a few weeks ago - this division was wide open, a couple of wins could have put the Jets in first place. Now it's too far to climb, and that's not fair to Bollinger. It'll be fun to watch him play a game where he will be free to be a quarterback, not a hander-offer (like he was in the Baltimore game, where the Jets wouldn't let him throw the ball). Tough thing, though, with this start coming against the Carolina defense.

Speaking of Carolina and in defense attorney....the Panthers' cheerleading squad will be short a couple of members. I wonder if Kevin, the JJDBSDC Southern Bureau Chief, got to cover that story. And I also think the blonde cheerleader could have done a little better for herself than the brunette she was with. If there are 33 members of the "Top Cats" (and there are - I counted), I'd rank the girl she was with at about number 30. Shoot higher, blondie.

Picks on Friday.
Today, November 9th, might just live on in my memory as one of the greatest days in Mets fan history. Gary Cohen, voice of the Mets on WFAN radio (and Number 2 man overall next to Bob Murphy for about 15 years prior to becoming #1), will take over as the play-by-play man on Mets telecasts on the Mets' new television network beginning next season. Ted Robinson, to coin one of Cohen's calls, "IS OUTTA HERE!" The Mets wanted someone who was exclusive to the Mets as their voice on the new network, and Ted Robinson (for some reason) is in high demand, what with all the tennis, college football, and other sports he covers elsewhere for other companies. The Mets made a great move. I wonder if Howie Rose will take over the number one spot on the radio, with Ed Coleman moving from pre-and-post-game coverage to the booth. That would be OK...but the radio won't be the same without Cohen. I'll live with listening to others on car rides to NYC, though, having Cohen for the majority of the games when I watch on TV. (There's still no word on a color commentator, but the Mets would be very wise to snatch up Keith Hernandez, who has done fabulous work in a limited role with the Mets until now. I don't mind seeing the harmless but dopey Fran Healy take a hike. And the Mets have to keep Ralph Kiner on in some capacity.)

What will a baseball season be without me complaining about the broadcasters? I can't wait...and there will actually be good baseball to watch!

A Hot Stove Update: Word out of the meetings in California is that the Mets are talking to the Devil Rays about a deal that would get them Aubrey Huff and Danys Baez. The Mets would have to give up some combination of Aaron Heilman, Yesmiro Petit, and others. Both Baez and Huff are entering the final years of their contracts. That would be OK, because Huff would fill a need opposite Mike Jacobs at first base, but I think the Mets would be better off not dealing Heilman. Too many times they've gotten rid of someone who's gone on to star with another team, and I think this might happen with him. He found his niche last year, and I would love to see him become their closer, a la Jason Isringhausen with Oakland. (Unsuccessful young starter, turned successful closer.) Baez has Armando Benitez written all over him - he just hasn't shown he can shut the door in key situations.

I should note here that it doesn't look like Braden Looper will be brought back. Also, Doug Mientkiewicz will not come back. The Mets have brought back Steve Trachsel.

One more thing - apparently, even though he says he doesn't want to come to the Mets, the Mets are still interested in working out a deal for Manny Ramirez (he has veto power). The Mets think if the Angels get Paul Konerko, they won't be interested in Ramirez (nor could they afford him), and they might be able to get back in the picture. Then they would be able to deal Baez and/or Huff to Boston as part of the Ramirez deal. This is BAD news. The best news to come out of Boston in 20 years was that Manny didn't want to go to the Mets. Leave it be.

I owe my fans a final update on the events they followed this whole (second half) of the baseball season.

ELTRAN*'S: The final numbers on Carlos Beltran*'s second half, needless to say, were disappointing. 266 AB, 71 hits - .267 AVG. 45 HR, 6 HR (he hit 8 in the previous postseason!!! - this is the second half of an entire season!!), 34 RBI. 13 SB. It better be a good year next year. For those of you dying to know, over the full season, Beltran* was:
.266, 16 HR, 78 RBI, 83 Runs, 17 SB. Whoopee.

WRIGHT WATCH: It's never too late to run a Wright Watch. David Wright finished the season with 42 doubles, 2 shy of the club record. A shame. But he'll re-write (re-WRIGHT?) the Mets' record books before he's done. FYI - he dwarfed Beltran*'s numbers, catching fire over the final weeks of the season. Here's Wright's final numbers:
.306, 27 HR, 102 RBI, 99 Runs, 17 SB. That's up there in "Greatest Mets seasons ever" territory.

Speaking of which, Cliff Floyd, after that torrid start, slowed waaay down...finishing with 34 HR and 98 RBI and a .273 AVG.

I'll see if I can do periodic Hot Stove Updates throughout the off-season.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Because this is so late, I offer my apologies to those of you who actually look for my picks for anything other than entertainment purposes (and my apologies for not picking well thus far this season). Friday night was busy, and Saturday the website was down...but I'm still posting these picks with three hours to go until we're OK.

I want to start with this e-mail from the Southern Bureau (also mentioned by Dave in Brighton...and heard on ESPNRadio):


Found this stat online....

'Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson has as many touchdown passes (three) as all Jets quarterbacks combined. Three attempts, three TDs for L.T. New York's healthy but ineffective combo of Vinny Testaverde and Brooks Bollinger hasn't found the end zone in 111 attempts.'

Thoughts?? Do the Jets go QB in the offseason?? Do you sit up and night and wonder what Philip Rivers would look like in green?? Matt Shaub perhaps?? Do the Jets - like the Giants - try and make the big splash and trade up to #1 in the draft (for Leinart, I would assume)?? Or...are the problems bigger than just QB position??

And the big question - how much longer does their coach get a free ride?? He's just barely over 500 in his coaching record. And...he hasn't won anything.


Lots to address in there. Let me start off by saying it's good to hear from Kevin again...I know football season isn't the best time of year for you, but I'm glad you're weighing in. As for the Tomlinson stat, it's pretty embarrassing. At least, I hope Testaverde is embarrassed by it. And here's some big news - I think Testaverde gets a couple of touchdown tosses today and the Jets beat the Chargers. Really, I do. The Jets, for some reason, have had the Chargers' number the past few seasons. In 2002, the game at San Diego was the one that propelled the Jets towards .500 when things looked very bleak, and the Jets went on to win the division. Last year, the Jets beat the Chargers in San Diego during the regular season, and then beat them again in that heart-stopping playoff game. Now it's the Chargers who are coming east, and I think the Jets beat them. It'll be mostly due to the defense, but I think Vinny does enough to help the offense get on the board a few times. This is also one of those stars aligning things, for me, because I've been saying how much I don't believe in the Chargers this year, and people are loving them because they've been losing such close games, but maybe this loss to the Jets will make people realize that the Chargers are going nowhere this year.

So there's my pick. To address the other issues in the e-mail - the win today by the Jets will have a negative impact on their chase for the first overall pick in the draft. But they'll still finish the season with a very high draft pick. I would love to see Vince Young as the Jets' quarterback next year, but I don't even think he'll come out this year. I do think quarterback is the biggest thing the Jets need to take care of...I don't think they can count on Chad Pennington being healthy (if it happens, great - but he's really seriously injured). Lots of people are saying Matt Leinart, and that's a real possibility - and it would give the Jets a bona fide QB (until he gets hurt, because the Jets can't get anything easy). Others are saying Brady Quinn...and that would be a typical Jets' move - because he probably won't be a good pro quarterback - he's perfect for Weis' system, and he will probably be a middling NFL QB. I want Leinart or Young...and I think the Jets would need to go quarterback over a guy like Mike Bush....but even an athlete like Bush wouldn't be the worst thing. I doubt they'll make a move for Rivers...if I get a chance this week, maybe I'll take a look at which quarterbacks are likely to be brought in by the Jets.

Lastly, the Herman Edwards situation. You're right. He's only 37-34 in his five years, with a 2-3 postseason record. But here's my argument in his defense (because I think he's a great coach). He went 10-6 in 2001, leading the Jets to the playoffs, losing in the first round. In 2002, the Jets started awfully, he made the QB switch, the team finished 9-7 and won the division. 1-1 in the playoffs. In 2003, injuries hit, 6-10, tough luck. In 2004, 10-6, wild card, 1-1 in the postseason. Now, 2-5, more injuries. He's only played with a full deck in three of his five seasons, and in those three seasons, he's done better than almost every other coach the Jets have had in their history. It's not often that the Jets are playoff contenders, and he has turned around this organization into a team that expects to be there every year. Now there's a big test, and if he doesn't get the chance to take the test, it would be unfair. The Jets are going to have to start from scratch somewhat. He had the pieces in place, for the most part, through his first four seasons (adding or taking away players here and there). Now he needs to build himself a team. If it doesn't happen quickly, fire him. I'll be fine with that. But he should at least get the chance to bring in his type of player, build his type of a team (as much as he's allowed, since he doesn't make all personnel decisions), and do what he does best, motivate, and get his guys to play, and see where the Jets are in a few years. I think he deserves that shot.

So, the picks. The Jets are five-point underdogs. I take them to win outright, Dave in Brighton takes the Chargers -5, and the wife takes the Jets +5.

Last week all three of us were 5-9. The wife is still the overall leader at 56-57-3, I'm next at 55-58-3, and then it's Dave at 43-54-3. A lot of road favorites this week - I'm not crazy about there being that many home 'dogs. This will probably be a crazy week.

In Minnesota, it's the Lions as 1-and-a-half-point favorites over the Vikings. The Vikings are going nowhere fast, and now Brad Johnson is the quarterback, with Daunte Culpepper out for a while. I take Detroit giving the points, despite Joey Harrington starting again in place of Jeff Garcia. (Dave and the wife also both take Detroit.)

Cleveland is a 3-point favorite over Tennessee in Cleveland. What a joke the Browns are - they're insulted last week because they were 2-point underdogs against the winless Texans. Well, guys, when you're that insulted you have to prove why, and go out and beat the winless Texans. Not become their first win of the season. Tennessee isn't bad enough to be an underdog here. I take the Titans, +3. (Dave and the wife both take CLE -3.)

In Kansas City, the Chiefs are four-and-a-half point favorites over the Raiders. The Raiders have started to play like I've been expecting them to all year, but that's been at home. I don't think they go into Kansas City and win. I've been wrong before (and quite often), but I'm taking the Chiefs minus the points here. (Dave and the wife also both take K.C.)

New Orleans is home to Chicago, and they are 2-point underdogs. Besides the Jets, the first of the home 'dogs. I don't know why I keep picking the Saints, since they're awful. But something about the Bears coming off a big win last week, then going on the road....I take New Orleans, +2. (Dave and the wife also take New Orleans.)

Cincinnati is a 3-point favorite in Baltimore. (Another home 'dog.) Baltimore stinks, though. I don't know how they played the Steelers so tight last Monday night. I take Cincy, -3. (Dave and the wife also take Cincinnati.)

Tampa Bay, at home, is a 1-point favorite over Carolina. Carolina is a lot better than Tampa Bay, no matter where this game is. And Tampa is without their quarterback. And they've lost to the Jets and the 49ers. That has to hurt. I take Carolina, +1. (Dave and the wife also both take Carolina.)

At Jacksonville, the Jaguars are 11-point favorites over the Texans. The Texans are coming off that first win, and I just found out they're probably going to be without starting RB Domanick Davis. It still doesn't change my pick. I'm not sure I've ever seen the Jaguars win a game by more than ten points. They just don't blow teams out. The Jaguars will win, but I take the Texans +11. (Dave and the wife also both take Houston.)

Atlanta is a two-and-a-half point favorite in Miami. (Another home 'dog.) Atlanta should have no problems in this one (meaning they will probably lose). I take the Falcons giving the points. (Dave and the wife also both take Atlanta.)

In San Francisco, the Giants are 10-point favorites over the 49ers. The Giants are legit. I might expect a Giants-Colts Super Bowl. They should blow the doors off San Francisco, even out west. I take the doesn't even merit mentioning that the 49ers are a home 'dog. (Dave takes the Giants, the wife couldn't resist the big points, taking San Francisco.)

In Arizona, the Seahawks are four-and-a-half-point favorites over the Cardinals. Kurt Warner, I believe, is back at QB for the Cards. The Seahawks are bad on the road, but they're still road favorites here. I take Seattle, giving the points. (Dave and the wife also take Seattle.)

Big time home 'dog warning here - at Green Bay, the Steelers are 6-point favorites over the Packers. We took this line before it was announced that Roethlisberger wouldn't play (it's down to 3 now). But the Packers have been keeping games close, despite stinking it up. I think they have a shot at winning this one, so I take Green Bay. (Dave and the wife also take Green Bay.)

Sunday night, Philadelphia is a 1-point favorite over the Redskins. I took Philadelphia, and now Terrell Owens is suspended. I would change my pick, but I feel it's almost dishonest to do so without telling the wife or Dave, so I'll keep my pick at Philly. This is another home 'dog situation, by the way. (In the pool that I actually have a financial interest in, I switched my Eagles pick to the Redskins, so don't cry for me.) I take Philly. (Dave and the wife take Washington +1.)

Finally, Monday night, New England is the biggest home 'dog of them all. The Colts are 3-point favorites in Foxboro. I think this is where Peyton Manning finally gets his win at the Patriots. I take the Colts -3. (Dave in Brighton takes the Pats - "NE a home dog? Wow", he says. The wife also takes New England.)

Another week with a lot of similar picks. Should be a crazy week. Enjoy.