Saturday, January 31, 2009


REASON #1 - CITI FIELD For the Mets, this season is all about the new stadium. They can win the championship, I don't care (OK, I care), but that would be secondary....because the Mets won't be a lock for any kind of playoff spot until October. You can't count on anything before then, given their track record. So for the first 5 and a half months of the season, the story will be the new stadium.

There's so much possibility to a new stadium.

Features on how it's playing - favoring pitchers so far, or hitters?

What fan amenities are there?

What are the quirks?

What are the hidden features that no one knows about yet?

The Mets will be a big draw this year because of the new stadium. In the recession we're in, that puts them ahead of other teams who might see people avoiding the ballpark. They should play this up for all it's worth - a feature on the stadium during every game on SNY. Lots of shots from different vantage points. Maybe even a pre-season special. (SNY has been airing this thing with Kevin Burkhart all off-season where the stadium is still only about three-quarters completed. Update that with a final look at Citi Field...and a little bit about the taking down of Shea.)

Citi Field is the number one reason for Mets fans to look forward to 2009. Because while the team itself is no guarantee to fulfill its promise, the stadium should.

This idea was going to originally be "Reasons to Look Forward to the Mets in 2009", but I realized there are probably going to be some general baseball reasons as well as Mets reasons. So I've expanded it. Most will have to do with the Mets. Also, I'm counting up, rather than down, as we head towards the baseball season, because I'm just not sure how many items there will be in this feature. We'll go until we hit Opening Day.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


It's one of the immutable laws of my blogging life - if I don't write for a while, lots of things happen. I've been busy with school and life, but the Jets and Mets (and related issues) have been in the news. Here's what we missed:

A COACH NAMED REX: You have to like the way Rex Ryan talks, as a Jets fan. Anyone who talks about winning Super Bowls and says things like, "Watch out, because the Jets are coming", makes you think good things are bound to happen. It also makes you think he hasn't read a sports page in 40 years, but in this case, ignorance is bliss.

Maybe a guy named Rex can make the Jets a tougher team...a force. Maybe things will change.

Or maybe he'll just keep the seat warm for someone else in 3 or 4 years.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: Aaron Heilman has been unhappy the past few years with his role with the Mets. He wanted to start, and as a result wanted to be traded. This off-season, he was part of the trade with Seattle where the Mets got J. J. Putz. Now, only a little more than a month later, Heilman has been traded again, to the Cubs. He'll be fighting for a number 5 starter job there. He would have started easily in Seattle. (Incidentally, if the Mets face Heilman as a member of the Cubs, bet heavily on the Cubs that day. That's the way things go for the Mets.)

LOL :-): Did you hear the one about Dwight Gooden, responding to steroid allegations with a "LOL" text message? I don't believe any of these athletes who deny steroid use anymore, really....especially the ones with the significant career rebirths after looking totally washed up.

MANNY/MANUEL: Mets manager Jerry Manuel says he wouldn't mind having Manny Ramirez in his lineup. Omar Minaya says he has no interest in adding him to the team. So help me God, I'm already on the precipice with the Mets after the past two Septembers. Adding Manny would push me right off the edge.

That's all I have for now. Thanks to the Southern Bureau for keeping this from being a totally stagnant place the past few weeks. I'll be back at least with a Super Bowl pick, but hopefully posting more regularly as spring training fast approaches.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week in (yawn) Review

Maybe he'll be signing a WORLD SERIES '09 ball: The Mets signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal this week. That's really all they did. Boring.

According to various reports, the Mets are still interested in several free agent pitchers, and that's probably a good thing. Right now, I can't see Garcia making much of an impact, except perhaps as a #5 starter. Even that might be a stretch.

Sandy Koufax isn't walking through that door: Of course the problem now is - there isn't much left. Its Randy Wolf, Ben Sheets, and he-who-shall-remain-nameless. And apparently that last option is a serious one, as the Mets are reportedly raising their offer to the 2008 Major League leader in walks.

What have we learned?: Since there isn't much going on this week, I'll tackle one more quick topic. Some rumblings that the Mets should trade one of their "big three" hitters, but history tells us they should think long and hard about that. Watching a future Hall of Famer retire this week should probably be enough of a reminder for this franchise.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


This Shea Stadium situation is much more upsetting to me than I thought it would be. Remember when I thought they would demolish it in one fell swoop and I wanted to be there to see it? I'm second-guessing that thought process.

Though I do almost wish now that it was gone all at once instead of piece by piece.

It's like a train wreck - it's so gruesome to me, but I can't take my eyes off it.

As we drove by Monday for what could be the last time, The Wife asked, "How much longer am I going to have to take pictures every time we drive by the stadiums?" Unfortunately, the answer is not much longer.

As you can see below, the progress in just a couple of weeks since my last visit is pretty staggering. (It doesn't seem like it from the way Shea looks, but these are pretty much taken from the same angle.)

Monday, January 19, 2009


I drove by Citi Field and the remains of Shea Stadium this weekend en route to my brother's show.

And as much as I was looking forward to this whole deconstruction process, following the building of the new stadium, I've now decided I don't like seeing Shea being torn apart.

I think I'd rather just see an empty space than Shea in the state it is in now.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

maybe somebody IS reading this...

Here's the problem with blogs...

Dream Scenario: you put in all the time and work, assume millions of people will enjoy your writings, and you'll become world famous.

Actual Scenario: about 14 people read it, 10 of whom are related to you, three of whom are friends, and random dude who is lost 200 miles from NYC and is a bad speller.

But with that said, maybe Johnnymets is starting to take off...


Just a few days after the "patch post", its making national headlines. Even Stephen Colbert is getting in on the act.

Yours truly suggested the Mets would probably end up with an "Alex Cora type player". A few weeks later, the Mets signed Alex Cora!

Johnnymets wants to see the Mets sign Ben Sheets. Newsday reports the Mets are keeping their eyes on Ben Sheets!

So with the new Johnnymets influence, I feel it is my duty - no - my obligation - to write the following.

Dear NY Mets...


Love always...
The Southern Bureau

Friday, January 16, 2009


I haven't been paying much attention to the whole ordeal, but I do know the Jets are looking for a new coach, and interviewing a lot of candidates. (I prefer to wait until a decision is made and not get my hopes up for anyone in particular...I don't really know enough to make a judgment on anyone...and they never do what I expect...and it's always some guy who leads them to an occasional playoff appearance, and then gets fired after about 4 years or so anyway.)

And nothing's official yet...but does this have "Jets scoop up Gruden" written all over it or what?

He was, after all, willing to toss aside the quarterback that led him to the playoffs last year to go hard after Brett Favre. He has won a Super Bowl.

Gruden seems like just the type of guy who would stroke Favre's ego enough to get him to come back...which is really what the Jets' owner wants (though he may be the only guy in that camp).

So maybe the Jets continue along the lines they're on now and hire a Steve Spagnuola...but if they suddenly change course and hire Jon Gruden, don't be so surprised.

PICKS: I wasn't even going to make Championship Game picks, because I just don't care. (We're celebrating my mom's birthday on Sunday and my dad said he tried to make the dinner reservations for earlier in the afternoon, but failed. So we're not watching much...but I told him, "Dad, who even cares?" We'll be back in time for the end of the second game...maybe. I might watch that.) But now that I'm here, I'll make the picks:

EAGLES 31, CARDINALS 17 (I can't believe Philadelphia might win baseball and football championships - enough to get me to root for Arizona in this one)

STEELERS 24, RAVENS 10 (In case you were wondering, any combination of these four teams gives us a new Super Bowl any way you slice it, I win.)

OTHER NEWS AND NOTES: Everything should be back to normal posting-wise next week...I'm just about done with the overwhelming amount of school work that hits this time of year.

I'll be in New York City this weekend for my brother's CD release party - that's the album cover there on the left. It's available for $5.94 on iTunes now.

The show is in Astoria on Saturday night. Look me up if you need the info.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Buy me that! Oh...uh...nevermind.

Creative team needs a buyout: The hot trend in baseball is to have a fancy patch on your uniform to signify anything important happening in your franchise. Mainly its a way to make money - all the fans will want to buy the fancy patch. The Mets decided to do just one of two.

They got the new patch - but they clearly don't want anyone to buy it. Who would want to? That's it on the left. Yes...THAT'S IT. Just the Citi Field logo with "Inaugural Season" on it. No shot of the stadium. No mention of the stadium. Just that.

The patch - and the Mets - are getting killed on a national website, and rightfully so. As the writer pointed out - it does kinda look like the Domino's logo.

Of course - as I type this - I wonder if Johnnymets has already ordered one for the whole family.

Onto the guys who might be wearing that snappy patch next year....

Makes me Red(ding) in the face: Forget Derek Lowe - sign Tim Redding! The Mets have come to terms with free agent pitcher Tim Redding. Redding's ERA last season: 4.95. Is he the number five starter? If they don't sign Lowe, he might be the number two starter! Its becoming clear - the Mets must sign Derek Lowe.

Home of the Brave?: Uh oh. Suddenly the Braves are the front runner to sign Lowe. Atlanta clearly wasn't expecting John Smoltz to bolt to Boston, and now they're in panic-mode. Will the Mets respond? At least they still have Pedro* to fall back on.

Don't go Pedro!: Uh oh....again. Pedro* has begun negoitations with the Marlins. Suddenly the Mets options are dwindling. I need a beer. Several beers. In fact...lets get...

Three Sheets to the wind: Based on the pitching market, the Southern Bureau completely endorses the latest Johnnymets post: The Mets must sign Ben Sheets.



As I mentioned yesterday, the home computer is on the fritz. It's in and out, shutting down unexpectedly. So I'll try to get these blogs in when I can. It's also a busy time of the school year, so I'm inconsistent with the postings anyway - I'll probably be back to posting more often in a week or so.

But I've been sitting on this e-mail from Justin in NYC for about a week, and it's high time to get to it:

The Rays just signed Pat Burrell. I thought he would have been perfect for the Mets. They're looking for a power hitting left fielder. He is that. Plus, he fits into the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mold. Yet, no one even mentioned it as a possibility. Your thoughts...

First of all, it's great to get an e-mail again. Since the comments section came to the blog, no one e-mails anymore. It's nice. Secondly, thanks for taking the time to write Justin. And thirdly, I'm going to go a step further and list a few other 'perfect fits' for the Mets:
-Brad Penny
-Rocco Baldelli
-John Smoltz
-Takashi Saito

While I agree Burrell seemed like a good fit, I'm also going to give the word of caution that he was one of those Chipper Jones-type Mets killers...while he did damage against the Mets all over the place, he was one of those guys who loved hitting at Shea. So maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't have continued at the new park. But that's a shot-in-the-dark rationalization.

The common denominator with those other guys is that they all ended up being signed by the same team - the Red Sox. And it makes me wonder why the Mets couldn't sign them all. (I haven't even mentioned the likes of A. J. Burnett.)

It's not like the Mets and Red Sox are in the same boat right now. The Red Sox are coming off two world championships in five years, and a loss in Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS. The Mets are coming off back-to-back September collapses that forced them to miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons. However, when it comes down to it, they have the same needs as most everyone else in baseball - pitching depth (and a spare outfielder).
If the Mets were really interested in Burrell (and it was at least mentioned as a possibility in my brain, if not on the site here, Justin...but I'm not sure where else), they should have fallen back on Baldelli. I know he's not an everyday player anymore, but I'm not sure the Mets need an everyday outfielder. They need someone to replace Endy Chavez, coming into games late and providing a spark. Baldelli could have filled that role - and performed even better in it. Or at least platooned with some of the younger guys. Plus he's an easy guy to root for.

Then there are the pitchers. Oh, the pitchers. Sure, they've added the likes of Francisco Rodriguez and J. J. Putz....but what of the rotation? (I watched Tim Redding closely last year for a period when he was on my fantasy team - he was not very good for most of the season.) What of the other bullpen depth? I would think if you're the New York Mets, you spend like the Yankees and Red Sox, and take some chances on guys like Penny, Saito, maybe even Smoltz, just to give yourself some arms so that 2008 never happens again.

Which leaves us now with a Derek Lowe and a Ben Sheets. The price on Sheets is supposedly dropping...I say take the chance. If he's healthy (which is the phrase I'm sure all of the contract negotiations on Sheets begin with), Johan Santana-Ben Sheets becomes one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball. And then Derek Lowe becomes a number three starter if you sign him as well. Lowe needs to be in a spot during the regular season where everything doesn't depend on him, especially in New York. I just have a bad feeling about him coming to New York City and having a lot on his shoulders - I don't know that his psyche can handle that. Come the post-season, I think he'll step up...but he needs to help the Mets get there first.

I doubt the Mets will sign both of those pitchers. I have serious doubts they'll sign one of them. And I hate to be the skeptical Mets fan...but I have my doubts about the Mets' financial viability right now. They're opening a new stadium - things should be great. They should be spending to beat the band - like the Yankees, opening their new stadium.

It makes me wonder about the Wilpons' involvement (the money they lost, not the bad kind of involvement) in the Madoff scheme. It makes me wonder about the deal with Citi for the park's naming rights. It makes me wonder about the current economic situation. It makes me wonder whether all of these things are causing the Mets to be just that more conservative when it comes to spending money. And if that's the's going to set them back quite a bit.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


So big problems with the home computer. I don't have access to my fancy helmet graphics, but I want to get this weekend's playoff picks out there. Back to basics:

Ravens at Titans (TEN -3, O/U: 34)
Like many people, I haven't bought into the Titans too much. But I think they're better than the Ravens. I think Tennessee just matches up better with Baltimore than Miami did. Now, Kevin Mawae isn't playing, so I'm not sure if that just devastates Tennessee's line. That could make a big difference...but I'm going to assume that they protect Kerry Collins, and he does just enough to win this game. Not a barn-burner by any stretch of the imagination - Titans 17, Ravens 10

Cardinals at Panthers (CAR -9.5, O/U: 48.5)
That's a pretty big number...especially considering Arizona, which got blown out a number of times this year, actually played the Panthers pretty tough this season. Carolina will win, but I'm not sure it's going to be as easy as that line indicates. Panthers 30, Cardinals 24

Eagles at Giants (NYG -4, O/U: 39.5)
It's become pretty fashionable this week to pick the Eagles...and I think I'm hopping on board that train. I'm not sure I can justify it, other than I think the Eagles have all of their weapons, and the Giants will be hurt by the absence of their big-play receiver. Eagles 24, Giants 21

Chargers at Steelers (PIT -6, O/U: 38)
I don't feel as good about this game a day out than I did when I plotted out the playoffs on paper...but I picked San Diego winning in Pittsburgh, so I'm going to stay with that. I love the stat that San Diego has never won in Pittsburgh in the regular season (0-13), but they're 2-0 there in the post-season. Chargers 20, Steelers 17

Monday, January 05, 2009


I think the biggest surprise of Week 1 of the NFL playoffs is the fact that four road teams were the favorites, and 2 of those actually won. Home field advantage in the playoffs is so important, and Arizona and San Diego were able to take advantage of that. But Baltimore clearly overwhelmed Miami in Miami, and Philadelphia beat Minnesota in Minnesota...I feel like anytime you win a playoff game on the road, it's quite an accomplishment.

The real feat, though, is if you can win on the road in Week 2.
A couple of other reactions:

Atlanta at Arizona
-I totally did not see Arizona winning this game. Good for them - I didn't particularly enjoy rooting against them (I did want to see Atlanta win). But I think their run will be short-lived, coming east.
-The Cardinals do have this working in their favor - it's not like they're heading east for a 1pm game - they have the Saturday night game, so the time shouldn't be a factor, at least. Playing a really good team will probably be a bigger factor.
-My final thought on this game is that it was amazing how fast things swung Arizona's way after the fumble on the handoff at the start of the second half. Everything fell apart for the Falcons fast.

Indianapolis at San Diego
-Definitely the pick of the weekend.
The game was a lot closer than I expected - I really thought San Diego would pour it on the Colts...and they probably would have won in regulation if Peyton Manning had not caught the Chargers napping on that long touchdown to Reggie Wayne.
-I put a lot of stock into the Chargers this post-season - our post-season player pool roster has Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson (both posted 0's on Saturday) - but the game turned out the way I hoped....I think next week's matchup with Pittsburgh is going to also be the best game of the weekend.

Baltimore at Miami
-I was shocked to see Ed Hochuli as referee in this game, after the start to the year he had. I guess he turned it around after the early errors. I'm also glad, after we saw Hochuli once or twice early in the game, CBS addressed why he was doing the game.
-Chad Pennington has never matched up well against a defense like Baltimore's.
-Speaking of the referees, I had never seen the guy who did the Arizona-Atlanta game before, but he was pretty good. I'm not sure what his name was.

Philadelphia at Vikings
-Maybe I was saving up for next weekend's games, where I'm going to be fully interested from 4pm Saturday through 8pm Sunday, but I really tuned out when this game came on. I watched a little, but I was more concerned with getting stuff done around the house. Again - this will not be the case next Sunday at the same time - I'll be glued to San Diego-Pittsburgh.

I'll have picks by late Friday or early Saturday.

Inspired by the Southern Bureau, I might try to get into some baseball this week. I also might touch on the Jets' coaching situation. Apparently Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski is putting his job on the line just to interview with the Jets. I might advise him that it's not really worth it.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

600 Miles From the Citi

Its the Southern Bureau. In case you're wondering - I'm the one on the right.

Thanks to Johnnymets for the invitation to join the site. Obviously I'm just trying not to get in the way, just keep it going with a (hopefully) clever posting every now and then. I'm more of a baseball guy, so you won't see much on the Jets - and you'll be sick of me during Mets season. So until then - just a few posts until we figure out what exactly I'll be doing around here. Or until Johnnymets fires me.

Here we go:

How Lowe can you go?: Or - how high will they go? Turns out Derek Lowe doesn't think he can feed his family on just 12 million dollars a season. He wants 16 mil. At this point, you've gotta figure the Mets will give it to him. When the backup plan is Randy Wolf, Lowe seems like a pretty good option.

Where's Rey Ordonez when you need him?: The Mets depth chart shows they currently have no backup infielders (I'm not counting Fernando Tatis). Can't you picture an Alex Cora-type player showing up on this team? Second base is obviously a concern too, so I wouldn't be surprised if two backup infielders show up on opening day.

What about the Hanukkah party?: Hopefully the Mets got their money in advance for the naming rights to the stadium. Citigroup decided to cancel their "Christmas Train Display" due to the fact that they're - you know - broke. Annual savings: $240,000. That's a pretty nice train set. My workplace's annual Christmas budget: probably about $14.

Its kinda blurry: Next time I thought I'd give a photographic tour of Wilmington - home to Michael Jordan, former Met Trot Nixon, and future Met Bradley Holt. But in johnnymets tradition, I'm going to take all the pictures from a moving car.

- SB

Saturday, January 03, 2009



I'm three weeks late to the party on this, but I finally sat down and watched my TiVo'ed version of ESPN Films' "The Greatest Game Ever Played" - it originally aired following the Heisman Trophy Presentation in mid-December.

The big selling points were the fact that the game was being presented on television in color for the first time, and that current and former Colts and Giants were sitting down together to talk about the game.

When you look past the typical ESPN fluff (hosted by Chris Berman, yuck), it was a very enjoyable couple of hours.

In terms of significance, it was the greatest game ever played - but when you actually watch the game, which this show finally presented me (with a chopped up and edited version) the opportunity to do - it was not a great game. It was tremendously sloppy - something all of the current and former personnel noted.

The field was sloppiest of all - the Yankee Stadium field looked terrible that day. But Yankee Stadium itself looked great. I love watching the old (I'm talking OLD, pre-renovation) videos of Yankee Stadium - color or black and white - and this video seemed to have an inordinate amount of stadium shots - maybe the way football was shot showed more of the stadium. Majestic. I would have loved to see a game there.

Besides the Stadium, some of the current players paired up with the old-timers were really impressive. I've always liked Dwight Freeney, but I was blown away by his conversations with Alex Sandusky (a Colts offensive lineman). I was also impressed by Steve Smith, and I thought Adam Vinatieri and Pat Summerall were interesting. ESPN paired Michael Strahan with Art Donovan. I've seen Donovan years ago doing all sorts of TV appearances, though I can't put my finger on what right now, and he's always been entertaining. It seemed like Strahan was trying to yuk it up with him too much, and that was not fun to watch. When the two of them played it straight, it was very good. Mike Tirico talked with Bob Wolff, who did the TV broadcast in 1958. I can't figure out exactly what bothers me about Tirico, but there's something. I enjoy listening to him do play-by-play...but I didn't like him in this situation.

The most interesting technological aspect of the show was an analysis of what was one of the more controversial plays in the game - Frank Gifford ruled short of a first down (which he insists he had) on a late drive that would have helped the Giants run out the clock with the lead. They did two separate analyses on the screen showing with graphs how Gifford was about 9 inches short. That was cool.

And then two revelations came out that I never knew:

1) Late in the game, a fan ran onto the field. It was a pivotal moment - the Colts were driving late, and for viewers at home, they lost the picture. Turns out, NBC had a plug knocked loose, and one of their workers ran out on the field to delay the game, until the plug was replaced. I thought that was funny.


2) Alan Ameche, the famous fullback who scored the championship-winning touchdown in overtime, was not liked by his teammates. A couple of different Colts mentioned it in the interviews. One related the story that when Ameche decided to retire in 1960, he went to coach Weeb Eubank and said, "I think I'm going to retire." Eubank reportedly told him, "That's probably a good idea."

The game footage in a show like this is great - but it's stories like these that set the shows apart. I don't know if ESPN will replay the show at any point in the near future - but it's worth a watch if you see it.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Every so often I strike gold making these picks (remember when I absolutely nailed Dallas-Seattle?), and that's what keeps me making them. This year, I'm not in any kind of spread or over/under pool, so I'm doing this for the love of the game. (I am in a playoff player pool - possibly more information to come on that, especially if we end up doing well.)

Good-bye Cardinals, hope you've enjoyed your division championship. This has the potential to be an entertaining game, actually - but Atlanta is the better team. They've been consistent all year, and they'll come into this game loose, I bet. The Cardinals will be tight, trying to prove they belong. And they won't do well:
The more I think about this game, the more sense it makes to me - San Diego is going to win. And they'll go on a run - I think to the Super Bowl. As I mentioned in my Week 17 recap, this is the team that has come so close so often the past few years. Then this year, they looked like they would be eliminated three weeks ago, and everything kept going their way. Call them this year's version of the 2006 Steelers, last year's Giants, whatever. They have this going for them - they have a home game in the first round, which neither of those teams did. I feel pretty good about a San Diego win against an Indianapolis team that isn't as good as its record:
I love Miami (this year). I love Chad Pennington. But I don't have a good feeling about this game. I don't like the way Pennington matches up against the Ravens defense. I think that's the biggest factor - Pennington will see pressure the likes of which he hasn't seen all season, and the Dolphins won't get anything going on offense. I'll be rooting like heck to be wrong here, and rooting for the Dolphins to win, but I'm picking Baltimore:
Perhaps it's because I never bought into Minnesota from the beginning of the year, and I don't think they really belong in the playoffs (though they've earned their spot more than some of the other teams in the playoffs), but I don't see them beating Philadelphia. I'm not sure exactly how this is going to shake out, but I see Philly winning on a late David Akers field goal. Maybe overtime, maybe just in the final minutes:
If I'm reading the point spreads I found correctly, which I'm 99% sure I am, how about the fact that all four home teams are underdogs? So, for entertainment purposes, if you're scoring at home, it's:
1) Atlanta and the under
2) San Diego and the over (I guess - don't these usually have half-point increments?)
3) Baltimore and the under
4) Philly (push) and the under


If you've read the blog before (and if you haven't, welcome!), you know I have just a touch of the crazy. Not in the 'bite the head off a kitten' sense, but in the statistical sense.

And my number one obsession is with seeing a new matchup in the championship each year (mostly just with baseball and football, though it crosses my mind at the end of the NBA and NHL seasons).

This year's playoff batch presents a lot of possibilities for a new matchup - and features a lot of teams that follow the rules:
-New York Giants (4 Super Bowls, 4 different opponents)
-Minnesota (4, 4)
-Indianapolis and Philadelphia (2, 2)
(Funny that one of the all-time rule-breakers, the Oakland Raiders, are big-time rule-followers in my book, with 5 appearances against 5 opponents. The Patriots and Broncos are 6 for 6.)

The teams that have no restrictions this year are: Atlanta, Arizona, Carolina, Philadelphia, Tennessee, San Diego, and Indianapolis. Here are the restrictions:
-Baltimore and New York: Saw it in Super Bowl XXXV
-Minnesota vs. Pittsburgh/Miami: Minnesota, as I mentioned, has played 4 separate Super Bowl opponents, but two of them are in the mix again this year.

With my expectation that Miami and Minnesota will be first-round losses, it's really only the Giants and Ravens that are a threat - don't think the Ravens can't plow through the AFC.

For the rest of my picks in this weekend's games, check back a little later today.


Today is a day of picks. Later on, I'll print my predictions for this weekend's NFL playoff matchups. Right now, I'll recap my picks from the beginning of the year...which weren't spot-on, but they weren't terrible, either.

I made a few predictions in September - let's start by checking those:

1) The Giants would not repeat as Super Bowl champions. The jury's still out on this one, though the Plaxico Burress thing is going to kill them in the playoffs, I suspect.
2) The Patriots would not win the Super Bowl. Well, I was right, but I didn't predict how - I actually had New England making it to the playoffs.
3) I said the Vikings would not make the playoffs. Whoops.
4) I didn't buy into all that Saints hype, and I said the Saints would not make the playoffs. Point, me.

On that posting I also broke down the Jets' schedule game-by-game, and remember, I thought they'd go 12-4 (with a plus/minus 2 factored in). When you look at their schedule, and think about the games they should have had this year (Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks), 12-4 was a distinct possibility.
Then I made these picks for the NFL season. I'm proud to say I came close on a number of things.
-I knew a team with a good record in the AFC was not going to make the playoffs (I had the 12-4 Jaguars, not the 11-5 Patriots).
-I was 50% on the playoff teams.
-I had the tight race between the Broncos and Chargers.
-I knew the NFC West would be terrible (though I had the Seahawks, not the Cardinals, winning).
-I was way off on the Vikings, Cowboys, Ravens and Dolphins, and sort of on the Titans (had a good record, but I underestimated them).

So I didn't do terribly. And I compared my picks against what Sports Illustrated had predicted in their season preview. I was no better, no worse. And I'm pretty proud of that.

Later on today I'll have my playoff picks...and don't think I won't be comparing my thoughts to the "experts".

Thursday, January 01, 2009


So, anything new with the Jets in these early hours of 2009?

I guess the entire team doesn't like Brett Favre, and Thomas Jones resents the fact that Favre kept throwing interceptions. (If Favre doesn't back out of his Pro Bowl appearance due to injury, I suspect he won't be travelling to Hawaii with many of his teammates, Jones in particular.)
While Thomas Jones was bashing Favre on a New York City radio station on Tuesday, another member of the Jets was anonymously telling a newspaper that Favre was isolated from the team much of the year.

To tell the truth, I'm surprised that none of this came out earlier, when the Jets started losing. After all, let's not forget that the Jets were low on Favre's list of desired locations when he was looking to be traded from the Packers. I'm sure that didn't go over too well with the rest of the team.

This news, which has been crawling across the bottom of the bowl games all day, is certain to make it tougher for Favre to come back as a Jet next year. Which certainly is a strike against the Favre trade being "worth it" for the Jets.

And I guess I got my wish - I was hoping that Favre would make the Jets newsworthy come January. I just thought it might be because of the playoffs....


Perhaps sadly, I feel like 2009 will be the year of the stadium, rather than the occupants, when it comes to the Mets.

Like the sucker that I am when it comes to the Mets, I'll be rooting for a world championship, but last year took a lot of the wind out of my sails. That said, the excitement level for 2009 is very high - mostly because the Mets will finally have a new stadium.

The Wife snapped some pictures on our Christmas trip to NYC, and I have for you some views of Citi Field near completion, as well as the beginning of the demolition of Shea Stadium.

First of all, I wanted to show you one of the images of Queens, New York. When we get on the Grand Central Parkway near my parents' house, right by LaGuardia Airport, this is the scene:
It's going to look strange to me when Shea is no longer a part of that horizon. But Citi Field will look great.

Here's another view that will change in just a couple of months, at the on-ramp to the Whitestone Expressway at the end of Astoria Boulevard (note that when you look at Shea you can pretty much see right through it as they have removed all of the seats...more on that in a second):
Now, a look at Citi Field near its completion (I think it's pretty much done, though I can't see the inside):
And then two looks (click on these so they become bigger, and then look inside Shea to see the damage) as the tearing-down process at Shea has started:

Finally, we drove through the Bronx to see some family on Saturday - and The Wife snapped a shot of the new Yankee Stadium (which also looks really good - I'm going to try to get there this summer as well):

Happy New Year!