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My 2013 MLB/NFL Hall of Fame Ballots

Friday, November 30, 2012

You can pick 10.  I did.


1.       Barry Bonds – the second greatest player ever
2.       Roger Clemens – the second greatest pitcher ever
3.       Mike Piazza – the second greatest catcher ever
4.       Jeff Bagwell
5.       Tim Raines
6.       Alan Trammell
7.       Craig Biggio
8.       Edgar Martinez
9.       Mark McGwire
10.   Rafael Palmeiro

c  The Veteran's ballot has one absolute no brainer, Bill Dahlen.  

   Curt Schilling's on the ballot; he doesn't crack my top 10 so I can't vote for him this year, but he's a Hall of Famer too.  Three men no longer on the ballot - Bobby Grich, Lou Whitaker, Rick Reuschel - all should be Hall of Famers and they would have gotten my vote.  I don't believe anyone else currently on the ballot would get my vote in any season; I think the cut off is between Schilling (in) and Larry Walker (out).


The Pro Football ballot is harder.  At least 4 and no more than 7.

    1. Michael Strahan
    2. Warren Sapp
1  3. Jonathan Ogden
    4. Tim Brown
    5. Cris Carter
    6. Larry Allen
    7. Aeneas Williams
   
   
      I think that's my ballot.  It's tough.  I don't know that any of the semi-finalists are necessarily not Hall of Famers outside of Tasker.  I don't think I'd put Terrell Davis in the HOF.  I don't know that I have a great
      argument for Carter/Brown but not Reed.  I really don't know there's a great argument for Allen and not Shields.  I'm fairly certain about the top 3; I think those three WR all all HOF'ers, as are Allen/Shields and Mecklenburg/Williams.  If I could pick 10 I'd feel better about who was being left off at 11th than I do about
      8th.  I'm still torn among Shields/Allen/Williams for those last two spots.  I've got some of my guys in the semi-finalist list - Roger, Haley, Eddie D.  I think Roger and Charles are both borderline guys; everyone on the rest of the list outside of the guys already mentioned and maybe John Lynch who would be my 11th pick is a borderline guy.  If they got in it would be great and a reasonable selection; if they didn't it's not a Ken Anderson-sized crime.  I have boundless affection for Eddie, I don't know that he's a Hall of Famer. I don't really have any interest in non players in the Hall outside of the most obvious selections.




   









The 2012 San Francisco Giants Postseason - Part I

Thursday, November 29, 2012



2010 was the worst year of my life.

My dad died.  My house got foreclosed.  My baseball team won the World Series for the first time ever. 

You wait your whole life to win the World Series – and when you do there isn’t enough room in your brain to enjoy it. 

2012 has been (with apologies to the perfectly reasonable admonition made by Albert Brooks in Broadcast News) the best year of my life. I got married. I left a crappy job to take the best one I ever had.  My baseball team won the World Series. 

It feels pretty good.  If you have the means, you should go to there. 

For those who missed any of the 11 requisite playoff wins, maybe your cable was out for example, I was able to catch each game.  Let’s go to the videotape.  

The Giants lost the first two in the NLDS at home against a superior Reds team (their pythagorean record was solidly better; if you were picking…even if the Giants are your favorite team… you would have picked the Reds to advance) then needed to go to Cincinnati and sweep 3, which the Reds hadn’t allowed all season. 

Season’s over, right?

Matt Cain entered with a postseason scoreless streak of 21+ innings and he got beat in Game One. Cain gave up a 2 run homer to Brandon Phillips in the third.  Baseball’s a data rich endeavor; there’s enough baseball history that we know even that early in a baseball game, that home run gave the Reds a 72% probability that they were going to win the game.  When you’re watching game one of the NLDS and see that Phillips homer; if you say “not really a big deal, it’s the third inning of game one” – you’re wrong, you’re about to go down 1-0.

Which we did – Jay Bruce homered in the 4th and Cain was gone after five.  Buster Posey, soon to be named NL MVP, homered to lead off the 6th, but when you’re down 3-1 with no outs in the bottom of the 6th, you still have only a 22% chance to win the game.  Santiago Casilla took that 3-1 deficit into the ninth inning and expanded it giving up 3 singles and a wild pitch.  Add in a passed ball and the Reds took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th.  We loaded the bases with one out against Aroldis Chapman, but only managed a run and lost game one on a Posey strikeout.

That ended a streak of 8 straight Giants Game One postseason victories; San Francisco had never won a playoff series after losing game one and the Giants organization hadn’t done it since ’21.  That’s how quickly a short series can end – Phillips hits that game one 3rd inning homer and you’re in a hole the franchise hadn’t climbed from in more than 90 years.

And then we got 2 hit and lost Game Two 9-0.

Raise your hand if you had the Giants winning the World Series after Game 2 of the NLDS.  I’m as big a Giants fan as I know, my hands are down.

Well, they’re at the keyboard, but you get the point. The season was over. 

Ryan Ludwick homered off Madison Bumgarner in the second, and when the Reds got 4 singles in the 4th, scoring 3 more runs, their win probability went up to 89%.  We had only a Brandon Belt single by the top of the 8th when Cincinnati ripped Jose Mijares and Guillermo Mota for five more runs.  A Posey 9th inning double was our only other hit of the night.  We were down 2-0 and traveling to Cincinnati.

9-0 was the largest postseason shutout defeat in the 130 year history of the Giants organization.

It’s over.  Right?  Come on.  Only one team ever came back in a five game series after losing the first two at home, the ’01 Yanks.  Our season rested on Ryan Vogelsong, with a career ERA in Cincinnati over 5.00.

We got only one more hit in Game 3 than we did in game 2.  Do you see what I’m saying?  We got 3 hit on the road in an elimination game.

How did the season not end there?

It got bad quick; 3 first inning singles and a walk got the Reds a run and moved them to 64% win probability for the ballgame.

We evened it up without a hit in the third on a walk, a hit by pitch, and a sac fly.  When Vogelsong got through the bottom giving up only a couple of walks, it was the latest point in any game of the series so far that we weren’t losing.

This was not a close series is the point I’m making.  We were getting our ass beat. 

We didn’t get our first hit of the game until a Marco Scutaro single in the 6th; Scutaro had a terrific last two months since coming over from Colorado, but had done less than zero in the NLDS to that point; a quiet bat in a line of quiet Giants bats.

Jeremy Affeldt took over in the bottom and gave up a couple of baserunners – but that 1-1 tie remained until former Dodgers closer Jonathon Broxton got the ball in the 10th inning (if you’re unaware – the Giants don’t like the Dodgers.)

So, understand where we are –the Giants were getting one hit in Game 3 after getting two hit in Game 2, but greeted Broxton with back to back singles to open the 10th, by Posey and Hunter Pence (who was unable to get down a bunt earlier in his at bat). Back to back strikeouts looked to close out our inning – but a passed ball and a Scott Rolen error on a weak Joaquin Arias ground ball scored what would be the winning run.  Scott Rolen is one of the great defensive third basemen of all time; 8 Gold Gloves, over 20 wins above replacement defensively for his career; he’d be a Hall of Fame candidate if the electorate understood the value of playing the type of third base that Rolen played.  But that’s past tense, now Rolen is just a guy hanging onto a job that shouldn’t be his any longer; in this instance, taking advantage of former Giants manager Dusty Baker’s weakness for veterans and playing at the expense of NL Rookie of the Year Candidate Todd Frazier. 



Sergio Romo locked down the bottom of the tenth – and we stayed alive.



We struck out 16 times.  And got only 3 hits.  All singles.  In an elimination game.  On the road. The Giants were 5 for 61 in games 2 and 3 for a batting average I don’t feel like computing, but it’s tiny.

How did the season not end there?

The Wild Card was added in ’95, 21 times a team had gone down 0-2 in the NLDS.  21 times that team had lost the series.

The Reds best pitcher in 2012 was Johnny Cueto, but he got hurt early in Game One, forcing a shuffling of the rotation – that meant using Mike Leake in Game 4 against Barry Zito, one of the all time biggest free agent busts in MLB history.

Leake wasn’t up to it.  He gave up a leadoff homer to Angel Pagan to begin the game. The first postseason leadoff homer in the history of the franchise.

Zito wasn’t up to it.  He walked three in the first to tie the score. 

And it was game on.  Gregor Blanco hit a two run homer in the second, we went up 3-1.

Zito gave one back with a homer to Ludwick, and after a two out walk to Dioner Navarro he was out of the game, replaced by George Kontos, who was replaced an inning later by Jose Mijares, who then gave way, with 2 out and 2 on in the 4th, to 2 time Cy Young Award winner and the very worst pitcher in the major leagues in 2012, Tim Lincecum. 

He got out of the inning and then we opened it up in the fifth.  Double by Arias.  Double by Pagan. 4-2 Giants.  And when Pagan scored after a sac fly, it was 5-2 Giants and we had an 82% probability to win the game and even the series.

Lincecum got the Reds in order in the bottom, but gave one back in the 6th.  5-3 good guys headed to the 7th.

Where we put it out of reach.  Double by Arias.  Double by Scutaro.  Only his second hit of the series. A 422 foot two run homer by Sandoval.  8-3 Giants and that’s the final score.  Lincecum threw both the 7th and the 8th, 4+ relief innings with six strikeouts for Lincecum, the winning pitcher for Game Four.



We had 8 extra base hits in Game 4.  More than any game in the regular season.

Winner take all Game 5.  Our first winner take all game in a decade. 

That would be game 7 of the 2002 World Series.  Not a great result that. The guy in the wristbands in the other dugout might remember. 

In 130 seasons the Giants franchise never had a perfect game.  Not Mathewson or Hubbell or Marichal.

If we had gone .500 in 2012, Matt Cain’s perfect game in June against the Astros still would have made it a memorable season.  I assume you’re like me; somewhere around the fifth inning if your guy hasn’t given up a baserunner you start thinking about it and with increased excitement after each out.  And eventually, hundreds/thousands of times, win or lose – that excitement fades.  Matt Cain threw a perfect game in 2012, it was one of the greatest moments in Giants history and it would have made any outcome during the regular season worth it.

But the thing is we didn’t go .500 – we won the NL West and after consecutive road wins had forced a Game 5.  Matt Cain on the mound against public enemy number one for Giants fans dating back to his brash days as a San Diego Padre when he (among other intemperate comments) signed a baseball “I Hate SF” Mat Latos. It wasn’t just rhetoric – Mat Latos has whipped us; 11 career starts and an ERA of 2.19. 

So many deep breaths.

Both sides put two men on in the first – no runs scored.

There wasn’t another hit until the 4th, when both sides singled – no runs scored.

A dead even game in a dead even series going to the fifth inning of Game 5 – when we ended them.

Blanco single through the left side.

Crawford triple into the right field corner.  His first hit of the series.

An error that made it 2-0.

Scutaro walk.

Sandoval single.  Bases loaded.

Posey hits a 434 foot grand slam.  And it’s 6-0 and over. This was only the 4th grand slam in a winner take all double elimination game in MLB history. I lived in Ohio for many years and would take a trip to Cincinnati each season to watch the Giants come to town.  I had some crappy nights at Riverfront.  Every single one of them got erased in that moment; in some pocket of the space-time continuum a teenage version of me is taunting that entire Reds crowd.   Loved it.  Loved it. 

video


Cain gave up 3 and the Reds left two on in both the 7th and 8th; Romo gave up 1… in the 9th  at 6-4, with 1 out, 2 on and Jay Bruce up – there was a real white knuckle “did I celebrate too soon” moment – but the Reds were out of bullets; Romo survived a 12 pitch at bat, and the score held.

Somehow, someway – the Giants were alive.

And nearly as quickly – dead again.  Down 3 games to 1 to the Cardinals with Barry Zito on the mound….

(end of Part I.  A cliffhanger!)

College/NFL Picks December 1-2 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Last week is here. I'm 87-81-2.

Cincinnati -5 UConn win
SAlabama +6.5 Hawaii loss

Atl -3.5 NO win
Seattle +4 Chi win
Carol -3 KC loss
Mia +9 NE win
Was +2.5 NYG win

92-83-2

Athlete of the Month, November, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

October is  here.



Johnny Manziel.  Runners-up:  Doug Martin, Marcus Mariota, Matt Schaub.

One month left.  

January-Courtney Upshaw
February-Eli Manning
March-Kevin Love
April-Brittney Griner 
May-Josh Hamilton
June-LeBron James
July-Mike Trout 
August - Usain Bolt
September - Andy Murray
October - Pablo Sandoval
November - Johnny Manziel

The Occasional Tendown Nov 11-24 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dear Internet:

At what point is it no longer Black Friday and just that stores are open on Thanksgiving now?

So, I'm conflicted about the Black Friday riot videos; it's Status Shaming, there's no one from the 1% fighting over a crappy cell phone at a Walmart in the middle of the night on Thanksgiving.

On the other hand, it seems like this has become our version of running with the bulls in Pamplona, some weird combination of adrenaline seeking and cultural signifying.  Black Friday isn't just sales, going to Walmart on Black Friday is like an amusement park - it's a panto riot, it's easier to do than actually rioting, which would probably be a more appropriate response from the very people in the clips.

On the third hand, they're funny.  Both from this weekend.







Here's 144. This is Tendown 145.  Pretty much just a hit and run tendown.  I have shopping to do.

1. Question - When's the Last Time We Had a Colder than Average Month?
1353095163907

Answer - February..1985.

2. Question - Should Anyone Try To Beat a Tax Hike By Keeping Their Income Below a Quarter Million?


3. Question Can a Lawyer Be Fined $300,000 for an Exhibit He Shows in a Child Pornography Case?
(Note, no picture accompanies this story.)

Answer - You bet.

The attorney photoshopped an exhibit, taking children who weren't engaged in sex acts and making it appear as if they were, to demonstrate the ease with which one could do that - if you weren't aware that was against the law, it is; and to avoid prosecution, attorney Dean Boland took a plea deal that required a $300,000 fine.  I join, I assume, my Tea Party brothers in condemning this act of big government overreach.

4. Question - Can You Go To Jail For Not Professing Belief In God?
Answer - If you're tasked with putting up the required plaque in Kentucky, apparently so.

Oh, another Question - If You Kill Someone in a DUI Manslaughter, Can You go to Church Instead of Jail?

Answer - If it's the right Baptist Church in Oklahoma, yes.

I watch MTV's new show Catfish, based on the documentary - it's not a complicated conceit, they take someone who has been in an online relationship to meet the person for the first time that they've been talking to.  The person they think they've been talking to, of course, isn't real - they've been duped, or, as I like to say, they've been "Catfished".  I talk back to the screen.  Girl, you gonna get Catfished.

Sometimes, I leave my establishment clause enforcement frustration limited to just the need to keep the theocrats out of power; but I have to admit, I think God's the biggest Catfish of all.   That might become part of my lingo.

5. Question - What Should I Read This Week?

You could also watch it here:


6. A Bit I've Never Seen, And Will Find a Way to Use Someplace, Probably the Wrestling Counterfactual.
A guy looking to get a psychological advantage over someone gets a tattoo of that guy's mother.  

I got your mom on my chest.  I'm rubbing your mom.  That kinda thing.  

7. Question - What's the Greatest Wrestling T-Shirt Ever?


Near the top of my resume is (obnoxiously, I know, but when you're looking for work in this economy, as fortunately I no longer am, you don't have time to be timid):

                LAWYER. PROFESSOR. PLAYWRIGHT. GAME SHOW WINNER.

I'd like to add PAUL HEYMAN GUY.

I watched some 4 star matches since last we spoke:

Richards v Lethal ROH Oct 4
Steen v Elgin ROH Oct 4 1/2 
Aries v Jeff TNA Nov 4 
Tozawa v Del sol DGUSA Nov 4 1/4 
Fox v Ricochet DGUSA Nov 4 1/4 
Gargano v Ricochet v Tozawa v Fox DGUSA Nov 4 1/4

8. Question - Who Decided that Demi Lovato Should Look Like Frida Kahlo?

The Evolution Of Demi Lovato's Eyebrows On The "X Factor"



X Factor, by the way, is virtually unwatchable.  They're an inch away from cutting out the singing altogether and just have the kids compete on the basis of who has the worst backstory.  My mother killed my father and I was raised by Todd Marinovich.  I have 6 months to live.  I will sing The Wind Beneath My Wings for the Troops and Baby Catfish Jesus.

9. Question - 'Member When The Fans in San Francisco Chanted Bar-ry During Game One of the Series and McCarver Joked, I Guess, That Chant Hadn't Been Heard in The Bay Area Since Barry Manilow Played There?

Know who else was in the park during game one of the World Series and somehow avoided the Fox cameras who were too busy showing Dave Dombrowski?

  
That guy. The greatest baseball player in the 130+ year history of the National League.

10.  Meanwhile - in Kenya...Bird Steals the Ball.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,

Jim


College/NFL Picks Thanksgiving Weekend 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Here's last week. I’m 83-75-2. Here are the picks.
Iowa St +1 WVA loss
Rutgers +2 Pitt loss
Indiana +5.5 Purdue loss
Alabama -31.5 Auburn win
NMex +3.5 Col St loss

NYJ +7 NE loss
Jags +3 Tenn win
SD+1 Balt loss
StL +2.5 Ari win
TB +1.5 Atl win

87-81-2

2012 Survivor Series Preview

Thursday, November 15, 2012





What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Let me suggest two possibilities. 
1.     
The night before Thanksgiving

-This is, according to some internet dating service, probably Christian Mingle, the best hookup night of the year.  Sort of the hookup equivalent of Black Friday.  Blackout Wednesday.  I love me some Christian Mingle, by the way – it’s not just that it looks to organize like-minded people in the manner of J Date or Grinder, but it explicitly advertises that it is where users “find God’s match for you.” That is tremendous stuff; I don’t want to litigate the theological view that there is some master design where people are twinned (that’s a tick above my pay grade) but granting for the sake of the discussion that you have a “soulmate” it seems unlikely that the best source of the revelation of that divine plan to be a profit driven internet company.  I have long held the view that with the success of the “Left Behind” book series that some celebrity who works those corners of that subculture, a Kirk Cameron or a Stephen Baldwin or a Victoria Jackson, should pimp rapture jewelry, some type of bracelet that signifies to the cleanup crew that the wearer has been authorized for beam up.  Even if it’s just a pre-rapture signifier, perhaps to prospective Blackout Wednesday hookups, it might be a good way to bring together those with similar views of the End of Days. 

2.     Pie.  ‘Cause that shit is tasty.

For me, it’s graps – specifically the WWF/WWE Thanksgiving tradition since 1987 – The Survivor Series.  The 2012 edition is this Sunday from Indianapolis, let’s take a look at the card:

WWE Title Match:C.M. Punk (w/Paul Heyman) vs. John Cena vs. Ryback
CM Punk is the lineal WWF Champion; he’s held the belt for just a few days shy of a year; he’s a couple of weeks away from the longest WWF title reign since Hogan’s first.  Which was, you may recall, sort of a thing. His keeping the belt in any way possible has become the thrust of the title run, which is as it should be.  They’re missing the chance to educate some fans about the history of the WWF Title with some filmed pieces; even if they were just for the youtube page (Hey, let me shill for some WWE programming, “Are You Serious”, a Mystery Science Theater like show hosted by the Road Dogg and Josh Matthews that has new episodes each Sunday, is the best six minutes of WWE programming almost every week) a couple of minutes on every single title run since Hogan’s would give Punk’s accomplishment some heft.  Two minutes of “this championship run you remember or at least have heard about in History class is represented by this clip package” and then Punk says “I’m now better than X.  X is provably, demonstrably < Me”.  The error WWE makes is in tone; Punk says “I’m important, I’ve had the belt longer than everyone since Diesel” and the babyfaces and announcers blow it off – if instead it were treated as a real achievement , and the tone was “how can we keep this jerkface Punk from becoming the greatest WWE Champion since Hulkamania” it would serve the goal of getting across the value of the title. 

He’s going to keep the belt here; John Cena’s current program isn’t organized around the title chase; instead they’ve lifted the premise of a recent TNA angle for a soap opera program with he and Danielson’s former valet AJ (they like AJ, they stuck her in the figurehead commissioner role but decided that wasn’t the best way to use her; it sort of looks like she’s going to become a romantic partner for Cena; given the way these things go in wrestling, it’s probably best that whomever it is she is actually sleeping with looks to make other arrangements; at some point, I’ll be compelled to offer some sort of list of best ever WWE/WWF valets/divas/ladies .  I may look to finesse that in a way that suggests I’m taking into consideration qualities outside of the carnal.  You are unlikely to believe me.)  As with all things Cena, it’s written for people who are not me.  I expect he has to take the fall here; I also continue in the expectation I offered in the Summer Slam preview, that he beats Rock for the strap at Mania.

Ryback is doing a Goldberg gimmick.  Juiced up no talent running through guys while fans chant. If he was going to take the belt they’d have given it to him last month, when he failed to take the title due to referee screwjob.  I’m not sure how he fits in this picture going forward; it might make sense to move him over to the other belt. 

(Edit - This was not a good match, Punk kept, pinning Cena after Ryback hit his move and then got taken out by Tyler Black, Jon Moxley, and Yokozuna's brother, all making their debuts - I enjoyed that, hopefully they'll use Black for more than just feeding Ryback.)

World Title Match: Big Show vs. Sheamus

Lost given the emphasis on the length of Punk’s run was the length of Sheamus’s – he took what is essentially the secondary strap at Mania from Danielson and kept it until last month, losing clean to the Show (doing a monster heel gimmick, basically the same gimmick Mark Henry did a year ago). His run was the longest with this belt in ten years, since Hunter’s second.  Sheamus has essentially been turned into a pale Cena; nothing really bothers him, he does a lot of juvenile comedy – the WWF top card guy template has become wisecracking action hero; his feet might be bleeding, he might be facing insurmountable numbers, he may only have one bullet left in the chamber and if the bus dips below 55 miles per hour America’s Sweetheart Sandra Bullock will die – but he’s still got a one liner for you.
Neither Sheamus nor Cena is 1986 David Addison. 

At some point Dolph Ziggler’s going to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase against a babyface; could be that Sheamus wins here and then immediately loses to Ziggler – who then maybe loses to Ryback.  I’m compressing the timetable on all of that. 

(Edit - 3 stars, ended on a DQ, it's Shows' best workrate program in a decade.)

Survivor Series Match:Team Foley (Randy Orton , Kofi Kingston, Daniel Bryan, Kane & The Miz w/Mick Foley) vs. Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes)

As of the time of this writing (before the go home Smackdown taping) this is the only elimination match set for this year’s show.  I’ll leave in this language even if I wind up editing in a preview for a Mysterio led match that gets set up later this week. 

Hardcore Legend Mick Foley came back during this build to challenge Punk to a Survivor Series match; they made the match one week then totally undid that booking the following week.  So, we’re left with Foley’s team going after Dolph Ziggler’s team, for no apparent reason.

Foley’s team is threatening to cannibalize itself. Orton’s still a babyface, feuding with Del Rio, and jogging in place, still looking unbelievably bored.  There’s a look that some wrestlers have as they walk down the aisle when they are about to lose a big match; Orton has that look all the time.  Were he to turn soon it wouldn’t surprise. Kingston’s the IC Champ, he took from Miz and has beaten him multiple times.  He doesn’t seem to make sense as a heel, but he’s refused to embrace the babyface turning Miz in a way designed to draw boos. Danielson and Kane are babyface tag champs; Danielson was a super hot heel act who they decided to turn into a going nowhere comedy tag (incidentally, the tag belts aren’t the lineal WWF tag belts, they were retired – these are the Smackdown tag belts that were started in 2002.  Why did they take their historic tag belts out of commission in favor of the more recent tag belts?  Why did they spend a hundred million dollars to lose two US Senate elections? Yeah, smarter people than I make those decisions.  Linda, if you weren’t following, decided to superkick the top of the GOP ticket and then toss it through a plate glass window at the end of the campaign, putting out ads saying that people should vote Obama and McMahon on their ballots.  Bot Linda and Mitt are the Jannetty in that breakup.)  You’d guess that a Danielson/Kane feud probably follows their breakup, that could happen at any time, meaning that one of them would be turning heel. The Miz has apparently turned babyface in the past two weeks; he seems too smarmy to be a babyface, and were he to intentionally lose this match and re-turn heel it wouldn’t surprise.  Maybe they all turn on Foley.  Maybe Foley turns on all of them.    

Ziggler, as mentioned, has a Money in the Bank briefcase and at somepoint he’ll wrestle a babyface for the Smackdown strap.  Del Rio’s feuding with Orton.  Barrett, I guess, is feuding with Sheamus, or will be once he’s done with the Show.  Sandow and Cody are presumably about to take the tag belts from Danielson and Kane.

(Edit - 3 1/2 stars, best match of the night; they also added a 3 1/4 star elimination match that featured the babyface team keeping 4 survivors and gave Tyson Kidd multiple eliminations - a show with Kidd and Black both getting pushed is not one I can complain too loudly about.  Ziggler pinned Orton in this match, Orton's nearing a turn.)

US Title Match:Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth
Cesaro is Claudio Castagnoli, a good indie worker, although not quite at the level of Chris Hero and Tyler Black, who are still sitting in developmental.  I’m glad he has the belt and look forward to the multitude of 90 second matches he appears in on my TV. He took the US Title from…Santino?  I don’t feel like looking it up.  Cesaro is a European heel, knowing a bunch of languages and thinking health care is a public good.  In almost any other time in wrestling history Killings would need to start carving up his forehead to keep his paycheck; there’s nothing wrong with him, but absent his falling through some tables I’m uncertain what he could do to generate any interest.  

(Edit - not 90 seconds but not much more.  Claudio keeps.)

Divas Title Match:Eve vs. Kaitlyn
Kaityln is 25th on the WWE.com Power Poll.  That’s basically all I got about this. 

It’s not a good card; Ryback can’t do anything at all, and that drags down what has otherwise been a good Punk/Cena combination.  Show had maybe his best ever singles match last month against Sheamus, that still didn’t make it great but it was solidly worth watching.  Seems reasonable this one will also be fine. Elimination matches are as good as the time allowed; the US Title gets 6 minutes and I won’t watch the women’s match.

Not a lot to see at Survivor Series 2012. Were you, for whatever reason, to be basing a decision to spend cash monies on this show based upon my recommendation, it would be that you did not. Consider throwing that money toward Christian Mingle.  God’s match for you is waiting.  Probably at some bar next Wednesday night.

Here are the ten best Survivor Series matches of all time; and every 4 star match in WWE/TNA this year, ranked in qualitative order.

(I didn't watch.  The show was just about exactly what I had expected in terms of match quality.)

Top 10 Survivor Series Matches of All Time:
1. Bret Hart d. Steve Austin ('96)
2. Bret Hart d. Shawn Michaels ('92)
3. Bret Hart d. Diesel ('95)
4. Shawn Michaels d. Bret Hart ('97)
5. Eddy Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero d. Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit d. Edge/Rey Mysterio ('02)
6. Chris Jericho/Christian/Randy Orton/Scott Steiner/Mark Henry d. Shawn Michaels/RVD/Booker T/Dudleys ('03)
7. Sid d. Shawn Michaels ('96)
8. Strike Force/Young Stallions/Rougeaus/Killer Bees/British Bulldogs d. Hart Foundation/Islanders/Demolition/Bolsheviks/New Dream Team ('87)
9. Bob Backlund d. Bret Hart ('94)
10. CM Punk d. Alberto del Rio ('11)

These are the four star matches from WWE/TNA:
1. Daniel Bryan v. CM Punk (May WWE) 4 1/2
2. Kurt Angle/AJ Styles v. Chris Daniels/Frankie Kazarian (June TNA) 4
3. Brock Lesnar v. John Cena (April WWE) 4
4. Jeff Hardy v. Austin Aries (October TNA) 4
5. CM Punk v. Chris Jericho (April WWE) 4
6. James Storm v. Bobby Roode (Ocrtober TNA) 4
7. Bobby Roode v. RVD (May TNA) 4
8. Kurt Angle v. AJ Styles (May TNA) 4
9. Kurt Angle v. Jeff Hardy (April TNA) 4
10. Undertaker v. HHH (April WWE) 4
11. Austin Aries v. Jeff Hardy (Nov TNA) 4
12. CM Punk v. John Cena (Sept WWE) 4
13. AJ Styles v. Chris Daniels (July TNA) 4
14. Kurt Angle/AJ Styles v. Chris Daniels/Frankie Kazarian (Sept TNA) 4
15. Chavo Guerrero/Hernandez v. AJ Styles/Kurt Angle v. Chris Daniels/Frankie Kazarian (Oct TNA) 4
16. Austin Aries v. Bobby Roode (July TNA) 4

College/NFL Picks November 17-18 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Last week was here. I'm 80-70-1.

Kent +2.5 BGSU win
Rice +3.5 SMU win
N Dame -23.5 Wake win
Oklahoma -11 WVU loss
KSt -12 Baylor loss

Det +3.5 GB loss
Panthers +1.5 Bucs loss
Oak +4.5 NO loss
Pit +3 Balt push

83-75-2

The Occasional Tendown October 28-November 10 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Dear Internet:

How to tie in the two major events of the past two weeks?  One image.




Tendown 143 was here. This is Tendown 144.

1. We Win.

For the second time in three years, and the second time in their over half a century of existence, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series.

That doesn't mean we were the best team in baseball this season.  We weren't.  We got into an increasingly watered down playoff system and won the tournament.  I'm not going to give it back though.

Tuesday, just about as many good things as is possible on an election day in America happened.  Gay marriage and marijuana legalization passed.  Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren (Elizabeth Warren!) became US Senators.  The crew who thought turning rape into lemonade might be a potent political message found themselves headed home.  I postponed my move to a new congressional district long enough to be part of the 2,000 vote margin that sent Allen West back to private life.  The right wing bubble, inside of which evolution is a liberal plot, climate change is a disproven liberal plot, tax cuts to the wealthy create national prosperity and half the country doesn't pay taxes got pierced momentarily when the noise machine made the mistake of adding "the polls are computed in a way designed to lie to Republicans" into their fact free universe.  Any Tuesday in November that ends with Karl Rove, having raised 400 million dollars for Romney while simultaneously working as an analyst on Fox, making a "news" network take back its calling the election for Obama because the votes for Delaware County in Ohio weren't fully counted yet is a good Tuesday in November.

Since Tendown 143, you could have seen both of the following


and



What could be more fun than that?

But that doesn't make the Democratic coalition of non white Christian men the permanent majority.  And it doesn't make Obama, even though you like his manner, a progressive.  It means we're unlikely to bomb Iran and your insurance company (as mine does) won't be able to exclude your pre-existing conditions much longer.  It means the bounceback of generally accepted key economic metrics won't be largely credited to the magical free market.  It means that a candidate who threw around the phrase "illegal alien" as freely as did Romney is unlikely to make his way through the Republican nomination process in future elections.

It was a good Tuesday in November.   But it wasn't forever.

I'm not going to give it back though.  I'm glad I was on the correct side of the prognostication Tuesday.  And not, say, any of these fine folks.:

[M]y thoughts, my intellectual analysis of this—factoring everything I see plus the polling data—it's not even close. Three hundred-plus electoral votes for Romney. (Nov. 5, Rush Limbaugh, RushLimbaugh.com, “Everything—Except the Polls—Points to a Romney Landslide”)

Barack Obama is toast. This is not something I say lightly. I generally try to remain cautious about predictions, because the prediction business is a humbling one. I have never been especially bullish on Mitt Romney, and I spent most of the summer and early fall arguing that this was basically a neck-and-neck race that would go down to the wire. But in the end, two things stand out: One, Mitt Romney has a consistent, significant lead among independent voters, which increasingly looks like a double-digit lead. … Two, to overcome losing independents by more than a few points, Obama needs to have a decisive advantage in Democratic turnout, roughly on the order of—or in some places exceeding—the advantage he enjoyed in 2008, when Democrats nationally had a 7-point advantage (39-32). Yet nearly every indicator we have of turnout suggests that, relative to Republicans, the Democrats are behind where they were in 2008. (Oct. 26, Dan McLaughlin, Red State,“Why I Think Obama Is Toast”)

How corrupt are all these polls showing Obama leading or in a “close race”? Are they to Obama what that California poll of the Washington Post was for Walter Mondale—an “in-kind contribution”? … How does one explain a president who, like Jimmy Carter in 1980, is increasingly seen as a disaster in both economic and foreign policy? How does a President Obama, with a Gallup job approval rating currently at 49% – down a full 20% from 2009 – mysteriously win the day in all these polls? How does this happen? Can you say “in-kind contribution”? (Sept. 25, Jeffrey Lord, American Spectator“How Carter Beat Reagan”)

This country was founded upon Judeo-Christian values of free speech and freedom of religion. A tea party revolution launched the Revolutionary War and Americans in the colonies stood up against tyranny and those who attempted to change our beliefs. Obama’s European socialism and his high taxes, high unemployment, high gasoline prices and huge debt are being rejected at each turn. Americans are mad as hell and they are not going to take it anymore! We see, “Romney in a landslide!”(August 4, Editorial Board, U-T San Diego,“Romney in a Landslide”)

I'm also glad not to have to be the side who believes this is a good thing.  They were voting at one in the morning on election day in Miami.  Uniquely American.


2. Goodbye Congressman West.


My Congressman was Allen West.

Not anymore.

Here's what we'll miss.


1. Progressives are “communists”: At a town hall meeting in April, West saidthat 80 House Democrats were “members of the Communist Party.” He later clarified that the 80 Democrats he was speaking about were those in the Progressive Caucus.
2. Opposed early voting as an “entitlement”: In an interview with ThinkProgress, West objected to early voting in Florida because “people see it as an entitlement.” He ultimately lost his seat, in part, because of high Democratic early voting turnout.
3. Said Obama’s campaign slogan had a “Marxist-Socialist” meaning: West found hidden meaning in Obama’s “Forward” slogan. “They want to bring out an old Soviet Union, Marxist-Socialist theme for their campaign called “Forward”.”
4. Obama’s DREAM initiative was a voter fraud conspiracy: Appearing on Fox News, West saw a more nefarious effort beneath Obama’s deferred action immigration policy. “Is this one of those backdoor opportunities to allow people in the next five months to get the opportunity to vote?” he asked.
5. Food stamps “enslave the American people”: West lamented the rise in available food stamps for Americans. “That’s not how you empower the American people,” West said. “That’s how you enslave the American people.”
6. Social Security enslaves the American people: Appearing on Fox News, Westcriticized Social Security disability benefits. “Once again we are creating the sense of economic dependence, which to me is a form of modern, 21st century slavery.”
7. Obama wants to enslave people: West argued at a campaign event that Obama “does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning and having that title of American. He’d rather you be his slave.”
8. Said Barney Frank should be in a “pink jumpsuit”: West criticized openly gay Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) congressional tenure earlier this year. “[He's] a guy who for all practical purposes should be in a pink jumpsuit for what he did.”
9. Called undocumented immigration an “invasion”: In a newspaper interview, West likened undocumented immigrants to an enemy force. “You have to repel invasions,” West said.
10. Told congresswoman, “You are not a lady”: West blasted nearby congresswoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) after a dispute, scolding her in a letter, “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”
11. Called for censoring news outlets: After Wikileaks released thousands of pages of documents, West argued that “we also should be censoring American news agencies” who reported on the cables.
12. Obama supporters are a “threat to the gene pool: West wrote on a conservative website, “I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.”
13. Religious coexistence “would give away our country”: West blasted“Coexist” bumper stickers at a March 2011 town hall, saying people who have them represent “something that would give away our country, would give away who we are.”
14. Said Nazi leader would be “very proud” of Democrats: In December 2011, West told reporters that “If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.”
15. Criticized rise of feminism: West told a conservative conference that liberal women “have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient.”
16. Told liberals to “get the hell out of the United States”: At a Republican dinner, West had harsh words for his Democratic counterparts. “Take your message of equality of achievement. … You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.”
3. Rich, Famous, and Orange
By any reasonable measure, Donald Trump is one of the largest beneficiaries of the American version of meritocracy.  Through inheritance, strategic use of the bankruptcy laws, and our insatiable appetite for celebrity, Donald Trump, without any discernible talent  or intellect, is someone with millions in personal wealth and whose political views are given a platform by a major American political party.

In a time when the distance between the uberwealthy and everyone else has reached levels never seen in recorded history, at the apex of 30 years of policies that have given larger and larger shares of our national wealth to people who look like him - Donald Trump, this week, called for revolution.


 Donald Trump calling for revolution is like Honey Boo Boo decrying the coarseness of popular culture; if there were some type of lawless armed anarchy in this country, who does he think is the type of person who gets shot first?  Donald Trump is so totally encased in his own bullshit he can no longer smell it.
4. He's Not the Only One.
Do you remember Glenn Beck?  
Simple Jack lives in the ugly corners of the fact free bubble.  Here was his election eve warning.
On yesterday's radio program, Glenn Beck said that America is on the verge of reaping God's wrath and declared that if the American people are "so dead inside that they can no longer see the difference between good and evil" and re-elect a demagogue like President Obama, then "we have to be destroyed because we will be a remarkable evil on this planet":
If you look at history through a biblical world view, the last step before a nation is completely destroyed is they drive the righteous from among them. If this isn’t a sign of a group of people that will drive the righteous from among them, and that’s the last step before God’s wrath comes, I fear for our country and it is - it cannot be overstated, it cannot be called paranoid ... If you are a God‑fearing person, hear me. Last call, America. Last call. Because the righteous will be driven from among them.
They are nasty, divisive and, I'm sorry, but there is no way to describe that quote from Valerie Jarrett other than evil. Warning: Saul Alinsky is just the beginning of these people.
But I believe in the American people. I believe that we are not too far gone. I believe that people can watch and see the difference. They can feel the difference. When you watch Barack Obama, you can just see he is angry. When you watch Mitt Romney, you can see he is not. We are not an angry nation. We don’t listen to demagogues like that. It doesn’t work. No matter how much power he has amassed, no matter how many friends in the media he has, Americans know. And if they reject it this time, if they’re so dead inside - that’s a possibility - if they’re so dead inside that they can no longer see the difference between good and evil, we have to be destroyed because we will be a remarkable evil on this planet



5. And now, a Word from the Opposition
Jeff Kent is the 7th greatest San Francisco Giant of all time; his stint with the Dodgers and generally being considered an asshole has caused him to be less embraced by the fanbase than he deserves at this point in his retirement.  This week, he was eliminated from Survivor, reminding Giants fans of 2002, and then demonstrated his apparent belief that prior to 2009, game show winners didn't have to pay income tax.  Perhaps he should put in a call to Richard Hatch.  Or hell, to me.  



6. Here is That List.
By my WAR calibration, a combination of the Baseball-Reference and Davenport numbers, here are the 20 greatest San Francisco Giants ever, through the 2012 season:


1.       Barry Bonds
2.       Willie Mays 
3.       Juan Marichal 
4.       Willie McCovey 
5.       Will Clark 
6.       Gaylord Perry 
7.       Jeff Kent 
8.       Robby Thompson 
9.       Orlando Cepeda 
10.   Matt Williams 
11.   Matt Cain 
12.   Bobby Bonds 
13.   Jack Clark 
14.   Jim Barr 
15.   Chris Speier 
16.   Darrell Evans 
17.   Tim Lincecum 
18.   Jim Ray Hart 
19.   Gary Lavelle 
20.   Jason Schmidt 


7. Like the OJ Verdict All Over Again


I enjoyed the images that day too.

8. I Think That's It For Linda McMahon.
The McMahons tried to throw the top of the ticket through a plate glass window late in the campaign.  Fortunately, both Linda and Mitt are going to be the Jannetty from this busted up partnership



9. I Watch 4 Star Wrestling Matches
I wouldn't vote for Linda McMahon with your ballot, but I do enjoy graps.  

Since last we spoke, here are the 4 star matches I've seen:

PWG September: O'Reilly v. Edwards 4
                                     Elgin v. Richards 4 3/4
                                     Bucks/Cage v. Steen/Generico/Knox 4

DDT October: Ibushi v. Generico 4 1/2 

Dragon's Gate October: Yoshino/Gargano v. Fox/Dragon Kid 4 1/2 

10. As Clueless as Trump.

Jermaine Jackson wants to change the only thing he has to sell - his last name.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,

Jim





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