Tebow’s New Role:

 

Fantasy Vulture.

 

I’m not exactly sure what has gone wrong with my fantasy football team.  Aside from a crazy rash of WR injuries, I have no horror stories.  Luck, and other things have ceased to go my way.  But, I think everyone would agree it is getting harder to play fantasy football.  Split backfields, guys coming out of nowhere and then disappearing.  In your league there may be a rush to go pick up LeGarrette Blount, but don’t you just have the feeling he’ll go back to being a nobody next week?  Kenny Britt style?  Britt pulls a hammy, Blount goes back to averaging 2 yards a carry…what’s the difference?  Couple that with it being as difficult as ever to play the waiver wire on defense, the inconsistent performances of stars like Brees, Rodgers, Fitzgerald, and Jones-Drew and I’m starting to wonder exactly how much playing fantasy football differs from buying a scratch ticket.  The symbolic play of the day…Tim Tebow’s one yard run. Did the score go to Moreno?  To Kyle Orton?  To Lloyd who set up the TD with a long grab?  Nope, good old Tim, who with his 6.1 points, vultured his way to a better day than 3 of my starters.

What popped into my mind while watching football today was that a couple of teams have been pushed to the point where they are going to have to make an unexpected decision. When it comes to the coach in Dallas and the quarterback in D.C., things aren’t exactly going according to plan.

Where do you start with Dallas?  Their season has been a melting pot of disasters, some excusable and some not.  They stumbled out of the gates in Washington, showed a glimpse of life against the Texans, but they haven’t won since.  Tony Romo is out, but you have to wonder if his presence would make any difference.   Whether you blame the offensive line, the porous pass defense or an inability to run the ball, it all eventually comes back to Wade Phillips.  Phillips isn’t the kind of coach that inspires a lot of confidence in the fan base, and you get the feeling Cowboys fans have been sitting around every Monday waiting to hear that Phillips has been fired.

If he wasn’t the coach of the Cowboys, I might feel a bit sorry for Phillips.  He’s been a place holder for Jason Garrett, he’s spent more recent years hearing rumors about Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, and any other big name coach that happened to be available.  Despite that he got his team to the point of being a pre-season favorite in the NFC.  In  two short months, though, it looks like he’s lost the team or at the least it looks like some players have given up on the season.  I think the odd twist is that if Phillips’ firing hadn’t been so talked about, it might actually be easier for Jerry Jones to get rid of him.  Jones is fighting his own image as the micromanaging, reactionary owner.  He’s stuck between trying to be rational and trying to save the season.  It might be too late for either now, and Jerry Jones is left not thinking of a home Super Bowl, but of who is going to coach his team for the rest of this year and beyond.

In Washington they have their coach of the foreseeable future, but the quarterback position was thrown into limbo on Sunday.  Donovan McNabb, who the Redskins got in a trade before the season, is on the last year of his contract, but Washington thought they had a reliable starter for this year and there was certainly a chance they could extend McNabb.  Recently it sounded like McNabb might pursue a different place to play in 2011, and after what transpired on Sunday, I’d have to think Donovan’s time in D.C. is limited.  McNabb was benched in the closing minutes with the ‘Skins down one score.  He wasn’t hurt, Mike Shanahan simply benched Donovan for his inability to run the offense the way he wanted, especially as time ticked away.  Sound familiar Eagles fans?  Not only does Andy Reid not know how to manage a clock, it is a contagious disease he transmits to all around him.  See Don and Brad Childress for prominent examples.

So, Donovan found himself benched in favor of Rex Grossman.  Obviously Rex came in and immediately buckled, but that’s hardly the point.  It had to be the new low-point of Donovan’s career, and McNabb was looking as dejected and put upon as ever on the sidelines.  With Washington heading into a bye week, was this the precursor of a shake-up?  I think teams are just trying whatever they can to win this year, convention has been thrown out the window.

I honestly think the wide-open nature of the NFC has confused a lot of teams this season.  We saw it in Philly, and now possibly in Washington as well.  Here we were supposed to be breaking in Kevin Kolb.  In D.C. it was a whole new regime.  But, you win a few games, look at how there aren’t any dominant teams in the NFC and suddenly a rebuilding year or whatever you want to call it seems like a waste of time.  Try to sneak into the playoffs and see what happens. That’s why Kolb’s development, McNabb’s status and confidence get tossed aside in the moment when you are trying for the win.

I think Donovan will find his way back under center for the Redskins, but looks like it will just be a one year experiment. I’d expect Mike Shanahan to draft a quarterback of his choosing next year and Donovan to head to a non-contender to finish out his career.  Not exactly the ending they had in mind in the off-season when Donovan and Shanahan were busy seeing who could be more complimentary of the other.

Unrelated Baseball Note:

Do we think next year we could see a shift in the “start your 4th starter even if you are down 2-1″ theory?  I may jinx the Giants (the horror), but as I type this they are beating Texas and their 4th starter, Tommy Hunter.  A win would put the Giants in a seemingly insurmountable position.  The same position they were in against the Phillies and the same the Rangers were in against New York.  All of those teams started lesser pitchers on at least regular rest (Blanton, Burnett and Hunter), with not the best results.  Moving guys up in the rotation is obviously a desperate move, but will teams realize next year they need to be a little more desperate?

Arianny Celeste Has An Octagon Full of Winners.

 

I'm Not Totally Over the UFC.

 

Well, as I write this we have a reduced stable of prognosticators this week.  Big Dub has stayed true to his promise of “quitting sports,” and right now it’s just looking like JCK and I, but you never know when these picks are going to pop up in the old inbox.  Not that I could possibly be discouraged from picking games.  First, I already had the picture of the girl.  I don’t just throw these things together in 20 seconds before I make the post.  Care is taken.  Secondly, I was doing some crack research with my friends at the Elias Sports Bureau and I realized that at this point in the 2009 Pick ‘Em Season I was sitting at 18-16-1.  So, we are right at the historical jumping off point for my hot streak.  Say no more.  I’m already 8 for my last 10, and we’re going straight to the top here, people.

JCK:  Record 17-17-1

This week I am going to focus on the real important games.  The games involving playoff caliber teams led by all world QB play.

Chargers (-3.5) vs. Titans

Seahawks (+2.5) @ Oakland

Tampa (+3) @ Arizona

Redskins (+2.5) @ Detroit

Broncos (+1) vs. Bangers and Mash

***

GROSSY: Record 17-16-2.

Tampa Bay (+3) @ Arizona.  To clarify, this isn’t me coming around on the Bucs or Josh Freeman.  This is simple faith in the notion that the Bucs haven’t given up on their season, and the quarterback that the Cardinals field is going to do everything in his power to lose the game.  Would I prefer DA?  Maybe, but Max Hall will do just fine.  Betting against the Cardinals.  It worked last week, maybe it will become a trend.

Green Bay (+6) @ New York Jets.  I know the Green Bay offense in its current state might not match up too well against New York, but I think the Packers are going to score some points in this game.  Mark Sanchez coming off a bye week would actually scare me if I was a Jets fan.  Did he get less dynamic?  I know he couldn’t be more overrated.  I’m not quite ready to lay 6 points to Aaron Rodgers with the Sanchize.  Not yet.

Kansas City (-7.5) vs. Buffalo.  My first instinct is to look at this and say KC shouldn’t be giving anyone this many points. But, Buffalo is bad, and not only that, they find ways to lose games.  They showed a ton of heart last week, but still took another deflating loss.  Asking them to ratchet it back up in rabid Kansas City?  Too much to ask of a team with very little talent.  Ryan Fitzpatrick wins the Wonderlic contest, loses the game…big.

Pittsburgh (+1) @ New Orleans.  This is a line that hasn’t caught up to this season, yet.  If you were basing this off of this year’s performances, there is no way you could make the Saints the favorite even with home field.  The Saints can’t run the ball, and when they can’t run it, they can’t pass it, either.  They didn’t score until garbage time against the Browns last week.  Keep tossing that pill around Big Ben.  I might start you in fantasy this week, and I may give you a nickname.

Miami (+2) v @ Cincy.  How many times this year am I going to go to the Miami well?  I try to figure them out, with varying degrees of success, but for some reason, I can’t stay away.  Their coach wears sunglasses at all times!  Need I say more?  Anyway, the pundits seem to think Miami is going to have no problem scoring points in this game, and frankly, that is all this guy needs to hear.  If the Bengals haven’t completely folded in on themselves, they’ll finish the job Sunday.  I hear the Palmer brothers are switching jerseys for Halloween.  Look out.

***

NICHOLS: Record, 16-18-1

Jax (+6.5)… There is no better way to end of the Wade Philips era than to lose to Jacksonville.  This is also the game the convinces all the crap analysts on ESPN from saying that there is still something strong and “special” about the Cowboys.  They’re done, and a Jacksonville win via a last minute field goal will prove that.  Jags 17-14.

Buffalo (+7.5)… As a general rule I am going against all large spreads for the rest of the season.  This is the biggest one I’ve seen this week and I’m happy with it.  KC will win but Buffalo is actually making opponents work.  I can’t decide if this is a high scoring or a low scoring game but the Bills will cover.  KC wins by 3.

Arizona (-3.5)… Anytime a coach declares his team is the best in the league when they are actually in a 5-way tie for third deserves to be embarassed, especially that team is the Bucs.  Even Gruden wouldn’t make such a declaration after being handed a Super Bowl team.  I’m giving this to Arizona 24-20 and Tb walks away with the same record as….Arizona.

New England (-5.5)… A hurt Brett Favre is better than Tarvaris Jackson, so I’d pick against them anyway, but this is a statement game for the Pats.  Randy Moss is held to under 50 yds. and no TDs.  I say Favre/Jackson both play and have a combined 5 picks (they are on the top of my DA list).  I also find it very tough to ever pick against the Pats at home.

Indy (-5.5)… Nothing more than the fact that I can’t see Indy giving up both games to Houston.  Indy 31-20

***

KRAFT: Record, 18-16-1.

Dallas -6.5 over Jax
Detroit -2.5 over Wash
NE -5 over Minn
NO pick over Pitt
Indy -5.5 over Houston

**Reminder to everyone to get their DA picks in.  And, of course, Happy Halloween.

Rerouting the Sports Calendar.

Ch-Ch-Changes.

Watched another bit of the World Series tonight.  Nice to see the Rangers show up.  At one point, you, you out there reading this could have gotten a key RBI.  Just stand up there and take 4 pitches.  Assuming you didn’t panic and wet yourself, welcome to baseball lore.  To answer your question, yes, I’m still a little bitter about the Phillies, but I’m just disappointed in the quality of baseball we are seeing in the post-season.  Across the board, all teams, it just doesn’t seem representative of the best the sport can offer.

On another note, something only loosely related, game four of the World Series will be facing up against Sunday night football this weekend.  Now, I believe in the past the NFL did not hold a prime time game during the World Series, but the NFL bows to no man, and they are trotting out Pittsburgh/New Orleans to thrash the World Series in the ratings.  I don’t have a specific problem with it (although I think the NFL loves itself a bit too much), but I feel bad for Giants fans who might end up missing one of the better Sunday Night games of the year.  I assume by Sunday, Giants fans might be the only one watching baseball.  The question is, are people so football obsessed that nothing should go up against it?

I don’t mean no other games, obviously you cannot run professional seasons end to end in a calendar year, but should MLB bother trying to compete with the NFL when it comes to playoff time?  Are they best sticking to the “Boys of Summer,” adage?  I think they might be.  And, because the playoffs are far more exciting than the regular season in every sport, wouldn’t it be nice if we could space out post-season play a bit better and avoid some terrible lulls in the calendar?  I think that would be smashing.  Now, I don’t have a spreadsheet open in front of me, or a calendar for that matter, but this is just a seed I’m hatching right now in my world of sports perfection.  Let me talk it out.

The NFL season runs from early September to the first week of February.  This is and remains the NFL’s territory, and we can continue to allow college football to be a supplement.  Think  about your weekend.  It’s week 8 of the NFL, your fantasy team is in shambles, your bookie is calling you every 15 minutes, you are trying to figure out if Boise State is for real, do you really need the World Series on?  Of course not.  The World Series and baseball playoffs should occur during the NFL pre-season.  This will still give the baseball haters something else to do, but for everyone else, the World Series gets its proper spotlight.  Am I planning on starting baseball in March?  No, I’m planning on playing a 136 game regular season.  How many?  136.  If you can’t get it together in 136 games, come back next year.

Football is over the 1st week of February and that kicks off one of the great lulls in the sports calendar.  Pitchers and catchers?  A few weeks away and not that exciting.  Hockey playoffs?  Not even close.  An occasional winter Olympiad? Maybe.  But, really wouldn’t the ultimate way to decompress from the Super Bowl be February Madness?  Let’s push the college basketball season up a couple of weeks.  I don’t want to do anything too drastic, so in the week after the Super Bowl, but before tournament week, maybe we need to take a breath.  Solution?  Move the PGA Championship to February.  Hey, some relevancy for the event.  It can be the 1st major of the year instead of the one no one cares about. Play it at warm weather sites, sorry Medinah.

Now, the final key aspect of this plan is that the NBA and NHL schedules need to be more staggered.  I’m not exactly sure why basketball must be played in the winter (well, actually the NBA plays almost year round).  I get that it is an indoor game, but it’s not like you have to keep the ice cold in the building.  It’s part of the Summer Olympics, so with that in mind it should let hockey take the spotlight for its playoffs.  Hockey playoffs could start sometime in the middle of March and run to the end of April, or however long they take.  There is no reason to be playing hockey in June, and if everyone agrees that there is nothing like playoff hockey, shouldn’t it get the stage to itself?  Do people like converting buildings back and forth from ice to hardwood?  Wouldn’t this make scheduling easier?

So, we give the NBA an actual off-season and start it up sometime in the winter so the playoffs will start in the late May/early June range.  We’d probably need another little breather area for the Kentucky Derby, the Masters, things of that nature.  One week wonders.  The NBA Playoffs (which I still wouldn’t watch) would then not have the NHL to compete with, but just some regular season baseball action.  Not a big deal, but again, much like the people who loathe baseball, it’s another option for the people who truly cannot stand watching professional basketball.  I see no reason why college basketball and professional basketball need to have overlapping seasons.

It all comes back around full circle when basketball ends, which I imagine would be sometime in July.  You’d have time to hammer out the US and British Open, throw a Wimbledon in there somewhere, and before you can blink it’s pennant race and baseball playoff time.  The more I watch sports lately, the more I realize the regular season doesn’t amount to much.  Sure, it qualifies you for the playoffs, but are the Giants really the best team in baseball?  Really?  Or do they have a rabbit’s foot shoved up their bum?  It’s about getting hot at the right time and fans are drawn to the stakes, the intensity, so let’s the spread the wealth over the full 12 months.  No February to Mid-March lull and no July to September without a single post-season game.

Barry The Cheerleader.

 

Bonds Playing the Ashley Judd Role.

 

I couldn’t watch much of the World Series game last night.  Obvious reasons, but also I’m still dumbfounded about the Giants.  I don’t understand how they score 11 runs off anyone, let alone Mother Lovin’ Lee.  I wasn’t one of the haters rooting against Cliff, but that never-ending string of doubles he gave up was one of the more surprising things I’ve seen in a long time.  As a bonus to the Giants scoring run after run we were treated to several gratuitous shots of Barry Bonds having a ball in the stands.  Root ‘em in, Barry.  So, adding to the list of why I despise the Giants, we have the reappearance of Barry Bonds.

I don’t quite understand the love affair with Bonds in San Francisco.  Does a single season home run record carry so much weight?  Is the city that laid back, that starved for baseball history?  Bonds never led the Giants to a World Series title.  For much of his career his post-season shortcomings were the biggest knock against him, but I guess all those MVP seasons in San Fran have won the fans over forever.  Just like Mark McGwire in St. Louis there isn’t any of the resentment that other baseball fans feel.  I remember watching Bonds in ’02 and I wasn’t necessarily a fan, but I was amazed at what was happening.  I suppose it was quite a ride for the Giants fans to go on, and I hope that is what they appreciate.  I hope they are aren’t out there still in denial.

Bonds has been scarce at Giants games since his playing days ended, but he’s recently begun showing his face.  He has already thrown out a first pitch (were Jeffrey Leonard, Robby Thompson and Atlee Hammacker not available), and last night he was in the crowd acting like one of the newly minted die-hards.  Ulterior motive?  Of course, this is Barry Bonds we are dealing with, and so it is no surprise that Bonds took the occasion of the Giants winning game one to declare he’d like to be a hitting coach in the big leagues.  Essentially, he’s lobbying for the Giants’ job, because there is no way in hell anyone else is going to hire him.  Hensley Meulens look out there is a man with a giant head nipping at your heels.  It’s a classless move and classless timing by Bonds, not that it should be a surprise.

The quote from Barry could be a poster for egomania.  “I have a gift.  Sooner or later I have to give it away.”  If I could pick one sentence that would turn me off to hiring someone as a hitting coach, that might be it.  The problem will be that Barry’s gift cannot be given away.  There are probably 2 or 3 hitters alive at any moment that can hit like Bonds (pre or post-enhancement).  Bonds clearly could hit, but he hit so well that it actually could impede his ability to help young hitters.  In Philadelphia we know that Bonds has had a relationship of some kind with Ryan Howard.  It included talks about hitting and some off-season work, but aside from that Bonds has zero coaching experience that I am aware of.

The Bonds announcement or declaration, continues the parallel with Mark McGwire.  McGwire wasn’t half the hitter Bonds was, and it was Tony LaRussa who provided the Bonds-like quotes on McGwire’s behalf, but it would be a similar process if Barry followed McGwire into coaching.  The distraction Bonds could cause would dwarf that of Big Mac, plus we’d have to wonder if his return would require some type of confession regarding his PED use.  McGwire finally spit out some details to attempt to clear the air about his tainted record, but I’m not sure Barry would have any interest in that type of admission.  McGwire survived his first year, has been asked back for a second, and the Cardinals scored 6 more runs than they did in 2009.  That’s a .037 runs per game improvement under Dan’s brother.  So, maybe the Balco school of hitting coaches is the way to go.  We’ll find out.  If the Giants are smart, they’ll leave Barry in the stands.

 

Wait, Are Those Decent NFL Games?

 

Should Comfortably Outdraw The World Series.

 

Last week I lamented the lack of good NFC/AFC match-ups.  All year I’ve been lamenting the lack of any good games at all.  Well, two months into the season, perhaps in honor of All Hollows’ Eve, the NFL is going to put some watchable games on TV.  Just in time for Phillies fans.  In fact, if this were the start of the season, we’d be drooling at some of these contests.  Not all the teams have held up their end of the bargain, but there are only so many times you get yourself cranked up for Seahawks/Cardinals.  These games should provide a little breath of life.

Super Bowl Preview?

The Packers roll into Jersey to play the Jets in the premiere early game on Sunday.  The Jets are one of the few teams in the league that haven’t had a letdown.  The Packers have been a little disappointing while struggling with injuries.  You can make the case for the Jets being the best team in the AFC, and the NFC is wide open.  If the Packers get healthy, and get on a roll, they’ll be right back to favorite status.  I look at this game and my first instinct is to think that the Jets will buckle, but they are coming off a bye and I don’t know if I can trust Green Bay to stop them.  Just show me something, though, Packers.  Make me believe in the NFC.

Run Randy Run Returns.

That’s alliteration.  Randy Moss continues the Vikings reunion tour this week with a trip to Foxboro.  They did the Jets and Packers for Bretty’s sake, and now Randy gets his chance to lift a Hall of Fame middle finger at the Pats.  I’m sure Moss’ return will be dwarfed by the Favre saga, though.  Will he play?  What happens if the streak ends?  Is it like Y2K? Should we be stockpiling water and D batteries?  I hope Favre plays, because even when the Vikings are sabotaging themselves, they’ve been entertaining.  And to another point I made earlier this week, there aren’t too many teams left that fit that description.  I’m thinking shootout.  We’ll see.

Super Bowl Preview 2 Are the Saints really Dead?

The Saints host the Steelers on Sunday night.  NBC must have been thrilled with this match-up in September, and it’s still a pretty big game.  Another chance for the NFC to show some life.  The Steelers face a second straight tough road game, but they’ve been up to most tasks this season.  As long as Big Ben is chaperoned heavily, I think the Steelers will come right back out throwing the ball like they did last week, much to the chagrin of Mendenhall fantasy owners.  I think they want to prove Ben is back, get him in a rhythm, and remind their receivers they are on the team.  I think Hines Ward was in a coma through 4 weeks.  The Saints need something, anything after last week’s loss to the Browns. The crowd should provide an initial boost, but they have to run the ball somehow and Brees has to stop throwing pick sixes.

Pey-Pey Face’s Revenge.

The thought of Peyton Manning getting swept by the Texans, the second game coming in prime time is almost impossible to fathom.  I have no doubt that the Colts aren’t the team they were last year.  They kick too many field goals, they give up too many points, and they’ve lost a little mystique in the division.  The Texans remain hard to figure out.  They haven’t been real convincing since they beat Indy in week one.  Shootout with the Chiefs?  How do you get in a shootout with the Chiefs?  It’s hard to imagine they can go Indy and validate, but I would believe most anything at this point.  It is a shame that these teams don’t play in December when the division could really be on the line.

Stink Bomb of the Week:  Niners and Broncos.  Troy Smith and the “59-14’s” in London?  Some Brits want their money back.

DA Rankings:

  1. Hall/Anderson
  2. Troy Smith
  3. Matt Moore
  4. Matt Stafford
  5. John Kitna
  6. Josh Freeman
  7. Jaguars
  8. Jason Campbell
  9. Bradford
  10. Farve
  11. Phillip Rivers
  12. Sanchez
  13. Hasselbeck
  14. Cassell
  15. Palmer
  16. Fitzpatrick

Halloween Candy Rankings.

 

Why is the Creepy Man Hand Holding the Trick-Or-Treat Pumpkin?

 

Did you use the plastic pumpkin for trick-or-treating?  I had one at one point.  I think everyone did.  They are limited in several key areas though, most notably capacity and durability.  I upgraded to a homemade bag that had some hot glow-in-the-dark graphics, but when I decided I was too bad ass to use that, I finally just ended up using a pillow case. Very utilitarian.  I was all for getting the candy, but I retired from trick-or-treating at a pretty early age.  Too cool for my homemade bag and too cool for a costume not long after that, I suppose.  The closest I’ve ever come to trick-or-treating after the age of 12 was when I drank the beer my roommate purchased after going door-to-door in college asking for donations.  My aversion to costumes remains, but I’m not afraid to eat a piece of candy.  Turning back the clock a couple of decades, my reactions to what waited behind those suburban doors, in a couple of categories:

My Favorites:

1.  Milky Way.  I was a big Milky Way man.  Milky Way was in the Big-3 at that point with Snickers and 3 Musketeers.  More often than not you were getting one of the three, or a mixture.  Also, when there was a mixture of candy, how frustrating was it when the adult dipped the hand in and you ended up with the Hershey Almond?  Total horse bleep.

2.  Kit Kat.  Love the Kit Kat.  The Kit Kat was a great candy to shrink down to trick-or-treat size.  They maintained the ratio.  Now some of these bite size candies are so small that it loses all integrity.  Where are the flavor profiles? Anyway, a Kit Kat was always a winner.

3.  Twix.  Twix were rare in my trick-or-treating days, but if someone had the foresight to be handing them out, I was a big fan.  Another candy that responds well to downsizing.

4.  M&M’s.  Oh, yes.  Love me some M&M’s.  Original only.  M&M’s are good for party tricks like seeing how many you can fit in your mouth.  Plus, the mini bags are incredibly satisfying to rip open, chug like a marathon runner, and then toss aside.

5.  Original Hershey Bar.  You don’t have to be flashy to win me over.  I’ll take a nice piece of milk chocolate.  The problem was, Hershey Bars often came in those variety packs with Hershey Dark, Krackel, and Mr. Goodbar.  Danger! Danger! Keep that Krackel away from me lady.

6.  Peppermint Patties.  No one ever gave out Peppermint Patties.  I don’t know why.  Too simple?  Not Halloween-y?  Did they eat them all before the kids arrived?  Hard to know for sure, but there were never enough Patties on the route.

The Trade Bait:

These are the candies that I didn’t eat, but were very popular and thus I could trade them for candy in the 1st category.  Also, I’m assuming if my parents ever took candy out of my bag that knowing me, this is what they took.  Hopefully.  I’m just saying.  Get ready to berate me for not eating the following:

1.  Peanut Butter Cups.  If I was starving to death, I would eat a peanut butter cup.  People get so angry when you say you don’t like something.  I don’t like to mix peanut butter and chocolate.  Great trade bait, though.  Legendary.

2.  Snickers.  You know who Snickers doesn’t satisfy?  This guy.  Why would you ever want to ruin a perfectly good cookie or candy bar with a peanut?  I will never know.  But, much like the Peanut Butter Cup, people love their Snickers. And, it’ll only cost you two Milky Ways, sir.

3.  Nestle Crunch.  Candy is supposed to be savored.  You let it melt in your mouth a bit.  You want all good textures like chocolate, caramel, nougat.  Things of that nature.  Crunchy rice bits, are you friggin’ kidding me?  Crunch bars couldn’t command the kind of return that a Reese’s could, but a nice throw in to any deal.

4.  M&M Varietals.  I think they make about 100 M&M varieties now.  I can’t keep track.  I just know when I was out on the circuit, and saw those god-awful yellow bags I wanted to tear up right there on the doorstep.  Don’t these people know, keep it simple stupid?

Wasting My Time:

This is the kind of candy you’d get and immediately you’d want to throw it right back in the person’s face.  Have you no soul?  People should have to advertise what kind of candy they have at the end of their driveway.

1.  Whoppers.  What the hell is a Whopper, anyway?  I just know I’ve never tried one.  Those annoying little mini-boxes they came in?  I’m getting mad all over again.

2.  Tootsie Rolls.  I could actually scream.  Hate, hate, hate.   Also, the Tootsie Pop was my own personal nightmare.  I would have rather gotten a 15 cent gift certificate to Wawa than a Tootsie Pop.

3.  Candy Corn.  Again, what is candy corn?  Is it flammable?  I think as a society we should realize we’ve advanced past candy corn.

4. Non-Chocolate Miscellany.  This is kind of a catch-all.  I come into Halloween with a level of chocolate expectation. So, please do not give me Skittles, Nerds, Jolly Ranchers, Dum Dums, or anything of that nature.  If you catch me on a random Tuesday in July, I might be happy to take a Jolly Rancher off your hands, but this is Halloween.  Step it up a notch.  Support the machine.  You give me a Jolly Rancher and I think it could have been sitting in your cupboard since the Great War.

 

Whoa There Fellas…

 

Fans Are Getting Creative.

 

The Phillies loss in the NLCS is causing a variety of reactions.  I wanted to go on a little media blackout, and so I wrapped up the Phillies on Sunday looking to take some time to level my head.  Doesn’t seem like that is going to be possible, though.  The loss is lingering.  The pain is as easily recalled as Ryan Howard’s last at-bat.  With a bad taste in their mouth and nothing but time on their hands, many fans have taken a pessimistic outlook that borders on panic.  The are acting like the team lost 97 games.  They look at Chase Utley and see Mariano Duncan.  Some fans want to sign Jayson Werth, and others are coming up with wild theories like trading Chase Utley and signing Adrian Beltre to play 3rd.  Even with the free agent market being limited, the fans aren’t hesitating to play GM.  A quick reaction to the points of panic:

1.  The Phillies Offense is in a Downward Spiral:  It is probably time to realize the strength of this team has shifted from its offense to its starting rotation.   But, that’s not to say the Phillies won’t score runs.  They were among the NL leaders in runs scored even with most of the starting 8 making a DL trip or two.  Also, offense was down across the board this year.  The Phillies may not be as good as they were in ’07 and ’08, but they are far from being the Mariners as well.

2.  Jimmy Rollins:  Three straight years of decline, health problems and even some declining defense have people worried about Rollins.  The only way I’ll worry about Jimmy is if the Phillies give him a long-term deal.  They won’t.  Keep Rollins for 2011, take advantage of him making a push for a final big contract and use the year to decide the future at short.

3.  Werth:  Werth will price himself out of the Phillies plans.  We heard the writing on the wall press conferences.  If you could get Werth for 4/66 or something in that neighborhood, I’d consider it, but the Phillies have to avoid long-term contracts with players in their 30s.  They already have Utley, Howard and Halladay signed.  They’ll need money for Cole Hamels at some point, possibly Roy Oswalt, they can live without Werth.

4.  Utley.  In my mind you can only trade Utley right now if you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he’s done.  This is true for a number of reasons.  First, Utley is a huge part of the clubhouse.  Secondly, Utley has the potential to put up offensive numbers that few 2nd baseman can match.  And, the last thing to remember is the Phillies would be selling low on Utley.  With him looking past his prime and with the money that is owed, what exactly could you expect in return?  I’m not sure Utley is done.  The key is staying healthy.  He reminds me of Scott Rolen.  Another player who appeared to drop off quickly after some injuries, but finally a bit healthier for most of this year, Rolen had a solid season, posting a 5-year high in several offensive categories.

5.  The closing window.  I mentioned the window on Sunday.  It’s the term of the hour.  When I mention it, though, I’m speaking in terms of the core group of Phillies currently on the roster.  I’m not talking about forever, which is what people sound like these days.  Sure, the Utley/Howard/Rollins/Halladay crowd might only have a year or two left, but the Phillies are about as well positioned as any team in MLB.   I think fans are still worried that this is the “small market” Phillies who can’t lure a free agent and need lightning in a bottle.  There will be rebuilding years for certain, but with the right moves they shouldn’t come one right after the other.

*Cliff Lee said he kind of enjoyed watching the Phillies lose.  Yet another reason why I’d expect Cliff to be great tomorrow night.  This might not sit well some Phillies fans, but what’s the guy supposed to feel?  The Phillies shipped him out of town.

**Hey, great job by the Heat juggernaut.  I guess they were managing expectations?  Eighty points.  Yikes.  I’ll assume Miami is a complete failure until I look up in a couple months and they are 30 games over .500.