Jimmy Rollins Goes Christmas Tree Shopping…

Welcome to Amaro Nurseries.

It was a late night at the tree farm.  It always is this time of year.  I was disposing of the last of the day’s complimentary gingerbread cookies.  My chosen method of disposal being to see how many I could fit into my mouth at one time.  My co-worker, Scotty, was loading miles of garland into the shed.  You can’t just leave garland out over night. Do you know what garland goes for?  Theft is rampant.  But, anyway, he’s taking down garland and wreaths by the armload and I’m closing out the register.  Seventy-Three Douglas Firs in the books.  Just another day at the office.  I’m getting ready to kill the lights that illuminate our “pre-cut” selection when a car comes roaring up the drive.  My stomach sinks at the thought of having to fire up the dang tree baler again.  Maybe they need directions…

Nope, they’re dressed for tree gettin’, there’s no doubt about it. People always show up in their best plaid and thickest mittens to pick out a tree.  And, earmuffs.  You can go your whole life without seeing someone in earmuffs.  At a tree lot?  You’ll see 40 pair.  And, an absolute volcanic eruption of scarves.  I’m still hardly paying attention, trying to swallow the gingerbread ball I’ve got working in my face hole, when I realize this isn’t the typical yuppie couple.  It’s frickin’ Jimmy Rollins, his wife and some seedy looking white-boy.

Rollins (wearing a leather jacket with fur lining, jeans with elaborate flame and dragon embroidery and a Miami Heat hat):  You guys still open?

White Guy:  They’re open.  He’s standing there, isn’t he?

Me: Sure, yeah, what can I do for you?  Care for a tasty treat?

(I hold up a plate filled with crumbs and stray gingerbread man body parts)

White Guy (Rushing past J-Roll and Wife):  I’m gonna deal with this guy, J-Roll.

(I look behind me assuming there’s no way I could already be a “this guy” at this point in the conversation…no one is there)

White Guy:  Hey, Dan Lozano.

(He sticks his paw out into the space between us, I leave it sitting there like a forlorn old man at a bus stop)

Dan Lozano:  I’ve got Jimmy Rollins here.

(I do that double hand motion that means: “Annnnnnd….get to the point”)

Dan Lozano:  We need to fit him with a 16-ft Douglas Fir.

Me:  16-ft?  What do you think this is, the Canadian wilderness?  We don’t have anything that big, and even if we did, it would never fit in the damn baler.  Sorry, if you want like a 10-footer, or if you know if I’m ever in the Los Angeles area looking for an escort…maybe we can do business.

Dan Lozano (squinting hard at me):  I find it hard to believe that in this whole place, there’s not one 16-ft tree.  How many acres you got here?

Me:  30.

Dan Lozano (getting animated):  30 acres!  And, on not one of those 30 individual acres is a tree that stands 16-feet?

Me: I’d say take a look for yourself, but, you know, it’s dark.

Jimmy Rollins (walking over to us):  What’s the problem?

Dan Lozano:  He says there are no 16-ft trees.

(J-Roll looks in my direction, or I think he looked in my direction, he was hitting me right below the elbow)

Me:  Nothing even close to that tall.

J-Roll: Dan, you said we could get a 16-ft tree.  You said if we had to go smaller it’d be our decision.  My option.  That’s what you said.

Me:  Ten feet is about the best we can do.

J-Roll:  No!  I did 10-ft last year.  It’s embarrassing.  I go to Chase’s place, he’s got a 15-ft tree.  Ryan Howard’s got a 20-ft tree and he can’t even get off his ass to decorate this year.  Hunter Pence just moved here and he’s talking about getting a 12-footer.  And, don’t get me started on Cliff Lee.  Johari show him the damn text.

(Johari takes an iPhone out of her Louis and holds it up to my face.  There’s a picture of Cliff Lee standing in front of what looks like the gosh dang Rockefeller Center tree.  The text reads, 25-ft this year…Lulz.)

Me:  Well, they didn’t get those trees here, or if they did they struck much earlier in the season.  It’s a little late in the process to be shopping for that kind of height, isn’t it?

Dan Lozano:  We’ve got plenty of other options.  Don’t worry about it.  Christmas is still 2 weeks away, this isn’t the only tree farm in town.

Me:  Eh, technically, we are the only tree farm in town.

(Rollins whispers something in Lozano’s ear)

Dan Lozano:  What if we bought 5 trees this year.  All 10 feet.  Five years from now, that last tree would be 15 feet?  Correct?

Me:  Well, it’s not quite that simple, Lotta things can happen over 5-years.  Drought.  Beetles.  Garland Thieves.  Hard to say.  Plus, I don’t know that we could commit that many trees to you.  Right now you’re only like our 7th or 8th favorite customer, and who is to say someone doesn’t show up in the next year or two to bump you even further down the list?

(Lozano takes a step back, the three of them converge into a little huddle.  It breaks)

Dan Lozano:  What’s the best you can do for us tonight?

Me:  I’ll give you a 10-ft tree tonight.  I’ll let you reserve a 9-ft tree for next year and another for the year after, but if you piss us off–the 3rd tree is off the table.

(They huddle up again)

Dan Lozano:  Fine.  Deal.

(We shake hands)

Me: Old Scotty P. over there will show the 10-footers.  SCOTTY!

(Scotty comes over)

Me:  You want to help these nice folks find a 10-footer?

(Scotty eagerly agrees and heads off at a dead sprint toward the trees.  Dan Lozano and Johari chase after him at full speed.  J-Roll follows behind them at much more leisurely pace.)

18 Minutes Later….

(Scotty and I are standing by the baler, watching J-Roll and Company drive off)

Me:  How was it?

Scotty:  Not bad, no problems except Jimmy tweaked a calf muscle helping tie the thing to the roof of his car.

Me:  Is that right?

Did You Know College Football Has Bowls?

Yep, It's Bowl Season.

I’m not sure we did this last year, but we at least have done it at some point in the past.  I’m referring to picking Bowl Games.  An inquiry came in about it yesterday, and college football wasn’t really on my mind, but what the hell?  I satisfy approximately 70% of my reader requests around here, so if people want to pick the dang Bowl Games, we’ll pick them.  There seems to be more games than ever, which is funny, because none of them are all that intriguing.  We’ve got 33 opening acts for the SEC Championship Game, Part II.  The names of the Bowls do get better every year, and no, I din’t know Little Caesars was still in business.

So, I’m going to list the games here.  If you feel like picking, or participating in some contest, email me your picks  (mggross21@gmail.com).  If that is too complicated for you, I suppose you could leave them in the comments and then I will email them to myself.  If a decent amount of people get in the mix, I’ll figure out where to post and keep track of the standings, etc.  I’ll give something to the winner.  You can go to a Phillies game with me, or something.  I’ll make sure it’s a night that Dontrelle Willis is pitching.

The Litany of Action:

  1. New Mexico Bowl: Temple (-7) vs. Wyoming
  2. Idaho Potato Bowl:  Utah State (-2.5) vs. Ohio
  3. New Orleans Bowl:  Louisiana Lafayette (+4.5) vs. San Diego St.
  4. Beef O’Brady’s Bowl: Florida International (-4) vs. Marshall
  5. Poinsettia Bowl:  Louisiana Tech (+10) vs. TCU
  6. Las Vegas Bowl:  Arizona St. (+14) vs. Boise St.
  7. Independence Bowl: North Carolina (+5) vs. Missouri
  8. Little Caesar’s Bowl:  Western Michigan (+2.5) vs. Purdue
  9. Belk Bowl: Louisville (+3) vs. NC State
  10. Military Bowl: Toledo (-3) vs. Air Force
  11. Holiday Bowl:  California (+3) vs. Texas
  12. Champs Sports Bowl:  Notre Dame (+3) vs. Florida State
  13. Alamo Bowl:  Washington (+9) vs. Baylor
  14. Armed Forces Bowl: Tulsa (+2.5) vs. BYU
  15. Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers (-1.5) vs. Iowa State
  16. Music City Bowl:  Wake Forest (+7) vs. Mississippi St.
  17. Insight Bowl:  Iowa (+14) vs. Oklahoma
  18. Meineke Texas Bowl:  Texas A&M (-10) vs. Northwestern
  19. Sun Bowl:  Utah (+3.5) vs. Georgia Tech
  20. Fight Hunger Bowl:  UCLA (+2.5) vs. Illinois
  21. Liberty Bowl:  Cincinnati (+2.5) vs. Vanderbilt
  22. Chick-Fil-A Bowl:  Virginia (+1.5) vs. Auburn
  23. Ticket City Bowl: Penn State (+5.5) vs. Houston
  24. Outback Bowl:  Michigan State (+3.5) vs. Georgia
  25. Capital One Bowl:  Nebraska (+2.5) vs. South Carolina
  26. Gator Bowl: Florida (-2) vs. Ohio State
  27. Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (+6) vs. Oregon
  28. Fiesta Bowl: Stanford (+3.5) vs. OK State
  29. Sugar Bowl: Michigan (-2.5) vs. Virginia Tech
  30. Orange Bowl:  West Virginia (+3.5) vs. Clemson
  31. Cotton Bowl:  Kansas St. (+7.5) vs. Arkansas
  32. Compass Bowl: SMU (+4.5) vs. Pittsburgh
  33. Go-Daddy.Com Bowl:  Arkansas St. (-1.5) vs. Northern Illinois
  34. BCS Title Game:  Alabama (Pick) vs. LSU

Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem Check.

Down to a Two-Horse Race?

Get busy winning, or get busy losing.  I’m not sure how things are going in professional tout circles, but we’ve got a few guys around these parts riding the ice luge straight to the curb outside your local OTB.  At this point, it’s just get to the playoffs, clear the slate and start the annual 11-0 dream run.  That isn’t to say we’ve all been losing, though.  I’m trying to show a little scrap.  Give Big Dub something to think about.  With 15 games to go, we’ve got some separation.  Will we dive-bomb back to the field?  Will one of us streak over 60%?  Stay tuned.  And, in D.A. Fantasy Football…the playoffs are set!  More on that later.  Cue the Deer…

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:  

  1. Big Dub:  38-28-4
  2. Grossy:  38-29-3
  3. JCK:  33-36-1
  4. Kraft:  31-34-5
  5. Nichols:  31-37-2

The “Pre-Ordered Honey Baked Christmas Ham” Pick of the Week: Here’s a little tidbit for you…Green Bay who is 13-0 in the actual standings is 9-4 against the spread.  That’s a pretty good record for a team that has spent most of the year as a prohibitive favorite.  Factor in Green Bay’s potent offense, and it’s a little surprising they haven’t been a more popular pick.  I guess their defense is scaring people off, but there was nothing to worry about this Sunday.  JCK, in dire need of a rally, successfully landed on the Packers and the game was a cover as soon as Carson Palmer set foot on the frozen tundra.

The “What Am I Going to do With My Ben Francisco Jersey,” Awful Pick of the Week:  Dub did the old preemptive request, but New Orleans didn’t cover with enough flair for my liking.  Kraft picked the Red Rifle, but he’s blatantly pro-Dalton, and we can’t hold that against him.  Nope, I think I’m going right back to JCK.  After all, he’s slipping in the standings for a reason.  You win one, you lose some.  Just like the headline said.  So, the Chiefs?  Really?  On the road?  Palko?  Against the Jets?  Hmmm.  This pick was so bad that Todd Haley got fired.

***

D.A. Final Standings and Summaries:

We did a little something different with the D.A. Page today.  If you want some thoughts on the year, some info on the playoffs teams, odds to win, and various other odds & ends…you can just check out the old link.

Final Regular Season Standings:

  1. Neckbeards and Codeine: 10-4 (349.5 points)
  2. JCK:  8-6 (282.75 points)
  3. Eli Esses D:  8-6 (213.25 points)
  4. Kraft: 7-7 (436.0 points)
  5. Team Horse Face: 7-7 (392.0 points)
  6. Fake Chow:  7-7 (388.75 points)
  7. The Slop Jocks: 5-9 (259.75 points)
  8. The Shiva Cry:  4-10 (275.25 points

Eli Esses D Barges into the Playoffs with 58.25 to 25.5 win over The Slop Jocks. 

The comeback is complete for Eli Esses D.  They brought in a new general manager midway through the year and things really turned around.  Crippled by a miserable point total, Big Dub had to have a win.  With the 4th pick he was lucky to get Dan Orlovsky (sans late-game magic) who put up 37 points.  Matt Moore’s 21.25 points pre-Losman were just gravy.  The loss ended a disappointing year for last year’s regular season champs, The Slop Jocks.  D.A. Fantasy proves to be a bit like the Super Bowl.  The year after, there’s always a hangover.

Team Horse Face Edges Kraft with 44 to 38.5 Win, Comes up Short in Playoff Bid  

This was the most important head-t0-head matchup in the standings.  Team Horse Face needed a win and a lot of help, Kraft was looking strong regardless thanks to a league-leading point total. It ended up being a close contest.  Josh Freeman, who may make his presence felt in the playoffs, led the way for Kraft with 38 points, but the star of the day was Christian Ponder.  A lot of people probably say…finally.  Ponder was benched in favor of Joe Webb and had the elusive sack/fumble/TD recovery on his way to 33 points.  In the end, though, Kraft moves on and Team Horse Face didn’t quite get the help they needed.

Neckbeards and Codeine Knock Fake Chow from the Playoffs with 49 to 28 Win.  

Tough fate for last year’s runner-up, Fake Chow.  They get a tough match-up in a must-win game and eventually lose out on the tie-breaker.  Neckbeards showed no mercy on their way to their 10th victory.  It all started on Thursday night with Colt McCoy’s usual avalanche of incompletions (37 points).  By the time Monday rolled around, Nichols needed better than 20 points from Tarvaris Jackson, but the Rams defense proved to be too soft.

JCK Snatches Playoff Bid with 54.5 to 46 win over The Shiva Cry. 

If I know The Shiva Cry, and I like to think that I do, knocking JCK out of the playoffs would have been almost as satisfying as making the post-season himself.  He got his picks in about 30 seconds before the deadline on Sunday and thankfully for him, Ryan Fitzpatrick was on board.  Fitzy hit rock bottom with 51 points.  He was atrocious, but he needed to be to offset the TD slangin’ Mark Sanchez.  The match looked lost early in the game Monday night for JCK with Sam Bradford getting the start and not doing anything spectacular, but he’d eventually throw a pick, the incompletions would pile up, and he’d finish with 31 points.  Enough to vault the squad into the playoffs.

***

3-PT D.A. of the Week.  

There were a few candidates this week.  Christian Ponder was benched and had a Fumble-6, which is a very rare combination.  If only McNabb was still there to go into the game.  I’m going to award the prize to Ryan Fitzpatrick, though.  I think it’s fitting.  He deserves recognition for what he’s done to the Bills season.  A long while back, I picked the Bills to go 8-8 this year and I’m sure everyone had a good chuckle out of that.  Then, for a few weeks I was looking like a genius.  Now, the Bills are getting throttled every week and Fitzy has to shoulder some blame.  How are these guys so inaccurate?  It boggles my mind.  They don’t have good arms.  The aren’t mobile.  Which skill was it that got them into the league in the first place?  So, enjoy your award, Fitzy, you’ll probably be holding a clipboard next season.