Archive for August, 2009

Baseball Doubleheader

Monday, August 10th, 2009

I am the player/co-founder/manager/part owner of a new semi-pro men’s league baseball team in the DFW metroplex. The team is named the Colt .45s, and yes we plan on jamming that Afroman song before every game. We are registered to play in the D.A.B.A. 25+ fall league that plays seven-inning games with wood bats. Yesterday we had our first preseason game against the Mud Cats.

The team’s debut was a rollicking 10-5 victory. I contributed a line of 1-2, HBP, 2 SB, 2 R (including the first run in the franchise’s history), and I also pitched a scoreless seventh with 1 K, 1 hit allowed, and no walks. The 2 steals were more a result of the Cats not exactly having their pitching/catching battery fine-tuned at this point than of any newfound blazing speed on my part.

We participated in the league draft two weeks ago and so today was the first time we really got to see all our guys playing together. The draft itself was a neat process as the other members of our ownership group and I watched the free agents try out while we made notes and rated their abilities before convening with owners of other teams and the commissioner to commence the draft. As it turns out, we got some good players, and thankfully we assembled a squadron of good-natured dudes that seem to get along quite well also. Definitely looking forward to contending for the crown in our inaugural season.

What was that I mentioned about a doubleheader? It was awfully nice to return home and see that Derek Holland hurled a three-hit shutout against the Angels. I don’t think the Rangers will be letting go of him anytime soon, so if the 45’s decide to make a roster addition we may just have to settle for Padilla.

” … and two zig zags, baby that’s all we need.”

College Fantasy Football

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Thought I’d try this on for size.  I don’t follow college football nearly as closely as the NFL, so I figured joining a league might help me pay more attention to it.  10-team league, draft round in parentheses:

QB [1]: Taylor Potts, Texas Tech (3); Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State (10)
RB [2]: Jahvid Best, Cal (1); DeMarco Murray, OU (5); Chris Brown, OU (11); DuJuan Harris, Troy State (14)
WR [3]: Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State (2); Ryan Broyles, OU (6); Kevin Jurovich, San Jose State (8); Phillip Livas, Louisiana Tech (9)
TE [1]: Cody Slate, Marshall (7)
K [1]: Ross Evans, TCU (12)
DEF/ST [1]: USC (4); Texas (13)

Opening a topic on this in the forum since I’d love to know more about this team’s strengths/weaknesses. Before you even say it, I agree that taking USC so high was a mistake. I saw a couple of other people draft a defense so I thought maybe that was the way to go in the college game.

Three examples of free agents that could be picked up (not sure who I’d want to drop, but I guess DuJuan was my last pick. Obviously Texas is my reserve defense, but USC has two bye weeks … ) are QB Riley Dodge (North Texas), WR Brandon Collins (Texas), and TE Weslye Saunders (USC).

Concert Atmosphere

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Concerts aren’t entirely about the music.  Other factors are often at least as important in determining how noteworthy the night is.

A friend and I went and saw Atmosphere last night at Dallas’ House of Blues. It is a great venue and it was my first time to see a show there.  The sound quality was superb.  I would rate the concert very high in many categories, although I will say Atmosphere has a big enough catalog that they could have hung around long enough to play an extra four or five classics.

But for some reason, it didn’t feel “special” like some other shows have.  So I started wondering why.  I came up with ten criteria that make a show speical.

1.  Sheer star quality of the artists.  Imagine attending a Beatles show.

2.  The intense energy generated by the passion of the artists.  Seeing Rage Against the Machine in 8th grade taught me plenty about this one.

3.  Musical virtuosity.  Watching Phish jam for hours would be hard to forget.  If you were sober that is.

4.  Happiness.  It doesn’t matter whether its some frilly pop music or Bob Marley.  Any show that makes you want to hug and be best friends with everyone around you is special.

5.  The show that’s so good you wonder how there can be so few people there.  Guru at the Granada Theater in Dallas was excellent in this regard – I walked out feeling lucky that I got to take part in something so awesome in such an intimate performance with the artist, and yet I was astonished that I was one of less than 500 people in Dallas who realized that this show was going to be the shit. A corollary to this is when the small attendance is a result of catching the band before it catches its “break.” My brother rarely misses the opportunity to remind me that 25 years ago he saw U2 play a wet t-shirt contest at a Dallas hole-in-the-wall.

6.  Seeing one of your favorite songs (of all time, not the jam of the month) performed live for the first time.  Seeing Nas crank out “If I Ruled the World” at Rock the Bells brought this one to light for me.

7.  The artist does something crazy.  I will never forget Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace climbing up a 25-foot speaker tower at Stubb’s in Austin, TX, turning his back to the crowd, raising his arms by his sides, and falling backwards into the crowd with no warning before being crowd-surfed back to the stage.  That fool just expected people to catch him, and, well, they did.

8.  You do something baller or something cool happens for you.  Hooking up with a good-looking girl or going backstage to hang with the artist makes for a memorable evening.

9.  Setting/circumstances.  Musically, the Insane Clown Posse don’t blow my socks off.  But going to Detroit with my best friend when I was 16 to see them rock their hometown for three days at the first annual “Gathering of the Juggalos” convention?  That was tight.  So was catching Bone Thugs-n-Harmony at a private party they played at my friend’s frat house in college.

10.  Seeing somebody before he/she dies young.  I didn’t see Tupac or Nirvana and I often lament this.  I can’t really blame myself for missing Jimi Hendrix or Mozart.

Atmosphere is a great storyteller.  His songs are a personal journey into his relationships and what a wonderful odyssey many of them are.  But it is a personal experience.  His strength does not lie in being an amazing entertainer of mass groups.

Fantasy Football Breakout Candidates

Friday, August 7th, 2009


-Tony Romo, DAL: I often hear people defend their claim that so-and-so is not going to be a great fantasy QB this year because he plays in a “run-heavy offense.”  Whether a team runs 40% or 60% of the time hardly matters as much as whether that offense is good and sustains drives.  Consistently moving the chains means that team will run more total plays and also will be in scoring position more often.  I’m not even sure Terrell Owens was that big of a problem for this team, but whatever negative effect he may have had on Romo (and others) is gone.  And as for the positive effect he had?  Romo is not lacking for explosive weapons in the passing game with Roy Williams, Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, and Miles Austin.  “Smash, Dash, and Tash” will keep defenses very honest, and this team should be lethal when operating out of the two tight end set.  Throw in the fact that everyone around training camp this year feels the intense desire radiating from Jerry Jones to open the new stadium with a highly successful campaign, and, yeah, this team will score.  A lot.

-Trent Edwards, BUF: Terrell Owens and Lee Evans?  That’s hard to cover.  Everyone has seen what Evans can do as a deep threat, but defenses have been shading enough help to his side the last couple of years to contain his game-breaking ability.  Would you have been overly concerned about Josh Reed?  But now, Owens will demand the same treatment, and defenses simply won’t be able to provide it to both sides with the backfield duo of Marshawn Lynch/Fred Jackson also looming.

-Jason Campbell, WAS: The guy is not that bad.  Owner Dan Snyder may fantasize about Brett Favre, Jay Cutler, and other big ticket names, but this is a solid player in a solid offense who is being overlooked.  He has demonstrated consistent improvement (both statistically and “to the eye”) each year he’s been in the league.  He is in a contract year.  And this will be his first time entering training camp without a new offensive coordinator/system to learn.  There’s a lot to like here.

-Sage Rosenfels, MIN: Should win the battle with Tarvaris Jackson and defenses will have to focus on stopping AP.  But it’s always a concern that his head coach looks like a child molester.

-Jake Delhomme, CAR: Oh he’ll make bone-headed mistakes, but this is another guy on a good team with explosive weapons around him.

-David Garrard, JAX: Bounce-back year.

-JaMarcus Russell, OAK: Not saying they’ll be good, but Oakland will not be nearly as embarrassing as in recent memory.  Don’t forget, he’s a former #1 overall pick.


-Julius Jones, SEA: Going quite late in drafts, yet he is a featured back!  T.J. Duckett might steal some goal-line snaps, but with Maurice Morris now out of the picture, JJ will man the backfield most of the time for the Seahawks.  And this Seattle squad is looking like one of the league’s biggest comeback stories, with their receiving corps now healthy and bolstered by the addition of new #1 T.J. Houshmandzadeh.  Factor in a healthy Hasselbeck, a solid defense, and a fiery coach in Jim Mora, and this team could end up being a nice place to be a RB.

-Johnathan Stewart, CAR: DeAngelo Williams proved his worth in a huge way last season, but all along the coaching staff was trying to evolve the Panthers’ running game into a “thunder & lightning” attack that featured their two distinct backs.  Stewart’s nagging injuries were the only thing that prevented this from happening in full force.  DeAngelo will still be the lead back, but don’t let his huge 2008 dispel the notion that Stewart will do even more this year than he did during his rookie campaign.

-Jerome Harrison, CLE: I don’t doubt Jamal Lewis’ heart, but I do doubt that Eric Mangini will want to watch him plod along for 16 games while Harrison is ripping through holes in practice.


-Torry Holt, JAX: Not finished yet.  He withered last year amongst the imploding mess in St. Louis, but his precise route-running will make him the apple of David Garrard’s eye.  Keep your eye on WR Mike Walker as well.

-Justin Gage, TEN: With a reliable deep threat opposite him in Nate Washington, Gage should have a slightly easier go of it this year as Kerry Collins’ #1 receiver.  And with their running game firmly established, the Titans will be looking to throw more to keep opponents off-balance.

-Chaz Schilens, OAK: Big, talented, and more ready than the other Oakland wideouts.  Oakland’s defense will get them the ball, and making sure they have at least a respectable passing attack will be priority #1 for new head coach Tom Cable.

-Devin Thomas, WAS: Promoted to the #2 receiver spot over Antwaan Randle El.  And while finding A.R.E.’s replacement was becoming a need for the ‘Skins, this is clearly an indication that Thomas showed up to training camp looking ready to make things happen.

-Earl Bennett, CHI: Devin Hester is fast, but he’s not a natural receiver.  And Jay Cutler is not the most patient person in the world.  Cutler and Bennett lit it up as college teammates at Vanderbilt, and you can bet the Bears’ new QB will be looking Bennett’s direction every time his Hester has run himself out of the play.


-Vernon Davis, SF: Mike Martz does not think tight ends are meant to catch the ball.  Davis certainly needed to improve in certain areas upon entering the league (e.g. focus, route running), but Martz was his chief obstacle to success last year.  New offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye says, “We would like to use him not as much in blocking in pass situations as we would running routes.”  Looking at the other receiving options in San Fran (especially with Michael Crabtree making sure that he’ll be behind from the get-go), Davis is primed for numbers.

-Martellus Bennett, DAL: I’m not sure he’ll catch as many balls as some people are projecting, but he will be on the field a lot and he will have plays called for him around the goal line to take advantage of his basketball frame.


I’m not that bored.


This includes Cedric Benson, Roy E. Williams, and Vince Young.  I personally watched all these guys play in college, culminating in Young’s 4th-and-5 scramble to win the 2006 Rose Bowl, and trust me (it’s not just all the alcohol speaking here): these are some incredible football players.  Now Benson may be a dumbass – I don’t really know.  But he is the unquestioned RB on a revitalized CIN team.  1,000 yards and 7 scores is the floor here barring injury.  Williams played his high school state championship game in Texas Stadium and he has got to be thrilled to be the go-to WR for the Dallas Cowboys.  And Vince may not get a chance to play much this year, but just don’t count him out.  He is special.  After all, he is now two covers removed from the Madden curse so maybe he’s fianlly getting back on track.

(By the way, other NFL players on that UT team: Jamaal Charles, Brian Orakpo, Michael Huff, Selvin Young, Cedric Griffin, Aaron Ross, Limas Sweed, David Thomas, Quan Cosby, Ahmard Hall, Lyle Sendlein, Tony Hills, Michael Griffin, Johnathan Scott, Justin Blalock, Tarell Brown, Rashad Bobino, Chris Ogbonnaya, Franklin Okam, Kasey Studdard, Brian Robison, Henry Melton, Rodrique Wright, and Marcus Griffin.  Colt McCoy will soon join that list.  Wow.)

Quick Mavs Look

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Things are settling down a bit and at this point we may not see another move until Greg Buckner’s contract is eligible to be traded (September 9).  To my chagrin it does look like we will be losing Ryan Hollins (at least if Mark Cuban’s tweet is any indication: “congrats to ryan hollins. wish him the best w twolves #fb“).  Don’t get me wrong – I never thought he was the next Amare – but his athleticism and hustle just really seemed to fit here, and I envisioned him potentially emerging as a running partner to JKidd/Marion fast breaks.  But the roster is full as it is, so let’s check out who we do have, from biggest to smallest in terms of positional capability:


That’s 17 right there. Sure, Buckner + other(s) will probably be moved (which could shake this team up in a big way once again), but this unfortunately already leaves out FA Gerald Green as well as a couple of others. Nevertheless, only 15 can be on the roster and 12 are allowed to be active on gameday anyway.

At the moment, I would imagine the minutes would shake out to (on average):

C: Gooden (24); Damp (17); Dirk (7)
PF: Dirk (29); Marion (10); Gooden (5); TThomas (4)
SF: Marion (26); J-Ho (12); Ross (6); TThomas (4)
SG: J-Ho (22); JET (26)
PG: Kidd (34): Barea (11); JET (3)

IR: Carroll/Buckner
D-League: Jawai/Nivins

-Beaubois, Humphries, and Singleton: Two of the three would be active and one would be IR. Being active would not guarantee minutes though.
-Barea (offensively at least) and Ross (defensively at least) would technically be at the 2-guard some of the time despite not being allotted for any minutes there in the depth chart above. This is due to the defensive versatility that is achieved by having people like Kidd at the 1 and Marion/J-Ho at the 3.