Friday, November 30, 2007

Cowboys Defeat Packers to take Control of NFC. Still some people don't believe

Extra! Extra! Read all about it The Cowboys beat The Packers 37-27. So as you’ve probably heard by now or seen the highlights, but just incase you haven’t, the Cowboys clinched a playoff birth and took control of the NFC last night defeating the Green Bay Packers 37-27. Brett Favre left mid-way through the second quarter with an elbow injury on his throwing arm and a separated shoulder on his non throwing arm. As crazy as it sounds that actually benefited the Packers who were down 27-10 at that point. Favre was 5-14 for 56 yards with 2 ints. He seemed to be pressing the ball down field into double and even triple coverage. Aaron Rogers came off the bench to do a great job in his first extended NFL game action. Rogers threw his first NFL TD and let the pack down on another TD drive to make it close late in the 3rd quarter. However, Tony Romo, to many people's surprise(not mine of course), did not spend the entire game staring into Favre’s dreamy eyes. He led the Cowboys to scores on their first five drives. Romo ended up throwing for 309 yards, 4 TDs and 1 int that should have actually been his 5th TD.

So, finally the Cowboys get the respect they deserve and can be called the best team in NFC right?…wrong. There are still haters and doubters who continue to throw salt on the Cowboys game. The Cowboys have beaten every NFC team they have played. They continue to “pass the test”, beating the Giants twice and now the Packers. However, you still have guys like Ray Buchanan making excuses for other teams and trying to dim the Cowboys star.

Last night on ESPNews, Buchanan & Lomas Brown were providing analysis on the Duel in Dallas Part 2. Once the game was over Buchanan went on to make all types of excuses as to why the Packers lost. His main point was the Packers were without Charles Woodson & Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Ray went as far as saying if Woodson was in the game he “guaranteed” the result would be different. All year I’ve been hearing these types of excuses, not from Cowboys opponents but members of the media trying to discredit the Cowboys 11-1 start.

The funny thing is I haven’t heard anybody mention all the things Dallas has overcome. For starters they have a new head coach, a new defensive coordinator and a new offensive coordinator who is calling games for the first time in his career. For most teams this would be a built in excuse, just see Oakland, Miami, Atlanta, San Diego whom I’ve heard people refer to as “trying to get used to a new system.” The Cowboys have had injury problems of their own, but to the Ray Buchanans of the world that doesn’t matter. After 12 weeks the Cowboys still have not had their top 2 cornerbacks start in the same game. Anthony Henry(Ankle) is still working his way back and has not had a full practice week in over a month. He has been coming off the bench and playing in mostly Nickel situations. Terrance Newman(foot) didn’t play the first few games and has slowly worked his way back into the starting lineup before briefly leaving last nights game after re-aggrivating his injury. The Cowboys lost their starting Nose Tackle Jason Ferguson for the season in the first game. And Did I mention that their second leading Wide Receiver from last year and the teams deep threat, Terry Glenn, hasn’t played in a game or even practiced this year.

Maybe it's good the Cowboys get this type of coverage. Maybe T.O. and Tony Romo feel the exact same way I do. Maybe it adds fuel to their fire. I don’t know if this is true, but what I do know is the Cowboys will be in the playoffs and Ray Buchanan will not. Getcha Popcorn Ready.

Rays get Percival to close the door.

The Hot Stove is burning in Tampa Bay. The Rays will announce the signing of Troy Percival as the teams closer. Terms are 2 years for $8 million dollars with a possible $4 million more in incentives. Percival resurrected his career last year in St. Louis after missing the entire 2006 season.

Percival brings instant credibility and leadership to a bullpen that was historically bad last season. He also brings a great clubhouse presence to a young team searching for leaders. Percival, Dan Wheeler and Al Reyes should give the Rays a solid 1,2,3 punch at the back end of the game.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Look at the Young for Garza Trade

If the old adage is true that pitching wins championships, the Rays moved in the right direction on Wednesday. The Rays added a very talented pitcher in Matt Garza, who has the potential to be a good number 2 starter in this league, a good stop gap shortstop in Jason Bartlett, and maybe their future closer in Eduardo Morlan. It's always difficult to have to part with a player that posesses the potential that Delmon Young does, but the opportunity to upgrade the team in three different areas was too much to pass up.

There are mixed opinions on exactly how good Matt Garza will really be. Going into 2007, John Sickles had him ranked as the number 1 prospect in the Twins system and gave him an A- grade. In three minor league seasons he had a 2.88 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 10.04 K/9. He has dominated at every level in the minors and there is nothing to show that he won’t continue that trend in the future. He has not yet pitched a full year in the majors and was up and down when he did pitch, but you can see the talent is there. The Rays will also have control of Garza for the next five years. The addition of Garza to the rotation with Scott Kazmir and James Shields gives the Rays a great young starting rotation for years to come.

In Bartlett the Rays got a good stop-gap shortstop to plug into the lineup until Reid Brignac is ready to play in the majors. He has good range at short and is not the offensive liability that Cesar Izturis would have been. Bartlett is a much better option than the Rays currently had on the team, and the double play combination with Aki at second will be a nice help to the young pitchers on the mound.

The Rays were originally supposed to get veteran Juan Rincon in the deal, but when injury concerns came up the Twins offered relief pitcher Eduardo Morlan instead. Morlan was the Twins number 4 rated prospect by John Sickles and has outstanding numbers in the minor leagues. In four seasons he has an ERA of 2.82 and 11.06 K/9. Some Twins fans have compared him to how Joba Chamberlin has played in his bullpen role. He will most likely start the season in AA this year, but could rise very fast as he has the tools. The Rays may have found a closer for the future or at the very least a great set-up man to bolster the pen.

Delmon is a talented player, but maybe not as talented as he was once thought to be. He was heralded as the number 1 prospect in all of baseball, but his lack of plate discipline has stifled his offensive numbers. If Young could ever learn to have more discipline at the plate he could be a Manny or Vlad type player, but right now a better offensive comparison maybe Jeff Francouer. Defensively no one can deny his great arm, but he does lack great range in the outfield and takes some awkward angles.

Part of the reason the Rays were willing to deal Young may be due to his attitude problem with the organization. We all remember the end of last season when he blew up against Toronto and declared himself out for the last game of the season. Delmon also complained about playing center field when the Rays needed him to do so because BJ Upton and Rocco Baldelli were hurt. He went on record as saying he wanted out of Tampa the first chance he got, and it seems the Rays gave him his wish early.

The Rays dealt from a position of strength to address the major weaknesses on their team. They have a couple of different options on who to play in RF, and Rocco Baldelli is not one of them despite what many Rays’ fans think. The Rays have already said that they are “cautiously optimistic that he can be the DH,” which sounds like they have no intentions of him playing in the outfield and risking injury once again. If Elijah Dukes can stay clear of off the field issues he would most likely get the nod come opening day. He is a talented outfielder and given a full season I think he will out hit and out play Delmon Young in the outfield. Justin Ruggiano, who has been compared to Jason Bay, could also push for the spot in right field next year. He had a great season not only in Durham, but also in the AFL and for Team USA.

At the end of the day the Rays were able to address three areas of need with the trade and that fact made the deal to hard to pass up. Who won and lost this trade will depend on Delmon Young and that won’t be known until a couple years from now. Could the Rays have gotten more for Young? Maybe, but I do know that the overall team improved with this trade today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Land of the Tax Free and Home of the Rays?

The Rays and Owner Stuart Sternberg formally announced plans today for their open-air waterfront stadium. "We’re talking about a major-league downtown," Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. Sternberg also added "No New Taxes." We'll see about that one.

I suggest taking the virtual tour

More from The Stat Pack on the new stadium to come

To View the Rest

How can you not love Bill Belichick and The Patriots

Say what you want about Belichick, Belicheat, Spygate or whatever you want to call it, the man is a genius. This latest Belichick episode is hilarious. We all know Tom Brady has been listed as probable on the Pats injury report since the beginning of time with an injured right shoulder. Well yesterday the Patriots placed Roosevelt Colvin on the IR list with an apparent arm injury. Trainers were seen working on Colvin's arm but the official Patriot announcement was a foot injury. When questioned about the injury being a foot injury or not Belichick responded with

"It was announced as a foot? Then we'll leave it with that announcement," coach Bill Belichick said Monday, according to the transcript of the news conference released by the team. "Was that what [we] announced? If that's what [we] announced, then we'll stand by that announcement."

He lies, he cheats, and he probably steals...Gotta love him.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

R.I.P Sean Taylor & Joe Kennedy

The Stat Pack would like to pass our condolences to the family and friends of Sean Taylor. The former University of Miami and Washington Redskins Safety died this morning as a result of a shooting at his home early Monday.

Sean Taylor
Apr. 1, 1983-Nov. 27, 2007

Also we would like to send our condolences to the family and friends of Joe Kennedy who died on Friday while we were away. Joe was a former Rays prospect who became really our first home grown pitcher to make it in the big leagues.

Joe Kennedy
May 24, 1979-Nov. 23, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007


Flu, bronchitis, Thanksgiving... pick your choice but we've been away. Have no fear we are back now with a brand new chat wrap. Jonah Keri, Jim Callis, Ryen Russillo, David Newton, Terry Blount, Marcellus Wiley, Jeremy Green, Boxer Champion Floyd Mayweather, Mike Golic & Mike Greenberg from Mike & Mike in the morning are all in this weeks wrap up. Topics ranges from New Stadiums to Grandma Vilma

Some Great Rays talk with Jonah Keri & Jim Callis. Also a quick question about David Wright and the NL MVP award

Tommy(TheStatPack): Baseball saw an increase of almost 18 million fans during the steroid era. How is that a bad thing?

Jonah Keri: (1:16 PM ET ) And revenue just topped $6 billion, meaning baseball just passed football as the #1 sports cash cow. Speaking of football, you know a huge number of NFL players are juicing too, and that sports is more popular than ever. Better quality of product goes a long way toward enhancing fan entertainment. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but from both a fan entertainment and a business standpoint, it's win-win when the BALCOs of the world get involved.

Tommy(TheStatPack): If I'm planning a road trip what 3 stadiums are a must see? and where do I eat in each of the 3 cities?

Jonah Keri: (2:38 PM ET ) I haven't been to PNC yet, but everyone I know raves about it, and many rate it #1. So if you wanted to keep the trip vaguely regional and theoretically drivable, you could start at Wrigley, then PNC, then hoof it to Jacobs Field. Just make sure you sit in the bleachers in Wrigley. First time I went there, I sat in what would normally be great seats, 1st side, 15 rows over the dugout. Game was fun, but not the huge exprience I was expecting. Second time I went to Wrigley, I sat in the LF bleachers, and Gregg Jefferies, at the tail of his career, was the LF. Most fun I've ever had at a ballpark that didn't involve the Expos.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Do you think the Rays waterfront stadium get done?

Jonah Keri: (1:32 PM ET ) I REALLY, REALLY hope so, Tommy. The Rays have an exciting collection of talent, their front office is full of brilliant, young talent...all that's missing is a powerful new revenue source to move them up an income bracket o two. There's enough in house that they wouldn't need to approach the Yankees' and Red sox's revenue levels to be a championship contender. The Brewers' or Tigers' revenue base would be plenty.

Great location for the park proposal too btw. I had a great time last time I went to the Trop Dome, but building an AT&T Park replica could be a franchise changing move.

Tommy(TheStatPack): What are the White Sox asking for Uribe? Would he be a possibility for the Rays as a stop gap for Brignac?

Jim Callis: (2:23 PM ET ) Uribe shouldn't cost much. A B-level prospect would suffice. I've heard that Devil Rays rumor.

Tommy(TheStatPack):Wright should have been the MVP

Ryen Russillo: (2:30 PM ET ) The MVP has become the best player on a playoff team, never have agreed with that, if a guy hits 100 HR and his team doesn't make the playoffs, why is he eliminated?

NASCAR & Seinfeld with 2 of the best best David Newton & Terry Blount

Tommy(TheStatPack): Where have you been? They've been throwing Terry Blount as us twice a week

David Newton: (3:31 PM ET ) I took the weekend of the Texas race off, so they gave me a break then. Last week I had to chase news, so Terry graciously stepped in. Nice to be missed though.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Terry did a good job but I dont think he's a seinfeld fan

David Newton: (3:34 PM ET ) Actually, he is. What are you talking about?

Tommy(TheStatPack):I'll be damned. 2 Questions How come A-Rod gets 275 million dollars for playing baseball & Have you ever been called Schmoopie?

David Newton: (3:37 PM ET ) He can because they are willing to pay and no.

Tommy(TheStatPack): 38 minutes in and not one Danica mention. The chat is not complete if her name isn't mentioned

David Newton: (3:39 PM ET ) OK, not it's been mentioned. Happy?

Tommy(TheStatPack): Could Jimmie Johnson win as Carolina Panthers QB?

David Newton: (3:47 PM ET ) Only if Jimmy Johnson coached him.

Tommy(TheStatPack):Do you think Jimmie Johnson has to pay for stuff when he goes to Lowe's stores?

Terry Blount: (2:18 PM ET ) Not unless he's goes in a Tony Stewart Halloween costume.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Newton mentioned you were a Seinfeld fan. Off the top of your head which is your favorite episode?

Terry Blount: (2:24 PM ET ) The one where a girl's name rhymes with a body part, but they can't remember it.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Wouldn't Danica in Playboy give the IRL better visibility?

Terry Blount: (2:55 PM ET ) In more ways than one.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Your a good man TB. Enjoy your week or two of "offseason" before Daytona talk starts.

Terry Blount: (3:03 PM ET ) Thanks Tommy. I want to say thanks to everyone who participated in the chats this season. It's been an honor for me to banter with you guys. We have some very knowledgeble folks on these chats. We plan to continue to do at least one chat a week in the off season. For now, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and a blessed holiday season. All the best. Peace

NFL & Thanksgiving talk with Marcellus Wiley & Jeremy Green. Marcellus is DAT DUDE

Tommy(TheStatPack): Dat Dude, TO or Randy Moss?

Marcellus Wiley: (2:46 PM ET ) TO is the most dynamic hard working receiver in the game. The toughest to cover play to play. Randy Moss is the most freakish, gift from God at the WR position that's probably ever played. You pick your poison. They're both going to get their 4 TDs, their 150 yards. Randy looks like he's not going to break a sweat doing it. TO is going to give you everything he's got, including popcorn. If I HAD to pick one, it's TO.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Excellent answer. Also T.O. will go over the middle and block making him a more complete WR. Who does the cooking at the Dat Dude Manor on thanksgiving?

Marcellus Wiley: (2:52 PM ET ) My grandma. Grandma Vilma. She probably started cooking right around Easter for Thanksgiving. She's that pumped. I actually won, we used to call it the Turkey Man Award, which is giving to the player who gains the most weight from Thanksgiving. Hugh Douglas won one year and I took his title.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Im trying to beat my father-in law and brother-in law this year in eating. What should I go for first the turkey or the side dishes?

Marcellus Wiley: (2:56 PM ET ) Definitely the side dishes. You start with the side dishes. Then you pile on the ham and turkey at the end. Then you eat the ham next. Follow it up and cover up the turkey with desert. Then you eat the desert. You eat the turkey last, because it's going to make you fall asleep. Tell your dad to eat the turkey. Take your trophy and then win and fall asleep.

Tommy(TheStatPack): The Boys play 3 games in 11 days what will their record in those games be?

Jeremy Green: (4:23 PM ET ) I think they have a very good chance to go 3-0. Offensively, they have a top 3 offense in the NFL. They get better on defense every week. They get Green Bay on a short week is very beneficial to them. Then traveling to Detroit, I think Dallas is the better team. Dallas is a serious threat in the Super Bowl, even if it's the Patriots they play for the second time.

Finally, Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather & Mike and Mike

Tommy(TheStatPack): After you win next month is it Mayweather vs Cotto?

Floyd Mayweather: (3:18 PM ET ) My focus is solely on Ricky Hatton. I'm not thinking of any other fighter other than Ricky Hatton.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Is Rose the best pure PG we've seen since Chris Paul?

Mike Golic: (10:58 AM ET ) It's certainly possible. He's just not looking to shoot the ball. If he was on a team that didn't have a lot of people coming back and was looking for a team to take charge, you could see some great stats out of the guy. But he has veteran players there. He can set the table. It can show up in assists and other things that don't show up in the box score.

Mike Greenberg: (10:59 AM ET ) I look forward to seeing the kid play. I thought the best PG in the country was Mike Conley Jr. last year and he stepped right in.

That's all for the chats this week folks, be sure to tune in next week. Same Stat time, same Stat channel.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

And the winner is…..Wrong. David is the Wright answer for MVP.

No doubt Jimmy Rollins is better than David Wright in some ways. He’s better defensively, he’s faster and he talks a better game. I just didn’t know that was the criteria for MVP of the National League. One argument of course will be the Phillies were better than the Mets and they won the NL East. Ok fine the Phillies won the NL East that’s why they are called the NL East Champions. That honor should be enough. The fact that Rollins team won ONE more game than Wright’s team should have no affect on an individual award. The next argument will be the Mets collapsed in September and they didn’t even make the playoffs. When did the MVP award become Most Valuable Playoff Team Player? The Mets collapse had much more to do with their bullpen and manager not David Wright. In the months of September & October Wright sported a .352 Avg. 6 Home Runs 20 RBI and an OPS of 1.034. Call me crazy but that doesn’t see like a player whose production fell off when his team needed him the most. Imagine how much faster the Mets would have fallen without Wright.

My next point is Jimmy Rollins isn’t even the MVP of his team. Chase Utley is a much better player at a position where offense comes at a premium. Rollins, the lead off hitter, also finished 8th on the team in OBP. Yes I said 8th behind Utley(who lead the team), Werth, Burrell, Howard, Rowand, Bourn, Victorino. It’s amazing that Ryan Howard almost struck out 200 times and his OBP was almost 50 points higher then Rollins. Utley also posted higher AVG ,OPS and RBIs numbers in 30 less games. He also almost put up the same amount of home runs.

Finally, Men lie, women lie numbers don’t.

.325 30 107 34 .962 Wright

.296 30 94 41 .875 Rollins

Oh wait I forgot. The biggest stat.

Philadelphia 89 73
New York 88 74

I guess Rollins is the MVP. His team got to lose an extra 3 games “when it counted.” Who knows maybe Wright would be MVP if the Mets had made the playoffs and got swept. Oh well maybe next year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Boras Effect Over??

Scott Boras has made a name for himself by getting his clients the biggest deals and the most money, but has it gone to his head? Boras threatened the Yankees that ARod would opt out of his deal unless they gave him a big raise because in his words ARod was worth 30 million a year at least. Boras was a man of his word and ARod opted out, but he is not going to get 30 million and the only team interested is the Yankees. Further, the Yankees are only interested without Boras being around and ARod has obliged them.

ARod is not Boras’ only problem at the moment either. Kenny Rogers fired Boras recently to negotiate his own contract; much like Andruw Jones did a couple of years ago. Speaking of Jones, he has not gotten as much interest as Boras told him he would and rumors are going around that Jones may dump Boras again and have his dad negotiate a new deal. Those two are not the only ones that have done this to Boras; Rocco Baldelli fired Boras a couple of years ago and decided to represent himself in contract negotiations. Clients are getting angry with Boras because he cannot deliver on what he promised them, and in the meantime has made them look worse in the public eye. It was Boras’ idea for ARod to opt out during game 4 of the World Series, which caused an uproar from many baseball fans.

These clients are not the only ones that have problems with something Boras has done. The Red Sox recently came out and said that they did not get the windfall of advertising and merchandising with Dice K that they were promised by Boras. Boras promised the Sox not only a great player on the field, but certain things off the field that have not come through. Boras still has big time clients and he will tell you that he is not worried about what is going on. It seems that Boras may need to be worried because teams are refusing not only to not talk with Boras clients, but if they talk they want Boras no where around.

Boras was once thought of as a super agent that can get you whatever you wanted. He tried to get the Red Sox to almost double what they paid for Dice K, but they wouldn’t and no one was willing to come close and he had to come down. He overestimated his bargaining power with ARod and may have overestimated the response by owners as well. Fans are getting tired of athletes that try to act bigger than the game and the owners know that. The owners are letting Boras make his clients look bad so that his creditability will go down. So far the owners plans are working, but don’t count Boras out, he is never down for long.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Perjury & Steroids, Barry Bonds should be the commissioner of baseball

Recently Bud Selig reported that baseball earned $6.075 Billion dollars in revenue this past year. Bud went on to say "We started at $1.2 billion, and I can remember waking up in '93 and '94 and '95 and thinking how are we ever going to get to $2 billion?" How about ignoring a huge drug problem, cashing in on it, then acting like the commissioner's office and the owners knew nothing about it. Oh, and don't forget persecuting the players... that's a must. It would work even more efficiently if you had one player nobody really liked and painted him as the villain.

Enter Barry Bonds, who fits that role perfectly. For those who think Barry Bonds took steroids and magically started hitting home runs you are wrong. Barry Bonds has averaged 34.64 homeruns a year for his career. The man he passed this year, Hank Aaron, averaged 32.83 homeruns. Very similar numbers yet nobody questions Hank Aaron. Looking a little more into it, in his 15 seasons before the 2001 73 homerun record breaking season, Barry averaged 33 homeruns per season. The past seven after the record he's averaged 38.29. So even if Barry started juicing like a mad man in 2001 it only gave him an average 5 extra home runs a year. What we cannot equate during that time is how many of the pitchers Bonds faced were juiced or how many were using "dirt" on their hands or "spilling" water on their shirts.

Do I think Barry is clean? Not at all, but I am saying if Bonds is going to take the fall for steroids he also needs to get the credit for leading Baseball into is most prosperous age. In the last decade of the "Steroid Era", baseball's attendance sky-rocketed from 62,899,062 in 1997 to 79,447,312 in 2007. That number is expected to exceed 80 Million in 2008. If you don't think the long ball had a big effect on attendance, then just look at the St. Louis Cardinals. The attendance at Busch Stadium experienced an 831,304 person growth in from 1997 to 1998 (McGwire's 70 homerun season). During those 2 seasons the Cards finished 4th and 3rd respectively, not exactly the kind of success that would generate almost a million more people attending games.


Weekly Chats

New Chat wrap feating J.A. Adande, Jim Callis, Steve Muench, Terry Blount, Chris Mortensen,Orestes Destrade, Rob Neyer, Marcellus Wiley & Football Outsiders Aaron Schatz

First Up J.A. Adande

Tommy(TheStatPack): Hey J.A. whats going on in tennis? Gambling, Poison attempts, Cocaine, sounds like a crazy night at the lounge?

J.A. Adande: No sport -- NONE -- has as many wild storylines as tennis. All they need is a positive steroid test. But seriously, Poison????

Next some Rays & MLB with Destrade, Neyer & Callis

Tommy(TheStatPack):Hey Orestes, The Rays have been mentioned as players for Michael Barrett & Torrealba. With Posada now off the market are these 2 the best options available or should they give Navarro more time?

Orestes Destrade: It's a FA field full of catchers this yr. Those 2 prob the best. I like Barrett alot. LaDuca is out there, as is a sleeper in Jose Molina. Remember when nobody wanted Benji and he's had 2 great yrs. Jose is one to look at.

Tommy(TheStatPack):There could be FA's out there who could be named in the Mitchell Investigation and possibly face suspension Will teams be weary about who they sign this offseason?

Orestes Destrade: It's too late for that to be an issue. Owners, just as guilty, I feel and you can't punish the player and not the owners who knew all along. If someone screws up this season or found out for last...I penalize that guy for stupidity, ignorance and all out greed when word has been out strong!

Jules(TheStatPack): What do you think of the Rays plans for a new waterfront stadium?

Rob Neyer: I think I need to dig up the letter Vince Naimoli once sent me, arguing that Tropicana Field is the best ballpark in all the land.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Delmon Young or Pedroia?

Jim Callis: Pedroia deserved the AL rookie of the year award over Young, easily.

NASCAR W/Terry Blount

Tommy(TheStatPack): 30 minutes in and no mention of an international driver or danica?

Terry Blount: And what would a chat be without one mention of Danica. Thanks for bringing it up.

Tommy(TheStatPack): What happened to the 20? Last year he made a ton of noise during the chase and he didn't even qualify for it. This year he makes the chase and falls off

Terry Blount:) Tony never recovered with the deal at Kansas. He had it won when the rain came, wrecked when it restarted and never was a contender after that.

Tommy(TheStatPack): How long before the Danica to NASCAR discussions start? After she wins an Indy Car race?

Terry Blount: You got it. She has to win first, then it's off the big bucks of NASCAR.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Is there any current driver that would be a great crew cheif? Why aren't more former NASCAR drivers involved that way like other sports where alot of players become coaches?

Terry Blount:) If retired drivers say in it, they usually become team owners or broadcasters. Most drivers don't know enough on the technical side to become crew chiefs.

Tommy(TheStatPack): True. What about Steven Wallace's progress? Who will be in Nascar first him or the kid in the Geico commericals?

Terry Blount: The Geico kid will become an actor. Young Wallace is learning and getting better.

Tommy(TheStatPack): When are people going to stop referring to "he would have won it the old way."?

Terry Blount: Never. As long as there was an old system, people will compare the two.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Will the last race of the season stay in homestead?

Terry Blount: It will for next year. Who knows after that, but the final event is limited to warm-weather locations.

Tommy(TheStatPack): How jacked up on Mountain Dew AMP will the crowds be next year? Would it be better if they all just stuck to budweiser?

Terry Blount: At least this way it's better when they get in their cars after the race.

And finally NFL with Mort, Marcellus Wiley, Steve Muench & Aaron Schatz

Tommy(TheStatPack): Tank Johnson looked pretty good on Sunday. With Him now in the mix and Henry, Newman & Ellis healthy can we expect the Cowboys defense to really step it up?

Chris Mortensen: Well, it's a better defense but there will always be some pass coverage deficiencies. That's OK. The Patriots have some of those problems, too.

Tommy(TheStatPack): I know he wouldn't say it on Camera. But how proud of Tony Romo is Parcells?

Chris Mortensen: Very proud. And as we have talked about all the team wanting to press young QBs into action, I know Parcells is proud that he didn't rush Romo, that he let him learn the league, simmer and develop.

Tommy (TheStatPack): Julius Jones is a UFA and Marion Barber is a RFA. By the look of things Jones will be able to walk he hasn't done much this year to warrant the money he's going to be asking for. What will the Cowboys Running Back situation look like next year? Will they be looking a RB 1st day or Maybe go out and sign Michael Turner to complement MB3?

Aaron Schatz: Who says that Michael Turner will get a smaller contract than Julius Jones? Yes, I like the idea of getting a cheaper back to team with Barber and saving money. I doubt it will be Turner, who will get starter's money to go somewhere and start.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Who wins Columbia or Notre Dame if they played on a neutral site?

Marcellus Wiley: Football or spelling bee? In football I still would
say Notre Dame, but for me to even have to think of that, shame on you
Notre Dame. Go Lions!

Tommy(TheStatPack): What could the browns get for Brady Quinn?

Steve Muench: Great question. In my opinion, I would be surprised so see them get anything earlier than a third round pick. While I still think Quinn has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback, several teams passed on him in the draft so there are obvioulsy questions about his trade value. More importantly,he hasn't done anything since.

That's all for the chats this week folks, be sure to tune in next week. Same Stat time, same Stat channel.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rob Neyer not so opimistic

I normally love Rob Neyer. I'd love to have him for an interview some day, but I don't know how likely that is after his latest entry in his blog. I'll post the entire thing so you all can read it, his blog is Insider only.

"You can't really blame the Tampa Bay Rays for wanting a shiny new ballpark. After all, everybody else has one! Well, almost everybody. The Marlins don't, but they will. And it just wouldn't be fair if the Rays don't, too.

How are they going to pay for theirs? Well, they say they'll kick in "perhaps as much as $150 million" (which could mean $150 million or $0 million, but when you're launching a PR battle you want to get in a big first strike). They'd like the state to kick in tax revenue from concessions and merchandise in the new building (which is tax revenue that would actually flow into the state's coffers if generated in any other building). Also, "a primary source would be proceeds of the sale of the Tropicana Field site to a developer who would build a large retail/residential complex there."

Sounds generous of them, don't you think? Funny thing about that, though: that land the Rays want to sell for development, with the proceeds financing their new ballpark? As Field of Schemes impolitely observes, the Rays don't own that land Tropicana Field, though, is owned by Pinellas County (and leased back to the city in a complicated tax dodge), so normally any money from developing that site would go to the county, not the Rays. Add in that Al Lang Field is owned by the city of St. Petersburg, and the Rays are effectively asking to develop two publicly owned parcels and keep the proceeds for themselves -- and that's before knowing whether the team would even agree to pay rent to the city on the new park. It's yet another sign that, as I wrote last year, teams are increasingly asking for development rights in lieu of cash, since while they're just as valuable, they don't make for as many nasty headlines. ... The Rays' leverage to make any demands on taxpayers is limited, given that they have an iron-clad lease holding them to Tropicana Field through 2027 -- so if the city says no, it's not like the team can up and threaten to move to Orlando. Certainly no one's a fan of the Trop, which was designed at the height of '80s fixed-dome ugliness -- but with the city still $100 million in debt on the place, one would hope that local officials would at least ask the Rays to pay their own way before letting them out of their lease two decades early.
On point, as usual.

Just a few additional notes:

• Two years ago, new Rays owner Stuart Steinberg said,
"You will never -- and I will say it now and hopefully I can say it and you'll follow up -- you will not hear the words, 'We need to have a new stadium.' "

• There really isn't any reason for MLB to continue asking for giant public subsidies. I mean, there's neven been many good reasons, but now there aren't any reasons at all. Local governments are suffering all kinds of financial problems, in part because "tax" has become a dirty word in this country, and in part because voters don't like honest politicians. (Yes, it's our fault.) Meanwhile -- and this story is just beginning to sink in -- Major League Baseball is awash in cash, so much cash that there really aren't enough free agents to go around this winter. We know the teams aren't going to lower ticket prices or stop selling billboards. So why not finance new ballparks? I suspect it's an idea whose time will come, someday.

• Somewhere here on my desk I've got a letter from ex-Rays owner Vince Naimoli. He wasn't happy about something I'd written about his team. Among his points: Tropicana Field was the best ballpark in the majors. Someday I gotta get that sucker framed."

I usually agree with most of Neyer's views, but not this time. I have a feeling that while the Rays will win their first World Series title in '10 will be in the Trop, all the others will be in the new water front stadium.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Put me in Coach....Literally?

And now at guard 6-4 from Kentucky....PATRICK JAMES RILEY? Ever since I read his book "The Winner Within" when I was like 10 years old I've been a Riley fan. The man in the Armani suit with the slicked back hair was on fire last night. When asked what he could do help his struggling Miami Heat offense, Riley replied

"Me? Play. I guarantee you I should suit up. I'd play better than some of them right now," Riley said Tuesday night. "I guarantee it. I swear to God. With an old hip and 62 years old and I can't see, I'll play better than some of my guys tonight. Come on, they were pretty bad."

Come on Pat suit up one more time.

In other NBA News Team Turmoil aka The New York Knicks know how to keep the fans on their toes. After Starbury, Stephon Marbury, left the team during a road trip because he was upset, Marbury left us hanging with this...."Isiah has to start me," Marbury reportedly said, according to the Daily News. "I've got so much [stuff] on Isiah and he knows it. He thinks he can [get] me. But I'll [get] him first. You have no idea what I know."

Getcha popcorn ready!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Random Thoughts

Funny exchange on the radio between Bubba The Love Sponge and Aubrey Huff

Bubba: "Now Aubrey, do you jack off a lot on the road, like when you're not with your wife."

Huff: "It's all I do. It's all I do. You guys have no idea how much downtime there is in baseball. You wake up from a hangover about 1 o'clock."

Producer shouts: "In the afternoon?"

Huff: "Oh, yeah! Lemme tell you this. When you are hung over, how horny are you? I'm horny, when I'm hungover, I'm horny. So I'm just gonna beat off. And that's all I do."
He also says Baltimore was a horseshit town.

Enough Tony Romo Vs. Ben Roethlisberger talk. As much as this hurts me to type Big Ben has the ring and Romo doesn't.... yet.

Also ESPN has come to the dark side check out this weeks power ranking for the Giants

So, what did we learn from the Giants' loss to the Cowboys? It's this: Eli Manning is just not as good a quarterback as Tony Romo. Frankly, it's doubtful he ever will be. For the near future, the Giants will have to overcome that deficiency twice a year.

If his name was Jack Jones instead of Eli Manning would he still be starting quarterback in New York after 4 average years? I mean Chad Pennington is sitting on the Jets sidelines with better numbers on a worse team with a lot less weapons.

I like what Dick Jauron is doing in Buffalo. He's just going with the hot hand. First it was Trent Edwards now it's back to JP Losman. I wish more coaches did this and stopped worrying about feelings and media pressure.

Jorge Posada won't be catching in 4 years...

Chris Chandler should be starting in Chicago.

And don't let your kids eat chocolate pudding on a tan rug....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Orlando Magic : Eastern Conference Contenders?

Just finished off a 4-0 road trip that included a tough game @ Toronto.

Apart from that, a relatively easy trip, and they did get smashed at home by Detroit earlier this year but all four main players on the team are under 28 or younger (Dwight, Lewis, Hedo, Nelson).

With games against Phoenix and Boston in their next five, Orlando's young starting five will be tested early at home as they look to establish an identity.

Let's face it, Orlando is a team on the cusp right now. They're a team with one of the dominant young forces in the NBA and a lot of other young guns surrounding him. I think bringing in Lewis helped a lot because they now have a sharp-shooting scorer that they can turn to late in the game when Dwight is getting smothered by the double-teams that he still has trouble shaking. The early results look good for Lewis, he's shooting above 58% from both the field and behind the 3pt line and is nailing his free throws as well, a problem that fans of the franchise are all too familiar with, dating back to the infamous Shaquille O'Neal days.

For right now, Orlando is playing with a lot of momentum and a lot of heart, winning games that are hotly contested up until the fourth quarter. We've seen some defensive lapses and some tepid offensive stretches, but every participant of the starting lineup is contributing night-in night-out (including Bogans hitting long shots and playing solid defense) and hopefully this trend continues.

One thing's for sure, Dwight Howard has arrived. I can't wait to see this guy control a post-season series for the first time.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Rays planning Waterfront stadium

Obviously the Rays know how to keep everyone's attention. One day after unveiling a new logo and uniform, the newly named Rays announced plans to build a $450 Million 35,000 seat stadium along the waterfront where Al Lang Stadium currently sits. The new stadium will have a McCovey Cove-like aspect as home runs/foul balls hit to Right field will splash into the water. Also the stadium will be open-air with covering. Some areas will be air-conditioned. I can't wait to see some prototypes.

Pena wins Silver Slugger

Congratulations to Carolis Pena for becomming the first Rays player to ever win a Silver Slugger Award. This award caps a career year in which Pena hit .282, and a franchise best 46 home runs and 121 RBI. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Congrats just keep it up.

(Devil) Rays

I went looking on ebay for old (Devil) Rays stuff. When I searched "Devil Rays" it turned up 666 items...coincidence?

Weekly Chats

Another addition of chatting with The Stat Pack. More MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAAF, NASCAR talk this week. Chatters include Jayson Stark, J.A. Adande, Terry Blount, Jeremy Green, Steve Muench, John Seibel & Matt Williamson

First up a little Rays talk that caught Stark off guard

Tommy(TheStatPack): With Longoria, Niemann and possibly Price & Mcgee or Davis coming up by the end of the season can the Rays seriously take some strides next year and contend by 09?

Jayson Stark: (1:14 PM ET ) Boy, can't even remember the last Rays question in one of these chats. Way to go. I don't know about '09. I could see them being respectable by then. But I would have to see some major progress next year to believe they can contend by then. I think 2010 is the watch-out-for-the-Rays target date. So hang in there!

Jules(TheStatPack): I keep hearing rumors of Carl Crawford getting moved. Are the Rays listening to offers? And if so, what teams would be interested?

Jayson Stark: (1:24 PM ET ) We've set a record. Two Rays questions in one chat. We should win a grouper sandwich or something. I don't see the Rays' stance on Crawford changing. They would listen on him or just about anybody. But to give up a guy like Crawford, they would need at least three sure-thing players back, and one of them would have to be, basically, a star already. Think Cole Hamels. Or Fausto Carmona. Someone like that. In other words, he's technically "available," but he's not going anywhere.

Here Tommy lays the ground work for a Around The Horn appearance as he and J.A. Adande debate Seattle Vs. Oklahoma City

Tommy(TheStatPack): Is it true Britney Spears tried to get into the lounge and she was denied at the door?

J.A. Adande: (3:06 PM ET ) Britney would have to pass multiple drug tests before we allowed her in the Lounge. If she's clean, we do have babysitting services to keep an eye on the kids. But you know who's in the Lounge lately? Kim Kardashian, baby

Tommy(TheStatPack): JA what the hell kinda costume was that? You gotta admit Mariotti's idea was brilliant

J.A. Adande: (3:18 PM ET ) You have to realize, I don't like Halloween. As a kid, I resented the fact that it took attention from my birthday (Oct. 25). As an adult, I hate the idea of putting on a costume. And I really didn't appreciate all of those kids knocking on my door and sticking bags in my face while I was trying to watch the games on Wednesday. So, no, I didn't put much thought or effort into my costume. And it's not like Marriotti's costume took a lot of work. He just grabbed a hoodie and snipped the sleeves. But he executed it brilliantly, right down to the impersonation. I still liked his Bartman a few years ago. That was one of the great moments in ATH history

Tommy(TheStatPack): Hey JA whats so great about Seattle? Starbucks & Rain...OK Citys is where National Softball HOF & Museum, Frontier City & Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse

J.A. Adande: (4:11 PM ET ) Can OK City give you a fresh plate of Copper River salmon while dining at Cutters and looking out over Puget Sound? Can it give you the view of Mt. Rainier from the Space Needle on a clear day? Wild Ginger? Not to mention decades of NBA tradition, including a championship? Sell the team to people who will keep it in Seattle!!!!!

Up Next some NASCAR with Terry Blount

Tommy(TheStatPack): Does Hendricks continue their New England Patriot like run this week?

Terry Blount: (3:24 PM ET ) Judging from the first practice today, I would say yes. Gordon topped the speed chart and Johnson was fourth.

Tommy(TheStatPack): What does NASCAR going to do about the competitive imbalance that we are seeing?

Terry Blount: (3:37 PM ET ) They hope the COT will help chane that, but I haven't seen it happen yet.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Does JJ Get HOF Racing and the 96 into victory lane next year?

Terry Blount: (3:54 PM ET ) I'd say the chances of that are slim and none. If he can't get the 18 to Victory Lane, how can he get a weaker car there?

Tommy(TheStatPack): Who will win ROY next year?

Terry Blount: (4:04 PM ET ) Tough question, but I';ll go with Franchitti.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Realistically how much longer will guys like Jeff Gordon & Tony Stewart be on top 7-10 years?

Terry Blount: (4:07 PM ET ) Less than that for both. They don't want to race that long and they don't need the money.

On to the NFL & College Football

Tommy(TheStatPack): What do you think about the Romo deal? The length and $ seem to be perfect to me

Jeremy Green: (4:07 PM ET ) I love the deal for both parties. Even though Romo is a little loose with the ball at times he will get better with that as he gets more starts and more experience. He is their future and they made sure they got the deal done... smart move by Dallas.

Tommy(TheStatPack): McNabb to the Bears in 08?

John Seibel: (2:13 PM ET ) considering the current momentum, i don't see donovan coming back next year. that could change, but as of now, i see a lot of changes coming to philly. there's no doubt he would love to play in his hometown chicago. there's equally no doubt the bears would LOVE to have him under center.

Tommy(TheStatPack): How does George Selvie project at the next level he seems undersized to be an everydown DE

Steve Muench: (2:28 PM ET ) It's a good point but at the very least he should emerge as a productive sitautional pass rusher. I also think he COULD move to outside linebacker and develop into an every-down player for a team that runs a lot of 3-4 fronts.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Carson Palmer & Ben Roethlisberger over Tony Romo? The guy has done everything except turn water into wine.

Matt Williamson: He has been great-so has Ben. I love Romo, but he has started like 14 career games. Just want to see it a little longer before putting him right up there with the big boys.

That's all for the chats this week folks, be sure to tune in next week. Same Stat time, same Stat channel.

New Look New Results?

Hopefully the changing of the Rays colors and uniforms will have the safe effect as it did for the '97 and '98 Denver Broncos...Ok maybe not but one can hope. The Rays unveiled their new look Thursday in downtown St. Petersburg. They even got Kevin "The only good roles I've had are baseball players" Costner and his band to play a concert for the event. I'm one of the people that liked the old uniforms, but I was never a fan of the name "Devil Rays". The new uniforms are ok, I wish they didn't have that starburst on them, and I like the name "Rays". For the past couple of years no one in town ever called them the Devil Rays anyway, it was always just Rays. I hope these chanes indicate a new beginning for this young team, '09-'10 can't come soon enough. Here are some pictures.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

NFL Recap

JAC 24 (5-3) @ NO (4-4) 41

TV: Saints have won 4 in a row and hung 41 on a pretty good Jags defense.

JW: How does Jones-Drew, one of the slowest return men in the league, bring back a 100 yard TD?

WAS (5-3) 23 @ NYJ (1-8) 20

TV: The Jets are bringing in Bubby Brister & Neil O’Donnell for tryouts during the bye week

JW: This game should have been blacked out in all areas of the country.

ARI (3-5) 10 @ TB (5-4) 17

TV: Earnest Graham looking better and better every week, he’s played his way into a permanent role on the team. As bad as the Cards have been the last 3 weeks they are still 1 game out of first in the West.

JW: Being one game out of first in the NFC West isn't something to brag about, seeing as no one is over .500

CIN (2-6) 21 @ BUF (4-4) 33

TV: Marvin Lewis’s ass has begun to burn on the hotseat. Good to hear Ocho Cinco wasn’t seriously injured. I really like the Bills, ever since they almost gave me a heart attack on MNF they’ve won 3 straight.

JW: Adrian Peterson is getting all the pub, and rightfully so, but Marshawn Lynch has been quietly having a great rookie season.

SD (4-4) 17 @ MIN (3-5) 35

TV: Marty continues to laugh while he sits on the couch and watches AJ Smith & Norv Turner sqirm. And Minnesota doesn’t need a QB, Adrian Peterson should just take direct snaps all game.

JW: I don't have much to add except Phillip Rivers has looked terrible lately.

SF (2-6) 16 @ ATL (2-6) 20

TV: The Anti Colts-Patriots match up. Alex Smith & Joey Harrington combine for 287 yards…exciting.

JW: The Pats have the Niners first round pick. Enough said.

DEN (3-5) 7 @ DET (6-2) 44

TV: Jon Kitna should replace Lebron James in the Nike Believer campaign…I am a believer

JW: When's the last time we've seen a Denver team this bad?

GB (7-1) 33 @ KC (4-4) 22

TV: I don’t ever think I’ve seen a more quiet 7-1 team than the Packers. On the other hand Kansas City still maintains a share of 1st place

JW: Way to cover Greg Jennings with a linebacker Chiefs.

CAR (4-4) 7 @ TEN (6-2) 20

TV: Vince Young just wins games…ugly but still wins

JW: Vince Young is on the field when the Titans win, LenDale White has been carrying the Titans.

SEA (4-4) 30 @ CLE (5-3) 33

TV: Cleveland continues to ruin Dallas’s other 1st round pick by winning games they shouldn’t. Maybe the Browns should think of trading Quinn instead of Anderson

JW: The Browns have scored more points than the Niners and Rams combined.

NE (9-0) 24 @ IND (7-1) 20

TV: 9-0 enough said

JW: 18 different players have scored a TD for the Pats this year. I'm not making that up.

HOU (4-5) 24 @ OAK (2-6) 17

TV: And the leading passers and rushers from this game. Sage Rosenfels & Ron Dayne for HOU, Josh McCown & Justin Fargas for OAK. Good thing nobody saw this game.

JW: Andre Johnson continues to disappoint fantasy owners.

DAL (7-1) 38 @ PHI (3-5) 17

TV: Anyone else think McNabb would like to take back his “the NFC East runs through Philly comment” . The Cowboys just ran through the Eagles.

JW: I see McNabb on the Bears next season.

BAL (4-4) 7 @ PIT (6-2) 38

TV: Kinda strange to see Bill Cowher on the Steelers sidelines joking and playing around

JW: James Harrison has the day of his life. Wow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Don Shula should shove his *

Don Shula thinks if the Pats go undefeated an asterisk * should be placed in the record book. Shula was quoted as saying "I guess you got the same thing as putting an asterisk by Barry Bonds' home run record. "I guess it will be noted that the Patriots were fined and a No. 1 draft choice was taken away during that year of accomplishment. "

Pretty Interesting Mr. Shula, but you forgot to mention that your whole tenure as the Miami Dolphins Coach should also have an asterisk by it.

From Wikipedia

After the 1969 season, Joe Robbie, owner of the Miami Dolphins, signed Shula to a contract to become Miami's second head coach. As a result of Shula's signing the team was charged with tampering by the NFL, which forced the Dolphins to give their first round pick to the Colts.

Don't be a hypocrite cheated too.

Hello Baseball welcome to the 21st century

MLB has moved closer to limited instant replay. GM's recommended(25-5 Vote) replay on close Home Run calls to determine whether potential home runs are fair or foul, whether balls go over fences or hit the top and bounce back, and whether fans have interfered with a possible homer.

However, Bud Selig's stance on replay is "I don't like instant replay because I don't like all the delays. I think it sometimes creates as many problems or more than it solves," Selig said then.

Great argument Bud. A baseball game lasting 3 hours & 48 minutes with bad calls is much more fun than a 3 hour & 55 minute game where the Umps got the call right. Also, getting the call right on a potential game winning home run would cause alot more problems than getting it wrong and having it shown on sports shows across America.

Jeffrey Maier was unavailable for comment.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Special Interview with Will Carroll

We here at The Stat Pack are pleased to bring you another exclusive interview with another fantastic baseball writer. You may know Will Carroll from his time at ESPN or, more importantly, his Under The Knife column at . Will was kind enough to answer a few of our questions in a piece that we don't have a name for yet but we'll call it The Stat Pack 20.

TSP: Your father was in the Sports Medicine field so you've been around it your whole life. At what age did you decide that this field is what you wanted to do or was their ever really a question?

Will Carroll: I dabbled in the field, learning just enough to ... go another direction. Of course, that direction changed a lot, from working in finance and acquisition to insurance consulting, before becoming a professional writer. I understand the mindset in the training room and on the sideline, which helps me talk to the medical staffs in their 'own language.' That's the big advantage I had at first, but now that I've built up relationships, they know that I'll get the story right.

TSP: Has a team ever offered you a position on its medical staff?

Will Carroll:Yes.

TSP: If so, why did you turn it down? Would you be interested in a role like that in the future?

Will Carroll: I've worked in consulting roles, but I'm not a doctor nor an Athletic Trainer. I wouldn't want to nor would I be qualified to tell any of those hard-working, well-trained professionals what to do. What I can do is offer suggestions and give an outsiders look at what they do.

TSP: Everybody points the finger at Barry Bonds as the poster child for steroids. However, most of the suspensions so far have been pitchers. Why does a guy like Roger Clemens essentially get a pass when all signs so far point to pitchers using steroids more then hitters?

Will Carroll: Good question. I think we need a villain, a role Bonds fills nicely. What seems to hurt more is when a "hero" is knocked down, such as a Clemens, a McGwire, or a Palmeiro. No one even wants to think about a player like Clemens or Ripken.

TSP: The NFL suspends players regularly for violating the substance abuse policy. Rarely do we hear this happen is baseball, even though Rays OF Elijah Dukes has admitted in court that he used marijuana regularly. Does the MLB not care about illegal drug use?

Will Carroll: Good lord no. Dukes was suspended and we've seen Jeremy Jeffress get suspended for marijuana use for a second time, putting the Brewers' prospect's career in jeopardy. MLB takes this very seriously, but does a great job using the EAP programs around the league to handle them. The NFL's just better at PR.

TSP: Sort of a follow up to the last question. Steroids in baseball is considered like the end all be all but, in the NFL you get your 4 game suspension and then everything goes back to normal. Why’s there such a difference is philosophy between the 2 leagues? Is it because MLB records are more sacred then the NFL?

Will Carroll:Public relations and perception. Someone should write a book about this.

TSP:How would you rate the Rays Staff and Medical Facilities?

Will Carroll:Top notch on staff. What the team has built up with Ken Crenshaw has been carried on by Ron Porterfield. It's one of the big advantages the team has. While some might point to Rocco Baldelli, I'll put keeping Kazmir healthy as a tougher task and one that many teams would have failed at. I can't comment on the facilities -- as odd as this sounds, I've never been able to get a press pass for the Rays games.

TSP:The Rays have done an exceptional job of keeping their young arms healthy. What do they do better than other teams and how much of it is just pure luck?

Will Carroll:There's not much luck, especially over the long haul. The Rays have made a commitment to the medical staff from top to bottom in the organization, something that started in the Naimoli era and continues today. They have a plan that's supported by everyone in the organization and great people working together to carry it out.

TSP:You recently took a question in a chat about Scott Kazmir & Pitch counts. How do you feel the Rays have handled their young pitchers at the Major League level? Are they being too cautious or are their limitations justified?

Will Carroll:Absent a logical development plan, they've been about as good as anyone. You could ping them for being slightly cautious, but I'll take that over the alternative.

TSP: Which is better for a player to compete on; natural grass or field turf? Are there more injuries on one than the other?

Will Carroll:There's definitely more injuries on turf. Even the best turf has a higher injury rate.

TSP: Besides Jeff Niemann, which young Rays Pitcher has the biggest risk of injury?

Will Carroll:Wade Townsend has a similar injury history without the same upside, but the one that I'd say is Kazmir. His mechanics and stubbornness to recognize that the limits have helped him rather than held him back really worry me. He's just so talented.

TSP:Is it time to give up on Rocco Baldelli as an everyday player?

Will Carroll:No, but it's close. I think there's still the chance to get him back to some level, but they need to make their last, best effort now.

TSP:What is the key to guys like Tim Wakefield & Greg Maddux avoiding major injuries throughout their major league careers?

Will Carroll:The knuckleball? I'm not sure we can draw any lesson from Wakefield , but Maddux is a combination of great mechanics, smart pitching, efficiency, and a continual focus on the craft of pitching. There's not many that can do what he does. No one would look at Maddux or his stuff and compare him to Clemens, Johnson, or Schilling, yet there he is.

TSP:Do people still use the Pitcher Abuse Point System as a way to measure wear & tear on a pitcher?

Will Carroll:Absolutely. It's the best available proxy. I'm working on a research project now that might give us a closer, game-to-game proxy, but until we can do needle biopsies or get the results of functional strength testing made public, PAP is the best system.

TSP:Why do you think it isn't talked about more? If not why did it fail as a measurement of abuse on a pitcher's arm?

Will Carroll:I'm not sure any statistical tool has ever had more of an effect on the game than PAP. If you look at the usage stats, we just don't have high PAP starts any more because it measured it so well and pointed it out to the general public. Now, it's likely something of an overreaction - some pitchers could go further and throw more, just as some could get more efficient and go deeper into games on the same pitch count.

TSP:Has Microfracture surgery become to the NBA what Tommy John is to the MLB & ACL is to the NFL?

Will Carroll:Nooooooo. Microfracture doesn't have near the success rate, but it's far newer and is getting better.

TSP:It’s been 4 years since you and Derek Zumsteg wrote the "Pete Rose Article". Do you still stand behind it till this day as being correct?

Will Carroll:Absolutely. Rose himself has been quoted as saying he had a deal.

TSP: I know you were working on novel a while back, are we going to see the finished product?

Will Carroll:Someday. It's one of those things on my "someday list"; I have a couple books in the works now.

TSP:Do you have any Sports related books on the horizon?

Will Carroll:Yes, one that hopefully will involve the Rays, but getting all the ducks lined up has been a bit more difficult than I anticipated. Nothing before 2009 as far as "on the shelf" is concerned.

TSP:And the get away question....Once and for all who is the founder of the Rays Bandwagon you or Jim Callis?

Will Carroll:You know, Jim was one of the original three people that I sent a copy of UTK to back in 2002. We've played in a retro league for years. I think we can share that

Thanks Will. Be sure to check out all of Will's work at

Friday, November 2, 2007

NFL Recap

We're skipping this week's NFL Recap. Don't fret TSP readers we have a special treat for all of you coming Saturday, stay tuned.

The Stat Pack Weekly Special

This weeks Football upsets courtesy of The Stat Pack

Tommy V.


Indy over New England


Navy over Notre Dame

Jules W.


Philly over Dallas


Alabama over LSU

Jules W: I'd like to point out that both of my upset picks came through last week.

Weekly Chats

This weeks chat wrap is all across the board like a quarter to three...go ahead take a minute to figure it out. We've kinda moved a little more toward other sports instead of just MLB & NFL this week. This weeks chats feature David Newton on Nascar,Barry Melrose on NHL, Patrick Crayton of the Dallas Cowboys, Steve Muench on College Football& David Thorpe with NBA Talk

Here you go...

Keep in mind Jules knows nothing about Nascar and still get a bunch of questions answered. We love D-Newt

Tommy(TheStatPack): Is the 96 team looking at adding a big name driver or develop one of their own?

David Newton : (3:13 PM ET ) The 96 team signed J.J. Yeley a month ago. Where were you? Watching soaps on your DLP TV?

Tommy(TheStatPack): Can't watch DLP TV's the little girl with the mirrors scares me. Your a Carolina Panther guy how long can Vinny last?

David Newton : (3:25 PM ET ) Apparently he can last longer than Dan Morgan, who always is hurt. He might as well retire.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Can't watch DLP TV's the little girl with the mirrors scares me. Your a Carolina Panther guy how long can Vinny last?

David Newton : (3:25 PM ET ) Apparently he can last longer than Dan Morgan, who always is hurt. He might as well retire

Jules(TheStatPack): Are you related to Isaac Newton? Sir David Newton?

David Newton : (3:36 PM ET ) No, the only connection I have to his theory on gravity is connected to my waistline.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Best place to eat after a Daytona race?

David Newton : (3:38 PM ET ) Charlotte. After two weeks in Daytona you want to get the heck out of there.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Will all 4 Hendricks cars make the chase next year?

David Newton : (3:43 PM ET ) Let me read my tea leaves. Heck, I don't know. I suspect Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson will because they always do. Casey Mears could, but he has to prove it. Earnhardt Jr. has been there before, but you never know how long it will take to adjust to new equipment. The cars will drive differently, and if it takes a while he could be on the outside looking in.

Tommy(TheStatPack): The Over/Under is set at 7...You pick the question

David Newton : (3:50 PM ET ) How many times Tony Stewart will hit somebody on pit road this week.

Jules(TheStatPack): How do teams or drivers pick car numbers?

David Newton : (3:52 PM ET ) They find which ones are available and then go to NASCAR and ask for the one they want. For some there is sentimental reason. For others they just take what feels good.

Jeff (Rochester NY): Best racing movie...?

David Newton : (3:52 PM ET ) "Stroker Ace.''

Jules(TheStatPack): How could you pick against "Days of Thunder"?

David Newton : (3:54 PM ET ) Haven't been able to watch the movie since Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman broke

Jules(TheStatPack): If you were a driver, what number would you pick?

David Newton : (4:00 PM ET ) I'd pick the No. 12. My kids both wore it in baseball and I loved watching Bobby Allison in the No. 12 Coca Cola Chevy.

Tommy(TheStatPack): How good will the lightning be when Ryan Craig and Danny Boyle return?

Barry Melrose: (3:09 PM ET ) They miss those guys, no doubt. The score probably flattered them a bit. They're like a lot of teams in the East--kind of treading water right now. They can't afford to lose a player of Boyle's stature for much longer.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Hows the hand doing are you back to 100%?

Patrick Crayton: (1:15 PM ET ) The finger is fine. It hasn't stopped me from getting the job done.

Tommy(TheStatPack): Yvenson Bernard 1st or 2nd day pick?

Steve Muench: (2:07 PM ET ) I think he's good enough to go in the thrid round but his problems staying healthy will likley cause him to slip to the fourth or fifth round.

We had to go undercover for some strange reason on this one. Maybe we have developing situation where we are going to have to go undercover more

Jeremy Grey(Dubai, UAE): Could Big Baby Davis play his way into the starting lineup and have KG playing the 5?

David Thorpe: (12:57 PM ET ) You know, you may be right. We should watch how he and Perkins play early on.

Millions of stoners collectively weep

This story is sure to anger potheads across America. "General Mills on Thursday recalled about 5 million frozen pizzas sold nationwide under the Totino's and Jeno's labels because of possible E. coli contamination." No word on if Funions and Mt. Dew have also been recalled.