Thursday, January 31, 2008

Peter King: Rays Nation Leader

Check out Red Sox's fan Peter King decked out in a new Rays hat. He also wore a Rays hoodie on Mike and Mike. The question is Did Peter King lose a bet? Or is he truly a Rays fan? TSP Investigation to follow.

Baseball Prospects Top 100 Prospects of 2008 Released

Too many 100 prospect lists for one day. Here is Baseball Prospectus' Top 100 Prospects of 2008 released today by BP Prospect Guru Kevin Goldstein.

Like the Scouts Inc. List we will give you the top 5 right here and click the link above for the rest
1. Jay Bruce
2. Clay Buchholz
3. Evan Longoria
4. Joba Chamberlain
5. Clayton Kershaw

And also, like the Scouts Inc. list we will have a write up tomorrow. I see a ton of interesting things on the BP list that we will discuss tomorrow.

Scouts Inc. Top 100 Prospects of 2008 Released

Keith Law of ESPN/Scouts Inc. released the Top 100 Prospects of 2008 today.

For the sake of time I'll just list the top 5 and you can click above for the rest.

1. Evan Longoria
2. Jay Bruce
3. Joba Chamberlain
4. Clay Buchholz
5. Colby Rasmus

We will have a bigger write up on our thoughts tomorrow.

A Few Rays Rumblings

Here are just a couple Rays related pieces I found yesterday.

First, Rob Neyer continues to rank the best position players, under 30, for the next 5 years on his blog. This week he focuses on left fielders. Neyer points out, correctly, that the crop of good, young left fielders is pretty slim. That forces him to include a couple of players who are over 30(Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano). Last year the top rated player based on OPS+ was Matt Holliday, but that doesn't mean he'll be the best in 2012...that would be Carl Crawford according to Mr. Neyer.

He goes on to say this about Crawford:

"You have to like Crawford, but it's worth mentioning that he has not showed a normal growth curve. At 22, he was roughly six wins better than a replacement player ... and was roughly six wins better than a replacement player at 23, 24, and 25. I'm not sure what to make of that, except there's no obvious reason to think he's suddenly going to become a great player (though I do believe he'll have a few great seasons)."

That's a back handed compliment, but I'll take it.

Neyer couldn't compile a top 10 list, so he did a top 7.

1. Crawford
2. Braun
3. Holliday
4. Soriano
5. Bay
6. Kubel
7. ????

He leaves the last spot open for the star prospects who change poistions and end up in left Ryan Braun.

I think it's a pretty big compliment to have Crawford ranked number one over Ryan Braun. Braun is making the switch to left field this season and if he remains there I think he's going to far outshine Crawford in most offensive statistics. Maybe Neyer is waiting to see Braun duplicate his 2007 success before he ranks Braun at the top?

Next, Keith Law lists his top prospects by organization in his blog.

Here are the Rays top 5:

1. Evan Longoria
2. Desmond Jennings
3. Wade Davis
4. David Price
5. Jake McGee

The biggest surprise is Jennings number 2 ranking. He just completed his first season in A ball. I hope Mr. Law is right in his rankings, I'd love to see Jennings manning the outfield with Crawford and Upton, if that's possible.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Redskins still looking for head coach...Raiders tying to get rid of thiers? Who's Crazier

Someone asked me this morning which organization was more dysfunctional. the Redskins or the Raiders? At first, I immediately thought the Raiders. Who can be more dysfunctional than the Raiders? Al Davis looking like a crazy deranged nursing home escapee, Lane Kiffin laughing on his way to cash his paycheck and Dennis Green laughing in Coors Light commercial .

The funny thing is, the Redskins can give the Raiders a run for their money. During the Daniel Snyder era the Redskins have hired and fired Norv Turner, hired and fired Marty Schottenheimer after one year, lured Steve Spurrier away from College only to have it blow up in their faces, then finally crawling back to Joe Gibbs who had been out of the game for over a decade.

During that same period the Raiders basically traded Gruden for draft picks, hired and fired Bill Callahan, also hired and fired Norv Turner, then turned the clocks back a decade to hire Art Shell, who like Marty Schottenheimer was one and done. Now they are reportedly trying to get rid of their current coach,which they deny. Whew, that's a lot of changes. When you add it up you end with very similar situations. The Redskins have enjoyed more success on the field but still haven't reached the Super Bowl since 1991. The Raiders went to the Super Bowl in 2002, but have won 19 games since. The Redskins have the more talented team by far with Jason Campbell, Clinton Portis and a solid defense. The Raiders have what they believe to be a franchise QB in JaMarcus Russell but not much else.

The similarities still remain. The Raiders situation is crazy. It was reported that Lane Kiffin was sent a letter of resignation written by Al Davis. Of course, Kiffin refused to sign it. Since then Dennis Green has been mentioned as a candidate and the Raiders have denied that they want to get rid of Kiffin. So their franchise remains in limbo.

It is much of the same for the Redskins. Joe Gibbs retired again and since then Snyder has interviewed 150 or so candidates, including Jim Fassel and former Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. When Gibbs retired most people thought it was just a matter of time before Williams stepped in. Now a month and four interviews later, Williams was fired over the weekend as defensive coordinator, putting him out of the Redskins picture completely. Also, offensive coordinator Al Saunders was let go. Normally, when a head coach goes the coordinators go as well so that's not too far out of the norm. Most teams will clean house except for maybe a few assistants, but they usually let the new head coach appoint his own generals. Not the Redskins. Dan Snyder has already named new coordinators (Jim Zorn,Offense; Greg Blache, Defense) and he's still interviewing for a head coach. That already puts the next head coach at a disadvantage. What happens if he wants to pound the ball with Portis and Zorn wants to air it out with Campbell and Santana Moss? What if the next head coach is a believer of the 3-4 and Blache is a 4-3 guy?

The Raiders have their head coach for now, and they have retained their coordinators, so at the moment I'll give the edge to the Redskins as the most dysfunctional franchise in the NFL. I wouldn't be surprised if Isiah Thomas interviews with Dan Snyder in the next few days.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Just get the hell out of here baby

It's being reported that the corpse Oakland Raiders owner "has been pushing for Lane Kiffin to resign as his head coach and is considering Dennis Green as a potential replacement, sources close to Kiffin and the team said." He's even gone so far as to draft a letter of resignation for Kiffin to sign but Kiffin has refused and is daring Davis to fire him. Is anyone ever going to want to coach for that man again after this?

Brady Boot-gate

Am I the only one who doesn't believe anything coming out of New England about Tom Brady's ankle "injury"?. We've discussed The Hoodie's injury report practices here before, but this Tom Brady wearing a walking boot and being late for practices, etc is a bit much. I think it's just The Hoodie trying to mess with the New York Giants and toy with the media he hates so dearly. If Brady had to run the Boston Marathon tomorrow I'm betting he'd be just fine.

Dana Jacobsen is a sailor

As we continue Dana Jacobsen week here at TSP, we have to send major props to for this picture of Dana drinking like a fish:

CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG...At least Trey Wingo looks amused in the back

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dana Jacobsen is a bad word at ESPN.

For those of you who don't know, Dana Jacobsen, co-host of ESPN's first take, was suspended for these alleged remarks at the Mike and Mike roast:

"F--- Notre Dame," "F--- Touchdown Jesus" and finally "F--- Jesus."

Jacobsen was reportedly intoxicated, but she was at a freakin roast. First of all, She is an adult and of legal drinking age, if she wants to get smashed then she should get smashed. Second, she was at a freakin roast where anything goes. Anyway, the point of this is I decided to ask Gary Horton a question during his chat. It was a legit question and Gary seemed to like it. The twist is I asked the question as TheStatPack(FreeDanaJacobsen) however, when the question was posted it was posted as:

TheStatPack (NJ): Better tandem at RB Maroney/Faulk or Jacobs/Bradshaw?

Gary Horton: (4:06 PM ET ) That's a great question, and I'd almost call it a push. Faulk is the most unique back of the four, because he's more of a nickel back, used more on third downs. I love the contrasting running styles of Jacobs and Bradshaw. I think the Giantsd may be stronger in terms of pure running ability, but the Pats have more versatility.

Are you kidding me? Dana Jacobsen is such a bad word they, ESPN, turns her into New Jersey? I would argue NJ is a lot more dirty than Dana Jacobsen. Oh well Dana, we will always have a spot for you at TSP.

Falcons to hire Mike Smith

ESPN's Michael Smith is reporting Jaguars Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith(no relation) will be named Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Smith has been the Jag's coordinator for the past six seasons. Good luck with Byron Leftwich, Joey Harrington and Chris Redman, Mike.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rays closing in on deal with James Shields

From The St. Petersburg Times:

Rays pitcher James Shields and agent Page Odle are on their way to St. Petersburg this afternoon with plans to finalize a 6- or 7-year contract in the next 24 hours.

"My goal is to have this done tonight," Odle said.

We'll have more as it comes in.

According to the St. Petersburg Times:

The Rays have come to terms with James Shields on a 7 year $44 Million Dollar deal(includes possible incentives). The first four years of the deal will be guaranteed. The Rays hold options for 2012, 2013 & 2014.

Excellent deal for the Rays. With the cost of pitching rising at an insane rate, the Rays are getting a great deal. If Shields pitches like an average 3-4 starter, the Rays will be saving about 5-7 Million a year alone on this deal.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I hope Mike Preston loves the Ravens Hiring John Harbaugh as Head Coach.

Last week, as I frantically searched my apartment for valuable things I could donate to the "Keep Jason Garrett Fund", I took a minute to read a column by Baltimore Sun writer Mike Preston. The article's title was "Garrett's rookie mistake." The premise of the article was that Garrett made a huge mistake by leaving Baltimore without accepting the head coaching job. As I read the column I found myself wondering if Preston believed half of what he was writing. Here are a few excerpts:

"If Jason Garrett becomes the Ravens' head coach, let's hope he won't show as much inexperience during the season as he showed yesterday."

"Garrett spent most of the day interviewing with top Ravens officials about their vacant head coaching position and walked away from their offer, one of the most coveted jobs in professional sports."

One of the most coveted jobs in professional sports? Is the New York Yankees managerial job up for grabs? I'd argue that being Offensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys is a more coveted job than head coach of the Ravens. I like the Ravens, but the team has more than a few problems. Next excerpt:

"Or maybe Garrett really doesn't want to become a head coach. If he was really passionate about becoming a head coach, Garrett would have taken the job."

"There was some panic in his eyes yesterday and apparently some concern about the Ravens' job. But if Garrett had done his homework, he would be the new Ravens coach."

Seriously, if I could be be the President of a third world country or be a blogger in the United States of America, I'd keep typing forever. Just because he turned down what he felt was a bad offer doesn't mean he's not passionate about being a coach. That just means he's smart enough not to ruin his reputation by taking a crappy job...See Cam Cameron & Bobby Petrino. This next group of excerpts maybe my favorite:

"No one really wants the Atlanta job. The Falcons' franchise quarterback is in prison. Their starting running back is old. Their former head coach left them before the regular season was completed."

"Dallas is very attractive. The Cowboys are in their peak years. They have a good defense, a franchise-caliber quarterback, two good running backs and a go-to receiver."

"But the one thing that the Cowboys can't give Garrett right now is a head coaching position."

"The Ravens can, but they do have problems. They have older players on defense, no long-term solution at quarterback and a grumpy set of veterans with big egos. Their best player, linebacker Terrell Suggs, is unsigned."

So you don't take the Atlanta Job because they have no QB & no RB. You leave Dallas because they are in their peak years, they have a good D, Franchise QB, not one but two good running backs and a legit #1 wide receiver. He also forgot the three Pro Bowl offensive linemen and the All Pro TE. You give all that up for a Ravens team that has no QB, no WR's, an aging and declining defense, a grumpy set of veterans with big egos and no guarantee that their best player will be back? And just for the record I'll take Ed Reed over Terrell Suggs anyday, but that's me.

Yep, sign me up for that. I'd much rather go to Baltimore and get fired in three years, instead of holding on to my cushy job in Dallas with Wade Phillips' parking spot and the head coaching job of one of the world's most prestigious franchises waiting for me within the same three years.

And finally on his Baltimore Sun blog Preston gives us this gem:

"It' s not like Garrett is Bill Belichick or Mike Holmgren. He's Jason Garrett, for goodness sake."

I think I love this one the most, who did the Ravens end up with? John Harbaugh. He's not Jason Garrett, Leif Garrett or even Jim Harbaugh for goodness sake. For one of the "most coveted" jobs it's sure seems odd that they couldn't even get Jim Harbaugh. They had to settle for his brother. Now we love the fighting Harbaugh's, but we'd expect someone who's actually been a coordinator or former head coach to take over one of the "MOST COVETED" jobs in all of professional sports. Frankly, I'm surprised nobody dug up Vince Lombardi or Tom Landry for an interview. Then again maybe those guys aren't passionate enough.

Sidney Crosby on Injured Reserve?

Normally we don't cover much hockey at TSP, but this story caught my eye from

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby was placed on injured reserve Monday, a move that allowed the Pittsburgh Penguins to add an extra forward for their final two games before the All-Star break.

Crosby injured his right ankle during the Penguins' 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday and is expected to be out at least a month and possibly longer.

The preliminary diagnosis is a high ankle sprain, an injury that occurs in the ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

The first reason is, because its Sidney Crosby, who is like the NHL's Michael Jordan. Casual fans like myself only pay attention to the NHL because of Crosby, in the same way casual fans watched the NBA for Jordan.

The second reason is, aren't hockey players supposed to be tough? Your telling me this guy is going to miss more than a month for the same injury T.O. came back from in three weeks? Doesn't sound so tough.

Im kidding, and I know that they are being cautious with the franchise player and I agree with them to give him all the time he needs. Also, the skating element puts huge pressure on the ankle, but I found that funny that T.O. is some what tougher than a hockey player.

And that's your 2008 Hockey update, see ya next year

Super Bowl XLII: Patriots Vs Giants

Or Beauty vs. The Beast

For all those who said Manning vs. Brady couldn't happen in the Super Bowl because they played in the same conference, you were wrong. You just had the wrong Manning. Eli "Insert Banjo Here" Manning is going to the Super Bowl and not to watch his brother Peyton either. Thanks to Brett Favre for choking in the cold weather and gift wrapping the NFC Championship for the Giants. Eli again had zero turnovers, and I guess that 3rd times a charm thing is ringing true for the Giants. They beat the Cowboys after losing the first two games and then Lawrence Tynes kicked the game winning FG after missing two previous attempts. Too bad this will only be the second time the Giants play the Pats so they almost certainly will lose. Ugh, Opie Manning is going to the Super Bowlm who woulda thunk it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Rays sign Kazmir too...

Just when it looked like there was no deal in place the St. Petersburg Times is reporting the Rays and Ace SP Scott Kazmir have agreed on a 1yr $3.785 Million dollar deal avoiding arbitration. With Kazmir signed, the Rays have re-signed all their arbitration eligble players to deals.

Rays sign Carlos Pena, Dan Wheeler & Jonny Gomes, Trade for Willy Aybar

The Rays seem to make moves in bunches, and this week is no exception. The Rays started the week by agreeing to terms with RP Dan Wheeler on a 1 yr $2.875 Million deal. They continued working with their arbitration eligible players, agreeing to a 1 yr $1.25 deal with DH/RF Jonny Gomes. However, they've saved the two biggest deals for last. First, the team just announced they have come to terms with 2007 team MVP Carlos Pena on 3 yr $24 Million dollar deal. Pena, the 2007 MLB Comeback player of the year, set team records with 46 homeruns and 121 RBI. The deal keeps Pena with the Rays through 2010. The other big deal was the acquistion of utility man Willy Aybar from the Braves. Along with Aybar the Rays will receive minor league INF Chase Fontaine in return for Lefty Reliever Jeff Ridgway. Aybar fills a huge void for the Rays by being able to play three infield positions right away. The Rays also plan to get him some work at first base and the corner outfield positions in spring training. The Rays still need a lefty reliever, but obviously were convinced Ridgway was not the answer.

The lone bad news of the week is Scott Kazmir expects to end up in arbitration against the Rays.

"All we can do is really prepare ourselves because they have the file and trial policy,'' Kazmir said. "I guess you just gotta go. They made it loud and clear. ...

"If we go to arbitration, which it kind of looks like right now, so be it. It's just what we have to do. Sure, it would be nice to have everything settled right now and not have anything to worry about.''

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Stat Pack Exclusive Interview with Dodgers 1B James Loney

In the lastest edition of Stat Pack exclusive interviews, we have a real special treat. Dodgers First Basemen James Loney was nice enough to answer some questions for us and go over his offseson, his approach to heading into his first MLB season, and shooting hoops with Sam "I Am" Cassell.

James had a stellar prep career (varsity 2000-2002) at Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas (suburban Houston). He hit .509 his senior season and also accumulated a record of 9-1 with a 1.80 era as a pitcher, striking out 106 batters in 54 innings. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1st Round (#19 overall). He had signed with Baylor University to play college baseball, but opted to sign a pro contract. He made his Major League Baseball debut with the Dodgers on April 4, 2006 against the Atlanta Braves. In 2007 Loney hit .331 with 15 HR's and 67 RBI's in 96 Games.

TSP:What have you been up to this off-season?

JL:Hanging out with family and friends

TSP:What is your off-season training regime like?

JL:Lifting weights, running and baseball activities

TSP:This is the first season where you're going in as part of the Major league roster; do you approach spring training any differently than the previous years?

JL:No, you can't take anything for granted

TSP:The Dodgers made a few significant moves this off-season with the signings of Andruw Jones and Hiroki Kuroda. With the return of a healthy Jason Schmidt, do you feel like this team has the talent to win the division and do damage in the playoffs?

JL:World Series Champs!!!

TSP:What are your personal goals for this season?

JL:To be consistent and help the team win

TSP:The Dodgers have a great young nucleus of players in the Majors right now with Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, Andre Either, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton and yourself. How's it been playing with those young players?

JL:Fun, It's good to be with those guys at this level

TSP:Do you think it's important for you to go through the same system together? Does it help you grow as a team?

JL:I think it helps chemistry

TSP:There are a lot of former Dodger prospects on the Rays or in the Rays farm system. Do you still keep in touch with guys like Edwin Jackson, Justin Ruggiano, Chuck Tiffany, Sergio Pedroza and Dioner Navarro?

JL:Jackson and Ruggiano and Joel Guzman

TSP:Despite your stellar minor league numbers the past couple of years, the Dodgers seemed reluctant to call you up and keep you in the majors, opting to instead sign aging veterans. Did you feel at all slighted? Did it drive you to work even harder to get back?

JL:It definitely is a reminder to always work as hard as you can

TSP:We've noticed that you're very active in the community. You obviously enjoy it; do you think it's important to be involved with charities, fundraisers, visiting children's hospitals, etc? Also, do you feel players have a responsibility to do so?

JL:I don't believe it is a responsibility, but I like doing it and I like seeing people smile.

TSP:Recently Sam Cassell beat you in a game of H-O-R-S-E, do you plan on getting him back in some way? Do you think he could hit a curve ball or a 95 MPH fastball?

JL:I beat him in a game of P-I-G. He is athletic so he could probably make contact.

Again, The Stat Pack would like to thank James for his time and chating with us.

Jason Garrett Staying in Dallas, Chan Gailey Returns to the NFL

ESPN's Ed Werder is reporting Jason Garrett has turned down the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens head coaching offers to return to the Dallas Cowboys as offensive coordinator. It is a smiliar situation to 2004 when Jerry Jones convinced both coordinators, Sean Payton(offense) and Mike Zimmer(defense), to turn down head coaching jobs with the Oakland Raiders and University of Nebraska. Payton took the Saints head coaching job a year later, while Zimmer has bounced around from Dallas to Atlanta before accepting the Bengals Defensive Coordinator position earlier this week. One would believe Garrett will receive a substantial raise, some where in the 2.5 Million dollar range as well as a promise that he will eventually succeed Wade Phillips within the next couple years.

The pressure now falls square on Wade Phillips shoulders to win a playoff game next year. If the Cowboys come close to having the same regular season success in 08 that they had in 07 and fail in the playoffs again, I believe Phillips will be fired and Garrett will step in at that time.


IRVING, Texas -- After looking into two coaching jobs, Jason Garrett decided to remain offensive coordinator of the Cowboys after Dallas made him the highest-paid assistant coach in the NFL.

The Cowboys promoted Garrett to assistant head coach and gave him a new contract that will pay him in the ballpark of $3 million per year, ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting.

How would you guys like to be making more or as much as your boss? Please say a prayer for Wade Phillips career.

In another coaching move, the Kansas City Chiefs have hired former Cowboys & Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey to replace Mike Solari as offensive coordinator. Gailey has been on the staff of 11 playoff teams and coached in the Super Bowl four times, including three with Denver. He has been either a head coach or an offensive coordinator eight years. He is also king of the Field Goal so get used to seeing a lot of 3's on the board in KC.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Eva Longoria defends Jessica Simpson.

Being married to a Texas sports star isn't easy, just ask Eva Longoria. Eva has some words of advice to lend to Jessica Simpson, who is one more bad Romo game from being banned from her home state of texas.

"People gave me that . . . when I started dating Tony," Longoria, star of ABC's "Desperate Housewives," said in an interview Monday with E! Entertainment Television's "Daily 10."

"If he had a bad game they'd blame me. If he, uh, you know, had an injury, it's like, 'What did you do to him?' " the 32-year-old actress said, laughing.

"Believe me, they are not thinking about us when they're on the court, when they're on the field," she said of Parker and Romo. "It's like they've got a little more important things to do."

This really isn't news worthy but it gives me a reason to put these up...enjoy.

Dolphins to officially name Tony Sparano head coach.

The Miami Dolphins have hired Dallas Cowboys Assistant Tony Sparano as their head coach, replacing Cam Cameron who was fired earlier in the month. Sparano has coached in the NFL for nine years. Before joining the Dallas staff in 2003, Sparano was on the staffs of Cleveland (1999-2000), Washington (2001), and Jacksonville (2002). He was the head coach at New Haven in the college ranks from 1994-1998. Sparano was also a candidate in Atlanta and Baltimore. The move reunites Parcells with his former assistant. Sparano was the Cowboys play caller in 2006 before giving that up this season to Jason Garrett, who has still not accepted the Ravens offer to become their head coach.

I know Sparano is held in high regard by many around the league, but he's got his work cut out for him in Miami. A first time NFL head coach taking over a 1-15 team with no clear QB, a lack of impact players on offense and an aging defense doesn't sound like a great fit, but when your 1-15 there aren't too many great fits.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A late congrats to Greg Ellis on Comeback player of the year.

As I sit and try to get through Day One after the Cowboy playoff blowup for the second straight year, I almost forgot to send a little love Greg Ellis' way. Over the weekend Greg Ellis, not Randy Moss, was named NFL Comeback player of the year. For those don't remember I campaigned earlier for Randy Moss not winning the award and it going to someone who was actually coming back from something other than laziness. Moss finished second in the voting with 10 votes, two behind Ellis's 12. Ben Roethisberger, another good candidate I mentioned earlier, came in third with seven votes. Ellis, the 10th year veteran from North Carolina, finished the 2007 season with 12.5 sacks(a career high) after missing eight games last year and three this year with a torn his Achilles tendon.

"It went through two phases, really, two phases where I felt like that's going to be it," Ellis said. "When it first happened, I felt like that's probably going to do it for me, because I'm familiar with the Achilles and know guys who have torn it before. The guys I knew, most hadn't returned back to that same rare form that they were before they left the game.

"Then the second time was in training camp. Everything started going good. I started rehabbing here, then I got to training camp and started to have pain around the heel part of it."

NFL Divisional Roundup: T.O. Cries, Billy Volek to the rescue, Eli "Rain Man" Manning still in it, Pats still perfect, Favre still playing

Here are the cliff notes version of the weekend that was in the NFL Divisional Playoffs:

Green Bay 42 & Seattle 20

Seattle jumps out 14-0, but Ryan Grant has a monster game in the snow and the Pack advance. Could this be the end of Mike Holmgren'c career? Like Dungy, Holmgren is on a year to year basis. Will he stay or will he go? I think he stays to finish out the remaining year on his contract. The NFC west is weak and Seattle should be back in the playoffs next year. It looks like Brett Favre is ready to party like its 1996. Seriously, who knew that 11 years later Favre would still be playing in the league at such a high level?

New England 31 & Jacksonville 20

I really thought the Pats would come out and dominate, but the Jags kept it close going into the half at 14-14. Tom Brady had a ridiculous game with 26 of 28 passes completed. Just for fun he threw the ball to Randy Moss once. And for all those who said the Pats can't run the ball,Maroney went off for 100+ yards.

San Diego 28 & Indianapolis 24

What a shocker here! The Colts looked like they were getting healthy at the perfect time. The Chargers lost the NFL's leading rusher in the 2nd quarter and their starting QB in the 4th and still won the game. And Marcus McNeil gave us this gem

With 12:38 left to play and San Diego leading by four, the Chargers offense waited to huddle during a TV commercial break. As they waited, several Chargers -- mostly 6-7, 336-pound offensive tackle Marcus McNeill -- started swaying and dancing to the music being played during the TV timeout.

"That's how it's supposed to be," McNeill said. "It doesn't make no sense to be at crunch time and your butthole is all tight."

Thank you Marcus.

New York Giants 21 & Dallas Cowboys 17

This one hurts, but definitely not as bad as last years for some reason. I actually got to sleep last night, whereas last year I was sitting up in my bed, in the pitch black dark, at 3 in the morning replaying Romo's bobble. For the second straight year the Cowboys gift wrapped a playoff game for the other team. Jerry Jones may want to seek a refund on Patrick Crayton's new contract. He had two huge drops and then ran a half-assed route late in the game. T.O. wept for his QB....and they said he's a bad teammate. Good thing by 8:05 I was watching Nicholas Cage with a stringy mullet in Con Air.

Additional Game Note: Jules text me during the game to say "I feel like Eli is my retarded brother or something" "I can't hate the guy." Eli is the NFL's version of Rain Man. He has a cool normal brother and, apparently from that quick TD in the 2nd quarter, he's an excellent driver.

It's officially baseball season for me...32 days till pitchers and catchers report.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sports world recap: Pete Carroll to Atlanta? Lynching Tiger? NFL Divisonal Playoffs, Josh Brown Aka Hot Pants and Steroids, Congress and Clemens

Welcome to the "incase you've been living under a rock post." Sorry We've been slacking lately...blame in on Jessica Simpson or Kim Kardashian, either one will do fine.

Sources say there is mutual interest between USC Coach Pete Carroll and the Atlanta Falcons. Every year Pete Carroll's name is thrown around for an NFL job, he entertains the idea for a few days and then realizes he has it made in L.A. Seriously, even if the Falcons gave him full control of the team, why would he take it? He would be fired in 3 years and have to take a job at the University of Idaho and build his way back up. At USC, he is at the top of the college football world and can contend for a national title every year.

Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman
has been suspended two weeks for her comments about Tiger Woods. While discussing Tiger Woods' dominance, She said that young players on the PGA Tour should "lynch him in a back alley." Even in 2008, where alot of things are tolerated, you have to know better than to use the word "lynch" in the same sentence where you talk about an African American. She deserves to be fired not for her comments, but lack of common sense.

On to the topic I've been trying so hard to avoid this week, ESPN's playoff coverage.'s NFL page would like you to believe the sky is falling on the Patriots and Cowboys. Two quick notes, The Patriots are UNDEFEATED, as in they haven't lost a game this year. The Cowboys, all of a sudden the worst 13-3 team ever, have the same record as the red hot NY Giants in the last four games 2-2. Just for the record the Colts were 2-3 headed into the Playoffs last year and they did pretty well.

Seattle Kicker Josh Brown has rigged his pants to include a heater for the other NFC showdown in Green Bay. Brown told KIRO Radio that no matter how low the temperature drops, his legs will be 75 degrees. In other news, thanks to Jessica Simpson, Tony Romo's pants are a blistering 98 degrees...yes the pun was intended.

Congress pushed back its' steriod investigation of Roger Clemens and others. Does congress have nothing better to do? Isn't there a war going on somewhere?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Joe Gibbs Resigns as Redskins Coach & President

Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs will resign as Redskins Coach & President at a 3 P.M. press conference. Since returning to the game after retirement, Gibbs went 31-36 including 1-2 in the post season. Gibbs won three NFL SuperBowls during his first tenure from 1981-92; the second time around he took the team to the postseason in two of his four seasons.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Stat Pack 20 plus: Exclusive interview with Jim Callis

We here at TheStatPack were lucky enough to have the Executive Editor of Baseball America, Jim Callis, answer a few questions for us. If you want to know anything about drafts, farm systems, prospects or the minor league in general, Jim's the foremost authority. If you want to read more of Jim's work you can check out BaseballAmerica, or you can order the 2008 Baseball America Prospect Handbook here.

TSP:Have you ever been approached by a major league team to work in their personnel department?

JC:Not directly. I've had a couple of teams ask, more in conversation, if I could ever see my self scouting. It would be fun to work for a team, but it also would be tough right now because the hours involved would take me away from my family (four young kids, ages 6 to 12).

TSP:The Rays farm system has been rated at or near the top of baseball for 2-3 years now. What makes it so good?

JC:They have a tremendous combination of blue-chip prospects and depth. They've had a bunch of very high first-round picks because of their poor major league performance, and they've made good use of them (Evan Longoria, David Price). They've also done a nice job with later-round choices such as Jake McGee, Wade Davis, Reid Brignac and Desmond Jennings, to name just a few.

TSP:Do you think the McGee/Davis tandem is as good as advertised?

JC:I do. When we did our personal overall Top 50 Prospects list for the 2008 Prospect Handbook, I had McGee at No. 17 and Davis at No. 18. They're two of the very best pitching prospects in baseball.

TSP:Heath Rollins just put up one of the best seasons in the history of the entire Rays organization. How come his name isn't mentioned in the top group of Rays pitching?

JC:His stuff isn't good enough to rank with that top group. His slider is a legitimate pitch, but the rest of his stuff is fringy. And while his season was impressive, he was 22 and spent the whole year in low Class A, which was not. Let's see him succeed in high Class A and Double-A. Until then, he's more of a "keep an eye on" type than a true prospect.

TSP:Same question just with Chris Mason?

JC:I honestly don't think that's the case with Mason. He's right at the head of the class of Tampa Bay's second tier of pitching prospects. He's not a big velocity guy either, but he did have more fastball in college and may get some more velo back. He has a chance to have three average or better pitches.

TSP:How do you see Jeremy Hellickson progressing through the minors? Is it a stretch to see him at AA next year and in the Bigs by '09 or 2010?

JC:The Rays are very cautious with high school pitching prospects--just look at how carefully they've handled Davis and McGee. Hellickson will definitely start 2008 in high Class A and I wouldn't be surprised if he spent the whole year there. I see more of a 2010 ETA, because of how the Rays handle young arms and also because they'll be breaking guys like Price, McGee and Davis into the majors soon and the pitching staff won't have as many holes as Hellickson gets closer.

TSP:Even after the recent moves, The Rays have a lot of OF talent in the Major Leagues. They also have Fernando Perez, Desmond Jennings, & Ryan Royster working through the minors. Out of that group, who do you see making the biggest impact in the Majors? How soon?

JC:You're right, they still have more outfielders than they know what to do with. I like Jennings. He's a toolsy athlete who seems to be adapting very quickly to pro ball. But because of Tampa Bay's outfield depth, I think he'll get some time to develop. I wouldn't expect him in the majors before 2010.

TSP:Is Evan Longoria the best overall player in the minor leagues?

JC:Close, but I'll go with Jay Bruce. Longoria was the second-rated position player on my Top 50 list in the Handbook, and I had him ranked No. 4 overall.

TSP:How does Evan Longoria compare to former stud 3B prospects Alex Gordon & Ryan Braun?

JC:His bat is in the same class--it's an all-star bat. Longoria is a former shortstop and I think he'll be a better defender at third base than the other two guys.

TSP:What do you expect from David Price this season? Do you think he will start his year at AA Montgomery? If so, does he make it to AAA at some point during the season?

JC:I don't think the Rays have made that decision yet. I do think he'll get to Double-A by June if he doesn't start the season there, and because he has a big league contract and already is on the 40-man roster, I bet he makes his major league debut by September at the latest.

TSP:Do you think John Jaso can be looked at as a future everyday catcher for the Rays?

JC:I do. He's a sleeper who can really hit and play decent to solid defense. The big question is whether he can stay healthy, as he has been bothered by persistent shoulder problems in pro ball.

TSP:Besides Niemann, McGee, Davis & Price the Rays have some other arms like Mitch Talbot, JP Howell & Calvin Medlock hanging around. Do you see any of those three making significant contributions to the Rays in the upcoming years?

JC:I like Talbot more than the other two guys. Howell really competes but has marginal stuff, and Medlock is more a middle reliever for me. I can see Talbot being a No. 4 or 5 starter for Tampa Bay, though the competition for rotation slots will be fierce.

TSP:Obviously there are only 5 spots in the Major League rotation, and a lot of the Rays pitching prospects, barring serious injury, should be ready by the 09 season. Pencil in Kazmir, Shields and Garza, how does the rest of the rotation shake out between Niemann, Talbot, McGee, Davis, Price, Jackson, Sonnanstine, Hammel...etc? Do you see any of those guys as serious candidates for bullpen/closer roles if they don't make it as starters?

JC:The potential depth there is just staggering, isn't it? Of course, injuries and attrition will thin this out a little bit. There has been a little mention of Jake McGee and Wade Davis as a possible closer down the line, and I could see Niemann possibly in that role. The frontline guys right now appear to be Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, David Price, Jake McGee, Wade Davis and James Shields, in some order.

TSP:Is it true that Reid Brignac's defense has improved, and defensively he maybe ready to make the jump? If he gets off to a hot start next season could we see him in the majors this year?

JC:I don't know if he improved in 2007 as much as he held ground. He can get the job done at shortstop and be fine there, but he won't be a Gold Glover. With Jason Bartlett coming aboard in the Delmon Young trade, I think Brignac will spend most of the year in Triple-A regardless of his start.

TSP:The Rays hold the #1 Pick in the draft. If the Draft was held tomorrow their pick would be _______?
JC:The top talent right now is Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez, but the Rays don't really need a third baseman. I think he's more suited to play left field or first base, but those aren't huge areas of need for Tampa Bay either. That said, you don't base the No. 1 overall pick on need. Other guys in the mix at this point would be Missouri righthander Aaron Crow, San Diego lefthander Brian Matusz, Missouri high school righthander Tim Melville and Georgia high school shortstop Tim Beckham.

TSP:Will we ever see international players incorporated in the Draft? Do you think we should?

JC:I don't think so. For one, it would be a logistical nightmare. And two, while it might save some money on the handful of elite international players because they wouldn't be free agents, it also might drive the cost up on the next tier of players. I would just leave it like it is. Teams that work hard and make the investment can find quality talent at a relatively reasonable price. No need to change that. Putting them in the draft would just gum up the works even further.

TSP:Who's the Rays most overrated prospect right now?

JC:Maybe Jeff Niemann. He's still a good prospect, but I'm becoming less convinced he'll become the frontline starter he looked like coming out of college. He still has a chance to be a No. 3 starter, though.

TSP:Who's the most underrated?

JC:I'll throw a few names at you . . . Glenn Gibson is probably getting overlooked because he only recently came over in the Elijah Dukes trade and hasn't pitched in full-season ball yet, but I like him. Also keep your eye on Jaso, whom we mentioned earlier, and righthanders Alex Cobb and Josh Butler.

TSP:Who's the Baseball's overall most overrated prospect right now?

JC:Two guys I don't like as much as my cohorts at BA are Mets outfielder Carlos Gomez and Marlins righthander Chris Volstad. They're both legit prospects, but I see more tools than skills with Gomez and I don't think Volstad misses nearly enough bats.

TSP:Who's the most underrated?

JC:Reds righthander Johnny Cueto has performed well in the minors and has good stuff, but people underrate him some because he's not very big. I think Red Sox first baseman Lars Anderson is going to make a leap forward this year and become recognized as one of the very best hitters in the minors.

TSP:You're driving the '10 Rays World Series Bandwagon; can you give me an early prediction on the Rays opponent and the World Series MVP?

JC:When I first made that prediction last spring, I had them beating the Dodgers. Let's go with B.J. Upton as World Series MVP.

TSP:"I make you commissioner for one day, what's the first thing you do?"

JC:I'd get rid of the slotting process with the draft. The draft is the easiest and best place for lower-revenue teams to compete with higher-revenue clubs for talent, yet MLB discourages that from happening and steers more talent to the higher-revenue teams.

The Stat Pack would like to thank Jim Callis again for sitting down with us. And remember to pick up a copy of the 2008 Baseball America Prospect Handbook here.

Bob Sanders named Defensive Player of the year.

Bob Sanders just added a little weight to his 5'8 206lbs frame. He will now have to carry around the weight of being NFL Defensive player of the year. Sanders earn 31 out of 50 votes. Patrick Kerney and Albert Haynesworth each earned 4 votes to tie for second place. "I think this year, I really played like I wanted to play," Sanders said. "I give a lot of credit to my teammates who helped me stay consistent in practice and in games." Sanders had 97 tackles and 2 Ints on the season.

June Jones to SMU

June Jones has a agreed to a 5 year deal to become SMU's Head football coach. The deal is believed to be around $2 million a year. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle lobbied for Jones to stay at Hawaii, but Jones couldn't be swayed on a return to the mainland.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Nomo signs deal with Royals

The Kansas City Royals signed the Japanese and former Devil Ray great Hideo Nomo to a minor league deal. Why is anyone's guess. The former NL Rookie of the year hasn't appeared in a major league game since 2005, and made only seven starts in the Venezuelan winter league in 2006. "He's been a successful major league pitcher in the past, and we wanted to give him an opportunity to compete for a job," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said Friday. I like Dayton Moore, he seems like a nice enough guy, but I don't quite see this one working out consdiering in Nomo posted the two worst ERAs in the majors since 2004 at 8.25 and 7.24 respectively. "I want to hang in there no matter what, hoping that I won't get injured," Nomo said Friday on his official Web site. Way to have confidence and shoot for the stars Hideo.

Patrick Willis Wins NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

In another no brainer for rookie of the year voting, Patrick Willis LB of the San Francisco has been named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. Willis, the impressive linebacker from Ole Miss, lead the NFL in tackles with 174. He received a whopping 48 out of a possible 50 votes which was even better than Adrian Peterson's 46.5. The the only other defensive rookie to receive votes was Carolina Panthers LB Jon Beason with two votes. This marks the fifth straight year a Linebacker has won the award. Congrats to Patrick

Where's The Beef? Jorge Cantu signs with Marlins

Just to give you a brief glimpse of how bad the Marlins are looking for the '08 season, the Marlins reached agreement on Thursday with Cantu on a one-year contract worth $500,000, plus incentives that could tack on another $100,000 based on plate appearances. Cantu was unable to duplicate his 05 success in 06 & 07, probably having to do something with a serious lack of "mongolian beef." The Marlins are hoping Cantu, Alfredo Amezaga & Jose Castillo can fill Miguel Cabrera's shoes. Maybe all three could fit in a pair of his old baseball pants but I doubt any combination of the three will come near the production of Miggy Cabrera.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bill Belichick named AP Coach fo the Year, Roy Williams going to the pro bowl again & Ricky Williams contract renewed.

The only coach to lead his team to a 16-0 perfect regular season was honored today. Bill Belichick deservedly won the AP NFL coach of the year award. This is the second time is the past five years that Belichick has won the award. Belichick received 29 of the 50 votes. Second place went to Packers Coach Mike McCarthy, who lead the surprising Packers to a 13-3 record. Also getting votes were Dallas coach Wade Phillips, Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio (two each), and Indianapolis' Tony Dungy and Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden (one each).

Also in the news today was the NFL's announcement of the late Sean Taylor's replacement in the Pro Bowl. That honor went to Cowboys Strong Safety Roy Williams, giving the Cowboys an even dozen representatives in the Pro Bowl. Congrats to Roy, but I'm not sure he really deserves it. "I appreciate being the first alternate to go," said Williams, who is going to the Pro Bowl for the fifth straight year. "We are going to do something special for Sean and his family."

In the latest edition of as the Tuna turns, Ricky Williams has received a letter from Bill Parcells stating the dolphins intentions of renewing Williams contract for the '08 season.

Kim Kardashian & Reggie Bush engaged?

There are reports that Kim Kardashian a.k.a. My Next Ex-Wife and Reggie Bush are engaged. However, I've seen reports on the contrart. Any way, who cares I just needed a legit reason to post this.

P.S. Tony & Jessica will always have my heart

NFL Wildcard Playoff Predictions

Seattle 31
Washington 10

TV: The “Hottest team's” run finally comes to an end. Not even Kerry Collins little brother Todd can believe the Skins are in the playoffs

Seattle 27
Washington 17

JW: The 12th man for Seattle will be too much for Todd "I sold my soul to the devil" Collins to overcome.

Jacksonville 13
Pittsburgh 21

TV: For some strange reason I believe Najah Davenport will fill in just fine and the playoff experience of Big Ben and the Steelers D gets them on to round 2

Jacksonville 17
Pittsburgh 10

JW: Even with a terrible field I think Fred Taylor and MJD run all over the Steelers. I don't think Big Ben can carry the load all game with Parker injured.

Tampa Bay 24
New York Giants 23

TV: Chad Lucas(WHO?) will have a hundred yard receiving game and Michael Spurlock will return a kickoff for a touchdown. Take it to the bank.

New York Giants 20
Tampa Bay 10

JW: I'm picking the Giants solely for reverse jinx purposes.

Tennessee 27
San Diego 14

TV: LenDale White, Chris Brown will run for over 200 yards. No team can win with Norv Turner in the playoffs.

San Diego 30
Tennessee 13

JW: No way LT doesn't get 150 yards and 2TDs by halftime. Though if the Titans win, do we start blaming the Chargers playoff failures on the players and not the coaches?

The Big Tuna Strikes Part II: Cam Cameron Fired

It would seem that Bill Parcells is the only one making news these days. In the past 2 weeks he's burned Atlanta, ended up in Miami, fired a GM, hired a new one, and now his latest news maker is the firing of Miami Dolphin head coach Cam Cameron. Cameron was fired after just one season with a record of 1-15, but our friend Les Miles would like to point out that the Dolphins didn't win a game in regulation.

As we love to do with Parcells, here are some names to speculate on who will replace Cameron: Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano, Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, Arizona Cardinals Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley, former Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator Maurice Carthon and for the fun of it, Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis.

Parcells names Ireland General Manager, Other Teams fire coaches

As we first speculated here at TSP, Bill Parcells has named Cowboys Executive Jeff Ireland General Manager of the Miami Dolphins. "I am excited about joining the Dolphins," Ireland said in a statement. "I know the great tradition of the team, and in my mind they are one of the flagship franchises in the NFL. They have a great owner in Wayne Huizenga, who I know is committed to making the Dolphins into winners once again. I am looking forward to working with him and everyone else in Miami to achieve that goal." The genius that is Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips added this gem of a comment "The promotion, I think, was the key thing. I don't think he was going to be moved up to general manager here," Phillips said to laughter. Obviously Phillips is referring to the fact that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is also the Cowboys GM and the only way he's leaving that job is when he's dead and even then his ghost will still run the team.

Also, yesterday a few NFL teams fired some key assistants some coaches now looking for work are:

Mike Martz
Chuck Bresnahan
Ricky Hunley
Rob Ryan(believed to be fired soon and taking D-Coordinator Position with the Jets)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


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Surprise, Surprise Adrian Peterson Named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

In the biggest shocker of the year, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson upset Cleveland Brown LT Joe Thomas for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Not really, Peterson received 46.5 out of a possible 50 votes. Peterson led the NFC with 1,341 yards rushing in 14 games and set the NFL single game rushing record with 296 yards against San Diego.

And for all that hard work AD here is what you get

Colt Brennan or Tim Tebow? June Jones may want to rethink his comments.

After last night's rout by Georgia, I'm wondering if June Jones would care to take back this statement "My quarterback has been labeled a 'system quarterback' for three years," Jones said. "He is the best passer in college history. He is. There is no question about it. Tim Tebow is in a system."

On the biggest stage in his college career, Colt Brennan turned in his worst performance of the year. Not surprisingly it came against the best team he's faced all year. If Tim Tebow is a "system quarterback" than Colt Brennan is a "conference quarterback." Think about it this way, could Tebow put up the same or better numbers as Brennan against competition such as Northern Colorado and Louisiana Tech? Sure he could, Tebow probably would have even better numbers than Brennan if he was going against the WAC. Now think about it this way, would Brennan put up Tebow numbers in the SEC? I dont think so. Last night Brennan proved my theory right. Big gaudy numbers at Hawaii does not make you a great quaterback. Just ask Timmy Chang how his NFL career is coming along. It's great for the record books, but going against Charleston Southern isn't going to get you ready for the NFL. Hopefully the next time June Jones wants to label somebody else's QB something he will think about last night's performance.