Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Transaction Wire

Greg Bosl and Megan Duffy declare for the NBA draft. Bosl, a junior walk-on, cited his half court shot in the March 17th Purdue game as his reason for going pro. "That just proves I can do anything. Hey, I Beat Purdue!" Duffy, a sophomore, stated that after winning the Big East's Most Improved player award, "there's really nothing left for me to do [at the college level]."
Ray Lewis and Jamaal Lewis annouce their retirement. "We decided that the NFL is a place for positive role models," Ray Lewis said. Jamaal Lewis added, "yeah, and that one time when we were in [NFL commissioner] Paul Tagliabue's office and Ray said he'd kill me if I didn't give him any crack... Well, that didn't sit too well with Commissioner Tagliabue."
Cubs sign Jesse Orosco. Dusty Baker once again proves his love for established veterans by coaxing the 47 year old reliever out of retirement. When interviewed, Orosco replied, "I'm too old!"
Yankees fire Brian Cashman. Unfortunately for Cashman, George Steinbrenner decided to make this annoucement while Cashman was still in Japan. Now, the former New York GM is stranded in a country where doesn't speak the language, and everyone keeps asking him, "Hey, aren't you that guy from CSI?"
Notre Dame football, women's basketball sell green jerseys to South Shore Railroad. "Coal prices are going up," said a spokesman for South Shore, "and we needed something to burn as fuel... to pull our trains." Coach Joe Yonto, a noted authority on locomotive propulsion, does not believe this was a good move. "I keep telling everyone that it's power that pulls the train, but no one seems to listen," Yonto said. He then stormed off mumbling something about making his wife sleep in the kitchen.
Darrell Campbell withdraws from the NFL draft. "I received an offer to voice a character on the animated series 'DragonBall Z', and I just couldn't pass it up." Rumors state that the terms of the contract included the video games SSX Tricky and NBA 2K2, his own computer so he no longer has to borrow Andy Wolkiewicz's, and an unlimited supply of snacky cakes. Sweeeet.
Gino Auriemma resigns as little league coach. It was discovered that Auriemma had fielded a team of 14 year olds, when the age limit is in fact 12. "Don't worry, I'll be back," scoffed the UConn coach while holding a baby boy who bore a striking resemblance to Diani Taurasi. Dah, who said that?
Allen Iverson sues Disney Corp., TiVo. Iverson claims that his TiVo's guide stated that 76ers-Celtics game would be shown on ABC the night of March 28. Instead, when "AI" returned home, he discovered that TiVo had in fact recorded an episode of the hit ABC drama "The Practice." Iverson, representing himself in court, gave the following opening arguments: "The Practice?! The Practice?! C'mon, man, we're not even talking about the game! We're talkin' about The Practice?!"
MTV pulls the plug on "Nick & Jessica II." The reality show, which was to follow Notre Dame juniors Nick Yonto and Jessica Beguin, was cancelled by MTV in preproduction. Kurt Loder, who runs all business activities of MTV since everyone else is so young, stupid, and irresposible, stated that "we were looking for another sterotypical dumb female, and Beguin is probably as far away from that as you can get. Plus, there's also a rule that all guys on MTV shows must be absolute tools, except for me and Snoop Dogg, of course."
ND names Charles Barkley assistant men's basketball coach. "I was talking to Coach K [Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski," Mike Brey said in an interview, "and he was talking about this great new concept called 'boxing out.' I figured Bill Laimbeer would be a great fit to help teach this, but he said he was too happy coaching women's basketball. Speaking of which, I wonder if Ruth Riley has any eligibility left..." When reached for comment, Barkley said, "I like food. A lot."
Portland Trail Blazers sign Snoop Dogg to a 10 day contract. At a press conference, Portland Head Coach Maurice Cheeks said, "He has a clean new image, we have a clean new image. It was a perfect fit." Cheeks then fielded a question about who had a funnier name, Reuben Boumtje-Boumtje or Dan Dickau.
Yankees lock up pennant by siging every player in baseball.
Notre Dame on
Bills sign DT Oliver Gibson, a '95 ND grad.
Bob Golic is nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame. It's about time.
Alan Page is named ND's 2004 commencement speaker. I should've taken a 5th year....
Cronk's "other" sibling signs with DIII Trinity baseball.
Cavs sign Mateen Cleaves to a 10 day contract. I actually was going to make fun of him until I saw him play Tuesday night. The kid doesn't have
Indians trade Ricky Gutierrez to the Mets for a PTBNL. Gutierrez is becoming Jose Offerman-esque with his range lately. So, when Kaz Matsui sits out, does Jose Reyes move to SS, or do you let Reyes stay and learn 2B and take your chances with Gutierrez at short?
Give the White Sox a "Ti"! Give them a "Mo"! Now, give the Mets pitcher Matt Ginter. There's your trade. It will be oddly amusing watching Timo Perez and Coco Crisp as dueling centerfielders in so many AL Central games this year.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Gimmicks, Late Execution Doom "Lady Irish"

Gameplan isn't enough to overcome green jerseys, #1 seed

"Gimmicks don't pull the train, power pulls the train."
Well, the plan was great on paper. Slow it down on offense, and play absolutely suffocating defense. The Irish had 10 steals (6 by Le'Tania Severe) and forced multiple shot clock violations. ND was aggressive on the boards, despite being a bit undersized, picking up an impressive 17 offensive rebounds. The only problem (a recurring theme): most of those rebounds came off of missed layups. Dah.
The slowdown offense worked great when the team remembered to run it. Run down the clock as much as possible, wait for an open shot, and make it. Unfortunately, towards the end of the game, ND got a little rushed and broke the gameplan. Rushing up the court and throwing up a bad shot (at least most were from within 10 feet, unlike the men's team) gave the Penn State "Lady Lions" all the momentum they needed.
I'll tell you this, though. Other than those momentary lapses on offense, I saw good promise from this team. ND women's basketball has been inconsistent and more or less wandering around aimlessly since the '01 championship. But, I look at this team, and they know what they're doing. Everyone was aggressive and attacked the basket (making layups is another story, once again...), and no one looked lost out there. I'll especially give props to freshman Crystal Erwin, who stepped on the court and showed no signs of intimidation at all (ok, so she was only 0-1 shooting, but she knows her role). The only seniors that are leaving are Severe and Mo Hernandez, two ball handlers, and Jeneka Joyce, and outside presence. Big East Most Improved Megan Duffy should be able to make up for their absence with even the slightest help from Breona Gray and Susie Powers (and, of course, Anne Weese). I see good things next year for Irish women's basketball.

Random thoughts on the UConn-Penn St. Game

  • Penn State is so bad! How did we lose to them! If they would have used ND's slowdown gameplan, maybe they could have won that game.
  • A note to ESPN announcers: Diani Taurasi can't hear you while she's playing, so you can stop kissing up to her. Now, I think I'm going to vomit for using "Diana Taurasi" and "kissing" in the same sentence.

"Lord Irish" Loss to Oregon Fundamentally Flawed

Yes, I called them the "Lord Irish." Women's teams call themselves the "Lady Lions" and the "Lady Vols," and even the "Lady Techsters." Well, a Lord is the male counterpart of a Lady, isn't it.
I heard this comment during the NCAA tournament: "The team with the best fundamentals will win. And the most basic fundamental is boxing out." Dah.
I couldn't watch or listen to this game (unless I hopped in my car and started driving west with hopes of picking up an Indiana radio station), so I can't say much. But I will tell you this:
Not rebounding, sloppy turnovers, and 7-25 shooting aren't going to get you very far.

Join us again later this week for the Transaction Wire, the beginning of an in depth look at Irish NFL hopefuls, and sooner or later I'll get around to writing that "Greatness" essay.

Monday, March 29, 2004

It looks like I'm back to business as usual this week (depending on how programming KankaMatic scoring goes). Here are just some of the things going on this week:

March 29
First day of spring football practice.

March 30
MLB season opener - Yanks/Devil Rays in Japan, 5am eastern on the ESPN. Hey, I'll get to watch the end of the game before I go to work.

March 31
73rd anniversary of Knute Rockne's death.
Christopher Walken turns 61.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

The KankaMatic Fantasy Baseball site is up, complete with Rulebook. I'll try to put up all the team sites tomorrow night, but for now you can check out Gammonsesquity's page to get an idea of how yours will look.

I have a feeling there will be tons of questions on the rules, so don't hesitate to ask.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Here's Looking at You

Alabama's Chuck Davis

Page 3's Chad Kohorst (Ellen loves him, and Molly is probably not sober in this picture)

I think it's the love of headbands that makes this match.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Bonus Ramblings (the stuff I forgot to say yesterday)

  • There's no parity in women's basketball: let's face it, you're either a "have" or a "have not." Case in point: in the women's tournament's 20+ year history, there have been very few double-digit seeds that have survived the first round. Only a handful of 13's and 14's have advanced, and most people know that there has been one win by a 16 seed (Harvard over #1 Stanford in '98), but amazingly there has never been a 15 over 2 upset. Haves and have nots....

  • When I first read Dave's article yesterday, I got to the line where he called Mike and Meg "Nick & Jessica." Now, I thought, why would Dave be comparing Mike and Meg to Yonto and his girlfriend? ...oh, that Nick and Jessica...

  • Every time I hear Xavier guard Lionel Chalmers's name, all I can think of is Superintendent Chalmers from The Simpsons. Or, as Ralph Wiggum calls him, "Super Nintendo Chalmers."

KankaMatic emails are out. Please remember to have those back by Monday night, as the season starts Tuesday. If you have any questions, please email me.

Also notice that message board #3 is now up, so be sure to check it out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

St. Patrick's Day at ND - The Week in Review

by Dave Schmitt - KankaNation Special Guest Columnist

For Kanka’s sake (and anyone else who missed portions of the St. Patty’s Day Bengal Bouts Extravaganza), here is a special Trip in Review (I keep forgetting – and by forgetting I mean I’m too lazy - to keep a running diary of these things). I will include the amount of beer drank and the number of people Ellen saw that she truly loves. Anyway….

My dad, sister, Ellen, and I arrived in the Bend a little after 1 on Wednesday. No beer yet. While my dad got the rental car, I called Cronk to arrange lunch. After hanging up, I told Ellen that Jon Byrer would be coming as well. “I love him,” she says. Headed to C.J.’s, met Cronk and Byrer, discussed wedding, band, burgers. Drank decent amount of green beer. Halfway through lunch, I heard “OOOOOHHHHH!!!” as Ellen jumped off her chair and ran to the door. Yes, the Crazy Alaskan whom Ellen loves was in the house.

After C.J.’s, we went to campus, as my brother said we needed to get there right away to see him before he took a pre-fight nap. Leaving Stanford, we ran into Nick & Jessica (oops, I mean Mike and Meg). Mike, Meg, Klondike, Ellen and I then chilled at the Huddle for a bit. Subway was eaten by the newlyweds. Jeff Goett popped by for a surprise visit. Ellen loves him. Mike, Meg, and Klondike then went to visit Meg’s grandmother. Something tells me she was granted some of the Klondikian wisdom, as are all family members who meet him for the first time. I called John Bradley, hoping to go drink in his room before the fights started. He was at College Park, drunk to the point of incomprehension. I promised to call him again at 7 to remind him to stumble over to the fight. Ellen and I then made the obligatory Grotto trip, and then ran into Little Friend Caitlin on North Quad. Ellen then called Molly (small manager, law school at ND, noted to Kanka the first time he’d ever seen her sober was working at Reckers) and she picked us up on her way home.

Everyone else who lives at Molly’s house is doing 5th year accounting, hence it is known as the Accounting House. This means Toby and Chad. Ellen reeeeeaaaaalllllly loves Chad. Chad, like usual, was being That Guy, working on his Page 3 site and wearing his Ivan Cartelo jersey in anticipation of the big Timmermans-Cartelo matchup that night. He also showed us the prototype of the Timmermans “1,000 nicknames” poster. It’s pretty sweet. Toby supplied me with a Guinness, and Ellen drank some bizarre concoction. Mike and Meg picked us up there, along with Klondike, around 7:15 to head over to the JACC. At the JACC, we saw my dad and sister, sitting ringside, and we set up a posse at the top corner of some bleachers. John Bradley showed up to lead the posse a little before 8, thankfully more sober than earlier. He pointed out that he’d have to bail right after the fight, because he can’t deal with my parents seeing him drunk. Ellen loves him.

Typically, Mike had headphones to get the score of the NIT game going on about 100 feet away. I’m pretty sure Meg ranted about this for a while. They introduced Michael “Soldier” Schmitt, and we went nuts. [ I’m really bored at work right now, by the way. ] Michael clearly took round 1, but the other kid got some good shots to probably take round 2. We were definitely the loudest group in the whole place. In round 3, the other kid hit him hard at first but lost his will after Michael started fighting back. He just ran for cover as Michael kept hitting him until the bell rang. Unanimous victory for the new 135-pound champion! Good stuff. He walked out of the ring and down the side aisle, and was assaulted by a huge posse. Very cool scene.

After hanging out for a little while longer at the fights, we went to Corby’s for more green beer. Yes, Kanka, the hot bartender is still there. Marcus Barlowe and Pete McCall were not, however. Kinda disappointing. A good time was had by all, and I even offered up a toast to our missing friend Kanka. Following Corby’s we went to the Architecture House for more revelry and drinking of Harp, Guiness, and Miller Lite (Ellen, from Danny’s stash). There, we saw many archies and assorted other people, including the John Doyle (who is quite a “playa” now, I might say) and Danny’s girlfriend Adrian (Ellen loves her). Klondike told some stories, and archie pothead Dixie told some rather unfortunate “dead baby” jokes. Meg’s contacts started buggin’ out a little after midnight, and since she was driving, a good decision was made to get on the road as soon as possible. The newlyweds exited, along with the Alaskan.

Thursday, I demanded lunch at South Dining Hall. I love the dining hall, and miss it dearly. No, I’m not joking. We ate with Little Friend Caitlin and my brother, and then headed for the airport. From there, it just gets ugly. Delayed flight, missed flight, later flight into LaGuardia instead of Newark. Dahhh. Of course, Ellen’s mom had baked goods in the car when they picked us up. And thus ends a very successful trip to ND.

The other night, I got the call I’ve been waiting for. A girl from ND called to see if I’d donate money. I kinda choked, and didn’t rant and rave like I promised myself I would, but it’s not like it was Bill Diedrick calling me personally. I told her I was not donating money to the University this year, since I am disappointed in the administration. If I see that progress is being made in replacing some officials who are attempting to turn ND into something it is not, I will donate next year. (I’m already in the football ticket lottery from last year’s donation, anyway.) My dream list of changes: Fr. Scully as President, and Fr. Bill Seetch as the Joyce to Scully’s Hesburgh. Am I crazy, or would this almost guarantee kegs back on campus, voluntary classes on St. Patty’s Day, “Talking Irish” as required reading in all first-year Theology courses, and Jon Gruden as our next coach?

March Madness has been ok this year. No memorable buzzer-beating moments yet, but still some good games. I now remember UAB as the team Dumber always used to play as on NCAA Football 2000 because he liked their green uniforms. Squeaky Johnson is a tremendous name, and he gives a hell of a post-game interview (on the radio). Highest of high comedy. GO IRISH BEAT DUCKS!

Thank you, Dave. Now I suppose I'll do some of my own writing. After all, it is my site and I haven't writting jack squat here recently...

Ramblings from the Last Week of Basketball

  • My buddy Matt is a Purdue alum, so it only makes sense that we'd watch the game together at one of the local dives. Unfortunately, this particular local dive tries to pass itself off as a legitimate eatery, so the place was crawling with parents getting smashed while their 8 year olds ran all over the place. Good, good.

  • Tom Timmermans guarding Ivan Kartelo. How did this not end up in fight?

  • I should've kept a running diary on this one. It wasn't even a minute into the game when Matt made the first Gene Keady combover joke.

  • Following the ND-Purdue game on ESPN, they showed the 2003 McDonald's high school dunk/3 point/"hot shot" competition, "live" from the old gym at Cleveland State (Cleveland isn't a state). Highlights: LeBron mailing it in and still finishing second in the dunk contest, Charlie Villanueva listing his college of choice as Illinois (LeBron was listed as "undecided", a girl who's a freshman at Duke barely missing two dunks in the dunk competition only because her hands were too small. Oh yeah, the judges for the dunk competition? DuJuan Wagner, Carlos Boozer, Darius Miles, Michael Vick (wait a minute, he doesn't play for the Cavs), Cav great Larry Nance (won the '86 dunk competition by dunking one ball with each hand), DeSagana Diop (I was disappointed that his dunk reactions weren't quite Dikembe-esque), a token Cleveland Rocker, and two AAU-type scouts. Very entertaining.
  • My routine for the ND women's basketball games: keep ESPN on mute while I listen to the opponent's Internet radio and check the NCAASports gametracker. Why the opponent's radio station? Because they're often free, while's are pay.

  • Lindsey Whalen of Minnesota (who enjoys watching Old School and playing Madden) has officially replaced Iowa alum Cara Consuegra as my favorite non-ND women's basketball player.

  • Monday night would've been great for a running diary - sitting in the living room watching the first Indians spring training broadcast of the year while listening to the ND men on ESPN950 Internet radio. The only problem? I spent the entire game just trying to get the radio to come in. It seems that when someone posts the link on NDNation, the server gets a little busy. Good good.

  • I can only win two more games for the rest of the tournament, both Pitt games. Yeah, there goes second place.

  • Note to self: if you're not sure if a team will make it out of the first round, don't make them an Elite 8 team. Seton Hall escaped the first round, but there was no way of knowing they were going to beat Arizona in the first round.

  • Our office pool (not that we have one, they're illegal) involves 32 people having a 1-8 seed and a 9-16 seed picked for them. If one of your teams makes the Final Four or later, you win (but not money, that's illegal). I overheard this the other day: "When I first saw my one team, I thought it was a typo." "What is it?" "Um... Murray Street." "You mean Murray STATE." (Of course, Murray isn't a state.)

  • My favorite part of ESPN's women's NCAA coverage on Tuesday: Four games, two channels. ESPN would have either Penn State/VPI or ND/MTSU. ESPN2 would have the Duke game or another. ESPN showed solely Penn State/VPI. When ESPN went to updates, they only showed updates of the Duke game, while the whole country could see the entire Duke game on ESPN2. Brilliant! Only, not brilliant.

  • Next up for the women: vs. #1 Penn State at Hartford, CT. Next up for the men: home(?) vs. Oregon March 25.

  • Well, I probably had more ramblings, but I probably should start writing them down.

Transaction Wire

Raiders sign Warren Sapp. I don't think I could have put up with listening to Sapp two more times a year before Browns-Bengals games.
Packers un-retire Eric Crouch as a DB. He finally realized the whole "throwing the ball" thing wasn't working out.
Seahawks sign Bobby Taylor. Just keeping you up to date with the ND alumni.
Spurs signed Matt Carroll to a 10 day contract on March 8. Right now, he's on the Spurs' "injured list," which has basically become a combination of a AAA team and a practice squad. Carroll had been playing in the NBDL. His only action this season is 13 points in 13 games for Portland.
ND football pulls a reverse Urban Meyer and names Steven Wilks its DB coach. Info on Wilks, who was Bowling Green's DB coach (Bowling Green is not a state), can be found here.

Remember, the draft ends tomorrow, then check your email for roster signing information. Coming up for Kanka's Sports Page: a new message board, an essay on Greatness, and an in-depth look at ND football seniors and the NFL draft.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Message Board Updates

I'm working on creating a new KankaNation message board, so look for that to be up soon.
I'm also creating a new KankaMatic Baseball message board, but for now we'll continue to use email to finish off the draft. One correction, however: Orlando Hudson was autodrafted to Cronk's team, but he plays for the Blue Jays. Since Pete was also autodrafting yesterday, I switched Cronk's and Pete's picks for that round. So, now Pete has Orlando Hudson and Cronk has Marlon Anderson.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Yes, I realize that the draft board is down (as is the KankaNation message board). So, if you could email the picks you made Monday (assuming you remembered them) to, I'll try to figure something out in the mean time. We're still scheduled to end the draft before the season opener March 30, so here's hoping things work out.

Until then, you can eagerly anticipate my Weekend in Review (probably coming Wednesday and covering 2 men's and 2 women's games), the Transaction Wire and an essay:
Commercializing Greatness: "Winning does not equal greatness, only greatness equals greatness" versus "A player that makes the team great is more valuable than a great player"

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Transaction Wire

It's been a quite week for the Transaction Wire, but there is one item of note:
Eagles sign Terrell Owens. You see, if you're too lazy to follow the rules but whine a lot, you get ahead in life. Great.

What is a sport?

Ah, the age old argument. I've always answered it this way:
A sport is both a physical activity and a competition where your opponent's actions directly affect your own actions and the outcome of the event.
Now, to help understand something, sometimes it helps if we can break - it - down. Shall we?
1. physical activity: This is pretty self explanatory, unless you want to argue about which activities are "physical" and which aren't. I, personally, am lenient when it comes to this, so activities such as golf and bowling are still in.
2. competition: Well, duh. Otherwise, running on a treadmill would be a sport.
3. your opponent's actions directly affect...: I'll leave this one open to interpretation. If you want to take the strict meaning of it, things like football (this guy's running towards me and I have to tackle him) and baseball (fastball low and away, I need to take it opposite field) would be sports, but things like golf (you have to have the lowest score but no one's trying to block the ball from getting in the cup) and pole vault (Klondike, I'll let you make a suggestion here) wouldn't be. Of course, in the loose interpretation.
So, I guess I didn't really answer the question, mostly because I decided to be wishy-washy on rule #3 to let bowling, golf, etc. slide in.

As I said, short column today. Off to watch basketball (my bracket is D-U-N done already) and work on some KankaMatic goodness.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

ND Women in, Men out

Women: #5 in the East/Men: NIT= Not In Tournament

ND Men 65, WVU 64: The men were probably thinking ahead to UConn towards the end of this game, and it showed. Chris Thomas shot a staggering 66% from the field (and by "staggering," I mean "about twice his season average"). Colin Falls got to play hero, but only because West Virginia missed their last shot.
UConn 66, ND Men 58: This game was over when ND cut the lead to 41-40, then proceeded to throw up highly contested threes until UConn once again had a comfortable lead. Thomas did have a good game, but if he would have just drove to the basket after that steal, two free throws give the Irish a 42-41 lead and big time momentum. Chris Quinn still needs to learn that he's allowed to drive against the good teams, too. Rick Cornett was a man on a mission, but we needed more of him. Colin Falls is still playing the "I'm an overmatched freshman so I'm just going to run around like a crazy man" role. We need him to be a scorer, but at least he hustles now. There was a play where he outrebounded UConn's three tallest guys just because he had good position. That's good position. Look into it.
Whining about the brackets: Everyone likes to complain about the bracket matchups. "They broke their own procedural rules!" "There's no reason why (so and so) should have the (easiest/toughest) path through the tourney!" If you want to complain about something, here's the only thing worth complaining about: 5, count 'em 5, conferences didn't finish their tournaments until the day the brackets were set! The Big 12 wasn't done until half an hour before the brackets came out! If you're going to get mad at someone, get mad at the conference idiots who think they're so special that they can have a Sunday afternoon final.
Whining about the brackets, Women's edition: Boo hoo, UConn got a #2 seed. Oh, boo hoo. Their first two games are in Bridgeport, CT. Now, I'm not saying these are virtually home games for UConn, but Bridgeport is where the visiting bands stay when the Big East tourney is in Storrs. Uconn's next two games, assuming they win? Hartford, CT. UConn uses Hartford as their home for big games. Connecticut doesn't come close to a neutral site until the Final Four! Porlas Piedras.
RPI is just a guide, Women's edition: The ND Women's SOS of 22 earned them a final RPI of 30 and a #5 seed against the Fighting Jackie Stiles of SMS on Saturday. Coincidentally, if the ND Men win their NIT tournament debut against Purdue, they'll have to play on the road in round 2 due to Women's NCAA games in the EPJACC.
RPI is just a guide, Men's edition: The ND men had the 26th toughest schedule in the nation, which gave them a final RPI of 49. Three teams with higher RPIs didn't make the tournament: LSU (38), the Utah State Fighting Lane Weavers (43), and Georgia (48). Washington (RPI 60, SOS 69) and Air Force (RPI 70, SOS 183) were the only at large's lower than the Irish.

First Annual KankaNation Bones (and others) Internet Tournament Challenge officiated by Hatton

Since I'm so incredulously terrible at filling out an NCAA tournament bracket (how incredulously bad, you ask? Bad enough to use the word "incredulously"), I decided to enlist the help of mini-Kanka. Since tourney picks are mostly a craps shot anyways, we used the following formula:
1. If I was undecided, I left the decision up to mini-Kanka. He mostly picked schools named after geographical areas that he's heard of before (Florida, Pittsburgh, etc.).
2. If it was really close, we looked at RPI, mainly number of wins and SOS (team A had 28 wins against a tougher schedule, while team B had 27 wins against an easier schedule).
3. If we still couldn't decide, it went to a coin flip.
4. If we didn't like the outcome of the coin flip (this happened often), I gave mini-Kanka the two teams' nicknames, without saying which was for which schools. This lead to discussions like, "Bulldogs are tough, but Wildcats are wild. Hmm... I'll say Bulldogs."

KankaMatic Thoughts

  • The draft is going incredibly well so far. After round 25, we'll be in the home stretch - basically drafting AAA guys from now on.

  • I'll relax the draft over the next couple days. Basically, I'll put a new round up whenever we complete a round, but there will be no deadline to put up your pick until next Monday (or so).

  • A note on autodrafts: if we run out of players for a position, but there are still favorite team players left, the favorite teams rule will be thrown aside and those players will be autodrafted. (After that, remember, autodraftees will come from players on favorite teams that are not on the list).

  • Once the draft is done, I'll email each of you a list of your players and their salaries. You'll have until March 29 (the day before opening day) to send the list back to me with the following 2 things: 1. Which 25 players will be on the active roster, and which 15 will be "AAA." 2. For how many years would you like to sign this player? If I don't get your rosters back by the deadline, I'll automatically put your first 25 draft picks on the active roster, and sign all 40 players to 3 year contracts.

  • I'm having trouble finding an easy way to manage fielding stats, so we have 2 options: 1. Include fielding stats at 10%, calculate stats every 2 weeks, and listen to me complain how much of a pain this is, or 2. Ignore fielding stats (except maybe as a tiebreaker at the end of the year), and calculate stats once a week.

  • Notes on scoring: percentages/averages (ERA, OPS, etc) will be scored year-to-date; that is, if your team has the lowest ERA for the year at the time scoring is calculated, your team is 1st in ERA. All other stats (HRs, wins, etc) wil be scored on a week to week (or 2 week to 2 week) basis; that is, if your team hits 25 HRs in a week and no other team hits more than 20 that week, you get first place points in HRs, no matter how many total HRs any team has over the course of the year.

  • Yes, there will be trades, free agents, releasing players, etc. I'll try to post a more complete rulebook some time before the season starts.

Well, we're finally done with MLB previews. I'll have a Transaction Wire later this week. Then, I may or may not take it easy this week to put some hard work into KankaMatic baseball.


Sunday, March 14, 2004

MLB Preview #6: AL Central

Minnesota Twins

Shannon Stewart LF
Christian Guzman SS
Corey Koskie 3b
Matt LeCroy DH
Torii Hunter CF
Jacque Jones RF
Doug Mientkiewicz 1b
Joe Mauer C
Luis Rivas 2b
Brad Radke
Johan Santana
Kyle Lohse
Joe Mays
Rick Helling
Carlos Silva
Joe Nathan
Boof Bonser
Well, the lineup still doesn't look overly impressive. As bad as Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano were defensively, at least they could hit. Rivas and Guzman can't. They're fast with little baseball talent. Why? It looks like the Twins will continue to play pinball baseball in their dome - they still haven't added a single power hitter.
The rotation looks decent, at least. The Twins are finally giving their young guys (Santana especially) a chance. The AJ Pierzynski trade brings over Nathan and Bonser (yes, his name is "Boof"), two solid young starters.

Chicago White Sox

Aaron Rowand CF
Carlos Lee LF
Frank Thomas DH
Magglio Ordonez RF
Paul Konerko 1b
Jose Valentin SS
Joe Crede 3b
Miguel Olivo C
Willie Harris/Juan Uribe 2b
Mark Buehrle
Esteban Loaiza
John Garland
Scott Schoeneweis
Felix Diaz
John Rauch
Danny Wright
Good enough to finish near the top of a mediocre division. That's how it's been for the ChiSox, and that's how it looks like it will stay. Konerko won't have a God-awfule season like he did last year, and Crede is coming along, so they'll get a little more punch in their offense at least.
The rotation is decent, but not great. Buehrle had a bad year last year, but he'll bounce back. Schoeneweis was a spot starter for the Angels, but he should do fine joining the rotation as a #4 starter. The highlight of the White Sox is their setup men. Damaso Marte and Kelly Wunsch are lights out; they just have to hope Billy Koch doesn't blow too many saves for them.

Kansas City Royals

Aaron Guiel LF
Joe Randa 3b
Mike Sweeney 1b
Carlos Beltran CF
Juan Gonzalez RF
Ken Harvey DH
Benito Santiago C
Angel Berroa SS
Desi Relaford 2b
Brian Anderson
Derek May
Kevin Appier
Joe Gobble
Jeremy Affeldt
Chris George
Miguel Asencio
Runelvys Hernandez
This may be the best all-around lineup in the division - a combination of power and speed. Add Matt Stairs and the ubergeneric Kelly Stinnett and the Royals shouldn't have to worry about offense.
The Kansas City bullpen looks decent, with Mike MacDougal, Curt Leskanic, and Jason Grimsley on the back end. Grimsley, of course, is famous for being a former token "this guy's terrible so I'll give him as many appearances as possible" reliever under Mike Hargrove (he had one guy in that role every year). The rotation, unfortunately, looks a little thin, unless these young (semi-) unproven guys can prove something.

Cleveland Indians

Matt Lawton RF
Omar Vizquel SS
Jody Gerut LF
Milton Bradley CF
Travis Hafner DH/1b
Casey Blake 3b
Ben Broussard 1b/DH
Vic Martinez C
Ronnie Belliard 2b
CC Sabathia
Jason Davis
Clifford Lee
Jason Bere
Jake Westbrook
Jeremy Guthrie
Chad Durbin
Jason Stanford
Billy Traber
Brian Tallet
The Tribe's starting lineup looks a lot like last year's, but with a lot of great young talent, there will be more than a few revolving doors out there. Vic Martinez will be backed up by Josh Bard, a solid catcher in his own right. The Indians could easily trade Bard to a crappy team where he would start, but I'm personally pulling that we keep two good catchers (especially since Martinez may see a lot of time at 1b). Second base is wide open if Belliard slips up - John McDonald, Ricky Gutierrez, and the maligned Brandon Phillips are waiting in the wings. The Indians continue to be deep in the outfield, with Ryan Ludwick, Coco Crisp, Alex Escobar (Robbie Alomar trade), and super-prospect Grady Sizemore (Colon trade).
The rotation is stocked with young guys, and I'm only hoping that veterans like Bere and D'Amico aren't holding them back. The pen was great at times, ugly at others. The additions of Jose Jimenez (once pitched a no-hitter against Randy Johnson) and Scott Stewart, with Bob Wickman's return from injury, should strengthen the staff.

Detroit Tigers

Fernando Vina 2b
Pudge Rodriguez C
Carlos Pena 1b
Rondell White LF
Dmitri Young DH
Bobby Higginson RF
Eric Munson 3b
Carlos Guillen SS
Alex Sanchez CF
Jason Johnson
Mike Maroth
Nate Cornejo
Jeremy Bonderman
Nate Robertson
Call me crazy, but the lineup doesn't look too bad. Of course, that's by 1999 standards. The Tigers really need to focus on young prospects, on offense and on the pitching staff, if they really want to leave the basement any time soon.

Transaction Wire

Browns sign Jeff Garcia and DE Ebenezer Ekuban. Well, this probably spells the end of the Tim Couch era in Cleveland. The general thought around here is that it isn't Couch's fault that he never had a line in front of him. Garcia is mobile, but only weighs in at 195 lbs. Now, this means 1 of 3 things: 1. Garcia can run away when the OLine lets everyone by; 2. Garcia gets knocked the... well, you know the rest; 3. the Browns finally get smart and decide to get good offensive lineman (Faine was a great start but he can't do everything by himself). Now, it looks like the Browns may be leaning towards (3), as the hot rumor this week is that Cleveland plans to trade up to get their hands on Iowa OLineman Robert Gallery. Ekuban, who is lucky that he's a large man or else he'd have people ridicule him by saying "bah humbug!" every five seconds, is an underacheiving DE from Dallas. The Browns are already fairly deep at DLine, so this probably scratches Cleveland off the list for Darrell Campbell and Ced Hilliard.
Steelers sign Deuce Staley, release Amos Zeroue and DE Rodney Bailey, and deny interest in Tim Couch. At first, I thought the Deuce deal meant the end for Julius Jones playing there. However, Staley has been unimpressive at times, and the Steeler OLine in uncharacteristically weak. So, Julius would be a good fit as a backup in Pittsburgh. The release of a DE also may be good news for Darrell Campbell, who many expect to play DE in a 3-4 defense (which Pittsburgh's is).
Eagles re-sign Paul Grasmanis; Bengals release Jeff Burris. Maybe if Burris stopped trying to lead with his helmet, he'd get less concussions and neck injuries, and he'd be a little more desirable.
Giants sign Barry Sims and Shaun O'Hara, former OLinemen for the Browns. Well, either the Browns are stupid for letting these guys go, or the Giants' line was so bad, former Browns are actually an improvement.

I've posted a draft update here. For those of you unfamiliar with position numbering, 1 is pitcher (here, 1 is SP and 0 is RP to differentiate the two), 2 is catcher, 3 is 1b, 4 is 2b, 5 is 3b, 6 is SS, 7 LF, 8 CF, 9 RF. The salary cap is $120mil, but after the draft everyone should only have a team salary of $90mil.

The draft's been keeping me busy, but I'm glad to see it's going well. I'll have an ND weekend in review this week, start to take a look at the NFL draft, and also start writing down some more rules for KankaMatic baseball.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Bubble Watch

ND Women

Despite the upsetting loss to Rutgers at the Big East tourney, the women currently have the 23rd toughest schedule and an RPI of 29.

ND Men

The ND men have an RPI of 47 heading into the Big east tournament. Here's a breakdown of the teams above them: 2 have already won their conference tournaments (Gonzaga and Manhattan), 1 has lost in its conference tourney (Southern Illinois), and the remaining 43 are divided among 11 conferences. The magic number is therefore 47-2-11=34, which is just good enough in theory. But, that's assuming that each of the winners of those conferences has an RPI higher than ND's - if a conference winner has a lower RPI than ND's, that means more at large spots taken up. Therefore, here's a list of teams to root for - the more of these teams that win their respective conferences, the better shot ND has at making the Big Dance.
ACC: Duke, NC St, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Maryland
A10: St Joseph's, Dayton, Richmond
Big 10: Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan St
Big 12: OK St, Texas, Kansas, Texas Tech, Missouri
Big East: ND, Pittsburgh, UCONN, Syracuse, Providence, Seton Hall, BC
Big West: Utah State
CUSA: Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, Charlotte, UAB, DePaul
MAAC: Manhatton - won tournament
Mountain West: BYU, Utah
MVC: Southern Illinois - at large (UNI won tournament)
Pac 10: Stanford, Arizona
SEC: Kentucky, Miss St, Florida, Alabama, Vanderbilt, LSU, South Carolina
WAC: Nevada, UTEP
WCC: Gonzaga - won tournament

ND Men win a pair on national TV

Beat Georgetown 61-48 on Senior Night, St John's 89-62 in Big East warmup

A few years ago, three straight wins against UCLA, Georgetown, and St John's would have put anyone in the tournament. Unfortunately for the Irish, that doesn't hold true this year. Abbreviated ramblings on these two games:
  • Tom Timmermans was introduced with his girlfriend. For the record, I was turned down by his girlfriend while on my one quest to find an SYR date in the dining hall on the day of the dance (she had a boyfriend at the time - no word if it was Timmermans).
  • At the beginning of the Georgetown game, Torrian Jones was missing so many off balanced layups, I thought he has going to pull an Erika Haney. Haney had a performance similar to Jones's on her senior night, costing the Irish their home winning streak of 30+ games.
  • As the saying goes, "God, Country, Notre Dame." This means that I missed the St John's game because I was scheduled to be a Eucharistic Minister at Saturday evening mass. It didn't help that CBS had switched to the Oregon game by the time I got back. I did see that the team set a new record for threes with 17, partially lead by 3-4 from Timmermans (wait, is this a good thing? shouldn't he be under the basket?)

ND Women fall to Rutgers again

19-2 lead becomes 51-45 loss

I scrambled to find an Internet radio broadcast of this game. But, by the time I found Rutgers's athletic site ( has Internet radio as a pay service) and downloaded Real Player on the laptop my uncle recently donated to us, a 19-2 Irish lead had been cut to 21-15. From there, the team seemed to play rushed and scared, and once again feel to the Scarlet Knights. Here's hoping for better luck in the Big Dance.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • I was watching an interview with Terrell Owens where he said his agent would be filing a grievance about Owens's trade to Baltimore. Now, Terrell, do you really trust him to get it in on time? Shouldn't you have learned your lesson?
  • Apparently, KankaNation HOF finalist Elizabeth Hasselbeck has her own show on the Style Network - another wardrobe makeover show. I wasn't actually watching (except maybe to check her out), I was just in the room while my mom was watching. What was I doing? Reading an article in the USA Weekly supplement of our Sunday paper about Jameer Nelson and a U of Minnesota womens' basketball player whose favorite movie is Old School and favorite video game is Madden. Female basketball player? Old School? Madden? And she's only 5'9, so I won't have to strain my neck or stand on my toes! Wait a minute, where's that magazine, I need to look this girl up!
  • The saying around here is, "If you don't like the weather, stick around, it'll change." Friday's high: 72 degrees. Half of 72 is 36. Today's high: 36.
  • The UConn women are out of the Big East tournament, largely thanks to a spat betweem Gino Auriemma and Diani Taurasi. Auriemma finally got sick of Taurasi's "I never foul, the refs must be wrong" attitude and benched her. This isn't the first time this has happened, apparently, as Taurasi was also benched in a mid February game. Both times, Auriemma blasted Taurasi in front of the press, including comments about him being glad she's not out with him in the press room so she could "mumble her way out of it." Wow. I don't know which is better: this, or the Brian Cashman face.
  • My sibling enjoy watching the Disney channel, and one of the shows they watch is "Sister, Sister." The latest episode of this show (currently in reruns) should have been called "A Very Special Episode," due to the important message it gave. The mom got the idea of setting up a popcorn stand outside her dress shop in the mall, hoping the gimmick (she actually called it a gimmick) would help to attract customers. When the two girls announced they were going out for the cheerleading squad, the mom decided that they too needed a gimmick to help them make the squad. She told them to play up the "twin gimmick" (being as they are twins). Well, playing up the twin gimmick only hurt the girls' chances of making the squad even more, and all the mom ended up with was a plethora of uneaten popcorn. The moral of this very special episode? Gimmicks don't pull the train, power pulls the train.

I'm going to try to go with up to 4 rounds a day for KankaMatic baseball, 2 morning and 2 afternoon. I know some of you may be busy, so I'll relax the deadlines if need be. If this doesn't work, we'll go back to 2-3 rounds a day. Just keep heads up on the draft board to see who's on the clock.

Transaction Wire later this week (looks like it'll be interesting), and of course the AL Central preview some time before next week. Go Irish beat Mountaineers.

Monday, March 08, 2004

KankaMatic Draft Clarifications

  • Pete will now be drafting for himself. Also, his favorite team is now the Toronto Blue Jays (unless he decides on the Red Sox).

  • I'm going to try to move up to 3 rounds per day. Rounds that are in reverse order (ending Dave, Mike, Ellen) are immediately followed by rounds that start with Ellen, Mike, and Dave. Therefore, I don't need to make any autodraft picks in between. So, starting tomorrow afternoon, I'll post the orders for both rounds 4 and 5. Round 4 will be below round 5, so be sure to pick in the right round first.

  • Feel free to comment on people's picks, but don't let it get out of hand. Try to limit it to 1 or 2 comments per pick, so I can actually find the actual pick in there. Any more comments, you can take them to the KankaNation message board. Also, importantly: the "wrestling move rule" will apply. For those of you not familiar with this rule (begun at poker night): No gloating, or another person may call you out and perform a wrestling move on you. So, comments like "DAH! Kanka just took Albert Pujols" are allowed, but comments like "Oh my God, I had the 7th overall pick and still was able to get Albert Pujols" would consitute a SmackDown.

  • You're not limited to players on the Player Ranking list; neither are you limited to players on your favorite team (or current Major Leaguers). For instance, Dave can take Scott Kazmir, and so can anyone else who wants him.

  • I won't be checking up on the draft except at lunch and after work (today was a minor exception). If you want any questions or complaints answered, reach me at

Weekend in review tomorrow, plus the bubble watch. Transaction Wire and AL Central preview later this week (I'll make no promises about a day this time). Once the baseball previews are done, I'll start keeping track of the teams that are rumored to have an interest in ND's NFL draftees-to-be.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The KankaMatic draft starts Monday morning! Click on over to the KankaMatic message board to participate in the draft. We'll draft 2 rounds a day for the next 20 days or so - one morning round and one evening round (I'll leave some leeway for weekends and Dave and Ellen's upcoming ND trip). Try to have your morning round picks in by 12:30pm eastern (11:30am central), and your evening picks by 6pm eastern (5pm central). The board will look like this:

Round 1 (autodraft SP)
1 Ellen
2 Mike
3 Dave

Pay attention to the number next to your name - that is the order (they may not be displayed in order). To draft someone, click on the "message" that is your name, and reply to that message with your pick. Please try to put your pick name in the message subject line (for instance, replace the subject of "Re: 1 Ellen" with your pick's name).
Please try to wait for the person ahead of you to go. But, if it's nearing the deadline time and the person ahead of you still hasn't picked, feel free to make your pick, and I'll settle any arguments later. If you do not pick by the deadline listed above, you will have the pick autodrafted for that round.

A note of advice: I'll conclude the "evening" round around 6pm and immediately post the order for the next "morning" round. So, if it's your turn and you would like to log on late at night to post your pick for the next "morning" round, feel free. This may actually help speed things along.

If there are still any confusion or questions, please email me at

Ellen, you're on the clock.

MLB Preview #5: NL Central

Chicago Cubs

Mark Grudzielanek/Todd Walker 2b
Corey Patterson CF
Sammy Sosa RF
Moises Alou LF
Derrek Lee 1b
Aramis Ramirez 3b
Alex Gonzalez SS
Michael Barrett C
Kerry Wood
Greg Maddux
Mark Prior
Matt Clement
Carlos Zambrano
Juan Cruz
Well, they came close last year, so this offseason they only got better. I don't see how there's any argument at all about the second base job - it should be Walker hands down. Barrett is an improvement at catcher. The bullpen looks great with the likes of LaTroy Hawkins, and should be a good complement to this rotation. The bench looks a little shaky, but when you look at the lineup and the pitching staff, you realize the bench is good enough. Top this all off with Corey Patterson's return, and this should be another good year for the Cubbies.

Houston Astros

Craig Biggio CF
Morgan Ensberg 3b
Jeff Bagwell 1b
Jeff Kent 2b
Lance Berkman LF
Richard Hidalgo RF
Brad Ausmus C
Adam Everett SS
Roy Oswalt
Andy Pettitte
Roger Clemens
Wade Miller
Tim Redding
The Astros decided to get rid of Billy Wagner, figuring Octavio Dotel and ND grad Brad Lidge could more than make up for him. I don't know if I agree, though. If you have a lights-out bullpen, why not keep it at that? Why play revolving door at closer? We'll see how that experiment works out.
The big news this offseason was the addition of Pettitte and Clemens. Why aren't they starting on opening day? Well, Roy Oswalt has already proven himself as the Astros ace, so why give that job to a new guy? Plus, Oswalt is probably better than Pettitte and Clemens right now; he just suffers from a few injuries and lack of media attention from not living in New York.
There were few other changes to this aging ballclub. In a way, this is the other side of the Indians' coin as far as "our stars are getting older and we still haven't gotten over the hump for a championship yet." Cleveland decided to ship out the stars and rebuild, while Houston decided to keep Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, et al. around. I'm very curious to see how this turns out. And hey, if Houston does win it all this year, I think it's great that the Astros would be able to reward the "Killer B's" for sticking around and staying true to their roots.

St Louis Cardinals

Marlon Anderson/Bo Hart 2b
Edgar Renteria SS
Albert Pujols 1b
Jim Edmonds CF
Scott Rolen 3b
Reggie Sanders RF
Kerry Robinson/So Taguchi/Mark Quinn LF
Mike Matheny C
Matt Morris
Woody Williams
Chris Carpenter
Jeff Suppan
Jason Marquis
I look at this team, and all I can think is that they'll finish 3rd in the division again (barring a very possible collapse by the Astros). The lineup has highs and lows - as you can see, there's no left fielder as of right now. Bo Hart and Edgar Renteria played out of their minds last year, so there's no guarantee they'll repeat that. Plus, Jim Edmonds and Reggie Sanders have to start getting old sooner or later.
I like Suppan and Marquis at the bottom of the rotation, and with the likes of Julian Tavarez, Steve Kline, and Jason Simmontacchi in the bullpen, the staff looks very solid. But, like I said, "solid" will probably only lead them to another 3rd place finish in this tough division.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Tike Redman CF
Jason Kendall C
Craig Wilson/Randall Simon 1b
Raul Mondesi/Daryle Ward RF
Jason Bay/Rob Mackowiak LF
Chris Stynes/Chris Truby 3b
Jackie Wilson SS
Freddy Sanchez 2b
Kris Benson
Kip Wells
Josh Fogg
Oliver Perez
Rick Reed
Ryan Vogelsong
Dave Williams
So much indecision in this lineup. The Pirates have played so many no-namers in the middle infield these past few years that I'm still waiting for my callup to Pittsburgh. Third base is a charmer. Chris "my name isn't Kelly Stinnett!" Stynes is about as generic a utility infielder as you can get. Chris Truby is most famous for being a cult hero on Baseball after some ranting fan tried to use his name in an example about how the media treats Albert Belle. My was that a conversation.
As for the Rick Reed, Raul Mondesi, and Jose Mesa signings (you can't make this group up, plus Mesa is penciled in to close this year): why must you spend $5mil a year for a guy to hit .240 or have an ERA of 5.25? Can't you find someone in your minor league system who will do it for $300,000 a year? It just seems to me that the Pirates haven't been spending wisely as of late.

Cincinnati Reds

D'Angelo Jimenez 2b
Barry Larkin SS
Sean Casey 1b
Ken Griffey, Jr. CF
Austin Kearns LF
Adam Dunn RF
Brandon Larson 3b
Jason LaRue C
Paul Wilson
Corey Lidle
Jimmy Haynes
Brandon Claussen
Aaron Harang
Juan Acevedo
I should put up a huge asterisk in 72 point font that notes that this is the Reds' opening day lineup. For an example, take this SAT-style comparison:
Reds' outfield:hamstrings::
(read: the Reds' outfield is to hamstrings as...)
a. Tom Timmermans:Dutch
b. Ellen:loving Kanka
c. Boumtje:Boumtje
d. Shea Ralph:ACLs
If you answered (d), you're correct. Griffey Jr./Kearns/Dunn pretty much guarantees a hamstring pull per month. Add to that Barry Larkin's age and perennial injury problems at third (let's just say Aaron Boone's latest injury wasn't his first), and this lineup won't be together for anywhere close to 162 games.
As for the pitching staff, the only comment I have is that it appears to be a list of young "future stars" who never worked out for other clubs - Lidle, Claussen, and Harang are the big ones here. Of course, who knows, maybe they just need a little more time. It wouldn't at all surprise me, however, to see Casey Fossum pitching for the Reds by the end of July.

Milwaukee Brewers

Craig Counsell SS
Scott Podsednik CF
Junior Spivey 2b
Geoff Jenkins LF
Wes Helms 3b
Ben Grieve RF
Lyle Overbay 1b
Chad Moeller C
Ben Sheets
Doug Davis
Matt Kinney
Wayne Franklin
Wes Obermueller
So, do you come here often? Brewers fans don't. The Brewers, or as I like to call them, "the Arizona Diamondbacks split squad," don't look any closer to crawling out of the basement this year. Spivey is a solid hitter, and Counsell will be great veteran leadership. But the loss of Richie Sexson really hurts the Brewers. Stuck in a "swing for the fences" lineup, Geoff Jenkins has never been able to put of the batting average numbers he did in college, and now he has injury problems to worry about as well. Wes Helms and Ben Grieve are two more guys with an "all or nothing, but mostly nothing" swing, which won't help Jenkins at all. Add in the fact that Ben Sheets is the only halfway decent pitcher on the entire staff, and this may be another ugly year for the team that inhabits "the good land."

Thursday, March 04, 2004

The NL Central preview will have to wait, as I'm taking the night off for the ND-Georgetown game.

I have been receiving many hits lately looking into the Coors Light wingdog commercial. I haven't been able to find this commencial online yet, but I can give you the lyrics curtesy this site. If you go to, you can check out the Wingman commercial. You can also find an interesting article on the Wingman theory on this site, about halfway down the page.

Go Irish, Beat Hoyas.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Transaction Wire

BALCO gives 'roids to Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Marvin Benard, Benito Santiago, and Randy Velarde... uh-ledge-ud-lee. No huge surpises on this list, especially since all play for or have played for the Giants, Dodgers, or A's. The presence of Benard and Velarde on this list only prove Mark McGuire's old theory: "it doesn't matter what you're on, you still have to hit the ball."
Chicago Bears sign Morrissey stall notes hero Thomas Jones and ND alum Mike Gandy. Bears also release Kordell Stewart and name Rex Grossman starting QB. The Jones deal apparently means that Anthony Thomas is on his way out the door. Some may consider that a risky move, but I say it's a good way to shake things up and hopefully get Da Bears back on the winning track.
Mets consider a trade for Alfonso Soriano, who would probably move to RF. For all the Soriano bashing I do, he is a young star with power, and this would be a good move for the Mets. The Mets have already said no to dealing away Jose Reyes, but now it looks like it would be Soriano for pitching phenom Scott Kazmir. Dave, I know you're high on Kazmir, but I would take this deal. There's no way of knowing how a Class A pitcher will turn out, and Soriano isn't that old himself (until someone finds immigration papers that say he's 36), so he'll be an important piece in the rebuilding of the Mets. If this trade does go down, I would pity Kazmir, however. I can see the Rangers sticking him in the rotation at the beginning of this year, where he'll get off to a rocky start and then completely lose all his confidence. This of course would scar him to a point where his career would never really get of the ground. (Don't worry, though, because if the Mets have patience with him, I'll sure he'll be great.)
Eagles name Trent Walters secondary coach, and suddenly Philadelphia fans hope that it's Larry Fitzgerald and not Mike Williams drafted into their division. Eagles also sign Jevon Kearse.

Thoughts on St. Patrick's Day

So, I was going through my yearly early March "Why should I celebrate St. Patrick's Day? I'm not Irish! Why don't we have a national holiday for Slovakia's patron saint" rant, I started looking into Slovakia's patron saint, Our Lady of the Assumption (September 15, also known as Our Lady of Sorrows). I came across this site, which also lists all Slovak national holidays. Here's some of the better ones:
  • Victory over Facism Day, May 8 (celebrates end of WWII, 1945)
  • Slovak National Uprising Anniversary, August 29 (1944 rise against Nazi Germany)
  • Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day, November 17 (1939 student demonstration against Nazi occupation, 1989 Prague demonstation against Communism that sparked the Velvet Revolution).

I leave you with some of the better headline's from this week's SportsPickle. NL Central preview tomorrow.
Jamal Lewis cleared of charges after entire Justice Department stabbed to death (Coincidentally, many Baltimore fans think that this is a sign the Ravens will win the Super Bowl this year, as the last time they won was after Ray Lewis's involvement in a double murder. I love SportsPickle's anti-Ray Lewisness, especially when they point out that more people are concerned about the double murder rap tarnishing Lewis's record than they are concerned about the two people who died.)
"Satan" Headlines Cause Buffalo Minister to Predict "End Times" For those of you still confused, check here, and also note that Satan is a captain of the Slovak National Team.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Lorain Catholic Closes out its Gymnasium in Style

74-39 win gives team share of conference title

What an experience, but where to begin?
This game was originally scheduled as a home game for the Patriots of Open Door Christian school. Being without a gymnasium of their own, Open Door usually plays their home games in the gym of the now closed Elyria West High School. However, Open Door head coach Alan Januzzi, an LC alum and one of only three boys' basketball coaches in LC history, felt it was only appropriate that this game be played in the LC gym.
This was the game of the week for both of the radio stations that carry Lorain County High School basketball. The entire student body joined the cheerleaders in forming a tunnel for the Lorain Catholic Spartans on the floor. Being as Open Door was still considered the home team, Lorain Catholic came out in their red uniforms. How appropriate, a radio announcer pointed out, since the home jerseys simply said "Spartans," but the away jerseys read "Lorain Catholic." The crowd was a sea of red and white. Although the "Spartan Superfans" were definitely not as good as in my day (harumph harumph), it was nice to see some spirit and fire in the student section.
A prayer by the principal of Open Door was followed by the National Anthem, begun by two LC senior girls, but joined by every person in the now-packed gym. Next, LC assistant principal Jim Lawhead - Lorain County's second-winningest basketball coach all time (516 wins) and father of current LC coach Matt Lawhead - approached center court. His words were emotional: part eulogy and part pep talk. "We have our memories, and they can never take those away from us!"
This would have been a great night for basketball even without the surrounding circumstances. LC was playing for a share of the North Coast Athletic Conference title. They were one game back of Open Door in the conference standings, and their only conference loss this year was to that same Open Door team. LC moved out to a huge lead in that game, but once they took the defensive pressure off, Open Door came back and won it in the final seconds. So, LC needed to stay aggressive this whole game. Also of note, LC senior Brandon Neal was 11 points shy of reaching 1,000 for his career. In attendance was his father, a former LC 1,000 point scorer.
The game started the same way the last Spartan-Patriot contest did: LC bumfuzzled Open Door with active, agressive defense and a full court press, while a tightly packed Open Door 1-2-2 zone cut Neal off from the basket and exposed LC's outside shooting weakness. The score was 14-8 after one. Then, the "Noel Kukucka John Ziegler David Heatley Matt Hess Chris Pastor John Katricak Michelle Hennes Liesel Stevens Michael Pogachar (?) (?) Memorial Pep Band" (named after the senior leader of the pep band for each year; I lost count shortly after I graduated) performed the signature drum cadence/cheer of LC, "Super Spartans." This of course fired up the Spartan Superfans, and it apparently sparked the basketball team as well.
The Spartans press came out in full force, and really opened up the game. Only a few key three pointers gave Open Door a glimmer of hope. But that glimmer may have been ousted with 1.6 seconds left in the half. It was then that Brandon Neal hit a driving jumper to put himself over the 1,000 point mark. LC coach Matt Lawhead's pregame decision to not stop the game for Neal payed off, as LC guard Michael Cruz stole the inbound pass for another quick two before halftime.
The second half was only more bad news for Open Door. Not only did the LC press completely shut down the Open Door offense before it even got halfway to center court, but Brandon Neal also started to discover his three point touch. Neal was taken out of the game after hitting 30 points, and was rewarded with hugs from his coaches, parents, and the grandmother who raised him. Lorain Catholic's huge lead gave Coach Lawhead plenty of time to play his bench. The bench bunch's night was capped off by a bank shot three from the top of the key with 20 seconds left. (note to Hoosiers fans: Coach Matt Lawhead's solution to slow down the running up of the score: 5 passes!)
LC's basketball court was built to be college sized, so Jim Lawhead can use his fast, well-conditioned teams to run circles around opponents. This night was a return to that style of play - the elder Lawhead could definitely be proud of the Spartans' uptempo offense and active, swarming defense.
Postgame started with the student section storming the court and shouting the fight song. The LC boys proceeded to cut down the north net. Coach Matt Lawhead took his loop of the net and handed the scissors to his father Jim. Jim Lawhead finished of the net, raised his fists triumphantly, and gave one more signature whistle. The LC girls' team took care of the south net, with head coach Angie Chet passing things off to her mentor Ken Pogachar.
What followed was a family reunion. No one wanted to leave. People were hugging and reminicing and having a great old time with people they hadn't seen in ages. It was quite an experience, and it will not be soon forgotten by anyone in attendance.

Irish Men Overpower UCLA 75-60

Timmermans celebrates 1,000 nicknames with 20 points

UCLA just doesn't look good this year. ND got off to its traditional slow shooting start, but fortunately the Bruins got off to an even worse one.
Chris Thomas shot over 40% for the first time in, well, probably ever. Chris Quinn stepped up in his new role as a spark off the bench, shooting 4-6 from three point land. No one on the Irish got more than 8 rebounds (that honor went to Tom Timmermans), but when you shoot 48.4% for the game, who needs rebounding? (no, I don't really mean that).
It was a fun game to watch, but unfortunately UCLA doesn't quite have the RPI clout this year to make this an important win.

Good Ol' Fashioned Ramblings

  • Did you ever notice how much that one guy in the "wingdog" commercial looks like a dark haired Pete McCall? He even gives a very Pete McCall-esque look at the end of the commercial. Maybe it is Pete. After all, he is an official Coors Light beer taster.
  • The fact that there are only 26 kids signed up for next year's freshman class is listed as the main reason for LC's closing. Two LC mothers have started a "recruiting campaign" of sorts, going around to try and sign kids up for LC next year. The mothers site an increased focus on fundrasing and a decreased focus on recruiting as the reason for LC's downfall. An increased focus on fundraising and a decreased focus on recruiting? NDNation would have a field day with this.
  • There was one kid on the Open Door team that looked exactly like Nick Setta. Ellen, if you were there, you would have run out on the court and hugged him.
  • I was reading today about a southern congresswoman (that's right, she's female) who actually wants to repeal the women's right to vote. She claims that women's sufferage has greatly hurt family values. In the old days, men could vote and make decisions for their spouses. She sees this as a resposibility of men; men are not making decisions for women, instead they are simply speaking on women's behalf. This frees up time for women to clean house and tend to family. So, the ability of women to vote and run for congress is simply a result of men being lazy and not doing their spousal duty, according to this women.
  • Still can't decide who to vote for in the presidential election? Yeah, right, not this group. Well, if you are, check out this site. I won't tell you my complete results, but apparently a 51% match with the Socialist Party. Coincidentally, the candidate closest to my views (although only a 63% match) is also a Cleveland-area man of Polish decent with funny hair and who enjoys polka, bowling, and kielbasa.

NFL Draft 2004 Notes

  • Julius Jones is apparently drawing interest from the Dallas Cowboys as a second round pick.
  • Early reports state that Darrell Campbell would like to play DT if at all possible.
  • Other reports also state that Senator Courtney Watson would like to play weakside linebacker. If I was a broadcaster who was trying to sound smart, I would say he wanted to play the "Will" linebacker, then spend the next 10 minutes explaining why it's called that.

Bubble Watch

ND Men

Current RPI: 49
Conference Leaders < 49: 12
Adjusted Bubble RPI: 37
So, they're close. Of course, moving up 6 spots moved them past 3 conference leaders. It'll take a good run in the Big East tourney to make the big tourney.

ND Women

The womens' #10 SOS gives them an RPI of 23. A loss to Rutgers apparently didn't hurt, as the women actually moved up two spots. A 15 point lead over Syracuse with 8 minutes left on senior night should also help the Irish.

KankaMatic Corrections

Thanks to Dave for the input. Like I've said, I don't have an exstensive fantasy baseball experience base, so all suggestions help. Here's some corrections, which I'll also post on the KankaMatic site.
  • I'll cut the number of relief pitchers down to 3 (unless you want to barter me down to two). There are few enough players that each team should get at least 2 decent closers and a good setup man (or two decent closers and a mediocre one). I'll update the autodraft order so 2/3 of the pitcher rounds are for starters (SP-SP-RP-SP-SP-RP instead of alternating).
  • I'll cut fielding down to 10%. I was hoping to accomplish two things with fielding: 1) make the National League guys happy by making it a disadvantage to carry a pure DH and 2) show that all-glove, no-hit players (like me) are entirely underrated.
  • Yes, if you want, you can carry a bench of 8 catchers. But, seing that Joe Mauer of the Twins is a top 15 catcher and hasn't played a game yet, I don't think you'd want to. Plus, if one of your "starters" gets hurt, you'll need a replacement. (interesting note on Joe Mauer: a few years back, the Twins had the first overall pick. Knowing they couldn't afford obvious #1 Mark Prior, they decided to take local HS prospect Mauer. If contract negotiations hadn't worked with Mauer, the Twins would have taken Matt Macri, now Notre Dame's starting SS. The fortunate thing for Macri is, if he had been drafted, his play probably would have made him a "bust" and had him out of baseball by now.)

Transaction Wire tomorrow; NL Central Thursday.

Monday, March 01, 2004

I've been noticing a lot of hits from people looking for the Tom Timmermans nickname list. Well, they're right here.