Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Trader jack ass

Almost a full week has past and i have not chimed in with my two cents on the Wally Szczerbiak trade. Even though the Timberwolves have won two out of three with Ricky Davis and Marcus Banks scoring over 20 points respectively in their debuts, i don't like it. It falls under the classic idiot bufoon trade or personnel descion category. Unfortunately, Kevin Mchale has made many of those transactions. I won't forgive Mchale for drafting Will Avery over Ron Artest. I won't forgive Mchale for choosing Will Avery over Bobby Jackson. Trading Wally is not a surprise. He has been part of numerous trade rumours since 2000. But this package was downright ridiculous. Ricky Davis is everything that Wally isn't, but he is nothing that Wally is in the way of shooting, and he is a headcase. Ricky, remember, is the guy who missed a shot purposely at his team's own basket just so he could get a triple double. Mark Blount is basically Michael Olikandi's twin, just not as slow, fat, or pathetic. Marcus Banks could be a player for the timberwolves, but he will be a free agent after this year and some team will most likely make an unbelievable and just plain stupid offer to him that the Timberwolves could never match. Justin Reed is basically a throw in. Now, I think I am the only non female in MN who expressed sorrow that Wally is gone. Let's face it, he was a bonifide scorer who made some clutch shots in his career. After the trade, i wore my old school Nike swingman jersey of his to bed. But don't get me wrong, this trade has not impacted me the way the Randy Moss "trade" has. I use quotes around trade because quite simply, it wasn't a trade. Any grade schooler can tell you that in a trade, you get something for nothing. The Vikings got less than nothing. Anyone close to me will know that in late Febuary of 2005, i went into a serious bout of sadness. I became more and more incredelous when talking to others about it. I think i knew i had a problem when i used one of my phone cards to call a friend who happened to be a fellow Moss fan. Before i talked to him, the automated voice told me i had 200 minutes left on my phone card. I managed to burn those in one setting. This Wally trade could be the Rosetta stone the Timberwolves are looking for. But then again, Wally could just join the list of all stars like Chauncey Billups and Bobby Jackson, and maybe even Stephon Marbury if you want to stretch it, who once played for the Timberwolves.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The return that really matters

It is official, the super bowl hype machine is now on full power. It reaches a supersonic speed tomorrow with the monumental media day. This is where all media, i mean ALL media, come together and pepper players and coaches with questions ranging from on the subject of that little game (how are you going to prepare for the contrasting styles of Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis?) to the interesting (if your life was a movie, who would play you?) to the downright obscene (if you were a tree, which tree would you be?) Every media outlet i am sure will pounce on the Jerome Bettis story. The seeds for Jerome's return to his hometown for the super bowl XL have been proverbially planted since training camp. But I am here to tell the story of another triumphant return; the story of Charlie Batch.

Charlie Batch was drafted in the same draft in 1998 that produced Fred Taylor, Peyton Manning, Randy Moss, and yes, Ryan Leaf. Charlie was from Eastern Michigan, fresh off a six year stint there. In 1998, he was picked by the Detroit Lions as their QB of the future. But, when the starting QB is Scott Mitchell, the future is sooner rather than later. Charlie got his first start against the impressive 2-0 Minnesota Vikings. I had the honor of seeing his first start.
I will never forget the sights of that game; witnessing the breathtaking speed of Randy Moss, the unimaginable moves and accerlation of Barry Sanders, Herman Moore's freaklishly good skills, The incomparable Cris Carter, Pam Oliver's bigger than life head. But, the defining moment of that game was Charlie Batch getting railed by John Randle. I was in the 10th row in the corner of the end zone. Primo seats. I could hear John Randle yell, "HEY CHARLIE!!!" The game was over, i was back to west central MN hell, and i thought this game featured stars upon stars. I could tell my kids about this game and they could tell their grandkids.

Charlie went on to have a modest career as starting QB. BUt, let it be known that he was undefeated in every start on ESPN sunday night football. Also, he won the celebrated "Iron player of the game" award from the great Phil Simms in 2000 when he beat the NE Patriots. But, Charile lost his job to Mike Mcmahon in 2001 and was for all intents and purposes cut when the team drafted Joey Harrington to be their savior or "Keanu Reeves."

But, things changed. Barry retired, Randy would be traded for nothing several years later. Pam Oliver would no longer say thanks to Pat Summeral, but thanks to Joe Douche, i mean, Joe Buck. The irony is that that day, i thought all of these players and this streamroller of a Viking team would not only make it to the Super Bowl; they would make it their playground for years and years. But, the only player to make it to the fabled and historic postseason classic was one, one Charles Batch.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A real "Haslett" about Piazza hut.

So, I guess Mike Piazza met today with the Philadelphia Phillies. To me, it is official now; Mike Piazza will not sign with the Twins. He will, most likely, never ever ever play for the Twins franchise. Now, even though the Rondell White signing was the proverbial writing on the wall, I held out hope. No, not hope. Plain old logic. Logic as in, "They can't possibly think that a guy who only had one decent season back in 1997 could be the answer. They can't possibly pay this guy a salary commencerent to that of Jaque Jones? Can they?" Now, i painfully realize that the twins are through in Free Agency. The guys on paper today in January will be the guys in the lineup, for the most part, in April against Toronto. The Twins by signing Rondell White and Tony Batista to be "the bat" continues to remind me that the Twins franchise is run by idiots. They continue to follow the "Jose Offerman, let's hope he can get back to where he was five years ago" school of player management thought. Signing Mike Piazza would have made so much sense for so many reasons. One, he can still hit. Two, he has always had an extremely high on base percentage. Three, he turns the Twins into an instant contender again. Four, he can teach Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau how to hit big league pitching. Finally, he is Mike Piazza. Young and old, casual fan or plain rabid fanatic, everyone knows who Mike Piazza is; the greatest hitting catcher ever. The bottom line is that with Rondell White, you are "hoping" that he stays healthy and can actually hit left handers. Mike Piazza is a stud and to not sign this guy is totally cowardly.

First time head coach Scott Linehan announced that Jim Haslett will be his defensive coordinator. This is a good move because quite simply, everyone can't be an NFL head coach. I am sure Jim Haslett was a decent guy in N.O. and the players loved him, but for whatever reason (Aaron Brooks), he could not turn it around. There were flashes, yes there were flashes. A decent 2000 team that overachieved with stud leaders like Leroi Glover and Willie Roaf. Being the best team in the NFC south for two and a half months in 2002. But, Haslett was not the steward of the ship. At least, not an effective one. Some guys are just meant to be defensive coordinators. Haslett was a great one in Pittsburgh. Monte Kiffin is a stellar D.C. in T.B. But, Kiffin is a defensive coordinator, so is Haslett. It is where he belongs and where he can help an NFL team. As a coordinator, you don't have to deal with the media constantly, you don't have to keep tabs on every frickin position coach, you don't have to directly answer to the owner, etc. In the NFL, there is a hidden rift in every franchise between the offense and the defense. This move works out for the Rams. Scott Linehan can just focus in on the offense and ocasionally, ask Haslett for advice. Yeah, it works.

Monday, January 23, 2006

bills, bills, bills

So, the Buffalo Bills picked another meaningless head coach today. Coaching retread, Dick Jauron was named today by Ralph Wilson and Marv Levy as the fourth Bills head coach since 1997. This is Jauron's third stint as a head coach, second stint where he was handpicked to be the guy. Now, I am familiar with Jauron as a Viking fan. He usually devised clever defensive gameplans to confuse either Randal Cunningham in 1999 or Daunte Culpepper. But, his Bears teams usually sputtered, only once having a winning season. He was let go after 2003, and then signed with the Lions to be defensive coordinator. After Steve Mariuchi was fired in December 2005, Jauron was the interim head coach. He inherited a beleagured Lions team that was more interested in getting the hell out of Motown than the task of winning football games. Ultimately, Jauron is a worthless headcoach who does not deserve another job. He is an above average defensive coordinator who simply has had an adequate chance to prove himself. The Lions gig was tough and he should not be judged by that because quite honestly, the Lions suck. But, the Bears were a team that only won the NFC north in 2001 because of lucky bounces. In short, it was their year in 2001 like 2005 belongs to the Seahawks, 1999 to the Rams, 1994 to Steve Young's 49ers, and (cough)1998 to the Vikings. And, the Bears did nothing in the playoffs that year. They bowed out to the Eagles on the same day that Michale Jordan's Wizards beat the Bulls in the United Center. Granted, that was an Eagles team with Hugh Douglass and Donavan Mcnabb, but the Bears offense led by Jim Miller did not even for all purposes show up. The Bills might be competitive in most games, even possibly winning a few. But, the Bills needed an offensive guru to help along JP Losman and find ways for Willis Mcgahee to dominate like the running back he claims to be. My theory is that the Bills were ruined back in 2000. Before the wild card playoff game against the Titans, Head coach Wade Phillips made the silly move of benching Doug Flutie in favor of a cold, inactive Rob Johnson. The Bills lost yes, to an unbelievable play. But, Rob Johnson played a game that basically came down to one stinking play. With Doug Flutie, it would not have been that close.