Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reading the Tea Leaves

Now, keeping in mind, that I don't know anymore than you, let me tell you how I read the tea leaves regarding Tom Brady and his contract. As you know, he's in the last year of his deal in Foxboro. He's married to ubermodel Gisele Bundchen, and has a son, John Edward Thomas (J.E.T.) with Bridget Moynahan. J.E.T. resides in Cailfornia. He and wife Gisele are building the huge manse pictured(image from alecbyrne.com) in LA. His Beacon Street condo was for sale for $10.9m, but recently was removed from the market. My take on all of it? If I had a son, a dazzling new palace, with a wife and new baby in it, you'd be hard pressed to get me to sign a contract all the way on the other coast, in the cold.
Of course, I thought Adalius Thomas would be here if he wasn't traded during the draft. We know how that turned out.

Loudon Road Race Series at NHMS

I had a chance to go to NHMS this weekend and caught some of the action during the Loudon Road Race Series. The LRRS features some exciting motorcycle racing throughout the racing season at Loudon. A typical weekend will have 13 different races, with varying levels of competitor ability. All are exciting to watch. The best deal of all is for $25, you get an infield pass, allowing you to get up close to the action. Single day passes are $15 for adults. There are various grandstands in the infield for viewing. I found the action in 'the bowl' to be some of the most fun, as competitors would routinely race 3 wide. The next LRRS event is scheduled for May 15-16. More info at http://www.nhms.com/ and at http://lrrsracing.com/.
Interested in becoming a racer yourself? Check out perguinracing.com. Penguin Racing schools offer licensing for the LRRS. Their schools teach you some of the necessary skills to make you a better rider on the street, get you on the track, and get you some individual instruction. I met with Instructor Dana Temple,and he informed me that they teach you some advanced rider skills to "make you a better rider." Full rentals, leathers and bikes, are available. They have some upcoming events at NHMS, and I'll keep you posted of what's coming here at Section 102. Ride safe and have fun.

Pats Draft: Day 3

Look, I am about as far from Mel Kiper as you can get. I only know about these guys what I read, just like you. You get into third day drafts, and you get away from name recognition. I have to trust Route 1 as they have found late round gems in the past, there is no reason to think they won't this year.
Round 4, pick 113: TE Aaron Hernandez. Another Florida Gator, the third in this draft class, Hernandez is the 2009 winner of the Mackey Award. He's another big guy, at 6'3", 250 lbs, and considered a steal by Peter King over at SI. Albert Breer has a report that he failed drug tests, and that was the reason he was available in the 4th round. If he can stay away from the ganja, he may be a nice little find in the fourth round.
Round 5 had me grinning all day, with the selection of Zoltan Mesko, P, out of Michigan. He's listed by the Pats website as 6'5", 250lbs, and he's a punter!! If he's good enough to make the squad, look for him to be a fan favorite. Don't mess with the Zoltan!!!

In the 6th, The Pats took OL Ted Larsen out of NC State. He's listed at 6'2", 304 lbs. The 7th round, the Flying Elvii selected OL Tom Welch (6'6", 307) out of Vanderbilt. The 7th round yielded three picks, D-linemen Brandon Deaderick and Kad Weston, and QB Zac Robinson.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Round 3, pick #90, WR Taylor Price

The 6 footer out of Ohio? The scouting report I just read was the second time I've heard of this guy. The 1st time was when he was drafted. ummm. Draftcountdown.com says he's got a good work ethic and is a good leaper. Good at vertical routes. Compared to Darius Heyward Bey. 4.41 40 time is ok. Could be a real surprise.
image from collegesportsfeed.com

Round 2, pick #62, ILB Brandon Spikes

Another pick I like. Spikes was the leader of the Gators defense in his tenure there. He's got good size for an ILB, 6'3", 255, and should play well with Mayo on the inside. Noted run stopper. 40 speed was a pedestrian 5.00, but supposedly plays better on the field. Suspect in pass coverage. You know about the eye gouge, which will be all over the sports highlights soon enough. This guy coached by the master LB coach? Love the pick. Compared to EJ Henderson by walterfootball.com.
image from getseengetsigned.com

Round 2, pick #53, OLB Jermaine Cunningham

This pick of Jermaine Cunningham looks like a bit more of a reach. Scouting reports have him listed as undersized (6'3", 252) but explosive in the pass rush. Clearly was favored by Coach Meyer, who is tight with The Mad Scientist. Sack #'s were not spectacular in college, but the reports say he's very athletic. Newerascouting.com compares him to Colt LB Robert Mathis. That'd be ok. Definitely fills a need for New England's anemic pass rush.

Round 2, pick # 42, TE Rob Gronkowski

This guy has the potential to be a beast. He's 6'6", 258, and runs a 4.65 40. He's Arizona's all-time leader in receptions, yards, and TD's by a TE. He missed the 2009 season due to a back injury that required surgery. He had 47 receptions and 10 TD's in 2008. Draftboardinsider.com compared him to Jason Whitten of the Cowboys. He was forecast a mid round 1 guy before his injury. Impressive. This could be the seam runner we've sorely missed in the Belechick Era.
image from allsports.com

Pats Draft Day 2

Well, has angry as I was last night with McCourty in Round 1, I'm borderline giddy with tonight's action. The Mad Scientist and his team not only have picked some players who should fill immediate needs, but he's acquired more picks throughout the draft. Tonight, they drafted 4 players in the 2nd and 3rd round, while coming away with 4 picks in rounds 1-2 for 2011. I have to tip my hat to Dr. Hoodie for finding a way to acquire picks where they have none. They traded the 89th pick in the 3rd round for a 2nd round pick from Carolina in 2011. All this was done, mind you, when they had no 3rd round pick as of Thursday morning. So, recapping, The Hoodie squirrelled away two third round picks, drafting a player (WR Taylor Price), and trading a pick for a 2nd rounder in 2011, all without having a 3rd rounder to begin with. Nice.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More on McCourty....

Albert Breer over at Extra Points agrees with me. I really think this pick should have been made to get a D-lineman. I also think until the pass rush is fixed, we could have Revis back there, and it wouldn't matter. Much. The team lost D-lineman when Jarvis Green signed with Denver, further depleting a thin unit. Baltimore ran roughshod all over this team in the playoffs, and Route 1 takes a return man/DB?

Now that I've bitched how I hate the pick, He'll be a HOF/pro-bowl/take away corner that they haven't had since Ty Law. I still say they should have gone either a big man or OLD/DE type. You have to figure they'll take a TE or a WR with one of the three round 2 picks. I think this pick admits how bad they dropped the ball in 2008, with Wilhite and Wheatley. I hate the pick.

HOF Lock. You wait.
image from footballsfuture.com

Pats select CB Devin McCourty

Another Smurf sub 6 foot CB?? I know the guys plays 'long' (what the hell does that mean?) With guys like Odrick and Kindle still out there, we take another corner? I'm disappointed initially. I would like to have seen a D-lineman or a pass rushing DE/OLB. Route 1 must figure the players they need will be there in round 2. We'll see. This to me admits failure with the picks of Wheatley, Wilhite, maybe Butler, and return man Matt Slater.

Broncos Take Tim Tebow in Round 1

Maybe it's my belief of the arrogance in New England, but I can't help but think all this wineing and dining the Pats did of Tebow was advance scouting for Denver and McDaniels. Perhaps it was Dr. Hoodie's way of telling Hoodie Jr. that Tebow was the real deal.
Pats moved down twice...as usual...and are on the clock.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Patriots Schedule Announced

The NFL is clearly the best sport when it comes to marketing itself. Two days before the 1st prime time draft, they announce the schedule. All the football geeks are checking their calenders. Then Thursday they'll sit down with a bowl of chips and a rack of beer and discuss the merits of each draft pick with their buddies. Here's a breakdown of the Pats 2010 season:

Sunday Sept 12: Bengals at Patriots,
Sunday Sept 19: Patriots at Jets, 4:15pm
Sunday Sept 26: Bills at Patriots
Monday Oct 4: Patriots at Dolphins: 8:30pm
Oct 10: bye
Sunday Oct 17: Ravens at Patriots
Sunday Oct 24: Patriots at Chargers 4:15pm
Sunday Oct 31: Vikings at Patriots 4:15pm
Sunday Nov 7: Patriots at Browns
Sunday Nov 14: Patriots at Steelers 8:20pm
Sunday Nov 21: Colts at Patriots 4:15pm
Thursday Nov 25: Patriots at Lions 12:30pm
Monday Dec 6: Jets at Patriots 8:30pm
Sunday Dec 12: Patriots at Bears
Sunday Dec 19: Packers at Patriots 8:20pm
Sunday Dec 26: Patriots at Bills
Sunday Jan 2: Dolphins at Patriots

I see 2 gimmes, Lions and Browns, and 2 should be's, the Bills. The rest...well, let's see how Thursday and Friday turn out.

Fisher Cats Hot Out Of The Gate

The EAS Eastern Division leading NH Fisher Cats have gotten off to a hot start here in the cool month of April, posting a 7-4 record. During that 11 game start, they have been led by lefthander Luis Perez. In his first home start and 3rd appearance, Perez worked a no-hitter for 6 1/3 innings, before surrendering a homer to Binghamton's Luis Hernadez. This followed up Perez' 1 hit outing in Reading, Pa. Perez thus far has posted a 0.53 ERA with 2 wins. Closer Danny Farquhar has yet to allow a run, saving 4 in 5 appearances.

On the hitting side, The Cats have been led by Brad Emaus. The second baseman out of Kalamazoo, Mi. has paced the squad, hitting .375. The speedy Darin Mastroianni already has 6 stolen bases, leading the Eastern League.

Luis Perez' next start is scheduled for Friday, at Binghamton. The Cats finish up the current home stand Wednesday, before heading off to a 7 game road trip to the aforementioned Binghamton. They finish the road trip with a 3 game slate at the Trenton Thunder (Yankees). Looking ahead, Perez next home start should be May 4th.

The Fisher Cats can be heard online at wgiram.com, and at 610 AM.

So Much For Run Prevention

The only thing this 'run prevention' philosophy has done for the 2010 Red Sox is prevent them from scoring runs. Before you fire off that email with venom dripping from your keyboard, I know it's only 13 games in to a 162 game schedule. Bosox are 0-32 in the last 32 AB's with runners in scoring position. Youkilis, Martinez, Ortiz, and Drew are collectively hitting .186, going 33-177. That stat alone should tell you that this team is going to struggle putting up runs. Production out of the middle of the order has been atrocious. In the Tampa series alone, the Sox only managed 10 runs in 4 games. With that kind of production, even if pitching is superb, wins will be hard to come by.

...and pitching has been less than superb. John Lester has only managed 16 innings in 3 starts, with a whopping 8.44 ERA. John Lackey has a slightly better ERA, at 5.63. Lackey has only managed 8k's in his 3 starts. Josh Beckett's #'s have been a little more Beckett-esque, posting a 3.86 ERA, with 2 no decisions and 1 win.

So, do I think it'll continue? No. Lackey and Lester's #'s will improve dramatically. Youk, V-Mart and JD Drew's numbers will also have dramatic increases. Once these things happen, wins will pile up. It's just gonna be tough to watch until they do improve.

Pats to Sign Tory Holt

Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe is reporting the Flying Elvii will sign 12 year veteran WR Tory Holt to a 1 year deal. My initial thought is "ugh, here we go again". It seems to me that we haven't learned that old retread wideouts won't cut it in Foxboro. (Joey Galloway, Greg Lewis) Having said that, this guy was the man from 2000-2005. He has over 13,300 in total yards, with 920 career receptions. If, and that's a big if, this guy is asked to fill the role of Sam Aiken, and catch 50-60 balls this season, then this could be a good signing. He had 51 receptions last season for the Jacksonville Jaguars. If he being looked at as a #2 receiver, then I don't like it. We'll see. Hmmmm, seems to be a lack of in-Bill-we-trust in my tone. Image from fannation.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Odds-n-Ends in Sports

  • I had a chance to watch The Masters this weekend. What a nice course that is, it presents so well on TV. Like everyone else, I wanted to follow Tiger Woods and see what he did. I don't see what the fuss was about. It took him 2 shots to get out of the beach on #2. He yanked his drive into the trees on #11, striking a tree with his follow up shot. Woods had 3 putts on 14. What's the big deal? I can do all that, hit trees, get stuck in the sand, throw clubs and yell 'you suck'. Maybe Nike will sponsor me?

  • Interesting how much of a difference watching Phil Mickelson stroll up 18 to the heartfelt applause of the 'patrons' at Augusta than it would have been watching a victorious Woods if he managed to win on Sunday. It wasn't lost on me that Phil's wife, Amy, was just off the green waiting for her man. It would have been cold to see Tiger win it and have no one to hug him other than his complicit caddy. As Phil walked off the green at 18, and into the loving arms of his family, it was a victory for all the good guys in the world.

  • After you've read that above, do you find it hard to believe I rooted against Tiger?

  • The J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets keep making bold off season moves. They have added Santonio Holmes to the wide out crew. This off season they have added a lot of volatile players. Holmes was suspended Monday for 4 games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. They added Antonio Cromartie, and his questionable paternity, as well as a possibly over the hill LT. I look for the Jets to be damn near unstoppable at some point during this season. I suspect the team will mirror their tough guy coach, and as long as things are good, no problem. I also figure it'll get ugly when the wheels come off, as I'm sure, with all these hot heads, they will. Image from nydailynews.com

Fisher Cats Home Opener Thursday Night

The NH Fisher Cats begin their first home stand this week, as they take on the Binghamton Mets at 6:35pm Thursday night. The Cats have gotten off to a good start, going 3-1, sweeping New Britain before dropping their first Monday night to the Reading Phillies. During that stretch, Brad Emaus has gone 6-15 at the plate, with 6 RBI's and one dinger. Out of the bullpen, Daniel Farquhar has yet to allow a hit in two appearances, saving two games. Zach Stewart pitched well in his opening start, scattering 4 hits in 5 innings to earn his first victory of the season.

Luis Perez gets the start tonight in Reading. He pitched well in the opener, going three hitless innings in relief of Kyle Drabek, striking out 4. Game time tonight is a 6:35pm. As always, the game can be heard on 610 AM, or online at http://www.wgir.com/.

Coming to NHMS

The NH Karting Association has their first event at NHMS this Saturday, the 17th. If you are looking for pure racing without all the pomp and circumstance of the national touring series', this is for you. These are high speed, high performance karts, some capable of 120 mph. I had a chance to meet with Mike Camarra of NHKA, and he touched on some points for those interested in getting into karting. He informed me the NHKA races locally at NHMS, as well as Sugar Hill Speedway in Weare. He said racers start as young at 5 years of age, although they don't race at the high speeds the adults do. Someone interested in getting into this type of racing can do so for as little as 2-3k start up. He showed me some of the karts they run at Daytona, and explained that they actually draft just like the big boys do. This is very exciting, high performing racers that corner like Indy cars on a fraction of the budget. Day passes are available at the gate at NHMS. Check out NH Karting at NHKA.net. The image is from their website.

A great opportunity to get your inexperienced teen driver some real world experience without the danger of doing it on the road comes up on April 24. The White Mountain Chapter of the BMW Car Club Association holds it's first Street Survival program at NHMS. This is an autocross type layout, where the 16-20 year old drivers fill the gap from driver's ed to real world driving. The kids have a chance to drive their own vehicles on a skid pad, experience braking/lane changes, and other emergency driving situations, all with an instructor in the car at all times. They run 320 schools nationwide, a typical day offers each driver 5-6 hours of seat time, with less than an hour of school training. Talking with chief instructor Dick Cadieux, it sounded like a lot of fun to me, never mind for my kid. Check them out at http://www.wmc-bmwcca.org/. This invaluable instruction seems like a deal at $75, and registration for the 24th is still open.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Red Sox Opening Day Random Thoughts

  • I don't see what Joshua Sacco and his "Miracle" re-enactment has to do with baseball or the Red Sox. Don't get me wrong, I think the kid is great, very cute. I don't see how a hockey speech translates into an opening day match up between the Sox and Yanks.
  • It was nice to see Pedro Martinez back in Fenway. It makes you realize how much he is missed. Every game Pedro started had an electricity about it that is missing from today's games. There was a taste of it Dice-K's 1st season, but no more. It was amazing every night Petey pitched.
  • Speaking of which, why does A-Rod have to horn in on someone else's spotlight? I groaned when I saw him hug Pedro, during Pedro's ovation. This is not the first time A-Rod has had an all-about-me moment. Let Petey have his moment, hug him after for cryin' out loud.
  • There's a reason they call it Opening Day. It's during the day! It's bad enough the game starts at 8:00pm. Add to that Sox/Yankees games end up being marathons, and it makes for a long day at work the following day.
  • I really don't want to see the Yankees on the schedule until Memorial Day, when the games start counting. Open with Baltimore, KC, anyone but the Bombers.
  • Did you catch Jerry Remy calling out Big Papi for missing fastballs? Seemed he was right on top of Ortiz that first night. I wager David won't have 2 months of goodwill this year to get things going at the plate.

NH Fisher Cats Open at New Britain

The NH Fisher Cats are slated to begin the 2010 season this Thursday, at the New Britain Rock Cats, the AA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The Cats opening day roster is projected to include pitching prospects Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart, as well as returning Cats David Cooper, catcher Brian Jeroloman, and former major leaguer Marty McLeary (pictured). 23 year old Stewart is a highly rated prospect in the Jays organization. The right hander was acquired last season as part of the deal that sent Scott Rolen to Cincinnati. Marty McLeary has spent time with the Pirates and Padres, compiling a 2-0 record with a 5.28 ERA.
The Fisher Cats can be heard on WGIR 610AM, and online at www.wgiram.com. Game time Thursday is 6:05pm.

NHMS Fan Appreciation Day

  • NHMS held their Fan Appreciation day at the speedway last Saturday. The speedway allowed patrons who had purchased tickets to drive thier cars for 2 laps on the Magic Mile. I'm not sure what was more fun, driving, or watching fans take their laps. Two noteworthy laps had me laughing. First, an early 80's Chevy Suburban, flying the flags of Jeff Gordon, with a big ol'e 24 made out of red duct tape adorning the door. Second, watching some Dad drive Mom's Toyota Sienna 3 wide into turn 1, passing two other minivans in the process. Easy there, King Richard.
  • I had a chance to look into some of the other events that the track hosts, including Penguin Racing Schools, NH Karting Association, and the White Mountian Chapter of the BMW car club. I'll have more on each of these at a later date, but feel free to check out their websites.

Odds-n-Ends in Sports

  • I watch maybe one college basketball game per year, and this year was no exception. If they were all like last night's national championship game, we'd all be fans of the game. With time expiring, Butler's Gordon Hayward's desperation heave almost brought his school the national title. It was an amazing finish, to a very entertaining basketball game.
  • Josh Beckett signed a reported 4 year/68m extension. This deal makes sense for Beckett, as Lackey and Yankee A.J. Burnett both got 5 year deals for a little less per year. It makes sense for the Sox, as now they have four #1 starters locked up long term.
  • Tiger Woods did his best impression of Bill Belichick at his Monday press conference from Augusta. He came off a little less monotone than Dr. Hoodie, but I swear there's a "just trying to give myself the best chance to win" in the transcript. He was fed an embarrassing amount of softball questions by a media more interested in helping Woods project an image, while making sure they do not limit their access. From the transcript, "I've won numerous times in the last few years but I wasn't having anywhere near the amount of fun." Really? From what I've read, he's had plenty of fun. I'd like to hear what Elin has to say about this.
  • QB's on the move: Donovan McNabb traded to Washington and Marc Bulger released. McNabb will flourish under Mike Shanahan in Washington, good for him. What about Bulger? Can you see him backing up The Chosen One down on Route 1?