Weekend Recap

September 7, 2010

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On Sunday, I announced the intention to form a worldwide network of local reporters.  I neglected to mention a few things in the original article.  The first is that reporters are free to decline any opportunity for any reason.  The second is that I will attempt to suggest a few relevant questions whenever I give an assignment.  These are intended to be thought starters – you are not forced to answer these questions.  Drop me a line at kosmo@ObservingCasually.com if you have any questions.

Martin Kelly tried his hand at short story writing with The Bomber Pilot.  I like it – give it a read.

My Rockies swept the division-leading Padres over the weekend and nabbed a win against the Reds on Monday.  They are now just 4 1/2 games back in the NL West, thanks to an 11-4 record over the past 15 games.  The Padres have been free-falling as of late, and the Rockies might find themselves battling the Giants (whom they trail by 3 1/2 games) down the stretch.

Carlos Gonzalez has 10 hits in 19 at bats during the 4 games, boosting his league leading batting average to .340.  He trails NL home run leader Albert  Pujols by 4 homers and RBI leader Joey Votto by just a single RBI.  A hot stretch by CarGo would give him a legitimate shot at becoming the first NL player to win the triple crown since Ducky Medwick in 1937.  That year, Medwick paced the senior circuit with a .374 batting average, 31 homers, and 154 RBI.  If Gonzalez does win the triple crown, many people will point to his huge home/road splits.  However, as has been point out several times in the past, Coors Field boosts a typical player’s OPS by about 120 points.  The 450+ point differential enjoyed by CarGo must be due to some non-physical factors.

Today is the day that CarGo’s teammate Troy Tulowitzki will officially become one of his closest pursuers for the batting title.  Due to injury, Tulo falls just short of the threshold for plate appearances required to qualify for the batting title.  After yesterday’s game, Tulo had 424 plate appearances and the required number of PAs was 424.7.  4 plate appearances in today’s game will make him an official qualifier.

Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez finally notched his 18th win on Monday, in his 6th attempt.  After roaring out of the gates to a 14-1 record by the end of June, Ubaldo has run into a bit of a rough stretch, going 3-5 with a 3.98 ERA in the second half.  It hasn’t all been his fault, though.  he has lost the opportunity to win several games because of offensive struggles or bullpen woes.  In the 5 games prior to Monday, Ubaldo was 0-4 with a very good 3.00 ERA.  On the other hand, the offense has taken him off the hook in some games where he hasn’t been at his best (such as yesterday, when he gave up 4 early runs), so I suppose it all balances out in the end.

In NFL news, the Arizona Cardinals parted ways with quarterback Matt Leinart.  The Cardinals expected Leinart to be a cornerstone for them to build around – but in reality, he simply delayed their success by keeping the ball away from Kurt Warner.  Warner retired after last season, meaning that the Cardinals head into the season without their top two quarterbacks from last season.  Derek Anderson will be the starter and will be backed up by rookie Max Hall.

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis finally ended his holdout with the Jets.  I don’t begrudge professional athletes their money (are they overpaid?), but I despise holdouts.  A contract should be respected as a legally binding agreement.  So what if you outperform the contract – you agreed to a salary and should stick to it.  If you think you’re going to outperform your contract, just sign a one year deal with a tiny signing bonus in anticipation of cashing in with the next deal.  Interestingly, there’s a posion pill in the contract.  Id Revis holds out in the next few years, the 4 year deal becomes a 7 year deal – with the final 3 years at low salaries.  Sure, you might say that a player could still hold out anyway, but this posion pill gives the team considerably more leverage, as the player cannot negotiate with any other team while they are under contract.

NFL Predictions

August 24, 2010

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Editor’s note: This is Johnny’s 50th article for The Soap Boxers.  He has been with us longer than any other writer (myself excluded).  I’d like to thank Johnny for all of his hard work and look forward to seeing him write his 100th, 500th, and 1000th article for us!  I’ll leave it to you to figure out why the site is crediting Johnny with 51 articles instead of 50 🙂


With football right around the corner, (and Johnny’s Picks on deck for next week)  today I make some predictions for the 2010 Football Season

Biggest NFL Team disappointment – Minnesota Vikings –  Anything short of a super bowl appearance for the Purple and Gold will be a disappointment, and they are not going to get there.  While they do have a great defense, their offensive line struggles too much at times, their schedule is tough, the division is catching up, and Favre simply cannot replicate his numbers from last year.  Playoff team, likely yes, Super bowl champs?????  Sorry Vike fans.

Biggest Surprise of the NFL Season – I think will be Vince Young.  He is 26-13 all time as a starter, was 8-2 last year with only losses as a starter being to the Colts and the Patriots.  It is no secret that every team they play will put eight guys in the box trying to stop Chris Johnson, this should leave Vince many opportunities for one on one coverage and a chance to have a much better year than

The first starting QB to get benched – Matt Leinart-  The Cardinals will miss Kurt Warner more than Tom Brady misses the Norelco … He has never seemed prepared at this level, has Derek Anderson staring down his back, and no longer has Anquan Boldin.  Sounds like a lot of double teams to me and a lot of time on your back side for this former Heisman Trophy Winner.

Team most flying under the radar this year – Baltimore Ravens.  They get significant offense upgrades with signing Boldin another year of experience of Ray Rice, and Joe Flacco looks poised to have a breakout year.  All that coupled with a still good, but aging defense makes me believe they will make another playoff run.  Why is no one talking about these guys at all?

Biggest Drama I wish would end … Albert Haynesworth.  Ok … we get it already, you are overweight, you don’t like to practice, and you now have a coach that will call you out at every excuse you make.  This is worse than watching the Jersey Shore.  Another smart move signing a guy for the Redskins and way overpaying a problem child on and off the field.  The Redskins are quickly turning into the new look Oakland Raiders.  Island of misfit toys and guys past their prime.  Should be an interesting year in D.C.

Get your pencils sharp for next week with the first installment of Johnny’s picks!