Friday, April 29, 2005

Changes in Blogitudes, Changes in Attitudes.

OK, you may be looking at the sidebar at left and wondering what this "Spur of the Moment" thing is...

Well, I have been asked by Most Valuable Network to do a San Antonio Spurs blog, so I'm going to be doing that in addition to my work here at Cheap Seats.

Yes, I realize it means covering the NBA. My feelings on the NBA have not changed. I still think there are too many posses and entourages, I still think it's a league of thugs and malcontents, and I still think that offenses consist of one man playing one-on-one with his defender while the other 4 stand around and watch.

But when you look closely, you find that there are exceptions to every rule. The San Antonio Spurs are one such exception. They actually play basketball the way it's meant to be played, and they do it with mostly players you can actually root for without being ashamed to do so. In other words, they are the antithesis of the modern NBA. Plus, most of the games are shown here in Austin, and we get plenty of Spurs coverage in the local media, so it's not like I'd be paying extra for anything.

If you are worried about Cheap Seats, it's not going anywhere. I will be here every Monday-Friday bringing you my opinions on all the Texas pro teams, Big XII teams, and sports in general. Think of this new blog as Cheap Seats' kid.

Anyway, if you want to check it out, go to

New to the Blogroll

I also added the following sites to the blogroll:
Later Today: Four to Watch

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Deep in the heart of the NBA playoffs

Texas Team NBA Notes

Not only did
San Antonio take Denver behind the woodshed last night, the Spurs beat the Nuggets so badly that team leader Kenyon Martin lost his composure. To which the Denver Post's Mark Kisla took exception.

That high-altitude home court ain't lookin' so good now, is it?

By the way, the "high altitude fatigue" thing is the most overrated thing when it comes to the discussion of Denver sports. I've seen too many series where the Colorado Avalanche think the high altitude was gonna help them come back in a series, and then the other team goes into the Pepsi Center and plays a great game. Great teams play well anywhere.

In other basketball opinion, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News states that the
Mavericks need to match the Rockets' intensity if they want to get back into the I-45 Series.

Jeff Van Gundy is reminding his troops that the Rockets once came back from 0-2, the same 0-2 hole the Mavs are in now.

When's hockey getting it's act back together?

Top ranked Longhorn baseball loses to Texas State.

Normally when a top-ranked team is upset, it's a big deal. However, this story may have slipped under the radar:

The Texas State Bobcats, formerly known as Southwest Texas State, but dropped the "Southwest" part to appear less like the directional school that it is, beat
the #1 Texas Longhorns 2-1 Wednesday in baseball.

Tomorrow: Mavs-Rockets

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Dallas-Houston Edition.

Cowboys get Glenn

The Cowboys could get veteran corner Aaron Glenn, or at least
that's what the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting.

I don't think he's got the skills left, but assignment corner Terence Newman and nickel corner Pete Hunter may benefit from having a vet like Glenn around, especially one that's been in Parcells system.

A game the Rangers should have won

The Texas Rangers got 4 solo home runs last night. Against a Seattle Mariners team
that has regular starters that bat below the Mendoza line, that should have been enough.

So what was the final score last night?
Mariners 7, Rangers 4.

And if that didn't bring Dallas Sports Fan down enough...

Mavericks are down 0-2 to the Houston Rockets.

Gil LeBreton of the Star-Telegram
thinks it's over for the Mavericks. The Dallas Morning News' Kevin Blackistone worries that Avery Johnson is cracking under the pressure.

On the flip side: John Lopez of the Houston Chronicle opines that
Jeff Van Gundy is simply outcoaching Johnson.

Bowl Game Shuffle

In more college football news, the
Houston Bowl is reportedly moving to New Years Eve to boost exposure. The move comes in response to it's lowest rating and crowd in the bowl's 5 year history for last year's Colorado-UTEP matchup.

Gee, you think the reason ratings were so low last year were maybe that no one wanted to see Colorado and UTEP play?

Because it's never too early to start talking about next year's draft.

USC quarterback Matt Leinart
is already being projected as the top pick in next year's draft by CBS Sportsline. Granted, he should have been #1 this year, but I think projecting next year's draft right after this one is silly.

I mean lots of things could happen to Mr. Leinart in between now and next April.

He could get injured at any time.

He could underperform during the season (a distinct possibility now that Norm Chow went to the Tennessee Titans). Or he could play the same and not have anything to show for it because his defense loses ballgames for him.

He could
date Alyssa Milano. Don't laugh, Milano and Oakland A's pitcher Barry Zito dated after Zito won the Cy Young in '02, and he hasn't been the same pitcher since. Now she's allegedly hanging with Leinart. Alyssa Milano could be the new Madden Cover.

He could win the Heisman again. You know, the "least likely to succeed in the pros" award.

He could put up bad numbers at the combine.

He could have a bad senior day.

The 49ers, who drafted a QB this year, may wind up with the #1 pick again.

Point is, any number of things could go wrong for Matt Leinart in between now and draft day to knock him out of the top pick. Which makes all projections right now sort of meaningless.

Tomorrow: Who knows?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Canton High Coach released from hospital

At least he's physically OK.

Few months back Gary Joe Kinne, the high school football coach of Canton High School in East Texas, was shot by an angry parent of one of his players. (Am I being redundant when I'm talking about an angry athletic kid's parent?)

Kinnie was released from a Tyler hospital.

College football still does not get it

Randy Riggs from the Austin American-Statesman reports that the BCS is
looking for a second human poll to replace the Associated Press poll.

Never mind that college football is in the mess it's in because 2 human polls could not decide an undisputed national champion to begin with.

Also on the table at the meeting of BCS commissioners is
the issue of IDing the people who vote in the coaches poll, which the coaches will never agree to.

Bertuzzi presses his case for reinstatement (like he pressed Steve Moore into the ice)

Todd Bertuzzi has a hearing today with the NHL commissioner on whether or not he will play hockey again. Bertuzzi, if you recall, blindsided Colorado Avalanche player Steve Moore. You know, back when hockey was actually played. Anyway, Steve Moore is still injured and may never see the ice again

No decision is expected. Considering that Gary Bettman doesn't have to do anything until a new CBA is reached, and that Moore can no longer play hockey, I expect Bertuzzi to twist in the wind for a long, long while

Monday, April 25, 2005

Report Card Time.

The fall of Aaron Rodgers

Dumbest reason behind Aaron Rodgers' slip: Jeff Tedford QBs stink at the pro level. Never mind that Trent Dilfer has a Super Bowl ring, David Carr has no offensive line, Kyle Boller has no one to throw to and Akili Smith and Joey Harrington were also coached by the overrated Mike Belloti.

So are we to now downgrade Jordan Palmer in next years' draft because Mike Price coached Ryan Leaf?

Let's get real people.

Also, the comparisons between Cedric Benson and Ricky Williams were ludicrous. Cedric, as far as anyone knows, isn't baked all the time like Ricky and didn't need to shave his dreads to prove it.

Draft Grades

Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have made a habit of bad drafts under Jerry Jones' General Managership, (which began in 1994) and the list of "never will bes" that this franchise drafted after the firing of Jimmy Johnson included busts like Shonte Carver, David LaFleur, and Ebenezer Ekuban. So when Jerry is around on draft day, Cowboys fans get a little nervous.

The last few years have been different. Since the addition of Bill Parcells, the Cowboys have had decent drafts, getting key contributors like Terrence Newman and Julius Jones

This year? The Cowboys got 3 potential starters in Marcus Spears, Demarcus Ware, and Kevin Burnett, 2 others that may get a chance to see the field because the depth is lacking at their position (Chris Canty and Justin Beriault), and a running back, Marion Barber III, who is a serious upgrade at backup tailback, which means Cowboys' fans won't have to sweat if Julius Jones goes down.

I felt like they could have addressed the free safety thing earlier, but other than that, the draft was great. Combine that with decent free agent signings like Marco Rivera, Jason Ferguson, and Anthony Henry and it's been a nice offseason for the Cowboys. Cowboys fans haven't been able to say that in too many offseasons. Grade: A-

The rest of the NFC East

Philadelphia: Let's face it folks, with the exception of the one year they took Fred-Ex #1, the Eagles have figured out the Draft. And they may have found Fred-Ex's replacement in Reggie Brown. Grade: A
Washington: They got 2 good players with their 2 first rounders, but they didn't have a pick in the 2nd or 3rd rounds where good players were still available. Grade: C
New York Giants: How do you only have 4 total picks in a draft this loaded? Grade: D-

The rest of the NFC

Arizona: Helped their grade by taking J.J. Arrington rather than trading for one of the backs on the trading block and drafting 2 guys in the 3rd round that had 2nd round talent. No, the "A" grade is not a misprint this year. Grade: A
Tampa Bay: The Bucs made a lot of good picks in the 3 rounds after they Cadillac Williams, and this draft may pay off down the road. Grade: A-
Minnesota: I'm not entirely sold on Troy Williamson because his collegiate stats weren't impressive, but Erasmus James and Marcus Johnson will contribute. Lose points though, for drafting a running back when they already have 3 and can't decide which one is their starter. Grade: B
Carolina: Four nice picks in the first 3 rounds, starting with safety Thomas Davis. Grade: B
Seattle: Chris Spencer's a versatile guard. Lofa Tatupu may be a reach but he makes plays, and David Greene could be groomed to start one day Grade: B
New Orleans: Jammal Brown is an excellent pickup and Josh Bullocks will make a good free safety, so long as Jim Haslett tells him to play centerfield and doesn't ask him to make too many tackles. They picked Adrian McPherson in the 5th, which should make Aaron Brooks look over his shoulder. Grade: B
Detroit: Mike Williams may knock Charles Rogers out of the starting role. Unfortunately, Shaun Cody will have to bulk up and won't be playing right away, and who the heck is Stanley Wilson, anyway? Grade: C
Atlanta: Mike "
Ron Mexico" Vick needs targets, but the Falcons didn't need to reach for Roddy White. Grade: C
Chicago: Cedric Benson gives them a decent runner, and 4th round pick Kyle Orton just might unseat Rex Grossman, who's now an injury risk. Other than that, not much help. Grade: C

San Fransisco: They got Alex Smith, and 2 offensive linemen who could help. Unfortunately, they also took a flyer on Frank Gore, who can't stay on the field. Grade: C
St. Louis: Alex Barron may be a nice fit, given that they need a right tackle, after that, everyone they picked is a question mark. Grade: D
Green Bay: The Packers must be drafting for '06 because they took a lot of projects. And how a team loses two guards in free agency and then fails to draft a guard in their first 3 picks is a mystery to me. Grade: F

Friday, April 22, 2005

Mock Draft Watch Part 4

NBA First Round Preview

Mind you, I'm only talking NBA because the Stanley Cup Playoffs are cancelled.

Eastern Conference
#1 Miami Heat at #8 New Jersey Nets
Yeah, I know Shaq is not 100%, but it's not an injury that will keep him out. Besides, who are the Nets gonna throw at Shaq? Jason Collins? Please. Nenad Krstic? *buzzzzzz* Jabari Smith? Wrong answer, McFly. Pick: Miami 4-1

#4 Washington Wizards at #5 Chicago Bulls.
If Eddy Curry had a healthy heart, I'd have to go with the Baby Bulls. Unfortunately without him, I think the Wizards will have an easy series. Pick: Washington 4-1
(On a side note, I just hope Eddy Curry doesn't suffer the same fate as the late Reggie Lewis did. That would be horrible.)

#2 Detroit Pistons at #7 Philadelphia 76ers
The Pistons are the champs until someone knocks them off, and they are going to use this series to make a statement. Pick: Detroit sweep

#3 Boston Celtics at #6 Indiana Pacers
Indiana is on a mission also, but the Celtics are a lot tougher team than the 76ers and the Pacers aren't going to have Ron Artest. Still, look for the Pacers to advance. Pick: Pacers 4-2

Western Conference
#1 Phoenix Suns at #8 Memphis Grizzlies
Every series in the West is going to go at least 6 games, and even the top team in the West is not immune. Memphis is a very tough team that has a great frontcourt, but I think Steve Nash and his leadership make the difference for the top seeded Suns. Pick: Phoenix 4-2

#4 Dallas Mavericks at #5 Houston Rockets
Dallas is finally playing some defense under Avery Johnson, but the Rockets are built very much in the mold of the Lakers' championship teams: Top-flight center (Yao), big time scorer(Tracy McGrady) and a cast of role-players. There's only one person who matches up with Yao, and that dude got traded to the Miami Heat last offseason. Pick: Houston 4-2

#2 San Antonio Spurs at #7 Denver Nuggets
The Spurs dodge Memphis, but get a red hot Denver team that will push them to the brink. Especially troubling is the fact that Tim Duncan was rushed back into the starting lineup. Pick: San Antonio 4-3

#3 Seattle Supersonics at #6 Sacramento Kings
Seattle, the weakest of the Division Champs, manages to dodge both Denver and Memphis. Sacramento is a shell of their past selves, but they should still squeeze out 2 games. Pick: Seattle 4-2

Mock Draft Watch Part 5

"Mean Eddie Walker"
A Cowboys fan blogger

First Overall Pick: Alex Smith
No shocker. 49ers need everything.

Cowboys picks: (#11) Demarcus Ware, DE, Troy (#20) Thomas Davis, S, Georgia Tech
DeMarcus Ware is another one of those DE/LB hybrids that the draft seems to be loaded with. I would put him over Maryland's Shawnte Merriman, whom all the MSM mock drafters think Dallas is going to go with at #11. I like that Eddie has gone with a safety, the problem is Thomas Davis is a natural strong safety and Roy Williams will be occupying that position now that Darren Woodson has retired.

Texans pick: (#13) Jammal Brown, T, Oklahoma.
Everyone knows the Texans need O-line help by now, so Brown is as good a choice as any.
Despite the name, this apparently is a fantasy football blog.

First Overall Pick: Alex Smith
Going with the grain here.

Cowboys Picks: (#11) Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas (#20) Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma
I will be ecstatic if we somehow manage to get Johnson at 11 and Clayton at 20. I just don't see how either of those guys will be available for us.

Texans Pick: Alex Barron, T, Florida State
Again, Texans need O-Line help (need LB help more but every available option seems like a reach at 13) and Barron is as good as anyone.

John Clayton and Len Pasquarelli,
No introduction needed.

First overall pick: Alex Smith
Again, no surprise.

Cowboys Picks: (#11) Demarcus Ware; (#20) Mark Clayton
I've already mentioned Ware. I like Mark Clayton too because I think he's fast, runs great routes and is a polished reciever, but I don't think he'll be around at #20. If we got both guys, that would be a great first round for the 'Boys.

Texans Pick: (#13) Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn
I would not be surprised if Brown drops this far because all he's got is a combine workout, a Senior Day workout, and not much in the way of collegiate production because he couldn't beat out Cadillac Williams. I think someone's going to be stupid enough to pick him prior to 13, though. (Canada's ESPN)
With the Stanley Cup Playoffs permanently on ice (pun not intended), this may be the biggest sporting event in Canada this week, eh? (It sure as heck isn't going to be Raptors playoff basketball).

First Overall Pick: Aaron Rodgers
Gotta give TSN credit here for going against the grain, but Rodgers' stock is slipping fast.

Cowboys Picks: (#11) Shawne Merriman, (#20) Mark Clayton.
Corey from Sporting Fools, who probably sees more ACC football than I do down there in Florida, compared Merriman to Mike Mamula, which is kind of scary since Mamula is the poster child for workout warriors that don't pan out. See above for my comments on Clayton.

Texans' Pick: (#13) Alex Barron
Texans hope he can keep David Carr standing.

Dallas Morning News "Fans Mock Draft"

First Overall Pick: Alex Smith
Reader Lincoln Hamilton of Irving goes with the chalk, but says the 49ers will take Smith based on need. Of course, the Niners need everything, or else they wouldn't be picking #1.

Cowboys Picks:(#11) Demarcus Ware (#20) Marcus Spears, DE, LSU
Reader Ryan Hodge of Austin picks Ware, and says that he could be a Terrell Suggs-type 3-4 end. Robin Hale of San Antonio thinks the Cowboys will take the Tigers' Spears, but declines comment. Let me help you out, Robin: With Demarcus Ware and Jason Ferguson, Spears makes the defensive front instantly good.

Texans Pick (#13) Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina
Reader Casey Clark of Frisco states that Williamson will, "give David Carr another weapon." Umm, doesn't David Carr have to stay upright first? How about a tackle? Or, how about a LB to replace Jamie Sharper or Jay Foreman?

Four to Watch

This weekend, there's only one to watch: the NFL Draft (11:00 AM ESPN) Don't watch anything else unless you got a rooting interest in the teams involved.

Monday: The Substitute Teacher Hands Out His Grades.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Mock Draft Watch Part 3

Draft News and notes

The Raiders have been busy the last few days. First
they trade cornerback Phillip Buchanon to the Houston Texans for a second and a third. Today, they dealt Tight End Doug Jolley to the New York Jets for the Jets's first rounder, 26th overall (which probably saved the Jets the embarassment of drafting Heath Miller. Don't they always waste picks on tight ends anyway?)

Also making a move are the Washington Redskins,
who acquired the 25th pick in the draft from the Broncos (for a third this year and the Redskins' #1 next year) and are looking to unload Patrick Ramsey if Jason Campbell is still on the board at 25.

I acutally like the Skins move for this reason: It's a bad move on their part. Even if they do draft Campbell, the Redskins are going to need that #1 next year to get a decent player to help him out, so it's gonna screw them in the long run.

And any bad move the Skins make is OK by this Cowboys fan.

Mock Draft Watch Part 3

Mark Maske, Washington Post
First Overall Pick: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Cal
Maske seems to go against the conventional wisdom that says Rodgers is falling on the 49ers board, but how much of what's coming out of 49ers camp about Alex Smith is subterfuge?

I don't think the Niners can go wrong with whatever they pick because they need *everything*.

(I take that back, the only way they can go wrong is by trading down.)

Cowboys Picks: (#11) Shawne Merriman, LB, Maryland; (#20) Khalif Barnes, T, Washington.
Another vote for Merriman, another worry that the Cowboys are actually going to take this guy and find out that he's a workout warrior. I don't know much about Khalif Barnes, other than he's big, played for a horrible Washington Huskies team, and broke his wrist last year.

Texans Pick: (#13) Alex Barron, T, FSU
Good pick if the Texans make it. I still think linebacker is their most pressing need.

Curt Sylvester, Knight-Ridder Newspapers
(via the San Jose Mercury-News)

First overall pick: Alex Smith
The consensus among mock draft writers seems to be that the 49ers are taking a QB, although we've heard other analysts say Braylon Edwards might go here. Sylvester thinks Smith has the better long-term value, so that's why he's picking him #1

Cowboys Picks: (#11) Shawne Merriman; (#20) Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina
I'm sorry, I'm still not getting the fascination with Mr. Merriman. Is he really the top LB/DE hybrid? Troy Williamson would be an interesting pick at #20, but I have a hard time believing he will drop that far.

Texans Pick: (#13) Demarcus Ware, DE, Troy State
Listed as a DE, some think he's a hybrid. I think it would be just as good as the Marcus Spears pick that others were projecting.

Tomorrow: Mock Draft Watch Part 4

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mock Draft Watch Part 2

Dennis Dodd, CBS Sportsline

First Overall Pick: Alex Smith, QB, Utah
Again, San Fransisco needs everything, which is why they have the pick in the first place, so they might as well start with a quarterback.

Cowboys Picks: (#11) Shawne Merriman, LB, Maryland; (#20) David Pollack, DE, Georgia.
Like I said yesterday, a lot of people think Merriman is going to the Cowboys at #11, which gives the Cowboys a linebacker that played in the 3-4, and one that certainly has the physical tools. I'm still a little concerned about whether or not he's a workout warrior. Pollack is seen as small for a defensive end, but enough time in an NFL weight training program will fix that.

No one to this point thinks the Cowboys will get a safety in the first round to play alongside Roy Williams. Which is kind of sad because neither Lynn Scott nor Keith Davis are the answer at free safety.

Texans Picks: (#13) Alex Barron, OT, Florida State.
Those who follow the team closely think that the Texans need offensive line help (witness this
recent article from the Chronicle's John Lopez) and this would fit the bill. A lot of other people have him going right about here in the first round, so it wouldn't be too much of a reach. But it wouldn't surprise me if they tried to make a run at a linebacker here, given that Jamie Sharper and Jay Foreman have signed with other clubs.

Tomorrow: Mock Draft Watch, part 3 (hopefully before noon)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Mock Draft Watch, part 1

The Curse of Dennis Miller

In what has to be one of the stupidest moves ever by the NFL and Disney, Monday Night Football is moving to ESPN.

Last I checked, Monday Night Football, despite some clunker games, was still drawing better than most prime time shows. Yes, the ratings were going down, but radical surgery like this was not needed.

- ABC could have hired a better analyst than John Madden, who's past his prime as an analyst.

- ABC could have made a serious commitment to Dennis Miller, or at least the comedian-as-announcer concept. For all those who complain about Miller's commentary, the only increase in ratings since 2000 was during Miller's tenure.

- ABC could have scaled back some of the graphics they used. Yes, occasional stat graphics are nice, but they didn't need to put so much detail into getting them on and off the screen. If you want to throw up a stat, put it on the score panel like CBS does, or flash it at the bottom of the screen. I want to see the game, not the cool stuff people can do with their computers. I have plenty of friends who can show me the cool things they can do with their computers.

- ABC could have picked sideline reporters based on, oh, I don't know, their ability to report? Seriously. ABC has Jack Arute, who does an excellent job with sideline reporting for college games. ESPN has Dr. Jerry Punch, an "MD" doctor, doing their college football sideline reports. If they wanted to hire someone from the outside, they could have gotten Pam Oliver from Fox or Armen Keteyan from CBS. Instead we get Eric Dickerson, Melissa Stark, and Lisa Guerrero.

They didn't need to move it to ESPN. Because now we are going to be subjected to Monday Nights with the worst announce team in football: Mike Patrick, Paul McGuire, and Joe Theismann. And if they thought the ratings were bad before, they are going to sink fast with that crew.

Lance Armstrong to Retire

Well, it's official. Austin's Lance Armstrong, the greatest cyclist in Tour De France history and a hero in many quarters for kicking Euro posterior,
is retiring after this year's Tour.

Mock Draft Watch, Part 1

One problem I've found with doing a mock draft watch is that many prominent Web sites make you pay for mock draft projections and frankly, when you subtract important stuff like food, rent, insurance, and internet access, there's not much room in the budget for "premium" web site content.

Fortunately there are websites out there that don't charge. So here's a sampling of the freebies:

Sporting Fools
Corey and his friend Cesar alternated making picks.

First Overall Pick: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Cal
Yeah, I know Rodgers' stock has slipped in the eyes of draftniks, mainly due to
the success (or lack thereof) of Jeff Tedford coached QBs in the NFL, and the rumors (and rumors during draft week are usually worthless) that 49ers coaches are more interested in Alex Smith. I'll give Corey's pal Cesar the benefit of the doubt because none of this was around when he was making the pick. Besides, Rodgers has the physical tools and he was the only quarterback whose team gave USC a game last year, and he may turn out to be a decent quarterback.

That said, Aaron Rodgers couldn't beat Texas Tech and our lousy defense.

Cowboys Picks: (#11) Jamaal Brown, OT, Oklahoma; (#20) Shaun Cody DT, USC
I would be happy both of these picks. Jamaal Brown, who is a right tackle, could help shore up the right side of the line with free agent signee Marco Rivera, keep Drew Bledsoe on his feet, and open holes for Julius Jones. The shoulder injury from the Orange Bowl is always a bit of a concern, but I think he could make a difference. Shaun Cody, listed as a DT but will probably play DE in the Cowboys' 3-4, was an anchor for USC's national championship teams the last 2 years, and plays run and pass well. I think he's being projected this low by most because he's seen as "lean" for a defensive tackle (he'd be perfect for a 3-4 end, though).

The only problem is it leaves the 'Boys without a safety, and I'm not sure if there are any free agent safeties left.

Texans pick: (#13) Thomas Davis, S, Georgia
The safety position is one the Texans(and a lot of NFL teams) could certainly use. Thomas Davis is a very athletic player that has the physical tools. The scouting reports say he overpursues and misses play action passes, but I think one could say that about a lot of NFL safeties, and if it's a problem, it's a coachable problem. So the real question is: How coachable is he?

Sporting News
First Overall Pick: Alex Smith, QB, Utah
No problem with this pick. The 49ers need everything, so they might as well start with the quarterback. Smith, Rodgers, take your pick.

Cowboys picks: (#11) Shawne Merriman, LB, Maryland; (#20) Darryl Blackstock, LB, Virginia
Merriman seems to be a popular pick at #11, and since he played 3-4 linebacker, I'm not surprised people are projecting him to the 'Boys. He seems to have the athletic tools, but I'm not entirely sold on the rest of his abilities.
The Blackstock pick concerns me more, however, because his tackle, TFL, and sack numbers declined over his college career.
And it still doesn't give the 'Boys a safety.

Texans Pick: (#13) Marcus Spears, DE, LSU.
He's a 4-3 defensive end who will have to make some adjustments to playing a 3-4 end, which he will probably be because he doesn't have the speed to be a linebacker. The Texans need D-line help and he could fit the bill.

And no, I'm not going to say that he's the best Spears to come out of Louisiana since Britney. I don't want to insult a man of that size.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback
I only throw this up because Gregg Easterbrook puts the "mock" in mock draft. Just read it.

Tomorrow: Mock Draft Watch, Part 2

Monday, April 18, 2005

Too much attention

(Mock Draft Watch tomorrow, still working on getting a few things together.)

Kevin Blackistone had an interesting article in Friday's Dallas Morning News about whether or not the
Sheffield incident was a big deal because it was in the New York-Boston series. Blackistone thinks that if the incident had been during a Rangers series, it would not get as much attention.

The incident probably would have gotten media attention no matter where it was. The Brawl at Auburn Hills got much more attention, played out over a longer period of time and it was between basketball teams that are pretty far removed from East Coast media outlets. And as sick as it sounds, news and sports programmers will put on any occurence of mass violence, even if it's thrown road flares a soccer match in a "faraway place" (as Americans would view it) like Italy or a brawl at a football game in "the sticks" (as New Yorkers would view it) of South Carolina, strictly because it gets ratings.

Maybe the Red Sox and Yankees do get too much attention, but this isn't a good example of it.

Tomorrow: MNF Moving to ESPN.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Ron Mexico Update

Astros get swept by Mets

Lisa Gray at The Dugout
sums up the frustration of Astros Nation nicely. My thoughts on the Astros' week in the Big Apple are simply unprintable.

Who knew Sheffield has a cool head?

Gary Sheffield has kind of a reputation for being surly and abrasive. So when a fan at Fenway Park interfered with his attempt to catch a foul ball, you had to fear the worst. Maybe not necessarily Italian soccer worst, but you figured something would happen. Nope.

And Sheffield deserves a lot of credit for not going Ron Artest on the fan. Not only that, Sheffield, by showing some restraint, made the fan look bad in the eyes of his fellow Red Sox fans.

Ron Mexico Update.

Last week, Cheap Seats got an instalanche after
blogging about a story from the Smoking Gun (via the Jim Rome radio program) that Michael Vick was getting sued by a Virginia woman who claimed Mr. Vick gave her herpes and took tests for STDs under the vaguely Latino sounding alias "Ron Mexico"

Even posted a photo of a "Ron Mexico" Falcons jersey

The NFL saying "No Way, Jose" to anyone trying to order that "Ron Mexico" Falcons jersey.

And they wonder why people think NFL stands for "No Fun League"

Well, their loss. Some dude is selling unofficial "Ron Mexico" merchandise can be found at

Four To Watch

Not a very good weekend for sports on national TV. I'm just going to list the games.
  • Nuggets at Rockets (Saturday 6:30 PM ESPN)
  • Oklahoma at Texas baseball (Tonight 6:00 PM & Sunday noon FSN Southwest)
  • Miami at North Carolina baseball (Saturday 6:00 ESPN2)
  • Braves at Phillies (Sunday, 8:00 PM ESPN)

Monday: Mock Draft Watch.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Jumping to the pros? Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

There's been a lot of talk about the NBA's proposed age limits. That the NBA would be better off if all those people jumping from high school to the pros would be better off if they had 2 years of college education before jumping to the pros. That it is somehow racist to deny young African-Americans the opportunity. (Although prominent African-American columnist Michael Wilbon argued the other day on PTI that the drive to "Be Like Mike" at the expense of other career options hurts African-Americans more).

Now I'm a college basketball fan. I would have loved to see how LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and others would have performed at the college level. I would have loved to see Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Sean May play out their college basketball days to their conclusion. And I would love to see these guys get some semblance of an education.

All that said, college basketball has been better off since the mass defection and the NBA should not be forcing those who want to go pro on the college game.

First, many of the early entrants are hurting the NBA's rep, not colleges. Sebastian Telfair? Overhyped and turning in average statistics in a backup role. Leon Smith? Malcontent who's now out of the league. Kwame Brown? Underachiever living off his high school rep. Kobe Bryant? Egomaniac who runs the team. I don't want any of these guys on my college's roster. Add to all that the fact that NBA offenses have degenerated to one-on-one isos because none of the early entrants want to listen to the coach enough to run anything else. Better they ruin the NBA than college.

Second, as much as we'd like to think these players would go to class, most of the early entrants wouldn't go. They would just go to school to play basketball and that's it. With the new academic reporting and scholarship losses attached to poor classroom performance, it's not really worth it to have the Sebastian Telfairs of the world in your program.

Finally, the college game has become more exciting since the high schoolers have jumped. Major college programs have been the most hurt by the defections, and the mid-majors are climbing to heights never before imagined. This has caused a dramatic shift in the college basketball playing field. Granted, major schools still dominate the Final Four, but years ago, no one would have thought a tiny school like Gonzaga from the West Coast Conference would climb all the way to a top-4 seed, and it's only a matter of time until a mid-major makes it all the way to the Final Four. Plus, a faster pace and more movement have been the themes of the college game, whether a team runs a conventional offense, a Princeton offense, or a motion offense. The NBA, on the other hand, has become slow, lethargic, and boring to watch over the same time frame, and that's when NBA players actually try to play. Half the time, NBA players don't even show up. In fact, the only NBA team I've ever seen try to employ a college-like strategy is the San Antonio Spurs.

Look at the ratings: It's estimated that
23.9 million people watched the National Championship Game between Illinois and North Carolina. By contrast, 11 million people on average watched last year's NBA finals.

(For further comparison sake, The Super Bowl gets about 40 million viewers. Monday Night Football averages about 16 million viewers, the Daytona 500 got 11 million this year.)

College's "loss" has turned out ironically to be college's gain. And the NBA's loss.

I hope, for the sake of the college game, David Stern reconsiders the age limit, or at least makes the high schoolers who want to turn pro play in the NBDL first, but right now it looks like neither are going to happen. The union wants to protect the veterans and the NBA thinks forcing students to go to college will improve it's product.

As for the high schoolers who want to turn pro: Go ahead. Skip college. Languish on an NBA bench. College doesn't need you.

Tomorrow: TBA

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A flare for the old ultra-violence

(Video courtesy
EuroSoccer Blog)

The above video was from yesterday's UEFA Champions League soccer tournament game in between Italian Rivals AC Milan and Inter Milan. Which is a big soccer rivalry. Try to imagine a scenario in which Duke and North Carolina were forced to share a basketball arena, that's AC and Inter.

What happened to trigger this? AC Milan was up 1-0 in the game and 3-0 in the aggregate (in Euro soccer, they play home-and-home and take the total goals of both games) when Inter finally scored. Or so the Inter fans thought. The goal was disallowed (for reasons I don't understand, I don't follow soccer) and that's when the Inter fans let loose with the flares, and AC Milan's goalkeeper Dida got nailed.

Why did stadium security let *any* combustible material in there in the first place, especially after the Madrid train bombing. How do they know that road flare's not going to be used to light something more explosive? Or that the "road flare" is really a road flare and not a bomb? There are al-Qaeda people out there seeing this and thinking they can get their ricin bombs into the stadium if they disguise them as road flares.

Heck, 9/11 pretty much ended the practice of tortilla-throwing at Texas Tech and tortillas don't explode.

What makes the whole thing worse than the fact that combustible material was thrown onto a field during a game, was that a player was hit. Thankfully, it was a road flare and Dida only suffered burns. What if that "road flare" had explosives in it?

I know we've had our moments as American sports fans (most recently "The Brawl at Auburn Hills") but Euro soccer fan has a longer track record of this, and once again they have shown the ability to one-up (one-down?) the competition.

Tomorrow: Age Limits.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Temperature at which Texas Rangers Leads burn.

New Links

I've added 3 new links at left:

  • The Dugout. Lisa Gray writes an excellent, well-written Astros blog on Most Valuable Network.
  • 1300 The Zone. Even though they are "The Longhorn Station," and they carry all the Texas Longhorn games, they are the station to turn to if you want the pulse of sports in Austin.
  • San Antonio Express-News. With the NBA playoffs coming up, I figured it would be a good idea to link the paper that covers the Spurs daily.

Back from Iraq to watch his son.

Rick Cantu of the Austin American-Statesman, chronicles
the story of Leander High School ace Andy Sorensen, who threw a no-hitter with his dad Steve, a soldier just back from Iraq, was in attendance.

Fahrenheit 90 MPH Fastball

Bullpen pitchers are often called "firemen" because like firemen, they often come in in tough situations and "put out the fire" (i.e. get the team out of a bad situation).

Not the Rangers. Their "firemen" are more like the firemen in Ray Bradbury's
Fahrenheit 451. They start fires rather than put them out. Their bullpen ERA: 6.46 (Last year's bullpen ERA was 3.46)

Further evidence of the Rangers' struggles:
They were lit up by the Anaheim Angels in the last few innings of their home opener.

Not that the other Texas team did any better yesterday.

The Astros kept shooting themselves in the foot on the way to a 8-4 loss on the road in New York.

Playoff Preview(?): Rockets beat Sonics.

In what could be a preview of their opening round series, the Houston Rockets beat the Seattle Supersonics 90-78 at KeyArena. Granted, the Sonics are without some key players, but there's no telling who will be healthy for that franchise come playoff time. Besides, even when everyone's healthy, the Sonics' defense has been suspect.

Colorado Hires New AD.

In what could be the first step towards straightening out the mess that is the University of Colorado, the school hired San Diego State's Mike Bohn to be the new Athletic Director.

Now all they need is a new President, a new Chancellor, a new Head Football Coach, and a new Ethnic Studies professor and they will be all set.

Tomorrow: Flare up in Milan

Monday, April 11, 2005

Quick Hits - 3/11/2005

I've got a job interview today, this is going to be short...

Congratulations to:

Tomorrow: TBA

Friday, April 8, 2005

Parents are out of Control.

The Five People Mitch Albom Won't Meet in Heaven

Morrie Schwartz must be proud of Mitch Albom.

Albom, the author of "Tuesdays With Morrie" and sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press, wrote in his Sunday Free Press column that former Michigan State players Mateen Cleaves and Jason Richardson were in attendance at last Saturday's
Michigan State-North Carolina final. Even quoted them about the differences in between the life of a college athlete and the life of an NBA athlete.

Except for one minor detail:
Neither Cleaves nor Richardson were at the game due to travel conflicts. So not only was the state that they were there wrong, but the quotes are bogus too.

Now, we know Albom is a published author, but he's also got something of a reputation as a Detroit homer. So maybe he let his homerism get to him and tried to write something that would make Michigan State look good, and former players who return to Old State U. are good publicity for any university.

The big problem here is that Albom "quoted" players who weren't there. If there's one thing that ruins a journalists cred and harms his or her relationship with sources, it's misquoting them.
And correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't
a certain reporter for the New York Times get fired for non-existent quotes?

When Parents Attack

Thoughts and prayers from Cheap Seats go out to Canton, Texas high school coach Gary Joe Kinne,
who was shot yesterday by an angry parent of one of his players. He's still in critical condition in a Tyler hospital with a chest wound.

Now, besides doing this blog and writing my novel, I've been known to do a little substitute teaching at an undisclosed school district. Thankfully, I've never had to deal with a parent. But I've talked to those who do teach, and one of their biggest complaints nowdays is belligerent parents. And from all reports the dude who shot the coach, Jeffery Doyle Robertson, is about as belligerent as they come.

Not only that, angry parents are a problem in youth sports as well. Used to be the perception of "Little League Dad" was a guy who was proud of his son, win or lose, if he tried his best. Now, the perception of "Little League Dad" (or on occasion "Soccer Mom") is someone who's angry at the refs, the coaches, the opposing players, anyone who, in the course of doing their duty, does something that, in the parent's view, keeps their kid from succeeding.

Jeffery Doyle Robertson, from all accounts, had a dispute with the coach over his kid. No one is coming forward with any details about what the dispute was over, but if I were to put money on it, I'd say it was over playing time. That's usually the case. Problem is, under the rules of the University Interscholastic League (the governing body for Texas public high school athletics), playing time isn't guaranteed once you hit 9th grade.

A quick note to all the parents out there: If your kid is not getting enough playing time, it is your kid's fault, not the coaches. If your kid is out or commits a foul, it is not the fault of the officials, it is the fault of your kid. If your kid is not doing well in school, that is on your kid, not the teacher.

Parents are out of control and their antagonistic attitude towards teachers and youth coaches has to stop. Now. Because it's finally crossed the line.

Frozen Four

Because the Madness isn't just limited to basketball

Denver U. 6, Colorado College 2

For those who are not completely in to hockey, this is a huge rivalry. It doesn't get the attention of the Red River Shootout, a Duke-UNC basketball game, or even the Beanpot, but the rivalry is no less intense. Add to the fact that this is the Frozen Four, and the intensity skyrockets.

And now the Denver Pioneers have something they can hang over the Colorado College Tigers for years to come, thanks to two-goal games from Luke Fulhghum and Gabe Gauthier, and four assists from Brett Skinner.

North Dakota 4, Minnesota 2

I can just imagine the conversation in the state of Minnesota over this one:

"Oh, hey, did ya hear the Gophers lost?"
"Oh yah?"

"Yah, they lost to the North Dakota Fighting Sioux"
"Oh, I heard those boys were pretty darn good."
"Oh yah, but our Gophers should have beaten them"
"Oh, ya think?"
"Yer darn tootin' they should have!"
"Oh, let it go, they had a good season."
"Oh, yah, you gotta give the Gophers credit for that."

Kidding and Fargo accents aside, Erik Fabian (the North Dakota goaltender) was on fire, stopping 26 shots and pacing the Sioux to the win.

Looking Ahead

Denver has not lost to North Dakota in 3 meeeting this year, and there's nothing to indicate that this result will be any different.

Four to Watch

Back after a long hiatus

  • The Masters final round (Sunday 1:30 PM CBS) - Which one of "The Four" will be left standing on the final day?
  • Texas at Nebraska (Friday 6:00 PM ESPN2, Saturday 1:00 PM ESPN, Sunday 1:3o PM ESPN) - Regular season college baseball doesn't make it to ESPN that often, but they picked a great series to showcase. Texas is the #1 team in America, but Nebraska leads the Big XII standings and has great pitching.
  • Frozen Four Championship: Denver U. vs. North Dakota (Saturday 6:00 PM ESPN) - Need a reason to watch: How about fast-paced collegiate hockey that the NHL can only dream of offering.
  • Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves (Tonight 8:30 PM ESPN) - Minnesota is fighting for their playoff lives and needs this one badly.

Monday: Lots of stuff.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

What Happens Down in Ron Mexico, Stays in Ron Mexico

(Update: Welcome to Virginia Tech fans at and others reaching this post through search engines. Feel free to take a look around the archives and make yourself at home. And check back here Monday through Friday for new posts.)

From yesterday's Jim Rome Show:
The Smoking Gun reports that a woman has sued Michael Vick for allegedly infecting her with herpes. As evidence, they submit herpes tests Michael Vick allegedly took under the alias "Ron Mexico."

Ron Mexico? If you're gonna express your inner Latino with an alias, Mike, at least pick something that sounds authentic. Peyton Manning once went with "Francisco Garcia" or something like that when he needed to check into a hotel.

Naturally, Jim Rome's clones had a lot of fun with Vick's alias (never mind that none of them send e-mails under their real names).

Also having fun with this is the website who published this photo:

I thought about ordering a Ron Mexico Falcons jersey, but I figured someone else has already beaten me to the punch.

Anyway, the inspiration for the header:(Click on the "Play" button)

A Tradition Unlike Any Other: Cheap Seats

The storyline of this year's Masters (First group goes off at 8:35 AM Central) is shaping up to be "The Four" versus "The Field." "The Four" are defending champ Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, and Ernie Els. "The Field" is, of course, the other invited golfers.

If I had to pick a champ out of "The Four" I'm going with Ernie Els because he wants this major badly and the others already have a Masters jacket. However, I think this year's champ is going to come out of "The Field."

Two Words:

Retief Goosen

Why? First off, the weather is going to play havoc with the Masters this year. Goosen won his last U.S. Open in bad conditions. Second, the Augusta National folks have over the last 5 years remade the Masters course to be like a U.S. Open course and Goosen has 2 U.S. Open championships under his belt.

Tomorrow: Frozen Four

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Big XII Baseball Fever.

"Cheap Seats Radio"

In order to counter the perception that all I listen to is
Romanian pop music, I have included my a link to my personal LAUNCHcast station at left. It's got a lot of rock from different genres and eras. It may put up an occasional 80's song too, which is one of my guilty pleasures, but it's mostly rock of some sort.

P.S. No I'm not podcasting. Don't have the time or technology to pull something like that off, at least not yet. If someone else decides to podcast, I'd be willing to be a semi-regular contributor.

Baylor finally wins a title

Congrats to Kim Mulkey-Roberston and Baylor Lady Bears' Basketball
on winning the school's first ever national championship.

(Lessee... Underground bunker... check. water.... check. 50 years of canned goods and batteries... check. flint and tinder... check. flashlight... check...)

All kidding aside, Mulkey-Robertson, a point guard on Louisiana Tech's 1982 national championship team, becomes the first women's player to have won a national title as a player and a coach (Bobby Knight was on Ohio State's 1960 NCAA national championship team)

Big XII Baseball.

Haven't had a chance really to talk about this with all the March Madness going on, but the Big 12 baseball conference schedule is about halfway over.

Here's the rundown of the season so far:

1. Nebraska (25-4 overall, 5-1 conference) - Not hard to figure out why this team is currently tied for first. Starters Johnny Dorn (1.71), Brian Duensing (1.72), and Zach Kroenke (1.93) are in the top 6 in conference ERA (no, I don't know what their VORP is). 3B Alex Gordon leads the Big 12 in runs scored and home runs, and is second in batting.
2. Missouri (23-5 overall, 5-1 conference) - Missouri is keeping pace with the second highest team ERA. Haven't seen any victories of importance on their schedule so far, though.
3. Baylor (19-12 overall, 6-3 conference) - Another Baylor team ranked and in the mix? Yes. Despite
yesterday's loss to Houston the Bears are having a great baseball season, something they have made a habit of since joining the Big XII.
4. Texas (27-5 overall 4-4 conference) - So-so start through 8 games, including dropping a whole series to Baylor. However, they have a chance to pull it together this weekend at conference leader Nebraska, which Cheap Seats will be following.

5. Oklahoma (17-11 overall, 3-3 conference) - another team starting .500 that could come on late
6. Oklahoma State (23-11 overall, 4-5 conference) - Falling fast after a weekend sweep at the hands of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
7. Texas A&M (22-10 overall, 4-5 conference) - Record hurting from losing 2 of 3 to both Texas Tech and Oklahoma. They have chances to improve that beforer OKC
8. Texas Tech (19-10 overall, 3-5 conference) - What ails the Red Raiders? Pitching. They are dead last in team ERA.
9. Kansas (22-12 overall, 2-4 conference) - I wish I had better news for the Phog Blog folks, but there is no hope.
10. Kansas State (15-12 overall, 2-7 conference) - Despite taking a game from Texas last weekend, K-State can't seem to put it together in conference.

(Note: Colorado and Iowa State don't field baseball teams. Never mind that the Air Force Academy, Colorado State and the University of Iowa somehow find the money for it.)

Tomorrow: A tradition unlike any other

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Tournament Journal - 4/4/2005

Championship - North Carolina 75 - Illinois 70

Two words define this championship game:

Sean May

As in the 26 points on 10-11 shooting and 10 rebounds he got to pace North Carolina.

True, Illinois did try to make a run of it, showing the heart and toughness they've shown all season long. But in the end, they just didn't have an answer for May.

Congratulations to former Kansas coach Roy Williams on his first national title.

Tomorrow: Big XII Baseball.

Monday, April 4, 2005

Baylor has a winning program? Since when?

Who's carrying the banner for the Big XII from March into April?

Not Kansas. Not Oklahoma State, Not Texas, Not even Texas Tech.

It's the Baylor Lady Bears.

That's right, the same Baylor that is usually the Big 12's whipping post. The same Baylor still suffering from the Patrick Dennehy scandal from two years ago. That school is the only Big 12 school to have landed a team in any basketball Final Four, men's or women's, this year.

And now the Lady Bears are
one win away from a women's basketball national championship. Something even traditional women's powers like UConn, Tennessee, Texas, and Stanford can't claim.

No more blog today, I have to go prepare for the apocalypse.

Tomorrow: Tournament Journal

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Tournament Journal - 4/3/2005

Illinois 72, Louisville 57

Darrell Griffith was not walking through that door.

Pervis Ellison was not walking though that door.

Reece Gaines was not not walking through that door.

And we're not really sure if any one of them could have helped Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals on this night. Deron Williams took out Fransisco Garcia with great defense, holding Garcia to 4 points. Illinois pounded the glass, outrebounding the Cardinals by 11.

Despite the fact that both teams had bus rides to the final four, the Illini clearly had the advantage in terms of fans, and the crowd seemed to spur the Illini onward.

Last time Louisville lost in the final four? Phi Slamma Jamma in 1983

North Carolina 87, Michigan State 71

Jay Bilas on SportsCenter last night was dead on about the Tar Heels' defense: non-existent in the first half, very present in the second half. While Carolina won this game, it's a disturbing trend to see Carolina, with their talent, play like they can turn it on at any time. Against a team like Illinois, they may not be able to turn it on.

Final Predictions

Comparing talent for talent, I have to go with North Carolina. The fact that they seem to take possessions and games off scares me, though. But I picked them before the tournament and I'm sticking with it.

The Pick: North Carolina 78, Illinois 71

Monday: Where we go from here

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Pope John Paul II 1920-2005

I'm gonna take time out from the world of sports to talk about more important stuff.

R.I.P. Pope John Paul II

Preface: I'm not Catholic at all. In fact, my roots go back to all flavors of Protestanism dating back before those roots arrived in the New World. I go to a church most would probably classify as "evangelical" (I personally hate the label for reasons I'd rather discuss personally rather than on my blog). However, I still feel the loss of John Paul II.

- He had the courage to stand up to a facist dictatorship when others around him gave in

- He stood up to communism when others sought compromise

- He directed his bishops in Latin America to stand up to oppressive juntas. (The Archdiocese of Sao Paulo kept one of the most detailed records of torture under Brazil's military rule.)

- He honored non-Catholic Christians like Martin Luther King who stood up for Christianity overall.

- He had a special concern for poor people

- He never compromised on value issues, even when it was controversial to go against public opinion.

- He even stood up to terminal illness. Even though illness took his life, he didn't let it stop him from fighting for what he believed in.

Just a person whom all Christians can look up to.

They say that the next Pope may come from Africa or Asia. Which got me thinking. John Paul II came from a country, Poland, where Christianity was actively persecuted. What if the next one's a Chinese Pope, an Indian Pope, or a pope from an African or Asian country where Muslims are the majority? What kind of impact do you think he'd have?

Just a thought.

My biggest prayer for the next papacy: that the next Pope would help take the lead in helping to resolve issues between Catholics and non-Catholic Christians, and that non-Catholics would be receptive and meet him. Because whatever feuds exist have gone on long enough, and we need to speak with one voice if we are to meet the dual challenges of radical secularism and Islamic jihad, neither of which care what type of Christian we are.

Friday, April 1, 2005

"Eyes to the stage, pilgrim, she's just warming up."

Frank Miller's Sin City

There are 2 reasons to look forward to this weekend. The obvious reason is that it's Final Four Weekend. The less obvious reason is that the best movie of 2005 is opening this weekend.

That's right, I'm talking about Sin City.

The film, directed by Austin's own Robert Rodriguez, is based off of Frank Miller's comics and graphic novels (heck, it even looks like the Sin City graphic novels.), has an all star cast the likes of which we will probably never see again in our lifetime.

By the way, it's nice to know some Hollywood types recognize where they came from.
Robert Rodriguez was nice enough to hold an advance screening for us Austinites at the Paramount Theater yesterday. And he brought stars Jamie King and Nick Stahl along for the ride.

I'm going to see it this weekend, which is a rarity for me. I always wait for stuff to come out on DVD.

If you want a preview of the movie, click
here for a trailer.

MLB Preview, or "I Don't Live For This"

I really haven't been excited about a baseball season in a while. In fact, I haven't really closely followed Major League Baseball since 1994. I didn't really care when the whole home run thing was going on in 1998. The only times I really closely follow things are when the Astros are a serious contender, which haven't been often.

Heck, I can't even tell
sabermetrics from a Sabre jet sometimes.

That's not to say that I don't like baseball, I used to catch Texas Tech games often because it was just a walk from my dorm to Dan Law Field, and I will catch an occasional Round Rock Express game.

But for some reason, the start of the MLB season doesn't excite me like it does a lot of people.

Still, I'm going to try to make my picks since everyone else has theirs up. Bear in mind that I am usually wrong when it comes to baseball. And bear in mind I'm not responsible for any money you lose taking my picks to the sports book.

NL East

1. Atlanta - Because somehow they always win it. Every time for the last 3 years people have tried to put someone else up here and the Braves always win it.
2. Florida - could be a serious Wild Card contender because of their pitching, defense and base stealing.
3. Washington - They've got a good, young, improving team, but I think until MLB can get a real owner who is willing to sign some pitchers and role players, there's no way they finish above 3rd.
4. Philadelphia - I wouldn't wish their starting rotation on anyone.
5. New York - What a waste of money.

NL Central

1. St. Louis - Probably the best lineup in the NL. Mark Mulder really helps solidify that rotation.
2. Houston - I really had a tough time picking a second place team here because everyone else behind St. Louis did not improve in the offseason. I give Houston a slight edge over the other teams because of their pitching.
3. Cincinnati - They could be higher, they could be lower, it all depends on if the starters can keep the ball in the park.
4. Chicago - I can't see either Kerry Wood or Mark Prior staying healthy long enough to get this team in contention.
5. Milwaukee - A young team that needs another year.
6. Pittsburgh - I think the folks of Pittsburgh need to consider filing fraud charges against Kevin McClatchey since he told them a new park would help them field a competitive team.

NL West

1. Los Angeles - Basically a new team except for Eric Gagne, but should still finish first.
2. San Diego - They were in the division race until the final week last year, and they basically keep the same team, minus the overrated David Wells.
3. San Fransisco - Not competitive without a healthy Barry Bonds. Even with him, Moises Alou is on the downside of his career and won't be enough of a threat in the 5 spot. Either way, the pitching staff beyond Jason Schmidt is suspect and Armando Benitez is the closer (ouch!).
4. Arizona - That's a lot of money to sink into a 4th place ball club.
5. Colorado - If you can name one player on this team besides Peyton Manning's former backup Todd Helton, you need a life.

NL Hardware

MVP: Albert Pujols
Cy Young: Josh Beckett (though if baseball writers had any sense they would give it to Gagne)
Manager: Jack McKeon
Wild Card: Florida
Division Champs (in order): St. Louis, Atlanta, Los Angeles
NL Pennant: St Louis over Florida

AL East

1. Boston - Both the Yankees and Red Sox are in the playoffs, but Boston gets the edge on pitching
2. New York - Like I said, it really doesn't matter which order you put these two teams in because both will make postseason.
3. Toronto - Unfortunately share a division with Boston and New York. Move them to the Central, and they'd be in the mix.
4. Tampa Bay - Another young team that would be better off in a different division.
5. Baltimore - Sosa deal overrated. Baltimore is going nowhere.

AL Central

1. Cleveland - Should finally have all the pieces to overtake Minnesota.
2. Minnesota - Oh, you mean the Twins aren't gonna win this year? Oh yah, you betcha.
3. Detroit - They improved a lot in the offseason. Probably not a contender, but they're better than last year
4. Chicago - Didn't make any moves in the offseason to improve their team. Nor did they try.
5. Kansas City - KC has loyal fans who deserve a hell of a lot better.

AL West

1. Anaheim - They lost a lot of core players from their 2003 Championship team and replaced them with mercenaries.
2. Texas - Are all the pieces in place? Time will tell
3. Oakland - I don't care what voodoo math Billy Beane is using, my math says they lost too many good players in the offseason.
4. Seattle - Nice team who will get a lot of attention from Ichiro hitting .400 and not much else.

AL Hardware

MVP: Vladimir Guerrero
Cy Young: C.C. Sabathia
Manager: Eric Wedge
Wild Card: New York
Division Champs (in order): Boston, Anaheim, Cleveland
Pennant: New York over Boston. (Thought the curse went away, didn't you?)

World Series

New York over St. Louis

Let's face it. Tony LaRussa always finds a way to tank in postseason.

Sunday: Tournament Journal.