Elmhurst Pub Roundtable

Where the beer is cold and the conversation loud...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

NFL Draft

Someone has to make this stop. When did the NFL draft become such an event? For weeks now, we've been subjected to multiple draft specials, mock drafts from every columnist in the country, and more analysis on team needs than any year before. It's getting out of hand. Especially for an event that takes 6 hours to complete one round. What's worse, there aren't that many college football players that the average person recognizes. Sure, we all can name some of the top players in this year's draft - Leinart, Bush, Young, Cutler, Ferguson. But then it does get fuzzy, even in the top 10. I'd never heard of Mario Williams until I read an article that the Texans may actually draft him ahead of Bush.

Let's take this a step further. How many people will actually sit and watch the entire first round? Maybe Jared because he'll be working the Pats draft party. Most of us that care about one team or another will flip to see who their team has selected at various points. But the whole thing drags out from noon until dinner. Why do these teams need half an hour per pick?? Everyone and their mother knows that Houston will take Bush. I disagree with that pick, but I'll get into that a bit later. Despite knowing that, they will wind the entire clock down before they make any sort of move. Then the Saints will take even longer, looking for trades despite needing all the help in the world to make that team any sort of better. And this will go on and on and on. Will see Mel Kiper try to get people excited about some offensive tackle or nose tackle being selected in the middle of the round by showing highlights of the guy blocking. Most people won't be able to figure out what guy they'll be talking about.

Sure there are some exciting portions to the draft. The Jets booing the first pick, regardless of who it is, Matt Millen selecting another wide receiver in the first round, and Patriots either selecting another tight end or someone that no one has a clue who he is. The guys selected in the first round should be can't miss players, but inevitably there will be some taken that will fall flat on their face. Chad Jackson is one that comes to mind right away. The track record for Florida receivers is miserable, but he's one of only two "premier" prospects at that position, maybe three (Santonio Holmes, Sinorice Moss). Running backs are as deep this year as the receivers were last year. Which leads you to believe that one or two of these backs won't be as good and some will be better than expected. I think Lendale White will be better than his mid-late round selection, but I don't see Lawerence Maroney being as effective in the pros as he was at Minnesota. Mel Kiper has up to 7 defensive backs in the first round. I don't see it being as deep there. But I also don't have his hair or cryogenic freeze chamber that allows him to never change appearance.

To me, the draft can be fun. But they have to make it more exciting. We need an incident like the Vikings a couple years ago, allowing three teams to make picks before the Vikings got their selection in. They also need to cut down on the time between picks - 15 minutes tops. The NBA can do it and these guys have 7 rounds to work with. It's a two day event that feels like two weeks. ESPN has extended this into a month long extravaganza. My mock appears in the comments. But it will be more fun when the NBA picks at the end of June....those guys we all will know.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Back from Vegas


Well, now that I'm back from vacation, slightly more poor, and definitely missing the bright lights, sunshine, and warm temperatures, I figured I would use my first post to show a little humor. Also, if you want to see some of the Vegas pics, they're all uploaded on my webshots. The link is below:

http://community.webshots.com/user/collinwhager

I'll put up an actual post tomorrow.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Brett Favre


So Favre just received another extension from his coach to decide whether or not he wants to return. I'm honestly tired of this. It's been three years where we've had to watch as to if Favre is going to return or retire. To me, there has to be a line. Allow me to explain. There is no other player, maybe outside of Cal Ripken, that would be allowed to hold his team hostage like this. And to me, it's not right. Teams deserve to know how to plan for their next few seasons. Favre took it personally when the Packers selected Rogers last year in the draft. Why? He hadn't decided whether or not he was going to play, eventually he's going to retire, and someone has to be there to take the reins. Rogers is in a no win situation. Favre doesn't want him there and the fans are only going to look at him as Favre's replacement. It's really a shame. The kid could be a great player, but I doubt anyone will find out that in Green Bay.

But back to Favre. He has spent this entire offseason toying with the Packers. He's told them each of the past two years that he wants to see the direction of the team before he makes a decision. And, to be fair, the guy has gone through a crazy amount of offseason problems between his wife's breast cancer, the passing of his father, and the ravaging of his hometown in Mississippi. He should be given a margin of forgiveness, but isn't this excessive? He's a tremendous quarterback, definitely one of the top 10 of all time, possibly top 5 (that's probably another debate). He's second only to Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, or Joe Montana in most major passing categories. But you can't have a team approach free agency and the draft looking to impress a quarterback that can't make up his mind. For the sake of argument, let's say the Packers addressed an actual need last year and didn't select Rogers. Let's even say they took a cornerback (where they were in desperate need of help). Favre doesn't play. Well now the team is up a creek without a paddle. This year could be the same situation. At least they have Rogers. But the team needs help in every major way. Javon Walker isn't happy and wants a trade. Ahman Green looked OLD last year. The defense just sucks.

The team could be going through all of this, select a top defensive player, have addressed certain free agency needs, and have to go into the season with a QB that has never taken a regular season snap. Maybe they would have entered the Joey Harrington sweepstakes or take a run at Kerry Collins or Patrick Ramsey (prior to the Jets trade). But now, the team is basically stuck should Favre not return. And, personally, I don't get why Packers fans aren't more angry. The last two years the guy has cost the team as many games as he's won. He gets the idea that he's about five years younger and can still hit some of the passes he used to. He's just as likely to make the play that kills the game as he is the one that wins it. In that sense, the Cal Ripken comparison is even more valid. No one in the media dare say anything negative about either of these superstars. They're well past their prime and won't be replaced as starters as long as they are wearing that uniform. It's a shame really. For both of them. Packers fans deserve a team that is going to win. And this is a weak division. With or without Favre they don't win and they don't make the playoffs. Maybe this is the time to go. Maybe now the future should be brought in.

He's had a good run, he's a great quarterback. Don't hang on too long. People should remember the classic Favre the way they remember the classic Jordan, prior to the run with the Wizards. Don't let that mystique fade away.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Florida Marlins

So I'm listening to sports radio this afternoon and there's a report out there from Ken Rosenthal that the Marlins are currently shopping Dontrelle Willis. In that, I found out that the Marlins current payroll is $14.334 million for all of 2006. Let that sink in. On the 25 man roster, half the team makes the league minimum of $327K. Only two players make more than $1M (Brian Moehler and Willis). 15 players in baseball make more per year than the entire Marlins team will. If they were to shed Willis halfway through the season, that knocks the payroll down to $12M. Meaning 32 players would make more than the Marlins team.

Marlins fans, and more specifically baseball as a whole, deserves better than this. I don't care if it means moving the team to Vegas, San Antonio, or Alaska, this has to change. Let's give more of a perspective on the current payroll. They are less than half of the next lowest team (Devil Rays, $28M), 12% of Boston's payroll ($120M), and less than 10% of the Yankees ($198M). How can you be a fan of a team like this? This is obviously an owner and organization hell bent on a solid bottom line. They can't draw fans, want a new stadium, and don't seem to want to field a competitive team until all this changes. To me, this is the reason there needs to be a salary floor. The revenue sharing money that the Marlins are receiving is obviously NOT being re-invested into the team itself. If you won't put up money, then you don't deserve the dollars you are receiving.

I don't know what baseball can do, but this is just pathetic. If this team wins 60 games, I'll be shocked.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Apprentice


So most everyone knows that I'm addicted to the Apprentice. I've watched it since the first season and have honestly really enjoyed it. This year has really become bad though. The first year, there were truly likeable personalities on the show. Each person there had a redeeming quality. You could see that they had worked hard to get to that point in their respective careers, but that they all had a quality that made you want to follow them as a leader. The people that didn't, that disrupted team chemistry, were fired for the most part. When the show worked like that, it made for good television. You enjoyed the idiots, but ultimately they frustrated you and the viewer wanted them gone too.

As each season has gone on, the original cast seems like an anomaly to the groups that have been brought in to replace them. The second season saw more successful people than in the first, and the third season was a book smart - street smart type battle. The fourth was more type A personalities. The problem with this approach is having so many people that have a cut-throat personality makes life difficult. Organizations work because there are people who follow and people who lead. You hope some of those that are learning and following can blossom in to leaders and replace those that move up, but some don't. If you need proof, put 10 managers in a room and see what gets accomplished. 10 managers will succeed in identifying an issue, discussing an issue, wondering if the issue should be discussed, and planning the next meeting to discuss what they went over. Nowhere in that meeting will the issue be resolved. Now look at it with the Apprentice. Take 10 type A personalities and tell them to work together. Each wants to run the show, each thinks their idea is the best, each thinks their opinion is the only one that matters. When something fails, it's never that person's fault, even if it was that person's idea. And, unfortunately, when all these people are together, they are decidedly unlikeable. Which is why finding a person who can lead a group like that is rare. It's also why the guy who won last time was able to.

Even more than this, the problem is increasingly becoming Trump himself. There is no way to truly defend yourself in the boardroom apparently. Take responsibility, fired. Pass responsibility, fired. And this week was the biggest point to that. The team that lost put together a solid project, did a good job. They lost because two people literally couldn't contribute. One was Russian and couldn't write a jingle because of language command, one was Jewish and was at Temple for one of the holidays. He brought them back because they contributed the least and had he had them he felt the team would have won. Trump fired him for not bringing in the people responsible for the lyrics and music. Interesting really. It more confirms to me that I could never have done that show even if I'd wanted to. Trump is an interesting personality, but the person he brings on board from this group is going to cause a lot of problems in the organization, because he's fired anyone with a shred of dignity or ethics.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

NCAA Wrapup

So a lot of people around here on the radio are talking about the way the women's basketball tournament was covered. Count me among those that were slightly irritated the past couple of days. The fact is, there are very few people in this area that truly cared about Maryland, Duke, UNC, and LSU playing in the women's tournament. There might have been a shot if someone like BC or even UConn had snuck in, but these four teams aren't exactly huge in this area. Even fans of the men's teams don't necessarily translate to fans of the women's game. The newspaper coverage is what actually got me irritated though. I read the paper every morning before work, concentrating mainly on the sports section. But over the weekend, I had to flip 10 pages deep to get to anything I wanted to read. Yesterday, after the Sox game, I had to go 9 pages in to read any articles. Now, I don't have problems with covering it, but do what they did for the men and give a separate pull out section that had the basketball stories in it. Then the people that want to focus on the 10 pages of coverage can do that and those of us who don't care aren't bothered. I mean, they do that with the NFL playoffs and the baseball preview.

The one thing the women do right, or that I found interesting, is that they hold the draft the day after the tournament is over. Granted, the NBA season is going on and makes this a virtual impossibility, but it has the names fresh in your mind. I thought that deserved kudos since the women have to make sure that people know who the hell is in the WNBA.

Officiating is miserable in all basketball right now. The women's game ended on a shot where the girl travelled like crazy. To the point they would have called it in the NBA. The men's officiating was worse. There was no shred of consistency all season and the tournament highlighted that. There may not have been mid-major bias, but it sure as hell looked it. Tim Higgins should be fired.

Frozen Four is this weekend. BC plays UND and Maine plays Wisconsin. BC and Wisconsin have been playing the best hockey of anyone. I'll take them to head to the title game with a Wisconsin win because I won't pick BC.

The Duke lacrosse scandal is horrible. I don't know what did or didn't happen, but the administration at Duke is showing how to properly handle an investigation. As soon as this came to light, games were cancelled and a state investigation initiated. I feel bad for the coach taking the fall here, but it also makes me wonder what his role in this whole thing was. The University of Colorado should be ashamed after seeing how this has worked at a true top university.

Seton Hall got permission to talk with Jim Larranaga. Good for them. I'd only be happier if PC had gotten permission. Another solid coach coming from Providence going to win elsewhere. The best the Friars can hope for is a good season and Welsh getting interviews in other places.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Musings....


--The Final Four and title game was the worst basketball of the tournament. Neither game was remotely close on Saturday and last night was just as bad. 20+ point title games just aren't fun. Not saying I needed a last second shot, but it would have been nice if the first half was close

--Congrats to Billy D. He'll be the only Friar to win a title for a while unless Larranaga gets George Mason back there.

--Watching Taurean Green and Jocham Noah's attitudes on the court makes you want to hurt them.

--Keith Foulke pitched well in Spring Training...according to the final stats. But most of his outs were hard hit line drives. We saw that yesterday too, as Foulke was lucky he had the breathing room he did. Crisp made a fantastic play going back to the wall to save his sorry ass. I'm not writing him off...but this needs to be watched.

--Is Dunkin' Donuts out to make ordering your coffee a lifelong experience? Lately, it's taken me 15 minutes at the register to get a medium iced french vanilla with skim and sugar. I'm not doing anything crazy to it, yet these people don't seem to have passed their TOEFL tests.

--Favre should just retire. He's waiting to see what the team is going to do in order to decide if he wants to stay, but his team is waiting to see if he's going to stay to make most of their moves. This is a horrible stalemate that can only end badly. By badly I mean another year out of the playoffs, regardless of the QB.

--The timing of the steroids investigation pisses me off. Was this because someone finally put all the BALCO information in one place for Selig? Too lazy to do a little research on his own apparently. Should there be one, absolutely. Should it have happened back in '03? You bet.

--Ryan Gomes continues to make a case for NBA All-Rookie team. Since the all-star break, he's averaging close to a double-double a game. It's been great to watch as a PC alum and you can only hope it continues. Kinda bad, but I was almost happy Jefferson went down again. Keeps Gomes in the lineup.

--Saw Richard Jeni do stand up this weekend (the bad guy from The Mask). Hilarious and highly recommend him. Book recommendation: American Roulette, some great gambling and cheating stories. Movie recommendation: Inside Man.

--If you still haven't made your way down there, J Timothy's in the Bristol area of CT has the best wings ever. Plain and simple. Get yourself a bucket of buffalo dirt wings and enjoy.

--Two weeks from today, Vegas. Let that sink in. Anyone still wanting to join in, we're staying at the Luxor. I mean, it's Vegas. Be ready for bad movie quotes uttered multiple times, lots of alcohol, and, of course, gambling. I can' wait to land, step out, and get that rush that comes with being in that city.

--On a personal note, there is no better feeling than coming to work and knowing that your days at the current job are numbered. I love it. Really.