I am extremely worried about the new rule changes for the 2018 season. Wedge blocks are out; turning kickoff returns into a glorified game of tag.
The catch rule has been fixed...kinda?
I'll take Wtf does "Or the ability to perform such an act" mean for $800, Alex
And most notably the change to the use of helmet as a weapon rule, or as I call it the Tedy Bruschi neutered by ESPN rule.
Changes happen but nothing, and I mean nothing is going to stop me from spending all day Sunday consuming as much football as humanly possible.
I'm very excited for the 2018 season. Here's my stab at what will happen in the NFL in 2018.
1. Los Angeles Chargers 12-4
When I started typing I typed "San Die" before I realized my mistake :(
Everybody is drinking the Charger kool-aid and I gotta say pass me a cup! The Chargers were the best team to miss the playoffs last season and had they gotten in I think they would've won at least one playoff game. After starting 0-4 (due in large part to horrid place kicking) the Chargers finished 2017 9-3. This team has a year of Anthony Lynn & the move to LA under their belt, a fantastic defense, plenty of weapons on offense and a future Hall of Fame QB looking to add a Super Bowl to his resume. Btw should Rivers win a Super Bowl I think the 04 draft surpasses the 83 draft for best ever QB wise. I really feel like Phil Rivers is due for a huge year and with the Chiefs moving on from Alex Smith, the Broncos changing of the guard defensively, and the over all wtf is going on-ness of the Raiders I think the AFC West is the Chargers to lose. Giving the snakebiten-ess of this franchise historically if they somehow disappointed and went 7-9 this year it wouldn't shock me, but gun to my head I think this team has a first round bye in the AFC.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 9-7
You'll be hardpressed to find a bigger Alex Smith fan than me. While I get what the Chiefs are doing trying to get younger and more explosive with Patrick Mahomes to match with guys like Tyreke Hill, Sammy Watkins and Kareem Hunt--- I'm just not his biggest fan. I love his game in college but I just wonder how a Big 12 mobile guy with huge inflated numbers will hold up. He could just Flacco Ball the Chiefs to Wild Card spot though.
Obviously a big Andy Reid guy and like a lot of what this roster has going on from a play making standpoint on both sides of the ball and low key a Chiefs sympathizer, but I'm just a little skeptical about Mahomes. Either way I think this team has range of 6 to 10 wins under it's belt. We saw how inconsistent Kansas City was last year, with maybe the most consistent QB in the league.
3. Denver Broncos 6-10
Still have Von Miller and Chris Harris but this is not your 2015 carry a dead Peyton Manning to the Super Bowl Broncos D. I am a Case Keenum guy, but wonder if the fairy tale will continue to the mile high city. This team has a v tough schedule.
4. Oakland Raiders 4-12
I like Gruden as a person and football guy but think the idea of him coaching at an elite level right now is insane. The NFL is a lot different than the last time he coached, and let's not forget that 08 Bucs team lost out and cost him is job. He also has gotten soooo much of his football life by winning a Super Bowl with Tony Dungy's team, with a top 5 defense of all time, against his former team where he literally knew the playoff book. This isn't Don Shula. I think Gruden could end up in year 2 or beyond succeeding in the league but I think his first year is UGLY. Especially given the Khalil Mack saga. I don't really believe in Derek Carr either. Think the final (it's the last year, right?) in Oakland is an ugly one. Marshawn Lynch is 83.
1. Baltimore Ravens 11-5
I don't think Joe Flacco is finished. He seems to play best when a fire is under his ass, and with the addition of Heisman winner Lamar Jackson his ass is nearly in the jackpot. I keep hearing from football guys in the media that the Ravens are the team that is surprising people the most. As much as I hate this franchise they usually aren't in the dumps too long. I think Baltimore capitalizes on some serious turmoil in Pittsburgh and wins the North. I see Flacco having a similar season to Alex Smith last year, maybe not in terms of efficiency but overall success and leading a team to the playoffs, then to be traded to open the door to the next young guy.
2. Cincinnati Bengals 10-6
I also don't think Andy Dalton is finished. As much as Marvin Lewis has disappointed in Cincy he seems to get them to the playoffs with some regularity. I love the WR duo of AJ Green and John Ross. I think Joe Mixon is gonna have a break out season. I just have a gut feeling the Bengals are back in the playoffs in 2018.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7
Realistically this team should've been in the Super Bowl last year. They have the most talented offensive duo in the league in Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell, yet this core has disappointed year after year. I think Mike Tomlin has cost this team Super Bowls. He's a horrible coach and it showed last year in the playoffs and against the Patriots in the regular season. This is one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but with Bell possibly holding out and Big Ben seemingly always a snap away from missing 4-6 weeks I don't think the Steelers make the playoffs in 2018.
4. Cleveland Browns 6-10
The Browns future is bright, but I think they're still a year away. I think this team will be competive all year but lose a lot of close games late. 5-9 wins honestly wouldn't shock me. V intrigured to see how the QB situation plays out this year. I love Baker, but Tyrod is a pro's pro and I think not throwing him to the wolves right away might be the right move longtime. This is going to be a fun team to watch in 2018, which is something I don't think has ever been said about the Browns in my lifetime with the exception of Peyton Hillis who really only was famous because he was white. Dude ran for like 1100 yards. He was awesome (for a year) but not Jim Brown.
1. Houston Texans 11-5
First off I think the AFC South is the best division in football and the only division where any of the possible outcomes of positioning wouldn't shock me.
I love DeShaun Watson, I think he was one the way to a ROY season until he got hurt. If the defense can be healthy I think this team low key could win the AFC as long as Watson doesn't regress.
2. Tennessee Titans 10-6
I'm a huge Mariota guy. He definitely struggled last year, but I think who you saw in the playoffs is more indicative of the QB he really is. This team is basically the Nashville Pats with their additions the last few years. I love the backfield, good pass catchers, GREAT line. Not horrible defense. Titans in their ugly new uniforms compete for a Wild Card spot.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-8
There's a lot of talent on this team but I think they are the classic "got a taste and their head got too big then disappoints the next year" team. The jaguars scored 5 defensive touchdowns and I believe 2 on special teams. I'm a Bortles guy, but still need to see him put it together on a more consistent level. I think Jalen Ramsey better be careful what he says. I think Gronk might throw him out the club week 2! Jaguars disappoint and don't build off of 2017. IMO they benefited off of a last place schedule in 2017. Now they have to play division winners.
Honestly I don't like the uniform change. These bad boys were starting to grow on me and the new ones are hella boring.
P.S. for a team younger than me the Jaguars have had legitimately 8 major uniform overhauls. Just keep trying to find themselves?
4. Indianapolis Colts 7-9
Andrew Luck in his first three seasons advanced a round in the playoffs further than he did the season before. Injuries have cost him the majority of the last 3 seasons. Who will he be when he returns? The Colts will go as far as Andy Luck takes them. Has anybody ever called the robot quarterback Andrew Luck that before in the history of ever? I think not. They are the biggest swing team in the AFC. I honestly could see them going 5-11 or 11-5.
1. New England Patriots 12-4
This off season has been the most tumultuous I've ever seen in my fandom. Malcolm Butler, the relationship between Brady and Belichick. We all know what I'm talking about.
As for the team itself. I mean wtf is going on at WR? This team has 4 WR currently and one they just picked up who's name I don't need to know because it makes no sense to name the mouse on top of the cat on top of a dog. And one is Cordarrelle Patterson. He low key has no hands. But low key so did Brandin Cooks. He's better obviously and all things considered had a great regular season but I'm guessing they're just hoping they can moneyball Patterson into a homeless man's Cooks in this offense? All he needs to do is catch them in the playoffs. Jules being back and productive is going to be vital for success.
Defense is interesting, a lot of new faces, lot of guys coming back from injury. I love Dont'a Hightower so much. He'd be my next jersey if I got one. Worried about CB depth. Love our 3 safeties though.
Brady is going to keep being Brady as long as I can see. Pencil this team for double digit wins. Even if he has a bad year the rest of the division is so bad they could go 9-7 and win it. Hopefully we'll never know.
2. New York Jets 8-8
Jets might've found their guy in Darnold. I think he could be the best of this class. Bowles isn't a bad coach. Last year with no talent they surprised in the first half. I could see the Jets being what they always are...pests this year. They're gonna be a tough out every week, but a make-able out.
3. Miami Dolphins 6-10
Other than that, who cares?
4. Buffalo Bills 3-13
Last year Andy Dalton became a Buffalo icon as he knocked the Ravens out of the final playoff spot ending the Bills playoff drought that went back to the previous millennium.
Sad how much a 9-8 year with a purdit playoff showing can mean to some fan bases. I have nothing but love for the Buffalo Bills as they are by far my least hated "divisional foe", in fact I kinda root for the Bills...but this is going to be an uuuggggggggggggggllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyy year. Lost their QB, two best OL, is Shady not going to get in trouble? Gonna be a lot of sad mustard and ketchup bukakes in the RV lot this year.
1. Los Angeles Chargers 12-4
2. New England Patriots 12-4
3. Houston Texans 11-5
4. Baltimore Ravens 11-5
5. Tennessee Titans 10-6
6. Cincinnati Bengals 10-6
Wild Card Round:
(3) Texans defeat (6) Bengals
(5) Titans defeat (4) Ravens
(1) Chargers defeat (5) Titans
(2) Patriots defeat (3) Texans
(1) Chargers defeat (2) Patriots [in front of 32,000 STRONG]
1. Los Angeles Rams 13-3
These NEED to be their uniforms when they get the new stadium.
Love the additions these team made to an already young and exciting team. But it's all about Gurley and Guff. Love the WR core. Great defense full of studs. This is the sexy team to pick with a lot of downside that worries me but not enough to entice me away.
2. San Francisco 49ers 10-5-1
Jimmy GQ finally has the keys to the sexy sports car after 4 years of waiting he is going into the season as a starter (2016 doesn't count). This is the team that people try to pick as their surprise team except everybody is in on the surprise. I really like what this team has to offer in the future and beyond. The Patriots are going to forever regret trading Jimmy. Interested to see what Sherman has left. I think a lot.
3. Seattle Seahawks 8-7-1
They'll tie the 9ers!
This is a team in transition that also has a top 5 QB and upper-level Head Coach. Lot of new faces but as much as I hate this franchise I respect the fuck out of it. They'll be in basically every game. Wilson will have to be a superstar for them to make the playoffs.
4. Arizona Cardinals 5-11
I loved the Arians era Cardinals. I'll remember as a fun team who just got some tough breaks who could've been an all time. I still can't believe they got killed so badly in the 15 NFC championship game. I never saw it because I was in mourning from the AFC championship game.
This is a team in serious transition. I guess Bradford is the placeholder/insurance policy for chosen Rosen. I love David Johnson, Patrick Peteron, obvi Larry..they still have a few guys but I just don't think they'll be that competitive this season.
1. Minnesota Vikings 14-2
I am a HUGE Kirk Cousins guy, I think with this team they are instant Super Bowl favorites, but of course because they're the Vikings something tragic will happen in January.
They are going to be a fun as team to watch. This offense is going to be unreal. I could see Kirk Cousins passing for 40 TDs.
Elite defense too.
2. Green Bay Packers 11-5
All about Rodgers health. Everything is irrelevant otherwise. Unless you're a Bears fan how can you not love A-a-ron?
I personally like the Jimmy Graham signing. they always say Rodgers doesn't like tight ends, but he's never had a TE like this one.
Just tough luck being in same division as the absolute unit Minnesota Vikings, although if they won the division I wouldn't flinch.
3. Chicago Bears 8-8
BIGGG Mitch guy. Love the Mack deal. They're going for it and I love it. The Bears will be back, just not all the way this year.
4. Detroit Lions 7-9
After the AFC South I think this is the toughest division top to bottom in the NFL. Lions don't suck, but they aren't that good either. First year head coach. Really under appreciated QB. I wouldn't hate to see them prove me very wrong.
1. New Orleans Saints 12-4
I really thought the Saints would make the Super Bowl last year. If it wasn't Minneapolis Miracle they probably do. No Ingram will not be ideal. they should be able to withstand it. A team with a veteran proven future HOF QB in Drew Brees but also a great future with the offensive and defensive rookies of the year.
Tough division. I might giving them a little bit too much credit, especially in this division...but when this team is good they usually win at least 7 games at home.
2. Atlanta Falcons 11-5
They definitely missed Kyle Shannahan last season. Still a lot of talent even though I think Julio wants out. Respectable franchise who's been on a good run last 20 years despite no ring. No ring this year either but they will be an entertaining team, especially offensively.
3. Carolina Panthers 9-7
I feel like the Panthers are usually good but not for long stretches of time. They're a team who I'm not sure if I believe in yet. Offense if at all cylanders will be awesome to watch. Cam worries me with lack of accuracy at times but this team could just run 34 times a game. Thomas Davis will call it a career after this year and what a career it has been for him. I wish him health. Same for Luke.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-14
2 wins may have been pushing it. They will be the worst team in the NFL. How could they have ever thought Dirk Koetter could be the guy? He's got first coach fired written all over him and frankly I've spent too much time with this blur on these bums.
1. New York Giants 11-5
Something tells me Eli is gonna bounce back. I think being able to rely on Saquan (who my fantasy team at #5 overall needs as well). Odell is a game changer and can win you regular season games. I may look like an idiot here but I like the Giants to win this division.
2. Philadelphia Eagles 9-7
Foles will be exposed. Last year was a movie script run. I think they have a season long Super Bowl Hangover. Ladies and gentlemen I am not writing off a sub .500 season.
What's up with Wentz?
3. Washington Redskins 8-8
Alex Smith is a winner. He has a good coach. No talent but the guy will have this team close to .500.
4. Dallas Cowboys 6-10
One of the few teams I can think of with a worse receiving core than the Patriots. Great RB in Zeke but two major OL injuries worry me about him. As well as the lack of vertical threats in passing game to jam the box. Garrett doesn't make it to Christmas.
1. Minnesota Vikings 14-2
2. Los Angeles Rams 13-3
3. New Orleans Saints 12-4
4. New York Giants 11-5
5. Green Bay Packers 11-5
6. Atlanta Falcons 10-6
(3) New Orleans Saints defeat (6) Atlanta Falcons
(5) Green Bay Packers defeat (4) New York Giants
(5) Green Bay Packers defeat (1) Minnesota Vikings
(3) New Orleans Saints defeat (2) Los Angeles Rams
(3) New Orleans Saints defeat (5) Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl 53:
New Orleans Saints defeat Los Angeles Chargers.
What a great match up that would be. Drew Brees against the team where it all started. (obviously just not picked pats so I don't look like a homer)
MVP: Kirk Cousins
Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffery
Defensive Player of the Year: JJ Watt
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquan Barkley
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Roquan Smith
Coach of the Year: Anthony Lynn Los Angeles Chargers
For over a decade I didn't eat Chick-Fil-A because of their outspoken views against the LGBT community. I changed a ton over the years from a young teen to a dude in his mid-20's but one thing that didn't change was my detest of Chick-Fil-A. I stood my ground with that stance. I refused to eat Chick-Fil-A. I simply wasn't going to support a company who had those ideals.
Then one day I grew the fuck up. I was like "you know everybody I know is constantly blowing Chick-Fil-A for how good it is, maybe I should give them a try?"
So I did, and immediately as I shoved that delicious the spicy chicken sandwich (w/o pickles obviously) down my throat I was mad at myself because I had not gotten to enjoy how delicious Chick-Fil-A is since I was in 8th grade because I didn't like what their owners said about gay people. Your beliefs aren't gonna stop me from enjoying my life, or in this case, chicken.
Just because I don't agree with them politically doesn't mean I can't enjoy their product. Their job isn't to be my news source, their job is to provide me food. Maybe you don't wanna spend money on that company's goods but guess what, if you dig deep enough you're gonna find people you disagree with on the political spectrum in every company. You really think these multi-billion dollar companies don't have Democrats and Republicans at the top of their business? Years later I can't even remember the exact quote that caused me to not enjoy the savery goodness of Chick-Fil-A sauce drenching my nuggets like Andy Dufresne in the sewer. I was just some dumb 13 year old who thought he knew politics and was trying to make a stand.
Years later that same idea of supporting, or in this case not supporting something because of something you don't really know all the facts about is par for the course in today's America. America where the left and right are seemingly more divided than ever (I'm kind of generalizing here) it's so fucking team oriented that if someone disagrees with you on any social or political issue they are all of a sudden the scum of the earth and you just write them off entirely. A world where if you voted for Trump you're racist or if you lean left you're a pussy snowflake in the eyes of the right. The middle ground seems to be melting faster than the polar ice caps. I hope every girl on tinder with "if you voted for trump, don't even look at me" in their bio swipes left on their soulmate. Newsflash not everybody has the same views as you. That used to be okay. For people who preach diversity it really is interesting how much they hate people who are different from them.
I can like the music Metallica has made and still think they're douchebags. You can support LGBT rights and also love eating Chick-Fil-A. I promise you the world will keep spinning. If you're gonna boycott companies maybe boycott ones who use illegal forms of labor or don't give their employees fair wages/benefits instead of one supporting a person who disagree with politically.
This whole Colin Kaepernick situation needs to just die already, I'm so sick of it. It's like Deflategate. It's been two years of this shit. Unfortunately doesn't seem to be going anywhere as Nike just made him the face of their 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign. I'm not gonna stop wearing Nike socks but I will say it's a fucking joke. He didn't sacrifice everything. He sacrificed playing football. Which really he chose to do because teams still wanted to sign him but he turned them down because he thought he was more valuable than he really is. So teams stopped trying. They knew the potential headache of fan outrage isn't worth what he has left in the tank. As much as it pains me to say it it's very similar to Tim Tebow. He was still good enough to be in the NFL (IMO) but given the media circus he creates, with his ability it's not worth the headache of the media circus to have him be your back-up / gimmick guy. At the end of the day if 2012-13 Colin Kaepernick was kneeling he'd be signed. But when you're 4-20 (lol) in your last 24 starts and demanding top dollar AND are the poster boy of a touchy, polarizing issue teams are gonna stay away.
Of course the anti-kneel crowd is already out there cutting the Nike logo off of socks and throwing pairs of shoes that cost hundreds of dollars in fires. It's so fucking stupid. You already bought the product. This does nothing but give the company free advertising. Then in 5 weeks when you forget you were boycotting them they just got $120 of your money when you replace the shoes your threw on your Kenmore.
Maybe the funniest thing I've seen all day.
The anthem issue is never going to stop as long as people keep kneeling without action and people on the opposite side refuse to listen. What does kneeling accomplish other than pissing the right wing off? Nothing. What real changes have been made? I understand being upset about police brutality but I also think kneeling during the anthem is scummy as fuck. Idc about what you think you're fighting for it disrespects the flag plain and simple. You can show respect to the flag and our anthem or gfto. I agree that police brutality needs to be stopped but just because there's a handful of shitty cops doesn't mean the rest aren't good people just trying to protect their community and go home to see their families. People are so fucking stupid man it really pisses me off. Nobody ever wants to take any of the blame. But I'm getting off track of my real point.
Boycotting companies because you disagree with who they support is fucking stupid. It isn't going to change anything. Nike is going to be just fine. Same with the NFL (for now) with the conservatives boycotting over the anthem protests. If that got you to stop watching football you were never really a fan.
Stop being a sheep and think for yourself once in your life, regardless of where you lean politically. Nobody cares that you are gonna stop wearing Nikes or not drink Starbucks. It'd be one thing if we were living in 1940's Germany and Volkswagen came out with the SS Punch-buggy. Then I'd understand boycotting. Just shut the fuck up and live your life.
Artist: Tash Sultana
Album: Flow State
The Starting 9 podcast on Barstool Sports is one of my favorite podcasts in the game currently. Carrabis, Dallas, and J-Hay mix humor with insight and give a refreshing view on my favorite dying game; baseball. I don't always agree with everything they say, but imo that's what makes it work and keeps me coming back. After Pardon My Take and Crimetown (I'm two years behind..sry), it rounds out my top three favos.
On last week's episode producer Justin Havens brought up the potential for a podcast down the road discussing what went wrong for three franchises from the last decade who had great runs, and at times were dominate-- but were never able to win the World Series. The three teams in reference are the Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers, and Texas Rangers.
All have their own unique story that deserves to be told.
The Washington Nationals had all the talent in the world, but questionable leadership and decision making caused them to never even win a playoff series. San Diego Charger of LT -ish run for them.
The Detroit Tigers are the team here unlike the others. They have a rich history of success and glory. Championships on the backs of great starting pitcher and all time hitters, with a sprinkle of fantastic managing (look up Mayo Smith in the 68 WS). A franchise who before Jim Leyland showed up, had been one of the worst in all of sports for over a decade. Under his tutelage (100% first time in history of DOL I've used that word) they were perennial World Series contenders, who won two pennants. However in the Fall Classic went 1-8 in World Series; being upset each time. (maybe not a technical upset in 2012? but I thought they were gonna roll).
Then there's the Texas Rangers. A team who had the chance to be the ultimate comeback story. They were nearly the 2015 Royals..avenged a previous year's defeat in the World Series. Only to become the 1986 Red Sox---losing the World Series in heartbreaking, almost impossible to even write, fashion when a strike away from a championship.
We put soooooooo much emphasis on championships in sports, and rightfully so. It's the reason most (if not all--but for sure Herm Edwards) play the game---whatever game it may be. When I played high school football (nbd) all I cared about was winning a state championship. It's what I played for.
In sports sometimes because a team doesn't win it all-- they may be forgotten despite being great. You have to either really choke or have some sort of record setting season to live on in sports lore. Like nobody remembers the 2008 Angels who won 100 games and had a closer in K-Rod who broke the all time saves record--because they lost the ALDS to the Red Sox. They weren't some all time team, but winning 100 games is a pretty big deal (even if their run differential suggests they were an 88 win team).
Of course the all time great teams who don't pull it off like the 2007 Patriots or 1998 Vikings, or failed experiments with overwhelming talent like the 2003-04 Lakers or 2011 Eagle live on in infamy. The 2001 Mariners will always be remembered for winning 116 games and not even making the World Series.
But usually, teams who don't get it done are forgotten over time.
This is a really rudimentary take by me but it is so unfair, winning a championship is fucking hard. Like are the 2006 Cardinals better than the 2001 Mariners? The 2015 Pirates won 98 games but ran into a pitcher in the midst of an all-time pitching run in a one game playoff. Arguably Arrita's signature start as a Cub. Sometimes it's luck! I'm sorry. But it's true. David Tyree was lucky. In baseball and basketball there are 30 teams. NHL has 31 and the NFL has 32. In today's view of sports it's so championship or bust. As a Boston sports fan I get it better than most. 2017 Patriots are seen as a failure. For most franchises a trip to the championship (even if they lose) would be cause for celebration. The city of Cleveland held a parade for the 95 Indians despite losing the World Series to the Braves.
To win a championship you need luck in addition to skill. Everything has to break your way, the best team doesn't always win (as we'll see in a few instances in this series). I think the 2007 Pats are better than any of the 5 Super Bowl winning Patriot teams, but they didn't win their last game so "nobody cares". They are forever a punchline.
As a baseball fan, and more importantly as someone who lives in the past.. I loved the idea of really digging into these three franchises rise and fall that ended up with a combined 0 World Series wins. I love the Red Sox, but I am going to give that corny line baseball fans use "I'm a baseball fan first".
I love the history of the game. I can recite countless stats and World Series winners. It's just something I enjoy. I also firsthand got to experience one of the best nights of my life because of one of these teams I'm going to discuss short comings (s/o the 2013 Red Sox).
In all sports looking back at "what ifs?" or "what could've beens?" are something I find very interesting. Mainly because I feel like my whole life to this point is a what could've been stemming all the way back from my day in the sun on the Rosie O'Donnell Show in 1996. Also because at the end of the day those are arguments that can never really have a winner or loser. Yeah we all think Ken Griffey would've been the greatest player ever if he didn't get hurt...but idk maybe he couldn't had a really shitty season when healthy or something? That was not the best example but just stay with me!
I'm sure Starting 9 will do a great job talking about these teams postseason woes during the off-season, and ftr the next two will not have these lengthy intros that I have become notorious (d.o.z.) for. But as a writer who is desperately trying to get his fastball back I figured this would be the perfect chance to get back to doing what I love. I'm going to break down all three franchises rise to perennial contender, the decisions, and moments that cost them and hopefully answer the question: why did these teams never win a World Series? I'm not a baseball writer, I'm a blogger. This is me giving opinions, backed with some stats about what went wrong. I love talking baseball but am not nearly as polished with new age stats and all that shit so if that's what you're looking for you've come to the wrong place. However if you want take a look back at what went wrong for these three franchises I think this is a blog series for you.
Without further ado, let's talk #Nattitude.
I guess the Nationals story goes all the way back to 1969 when the Montreal Expos began playing baseball in the newly formed National League East.
The Expos history and what caused the Expos to leave Montreal for D.C. and become the Nats is a very interesting, and at times heartbreaking one; but not one I'm going to dive into here. I'd highly suggest watching the MLB Network documentary: The Colorful Montreal Expos if you wanna know more about that.
In late September 2004 it was announced the Expos would be heading to Washington, D.C.
Apart from Alfonso Soriano's lone season in the National's capital where he had a 40/40 (46/41 to be exact) season nothing too noteworthy or exciting was happening for the Nats. Other than Soriano all I can really remember from the pre-Harper/Strasburg Nats is when they spelled Adam Dunn's jersey wrong.
To their credit they were able to go 81-81 in their first season, which considering the turmoil from the move is pretty impressive. But the Nationals didn't really have too much buzz. They played at old RFK Stadium until 2008 when Nationals Park opened, but a new ballpark didn't mean more fans. After a minor bump in 2008 attendance actually fell below the numbers of their final season at RFK.
The Nationals finished 8th in attendance in their inaugural season. A spike like that is expected when a team is new. If you look back throughout history you'll see most expansion or relocated franchises (even if they suck) tend to drawn well their first season. If they keep sucking those numbers don't hold up. The 1998 Devil Rays were 7th in the AL in attendance (their first year) and by 2001 were 14th aka dead last in the American League. It looked like the Nats were in line for a similar fate.
Nationals attendance finishes 2005-2009:
2005: 2,731,993 (8th of 16)
2006: 2,153,056 (11th of 16)
2007: 1,943,812 (14th of 16)
2008: 2,320,400 (13th of 16)
2009: 1,817,226 (13th of 16)
It wasn't until the 2009 MLB Draft when people really started getting excited about this team.
The MLB draft (especially at this time) was miles behind the NFL or NBA in terms of hype and excitement. Casual fans don't really know the hot baseball prospects coming out of high school or college. But this year there was a pitcher by the name of Stephen Strasburg from San Diego State who got everybody talking.
I had never seen a prospect so hyped before in my (at the time short) baseball fandom. I was a junior in high school when he got drafted, close to the peak of my Red Sox fandom and absolutely in love with baseball. Everybody was talking about this guy being the next Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens with his fastball. Scouts were talking about how hard he threw. Frequently reaching triple digits. Dude was getting shout outs in Wale (talk about failing to live up to the hype) songs before he finished his first full season.
At San Diego State under Tony Gwynn (R.I.P.) Strasburg was an absolute stud. These are his numbers as a starter his sophomore and junior year. There's a reason so many people were talking about this guy in an era where outside of baseball executives most people didn't even know who was going to be drafted.
2008 (junior year) btw they get more ridiculous as you go down:
97 innings pitched
ONE HOME RUN ALLOWED
2009 (senior year):
109 innings pitched
kinda fell off here....4 home runs allowed
Then when he made his major league debut on June 8th, 2010 Strasburg just happened to break the Nationals record for most strikeouts in a game. In his debut start. Fans were going crazy, there was a playoff atmosphere. Strasburg struck out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates over 7 innings while only allowing 2 runs in a winning effort taking the national media by storm. It looked like this kid was going to live up to all the hype.
The Nationals sold out his first start. Over 40,000 fans packed the house to see the 2009 #1 overall pick make his debut. After winning his first two career starts Stephen Strasburg found himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Strasburg was everywhere. In one month his jersey sold more than any Nationals jersey had ever sold in the entire franchise's history.
Donovan McNabb has the second-hottest selling jersey in the NFL. That seemed pretty good. But then along came Stephen Strasburg, who -- in the month of June -- had the top selling jersey in all of baseball. Since Alex Ovechkin is annually either No. 1 or No. 2 in NHL sales, this is potentially an unprecedented era.
Ah yes, surely these are the golden days of D.C. sports, at least as measured in national jersey sales numbers.
No, this is actually quite remarkable. According to MLB:
* More than 78,000 Strasburg jerseys were sold through July 1, making his the top-selling Nats jersey of all time. Yes, in one month he outpaced the entire career of Ryan Zimmerman for jersey sales.
* Strasburg's jersey was the best-selling MLB model in June, and he is believed to have sold more jerseys in that month than any player in his first month in MLB history. Take that, Cy Young.
First off, seeing that Donovan McNabb line is hilarious.
Unfortunately for Strasburg like most hard throwers he would need Tommy John Surgery. That is not hilarious. The rookie sensation's 2010 season was short lived as he was only to pitch 68 innings. He was v impressive in his 12 starts posted a 5-3 record with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts. Good for 12.2 K/9. Despite the injury those 12 starts gave National fans something to really be excited about for the first time in franchise history. They also had this kid from Las Vegas named Bryce Harper to look forward to as well.
However, this surgery and it's after-effects could very well be what started the Nationals run of early postseason exits.
I don't wanna give you guys 5000 words to read in one sitting. I'll get into that and the drafting of Bryce Harper in the next installment of Close, But No Commissioner's Trophy.
House Keeping That Nobody Cares About (I desperately hope you care) Bonus Tedy Bruschi Twitter Fight
It's your boy the ole doz man! Back from yet another extended break from DOL. However unlike many others in the past this was not by choice!
Weebly hadn't been working for me (could very well just be me being horrible with technology). There were multiple occasions where I wanted to write but couldn't because the blog was broken.
Of course I mean get high off of the rush of an online madden victory.
Weebly worked today so here I am baby, signed, sealed, delivered.
FTR I have tried to write since my last day earlier this month. Of course there were days when I didn't feel like writing for one reason or another. It's a combination of laziness and self-doubt. I get in my own head and down on myself. Being completely serious I believe I am talented enough to work for Barstool. If given the opportunity I'd do anything to make it work. I know I'm funny, intelligent, full of ideas and can make people laugh. There's also many more people out there who feel the same way. It just sucks because a lot of the reasons I've been not writing as much are my own fault. Ever since I left Nashville I've been pretty depressed and expressed that by putting on (probz more) half of the weight I lost in 2016. I was depressed and honestly thought about killing myself more than normal, and went to food to cope. Once things started turning around I still kept eating and now I just feel like a drug addict except instead of opioids my drug of choice is anything with carbs and cheese.
People will say shit like "If you want it bad enough, you'd do anything to make it happen" Like I should work harder and stop at nothing to make it happen. Which is true. I 1000% agree I could do more. Only problem is with real life that gets kinda tough. I have a full time job, a girlfriend (crazy, right?), and trying/failing to get back in shape to worry about. After a work day I'm tired and just wanna relax. It's hard to wanna write a blog that you feel like nobody is gonna read. It's hard to stay motivated I'm just being honest. But I'm moving into a new house with some friends in less then a week and am gonna try to use that as a started over point to focus myself to my content. I wanna start a podcast again. I think 3MP had some potential but overall was trash. We put maybe an hour of planning into three episodes combined and it showed. I know I need to work on my on air voice. I'm funny and know what I'm talking about but end up biting my own tongue getting all twisted up, or cut people off because even after nearly 27 years on this planet I still don't know how to have a conversation. I'm kinda rambling but that's okay that's what this blog is about, but I just get down on myself, dude. It sucks I feel like I'm never gonna make it so why even try? Which I know is a toxic attitude to have and I'm trying to fix it. Even just typing this shit now I feel better just to be speaking my voice again. I feel like blogging is not like riding a bike; you definitely can lose it. I feel like I hit my peak in 2016 when I first started and was writing pretty much daily. I'm hoping I can regain my fastball because right now I'm throwing a flat 84 which isn't gonna cut it. I'm hoping that overtime I'll be confident in my writing again. Thanks for reading up to this point I've got a new series on baseball that I'm really excited for that I kinda stole from Justin Havens that I'm gonna start after this blog. I've got a lot of real life shit to worry about but am going to try my best to write more and stop making excuses.
I know deep down I have what it takes to make it. I need to stop being such a pussy and getting discouraged and keep fighting. I owe it to myself and the people in my life fighting through actual problems. Obviously there's way bigger shit in the world, than Ryan M******t trying to make it the sports media game, but man it just sucks when it feels like you're fighting such an impossible fight. Plus when you see the newer content people at BSS that you know you're better than it just makes it sting more. I don't mean that as a slight although I'm sure it came off as one but it's just how I think. You gotta be competitive to make it in this game and I am done being scared to truly try. There's literally thousands (probably millions) of people out there like me who think they're a lot better than what they do than they really are who just want a chance. I know in the grand scheme of things I sound like a whiny bitch here, and at the end of the day it's just me chasing a dream. Everything should be okay either way. I'm a white dude in America with two college degrees and a rich dad. Real life happens and can put shit in perspective really quickly. I have an aunt who had heart surgery today. I just found out a few days ago that one of my friends has leukemia, and I've got another who needs a new kidney. I know a self-absorbed fat fuck's dream to work for a company he's slowly starting to hate isn't even a blip on the important things in life radar but in short thanks for the support so far.
Enough of that shit. While I was gone you may have missed me get told by a personal hero of mine that I need to get out of the stone age.
ICYMI the NFL drastically changed the tackling rules this off season.
They're literally trying to ruin football. If you've been under a rock, let me fill you in. If you lower your head to make contact it's a penalty. It drives me crazy. Just because helmets hit doesn't automatically mean you're going to get an concussion. Plus when guys do hard, clean shoulder hits in real time the shitty refs can't tell the difference and throw the flag anyways. This is all imo an overreaction to the Ryan Shazier injury. Sorry but he just used poor tackling form which led to his injury. Any pop warner volunteer coach could tell you that. It's just like what happened with Kevin Everett of the Bills in 2007.
To me it's eerily similar to the Buster Posey rule in baseball that eliminated home plate collisions. Sucks to say but both changes were overreactions to where a player being in bad position ruined it for everybody else.
I understand you want to make the game safer for players but this new helmet rule has gone too far. Hits and violence are going to happen. IT'S FOOTBALL. Play golf if you don't want to get hit. I know we want to do all we can to make the game safer but at the end of the day I think this rule change is a little extreme. It neuters football, almost entirely kills the already on it's deathbed fullback position and just bums me out as a fan.
Tedy Bruschi, New England Patriot team Hall of Famer took to twitter to talk about the new rule the other week. I disagreed and might've been a little bit trolly but I think my point is still valid. I don't believe he actually wants to take violence out of the game (at least I hope not).
I don't disagree about some players needing to change the way they tackle. Like Brandon Meriweather hits don't really belong in the game. But just because a player lowers his shoulders (which physically also lowers his head) doesn't mean it's a dirty hit. IMO it was just a lazy rule change that I don't think the NFL truly understood the severity when they imposed it. Between this and trying to kill kickoffs I really hate where the NFL is going. When Mark Cuban said a few years ago that the NFL was going to implode people laughed, now I'm starting to think he's right. Rome is what led to the fall of Rome and I wouldn't be surprised if the NFL had a similar fate.
My biggest point is that now we know the risks of football. We are more advanced than even 5 years ago. If you wanna put your body on the line for fame and fortune you should be allowed to. This is (for now) America. Players know the risk, and a lot of them wanna hit. So let them.
Weebly finally works again!
Song: Everybody Party Tonight
Artist: Cobra Man
Album: Toxic Planet
Can a season really be ended if it never began?
The Yankees announced that OF Jacoby Ellsbury's 2018 campaign is over.....without ever officially beginning. Ellsbury has not appeared in a single game all season. 21 million dollars to literally not work. What a sport!
Of course my connection to Jacoby is that he was a fantastic, yet often injured CF for the Red Sox from 2007-2013. A career capped off with World Series championships. I'll never forget the spark he was for the 07 sox as rookie. Then the stolen base in the World Series, Tacoby Bellsbury. Man that nickname should've taken off. It was my yahoo fantasy baseball name for two years.
I hate Pete Abe ( I was once 3 feet away from him at Fenway once and he's maaaybe 5 4?) but man that is a solid point.
When Jacoby signed with the Yankees I was upset just because I liked Jacoby and hate(d) the Yankees. Even though I thought moving on was the right call, it just sucks he ended up in pinstripes. I had a legitimate nightmare about that very scenario happening in 2011 (his could've been MVP / possible roids year?) and I woke up in like a panic, where you realize it was just a dream but are still freaking out and don't calm down right away. Like when you think you killed someone in a dream and wake up and are like wait... that didn't happen right?
Okay then. While I hate what Jacoby did by going to New York, I also love it for the long term effect it's had on them. Then again more credit to them for giving him horrendous contract that the Red Sox were smart enough to avoid. 153 million over 7. Jacoby is in year 5. lol Imagine having that plus Pablo and Hanley?
Even though I'm happy he's fucking over the Yankees, hard. It makes me sad to see how bad Jacoby has been post Sox. Lot of battles with injuries and just unproductive play.
I'd love to see them just outright release him then watch him have like 3 good years for the Cardinals or some classic NL team.
(this has been my photo on my yahoo email since 2007)
Remy, 65, was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008. He has suffered multiple recurrences. In February 2017, he announced that the disease had returned, but he was back in the booth early in the regular season that year. In mid-June of last season, a recurrence required surgery and chemotherapy. Remy missed most of the second half, but did return for a few games in September.
Remy, a longtime smoker, first underwent surgery in November 2008 to remove a cancerous area from his lung. He endured complications during that recovery, including an infection and a prolonged bout with pneumonia.
He still didn’t feel like his usual self when the 2009 Red Sox season began, leading to a leave of absence that kept him out from April 30 until mid-August. He revealed upon his return that he had been battling depression.
In April 2013, Remy announced that he’d suffered a relapse that offseason when cancer was found in a different spot on his lungs during his regular six-month CT scan that January.
“If I can help anybody, that’s great,” said Remy when asked why he revealed the 2013 relapse. “Last time this happened to me, I got so many letters from people who have gone through cancer, who are fighting it at that particular point in time, and I felt like I did them some good.”
He did not miss time during the 2013 season while recovering from that surgery. But that August, Remy took an immediate leave of absence when his son, Jared, was charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel. Jared Remy pled guilty in August 2014 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
A Somerset native, Remy spent 10 years as a second baseman in the major leagues, including seven with the Red Sox (1978-84). He has been a NESN broadcaster on Red Sox games since 1988. Last January, the network announced that he’d signed a multiyear contract extension
Horrible news came out today: The Red Sox announcer that broadcaster and former 2nd basemen Jerry Remy has lung cancer again. This is his 6th bout with the disease.
Obviously it's horrible fucking news and we are all pulling for the Rem Dog to be back in the booth come 2019, but it's just a really downer on an otherwise spectacular season, so far. Real life still happens. Definitely puts a damper on things. Remy is the man I will not accept any other answer.
Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy were the voices of my childhood and a huge part of my daily like from April-October every year of my life since 2003. Now without Don; it's just Jerry. Lone survivor. If there's one thing the Remdog has done....it's survive, as mentioned earlier this is his SIXTH battle with Lung Cancer.
Jerry Remy's laugh whenever him or Don would mess around was the best and I remember those moments a lot better than a lot of the games that were taking place in the background. Too many to mention but The Pizza Throw is the #1 highlight and of course I'll include it at the end of the blog.
Jerry has been doing a great job this season. His chemistry with Eck has to be the highlight. Jerry, O'B and of course Eck when in the booth altogether has been can't miss stuff. I'm so sad we're gonna be missing out on Jerry because of stupid fucking cancer. Like seriously, cancer? Literally nobody likes you, it's so annoying just go away already. I was just talking about Saturday how mad I was that I watched the game on FS1 and not NESN because I assumed they didn't have the game since it was the Saturday Game of the Week.
Sadly, was the last chance this season we all had the chance to listen to Jerry Remy this season. Well technically the time table hasn't been announced yet, but it's not like cancer is something that only puts you on the 10-day dl.
I wish you nothing but a speedy recovery, Rem Dog.
We all love you.
Just listen to his laugh when he Eck tells this story. This was the funniest moment post-Don by a mile.
"Ahhhh, here goes the Pizza! See it?"
11 years ago today Barry Lamar Bonds broke the all-time home run record.
And nobody fucking cares.
It's so crazy to me. Look I get it, I know Barry is a steroid guy. Everybody on earth knows that. You know it, I know it, starving kids in huts with no water or technology know it.
In a sport where stastistics and records are so highly celebrated, most people don't care about Barry Bonds breaking the home run record. Some don't even recognize him as the all-time leader.
I still think Barry Bonds was a HOFer before steroids, and should be in Cooperstown. He had seasons where his on base was over .600. Idc what you're on that's insane. We also need to accept the fact that nearly everybody was on steroids during this era...hence the name. Baseball players are held to such a higher standard. In the NFL nobody gives a fuck about juicing, it's almost encouraged. Like Rodney Harrison getting busted isn't what will keep him out of the HOF.
I just think back to that 07 summer, I was in Florida visiting my family. I remember Barry tied the record on the road at Petco Park and then afterwards every single Giants game was on ESPN until he broke the record. As a baseball nut I'd watch every game. It might've actually even been once he was one away because I felt like the Giants were on ESPN every night for two weeks.
Finally, on August 7th, 2007 Barry Bonds hit home run 756 off of Nationals pitcher Mike Bascik, a man who's name has been forgotten unlike Al Downing who gave up 714 to Hammerin' Hank. Bascik, much like Bonds was out of baseball after the 2007 season. To me that's still such a shame. Barry Bonds in 2007 at age hit 28 home runs and had an OBP% of .480 (which led the NL). He FOR SURE could've been a DH in '08 but was black balled and never played again after 2007. Fun fact the Giants lost the game that night, but I don't think the fans in attendance really cared. Also...those Nationals uniforms were soooo ugly. Thank God they got rid of the Natinals disgraces.
Of all the steroid guys I think Bonds gets the worst of it because he was an all time great without them. He's not a Brady Anderson type. Bonds in Pittsburgh was already a future HOFer, but after the 98 chase with Sosa and Big Mac he got jealous and started juicing to put up better, bigger numbers like them.
I'm kinda rambling as this summer I haven't written much, but it just rubs me the wrong way how much disrespect Barry Bonds gets.
Look at these numbers:
Steroids or not, he's one of the best baseball players of all time. To me he is the all-time home run leader. I consider myself a Barry Bonds fan. He was a bad, baaaad man and deserves his spot in Cooperstown. I will not forget what Barry Bonds accomplished.
Song: The Rock Show
Artist: Blink 182
Album: Take Off Your Pants and Jacket