Saturday, April 18, 2009

Stuff that doesn't matter, some that does...Ello, Apr. 18

"The new phone book is here! The new phone book is here!"...The lines are from the
(not-quite-a) classic Steve Martin comedy, "The Jerk"...(caught some of it STARZ last night, by the way).

The idea of the scene is that what matters little to most -- or all -- or us, means the world to "The Jerk," his name actually being in print finally validating his existence.

Same goes with the release of the NFL schedule...only in this case, you're all "The Jerks," and I'm the one who understands (correctly) that is means little...."The NFL Schedule is here! The NFL Schedule is here!" what?

Now we know the Chargers will open their 2009 quest in Oakland, against the Raiders...Then they're home for Baltimore and Miami...Then there's a whole bunch of more games before the regular season ends January 3rd at home against Washington. (By the way, if they keep ending the season later and later, the Super Bowl one day will be played on the 4th of July).

And now we have all of the "experts" in the NFL world breaking down every team's schedule and determining what it all means. "The Chargers have to play Dallas, the New York Giants and Pittsburgh!".....Oooooooohh! "And they play at Philadelphia, and play at Cleveland in December where it will be cold!"....Oh, oh!

My goodness, what are they going to do??...Well, my best guess, is that they'll show up every Sunday or Monday wherever the schedule tells them to, and they'll try to win the games.

End of story. Or is it?

Breathlessly, the experts have figured out which team has the hardest schedule (Miami) and which has the easiest (N.Y. Giants)...and that means, well, what exactly?

Not much. If it did then why bother figuring out who supposedly had the toughest schedule in the NFL last year? Answer: the Super Bowl champion Steelers.

Speaking of things that don't matter, the NFL draft is now just a week away, and all of the
draft-niks are warming up their projection sheets....Who will go No. 1 to the Lions? Who'll be picked 19th? Or 27th?

When somebody can tell me who'll get the next Tom Brady in the 6th round, or tell me which team will by savvy enough to sign (defensive player of the year) James Harrison as a free agent because he's not drafted at all...then maybe I'll start paying attention.

Until then, the whole affair is like trying to pick numbers in a lottery. Teams could do just as well closing their eyes and pointing to names in Steve Martin's phone book.

I do have one draft prediction, however: the team that will improve most from last season to next season will be the Chargers...Not because of anybody they draft next weekend, but because they will welcome back a supposedly healthy Shawne Merriman for '09.

No team will find anybody with that much impact in the draft, no matter how hard they look or how much attention they pay to Mel Kiper.

You can go ahead and continue to love Lance Armstrong if you want to, but one of these days you will get your heart broken. (Just like Sheryl Crow).

Armstrong says he may be barred from this summer's Tour de France because -- his explanation -- the people over in Europe can't stand him. (If true, by the way, kudos to the people over in Europe).

But here's the real reason why Armstrong may not be allowed to compete: Tour officials showed up unannounced at Armstrong's residence and asked him to take a drug test (completely legal, under the rules that govern the sport).

Armstrong said "sure," then disappeared for over 20 minutes, spending most of that time in the shower. Did he just want to look squeaky-clean for the authorities? Or was he increasing his chances of testing squeaky-clean?

You go ahead and decide. Me? I already decided a long time ago on Armstrong. In a sport where every single decent Tour competitor has flunked drug tests over the past decade, I simply can not believe that Armstrong was the only top-flight cyclist who was riding clean.

He has never tested positive for anything (and he reminds of this fact constantly)...but neither has Barry Bonds.

As is always the case, the NBA will get exactly what it wants for this year's NBA Finals -- Kobe and the Lakers versus LeBron and the Cavs. Can it possibly turn out any other way?

Of course, it can't.

And just in case Kevin Garnett does try to make a comeback at some point during the
post-season, believe me when I tell you that David Stern has Jeff Gillooly's phone number on speed dial. One good whack on the knee from Tonya Harding's former husband, and the Celtics will be finished.

We know you don't care much about hockey, but at least the Stanley Cup Playoffs aren't rigged. Sure some teams are better than others, but there's really no way of knowing which two teams will meet in the finals.

My guess is Detroit versus New Jersey...Two teams that have goaltenders that have been there many times before....(By the way, it's too bad you're not watching the playoffs -- or don't know where to find them -- because the Chicago-Calgary game on Thursday night was a blast).

Just how long will the Padres be able to keep this magical early-season run going? My best bet is mid-May or so...the good news is that just as the Friars are falling, the NCAA college baseball tournament will be getting underway.

Don't look now, but both San Diego State (No. 15) and USD (No. 24) are ranked and have a good shot at post-season play. My wish would be for both to win their opening-round regionals and then face-off head-to-head in a 2-out-of-3 Super Regional...with the winner going to the College World Series.

For guys like me who care about the minor sports in San Diego -- and enjoy following them -- an SDSU-USD showdown with everything at stake would be fantastic.


  1. I care about hockey, and those who don't watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs are seriously missing out. There is no better, more intense, more entertaining tournament out there, not even the NCAA basketball Tourney!

    And I'll be heading up to Anaheim on Tuesday for Game 3 between the Sharks and the Ducks. Has there ever been a more misleading 1-8 matchup in the history of sports? This series is gonna be good! (As will the Blackhawks-Flames series, the Pens-Flyers series, and the Rangers-Caps series! Damn, I love the hockey playoffs!)

    By the way: Did anyone else happen to catch the NCAA hockey regionals and Frozen Four? Those were some UNBELIEVABLE games!

  2. "And they play at Philadelphia, and play at Cleveland in December where it will be cold!"....Oh, oh!

    Exactly why the schedule does matter...we actually get the Eagles at home not in Philly-it would have been unfair to get 9 road games.

    You're right about the unpredictability of the schedule: Steelers toughest (Super Bowl Win) Patriots easiest (miss playoffs--although the ranking for their 2008 schedule surely changed after Favre went to the Jets and Pennington moved to the Dolphins).

    So why get excited? Are we all "Jerks"!?

    C'mon gives starved football fans something to talk about and speculating about the possibility of adding a game changer (see: Merriman in 2005) who can contribute right off the bat is....well it's just fun! Isn't it?

    Chris--Do you think there is one of those players out there that could make an impact in 2009?

    As far as the NBA goes, here's all anybody really needs to know:

  3. We have a modest proposal for attacking a modest symbol of the East Coast Bias we've witnessed this week but it requires you, good fans of San Diego, to get proactive:
    We have proposed something called, "The Heath Bell Effect"... extension of the effect is for you to open your mouths (your e-mail actually) and to bombard one of Scott and BR's regular guests: Radio personality Sid Rosenberg (...a NY Met Fan).

    At the above blog post address there is a comprehensive list of Heath Bell's media interactions this week along with a cut-and-paste-e-mail (or you can get creative)....oh yea...Sid Rosenberg's email is there too (for those who haven't heard him on Scott and BR: think Bleacher Bum Jordan, except Rosenberg is actually well respected). We should take advantage of the information age and say hello....

    Aren't you tired of the dismissal of your fanhood because you live out West? This email won't change things..but at least they'll know we're not sleeping.

    Your choice Brothers and Sisters.