Monthly Archives: December 2009

End of the Year Wrap-Up, Dealing with Breakups

The first thing to remember when reading this is, this is not the gospel.  There is no perfectly tested way to get over a bad breakup.  This is just my opinion on how to get through it.

Breakups are called ‘breakups’ for a reason.  It is the end.  If it wasn’t bad, they would call it something else.  Breakups suck, no doubt about it.  But the grieving time will pass.  I assure you of this.  For some it takes longer.  You have to keep living.  And sometimes that is hard, because so much of your daily life revolved around this ‘said’ person.  But in my experience I have found that continuing to do these certain things, that in time it becomes that much easier.  Just because said person is out of your life, does not mean your whole life has to change.  The things you two did were enjoyable, yes, but not only because said person was there but also because you liked them as well.  So go continue liking them now.

Breaking up is a big process.  Not a lot of people realize that.  Ultimately it affects you and the other person, but there are many other parties involved here.  If it was a long relationship, you have both probably met each other’s families.  And if it was really long, there is a possibility that your families had also met at one point or another.  So now you have to explain to your parents and friends what happened.  And you know they are going to ask about it.  They will notice that said person is not around anymore.  And these questions are actually very helpful.  It will allow you to talk about it and get it out there in the open, as painful as it may be to do so.  This way it is not building up inside you and ultimately causing you to explode emotionally somewhere.  In that case, let’s hope it is not at work because then that is another ‘breakup’ article about how to deal with unemployment.

After a breakup it is really important to use the resources you have around you.  This is your circle of friends, your mom, or that ex that turned out to be your best friend.  And we all have one.  They have stuck by you through every relationship and every crazy bf/gf that didn’t ‘appreciate’ you being friends with your ex.  Talk to these people.  And not so they can bash said person about what a fool they were for leaving you.  They need to reaffirm how strong a person you are and how much you have grown as a person through this relationship.

The hurt will pass.  For some it passes quickly.  For others, it takes a lot longer.  And that is ok.  Do not get discouraged.  And please, please do not go looking for the next Mr. Right.  He will end up being Mr. Right Now Who Didn’t Compare to Mr. Yesterday, in most cases.  Be single.  Enjoy your new life.  I am not saying to look at the breakup as a blessing but as an opportunity.

Now take it and run!

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St Pete’s, NO, and NM start this Bowl Season off

Bowl Season is here.  One of the most talked about voting systems (outside of Florida) there is for the sporting world.  There are a lot of bowl games coming up in the next 3 weeks so without writing 5000 words previewing all them in one post, I am going to break it down a couple games at a time to make it manageable to read with your morning coffee.  Let’s get started.

St. Petersburg Bowl – Rutgers (8-4)  v. University of Central Florida (8-4)

Tropicana Field

This match up is weird to me.  When you break it down and really look at it, it’s almost like sleeping with your cousin.  First things first, it’s the Knights v. the Scarlet Knights.  Both teams went 8-4.  Rutgers hung around the top 25 for a bit before losing to bottom dwellers Syracuse towards the end of the season.  UCF had a big upset win over then ranked number 14 Houston.  This is Rutgers fifth bowl game in five years, UCF making it for the third time in five years.

Both of these are not really offensive juggernauts.   UCF is averaging a little over 200 passing yards a game where Rutgers is a little under 200.  Their rushing attacks are almost identical.  138.5 and 138.4 for UCF and Rutgers, respectively.  Rutgers’ back Joe Martinek, who had almost 1000 yards this season, will have a tough time running against UCF’s D who ranked 4th in the country on run defense; only allowing 83 yards a game.

Quarterbacks for both teams are fairly accurate.  Both are good drop back style QB’s and can throw the ball long.  But the big deciding factor in this game will be the offensive line.  Rutger’s freshman QB Tom Savage was sacked 34 times, the most in the Big East.  And UCF senior QB Brett Hodges threw 11 TDs this past season.  Both quarterbacks will need good protection.

Prediction:  Rutgers 38, UCF 31

New Mexico Bowl – Fresno St (8-4)  v. Wyoming (6-6)

University Stadium

Who playing who?  This could be the worst bowl game to start the bowl season.  This game could turn into the Ryan Mathews show.  Mathews, Fresno St running back, is averaging over 150 yards rushing a game.  Do the math, that is over 7 yards more than Heisman invitee and runner-up Toby Gerhart of Standford.  The kid just flat-out runs.  He leads the nation with 7 runs of at least 50 yard.  In a loss this season to Boise St he had 235 yards rushing with TDs of 60, 68 and 69 yards.

The Wyoming defense allows a little more than 170 yards a game on the ground.  Their D will be in the trenches most of the night.  It is hard to imagine them stopping Mathews all night.  And they won’t.  The biggest thing will be to limit the big runs.   They can not give up big runs and still expect to win this ball game.

Wyoming will have freshman quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, Mountain West’s freshman of the year, behind center.   He started the last 9 games of the season and threw for over 1500 yards.  He led them to three straight victories to the end the season and get them a bowl game.

Prediction: Fresno St 42, Wyoming 17

New Orleans Bowl – Southern Mississippi (7-5) v. Middle Tennessee (9-3)

Johnny Floyd Stadium

When you look at these two teams and where they are from, I can not think of a better place for them to play then Johnny Floyd Stadium.  Just saying it sounds fitting.  This game should be high scoring with both teams averaging over 400 yards a game in offense.  Middle Tennessee is looking for their first 10 win season since 1992 and this will be only their second bowl game since entering the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1999.  As for the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss, they are making this their 12th bowl game in 13 seasons.  The game will turn into a classic Blue and Gold game (Golden Eagles v Blue Raiders, get it).   Key to this game will be defense.  Midd Tenn ranks in the top for in tackles for a loss and sacks per game.

Prediction:  Toss up.  This is the first meeting between the two schools.  Blue 24, Gold 17

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‘Halladay’ season has officially started in Philly

Well the waiting is over.  Halladay was the newest toy to hit store shelves yesterday and the Phillies were first in line to scoop him up.   And then they paraded him in front a dozen cameras and millions of viewers.  They had ever right to.  They were proud of this one.  Ruben Amaro Jr had wanted this one since last July.  Maybe even longer than that.

Rube first got his man last year when he traded for Cliff Lee.  Once Lee was in Philly and Lou Marson, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, and Jason Knapp were gone, Philly phaithful thought that was it.   No way Rube could get Halladay now.  Lee was an ace.  He was our ace.  He would lead us to the promise land again this year just as Cole Hamels did in the previous year.  Oh and how Lee did not disappoint.  He finished off a great regular season to go 4-0 in the playoffs including two wins in the World Series against the Yankees.  But apparently winning wasn’t a priority.

Lee wanted money.  And big money.  Who could blame him.  He had a good year and an even better year the year before.  But what about before that?  I think the inconsistency he showed before the 2008 season does not warrant him getting CC Sabathia type money.  And that is what he wanted.  And good for him for thinking highly of himself.  But the Philies FO does not give out long contracts to pitchers.  Never have.  And reports were saying Lee wanted 5 years.  On to plan B.  I know I was surprised there even was a plan B.

Roy Halladay is in Philadelphia with his agent?  I don’t even live in Philly, and I was looking for him.  This was big news.  But how would we get him in Phillies pinstripes?  We shipped out 4 prospects last year when Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor were ‘untouchable.’  So what did we have to barter with?  In comes Seattle.   A team with the right type of prospects and almost more desperate to get back to their winnings ways as the Phillies were three years ago.  They were also not afraid of spending money seeing how they gave Chone Figgins to leave his first place team  In this so-called blockbuster deal Lee went to the M’s and Doc came to Philly.  Throw in seven prospects changing through four different teams and you have a deal.

Who is to say Lee gets his five-year contract from Seattle?  Not our problem anymore.  Halladay got his three-year extension and gave the Phillies a discount.  Because, to him, winning a World Series is important to him.

So what are the Phillies getting?  Yes, it is rhetorical.  But look at it for a minute.  Halladay came from arguably the toughest division in baseball and still dominated.  Now he comes to the NL East, which is no cake walk, and you have to believe he will be almost untouchable.  And with Doc’s first 3 starts, tentatively, being against Washington, Houston, and Florida the days of the slow starting Phillies may be over.  Now, of course, this will depend on the other starters as well.  Hamels has got to regain his 2008 postseason form and JA Happ needs to just keep doing what he is doing and the Phillies will do fine.

I was going to try and throw a lot of stats and numbers at you this article but it’s already been done and I am a little late.  So I apologize for that.  I know somewhere out there, a reporter had to have asked Chase Utley if he liked the idea of signing Roy Halladay.  His response would have been “Really?  Come on, its Roy effing Halladay.”

So Happy Halladays everybody and see you in the World Series.

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Me llamo Juan

The Phillies have made a couple additions this off season already that could see time on the bench for the Major League club.  In the next few weeks, I am going to be profiling those players to see how the Phillies and Charlie Manuel with use them.  Also, I will try and predict their usage (ABs, games, hits, etc)

First up is Juan Castro.  Castro has been brought in to take the place of the great bearded one, Eric Bruntlett.  He is a 15 year veteran last playing for the Dodgers.  Last year in 57 games he hit .277 in 112 ABs with a homer and 9 RBIs.  When he did start it was mostly at shortstop but also started games and second and third base.  He filled in occasionally in the outfield as well.
Castro was drafted in 1991 by the Dodgers as an 18 year old from Los Mochis, Mexico.  He made is debut in 1995.  After the Dodgers, Castro went to the Reds, the Rockies Triple-A system and then to the Orioles in 2008.  In Baltimore he became a starter at shortstop.  After the season he filled for free agency and signed with the Phillies.
What does he bring to Philadelphia?  Castro swings the bat very well and has some speed.  Manuel will have no problem putting him in the lineup if Rollins or Utley need a day off.
2009 season prediction: He should make the team out of spring training.  125 – 250 ABs, .264, 11 RBIs, 2 HRs, 15 – 20 GS

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Halladay turning Philly, Twitter upside down

It is amazing the Twitter network has not crashed yet.  It is a rapid fire of Roy Halladay rumors. What do we know?  He and his agent, Greg Landry, have checked into a Philadelphia hotel.  No, I don’t know which one.

What we are not certain about are the exact details for his visit.  We know Ruben Amaro Jr has been talking with Blue Jays’ General Manager Alex Anthopoulos about a possible trade.  Rumors say Halladay will be taking a physical later this week which would imply that a deal is close.  There has also been speculation about a 3-team blockbuster trade which would send Cliff Lee somewhere, and Halladay to the Phillies.  Lee is apparently wanting a contract extension in the area of 5 yrs/$100 million.

In my opinion, Phillies can go after Halladay.  Have the Jays pay some of his $15 mil owed next season and extend is contract for about $17 or 18 mil a season.  Keep Lee to pitch the first half of next season and then trade him at the deadline for prospects and a big league ready pitcher.

The only way I do not want to see this Halladay deal go down is with JA Happ leaving Philly.  He is the future and the Phillies need to hold onto him.

Like I said, these are all rumors.  My prediction as to what happens.  Feelings aside.  Phillies trade for Halladay.  Happ is gone in deal.  Blanton is gone via side trade.   Not sure about Lee.  But who am I?

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Phillies trim the fat, facial hair this winter

The Winter Meetings are over.  And once again Ruben Amaro Jr. is pushing himself and the Phillies organization to the top of the pile.  He has made it clear his intentions are winning.  Winning now, but also in the future.  We could see that last July.

Getting Cliff Lee from the Indians for what a lot of people thought were second tier prospects was huge.  It not only got the Phillies that certified ace they had been looking for but they also didn’t have to part ways with some of their big name prospects like Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Dominic Brown.  Now this could go either way.  Amaro could hold onto these guys (who wouldn’) and develop them into superstars just like Pat Gilleck did with Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz.  Or he could try and package them for Roy Halladay.  But frankly I am a little burnt out on the Halladay talk so I will spare you this time.
Amaro went into winter meetings with a very clear list of needs.  Back end of the bullpen needed help as did the bench wanting a utility player that could pinch hit occassionall.  Another starter was on the list too, just a little further down.  So Rube went to work.  He starting trimming fat.  Matt Stairs was clutch in the NLCS springing the Phillies to the World Series.  But those memories all started to fade when you can’t hit a lick.  He was horrible this past season as a pinch hitter and a liability in the outfield when he did see playing time.  He had to go.
Next, Amaro broke out the shaving cream.  Eric Bruntlett may have had the biggest following for a non-talented baseball player.  His epic beard could be seen from space.  Signs around Citizens Bank Park read ‘MVB Most Valuable Beard.’  And for the most part, he was just a glorified circus freak.  Aside from his unassisted triple play against the Mets and scoring (as a pinch runner) on Rollins’ walk off double against the Rockies (LDS) he really has not done much to help himself out.  He filled in for Rollins when JRolled his ankle to start the World Series winning season.  About 27 games and 5 errors later he was on the bench.  Time to trim the hair.
Since then Amaro has added some pretty decent names.  Placido Polanco tops the list.  A Gold Glove second baseman has agreed to move to 3B for the Phillies, who he played for in ’02-’04.  He will give the Phillies three legitimate leadoff men.  And all of them are capable of stealing double digit bases as well as adding pop to this homerun derby type team.  For a Phillies team that is already very proficient in base running, this only makes them stronger.
Other additions include Brian Schneider, Ross Gload and Juan Castro.  The Phillies some other guys to minor league contracts that I will touch on later this week.  The only thing left is to try and improve on starting pitching.  There are rumors surfacing that Amaro may try and move Blanton to free up his salary to sign a top 2nd tier type pitcher.
With winter meetings over, I think the Phillies came out stronger than when they went into them.  More to come….

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Eagles Drop 45 on Giants, Defense keeps NY in Game

I felt like I was watching a live version of Madden 2010.  Ton of offense, little defense.  The critics will say this was an instant classic game.  It was a shoot out no doubt about it.  But I can not imagine either one of these coaches left the Meadowlands last night happy with how their teams performed.

There was 83 points scored total.  That is the highest point total between these two teams in one game, ever.  And this is the 150th game played by the Giants and Eagles.

The Eagles jumped out a 14 point lead quickly in the 1st quarter just passed the five minute mark.  Donovan McNabb hit Brent Celek on an 8 yard TD pass just three and a half minutes into the game.  Celek is really emerging as one of the top Tight Ends in the league.  He now has 61 receptions on the year.  His previous season high for catches was 27.  And he doesn’t seem to have the ‘hands like feet’ syndrome LJ Smith suffered from.  Two minutes later Sheldon Brown scooped up a fumble and fast walked 60 yards into the end zone.  At that point it looked to be a blow out for the Eagles.

But Eli is a Manning.  And they have fight.  This game turned out to be a slugfest.  It was 30-17 Eagles going into halftime.  Before the final whistle blew there were three TD passes of over 60 yards, a fumble recovery for a TD of 60 yards and a 72 yard punt return by the always electric DeSean Jackson.  He is always open.  You would think defenses would try and cover him better.  Jackson has turned himself into a fan favorite for not only his ability to make big plays (8 TDs of more than 50 yards, ties record), but also for the fact he chest bumps head coach Andy Reid and that he keeps in touch with fans.  Jackson, like many other athletes, uses the social network Twitter to keep in touch with his fans.  Now while most of his posts need to be decoded (thanks @DJackTranslated), they are all carry the same message; he loves scoring and playing in Philly.  It seems that Jackson has everyone saying: TO who?

The defense for the Eagles has to have some people worried.  One of the most feared D’s in the league these past couple years was picked apart by Manning.  He threw for 391 yards and three TDs.  Two of which went for 68 and 61.  It seemed the game plan for both these teams was to drop back, pump fake and then lay it over the top of the defenders and let the wide outs run and catch.  And it worked, obviously.

The Giants still have a shot to make the playoffs.  They are a game behind Dallas for the final Wild Card spot and would seemingly have to win out for any shot at getting in.  I can see the Giants going 2-1 the rest of the year, with wins coming over Washington and Carolina.  Finishing out the year at Minnesota is going to be tough.  Even one loss might be good enough.  The Cowboys have New Orleans and Philly in their final 3 and the Packers have Pittsburgh and Arizona.  This postseason might very well be decided on the last day of the season, or even the division.

The defense needs to step up.  The final score of the game was 45-38 but could easily have been worse.  Hakeem Nicks dropped a sure catch and run score and couldn’t get his feet down in the end zone on another pass.

With this win, the Eagles take a one game lead on the division with three to play.  San Fran, Denver then Dallas.  Again not an easy road for the Eagles either.  And who said the holidays weren’t stressful?

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