Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Idol Chatter

Here's a little talk for all of you Idol fans. Maybe you admit your a fan, maybe you don't. Either way, here are thoughts on last nights performances and on where we think the show is headed.

Dogg: Who is getting booted tonight and why?

Fuzz: Simon thinks Cans (Syesha) is in trouble but I think Brooke White goes tonight. Syesha has been in the bottom three for the past month but I think she hangs on. Brooke hasn't impressed me at all in 2-3 weeks. It's time for her to go. She messed up her lyrics two weeks ago and should have been booted. Then this week, she was average. Simon called her first performance a nightmare. Plus, she's annoying as hell, so I'm sick of her.

Dogg: Syesha has been in trouble for the past 6 weeks. I don’t even remember how many times she has been in the bottom 3 and/or 2 but has lasted to the final 5. I think the bottom 2 should be Syesha and Brooke but Castro had an off night with the judges as well. He’s been losing interest of the judges but apparently not with the fans. I enjoy his O.A.R stoner-type music a lot. Brooke hasn’t had a clue the past two weeks and I thought if you mess up lyrics you are automatically tossed? Apparently not with Brooke because she had to start over while on the piano a few weeks ago and then completely botched the lyrics last week. See ya Brooke!

Who is in your top 3 right now Fuzz?

Fuzz: My top three are the fellas. Cook, Archuleta, and Castro in that order. The guys have been significantly better than the philly's this season, so having an all dude top 3 is legit. Who knows though? I think Cook and Archuleta are shoe-in's for the top 2. They are by far the best and have been since about week three. What the hell is going on with Paula? Is she seriously on crack? She started judging Castro's 2nd song last night before she sang it and called Syesha Brooke last night. She is completely off her rocker and Simon loves it. He sits there and just laughs.

Dogg: I have Archuleta, Cook and Castro in that order. I know a 17-year-old American Idol would be awfully young but his voice is the best in my mind. Cook definitely has high power potential and will do well with his music career but I believe Archuleta has the most powerful voice. He has since day 1 and has been a favorite since this contest started.

Paula was terrible last night. How the F did she think somebody sang two songs when they only had sung one when they asked of her opinion? I’ve said she’s been on drugs since this show started and believe the producers enjoy it because it has become comical. I am surprised that Seacrest hasn’t said anything to her this season especially last night. Do they just rip her after the show? Simon and her are for sure going strong in the sack and gives the show reason to keep her on screen. The show has been a major hit series since it began. If Simon leaves does the show continue to do well?

Fuzz: Barring a Daughtry like early exit shocker, David Cook is your winner. He's 25, he's been the most consistent singer and I think he IS the best singer this year. Archuleta is the only other contender but he is too young. He's only 17 and is a little retarded. In the sense in the way he handles the attention, the judges, Seacrest, etc... He's not as polished as Cook is. The best singer doesn't always win this competition though, but in the end, Cook is the artist that's going to come out on top record sales wise. That must be nice, by the way. You're 25, you were working a normal job before this show, and now you'll be a millionaire within a year or two. It's bullshit...

Dogg: If you are in the top 10 on American Idol you have a face with millions of people and that is worth a shitload these days. You will make it big time if you really want to either with music, TV, radio, etc. I know some of these singers fall off with their singing careers but can always latch onto something else with the popularity factor from this show. I agree though Fuzz that it's BS because I can do things much better than half of these tools that end up making a career because they were on American Idol.

Cook vs. Archuletta is the matchup to look for from here on out. One of these two will be your champion. Either is good for me because they are the two guys I selected when the field was limited to 24 which gives me $10 each from Q and Fuzz!

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Picture of the Day

Q: Raise your hand if you shot better than 25% in a deciding game in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Not so fast Steve...

Dogg: I just puked because I cannot stand Tim Duncan. He is a clutch player and will probably go down as one of the top 5 PF’s of all-time but I can honestly say that he is my least favorite NBA player now and don’t see that changing for 25+ years. His mannerisms bother the shit out of me and he’s a complete nerd...The photo also shows Steve Nash’s last days in Phoenix. I think they ship him out and believe he’ll win a title in the next 3 years if he goes to the right team.

Fuzz: I'm with Dogg in the sense that this is the last time you'll see Nash with a Suns jersey on. He's walking with his head down probably thinking the same fucking thing. The lastest report is that head coach D'Antoni is all but gone and the Suns need to go in a different direction. The high flying offense but suspect on defense didn't work for the Suns. They also got unlucky matching up with the Spurs in the early rounds the last two years. That's one team they can't beat. Nash is getting older and Shaq needs to retire and join the TNT NBA crew. Can you imagine Ernie, Kenny "the jet" Smith, Chuck Barkley and Shaq? I thought that crew couldn't get better but the addition of Shaq would be unreal. Anyways, Amare is still young enough where you can blow this thing up for a few years and make a run after the turn of the decade.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Under Review--NFL Draft

The 2008 NFL draft is completed and here are five questions about the event.

We had no first round pick because of the Jared Allen trade and we haven't touched on that trade. What do you guys think of the Jared Allen deal?

Dogg: The Jared Allen trade was phenomenal. We gave up our 17th overall pick, expecting to take a DE who probably shouldn't have been taken that early in Phillip Merling. Any DE that we took in the first round was going to be a 50/50 success but with Jared Allen we got a top 5 DE. 3rd round picks mean nothing to me so this deal was Jared Allen for the 17th overall pick which is an absolute steal. I believe we will have the top defensive line in the league this year.

Q: I wasn't entirely sure about it at first. A first rounder, two thirds, and $74 million? That's a lot no matter who you are. But the more I thought about it (and drank the Vikings Kool-Aid that Dogg is brewing), the more I liked the move. I'll take the NFL's sack leader over three questionable draft picks any day. He's going to make the entire defense better and especially help our pass defense, where we've struggled for the past few seasons. Plus, it's not very often that you get a chance to get an impact player entering the prime of his career. Especially not in Minnesota, where we're usually the ones shipping people out at about that time (see Santana, Johan). He instantly gives us a top 3 defense in the league and could be the difference maker in whether or not we make the playoffs.

Fuzz: I like it. Two things aren’t guaranteed: 1) Draft Picks 2) Jared Allen laying off the sauce. Have you seen this guy? He looks like the spokesperson for Natty Ice. Anyways, on one end you’re giving up draft picks that haven’t proved shit in the league to get a guy that led the league in sacks last year. Then on the other end, you’re getting a guy that’s a cocktail away from a year suspension (copyright my brother). Both are risks. However, I like it from the standpoint that we’re making a run. Whatever is sparking this new attitude is great to see. Whether it’s Childress on the hot seat, ownership getting antsy or an organization thinking they are close to the Superbowl--I love the “go for it now” thinking. Our sports organizations ALWAYS build, build, and build for the future. Like Q said, we give up all-stars for future building almost every year it seems like. It’s a good change seeing them say the hell with it, let’s roll. My thoughts on if this philosophy will work--- We’re Comin!!

Is John David Booty going to push T-Jack? Why? Why not?

Q: The only thing JDB will be pushing this year is a pencil to the clipboard he's holding (sorry, lame joke). I don't think there is any chance that he sees the field this year. We are going to sink or swim with Jackson. If he leads us to the promised land, awesome. If not, Chilly might be on his way out since this is his boy. Even if Tarvaris gets hurt, we signed Gus "Head Banger" Ferotte as a backup, and since he's played in the league for quite some time now, he'd easily get the nod over Booty. That said, if T Jack struggles again this year (as everyone expects that he will), there could and should be some serious Booty talk (that sounds dirty) heading into the 2009 season.

Dogg: JDB will not push T-Jack this year. I'm a firm believer that T-Jack will progress this season and lead us deep into the playoffs if not the Super Bowl. Stay consistent and take sacks if you have to without throwing ill-advised picks. Hand off right, hand off left, dink and dunk to the middle and play action deep will be the only plays he has to deal with. JDB
is from USC which I love but there is no defense in the Pac-10 so JDB hasn't seen crap on defense yet. I think he might be good one day but T-Jack will lead us this year.

Fuzz: First off, if you guys want some of that purple drink that Dogg is whipping up; he’ll be sitting at a corner this weekend in the south metro serving that stuff up next to the Lemonade stand occupied by the five year olds. T-Jack will lead us to the SuperBowl this year possibly? Wow. I really hope so, but I’m not convinced yet that jump thrower T-Jack is the answer. This is why I love the Booty pick. He did slip to the 5th round but late round quarterbacks in this league have panned out before. Why? Because they are in the right system. JDB is a system quarterback and he might have just walked into a perfect storm. An accurate and smart passer fits the West Coast O perfectly. He’s going to have a learning curve like any other young QB, but he has a chance to be our starter at some point. However, I don’t think it’s this year so have fun holding the clipboard like Q mentioned.

Which team had the best draft? Also, what was the best pick?

Q: For me (copyright Randy Jackson) there were two teams that stood out. The first, which you're probably going to read about in every draft analysis article out there, is the Kansas City Chiefs. I know it's pretty easy to say they had a good draft since they picked twice in the first 17 picks and had something like 13 picks overall, but I liked what they did. Dorsey and Albert are pretty much the highest rated D and O linemen, respectively, in the draft (other than Jake Long, of course). Adding those two will help that team out a lot immediately. It won't make them a good team, but it's a major step in the right direction.

The other team I liked was the Washington Redskins. Clearly they felt like their offense needed a boost, so they went out and got WR's Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, TE Fred Davis, OG Chad Rinehart, and QB Colt Brennan. Maybe they won't be any good, but they are all names that I know, so that puts them high on my chart.

Fuzz: You have to like what the Dolphins did. I know they had the 1st overall pick, but I liked their first three picks a lot. Jake Long will be one of those dominant left tackles in this league. Tackles that are drafted that high always pan out. Then they went with DE Phillip Merling with their 2nd pick and he was projected in a lot of people’s first round, if that means anything. With their 3rd pick they drafted Chad Henne to compete for the starting quarterback this year. All three probably will be starters this year so I like their draft the best based on this. As for my best pick in the draft, I’ll go with receiver Devin Thomas with the 3rd pick (34th overall) in the 2nd round to the Skins. Todd McGay from ESPN had Thomas going 11th overall to the Bills so having slip in the second round has the Skins with the best pick in the draft.

Dogg: I was drinking beer and watching the NBA playoffs during the NFL draft so I don't have an accurate assessment. Vikings didn't have picks because of the Allen trade so I wasn't real intrigued with this year's draft. I do know Limas Sweed got taken by Pittsburgh in the 2nd round which was a great pick.

I know it's early, but give me your Defensive and Offensive rookie of the years?

Dogg: Offensive ROY will be Darren McFadden. He will step in immediately and run/catch the ball with great success. Defensive ROY will be Derrick Harvey. He steps into an already great defense (Jags) and will not draw a lot of attention giving him the edge often throughout the year.

Q: That's easy: Offensive Rookie of the Year will definitely be Darren McFadden since he's the only impact skill position player that should contribute right away. Defensive Rookie of the Year is a lot harder, and for now I'll go with Derrick Harvey since he's joining an already stellar D in Jacksonville and thus should have the most amount of opportunities to make plays.

Fuzz: I swear to you that those two fellas wrote their responses separately. Well, I’m obviously going to go a different route to save the question. Only three quarterbacks have won the award, but I’m still going to go with Matt Ryan with the Falcons for my offensive rookie of the year. He’s clearly going to be the guy there since Joey Harrington is awful. He’s going to get every opportunity to win the award and with a weak playmaker class, he has a legitimate shot. Seven of the last eight defensive rookie of the years have been linebackers and the streak continues here ladies with Jerod Mayo from the Patriots winning the award. He was the 10th overall player taken and is going to step in and replace Junior Seau immediately on an 18-1 team. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win this award.

Give me a rant/analysis/thoughts about something that happened on draft day.

Fuzz: A couple ridiculous things happened during the draft. 1) I had a draft party. The draft is so big that we threw a frickin party for it and a bunch of people came over! Ridics. 2) A few of the fellas took bets on every pick of round 1 & 2. It was like a sportsbook in Vegas with the feel of Wallstreet at the house. It was one of the craziest scenes I’ve seen. Guys writing down their bets, taking 3-1, 4-1, even 10-1 odds on certain players going in a certain position, and taking offense/defense bets on the picks. There was even talk of betting if the next player was going to be black or white. It was truly insane but it made for a really fun/interesting day.

Q: This was the most boring draft I have ever been a part of. Normally I'm pretty fixated with most of the first round and even beyond that. This year, I couldn't have cared less. Maybe it was because the first few picks were pretty much dead set before it started. Maybe it's because the Vikes didn't have a pick. Maybe it's because I paid less attention to college football this past year than I have in previous years. Most likely, it was a combination of all of them, but the bottom line is that I was not into this draft at all, and had much more fun watching the NBA playoff games and the Twins game.

Dogg: Mel Kiper is ridiculous. He sits there all day knowing every player taken with strengths and weaknesses. I know it's his job but he does it with ease. He had half of the ESPN crew looking at their magazines when mentioning half the players because they didn't know who Mel was talking about. Mel knows half of the kids' parent's names, where they live, brothers, sisters, etc. It's gotten insane how much he knows about college football players.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Picture of the Day

Q: "Hoffman, with the putter, for double bogey from the bottom of the lake..." Clearly Chuck didn't have a great tourney this weekend.

Dogg: What the hell is Charley Hoffman doing? Is that a pink stripe on his golf shoes? This guy is classic and a Jim Rome favorite. He told Jim earlier this year that Tiger Woods has a great shot a winning the slam. “You can give him the U.S Open and Masters and the other two will be toss ups”. He is definitely one of my favorite golfers on tour.

Fuzz: This is a version of a suicide attempt for golfers. Other people have weak moments and stand on top of buildings, hold knives to their wrists, or tie knots into ropes. Not golfers. They stand over a six foot deep pond with the stick that has done them so wrong. Don't do it man!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Voices from a Stranger

As promised, here is another NFL draft "Voices from a Stranger" article. As you know, this is written by a reader and not the three TKOT writers. If you'd like to write a piece for the blog, shoot us an email at Anyways, here is the mock draft we've all been waiting for! This of course comes from "The Bag." Along with writing mock drafts, "The Bag" likes a cold beer(s), a good argument and telling Canada fishing resort managers that he'll take a shit in their boat. Enjoy!

Mock Draft 3.0

Well here is a final mock draft. Once again, I’m no expert but I’ve probably read 100+ versions of mock drafts the last couple of months and here is what I think of the prospects and where they end up.

Overall this draft is incredibly deep and should offer great value in the first three rounds; Which is the main reason I hate the Jared Allen trade. This draft isn’t top heavy, but does have a lot of late first-second round guys who could be very, very good. And those guys will last into round 3. We completely overpaid for Allen and Rick Speilman just got plain out-negotiated. With that being said here we go.

1. Miami- Jake Long OT Michigan
Previous Mock: Chris Long
Long signed this week with Miami so I know I got one right in round one. It makes sense considering the draft picks of Ronnie Brown, Ted Ginn Jr. and John Beck the last couple of years. None of them can perform without a solid line in front of them. Long should be a good one.

2. St Louis – Chris Long DE Virginia
Previous Mock: Jake Long
St. Louis played in the 3-4 for the second half of the year and looks to be moving to the 3-4 full time. Chris Long played and dominated in the 3-4 in college. Why not get a guy who already can play off the edge in a 3-4. He is smart and a great athlete, (you don’t see that much anymore). I think he’s the guy, if Jake Long is there they take him, but in this mock he’s gone. I heard a rumor of McFadden going here with Steven Jackson in the last year of his contract. But how do you let Steven Jackson walk. I don’t think McFadden goes here.

3. Atlanta – Matt Ryan QB Boston College
Previous Mock: Matt Ryan
Matty Ice is going to be good. I don’t know about great, but he’s going to be good. The Falcons are in a very unique draft situation. On one hand they should take a QB to end the Vick debacle, but on the other hand can anyone live up to the pressure of being the QB to replace Vick. It’s a tough situation for anyone to go into. I have seen the Falcons taking Glenn Dorsey in many mock drafts but I’m just not that high on him. DT’s are tough to grade out (as are QB’s) but I think with Dorsey’s injuries there is a lot of risk. I think a lot of teams are acting interested in hope for someone to trade up to get him. This draft is loaded with good prospects, but not ultra top heavy. I think McFadden and Jake Long are the only two “true” top 5 picks. But there is probably 15 typical “Top 10” picks.

4. Oakland – Darren McFadden RB Arkansas
Previous Mock: Darren McFadden
Who are the Raiders fooling thinking Justin Fargas is going to be the man next year. How do you pass on McFadden after his college career? We all know the Raiders don’t give a shit about character. (See: Randy Moss and Warren Sapp) Al Davis can’t pass up McFadden’s legit 4.3 speed. He’ll be compared to All Day a lot, but it’s not a fair comparison. Peterson is bigger and more powerful and McFadden is more elusive. Think Jim Brown vs. Barry Sanders. The differences aren’t that severe but you get the picture. Either way both are going to be studs and I still think McFadden is the best prospect in the draft.

5. Kansas City – Glenn Dorsey DT LSU
Previous Mock: Glenn Dorsey
This is the last of my picks not changing since the last mock, I promise. But I think Dorsey is the Chiefs guy here. I think if any of my top 3 fall here that’s who they want but at this juncture they simply take the best player available (according to the masses, like I said I’m not high on Dorsey). The Chiefs are a long way from being good and they need to take best player available, I hope for their sake that Jake Long or Matt Ryan falls, but it looks unlikely. To be honest I think that the Bengals trade up to this pick and take either Dorsey or Ellis, but we’ll see.

6. New York Jets – Vernon Gholston DE Ohio State
Previous Mock: Calais Campbell
So a couple of months ago I wrote that I thought Calais Campbell would shoot up draft boards but boy was I wrong. He did the exact opposite with his 16 bench reps at the combine. It’s crazy how much a guy can gain or lose at the combine but Gholston had a monster combine and now projects ultra high. He smells a little bit of Mike Mamula to me, but he did produce at a top level at Ohio State. He fits perfect in a 3-4 and could team up with newly acquired Calvin Pace to form a pretty good linebacking core.

7. New England Patriots – Leodis McKelvin CB Troy
Previous Mock – Kenny Phillips
So Phillips was another guy I projected to shoot up draft boards and has done the exact opposite. Nice call Kent. Regardless I still think the Patriots go DB. They have other needs, OL and LB, but losing Asante Samuel is a big hit. I know everybody thinks the Patriots will just dip into the well but this isn’t college, where the good teams just re-load. This is the NFL with salary cap and roster requirements. The Pats well is dry at DB and I think they take the best one available. Actually I think they trade out of this pick to get more draft picks (Classic New England) But it’s hard to project that and I’ll go with McKelvin.

8. Baltimore Ravens – DT Sedrick Ellis USC
Previous Mock: Brian Brohm
The Ravens would love if Matt Ryan falls to them here but they are so far away from being good and they have to take best available. They would love to trade out of this pick if Ryan goes before this but at this point they have to take best available player and that is Ellis. I like him more than Dorsey and think he’ll be a monster in this league.

9. Cincinatti – Ryan Clady OT Boise State
Previous Mock: Sedrick Ellis
The Bengals faithful will boo this pick as they have a lot of needs, especially on D. I think they trade up to ensure getting Ellis but you never know. If they get stuck at 9 I think they make their offensive line better and Clady should do the trick.

10. New Orleans – Keith Rivers OLB USC
Previous Mock: Mike Jenkins
If Rivers is here New Orleans would be elated. I think they have to go D with this pick. I still think Jenkins and CB is a possibility but they need help at LB as well. Rivers would be a big boost to this weak D.

11. Buffalo – Limas Sweed WR Texas
Previous Mock: Limas Sweed
This is a tough one for me. I really don’t think the Bills will take Limas Sweed, but I think they should. They need a receiver and I have a feeling this guy could be the next Roy Williams. He is a solid receiver that could create matchup nightmares on the other side of Lee Evans. I know Devin Thomas is the new sexy WR pick, but you heard it here first: Sweed will be the best WR from this draft. If they don’t go Sweed or Thomas look for them to go CB.

12. Denver Broncos – Chris Williams OT Vanderbilt
Previous Mock: Vernon Gholston
This is a very good OT draft and while the Broncos usually like to take lineman later in the draft they need D line and O line help bad. I think they go with whichever OT they have rated highest. Williams was Cutler’s left tackle in college and should be a good solid LT in the pros.

13. Carolina Panthers – Joe Flacco QB Delaware
Previous Mock: Sam Baker
So I know Flacco is projected as a second round pick but I think that’s bullshit. This guy is big with a rocket and screams Ben Rothlesberger. Carolina can’t rely on Jake Delhomey too much longer, and this is a reach but I’m going out on a limb here and predict Flacco here.

14. Chicago Bears – Rashard Mendenhall RB Illinois
Previous Mock: Andre Woodson
The in-state product would officially put an end to the Cedric “I guess I’m not Ricky Williams” Benson era. But who are we kidding, that should have ended two years ago. Woodson’s stock has fallen off the earth, but I think the Bears should go QB sometime early in this draft, and Woodson makes an intriguing second, third or fourth round pick.

15. Detroit Lions – Derrick Harvey DE Florida
Previous Mock: Ryan Clady
Harvey is the third best pass rush option in this draft behind Chris Long and Gholston. If he lasts until 15 the Lions will be elated. They need to take best player available and Harvey is probably the best option.

16. Arizona Cardinals – Dominick Rodgers-Cromartie CB Tennesse State
Previous Mock: Kentwan Balmer
The Cardinals are not in familiar territory outside of the top 10 but they’ll have to give it a whirl this year. Rodgers-Cromartie helped his stock huge at the senior bowl and followed it up with a good combine. In my mind he looks a bit small to be an impact corner but he certainly has the speed running a 4.33 40 at the combine.

17. Kansas City Chiefs – Branden Albert OT/OG Virginia
Previous Mock: Reggie Smith to the Vikings
For the record we gave up way too much for Jared Allen. The guy is good, but a 1st and two thirds are you kidding me? We aren’t super bowl material and I would rather build through the draft and take Brian Brohm with this pick, but who the fuck am I? Branden Albert has been soaring up draft boards and will go really really high. Probably a lot higher than this at 17 but I think this is about the area he should go in. He’ s good but inexperienced at tackle playing only 2 games there in college, but now all of the sudden everyone thinks he going to be an instant impact left tackle??

The Vikings 1st round pick this year, Jared Allen.

18. Houston Texans – Aqib Talib CB Kansas
Previous Mock: Aqib Talib
If Mendenhall were to fall I think he’s the pick otherwise they’ll go with the top rated CB on their board. Their still not good, I can’t believe they are picking this low to be honest with you. Still could use help on the OL as well.

19. Philadelphia Eagles – Phillip Merling DE Clemson
Previous Mock: Malcolm Kelly
Merling is a big DE out of Clemson and should be a solid DE in the pros. Nothing spectacular, but decent. A lot of mocks have the Eagles going WR here, but I don’t see it. Yes they need WR’s but I think they can wait until round two to get either Kelly or any other of the middle of the pack receivers this draft is loaded with.

20. Tampa Bay Bucs – Brian Brohm QB Louisville
Previous Mock: DeSean Jackson
So this one is a bit of a surprise pick as well, but I would have loved to see the Vikings take him at 17. This guy would have been a top 5 pick last year, and he actually had a pretty good senior season, even though for some reason the powers to be don’t think so. The Bucs don’t really have a long term solution at QB and I think Brohm is a better pick than any receiver they take.

21. Washington Redskins – Devin Thomas WR Michigan State
Previous Mock: Mario Manningham
The Skins could use a big WR and Thomas fits the bill. The guy has prototypical size and speed, but he wasn’t a top producer at Michigan State and that to me sounds like Troy Williamson. That guy could fly too.

22. Dallas Cowboys – Mike Jenkins CB Central Florida
Previous Mock: Leodis McKlevin
The last of the big 4 corners I think the Cowboys would be elated if he fell here. They need CB’s even though they traded for Pacman. He was traded from the Titans for a fourth round pick, similar to the Randy Moss trade. Yet we think it’s OK to give up a 1st AND two thirds. Fucking ridiculous.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jonathon Stewart RB Oregon
Previous Mock: Jeff Otah
Willie Parker is good, but you can always use depth at RB. Stewart was a stud at Oregon and figures to be a big powerful back in the pros.

24. Tennessee Titans – Malcolm Kelly WR Oklahoma
Previous Mock: Keith Rivers
Kelly hurt his stock a little with a couple of 4.6 40’s but prior to that he was the top rated receiver in the draft. His 40 cost him some money but is going to make a team very happy because on the field he is legit. Big and strong he could be a very productive pro receiver.

25. Seattle Seahawks – Felix Jones RB Arkansas
Previous Mock: Jonathon Stewart
No more Alexander means the Cocks need a RB. McFadden’s back up in my eyes isn’t an every down back but he’ll probably go higher than he should and here is where I have him.

26. Jacksonville – Kentwan Balmer DT North Carolina
Previous Mock: Derrick Harvey
The Jags are completely re-figuring their D-line and I believe that’s where they go here. Balmer is big and probably best suited to play end on a 3-4 but he gives the Jags versatitlity and depth.

27. San Diego Chargers – Kenny Phillips S Miami
Previous Mock: Phillip Merling
Phillips has seen his stock slip even though he is still the top rated S in the draft. I think a stud safety from Miami is too tempting to pass up for a team that needs one thing...a safety.

28. Dallas Cowboys – DeSean Jackson WR Cal
Previous Mock: Felix Jones
Jerry Jones loves speed almost as much as Al Davis, and he loves showtime. Jackson should bring both. He is fast, but I think he’s a #3 receiver and a good return man. Maybe for the Cowboys that’s worth a first round pick?

29. San Francisco 49ers – Quentin Groves DE Auburn
Previous Mock: James Hardy
Groves is a prototypical passrusher in a 3-4. This guy has a chance to be one of the steals of the draft. He has a pedestrian season and hasn’t done much to improve his stock, but this guy could be a better 3-4 OLB than Vernon Gholston.

30. Green Bay Packers – Chad Henne QB Michigan
Previous Mock: John Carlson
I know have 4 QB’s in the first round which you won’t see in any other mock. I think the Pack has a legit shot of taking a QB here and if Brohm is there I think they take him for sure. They don’t know exactly what they have in Aaron Rodgers and they need a better backup plan than Daunte “Get that Lambeau Roll on” Culpepper.

31. No Pick

32. New York Giants – Dan Connor LB Penn State
Previous Mock: Dan Connor
The “cough cough” Superbowl champs can take the best player available. Yeah right they need help at S and at LB. I see Connor from Linebacker U having a solid career.

Viking’s second round pick – Some OT we’ve never heard of.

That’s all I have. Going to be a disappointing draft to watch with the Vikes having one pick in the first 24 hours of the draft. I see them going OT or Secondary. I would love to see them go QB if one of the four in my first round falls to them in the second round. If John David Booty is their in the 4th I say we grab him too. I would have loved to seen two Fighting Irish with our third round picks in John Carlson and Tom Zbikowski. But we potentially gave up those two guys and Brian Brohm for Jared Allen. Go figure.

The Bag

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

LOST Roundtable

The most mind-boggling, but entertaining TV series returns tomorrow. This of course is the show LOST. Since the writers strike messed everything up with the TV schedule, LOST took off five weeks, giving us more time to get more confused. Below is a roundtable discussion between five LOST fans---your three TKOT writers and readers Mike & Bargs. If you watch LOST, you’re going to love it. If you don’t watch it, you’re not going to understand a damn word. We apologize for this, but stay tuned this week for an NBA Playoff article and the latest NFL Draft “Voice’s from a Stranger” column. Hopefully, that makes up for it. So, for all of you LOST fans...let’s roll!

Fuzz: One of the main things that happened this season was the split of the camp. You're either with Jack or with Locke. Which would you choose and why?

Q: At this point I think you'd have to be with Locke. First of all, the guy has superhuman abilities. He went from being bound to a wheelchair to the king of the jungle; a guy who could track a person through the woods using only his instincts. He was also shot at point blank range and left for dead, and then miraculously survived (thanks to Tall Ghost Walt). It would seem that luck is on his side, and that's the kind of guy I want leading me. Second, he was right about the freighter people. Jack, with his everything-is-going-to-be-alright attitude, was so sure that these people were here to rescue everyone. John knew something was fishy, and he was right. Seriously, what has Jack done well on this island since he treated people immediately after the crash and found the caves in season 1? If that's the kind of guy you want as your leader, go ahead. If it were me though, I'd take Miracle Man and his instincts at this point.

Dogg: I would always go with Jack. He tends to get himself and others in trouble at times but he always finds a way out of it as well. John Locke is the biggest pile of crap on this island. He is in the Twilight Zone right now and thinks he knows the island up and down but really doesn’t. Benjamin has been twisting his head in every which direction which has made John think and go crazy. I like John’s efforts to figure out the island but the island is just too big for him right now. If he sides with Ben and commits to Ben, they will be a deadly combo. John still doesn’t trust Ben a whole lot but from the previews this week it seems that the two of them might have to begin battling as a team. I hope Ben turns his back on John once again because John thinks he is a know-it-all. Ben will prove that he is the ultimate mastermind on this island in which John and all his followers will be burned. Jack might not have a clue what this island is all about but he’ll protect his people. He’s a stonewall.

Fuzz: At the start of the split and even now, I still would have gone with Jack. Jack's main objective is to get off the island, even if these freighter people are fishy. They have the chopper. That's all that is on his mind. You either go deeper in the island--away from getting off the island or you try to scope out the situation with the transportation off the damn island. Easy choice for me. Plus, with Jack's track record, you'd be pretty safe following him. And, Sayid is with Jack. Can't go wrong with Sayid on your side. Jack keeps you alive and he knows how to lead. Locke fought that and ended up leaving. He had his own theories and wanted to do what he wanted to do. Lucky for him, a ton of people bought into his approach. However, the key thing he forgot about is Ben. I’m with Dogg on Ben. Ben is the smartest person on the island. He knows exactly what he's doing and is planning something huge. We all know this. Locke's whole little "I'm the leader of this island now, I got a better plan than Jack, come follow me bullshit" is going to go up in flames very shortly...

Bargs: If you want off the Island and back to the real world, the answer was and still is JACK. Jack obviously gave people the best chance of rescue and contact with the outside world while Locke made it pretty obvious he had no intention of leaving the island (example: Knife in Naomi's back). If you break down both teams (Team Jack vs. Team Locke) it is not even a comparison. Team Jack throws this line up at you: Camp MVP and Lead Doctor (Jack) - The guy you always want on your side, everyone's favorite torturer (Sayid) - The hottest, most versatile chick there is (Kate) - A guy who can see the future (Desmond) - And a chick who has lived with the others and knows their secrets (Juliet). I'm sorry, but if I was a regular Joe Blow survivor, I am sticking with that team any day of the week. Locke has had a bad track record of getting people killed (Boone, Eko, ect.) and has had one thing in mind the entire time he has been on the island, himself. In the end Jack was the best choice as 4 of the Oceanic Six are from Jack's team and even Hurley admits he should have never went with Locke.

Mike: I'm definitely in Jack's camp. How can you go wrong with both Kate and Juliet. Yum!!! Although I'd kick Rose and Bernard to the curb ASAP as they are the only weak links in the whole group. In regards to Locke, someone (hopefully Sawyer and/or Hurley) needs to give him a giant beat down as he's becoming more and more annoying as the season progresses. He used to be one of my favorite characters when he was somewhat quiet and went about his own business. Now he's acting like a dictator and is in cahoots with Ben. WTF???

Q: Wow, Baraga's team breakdown might have swayed me. Keep in mind though, Locke has Ben on his team (sort of). As Dogg & Fuzz said, he's the smartest guy on the island and maybe even all time. He should have been dead back when he was Henry Gale from Minnesota, but he finds a way to manipulate and survive. He never gives the whole story, just enough to get what he wants. For all we know, he might just be the "good guys" as he claims to be. I think having Ben on your side is huge in terms of this debate. It's more his team than Locke's, even if John doesn't know it or want to admit it. Plus, everyone who has gone back has been having major issues. They seem to be living fairly well on the island, so maybe getting off isn't in everyone's best interest.

Fuzz: Speaking of Ben, what is Ben's deal anyway? Is he the best island-player ever? As the old saying says, he could sell ice to an Eskimo. He can talk his way out of anything. At one point, Locke had him locked in a cell by himself with hardly any food and nothing to do all day long. Now, he's pretty much free. He's integrated with the other castaways, walking around on his own free will. This happened in what, four days? He is amazing.

Q: Ben is an amazing human being. I'm still not 100% sold that he's the ultimate bad guy that he is portrayed as being, nor do I necessarily think he's "good" either. Every time I think I get a beat on him, he says or does something that makes me think the opposite. He's easily one of the top 5 characters in television history. And speaking of him freely walking around the camp, how long until Sawyer has enough of this BS and finally does something? Has he been in the show for more than 5 minutes total this season? I know he wants to stay on the island because his life there is much better than back in the States (much like Locke), but he can't be extremely excited about the way Ben has manipulated the entire situation that they're in.

Mike: Ben is the slimiest character on the show. He thinks he's doing the right thing, but he certainly has a strange way of doing it. Of course, gassing people doesn't help his credibility either. Going back to the first question, the only person who seems to now care only about himself is Jack. The rest of the folks (Ben, Locke, The Freighters, The Others) all seem to be engaged in some kind of war against each other and none of them seem to care about anyone or anything else.

Dogg: I think Ben would be the greatest player on the show Survivor. The most manipulative guy/character a show has ever seen. Then he has those eyeballs that are larger than Q’s testicles that can intimidate anybody at a measly 110 LBS. At this point I don’t know what I would do on the island. First off, I would be trying to tag Kate or Juliet. I know one of you will ask me, “why” and my response will be “why not”? They are both good looking, dripping sweat 100% of the time and both have their own unique talents. Juliet knows the island about as good as anybody besides Ben and Kate can flat out kick some ass. Maybe just be independent like Sayid. He has the most physical power in my mind and lets face it, he’s an f’n torturer. He does his own thing and when somebody messes with him he goes off. Nobody can touch him and can’t wait to see when he meets up with Ben after getting off this mysterious ship.

Bargs: When talking about the Island's most powerful players, do we need to start including Hurley on this list? I don't think we can call Ben the best player, or most powerful for once huge fact: He cannot see or hear Jacob anymore. We obviously know that Locke can see him and hear him and that made Ben so jealous that he tried to kill Locke because of it. Then in this season's premiere, something happened that has stayed very under the radar, Hurley saw Jacob's cabin and then saw Jacob in it! What does this mean about Hurley? Has Jacob chosen him as well as Locke to help him with something? Until Ben can get back into contact with Jacob, which I think is totally in Jacob's hands, he has no power on the island and is at the mercy of Locke and now possibly Hurley as well.

Dogg: Bargs, good question about Hurley, but can you see him being “the man” on the island? It would be like Seth Cohen being “the man” instead of Ryan Atwood. It just doesn’t seem right and the show would be out of place if that were the scenario. LOST would make Hurley the main guy behind the whole island theories just so everybody got more confused so maybe him and Jacob are best friends.

Q: Great call on Hurley being the new "chosen one". For a long time, Ben was the only one who could talk to or see him/it and the cabin. Then Locke got one glimpse of it and lost his mind/went on an outrageous power trip. Can anyone figure out why this didn't happen to Hurley? The other two guys seemed completely powerless and lost without Jacob's guidance and tried to take over everything. Hurley freaked out for one afternoon and has been fine ever since. What gives?

Dogg: I think Hurley has been in a stage of shock since the cabin/Jacob incident and that is why he has nothing to say. I think he might’ve seen something that nobody else knows about so he’s staying hush-hush for now. He’ll break big news in the next few episodes and all of us will be shocked once again. Hurley does have something bigger to him. That lottery ticket business along with the psych ward he’s in seems like he has something bigger about him but he’s just been the “class clown” since the show has started.

Mike: "Dude", I almost forgot about the whole Hurley seeing Jacob part. That does make him the "chosen one" now. What's strange though, is that Ben didn't originally try to kidnap him earlier considering he seemed to know who among the survivor's were the "chosen people". Hurley seems to be the only one on the island that doesn't seem to give a rat's ass either way about what happens. Then again, he's crazy and has a fake bald friend, but don't we all? It would be the ultimate of irony's if Hurley were to somehow become the king of the island. I feel for the guy. He's obviously on his way to a heart attack considering his size and you know he doesn't get a whole lot of play. Finally when he does get play, his girlfriend gets killed by Michael (another character I hope the monster tears limb from limb). The guy has got to be pissed and I look forward to seeing who he takes it out on.

Fuzz: I personally don’t think Hurley has much power but the time he said to Kate: “Oh man, you just Scooby Doo’d me, didn’t you?” was one of the better lines this season.

Mike: What I'd like to know more about is Jacob and the "monster". I can't wait to hear more about those two. Anybody have any ideas as to who or what they really are?

Dogg: It’s LOST so knowing what the monster and Jacob are all about would be genius of anybody.

Fuzz: The Jacob character is one of those LOST island mysteries that kill you thinking about. You literally can think about stuff like Jacob for hours and still have zero clue what it REALLY means. Same goes for the LOST Monster (as Mike mentioned), Walt re-appearing, and Charles Widmore. The Widmore character is an interesting one. For a long time, he was always a giant wildcard in what the island was all about and seemed to play a very secret role about the island. Ben this season mentioned that he is the enemy of the people on the island and wants to exploit the island in some way. But, do you ever trust Ben? The ship that is wandering in the sea right now is Charles's also. I'm completely confused on Widmore, like mostly everything else with the show. We don't know a ton about Widmore, but what we do know is that he plays a fairly large part that I'm sure we'll find out soon what it is.

Mike: The whole Widmore-Ben battle is becoming very interesting. Like always with this show, it's hard to tell who to like in the battle. We all know Ben is a snake, but Widmore doesn't seem much better either. It seems as though they both want to exploit the island for their own gain. If I had to pick a side, I'd have to go for Widmore, even though I think Ben will ultimately win out. The reason is simple, I'll take Penny over Alex any day of the week. Let's hear if for the creators of the show and their excellent casting of female talent. Wow!!!

Dogg: I think Mr. Widmore (Caleb Nickel from the O.C.) actually has some sort of revenge against Ben. Ben is making it out like Widmore is the bad man in this situation but I can assure you Ben had pulled a big time shenanigan against Widmore that has led Widmore to go on a wild goose chase for Ben. Ben is LOST’s Dan Scott (from the show “One Tree Hill”). One moment he’ll be on your side and right when you turn to walk away he puts a threshold around your neck. I can’t wait to see Ben and Locke getting attacked this week and having to fight together. It should get interesting as usual.

Mike: What's with this man-crush you all seem to have on Sayid? We already know he becomes Ben's bitch once he gets off the island. Although I must admit I am curious to see how that all comes about.

Q: I think it's because we're all guys that everyone loves how bad ass Sayid is. The guy was freaking torturer back in Iraq. He can make people do or say anything he wants and has that take charge personality. Even when he's Ben's little errand boy, he still seems to have that "Go Eff Yourself" look in his eye. Like he's planning something bigger than working for Ben.

Dogg: About Sayid, he was the first guy who absolutely wanted to kill Henry Gale (Ben) before the survivors knew what he was all about. Sayid knew that this Henry’s character was a liar and had skepticism about him immediately. “My name is Sayid and I’m a torturer” is the best line since “Show me the Money”. He is just the man and will always have your back so why wouldn’t we have a crush on him? He’s the guy you always want on your side!

Fuzz: Turning toward the "Oceanic 6" part of the show, what is your theory on where the other survivors are? Still on the island? Back home, but hidden & unidentified? Another theory? Expand on this Oceanic 6 thing...

Dogg: First of all, I don’t understand the “Oceanic 6” at all. I don’t know how Claire’s baby is one of the so called “Oceanic 6” since there is no way he was on the airline manifest. I’m sure there will be a twist with this but what direction they will go in is a different story…The other survivors will be on the island but think we will see some of them disappear (die) in the remaining episodes. I don’t think the survivors are home and hidden because it seems that the main “chosen people” on the island consisted of Jack, Sayid, Hurley, Sun and Kate, all of which are identified already. Why would they identify or hide those other survivors and not these 5? The baby just gets me because there is no link at all besides knowing Kate is taking care of the thing now. Thinking about it more and more, all the other survivors are going to be dead including Sawyer. The “Oceanic 6” will be the only 6 people remaining from the plane crash after Mr. Widmore and his fools get their hands on the survivors and Ben. Widmore not knowing or being able to distinguish between Ben’s people and the survivors’ will attack and kill them all.

Q: I'm with Dogg that Claire's baby should not be included as part of the 6. I have a feeling that a lot of Lost fans feel this way too and I'm not really sure why the producers chose to include him. I am very sure that there are people remaining alive on the island. I would think that they aren't there because of choice either. My guess is that some sort of rescue team came (either by air or by sea) and got the few people they could, while the rest are still burried deep in the jungle either hiding or fighting against the freighter people--if they're still alive that is. I think that is why Hurley tells Jack that they need to go back; to rescue those who are still stuck there.

Dogg: I think a rescue team came and chose who got to leave the island. Possibly Mr. Widmore and his team had set out to rescue the “Oceanic 6” and leave the rest behind. Widmore seems to know more than what we think about this island so he probably knows everybody on the island somehow and has his select people that he wants to keep alive or rescue and probably doesn’t care about the rest of them except Ben. I think Widmore’s team gets there, Ben hides out somewhere where they cannot find him and Widmore decides to take these 6 people for information about Ben and the island.

Fuzz: I also believe that they are still on the island. The guy from the Wire (Lance Reddick, aka Daniels) plays a detective for the airlines in this season. He grilled Hurley and said something like: "Where are they?" Something strange happened on that island when the rescue went down. I'm looking forward to that. I'm also looking forward for flipping answers. This show has thrown some many different things at the viewers that it's getting a little out of control. We have three more years until we find out all these theories and I can't wait!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

T-Wolves Off Season Preview

Yesterday you read Fuzz’s recount of the 2007-08 Minnesota Timberwolves season. I’d first like to apologize for making you remember all of that dreadfulness. Like many of you, I had already blocked this season out of my mind before Fuzz’s nice little jaunt down memory lane. So rather than focus on the extreme negative that was this season, let’s look towards the future of the franchise. This is a very important off season if the Wolves are going to try get regain their form and return to the playoffs in the next few years. The roster is pretty much wiped clean, save for a few building blocks, so it will be interesting to see the direction we take. Here’s what to look for.

Ok let’s be honest here, you don’t lose 60 games and keep a majority of your roster intact the following season. These guys will be here: Foye, Brewer, Jefferson, and McCants. After that, there are no guarantees. Think about that; there are only four guys (out of 14 on the current roster) that will for sure be here next season.

The kid's a stud and he'll be here for a while.

Two others that could join the Core 4 are Ryan Gomes and Craig Smith. Both are restricted free agents, which means the Wolves have the right to match any contract offer they get. It will be interesting to see just how much the team values these two guys. If Smith is gone, that should mean that Chris Richard will stay with the team, but not both. You can’t have two undersized power forwards on your team; it’s a waste of a roster spot. Another player who has a decent chance at being here again next year is Sebastian Telfair. He played well enough at times during the year to get another chance to prove himself. So that leaves Foye, Brewer, Big Al, McCants, Smith or Richard, Telfair, and hopefully Gomes, as part of the franchise in 2008-09. Everyone else could and should be gone from this dreadful team. That means you Antoine Walker, you greedy bastard. And you Michael Doleac/Kirk Snyder/Greg Buckner: the NBDL called and your services have been requested. Mr. Jaric, you and your unfairly hot girlfriend can take off too. On second thought, Adriana stays, Marko goes.

Another picture of Adriana Lima; I'm sure you're upset.

So by my calculations, we have about seven holdovers on the roster (although there is a chance Madsen stays—even though it would make absolutely no sense—so we could have eight). So where does the rest of the team come from? Well, one place is the draft. The Wolves should be adding an impact player thanks to this awful season we all just had to endure. They have the third best chance of getting the #1 pick, and will not pick lower than 6th. We’ll also have the first and fourth picks in the second round, so that gives us 3 of the first 34 picks this June. That’s definitely a great way to build the roster. As for who the team takes, that’s all going to depend on the lottery. (Side note: Fuzz and I think that the Wolves have some very good karma going into this lottery/draft. For the first time in a long time, the team didn't tank at the end of the year to improve their draft position. This good karma has already shown up as we won the coin toss that gave us the 3rd best chance at the top overall pick. If we would have won that same coin flip last year, we would have either Oden or Durant instead of Brewer. Not a bad trade off there. If we get lucky in the lottery, you can thank that win against Milwaukee when we should have been trying to lose.) The top two spots are going to be occupied by Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose (though not necessarily in that order), so we’ll take one of those two if we luck out and get a top two pick.

Wouldn't this look nice in a slightly different shade of blue?

After that, it’s a crap shoot. I’d love for us to get Brook Lopez with the pick if we’re not in the top two, or maybe even Jerryd Bayless, but those are just guys I like. Picks 3-30 in the first round could go absolutely any direction. Pay no attention to any mock draft, because no one has any idea how this year’s draft will unfold after #2.

Another way to build a roster is through free agency. This has to be one of the most impossible things to predict, especially in April. There are a ton of guys who will or potentially could be available this summer, but there are two big variables here. The first one involves restricted free agents. It’s tough to gage how much certain teams value their own players, especially those mid-level type guys. Since they have the ability to match any contract offer, you never know who you’ll be able to get and who will be retained. The other big issue here is that I have no idea what the Wolves philosophy is as far as spending goes (I don’t think McHale or Taylor do either, but that’s another article entirely). Are they going to go after some sort of big name, big contract type of guy? Are they biding their time for a run at a superstar in the next couple years? Are they just going to go after mid level guys and hope they fit a role? Do they roll the dice on a young guy and hope he develops? So many questions, so few answers. As difficult as it is to speculate, here are a few names to keep an eye on: Emeka Okafor, Andris Biedrins, Matt Barnes, Jose Calderon, Ramon Sessions, Carl Landry, and Daniel Gibson.

Is this Fuzz or a future Timberwolf?

The third way to build your roster is via trade. I just don’t see this as being any sort of legitimate option for the Timberwolves. We just cleared out our roster and don’t have any big expiring contracts to deal or impact players that anyone would want. There are only two situations in which I see us making a deal. One, we deal McCants. Like Fuzz said, he is the most polarizing player on our team in the minds of the fans. I get the feeling that the same could be said about NBA GM’s (and possibly within our own organization).

Hate him or love him...

If someone is really sold on him, I could see us moving him. The other situation comes with our multiple high second round picks. Second round picks tend to have very little value in the NBA because those players rarely pan out. If there is a guy slipping down the board that we like, I could see us trading those two picks to move into the end of the first round. Other than those two scenarios, you won’t see a significant trade involving this team this summer.

There are plenty of signs of encouragement for the future of this team. We have our franchise player in Al Jefferson and could possibly add a major compliment to him in the draft. We have extremely solid players like Randy Foye, Rashad McCants, and maybe Corey Brewer. The team played very well during the last couple months of the season too. Ok, maybe “very well” is going a bit far, but in comparison to that amazingly awful start, it was pretty damn good. We’re still not likely to be a playoff team in the next year or two, especially in the Western Conference, but I don’t see us being one of the worst teams in the league either. The most likely scenario has us creeping closer towards 35 victories next year and a push towards .500 the year after. Yup, you can smell the excitement around the Target Center…

Where Mediocrity Happens

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Monday, April 21, 2008

T-wolves Review

The local NBA franchise had a forgettable year this season. They averaged just over 14,000 fans a game and that seems about 13,000 too high. I’m sure they counted all the season ticket seats and about half of them showed up for the game, so no way the 14,000 is legit. Either way, they finished a lousy 25th in overall home attendance and other than the people at the games; no one really cared at all about the T-wolves.

Except us.

We followed them probably a little too much but that’s what we do. The season just ended last Wednesday, so we thought we’d do a little review/preview of your Minnesota Timberwolves. Fuzz will be analyzing the season that just was and Q will be speculating on what’s to come.

T-wolves Review-

I’ll be going over the 2007-2008 season that our club just finished. I’ll be analyzing it in many different random categories. If you didn’t see a damn game all year, hopefully you’ll get a picture on how it played out.

Best player- Al Jefferson. It’s only fitting that you mention Big Al upfront when talking about a review of this year’s season. He WAS the Minnesota Timberwolves this year. Our best statistical player, most recognizable player, & thee franchise guy for this club. He was the main chip in the KG trade and he exceeded expectations. Everyone kept telling us that he was one of those good young players in the league, but I didn’t expect a 21/11 season like Al put up. One of four guys in the whole NBA to average over 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. He had a monster year and only should get better. Oh yeah, he’s 23.

Greatest victory- They only had 22 of them so it was pretty easy to scan the schedule to find the dandy’s. They beat Utah twice at home and beat Golden State on the road. Not too shabby. But the T-wolves best victory this year was a home win against Phoenix on January 23rd. At that time, the Wolves were 6-34 and Phoenix was 30-12. Just a hair different, wouldn’t you say? They won 117-107, scoring their fourth highest total of the year. Big Al went 39/15 that proved to all of us that this guy is freaking awesome. This was also a back-to-back game where they beat Golden State the night before at G.S. and then beat the Suns the next night at home. Easily the best stretch they had.

Worst loss- Ok, let’s get this out of the way: We effing sucked this year! I just went through all our losses and we got pummeled in a lot of games. A lot. After all the searching through the 60 (yes, 60) losses, the worst was a road loss to Utah on March 3rd. We lost 105-76. We shot 37% and tied our lowest point total of the season. The Jazz could have showed up stoned & piss drunk and still beat us that night. We were that shitty. I would like to say that this was our only 25+ loss, but we had like 20 of these. It’s been an historic season in that sense.

Most polarizing player- Rashad McCants. Fans either like him or hate him. No in-between. You either want him to play more and want him to get traded…ASAP! Personally, I like him. He provides offense in a league that is offensive geared and on a team that doesn’t have a ton of offensive weapons. Yes, he flat out sucks on D sometimes (or all the time) but he’s a good sixth man guy. He (kind of) accepted this role this year and hopefully if he’s around, they can sell him on it 100%. He has a few good skills and I don’t see how you can just throw that away. The fans that want him traded want someone else instead. But I ask, who? It’s hard to find decent/good players in this league, especially to come to Minnesota. If I were Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) in the movie “Gladiator,” my thumb would be turned up to keep the warrior alive instead of being killed. And then the whole arena would erupt! Or maybe not…

Most likely to sleep with the entire Dance team- Michael “bedroom all-star” Doleac. Just kidding. This has to go to Antoine Walker. Did you guys even remember he was on our team? He hardly played when he was healthy and sat out the last 30 games because of one of those NBA injuries. Glen Taylor wanted to buy him out so he could have the opportunity to go to a contender. Antoine politely declined because he didn’t want to take the pay cut. What? He has the money, so the only other explanation is that he was playing Wilt Chamberlain with the dance team. His fun zone wanted him to stay---so he did.

My favorite new player not named Jefferson- They had a lot of fresh meat this year. 10 new faces---Brewer, Buckner, Doleac, Gomes, Jefferson, Ratliff, Richard, Snyder, Telfair and Walker. My favorite out of that group was Ryan Gomes. He’s a great starter- role player, if that makes sense. You can’t have five all-stars starting for you. Or, you can’t have five offensive only guys starting for you. You need a balance. Gomes is a great fit for this category. 12.5 pts, 6 boards and just over one turnover a game. Good FG & FT percentage guy and great overall team guy. Solid--that defines Gomes. He doesn’t demand the ball but does well when he has it. Love this guy.

The “how’d the F he do that” award- Marko Jaric dating Adriana Lima. This one is odd. Adriana Lima is smoking hot. She’s been on like a billion magazine covers, looks great in underwear and could date any guy in the world. Who does she pick to date? She wanders up North and lands with this stinky, Euro trash chump with really small eyes that sucks at his profession. Really Adriana? Really!?!?!?!?

Player with the most calluses on his hand- This one is a lock every year until this player leaves our “great” franchise. This category obviously goes to Mark Madsen. Is there a better player cheerleader in the entire sports world? There’s no way. I wonder if he makes it a point not to clap during the off-season to give his hands a rest? I bet that’s his off-season workout. Coach Wittman at last team meeting: “Jefferson, work on your defense. Brewer, get to a man’s weight level. Foye, stay healthy. McCants, get another tattoo. Jaric, don’t ever come back and Madsen, don’t clap! We need those paws for another year! Alright fellas, see you next year.”

The Rookie- I have no award, I just want a spot to talk about Corey Brewer. Chris Richard was also a rookie but he played 10 minutes a game and is nothing more than a bench guy. Most of you know Brewer’s pre-pro credentials: Two-time National NCAA champion, good team guy, good defense and overall a good wing player. I had zero problem with the Wolves drafting Brewer. Zero.

However, he didn’t have a great year. Just under six points and four rebounds a game. He did play some pretty good defense, probably the best on the team but he’s farther away from being a legitimate player in this league than most of us thought. First off, he’s a toothpick. He needs to bulk up this off-season, like 50 pounds. Another thing he needs to do is work on his jump shot. He ended up finishing at 37% from the field. Horseshit, pretty much. He was good at Florida because they played a good transition style and not having a penetrating point guard or having an up & down offense hurt his strengths. A guy like Derrick Rose would do wonders for him. Oops, I’m just supposed talk about the year that was. My bad. I’ll leave that stuff for Mr. Cue.

Three records were set- 1) Jefferson set the Wolves record for most offensive rebounds in one season. 2) McCants set the Wolves record for most three-pointers made in one season. 3) And we set the record for the most times the franchise’s season ticket holders had the email subject line: “Want free tickets tonight?”

T-Wolves preview by Q tomorrow...

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

The View From 101

Welcome to the first installment of a six part series we’re calling “A View From 101”. Some background: the three of us here at TKOT decided that to purchase a six game package of Twins tickets this year. We figured it would be a great way to follow our favorite baseball club in person. It tends to be difficult to get people together to go to a game, especially if you try to do it at the last second. By purchasing these tickets, we already had that roadblock taken care of. So why “101”? Because that’s the section of the Metrodome where we will be sitting at each of these games. Now, six times during this summer, we will be reporting on what we see on these game day excursions. Enjoy.

We begin Game 1 by taking the lightrail down to Minneapolis. The consensus is that this is the only way to travel downtown. It’s cheaper than a cab and more reliable as well. Plus, you don’t have to deal with traffic or parking (or the outrageous parking prices around the Metrodome area). The only negative about the whole situation comes when buying a ticket. If you pay more than the $2 it costs for a ticket, your change comes in dollar coins. It might be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of. Who uses dollar coins? Anyways, other than the coin thing, there really is no drawback to the lightrail.

The train arrives at roughly 5:45 and we immediately high tail it into Hubert’s. I love that place. It is the ultimate pre and post game place to grab a beer. It is always packed, wall to wall, with Twins fans for every single home game. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Friday night or a Wednesday afternoon, there will be a ton of people at Hubert’s decked out in Twins regalia, drinking a beer. A good question did come up during our time there. What is going to happen to this place when the new stadium opens? Have/are they going to purchase land by the new ballpark? Will that place just be obsolete during the summer? I really hope this doesn’t ruin them because it’s a great place to be during baseball season. Another great part about Hubert’s is the girls. Fuzz mentioned it in an article recently: there are always amazing looking women at Twins games. An inordinate amount even. And seemingly every single one of them comes to the bar before the game. Now that is the kind of atmosphere I want to pregame in.

I’ll spare you a long, drawn out recap of the game. If you wanted to know details, you would have already figured that out by now. Instead, let’s look at a couple of major issues this team has right now. The first is that the offense is absolutely pathetic. On Friday night, we managed three whole hits. To paraphrase Harry Doyle, “That’s all we got is [three] goddamn hits?” It’s painful to watch, especially from a team that was expected to be better at the plate.

Another problem is our outfielder’s inability to utilize their exceptionally strong arms. This especially applies to Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young. Both of these young men have lethal weapons attached to their right shoulders, but both are having some troubles throwing out runners. This was extremely evident Friday night, as both men at opportunities to throw out runners at the plate and failed. Both situations should have been easy assists for our outfielders, but neither resulted in an out, which is pretty important considering the 4-0 final score. After discussing this, we came to the conclusion that they must not be charging the ball hard enough to buy them those precious extra seconds that make the difference between a Web Gem and another Twins loss. We’re guessing that the purposefully lollygag (copyright Bull Durham) to the ball in an attempt to bait the runner into going. This isn’t a terrible idea given their amazing arm strength, but it’s costing the team runs that they can’t afford to give up right now. This needs to be addressed and soon.

Here are some other non-game-related things that I noticed during our stay at the Hump Dome: Dogg and I are fairly convinced that, if given the chance, we could throw the ball into the Dodge truck from the upper deck in right field…With an opportunity to win free stuff on the line, some genius decided that the correct distance from Minneapolis to Virginia was 750 miles…Did anyone else know that the crowd vendors at the Dome sell milk and cookies now? Why? I mean, it would make sense in the “DQ Family Section”, but not in the “Drunk and Disorderly” Homerun Porch…On a related note, do they send beer vendors to the left field stands anymore? I don’t think I saw one the entire game. Does that area have such a bad reputation now that the team is trying to discourage the drunkenness and bad behavior by simply not sending the beer guys there anymore?...Speaking of drunk, Fuzz was absolutely hammered last night; more on this later…I honestly wonder what some people are thinking with their apparel that they wear to Twins games. Really, you’re going with the 2008 blue alternate jersey with “Killebrew” and 3 on the back? And just because your mom says that she can sew doesn’t mean that you should let her put the name and number of your favorite player on the back of your jersey. It’s not the same, no matter what she tells you.

Once the horribleness of that game was finally over, the three of us decided that the night was still young and figured the best place to be after the game is the same as the best place to be beforehand—Hubert’s. Surprisingly, the place was not nearly as crowded as it was the first time we were in there. Even on a Friday night, which just seemed wrong to me. There were still a good number of patrons there, and people watching is always a good time, especially if it involves idiots wearing beads and crowns. We get that it’s your birthday, but do you have to celebrate like a 13 year old girl? Anyways, the perfect way to cap a night like this is with a trip to The CC.

That’s right; the favorite local watering hole of TK on Toast is a great place for a nightcap. As usual, there was an amazing looking broad that was on the stage singing directly to us the entire time we were there (or at least we thought so). Everything was perfect until Fuzz’s drunk ass decided to embarrass himself. If you recall from our “Live Look In”, he and I had nicknamed the bartender Joe when we didn’t know his real name. Well as luck would have it, that same bartender was there last night. And Fuzz, trying is try to be smooth, goes with the line, “Hey, thanks for everything. Joe, right?” He was dead serious. The bartender responds with “Uhh, no. Todd, but thanks.” as Dogg and I try to decide if we should fall off our barstools laughing or cower in embarrassment (if you know us at all, you already know which of those two options we chose). Finally, we ended the night with the obligatory Taco Bell run. Good times. We’ll catch you again on May 12th.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Livin the Dream

I just got back from Las Vegas this past weekend after a Wednesday to Saturday late night stay. There is something about this city that just gets me every time and will go over a few things that might’ve happened to me or that I saw.

The European pool at Caesars Palace. When 3 of my buddies decided to schedule an 11:30 am tee time for Thursday morning me and one other male compadre decided that we should experience this. After ordering a $58 six-pack of beer we were waiting to see the best set of hooters we’ve ever seen. The first lady to take the top off was a 45 year old wrinkled lady whose skin looked like a King Cobra and had saggy little B-cups. This was a terrible decision by us even after seeing fake D-cups from an upper 20’s looking girl who quite easily could’ve been a stripper.

Card players playing Texas hold’em. You are not a professional and quit acting like every professional player you’ve seen win a tournament on TV. Honestly, do you need sunglasses and/or head phones while playing at the tables? The best player is the guy who just puts his glasses and/or phones in when he’s in a big hand. Like me not seeing your eyes is going to make me fold or call your huge bet. Be your person, your own player and make up at least one line that we haven’t heard on TV or from a movie.

Toby Keith’s Bar. This is the closest thing you’ll come to going to your local college bar in Vegas. You get waitresses wearing soft leather vests that are zippered up ¼ of the way and their chests hanging right in your face when you’re trying to order a damn burger and fries. Music is cranked with every country hit you can think of so everybody and anybody who is in the bar is dancing and taking shots of some ridiculous shot you haven’t smelt in 6 years. The best part is the lady who walks on top of the circular bar and makes her rounds blowing into a referee whistle as loud as possible. While doing so, she forces margarita mix down anybody’s throat that is within 25 feet of the bar. If you’re there and looking for your everyday college bar, take a jaunt down Vegas Blvd. to this classic hangout.

M.I.L.F’s. There are more 30-45 year old females there that dress and look like they are in their mid 20’s. They are usually in groups of 4-6 and looking for any decent looking man with money or any male under the age of 30. The best part is that you don’t even know if they’re married because all of them will take off their rings if they are actually married. I bet the rate of them who are married hovers around 50% and I’d say 45% of them commit adultery while in the city that never sleeps.

The “red eye” flight back to Minnesota. My flight left at 12:50 AM PST so yes we didn’t get to enjoy the nightlife on a Saturday night. But I went to the Vegas airport and there was no line to get checked in and no line to go through the security. Of course it took 15 minutes for the guy to bring into the private section of security only to find two empty chew cans but whatever. It can usually take an entire day to get checked into the Vegas airport so that was a blessing in the sky. I got home at 7:30 AM so I had all day to be one big pile of shit and still feel at 50% on Monday at work. The other thing is that you’d be crazy to think I wasn’t ready to leave after having 37 beers per night Wednesday-Friday and then getting shit-faced Saturday afternoon by the pool while some dipshits bought us two rounds of shots before noon.

Overall it was just another trip to Vegas but it amazes me that I see new things every single trip out there. I have another trip planned in July for my brother’s bachelor party so I will be reporting on the new bizarre things that I see. The goal of this trip and I guess every trip to Vegas is to come back alive. Here’s to staying alive at the 2nd go around for a bachelor party to the city that will take you for a ride.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Picture of the Day

Picture of the day comments and upcoming TKOT schedule.

Fuzz: Synchronized Swimming is an interesting event or sport. Whatever the hell you want to call it, it’s just plain strange. It usually involves about 8-10 women in unflattering one- pieces doing crazy leg & arm poses in water. Yet, it looks ridiculously hard. It looks like you have to be coordinated, strong and have the ability to hold your breath for a long period of time. It’s one of those things that the majority of people make fun of, but if they would ever try it, they’d fail miserably. I made a joke a long time ago about it in front of my mother and she told me she did it in high school. Ummm, what?!?!? was my response. They had it as a sport back then? Sure did, she said. Anyways, it was one of those times that you learn something about your parents you’d never guess in a thousand years. I’m sure all of you have these types of stories...

Dogg: I assume this is some sort of synchronized swimming team but could be completely wrong. Anyways, I don’t understand how somebody or a team gets good at this. Don’t you all get hurt when practicing before you know exactly how to perfect the routine? It’s like bikers and skateboarders going up and down the ramps. How do you begin practicing for stunts like that? I have to imagine that a lot of these athletes get seriously injured before perfecting these sports. Whatever it may be, they are talented and would love to attend an synchronized swimming competition. I’m going to push TK on Toast members to attend one in the future.

Q: Fuzz and the rest of his Sartell swimming buddies get together for a nice reunion...

Upcoming TKOT schedule:

Friday: Dogg's Vegas article. Dogg recently went to Vegas--should be good.
Monday: T-Wolves Review/Preview article. Fuzz will be doing the review of the season and Q will be doing the preview of what's to come. Will be posted this weekend for readers that want a headstart.
Tuesday: Picture of the Day.
Wednesday: Lost Rountable. The hit TV show Lost returns next Thursday after a five week layoff. We'll be doing this with a loyal reader that is a Lost fan.
Thursday: Picture of the Day.
Friday: "Voices from a Stranger" from "The Bag." That's right, another first round NFL mock draft article. Draft is next Saturday already!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Picture of the Day

Dogg: It looks like that photo is from the Avalanche/Wild game and they are saying bring back the mullet? Don’t a lot of hockey players have a modified version of mullets? Why are some fans so stupid?

Q: You know, some sports' fans get unfairly pigeonholed into a certain stereotype. Most of the time they are outdated, if not flat out incorrect. But then you find idiots like these two, who show the rest of the country that this is how their sport should be judged. Nice move geniuses.

Fuzz: Ladies & Gentleman, my roommates and co-writers of TKOT--Q & Dogg! Don't believe a word they are saying above, these two goons are Mr. Cue and Dogg!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Twins Roundtable

We love the Twins, especially the Twins gals at the games. Has to be the best crop of women at a pro sporting event in the area, right? Anyways, below are roundtable thoughts on the first two weeks of the season, the love for Carlos Gomez, Morneau's expectations and the injury controversy involving former Twin Matt Garza.

Q: We are roughly two weeks into the 2008 Twins season, so it seems like a good time to get some expert thoughts and opinions on this year's squad so far.

First question: Obviously we have to talk about Carlos Gomez. This kid might be the most exciting player the Twins have ever had. What are your thoughts about him so far and what can we expect from him as the season progresses?

Fuzz: You know what? This Gomez kid has a good shot in this league. I went to the game two Friday’s ago vs. the Royals and Gomez was soooooo entertaining to watch. Like we've all heard, he's going to have his ups & downs, but his ups are awesome! He bunted for a single in his first AB (a common theme, it seems like), stole second and scored on a Mauer single. Badda boom--Badda bing! Just like that, we're on the board. If he gets on base a healthy amount this year, he's stealing 60 bags. Also, the lowkey-out of the spotlight Minnesota market might do a kid like Gomez a lot of good. New York is a different animal and some thrive in that atmosphere. Gomez, when called up last year didn't thrive so well. He's a confident young man that could have been pushing too much to prove he was right. Here in this great state, the pressure isn't nearly has heavy. He could be our leadoff hitter for the next 15 years.

Marx: I mentioned this the other day. He might some day steal 100 bases in a season if he can stay healthy and get on base enough. Its almost guaranteed he will be standing on second base if he somehow reaches first. I think his defense has also been pretty fair. Secondly, is Delmon Young the next Torii Hunter? Have you watched him bat yet? He swings at every slider low and away and tries to pull it. Every opposing pitcher knows this and they have been pitching him appropriately. Scott Baker has looked mediocre in his starts and its pretty obvious he is a back end of the rotation pitcher. So is Boof Bonser. Livian Hernandez and Nick Blackburn have looked very good so far, but can they keep it up? It also sounds like Slowey's injury could be fairly serious and he could be out for awhile.

Q: I know it's early in the season (and in his career--the kid's only 22), but has there been a more disappointing player than Young? You're right about the swinging at terrible pitches thing, and on top of that he's not driving the ball at all. It seems like every single hit he's had this year was to the opposite field and looked more like a mistake than a solid hit. I hope our hitting coach Joe Vavra is working with him for hours every day, because things don't look great with him right now.

Not only is our staff full of 3, 4, and 5 starters, but they all seem to get hurt. Liriano looked like he was struggling to find his control in his first start of the year on Sunday, trying to come back from TJ surgery. Not that this is anything new; he was not very impressive in two minor league starts, or in Spring Training for that matter. Plus, Slowey's hurt, Perkins is coming off an injury (which is why he's in AAA and not getting a rotation spot), Bonser could pull his gut muscle any day now and be out, and Livan is older than dirt. I knew the staff was going to be an issue this year, but this is a bit worse than I imagined. At least we have Nick Blackburn. That kid is legit.

What do you guys think of some of the other new Twins? Lamb looks like he might finally be finding his stroke, Harris has been very solid at the plate, Monroe straight up sucks, and Everett is hitting .095. Yikes.

Fuzz: Like I've been telling people, this is a rebuilding year. Everyone has hope at this time of year, but you have to look at these guys with an outside eye. Besides Mauer, Morneau and Nathan, this team is full of question marks. Those three guys are our most established ballplayers on this squad. Besides that? Nothing until they either get experience, find their talents, or they could never be good.

The Gomez kid should be alright to possibly very good, Young will come around (and did you see Garza is on the DL? Uh-Oh), Cuddy is Cuddy, Lamb & Everett are decent players that are merely stop gaps until we find someone else, Harris is young enough to stay at 2-bag for a while and our staff is going to take it's hits. Literally. Die-hard fans don't like hearing these kind of things, they like to hear what they want to hear. I'm not saying the season is over and we should pack it in, but I'm forecasting on what I think is going to happen with this roster this year. This is a learning year. Period.

If we can find a couple talented pitchers and maybe a few talented outfielders out of this crop through this process, all things are good for me. I'll take a year or two hit to build it back up. And, even though I truly believe what I just said, I really hope I'm wrong being a big-time Twins fan myself. Anyways, what can we expect from Liriano this season?

Q: Liriano: I was really hoping they wouldn't rush him back just because the guys we have up right now are either terrible or injured. He needs time to figure everything out, and control is usually the last thing to come back when you have TJ surgery. Now that he is back, though, they may as well keep him in the rotation and not send him back and forth between Minnesota and Rochester. People need to understand that he'll be a little shaky to begin with, though this will cause fans to worry that he'll never return to form and people like Barriero to tell everyone that his career is finished. By August he'll be back to dominating the opposition (though not at the level from '06 because that was a ridiculous debut that wouldn't have been repeated even if he didn't have surgery) and he'll be the staff ace. After that, it's Opening Day starts for the rest of his time in a Twins uniform.

Fuzz: Since I'm on the books that this is a learning/re-building year; I wish they had waited a little longer to bring F-Bomb up. Naturally, he didn’t look that great in his first start. In my opinion he should have stayed down for a couple extra weeks until he was 100% ready. Plus, it keeps a Slowey or Blackburn in the rotation longer. It works out now since Slowey is on the DL but what happens when he comes back? Any experience those guys can get is beneficial. Looking forward to the future, the F-bomb NEEDS to be our ace. Let's play hypothetical for a second: What if Liriano never truly comes back to anything more than a 4th or 5th starter? That has to be a little concerning, doesn't it? Because this team doesn't have a pitcher with ace stuff on it's roster. And, I don't think the minors are full of major league ready aces either. That could be a problem this year, the next, etc...

Q: That has to be the biggest concern for the Twins right now. With losing Radke, Santana, and Garza, there isn't a number 1 on this team or in the farm system right now if Franchise isn't that guy. I don't know if it's the pessimist in me talking or what, but the more I analyze this team, the further away from contending I think we might be. There are major holes at third and short (maybe second too, but Harris has looked pretty good for now), to go along with the lack of a #1 in the rotation. Am I being too negative here?

Fuzz: What's the deal with Morneau? He's been slumping since the last part of last year and this year, too.

Marx: It looks to me like Morneau is trying to pull everything and even jerk it out of the yard everytime. He needs to hit or our lineup becomes pretty anemic. I also think that the Michael Cuddyer injury was probably the best thing that could have happened. Its not a serious injury, but it opened up a spot for Jason Kubel to play everyday and he seems to be responding pretty nicely. Hopefully when Cuddyer gets back Gardenhire leaves Kubel in the lineup and gives Craig Monroe bench duty.

By the way, if Cuddyer played basketball or football, he would have missed maybe one play. The trainer would have yanked his finger back into place and put some tape on it and he would have gone right back in. Only in baseball...

Q: He's only hitting .225 but has 3 HR's and 9 RBI so far for a team that is scoring just over 2 runs a game (not counting that 12 run out-of-nowhere burst the other day). I think the biggest problem for Justin last year was expectations. Coming off of an MVP season, he really wanted to prove it wasn't a fluke and he ended up pressing quite a bit. I suppose the same could be said for the early part of this season, since he wants to validate that monster contract extention he got.

Nevertheless, the bigger problem (both for the team and Morneau's numbers) is that Joe Mauer has been brutal this season. Sure, he's knocking Gomez around a bit, but if you actually watch the games, he hasn't been a threat at all. He's got to have about 25 ground outs to second and has yet to come up with a clutch hit or, god forbid, drive the ball to the gap. If he starts hitting, everything will fall into place. Of course, it would help if Delmon started hitting too. Right now, opposing pitchers have no problem pitching around Morneau because they have no fear that the guy behind him (Young) will do anything. Man, we really have some offensive issues...

Fuzz: Great call on the expectations thing Q. He did start out really slow and he's picking it up a little but nothing to what is expected. You're right though---big contract, four hitter equals huge expectations. That middle of the lineup for two weeks hasn't really done anything. It probably won't last but I'm analyzing the situation right now and they aren't hitting. The 2-5 hitters we were told would be our glue this year. So far, not so good. That is why we're 6-7. Our staff has actually held up pretty well, which is a surprise to me. Livan especially. I ridiculed this signing hard and it's blowing up in my face. Do you guys think Livan is going to keep this up and what's realistic to expect from him this year?

Marx: I think Livian will finish something like 14-12 with 200 innings thrown, similar to a Brad Radke year.

Q: I'd say that's the ceiling for the L Train. I seem to remember a diminutive new pitcher who raced off to a great start for us last year, only to come crashing back to earth. Does Ramon "Lil Papi" Ortiz ring a bell? We should just be thankful that Livan has done this well so far, though I will give him a ton of credit for his amazingly low ground ball rate. I'd guess he finishes the year with a 10-12 record, 5.11 ERA, and a spot on the DL come August/September.

Fuzz: I hope Livan keeps going and my opinion that it was a horrible signing was wrong. I would love for the chubby lovable ace to pull a season out of his ass. Anyways, what should we expect this week from the Twins? 2-gamer against Detroit, 2 gamer against Tampa Bay and 3-gamer against Cleveland.

Q: I'm very worried about this week. I know it's only April, but this could be a huge week one way or the other for the Twins. There is a potential that they get absolutely crushed by Detroit (thus breaking them out of their early season funk and sending the wrath of the rest of the Central on us), owned by an upstart Tampa club, and get dominated by Cleveland. If that happens, any hopes of competing this season might be done. On the other hand, if they take advantage of the Tigers slump, beat up the Rays pitching like they should, and play competitively against the Indians, that could build a ton of confidence that the team could use throughout the rest of the season. Absolutely a huge week. If I had to guess, I'd say the Twins basically play .500 ball this week; 3-4 or 4-3 at best.

Marx: Here's an interesting question...Do you think TR/Bill Smith knew that Matt Garza might have arm troubles in the future or is his injury just a fluke?

Fuzz: Just a fluke. However, it's a little weird that they protected Garza from trades so much for 2-3 years and then unleashed him without second thoughts this offseason. I chalked it up to the new sheriff in town running the show a little differently. But, you never know. Garza pitched fine during spring training for them and didn't complain. Now he brings this up when he gets hurt? That's a little fishy...

Q: I'm going to say that the Twins brass didn't know much about any possible injury that Garza may have had. While I don't doubt that he may have had those arm/hand issues when he was here, I also don't think he told the trainers or coaching staff about it. He seems like that "tough guy" type who thinks injuries are a sign of weakness and doesn't fully disclose how he's really doing. It's unfortunate for Tampa that he's out, but on the bright side, at least Delmon has been terrible so far this year. So the trade could probably be considered a wash at this point—kind of like this season is shaking up to be.

I guarantee you that every time we write about the Twins this year it will be about something different. Right now it’s the lack of hitting, especially from the middle of the order. In a week, it will be the bullpen. Two weeks later, we’ll be bitching about the starting rotation. Splash in a bit of unfounded optimism after we win a few games in a row, and you have my crystal ball prediction of this season. Buckle up boys, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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