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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why I Am Rooting for Tim Tebow Over the Hated Tom Brady and Bill Belichick This Weekend

I make no secret about I can't stand pretty much everything related to Boston and New England. When the commercial says to "Trust the Gorton's Fisherman," I say "No way! He's from Massachusetts!" I also love to hate Tom Brady and Bill (Belicheat) Belichick. It's funny that Brady does Uggs commercials, because that's what I think every time I see him -- ugh!

And Tim Tebow is my favorite NFL player to watch this year. I'm generally pretty cynical about athletes, but he is just so gosh-darn likeable, I cannot help but root for him. And all those come-from-behind wins are nothing to sneeze at, either.

Put those things together, and you have must-see TV tonight. To steal Bart Scott's link, I can't wait to see the Broncos/Patriots game later this evening. And I am going to go out on a limb here, the way I did with Squawker Jon last week on the phone, and say that Denver will win tonight. (I won a $1 from Jon over the Steelers game, but I should have bet that Jon would have to do a Tebowing pose!) While my predictions aren't always right, I did call the Jets' victory over the Pats in the playoffs last year, and the Giants' win over the "19-0" Patriots in the Super Bowl.

What New England reminds me of a little are the Yankees towards the end of the Torre years. Both teams had great dynasties going. Both teams would have impressive regular season records, where they looked pretty dominant, but they would then lose in the postseason again and again.

People talk about New England like they are the best team in football. But the last time they won a Super Bowl was when George W. Bush was getting inaugurated for the second time. The last time the Patriots won a playoff game was in their would-be undefeated season. They lost to the Sanchize and the Jets last year, 28-21, and to the immortal Joe Flacco the year before. But I am supposed to think that there is no way that they can lose today? Sorry, I'm not buying it. The glory days are over, my friend.

So, even though the Patriots are 13-point favorites, I am not counting the Broncos out. New England was nine-point favorites against the Jets last year, and how did that work out in the end?

I am strangely confident in Tim Tebow for this game. There is some sort of magic around him this year. And how great would it be for somebody who emanates such goodness to beat the face of evil? I am imaging Belichick disappearing in a great cloud of black smoke at the end of the game, with the hoodie turning into a cape!

This time around, I don't think even Squawker Jon can root against Tebow. Go Broncos!

What do you think? Tell us about it!

So Much for a Quiet Winter: Yankees Make Two Big Deals

So much for my saying just yesterday that "this has been arguably the quietest Yankee offseason in ages." Brian Cashman has reportedly shaken up the hot stove league with two deals last night. In the smaller of the two transactions, he signed former Dodger starter Hiroki Kuroda for a one-year, $10 million deal, which sounds like a good move.

The other move he made, which I am not sold on, is trading Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for pitchers Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. I was very upset when I heard about the deal. Seeing Montero come up last September was one of the highlights of the 2011 season. He not only has great hitting skills, but he already showed poise and grace under pressure that you cannot teach.

Remember, Montero was the player that Cashman had this to say about when Albert Pujols signed with the Anaheim Angels:
"He is obviously one of the greatest who has played," Cashman said of Pujols. "He makes everyone significantly better. If he played for anybody, he would make them all significantly better. I don't know him personally, but I see what he does with that and it is Montero-like." 
Or how about these comments to Ian O'Connor in September, when Montero was called up> I was appalled by what Cashman said at the time, because it seemed to be putting too much pressure on Montero:
"In terms of hitting ability, Montero can be a Manny Ramirez or a Miguel Cabrera." He also said, "As a catcher, he's got a cannon for an arm. As far as everything and what I want him to be, I want him to be Jorge Posada. He has a chance to bat third or fourth. He has the potential to be a beast in the middle of our lineup."
So, let's review -- Montero is, according to Cashman, the next Albert Pujols/Manny Ramirez/Miguel Cabrera. Given all that, you'd think he'd at least be worth getting Felix Hernandez in return! I mean, really! (Yeah, yeah, I know that Pineda projects to be a very good young pitcher, but he's not King Felix.)

Lots of people are comparing this deal to the Josh Hamilton/Edinson Volquez deal a few years back. But that deal worked out better for the Rangers than for Reds.

I hope I am wrong, and maybe it's because I'm not exactly a big fan of Cashman at this point, but I would rather the Yanks had held onto Montero. But we shall see how this all turns out.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Friday, January 13, 2012

On Jorge Posada and the Real Core Four

Sorry for not Squawking much as of late, but I have been busy with lots of real-life stuff. Anyhow, this has been arguably the quietest Yankee offseason in ages, so I haven't missed all that much. The biggest news as of late is Jorge Posada retiring. I'm glad he's doing so, and that his last moments in pinstripes were when he was one of the few Yankees to hit well in the ALDS. (For another take, read my friend Jason Keidel's piece on Posada -- and people think I've been tough on Jorge!)

But can we please stop inflating his importance to the late-90s dynasty? Posada's best years were in the 2000s, not in the 90s. Joe Girardi, not Jorge Posada, was the No. 1 catcher for much of the Four Rings years. This Core Four stuff, which inflates Posada's importance to that team, is revisionist nonsense, especially given that Posada had nothing to do with the 1996 team. Yet there are worshipful knuckleheads like Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, who writes nonsense about how Posada had an "underappreciated career" (underappreciated by whom, exactly?) and talks about Posada and Jeter driving to Yankee Stadium together in 1995:
It was like the Beatles back in Liverpool before things went crazy, this friendship that grew among Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Andy Pettitte, the Core Four, the most famous, longest-running quartet of teammates in pro sports.
Yeah, other than when Andy Pettitte left the Yankees for three years to play for the Houston Astros.

Newsflash: there was another Core Four in Yankeeland in the late 90s. You may have heard of them, although the Tom Verduccis of the world seem to have forgotten about who they were, relegating them to a footnote. Their names were Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, David Cone, and Tino Martinez. All four of them had much more to do with the Four Rings than Posada ever did.

That's not a knock on Posada -- it wasn't his doing that he didn't get the playing time until late in the dynasty years. But it's a little annoying to notice how this other Core Four have been forgotten by sports journalists who should know better. Speaking of which, I never understood why Posada was so bitter and resentful at Girardi for slowing his chance as being the No.1 catcher, when it was Joe Torre, not Girardi, who made the decision to keep Girardi in that spot. Yet Posada considered Torre a father figure. Go figure.

Anyhow, my favorite Posada moment, as it is for many, was his big hit off Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. And Posada was a valuable part of the Yankees team in the 2000s -- if he hadn't been injured in 2008, the Yanks would have made the playoffs. The only Core Four he belongs in, though, is the Core Four of Yankee catchers, as Kevin Kernan suggested.

What do you think? Tell us about it!