Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Curse of Alyssa Milano

After watching Barry Zito get torched yet again last night, I've come to the conclusion that MLB pitchers who have dated Alyssa Milano will end up cursed the next season, have a brief reprieve from her hex, and ultimately wind up a broken athlete down the line. Whether or not this has transcended professional boundaries, into the music or movie field for example, is unknown. What we do know is that she has bewitched quite a few of baseball's young arms and shows no signs of stopping, unless I missed the latest breaking story on E! news. At current count, 3 highly talented pitchers have participated in the Samantha Micelli Talented Pitcher Scholarship Program: Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, and the aforementioned Barry Zito. So let's break this down.

Carl Pavano:

Ole rubber arm and Milano supposedly met during the 2003 World Series, when the Marlins were busy dominating the Yankees to take home the title. The fact that they met at a club during the Series is probably ominous, one might think the baseball gods would not look kindly upon that type of behavior. They dated for 6 months or so, reportedly, and then went on their merry ways. Milano to take a ride on Planet Zito and Pavano to date some stripper/Penthouse figurine. Beside the point. As we all know, Pavano signed with those same Yankees the next year, to the tune of $10m over 4 years - or roughly twice the size of the Devil Rays payroll. Good investment, that.

The stats:

2003 32 201 12-13 4.30 1.26 * Dated Alyssa during offseason
2004 31 222 18-8 3.00 1.17
2005 17 100 4-6 4.77 1.47
2006 -------------DNP-------------
2007 2 11 1-0 4.77 1.23

If you couldn't tell, he's missed some significant time in the last 3 years since signing his big contract. That's $30m for a total of 111 innings pitched. The word "value" doesn't exactly come to mind when thinking about him. "Bust" does. As does "dirtbag." So, roughly 18 months after Carlyssa Pilano split up, his career started to plummet. One could obviously make the case that his career died once he sold his soul to the devil to play for the Yankees, but there seems to be another pattern forming here.

Barry Zito:

I will not hide the fact that I am a massive Zito fan, have been since his early days. Just as much for his wacky persona as his sick 11-5, 12-6, 10-4....whatever curve. Sam took a trip to Planet Zito immediately after she realized the Pavano train was going to crash violently, and who can blame her. Barry took home the Cy Young in '02 and was rapidly becoming baseball's top southpaw not named Randy Johnson, both of whom have since been lapped twice by Joe-han Santana, a Rule V pick taken from the Astros (and people wonder why they can't do jack in the playoffs - it's The Curse of the Joe-Han). That, however, is neither here nor there. Alyssa and BZ dated during the 2004 season and well into the winter. When Cupid decided to pluck the Milano love arrow out of Zito's ass is unclear, but it's safe to say 2005 was free of her voodoo.

The stats:

2002 35 229 23-5 2.75 1.13 (Cy)
2003 35 231 14-2 3.30 1.18
2004 34 213 11-11 4.48 1.39 * Year dated Alyssa Milano
2005 35 228 14-13 3.86 1.20
2006 34 221 16-10 3.83 1.40
2007 21 121 7-10 5.28 1.42 ($126 bazillion dollar contract)

BZ's tenure in Oakland seems to have one anomaly. Whaddya know? Same year he dated Alyssa Milano. Another interesting stat, his BAA (batting average against) in 2004 was .263, well well above his career average. Coincidence? I think not. Obviously. I also do not think it's a coincidence that both Pavano and Zito had fantastic seasons the year after they broke up. This year hasn't exactly been kind to Barry, especially when he was supposed have the advantage heading into the season, with the new lineups yet to face him regularly along with that whole no-DH thing. But the fact is Barry is creating zero hip rotation (note for the young athletes, every single major sport is based upon a minimum of 75% hip rotation - learn it, live it, love it) and one must wonder whether or not Alyssa has been working her magic on a BZ voodoo doll back home. For the sake of Brian Sabean's sanity, and job, we hope not.

Brad Penny:

LA's newest baseball hero rode the Sam Micelli disaster choo-choo throughout the 2005 season, and they decided to part ways during the offseason. Isn't that nice of Alyssa? She always waits until the season is over to release the hook and move on to another thriving starting pitcher. Reminds of a certain Susan Sarandon character, does it not? But for some reason I tend to doubt Milano is quite as cultured as Ms. Savoy. If only because she spent years working alongside Tony Danza, which is enough to turn Stephen Hawking into a bumbling idiot. Well, maybe not bumbling.

The stats:

2005 29 175 7-9 3.90 1.28 *
2006 33 189 16-9 4.33 1.37
2007 21 136 13-1 2.52 1.19

I don't know if you noticed, but Penny is having an alright season. As for the Milano year, it was not exactly Penny's finest year. Now, if you're saying "hey, his 2006 season was worse from an ERA/WHIP standpoint," I see your argument and I raise you this - the splits from that season:

Pre-All Star: 10-2 2.91 ERA
Post-All Star: 6-7 6.25 ERA

Why, you ask? As we all know Brad Penny started that 2006 All Star game. But guess who was sitting front and center during the game? None other than Alyssa Milano, who was busy Bewitching or Decharming or doing whatever the hell she did from whatever the hell that show was that she was on. Coincidence? At this point, it can't be. Therefore, if I'm Ned Colletti, I'm terrified as to what next season will bring from Brad Penny. Quad digit ERA? 20 loss season? Tommy John surgery? A Steve Howe-like cocaine addiction? I wouldn't rule any of it out.

As you can see, the numbers don't lie. Alyssa Milano has cursed 3 potentially great pitchers. And I throw Pavano into that group because he was once the main chip in a deal for Pedro Martinez, and if you watched Petey every start circa '99 as I did, you would know that the only way the Expos could have traded him was if they got the future Jesus of Nazareth in return, because unworldy doesn't even begin to describe those frisbees he was tossing up towards home plate.

Whether or not these guys rebound is questionable. Penny is still in his "denial" phase and has yet to reach a full-on "breakdown" phase. Which we can probably expect at some point next season. Zito's talents and durability will likely see him finish off with a very good career, potentially Hall material. I wouldn't be surprised if Pavano never sees another day in the bigs and just cashes in that final Papa George check, then rides off into the sunset with some C-list NY native "adult actress," because he's just a classy guy like that.

And why Baseball Tonight hasn't devoted an entire hour long special to this is really beyond the grasp of my intellectual understanding. There will obviously be another to find himself under the wing of AM's love tutelage, much to the horror of GM's across MLB. Who is the question. I'm going to go ahead and take a wild guess here, and go with Jon Garland. She's bound to make an assault on Chi-town soon, and I would never wish her upon the Cubbies, the loveable losers that they are.

I think we've finally received the answer to the age old question which has baffled pundits for years on end. Who, exactly, is the boss? It's Samantha. Pitchers beware.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Milk, Does A Body Good

Pretty much the best dairy product advertisement I've ever seen. There isn't really a close second. And if you don't get it, see this, then come back.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Who's Now? Well, Who's Kinda Now? But Only In America

If you've watched ESPN at all in the last month, you will have come across a completely ridiculous and obnoxious bracket determining
Who's Now? Whatever the hell that means. I suppose it means who is getting the most buzz on and off the field of play in the world sports right now. Except they forgot one thing: The most popular sport in the world. Becks and Ronaldinho were included, but both fell behind the insane buzz that Kaka and The Fake Ronaldo created this season with their play - at least in the media. Ronaldinho was busy being called fat and not showing up in the World Cup or CL while Kaka was single handedly destroying ManU's entire back four. Or how about the offseason turmoil that Titi Henry created with his move? That isn't "Now"? The guy is hanging out with Allen Iverson and Steve Nash, and he's not creating any buzz?

Even though they opened up the flood gates with the inclusion of Ronaldinho, it's still American-based at the core. Which makes it inherently flawed (Bill Maher will 'touch' on that one later). Only 47% of the country knows who David Beckham is, the most recognizable face in the world of sports. Only 50% of Americans knew the World Cup even happened last summer. I'm assuming the poll sample they used for that one came from the local maximum security prison and The Institute for the Deaf, Blind and Plain Stupid. And I do remember discussing in Poli Sci one day in HS how less than 50% of the country knew at the time that Bill Clinton was THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. And this was well into his first term. I think we should rename the US, "The Capitalist Conglomerate With Lower Than Average Expectations."

Getting back to "now," here are the current quarterfinal matchups:

Tiger Woods vs. LaDainian Tomlinson
Peyton Manning vs. Alex Rodriguez
LeBron James vs. Derek Jeter
Tom Brady v Shaq/Tony Parker

And here are some of the names ousted in the first round:

Sidney Crosby - Couldn't pick him out of a police lineup if my life depended on it.
Vince Young - One solid rookie year. He's next, not now.
Danica Patrick - Don't even get me started.
Chuck Liddell - He's 'now' if 'now' means getting KO'd in under a minute in your last fight.
Serena Williams - Is there steroid testing in tennis? She's 2 years from being put out to stud.
Matt Leinert - See: Vince Young. And I wouldn't bet the house on him being next, either. Though I would bet the house on him knocking up some Phoenix area Hooters waitress in the next 8 months. You can take that one to the bank.
Tony Parker - If not for his highly overrated wife, he wouldn't have a prayer of making this competition. Being The French Unibrow does not make you now. It makes you skeevy.

Basically, if you're waking up next to an athlete, model, Playmate, adult film star, musician or anybody else whose mug you might find in People magazine or Us Weekly, they're now. Remember, it's not what you know (or what you can do), it's who you know. How Brad Penny or Barry Zito aren't on this list is beyond me. Isn't Planet Zito dating Hillary Duff and Penny dating some actress whose name I can't remember? Zito's got that ridiculous contract and Penny's vying for the Cy. And haven't both of them taken part in the Talented Pitcher's Orientation Program, aka Shagging Alyssa Milano? That's pretty 'Now' by my book.

You know who wasn't on that list? Michael Vick. You know who is more now than anyone in America? Michael Vick. You know who is transcending boundaries? Michael Vick. You know who ESPN won't stop covering incessantly? Michael Vick. Why they are even having a poll for this is beyond me.

I won't even get started on the panel, which includes such sporting pundits as Adam Sandler, Jessica Biel and that fat guy from Queens. You don't suppose their new movie is being financed by Disney, do ya? Me neither. Combine this with the breaking news story ESPN had on one day about Paris Hilton being released from jail and I think we're about 6 weeks from Sportscenter having a live segment with the women (I use that term loosely) from
The View, hosted by Bill Maher and Lindsay Lohan - doing a satellite feed from rehab with sunglasses on and a bite block in her mouth to muffle the chattering. Personally, I blame all of this relatively newfound pop Americana on the human psyche and childhood bullies.

And my vote for Who's Now goes to Alexandre Vinokourov, because an entire sport is about to go down in flames. Excuse me, an entire competitive recreational activity is about to go down in flames. Enjoy the show.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ron Mexico, Bret Michaels & Leninism

Anybody who's ever written anything in their life above a 3rd grade level will tell you it's a lot easier to find a topic of discussion when you have strict and detailed guidelines, as opposed to a deep pool of everything. I could sit here and talk about how Bud Selig won't fly up to San Fran to give Barry Bonds a slap on the ass when he passes Hank Aaron's home run record next Wednesday (you heard it here first), but that's been played out. The NBA is about to go down like the Hindenburg, but I'm sure everyone will love watching Czar Stern turn the NBA into the local state penitentiary with his ridiculous rules because of one (for now) referee. I'm also not sure whether or not to give him credit for having huge cojones to try that, or to slag him off for being an imbecile. How could he not know he would be caught eventually? Even if he was using an alias such as Chuckles McGugin or Ron Mexico, who wasn't going to notice that? Speaking of Ron Mexico (use that line often at random moments, just trust me), Michael Vick is in trouble or something. After spending the majority of the last 4 days in transit with XM Radio sports channels talking about nothing but Vick, I've had enough. I'm ready for the Joey Harrington era to begin in the ATL. Falcons fans can feel free to excuse themselves to vomit violently over and over again. Can we have a moment of silence for the Falcons franchise?


I've thought about covering the ridiculous theory that Carlos Zambrano somehow has a shot at this year's NL Cy Young (AHEM), but PTI tackled that one last week and I'm not sure that has enough legitimacy to have any legs - even though I hope for the sake of Cubs fans that he helps bring home a World Series trophy if the Red Sox don't win. It's coming from SoCal anyway (how's that for a bold prediction?). Freddie Ljungberg signed with West Ham, which makes about as much sense as cancer. I think a spot in the EPL Top 4 was just vacated. Wesley Sneijder wants to continue being a prick at Ajax rather than take his Napoleon complex abroad. By the way, you can be assured you won't hear any MLS references from me. I watched the Celtic-MLS All-Stars last week in a hotel room and I'd heard of 2 players in the MLS starting lineup. This coming from a big football/soccer fan in the states. Nice job, MLS. Way to reel in the hardcore fans. And no, I did not see the Beckham 'debut.' My exceptional IQ would not allow me to figure out the immense complexities of time zone adjustments. Meaning I can't add or subtract all the way up to 3. Sometimes I wonder how I made it past the 1st grade. Sadly, I'm not the only one.

Then there's the non-sporting news. Bush is being criticized from within and abroad. People are dying in Iraq. Some American woman was kidnapped. Male circumcision might help prevent the spread of AIDS. Everybody loves Harry Potter. Russia isn't happy with the West. Stop me if you've heard any of this before. CNN has become a live re-run. Actually, if you've heard that part about male circumcision, you aren't welcome here. Unless of course you were a doctor or scientist involved in the research. In which case, go wash your damn hands. Repeatedly. And why don't you just leave anyway.

I've been tempted to write about Bret Michaels' new dating show on vH1, aka Flavour of Love for white people. If you haven't seen it, you must. For those who've missed it, along with the international brethren who can't get 'Celebreality,' here's the premise: You take one washed-up rock star (Bret), you throw him into a room with 30-40 current or ex-strippers (all named Bambi, Bonnie or Pam) and an open bar and you let the cameras roll. In other words, it's like watching one of those book circles where one person reads a book then passes it on to the next person. Except in this case the book is actually a venereal disease. I'm not sure which one is going to be more of a train wreck, Rock of Love with Bret Michaels or Scott Baio is 45 and Single, but you can be assured there will be a lengthy analytical breakdown when both have ceased. Provided I haven't poked my eyes out by then.

I think I'll decide to embark on a new adventure. If you haven't read my previous posts from the Roma Offside, I'm a big fan of mostly anything out of the Former Soviet Bloc excluding Andriy Shevchenko, Chernobyl and to a lesser degree, Communism - good in theory, bad in practice (real bad). But that's a whole different topic which will probably draw significant provocation, and one I'm likely to avoid. In high school my senior year theology teacher taught us never to discuss three things: religion, politics and Biodome - because it never happened. As for the first one on that list, he was more into philosophy and he was probably one of the most influential teachers I've ever had - I'm sure that's just what the president had in mind when he hired him. Anyhow, I think I'm going to jump on the bandwagon of a Russian Premier League team, though I don't know which one yet. I'm leaning towards CSKA Moscow, but I'm pretty sure they still have informal ties to Roman Abramovich and I refuse to support anything involved with Chelsea. Also in the running are Lokomotiv Moscow and Spartak Moscow, with Zenit St. Petersburg as the dark horse. If you're wondering why I'm not really considering teams outside of Mockba, take a look at the league table. If you think I'm going to root for mid-lower table RPL team you're out of your mind.

Basically this is me babbling about nothing, which means I'm open to suggestions and feedback, for themes and whatever else. So if you've got ideas just let me know. And we'll be making good use of Muddia Beduddia's casting skills soon.

Christening The Ship

Welcome to the inaugural post of "I'm Not Sayin', I'm Just Sayin'...." Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is Chris, or Roma Chris as I'm affectionately called by some. I am born-and-bred Bostonian, but the Roma tag comes from my undying love for all things Associazione Sportiva Roma, or the Italian soccer club AS Roma for the Americans in the house. There's that whole Italian roots part also, which I'm sure whoever gave me that nickname factored in. I started out writing a little blog on the club at The Offside, a website devoted to anything and everything pertaining to The Beautiful Game. In fact, if you're reading this within the first month of this post, you probably know me from there. It has proven successful (at least to me) in a short time, and I've had quite a few people asking for more. So I'm here to give the people what they want. Because I'm just that type of guy.

As far as this website goes, it won't be solely devoted to AS Roma or calcio (soccer), for that matter. Any Bostonians in the room will tell you that we are mildly enthusiastic about sports. And when I say mildly enthusiastic, I mean we are certifiably insane. We should be given straight-jackets to wear during Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics games (I forgot, does the NHL still exist?). Anyhow, one of my most popular columns is a little piece on Fridays called A Potpourri of Useless Flapdoodle, a hodge-podge of videos, articles, commentary, Duck Tales, Scott Baio's IMDb page and other inane nuggets of that nature. Stuff to make the end of the work week come a little quicker. So, this will be All Flapdoodle All The Time, with a quasi-intelligent thought thrown in every once in a blue moon (we hope). A lot of sports, pop culture and current events which can brighten up our days a little bit. Basically, random talk of a nonsensical nature. Because we don't accept logic around here. Life's just that much more fun when it's all on a wing and a prayer.

I hope to post on a daily basis. This won't detract from my duties reporting on anything and everything involving Roma over at The Offside. And if you haven't heard of the website, check it out. I'm not trying to shamelessly promote the site, I was a fan and loyal reader before I started writing - it really is great stuff. Thanks for coming by and hope you enjoy the dog and pony show.