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RFP Of The Day: Chris Mills

It’s been a while since the last RFP of the Day post. Shoot, it’s been a while since my last post at all. But, as Chappy often says, life got in the way. Today he reminded me of an old story that brought back more than just that one memory. Former NBA player Chris Mills will always be a random remembered player as far as I’m concerned, but he’s probably forgotten by many. My first regular season Warriors game was Opening Night in 2000. Golden State was a good 6 years removed from being at all relevant, and I had just moved to San Francisco after 15 years of being a Sacramento Kings fan. But here I was, at the beginning of my career as a Warriors fan. The big theme of the year was a picture of two sets of eyes belonging to Antawn Jamison and Larry Hughes with the caption: “Think we’re on to something…” Well, who knows what that something was, but I was pretty excited to be in the O-rena that night. The Warriors were playing the Phoenix Suns, led by Oakland product Jason Kidd. He f*cked around and got a triple double. Danny Fortson made his Warriors debut to the tune of 18 points and 18 rebounds. Unfortunately, he suffered a season ending injury just 6 games into the season. What few people realize is that he was on his way to establishing himself as one of the game’s better big men. Not only did he notch a double double in all six games, he was averaging 16+ pts and 16+ rebounds per game. Anyway, the game naturally went down to the wire. Chris Mills had scored 16 points off the bench, and he proved to be the hero when he hit a buzzer-beating game winning three to lift the Warriors to a 96-94 win over the Suns. That’s the main thing I’ll always remember him for.

The more memorable story is the one Chappy brought up today. I can’t remember the year, but it the Warriors were hosting the Portland Trailblazers. If memory serves me correctly, it was a tie game when Rasheed Wallace hit a 19 foot jumper at the horn to give the Blazers the win. The Blazers of course celebrated like they won the NBA Championship, and I guess some of the fans didn’t appreciate it. On their way into the tunnel, many of the Blazers began exchanging words with the fans. All of a sudden, guys like Wallace and Zach Randolph were charging into the stands to fight some people. Looking at the roster of the Blazers at that time, I’m willing to bet Bonzi Wells and Ruben Patterson were in there too. Unlike a few years later when World Peace wreaked havoc on the Palace at Auburn Hills, Wallace and Randolph and company were restrained before they got too deep into the stands where they were trying to get. But you know who else took exception to the Blazers antics? Chris Mills. Rumor has it Mills went to the locker, grabbed a gun, and stormed outside to greet the Blazers team bus. Supposedly, there he stood, waving the gun around and barking at the players on the bus to get off and meet him. The bus had to sit and wait until Mills was calmed down enough to leave the scene. I’m not sure what ever happened with that, but I think Mills got away with it.

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NFL Playoff Week 1 Recap

I was actually in town for the first weekend in about a month, and I took full advantage by catching all four playoff games this weekend. We might as well start with Tebow. Arguably the most anticipated game of the weekend, it certainly lived up to the hype – as did Tebow. Once again, he, at times, looked like one of the worst quarterbacks I’ve ever seen. But he actually made a few more big plays than he usually does, especially with his arm. With the odds stacked against Denver late in the game, it looked like the Steelers got it together just in time to steal the game. They forced overtime, but Tebow magic struck again, on the first play of the extra session no less. Tebow’s long TD pass to Thomas clinched a Broncos win and set up a 2nd round showdown with the Patriots at Foxboro next weekend.

The Giants had an even stronger showing today. Atlanta got on the board early with a safety and took a 2-0 lead. Shockingly, those were the only points the Falcons would score all day. The Giants played surprisingly good ball on both sides and dominated from beginning to end. It was a disappointing finish to the season for the Falcons, and I’m thanking my lucky stars that Michael Turner and Julio Jones waited until the fantasy season was over to put up lackluster numbers.

The Saints did what everyone expected and lit up the scoreboard en route to a matchup with San Francisco next weekend. The Lions hung around longer than expected – long enough for me to think they had a chance. But, in the second half, Detroit stopped scoring and the Saints kept, well, marching in.. to the endzone. I can’t wait to watch Brees and co. take on the NFC’s best defense.

The Houston Texans took advantage of their first ever postseason by disposing of the Bengals. Andy Dalton played pretty well, but appeared to come a bit unraveled toward the end of the game. The other young quarterback, TJ Yates, however, never wavered, and the Texans ran away with it in the second half. It’s amazing to think the team could lose their top two quarterbacks and still find themselves in the second round of the playoffs. It’s too bad they have to go into Baltimore, but they may be able to grind one out in what should be a low-scoring affair.


The Few Things I Remember From This New Year’s Weekend

My body came back yesterday, but I think my head just finally returned from Tahoe this evening. It was a blurry three days up at the cabin, but I managed to sprinkle in some sports here and there. The majority of it came on Saturday morning/afternoon, as it was do or die for not only the Oakland Raiders, but also the West Sac Narwhals (you guessed it, my fantasy team). Here’s the recap of my weekend in sports…

Boring Morning Games – The scores may look close, but the 49ers-Rams and Jets-Dolphins definitely didn’t feel as close as your average 34-27 or 19-17 games. Neither had much meaning, other than the Jets being able to make a small claim toward a playoff berth. The Niners were also able to sew up a bye in the first round. The fantasy relevance was limited, with only Steven Jackson struggling to muster up 9 points. The Rams did a good job of wiping points away from my opponent though, putting up 17 against his 49ers Defense. I’d have much rather been watching the Lions-Packers. I opted to start Matthew Stafford for just the second time this season. The only other time was during Tom Brady’s bye week, and he turned in a dismal 12 point performance. Who would’ve thought, though, that it’d be the other Matt throwing for 6 TDs. But, when you’re in Northern California, you can’t expect to see any other NFC games while the 49ers are playing. Maybe I was just bored waiting for the game of the year….

Oakland Raiders Can End 9 Year Playoff Drought – The scenarios were many, but one was simple. Beat the Chargers, and get a Denver loss at the hands of Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs, and they’re in. Beating the Chargers isn’t usually a doable task, but Oakland beat them in pretty convincing fashion in front of a national Thursday night NFL Network stage IN San Diego. Throw in Orton’s return to Denver (he HAS to light it up against his old team, right?), and I was feeling like the chances were good. The Chiefs took care of business, even if Orton didn’t light it up. A 7-3 ballgame seemed like the perfect setup for the Raiders to get in. Ultimately, though, a porous defense and untimely turnovers – both Raiders staples this season – squandered away a golden opportunity. Oakland will miss the playoffs yet again, and Denver backs into the playoffs, riding a 6-22, 60 yard, 1 interception, and a fumble lost game by Tim Tebow. Sounds to me like a perfect script for a Denver upset against Pittsburgh next weekend. Too bad I wasn’t still 10 minutes from Nevada anymore!

Demarcus Cousins Demanded Trade From Sacramento Kings – This one caught me way off guard. I read the news on my phone, and quite frankly, I was many sheets to the wind at this point. The headlines, though, were crystal clear….

“Demarcus Cousins DEMANDS Trade”

“Demarcus Cousins SENT HOME For Good”

“Demarcus Cousins Has Played His LAST GAME In Sacramento”

By the time I got caught up on all the news, it was over. I just watched the Kings lose to the Grizzlies, but Cousins was back out there as if nothing ever happened. Albeit he came off the bench and played just 22 minutes, it’s amazing enough that he saw the floor at all. He struggled offensively, just 4 points on 1-5 shooting; but he grabbed 8 rebounds, including a game-high 6 offensive boards. I’m hoping it gets more back to normal in the next few games. Here’s a BIG reason why… Tonight, I was officially SOLD on Jimmer Fredette as an effective NBA player. He CAN get his shot off. He CAN create off the dribble. He CAN shoot 3’s from NBA range. OK, I suppose no one ever doubted the last one. Well to make up for that one, I’ll add that he CAN pass. Like Tyreke Evans, no one will ever be sold on him being an NBA point guard, but he can find the open man like one. So maybe two of those guys in the backcourt can equal one point guard. They’ve got another guy who can light it up with the best of them too in Marcus Thornton. If only they had a tall, quick, athletic, passing big man to round it out. Oh wait, they DO. It appears they’re on the brink of trading him though. If they end up shipping Cousins away, we’ll know it had to have been bad, because he’s a once in a decade talent, like a second coming of Chris Webber. Unfortunately, it took Webber a trade or two to really find his groove. Cousins has lasted longer in Sac than C-Webb did in Golden State, but it feels eerily similar. Who knows, maybe Demarcus gets reunited with John Wall in Washington for a few years, then he spends his prime in Oakland for the Warriors.

One Last Thought – Were there ANY College Football Bowl Games on New Year’s Day? I thought New Year’s Day was supposed to be about Bowl Games…? I swear, when I was a kid, roughly 6 of the best 7 of all 15 bowl games were on New Year’s Day. If I remember my weekend correctly (which I certainly don’t), NONE of the 35 Bowls were played on Sunday. What the HELL?! Oh well, Sunday was for BBQing. I broke out my new smoker and probably served up the best trio of Tri-Tip, Pork Loin, and Smoked Salmon this side of the Rocky Mountains. Yeah, I said smoked Tri-Tip… It’s California. I can’t find a brisket to save my life out here. One day, smoked Tri-Tip is gonna be a nationwide phenomenon though. It’s gonna be the Tim Tebow of barbeque… no one thinks it can be that good, but all it does it WIN.


Barkley’s Back! Watch Out Pac-12, BCS

Man, today is probably the most excited I’ve been about USC football in years. It’s hard to get excited about a team when the games don’t count for anything. Next year, the Trojans are off probation, and I certainly know how good it feels to be off probation! I’ve been a USC fan since 1995 when my sister enrolled there.  Since I chose to go to school at a mid-major conference school, I didn’t have a football team. Well, we did in the past – a damn good one at that – but we had too many black people. In 1951, the USF Dons went undefeated, but were uninvited to any bowl game because they had, gasp, three black guys! That team is still the only college team in history to have three future NFL hall of famers (Bob St. Clair, Ollie Matson, and Geno Marchetti). They surely would’ve had a fourth, if it weren’t for a devestating, career-ending injury sustained by Burl Toler. Still, he went on to become the first black referee in the NFL, so that’s still pretty notable. Add to that, the team’s information director, a guy by the name of Pete Rozelle, went on to play a small part in the NFL’s history, serving as commissioner from 1960 to 1989.

Those days are long gone though, so I’ve adopted USC as my college football team. It’s been a rough few years, but as I mentioned, the Trojans are off probation and back in the thick of things next year. Not many people realize this, but they finished the season as the 5th ranked team in the nation in the AP poll. I’ve got to be honest, I haven’t watched them much in the last 2-3 years since they weren’t bowl-eligible. The exception being the big win over Oregon this year. I can’t imagine I would have watched in on an average Saturday night, but I was in Utah that weekend for my grandfather’s funeral. It was a great game, and I was excited for what could be next year, but I assumed it was a foregone conclusion that quarterback Matt Barkley wouldn’t be there. Even leading up to today, I didn’t really hold out much hope that Barkley would return for his senior season. He would have been a consensus top 10 pick in this year’s NFL draft, and I still can’t really see any kid wanting to play for Lane Kiffin. But Barkley is different. He’s one of those once in a decade players who had dreamed of playing at USC his entire life. Following in the footsteps of Matt Leinart from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA, Barkley also chose to return for his senior season. What makes it special, though, is this year it’ll count.

The Trojans finished 2011 with a 10-2 record, that of course went largely unnoticed. Their two losses came against an Arizona State team that was a LOT better than the one playing in tonight’s Las Vegas Bowl, and a triple-overtime thriller against an elite Stanford team. Not only is Barkley coming back, but he’ll have his two best receivers returning as well. Sophomore Robert Woods and Freshman Marqise Lee combined for 184 receptions, 2,435 yards, and 26 touchdowns. Running back Marc Tyler graduates, but Curtis McNeal was the team’s leading rusher. With probation behind them, I’ve got to believe they’ll have one or two future Heisman candidates coming in next year to take handoffs. They are expected to lose junior left tackle Matt Kalil to the NFL Draft, but you can’t win them all. Next year, though, the Trojans just very well may. I hope Oregon and Stanford enjoyed the run they had, because next year the Pac-12 goes, once again, through Southern California.


Keep The Change Ya Filthy Animal

Christmas season is in full swing now, so you have no excuse to have not watched Home Alone recently. Quite frankly, there have been a lot of Angels with Filthy Souls (coincidentally, two of them now play for team of that very name) over the course of the last week. Each day there’s been a new story, and each has a greedy bastard behind it. Allow me to run down the list….

Albert Pujols – Did anyone really ever doubt he would bolt St Louis for the biggest paycheck? Players can say what they want, but at the end of the day, they’re people like us. If we had to choose between a handful of companies, assuming the job was the same, we’d all pick the highest salary. We might take a couple bucks less to be in a city more to our liking, but that’s it. It’s an ego thing. You want the highest number you can get. Say what you want, Dierdre Pujols, but that’s what happened here. You can say you were insulted by St Louis’s offer, but at the end of the day, the reason is still because they didn’t offer as much money. Same thing. Pujols in an Angel uniform will enhance my disdain for them, but not nearly as much as…

CJ Wilson – He and the Angels are a match made in douchebag heaven. I started out liking Wilson because he made the transition from closer to starter effectively, and that’s admirable. But once you go and say Oakland fans suck, that’s where it ends. The reason the stands aren’t full is because the owners are selling us a AAA team with the clear understanding that they’re making no efforts to win any time soon. Texas fans wouldn’t show up for that, neither would Angel fans. Anyway, Wilson is coming off a career year, and Anaheim is always willing to pay. Wilson is a Southern California native, but far more of an Orange County guy, not Dodger material. I look forward to seeing how this contract plays out. He carries a 1-5 postseason record, with a 4.82 ERA.

David Stern – I really like what Stern is doing with this whole Chris Paul debacle. I like it because I don’t like it. Anything the commissioner does to draw more scrutiny in his direction is a welcomed move in my book. I’m so sick of this guy ruining my favorite sport that it’s gotten to the point where I just have to sit back until he runs it all the way into the ground. It reminds me of former A’s manager, Bob Geren. Ultimately, you just had to root for failure in hopes that it will bring change.

 

 


The Big Least

Big East Football: Coming soon to San Diego, California

Man, how desperate is the Big East? It’s almost as if they sent out an open invitation to anyone who wanted to join. Geographical common sense aside, I get why they wanted to add Boise State. Conversely, Boise State’s incentive to join the conference can be summed up in two words: Automatic Bid. Just a few days after BSU coach, Chris Petersen, talked publicly about his, and most everyone else’s, disdain for the much flawed BCS system. At least by moving to the Big East, they can’t be shut out of a BCS bowl bid if they have a 1 loss season. The rest of the conference looks like a who’s who of “is that the best you got?” teams. Houston’s coming off a nice season, and SMU and Central Florida are each good once every 10 years. By far, the acquisition that makes the least sense is San Diego State. Seriously, this is what it’s come to? The Big East now has a school located on the West Coast. The rivalry possiblities are endless. I can only imagine how huge San Diego State vs. Connecticut games are going to be. Or SDSU vs. SFU. There’s going to be a lot of frequent flyer miles racked up in the Big East for years to come.


Still Getting Wronger

Tebow and the Broncos are STILL winning…

I’ve said it before, but with each win the Broncos rack up, the more wrong I feel. I was never a Tebow hater. I didn’t think he sucked as much as most analysts did, but I thought Denver fans were foolish for thinking he would have a drastic effect of them. Well, we all know the story. With Tebow at the helm, the Broncos have gone 5-1 and are now tied with the Raiders atop the AFC West at 7-5. Before Denver made the QB change, they weren’t even in the conversation. Even though they didn’t show it yesterday, their defense is nasty. Von Miller is a beast, and he didn’t play yesterday. Come playoff time, I’d be afraid of any team that has Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey in their locker room. I realized today that I am officially scared of the Broncos now.

I did come across THIS stroke of genius from before the season started though…..

Bengals (5.5 wins)

Dre – Under.  This could be a sad year in Cincy.  I’m not sure what Carson Palmer is thinking.  Guess he’s just a quitter.  They are in a tough division and their schedule isn’t that bad, but they seriously downgraded at QB and their stud rookie WR AJ Green will go mostly unused.

Chappy – Under, this feels like a lock, although getting Ochocinco’s side show away from the team might help. The fact remains they are a team stuck in reverse.

MCeezy – Over. I don’t know what to make of this team, but just for the sake of argument, I’ll say they reach 6-8 wins. Most people see the loss of Ochocinco, and a huge dark cloud of uncertainty around Carson Palmer. On the flipside, they’ve also had an aggressive offseason, adding guys like Nate Clements, Bo Scaife, Thomas Howard, and Manny Lawson.

By – Under.  It seems impossible for a team to succeed when the players act like they don’t want to be there.  Well in the case of Carson Palmer, there is no acting involved!  A dysfunctional situation in a black and blue division leads me to believe the Bengals will have very few dubs this season.

Meyer In; Erickson, Neuheisel Out

Urban Meyer Named Ohio State Head Coach – Shocker. Meyer’s “time off to spend with his family” was the coaching equivalent of Kim Kardashian’s marriage to Kris Humphries. None of us believed him, and what made it worse was, like Kim, he actually believed himself. And then, despite our low expectations, he comes back not even two full seasons from when he walked away. Let’s not forget to mention that Ohio State is even less removed from its relationship with Jim Tressell. What a dirty pair. These two parties deserve each other. Have we still not heard of any sanctions against the school from the NCAA? Is Meyer planning on coaching non-bowl eligible teams for the next few years? USC is still paying, so I expect Meyer to be severely handcuffed for the duration of his new contract.

Dennis Erickson Let Go By Arizona State – This one was a little tough for me to agree with. Erickson’s had an up and down tenure at ASU, but he had them off to a 6-2 start, with some decent credentials (wins over USC and Missouri, and respectable losses at Oregon and Illinois). But the Sun Devils ultimately lost their last four games and finished 6-6, which would mark the fourth consecutive year that Erickson failed to crack the .500 mark. I don’t know why all these Pac-12 ADs think their schools should recruit the same caliber players as USC and Oregon. Erickson played the hand he was dealt, and appeared to have some momentum going forward. He should have got one more shot at it. But, state rival Arizona made news last week when they hired Rich Rodriguez, so I guess ASU had to try and outdo them.

Rick Neuheisel Let Go By UCLA – The coach will not be returning next year, but he will be coaching in the Pac-12 Championship. I’ll never understand that one. How is he gonna care about that game? Sure he’ll want those kids to win under his watch, but I don’t think I’d be putting my best effort forth. It’ll be interesting to see how Neuheisel prepares the Bruins for a deathtrap this weekend. UCLA has to go into Oregon and play a 10-2 Ducks team that is probably looking ahead to the Rose Bowl. This is coming off a 50-0 loss at the hands of USC, which is probably what cost him his job.


RFP Of The Day: Lawrence Moten

Who remembers this guy? Unless you’re a Syracuse, or perhaps a Big East fan, you probably don’t. He certainly didn’t have a very spectacular pro career, though I suppose he wasn’t really expected to. Despite leaving Syracuse as the Big East’s all-time leading scorer, Moten didn’t exactly have an NBA frame. Then again, that’s probably why I liked him so much. I can’t help but root for the lanky, skinny guys, and Moten was one of them. He’s listed at a gangly 6’5″, 185 lbs. Add to that, he rocked the long socks that I was always so fond of. He ended up getting drafted in the second round by the Vancouver Grizzlies. He spent two unimpressive years north of the border, and then played his third and final NBA season in Washington. He scored 9 points in 8 games that year. Moten was one of those guys who had game like nobody else, but just didn’t have the size to continue his success on the NBA hardwood. Looking back, his career actually reminds me a lot of Quincy Douby, who caught my eye at Rutgers when I saw him torch Moten’s alma mater. He lit up the Orange for 40+ points, but he too, played only three years in the NBA, before fizzling out with Toronto. Last I saw Douby, he had broken his wrist playing over in China. Last I saw Douby in REAL LIFE, he was walking down Market Street in San Francisco wearing his OWN jersey circa 2006. Oddly enough, no one recognized him except me. Though, the same could be said for John Wall yesterday. The lockout must be hitting the players hard, because Wall was flying Southwest with me from Las Vegas to Sacramento, but managed to fly, literally, under the radar.


QB Play MATTers

Not sure if anyone else has wondered this, but when was the last time so much we talked about quarterbacks so much in an NFL season? Sure, QB will always be in the spotlight, but you could seriously have a reality series on just about every starter in the league. Some guys are getting attention because they’re playing great: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees. Some are getting attention for their inconsistent, oft-erratic play: Tony Romo, Mark Sanchez, Michael Vick, Joe Flacco. Some are just downright terrible: Philip Rivers. Some guys are doing a good job of not screwing up and allowing their team to win games: Alex Smith, Jay Cutler. There’s even a couple of rookie QBs who are getting plenty of attention: Cam Newton, Andy Dalton. And then of course, on a whole nother level, there’s Tim Tebow, who appears to not even be a quarterback anymore.

But you know what all this has made me notice? There are a lot of quarterbacks named Matt in the league. I rattled off like 10 or 11 in my head, but somehow, when I scoured the NFL rosters, I only came up with 8. Two of them are backups. The list reads Stafford, Ryan, Schaub, Cassel, Moore, Hasselbeck, Leinart, and Flynn. I kicked around the idea of posting this, but ultimately decided it would be unappealing to the 99% of the world that isn’t named Matthew. Apparently I unearthed some sort of curse, as the next day saw not one, but two Matts ruled out for the remainder of the year. Matt Schaub evidently came too close to the cancerous cloud that is Albert Haynesworth and now his foot is “the size of a cinder block.” At least it clears way for another Matt, Leinart that is, to move into a starting role. That’s hardly a consolation for the 99% of Texans fans not named Matthew. Matt Cassel, on the other hand, is a little more optimistic about playing again later this season, but he just had surgery on his throwing hand, so we’ll see how that goes. Even if he can come back, it’s not like he was playing great to begin with. He’s touting a 76.6 QB rating, and if you throw out the game against the 0-10 Colts, he’d surely dip into the 60s. Only the likes of Blaine Gabbert, Rex Grossman, and Curtis Painter live in that world. Beyond all that, Cassel will always be the quarterback, to me, that lost to the guy who completed TWO PASSES ALL GAME.


Doin Work’s 1,000th Post!

We’re coming up on our 30 month anniversary in a few weeks. Next Spring, it’ll be three full years of Doin Work. Blogs weren’t invented yet when I was in Business School, but I imagine there would have been some statistic like, 90% of blogs fail after the first post. I’d be willing to bet that the average lifespan of a blog is comparable to that of a housefly. I’ve known dozens of people who started blogs that were done after 1-3 posts. To think that a few workaholics from California could sustain it for this long is, I wouldn’t say an achievement, but for us it is. We’ve persevered through personal stuff like changing jobs, losing jobs, and starting new jobs, to some pretty tough circumstances in the world of sports. Seriously, two lockouts this summer, and we’ve still found some stuff to babble about! It’s amazing how much the absence of the LA Lakers has lowered the volatility of our e-mail threads. Though you don’t see much from Dyslecix and Cali4Dre, they’re still there behind the scenes. In fact, we all agreed today to liveblog the Mayweather-Pacquaio fight when if that happens. No matter who’s doing the posting, it’s crazy to look back at the wide, wide variety of things we’ve featured. Here are some of the highlights….

Lakers vs. Clippers Live Blog – Seriously? We did this? It was an October game at that. Is that a preseason game?

The Best E-Mail Chain of all-time. I hope David Thorne has taught us all a lesson to not let the establishment own us.

Ghost Ride the Whip – Seriously, what’s not to like about two white A’s fans ghost riding a whip!

Funny Signs from China – Chappy and MCeezy’s trip to China was successful on the blogging front as we found a wide range of broken engrish signs. Oh, and for some reason this picture we photo-shopped for our caption contest ended up on Bleacher Report as a real photo of Yao.

The Entire Random Forgotten Player Series – I was only following in the footsteps of a blog that may have played a part in inspiring the birth of Doin Work. I was checking the old RFP of the Day blog daily for a while, until for some reason, they retired after featuring Danny Tartabull in 2008. Without any new RFPs, I figured it was time for Doin Work to carry the torch. Afraid to be copying someone else’s idea, I was thrilled to ultimately get the blessing of the originators of RFP of the Day.

We’ve Reveiwed our predictions to see how foolish or awesome our picks were. Speaking of tragedies, never forget Sonicgate, for some reason I have Memento playing in my head when I wrote that.

Doin Reviews on Documentaries – If we can’t promote a good friends great documentary what’s the point of all this!

Pebble Beach Stories – Chappy reminisces about his days working at Pebble Beach back in the good ol college days…


Random Forgotten Deer Of The Day: Buck Williams


Coming Soon: “Unguarded” Chris Herren Documentary On ESPN 30 For 30

Not many people outside of Massachusetts know the story of Chris Herren. I never knew who he was until he came out to California. After things failed to work out for him at Boston College, Herren transferred to Fresno State. At the time, I was fully enthralled with Jerry Tarkanian’s ability to recruit NBA talent to little Fresno State. Now, what many people don’t know is that Fresno is a fairly large city. At 400,000+ residents, it’s about the same size as Oakland or Sacramento, just without suburbs. So, as one of the largest cities in the nation without a major league sports team, it’s a pretty rabid fanbase to have such a popular figure like Tark running the basketball program. He was bringing in guys like Rafer Alston, Tremaine Fowlkes, Terrence Roberson, and Herren, followed by guys like Melvin Ely, Courtney Alexander, and Chris Jefferies. Some went on to succeed in the NBA, some didn’t. But few suffered as far a fall from grace and promise as Chris Herren did. Most people don’t even know who the guy was. I can’t wait to see the full story tomorrow night


A’s Bring Back Pitching Coach Curt Young, And Hope For 2012

Curt Young ditches his team of drunks for younger kids who aren't old enough to drink

With a football resurgance going on in the Bay Area – the Raiders and 49ers are both off the great starts in the NFL season – Northern California baseball fans are wondering what it would be like if their MLB teams returned to contention next year. Sure, the Giants are, for a few more days, the reigning World Series champions, but they took a step back this year. But, if you know us, you know Doin Work is more about the A’s anyway. Over the second half of the season, it became clear that Oakland is not too far off from being competitive again. The pitching was clearly there, they just needed to find the offense to go with it, which has been a problem since the A’s went to the ALCS in 2006. But after we finally got rid of manager Bob Geren, the hitting finally came around. Problem is, the pitching suffered. Injuries were a factor, losing guys like Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson certainly hurt, but even ace Trevor Cahill had a down year. While I’m not so sure pitching coach Ron Romanick was the problem, there’s no denying the fact that the A’s pitching staff had much success under his predecessor, Curt Young. Young was let go last year to take the Boston Red Sox position, but we all know what happened there last year. With the Epstein-Francona regime ousted from power, Curt was left looking for a new team. Fortunately, the A’s wereright here waiting (as Richard Marx once sang in 1989 when Young helped pitch the A’s to a World Series pennant). Before he left to coach the Red Sox beer-drinking, fried chicken eating, video game playing bums, Young led the A’s staff to a 3.47 ERA, the lowest for an AL team in 20 years. It’s pretty much the same staff he left, with Braden and Anderson set to rejoin Cahill, and perhaps the new ace of the staff, all-star Gio Gonzalez. So, if Curt Young can help return the rotation to top form, it will allow the A’s front office and coaching staff to focus all of their attention on the offense, where it absolutely belongs.

 


Replacing Campbell: What Would Al Do?

Now that I’ve accepted Kyle Boller as the Raiders’ starting QB in Week 7, it’s a bit easier for me to take a less hasty look at the search for a replacement for Jason Campbell. I, for one, am not sold on Kyle Boller as a long-term solution. Fortunately, the Raiders face a 2-3 Kansas City team that’s scoring just 15 points a game this season. After that, the Bye week. So, it looks like if we can just survive one “should-win” game at home with Boller, we can focus more of our attention on getting the best possible guy for the job, instead of just whoever we can get now. If I’m Al Davis, I go straight to the best guy available. Though Carson Palmer and available aren’t words that have been mentioned together all year, my gut says Al would MAKE him available. The main arguments against it are that Bengals ownership is stubbornly set on not rewarding a player’s demands, and the Raiders don’t have any attractive draft picks next year anyway. But they do still have their number one pick. Trading a first round pick is probably foolish, but the Raiders are winning now, and they’re built for the future as well. I don’t see anyone on the roster who’ll need to be replaced in the next three years. I’ve got to believe it’s worth it to get a bonafide starting NFL quarterback. Most owners wouldn’t pull the trigger merely on the prospect of the criticism they’d receive, but Al Davis never cared about that. He’d just say something like, “We wanted Carson Palmer so we GOT Carson Palmer,” and that’d be the end of it. And ultimately, if he was unable to succesfully pry Palmer from the Bengals, he’d at least leak the offer to the media so Cincinnati owner, Paul Brown, would have to face criticism from his fans for turning down a first round pick on stubborn principle.