Travesty…

…you may think this piece is about the New England Patriots debacle Sunday against the Miami Dolphins?  No.  No.  No.  Well, the word used for this title does fit, but that’s a story for the next column involving NFL picks.

There was another travesty that happened on Sunday.  Different sport.

We are still a few weeks away from my annual Baseball Hall of Fame column.  But I felt the need to comment based on what happened over the weekend.

The “Today’s Game Era Committee” voted Harold Baines and Lee Smith into Cooperstown on Sunday.  Yup, these guys are now Baseball Hall of Famers.  Immortals.  Amazing.  Simply amazing.

Wait, who the hell is the “Today’s Game Era Committee”?  Welp, this is part of the old Veterans Committee.  “Part”?  Yup.  “Today’s Era” covers players 1988 to present.  The “Modern Era Committee” covers 1970-1987.  The “Golden Days” covers 1950-1969.  Lastly, “Early Baseball” covers 1887-1949.  I guess if you were good before 1887 you are out of luck.  But I digress…

Either way, these separate committees apparently have different years they can vote on guys and this year was the “Today’s” turn.  But also apparently, these committees are just as useless as the old Veterans Committee.

Why?

For starters, the Modern Committee elected Jack Morris and Alan Trammell last year.  Also…not Hall of Famers.

I believe that part of the reason the Veterans Committee was revamped was to stop guys from voting in players that shouldn’t be in the Hall.

Oops…looks like that isn’t working.

Listen, Baines and Smith (and Morris and Trammell) were very good players.  They were for a very long time.  But this has become the problem with Cooperstown.  It is becoming the “Hall of Very Good”, instead of the Hall of Fame.  Too many “decent” players are getting in now.  The place is totally getting watered down.

Add in the fact that there are legitimate Hall of Famers on the outside looking in.  Yes, based mostly on the whole steroid thing.  But still.  Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are no-brainer Hall members, with or without the ‘roids.  Manny Ramirez too.  And in my eyes, Pete Rose belongs for all his issues.  Rafael Palmeiro probably also.

That’s just for starters.  My point is if guys like Baines and the most recent “committee” guys are in, don’t players like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Larry Walker, Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield and Dale Murphy get in automatically?  May as well put Steve Garvey, Don Mattingly, Al Oliver and Bernie Williams in too.  And those are only the hitters.  I didn’t mention Edgar Martinez, because he likely gets in this year anyway.  I don’t love it, but others do, so that’s ok.  But guys like Todd Helton are eligible this year for the first time too.  To me, Helton isn’t a Hall guy, but maybe based on these current circumstances, he is?

As for pitchers, guys like Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina now should be locks.  And for the hell of it, let’s just add Jim Kaat, Denny Martinez and Luis Tiant.  John Franco?  Billy Wagner?  Ron Guidry?  Tommy John pitched until he was 87 years old, won 288 games and had a surgery named after him.  Why the hell doesn’t that get him in??

You get my point.  Absolutely silly.  Simple as that.  Let’s just let everyone in.  That will solve everything…well, I guess it will keep a lot of people happy anyway…

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Week Fourteen…

So I know this is generally a football pick column…and it will be eventually…but we would be remiss if we didn’t give some comments on the Boston Red Sox re-signing of Nathan Eovaldi earlier this week.

For a quick refresher, this is what we wrote about a month ago:

“…The way Major League Baseball is trending, with “bullpen games”, the Sox technically don’t have to do anything here next year.  WHAAAAAAAT???!!  WHAT ABOUT EOVALDI??!!  Nate Eovaldi has a special place in my heart for the way he pitched in the postseason this year.  He always will.  Especially that relief appearance in Game 3 of the World Series…in a game they actually lost.  What an effort though.  A guy with past arm trouble and free agency looming could have easily begged out of that game at any point…even at the beginning, seeing he had pitched in relief the first two games.  He didn’t and became somewhat of a legend.

But give him 15-20 mil a year for 4-5 years?  I’m not so sure about that.  Seems like a risk.  Past arm problems.  But more importantly, past mediocrity.  44-53, 4.16 career heading into his age-29 season.  Love the guy to death.  But I think I am passing…”

Has my opinion changed?  Actually, no.  All around.  Still will love the guy, no question.  But not backing up the Brinks truck for him.  Above all, he just hasn’t taken the ball enough in his career.

Turns out ol’ Nate got right about in the middle of what we had mentioned, about 17 per.  A lot of dough seemingly just to reward someone for one postseason.

On the surface, this must slot Eovaldi into the 3rd or 4th slot in the rotation for 2019.  Chris Sale and David Price go 1-2, Eovaldi and Rick Porcello go 3-4 and Eduardo Rodriguez would be 5.  Steven Wright, Hector Velasquez and Brian Johnson give you 6-8 depth.  Can’t complain about that staff on paper certainly.

The salaries?  Listen, the Sox can spend whatever they want.  We know this.  John Henry ain’t hurting for funds.  BUT…Price 31, Porcello 21 plus, Nate 17, Sale 15…heavy.  E-Rod probably gets a nice bump in arbitration as well…because…everyone always does in that process.

Some have speculated that maybe Eovaldi may close this season, what with the likely departure of Craig Kimbrel.  Unlikely.  Good closers may approach the 17 mil per.  But we don’t even know if Nate can be a good closer…he’s never done it.  And with his injury history, not sure the Sox should even consider it.  Despite his bullpen efforts in the postseason last season.

One thing it does tell me?  Either Sale or Porcello will be allowed to walk after the 2019 season.  And you heard it here first:  The Blowhard believes that there is a greater likelihood that Porcello will be back in 2020 than Sale.  Sale is clearly the better pitcher.  By far.  But with his health history, will they shell out probably over 25 million per for that uncertainty?  Heading into his age-31 season?  Not so sure.  The team babied him more than ever last year.  And he threw a mere 158 innings.

As mediocre as Porcello can be, he takes the ball every turn.  He will also be heading into his age-31 season.  The Sox may be willing to give him another 20 plus for a few years than 25-30 plus for Sale over likely more seasons.

Sounds silly, but let’s see how it plays out.

In summary, we obviously don’t love the Eovaldi deal.  Just a little too much risk for me.  But it’s not my money.  And after dissecting things a little more, it may not be completely insane.

Again, let’s see how all this plays out in 2019.

And if they win another World Series, I guess who gives a rat’s ass?

As for football:

Carolina (-1.5) at Cleveland 

Carolina has lost 4 in a row and is 1-5 on the road.  I really want to pick the Browns here.  But…I can’t…

Carolina 23, Cleveland 20.

New York Jets at Buffalo (-3.5)

Brutal.

Buffalo 17, New York Jets 13.

New York Giants at Washington (-1.5)  

Mark Sanchez.  And Josh Johnson.

Nice!

I know, Odell Beckham Jr. is not playing.  But it shouldn’t matter.  Let’s also talk for a second about Colin Kaepernick.  Washington is taking a lot of heat for signing those aforementioned stiffs over Kaep.  Welp, I can see both sides.  First off, a team would really have to change a great deal of their offense to sign and play Colin.  And with a mere four games left, is it worth it?  Johnson may be the literal definition of “journeyman”.  But he has a history with Redskins coach Jay Gruden.  That does matter, unfortunately.

One thing people fail to consider is the fact that Kaepernick is actually not very good.  And now he hasn’t played since 2016, where he “led” the Niners to a 1-10 record in his appearances.  Sure, there are so many bad backup QB’s in the league, he probably deserves a job somewhere.  But we have also heard, and maybe inaccurately, that he has had opportunities to sign…and they weren’t for enough money to his liking so he passed.  Yeah, this last point could be bogus.  But I’m not ruling anything out with this guy.

Bottom line, Kaep still stinks and hasn’t played in two years.  He’s probably good enough to hold a clipboard on some team…if he wants to.  But would it really make a difference in Washington?  That’s for everyone else to decide, not me…

New York Giants 20, Washington 13.

Atlanta at Green Bay (-5.5) 

Let’s now see if it was Mike McCarthy or Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay 38, Atlanta 24.

New Orleans (-8.5) at Tampa Bay

After that dud last Thursday against the Cowboys and the early season loss to the Bucs at home, this feels like some kind of hurtin’ is about to be put on.

New Orleans 45, Tampa Bay 20.

Baltimore at Kansas City (-6.5) 

Are the Ravens someone to worry about as we head toward the playoffs?

Baltimore 37, Kansas City 34.

New England (-8.5) at Miami 

The Pats…and Tom Brady, in particular, have been putrid down in Miami in recent years.  Even though the Dolphins ain’t very good, they will most assuredly keep it close.  I almost want to pick them to win.  But the Pats need this one.

New England 30, Miami 24.

Indianapolis at Houston (-4.5)

If you asked me last week, I would have picked the Colts here to end Houston’s 9 game winning streak.  But not after that putridness against the Jags a week ago.

Houston 34, Indianapolis 28

Denver (-5.5) at San Francisco

The Broncos are still in the mix…amazingly enough.  Losing Manny Sanders will hurt.  But not this week.

Denver 27, San Francisco 17.

Cincinnati at Los Angeles Chargers (-14.5)

The Bungles are cratering.  Seems like too many points here though, even for the Chargers at home.

Los Angeles Chargers 34, Cincinnati 20. 

Detroit (-2.5) at Arizona

I read something Saturday about Matt Patricia’s “father-son” relationship with Chandler Jones.  I was moved.  Really.  But maybe it’s because I read it right after I smoked some synthetic weed and ran shirtless to the local police station.  Oh wait…

Detroit 24, Arizona 14.

Philadelphia at Dallas (-4.5)  

Winner of this one takes the NFC East in my opinion.  Although…maybe not.  Before I looked at the remaining schedules, I had a feeling that the Eagles were ready to make a run.  Then I saw they play at LA Rams and then at home against the Texans after the Cowboys (finishing against the Redskins in Washington).  While the Cowboys play the Colts, Bucs and G-Men.  Advantage:  Dallas.

Dallas 27, Philadelphia 24.  

Pittsburgh (-11.5) at Oakland

The Steelers should win this game pretty handily.  But the way they are playing, who the hell knows?

Pittsburgh 38, Oakland 31. 

Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) at Chicago 

Can’t say I’m completely on the Bears’ bandwagon.  Whatever.

Los Angeles Rams 34, Chicago 24.

Minnesota at Seattle (-3.5)  

The Seahawks will be rolling into the playoffs.  The Vikes aren’t impressing anyone.  ‘Hawks are at home.  We are all pumped and jacked!!

Seattle 31, Minnesota 20.  

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  1-0

Season (against the spread):  103-90

Season (straight up):  122-71

Taking One On The Chin…

…yikes…brutal week picking games last week for the Blowhard.  Well, not exactly brutal, but not coming up roses either.  Tough week to take a step back, what with year-long pools winding down and progress needing to be made to win some “points”.

In any event, we move on…

Not much to say about the New England Patriots either.  Not because there isn’t anything to talk about with Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.  But because the Blowhard was at the game live and can’t say he studied the game film since then to note the finer points of the game.

We will say that it was a nice win…but wait, was it?  The Vikings were supposed to be a pretty good team this year.  They were last year.  Then they signed a gazillion dollar quarterback.  Their young stud running back came back healthy.  Two filthy receivers.  And a stout defense.  To name a few.

So why are they only 6-5-1?  No idea.  We can’t say we watch a ton of Viking football or even read the stories by their beat writers.

But we can say here that we will take the win, nice or not.  The Pats D did seem to step up.  Are they finally on the right track?  Who knows?  Any step forward here in December is welcome, however.

But with the next two games on the road, which hasn’t exactly been kind to them this year, we will see if Sunday was actually a “step up”.  Miami stinks, but the Pats have had their share of problems down there over the years.  Not one of Tom Brady’s favorite places to play, regardless of how bad the ‘Phins have been in the 2000s.  At least this tilt is in December and not September.  Methinks the Pats win, but more on that in the next column.

Then…at Pittsburgh.  We know how explosive the Steelers can be.  Despite their being in a little tailspin as we speak.  The Patriots always seem to do well against Pitt., home or away.  But again, this year has been different in so many ways.  So we shall see.

The Blowhard still has some confidence in this team, despite the many holes that haven’t existed in recent years.  But sending a message the next couple of weeks would go a long way to justifying that confidence.

Jacksonville at Tennessee (-4.5)  

Tennessee won a riveting 9-6 matchup back in Week Three on the Jaguars’ home field.  What can we expect this time in Tennessee?  Welp, the Jags are 2-7 since, including a scintillating 6-0 win over Indianapolis Sunday.  The Titans are mediocre at best and needed a huge comeback from 16 down at home to top the wretched New York Jets this past week.  I’m looking forward to this atrocity…er, I mean, huge Thursday Night Football divisional battle!!  Watch, it probably will end up being a good game, because it isn’t supposed to be…but I’m not gonna bet on it.  For real anyway.

Tennessee 13, Jacksonville 10.  

Week (against the spread):  7-9

Week (straight up):  10-6

Season (against the spread):  103-89

Season (straight up):  121-71

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