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Earlier, I wrote about one of my fantasy football teams that was auto-drafted by Yahoo! and my efforts to transform that team into a winning team.  Unfortunately, those efforts didn’t work and that team finished 7 out of 12 teams in the league— (update to that original post is here).   However, the other of my 2 teams that I didn’t write about actually won the championship!  Vandalay Industries took the prize in my 14 team league.  Here’s my view of how it happened—the brilliant moves, good fortune, and simple luck that propelled my team to the championship. (more…)

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As we hit the end of 2009, I’ve seen in various publications, articles about the top games, upsets, and moments in the  decade of sports (2000-2009).   Looking at a few of these lists have made me reflect on what my own top sporting moments of the decade  would be.  My list will be colored by my personal rooting and sports preferences— I grew up in Ohio and was a youth baseball and soccer player and am an all around sports nut currently living in the Bay Area.

1. Boise State vs Oklahoma- 2007 Fiesta Bowl—The classic David vs Goliath match-up with all kinds of drama and the most unexpected of endings—even had a wedding proposal.  This game had everything—the best game I’ve seen this decade.  I seriously couldn’t believe what I was seeing while watching.

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Last month, I watched part of Game 2 of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees with a colleague.  While watching, it dawned on me that this was the first game of this year’s baseball post-season that I’d seen.  To me, that is a significant revelation regarding the plight of Major League Baseball and its trajectory for the future.  I’d consider myself one of baseball’s more hardcore fans, one who has unfailingly watched postseason baseball games for more than 30 years, even if my team, the Cincinnati Reds, are not in the postseason (which unfortunately has been the case most of the nineties and in the 2000’s).  I’m the type of fan who can still recite most of the uniform numbers of Reds players and their main rivals since the 80’s and also can mimic the batting stances of most of those players as well. (more…)

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The other day, I was watching a documentary on the 1979 baseball season on the MLB Network and the World Series winner of that season, the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Those Pirates were know for its team slogan and team song, the hit song by Sister Sledge, We are Family.   As they were recollecting that season and that team, several times, the man who played the team mascot- the Pittsburgh Parrot, Greg Brown, was interviewed and would comment on the intricacies of that team.   Now, Brown isn’t your typical mascot as he ultimately in later years become an announcer for the Pirates which is probably why he had the clout to be included in the list of people to comment on the team, but just hearing from a mascot for the first time, made me think, what is it really like to be a mascot, from someone who actually was a mascot? (more…)

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Earlier, I wrote about one of my fantasy football teams that was selected using Yahoo!’s auto-draft feature as I wasn’t available at the time of the draft.   After 6 weeks, my team is 2-4 with the second fewest points scored out of 12 teams.   The top 8 teams make the playoffs and at this point I would miss the playoffs.  So, the time is now to transform the team, and try to salvage the season.  This week, I made two major trades which I hope turns the tide and creates a winning 2nd half of the season.

Here again is the roster drafted by Yahoo! for me. (more…)

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Last week while driving and listening to the NPR program Forum, I heard a discussion with the authors of the new book Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election (the archived program can be heard here).  Listening to inside stories and analysis of the presidential campaigns of Obama, Clinton, and McCain was compelling drama to me.   Rehashing parts of the campaign and reflecting on my heightened interest levels in the actual campaign vs the dwindling interest in the day to day political system after the election made me think of a pattern I’ve been seeing in myself, others, and the population at large.     That pattern is a greater interest in the buildup to the main event or events than the actual event itself—in other words, the behind the scenes parts of the equation more so than the actual show.

For me, my examples include the election, interest in the the offseason in professional sports and fantasy football, and the fascination with the jury process of a legal case, rather than the actual case itself.  I’ll delve into each one. (more…)

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It’s NFL football season and once again fantasy football drafts are occurring all across the US.  One of the leagues I’m in had their draft a couple of weeks ago on August 16 using Yahoo!’s fantasy football engine.  I unfortunately was out of the country and had to rely on Yahoo! to auto-draft my team.   I’ve had a chance to critique Yahoo!’s draft for me and compare to how I believe I would have drafted given the options available in my draft slot based on the actual results of the draft.

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In a couple of days, the baseball trade deadline on July 31 will pass.   Both local teams here in the San Francisco Bay Area have interesting decisions to make or already have made important trade decisions:

  • The San Francisco Giants finished last season with one of the worst offenses in baseball and didn’t make a significant offensive upgrade during the offseason.  While there were several moves available to them in the offseason, one option that is often cited by the local media revolves around Adam Dunn.  Dunn, an outfielder who finished last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks after spending the previous 7+ years with my beloved Cincinnati Reds (I grew up in nearby Dayton, Ohio), is a feast or famine slugger who could have given the Giants an offensive presence that they lacked.   (more…)

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After Roger Federer won the 2009 French Open, I laid out the case in this posting why he should definitively be declared the greatest player of all time (GOAT).   I also stated that I felt that Rafael Nadal would eventually end up being the GOAT after his career was all said and done.  That naturally led to a healthy debate and of course there is no way to know—we all just need to wait and be patient.    Since then, Nadal has pulled out of the 2009 Wimbledon due to injury and if his all out style is already leading to an injury riddled future, then the likelihood of him reaching GOAT status is unlikely.   However, for now, I will be assuming that this injury will be a one off situation and he’ll be back at the US Open competing for his first US open title and a career grand slam.

In trying to foresee what Nadal’s career records could end up as, my curiosity led me to look at his performance at his current age (23) and compare it to the other top players’ at the same age and then look at their performance from ages 24-27, 28-31, and 32+.  I looked at the number of grand slams won, number of weeks at # 1, and % of career ranked # 1 in the specific age bracket.    After performing this analysis, Federer’s achievements become even more magnified and it’s clear that Nadal will be fighting difficult odds to become GOAT.   (more…)

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Roger Federer won his first French Open yesterday, dispatching of Robin Soderling in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4.   With his now 14th Grand Slam title, Federer has tied Pete Sampras’ record for the number of all time grand slam victories and the clamor anointing Federer as the best tennis player ever is growing louder and louder.  The clamor was pretty loud already, but by getting the proverbial monkey off his back by capturing the elusive French Open, the clamor is at a fever pitch.

In trying to assess Federer’s candidacy for greatest of all time, my primary criteria would include the following factors:

  1. Performance in Grand Slams
  2. Level of Dominance during his era
  3. All around performance (Grass, Hard-court,  Clay)
  4. Longevity (more…)

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