The Grand National Championships

April 26, 2008

The Prodigal Son is Making Up for Lost Time.

In the midst of my depression, crappy sub teaching day, and doing the draft guide, I forgot to mention one thing.


On Thursday, Curtis Granderson went yard off of the Texas Rangers. The Tigers won again, 8-2. But here’s the thing? The Rangers are mostly awful. I could go 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI versus their #3 starter. So? Not impressed.


So you know what Grandy did? Do ya? He took Ervin Santana deep in the second. The Tigers may have lost 4-3. But the fact is?

Curtis Granderson spits hot fire.

April 23, 2008

Behold! The Prodigal Son Has Returned!



Tonight, the Tigers of the city named Detroit played an aggressive game of baseball against the Rangers of Texas.  This was no ordinary game of baseball, for you see; Curtis “100 Grand” Granderson made his triumphiant return to Motown! 


Granderson:  I totally rock! LOL!

Granderson, with the city of Detroit firmly behind him; went 2-4 with two singles and 2 RBI’s.  Curtis Granderson is the catalyst for the Tigers.  As their lead off hitter, Granderson gives the Tigers the speed and man on base they’ve needed for the last three weeks.  On a team loaded with big hitters, Granderson is the cranberry sauce in a can for the Tiger’s Thanksgiving dinner.  Curtis is the glue that makes everything delicious and awesome about this year’s Detroit Tigers!



Major League Baseball really, really needs to take notice of Mr. 100 Grand and begin promoting him and his awesome ways.  He could easily become the next Ken Griffey Jr.  Think about it this way Mr. Selig, when Curtis Granderson was doing his rehab starts in Grand Rapids, Michigan the team sold an additional 3000 tickets. 

All I can say is this, Thank you Curtis Granderson for making me care about the 2008 baseball season again!



April 20, 2008

The Grand National Interview: Marvelous Matt Fraction.

Matt Fraction is a man with the ability to bend your mind. From his creator owned books “The Five Fists of Science” and “Casanova” to his current runs on “The Immortal Iron Fist” and “Punisher: War Journal” to upcoming runs on “The Invincible Iron Man” and “Uncanny X-Men,” whether with Ed Brubaker or by himself, Matt Fraction is giving you some of the best stories in comics.  

And luckily, Matt was nice enough to take time out of his busy schedule, to answer some questions about his works, Hollywood, the Chicago Cubs, Mr. Belvedere, and the craziest very special episode you ever won’t see.

And you’ve got to respect a man who’s been photographed sporting such a rockin’ beard.   

The questions begin…AFTER THE JUMP!


April 19, 2008

Those of you who were here from the beginning know about Brandi Hawbaker

If you don’t? Here’s a cliffs notes. Reasonably attractive, but mentally disturbed poker player/con artist.

But to get you up to speed, she fell in with noted poker author David Skalansky and his Two Plus Two Forum. And when things were good? David was thrilled with the exploitative purproses for his website.

All that and worse, after the jump.



April 16, 2008

The Tight End Draft Knowledge Master Open (Part 6)

This season, unfortunately you will not be able to find a pure NFL Ready prospect. Martellus Bennett is close, but he needs some seasoning. But what we have this year? Good pass catcher, bad blocker. We have those in spades this year.

Your tight end prospects.

1. Martellus Bennett (Texas A&M)
6’7″ 259 4.72

Martellus Bennett does have NBA level athleticism, grading out as draftable coming out of high school. And as such, he does have the requisite soft hands. And as for the blocking? It’s nascent, but developing. He can move people and he can sustain in space. Yes, this is what the kids call upside.

However? He while he may be athletic, he isn’t fast. His route-running is not the cleanest in the world. And there are some who would question his intangibles. Some call him a leader. Others call him a giant bag of douche.

WHY could he not be the first tight end taken? The intangibles question. There are some other prospects who could intrigue coaches if Martellus botched his interviews. If he came off badly? Say hey to John Carlson or Dustin Keller as #1.

2. John Carlson (Notre Dame)
6’5″ 251 4.88

He’s the required gritty, gutsy tight end. His hands are naturally good and he will fight for every last yard. He will also bring technique to the table as well. And as for blocking, he can sustain and mirror. And yes, the announcers are going to overplay his ability to fight for every last yard.

But as the 40-time shows, he’s not an elite athlete. And while he may be gritty and gutty with the ball, he’s not a mean mugger. And in the short yardage? He may struggle to find openings in man coverage. He can also be the guy who gets one-arm bull rushed on his ass. That would be funny.

WHY is he more than just another Clark Harris? Because he has size, better hands, and he plays harder than that bust ever did. He gets the Anthony Fasano vibe.

3. Fred Davis USC
6’3″ 255 4.65

Here’s where we start the crux of the good pass-catcher bad blocker Tight End prospects. Mr. Davis has nice size and good athleticism and he knows how to use it to play havoc in the slot. He can generate a nice seperation in man coverage. And he has the functionality of a giant receiver. He’s not Vernon Davis, but he can run.

But, and this is going to develop a theme, his blocking is weak. The man can’t even form a seal. And while the man can catch, his receiver skills aren’t polished. He slows down into cuts, and he doesn’t have the great vertical skills.

WHY is he overvalued? He is going to be drafted higher than Dustin Keller and Martin Rucker. And he’s a lesser receiver than one, and a lesser blocker than the other. 

4. Dustin Keller (Purdue)
6’2″ 242 4.57

The best pure pass catcher, flat out. He can generate good seperation, and his hands are as good as his technique. And his technique? Good. He has the athleticism to take it to the house and the body control to get both feet down. Also, he rates about a 7 on the Mark Bavaro Tight End Toughness Scale.

I’M A 10!!!

The issue? He can’t be an in-line blocker. His frame can’t bring more weight. And while he has good weight room numbers, on field it’s not so much. And while he can hit the home run, his vertical skills are untested.

WHY is he a megasleeper? His tigerstyle is just like Chris Cooley.

5. Martin Rucker (Missouri)
6’5″ 261 4.63

He’s a man with great bloodlines. Daddy is a Missouri State Representative. Brother is Mike Rucker, the Batman to Julius Peppers Superman. Martin Rucker has the same sort of athleticism. And his catch skills are quality. He plays with smarts and awareness. And he will make a circus catch or two.

Again, he’s not a blocker. At the point of attack he can be beat. While he does have good hands, his receiving techniques are not the best around. And he may be able to go long, but he would not make a tackler miss if his life depended on it.

WHY will he slide into Day 2? Being third in the pass catcher with no blocking skills derby will shatter his value tree.

Indeed. We are past the halfway point. Five more parts to go.




April 3, 2008

Do you wish for an ability to drop Draft Knowledge? (Part 1)

We are helpful people at The Grand National Championships. We like you. And when you’re gonna watch the NFL Draft on the last weekend in April? You’re gonna want to know stuff. I will bring you the stuff to know.

Elvi Patterson can hate me now, but I won’t stop now.

Let me tell you all you need to know about the quarterback class.

There are five that should go on Day 1. That you know. But did you know that if you wish to know where the sleeper goes, all you need to do is look inside an [Anchorman Reference]?

(Heh. Heh. Heh.)

The Magnificient Seven (Quarterbacks)

1. Matt Ryan (QB-Boston College)
6’4″ 223 4.95

There are some whom would compare him to Joe Montana. There are some whom would compare him to Tom Brady. Hell, Pro Football Weekly would even throw in Peyton Manning. Wrong. All of you are wrong.

His arm is not laser, and he will let you down going deep. He can manage the game well, but his vertical game blows. Out and out shitty.

Not to say he won’t have real world value in 2009, it’s just that you aught to temper your hopes, guy.


But being Drew Brees means you know how to learn the Carlton Dance!

WHY Matt Ryan is the next Drew Brees? He will struggle mightily for the first few years with a bad offensive line.

2. Brian Brohm (QB-Louisville)
6’4″ 224 4.82


Brian Brohm has lived a sheltered life at Louisville. A spread offense guaranteed to put up numbers for any quarterback? Two brothers as coaches? His daddy as a constant presence? Even though he was injury prone, the fix was in for him to succeed.

I know, I’m being mean. He does have a laser arm. He does have on-field football smarts. He’s not fast, but he’s not a statue in the pocket. Leadership is not a strong suit, however.

WHYhe will be the next Brady Quinn? His intangibles are questionable, his arm is not that great, and if the Ravens fall in love with a cornerback? He will lose millions on draft day.

3. Joe Flacco (QB-Delaware)
6’6″ 236 4.85


Kerry Collins had a passing camp in South Jersey. It crossed paths with a computer camp. Theirs was a love that could not last. Fortunately, Kerry does not believe in sexual congress with condoms. Nine months later, Ms. Flacco’s baby boy was born.

Don’t believe me? Think this story libelous? Well, how about we explain that Flacco is a statuesque laser, rocket-armed quarterback who is not great under pressure and has a drinking problem*?

He’s only going to be good as his coaching and supporting cast.

WHY he may be the next Matt Schaub? He’s going to be drafted as some teams back-up in the second round, have a good game versus the Patriots, and be rumored to get dealt for two years hence. 

*The Mileage on Joe Flacco’s drinking problem may vary.

4. Chad Henne (QB-Michigan)
6’2″ 230 4.94

Being as my friend Elvi lives in Michigan, he is inundated with hype from Ann Arbor. He is sick of Chad Henne. In that way? He’s like your average Michigan fan.

But like anything that can be much-maligned, the fact of the matter is that Henne brings more to the table than you think. He throws hard, he plays hurt, and he has played well in big games not involving Ohio State. However, he is inaccurate and like the bastard child of Kerry Collins, when the line breaks down Henne cannot stand and deliver. The devil he may take ya.

WHY he may never be a full-time starter? He has a lot of bad habits that would only be correctable by good coaching. And do you know what’s the most translatable skill of a quarterback from college to the pros? Accuracy.

5. Andre’ Woodson (QB-Kentucky)
6’4″ 229 4.88


Let it be said that we will make an effort to speak upon him fairly. We love his style and his ability to come up big in the biggest of games. He is poor in throwing technique. He would need to land with a team that has a swanky quarterback coach to polish the rough edges. He was not great in the all-star games.

But that being said, the man is a gunslinger. He brought them back versus three teams in the Top 15 and stood toe to toe with the son of Jor-El. And while some dream of him as a Jason Campbell or a David Garrard, if everything breaks right? (And I do mean every damn thing?)


WHY I just might not be crazy? A 2nd round graded quarterback who can move around from a southern school who can bring his marginally talented team back against powerhouses? He’s got the heart and the balls.

These are your day one quarterbacks in terms of value. Sure, an Erik Ainge or John David Booty may sneak in if some team has a grade for them, but they’re backup value at best (Ainge more than Booty). But in Day 2 the only city that bears an interest?

San Diego!

Day 2 Sleepers

A. Josh Johnson  (QB-San Diego)
6’2″ 213 4.55


There’s an impetus to find upside in your quarterback. Josh Johnson is the best and brightest. He destroyed competition in the Division 1-AA (FCS, whatever) with a 43-1 TD-INT ratio. And get this? His throwing style isn’t raw either! He may not be used to the speed of the pro game, but he’s not just some spread option sucker.

He played under a pro-style offense in San Diego. Jim Harbaugh was his sensei.

But there is some dark clouds in this ray of sunshine. He’s not one of the 6’5″ 240 sized types of quarterbacks, it means he may get launched. And he may never settle into his happy feet. But the fact of the matter? If Throwing Into Traffic wants to talk about what dreams may come? Talk up Josh Johnson.

WHY he might be drafted on Day 1? You remember Tavaris Jackson? Josh Johnson is the Platinum Edition of Tavaris.

B. Kevin O’Connell (QB-San Diego State)
6’5″ 225 4.64

He may not be the one, but Kevin O’ Connell [a.k.a. Cush] sure is the prototype. Strong arm with good accuracy, good footwork along with timed speed, and he has pretty good accuracy. And his sensei is a strong molder of quarterbacks. Chuck Long made Kevin O’Connell a prospect. Chuck Long made Kevin O’Connell blossom in the most heterosexual way possible.

And yet? The man can’t stay healthy. The man could not destroy a mid-major conference even with Chuck Long’s Mr. Miyagi-style.  He can lose the plate every so often and he will not stand tall and true. He is not the gunslinger you are looking for.

WHY won’t he be another Dan McGwire? He’s agile and mobile. That and he doesn’t juice. He is not going to be a bust.

That’s it. About 1200 words in regards to your fine quarterback prospects. Yeah. This was a bit of an effort. Woot and what not.

April 1, 2008

The NL West throws up it’s rock fist.

I like the NL West a lot. They are the Manic Pop Thrill of all the divisions. I firmly believe that if ESPN actually paid any level of attention beyond the Boston/New York/North Carolina Tri-Bourough Sports Bridge, they would find out just how awesome this division is.

But they don’t, so it’s up to your meshuggenah sports blogger to play sufficient hypeman for the NL West. The NL West is straight up Metal. Really. There are four teams you could see winning the division.

And thusly? The Grand National Championships Proudly Present…

Bang Your Head: A National League West (Day Late and Dollar Short) Preview

5) The San Fransisco Giants are Vader

It’s a nihilistic time to be a Giants fan, an old team that’s pretty much Lincecum and Cain and pray for Bloody Rain. Aaron Rowand was the big splash in Free Agency, and they overpaid for a man Skip Bayless would call a gritty Randy Winn. This is the team voted most likely to lose 110 games this year. There is nothing coming down the horizon. All they can do is work the Tremolo and play their little hearts out. Godspeed Giants, Godspeed.

4) The Los Angeles Dodgers are Black Sabbath

A long time ago, Nomar, Jason Schmidt, Jeff Kent, and Rafael Furcal rocked the party that rocked the body. Jeff Kent was indeed Iron Man and what not. But there is going to be a problem in Dodgertown. They have a lot of youth that’s ready to go wild at Chavez Ravine, but they are being blocked by the bloated, dessicated corpses of once great superstars.

With Andruw Jones as Ronnie James Dio


3) The Colorado Rockies are Limozeen

The Rockies were a nice piece of novelty, going to the World Series with little more than Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki, the heart of a Lion and the Wings of a Bat (Because it’s Midnight). But here’s the thing about novelty acts, they ususally cannot come up with good sequels. Frankly, only Weird Al Yankovic has had enough staying power to make his way into dynasty. And let’s just put it this way, like Piratecore, Tay Zonday, Yakoff Smirnoff, and the Homestar Runner, the Colorado Rockies won’t have near enough for an encore.

2) The San Diego Padres are Metallica

Not the modern day sellout “Some Kind of Monster” Metallica. These guys are the old school, Cliff Burton dead in a horrific accident let’s fuck with the new guy “And Justice For All” Metallica. They’re right angry and ready to unleash their “One” upon the world. In this analogy? Peavy is Hetfield, Maddux is Ulrich, and Chris Young is Kirk Hammett. Sadly, the offense is the Napster that will leave them short of their appointed goal. (Though Chase Headley’s going to play Jason Newsted sooner than you think.)  

Poor sucker.

1) The Arizona Diamondbacks are Nine Inch Nails

This team is the most pop metal sensation in the NL West. But we aren’t looking at the elder statesmen of the Industrial thrash scene version. This is the team built for the 1989-1994 Pretty Hate Machine to The Downward Spiral Era of Rocking. It is a fusion of strong pitching (Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, and a bullpen skilled enough to fade trading Jose Valverde) and multi-skilled offense (Their outfield could all threaten 30-30 again).

That, and Mark Reynolds and Randy Johnson are as horrifying as anything you could see in the video for Closer.  


That’s your baseball in a nutshell for the season. A little comedy, a little cinema, a little hot women, a little bit o’soup, a little manic pop thrill, and a little bit of metal.

This season’s gonna be awesome.


March 25, 2008

The NL East Awesome Show, Great Job

You know what I love? Comedy that goes above and beyond. I don’t mind if the comedy misses. I love comedy that doesn’t take the same well worn road.

This is why I like the Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job. It is whimsically awesome. Indeed, it is the NL East.

However, since the sketches are not 25 man Saturday Night Live affairs, we will be discussing individual players. The rankings will be in order of standings, but this is about players and situationals.


5) Dimitri Young is CAROL

Because like Carol, Dimitri Young was able to get himself a poke on in Season 1 of his run on the Nationals. But heading into season two, quite simply, Da Meat Hook Blew it. Like a splash of coffee to the face, Dimitri Young has gained 40 pounds off of his 2007 weight. Now? The man is playing second fiddle to Nick Johnson’s Mr. Henderson. But like Carol, Dimitri will find his way into love before the end of the episode. 


4) Luis Gonzalez is Pierre

The Marlins needed to get themselves a veteran influence to teach them life lessons. Luis Gonzalez fills the role ably. He will be able to teach the kinds about dance, proper meat refrigeration, not to mention the relaxing influence of meditation. Because he is here? And now that Hanley Ramirez knows how to properly wear a gold lame jumpsuit? He will be your NL MVP.


3) Matt Diaz is James Quall

Like James Quall was plucked from Public Access to become a key player on Adult Swim, so too Matt Diaz for your Atlanta Braves. He did not get to stay for a full year in the big leagues until he was 28. And when he came along? Lefthanders got destroyed like they were Spaghetti and Meatballs, and righthanders did not have much better luck. Matt Diaz is a beach blast for the Braves.

2) Omar Minaya is The Score Settler

Wait, what? That doesn’t–

Yes, I went off the Tim and Eric draft board for the New York Mets, but bear with me. Last year, the New York Mets just didn’t have enough to maintain their claim on the NL East lead when the Phillies ambushed them…in the creek. But Omar Minaya kept digging, and he found gold…GOLD…GOLD!!! In the Minnesota Twins creek, getting Johan Santana for little more than 24 dollars and small pox infectend blankets.

Kevin Mulvey is a walking disease.

(Also, Jon Glaser is DJ Jesus on Lucy, The Daughter of the Devil, so shut up.)


1) Ryan Howard is Dr. Steve Brule

It takes a special kind of man to replace Jim Thome. It takes a special kind of man to be so good that you can overshadow an MVP Award Winner without stealing his thunder. It takes a special kind of man to share the name of a character on an awesome sitcom and have no one confuse them. Ryan Howard is that sort of awesome. He will lead the Phillies to the promised land.

He will lead them to the promised land…FOR YOUR HEALTH!



March 14, 2008

Movies are Fun, you guys. (An AL East Preview)

I like Movies! I like Danny Mothers, but I like movies more! I give movies a 6 out of seven! Yay!

We are looking at feature films, theories, and other movie things as…your AL East

5) The Baltimore Orioles ARE Doomsday

This team has been fighting infection. Mediocre mutates to bad. Bad mutates to mediocre. Superstars become comic book parodies. Heroes disappear. Only one person can save the city. Adam “not Pacman” Jones. Only he can fight the infected. Only he can change the world.

With Peter Angelos as “This is OUR city!” Guy. 


4) The Toronto Blue Jays are Never Back Down

There seems to be a veritable buttload of institutional flaws within the system of the Toronto Blue Jays. Poor drafting, bad free agent signings, and Doug Melvin has engaged several instances of small scale pwnage. The Blue Jays need a young firebrand who’s angry at the world to shake things up as well as a wise mentor type to channel his anger. Sadly, while David Eckstein has a value as a “NEVER BACK DOWN!” mentor, Adam Lind is nowhere near the firebrand that the Blue Jays need to change the game in the AL East.

3) The Tampa Bay Rays are Juno

They seem revolutionary, but they’re really not. Although dropping the Devil is like dropping the fact that the screenwriter is a stripper, being a “surprising indie coming of age tale” is a lot like being “the new bandwagon” in baseball. It’s all been done before. Even if the fantasy baseball nerd among us can name the entire Ray lineup (Dioner Navarro, Carlos Pena, Akinori Iwamura, Jason Bartlett, Evan Longoria, Carl Crawfird, B.J. Upton, Jonny Gomes, and opening day starter Scott Kazmir). Even if there will be some amazing performances. Even if that dude who broke the Yankee catchers wrist is as hardcore as Ellen Page in Hard Candy, the backlash is going to happen. It will be swift. It will be violent. I drink Rocco Baldelli’s milkshake.

2) The New York Yankees are Will Ferrell.

They have been a dominant force. Funny or Die meets Murderers Row. Anchorman meets the 1998 Yankees. But after the collapse of both Bewitched and the 2004 Yankees in the ALCS, both the Yankees and Will Ferrell have gone stale. The Yankees kept buying old men and useless. Will kept with the sports movies. But this year the Yankees stood strong, and will have an infusion of a full year of Joba Chamberlain and Phillip Hughes as well as Ian Kennedy to bolster the pitching staff. Will Ferrell has a buddy comedy with John C. Reilly. They have intrigue this year. 

1) The Boston Red Sox are Auteur Theory

In 2004, David Ortiz changed the axis of baseball, and it was good. Much like Francois Truffaut changing the axis of film. However, the backlash has returned, and the backlash is strong. Sure, they do keep infusing themselves with prospects and reclamation projects (Jacoby Ellsbury and Bartolo Colon). But to hold the Red Sox as dominant baseball team as a good thing is much like saying the auteur theory can hold weight with the creators of Meet the Spartans falling under the auteur designation. With Theo Epstein as Andrew Sarris, and Manny Ramirez as Alfred Hitcock.


That’s your AL East. In 30 foot technicolor. God love it.

March 4, 2008

Loek Van Mil.

Filed under: Analysisesims!,BAYSBALL!,George Michael Hype Machine — by Andrew @ 12:22 am
Tags: ,

There are several reasons why you need to remember the name. I am not going to do this in the form of a Top 10 List, because you don’t deserve that. But let’s put it this way.

Ludovicus Van Mil is someone you need to root for to make the bigs.

Yes. He is tall. Yes. He has an awesome name (Hard-tossing Rik Smits!!!) He’s also dialed up his fastball up to 97 and his slider to 88.

But you want the #1 reason why Loek Van Mil is a man you want to root on?

Loek Van Mil grew up as a catcher! If we call Curtis Granderson 100 Grand, we really must call Mr. Loek VAN MILLIONS!

Yeah. Went there. 

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