Happy Halloween!

Hey, we’ll jump on any excuse to drink hard liquor during the week and gawk at milfs that reveal way too much skin for a cold October day!  Load the kiddies in the radio flyer, pour yourself an Apple Cider/Captain and watch the candy pile up!

The real fright fest is tomorrow night though, when the NFL trick-or-treats us to Norv Turner matching wits with Romeo Crennel! Yowza! Enjoy!

Tuesday Teabag, October 30 – The NHL Lockout

Let’s move off of baseball and (gasp!) football for a second and focus on another professional sport, or, more accurately, a “professional” sport.  Why throw up dick fingers around professional, you ask?  Simple.

The NHL and its union are in the middle of another labor battle, the second in eight years.  The league has already canceled games through November, and, since the league and the union can’t even agree to meet with each other (each side has stated that they are willing to meet but blamed the other for not wanting to – how is that possible?) more games will certainly be canceled, possibly the entire season.

But here’s the problem:  Nobody gives a shit.  At least, nobody in America gives a shit, and that’s all The Machine cares about (suck it, Canada).  Seriously, no one cares.  The Machine’s willing to bet if you ask 10 regular Americans their thoughts on the NHL lockout, 6 will have no clue there is one, 2 won’t even know the season should’ve already started, and the other 2 will have heard about it, but still wouldn’t be able to tell you who won the Stanley Cup last year.

Complicating matters is the fact that players have other options.  Unlike the NFL, there are other professional leagues players can turn to.  There are over 140 NHL players currently playing in other professional leagues.  And not just scrub NHL players…names like Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, Daniel Briere, Zdeno Chara, Jaromir Jagr, the heavyweights of the NHL.  That poses a big problem.  Since the risk of injury is so high, these players run the risk of damaging their NHL careers by playing in smoked filled arenas in Moscow, which in turns runs the risk of watering down the competition when (read: if) the labor fight ends.

But I digress.  Another, perhaps bigger, problem is there is no pressure to get a deal done.  The owners, you know, the rich, old white guys that buy sports franchises for fun, are already rich as shit and thus will not sign a deal just to sign a deal.  The players, unlike the NFL, have other, good paying jobs to seek refuge to.  And, to top it off, the public by and large doesn’t care (contrast this with the NFL last year, when people went ape-shit after the Hall of Fame pre-season game was canceled).  All of this combined leads to no incentive to get back on the ice anytime soon.

Hey, if there’s any professional athlete that deserves to make bank, it’s an NHL player.  These guys risk their lives every game.  If you’ve ever been to an NHL game (watching it on TV doesn’t really do it justice) you see firsthand the speed, power, and bone-crushing hits that define the NHL.  It’s an amazing contrast of finesse and force.

However, that alone won’t get you paid.  Size matters, and in professional sports, the size that matters is the size of your TV deal, endorsements, merchandise sales, and ticket sales.  And, in these areas, the NHL is light years behind the rest.  The NHL ranks fifth in total revenue, behind the NFL, MLB, NBA, EPL (that’s English Premier League, America); just above perennial last place league the MLS).

Bottom line:  get your asses in a conference room and get a deal done.  Shit, go to any city in Canada where you will actually feel pressure from the public to end this.  Two lockouts in eight years is unacceptable for any sport, and even more so for a sport with fleeting public interest and low revenues.

And while the league and the union continue to blame each other, here’s something they both can take credit for.  A Tuesday Teabag.

Game 4 – Whatever

The Machine is so glad to be occupied by football today (our first love), and not focus on The Machine’s epic failure in baseball (our slump buster).

As you know, The Machine threw its weight behind the Tigers.  After a gutsy series against the A’s, and after destroying the mighty Yankees, the Tigers were poised to claim their first World Series crown since ’84, and the good people of Detroit were ready to celebrate by overturning cop cars and setting the City on fire (known in Detroit as Tuesday).  Now, all hope is lost.

Wait a minute, The Machine doesn’t cut and run.  While others will point to “facts”, like no team has ever come back to win a World Series after being down 0-3, The Machine says “suck it, facts.”  We’re all in, and The Machine is ready to sit back and watch the Tigers turn this mutha around.

It’s not that crazy, really.  Sure the Giants have their best pitcher going tonight in Matt Cain, but Max Scherzer is no slouch.  He was second in the AL in strikeouts (second to Verlander), has a nasty sinker/fastball combo, and a sick 0.82 ERA in the post season.  If the Tigers win tonight, then Verlander pitches Game 5.  Chalk that down for a win, and now the Tigers have the momentum, and we got ourselves a World Series worth watching.

However, that’s a BIG IF.  In order to win in baseball, you need to score runs…and that’s where the Tigers’ problems lie.  They’ve been held scoreless the past 2 games in a row (to put that in perspective, in 162 regular season games this year, they were shut out only 2 times), due in part by solid pitching from San Fran but also due to a lack of clutch hitting.  It’s sounds like we’ve said this before, but there’s no way the Tigers bats can be silent for 4 games in a row.  There’s also no way Miggy will pop out with the bases loaded.

Come on, Detroit.  Give the City a reason to start barrel fires besides utter hopelessness and a meth problem.  Plus, we’re not ready for baseball to be over (if only they would play more games during the regular season).

Lock it down.  The Tigers find a way to stay alive.

WEEK 8: Insanely Deep-Sleepers

Need a last minute Jordy Nelson replacement? Has Aaron Hernandez’s Maddenesque fear of flying left you without a TE option? Here are 4 players you can pull of the fantasy scrap heap (all less than 25% owned in Yahoo! leagues) that could provide some relief:

1. Brandon Stokley, WR (Den, 23%Y) – Stokley’s earned himself a lifetime pass to the Manning Family’s Thanksgiving dinner with his sure hands, toughness and ability to always run the right route, even when Sir Peyton changes the play 8 times before snapping the ball.  Stokley is buried on this depth chart, behind talent wideouts Decker and Thomas.  So he certainly isn’t going to give you big catch or yardage totals, but he seems to be a Manning favorite in the redzone as evident by his 3 TD’s on only 19 catches.  The matchup certainly is right, all the bounties in the world couldn’t help this Saints defense.h

2. Brandon Weeden, QB (Cle, 21%Y) – Between San Diego’s stout run defense and T-Richs sore ribs, this could be a game that Weeden is forced to air it out to keep pace with Phil Rivers and Co.  I fully except the fumbles and INTs, but if all goes right I’ll take the 300+ yards and a score or two.

3. Brandon Myers, TE (Oak, 20%Y) – He led the team in targets last week and finished with a PPR-respectable line of 7/44.  Nothing about this divisional matchup is scary.  He could certainly give you 10 points in a PPR.  Hey, you could do worse.

4. Leonard Hankerson, WR (Wash, 9%Y) – Leo Hank is the Redskins starting ‘X’ receiver mostly be default thanks to Pierre Garcons maddening foot ailments.  Interestingly enough, the X-WR is the first read in the new hybrid spread option offense the Shannahans are running with RGIII these days.  While there really isn’t anything exciting about Hanks game, he pulled in 6/70 last week.  The Pittsburgh secondary has had there issue this year.  I’m liking Hanks chances of cracking 100 yards today (Sandy notwithstanding!)

WEEK 8 Staff Picks

Ginger King
Washington @ Pittsburgh (-4.5) Washington Pitt
Seattle @ Detroit (-1) Seattle Seattle
Carolina @ Chicago (-9) Chicago Chicago
New England (-7.5) @ St. Louis New England New England
Indianapolis @ Tennessee (-3) Indy Indy
Miami @ NYJ (-1) Miami NYJ
San Diego (-2.5) @ Cleveland San Diego San Diego
Jacksonville @ Green Bay (-15.5) Green Bay Green Bay
Atlanta @ Philadelphia (-1) Philly Atlanta
Oakland @ Kansas City (Even) Oakland Oakland
NYG (-1) @ Dallas NYG NYG
New Orleans @ Denver (-7) Denver Denver
San Francisco (-8) @ Arizona San Fran San Fran
 Roid Rage’s 3-Banger Special: Wash (+4.5)  NYG (-1) SF (-8) 
 Ginger King’s All-In:                    NYG (-1)  Jets (-1)  Oakland (Pk)

Happy Birthday Roid Rage!

While Ginger King waived bye-bye to 30 a few years ago, The Machine’s younger half, Roid Rage, is now a proud member of Club 30!  Totally buying into the whole “30 is the new 20”, Roid Rage is no doubt face deep in a pitcher of cold, frost-brewed Coors Light (hopefully one day the official sponsor of The Machine).

Start making a bucket list, old man (and no, the Bills winning the Super Bowl should not be on it).

Happy birthday!!!

Game 3 – Back in Mo Town Bitches!!!

The Machine has been slightly off thus far in the World Series (we are taking credit for calling Fister’s solid performance—travesty that he got credited with the loss) but we’re not ready to give up on the Tigers yet…although we should.

Just four days ago, everyone was lamenting the Giants’ predicament, having to start Zito in Game 1 and not being able to set their rotation after a grueling 7 game series with St. Louis.  What was an unfortunate situation has now turned golden for San Francisco, who now have their two best pitchers (Vogelsong and Cain) for Games 3 and 4.

The Tigers, meanwhile, trot out underperforming Anibal Sanchez.  A big name pick up at the trade deadline, Sanchez has been shaky at best for the Tigers.  He’s stepped up his game as of late (2.43 ERA in September) and has been almost unhittable in the post season, posting a 1.35 ERA with hitters batting .174.  Plus, as a Marlin, he threw 2 complete game shut outs against the Giants.  Sanchez, a free agent at the end of the season, could cement the Top 5 contract he’s looking for with a clutch performance.

However, as Game 2 showed us, great pitching isn’t enough.  Where the hell are the Tigers’ bats???  Miggy and crew have looked downright befuddled, and have coupled poor hitting with even poorer base running decisions (if only Prince could only slim down to 250, he’d have been safe).  For Christ sake, someone pass the Patron to Miggy, desperate times call for desperate measures.

The Giants, meanwhile, have played smart baseball, and have risen to the occasion, as every champion must.  Kung Fu Panda has been absolutely dominant, and even though Buster Posey still gets carded for buying lotto tickets, his .428 average this series is impressive.

While the momentum clearly favors San Francisco, The Machine still believes there’s life in the Tigers (chalk it up to our innate stubbornness).  Sanchez wants that contract (paging:  Brian Cashman) so look for him to continue his post season dominance.  And the Tigers’ bats cannot be quiet three games in a row (right?).

Look for the Tigers to ride the Mo Town love to a Game 3 victory.

Game 2 – It’s Time for the Fister!

A phrase not unpopular in San Francisco, it takes on a whole new meaning tonight, as Game 2 is about to get underway.

As impressive as the Giants looked last night, The Machine likes the Tigers chances in Game 2.  It all comes down to pitching, and the edge goes to Fister over Baumgarner.  While only sporting a 10-10 record during the season (hampered early on by a rib injury), Doug Fister had a solid September, and has been even more impressive in October, posting a 2.52 ERA during that span.  Baumgarner, on the other hand, struggled in September and has struggled even more in the post season, going 0-2 in the playoffs.

That should lead to plenty of chances for the Tigers offense, who should be swinging early and often.  Look for Miggy and crew to jump out to an early lead, and Fister to continue his late season success.

If Game 1 taught Leyland anything, it’s that Papa Malo will never see the mound again.  Jimmy won’t make the same mistake twice, and the Tigers’ bats won’t stay quiet two games in a row.  The Series gets evened up tonight.

World Series (of Baseball) 2012 Edition

And then there were two.  I know the entire central time zone will be offended by this (but really, when was the last time anyone gave a shit about the central time zone), but The Machine sure is glad that St. Louis didn’t make it to the World Series.  Nothing against the birds either, Mike Matheny and crew had a hell of season all things considered (they did lose a pretty good first baseman to free agency if I’m not mistaken).  But the real reason we were pulling for the Giants is that they match-up better against the Tigers.  While no one walking planet earth can come close to matching Verlander pitch-for-pitch, the Giants boast a deep and talented rotation of their own.  So let’s dissect each team, and determine who is going to win this thing…..

Detroit Tigers, 88-74 AL Central Champs

ALDS Series: Beat Oakland (3-2) in five games, outscoring them 17-11.

ALCS Series: Beat New York (4-0) in four games, outscoring them 19-6. (No, that’s not a typo!)

General Vibe: The Tigers made quick work of the Yankees and got themselves a few extra days of rest.  This can actually have an adverse effect on baseball players, who are creatures of habit and routine.  Still, a veteran manager like Leyland should be able to keep this bunch focused and hungry.  And they have to feel pretty damn good about their chances considering they have the best pitcher and best hitter in baseball.

San Francisco Giants, 94-68 NL West Champs

NLDS Series: Beat Cincinnati (3-2) in five games, getting outscored 18-22.

NLCS Series: Beat St. Louis (4-3) in seven games, outscoring them 35-19.

General Vibe:  Down 3 games to 1 against the Cardinals this group battled back to win the pennant in improbable fashion.  This team is built for post season play, returning a majority of their young and talented pitching staff that helped them win the 2010 WS.

Starting Pitching:

Detroit – As mentioned, Justin Verlander is otherworldly; filthy; sick.  A perennial 15+ Win, sub 3 ERA, 225 K, Cy Young (and MVP) caliber pitcher.  Verlander is slated to take the ball in Game 1 and Game 5; advantage Tigers!

The rest of the Tigers rotation is filled guys whom may, or may not, give you a solid outing, including: Max Scherzer, Doug Fister (possibly the greatest name in baseball) and Anibal Sanchez (another name that has urban dictionary written all over it).  These guys have great postseason numbers this year, but those figures are slightly inflated thanks to a Yankee team that couldn’t buy a hit (irony at its finest!).

As good as Verlander has been, Jose Valverde – Papa Malo – has been equally bad.  How bad you ask?  Try 7 earned runs in 2.1 post season innings pitched bad!  That ball Ibanez hit still hasn’t landed!  If this gas can enters the game with anything less than a 5 run lead look out!  That chain smoker Leyland isn’t a fool; you’ll see him squeeze as much juice out of his starters as possible, play the match-ups out of the pen, and hand the ball to Phil Coke/ Al Alburquerque to close the door.  At this point can you really trust your entire season on Jose Valverde?!

San Francisco – Is there a stable of more talented, young pitchers in the bigs these days?  Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Lincecum.  Unfortunately for the Giants, due to their seven game tilt with the Cardinals, none of these guys are pitching Game 1.  Instead they turn to, wait for it, Barry Zito.  Yes, that Barry Zito.  How he is still getting guys out (let alone winning games) is beyond our comprehension.  Zito is bad.  Not quite Valverde bad, but still not a guy you can trust.  But perhaps that plays into the Giants hand.  Considering the roll Verlander is on, chances are slim even with your best pitcher that you beat him.  So, chalk up Game 1 as an ‘L’ and give yourself the pitching edge in games 2, 3 and 4.  I’m not sure punting a WS game is ever sound advice, but it may be their best shot to stretch this thing to seven games and give themselves a chance.


Detroit – There is a lot to love about this lineup, and it all starts with Miggy Cabrera.  The guy not only lead his team in HRs, AVG, and RBIs, he lead the entire league in those categories!  Not since Affirmed in 1978 has there been a Triple Crown Winner!  Now, as we all know, Miggy’s success is directly related to how incredibly fucked up he can get on the eve of this series, and our MoTown sources have indicated that the Patron has been flowing since 7 PM EST tonight, so except big things from our favorite horse in this race!  Add in Cecil Fielders boy, Delmon Young, Infante,Jackson and Peralta and you’ve got a dangerous lineup.  Oh, and because it has the chance to cost them a game in this series it is worth mentioning that during the regular season this team was one of the worst defensively.  They seem to have tightened the reigns a bit in the postseason, but this could be their Achilles heel.

San Francisco – Don’t be surprised if the best hitter in this series turns out to be Buster Posey.  This kid can flat out rake!  Also, I love Sandoval recent approach at the plate; he seems to be locked in this postseason.  Mix in scrappy hitters like Pence, Pagan and Scutaro and you have a team that always seems to be scoring timely runs.

Survey Saaaays:

We’re in for a real treat with this series!  There is a lot to love about both teams. (We loathe the fact that the Giants have home field advantage because Bud Selig is the biggest blow hard in sports and Melky “let me drop the fake website excuse on them” Cabrera was juiced out of his mind during the All Star.  Oh and while on the topic of baseball shit that drives us nuts, could someone please explain why the hell Game 7 is schedule to take place in NOVEMBER!  This is baseball.  BASEBALL.  You play baseball in the SUMMER.  This series should have been over 2 weeks ago).  Anyways, give us the Tigers in six.

Tuesday Teabag, October 23 – Ozzie Guillen

Need I say more?!  Instead of wasting your time (and more importantly my time) on this no-good commie-sympathizing, red-lovin’, bay-of-pig-invadin’ Marxists (see Obama, some of us still relish the opportunity to stoke the Cold War flames), check out our World Series preview here.