Tuesday, January 20, 2004

A Funny thing Happened On The Way To New Hampshire

Now the race is on and here comes pride up the back stretch,
heartaches a goin' to the inside,
my tears are holding back,
tryin' not to fall.

My heart's out of the running,
true love scratched for another's sake,
the race is on and it looks like heartaches,
and the winner loses all.
- The Grateful Dead, although I think it might be a Bill Monroe cover

Has there ever been a moment in American history when one American city has had, at the very same time:

The favorites to win the World Series,
The favorites to win the Super Bowl, and
The favorite to win the Presidential nomination of one of our two major parties?

Well today, the Red Sox are a slight favorite at 9-2 to win the World Series, the Patriots are heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl, and John Kerry, the junior Senator from Beacon Hill, the waffling war hero, the man that I today saw described as "a lot like Lincoln, after the assassination", is the frontrunner in the Democratic Race.

I love Presidential races. They've got tradition, rivalries, corrupting influences, scandal, big money, upsets, an archaic and flawed system. Really, it's a lot like college football, and I have to admit that I'm a CNN junkie for this kind of thing, even if I do think that they heavily promoted a war that could only increase their ratings. I saw Dean's concession speech (he seemed to think he was being backed by a metal band), and Gephardt's, all while flipping back to the Tampa Bay/Colorado hockey game on ESPN2, in which I dropped money on a penalty shot in overtime. Who ever heard of such a thing?

Here are the current odds to win the Democratic nomination:

John Kerry 6-5
Howard Dean 8-5
Wesley Clark 7-2
John Edwards 7-2
Joe Lieberman 20-1
Hillary Rodham Clinton 30-1
AL Gore 75-1
Dennis Kucinich 1000-1
Al Sharpton 1000-1

For my money, Dean is done. It's the old dog food argument. You can do extensive studies on what makes quality dog food. You can have well-planned marketing strategies. You can put a fancy label on the can. But if the dog won't eat the food, then the dog won't eat the food. Dean spent over 3 million dollars in Iowa, had enormous national coverage, and a half-dozen super high-profile endorsements, and still got trounced. If the race had gone on another week, I'm quite sure that he wouldn't have received any votes at all. So Dean is out.

Many of the CNN pundits think Kerry will get a big bounce in New Hampshire from the Iowa results, but they seem to have forgotten that residents of the "Live Free Or Die" state know Kerry well, and probably have the same luke-warm feelings about him that us Massachusetts residents have. I think Wesley Clark has a hell of a chance there, and that will set him up nicely for the first big group of primaries on February 3rd:

FEBRUARY 3, 2004
Arizona - Presidential Primary
Delaware - Presidential Primary
Missouri - Presidential Primary
New Mexico - Presidential Caucuses
Oklahoma - Presidential Primary
South Carolina - Presidential Primary
Virginia - GOP Presidential Caucuses

Don't you just love how the Democrats keep urban voters out of the nomination process? How much sense does it make for a party built on American cities to have Phoenix as it's major metropolitan area for its first NINE STATES?! Anyway, I bet Clark plays well in those areas too, so I like him at the 7-2 odds.

I'll be doing more Presidential race news as the race continues, provided that there's some kind of angle I can add to the discussion that makes it palatable, maybe even interesting, for my mostly sports-oriented readership.

Dave's Email

Monday, January 19, 2004

Super Bowl!

I don't write much about pro football, but it's not because I'm not a fan. It's odd how blogging can make you an "expert" on something, when really your whole life you've switched from sport to sport, team to team, depending on how much any one team is entertaining you. I generally start watching the NFL these days around Thanksgiving, once the regular season of college football ends. This gives me about five weeks of serious NFL regular-season viewing, plus all of the playoffs, which is plenty if you want to have any level of diversity in your life. So, this means that I didn't have to be Nostradamus to make the following prediction the other day:

"The Carolina Panthers hit like criminals, and will beat the Eagles by ten Sunday."

And it also doesn't mean that I wasn't going crazy watching my Patriots stop Peyton Manning and those loser Indianapolis Colts. I'm kind of mad at myself because I didn't win more money, because really, the Colts haven't been a problem for the Pats since Bert Jones was quarterback.

This brings us to the Super Bowl, which started with the Pats a 7-point favorite last night, and is now 6.5 this morning. Who better than a blogger to give you immediate Super Bowl analysis? Here's a mini-version of the game.

1. The Panthers devastating defensive line will be rendered inconsequential to the Pats' quick passing offense. Did you see those five-receiver sets? The Pats will move the ball with relative ease.

2. The Panthers will not be able to run such a conservative offense against the best defense in the game, and will be forced to open things up with their NFL Europe Quarterback. It won't work. It will be reminiscent of the Patriots' first Super Bowl appearance against the Bears, when the Pats knew they couldn't get away with what they'd been doing, tried to change who they were at the last minute, and still failed miserably.

Final Score? Patriots 30 Panthers 3. Tom Brady completes 25 of 35 and finally starts to get recognition as the best point-guard/QB since Joe Montana.

A mini-dynasty is born.

Dave's Email

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Soon To Be Appearing At . . .

Got an email last week from a very nice person named John Strubel who runs a website called Baseball Interactive.com. John asked me if I wanted to write for them, as often as I want, whenever I want, about whatever I want, and so of course I had some questions. He answered a whole bunch of them in great detail, except for one about how many hits the site gets (well, he didn't answer the one about money either, but I expected that). I emailed the question again, and guess how many hits they have had since July?


1.2 MILLION!!!!!

Hard to believe I know, but what is there to lose? Is this it? I get to link my column back to my own site, so not only will presumably many, many people come across my baseball column, but also maybe some more will trickle over to here!

I figure that in order to be able to do it on a regular basis with job and kid and all, I'm going to have to stay away from some of the more labor-intensive BAP material that I can get bogged down in, and maybe revive some things like the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor. There's also the great perusal of game log info that I'm real good at and enjoy. You know, I've always wanted to try my hand at interviews too, and maybe this would give me enough clout to pull that off.

Very exciting. I hope it's for real.

Dave's Email

Friday, January 16, 2004

Lazy way to get that giant winter picture off of my current screen.

Eskimo Up!

I did not believe the information
Just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom boom
Son, he said, grab your things I've come to take you home
- Peter Gabriel and Genesis, Salisbury Hill

Just out of pure curiosity, I'm very disappointed that tonight's coldspell is not coming on Sunday, when the home-dome Colts travel to Foxboro. Can players really go out there if you can get frostbite in less than ten minutes? And what about that dumbass fan destined to disrobe under such horrible conditions? Such a shame that they will never get to fulfill their destiny.

As for me, I damn near broke into tears driving to the liquor store after work, listening to the Wallflowers' 6th Avenue Heartache, but thinking of Springsteen's 10th Avenue Freezeout, as I realized that yeah, I may very well be moving to Florida. Sure enough, when I got home my wife put our current odds of moving at 80%. As I speak, there is a 71 degree difference between Boston and Boca, and that's not counting wind chill.

Son, he said, grab your things I've come to take you home.

Dave's Email

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Kicking and Screaming

Finally, like a dehydrated marathoner reaching from his knees for the finish line, Eisenberg Sports has reached 5,000 hits. I'm sure I would have made it much sooner, had I been writing anything on a regular basis. A few quick observations while I'm here.

Mike Martz is the Grady Little of football. Rams fans don't seem to be going after him with similar fervor, so they deserve what they get.

Go Astros!

The Marlins should build their new ballpark in Broward County.

Howard Dean is going to be like a top-ranked team in the college football polls. He's going to win Iowa and New Hampshire, but he'll do it so unimpressively that no one will care.

Isaiah Thomas is an idiot, and I wouldn't trust him to run my lemonade stand. Not that I'm sorry the Knicks hired him.

I have never seen a more dejected and uninspiring QB than the one that took the field in the last two minutes for the Philadelphia Eagles. Donovan McNabb also called a timeout after two incomplete passes, 15 seconds into the game.

I have the same opinion of Space Exploration as I do of the ARod trade. I love to dream about it, but I don't know if I want to pay for it. I'd love to know who is behind W.'s push for the mission to Mars. George actually talked today about going to Mars, "and worlds beyond". Uh, where is the public support for the Jump to Jupiter? The only Jupiter I want to go to is the one Parcells lives at, north of Palm Beach.

The Carolina Panthers hit like criminals, and will beat the Eagles by ten Sunday.

The injury to Damian Woody is a problem for the Pats.

Dave's Email

Monday, January 05, 2004

A Rose By Any Other Name . . .

Still smells dirty.

"For the last 14 years I've consistently heard the statement: 'If Pete Rose came clean, all would be forgiven.' Well, I've done what you've asked. The rest is up to the commissioner and the big umpire in the sky." - Pete Rose

Pete bares (mmmm beers) his soul in his soon to-be-released autobiography. You tell me. Is this "coming clean"?

"Mr. Selig looked at me and said, 'I want to know one thing. Did you bet on baseball?'" Rose writes. "I looked him in the eye. 'Sir, my daddy taught me two things in life -- how to play baseball and how to take responsibility for my actions. I learned the first one pretty well. The other, I've had some trouble with. Yes, sir, I did bet on baseball.'"

"How often?" Selig asked.

"Four or five times a week," Rose replied. "But I never bet against my own team, and I never made any bets from the clubhouse."

"Why?" Selig asked.

"I didn't think I'd get caught."

Now, I understand that this is only an excerpt, but does that make sense? Isn't the "Why?" asked by Selig, in the way this is represented, asking Rose why he never bet against his own team, or bet from the clubhouse? And if that's the case, how can Rose's answer in that manner? "I didn't do it because I thought I'd get away with it"? Either this passage is poorly excerpted, or Rose is still full of it, because there are only two possible explanations for Rose's answer to Selig's Why question in that sequence:

1. He doesn't understand the question, or
2. He's lying.

People seem pretty comfortable saying that Rose had, and possibly still has, an extensive gambling problem. Anyone who knows gamblers knows this: If someone with a gambling problem is down a lot of money and has inside information that can get them out of it, then they are going to use that information. And Rose has always cared about the money. From his tax fraud conviction to his decision to confess through his own book instead of through a press conference with Selig at his side, Pete has always tried to scrape together every penny he was, or wasn't, entitled to.

I 100% believe that Pete bet on the Reds, against the Reds, and made decisions to gain a positive outcome for his own investments. Can I prove that? Of course not, but my opinion is absolutely more consistent with Rose's previous behavior than any explanation he has tossed out there.

Below is another Rose entry that I wrote about the Rose Mock Trial held at Harvard Law School in July. My comments about that event are relevant to today, so I thought I would reprint that here.

Fri Jul 18, 08:32:17 AM
A Working Class Hero Is Something to Be
Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. There, I said it. Yesterday, I pointed out that I was "totally against Rose being reinstated". But now I think we should get Peter Edward Rose on the ballot and in the Hall as quickly as possible.

No, I wasn't swayed by Johnnie Cochrane's argument - although I have to say that if my best friend were Cochrane or last night's prosecuting attorney Alan Dershowitz, I'd quit my job and start robbing banks - but by the sentiment put forth by former players, the jury, and the 79% of ESPN voters who tapped the mouse in Rose's favor. Pete Rose has become something of a martyr, a hardworking kid who made good, made a mistake, and needs to be forgiven. There is a belief that there needs to be Justice for Pete Rose. People like Rose.

But what if people didn't like Rose? What if we were talking about Albert Belle, or Milton Bradley? What if he were a different color, or from another country? If Pete Rose had accomplished all of the same things in the same way, but had been a kid from San Pedro de Macoris, spoke very little English and had returned to The Dominican at the end of his career, been convicted of tax fraud and been accused of but not admitted to gambling on baseball, would there be this vast amount of support for his Hall of Fame induction?

By the way, did you see the part with Bill James? James had already been torn apart by Dershowitz, and had come across as an exposed pseudo-academic opinionated elitist in trying to defend his criticism of the Dowd Report, when Cochrane asked him this:

Cochrane: Are their any players in the Hall who had previously been ineligible?
James:Yes, there are the Negro Leaguers, and the players who got in from the Veteran's Committee.

What is the implication of that?! "Well, we let the NEGROES in, how can we keep out the gambling tax cheat?"!

Pete Rose is the hometown hero of Cincinnati Ohio, plays the People's Champion card well, and is up against Bud Selig, an easy target. Baseball is, in the end, an entertainment industry, and so if Pete Rose is who America wants, then give it to them. To me, stifling Pete and his supporters by making him a museum piece is a hell of a lot better than having him parade around as a victim of Baseball's tyranny. And then maybe the next time he gets busted or declares bankruptcy, he will be recognized for what he is, a lying, cheating criminal-with-a-gambling-problem Hall of Famer who has embarrassed all of Baseball.

Dave's Email

Sunday, January 04, 2004

South Florida vs. Boston

Been spending a lot of time investigating South Florida, or to be more specific Southeast Florida, due to my impending free agency. Signed to a series of one-year contracts, I may very well exercise my right to the open market come July, and leave Boston for opportunities in the Sunshine State. Obviously, the level of sports entertainment within any community is of great importance to me, so I thought I would think out loud, and go into some detail about the kind of factors that help me decide where I might raise my family.

The big question is this - Which place has more sports entertainment, Boston or South Florida? Here is a sport-by-sport breakdown of the two locations.

Baseball - South Florida has the World Champion Marlins, Spring Training, and the National League. But there ain't nothing like a pennant race in Boston. Boston 1 Florida 0.

Pro Football - I've always hated the Dolphins, even before I loved the Patriots. The first sports event I remember crying about was the Dolphins beating Washington in the Super Bowl the year they went undefeated. Boston 2 Florida 0.

Pro Basketball - My Celtics over anyone and everyone. Boston 3 Florida 0.

Pro Hockey - The Bruins are the perfect example of a franchise that isn't trying to win even though they have incredible fans, kind of like the Twins. I'll take the Panthers, just like I took the Lightning when I lived in Tampa. Boston 3 Florida 1.

College Baseball - Non-existent in Massachusetts, big time in Miami. Boston 3 Florida 2.

College Football - Miami and BC are both now in the same conference, but I don't like either of them, and I'll get to see my Gators play every week. Boston 3 Florida 3.

College Basketball - I have no special loyalty to anyone in Boston, although I like to see Northeastern do well. I'll say Florida. Florida 4 Boston 3.

College Hockey - Are you kidding? I would take Boston over any place. This is kind of like the Harlem Globetrotters against the New Jersey Generals, or whatever their name was. Boston 4 Florida 4.

Horse Racing - Gulfstream Park over Suffolk Downs. Easily. Florida 5 Boston 4.

I'm calling soccer and boxing ties. So that makes South Florida the winners. What else do I need to know?

Dave's Email

Friday, January 02, 2004

Champions, and Free Agency

With their defeat of the Michigan Wolverines yesterday, the USC Trojans became the 2003 Eisenberg's College Football Champions, otherwise known as the ECF Championship, the greatest system for determining the champion of a playoff-less college football season that no one has ever heard of. In only it's second year of existence, Pete Carroll has gained a share of the title for a second time. Here is the all-time list of ECF Champions:

2003 USC

2002 Ohio State, Oklahoma, and USC

For all of the rules, click here ECF Championship Rules".

As for me, I've been unavailable lately due mostly to these things:

Water in my basement.
My son's first birthday party.
Reading "Foul Ball", an incredible story of baseball and corporate and small town corruption in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, by the legendary Jim Bouton.
My own free agency.

With my father-in-law's own announcement of a wish for a warm weather retirement, my return to my previously adopted home of the Sunshine State is now suddenly back in play. I left there seven years ago to return to Boston to be with my ALS-stricken mother, and amazingly began a run of luck that up to then was unimaginable, and has left me with a better job, a very nice home, and a wife a son more precious than even a Red Sox World Championship (I know that's twisted. It's a joke. Sort of.) If only my Mom had gotten to see it.

Anyway, I'm now pulling my analytical skills away from the ECF and BAP and using them to find the safest neighborhoods and best schools in all of Southeast Florida. Also, I am most likely joining SABR at some point (suggeted to me by reader Joe), with the hope of getting some attention paid to the BAP thing, and some other ideas I've had. It allows me to take time to write and prepare something well, as compared to the day-to-day existence of the blog.

None of this means the death of the blog, although I must admit it is something I have considered. The thing is, there's nothing official about any of this, I don't have any sponsors to please, and I've already driven most of my readers away, so what it is going to come down to is if I want to write I will, and if I don't I won't. But I've had too much fun and met too many nice people to close the doors completely. So you may see new entries every day, or every week, or every month, or when spring rolls (mmmm, rolls) around. Who knows? Not me. I'm a lot of things, but I ain't Nostradamus.

Dave's Email