Friday, October 29, 2004

A Loser Picking the Winners, Week 8

This is the photo my brother-in-law emailed me after game 3 of the ALCS

OK, I really mean it this time. These are my last thoughts on the Red Sox for a while. Quick story: last weekend my wife and I had to go to a wedding in upstate New York. Everyone on my wife's side of the family are die hard Yankees fans, so I considered it a suicide mission of sorts, given that we are the only two sensible souls fighting against the Evil Empire. Anyway, the first words out of my brother-in-law Joey's mouth were, "Congratulations, the Sox deserved it." (and to call Joey a Red Sox ball-buster would be like saying Ashlee Simpson has been known to lip-sync). Now as a Red Sox fan, I never once thought to call any of my friends (Andy) or family (Joey) who were Yankees fans to congratulate them on beating the crap out of us on their way to another World Series. In fact, the conversation would inevitably go something like this:

Me: I hate the Yankees. It shouldn't even count because New York has the highest payroll in major league baseball.

Joey/Andy: The Red Sox have the second highest payroll in major league baseball.

Me: That's not the point. I hope the Yankees get swept in the World Series for no other reason than I'm a sour, frustrated Red Sox fan.
Notice that nowhere in this conversation did I offer anything that could be misconstrued as congratulatory. It's amazing what a little perspective can do for you I guess. If the Yankees win in 2005, maybe I'll be more gracious. On second thought, I'm pretty sure I won't.

So yesterday I wrote that of all the benefits that come with winning a World Series, maybe the most underrated is the fact that Joe Torre & Co. won't be coaching the AL All-Stars in 2005. Those words led to an email from Joey's brother, an even more rabid Yankees fan and Red Sox hater:

"...the Yankees will have 2/3 the All - Star team (on the 2005 roster) and again win home field for the American League. The best phrase I heard last night was, "The curse took a year off, See you in 2090" Enjoy it , it might be a while for the next one."
That's pretty funny. And to be fair, he did title the subject of the email, "Congrats." I'm actually thinking of getting a t-shirt that says, "The curse took a year off, See you in 2090" on the front and a picture of A-Rod slapping the ball out of Arroyo's hand on the back, with a caption that reads, "$250 million for this?" Just a thought. And I mean it, no more Sox stuff for a while...maybe.

At his Tuesday press conference, Bill Cowher was asked if it was a problem coming off the bye week. The implication was that during the 2004 season, going into the bye week teams were a combined 33-22 (.589) and in their first game after the bye they were 7-9 (.438). Here's what Cowher said:

Q: Is coming off a bye week a problem?

COWHER: I have not found it to be a problem. Certainly, there is probably a little bit of rustiness that you have to shake off early in the game to get back up to the speed of the game because it's been a week off particularly when you are playing a team that doesn't come off of a bye. I know in the past a lot of the times they have tried to match two teams coming off of byes in the same game. So I do think that there is a degree of that takes place, but once it's all said and done, once a game has unfolded, and everyone gets acclimated, it becomes immaterial.
I took a look at the 16 teams that have already had a game since their bye week, and here's what I found:

*Of 10 teams went into the bye week with winning records, six won their first game after the bye.

*Four teams with winning records played a team with a winning record their first game after the bye week. Out of the four, only one of those teams was victorious.
So I guess this is good news and bad news -- good because the Steelers are 5-1; bad because the Pats are 6-0. I'll just concern myself with the good news for now. After this weekend's games however, I'll take a closer look at the relationship between bye weeks and wins and see if I can come up with anything interesting.

With every passing week, my picks amazingly get worse. Last week I was 6-7-1 and I need to make something happen this week (I'm in the hole $70 for the first time all season), but I have my doubts. Anyway, here are the picks:

Season: 51 - 47 - 4
Last week: 6 - 7 - 1
Earnings to date: - $70

Week 1 picks
Week 2 picks
Week 3 picks
Week 4 picks
Week 5 picks
Week 6 picks
Week 7 picks