Monday, April 03, 2006

One Down, 161 to Go

... That's right, yesterday was the start of the baseball season. I didn't get to see the Red Sox opener because (a) it started at 2:05 PM EST, and (b) I forgot to set the TiVo. I did however, get to enjoy the game in its full internets-ness thanks to CBS Sportsline's MLB GameTracker. Which, as best I can tell, is slightly less painful than a Skip Bayless botox procedure, a Jason Whitlock stomach stapling, or a Stephen A. Smith "Quite Frankly" interview. That didn't stop me from following the game -- and honestly, Sportsline's GameTracker is light years ahead of ESPN's and CNNSI's version, but if I'd just remembered to set the 'ol TiVo I wouldn't be having this little discussion.

Either way, the Sox won, Schilling dominated, Papi and Lowell hit bombs and Alex Gonzalez had two hits. 161 more games like this and Boston will be the first team to go through the regular season undefeated. Thanks to MLB Extra Innings, I did catch some of the Padres-Giants game. (And yes, I know I could've watched it on ESPN, but why? Why torture myself? Honestly, the only person on ESPN's baseball crew that I can tolerate is Jon Miller.) Anyway, I watched the SD-SF game for the express purpose of booing Barry Bonds. And to call him names. Like "Fatty Fatty Fat Head." And the less pithy, "Guy Who Obviously Injected Steroids Directly Into His Skull." Okay, you get the point.

At the other end of the steroids spectrum, Kevin Millar went 2-for-4 in Baltimore's win over Tampa Bay. Knowing Millar, he'll probably hit .380 with 20 dingers and 80 RBI by the All-Star Break, Theo will trade for him, and he'll finish up 4 for the second half, 1 homer, and 1 RBI (on an inside-the-parker). I just have a hunch.

... Yesterday I reviewed The Last Nine Innings, but I noticed that Stefan did a much better job than me, and he's a Diamondbacks fan to boot.

A bunch of stuff to get to from yesterday concerning all things draft related.

... As a surprise to no one, DJ questioned the sanity of my little thought experiment. Here's the question I posed yesterday:
"Assume Chad Jackson and Santonio Holmes are off the board and Sinorice Moss is still available. Also assume that Vernon Davis is long gone, but TE Leonard Pope is still available (or Marcedes Lewis, or whoever you think is the second best TE in the draft). Would you rather have Moss or Pope (and for the sake of discussion, assume these are the only two choices the Steelers have)?"
And here's DJ's response. And in his last sentence, he asked this question: "I know I'm the #1 guy here on the "we should take a WR" bandwagon, but, unless there's a feeling that Pope's potential is leaps and bounds above Moss', how is this even a question?"

Yeah, I'm not implying that Pope (or any other TE for that matter) is potentially leaps and bounds better than Moss. In fact, I included the following qualifying remark in yesterday's post: "If we re-phrase the question to read: Which player would make Roethlisberger's job easier?, I think it becomes a littler harder to argue for Moss..." And I think that's an important part of it. To address DJ's contention that having two TEs on the field means that Kreider isn't, I'd point to the Patriots. They have Daniel Graham and Ben Watson, and use them both pretty well. Now, Watson was injured his rookie season and apparently struggled to get on the same page as Tom Brady early last season, but even with both guys seeing a lot of playing time, New England still managed to get the ball to Branch, Givens, Faulk, Pass and Brown.

Again, I'm not necessarily advocating the Steelers take a TE, but I also don't think taking a WR instead is such a clear-cut decision.

... Jim Russell responds to my "Drafting Interior Offensive Linemen in the First Round" diatribe and makes a good point. Namely, that G Davin Joseph also plays center (and played tackle in college). In my defense, I did say that if there are no immediate needs in this draft, I guess you can't really start preparing for the future too early (and if that means drafting a guard, then so be it). Of course I went on to add: "Still, I'll stick with what I've said before: all else being equal, good interior linemen can be found in later rounds."

In all honesty, I haven't really paid all that much attention to this year's crop of guards because, frankly, I figured the Steelers were okay at the position. That's apparently up for debate. And if, as Randy Steele suggests, this year's draft isn't particularly deep at the position, it would make sense to grab a player that Cowher/Colbert think fit.

Fair enough. I can't argue with that reasoning, especially since (as I've said a hundred times before) Pittsburgh has no real need heading into the draft. Plus, if Joseph is a multitasker (my clever term indicating that he plays multiple positions), then I'm all for it, and have said as much in the past. (I know I was talking about Ernie Sims, Donte Whitner and Jon Alston, but who hasn't confused these guys for a 800 lbs. lineman? Exactly.)

And like Russell said, "If the Steelers pick up Joseph, I'm guessing you don't miss Barrett Brooks." Concerning Brooks, that's an understatement. I don't dislike the guy, but what exactly is it that he does? If Lee Mays was an offensive lineman, his name would be Barrett Brooks.

Russell also mentions that both Pitt T Chris Spencer and C Nick Mangold are coming in for visits. Again, I don't know much about Spencer (who's expected to move to G as a pro), but Mike Mayock's a big fan, so that should count for something. And I've been a Mangold fan since the beginning of the offseason although the Hartings/Okobi restructurings tempered my interest in the Steelers getting him in the first round.

I'm sure I'll change my mind at least a few more times before April 29.

... DJ and GlennW are fine with giving up a fourth round pick for Charles Rogers. Yesterday I threw out, off the top of my head, a fifth rounder, and after giving it some thought, I'm actually less inclined to do it. Look, mediocre WRs are a dime a dozen and I'm not even sure Rogers is mediocre. And it would be one thing if he was a swell guy, but when the guy's not getting arrested for drug-related activities, he's not taking his job seriously. Everybody talks about Ryan Leaf being the biggest bust in draft history, but Rogers get's my "Place" vote. The guy's a stiff.

... Relatedly, Henigin gets props for quoting the two Bobs. Quincy, ahh, I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Sunday, too ... (You know, Bill Lumbergh is basically a cool version of Butch Davis. And I'm pretty sure that's not a compliment.)

... Concerning the idiots forking over $30 to read the Trib's "Xtra" content, well, that would be me. If I recall correctly, Israel gets some deal where if he calls Tunch/Wolf's show, he gets a free sneak peek. Whatever the case, I can say unequivocally that giving the 30 bucks to the Mark Madden Doughnut Fund would've been a more worthy cause. Other than Tunch's X's & O's column, people should be paid to read that stuff. And that's the nicest thing I can say about it.

Anyway, the point of all that was to point out the Steelers salary cap numbers. I have some stuff I'll work up on all of this, but I figure I'll save it for later in the week.