Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fantasy Baseball

In about an hour, I will be drafting my 4th fantasy baseball team. You would have to say I'm a fan. Not so much of baseball as whole, which I am to some degree, but to fantasy sports, in general. As you may have picked out over my few blogs, I'm very competitive in most things I delve into. Frankly, if I'm gonna do something, I want to be the best and win. So, fantasy baseball allows me to compete for over 5 straight could I not get involved.
With fantasy baseball, I still have not figured out exactly what it takes to win consistently, but I'm improving greatly. Last year, my three teams finished 1st, 4th, and 8th, though the 8th place team suffered some lousy injuries that dropped me from 2nd like a rock. This year, my three teams thusfar are looking pretty solid, with my 12-team Rotisserie draft team being my favorite.

The good thing about my leagues is, they're all very it keeps me from getting too bored with the whole concept. I'm in a keeper auction league, a standard rotisserie league, and a standard head-to-head league. Plus, I always sign up for a public team on Yahoo as soon as they're available just to make a team, since I've been waiting for several months.

Each one offers something different and the group of people in each makes the smack talking more or less fun as well. Since I've already drafted my teams, here are my favorite picks that those of you who haven't picked yet, may want to look into. Or...more importantly, I have this documented so I can look back at it in September and see how accurate I was:

Good players to avoid:
5) Barry Bonds - I was going to recommend this before his whole "I'm tired" speech...just wanted that known.
4) Todd Helton - I think this is the year things start to slide.
3) Mark Prior - Not a fan
2) Carlos Delgado - New team, new city, new ballpark
1) Curt Schilling - I think he's more messed up than he'll ever let on

Guys you might want to grab cheaper:
5) Jose Guillen - He gets lost in the shuffle because of his attitude in Anaheim last year. He's the man in DC...though he may not stay here the whole season.
4) Chipper Jones - Everyone seems to forget that this guy usually hits .300 with like 30 HR and 100 RBI. I stole him in my league in like the 7th round.
3) Bobby Madritsch - He's like my Cinderella pick. Pitches in Seattle and his K/IP is pretty solid. I'm putting lofty hopes that he'll get around 15-17 wins and an ERA under 4.00.
2) Ken Griffey Jr. - Amidst all of the steroid stuff, I think it would just seem fitting that the man who stayed in the HR hunt with McGwire and Sosa, sans juice, would have a monster year this year.
1) Andruw Jones - Get him on your team. He's the magical age, is actually hitting well this Spring and I'll go out on a limb and say he's gonna pull a .300-100-40-120-15 season.

Also, if you have the chance to get Ichiro and it's not too much of a stretch (i.e. anywhere after the 5th pick), he will single-handedly allow you to ignore BA for the rest of your auction/draft.

That's my take on Fantasy Baseball...updates to come monthly on each team's performance.

Less than a week to go. Go Yankees and Nats.

Sunday, March 27, 2005


Just got back from a one night trip to AC, so I'm a bit too on edge to write about that whole fiasco. Perhaps tomorrow. One topic that came up on my trip back today, however, was the whole Easter bunny thing, though...and I wanted to touch on it today since it is in fact, Easter.
I'm Jewish, though my family gets together on Christmas since my grandmother is Methodist, to exchange gifts and eat dinner. So, I know little about the truly religious side of these holidays...and I'm sure it's been asked and answered before, but...

What is the deal with the cartoonish characters bringing gifts of some sort for these holidays?

OK, Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ... so naturally it makes sense that you honor this by having a jolly fat man in a red suit deliver presents in the night by sliding down your chimney. What!!?? Oh yeah, and he rides around in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer.

OK, OK. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ... so naturally it makes sense that this occassion includes the delivery of candy and colored eggs by a cuddly rabbit.

If I wasn't talking about one of the largest religious factions in the world, I'd swear this was some type of cult.

The closest thing Jews have to this is Elijah on Passover. What kind of exciting character is he??!!! A prophet...from the Old Testament...figure he's probably wearing a brown tattered robe or some shit like that. Ooooo, and what fun stuff does he bring you??!! He doesn't bring anything, he actually takes some of your wine, and you have to leave the door open in the evening in March for his ghost to get in.

I think the Jews need to hire a new marketing department. Next Yom Kippur, screw the fasting to atone for a year of sins...I want a chimp named Yommie, who can fly, of course, to bring a six-pack of beer and leave it on my front door. We've already lost the 3-14 year old demographic, I'm thinking this will really win us back a few in the 18-27 year old bracket.

I know I'm already counting down the days til Yom Kippur...spread the word.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Atlantic City

Sorry, I missed a day, but yesterday I worked close to a full day (still a week til prime poolman season begins) and I picked up MVP Baseball for PS2 on my co-worker's recommendation, and that kept me busy most of the night. More on that mind-melter tomorrow.
I have to make some comments about AC, before I forget and before every else notices the changes going on in arguably one of the dirtiest place in America.

Now I've been to Atlantic City many times, actually once a year minimum for the Pool & Spa show, at least. But this time, no planning was involved. My girlfriend and I were sitting around on Saturday evening, and I really didn't have any great plan set aside for what to do that night. I had been ignoring her for most of the week, with basketball games on Monday and Tuesday, Davidson vs. Maryland on Wednesday and a football game and drinking on Friday. So, I was hoping to find something exciting and different to make up for it. After realizing that the Ringling Brothers Circus was my best local option, she brought up the possibility of going to AC. I checked the Tropicana website only to find a room for the night was $250!!!! Ridiculous. Hilton wasn't much better at $150, but what the hell. Room was booked, and we're off...except for the dog.

Quick call to my parents and a trip up to Germantown, and so long Chloe, hello 3 and a half hours of driving with a mild hangover from the night before and about $15 worth of tolls throughout Delaware and New Jersey. What a freaking racket that is. One toll was $5!! I can get a McNugget combo meal for that...and did on the trip back, in fact.

This was my first trip in my new/used car, and I was expecting luxury. Actually, about 2 hours in, my right hip was hurting from the stupid seat adjuster that's located right there. Why in the hell didn't they put it on the side like normal cars? Other than that, the ride wasn't too bad. However, Amy has an uncanny knack for scaring the shit out of me for no reason at the worst times while I'm driving. At one point, we're stopped at one of the many tolls, and after I pay the advertised $2 and begin driving, she yells out, "WAIT! WAIT!!" I slam on the brakes, nearly puke up the Taco Bell that I was forced to eat while driving (truly a difficult task), and gasp,

"You forgot to get the ticket."

There was no ticket. This was not a place to get a ticket. It was a place to pay $2 and to wet yourself because your girlfriend swore she saw the person in front of us get a ticket. About forty five minutes later, she yelled, "Cop!" in reference to a construction sign that was shut off and stored on the side of the road. At this point, I'm thinking they need to invent a passenger muzzle.

But soon, we arrived in AC...about 10 PM. The guy at the desk upgraded me to a Suite, since I look like such a high roller, for no charge, so things were feeling pretty good. I dropped my stuff off and headed down to the casino. Usually, I have some build-up to an AC trip, like a fighter counting down the days til go time...conditioning myself for the possibility that I make have to take this one into the later rounds to pull it out. Not tonight. In fact, I wasn't really feeling it.
Let me explain what I mean. I'm not opposed to sitting at a blackjack table...which is all I play or will play...for upwards of 10 hours straight. Yeah, I'll get up for a piss here and there, but I feel this is my best chance to win. My philosophy is ride the waves, don't be afraid to lose big, as long as you invest the time and play the right way, you'll come out on top. And that's been the case with me most of the time. I don't spend that much at the tables ($10-$50 hands, usually) but I'll usually win around $300-$700 on a trip to the casinos. If I stay disciplined, invest the time, and don't get screwed by the dead beats, that is.

Well, here I am. In AC, without proper mental conditioning, looking to play the tables. And guess what, only 2 tables in the Hilton are less than $25 minimums. Not a good sign. So Amy and I decide to walk up to the Tropicana. It's cold on the boardwalk, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna pay one of those cart bums to push me 200 yards in their stupid saran wrap chariots. Of course, we pass a full-on bum during our walk, who asks me if he can ask me a question. I've always wanted to give that smart ass reply to that, "you just did," but instead and simply ignore him. He informs me that my girlfriend is hot, which is always nice to hear, and we continue.

When we enter the Tropicana, it is like Shangri-La. For those of you who have been to AC alot in the past, you're probably used to seeing old people, dirty Asians with little to no teeth, and greasy older guys. Well, let me tell you, things have changed at the Tropicana. There are like 5 new clubs and 3 new bars here, as well as shops and a whole walkway that looks like a nice Spanish street market. Don't get me wrong, it's still no comparison to Vegas, but things are headed in the right direction.

There are hot women everywhere, and unlike Vegas, most of them don't look like (and in Vegas, most are) hookers. But I'm with my girlfriend, I haven't had a drop to drink, I've just driven 200 miles, and quite frankly, even in a better setting, I still wouldn't sack up and talk to any of these I continue on the blackjack tables.

The Trop is usually my favorite place to go because they have the most blackjack tables, which usually makes it easy to find one...but not tonight...not at the new, trendy Tropicana Deluxe. The whole place is packed, all the low end tables are full and even have gauckers waiting behind the seats for someone to get up, and I'm getting frustrated.

Not a good start to the evening...I should've known things wouldn't turn out well. Should have just gone to the Suite and watched Sportscenter. "Should" is the key word whenever taking a trip to AC. But I did go back to the Hilton and sat down at a $25 table. Amy watched.
Things started out OK. Win a few, lose a few, still a nice stack of chips in front of me, even though they're green, not red. Then it started happening. Apparently Saturday night is amateur night and they'll let anyone on the damned tables. This kid sitting next to me starts doing weird stuff. He's hitting on 12 against a 6. Hitting on 13 against a ten, drawing a 2 and then passing. And I'm losing hands and even better, getting to see that I would have won if this douche bag would stop thinking he's Johnny Psychic-Card Knower.

I'm not a complete blackjack snob, but here's the way I feel you should play as a courtesy to those around you.

1) Make a decision about what you think the dealer has before you even think about your hand. I always assume the dealer has a ten under their card every time. Therefore, if the dealer is showing a 7,8,9,10, Face card, or Ace, I'm going to hit until I either bust or have a hand that can win: 17,18,19,20,21. If they have a 2,3,4,5,or 6, I assume they will hit and hopefully bust. If that is the case, I don't want to bust, so I will never hit when one card can bust me. Other people play different ways, and I can respect that. i.e. never hit when you have 16 or always hit 12 against a 2. The key to this is always and never, which leads me to the next point.

2) When you make a decision about the dealer, stick with it for every hand. This is really what pisses me off. Why would this douche bag hit on a 16 against a 10 one hand and then stay on a 15 against the 10 a couple hands later. Is he really psychic???? Apparently not, because if he was he would have hit, pulled a 6, had twenty one and when the dealer flipped over a four and hit, he wouldn't have a 20 when he hit, he'd bust, because the next card was a 10. FUCKER!!!
So $300 disappears quick. More of the same after I make the ill-advised trip to the ATM for another $300. And soon it's 2 AM, I'm $750 in the hole if you include the room, and I'm thinking I should have just not played since I wasn't feeling it and the tables weren't the amount I feel comfortable playing at. So I go pay $15 for a burger at the diner in the Hilton and go to bed...a beaten man.

This blog is getting really long and I don't even think it's I'll wrap it up on a positive note. Next morning came and the $10 tables returned. I decided to throw my hat into the ring for a few rounds, came out with $200 of my money back and talked with the pit boss, whose name was Dave Davidson. I was wearing my Davidson sweatshirt (like I said, I always look like a high roller) and he mentioned that he used to buy stuff from the school since his name was Dave Davidson. OK, awkward. What did he expect me to say back? Here's our exchange:

Dave Davidson: Hey, you went to Davidson?
Me (playing blackjack): Yes, class of 1999 (thinking he was another alumni)
Dave Davidson (pointing as his name tag): Check this out.
Me: (awkward fake laugh)
Dave Davidson: Yeah, I used have them send me all sorts of shirts and bumper stickers and stuff...since it's my name.
Me: Oh, that's pretty cool
-End of conversation-

I mean, if there was a Kessler College, I don't know that I'd necessarily buy one of their shirts. I think that's right up there with the "I'm with stupid" shirt. However, I did see a very funny thing a couple years ago. Waiting to cross the street in DC, an Asian girl came walking by wearing a Rice shirt. Now, that's more like it.

And that's the end of this meaningless blog. What a bad idea.


Today kinda sucks. I didn't eat dinner last night, outside of a small PB & J quesadilla at 5 PM, and then played in a football game, before beginning my night of drinking. Needless to say, when I drink on a relatively empty stomach, I feel like shit the next day. Add to that the dehydration of the football game and the fact that I worked the whole day on Friday outside in the rain, and voila.

I didn't get out of bed until around 12:30 and that's because my dog had me concerned she was gonna pee or poop on the floor if I didn't let her out. As it was, she was up at 9 when my girlfriend got up for work, and refused to go back to sleep unless I let her jump on the bed with me. It's against the rules, but my head was hurting and I really didn't want to deal with her barking at 9. Stupid dog. She destroyed her own bed, perhaps figuring with it out of the way, she'd have to be allowed in our bed. Worked this time, maybe not that stupid after all.

So I'm finally up, dog pissed outside, and I open my closet to see it. The laundry pile. It's pretty much been staring me in the face for about three weeks, getting larger each day, with the exception of the socks my dog grabs everytime she gets a chance and distributes throughout the house. I swore I was going to do it last week, but I got sidetracked...can't remember with what.

Now the pile is about 4 feet by 4 feet and about two feet high.

Luckily, I'm an old pro at procrastinating and I own more than a months worth of underwear to prevent this from being a true disaster. However, today I've got to try to clear it up.

When I lived in my apartment, "laundry day" wasn't really a day, it was only an hour and a half. There were three washers and dryers on every floor and I was not above using up to six of them at a time. Two games of Madden later and I was done. Now, it's a marathon.

One washer, one dryer and they're not even on the same floor that I sleep on. Doing my laundry should be an aerobic class. I should put up some flyers at the local gym and have some chick who thinks she has cottage cheese thighs come over and walk these two flights of stairs hauling my clothes all day. After my first trek, I was truly out of breath, but I really felt the burn. It was a good burn. A deep burn. Something is being accomplished.

I don't think I actually do laundry right. My girlfriend always separates her clothes by like color, fabric material, season, size...honestly there's like 8 or so piles when she's done. I just grab a pile big enough to fit in my laundry basket, overflowing slightly as I've found that's about one-loads worth. Everything gets washed in WARM-COLD. I've heard hot water can shrink things so I steer clear of that, and I really don't feel I'm getting a real cleaning if there's not some warmth to the water. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

I always dry stuff on a lower setting, again not to destroy anything, but it makes it take longer. In my apartment, drying on low wouldn't dry anything in the time I paid for, so I suffered a few losses and loose underwear elastic as a result of the higher heat. Now, I just wait.

I'm smart enough to know (after destroying a shirt by accident, and shrinking another one) that I don't even try to wash sweaters or shirts that say "dry clean only." Those simply sit on the closet floor for about five months until the stars align and my girlfriend goes to the dry cleaners and mentions this to me and I remember that I have a shirt that needs to be dry cleaned and I can find this shirt and she remembers to take it the next day. I'm serious, I had a button up shirt that I wore once and it sat on my closet floor until I moved, and since it was in my car during the move, I left it there, and eventually my dad mentioned that he was going to the drycleaners...and now it's back on the floor because I wore it again.

So right now, I have one load in the dryer and one load in the washer. When these clothes are dry, that will be my first complete load...and I've been at this for a little over an hour now. I'm not even at the runner's high point yet. Perhaps I could delve into an extended metaphor between doing my laundry and running a marathon, but I'm too tired to be creative at this point.

Stupid laundry day. I need some water.

Friday, March 25, 2005


I hadn't seen quesadillas since college, where I used to meet up with her at 3 AM at the Davidson outpost (late night food) after a night of drinking. Back then it was simply cheese and tortilla...dipped in salsa for a little added flavor. I didn't really love quesadillas, but she was one of the only things around at 3 AM, so I grew to like her. After college, though, we kinda lost touch. It wasn't that I forgot about her, it's just calling for Chinese food was easier, so I got sidetracked.

Last year, luckily, my roommate, Greg, reintroduced me to quesadillas. She had changed a little bit...he liked her with salsa inside the tortilla. He also liked eating black beans, so I guess they seemed like a good match, but all the ingredients were in the fridge, so I figured I'd help myself every so often. Man, I had forgotten how good quesadillas could be. The new quesadilla was just as good, if not better. Hot salsa was a new twist. But I wanted to make up for lost time.
Ground beef, chicken, steak pieces...I gave her all your standard Mexican fillings, and now I had a job to support her. It's like we had never been apart. And things were good.

Well, last September, I moved into a new place. I took quesadillas with me, but I'm sure Greg still sees her on occassion. I'm cool with that, I really can't be too overbearing with a Mexican dish anyway.

It's been seven months that I've been living with quesadillas, at one point, I had quesadillas for lunch four straight days. But recently, things have been a bit stale. Am I getting bored with quesadillas? The flaky tortilla outside? The hot gooey cheesy middle, with a hint of salsa? I needed something new, but I didn't know what...and then I saw it.

Breakfast quesadilla.

Ham, egg, tomato and cheese in a quesadilla? Delicious. I've been living inside the box about this quesadilla thing for far too long. No wonder I got bored. But now I've got big plans for quesadillas...oh, and these are pretty tasty.

Italian Cold Cut Quesadilla - Cheddar, Provolone, Ham, Turkey, Genoa Salami

PB & J Quesadilla - a little gooey but solid none the less.

Crab meat & Gouda cheese Quesadilla - A Maryland favorite, with a dash of Old Bay

And then it hit me. Screw meals, quesadilla can be a dessert.

This afternoon, I put a Nestle Crunch bar in between two tortillas, and it was awesome! I've got a roll of Rolos and a Nestle's Peanut Butter cup just waiting, and at some point I'm gonna figure out how to put apple and cinnamin in there too. We're getting kinky now.

Looks like me and quesadillas have a bright future, and the sky's the limit. And the best part, a bag of torillas is $2.

If you have seen quesadillas served with something else inside, let me know.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I'm sticking with the sports theme for my second post, but I assure I'll have more variety in the future.

There's just too much press with this whole steroids and Barry Bonds stuff that I couldn't help but inject my own skewed view on the juice men.

Here's my take, simply put: Leave these f-ing guys alone. If they want to use steroids, let them get a swollen head, backne, uncontrolled agression, and premature death, among other things. I mean, isn't that punishment enough?

These are grown men who have been under constant pressure to perform at a sport, in which they are paid millions of dollars to excel. If they feel that steroids are going to help them to perform better (the jury is still out on this being 100% - see Jeremy Giambi), then they can sign that deal with the devil.

It would seem that much of baseball felt this same way. Are you trying to tell me that no one knew Mark McGwire was on something the year he broke the HR record. He had more veins bulging out of him than my wang-chung during a one man tug-o-war. And Sammy Sosa...does anyone remember what he looked like when he was on the White Sox? But baseball was in a recession and they needed the fanfare that a homerun chase brought to the game. Now they're leaving these guys out there to dry because Jose Canseco needed some cash, and sold out everyone he knows. What a f-ing jerk. I imagine his book deal ptich went something like this:

Jose: Hey man, can I score some rock?
Ice Cube: Man, whatchu talking about?
Jose: I got these cheeseburgers.
Ice Cube: I don't want your damn cheeseburgers.
Jose: Man, I'll suck yo' d-ck.
Ice Cube: Damn, you were 40-40 in 1988. Now look at you. This is some low sh-t.
Jose: If you can get me some rock, I'll tell you how. And I got plenty of stories where that came from.
Ice Cube: Snap, looks like we got ourselves a best-seller.

What a d-ck! But I digress. Back to my rant at hand. People want to see homeruns. Chicks dig the long ball. Let 'em juice it up. And to those who disagree, let me touch on those issues you'll likely bring up.

YOU: What about the guys who choose not to juice, like Mike Greenwell, and get cheated out of an MVP award because of a guy like Jose Canseco?

ME: If getting cheated means earning $500,000 a year, where do I sign up? Look, we're not talking about normal professions here. These guys are making ridiculous money, including the schmoes who sit on the bench. If anyone wants to cry like a little bitch because they're getting cheated out of BIG cash by someone on the juice, they can always make themselves feel better by looking over at the dude in the showers and commenting on his ridiculously small penis (another side effect)...not to mention the fact that they can go dance on that guy's grave just before they head off to their house in Florida for a golf weekend.

YOU: But what about the records? Roger Maris? The sanctity of baseball?

ME: Anyone watched golf lately? Tennis? Football? The sports are upgrading. New raquets to hit the ball harder. New clubs to smash balls off the tee. Baseball is still using wooden bats and basically the same the players have turned to conditioning (like all sports) and use the technology of today to provide a higher level of sport. If that higher level includes stimulants and/or's just the development of the game. Deal with it. You want to judge players, judge them by their contemporaries.

YOU: But what about the children, won't someone please think of the children?

ME: Think about your own damned children. I've been saying this for years. Drugs, alcohol, guns in school, driving accidents, sex. It's up to parents to teach children what's right and wrong. If your kid thinks he should take steroids so he can be great at sports, tell him he's a damned fool, show him a picture of Jose Canseco, and say, "Do you want to be like that? Look at him, he's all greasy and bloated. He has a small dick, no one likes him, and he'll be dead soon. Maybe sooner, rather than later if Mark McGwire still has some of that 'roid rage left in him."

Honestly, kids are smarter at a younger age because of TV and the internet and normal evolution. Telling a kid not to take steroids without giving them a reason is not going to stop them from using. If more athletes came forward about steroid-use without the scrutiny that's coming with it, and told kids about the downsides of its use... and maybe if a few died here and there, kids could make the wise decision. I'm sure there are plenty of minor leaguer out there that are on steroids and still suck balls...again, see Jeremy Giambi.

Now, let me get my opinion clear as I sum up. I'm not promoting the use of steroids and saying that all pro athletes should use it. I just feel that if a professional wishes to use a product to give him an edge in his profession, he should be allowed to do so. And if another professional chooses not to use that same product because they weighed its pros and cons, then there shouldn't be a problem.

Hell, millions of people smoke cigarettes and it won't even help you earn millions of dollars.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

NCAA Tourney

Who is the marketing genius who turned an athletic tournament between 65 academic institutions (of 1000s) into a money-making wonderland and 3-week-long Vegas holiday?
I went to Davidson College, and they're not in the NCAA tournament. Nonetheless, I have risked almost $300 (which is probably peanuts compared to some people I know) gambling on schools I have never heard of. Heck, I haven't even been to their state. I don't watch Big Ten basketball...I couldn't even tell you who the Big 12 are. Why is University of Vermont, UVM...that's fucking gay?

My buddy, Zack, paid money to watch all the games on DirectTV. And I sat there next to him like a dumb ass. He went to Colgate...they weren't in the tournament either.

Last year, about 20 buddies of mine and I went to Vegas to lose money and to celebrate this new holiday. Most of them went to William & Mary College...not in the Tourney.

This year, we couldn't go because the prices for the Casino room were jacked up and the Hard Rock was sold out...for a Thursday?? In March?? Pittsnogle!!

Next year, screw CBS. Screw Screw Vegas.

But for now, who thinks Duke at -4.5 is a good bet over Michigan State??