Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Well, it looks like the old weight loss during the off season doesn't make a damn bit of difference for old Gorzo. He was sent down to Triple-A earlier today by Neal Huntington in an apparent effort to send a message. That message being: You Suck.

It's sad, really. I mean just two years ago, Gorzo was the ace of the staff. A future New York Yankee, if you will. In fact, he even got his own bobblehead the following year. (Other notable Pirates Players who received Bobbleheads: Chris Duffy, Ronny Paulino, Mike Williams and his 13.55 ERA. )

Personally, it seems a little pre-mature to send Gorzo down. It's still spring training and we all know Spring Training stats aren't supposed to mean anything. You have a guy who's been successful for you in the past and no one else is really setting themselves apart from the other candidates. I.E. Virgil Vasquez had a terrible outing last night. Why not at least give him a few more spring starts to redeem himself?

On the other hand, maybe this will motivate Tom. If the end result means getting Gorzo back to his 2007 form, I'm all for it.

For Bob Smiziks take on the Gorzo demotion Click Here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Formal letter to Jay Cutler

Dear Mr. Cutler,

You have got to be the biggest cry baby I have ever seen in my life. When you're on a team that hasn't made the playoffs in years, anyone, even you, is expendable. In case you haven't heard, the NFL is first and foremost a business, and if the Broncos could have traded you for a few pieces that would have made the team better then that's what they've got to do. I mean you've lost more games than you've won in your career and you're a douchebag.

In the end, YOU DIDN'T EVEN GET TRADED. But now, you're feelings are so hurt that you'll show the Broncos! You'll put your Denver area home up on the market. That'll teach them a lesson for sure. Maybe you can refuse to go to team meetings as well. Oh wait, you did that too.

Wah Wah, I'm a baby.

There's actually been rumors that you may get traded to the Browns for Brady Quinn, which will give me another reason to hate you. I'm not really a fan of over-rated Brady Quinn either but when he is confronted with questions about him being traded, he responds by saying he's just going to continue to work hard and whatever happens, happens. That sounds like a very professional answer. Maybe you should take a page out of Brady's Book. That is if you can read.

It is my hope that you do get your wish and get traded. Hopefully to Detroit. That way you will be terrible next year in Fantasy Football and Carroll will curse the day he ever drafted you.


Jason Bice

Sunday, March 15, 2009

UFC 96: A First Person Recap

Let me start out by saying that UFC 96 was my first MMA event I've ever attended. Being from Pennsylvania (the law-makers finally did something right and sanctioned it recently) and not making a lot of money, the four hour drive to Columbus would be the closest I would get. Unfortunately, I was unable to enjoy the full experience of the weekend (the Arnolds/Weigh-ins) because my job prevented me from leaving until Saturday.

My friend and I arrived in Columbus around 4:30 p.m. and the arena was easy to find, parking wasn't a problem or outrageously expensive ($10).

After the four-hour trek, we figured we would get a bite to eat and a couple drinks before the fight. We found an establishment called Brothers just up the way from where we parked. The food didn't look bad, the service was good considering how busy the place was and the drinks were reasonably priced. The funny thing about Brothers was I've never been in a bar in which 95% of the patrons could probably kick my ass. Usually, the ratio is a little closer to 50%.

Around 6:45 we made our way to the Nationwide Arena. The line to get in was fairly long but from when the gates opened, getting in wasn't a problem. We took a walk around the arena and it was really nice. I saw why other arenas built afterward were modeled after Nationwide. Since I was still hungry, I sampled a hot sausage and fry basket for $8.75. The food was good and the staff at the arena were friendly and courteous. The beers they had on sale were predominately Anheuser Busch products (go figure). A 24 ounce can of Budweiser/Bud Light were going for $10. I'm not sure where that price compares to others but at PNC Park I can get a 16 oz draft for $6.75. If you stay past the 7th inning to watch the Pirates, they should be free.

The evening kicked off with a lightweight bout between Aaron Riley and Shane Nelson. We took our seats just as the fight was brought to a controversial early stoppage by referee Rick Fike. Check that, horrible early stoppage as Riley pulled guard after taking two rights from Nelson. So the event got off to a dubious start. The next match that Fike referreed, which one escapes me at the moment, he received a heavy dose of boos from the Columbus crowd.

Up next was Brandon Vera vs. Mike Patt, with Vera likely needing to win to stay in the UFC. What amazed me about this fight was the volume of Vera's leg kicks. Hearing them crack like a whip from the upper bowl is a lot different than hearing them on television. Patt was very clearly over matched in this contest.

Tim Boetsch vs. Jason Brillz was next on the card. Boetsch got the better of Brillz in the the first round. Rounds two and three, Brillz took him down and wore him out for the unanimous decision.

The last two fights of the undercard saw Kendall Grove keep his job in the UFC with a straight right hand, followed up by elbows against Jason Day. Tamden McCrory beat an over matched Ryan Madigan with a first round TKO.

There is a little lull in the action but before the main card starts the UFC plays a highlight reel to the tune of "Teenage Wasteland" that got the crowd fired up. The highlight still gives me chills.

Off we go to the main card. During the opening crowd shots, there was a very attractive girl who was well-endowed jumping up and down shown on the big screens. This got one of the biggest crowd reactions of the evening.

Gray Maynard and Jim Miller open up the televised portion of the card. Basically, Miller couldn't take him down and Maynard outpointed him on the feet.

However, during the second round, a guy two rows in front of me fires up a joint. Hell, I went to a fight and a Tom Petty concert broke out. He was not too shy about the doobie either. He blew the smoke everywhere and our whole section reeked of pot. Some people laughed, some wanted more of the smoke, others looked disgusted. But, no one said anything and Cheech stayed there the whole fight. Ballsy or stupid, you be the judge.

After the Maynard fight, Brock Lesnar who was sitting in a box about 100-200 feet or so to my right. He stepped out and gave a wave to the crowd but only a few people in my section saw him. Good lord was he huge.

Anyways, the Matt Hamill/Mark Munoz fight was next. Hamill came out to "Snoopy Hang on" or whatever it's called. Everyone was chanting O-H-I-O. Being a Steeler fan and a Pennsylvanian, I would rather lose a finger than take part in this chant. I take solace in that the Steelers always slap around the Browns and Bengals.

So the fight starts out as a feeling out process but once Hamill figured him out he landed a massive head kick that knocked Munoz cold. Two meaningless Hamill punches later the ref steps in.

What they didn't show you on the pay-per-view broadcast, was Munoz was down for about 10 minutes. The EMT's were in the ring with the stretcher and everything else. Thankfully, Munoz left the Octagon under his own power with a neck brace.

The next fight beween Pete Sell and Matt Brown also drew the ire of everyone in the arena. Brown starts out quickly and has Sell in big trouble. Yves Lavigne looked like he was going to put a stop to it. Nope, so Sell just catches more of a beating. Brown had his hands raised in disbelief as Sell was out on his feet. Brown just pushed and punched him two more times before Lavigne finally stepped in. Most of the crowd around me basically said, "WTF?" The fight should've been stopped way earlier than that.

Shane Carwin proved one thing in his fight with Gabe Gonzaga; he has extrodinary power. Even though Gonzaga's hand were down after the clinch (bad idea), Carwin knocked him cold with a straight right without stepping into it.

The main event was a closer than expected fight with Rampage Jackson picking up the decision. The crowd, at least in my section, was split between the two. Cheech, from earlier, stood up in his messed mind state and screamed "Dean of Fucking Mean" then almost fell over.

The heat that the crowd gave Rashad after the fight was astounding. By far, the loudest crowd heat. Rick Fike's awesome refereeing also drew the ire of the Columbus crowd. Rampage was a big favorite with the crowd as well as Hamill. The girl jumping up and down in the beginning was also a favorite.

Getting out of the arena wasn't too bad, all things considering. From the end of the fight till we were out of Columbus took about 45 minutes or so.

Now on to what I didn't like:

1. The soundsystem. At least where we were at the bass was absolutely overpowering. I thought I was at a concert as opposed to an evening at the fights. On top of that, we couldn't hear the post-fight interviews.

2. Merchandising. I was looking for some stuff to buy of my favorite fighters and such in the arena and I could not find any. The only things I saw were shirts that just said UFC or UFC 96 shirts. I don't understand why they aren't promoting the individual fighters a lot more. This would be like shopping at your favorite pro team's arena and not being able to get jerseys of your favorite players.

All in all it was a good trip and a good show. I was unable to enjoy the whole weekend's festivities but it was a good experience. Now that MMA is finally sanctioned in Pennsylvania, I'll be able to check out some smaller shows.


OK....So the Penguins have once again found a way to lose a game. It was great seeing them win seven games in a row. But now they seem to be doing another turn around for the worse. Yesterdays game was very hard to watch. They started off well but then let Ottawa back into the game in the third period. Then lost it in the shootout. OUCH! Granted it was nice to get one point, but this was definitely a game they should have gotten two points. Regardless, they need to go back to their winning ways starting today. The Pens kicked off a huge eight game homestand yesterday and there would be no tougher way to start it than by losing their first two games of the homestand.

Here are the things that the Penguins need to do if they are a serious playoff team....

1)Score on the Power Play: The Pens seemed to get their PP back on track when Gonchar came back, but the last three or four games have been shit on the PP. This to me is priority number one for them. A power play goal yesterday gives you the win. It didn't happen. Plain and simple, if you don't score on the PP, you don't win.

2)Play 60 minutes: I know the Pens are a good team. But they aren't a good team when they are playing their asses off for 5 minutes and then on vacation for 10 minutes. You dont win hockey games by playing inconsistent. Every team spaces out for about 5 minutes during the game. It happens. But the Pens seem to just totally shut it down for about 10 minutes in the third period. If there is one period you can't afford to let up it's in the third. I hate to say this, but if you do this in the Cup Finals or even the Eastern Conference Finals...YOU LOSE. It's that simple. The Pens need to start playing better through the game and especially in the third period.

3)Faceoffs: Jordan Stall was on the ice yesterday for (I think this was right) three faceoffs during the OT period in our end. As I recall, he didn't win a single one. Fleury was amazing during that 2 minute period when the Sens had a PP. A lesser goalie would have given up a goal. But the Pens need to get better on faceoffs. They were solid on faceoffs until Mike Zigomanis (pictured above) was hurt. It was about that time the Pens started playing like shit. Zigomanis is currently on IR and I don't know if he will be back for the playoffs or not. He is a very solid faceoff guy and should help them if he can return.

There you have it. Three simple ways the Pens can get better. Also this homestand is huge. The Pens host the Bruins today and will then host the Thrashers, Kings, Flyers, Flames, Rangers and Devils. Then they finish the season off visiting the Hurricanes, Panthers and Lightning, come home to face the Islanders and then travel to play the Canadiens to end their regulars season. That is a total of 12 games remaining in their schedule....the homestand being extremely important.
The Pens need to beat the bubble teams and the teams that they are fighting for a playoff spot with (Flyers, Rangers, Panthers, Hurricanes and Canadiens). The Pens have 80 points and are the 6th seed. If the playoffs began today we would play the Capitals in the opening round. I see no reason the Pens couldn't get to the 4th seed. Of their final 12 games, the Pens are playing 7 playoff teams (teams in the playoffs if they started today). It will be a tough end to the season but if the Pens get hot going into the playoffs....anything can happen.