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30 November, 2015

Now and When

   Now: at the present time
   When: at what time 

  The Denver Broncos season has boiled down to two simples words: Now and When.

   When Peyton Manning was the Broncos starting quarterback the offense struggled through most of their games. Yes, the wins were coming weekly, but the running game, the deep pass, the familiar hum of the Peyton Manning machine was no longer there. There were flashes, like in the Packers dismantling when Manning went 21-29 for 340 yards, but that kind of game, once a given, now seems more like a blue moon. For the first half of the season the defense was carrying the team and, in theory, buying time until the offense found their way.

   Now that Brock Osweiler is quarterback, opposing defenses have to cover the whole field.
   When Manning was making the throws, whether it be because of injury or father time sitting on his throwing shoulder, defenses didn't have to concern themselves with passes outside the numbers or deep down the field. When Charles Woodson picked off Peyton on a pass down the sideline in Oakland earlier this year, he bailed on the deep route and jumped on the intermediate route because there was no need to worry about the receiver going deep. He was willing to gamble that Peyton couldn't get it there anyway. People talk about Manning's diminished arm strength, but I have been alarmed by his arm accuracy on deep balls. He can still throw it 50-55 yards in the air, but it's rarely on target. I can think of a dozen times this season when he overthrew Sanders or D.T. but just as many when a deep ball was 3 yards off to the left or right. 
   Now that Brock is under center the deep ball is a real threat. One need look no further than the missiles he dropped through the snowflakes and into the hands of #10 and #88 on their last drive of regulation against the Patriots Sunday night. Or how about the laser he drilled into Sanders on a crossing route last night, over two defenders and in front of another? And now that defenses have to worry about the entire field, it creates more space for the running game. Denver has piled up 349 rushing yards in Brock's two starts. 

   When Manning lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl, the defense was statistically very good, but it wasn't as dynamic as it is now. 
   Now they are an explosive unit that can win games. They've added Talib, Ware and Ward. Chris Harris has developed into an elite corner. Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson and Sylvester Williams seem to be flourishing in the 3-4 scheme. And they've added Wade Phillips who is one of the better defensive coordinators in the league and has been for longer than Peyton has been an elite QB. You can't waste a D this good with poor quarterback play. I'm sure the injuries had a lot to do with Manning's 5-20, 4-pick poop-bomb he dropped against the Chiefs, but most defenses would have allowed 59 points that night, not 29. You can't have your defense turning around two minutes after they got off the field and ask them  to go right back out there and defend a short field time and again.  

  When Peyton is running the offense the team is trying to combine what he likes and what Kubiak's system is. It's been very hit and miss. The number of times Peyton has thrown it to the other team hasn't helped. 
   Now that Brock is the man they are running Kubiak's system. It's only been two games but you have to like what you see. 
   When Peyton is running the show, it's all about mind games and trying to out-think the guys on the other side of the ball. It's obviously been hugely successful for a long time, but with injuries and fading attributes, there are only so many Jedi moves left in the bag. 
  Now that Brock is in there, it's about executing the system. It's a challenge given the issues they have with their offensive line, but they've found a way to make it work so far. As an aside, I also like that Brock has targeted 8 and 9 receivers, respectively, in his two starts. He's not locking in on one or two guys.    

   This storyline, Old Warrior vs Young Gun, has been around since sports started being played. I'm sure there were some Romans who were in the ring with the lions and there was some dude who outsmarted the lions for a long time, but eventually that guy got eaten because he wasn't quick enough to get away anymore while the younger guys ran around and survived on athletic ability alone. Do you play the Hall of Famer when he's healthy or stick with the "heir apparent" who is performing well? It's got to be one of the hardest lines for a coach to walk in sports. I don't doubt for one second Elway and Kubiak had a conversation during the hiring process that went something like, "Look, we're done with Peyton after this season. Just come in and manage it for a year and then you can do your thing." But the injuries have allowed Denver to accelerate the process and the future may be now, regardless of when Manning is healthy. If you're asking me who I'd go with, I still think a 100% healthy Manning at this point is better than 100% Osweiler, I just don't think 100% is in the equation for Peyton anymore. 

    The Wizard of Os has come out from behind the curtain and all of Bronco Country is paying attention to him. Denver has a championship-caliber defense and, in Osweiler, it appears they have a QB who can handle the bright lights. For most Broncos fans wondering if this is Brock's team the question is simple, if not now, when? 

21 October, 2015

ESPN - Thanks for the memories

   When I was 12-years old and living in Greenwich, Connecticut, ESPN opened their doors. Cable television was a mystery world back then. Somehow it meant there were more channels to watch and a greater variety of content coming into my living room. When I heard there was an all-sports TV station opening just an hour north of where I lived, my mind was blown. I daydreamed about some day being able to work there.
   15 years later, ESPN opened their doors to me. I had been producing local news in Orlando and had worked with Stuart Scott. He helped get me an interview and in December of 1994 I was hired. My career began as a producer of the overnight show, which was then a half-hour show that came on at 2:30 in the morning. I worked with Craig Kilborn, Brett Haber, Gary Miller and Karl Ravech. The hours were tough but we had a lot of fun and I was learning on the fly. I provided the guys with some catch phrases that stuck and developed a good relationship with those guys. In the immediate years that followed I worked with Bob Ley, Charley Steiner, Robin Roberts, Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, Kenny Mayne, Steve Levy, Linda Cohn, Bill Pidto, Rich Eisen and Stuart Scott. It was virtually impossible to not improve as a producer working with people like that. Being an anchor was what I had really wanted to do with my career but when ESPN offered the producer job, I decided going to the major leagues as a producer was a better career path than trying to be an anchor in some super small market. Because of my desire to be on air, I was always drawn to those people and their craft. Over the years I dedicated a lot of my time trying to help the talent be better at their jobs. In fact, just a few months back I was given the role of talent coach and was really enjoying that exciting new opportunity. My dad was a teacher and a coach, so in some way I was kind of following in his footsteps. The last six weeks of my time at ESPN ended up being some of the most rewarding work I ever did there.
   When I look back on my 20+ years at ESPN I am grateful for the opportunities working there provided me. I was at the Daytona 500 when Dale Earnhardt finally won that race. I worked multiple Final 4s and the US Open at Pebble Beach when Tiger obliterated the field. I was at the '96 summer games and produced our live coverage of the bombing in Centennial Park from the moment the bomb went off around 1:20am until well into the following afternoon.
   My 7 years on Baseball Tonight allowed me to attend pretty much every All-Star game, Hall of Fame induction and World Series from 2000-2007. The highlight came when I was standing on the field for batting practice before game one of the Mets and Yankees World Series. I called my dad, the man responsible for teaching me to love baseball and a man who grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan (later to convert to the Mets when the Dodgers skipped town) and I said to him "You know where I am right now? I am standing on the field before game one of the Subway Series. Thank you for making me a baseball fan." I still get emotional thinking about what that moment meant to me.
My last year producing the inductions in Cooperstown I had my dad go up there with me and was able to take him behind the scenes and meet all of the Hall of Famers. It was my way of paying him back a little for all he did for me. It was a great weekend for both us. I could never have done that, or experienced all those other great moments, without my job at ESPN.
   Over my time in Bristol I have been blessed to work with so many talented people, both on air and behind the scenes. I thank all of them. The anchors, analysts, producers, directors, production staff, the researchers, news editors, assignment desk workers, talent bookers, TDs, ADs and all the others who contribute every day. As a producer you walk in the door every day with a vision for what your show will be, but it takes dozens and dozens of people to help you execute that vision. It's hard work, but it's incredibly rewarding when everyone gets on the same page and it goes well. In my 20+ years the successes far outweighed the non-successes (I refuse to call them failures) and that would not have been possible without the efforts of so many talented people.
   It's hard to have thick skin about the shots people take at ESPN when you live inside those walls and understand the determination and dedication we put into making a product that people could enjoy. There was never a day that I walked in the door at work and said "I need to make sure today we ignore west coast sports or don't talk about hockey." The goal of any television station is to get people to watch. If the ratings go up when we talk about the Red Sox and Yankees, then we'll probably talk more about the Red Sox and Yankees. If McDonalds doesn't sell many Filet O' Fish, they probably dial back on how hard they push that product.
   Were there people with agendas? Of course. But in the day-to-day grind of doing shows, my objective and the objective of the people I was working with was to produce the best show we possibly could. That's something of which I will always be proud. And for those of you who have grown to "hate" ESPN for various reasons, at the very least you have to recognize what a pioneer the company was. All the other sports channels you watch, all the regional sports networks and ESPN competitors exist because of ESPN. Many former ESPNers work in those places now, applying the skills they learned in Bristol to make high quality programming for other networks.
   When I started in 1994, ESPN was still a relatively small operation and over the next 20 years it grew into a world wide corporation. That process is going to come with growing pains, missteps, bad decisions, struggle and setbacks. It also allows for growth, creativity and ingenuity. It was a great time to be with the company and be part of all of that. It was basically the puberty of my professional career minus the acne and awkward conversations with teenage girls.
   I forged many great relationships over the years with my co-workers. Some of the best friends I have, I met at ESPN. That can never be taken away from me. And for all it's warts and issues, ESPN rallies around it's employees when they are in need in incredible fashion. When personal tragedy strikes you can count on the ESPN family to come out in full force offering their support. And when we suffer our own tragedy, like we did when Stuart died last January, we bonded together to help each other get through it. It's easy to forget stuff like that when a company decides they don't need you anymore, but I'll always appreciate that about ESPN.
   When I first started producing SportsCenter, a weird sensation came over me. I realized I could never watch the show the way I had over the 15 years before I got there. I had peeked behind the curtain. There was no turning back. The wonderment of being a fan was gone. Now, all these years later, I'll be watching it differently again. I'll always be proud of the mark I made. I'll always be glad for the friendships I've made. It will always be an honor to have "ESPN 1994-2015" on my resume.
   I've never been let go before. I'm still processing it. A lot of good people were let go today, many of them had been there longer than me. Many of them I had worked closely with on projects I am quite proud of. It sucks. I know everyone goes through it, some multiple times. But it's new to me. I'm not bitter, not yet anyway. I hope I never am, but I can't blame any of the others for feeling that way. At first blush, I am grateful for my experiences over the last 20+ years. I can't imagine what my life would have become if I opted for the other path.
   It's hard to mentally put myself in a place like I was in 1979, dreaming of what might lay ahead some day, but I'll get there. Who knows what's next? Not me. All I know is getting off exit 31 on I-84 in Bristol isn't part of the journey anymore.

30 August, 2015

Sandy and Elmo

   When my oldest son was a toddler, CinderElmo was his video of choice. We must have watched it 100 times. Early in the movie Elmo is bummed because his stepsisters are going to the ball and he's not. Elmo wishes on a star and instead of getting a fairy godmother, a temp fairy godperson named Frank shows up. Frank tells Elmo that he doesn't care for the idea of a fairy godperson flying in one's window and helping out when things get sticky. He goes on to tell Elmo, if you want to make something happen you have to do something, which leads to him singing a cute little ditty about just that, doing something.
   As the baseball trade deadline approached this summer and I considered the Mets place in the standings, I couldn't get that song out of my head.
Frank's words rang in my ears

"If you've got a dream... do something.
Aint enough to dream... do something."

  I was saying it and people with much larger platforms than me were saying the same thing, do something!  Even though the Mets were hovering around .500, they weren't a spec in the Nats rear view mirror like everyone expected them to be. The race was close and a fan base that was tired of being the CinderElmo to the Phillies and Nats wicked step-brothers in recent years, had a glimmer of hope. Sure, the offense was abysmal and stars like David Wright and Travis d'Arnaud were forging strong relationships with doctors and trainers, but the pitching was excellent. Just get us some bats, Sandy!
  But Alderson was playing it cool, like Shane checking out all the bad guys when he walked into Grafton's saloon for the first time. Alderson said things like "the market is still developing," and when asked if the trade deadline would be considered a failure if they didn't make a deal he replied, "Not as long as we've worked as hard as I think we need to and have worked the process as hard as we possibly can." Mets fans were were screaming for Sandy to fire his gun but all he wanted to do was buy some jeans and drink some pop. 

   With the less-than-thrifty Wilpon's holding the purse strings, there was no reason to believe the Mets would do anything. Besides, 2016 is supposed to be the year. What's the rush?  But here's the thing; From 2000 to 2007 when I was working on Baseball Tonight, every time the deadline approached, our analysts would talk about how doing something, anything, for a team in the hunt sends a message to the locker room that the front office believes in them and is as invested in winning as they are. Those former players and managers on our show were adamant that it makes a difference.
   Does it always work? Of course not. Would it work for the Mets? It was worth finding out because most guys in the locker room hadn't been in pennant races nor had they been in a locker room that added pieces for the stretch run. Give them a boost and see what happens. 
   And then it happened. Uribe and Johnson picked up from Atlanta. Conforto gets called up. Wilmer cries and stays. Cespedes arrives. Since then, it's been the Mets world. Suddenly Terry Collins wasn't hitting John Mayberry Jr. cleanup but equally as important, they didn't have a bench of Darrell Ceciliani, Johnny Monell, Danny Muno and Eric Campbell. No more AAAA players but professional hitters who have been around the league. They also have a plethora of interchangeable parts. Terry Collins can mix and match and has a strategic advantage the likes of which he has never had before. It reminds me of the late 90s Yankees when they had veterans like Raines, Strawberry, Fielder and Leyritz on their bench. 
   And now, September is here.  Ah, September. It's been a while since the Mets played, as Fred Wilpon once called them, "meaningful games" in September. In fact, the last time they did, it didn't go well. The El Foldos of 2007 and 2008 still linger. Mets fans whimper when someone says Tom Glavine. We are still wiping the tears from our eyes from the last game at Shea. Not just because the stadium closed for good that day, but so did another season of unfulfilled promise. 
   As this September approaches it's hard not to look back at the calendar and count up all the Amazin' moments that have made for an in-progress collection of highlights for a great season-in-review DVD. 
The 11-game winning streak in April. 
Matt Harvey's triumphant return from Tommy John surgery. 
Jacob deGrom's "lookie what I can do!" All-Star game performance.
The arrival of Thor, Noah Syndergaard, the hard-throwing rookie who gave the Mets and their fans a glimpse at what could be an absurdly good rotation in the years to come (or maybe even this year!). 
The first ever 3-homer game at home by a Met, turned in by once released then reclaimed, sub-.200 hitting Kirk Neiuwenheis. 
A comeback win in Tampa when they trailed entering the 7th, 8th and 9th inning. Something they had never done before. 
Lucas Duda hitting 9 homers in 8 games. 
A sweep of the Nats at Citi Field to pull into a tie for first place.  A sweep that came on the heels of a brutal, kick-to-the-groin loss to the Padres. A sweep that started with a walk-off homer from newly crowned cult hero "Wil-mer Flor-es" (clap clap, clap-clap-clap) and was capped by a 3-homers-in-5-pitches assault of Jordan Zimmerman on national TV. 
There was the road trip to Baltimore, Colorado and Philly where they went 8-1, bashing 24 homers. They scored a franchise-record 73 runs in the last 7 games of that trip, all wins. 
Also during that trip they got their captain back and all David Wright did was blast a ball to the moon with his first swing of the bat. 
That was the first of a franchise-record 8 homers in a game. The trip concluded with the second of two wins in Philly when they trailed by 5 runs in a game. 
To cap it all off, Carlos Torres and Daniel Murphy teamed up for the Kick-Snag-Flip heard 'round the world. That DVD is going to have a few bonus discs.
  In the first half of the season we were trotting out stats about the Mets being 41-5 when they scored at least 4 runs. How they had lost 9 games in the first half when their pitchers allowed 2 or fewer runs. Then Sandy Alderson did something and everything changed. During their 7-game destruction of the Rockies and Phillies the fewest runs they scored in a game was 5. 5 runs in a game in May would have been Eutopia.
  Certain words and phrases will dominate September for the Mets: Magic number. Inning limits. Choke. Mets fans certainly hope see the first phrase run out beofre the second phrase does. As for the third, like I said, 2007-2008 are wounds not yet healed, so Mets fans will likely be watching games with their hands over their eyes while peaking at the Nationals score as well. And yet, there is something about this team. The collection of moments and miracles have piled up like a stack of chips when you are on a roll at the poker table. 
  No one saw this coming. And it may have never come if Sandy Alderson didn't do something. Thankfully he did. Perhaps he is the Mets fairy godfather and they're going to get to go to the ball afterall. 

20 July, 2015

Brace Yourself

  Brace yourself, Mets fans. We've been here before. Many, many times.
   Where, exactly is "here"? It's that place entering a big series against the team we are battling for the division. It's that place where winning the first game would mean so much, breath some life into the team and provide hope for the fans that good times await on the other end of that series.
   The Mets begin a 3-game series in Washington tonight just 2 games back of the Nats for the lead in the NL East. They have lined up their rotation so that their big guns, Harvey, deGrom and Syndergaard will take the mound AND their anemic offense won't have to see Max Scherzer.
If the Mets fans were to dare and dream about a sweep, they would be dreaming of a 1-game lead in the division when the series ends. Good times!
   But recent history suggests it won't go well tonight. The Mets have an uncanny way of sucking the life out of a big series from the jump, losing game 1 with frequency.

   July 2, 1999: The Mets are 3 back of the Braves as Atlanta comes to Shea. Yes, it's early July but the Mets have built a good team and they have a chance to send a message to their fans and the Braves that they mean business this year. Instead Atlanta gave the Mets the business, winning game one 16-0. They lost the next one too before taking the finale and saving a little face. The Mets hung in there and even overtook the Braves for part of the summer before going to Atlanta in late September for a big series.

September 21, 1999: The Mets entered that series 1 game back and promptly lost the opener when Chipper Jones homered in the bottom of the 8th Dennis Cook. 2-1 Atlanta. The Braves swept the series and the Mets were left to battle for the Wild Card.

July 20, 2000. The Mets are 5 back of the Braves when they go there for a 3-game set. Do some damage and it's a race! Or lose the opener 6-3, drop two of three and leave town 6 back.

September 18, 2000: Not dead yet! 3 back with a 3-game series in Atlanta. Here we go!
He we don't. Braves win 6-3, take two of three and keep the Mets at bay, once again forcing them to battle for the wild card.

September 28, 2001: Post 9/11 the Mets played well and created some buzz. They won 8 of 9, including the "Piazza Game" and two of three vs the Braves at Shea. They went from 7 back to 3 back as they began a 3-gamer in Atlanta. Hopes were high. Everyone was talking about what a great story it would be given the circumstances. But then Steve Trachsel gave up 3 homers and the Braves took the opener 5-3. For good measure Atlanta walked-off the next day when they scored 7 in the bottom of the 9th off Benitez and Franco, capped by a Brian Jordan grand slam. Thanks for coming, drive home safely.

September 15, 2007: It's the flip-side view of things. Mets lead the Phillies by 6.5 games. Take care of business and put the Fightins in your rearview mirror. Or.... lose the opener 3-2 in 10 when Mike Difelice and Aaron Heilman both misplay bunts, leading to a sac fly. Tack on Beltran whiffing with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th just for yucks. Philly swept the series and the Mets executed one of the worst collapses in history.

  So here we are. It's not September, but somehow, some way, the Mets have hung around this long and they begin a 3-game series in Washington just two games back. The aces are lined up to pitch. If, by chance, they were to sweep maybe the front office would reward them with a deal for a bat or two to help them in the race. The table is set. The fans are excited for tonight and the two nights after that.
What could possibly go wrong?

04 April, 2015

2015 Mets Predictions with help from Billy Joel

   This is my 4th year predicting the Mets season win totals. In the last 3 seasons I have gone: 74
(exactly right) 72 (off by two) and 78 (off by one.)  That's not exactly the work of Nostradamus, or even Cousin Sal, since those years weren't exactly laced with hope. However, my predictions did show that I am a realist when it comes to my teams and I don't let passion blind my objectivity. With that in mind, this year is a real challenge. Expectations are high at Citi Field with the team spending the winter talking about the playoffs, the return of Matt Harvey and an encouraging spring with the Mets sporting the best record in the Grapefruit League. Vegas has set the Mets over/under at 82 1/2. I think it's realistic to think the Mets can fall anywhere in a ten game range (77-87) of that line. So this year requires some extra work, some extra inspiration. It just so happens that last night I went back to Madison Square Garden for the first time since 1983 and found my muse... Billy Joel. 
   So without further ado, and with the help of the play list from a true New York legend, ladies and gentleman, your 2015 New York Mets. 

Miami 2017 - The Marlins

"They said that Queens could stay, and blew the Bronx away"  

A bit of an omen, this song has become. I imagine the Marlins will be pretty darn good in 2017, assuming they don't trade half the team by then. The Marlins have always been a hemorrhoid to the Mets, a real pain in the ass. Even in the Mets good seasons. These two franchises are both emerging right now, both expected to battle for 2nd place in the division. It should be fun to watch them battle this year and on into 2017. 

My Life - Curtis Grandson  

"I don’t need you to worry for me cause I’m alright." 

For the Mets to be good this year, Curtis Granderson needs to do more than last year's .227/.326/.388, 20 HR, 66 rbi output. In order to help get that done (and to get the boo birds off his back) the Mets moved in the fences in right and hired Grandy's favorite hitting coach, Kevin Long. Even Viola Davis didn't give Emma Stone that much help. So far so good for Curtis as he's hitting .440 with 8 extra base hits this spring. We'll see if it carries over to the regular season. If it doesn't, Curtis may have to close up shop, sell the house and buy a ticket to the west coast. 

The Stranger - Jerry Blevins 

"Don’t be afraid to try again. 
Everyone goes south every now and then. 
You’ve done it. Why can’t someone else.
You should know by now. 
You’ve been there yourself. " 

  Blevins is an actual stranger to Mets fans as he was acquired just last week. They needed lefty relief help like Daryl Dixon needs his bow and arrows. So Blevins will be asked to get out the tough lefties in the division like Harper, Utley, Howard and Freeman. He'll probably go south every now and then, but he will play a big role in the Mets success this season. 

Summer, Highland Falls (not played) - Jenry Mejia 
(***at his concerts Billy Joel does a fan vote for some of the songs to play. the songs I've designated as "not played" were the losers when he did a fans choice." ***)

"For we are always what our situations hand us.
Its either sadness or euphoria" 

   It's hard to sum up the life of a closer better than that. Although Mejia's sadness may come once Bobby Parnell comes off the DL and (presumably) takes back the closer role. There wasn't a lot of domination from Mejia last year. A whip of 1.48, a batting average against of .265 and a 2.39 SO/W. 
Coney Island's roller coaster got off to a shaky start in 2015, let's hope 21 miles away Mejia isn't too much of a thrill-ride for the Mets.  

Vienna - Noah Syndergaard 

"Slow down you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be before your time" 

Godot, Guffman, Syndergaard. It's an illustrious list of those we have been waiting for. But there's no need for the Mets to rush Noah. In a town where people like to say "Hit me!", Syndergaard did just that a little too much last year in AAA Las Vegas. The big, blonde righty phenom allowed an opponent's batting average of .293. Yes, it's a hitter league, but there was still not enough dominance or maturity seen to warrant a September call-up. So he starts this season back in AAA and his time will come. Noah, you got your passion and you got your pride... Citi Field waits for you.    

Zanzibar - Duda 
"Me, I'm trying just to get to second base
And I'd steal it if she only gave the sign
She's gonna give the go head
The inning isn't over yet for me, for me" 

   Big Lucas only has 5 steals in 5 seasons, so don't expect "she" or Tim Teuful to be sending Duda the steal sign very often. What he will get is a lot of green lights and a lot of chances to do damage. Duda's slash line with RISP last season was an impressive .301/.441/.659 with an OPS of 1.100. The Mets will sign up for a whole lot more of that this year. A scout told ESPN NY's Adam Rubin that Duda should benefit from Long's instruction as well (not to mention the shorter fences). He'll get a chance to prove he can hit lefties (just .180 last season) when the season starts, but it's realistic to think he can hit another 25-30 HRs for the Mets.  

Big Man on Mulberry Street (not played) Sandy Alderson

"What else have I got 
That I'd be trying to hide. 
Maybe a blind spot 
I haven't seem from the sensitive side." 

  As we learned in the book about Alderson, Baseball Maverick, the Mets G.M. has no issue speaking his mind. We've actually known this about the former marine, but sometimes his radio interviews and press conferences are so stale, we forget that he is capable of being extremely blunt and occasionally funny.  He has little to hide and doesn't seem like the sensitive kind. But make no bones about it, Alderson is the big man in the Mets organization and their success this season may be largely predicated on how he handles the roster. The trades for the lefty relievers were smart, tinkering type moves that can make a difference. How long will he keep Gee around? How long until he decides it's time for Matz or Syndergaard to come up? Will he deal d'Arnaud or Plawecki or a pitching prospect at the deadline if the Mets are in the hunt? Alderson strikes me as a guy who gets a little brasher as his teams get better. 

An Innocent Man - Daniel Murphy 
"But I've been there and if I can survive
I can keep you alive
I'm not above going through it again
I'm not above being cool for a while
If you're cruel to me I'll understand" 

   The Mets seem to like, but not love, Daniel Murphy. Kind of like how every girl in high school felt about me. The Mets will go through it again, having him man second base. Murph will be cool about it for a while, hit .290-.310 without a lot of pop. He'll play adequate second base. And in the end, Alderson will probably be cruel to him at some point, dealing him away and asking Muno, Reynolds or Herrera to take over. 

Everybody Loves You Now - Juan Lagares 
"Baby all the lights are turned on you
Now you're in the center of the stage
Everything revolves on what you do
Ah, you are in your prime; you've come of age." 

   Juan burst on to the Citi scene last year playing arguably the best defensive center field Mets fans have ever seen. His non-dropped balls to dropped-jaws ratio was off the charts. He covered more distance in New York than the marathon winner. He robbed more guys than Butch and Sundance. He gunned down more dudes than Capone. He was great. This spring he looks thicker and extremely patient at the plate. The Mets have seen enough to give him a new deal. Look for the Lagares jersey/shirt to be among the Mets top sellers this season. It's spring... love is in the air and as we know, if it's in the air, Juan is going to catch it. 

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling - the fans 
"Bring back that loving’ feeling 
whoa, that loving’ feein’" 

   Billy broke into this in the middle of the show. The crowd loved it. 
This is not a shot at the Mets fans, more of a plea. This season has a chance to have a "Mets in '84" kind of vibe. Citi should be rocking on the nights Harvey and deGrom pitch and if the Mets are winning, most nights as the season progresses. This team is ready to start winning games. Mets fans have been waiting. I'm taking my 12-year old to opening day this year. It'll be the first time he's been at Citi when it's sold out. Hopefully there are a lot of nights this year when Citi rocks the way Shea Stadium used to. 

The Entertainer - Matt Harvey 
"I am the entertainer
The idol of my age
I make all kinds of money
When I go on the stage
Ah, you've seen me in the papers
I've been in the magazines..."

   He's back and damn if he doesn't look fantastic. One of the great mantles in sports is the New York City Studly Athlete Who Owns the Town mantle. Among the notables; Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Frank Gifford, Clyde Frazier, Joe Namath, Ron Dougay, Pat Cummings, Derek Jeter, Henrik Lundqvist... and now Matt Harvey. If there is an awesome oyster somewhere, all the other oysters say "The world is his Matt Harvey." He has looked amazing this spring, almost too good. You know it can't be that easy for him to pick up where he left off after missing all of 2014. But man if it isn't great to have him back, to have a "The Man" on the team. From Seaver to Gooden to Pedro (in 2005) the Mets have had their share of "Alter your plans because this guy is pitching tonight" starters. Harvey has that mantle now too. He is our entertainer and his return has all Mets fans entertaining thoughts of the playoffs. 

New York State of Mind - Michael Cuddyer 
"Been high in the Rockys under the evergreens. 
I know what I'm needin', and I don't want to waste more time. 
I'm in a New York state of mind." 

   This one was a layup. He left the Rockies to come to the Mets. He traded in the evergreens for the blue and orange. Many people thought the contract was a bad one. I liked it because it gave the Mets balance in the lineup, another veteran in the locker room and what the folks like to call a "professional hitter." So far Cuddyer has looked great, hitting .293 with 6 homers in the spring. He can handle the outfield and play first for Duda against tough lefties. Cuddyer has more value for the Mets in the next two seasons than the draft pick they gave up for him. And there's this... Cuddyer is a magician. He does tricks all the time. The Mets slogan in 1980 was "The Magic is Back!" In 1988 there was a sign atop Shea Stadium that read "The Magic is Real - Catch it!" And...AND... in center field they have a big top hat, like the one magicians use. So if that doesn't mean Cuddyer will be a good fit, then I don't know what does. 

Downeaster Alexa - Dan Warthen 
"I've got bills to pay and children who need clothes
I know there's fish out there but where God only knows
They say these waters aren't what they used to be
But I've got people back on land who count on me" 
   We are all counting on you, Dan. Our big fishes from little ponds need to be big fishes in a huge pond. You've done well so far, more success than failures. But with Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Syndergaard, Matz, Montero and others, you can be the leader of an amazing pitching staff for years to come. Besides, you look like you could be the Gorton's fisherman, so you get this song. 

Where’s the Orchestra - Danny Muno/Matt Reynolds/Steve Matz 
"I like the scenery 
Even though, I have absolutely no, idea at all,
What is being said, despite the dialogue..." 

  At some point this season of those guys could become significant players for the Mets. They'll get called up and find themselves in the middle of the Big Apple, with it's lights and sounds and distinct dialogues. Their heads will probably spin for a while, but hopefully they'll settle in and make an impact.  

Allentown - Jon Niese 
"For the promises our teachers gave
If we worked hard
If we behaved" 

   Niese is kind of the forgotten pitcher in the Mets rotation. Harvey and deGrom get the headlines, Colon gets the ridicule and Gee gets the "how do you handle the trade talk?" questions. Niese is a hard worker who may or may not have lashed out at Terry Collins last year. He got testy with the media last year during the Warthen/Dice-K controversy. He has a a little piss and vinegar in him, which I like. The Mets need him to be tough like a coal miner and not forgotten like coal mining towns like Allentown. I like Niese. I think he'll have a good season. As we know, it's hard to keep a good man down. 

Running On Ice - Terry Collins 
"There's a lot of tension in this town
I know it's building up inside of me
I've got all the symptoms and the side effects
Of city life anxiety
Sometimes I feel as though I'm running on ice
Paying the price too long
Kind of get the feeling that I'm running on ice"

   Billy claimed last night was the first time they ever performed this song live. Who knows if it's true but it's on my list of favorite unsung Billy Joel songs. 
   By all accounts, this season is put up or shut up time for Collins. Alderson admitted in the book that he was closer to firing Collins than he publicly let on. Collins has admitted if the team doesn't improve significantly this year, he should be replaced. Fan favorite Wally Backman has been waiting in the wings like Kanye at an awards show. 
   Collins has had a run of "he did well considering all the injuries" seasons. You only get to play that card so many times. Collins is running on ice and it' may be pretty thin. 

Movin’ Out - Dillon Gee 
"He's tradin' in his Chevy for a Cadillac"

   Dillon Gee is a Chevy. 40-34, 3.91 era, 103 starts in 5 seasons (is that all you get for your money?) Syndergaard, Matz, Montero. Those guys have potential to be Cadillac-ack-ack-ack-ack-acks. 
At some point this season Gee is will be movin' out. 

She’s Always a Woman - Jacob deGrom 
"She is frequently kind and she's suddenly cruel, 
She can do as she pleases, she's nobody's fool, 
But she can't be convicted, she's earned her degree, 
And the most she will do is throw shadows at you." 

  Part of the reason he gets this song is the long hair, but the rest is about the words. deGrom is an easy natured person, but his sinker is suddenly cruel. There were many times last season the Rookie of the Year did as he pleased and certainly was nobody's fool. He did in fact earn his degree and the most he will do is throw fastballs by you. My biggest concern with deGrom is that as the league sees him more his strikeout rate will drop and he'll induce more grounders, which could be dicey with a Flores/Murphy middle infield.  

Highway to Hell - Wilmer Flores 

"Living easy, lovin' free
Season ticket on a one-way ride
Asking nothing, leave me be
Taking everything in my stride
Don't need reason, don't need rhyme
Ain't nothing I would rather do
Going down, party time" 
  Joel introduced this one as a nice "holiday song for the Easter and Passover weekend" and then brought out a roadie named Chainsaw who absolutely crushed Highway to Hell, much to the delight of everyone. 
  Flores is living easy and lovin' free. He's been anointed the new shortstop with no reason to look over his shoulder. Anyone who has seen him play this spring can see he has improved defensively. He's not Rey Ordonez or Jose Reyes, but he's not Todd Hundley in left field either. The Mets have had defensively adequate guys play short over the years. Kevin Mitchell and Howard Johnson come to mind. Flores needs to be adequate in the field and better than that offensively to have true value for the Mets. 

We Didn’t Start the Fire - Familia, Carlyle, A Torres, Gilmartin, Black, C Torres, Parnell, Montero

"We didn't start the fire 
No we didn't light it 
But we tried to fight it..."

   As the 2014 season progressed, the bullpen became a strength. They moved on from Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde and started giving the ball to Familia, Mejia and Black. The Mets are opening the season with an 8-man pen that will likely get plenty of work. Harvey is on a 90-pitch limit in April, Gee spent part of his spring as a reliever and is still working back up to starting, Bartolo will be a mystery and after their first day off on April 8 (the day after the opener) they only have 1 day off until May 4th. That's 25 games in 26 days. It's likely the bullpen will get a lot of work. Terry Collins will be rattling off names like "Sean Gilmartin, Shake Shack, both Torres, Vic Black, 
Bobby Parnell, J Familia and Montero. We didn't start the fire.... "   
(***by the way, Familia is a red flag to me heading into the season. I try not to get worked up about spring training, but he couldn't get anyone out. Something to watch here in April.***)

The River of Dreams - Ruben Tejada 

"And I've been searching for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I would never lose
Something somebody stole"

   Ruben Tejada is standing on the banks of the River of Dreams and watching his career float on by. We know Alderson doesn't love him. Heck even back in 2012 I said he wasn't much more than a journeyman caliber player and what's worse, he's given no indication that he has a problem with that. As Alderson said in Steve Kettman's Baseball Maverick about Tejada in 2013, "There's been criticism of him that's he's not in good shape, he comes to camp late, he's not working out diligently in the off-season. Does his weight contribute to the injury (a strained quad)? Does the lack of conditioning? Does it contribute to a lack of range at short?... Gradually you come to the conclusion that Tejada is just a placeholder. He's not a long-term guy for us." 
   In the middle of the night... I go walking in my sleep. Through the desert of truth to the river so deep.

Scenes From an Italian Restaurant - Bartolo Colon 

"A bottle of red, a bottle of white
It all depends upon your appetite
I'll meet you any time you want
In our Italian Restaurant." 

   Too easy, I know.  
In Tom Glavine's age 41 season with the Mets he went 13-8, 4.45 era, 219 hits allowed, 64 walks and 89 Ks in 200 IP.  In Colon's age 41 season he went 15-13, 4.09 era, 218 hits, 30 walks and 151 Ks in 202 IP.  Advantage, Bart. Colon is getting the ball on opening day, but he is their 4th most important starter behind Harvey, deGrom and Niese. If Colon can give them 180-200 innings and keep the implosion starts to a minimum (he had 5 last year) he'll be a big hit at the Parkway Diner. 

Piano Man - David Wright 

"Son, can you play me a memory 
I'm not really sure how it goes 
But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete 
When I wore a younger man's clothes." 

   Joel's iconic song for the Mets iconic player. All Mets fans want Wright to play them a memory, turn back the clock to 2012 when he produced a line of .306, 21 HR. 93 rbi. Wright has looked healthy this spring, driving the ball with authority to right field, a long-time indicator that his swing is grooved and he is feeling good. With Duda, Cuddyer and Granderson in the lineup there is the potential for protection around Wright like he hasn't had in quite some time. Wright is the only guy on the team who has experienced the playoffs for the Mets. He knows how exciting the city and Citi can and could be if the team is good. He also knows his clock is ticking. I think that urgency will benefit him and his teammates. If Wright can give the Mets a .280, 20 HR, 90 rbi season then John at the bar, Paul the real estate novelist, Davy in the navy and every other Mets fan will be singing his praises. 

Uptown Girl - whoever Matt Harvey is dating this month. 

   This song was written by Joel about his relationships with Elle McPherson AND Christie Brinkley. If you don't know who those people are, Google them. Interesting how you can't spell Google without  the word Ogle, which is what you'll be doing at the pictures of McPherson and Brinkley and whatever girlfriend(s) of Harvey end up on Page 6 this season. 

It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me - Travis d'Arnaud  

"Don't waste your money on a new set of speakers
You get more mileage from a cheap pair of sneakers"

   That's what Travis is hoping to tell the Mets brass about their choice of him over Plawecki as their catcher. He may not be able to afford a slow start like last year (.217 avg in the first half). If the Mets feel like they can win or that Plawecki can handle the staff better than d'Arnaud, they may be willing to give Plawecki a chance. d'Arnaud was a good get in the R.A. Dickey trade but he has to show that he is capable of being the guy we saw in the second half of last season for a full season. Travis should know if the Mets are doing well but he is struggling, Alderson will likely say "Nowadays you can't be too sentimental."  

You May Be Right - Kirk Niuewenhuis 

"You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for
It's too late to fight
It's too late to change me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right."

   Kirk has always seemed to have a little crazy in him. It's probably the football player in him. His fantastic beard this spring helps too. What about the Mets? Were they a little crazy for keeping Kirk over den Dekker? Maybe. It may have been the Nats didn't want Kirk. Regardless, Nieuwenhuis put up a solid .482 slugging percentage in 130 plate appearances last season. He's their 4th outfielder but will likely get a lot of the important pinch-hit appearances throughout the season and in those spots, it just may be a lunatic the Mets are looking for. 
Only the Good Die Young - Zack Wheeler

"You know that only the good die young
Only the good die young
Only the good
Only the good die young
Only the good
Only the good die young" 

   Figuratively, of course. Wheeler's season died a few weeks ago when it was learned he needed Tommy John surgery. The Mets and their fans will have to wait another year-plus until they can have their dynamic duo of Harvey and Wheeler in the same rotation. So far they have been pitching for the Mets at the same time for a total of 17 starts. So Wheeler will have to wait and watch, just like Harvey did last year. 

   But what will he be watching? Will he be watching his mates play playoff baseball? 
   No more song and dance from me, it's time for the official prediction. 
   I've wrestled with this for weeks and admittedly, my passion may be creeping in here, but I'm going with 85 wins. That probably won't be enough to make the playoffs, but it will make September interesting. And it'll do this. It will help the Mets take a step toward taking back the city from the Yankees. A tall task to be sure, but even Billy Joel says it in a song, 

   "They said that Queens could stay, and blew the Bronx away"  

27 March, 2015

The Wrestlemania 31 Card

   Much has been made about the card for Wrestlemania this year, its poor booking, its misuse of some of their best performers (most notably Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose) and the return of The Undertaker who is now 50 years old and sporting a losing streak at the Showcase of the Immortals.
   Regardless, the card intrigues me. More accurately, the order of the card intrigues me. As a producer of television for 25 years I look at the slate of matches and wonder "what's the best way to put this show together." It's not exactly a Rubix cube, but it is a puzzle that has some interesting parts.
   I'm not the type of fan who devours all the articles and rumors on the internet. I don't second-guess the bookers or the wisdom of Vince McMahon. I just sit back, watch and decide if I'm entertained or not. So my thoughts are based on nothing more than what I think will work, how entertaining it will be and how the flow will maximize the value of the card. I've also enlisted the help of some of my wrestling fan friends, whose names should be familiar to you, and asked for their cards as well.
  Besides all of that, there's this, you can turn this into a pool! Assign X number of points for each match predicited correctly. Give additional points for correctly picking the winners. Deduct points per slot missed, i.e. if your pick for match #2 ends up being match #7, you lose 5 points. You can also award more or less points to certain spots (we all know what the last match will be). You could even do a pool within the pool and do a draw for the Battle Royal.

  Without further ado, the card predcitions.

Gus Ramsey:
  The lead-off match at 'Mania has to be great. It sets the tone for the whole night. It has to be Rickey Henderson, not Luis Polonia. This year's card has 5 matches that can fill that role.

Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
Sting vs Triple H
Randy Orton v Seth Rollins
John Cena v Rusev

   The ladder match and Orton v Rollins offer the same element, excitement. These matches should have the crowds on their feet throughout, featuring high-flying manuevers, violence and great athleticism.
   Cena v Rusev will get the crowd lathered up. Cena does that by himself but throw in the Rusev/Russian factor and a possible Russian Solider Entrance with dozens of  "Russian Soldiers" leading the Bulgarian Bear to the ring and Levi Stadium will be bursting at the seams.
   Similar to the ladder match and Rollins/Orton, Sting v HHH and Bray v 'Taker also offer the same element, sentiment. Imagine if the first thing we hear at 'Mania is the Undertaker's music! Even though The Streak is dead, The Dead Man still gets folks fired up. Same can be said for Sting. The  issue with both matches is the same as well; how good will they be? Not sure there's enough there in terms of match quality to put them in the leadoff spot.

  So with that, I'm going with Rollins v Orton. With Orton's recent absence this feud hasn't had too much build up, which is a good thing. It doesn't feel like we've been "doing this" match for months. It's still fresh. These guys are among the best performers the WWE has. There's no reason to think it won't be an A+ match. I'm giving the nod to Rollins.

2) Intercontinental Ladder Match. Speaking of The Undertaker,  Bryan, Ziggler and Ambrose are all buried in this match, but that won't stop them from performing at the highest level. Everyone hopes this match will steal the show and it probably will. Given the talent involved, it's a tough one to call. It seems like Vince and Co, are more inclined to deny Daniel Bryan's fans of the moments they hope for than they are to give in to what the WWE universe wants. Same can be said of Ziggler. With that in mind, I think the frustration continues for those fan bases and Ambrose wins the title.

3) AJ and Paige vs the Bellas. The most intriguing part of this to me is how long the match goes. Will Vince actually #GiveDivasAChance ? The match has potential to be excellent. Let's see if it's given the chance to be. A.J. and Paige get the win with A.J. using a GTS as her finisher.

4) Undertaker vs Wyatt. Bray's promo on the last Raw was outstanding. One of the best of the year. He may have to be that good with his wrestling to make this match memorable. Undertaker turned 50 this week. He hasn't been seen in a year. He might have more rust on him than the '68 Oldsmobile I drove to high school every day in 1985... and 'Taker has more miles on him. That said, he's not coming back to lose. Undertaker gets a W and begins a new streak that he'll take into Wrestlemania 32 at Jerry's House.

5)  Cena v Rusev. Someone said to me on Twitter recently that WWE was hiring a hundred people to come in as Russian soldiers for Rusev's entrance. The scene could be epic. Get Nikolai Volkov to lead the way and you've really got something. I would imagine the expectation is for Cena to get the W here and finally hand Rusev his first loss in front of the largest audience of the year. I think it's "best for business" if Rusev wins and keeps his aura of invincibilty going for a while longer. Rusev gets the duke and then receives a congratulatory phone call from Vladamir Putin in the locker room after the match.

6) Sting v Triple H. The trick to the Match before the Match is that it can't be so great that it steals the thunder and drains the crowd before the main event. No one really knows what Sting has in him. The crowd will be excited to see he him but the match itself likely won't be so over-the-top great that everyone in attendance will be gassed from cheering. It's kind of a sleeper hold match that will allow the crowd to regroup. Part of me thinks HHH will want to do this earlier so he can be backstage for most of the night, but the other part thinks they want to give Sting this slot to warrant his coming to WWE and making him feel special. They'll also accomplish that by giving Sting the W.

7) Reigns v Lesnar. The news that Lesnar has re-signed really makes this an interesting event. Before I would have thought it was 90/10 Reigns wins. Now I think it's 75/25 Brock wins. I know Brock said the money was too good to turn down, but I have to think keeping the belt was part of the deal. There's always the chance they still give it to Reigns and Rollins cashes in sometime in the near future setting up a triple-threat match down the road, but I still think Brock wins. More importantly, the biggest thing I need from this match is violence. This match needs to be a physical, mano y mano showdown where they just beat the living hell out of each other. Win or lose the best thing for Reigns right now is to go toe-to-toe, blow-for-blow with the Beast. He may not be a great talker but if he can prove to be a great fighter, that will do wonders for him going forward. Brock wins the match. Roman wins over (some) of the haters.

Here are my friends predictions:

Todd Grisham (ESPN anchor) @GrishamESPN:

1) Orton v Rollins  - Orton wins
2) Cena v Rusev - Rusev wins
3) Ladder Match - Bryan wins
4) Sting v HHH - Sting wins
5) Undertake v Wyatt - Undertaker wins
6) Divas match - Bella Twins
7) Lesnar v Reigns - Lesnar

Robert Flores (ESPN anchor) @RoFloESPN:

1) Orton v Rollins (Rollins)
2) Cena v Rusev (Cena)
3) Ladder match  (Bryan)
4) Divas match
5) Sting v HHH  (Sting)
6) Undertaker v Wyatt  (Taker)
7) Lesnar v Reigns  (Reigns)

Sean Grande (radio voice of the Celtics) @SeanGrandePBP:

1. Ladder Match
2. Cena-Rusev
3. Taker-Bray
4. Orton-Rollins 
5. Divas
6. Sting-HHH
7. Lesnar-Reigns

Sean offered these thoughts (which I love) on the main event:
"I don't know what they're going to do, but I've held fast on my finish for almost six months now.  Reigns wins, going heel when Heyman turns on Lesnar.  Now you've got a hot Reigns, with the belt and Heyman every week.  Faces lined up (Cena, Bryan, Orton, Ambrose, maybe Sting and eventually after keeping him at bay, Brock at SummerSlam) to feed to him.
It's similar to what they did with Rock in late '98...knowing he'd eventually be the face of the company, they gave hima  run on top as a heel because there were other faces fans would cheer." 

Ashoka Moore (ESPN producer) @AshokaESPN:  

1) Rollins v Orton (Orton)
2) Ladder match  (Bryan)
3) Divas match    (Bellas)
4) Cena v Rusev  (Cena)
5) Sting v HHH   (Sting)
6) Undertaker v Wyatt (Taker)
7) Brock v Reigns  (Brock) 

Sal Iocona (Jimmy Kimmel Live) @TheCousinSal:

1) Divas match  (Bellas)
2) Orton v Rollins (Rollins) 
3) Undertaker v Wyatt (Taker)
4) Sting v HHH (HHH by DQ)
5) Cena v Rusev  (Cena) 
6) Lesnar v Reigns (Lesnar) 
7) Ladder match  (Bryan) 

Michelle Beadle (SportsNation) @MichelleDBeadle: 

(***editors note: Michelle just sent in some thoughts, not the order***)
  "I think no way Lesnar loses. Reigns isn't ready yet. Heyman did allude to wanting Reigns in the podcast. And Reigns isn't great on the mic. Yet. Hmmmmmm. 
   Sting beats Triple H. Only to stick around for a bit. 
    Undertaker can't possible lose or that streak has just been cheapened beyond words. 
    Paige and AJ lose. 
    And I expect that damn Money in the Bank to be cashed in. I also predict I eat many calories and many more sweating during my cheering!!" 

     One last note, though I didn't include the Battle Royal since it was publicly moved to the pre-show, almost everyone is picking MizDow to win that. 
      Enjoy Wrestlemania, everyone! 


25 January, 2015

2015 Royal Rumble pool entrants

and here they are... Good luck!

1 - @clepacolypse
2 - @drewsmith23
3 - @jay_g_25
4 - @sbush80012
5 - @frazier_kyle
6 - @jsross1981
7 - Joseph Bainbridge
8 - jdjigga4885
9 - @al_bogdan
10 - @kreslovric
11 - @medallaguy
12 - @midevenings
13 - @VintheHam
14 - @KiwiDegenerate
15 - @unejakey
16 - @Day_MGD
17 - @alsnack
18 - @chicorican
19 - @Jaykay3354
20 - @JMess3035
21 - @jcassady
22 - @ernestopeimbert
23 - @wbdarcy
24 - @dj1241
25 - @tgiles17
26 - @mader5507
27 - @jralpert10 
28 - @woods4_three
29 -  @starofsavage

30 - @JawnFruman

22 January, 2015

A Few Good Ballboys

With help from folks on twitter, here's a quick look at today's Tom Brady press conference

Reporter: Col. Brady, if you ordered the footballs not be touched, why would they be in danger? Why would it be necessary to re-check the PSI?
Brady: Sometimes men take footballs into their own hands.
Reporter: No, sir. You made it clear just a moment ago that ballboys never take matters into their own hands. Your ballboys follow orders or PSI changes. So the footballs shouldn't have been in any danger at all, should they have, Col. Brady?
Brady: You snotty, little bastard.
Reporter: Colonel Brady, did you order the PSI?!

PR person: don't have to answer that question!

Brady: I'll answer the question. You want answers?

Reporter: I think I'm entitled!

Brady: You want answers?!

Reporter: I want the truth!
Brady: Son, we live in a world that has balls, and those balls have to be guarded by men with guns. Not the Aaron Hernandez kind of guns, guns like Gronk has. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Adam Schefter? You Chris Mortensen?
I have a greater responsibility and hotter wife than than you could possibly fathom. You weep for the Colts and you curse the Patriots. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That the Colts loss, while sloppy, probably saved Super Bowl ratings. And my existence, while beautiful and incomprehensibly charming to everyone, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at fantasy drafts, you want me on those balls, you need me on those balls. We use words like "Blue 90", "55 is the mike", "Omaha". We use these words as the backbone of a life spent quarterbacking. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to an audience who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the victories I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide them. I would rather you just said Go Patriots!, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a football and take a snap from center. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
Reporter: Did you order the PSI??
Brady: I did the job I...
Reporter: Did you order the PSI?*
Brady: You're Goddamn right I did!