Thursday, September 14, 2006

Props to GMJ

The Ranger player that I am most pleased with this summer, did something pretty cool last night. At least that is what I have read. Sadly, I have turned my back on nightly Rangers viewing since about August 20th or so. Football is my life right now, but let’s all spend a moment offering Gary Matthews our appreciation.

GMJ with a historic night

On Wednesday, he even added the freakish, sideshow equivalent by becoming the third Ranger to hit for the cycle in an 11-3 bashing of Detroit. The win also featured another strong performance by Kevin Millwood, who improved to 15-10 in his first year as a Ranger.

But cycles are even rarer than quality outings from Rangers pitchers. Matthews accomplished his with sleek elegance: He got each hit in progression, from single to homer. He became the 13th player in history to pull off that orderly superfecta; Brad Wilkerson – yes, that Brad Wilkerson – was the last one in 2003.
And this is something not even his dad, former major leaguer Gary Matthews, can discuss with him. Sarge never accomplished it.

"This is definitely one thing I've got on him," Matthews said.

But the more important thing to Matthews than family bragging rights is carving out his niche as a productive player. He's taken multiple steps in that direction this season as he heads into free agency for the first time in his career.

So, while the cycle was a big deal – hey, Matthews got a beer shower in the clubhouse and somebody somewhere found an old Big Wheel tricycle to place in front of his locker – it was perhaps more important to Matthews that this be more like just another night.

"It's important for me to finish strong," said Matthews, whose averaged had fallen 20 points since the All-Star break, to .307 Wednesday morning. "I feel like I've really gotten a better idea of what I need to do as a leadoff hitter in the second half. Sometimes you get too results-oriented, and I just want to have good at-bats."

hitting for the cycle research …Here is the list of all 13 ML players to hit the natural cycle:

September 13, 2006 Gary Matthews, Jr. Texas

June 24, 2003 Brad Wilkerson Montreal

April 27, 2000 Jose Valentin Chicago (AL)

May 18, 1996 John Mabry St. Louis

September 15, 1979 Bob Watson (2) Boston

April 22, 1976 Tim Foli Montreal

July 17, 1966 Billy Williams Chicago (NL)

June 16, 1964 Ken Boyer (2) St. Louis

July 3, 1943 Leon Culberson Boston (AL)

May 27, 1939 Charlie Gehringer Detroit

June 3, 1932 Tony Lazzeri New York (AL)

September 26, 1926 Bob Fothergill Detroit

October 6, 1910 Bill Collins Boston (NL)

Is the Cowboys game a must win Sunday Night?

The prospect of starting 0-2 has even led some Cowboys to label it a must-win affair.

"For the most part, it is," cornerback Anthony Henry said. "All of them are, but for it to be a division game against a rival, it's a must-win for us."

Not really, Parcells said.

"I don't think it's a season-making or season-breaking game," Parcells said. "But I know everybody would like to have it be that."

The Cowboys' schedule doesn't appear to favor a quick turnaround should the team start 0-2. After next week's bye, Dallas plays five of its next seven games on the road, a stretch that includes outings against division foes Philadelphia (Oct. 8), the New York Giants (Oct. 23) and Washington (Nov. 5).

Still, Parcells doesn't seem worried. Perhaps he remembers that the 2004 Green Bay Packers started 1-4 before winning nine of their last 11 games en route to their third-straight NFC North title.

"Everybody else has kind of got the hearses out," Parcells said. "I don't think there's any funeral taking place any time soon."

Receiver Terrell Owens agreed.

"We are going to rebound from this," Owens said, referring to the 24-17 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday. "I have tons of confidence in the defense and the offense. We will get this thing turned around."

This weekend in College football, we have the following games of interest:

Oklahoma at Oregon, ABC, 2:30 – very interested – Sooner is in dogfight
Texas Tech at TCU, OLN, 4:30 - very interested
Texas vs. Rice, ESPN 2, 5 - not interested much
Nebraska at USC, ABC, 7 - expecting USC route
Texas A&M vs Army, ESPN 2, 8:15 – Finally Aggie gets on TV!

Raider looking to shake Road reputation

Do the math and you'll notice that the Red Raiders were only 2-3 when playing away from home last season. Included was a 24-17 loss at Oklahoma State that provided the Cowboys their lone Big 12 triumph.

Through the years, Leach's teams have dropped at least two road games every season. The yearly average for losses outside of Lubbock is 3.3.

To reach this year's Big 12 Championship Game, No. 24 Tech (2-0) must break that habit. An upset of No. 8 Texas in Lubbock will mean nothing in the long run if it's trumped by multiple losses at places such as Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Colorado and Iowa State.

Often, road success is more of a mental than a physical challenge. The Red Raiders have a chance Saturday to alter their thinking in such situations, to begin viewing themselves as road warriors instead of road worriers.

Tech's psyche will be tested in Fort Worth against No. 20 TCU (2-0), the team with college football's longest active winning streak. Win that one, and the Raiders will have steeled themselves in consecutive weeks with road victories over 2005 bowl teams.

Lose it, and the same questions will surface when the going gets tough in Norman, Okla., or Ames, Iowa.

Tech linebacker Brock Stratton said the trip to Cowtown "will only make us stronger" in the long run. Defenders, he said, are poised to correct the mistakes that contributed to UT-El Paso's 495 total yards in Tech's 38-35 overtime victory over the Miners in El Paso.

"I think we grew as a defense as far as learning to face adversity and learning how to go into a hostile environment...and overcome it and come out with a win," Stratton said. "I don't think we are concerned about [a second consecutive road trip]."

Leach is. Ideally, he said, all of Tech's nonconference games "should be at our place." He understands the ramifications of this road trip and what either result, victory or loss, could mean for games down the line.

Aggie concerned with relationship with Knight

Grant Castleberry, A&M's head Yell Leader, says using "Black Knights" is the "most appropriate thing" to say.

He cited a basketball game in 2005 in which A&M played Saint Joseph's. Rather than urge the Aggies to "beat the hell" out of a saint, Yell Leaders used the opponent's nickname — the Hawks — as the subject of the yell.

"We thought that saying 'West Point' was kind of along the same lines as saying beat the hell out of Army," Castleberry said. "We wanted to make a distinction. The military backgrounds of both of our schools is cool. This game is going to be special."

Nick LaMantia, a walk-on from Mission who represents A&M's famed 12th Man on the kickoff team, said the Aggies hold great reverence for Army — normally.
"On the football field, an opponent is an opponent," LaMantia said. "On the field, we want to beat the hell out of whomever we play. Off the field, we love the Army. Both schools stress leadership, discipline, unity and togetherness. Army has it, and I know we have it. In a lot of ways, we're much the same."

I like Aggie. I really do. But, I also believe that Aggie spends way too much time on things sort of relating to football (names on jersey, yells, scoreboard size, ribbon boards) rather than football itself. These stories are once a week, I swear, and none have anything to do with football proper.

At the risk of too much baseball news, Houston targets Carlos Lee

With up to $12 million to work with on the free-agent market, it's certain the Astros will make a strong run at free-agent-to-be Carlos Lee, the former Brewers outfielder now toiling for the Rangers. He'll be viewed as the power-hitting centerpiece the club has long coveted, especially with Minute Maid's short left-field porch, and would raise the offensive dynamic of the entire lineup.

Lee, who doubtless soothed the Astros' brass by recently deciding against switching to intractable agent Scott Boras, has a ranch near Houston and is thought to be very amenable to a move south. The Rangers and Padres, among others, also will be among the suitors.

Francisco Liriano hurt….badly …my favorite new player of 2006 could be looking at Tommy John. Not good.

Liriano threw three pitches to the Oakland Athletics in the third inning, and the pain was shooting down his forearm. He bent over as manager Ron Gardenhire and trainer Dave Pruemer rushed onto the field.

"I felt a little pop, and then it really hurt," Liriano said.

Liriano soon walked off the field for the last time this season, because the elbow pain that knocked him out of the rotation for six weeks returned.

The Twins lost 1-0 to Oakland, ending a five-game winning streak, which doesn't help their playoff pursuit.

Losing Liriano is worse. He was expected to join staff ace Johan Santana and give
the Twins two dominant lefties down the stretch.

"I was feeling good," Liriano said. "I didn't feel anything before the game. I just threw that one pitch, and then I felt something pretty bad."

Liriano remained with Twins officials to await the results of an MRI exam, while the rest of the team took off for a four-game series in Cleveland. When pitchers have elbow problems -- especially popping -- the worst-case scenario is ligament damage. And that can require a year of recovery.

"How many times did he tell you guys and tell me, 'It feels like I've got a new arm, it feels so good?' " Anderson said. "He threw two great innings. Everything was going.

"We'll just wait and see what the tests are."

Liriano, 22, finished the season with a 12-3 record and 2.16 ERA.

Brent Musburger drinking game ….

Snoop is clearly a girl …I guess…

Bizarre story of the day: Tonya and Nancy 2

In a scenario reminiscent of Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan, the backup punter at Northern Colorado has been accused of stabbing his rival in the leg -- his kicking leg.

Mitch Cozad, a sophomore from Wheatland, Wyo., allegedly attacked Rafael Mendoza in a parking lot this week. Mendoza was treated and released at a Greeley hospital, but it wasn't clear when he would return.

Cozad was arrested on a charge of second-degree assault and freed Wednesday on a $30,000 bond.

The saga conjured up images of the 1994 rivalry between figure skaters Harding and Kerrigan. Harding was banned from the sport for life after her former husband, Jeff Gillooly, hired a hit man to smack Kerrigan with a baton.

"I guess the only identified motive [in the attack on Mendoza] at this point in time is the competition for that position," Evans police Lt. Gary Kessler said.
Head coach Scott Downing said he wasn't so sure.

Cozad and Mendoza were competitive, he said, but no more than players at other positions.

"No different than starting quarterback or starting right tackle," he said. "Everyone was held accountable to the same level."

Asked if there was any jealousy between the two players, he said, "I have no idea. That would all be conjecture."

Cozad was suspended from the university and the team and was evicted from his dorm room, university officials said. He had no listed phone number in Greeley, and a phone message left at his Wyoming address was not immediately returned.

David Thompson scares me

Taped Cat

Halen88 sends another message to Dreadskin


Anonymous said...

No mention of Gado?

Brad said...

I thought the Rangers were all dead....

TheDude said...

The Wire re-upped for Season 5.


Better than The Shield, better than The Sopranos.

Kipster198 said...

"Leach is. Ideally, he said, all of Tech's nonconference games "should be at our place.""

Excuse me????? Hey, Leach.... You're the one who scheduled a home-and-home series with TCU. So, maybe you should reconsider all non-conference games be played in Lubbock. Then again, it does make it easier to get to the 7-9 win plateau to keep your job for another year.

He reminds me so much of Nellie-ball. All offense... No defense... Equals wild-ass college football. Certainly fun to watch, with lots of cool stats, but no championships.

Anonymous said...

woh! slow down there, TheDude.

i've seen the Wire and, uh,....not that great, Buddy!

all your base are belong to Gandolfini.........


Fake Sturm said...

Another tired hat aggy non-story but yet you reference it on your blog 2 days in a row. I mean we are talking about what chants the dude cheerleaders are gonna yell. Who gives an F?

Seriously Bob....there is no way you really like aggy, right? We all know you just have to say that for ratings.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please tell Aggie that they aren't part of the military?

Anonymous said...

now you've done it. All the glorified ROTC boys will be up in arms but....attn: all Aggies - somewhere, someone is stepping on the grass. Beat the hell outta the grassstepperonners.

gay like your yell leaders.

ST3 said...

Easy on the TT "all offense, no defense" talk. They had a bad game against UTEP, but last year they were 2nd in both scoring defense and pass defense (behind Texas).
Their rush defense did suck (10th), but their overall defense still ranked 5th in the conference.
Not awesome or anything, but hardly "Nellie-ball."

Stats courtesy

Fake Gribble said...

Whoever taped that cat should be bitch-slapped. Seriously.

RobL said...

As much as I like Leach, I totally agree that Tech football will be known as nothing but a novelty until they actually win at least a conference championship.

TCU will be a good test to see where they stand, but I still don't see them winning the Big 12 this year. Texas isn't going to just disappear, and that trip to Norman won't be easy either. They are very entertaining to watch though...

AttnyDan said...

I'm just going to watch and enjoy this weekend.

It's a little early to get too upset if Tech loses, or excited it Tech wins. I think we have to go to Kyle Field AND Norman this year, and the best team in the Conference is still UT.

I would love to get emotionally invested this early, but I think it's a waste of time.

Celina Sux

Anonymous said...

Is anybody else like me wondering what is really so great about hitting the cycle??? did GMJ really go up to bat his 2nd time and say gee i'd really like to hit a double now. And on his 3rd at bat was he really looking to hit a triple???? i mean c'mon. It's one of those rare feats and it's kind of neat but i don't think it deserves alot of hoopla!!

Anonymous said...

I like Badger. I really do. Bitter tu fans. Love you.

Formerly Anonymous SOONER said...

I have to agree with RobL. Tech may have something of a test at TCU but they will have there hands full at OU's house.

Saturdays game against Oregon may be a hurdle but I think the Sooners will surprise some people. Thompson will have to prove in this game that he can play QB in a big time game, and the defense will have to show why they are considered one of the best. This will be the game that gets the Sooners back into everybodys radar.

Good luck to the rest of the Big 12 South this weekend too. The conference is more fun when everybody plays good.

Jay Clendenin said...

is the black knight story diverting "aggie" away from football or something? i don't think anyone is preoccupying themselves with the story about the yells.

regardless...i'd prefer hearing about the yell being changed instead of reading about (and defending) our dumbass players getting arrested again.

Gang of Idiots said...


You mention aggie but don't even bring up:


Biggest september weekend of football in a long time!

cracker1743 said...

Yeah, kinda surprised Bob got drawn offsides by A&M yell leaders the morning after his Liberty U. man crush was traded to the Texans. Gado was in the middle of an interview in the Packers locker room when it happened. He'd just been asked whether the Packers could recover from a 26-0 defeat by the Chicago Bears in their season opener at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

"The season's not over yet," Gado said. "It's just beginning. And we got off on the wrong foot, and I think it's just foolhardy to just go ahead and throw the whole season out."

An assistant coach then told Gado he'd been traded to Houston. I think Gado's response was, "Welp, you can pretty much toss my season out the window!"

That is, unless Gado can play bothing running back AND o-line.

Beat the hell outta Jerry Falwell!

cracker1743 said...

"both" running back and o-line.

Damn typist.

P1 Eric in McKinney said...

Formerly Anonymous SOONER, good post today. Even keeled and level headed with some good points. I want to see more of this out of you.

Nolan Ryan said...

True Anon. No-hitters are dumb too. Unless a pitcher goes out every night thinking, I'm going to pitch a no hitter, chances are he won't pitch one on a night he actually says he's going to. And if he does say it, I want him to write it in blood and tape it to the door of the locker room of the opposing team so there will be no doubt what a stud he is. Then he needs to deliver. If a man can do that, then I'll be impressed. But you're right, until someone does that, the feat isn't that great.

Anonymous said...

at this point a non-michael young-ranger hitting for the cycle is extremely impressive because it means they actually got 4 hits in a game

Brandon at GSR said...

I like Oregon. I really do. But they spend far way too much time on things sort of relating to football(which combination of socks, shorts, and jerseys to wear) rather than football itself.

Kipster198 said...

Eric in McKinney-- Couldn't agree more.

Nice job, Formerly Anonymous SOONER.....

Anonymous said...


Bob Loblaw said...

Good point Brandon, Oregon has taken that stupid bit way to far.
Haven't seen WIRE, will have to check it out.
And I'm liking the offense from Sooner the more i see it. Just having Peterson on the field opens up the passing game quite a bit. Watch out for the single coverage on those OU wide outs.

RC said...

I hate to say it as a fan of the Big 12, but TCU and Oregon will both win at home this weekend. Book it.

Andy Douthitt said...

Good job Eric in McKinney...

Way to give the business to our Sooner brethren.

OU 28
Oregon 27

Nailbitter but Adrian Peterson will be the difference maker.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Only in an alternative universe can any television show be considered better than The Shield.

Fake Sturm said...

Real funny Mike Leach read. He had to have been drunk.

Sam said...

hey, i know you're regional and all, but what about michigan/notre dame and auburn/lsu? seems like those games might garner a wee bit of interest...

cracker1743 said...

Sam, he's not so regional that he'd miss THIS story:

"Breasts Sold Separately"

Bob's approved bloggers are some naughty folks.

Anonymous said...

I would rather talk about this than players from tu getting arrested with a gun and something else in their car.

Hey, nice game t-sippers, what a dynasty you had!

Gig'em Aggies!

Anonymous said...

Yep, that Texas run is nothing like the Championship run aggie had....

Robert Bentley said...

Who needs championships when you've got jerseys with no names on the back?

Mumm said...

If they had any pride or self resepct, they'd take the name off the front.

Anonymous said...

f aggy

Anonymous said...

f horn

Anonymous said...

f whorn

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:34 and Anon 8:35 are probably the same aggy. A minute after his first post, he thought "whorn" would be more clever. Poor aggy.

Anonymous said...

you're right anon 9:30....pooooooor aggy

Jay Clendenin said...

run out of homer-isms 'whorn'?

sorry. let the bob stoops clock start ticking again until you start calling for mack brown's head.

and yes...i'll repost this tomorrow.