1) We're all set for new contestants when the next round of Pick Six starts, but get in touch if you want to be included six weeks after that. Spots are filling semi-fast.
2) A few people sent me Joe Posnanski's 32 Greatest Calls piece yesterday. He compiled a list of his favorite announcing moments in sports history, and holy shit is it good. Posnanski is already one of my favorite sportswriters, and he keeps knocking it out of the park. I absolutely loved this, and I bet you will too.
3) Courtesy of Spike, regarding the Cliff Lee-Sandy Koufax comparison:
Lee's postseason stats: 56 1/3 innings, 32 hits, 11 runs, 1 home run, 6 walks, 54 strikeouts
And now Koufax: 57 innings, 32 hits, 10 runs, 2 home runs, 11 walks, 61 strikeouts
Nothing to see here.
4) Here are the records of each playoff team remaining in games started by their top three starters, also from Spike (premise of this blog: Spike tells me things, I write them down):
Yankees: 59-25 (.702)
Rangers: 44-36 (.550)
Giants: 61-38 (.616)
Phillies: 50-28 (.641)
YOU'VE READ THE SECOND HAND. YOU'VE READ THE MINUTE HAND. YOU KNOW THE HOUR...
The Friday Pick Six is an original SCSD! game where six people make six predictions for six weeks. Along with their picks, they're allowed and encouraged to submit a 'sound-off' on any topic, sports or otherwise. When it's all done, the winner earns great honor among the people, while the two losers are exiled in shame and the three middle finishers go to purgatory, with the chance rescue their good name up to three times. To learn more about the rules, and about the current contestants, read more:
Let's take a look at the scores from Week Five:
1. Carrie - 8 Points
1. Tom - 5 Points
3. Shane - 5 Points
3. Jill - 4 Points
3. Spike - 3 Points
6. Nick - -2 Points
And now the updated overall standings:
1. Carrie - 24 Points
2. Tom - 21 Points
3. Jill - 20 Points
4. Shane - 18 Points
5. Spike - 13 Points
6. Nick - 9 Points
Carrie nailed both sweeps (Philly and the Yanks) without being tempted by the Rangers or Giants, and her keen foresight propelled her to a Week 5 lead. Tom had a nice showing of his own, while Jill stayed in contention with 4. Shane, Spike, and Nick have some work to do. Luckily, the Week Six docket still gives them a shot at glory. Let's check 'er out.
This week's docket:
1. Arkansas at Auburn, CFB
2. Iowa at Michigan, CFB
3. Ravens at Patriots, NFL
4. Chiefs at Texans, NFL
5. The combined score of the two Yankees-Rangers games, Friday and Saturday. If I believed the Yanks win both games 2-1, I'd say "4-2 Yankees." Closest gets two points, next two closest get 1.
6. THE PICK SIX DESPERATION OPTION! Here's the deal: You can pick any combination of NFL games, including those listed above. All you have to do is pick the outright winner. If you pick 1 game correctly, you get 2 points. Every game you add after that is worth 2 more points. So if you picked 5 games and got them all right, you get 10 points. BUT HERE'S THE DEAL: you have to get them ALL right. The penalty for having even one game wrong is a big, giant -5 to your name. That's an absolute -5, nullifying any points you scored above, even if you just select one game. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE THIS RISK! But it is available.
We begin with the lady we call "Leader":
This week has been a little taxing on my semi-feeble brain, so I had every intention of keeping my picks short and sweet this week. Herewith, the results of that effort:
1. I grew up in a small town in Northern California and the town about 25 miles down the road that we considered a big city (because it had fast food and box stores) is called Auburn. For maybe 15 years (yeah, that age will embarrass my family, but it's pretty close to accurate), I thought that the gigantic town of Auburn, California (population 13,000) also housed Auburn University (student population... 25,000). I was clearly mistaken. But I've always liked Auburn anyway. Both of 'em.
2. On a cross-country trip home from college in 2003, I spent a surprisingly lovely 24 hours in Iowa City and learned that the Pappajohn building at Iowa is named after the same guy that owns Papa John's. That may not actually be true, but I learned it there. And I liked it. Also, his name is John Pappajohn, which is completely ridiculous (parents! you have a choice in what you name your child - think slightly bigger than the name that is already contained in your last name), but since it isn't my name, delights me.
3. Having already atoned to Tom Brady for causing his car crash, I was going to take the Ravens here. But I just kind of feel bad when I don't root for the Patriots. Like, I've not really become much of a New Englander in my time here, but there are sort of some key tenets of the Puritanism at play here and one of them is definitely rooting for the Pats. I just want to belong. (But you can still tell that I don't, because doesn't it sound strange when I say "Pats"? It does to me.)
4. I am inclined to pick the Texans, because I like that their name tells it like it is ("We are Texans. Our mascot is... Texas.") and though I don't dally in it, I do appreciate simplicity. However. I choose to stick to building a mystery (which Kansas City are they IN?!) with the Chiefs.
5. Hmmm. The Rangers (now, there's a Texas team with some imagination. Or like... slightly more nuanced understanding of state history) are not going to win either game, but I think they're going to work Phil Hughes a little harder than they'll be able to ding up ol' CC. Let's say... Yankees 10-5.
6. I think I don't feel desperate enough to puzzle out this category. Abstain.
Here they are: Arkansas, Iowa, Ravens, Texans, Yanks 10-8, specials picks: Giants, Colts, Steelers.
There is something special about autumn Saturday mornings in my life. It is usually crisp where I live, foliage makes life look a bit more positive, coffee shops are abuzz with young folk from our local college, and the people my age are donning college sweatshirts, sweaters and hats as this is GAMEDAY! I love college football! There is something special about college football Saturday mornings. Anyone of my generation takes notice of how excited younger people get as their college teams ready for GAMEDAY. College towns are alive, especially on football Saturdays. Whether your team is playing home or on the road, the energy is there. If a home game, the vigor to get to the coffee shop increases, conversations involve fans, whether they be young (God bless 'em) or not so young (my stage in life). College football Saturdays are uniquely American. Small towns as well as cities come alive on autumn Saturday mornings. The whole great country becomes Mid America while private parades march downtown to gather with enthusiasm as MY TEAM prepares to compete in an Amercan tradition of COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMEDAY. There is a lot special about autumn Saturday mornings in our lives.
Arkansas at Auburn: Auburn. The bottom line is that the Tigers have been clutch this season, particularly late in the game. The Hogs, on the other hand, have been weak in the 4th quarter. They are also nicknamed the Hogs.
Iowa at Michigan: Iowa. Michigan’s offense averages 297 yards on the ground, while Iowa’s rushing defense has only given up an average of 63. I mean, one side has to crumble. But Iowa has allowed only four touchdowns all season. I am impressed.
Ravens at Patriots: Baltimore. It hasn’t been a great week for the Pats. It started with Randy Moss’s temper tantrum-induced trade and ended with Justin Bieber rapping about Tom Brady’s hair. Fun times all around. I expect a close one, but the Ravens will use their stingy defense to stop New England.
Chiefs at Texans: Texans. The run game is imperative to Houston’s success; the Giants stopped it last week, and the Texans imploded. Their defense kind of sucks, but I’ll take Schaub over Cassel, who has been rather disappointing this season.
Combined score of ALCS: 10-5. The Yankees need to win this series in six games, because facing the Sandy Koufax of this generation in a decisive Game 7 would be a nightmare. CC will out-pitch CJ and, generally speaking, Andy Pettitte makes the postseason his bitch.
Extra Credit for the Underachievers: This is my thinking: I am down by a sizable margin, in the middle of the pack, with only one week left. If I play it safe, I would have little chance to win. That is not necessarily a bad thing, because here in Shane's internet kingdom, I can continue on in Pick 6 Purgatory (which I would enjoy). Not participating here would also be the equivalent of those assholes who wager $0 in final Jeopardy. Super lame. Nevertheless, I should at least try to catch up with the leader. And if I am going for this, the reward should be higher than the risk. So I feel like I have to make at least three additional picks; the most I would lose is 5, while I can gain at least 6 points. Okay, I have talked myself into this. Go big or go home.
Giants over Lions: The Lions are terrible.
Bears over Seahawks: Chicago’s defense is straight-up scary.
Jets over Broncos: I picked against them all season. If they screw me now, we are over Rex Ryan. Forever.
Steelers over Browns: The Rapist returns and scores another conquest.
Arkansas in a thriller, Michigan in a laugher, Patriots, Texans, 12-4 Yankees, and: Bears, Packers, Giants, Falcons, Steelers, Saints, Jets, Colts.
It's the final week of Pick Six, and guess what? As of 8:17am Friday morning, three people have not submitted! It's time for a public shaming.
1) Spike - I realize you're young and heavily involved in the Seattle theater scene. I realize you have a vibrant social life and a girlfriend. But seriously, man, you have to make Pick Six your #1 priority. You have to. I don't think you understand what a huge opportunity this is for you. I've seen too many bright young minds ignore great chances like this, and go on to die. In Vietnam. Your last thought will be "man, Vietnam is a hot motherfucker. I wish I'd used my time more wisely back home, submitting my Pick Six docket on time, and OH SHIT THAT SHRUB IS ACTUALLY A DUDE, WHAT'S HE HOLDING IS THAT A GU- (EDITOR'S NOTE: Spike submitted his picks at 10:14am.)
2) Tom (stepfather) - YOU ARE RETIRED. You have QUITE LITERALLY nothing else to do all day. You couldn't submit your Pick Six somewhere between your daily routine of staring at the walls and wandering aimlessly into the kitchen before forgetting what you came for? Unbelievable. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Tom submitted his picks at 8:56am.)
3) Nick - Look, let's be honest. Aside from that very awesome poem last week, Nick has given the Pick Six the middle finger. He's in my program here at UNC, and unlike me he's been concentrating on school work and other things that might land him a real job someday. They still won't, because in the latest business report there are actually a negative number of jobs left in journalism (it seems mathematically impossible, I know), but he's trying. I say God bless. Also, I'm docking him all his points, relegating his ass to the nether regions of the internet, and making sure he'll never so much as fucking sniff the Pick Six again. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Nick submitted his picks at 8:36am.)
And who submitted on time, like always? Jill and Carrie. The girls. Which just shows, once again, that girls are so much more reliable than dudes. Tried and fucking true. You know what? From now on, Pick Six is an all-girls institution. Done.
For a long time in my life, I never really had actual female friends. I'd have girlfriends, mind you, but after I was an asshole enough times we would not continue to be friendly. And I never made independent female friends. In the last few years of my life, that has changed, and thank God. Women are a national treasure. A lot of my guy friends, especially the sports inclined ones, say they don't want daughters. Not me. Give me 50 girls. They may be pains for like 5 years while they're teenagers, but I know they'll eventually get their shit together, and I know they'll take care of me when I'm old and doddering.
But sons? I know damn well my sons will find an excuse to abandon me cold. When my own parents are drooling geriatrics, you can bet they'll regret the hell out of my Y chromosome. I'll call them once a month for about five minutes, and it'll be really, really hard even to get myself to do that. Also, I have two brothers, and while I love them dearly, I would have murdered them at several different points during their first 18 years (ongoing) if that kind of thing were allowed. Or at least dropped them off by the riverside in fucking Mississippi, or something. I want my kids to go daughter, son, daughter, son, daughter (Note: I do not really want 5 kids). That way the sons may not be complete assholes. Also, you never want to have a son as the youngest of a family. One of the most amazing statistical truths is that in America, there has never been a guy who was the youngest of all his siblings who wasn't a complete and utter fuck-up. Science proved it.
Last thing, unrelated: St. John's just hired Gene Keady to be their head basketball coach. Perfect. If there's anyone who can relate to inner-city kids and build up a pipeline from the mean streets of NYC, it's this guy. I love St. John's. (EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm an idiot. Gene Keady was hired to be an advisor. Steve Lavin is the head coach.)
Arkansas, iowa, ravens, texans, 15, steelers giants chargers
Auburn, Michigan, Patriots, Chiefs.
Following NFL games:
Bears, Steelers, Giants, Patriots, Titans, Jets, Dolphins.
That'll do it for today. I don't need to tell y'all that the ALCS starts tonight. Let's go Yankees!!!!