Monday, November 16, 2009

You won't read or hear this anywhere else.

Everyone and their dog is shouting from the rooftops about how bad of a decision Bill Belichick made last night against the Colts. Just looking at the basics, it certainly does seem like a bad call. 4th and 2 from your 28 yard line, up by 6 points, and nearing the 2 minute mark. Obviously, the correct call is to punt the ball away, and play some D, right? Well, (at least for me) not really. Belichick made the call that put the game in his best player's hands. Aren't coaches supposed to do that? I thought that's the big cry from fans, give your playmaker the ball. That's what New England did. They put the game on Tom Brady's back, and if it weren't for a juggle, the call would have worked.

Now I'm not trying to say that Belichick made the right call, or a good call, but he made the decision that he felt gave his team the best opportunity to win. I'm sure by now you've read/heard to the point of being bored, how dumb of a call going for it on 4th down was. Only, it wasn't really that dumb. Lets say you punt the ball away, and force Peyton Manning to go 60-70 yards for the game winning score. Well, there was no sign what-so-ever, that the Pats defense was going to keep Manning out of the end zone. Zero chance of that happening, and Belichick knew it. So, instead of having Indy go 60-70 yards, take up the final 1:50, and score, he decided to give them a short field, presumably score quickly, and give Brady about a minute, to drive and set up a game winning field goal. And the difference between driving for a TD, and driving for a FG are huge. And you want to know what, it almost worked. And you want to know what, the "experts" are either too dumb to realize that, or too scarred of being labeled stupid to acknowledge the idea.

Go back to that game winning drive by Indy, and notice how close this idea came to materializing. Joseph Addai was within an ankle tackle at the 1 yard line from scoring a TD with 1:15 left. That's how close this game was from being a Belichick poor decision, into "Indy scored too quickly" argument. This play will be forgotten amongst all the same analysis you'll hear of this game for the next week, but that's what Belichick and Brady were counting on, and they came within a yard of seeing it happen. Instead, Indy had a timeout in their pocket, and knew they would have 3 chances from the 1, so they were able to bleed another minute off the clock.

Now, lets look at how "big" this game actually was, in the grand scheme of the 2009 NFL regular season. It wasn't that big folks. Yes, it was Indy and New England. Yes it was Brady and Manning, but this game didn't decide playoff berths, and it's unlikely that it would have decided home-field advantage. Perhaps the home-field advantage part played into Belichick's decision. He knew that the only way his team would get home-field is by knocking off the Colts. A Pats win would have put NE just one game behind Indy, with the tie-breaker. Even with the win, though, the Pats still needed help from some pretty mediocre teams, while knocking off one of the best in the NFC.

So lets say the Pats come away with the win, and are now just a game back from taking the AFC. Indy has reeling Baltimore on the road, @ Houston, Tennessee, Denver, @ Jacksonville, the Jets, then @ Buffalo. Do you see any losses? Maybe the Colts would split their next two, but that's about it. Maybe there's a blizzard in Buffalo to end the season. However, that's about as easy as it gets to end the season.

Now lets look at New England's schedule to end the season. Jets, @ New Orleans, @ Miami, Carolina, @ Buffalo, Jacksonville, @ Houston. We all see 1 more loss on the sched, most likely coming against NO. So Belichick sees an easy finish for Indy, and a little tougher road for his team. He decides, the only way to get back into the home-field hunt is by beating Indy, and getting themselves just 1 game away from being the best in the AFC. And what's the best way for that to happen? Put the ball into Brady's hands. It's not really that hard to understand his decision, when looking at the big picture.

The loss didn't drop New England from the playoffs. The Pats will likely win the AFC East, and host at least 1 playoff game. Plus, they are still in line for a first round bye, should they upset the Saints, hold serve from here on out, and see Cincinnati stumble down the stretch, as they have two more tough games, @ Minnesota, and @ San Diego. So what did the Pats lose last night, besides 1 football game? Not much, except an outside chance at home-field.

Too many people view football on a very narrow scale. When doing that, you get the over-reaction that's happening this morning. When you view it on a wider scale, you realize the call wasn't as terrible as you're being led to believe, and that nothing really changed because of it. Nothing. With the win Indy still has the best record in the AFC, and New England still has a shot for a first-round bye at best, and host a first-round game at worst. Funny, that's the exact same scenario had Belichick punted.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What KC needs to do.

Baseball fans in KC want a winner. It’s impossible to get tickets to opening day. They come out, they cheer for a team that hasn’t done anything close to a playoff run in year. Yet you still see fans coming out to the games.
Fans look at the past and what was. They want that again very badly. When Dayton Moore took over the GM job fans rejoiced. Moore was one of the young, up and coming GM’s in baseball. He came from one of the model franchises in baseball.

With a scouting background fans thought that Moore would be able to draft well and get good players in. Before Moore came the Royals farm system was ranked 19th in 04, 28th in 05 and 23rd in 06. Those are poor farm systems and for a mid market team like KC you need to draft and develop your own players because you’re not going to outbid the big spending teams like the Yankees, Sox, Mets and LA’s teams.

While the farm system has improved to the point that going into this year they were ranked 11th Moore hasn’t been able to improve the team. This year they were a sexy pick to make a run in the central that some people thought was weak. It was. Yet the Royals who had a great April 12-10 record they fell off then. Most of Moore’s moves in the offseason backfired on himself. So Dayton, here’s some “suggestions” I would make to you.

1. Hire Leo Mazzone as your roaming pitching instructor. Why this guy doesn’t have a job in MLB is crazy. He is the reason that the braves dominated the 90’s. He is probably the greatest pitching coach ever(Dave Duncan is a very close 2nd). Have Mazzone work with the pitchers in the minors to develop into big league pitchers.

2. Hire Kevin Towers and Paul DePodesta. Both were GM’s at one point but Moore needs guys he can respect and bounce idea’s off. While this might be hiring his replacement if the Royals don’t improve sometimes you have to take big gambles to succeed. Each of these guys bring different aspects to the Royals if hired. Towers is a more old school GM. His specialty is finding gems and turning those gems into great bullpen pitchers. Something that the Royals don’t have. He also has done everything that Moore is trying to do. He has taken a smaller market team to a WS. DePodesta is more of the new wave GM type. Looking at advance metrics and stats.

3. Don’t make stupid trades. Trading for Mike Jacobs not a good move. You traded for a guy who had OPS + of 106,100 and 108 in the last 3 years. (100 OPS + is considered average player). Nunez who you traded Jacobs had an ERA+ of 146! (100 ERA+ is considered an average player). I know that Danny Gutierrez had some brushes with the law but your managers and personal has to get a handle on the kid. You traded him(#7 on BA’s top 30 Royals prospects) for two players who weren’t anything in Texas’ system. In Arizona this fall I saw Danny G flash a plus plus fast ball and a plus curveball.

4. Don’t sign bullpen guys. I have 2 words for you, Kyle Farnsworth. Enough said.

5. Insert Kila Ka’Aihue as your first baseman. He gets on base and deserves a shot. Also you will save money playing him there and can give the DH position
to Butler.

6. When your evaluating free agents please do Royals fans everywhere a favor. Get guys who don’t make outs. Look for on base % guys. If at the plate guys don’t make outs usually they score runs. A 23 year old kid lead your team in OBP. Not good. Get players who will have an OBP of at least .350 or higher.

7. Send the MLB hitting instructor home with Alex Gordon for the offseason. He needs to work things out with his swing. The guy has a ton of talent and while Royal fans are down on him he will be turning 26 before of the start of next year. Most players hit their prime at age 26 and that usually goes til 31 so the best is years appear to be coming for Alex. Tell fans that he isn’t going to be the savior. That is a burden the kid doesn’t need. Also don’t move him around the infield. Put him at 3rd base and let him play. Remind the kid that it’s a simple game, see the ball hit the ball. Also if Gordon says he’s too big for this remind him that the hitting coach for the Yankees went home 3 years ago with A-Rod and completely redid his swing. He went on to have one of his greatest years ever. If the guy who is making the most in baseball can then you probably can too.

8. Finally, Dayton you and Trey need to apologize to the fans. Telling them that they don’t know what the “plan” is and pretty much implying that you’re smarter than them isn’t going to win you anything. Apologize, tell them you’re sorry and you will be more forthcoming in the future with requests by the media on interviews to talk about the team. I know you think your smarter than most fans and I’m sure you actually are but it doesn’t play well. When boy genius Theo Epstein did this to the Boston fans he got killed. He has 2 rings! He put the team together that killed the curse, he has a lot more good will built up with the Red Sox fans then you guys have. Yet he still got killed by the fans. If he can’t do it then no one can.

These are just some suggestions and I’m sure you’re thinking what free agents we should go after. I need a fans perspective! Just wait till my next blog post.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Problems With Parity

Have you looked at the 2009 NFL standings yet? If you’re having a rough day and need a good laugh, take a look at the records of the bottom feeders in the NFL this season. WAIT, WAIT, WAIT! You don’t live in Tampa Bay, do you? Detroit? St. Louis? What about Cleveland? Kansas City? Nashville? Well, if you do happen to call one of the aforementioned cities ‘home’, then you probably don’t need to look at the standings for one of two reasons. One, you won’t find the standings quite as humorous as someone in Indianapolis or New Orleans. Two, if you live in one of the cities listed above, you already KNOW your team’s record and you don’t need The Tundra to remind you again. The Bucs, Lions, Rams, Chiefs, Browns and Titans have a COMBINED FIVE WINS so far this season. Six teams. Five wins. If you think that is bad, consider this; there are eleven teams in the NFL right now that have five wins on their own. The NFL prides itself as a league with great ‘parity’. Could someone please e-mail me when and if they find ‘parity’ in the league this season?

While the bad teams continue to drop lower in their divisions, the great teams continue to steamroll towards division titles, home field advantage, first round byes and the Superbowl. Unfortunately, many of the bad teams this season had similar records last season. No fan of the NFL will soon forget what the Detroit Lions did in 2008. Sixteen games. Sixteen losses. The St. Louis Rams just won their first game in over a year against…wait for it…that’s right, the Detroit Lions! The Rams, Chiefs, Lions and Browns had a combined record of 8-56 last season. Now, here we sit about halfway through the 2009 season and those same four teams have won a total of four games. Even if you’re like me and are not so great at math, you can figure out where those teams are headed this season. If you’re having trouble dealing with your teams’ futility right now, remember, “There’s always next year”.

I’m sure the players, coaches, owners and fans of the NFL's lowliest teams this season are anxiously awaiting the end of this season, in an attempt to regroup and reformulate the game plan for 2010. With slow labor negotiations, however, commissioner Roger Godell seems to think that next season, the NFL may not have a salary cap. That sort of darkens the light at the end of the tunnel, eh? How much wider will the gap become between the Lords and the Peasants in the NFL next year? One thing is for sure; due to their claim of having ‘parity’, the NFL has now become a 'parody' of itself.

Friday, October 30, 2009


This court case changed it all. This case changed college football from just a nice little niche sport, with a solid regional following, into a nationwide obsession for people of all ages. Before this court case, football fans were treated to only a few dozen games a SEASON, now fans are treated to a few dozen a day. Imagine if you will, what life today would be like, if the NCAA was able to still have their hold on television broadcasting rights.

This Saturday, here are the games anyone with standard basic cable will get to enjoy. The first games beginning at 11am, the last ones getting over at 11pm:

Indiana at Iowa-ESPN (HD)
Purdue at Wisconsin-ESPN2 (HD)
Missouri at Colorado-FSN (HD)
California at Arizona State-ABC
Florida vs. Georgia-CBS (HD)
Kansas at Texas Tech-ABC
Miami at Wake Forest-ESPN2
Penn State at Northwestern-ESPN (HD)
Kansas State at Oklahoma-FSN (HD)
Notre Dame vs. Washington State (San Antonio)-NBC (HD)
South Carolina at Tennessee-ESPN (HD)
Texas at Oklahoma State-ABC
USC at Oregon-ESPN2

This doesn't even include the higher tier channels that cost extra(VS., CBS College Sports, Gameplan, etc). However, before the NCAA lost their control, you'd get maybe 3 of these games. More than likely the Notre Dame match up, probably the Cocktail Party, and since USC is the team everyone wants to emulate, you'd watch them once again. All the other games on TV this weekend, forget about it.

Essentially, what the NCAA was doing back in the 60's and 70's was setting themselves up like what the NFL does now. You'll get 2 or 3 games, and if those games suck, you'll just have to deal with it.

It's almost unbelievable what college football fans get to choose from every Saturday. I can remember Saturday's in college when I flip between 4 different games, taking place on 4 different channels, and be able to keep track of score, time, position on the field, and have a great time doing so. You can't do that with the NFL, NBA, or MLB, the leagues have become to bloated with money, that they can't have games competing against one another.

So this Saturday, or what ever Saturday you get free to watch a number of college football games, appreciate what you've got. Because it wasn't that long ago, when what you got wasn't much to get excited about.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome to The Tundra

Hello, and welcome to The Tundra! We would like to thank you for checking out our blog, and hope you'll come back for more. We plan on keeping this site pretty fresh and current. We don't plan on becoming a "breaking news" blog, but a site where we voice our opinions, concerns, predictions, outlooks, ideas, and thoughts mostly about sports. Sure, we'll dive into other relevant topics, but we'll try to keep those to a minimum. We'll fashion this blog, more like an editorial column, rather than a news column. We figure "The Tundra" won't compete with ESPN, Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, or the other big dogs in the Internet sports world when it comes to breaking news.

So, we hope you enjoy what you read, watch, and hear on this blog. This is something we've wanted to do for awhile, but never found the right time or place to do it. Plus, if you'd like to hear our voices, go to, and check us out.

Thanks, and enjoy
The Tundra