Scott Norwood

Scott Norwood
Wide Right started it all.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dre's Inaugural Baseball Hall of Infamy Inductions

We've talked about it over the years, and now we're doin' it: Welcome to the first IMLD Baseball Hall of Infamy Inductions!  Jason and I always admit that baseball is about as important to our sports fandom as football is.  We've been watching baseball a little longer than football, even calling games during long summers over the phone as we watched on TV.  We've seen much throughout the years, and there are people, places, things and events that we remember and often relive.  Just like football, some things MLB would rather the general public not remember, creating a need for us to preserve in our Hall of Infamy.  And some things are just funny inside jokes between Jay and me.  So now, whether Jason has some inductions in common with me or not, here are my first five inductees into our spanking new Baseball Hall of Infamy:

  • Luis Salazar - IF - Chicago Cubs.  Infamous for:  Making me eat my words.  The first inductee has to be Luis Salazar, who was just a journeyman infielder for the Cubs in the '80s and '90s with a penchant for coming up large when you least expect it.  When watching games over the phone with Jason, we developed a little game trying to predict when a player was going to fail.  If someone came up who we thought would make an out, one of us would say: "If (player X) gets a hit, I'll (do something painful or embarrassing)."  And the bigger the spot, the higher the level of pain or embarrassment.  Well, Mr. Salazar came up with runners on one time, and I just knew he wasn't going to come through, so I exclaimed, "If Luis Salazar hits a home run, I' my nuts through a cheese grater!"  I had barely gotten that sentence out when WHAM!!  Salazar destroyed the ball and put me on the spot for a wager unfulfilled that Jason still reminds me every now and then.  His Wikipedia shows that, unfortunately, Salazar will probably be best remembered for being on the bad end of a Brian McCann line drive foul ball as an Atlanta Braves coach which resulted in the loss of his left eye.  But for me and Jas, he's responsible for the loss of my own body parts, if bets made when one is 13 or 14 can be ruled legally binding in court.
  • Neifi Perez - SS - Colorado Rockies.  Infamous for:  Costing me a lot of money and giving me a big headache.  Light-hitting infielder Neifi Perez didn't do a lot during his career, but one swing indirectly put me in position to lose a real wager, and as a result Perez is forever on my shit list.  The Chicago Cubs had not made the playoffs but twice in my lifetime when in 1998, I worked with a man named Jerome who was a major Cubbie fan.  He also liked to gamble, and he and I had many side bets on nightly sporting events.  But somehow he had such confidence in the Cubs that he bet me $200 straight up that they would make the playoffs that year.  This bet was made about halfway through the season, so it wasn't like they were a few games away from clinching a spot.  They had a long way to go and a lot of history against them.  I happily agreed to the wager.  Fast forward to Sept. 27, 1998, the last Sunday of the regular season.  The Cubs were tied with the San Francisco Giants for the one (and only back then) Wild Card spot, and I was leaving a bowling alley when I heard on my Walkman that the Cubs had just lost, giving the Giants the Wild Card if only they could beat the lowly Rockies.  The local Chicago sports station I was listening to was now nervously watching the San Fran-Colorado game and giving halfhearted play-by-play.  The game was tied 8-8 in the bottom of the 9th, and the Giants sent their closer, 100-MPH throwing Robb Nen, to keep the game in reach.  Leading off for Colorado was light-hitting Neifi Perez.  Similar to how Luis Salazar boned me right after I declared that I'd mutilate myself if he homered, I hadn't stopped chuckling at the thought of puny little Perez facing big strong Nen when the sportscasters excitedly started yelling and wowing.  Turned out little Neifi (and his at the time 13 career HRs) turned around big Robb and jacked a walkoff HR to send San Fran to a one-game playoff versus the Cubs at Wrigley Field the next night.  I didn't watch the game because I knew the Cubs were going to win and fuck me over, and they did.  And losing that unlikely bet to Jerome cost me even more because I was so angry that I upped the ante to $500 as we bet on who would make the better picks for the upcoming NFL season, which he also won.  All because of--grrrrr--Neifi Perez.
  • Aaron Rowand - OF - Philadelphia Phillies.  Infamous for:  Displaying his hustle and grind regardless of walls or common sense.  Being a White Sox fan, it would be very easy for me to induct guys from that 2005 World champion squad, just as it's very easy for me to find a hero from the '85 Bears to induct every chance I get.  So I won't put everyone from '05 in, but I have to put in Rowand, and it's not even for something he did with the Sox.  Yes, Rowand began working on his reputation for going hard in everything he did as a member of the Pale Hose, wiping out on a dirt bike in 2002 and breaking his shoulder blade not long after making the majors.  And he continued running into walls and playing recklessly throughout his White Sox career.  But what he did as a Phillie on May 11, 2006, makes him forever infamous as the perfect example of how not to help your team.  He ran down a catch with such abandon that he plowed face-first into the wall and broke his face.  I refer to it as the "kiss the wall" play because Rowand was going so damn fast that it looked like he intentionally ran up to the wall and jumped up to kiss it.  Seriously, look at this guy and tell me it doesn't appear that he was attempting to smooch the padded wall:

          Rowand may be fondly remembered as a go-all-out guy, but I'm inducting him as the               poster child for guys who turn their brains off when they play.  It may be how fans                   imagine they want their supermen to act, but it's just country dumb.
  • Dickie Thon - SS - Houston Astros.  Infamous for:  Leaking brains out on the field after a beaning.  So I'm researching my inductions last night when Jason text me that an Astros player named Colin Moran just had his face exploded and that it looked really nasty.  I saw slo-mo of the play, in which Moran managed to foul a ball off his eye socket, and I got nauseous.  I also had flashbacks of another Astro suffering an awful head injury, and I knew I had to induct the most famous beaning of our childhood.  We weren't around for the Tony Conigliaro drilling which destroyed his career and ultimately his life, but we were very young fans when Sunday night, April 8, 1984 occurred.  Thon, coming off an All-Star season and thought of as one of the better middle infielders in baseball, was hit in the head by the Mets' Mike Torrez.  Like Moran, Thon suffered a fracture, but Thon's was to his left orbital bone, and he didn't play again that season, nor did he ever return to his former greatness as a player.  He never approached the career-highs in HRs and RBIs from 1983 or in SBs from 1982.  I know every time I saw Thon play after that, I rooted for him to succeed, and he had a career after he returned, playing until 1993.  But at the dawn of sports highlight shows and repeat airings of gruesome injuries, the most infamous pitch off the dome of our lifetime belonged to poor Dickie Thon.
  • The Two-Way Pioneers - Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson, and Brian Jordan.  Infamous for:  Excelling in baseball and the NFL.  I'm inducting these three men as a trio because they embodied imagination and living without boundaries, and they inspired me as a young adult.  I don't think we will see guys trying to play in the NFL and MLB maybe ever again because there's so much money to be made if you become very good at one sport that no one wants to risk taking attention away from one by playing the other.  But the money wasn't stupid yet in the 1980s and '90s, and several tried, but these three were by far the most successful at performing our two favorite sports at the highest levels.  They adhere to our rule of not being a Hall of Famer in their field, although Neon Deion turned into an NFL Hall of Fame cornerback.  Some stats to show the versatility of these three awesome athletes:  Sanders swiped 186 stolen bases during his 9-year career including 38 in 1994 between the Braves and Reds, all while doing a little something I like to call becoming one of the most feared cover corners in the history of football.  Jackson is the only man to be named All-Pro in football and an All-Star in baseball, joining the 20-20 club in HRs and SBs twice for the Kansas City Royals in 1988 and '89 while steamrolling tacklers as a Raiders RB.  Jordan managed to lead the Atlanta Falcons in tackles and was named a Pro Bowl alternate as a DB in 1991, but walked away from football to begin a 15-year career in the major leagues, including an All-Star campaign in 1999, which saw him put up 23 HRs, 115 RBI, 13 SBs, and 100 runs scored.  These three are a throwback to when being a badass in two sports didn't have to result in a choice to quit one before reaching the top levels like Jeff Samardzija.  They did both, and they did it well, and as it turned out, they were a dying breed.
And there you have my Hall of Infamy Class of 2017 in baseball.  Tune in live to hear our induction show, or catch the podcast version on iTunes or your favorite podcast app.  And be sure to come back for Jay's football Hall of Infamy inductions in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Super Duper Bowl LI

Here it is, the last pick of this NFL season. Jason calls it 30-26 for his beloved Falcons, while I got the Patriots 38-21.

Fav Spread Dog Final Dre Jay
NE (16-2) 3    Atl (13-5) Houston, TX NE Atl
128.5 116.4

All of our thoughts and observations about the Big Game, describing how we think the game arrives at our predicted outcomes, can be heard here:

Super Duper Bowl LI

Friday, January 20, 2017

Conf. Finals '17

For these two games under our point system for our handicapping contest, there are four points each for the taking, and Jay being down 8.1 points to me has to go against me for at least one of the games in order to stay alive.  Jason has made his call for which game to disagree with me on Championship Sunday.  Despite making the drive to Atlanta to cheer on his Falcons, and despite picking Atlanta to win and cover on the podcast, he's going to back the Pack and hope that I choke on it.  He'd rather do that than take the Steelers over a Patriots team that just got beat around by Houston and still managed to cover a 15-point spread.  Can't argue with him on that call.  If Green Bay covers, it's all on the line for us in the Super Bowl, making me the world's biggest Matty Ice backer.  Here are our picks for the conference finals:

Fav Spread Dog Final Dre Jay
ATL (12-5) 5    GB (12-6) Atl GB
NE (15-2) 6    Pit (13-5) NE NE
120.5 112.4

All of our thoughts and observations, including Jason providing details of the spontaneous decision to go to the Packers-Falcons battle, can be heard here:

NFL Divisional Round '17 Recap + Conf. Finals 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Conf. Semis '17

Jason has decided to go against three of my four picks this week, so the Divisional Round is his Waterloo.  As he says on the podcast, though, these are all his original picks before he knew what mine were, and he decided not to switch any of his choices based on my selections.  So he's going down with his true feelings about each game, which is the honest way to go.  And if he loses all three picks, he will indeed go down and lose the season handicapping contest to me.  Here are our picks for the twin twi-night doubleheader weekend:

Fav Spread Dog Final Dre Jay
ATL (11-5) Sea (11-5-1) Atl Sea
Sat. Nite
NE (14-2) 15    Hou (10-7) Hou NE
DAL (13-3) GB (11-6) GB GB
Sun. Nite
KC (12-4) Pit (12-5) KC Pit
114.5 103.4

All of our thoughts and observations, including an aftershow discussing the deevolution of sports "debate," can be heard here:

NFL Wild Card '17 Recap + Divisional Round 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017

NFL Wild Card '17

Playoff time is here!  Jason threw a curve to start this year's playoff picks by having me go first thinking he would challenge a few of my selections, but he chose to stick to his convictions and agree with each and every pick.  I certainly wasn't expecting that, not with the big lead in playoff points with which I start.  And how did we accumulate playoff points, you may ask?  Here's the answer: Take our season percentages, multiply by 200, and that's the number of points we each start with.  From there, it's 2 points for each Wild Card win, 3 points in the Conference Semis, 4 points in the Conf. Finals, and a big 5 points for picking the Super Bowl correctly.  Jason starts with an extra point for picking the most locks this season, but I still have a large advantage:

               Dre                              Jay
Season  137-111-8                  112-126-8
                   .552                            .492
                   x200                             x200
                 =110.5                            =98.4
Lock Bonus+0             +1
110.5         99.4

And now our Wild Card picks, where we sing Kumbaya and agree on every game:

Fav Spread Dog Final Dre Jay
HOU (9-7) 4    Oak (12-4) Hou Hou
Sat. Nite
SEA (10-5-1) 8    Det (9-7) Sea Sea
PIT (11-5) 10½ Mia (10-6) Mia Mia
GB (10-6) 5    NYG (11-5) NY NY

All of our thoughts and observations, including our final score picks and X-factors, can be heard here:

NFL 2016 Week 17 Recap + Wild Card 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016-17 What I Learned About Each Team In One Sentence

Cowboys--Any personnel decisions and injuries can be overcome with a punishing and athletic offensive line setting the tone every single game.
Eagles--Carson Wentz and his cool demeanor will be disappointed every year until his front office provides him with weapons.
Giants--Stopping Odell Beckham is the key to beating the G-Men because the HOF quarterback isn't good enough to make the defense adjust.
Redskins--They will have to pay through the nose for Kirk Cousins whether he can take them past the Wild Card round or not.
Bears--There's turmoil in the front office and coaches' rooms, and Jay Cutler's time has passed, so the immediate future seems putrid.
Lions--Matt Stafford making a habit of late comebacks in his first year sans Megatron was a neat parlor trick to cover up the running and defensive deficiencies.
Packers--When Aaron Rodgers is on, they can still beat anybody.
Vikings--A sparkling start in a new QB era dissolved into mutiny and the start of a possible regime failure.
Falcons--One of the most explosive offenses in recent history can lead to greatness if the young and fast defense can complement it in the postseason.
Panthers--How legit was Cam Newton and the NFC champions if this is the effort they turn in the very next year?
Saints--Drew Brees and Sean Payton's offense keeps setting records, and the defense keeps sabotaging them.
Buccaneers--Sparks of excellence from Jameis Winston and the defense makes Tampa's future full of hope, but Mike Evans can't be the only playmaker on offense.
Cardinals--A run of top notch football appeared to have screeched to a halt even as David Johnson established himself as a game-changer.
Rams--Jeff Fisher made a joke of the franchise as much with his strange behavior and decisions as with his bad coaching.
49ers--Having two coaches two years in a row be assumed to be one-and-done while the season is in progress is unprecedented and evidence of an organization that needs a complete reboot.
Seahawks--They continue to be a fascinating observation in how to let a team police its own acts, but the offensive line looks to be the Achilles heel.
Bills--Firing Rex Ryan seemed inevitable, but it remains to be seen whether Buffalo will hire someone who will provide stability to make the Bills play less inconsistently.
Dolphins--The season looked to be headed for disappointment until Jay Ajayi literally took the ball and ran with it all the way to the playoffs, overcoming the uninspiring Ryan Tannehill.
Patriots--If the rest of the NFL didn't know they were in trouble before the season, starting 3-0 with Janeane Garofalo and Jack Brisket at QB sure sent a signal.
Jets--Beginning with dawdling before deciding on Ryan Fitzpatrick as QB, the season had ominous undertones increasing every week, and the fallout may begin the descent of coach Todd Bowles.
Ravens--They kept playing for coach John Harbaugh, but lack of skill players on offense/consistency from Joe Flacco spoiled a potential division crown.
Bengals--A late playoff push was ruined by A.J. Green's injury, providing an excuse for anyone wanting to grant one to Cincy and coach Marvin Lewis.
Browns--A stunning knack of finding a loss every week masked real potential in the run game and in playmaker Terrelle Pryor.
Steelers--Felt like the high-powered offense picked and chose its spots in order to conserve instead of always trying to light up the scoreboard, which may give Pittsburgh a playoff boost.
Texans--Godawful QB play from $72M man Brock Osweiler somehow couldn't keep Houston from the AFC North title again, showing how resilient the D was after losing J.J. Watt.
Colts--It's up to GM Ryan Grigson to put talent around Andrew Luck or else risk wasting his talents for the foreseeable future.
Jaguars--In some ways the saddest franchise in football because there's no apparent bright light on the horizon.
Titans--An aggressive and athletic run-blocking O-line set the pace, and Marcus Mariota showed potential as a game-managing QB with home run tendencies.
Broncos--Trevor Siemian flashed, mostly late in comeback mode, but having no run attack as balance doomed the defending champs.
Chiefs--Adding Tyreek Hill to an offense predicated on scheme gives Andy Reid's Chiefs a new dimension that makes them dangerous in the postseason.
Raiders--Gambling coach Jack Del Rio stole some early wins as his team and star QB Derek Carr gained confidence and identity, but Carr's broken leg halted dreams of a lengthy playoff run before they even began.
Chargers--If the ageless Philip Rivers can keep producing, and their defense led by the football robot Joey Bosa can keep improving, their new coach and city might have a playoff contender soon.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Week #17

We had a marathon two-hour live show this week and a little bit of an aftershow, so Jason and I gave you your money's worth of our free podcast.  And we were once again joined by a coin to help pick games for the unpredictable Week 17.  At least we got the coin to join with us a bunch of times towards the end, because it was looking like the coin wanted to go against our picks when we were agreeing, which is always a bad sign.  Here are the picks for Week 17:

Fav Spread Dog Final Dre Jay Coin
MIN (7-8) Chi (3-12) Chi Chi Min
PIT (10-5) 6    Cle (1-14) Cle Pit Pit
IND (7-8) Jack (3-12) Jack Ind Ind
PHI (6-9) Dal (13-2) Phi Dal Dal
Buf (7-8) NYJ (4-11) Buf NY Buf
CIN (5-9-1) 1    Bal (8-7) Bal Bal Bal
NE (13-2) MIA (10-5) Mia Mia NE
TB (8-7) 4    Car (6-9) TB TB TB
TENN (8-7) 3    Hou (9-6) Tenn Hou Hou
Sea (9-5-1) 10    SF (2-13) Sea Sea SF
ATL (10-5) 7    NO (7-8) NO NO NO
Ariz (6-8-1) LA (4-11) Ariz Ariz Ariz
DEN (8-7) Oak (12-3) Oak Den Oak
WASH (8-6-1) NYG (10-5) Wash Wash NY
KC (11-4) SD (5-10) KC KC KC
Sun. Nite
GB (9-6) 3    DET (9-6) Det Det GB
Week 16 7-9 9-7
0.438 0.563
Season 130-102-8 117-115-8
0.560 0.504
Lock Total 7 11

All of our thoughts and observations can be heard here:

NFL 2016 Week #17