[Not only are a fans' hopes wide open for a new season, and a new chance for success, but Spring rings in the end of February, AKA The Worst Sports Month on the Calendar, and for those caught in less-than-tropical climes, March gives birth to dreams of sunshine and warmth. In order to celebrate properly, I've invited fellow Itch correspondent Red Hook Raider to a friendly debate: Who will win a championship (mythical or not) first, the Yankees or Seminoles? We'll be debating all the relevant topics, such as which ghosts of championships past will see significant playing time this season, or if the overall hotness quotient of fans can be converted into wins, and over the next week or so, I'll be posting installments of our discussion. Enjoy.]
All Ghosts of Championships Past aside, what about this year’s team (and/or their competition) makes you think they can win? And who’s the hottest fan your team boasts, and why will he/she have an impact
Question 1: Honestly, this Noles is team is probably a year away from big things. Although they return a bevy of starters from last season, they face a truly brutal schedule: After kicking off early at Clemson on Labor Day (Bowden Bowl MCMDVXLII), they travel to Colorado, play Alabama in Jacksonville, and at Wake Forest before getting Miami at home. Back to back road games against BC and the heretofore ducked ACC-foe Virginia Tech, Maryland at home, then at the Swamp. Overall there are 2 gimmes (UAB and Duke) and 6 teams FSU lost to last season, 4 of those being road games. Breaking in a new offense will be tough, especially on the offensive line, where FSU has had problems for a half-decade now. The QB position is also up for grabs in the spring, with Jimbo!! pitting Weatherford, Lee and Young Gun D’Vontrey Richardson against each other. (Quick note on Richardson – he is lighting it up right now on the Noles baseball team, playing centerfield. 3 of the greatest FSU players ever, Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward, and Chris Weinke were all 2-sport stars. Just sayin’.) The Noles are also replacing 2 all-conference linebackers in Buster Davis and Lawrence Timmons, but defense has never been the problem- especially at LB were they’ve been sensational ever since Kevin Steele arrived (though he’s now gone to ‘Bama). So there’s just enough up in the air, combined with the gauntlet of a schedule to keep this team away for 1 year. After that, well, that’s for next Spring.
Question 2:The easy answer would be Jenn Sterger and her super squad of leather-bound silicone posing as “cow-girls”. After all, they got a twitch out of Brent Musberger, and considering the way the former Strong Man Competition announcer is pickled, that’s quite a feat. But here I’m going to have to go with the legendary tag team of Burt Reynolds and Lee Corso. Lee has alluded to getting Burt’s leftovers in the old days when they were roommates at FSU, but the truth has been deemed by the Supreme Court as too lascivious to release to the public. Burt had the looks to get the ladies in the room. Lee had the buttery voice to make them melt. Burt bought the white pants for the “Butler Did It” Clemson game that made the puntrooskie famous. Lee sandbags them on College Gameday in failed attempts to get them to play harder. And if you think for a moment they haven’t run the Chinese fingercuffs on Jenn Sterger, you’re crazy.
Red Hook Raider’s Responses:
Question 1:This one is simple. Just take a look at the 2007 projected line up:
- L – Johnny Damon (CF)
- R – Derek Jeter (SS)
- L – Hideki Matsui (LF)
- R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
- L – Jason Giambi (DH)
- L – Bobby Abreu (RF)
- R – Robinson Cano (2B)
- R – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Doug Mientkiewicz (1B)
The only holes are Doug M. (and he’s a tremendous defensive 1B) and…..ok, I guess Doug M. is really the only hole in this lineup. Let’s start with a very brief analysis from the top down. First I will comment on O and then on D.
Damon: O: this guy is tough as nails and fought through injuries all of last year. Is quickly becoming a clubhouse leader off the field even though this is only his 3rd yr in pinstripes. D: has a weaker arm than Jeter’s ex girlfriend Jessica Biel but has decent range and a knack for coming up with big catches.
Jeter: O: what more can you say about this guy? He was robbed of the MVP last year and his only response is that he is just disappointed that the Yanks didn’t bring home the title. D: Everyone knocks him for his range and “inability” to play SS as well as others but he is always in the right place at the right time and doesn’t take a single play off.
Matsui: O: could be a slight question mark considering how much time he missed last season but if he returns to form he is a doubles machine. D: Has a decent arm, ok range, and doesn’t make too many mistakes. Will basically play Martyball out there.
ARod: O: Everyone in the bigs seems to think that he will have a good year. I personally seem to think his ability to opt-out of his contract after this year is the wild card. It’s almost a do or die kind of situation. If he has another bad year, I think he will opt out and try to find a change of scenery. On the other hand, if he plays well, I think he honors the contract. It’s almost too tough to tell but the media will be on him every day. D: Tough to say; if he isn’t hitting well, he doesn’t field well. He’s the embodiment of this vicious cycle.
Giambi: O: Poised for another monster year. He fought through a brutal wrist injury and was almost hobbled by season’s end. Playing DH only will limit injuries. D: Will only play 1B if everyone gets hurt or if there’s like a 100 year storm or something.
Abreu: O: Played very well at the end of last season and reminds some of a Paul O’Neill type hitter with his patience at the plate. Could cement place in Yankee lore with O’Neill type big hits in the post season. Not capable of carrying the entire offense but is in a perfect position to contribute here and there with his offense. D: Has a ridiculous HOSE (that’s disgusting. -ed.) in the outfield, perhaps the 3rd strongest arm in the bigs after Vlad Guerrero and Ichiro. Knack for being in the right place.
Cano: O: On pace to become an absolute monster. Has become more of a power hitter and would bat 3/4/5 on any other team. Yankees have the luxury of putting his power in the lower end of the lineup. D: Still earning the position, Larry Bowa’s tutelage makes him a stronger player every year.
Posada: O: Although he is getting older and catchers seem to age in dog years, Posada is still a valuable contributor and manages his staff with the best of them. Torre will look to spell him more this season to save him for the post-season, where he truly shines. D: Handles his staff with the best of them. Doesn’t have the strongest arm so guys can steal on him.
Mientkiewicz: O: He is the only real “hole” in this lineup. But he’s not here for his offense. If he does anything it is welcome and unexpected. He’s here to shore up the D. D: This is what he does best. When Doug’s in the game, you will have no errors, smart fielding, few stolen bases, etc. He has great range and will save 1-2 outs a game vs. when Giambi is playing the field.
On both sides of the ball, there aren’t too many holes. If MLB became TBMLB (Tee Ball MLB), the Yanks would be favored every single year. Unfortunately, you have the throw the ball and that’s where the Yanks have too many question marks. Can Pavano contribute anything? Can Chien Ming Wang stay healthy and continue to be an ace? Can Mussina pitch effectively and get his mind off of crossword puzzles? Does the Rocket return? You get the point. I could go on all day. There are a million question marks surrounding the pitching staff. However, offensively and defensively, the Yanks can go toe to toe with anyone in the league. Based on their offense/defense, I like their chances. When you include pitching, you start including multiple question marks.
Question 2: Let’s see…hmmm, well, try these on for size: Mariah Carey, former Miss Universe Lara Dutta, Jordana Brewster, Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Minnillo, Jessica Biel…these women ring a bell yet? That’s right, they’re ALL ex-girlfriends of Derek Jeter. The guy is a complete stud and his girlfriend will always be the hottest Yankee fan. So there.
Derek’s trophy room.
However, whoever Derek J. dates will have an impact because the woman he is dating will really effectuate the mood of your typical Yankee fan’s girlfriend. For example, if DJ is dating someone all girls hate, like Mariah, then the Yankee fans will have to deal with some bad mojo. If he starts dating someone that girls generally like, (i.e., Reese Witherspoon et. al.) then I think there is little to fear.