The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

Thomas Released, Conspiracies-a-Plenty

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 20, 2008

So I get home from an unreal UFC weekend in Montreal, unpack, get ready to blog about it, and what do I see? Frank Thomas has been released by the Jays! What the hell? I mean, I watched the Friday and Saturday games, and despite the benching, I definitely didn’t expect this. The UFC live account is coming, but this takes time-sensitive precedence. The move is, obviously, shrouded in conspiracy, so allow me to explore some of them for you here.

But first, one thing that is not left to interpretation – this move should have been made after Scott Rolen returned. In the line-up today, Rod Barajas is DHing and batting fifth and, because the team is facing lefty Nate Robertson, nobody outside of our top-4 hitters are even remotely intimidating. Barajas immediately becomes the worst #5 hitter in the league (save for whoever San Fran’s 5-hole guy is), making Marco Scutaro the #6 hitter with the least power…ever. The line-up has not been hitting the ball great and, while the team seems committed on the whole to a more patient approach at the plate, the lack of Thomas and Rolen leaves us with maybe the least power in the division, and definitely far less than Boston or New York. This isn’t a huge problem since Rolen should be back within 2-3 weeks (so I’m told), but for those few weeks we have two guys on our roster who are home run threats (Rios and Wells), three with 20-HR potential (Barajas, Overbay, Hill), and four who can hardly hit the ball out of the infield. We needed Thomas in the short-term, even if he wasn’t hitting the ball great, because he adds something to the line-up that replacement players can’t – protection for Rios and Vernon. This issue will be solved when Rolen returns, when Overbay starts hitting, or when Thomas’ replacement is found, but for now the line-up is in dire straits.

That said, there are three conspiracies that arise from this move, and allow me to start the widespread belief in all of them right here, right now.
More after the jump!

Posted in Blake Murphy | 16 Comments »

Schedule Day!

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 19, 2008

This article has been submitted by Don Allan.

One of the few negatives about professional football for the well-rounded sports fan is the brevity of its season. Almost three quarters of the year is spent festering over draft picks and off-season acquisitions rather than watching the game itself. Off-season lulls are known to fans of all other leagues, but certainly the plight of the football fan demands some sympathy. Or, perhaps labeling the short season as negative is more a reflection of my impatience than a shortcoming of NFL fanhood. As they say, good things happen to those who wait, and I guess the time off makes the keynote events of the off-season all that much more exciting.

To begin, let me confess that I love “Schedule Day.” As one of the most anticipated events of spring, Schedule Day allows me to make some bold pre-emptive decisions about the year ahead in the NFL. Now, to supplement buzzing draft discussions, the 2008 season schedule allows us all to get a better idea of what everyone is up against. To be completely honest, past schedule releases have been used solely as a planning tool for my road trips to Buffalo. This year my pilgrimages to live football events for the fall were not the only cool things to consider. Perfectly placed within a week or two of the draft, Schedule Day allows us all to add a new element to the equation of 2008 predictions. The following are some of the notable characteristics of this year’s schedule that my housemate Pat Tye brought to my attention. We had some insightful discussions that we thought we would share with everyone at The ODC to ignite some pre-draft pondering.
More after the jump!

Posted in Don Allan | No Comments »

Jays v. Rangers and Orioles, April 14-17

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 18, 2008

Sorry guys, limited analysis today for the two series past: the Jays are, apparently, stuck in 2007, losing winnable games and being inconsistent at the plate. That said, there are still bright spots (every starter except Burnett, base running, Vernon Wells) and so far I’d say there has been way more good than bad.

Purcey debuts tonight and should be good. The rotation will follow McGowan-Burnett for the rest of the series, and there are at least two wins waiting for us against these struggling Tigers, though a surprise Granderson return could spell trouble.

Yup, that’s all you get. Sorry, but I’m in Montreal for the UFC this weekend. I pre-posted someone’s article for tomorrow, but you can expect a real serious Jays run down on Monday, complete with series analysis, a farm team update, and a look at how some ex Jays scrubs are doing around the baseball world.

Posted in Extras | 2 Comments »

Imaginary Player - Tracy Takes On…

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 18, 2008

This article has been submitted by The Imaginary Player, Trevor Smith.

“I’m slippin’, I’m fallin’, I can’t get up”- DMX

By all accounts, Tracy McGrady has had an illustrious and renowned NBA career. The soon-to-be 29 year old Shooting Guard has lead the league in scoring twice, been selected as an All-Star seven times, and won the 2001 Most Improved Player award. He has been chosen to the All-NBA team six times and has been one of the game’s most prominent figures for nearly a decade. TMac’s unquestionable achievements are highlighted to underpin the opinion that he deserves his standing among the game’s elite. One would be remiss, though, to not broach the subject of his lasting legacy. As we stand on the cusp of this year’s Playoffs, McGrady must consciously realize that the next few weeks may define whether that legacy will be one of personal statistic achievement or team-based triumph. If he is unable to advance past the first-round this season, it will be the seventh such failed attempt. Such nonfulfilment would impart upon TMac the social stigma of “Under Achiever” or worse, “Loser.” More importantly, it might signal the end of his prominence and close the door on his title aspirations forever. Simply put, his legacy is on the line.
More after the jump!

Posted in Trevor Smith | 2 Comments »

NBA Playoff Preview

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 18, 2008

Instead of doing the playoff preview myself, I decided to contract it out to several members of the team. Even though the internet is scattered with predictions right now, ours are just as valuable…actually, probably way more value. I’m not sure if you knew this, but I’m a billionaire from NBA gambling alone (actually, I did make a lot of money gambling on the league’s scoring/assists/rebounding leaders in the pre-season). Regardless, what follows are the predictions and series breakdowns from four of our best and brightest.

Just because, my predictions for the whole playoffs are:
Bos d. Atl in 4
Det d. Phi in 4
Orl d. Tor in 6
Cle d. Was in 6
LA d. Den in 5
NO d. Dal in 6
SA d. Phx in 7
Uta d. Hou in 7

Bos d. Cle in 5
Det d. Orl in 6
Uta d. LA in 7
NO d. SA in 6

Uta d. NO in 7 (Deron v. CP3 are you kidding)
Bos d. Det in 5

Finals: Bos d. Uta in 6 (Yes, I changed it back…10:21am on Saturday, so, we’re OK.
On with the breakdowns…
More after the jump!

Posted in Adam Conn, Alex Jackson, Blake Murphy, Jack Forsayeth | 13 Comments »

Haters! Video of the Day

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 18, 2008

This one has been sitting in my bookmarks for a while. It’s a tragedy that it took me so long to post it…

Posted in Extras | 7 Comments »

America’s Favorite Tag Team - Baseball and Tobacco

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 17, 2008

This article has been submiteed by Michael Cascone.

America’s favorite pastime has always held a certain level of intrigue. There are a number of nuances in the game that you won’t find in any other professional sport that has been heavily commercialized, anything from the lack of video replay to ridiculous bench-clearing brawls.

However, I’m talking about a different type of intrigue. The kind of intrigue that fathers won’t explain to their sons while watching a game; the kind of intrigue that makes every game that much more enjoyable. That’s right: dip.

Tobacco consumption during games is considered completely taboo in most, if not all, major sports across the world. Except for baseball. It is so engrained in baseball culture that it would be rare to not see a massive first baseman struggling with a chew, and weird to not see a starting pitcher with a lipper packed. How did this seemingly familial bond first emerge, you ask?
More after the jump!

Posted in Michael Cascone | 4 Comments »

Movies, Bizarreness, and Wrestling: The Greatness that is Dennis Rodman

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 17, 2008

This article has been submitted by Alex Jackson.

“Chemistry is a class you take in high school or college, where you figure out two plus two is 10, or something.” – Dennis Rodman

So a quick backstory. I’m supposed to be working very hard right now; I have a research deadline coming up for my big (read: thesis) paper “International Financing Models of Long-Term Care.” I’m light years behind where I should be. Maybe the problem is I’m trying to find out how 2+2=10…

I am also in Austria, a German speaking country. I speak no German. Despite this handicap, I still enjoy watching poorly dubbed, bad movies. So when I was procrastinating and saw that Double Team was on, I just couldn’t say no. This was an award winning film! Rodman was even honored at the Golden Raspberry Awards, walking away with three; Worst New Star, Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Screen Couple (shared with Van Damme). How can you beat Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman, bits and pieces of partial nudity, and as the icing on the cake, it’s all in German? That’s a winning combo right there. That cast could challenge the 95-96 Bulls, the 07-08 Patriots, the 85 Bears, the 05-06 USC Trojans and the Mega Powers for the title of Greatest Team of All Time.

And it got me thinking, isn’t Dennis Rodman great? Truly, truly great!
More after the jump!

Posted in Alex Jackson | 2 Comments »

Old Age! Video of the Day

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 17, 2008

VoD is, unfortunately, hockey again today. Weezie-F sent me this one yesterday, and I was reluctant to watch it because, well, I hate Don Cherry (I know…let the flaming begin). However, around the 6 minute mark, this thing really picks up and takes a turn for the awkward/hilarious.

Don’t like hockey? I’m sure these Elisha Cuthbert photos will calm you down.

Posted in Extras | 1 Comment »

Hoops Addict Article - The NBA and the Internet

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 17, 2008

As per every Thursday, I’ve got a new article up over at Hoops Addict. This time, I take a look at the NBA’s relationship with the internet(s?) and how they are, for the most part, blowing away other sports leagues.

Holler at that right here.

Posted in Blake Murphy | 1 Comment »