Friday, September 29, 2006

Served by Bobby Kielty

My last night in Seattle, I was fortunate enough to attend a Seattle Mariners game with my buddies Ben and Randall. Randall's tickets are in right field, about 10 rows in from the foul pole in foul territory, right on the field. In other words, everything I yelled with my booming voice could be clearly heard by whoever was patrolling right field. I would've killed for these seats back when Paul O'Neill was on the Yankees. Actually, I would've been too young to really heckle Cry Baby Paul, but I'm sure others around me would've been. But that night, the Oakland A's sent Bobby Kielty out to right field.

Before that game, I really didn't care about Bobby Kielty at all. I never had him in fantasy baseball. I never traded for him in MVP Baseball on my XBox. He was just another below average switch hitter. Bobby Kielty, as you can guess from his name, has bright red hair. He's also a below average right fielder. Both of these points would be the basis of my heckling throughout the game. If only I had known that he was only owned in 0.1% of ESPN MLB Fantasy leagues. I would've had a field day with that little known fact. Kielty began the game 0-2 with four runners left on base, two stranded in scoring position. Around the 4th inning, I began asking him if I could call him "LOB," much to the amusement of the fans around me. I believe it was earlier that inning, when the A's were up to bat, that a fire alarm went off in Safeco Field for a few seconds. So I also yelled at Bobby to keep his hat on in the dugout or he'd set off the fire alarms again. Bobby made a few good plays in the field, and I informed him that he better be good with the glove because he wasn't doing it at the plate.

After a walk in his 3rd at bat, Bobby was still 0-2. Upon his return to the outfield, I cheered my glass of Guinness towards him, stating "Bobby, I bought you a Guinness! A taste from the old country!" He was not amused. Inning by inning, he began to pay more attention to me, glaring at me after my comments. I finally broke through late in the game when I noticed that he was going to be one of the first three batters in the following inning. "Hey Bobby," I yelled, "at least you won't be leaving anyone on base next inning." He slowly turned to me, and gave the universal "suck-it" symbol. Jackpot. I was in his head. This guy was mine.

Boy was I wrong.

Some players respond poorly to heckling. Then there are those players that thrive on it. Jared Dudley has stated he prefers to play games away from Conte Forum, where the opposing fans really lay into him. It gives him fire. Well, aside from his red hair, Bobby Kielty gets his fire from heckling fans like myself. His next at bat in the 9th inning, he bunted for a single, and came around to score on a 2-run triple that tied the game. In the 10th, he came up again. With a man in scoring position. This was his chance to say to me, "Hey kid, you just got Punk'd." And, he did. He doubled in Hiram Bocachica (of fame). One of Randall's friends who was at the game came to our seats for the bottom of the 10th, and chewed me out. Blamed the loss on me. My last words to Bobby were yelling, "I HATE YOU BOBBY KIELTY! BUT GOD DAMNIT DO I RESPECT YOU!."'s headline of the game read, "A's rally past M's behind Kielty's RBI double in 10th."

Maybe I was the motivation that Bobby Kielty needed to have a good game. Maybe heckling isn't a good idea. But if I learned one thing from being in Boston for four years, it was heckling. Red Sox fans are some of the best. My fondest sports memories are from showing up to BC football, hockey, and basketball games early and yelling at opposing players, trying to get them off their game. Ted Dunlap once told me that the men's hoops team talked about me in the locker room, saying how they loved that I got in the heads of their opponents. Is it wrong that I asked Charlie Villanueva where his eyebrows were even though he has alopecia areata? Probably. But I got into his head. I almost got kicked out of a BC football game vs. West Virginia sophomore year, an hour and fifteen minutes before kickoff. And if you've been to a BC hockey game and sat in the student section, you've heard the things I'll say about the opposing team's goalie. It's what I do.

Besides, it was a meaningless game. Oakland had clinched the night before, rested two thirds of their starters, sat Barry Zito, and even the manager handed the reigns over to his bench coach for the night. I'm not saying I'm not mad the Mariners lost. But if they had, it may have been just another game. But I made the most of it, and because of that I will remember that game forever. And, unfortunately, I will remember Bobby Kielty forever as well.

Bobby Kielty, who before September 27th was just a below average player, is now my most hated player not in Yankee pinstripes.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Extra Points are Automatic

Browsing away messages after the BC loss to NC State tonight, I'd say about 92.4% of them had something to do with death threats, injury wishes, transfer requests, or other negative thoughts intended for Ryan Ohliger. The remaining away messages centered around the firing of Tom O'Brien (If you haven't seen it yet, check out It's depressing. It really is. With the fall off of Miami, and games vs. VaTech and FSU this season, we had a legit shot at winning the ACC. Unfortunately, we have TOB leading the charge, and Ohliger missing extra points. Which are automatic, last time I checked.

Here are a few extra points from tonight's game, as seen on my buddy list:

"Shit List
1. Ryan Ohliger" -DL

"proud to be hating tom o brein for over 4 years." -AP

"Tonite, one man should lose his life, two need to lose their jobs... Kill Ohliger, Fire Spaziani and TOB..." -DB

"ohliger, you are just terrible" -JR

"and that's how you ruin an entire football season." -DD

"Look out for Oh-no-liger." -KA, posted before the game

"Number of Seasons Ryan Ohliger has cost Boston College Football: 3....and counting" -TM

"Dear Ryan Ohliger, Dana Bible and Tom O'Brian,
Please kill yourselves. Thanks
-Stephen" -DS

"Ryan Ohilger is an awful awful human being and should be shot." -MaS

"Dear Ohligher,
The Entire BC Community" -SJ

"A lot of people probably deserve blame for tonight's loss, but none is weaker, more arrogant, and less talented than ryan ohligher. So fuck him" -AS

"God has deserted BC. And #20 needs to die. I volunteer." -BB

"Fuck you Ohliger, you blew the game. If it were not for you, we would have had a 20-10 lead in the first place, and it wouldn't have mattered. You are miserable, and have no right to get defensive when people join a facebook group about how much you suck. Extra points are automatic. FUCK YOU." -AR

Speaking of Facebook, if you type in the name "Ohliger," you come up with 13 names and 10 groups. The funny thing is, all 10 of the groups are dedicated to the Boston College kicker. Not Anne Ohliger of USC or Joshua P. Ohliger of Ohio Northern. Ryan Ohliger, kicker, Boston College. Let's take a look at the groups, their descriptions, and their membership (which will probably be on the rise):

Group: Ohliger Isn't a good kicker
Description: Ohliger isn't a good kicker
Membership: 34

Group: Ohliger sucks, let's go for 2!
Description: Ohliger can't even hit an extra point. Keep Matt Ryan on the field, bring in the T(oal) and lets go for 2!!!
Membership: 137

Group: Ryan Ohliger is the new Ray Finkle
Description: Self-explanitory to anyone who has seen Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
Membership: 15

Group: Castrate Ohliger
Description: Join this group if you want our kickers balls to be gone.
Membership: 33

Group: If Ohliger doesn't transfer, I will!
Description: Ohliger sucks, we alll know. Join.
Membership: 9

Group: Ryan Ohliger is Ray Finkle
Description: shittystylekickergraduatedfromchokeartisthighinjune2004bostoncollegegraduateclassof2008holds2ncaadivision1records:oneformostmissedextrapointsinaseason,theotherforlowestfieldgoalpercentageEVERcurrentnickname"shortshanks"thefirstand(hopefully)onlyathleteinhisfamilytoplayforBC...and one hell of a model american!
Membership: 23

Group: Send Ryan Ohliger to Baghdad
Description: A petition to send Ryan Ohliger to serve alongside our troops in sunny Baghdad, Iraq.
Membership: 25

Membership: 5

Group: Ryan Ohliger for the Heisman
Description: A group dedicated to getting Ryan Ohliger the Heisman trophy! He may shank the extra point once or twice (per game), and he may nail some 45-yarders (per year), but we don't think there's any doubt who the NCAA's best player is!
Membership: 168

Group: Ohliger is the biggest douchebag and should die
Description: i hate the BC kicker b/c he is gay and likes losing and is a douche. fuck him. i root my heart out and he should die
Membership: 4

But perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on Ohliger. I mean, extra points are pretty tough to come by. Late in games, some teams even go for two point conversions. If teams are willing to go for two late in games, when it is in the "clutch," extra points must be REALLY hard. In a recent halftime interview, Tommy Bowdon stated, "We're done kicking extra points." Nobody ever quits scoring touchdowns, so extra points must be much harder. Plus, Ohliger has to worry about field goals, too! Can you imagine? Having to practice extra points AND field goals? Is there even enough time? Plus, imagine the importance of the holder. Why is nobody mad at our holder, or even long snapper? Couldn't it be their fault? Let's stop being so hard on poor little Ryan.

When asked if he had any words to contribute to the Ryan Ohliger discussion, Jeffrey Newton of Newton, MA stated simply, "Ray Finkle." That's right, Ray Finkle. The poor man's Ryan Ohliger. Laces out, Dan.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

The Story of a Lifetime

So my local newspaper has been notorious for it's crazy headline stories. Living on an Island, not much happens, so some pretty silly stuff can make the front page. My personal favorite used to be "Lawnmower Man disrupts free concert," followed a year later by "Noisy concert foe arrested." Same guy. Same file photo used on the front page. I loved it, even making a photocopy and bringing it with me to BC to post up on the wall of my dorm room. But the Lawnmower series may have finally gotten a serious contender. I picked up the local Whidbey News Times yesterday and read the front page headline... "Man sans pants steals dog, truck, wreaks havoc." Seriously. Read the article, it's classic. Especially the part about stealing the truck:

"Next, Hooper and the dog, which he apparently renamed 'Ruff Ruff,' drove over to Golf Course Road and stole a dump truck."

Now, just imagine yourself as that dog for a while. I don't know about you, but growing up with two dogs, I always did want to trade places with them for a day. So imagine becoming this dog for this one day. For the sake of the story, let's pretend the dog's name is Griffey, which I think would be an awesome name for a dog and tops the list of names I want to give my first dog.

Griffey's Adventure:

So I woke up today, just like every day. Thought I'd be doing the same old stuff, you know? As soon as the sun rises and the birds start chirping, I stroll around my kennel a bit until the master comes and feeds me, takes me out for a walk around the neighborhood. I saw Fido as usual. Sparky was licking his balls on the front porch as usual. That dog needs a bitch. Seriously needs to get laid. I don't think I've ever walked by his house without seeing him licking his own balls. Anyway, the rest of the walk went as usual. Chased a few birds, a squirrel. Some cat even tried to act all tough around me so I yelled at it, and the thing ran away. I can't stand cats. They're worse than small dogs like Sparky.

Anyway, I got back home and took a nap, and then all of a sudden, there's this crazy guy who has pulled into the driveway and is walking towards my kennel. I mean WTF is this stumbling guy doing? But he's got this aura about him, seems like he's ready for adventure. He opens my cage up and picks me up. I'm totally digging this guy. I don't know where he's taking me, but I like the way it sounds.

So we're driving down the road, and this guy is just rambling on and on about being fired from the Navy. I'm like, dude, relax, roll a J and forget about it. He looked at me and yells, "WHAT? YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?" It's about time somebody starts to understand me. Then all of a sudden, this dude drives off the road and into a fence. What is this guy thinking? He's just yelling and cursing about how he couldn't bust through the fence, so he backs up and we take off again. Pretty soon we pull into a construction site. Then my day gets REALLY wild.

This dude takes his pants off. Off. Takes. The pants. Off. Boxers too. This guy is just standing there in all his glory from the waist down, drops his pants into the front seat, and grabs me. I'm thinking, what is this sicko going to do to me? I ask him, "Why the hell did you take your pants off, dude?" "Oh," he replied, "I got hot. But don't worry about them. They were on sale."

Next thing I know, this guy has hoisted me into this freakin' huge rig. Master rolls in his F250, which I used to think was a beast of a truck. But this thing was freakin' huge. And what do you know, dude is going to let me drive! I somehow manage to get my paws down on the gas, but I can barely steer. I plow through a rock wall on to the road, and immediately run into two cars. "RUFF RUFF WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? DON'T YOU KNOW HOW TO DRIVE?" I replied the obvious, "I'm a freakin' dog, dude. What do you expect?" The police showed up a little while later, and this dude got hauled off in an ambulance. But the K9 unit came, and this hot little German Shepard asked for my number. Score. Griffey's back on top, baby!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

In Last but Looking Forward

The Seattle Mariners have, like they have each of the last five seasons since winning 116 games in 2001, missed the playoffs. In '02 and '03, they were in the hunt for a playoff berth, winning 93 games each season. The following two seasons were a mess. 99 losses in '04 and 93 losses in '05. The Mariners are currently standing at 72-79. An improvement over the last two seasons, and looking towards the future. The future could be very bright for the Mariners, and they know it; they have been stockpiling young talent over the last few years, and have one of the best under-25 talent pools in the League.

If you are going to talk about the future of the Mariners, the conversation begins with Felix Hernandez. "King Felix" has had his ups and downs, but he is only 20, throws in the high 90s, and has a disgusting curve when it's on. He is arguably the best pitching prospect in all of baseball... and he's been in the big leagues for two seasons now. The rest of the starting rotation wont even warrant my writing, except that Gil Meche would be a decent #4 starter but some team will stupidly pay him too much this offseason for the Mariners to match.

The bullpen seems very strong. JJ Putz has emerged as one of the top young closers in the game. Raphael Soriano is amazing in a setup role. George Sherrill, who is lights out vs. left handed bats, and Jake Woods can be the other two top arms in the pen.

The middle infield seems set for years to come, with Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez emerging as a great double play tandem for the Mariners. Lopez made the All-Star team, and Betancourt has hit near .300 ball with a ton of doubles this year. But what he is known for is his exceptional glove. They say he could be the best defensive shortstop since Ozzie Smith. I've seen him play... the prediction isn't that crazy.

Ichiro is going to keep doing what he's doing... hitting for a high average, scoring runs, playing stellar defense. But the Mariners need to move him to center field permanently next season (he is playing there now) to make room for Chris Snelling. Snelling has been a top prospect in the Mariners farm system for years, and has already made a few big league stints with the M's. He also has a serious case of the injury bug. But if he can stay healthy for the full season next year, he could very well hit .300 with 20-25 home runs. And he plays plus defense in right and holds nothing back. Think Trot Nixon.

At catcher is Kenji Johjima, who at 28 is old for a rookie. He has shown the ability to swing the bat for average and power, but the jury is still out on his throwing arm behind the plate, and his signal calling. He still may be the best offensive catcher the Mariners have ever had, and that's saying something for a rookie.

Then you've got the two biggest free agent signings in Mariner history, Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson, who will be entering their third season with Seattle. Beltre has shown improvement over his horrendous 2005 campaign, and Sexson has done what he's being paid to do... .258 with 29 HR and 98 RBI for the team that scored the second fewest runs in the majors. And don't forget Raul Ibanez, who has been the most consistent Mariner over the last few seasons. He really should be moved to full-time DH, but he can play in left.

Basically, that sums up 8/9 of the 2007 Mariners lineup, with an open spot in left or at DH for the Mariners to go shopping. Jeremy Reed, who missed this season due to injury and is an outfielder, hasn't shown that he can be an every day starter offensively for a team that is in serious need of power. Adam Jones, the 21 year old phenom center fielder, isn't ready for the majors yet. And Ben Broussard, who could play DH, can't hit lefties and doesn't hit righties well enough to warrant a starting spot. So this offseason, the Mariners should look to sign a LF or DH not named Carlos Lee. Other than that, the lineup is set. The bullpen is set. The Mariners need to focus on getting some legit starting pitching. With available free agents taken into consideration, I think the 2007 Seattle Mariners could push for the AL West crown if they looked something like this:

Batting order:
1) Ichiro CF (L)
2) Snelling LF (L)
3) Beltre 3B (R)
4) Raul Ibanez DH (L)
5) Richie Sexson 1B (R)
6) Kenji Johjima C (R)
7) Pedro Feliz LF (R)
8) Jose Lopez 2B (R)
9) Yuniesky Betancourt SS (R)

Pitching Rotation:
1) Felix Hernandez (R)
2) Jason Schmidt (R)
3) Daisuke Matsuzka (R)
4) Jarrod Washburn (L)
5) Cha Seung Baek (R)

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The Seattle Seahawks: Getting Defensive

My Seahawks sit a lovely 2-0. Not the best season so far after squeaking out narrow Weak 1 win vs. the lowly Lions 9-6 and a 21-10 win over division foe Arizona in Week 2. One thing is apparent... the Seahawks are no longer a dominating offensive team. Maybe this is due to the departure of Steve Hutchinson, or maybe because Jerramy Stevens is out, or because last year everything just clicked. Whatever the reason, the potent offense isn't there anymore. I would still consider the Seahawks to have one of the best offenses in the NFC (especially after trading for Deion Branch), but it is becoming more and more apparent that the offense isn't the strength of this football team.

Last season, I saw it changing. Actually, maybe even a couple seasons prior. After Mike Holmgren picked offense with five of his six first round selections while acting as GM and Coach on a team in desperate need of defense, he stepped down from his role in the front office. To his defense, Holmgren did draft Shaun Alexander, Steve Hutchinson, and Jerramy Stevens with three of those picks. But he also picked Steve McIntosh and Koren Robinson, and his lone defensive first round selection was his first: DE Lamar King. Koren Robinson went with the 9th overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft. This means Holmgren passed on Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Chris Chambers, Steve Smith, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. And I don't even want to get into the great defensive players he could've snagged at that spot. Let's just say that Dan Morgan, Marcus Stroud, Adam Archuleta, and Nate Clements all went in the first round. That's three Pro Bowlers and one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league.

Then Holmgren stepped down from his GM duties. The Seahawks, who have had a good offense for a while but typically had their struggles on the defensive side of the ball, started to become a defensive team.

Over the three seasons following Holmgren stepping down, the Seahawks managed to draft six defensive regulars on this season's squad, including five starters (Marcus Trufant, Ken Hamlin, Marcus Tubbs, Michael Boulware, Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill). All of them except Hill were picked in the first two rounds. In the 2006 Draft, the Seahawks continued with defense, selecting Kelly Jennings and Darryl Tapp in the first two rounds. Jennings could very well be starting at CB by the end of the season, and Tapp will probably be starting at DE in one or two seasons. Tubbs will probably be starting by then, as well. If it works out like that, it would be 7/11 defensive starters drafted in the last four years, including the entire secondary and 2/3 of the linebacking core. Oh, and the Seahawks inked Julian Peterson (Pro Bowler) to a seven year deal. I like the way this sounds.

In 2005, the Seahawks were 7th in the NFL in points allowed, 5th in rush defense, and 10th in red zone defense. And this was with two rookie linebackers and an injury-depleted secondary. In 2006, this defense has looked absolutely frightening. They didn't let the Lions do anything in Weak 1 (I know, it's the Lions). And in Week 2, a potent offensive Arizona squad (who was most people's trendy sleeper pick in the NFC this season, I may add) was held to 256 yards, only 65 of which came on the ground. The defense is now in control. But all the press about the Seahawks is about the offense. Granted, the offense is home to the NFL's best player (Walter Jones), MVP (Shaun Alexander), a great quarterback (Matt Hasselbeck), and the receiving core has been all over the news because of the Deion Branch signing. So allow me to introduce you to the key players of the Seattle Seahawks defense:
  • Lofa Tatupu, MLB: Made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, led the team in tackles, and controls the defense on the field. Recently compared to Ray Lewis. I don't like that comparison, because he hasn't stabbed anyone. Considered undersized at 6' 240lbs.
  • Marcus Trufant, CB: Has become one of the best cover-corners in the NFC.
  • Ken Hamlin, FS: Missed most of last season after getting jumped outside of a Seattle nightclub and having his skull fractured. He is a Sean Taylor type huge hitter and is very underrated.
  • Michael Boulware, SS: Converted from OLB to SS when he got to the NFL. Great awareness, he always seems to come up with the big interception when it counts.
  • Leroy Hill, OLB: Was thrust into the starting lineup after injuries depleted the linebacking core last season. Great run stopper and good pass rusher.
  • Julian Peterson, OLB: Two-time Pro Bowler for San Francisco, one of the premier OLB's in the game. There aren't many others as good at pass rushing as he is.
  • Grant Wistrom, DE: "Thor Power" as he called himself on Kenny Mayne's Mayne Event. Power rusher who can contain the run.
  • Bryce Fisher, DE: 9 sacks last season, complements Wistrom's power rush with more of a speed rush.
  • Rocky Bernard, Chuck Darby, Marcus Tubbs, DT: Rocky, Chuck, and Tubbs sound like they should be cartoon characters, partnering up to take over the world. Instead they clog up the middle and stop the run. Very sold three-man rotation.
  • Kelly Herndon, Kelly Jennings, CB: The Seahawks will have a Kelly starting opposite of Marcus Trufant every game this season. It's the last name that may change. Herndon already covers the slot receiver in the nickel. It wont be long before the Seahawks top draft pick of 2006 (Jennings, out of the U) will be starting.
That's the defense. I hope the offense isn't offended, but there has been a change in the guard on the Seattle gridiron.

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An Introduction

So they call me "Big B." It was a nicknamed coined my freshman year at BC, after two Brians emerged in our group of friends. One was short, while the other (me) was 6'7". Makes sense. So it should also make sense that "Big B" has decided to move to the Big Apple. This should be interesting.

I was born in Seattle, but moved to the tiny town of Coupeville, WA (pop. 1813) before I started gradeschool. Thro
ughout my childhood I had my eyes set on bigger and better things than Coupeville. Don't get me wrong, I love my hometown. My core group of friends are great, and it's beautiful. But I had to get out, do new things, experience a new city, a new way of life. 2,492 miles later, I enrolled at Boston College. This has turned out to be the best decision of my life. I fell in love with Boston. Just a great city. And, after graduation, I wanted to be close enough to Boston to be able to see my friends who still remained and catch the occasional BC game. But, as the great decision I made earlier in my life, I decided to take the opportunity to experience something new. So, where was I to decide to move?

The Criteria
  1. Close proximity to Boston. This means the ability to drive or take a reasonable bus ride to get back. In other words, nothing on the West Coast or deep south.
  2. A city that I would have a lot of college friends around, because by being on the East Coast, I have eliminated being close to my friends from home.
  3. A good job market for Sports Media, PR, and Broadcasting.
Cities of interest eliminated: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Washington DC, Philadelphia.

New York City is a short enough bus ride from Boston. There is a great network of my BC friends throughout the greater NYC area. And if you want to talk Sports Media, PR, and Broadcasting, the Big Apple has to be tops on the list.

So this is how it's going to go down. My first time really living away from home. My blood relatives are all on the West Coast, spreading from Seattle to
LA. Then I've got the uncle in central Mexico. But I'll make it work. I've got my Jewish mother and sister in the City. And I"ve got my brothers and sisters from BC from Boston down to Jersey. I have a lot of love in the Northeast. And it's gonna be a heck of a ride. I might as well keep you posted.

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