Monday, March 26, 2012

Where's The Madness?

As I emerge bleary eyed and exhausted from my March Madness bunker the Final Four is set.  With Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State we are guaranteed some great basketball and one hell of a finale.  But who cares? 
It’s called March Madness, not March That Was a Well Played Game Yet Slightly Unfulfilling.  There have been no epic games, no great Cinderella runs, hell there hasn’t even been a buzzer beater this entire tournament.  Only two games have been decided by a point.   

The 2012 March Madness Tournament will be remembered as the year college basketball emulated the pro game.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peyton Manning: The Season that Could've Been

I'll present this one without much comment. Nik Bonaddio, a big-time numbers guru from, has predicted Manning's numbers over next season should he play all 16 games.

The verdict? 409 of 598 (68.3 percent) for 4,398 yards, with 32 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.


Jeff Carter in LA: Fool me twice, shame on Kings fans

Ok, this is just TOO hilarious. Jeff Carter, who went from being the most overrated forward in Philadelphia to the most discontented forward in Columbus, has apparently seriously perked up the Kings' offense since being traded to LA at the deadline.

So, first of all, it's really adorable that Carter and Richie are back together again. Eligible Los Angeles women between the ages of 18 and, let's say, 23 haven't dealt with such a dynamic sexual duo since the glory days of Vincent Chase and Johnny Drama.

But for the love of all things holy, won't someone please think of the children...and Kings fans? (Side note: I'm assuming they exist).

Wishful Thinking: Making Tebow An Eagle

Uh, hi God.  It’s me Aaron.  I know I haven’t done this in a while or ever and for that I’m sorry.  Anyway I know I have a lot of sins to confess.  Or wait, I’m Jewish, do you care about my sins?  Well better safe than sorry I suppose right.  So anyway, I’m sorry for running over that squirrel a few weeks ago and not turning around to see if it was all right.  Um what else, o yea that time I dared Sam Greenstein to eat that piece of poop and he did it, even though that was pretty funny.  The countless numbers of drugs, alcohol and Chipolte I've poisoned my body with.  And let’s not forget the 7,496 times I’ve masturbated since I was 13 including today.  I think that’s about it, if there is anything else I’m forgetting please don’t hesitate to give me a pimple or something.

You see I have this problem that only you in your infinite grace can help me out with.  As you know Tim Tebow will be released or traded soon from the Denver Broncos.  And I want him.  BADLY!  And seeing as he is the closest thing to your son that I’ve ever seen I figured you would be the one to get in contact with.  Jeez that was a lot of pro nouns in one sentence, am I right? Hahaha.  Woo, any way is there maybe anything that I could do or maybe you could do to bring him over here. 

Can we bring back Wilson?

Howard, Utley, Martinez.  3 players whom will now (barring a miracle) start the season on the DL.  Replacing them?  Freddy Galvis and.......uh....... Pete Orr?  Hector Luna?  Kevin Frandsen?  (I actually would have been ok with Frandsen, except for the fact that the Phillies are so high on him that they already sent him to minor league camp).  By trading away their top util. player for a reliever that can't even crack the 40 man roster, the Phillies have left themselves in the perilous position of lacking a backup middle infielder.  While Martinez's injury was unexpected, he is far from a great option when healthy.  A serious injury to Rollins and it would have meant Galvis, not Martinez, getting extended play at SS.  The problem now is that with Utley down, Galvis moves to 2nd.  Martinez then becomes the long term SS backup.  So who becomes the short term backup?  What happens now if Rollins gets hurt again?

DeMeco Ryans, defensive savior?

How can you not love the deal that brings two-time Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans to the Eagles for a fourth round draft pick?

The Eagles, as usual, have a ton of draft picks. And the Eagles, as usual, had a serious problem at the linebacker position.

Even until today, it was widely assumed that the Eagles would look to move on either Curtis Lofton, Stephen Tulloch, or London Fletcher once their asking prices dropped, or would look at Luke Kuechly if he were available at their spot in the first round of the draft.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chase Utley

Today's news that Chase will likely miss opening day is nothing short of devastating.  The fact that he had yet to play in a game was alarming, but I was optimistic that his rehab was coming along and he would come back at a high level.  Though Chase was far from his usual self at the plate last year, he still played strong defense and was nothing short of torrid on the base paths.  With a full off-seasons of rehab, it seemed a near certainty that he would dramatically improve his conditioning and be able to play through his knee problems at a high level  for at least 1 more season.  If there is one player who I would categorize as tough, it's Chase Utley, and if he can't play through this thing, nobody could.  Hopefully he will be able to make it back and play at a high level, but that now seems far from a certainty.  The Phillies are now left with some combination of Freddy Galvis, Ty Wigginton, Jim Thome, Pete Orr, Kevin Frandson, Michael Martinez, Laynce Nix, Juan Pierre/Scott Podsednik and John Mayberry covering spots that have been filled for what seems like an eternity by Howard, Ultey and Burrell/Ibanez.  Given health for Hamels, Lee, and Halladay, there is no reason that the Phillies shouldn't be able to still achieve greatness, but this is a serious blow that could prove costly.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why I don't owe Ilya Bryzgalov an apology

Before we start, let's make a couple of things clear. I hold these truths to be self-evident:

1. For the first five months of the season, Bryzgalov was terrible. Not just mediocre, terrible. As in, not-starting-caliber terrible. And he was at his worst against the Bruins and Rangers. So he earned every word of derision he got during that time.

2. Six games does not a season make. As phenomenal as he has looked--and I watch just about every game, and he has truly been superb--none of this matters if he doesn't sustain it through the playoffs. He doesn't need to post four shutouts every six games, but he does need to sustain the success he's had in the second half as a whole.

Dontrelle Willis Released

I'll admit that I was intrigued when he was signed, but ultimately think this is the right move.  The Phillies are loaded with major league caliber relievers who were slated for AAA and now one of them will get a shot with the team.  Savery or Diekman will likely be first in line as the Phils are likely to prioritize a lefty.

I think somebody owes him an apology......

Well, the streak ended last night.  Bryz had another fantastic game, and was 8 minutes away from his 5th shut-out in six games.  Not even Patrick Roy could have stopped the two goals that went in last night.  What Bryz's streak and overall dominant play of late has shown is that he is more than capable of being a quality goal-tender.  Clearly Bryz is a bit of a headcase, but it seems  he may have finally figured things out.  Granted it took far too long, but this career change was unprecedented for Bryz.  Sure, it may just be a hot streak, but for a goalie who has looked so bad all season to all of a sudden look THIS good, combined with his track record of past success, indicates that this very well may be a lot closer to the real Bryz then the one that has donned the pads all season.  All during this streak Mike Haas, Bryz's #1 detractor in Philadelphia has stayed silent.  Mike, it's time you at least acknowledged that Bryz does not need to be kidnapped or cut and  apologize.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why Eagles, Why?

$50 million to DeSean.  Last year's hold-out, temper-tantrum, and lack of effort should have shown that this guy is a great talent but a poor character player.  Sure, you can make the argument that now that he got paid he'll be happy.  But the sheer lack of effort he displayed last year is inexcusable.  I no longer want him on my team.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The streak continues!

Things that infuriated me: Week of March 4

This is a couple days late. But I don't really care, and neither should you. At least it's warm out. Unfortunately for some things, the relative mildness of the weather this past week didn't distract me from being enraged by stuff. In other news, can you tell that I stopped caring about the introduction to this column?

The Sports Guy's Take On The Weird NFL Offseason

Hi there, it's me Bill Simmons! You might be wondering what I'm doing here, and quite frankly me to.  I woke up in some guys van was kindly asked to write for this amazing blog and couldn't, like literally wasn't allowed to say 'NO'!  So I’ll just have to take a break from my regularly scheduled once a week basketball column and podcast tapings to cover something I haven’t done in awhile.  No, not reality TV although this season of the Jersey Shore has been unwatchable, or The Wire even though we did have a two week “What the Fuck is the Point of a The Wire Bracket” contest on my website; So while we both wait for the swat team to show I'll turn my attention back to football with just a sprinkling of bullshit pop culture comments to make me seem cool and edgy even though these references will be hilariously out of date. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rod Barajas Blows

Haas, Moss?  (see post below)


The streak continues

On the Jon: March 10, 2012

Now that the Peyton Manning  where-will-he-play saga has been in full force for a few days, there has been ample time for somebody--anybody--to postulate, just for a second, that signing Manning might NOT be as wise as it seems.

Well, they haven't.

Fortunately for the six of you who read this blog, though, those days are over. Today, On the Jon proudly presents the novel notion that Peyton Manning, gasp, might not be worth it.

Holmgren's re-engineering deserves end-of-year hardware

As we move into the final fifth of the NHL season, the awards races have pretty much taken shape. Henrik Lundqvist and Evgeni Malkin will probably battle it out for MVP (sorry, G, but without a big stretch run I don't think you've got the votes). Lundqvist is far and away the front-runner for Vezina. Ken Hitchcock has got to be considered the favorite for the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year.

But one deserving candidate isn't getting any of the publicity he absolutely deserves. How is Paul Holmgren not among the top names mentioned for GM of the year?

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Time With The Phillies (Part 3)

“Hey Pap’s wait up.” I called out as I left the locker room.
“What it do bro?”
“Yea I just saw your comments on Boston fans vs. Philly fans and gotta say couldn’t agree more.”
“Just speaking the truth Sherlock Brolmes.  Just gotta be me, JP.”

The Seduction of Peyton Manning

Phone rings.
“Aaron, it’s me Peyton.”
“Oh, hey! How’s it going?”
“I can’t, I just can’t stop crying Aaron.  I’m sitting here in the dark eating uncooked ham and just crying.  I need to talk to somebody right now; do you think you could come over?”
“I’ll be right there.”
I had met Peyton a few years ago after he caught me trying to stab his brother with a pen.  He thought it was funny and kept me around whenever he needed a good laugh.  So when I saw the press conference I figured this call was imminent.  But tonight would be about more than just trying to cheer up a depressed superstar.  This was going to be about business.  I got up, put on a low-cut shirt and grabbed a bottle of wine.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Only caught part of the game and was only part paying attention, but since my last post was at least partly responsible for his continued good play, I will keep it up.  (though I must note that the little I did pay attention to he was way too far out of his net, got saved by some timely defense, and all and all wasn't getting pressured).

Rod Barajas Blows

I caught a bit of the Phillies game today with Aaron and Weiner, and Rod Barajas happened to come up to the plate.  Like any good Phillies fan, I immediately started ranting about what a piece of shit Rod Barajas was, leaving both Aaron and Weiner perplexed.  The fact that they were perplexed left me even more perplexed, necessitating this blog post.  Am I the only one that remembers Rod Barajas being too much of a pussy to block the plate, thus allowing a tying run to score, thus causing Brett Myers (I believe) to have to pitch into extra innings, leading directly to him injuring his arm?  I would post the video, but I couldn't find it on youtube.

If the Eagles want to make their bed with Mike Vick...

Then let them lay in it.

Yesterday, talking to the Daily News, Andy Reid basically shot down the Peyton Manning rumors. In doing so, he said the Eagles were "obviously happy with Mike Vick."

Really? You're "obviously" happy with an injury-prone, turnover-prone quarterback who has never won anything and has managed only one really great season in his lengthy career?

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Defense of the New MLB Playoff Structure

(The following viewpoints express those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the entire Heckling Santa editorial board)


Is it really a new structure, though, when only one additional game is created? Technically, no, but the advantages it affords division winners is palpable.

The Phillies Win The World Series (And 29 Other Baseball Predictions)

March is here, possibly the most wonderful time of year.  The snow has melted, the birds are coming home and the sun is actually up when I am.  And then of course the sports.  There is no better month for sports.  Hockey and Basketball seasons are just starting to get interesting; there is excessive reporting on the NFL draft.  And then of course the Big East and Friends tournament, otherwise known as March Madness. 
But what truly makes March special is of course the start of Baseball, and since only sex and free t-shirts are better than gambling I’ve decided to take this time and compile a listing of everything that will happen over the course of the long season.  So sit back and relax, you now have seven months off to devote your time to do anything else because you’ll already know how the season will end.  I recommend starting War and Peace.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Things that infuriated me: Week of Feb. 26

Compared to the idiocy of the Daytona 500 and the NBA All-Star game/weekend, this was a relatively quiet week for me in terms of infuriating things. And then Bud Selig's slowly melting face had to go and ruin things.

Led off by the thing that's undoubtedly going to harm the Phillies' title hopes in some way, here are a couple things that really ground my gears this week.

1. The new MLB playoff structure.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bud Selig and the MLB Playoffs: A Tragicomedy

Forgive me for believing, if only for a moment, that the incredible end to baseball's regular season last year might have stayed whatever idiocy Bud Selig had cooked up for the future.

Unfortunately, not even perhaps the greatest final month of baseball in the history of the sport could stop the inexorable march toward a second wild card team.

Remember the Rays' incredible come-from-behind win against the Yankees in the season's last game? The Orioles celebrating their victory over the Red Sox as though they'd just won the pennant? In 2012, it won't matter.

How about the Phillies sweeping the Braves in Atlanta in the season's final series to dash a hated rival's playoff hopes? In 2012, you'd be forgiven for not tuning in.

Seriously, Eagles, WTF?

Am I the only one that's seriously confused by the Eagles right now?

Here's a team that got way over-hyped, had some fatal and obvious flaws (Juan Castillo and Casey Matthews, among others) lead to a disappointing 8-8 season, and missed the playoffs. They fired nobody of consequence, let go (so far) of zero notable players, and have generally been running around like chickens with their heads cut off. If there's a plan in place here that goes beyond shouting "Mulligan!" I can't figure out what it is.

Let's recap the offseason so far:

Friday, March 2, 2012

The REAL All-Star Fix

It seems within the last week, every writer on this site has put forth their all-star game fixes except for me.  Well, the time has come:


Historically from what I understand, the all-star game, particularly in baseball, was a big deal.  It was a chance to see the best players in the league on TV and ............STOP!  I think I may have just figured out the problem.  This is more a guess than a well researched opinion, but I think the lost allure in all-star games might have something to do with television.  Put yourselves back in time 20 or 30 years ago (or many more).  You couldn't turn on your TV and watch sports center 30 times a day to see superstars, or have multiple nationally televised games on every night.  Further, there was no internet with blog posts and newspaper articles and streaming video.  If you wanted to see the best players in the world, your best shot may have been the all-star game.  Again, I could betotally wrong on this one, but I think the overall lack of exposure in the day caused the all-star game to be a much more anticipated spectacle.  Today, we all see Albert Pujols and Dwight Howard, and Evgeni Malkin, and Tom Brady practically everyday.  Why tune in too watch them play in a meaningless exhibition game.  Yes, I hear the screams now: "THE MLB ALL-STAR GAME IS MEANINGFUL!"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why Obama is Talking to Bill Simmons

An aid sprinted down the twisting corridors of the West Wing frantically in search of the President of the United States.  In his hand were the results that would decide the country’s immediate future.  After scurrying around assorted staff members and ass kissers he finally found him in the Oval Office. 
“Mr. President, the results just came in and it doesn’t look good.”
President Obama was staring out onto the Rose Garden in deep contemplation.  He nodded slowly still staring out into the distance.  “The Mormon got ‘em both huh?” 
“Yes sir.  Mr. Romney won both Michigan and Arizona by a comfortable margin.”  Again the President nodded, looking like he knew all along how this whole dance would play out.
“Convene a meeting of my cabinet; it looks like I’m going to have to start campaigning.”