Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dissa 'n Datta ... Pirates, Ravens vs. Rams, Tebow to Baltimore?

Having won last night's game vs. Cincinnati, the Pirates must win three of their final five games to avoid 90 losses this season. The Bucs have two more games at home vs. the Reds and three games on the road vs. the Brewers, who clinched the NL Central last night.  Congrats to them, especially former Pirate Nyjer Morgan, a/k/a "Tony Plush."

Adding to the Pirates' late-season "drama," both the Bucs and Chicago Cubs share identical 70-87 records -- so the two now are in a "race" for fourth place in the NL Central.  Such drama!

If the Pirates avoid 90 losses and salvage sole possession of fourth place, it would do a bit (but not much) to help fans feel better about our team's free fall since late July, when they (we?) were in first place. 

This sounds a bit convoluted, but here goes: Of any any team that was in first place after 100 games, apparently the Pirates have managed to post the worst record, following those 100 games, of any team in major league history.  

For the Pirates, then, it's been a tale of two seasons. Which team are they?  The scrappy, spunky, plucky team of overachievers who clawed their way to first place and held onto the division lead after 100 games?  Or, the pitching and hitting-challenged crew that played so abysmally the rest of the season?

Baltimore Bounceback?
Speaking of "A Tale of Two Teams," which Baltimore Ravens team will show up tomorrow to play the St. Louis Rams?  The Ravens team that dominated the Steelers in Week One?  Or, the Baltimore crew that looked lost vs. the Tennessee Titans in Week Two?  Our guess is this is an extremely bad match-up for the Rams.

Are the Ravens Interested in Trading for Tim Tebow?
In the Unfounded Internet Rumors Department, speculation has it that the Broncos and Ravens are discussing a trade of Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to Baltimore.  This seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened.  With raw rookie Tyrod Taylor as their No. 2 quarterback, the Ravens lack an experienced backup to starter Joe Flacco.  Tebow, however, hardly counts as "experienced."  In just his second year, Tebow has only a handful of NFL starts under his belt and currently sits at No. 3 on the Broncos depth chart, behind starter Kyle Orton and backup Brady Quinn.  Why would the Ravens want him?  Potential?  We shall see.

Flopping, Faking Injuries?
Anybody who has watched any sort of NFL news this week knows a big topic of discussion has been the embarrassingly blatant "Flopping" of two New York Giants defensive players who clearly obviously apparently almost certainly faked injures to stall for time during last Monday night's game vs. the Rams.

Having seen the video, one thing is obvious: Deon Grant and Jacquian Williams, need some acting lessons.  Their flopping so flagrant and obvious, it's embarrassing, not only for the Giants and the two players involved, but for the NFL in general.

It's going to be tough for the league to crack down on this, however, as making on-the-spot injury diagnoses can be a slippery slope.  How are on-field officials supposed to figure out when a player is really hurt?  

In any case, it's too bad that players fake injuries -- it's bad for the fans; bad business all around.  Not that it's going to stop.