Wednesday, January 29, 2014

GBS Grammar Time

I really do try to read more about sports online, but it's just too difficult. First of all, there is simply not enough good coverage for sports that are not football, baseball, or basketball. Even college basketball and baseball are lacking in coverage. But the main reason that it is so hard to read about sports these days is that the writing is often terrible. I can't get through articles (or blog posts) without stumbling across numerous spelling and grammar errors, having to translate what the writer is actually trying to say. I sometimes feel like I should be paid as an editor just for making it to the end.

I hate to pick on any one writer, but… I'm going to do it. I don't have a personal grudge against this person, who might be a great dude, and I don't know that I've ever read his stuff in the past. (Also, I do not claim to be perfect in any way myself. But I am also writing for Grab Bag Sports, making no money doing so, and do not have the benefit of an editor.)

Today I tried to read a story from the front page of Yahoo. Written by Kelly Dwyer for the Ball Don't Lie blog, this piece is a hot mess and is far too representative of the type of stuff I find myself trying to read through daily. The post discusses Royce White and how GM Daryl Morey refers to White as the "worst first round pick ever." White suffers from anxiety disorder, while Dwyer apparently suffers from freelance writing stress, where we have too many deadlines and not enough editing support. (I totally understand, trust me.)

But seriously, take a look at some of the text from a piece that Yahoo is pushing on its front page.

  • The former Iowa State standout says he still wants to play in the NBA, but his anxiety disorder has prevented him from taking the court with either the Houston Rockets (and, after a trade, the Philadelphia 76ers) in a regular season setting.

First there is the use of "either," which should be combined with "or" instead of "and." Even worse, his "and" is in the parentheses. In fact, if you take out the parenthetical section, you get "has prevented him from taking the court with either the Houston Rockets in a regular season setting."

  • White hasn’t been specific in discussing the barriers (travel? Inability to work in a major pro setting? Communication anxiety with teammates and coaches?), while neither Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, or 76ers GM Sam Hinkie (who was with the Rockets when they drafted White in 2012) haven’t commented much about their various stalemates.

Wow, what a sentence! This guy clearly has trouble with parentheses, as taking them out of this sentence gives us this result:

White hasn’t been specific in discussing the barriers, while neither Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, or 76ers GM Sam Hinkie haven’t commented much about their various stalemates.

The "neither…or" is incorrect, and the comma after Morey is just a guess, I assume. "I kinda feel like this might need a comma. Let's do it!" But even better is that the essential parts of the dependent clause state this:

Neither Daryl or Sam have not commented. 

So… Tell the truth. Have they commented or not?

  • You may not like the way Royce White handled his communication with both the Houston and Philadelphia front office.

Honestly, Kelly, I'm more concerned about the fact that Houston and Philly share a front office! That seems impractical!

  • There is a lot to be not on Royce White’s side here…


  • Yes, Royce White was a first round pick from an American college that hasn’t played a regular season NBA minute yet, something struggling even top overall pick Anthony Bennett has in his favor.

I can't believe that this American college has not played a regular season NBA minute yet! And really… what the hell is going on with the second part of the sentence? "Something struggling even top overall pick Anthony Benett has in his favor"? I don't even know what that means.

There are other things I could pick on, but I think I've made my point. However, the best part is Dwyer's bio, where it states he is an editor for Ball Don't Lie!

And this is why I stick to the radio for my sports updates as often as I can.

Note: If any of this text is later changed and/or corrected, I do have screen caps to prove this is what was originally published.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII: The Tecmo Super Bowl Prediction

For five consecutive years now, I have correctly predicted the Super Bowl winner by choosing one of the teams and playing Tecmo Super Bowl. This year I attempted to move to 6-0 in Tecmo predictions by selecting the Denver Broncos and facing their Tecmo division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks.

1st Quarter

(Note for our regular readers: For the first time in years, I opened the game with an actual kickoff and not an inadvertent onside kick attempt!)

Seattle took the opening kickoff to their 15 and got the run game going for a couple of plays. But on third down, linebacker Michael Brooks rushed quarterback Dave Krieg to force a high incomplete pass.

Denver returned a punt to the 33, and quarterback John Elway immediately struck with a 67-yard bomb to receiver Vance Johnson. The Broncos led 7-0.

The Seahawks scored their only touchdown of the game on the next drive, with running backs Derrick Fenner and John L. Williams ripping down the field in big chunks. Fenner ran 18 yards for the score, knocking five guys to the ground in the process and tying the game at 7-7.

The quarter expired as Seattle kicked off.

2nd Quarter

The game took a strange turn here, with the next three quarters seeing six turnovers (plus two successful onside kicks). After Bobby Humphrey ran for a first down, Broncos running back Steve Sewell fumbled on the next play. Dwayne Harper recovered for Seattle.

Denver quickly got revenge, however, as Fenner immediately coughed the ball up, and Dennis Smith recovered for the Broncos. Receiver Mark Jackson hauled in a 48-yard pass from Elway, with Humphrey then carrying seven yards for the touchdown. Broncos led 14-7.

On the next drive Krieg hit Brian Blades for 41 yards. Seattle stalled when Brooks and Warren Powers each got sacks, and Krieg threw incomplete on third down. A good punt backed Denver up to its endzone, leading to Elway's only incomplete pass on a Hail Mary to close out the half.

3rd Quarter

With only a 14-7 lead, I was ready to pounce on the Seahawks defense. Unfortuantely, Johnson fumbled the kick return, and Jacob Green grabbed it for Seattle at the Denver 20. The Seahawks didn't keep the ball for long though. Powers took over, blocking a pass, stopping a run for a loss, and then recovering a fumble forced by Brooks at the 35.

Elway tried to settle things down by handing off to Humphrey, who shredded the defense for a 65-yard touchdown! Broncos led 21-7.

With all the momentum, I knew this was the time to try an onside kick. The Broncos stole a possession, and Johnson scored on a 47-yard pass with no one around him. Broncos led 28-7.

The kickoff backed Seattle up to its nine yard line, and the first play lost five yards. But then Fenner ran it past the first down mark, only to lose the ball on another fumble, this one being recovered by Denver's Greg Kragen at the Seattle 20. Johnson attempted a wide receiver end-around for three yards on the final play of the quarter.

4th Quarter

Trying to run some clock, Humphrey started the final quarter with two rushes, failing to get a first down. The speedy Elway scrambled on fourth down to move the chains and then hit Jackson for an 11-yard touchdown. Broncos led 35-7.

Krieg threw an incomplete pass on the next drive and was then picked off by Denver's Wymon Henderson at the Seattle 15. Elway passed to Sewell for another score. Broncos led 42-7.

With less than two minutes remaining, I went for another onside kick and was successful once again. One last 47-yard strike to Johnson ended the scoring, and the Broncos led 49-7 with 1:22 remaining.

The Seahawks recovered my final onside kick attempt and blazed down the field, thanks to catches by Ron Heller and Tommy Kane. A final completion to Fenner was stopped at the Denver two-yard-line, and the game was done.


With a decisive 49-7 victory, my prediction is clear. The Denver Broncos will defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Blogathon: Final Scoring and Recap

So, the final scores are in for our 2014 Pick 'Em Challenge.

Wedge - 69
Speedgeek - 65
Mike - 58

So my racing picks did me in, as I expected. Three of my selections were out of contention really early. Like, I don't even know if the drivers had keys to their cars. The fact that Wedge was able to pick the winner is amazing to me. Those cars were dropping left and right. Once my Ganassi pick turned into a Flintstones vehicle, I was out of this competition. For final thoughts on the race, definitely check out what Wedge and Speedgeek had to say.

The biggest surprise of this challenge to me was the low score of the Pro Bowl. Who knew that making it a draft would cause the players to be more competitive? After the 13-touchdown Tecmo Bowl-ish display from last year, the teams combined for only six scores?!

Hey, at least I broke 50.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Daytona Wrap-Up

Well, how about that for an ending, huh? Three of the four classes had a first to second gap of less then 3.0 seconds at the checkered flag (two of them were less than 2.0 seconds), a controversial call that affected who won a class that was later rescinded, storylines galore...there wasn't a whole lot missing from this 24 Hours of Daytona, right?

Well, as Wedge referred to earlier, I wouldn't go that far. A great finish, and I was certainly entertained (which is the point, I suppose), but there was a lot to dislike here.

 - For the most part, my days of complaining about TV coverage are well behind me. Yes, I've done my share of bashing ABC for their coverage of IndyCar over the years, and I do wish that some networks and teams would pay a little more attention to what they were doing, but I'd say that I vent my spleen on the internet about TV coverage probably once a year or less at this point of my life (which is saying a lot, since I was such an arrogant so-and-so as a teenager that I used to rant to my parents about how bad Bob Varsha was at his job...either he got a lot better since 1992, or I mellowed and figured out that it's damn near impossible to make every single call a perfect one for two straight hours sometime in the ensuing years; I'll bet that it's the latter, and that he was just as awesome back then). I don't even have a whole lot to say about the actual crew that was covering the 24. I think they did their usual B+ to A- job (it's probably impossible to score an A+ in my book, but I'm not upset about that). HOWEVER, whoever was pacing the commercials this weekend, in the last three hours of the race...they have some explaining to do. Even in my days of watching a lot of NASCAR (which ended in about 2010, which is an entirely other topic), I've never seen so many ad breaks. In my estimation, during the last two hours of the race, there were eight or nine occurrences of "ad break/return to coverage for two minutes or less/another ad break", and there were even two occurrences that I remember for sure of "ad break/return to coverage for two minutes or less/ad break/return to coverage for two minutes or less/another ad break". Yes, two times down the stretch, there were THREE ad breaks in an eight minute or less stretch of real time. That is egregious. I hoped that this would translate into one of those "we're going commercial free for the last 20 minute!" things, but that definitely didn't happen. I get that there are bills to pay and what not, and Calvin Fish, Dorsey Schroeder, Justin Bell, Andrew Marriott, Bob Varsha, Tommy Kendall and all the other pros at Fox Sports 1 don't work for free, but are there not less obvious ways of shoving ad content in front of peoples' eyeballs? Maybe instead of that third ad break in seven minutes, rotate a couple of sponsor logos at the top corner of the screen while the action continues? I know I've seen that before during races, so why wasn't it employed this weekend?

 - By the same token, I've been wary about the GrandAm "takeover" of the ALMS for two reasons: 1) the NASCAR-owned (actually "sister company", I suppose) GrandAm has had an iffy relationship with technical rules enforcement in the past (I still hold a grudge over 2009, when a Porsche-engined car won at Daytona by a virtual nose, then GrandAm cut the Porsches off at the knees by eliminating their sixth gear and knocking down their rev limiter by 500 RPM for most of the year...related: the Porsches didn't get close to winning another race until the last race of the season, after GrandAm finally relaxed the penalty), and 2) the enforcement of yellow flag and restart procedures hasn't always been what I would call "consistent with other sanctioning bodies worldwide". We got a good dose of #2 today, when Leh Keen went off track with about 21 minutes to go in the race, hit a tire barrier in the Continental Horseshoe hairpin, was stationary for about four or five seconds, then put the car into gear and resumed driving (I'm not sure he even pitted right away to repair the damaged front fascia, that's how light the damage was). Local yellow, right? If that? No car to clear away, no debris of any sort to clean up...NOPE! 13 MINUTE FULL COURSE YELLOW! Yes, I know that everybody wants a photo finish, and we basically all but got one today (a two second gap after 24 hours of racing is incredible, even if it had to be manipulated into being), but is this what racing has become? Throwing cautions whenever expeditious to bunch the field up in order to keep margins of victory razor thin? If this is going to be an every race occurrence under IMSA sanction, then you can count me out.

 - The penalty on the #555 Level 5 Ferrari has been rescinded, and class victory given back, but I still can't believe that anybody in race control could have possibly thought that it was a good idea at any time to levy a penalty on something that they'd only probably had time to review a replay of once or twice...FOR A RACE WIN, ON THE LAST LAP. We heard that there was a penalty being handed down to the #555 car even before Joao Barbosa had stopped to pick up a flag or something on pit lane after his cool down lap, which meant that there had been no more than 5-6 minutes elapsed between "cars side by side in the infield" to "results changing penalty announced". Hey, guys? In the future, if this happens again, I think we're all fine with you watching a few more replays from a couple more angles, just to make sure you got it right. If it means that the champagne in victory lane isn't quite as cold as the winners might like, I think we'll all get over having to wait an extra minute or three. Just spare the embarrassment of rushing to a decision because you feel like you need to RIGHT THIS SECOND.

So, with that, consider my spleen vented, my garments rent, all that good stuff. Because outside of that stuff (as major as it might have been), we actually saw a pretty good race. The Prototype balancing act between the DPs and the LMP2s was probably about as good as you could get, even if there was never a doubt that a DP would win (Daytona is almost alone on the schedule in its identity as a high horsepower, low drag track, which is the DPs whole thing...LMP2 cars will probably dominate most of the rest of the schedule, unless IMSA hands the DPs even more downforce than they already have). The Fords were just about on the pace, which is pretty darn good for a brand new engine (they'll definitely win races later in the year). The GTLM class was as good as expected, with four different makes in the top-5 in class. GTD was an absolute monster of a class, with Ferrari, Porsche and Audi all seriously contending for the win, even right down to the last lap (the#58 Snow Racing Porsche sneaked up and finished in the wheeltracks of the #45 Flying Lizard Audi after all that argy-bargy). If IMSA can stifle the urge to tinker, tinker, and tinker some more with the balance of performance, we could be in for an epic season, at just about every track.

That's all from Speedgeek Towers! Thanks to everybody for stopping by to check out Blogathon, and special thanks to Mike and Wedge for having me along on this excellent adventure in the first place. I'm already stocking up on Red Bull so that I can stay awake for next year's movie. Is there any chance that there's a "Hockey Moms 2: Back 2 the Ice"? Come on back and find out!

2014 Pro Bowl Preview

I don't know if I'll like the new Pro Bowl format or not, but I'm definitely OK with them trying new ideas. With Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders drafting teams, we're able to get matchups and teammates that we never would've seen in the past. Below is a quick preview of each position, the team I think has the advantage at that position, and my predictions for the game.

Quarterback - Team Rice

If you have Drew Brees, I'm likely giving you the edge, especially when he has his tight end. Philip Rivers and Alex Smith will be able to keep any lead that Brees builds up. I think we all know how Team Sanders' starter, Cam Newton, performed in his last Pro Bowl: 9-for-27 with three interceptions. Andrew Luck and Nick Foles will not be able to bring them back if Brees gets a lead.

Running Back - Team Rice

LeSean McCoy is backed up by Demarco Murray and Matt Forte. That's pretty unbeatable. Jamal Charles is a great starter for Sanders, but I wonder how much he'll play. I'm not as confident in Eddie Lacy and Alfred Morris yet. I also think Rice's Mike Tolbert is a more effective fullback than Sanders' Marcel Reece.

Wide Receivers - Team Sanders

Yes, you have to give the edge to the team with AJ Green, Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown, and DeSean Jackson. However, can Newton get them the ball? With Rice's quarterbacks, he'll be fine with Brandon Marshall, Josh Gordon, Larry Fitzgerald, and Alshon Jeffery. Plus, tight ends will be a huge factor. Leading us to…

Tight Ends - Team Rice

Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez, both members of Team Rice, are two of the best to ever play the game. Team Sanders' Jason Witten is good, and Jordan Cameron is a rising star. But this is not even close. I can't wait to see Brees with Graham and Gonzalez on the field at the same time.

Other Positions

I honestly do not know enough about NFL linemen and defenses to properly analyze other positions, especially in a game where very little defense is played. I would likely give Sanders the edge at kick returner (Cordarelle Patterson over Dexter McCluster) and kicker (Justin Tucker over Stephen Gostkowski), but neither player will probably have much of an impact.

Prediction - Team Rice by at least 14

What an end to the race... ruined by IMSA officials

First of all, great job by Corvette who takes home overall 1, 2, 3 finish.

But seriously terrible race for IMSA who will be remembers for a terrible website, crashing Timing & Scoring but most of all throwing a caution for no reason at the end of the race and following that up by penalizing the winner of the GT Daytona class for trying to win the race side by side with the Audi. What a crap way to end the race, it was super exciting to the last minute and done completely clean, the Ferrari could have done nothing else, they basicly got penalized for trying to win.

the official call was "avoidable contact" only except on replays they don't even seem to have made contact, it was just good hard racing.

You don't want it to sour your take on the last 24 hours but what a terrible way to spoil the end of the race for the fans and those drivers.

I hate my racing picks, and I hate all of you.

Seriously, my picks were terrible. I guess I need to hope the Pro Bowl can help me, but I don't know if it can.

Anyway, as we run under a yellow flag in the final 20 minutes or so, I'm going to bow out and leave the final racing analysis to the masters.

Look for a Pro Bowl preview from me a little later and maybe a recap in the morning.

Next week I'll have lots of fun Super Bowl stuff, including my Tecmo Bowl prediction and hopefully a football edition of GBS at the Movies. Then, of course, we'll be gearing up for the Olympics.

Thanks to everyone who hung out this weekend, mainly Wedge, Speedgeek, and our wives and kids, who were forced to witness 24 hours of sports.

OK, I'm ready for the race!

Got some beer, got some chips. Got two computers set up. I'm officially ready for the 24 Minutes of Daytona!

02 Ganassi Car is Done

This is probably not what it looked like
"On No. 02 car, the floor started rolling back."

Translation: Dixon could see the track under his feet.

So yeah, that is considered unrepairable. Unsafe to continue

Universal Sporting - Tennis leads the way

So earlier you saw our first installment of sports sharing universally saying there should be no allotment of players for singular plays. But recently in a few text messages and emails Mike and I exchanged some of the things that tennis simply gets right and everyone else should do.

#1 - Your challenges allowed is simply counted by how many times you are able to be wrong and only players get to make them.
It makes no sense in the NFL that you have a limit on challenges even if you are right all the time. Baseball only lets umpires make calls and its the same in the NHL. Why not let the players make a challenge and forget the coaches, because at heart its the players contesting the battle.

Its simple really, if players don't see the point in making challenges, then it doesn't need to be made. In football ALL the time coaches challenge even though they know they are wrong because they want an extended timeout, or because they have multiple challenges to blow. Just change it to "you only get to be wrong once and you're out of challenges"

#2 - Replays should not be done by humans, at the very least it should not be done by a single person on the field. 
Seriously we have so much damn technology; and we refuse to use it. In tennis a challenge takes upwards of 20 seconds. In the NFL it takes 5-10 minutes and in the few instances of baseball that has been done to date it's taken 15-20 minutes.

Technology can easily see if a football crossed the line or hit the ground of if a soccer ball or hockey puck crossed into the goal, it makes no sense we let a human look at a TV screen and make an objective call if they could "see" it crossing. So many calls in the NFL are not overturned because there isn't enough evidence; that's insane in this day of technology.

More to the point everyone on the field has a bias, the Ref doesn't want to look like they made a bad call, and all the participants want things to go their way. If technology can't be used, leave it up to a professional call reviewer who should make the call in 2 minutes or less and be done with it; at the end of the day its sports, not a trial by jury.

#3 Giant Souvenirs!!!
Ok I'm mostly joking but have you guys seen the ridiculous giant tennis balls that kids in the stands get autographed by the players!? Obviously its a souvenir-only ploy but it should be done by all sports, gigantic footballs and hockey pucks, gigantic shoes for track athletes and gigantic hockey sticks, and best of all, real life size model cars, not real cars giant models with no engine.

#4 Quick Interview to the Crowd After a Match and Then Souvenirs up to the Nose Bleeds
This one is for the fans, they shelled out a ton of money to go and for the folks way up top they don't get to see as well, sometimes have to deal with weather and get no chance at an autograph. In tennis though after a match they interview the players for everyone to hear rather than having them just run back into a tunnel. Then after the interviews they autograph some tennis balls and hit them up into the high stands for the fans. This is a great practice and is a way to make the blue collar fans happy and give them a chance to take an autograph home.

#5 Lastly and this isn't just tennis that does this... All decisions made about how the sport is conducted is done with priority of the game and the fans at the stadium/track/field FIRST!
Too many leagues are doing TV timeouts, angle adjustments and such for the viewers at home and its starting to hurt the sports. The NFL could barely sell out 3 playoff games and the Super bowl secondary market prices are at an all time low because being at home in comfort far outweighs being at the game. the same goes for many sports because we've actually changed the games enough that you're actually at a disadvantage being there. So bad TV timeouts, and ban extending yellow flags at races to match the Tv window, you're compromising the integrity of sports.

This is happening now...

It's 5:00 somewhere. Except it's not, cause it'd have to be 5:15.

"Oh my God. That's the worst thing I've ever tasted in my life." - my wife

90 Minutes to Go...Status Quo

I've been dragging my feet on posting anything for the last 30 minutes or so, waiting for something significant to happen at the top of any of the classes. Really, not a whole lot has changed since my last post about 90 minutes ago, with the exception of the #4 Corvette hitting trouble and dropping out of the lead battle in GTLM. Good news: that does still mean that all the classes are still up for grabs, with at least two cars on the lead lap in every class. In particular, GTD has four or five cars on the lead lap (it's hard to tell from the timing and scoring page, as it refreshes every 30 seconds or so).

We are potentially in for a great battle, that comes down to the last 10 minutes in every class. Can't ask for a whole lot more, can you?

P2 in the Top 5

Considering all of the attrition going on in this race, gearboxes, axles, oil leaks, fires, crashes, its amazing that we have multiple cars battling for the overall lead, the GTD lead and even the GTLM lead.

Also a huge shout out to the Muscle Milk guys who are in 5th place overall in the highest P2 car of the field. Actually only 10 seconds back of the Ganassi 02 entry at the moment for 4th.

A little under an hour and a half to go, curious how the final stints here work out, we've got some crazy people at the wheels right now.

I want to go to pit row.

You think I could sneak in with my car and just pull in to one of the pits? My brakes aren't the best, I hear this clicking noise sometimes on right turns, and one of my back windows does NOT stay up. I mean, it's a 92 Honda Accord, and it runs great. But these dudes look pretty good, and they work FAST. It'd only take like 46 seconds.

Blogathon 2014: Limerick #4

When Spencer's race car caught on fire,
He knew he would not find a buyer.
Though he still tried to sell it,
The smoke, you could smell it.
But he did get four bucks for one tire!

Blogathon = 24-hour Mario Kart around here

My kids love Blogathon. They don't love blogs or the Daytona 24. They just love Mario Kart. They played past midnight, and when I woke up at 8:00, I heard them out in the living room talking about "Blogathon." Which just meant they were playing Mario Kart. I would love to hear the conversation at school tomorrow, when they try to explain to their teachers that their dad does this thing where he lets them play Mario Kart for 24 HOURS straight.

Scoring Update

OK, soccer is now finished, along with hockey, UFC, and tennis. There are two NBA games left. Other than that, we have the double points for the Daytona finish and then the possible 10 points for the Pro Bowl.

Here is the current score after the Daytona 18-hour mark:

Wedge - 53
Mike - 52
Speedgeek - 50

That's pretty amazing. Wedge was the tennis master, with two finalists and a winner. At least we now have a reason to watch the Pro Bowl!

(Anyone can feel free to check my math. Wedge knows where I went to high school.)

20 Hour Mark Update

As promised, Baby Speedgeek has gone down for a nap, so it's time to get settled in for a bit and see where we stand with four hours to go.


As widely predicted, the Corvette DPs have pretty much dominated. At this point, there are three of them on the lead lap (the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing car, along with both the #5 and #9 Action Express Racing cars), followed one lap down by the #02 Ganassi Riley-Ford EcoBoost, the #6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing ORECA-Nissan and the #90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP (seventh in class is a further 15 laps back). The latter three cars have plenty of time to make up a lap, should they catch a full course caution at just the right time, so I'd say this is a six car race with this much time to go. It'll be a tall task running down any of the top-3 Vettes, but it could be done. Stay tuned.

Le Mans Prototype Challenge

Again, as widely predicted, the #54 CORE team has dominated, and currently hold a lap lead over second in class, the #7 Starworks car. Third in class is the #25 8Star car, another lap back, followed by the #38 Performance Tech car a further six laps back. This is a three car race, at best, at this point, and I'd expect the CORE guys to keep running downhill to the checkered flag.


The top GTLM car, the #911 Porsche North America Porsche 911, runs seventh overall, behind just the top-6 Prototypes. It shares the lead lap in class with the #4 Corvette C7.R, and the #55 RLL BMW Z4 sits just a lap back. Fourth in class is the #91 SRT Motorsport Viper GTS-R, which is four laps behind the #55. This is a three car race, and any one could take the class win.


The #555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia leads the class, on the same lap as the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS and the #58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America. Fourth in class and one lap behind is the #72 SMP/ESM Racing Ferrari 458 Italia, the one that's loaded with Russians on the driving roster. This class could still go to any of the top four or five teams, with this much time left.

GBS Blogathon Pick-'em Challenge (Racing Results)

IMSA has posted hourly standings, which are somewhat inexplicably called at about 55 minutes past the hour, every hour. So, technically, the "hourly" standings are off by about five minutes and could be a little off in the standings, but since none of us was actually paying close enough attention at the 6-, 12- and 18-hour marks, we're going to go with this.

6 Hour Top-3

1 - #01 Ganassi (Wedge - 6 points)
2 - #10 WTR (Speedgeek - 4 points)
3 - #5 AXR (Wedge - 2 points)

12 Hour Top-3

1 - #02 Ganassi (Mike - 6 points)
2 - #9 AXR (nobody - sad trombone)
3 - #10 WTR (Speedgeek - 2 points)

18 Hour Top-3

1 - #9 AXR (nobody - seriously? We suck.)
2 - #10 WTR (Speedgeek - 4 points)
3 - #5 AXR (Wedge - 2 points)

Scott Pruett Family Greeting Challenge

Pruett drove the first stint of the race, so Wedge's 0 hours and 14 minutes guess is certainly wrong. I don't remember Pruett getting out of the car during Fox's coverage of the first hour and 50 minutes of the race, so as long as he in the car another three minutes after Fox went off the air, Mike would be closest. I'm willing to call this one for Mike. (Mike - 5 points, Speedgeek - 3 points, Wedge - 1 point)

Totals Before Final Finishing Order

Speedgeek - 13 points
Wedge - 11 points
Mike - 11 points

An astoundingly close battle, which will go right down to the end, when we award double points, Bernie Ecclestone-style.

Stay tuned. There's plenty of action to come!

My Daytona 24 picks are so bad!

I have one decent pick, the 02, apparently. The others (31, 1, 87, 0) are hysterically and possibly historically bad.

My picks are so bad that, if they were an MLB team, they would be the Milwaukee Brewers.

If they were a quarterback, they'd be Ryan Leaf.

If they were a TV show, they'd be Two Broke Girls.

If they were a movie, they'd be Hockey Moms. Without Jason Priestly.

If they were musicians, they'd be Tracy Chapman. The irony, of course, is that they are NOT very FAST CARs.

If they were race cars... you know, other than the ones they actually are... they'd be Chick Hicks. That guy is the worst.

If they were members of The Cars, they would NOT be Ric Ocasek. They wouldn't even be Benjamin Orr. They'd be like Elliot Easton. But at least he gets to be in The Cars. My picks would be the roadies.

Blogathon is hard sometimes

you get an idea for a post but then you log in and notice both your co-authors are working on drafts... so lets hold off for a bit right?

Back at it

Well, I crashed for a few hours. And, boy, did I have some weird dreams. I mean, we were rocking out at a bookstore. And Speedgeek brought beer. Then I finished second place on like TWO Mario Kart races (but mostly battled Mrs. Speedgeek for 12th). Then the weird part. It was a mom, but she was playing hockey. Crazy, right? It's like, she's a MOM. Ha. Then Nadal was playing in the Australian Open final, but he was like running off the court, getting massages, and generally just standing around watching the ball zip past him. Glad I'm awake now!

19 Hour Mark Update

Just a quick post-wake up update here (the more substantial update, including Blogathon Pick-'em Challenge updates, will come after Baby Speedgeek goes down for a nap here in 30-45 minutes...too hard to watch the race/type/keep baby from climbing up and then falling off something high like a couch or a kitchen counter all at the same time). The night definitely took its toll on the teams, as it seems to do every year. We're down to just six Prototypes at the top of the timesheet, followed by four GTLM cars, then three LMPC cars before we see another Prototype down in 14th. The GTD class leader is down in 20th overall, which is not too bad given the stiff competition in the grid overall this year.

More very soon, though I do have to mention that there was just a quick discussion on the telecast about Jordan Taylor's excellent mullet, and that his dad, Wayne Taylor, looks to be working on a "mullet lite" of sorts. We are definitely having fun now.

The Most Exclusive Club and The Place Where Everyone is Allowed

Throughout the last 2 weeks Mike and I have been following the Australian Open closely. What was great this year were the amount of upsets culminating with Stanislaus Wawrinka beating Rafael Nadal for the Men's championship.

Li Na won the women's tournament last night in a typical women's tournament of "upsets." Why do I say typical, well because for whatever reason that is just how the women's game is, I'm not sure if its because they play less sets, or if the players are genuinely more even, but through the history of the Women's game no one has ever excelled like the men to dominate the game for any period of time, the #1 ranking is someone new every year it feels like.

Lets get scientificy!

Since the 2004 Australian Open, Roger Federer's first major win, through 2013 there have only been 7 men to win a tennis Major. Now starting with Wawrinka in 2014, he just became the 8th different man since then. that is what you call an exclusive club. the same guys being at the top of the game, seemingly transferring rights to top ownership.

Click for Full Size

And if you look at the actual matchups of all these major finals you realize that over 90% of the time these guys were facing each other in the finals.

On the women's side however in that same timespan...

Click for Full size

There's 15 winners in all in that time period, not exactly an exclusive club. Sure Serena Williams stands out as having a lot and even Justine Henin with 5, but if you look over the time span the longest back-to-back streak any of these women put together was... 2.

Full disclosure, Serena got 4 in a row in 2002/2003; but the Men in the same 2004 to present period had fours streaks of 3 back to back to back or more, and even a streak of 18 in a row being won by the same 3 guys broken up by Juan Del Potro and then another streak of 11 being won by those same 3 guys.

I'm not saying the women's game is inferior from these statistics at all, I'm just saying, maybe we shouldn't be using the word "Upset" so much for the Women's game these days.

Wawrinka pulls it out to win

It was a fairly quick match, and Wawrinka settled down in that fourth set to earn the victory. He's a great young player with a killer backhand, and I expect to see him in a lot more championship matches in the future. Time for a little break. Look for Speedgeek to return soon.

1/3 of the comeback completed

Somehow Nadal won that third set. It wasn't a good set by Wawrinka at all, especially after playing so well the last two weeks. According to the radio broadcast, Twitter users are accusing Nadal of faking the injury.

I give up.

So of course Nadal takes the first three games of the third set! He still doesn't look right, and he isn't necessarily playing great. But he's playing well enough. Wawrinka suddenly looks like the one who is against the ropes. Just 10 minutes ago Nadal looked like he was only trying to avoid retiring from the match. Now he's half of the way to winning the set.

Second set done

So there is virtually no way Nadal could come back at this point, right? Even if he is waiting for some kind of pain medication to kick in or something, there was a chance Wawrinka was going to beat him anyway, regardless of whatever injury he is dealing with right now.

Here at GBS, we do tend to pull for the "underdog," which at this point is clearly Nadal. I wouldn't mind seeing some kind of miracle in the form of a Nadal comeback. But I think we're likely about 20 minutes away from me being able to take a nap!

It's actually kind of sad.

The crowd is not even cheering when Wawrinka scores at this point. It's just quiet, like what just happened didn't really count. Then when Nadal scores the occasional point, the crowd erupts, like the team manager just got in and scored a layup. This is a Grand Slam Final. Yet the line judge sounds apologetic when he notes a point for Wawrinka.


Well this is fun. In case anyone is missing this, Nadal just left, and Wawrinka was demanding to know the reason. After about four minutes of arguing, the judge just told him he should accept the situation and move on. Wawrinka jogged a bit, and Nadal returned after about a seven-minute break.

Nadal then basically proceeded to stand still for four hits, giving Wawrinka an easy 3-1 lead in the second set.

He's obviously hurt or something, and this match could end sooner than anyone expected. Of course this is disappointing to those of us who have watched this exciting tournament and have been expecting a competitive final.

But now it's 4-1 in the second and going downhill fast.

GBS Pick Updates

I'm going to leave the racing pick scoring to Wedge and Speedgeek and take a look at the rest of the picks. With UFC and hockey finished, in addition to most of the basketball and soccer, a snapshot of the point totals looks something like this: 

Mike - 42
Wedge - 38
Speedgeek - 36

Of course, Wedge will get at least four points from Nadal if he loses here and six if he wins. So he is likely the one to beat as of right now. There are still a couple of soccer and basketball picks to be determined, and of course all of the Pro Bowl and racing scoring is yet to be determined. At least we're all close so far. (Equally bad?)

Wawrinka takes the first set

So Wawrinka's first serve was his weakness in that set, yet he still won the set. All tournament Wawrinka has put the ball where he's wanted to put it. Nadal does look a bit worried, but he didn't play his best tennis in that set. Still, Wawrinka has this way of looking like he's hitting a desperation shot and slinging it past his opponent. He looks like the clear favorite so far.

Wawrinka fighting early

Before the match, the announcers were saying that they hoped Wawrinka could somehow win one set to avoid having us watch a boring contest. Now he leads the first set 4-1 and does not appear to be in danger of being shut out. If anything Nadal looks surprised. So much for avoiding a boring match!

Late-night notes

1. I get the feeling I'm Blogathon-ing alone at the moment. My Mario Kart skills seem to have worn everyone out. Or maybe Hockey Mom bored everyone to death. Either way, I do plan to try and grab a couple of hours of sleep, but not until after this tennis match.

2. I think if I were a tennis player, I'd wear a hat. Some dudes go with the bandana. Some don't accessorize at all, which is kind of a waste. But I'm pretty sure I'd be a hat guy.

3. This seems like a good time to update some of our picks in our pick 'em challenge. Might as well see just how far back I am.

Tennis is next!

After sitting through the thrilling Hockey Mom, we're now less than an hour away from the Australian Open final match, where Stan Wawrinka will challenge Rafael Nadal. I'm going to try to find the race feed and add some screen shots to the Hockey Mom live-blog post.

GBS at the Movies: Hockey Mom

OK, here we go. We just started, and this lady is running around the house screaming about hockey. I bet she's a MOM!


So I guess this hockey mom is in Glee. And she was in the Stepfather remake.


The hockey mom got run over less than five minutes into the film. I'm gonna bet she gets revenge later!


"How do you pop a guy in the nuts when there's nothing to pop?" - the hockey mom


Throwing down the gauntlet already! No suspense. Just going straight for it. She's got to find any women over 18 within 200 miles of this bar. Game is in four weeks. We're getting serious already!


Margot Kidder as the grandmother! Nice surprise.


Why is there so much country music in this movie?! Is this what they listen to in Canada?


I bet we're about to get a crazy mix of women who have to come together to play hockey against the men.


They're betting on this crazy hockey game. But they're using Canadian money. Is that even really a bet??


Look, it's a bunch of women here to try out. I bet they mostly suck. Somehow, Hockey Mom must get them to be confident in their ability. I think it's MONTAGE TIME!


OK, a guy dressing as a girl to crash the try-outs was actually pretty funny.


"Their entire IQ is in their crotch!" - Lois Lane herself


Here we go. We're now hitting the shady sections of town looking for talent. Poor people who break the law are always so good at sports!


Get a look at this chick (with a stick).


And... we have a romantic interest. JASON PRIESTLY. Holy crap. So much awesome.


Girls sitting around discussing uniform colors. Get it? Cause girls care about stuff like that.


Girls, girls. Don't CRY.


So I'm under the impression that Margot Kidder is just a crazy person and that directors cast her in these roles where she can just be herself.


"If you pick up the parts for me, I'll stick it in for you." - Jason Priestly


"Can we designate a dyke?" This movie is officially crazy.


The annoying son cries more than all of the girls combined.


There is 45 minutes left, and most of the drama is focused on money at this point. What about the battle of the sexes?


Every "radio caller" is actually the same guy calling day after day. And why is he calling some pop/hip hop station to talk about hockey?


I thought I was paying attention, but I have absolutely no idea what happened to the money. Who stole it? I don't get it. And why aren't we PLAYING HOCKEY. Play some hockey, Hockey Mom!


Hockey Mom drinking game ideas: Drink every time you hear a country song, someone talks about money, and Stewie whines about something.


Seriously, there have been at least ten country songs. I can't take it.


Cameras in the locker room. Totally legal.


We're over an hour into this, and I think we're finally about to play some hockey again. But I thought they didn't have enough money? Did the one fundraiser raise over $100k?


HOLY HELL. She is RAPPING the Canadian anthem. She just did record scratches and said, "Remix." And the crowd loved it.


Let's be clear. They raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. And NO ONE showed up to watch.


I want to see another movie do the opposite of this. Some girls insult some guys cause they can't cook. So they challenge the girls to a cook off. It'll be called Guys With Pies.


"Did I mention the women are naked? Except for their shin pads?" Uh... what about the uniforms?


Now people are showing up for the game?! Weird.


The announcer just said to stay tuned for "the third and final quarter." I honestly don't know if that was intentional or not. I don't think it was. But it had to be, right? Maybe a Canadian dollar is equal to three quarters.


This place is packed now! This would be like fans showing up for a baseball game in the 9th inning.


"It's raining lingerie here, people. Keep your shirts on, ladies!"


You're NEVER gonna guess who won the game. It's a miracle that I made it through this one. It was pretty rough, guys.

Thanks to everyone who joined me. If you missed it, feel free to watch it yourself on Netflix, but I wouldn't recommend doing that. Unless you're like me and you just like to sit through awful films for fun!

Like last year, I'll be doing more installments of GBS at the Movies after Blogathon.

11 Hours Down - Geeky Thoughts

It's been awfully quiet on my end thus far today. My sincerest apologies, everybody. I can only say that I've spent a lot of time watching a couple small children, and then the we took off out of the house for four full hours to grab dinner and then watch Mike's band rip the roof right off of a bookstore. It was an impressive sight.

Anyway, I've been able to get back in front of a screen for an hour or so now since giving up on getting beaten by Mike's kids at Mario Kart, so I'm a little more back up to speed on the 24 Hours. As predicted, the Corvette DPs have been strong, and as I write this, they hold four of the top-5 positions. One of the five "favored" Corvette DPs (see my Prototype preview to see which ones I'm referring to) is no longer running, due to Memo Gidley's massive accident in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Corvette DP. The only interloper in the top-5 is the #02 Ganassi Riley-Ford EcoBoost, while the #60 Mike Shank Racing Riley-Ford EcoBoost is also on the lead lap in 6th. The #01 Ganassi car hit trouble a little while ago and is currently in the garage, 28 laps down. So, the question remains: can the Ford turbos continue to take the fight to the Corvettes in the second half of the race?

Meanwhile, the #911 and 912 Porsche 911 GTLMs run 1-2 ahead of the #56 and 55 RLL BMW Z4s, which run 3-4. The #4 and 3 Corvette C7.Rs run just behind in 5th and 6th, so that fight is far from over. The CORE guys lead LMPC, and Porsches run 1-2-3 in GTD.

There's still a long way to go. I think I'm going to get a little sleep, so that I can hit the ground running at 6:00 Central, when TV coverage comes back on (at least one of the Speedgeek offspring will have been up for 20-30 minutes at that point, so I'll be up anyway). See everybody in a few hours!

Transaction update

If you've kept up since the beginning of Blogathon, you'll notice someone has switched teams!

Daytona coverage online

For those looking for a way to watch the race, check it here:

Click the 4th camera for TV style announcers and multiple cameras.

Hockey Mom starting soon

I'll be live-blogging Hockey Mom starting at 1:00 EST. The movie is available on Netflix, and I'll have a post here where I'll add my thoughts throughout the film. If you want to watch with me, I'll be pressing play on Netflix when this clock says 1:00. Varying internet speeds will cause us to get out of sync, but it should be close enough. Feel free to comment if you're watching.

Blogathon 2014: Limerick #3

If I could murder a track,
Rainbow Road would have to watch its back,
For its days would be numbered.
It would pray as it wondered
Precisely just when I'd attack.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The perfect play in Mario Kart

Let me tell you about the absolute best move I've come up with for Mario Kart. On Rainbow Road, if the Mario gods bless you with a Bullet Bill, don't use it. Save it for the next time you fall off the track. Then, as you plummet to your death, hit the button to summon the almighty power of Bullet Bill. One minute, you're dead. The next, you're flying past people.

Anyway, I'm really glad Mrs. Speedgeek is playing tonight. It gives me some competition for last place!

Mario Kart is live!

We're rolling. I'm eating Smash Burger and racing at the same time. So now is the time to beat me. I mean, now and every other time, because I'm awful. My friend code, different from past years, is 5371-1277-8691.

Come race with us! We'll race for a couple of hours, until about 12:30 EST. Hockey Mom will start right at 1:00 EST.

Mario Kart time!

Running a few minutes late. Let us set up, and we should be running by 10:45 EST. Let us know if you have trouble finding us. My friend code is posted in the Blogathon event schedule. Let's race!

IMSA not off to a good start for merged series

I really don't understand racing series these days. How did the conversation go when they merged Grand-Am and American LeMans Series.

Guy #1: "Hey when it comes to online Timing and scoring what should we do"

Guy #2: "Well the Grand am version has performed flawlessly since it was invented and never fails in the slightest. The ALMS one requires constant refreshing and really isn't live so much as repeated snapshots causing errors all the time when it loads"

Guy #1: "ok well lets definitely go with the ALMS one but make some changes to it to make it even more unreliable that its ever been"

Guy #2: "Done!"

Daytona 24 goes off TV earlier every year

Sure it made sense in past years to take Daytona 24 hours to go off air at 11pm to show NASCAR stuff in California that was live, but how in the hell does it make any sense to take it off air for Fox Sports 2 channel which is now going to show the minor league series to United Sports Car that happened yesterday???

This would be like taking off the Yankees and Cubs to show Triple AAA game that happened yesterday.

Fox definitely needs to get that stupidity sorted out. Guess I'm going back to the UFC for now.

The FOX Robot lives!!!

I found a GIF of the dude dressed up as the robot, check it:

Rocking Out!

Mike and I are temporarily out of commission, due to Mike's band rocking out hard, with the entire Speedgeek clan (me plus Mrs., Little and Baby) in attendance. As much fun as you're all having, we're having a better time than you. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. Back with more soon.

Fox Robot is Real!

Holy crap I need to find a GIF as evidence but someone in the crowd at the UFC eventis dressed up as the dumb Fox Robot that's always on football games and UFC fights.  That was awesome and creepy all at the same time.

Top search terms finding GBS this week

While we appreciate all the Blogathon visitors, strangely our top search terms over the past week have been the following:

sloane stephens father
john stephens american football
sloane stephens dad
john stephens


verdasco naked

I feel bad for the "verdasco naked" people, who quickly learned we were basically a tennis blog that sometimes posts about awesome running backs from Tecmo Super Bowl.

Back to Green in Daytona, and Knocked out in Chicago

So obviously first thing is prayers and well wishes to both Memo Gidley and Matteo Malucelli hoping both can make a quick recovery from that terrible crash. Early report from 99 team owner is that Gidley is at least awake and talking at the hospital.

The race is just now getting back to a green flag after an hour an a half of red/yellow; you almost feel like they were just waiting out the sunlight so as to minimize the risk of a repeat incident.

While during the red/yellow there were some other sports to be had such as the USA v. Spain rugby match where the US Eagles were able to notch up their first win of the tournament 31-10.

And then there was the crazy match in the UFC between Mike Rio and Daron Cruickshank which saw Rio get Cruickshank in a very tight heel hook, and you really thought Daron would tap, but got out, and then after Daron gout out of the leg hold he went on a rampage and eventual highlight reel knock out you can see here:

Blogathon 2014: Limerick #2

Dixon wanted to fight Pruett.
His friends all told him he should do it.
So they met toe to toe
Right there on pit row
But were smashed when the cars all drove through it.

Heading out!

OK, I'm heading out for the evening, but I'll be back in time for Mario Kart (10:30 EST), Hockey Mom, and the Australian Open. Expect more activity from me and Speedgeek later. For now, the ball is in Wedge's court. I'll try to check in between now and Mario Kart!

Blogathon 2014: Limerick #1

Although Georgia lost to Kentucky,
Each fan at the game was quite lucky!
A guy tried a shot
From the back parking lot
And won each fan a new rubber ducky!

Anyone interested in seeing great rugby

Flip over to NBC for the next 20 minutes to see New Zealand vs. Fiji. two of the best teams about to match up.

Where the hell is Speedgeek!?

Theres so many cars blowing up and breaking right now, I need his analysis to tell me what the 4th mechanic related to the brother of a driver on the Mazda thinks about this?  

But seriously for a second, that has to be the story of the race so far right? Never seen this many issues in the first 2 hours before.

FOX coverage almost done

So we're about five minutes away from FOX's coverage ending. While I wish it could just stay here for the complete 24 hours, I realize that's not happening any time soon. I know I don't exactly hang out with many racing fans, but other than my co-bloggers, I don't know anyone else who even knows this race exists. That being said, it's sort of depressing that FOX (my local channel, at least) will be switching to paid programming and then some Larry King "special report." But I guess if no one really watches this, then there's no reason to have it on for more than two hours. Of course tonight this very same channel will be showing guys punching and kicking each other a lot, and millions of people will tune in.

This guy just got hit on pit row!

I've never seen that before. He just jumped back up. No concussion test, I assume. Adding to Allen's post, could you see athletes in other sports getting hit by a car and just continuing to play?

High school basketball

Checking out the game on ESPNU between Surise Christian and Arlington Country Day. This kid for Sunrise just hit a big three-pointer, putting his team up by five near the end of the first half. And he's a sophomore. He's on national television hitting threes as a sophomore. When I was a sophomore, I was debating whether or not I should dress like Kriss Kross. You know. Everything to the back with a little slack. I didn't do it. Not until that time we did karaoke at some bar in like 2004.

Universalizing Sports Technology/Rules

So as you might see throughout my GBS history, I watch a LOT of different sports. The biggest thing I think it does for you is open your mind to new options, and not just in sports but in the way competition can be structured.

The NFL didn't always have a 2 point conversion, the NBA didn't always have a 3 pointer, so that's why the NFL's recent announcement that they may forego the extra point intrigues me.

Let's get one thing out of the way, I am an anti-traditionalist; meaning I despise people who say "thats the way it's always been"  or "Its tradition" as a sole explanation for the reason something happens. Sure we may have a race or a game every year, but if something can be improved on, why the heck not!?

This means there are failures when you try things (see: Fox NHL glowing puck) but then there are things that end up revolutionizing sport (see: NHL being first to utilize camera replays).

So because of my fairly ridiculous repertoire of sports that I dive head first into as a fan, I think its fair time to start picking out aspects of different sports that they've experimented or tried and got right, and also some that folks have gotten wrong; and how they should be expanding into other sports.

so with that introduction, here's the first two we can chat about:

Make it universal! - In rugby, there are no specialist positions for singular plays. American Football desperately needs this. Frankly after watching rugby for a few years now I REALLY truly believe that Americans would love the NFL if it just became rugby because it appeals to everything the NFL is missing, no helmets and uniforms makes players more marketable, less concussions, no spear tackles, no kickers, no timeouts, but lets not go that far for now. All I'm saying is:

Football gets rid of kickers, get rid of punters and 400 pound linemen, baseball gets rid of the DH and reduces the roster of pitchers to negate having a milion closers and setup closers. Whoever scores the touchdown has to kick the field goal, that right there would make extra points the new most exciting play in the game. Maybe no more 350 pound linemen, because they'd need to be able to run and kick too. If american football didn't take that concept in whole they could at least accept the concept that the position of the touchdown affects where the extra point must be kicked from. In rugby the point after the try is only a gimmie if they score between the goalposts.

I don't even need to talk about how the DH in baseball is a terrible idea, a guy who sits on his ass except to take a bat once in a while. Pitchers who don't have to bat is ridiculous when you consider that they have to bat in all leagues growing up; that kind of stuff makes the game more expensive because you have to hire more people, thus makes tickets more expensive. When did athletes stop being athletes? They should be willing to be good at many things.

Imagine your current job, now pick one minor task of the job and imagine if your company hired someone to do that 1 minor task and that was their only job and they got paid full time salary for it? Like someone who ONLY did the dialing of the phone, because the dialed it the fastest. that's what having kickers, punters, DHs and closers is like.


It looks like IMSA now have LED lights on the Sports cars to tell you what place, within class, the car is, I'm going to need to think about this one for a while but its very interesting to me and now just wondering how applicable it is to other sports.

Happy Blogathon to me.

Huevos chorizo!

To storm the court or not?

We're about four minutes away from a potential upset (Miami at home over #2 Syracuse). Of course if Syracuse goes down, Miami fans will storm the court. And I'm cool with that. It's tough to know true rankings at this point in the year, but this is the system we use, and it's all we have. But where do we draw the line? Do you storm the court for upsetting the #3 team? What about #5? Or #10? #11?

Either way, it's fine with me. I like watching chaos on TV!

Of course, Syracuse now has a four-point lead, so this conversation is temporarily on hold. But maybe we'll see it at some point this weekend. In fact, this should be a category in next year's Blogathon pick 'em challenge: number of times the crowd storms the court.

Main problem with FOX coverage

If you're here for the goofy commercials, like the DVD kiosk and the cool cat stuff, we're probably going to have to wait a few hours. These commercials are all pretty legit. I feel like we're missing that huge WWII set where the dude told us we didn't love America if we didn't buy it.

Wreck on the first lap!

Wasn't one of my picks.

Ready for Blogathon?

Here's some quick reference links for you:

Daytona 24 Live Timing and Scoring

GBS Blogathon pick'em challenge
post your picks in the comments and see if you can beat us

Complete Schedule of Blogathon 2014
(includes our fun events plus all sports going on during the 24 hour period)

Speedgeek's Beer Lineup

Since Mike had to go and post his Blogathon beer lineup, I guess I better show a picture of the arsenal I'm working from this weekend...

Mind you, I'mat the point of my life where I can no longer drink more than about three beers in any eight hour period, but it's nice to know that there are options in the fridge...

Setting my lineup...

And testing my blogger app. Happy Blogathon Day!

2014 Daytona 24 Hours - Prototype Preview

It's been a long, (not so) strange (typing on a computer screen) trip, but we've made it to the end of the GBS Daytona 24 Hours class previews. Tonight, it's the final class, the Prototypes. This class is not just interesting (to me) in that it will likely be the class that the overall winner comes from, but it's also a merger of 2-3 classes of cars from the 2013 sports car season. The GrandAm Daytona Prototypes have been sped up slightly through higher horsepower and a little more downforce, the ALMS LMP2 cars have been slowed ever so slightly through the use of spec Continental Tire rubber, and the Delta Wing...well, it's been carried over and added into the P class. Let's get right to this thing.

The No-Hopers

#50 Highway to Help Riley-Dinan BMW DP - This car and team show up every year, and good on them for doing so. It's great to see a team come out with the goal of just simply competing, even if the absolute ceiling of performance would be about a 10th place overall, and that's if things go exactly as they'd hope. It's teams like this that make super-underdogs fun to keep track of during a long race like the 24 Hours. Odds - 500 to 1.

#70 and 07 SpeedSource Mazda Skyactiv Diesel LMP2s - As I covered in last year's preview, it's going to be a tough row to hoe for the Mazdas, now even more so that they're in the Prototype class. Both cars were fragile at the Roar Before the 24 test, along with being dreadfully slow (the quicker of the two qualified 11.5 seconds off of the overall pole, and both cars were behind every other car that set a time in qualifying). It would appear that Mazda is in the TUDOR United Sports Car Series for the long run, as there appear to be no illusions about winning, or maybe even finishing at Daytona. Getting the cars to run until the fireworks get shot off at 10:00 or 11:00 PM would be a massive personal victory for the team. Odds (both cars) - 400 to 1.

The "We've Got Quite a Bit of Hope, Thanks Very Much"-ers

#0 Delta Wing Racing Cars Delta Wing DWC13-Elan - The Delta Wing made its competitive debut (albeit with a Nissan powertrain) at Le Mans in 2012, where it was bumped off track and into a wall by a Toyota LMP1 car. Since then, the Delta Wing has gone through a couple of different iterations, to a spectacularly unreliable Elan-powered roadster at the beginning of 2013, to a much more reliable and actually sort of quick (it led overall briefly at Road America) coupe version for the last bundle of races of 2013. The coupe version returns this year, driven by Andy Meyrick, former IndyCar driver Katherine Legge, (hopeful future Formula 1 driver) Alexander Rossi and Indy Lights standout Gaby Chaves. All four are more than capable hands, but the Delta Wing has yet to finish a race longer than 10 hours (and that one 10-hour finish was when it was Nissan powered at Petit Le Mans in 2012). Can it run all day and all night? Signs point to...maybe. Winning, an entirely different animal. Odds - 100 to 1.

#31 Marsh Racing Corvette DP - The longtime GrandAm GT class stalwarts step up to the top class, and they brought their excellent driving crew (full timers Eric Curran and Boris Said, plus Bradley Smith and "Mad" Max Papis) with them. Plus: they've got a Corvette DP, which looks to be the hot ticket to run up front this year. Minus: new team to the Prototypes, in a field of teams who have been running these cars for a whole lot longer than one year. Odds - 50 to 1.

The "I Think We Might Have Brought a Knife to a Gun Fight"-ers

#1 and 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD-ARX-03b LMP2s - The integration of the LMP2 cars from the ALMS into the same class with the GrandAm Daytona Prototypes never looked like it'd be simple. The run up to the Daytona 24 Hours has borne that out. The LMP2 cars have lacked speed, specifically straightline speed, and so have been at least 1.5 seconds off of the top DPs in just about every session of testing, practice and qualifying. As a result, it is going to be nearly impossible for an LMP2 car to win this race without a bunch of help in the form of attrition and crashes on the part of the DPs (which isn't totally out of the question with 67 cars on track). After all, at a 1.5 second per lap deficit, the LMP2s will get lapped every 67 laps or so. Ouch. It'll be an entirely different story at basically every other race on the calendar, when the LMP2s can use their extra downforce to their advantage, but Daytona is not a downforce track. Anyway, even though ESM has a bunch of extremely talented drivers (Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and David Brabham in the #1, Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek, Simon Pagenaud and Anthony Lazzaro in the #2), it'd take a near miracle for them to win at Daytona. Odds - 30 to 1.

#42 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 - See above. Odds - 30 to 1.

#6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing ORECA-Nissan LMP2 - As much as I don't want to say it, see above. This car gets slightly better odds, due to being the WEC-dominant ORECA-Nissan combo, and for having Lucas Luhr, Klaus Graf and Alex Brundle in it. Odds - 25 to 1.

The "New Car Blues" Candidates

#60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Riley-Ford EcoBoost DP - The production-based, twin-turbo Ford V6 is new to GrandAm this year. It's been pretty quick (they qualified fifth, eighth and ninth), but there were also dramas surrounding the exhaust systems overheating at the Roar Before test. I haven't heard much of that sort of chatter thus far in practice and qualifying (the Ford teams were still tinkering with their exhaust systems during the Roar, and have likely come back with a more conservative solution), but we've yet to run a session longer than 2-3 hours. What are the Fords going to do in a 24 hour run? If they can hold it together, they can contend. There's a rather big "if" in that last sentence, though... Odds - 20 to 1.

#01 and 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford EcoBoost DPs - See above. These cars get a slight bump in odds, due to it being Ganassi Racing, who have won five of the last eight Daytona 24 Hour races. Odds (both cars) - 15 to 1.

The "Might Be Able to Keep It Together"-ers

#78 Starworks Motorsport Riley-Dinan BMW DP - A well-proven car, with a couple of well-proven drivers (Brendon Hartley, Alex Popow), a couple of open wheel refugees with less than stellar finishing rates (EJ Viso, Sebastian Saavedra) and Scott Mayer (who has a certain Twitter hashtag following him around like a black cloud). The car is up to the task of 24 hours. Is this set of drivers, though? Odds - 15 to 1.

The Front Runners

#5 and 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DPs - The top-5 Corvette teams have basically been lights out in the run up to Saturday's race, taking five of the top-6 spots in qualifying, and five of the top-7 spots in Friday's final practice. It's more or less a question of which one of the Vettes can run more trouble free than the rest. The AXR Vettes are certainly loaded for bear in the driving department, with Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais and Burt Frisselle driving the #5 and John Martin, Fabien Giroix, and Brian and Burt Frisselle (Burt pulling double duty) in the #9 car. Every last one of those guys is a winner, and the team won the 24 Hours in 2010. Can they win this one? Odds (both cars) - 8 to 1.

#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP - Wayne Taylor has basically gotten the band back together for Daytona from the 2013 GrandAm DP championship team (Corvette DP, Jordan Taylor, Max Angelelli). To that, he's added his other son, Ricky (who drove for Spirit of Daytona last year), and himself (can't hate on the guy for wanting to try to win the Rolexes with his two sons). Wayne hasn't driven a DP in several years, so you'd have to think that he might be the weak ling among the drivers, but he was certainly no slouch as recently as five years ago. They'll be just fine. Odds - 8 to 1.

#90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP - They suffered a massive accident in November testing at Daytona, but they've come back stronger than ever, running in the top-5 in just about every testing, practice and qualifying session since then. They're on the outside of the front row, and Richard Westbrook, Michael Valiente and Mike Rockenfeller are all proven winners in GrandAm DP. It might finally be time for the SoD guys to break through and win a big one. Odds - 8 to 1.

#99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP - They've yet to come up with the funding to run the entire 2014 TUSC season, but they have committed to running the North American Endurance Championship races (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta). They certainly haven't lost a step, though, since Alex Gurney put the car on the pole. Gurney is joined by longtime driving partner Jon Fogarty, plus Darren Law and Memo Gidley, all of whom have won races (many multiple races, in the case of Gurney, Fogarty and Law) in the DP class. They've had rotten luck at Daytona in the past few years, but this could definitely be the year they put it all together into a flawless run. Odds - 8 to 1.

So, there you have it. Everything you probably didn't want to know about this weekend's 24 Hours of Daytona. Stop on back tomorrow, for all of the assorted nonsense and craziness that Mike, Allen and myself have planned. You might learn something (other than that the three of us are basically out of our minds...which you probably knew anyway).

Friday, January 24, 2014

Matt Garza signing with the Milwaukee Brewers?

Yesterday a Milwaukee Brewers blog with a "good source" reported that the team had signed free agent pitcher Matt Garza. Although reports have now surfaced that there is no deal yet, I'll play along and assume the signing will be official soon.

But why, Matt? Why?! I can't believe Garza would settle and sign with the Brewers, especially at the $52 million (over four years) salary that was originally "reported." Maybe this is all just wishful thinking by some Brewers fans? Or maybe this is really what has become of Garza's career at this point?

Garza has not been the perfect picture of health, but it's not as bad as people think. He made 31 starts in 2011, throwing 198 innings.  2012 has been considered a lost year, but he actually pitched more than 100 innings and made 18 starts. Then last year, once he was healthy, he was on pace to have one of his best seasons until he arrived in Texas and lost his steam.

He is clearly better than he is being given credit for if he does end up signing this deal. From 2007 until being traded by the Cubs last summer, his season ERA remained under 4.00. He looked so good last year, that Chicago was able to get a great package of four prospects from the Texas Rangers in return for Garza's expensive and expiring contract. I do wonder if the Cubs would've traded Garza if they had known he could be extended at this price. Maybe in the end it will be worth it, based on the eventual fates of the prospects the team grabbed in the deal. But I think we were all expecting Garza to land a bigger deal this winter.

So why stoop so low? The Brewers are terrible. Their "best" player is a lying steroid user who is willing to trample on top of anyone on his way to the top. There is some young talent in Gomez and Segura. But can Lucroy keep hitting? Can Weeks still play at a decent level? Can Ramirez even play in half of the games in 2014?

Garza would certainly improve the rotation, one that saw Tom Gorzelanny make ten starts last year. But what's with the lowball offer? Maybe Garza is willing to take less to face the Cubs, but I've never gotten that kind of vibe from him.

If this contract does play out this way, then Milwaukee is getting a good deal at $13 million per year while Garza is 30-33 years old. Masahiro Tanaka just secured four (and up to seven) years at nearly $10 million more per season, and he has not thrown a single pitch in this league. Can his numbers possibly be twice as good as Garza's from now through 2017? I doubt it.

2014 Daytona 24 Hours - GTD Preview

In case you missed it, I managed to put together some semi-coherent thoughts on the LMPC and GTLM classes earlier in the week. I give myself credit for semi-coherence, due to the fact that the team that I picked as the "favorite" in LMPC managed to score the class pole today in qualifying, and the car that I picked as the second most likely to win took the pole in GTLM. You'll have to excuse me while I rub my shoulder, because I just strained it rather badly while patting myself on the back.

With my self-congratulations out of the way, it's time to tackle our third class of the week, the one I've deemed second most interesting: GTD. Pros: there are 29 cars in this class, including six different manufacturers (Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche and SRT); powertrains are just as varied, with rear engined flat-6s, mid-engined V10s and V8s, and front engined V8s, V10s and V12s. Cons: a lot of the drivers are "gentlemen drivers", meaning that they are bankrolling the teams but are usually significantly slower than the pro drivers; the class is not in the running for the overall win. It's the last reason that GTD is my #2 class for this weekend. Let's get to it.

The No-Chancers

#28 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America - Not to pick on this one car, but it is literally one of only two cars in the entire field that has a complete driver lineup that I've never heard of. With as long as I've been following endurance racing, that is quite a feat. Odds - 100 to 1.

The Very Little Chancers

#009 TMG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage - As I alluded to above, there were two driver lineups that I hadn't heard of a single driver. This is the second such car. I'd have put this one in the "No-Chancers" category as well, except that they qualified ninth in class. Hmmm. OK, this car might be quick, but there's no way it can win in a 29 car field. Right? Odds - 80 to 1.

#18 Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT America - Would have gotten lumped in with the #28 Dempsey car, except that I've actually heard of Alexandre Imperatori. Just not the other four guys. They did qualify 12th in class, though... Odds - 80 to 1.

#19 Muelhner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT America - Randy Pobst is lightning quick. My knowledge of this driver crew ends there. Odds - 80 to 1.

#94 Turner Motorsports BMW Z4 - Like I mentioned with the GTLM BMWs yesterday, the GTD BMW is down on straightline speed. Solid driver lineup (which includes BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus and young American superstar in the making, Dane Cameron) or no, I can't see how they manage to beat ALL of the rest of the field with such a disadvantage. Odds - 80 to 1.

Erm...Everybody Else?

Seriously, I would love to do an entire field run down here, but this just seems basically impossible. Other than the five cars that I've already listed, I could make a case for any of the other 24 cars winning the GTD class. I may have to do this a little stream-of-consciousness style, so bear with me...

The Audi R8 LMSs seem to be struggling here, with the quickest of the five lining up in 19th. This is a touch deceiving, I suppose, since the #48 Audi actually was fastest in GTD qualifying and the #46 was third, but both had their times thrown out for technical infractions. Audi did manage to win the GT class last year, not through sheer speed, but by running consistently, staying mostly out of trouble, and executing flawlessly in the pits (the crews were overseen by longtime Audi engineer and logistic guru for the Le Mans LMP1 team, Brad Kettler). Possibly the Audis can pull off the same deal again this year.

The #007 Aston Martin is the one that has drivers that I've heard of in it (Brandon Davis, Al Carter, former Indy Lights and sometime IndyCar driver James Davison). It also qualified third in class, after the Audis were sent to the back. Could the V12 Aston win in its American major league sports car racing debut? I have a hard time seeing it, but it is being crewed by the TMG guys, who won this thing overall 11 years ago...

The one Viper GT3-R in the GTD class is certainly outnumbered, but it's being driven by the Bleekemolen brothers (Jeroen and Sebastiaan) and Emmanuel Collard, who are all very quick. New car...but it was fifth in class in qualifying...

Honestly, like most years, all of the Porsche entries sort of run together for me. I just know that there's one with a young American Porsche factory driver (the #73 Park Place Motorsports car, with Connor De Phillippi), there's one with Damien Faulkner and Patrick Huisman in it (the #81 GB Motorsport car), there's one with Timo Bernhard and some other pretty fast guys in it (the #71 Park Place Motorsports car), there's one with Jan "Don't Call Me Van" Heylen and young Madison Snow in it (the #58 Snow Racing car), there's one with Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen (if you haven't watched his "Nurburgring Rain Dance" video yet, go do that now), Aussie V8 Supercar driver Shane van Gisbergen, Shane Lewis and LP Dumoulin in it (the #22 Alex Job Racing car), there's one with Ian James and Marco Holzer in it (the #23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing car), there's one with a bunch of talented Europeans with a lot of vowels in their names in it (the #30 NGT Motorsports car), there's one with a bunch of fast screwballs in it (the #44 Magnus Racing car), and there's one with a movie star in it (the #27 Dempsey Racing car). Any one of these Porsches could easily win this class. Lastly, there are the Ferraris. The 458 Italias have been very fast this week. In fact, after the Audis lost their times, we wound up with five Ferraris in the top-8 in class. Literally any of the Ferraris could win, as all of them have a talented mix of drivers.

Odds - 25 to 1 for every car included in this section.


 We Are Over 1,000 Words Already...Hurry Up and Make a Pick

Gun to my head, I've got to go with the Level 5 Ferrari 458s. The team has Ferrari experience, from team owner Scott Tucker's days of running them in SCCA. The Ferraris were fast at Daytona last year, and have already been fast this year. Level 5 stuck both of their cars in the top-6 in qualifying. Both Level 5 cars have great driver lineups (the #555 crew includes Jeff Segal and IndyCar driver Townsend Bell, the #556 crew includes Terry Borcheller and Guy Cosmo). And Twitter engineer extraordinaire Jeff Braun (@jvbraun, a mandatory follow for any sports car racing fan) is working the setup sheets. I think this team has the right combination to bring home some expensive watches. Odds (both cars) - 15 to 1.

We are almost home! Tune back in for our last class preview, and see who I'm going to pick to win overall (and therefore get spectacularly wrong)!