Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

By Rick Morris

Veterans have always been heroes to me, people who put a cause greater than themselves ahead of their own well-being. This very visceral account of D-Day from Charles Durning tells the story in all of its honor and horror.

I can't even imagine what it would be like to experience a wartime experience such as this. Nor can I fathom the decades afterwards, as men like Durning came home from war, settled down, had families and built careers -- and were no doubt haunted by the memories of their friends who were cut down when they were very young and never experienced any postwar life.

On this unofficial "first day of summer," let's all try to take some time to remember those who helped make it possible through their blood and sweat. It's a horrible dishonor to let a day like this pass without feeling some gratitude towards the best and bravest among us. Along similar lines, please check out the 2,000th link on our FDH Ultimate Links Page, Veterans Tribute.

Our 2,000th link -- honoring our heroes, the veterans

By Rick Morris

Our FDH Ultimate Links Page has been growing in stature for quite some time, living up to its billing as the ultimate home on the Internet for useful and entertaining links. Belying our start as a purely-sports company, our sports links now account for barely over 41% of the overall total. A breakdown of our composition is below.

But first, our announcement about the website chosen to serve as the 2,000th link added to the page. Knowing that we would be approaching that milestone somewhere in the vicinity of Memorial Day, we chose to use it to embrace the true meaning of the holiday. Our 2,000th link is Veterans Tribute, with a URL of, the most well-rounded site of this nature that we could find. We salute them for the work that they have done in paying proper tribute to our ultimate heroes and we wish them countless hits to their website and any other measures of success that they can generate.

Here is the updated breakdown of links in our 52 categories on "the one web page you'd like to have with you on a desert island."

MLB Depth Charts: 30
NFL Depth Charts: 32
NBA Depth Charts: 30
MLB Official Team Websites: 30
NFL Official Team Websites: 32
NBA Official Team Websites: 30
NHL Official Team Websites: 30
Injury Reports & Pitching Probables: 5
Sporting Event Weather Forecasts: 6
Statistics: 13
Fantasy Sports: 9
Player Salaries: 4
Major Sports Media: 30
New Sports Media: 57
Sports Business Media: 26
Racing Media: 13
Niche Sports Media: 41
MMA Media: 19
CBS Sports: 44
Hockey Blogs: 25
Hockey Media: 15
NHL Line Combinations: 30
SportsTalkNetwork: 18
Miscellaneous Sports: 50
Hoops Blogs: 23
Sports Multimedia: 11
Hoops Media: 13
Football Blogs: 16
Football Media: 11
Message Boards: 8
Baseball Blogs: 23
Baseball Media: 28
Hall of Fame: 7
Major Leagues: 5
Other Leagues: 57

Blog/Search/Video Tools: 99
FDH Lounge Dignitaries on Twitter: 15
Completely Random: 89
Fun Timewasters: 42
General News/Media: 69
Geopolitics: 25
Health/Wellness: 16
Humor: 51
Politics/Public Policy: 106
Pop Culture Goodies: 14
TV/Film/Music/Books/General Entertainment: 157
Webcasting: 16
Virtual Mall: 50
Web Tools/Consumer/Career: 123
Web Tools/General: 201
Web Tools/Markets/Financial: 63
Worthwhile Causes: 44

TOTAL: 2,000

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The meaning of baseball's perfect game

By Jason Jones (posted by Rick Morris)

Not to be a baseball antagonist...but, if it's really a "perfect game," wouldn't the pitcher only throw 81 pitches, all for strikes, with 27 strikeouts? Anything short of striking every batter out with a maximum of three pitches per at-bat seems to be less than perfect. Roy Halladay only had 11 strikeouts and threw only 63% for strikes, based on the definition of the word, that ... doesn't seem "perfect."

There has never actually been a "perfect" game in the history of organized baseball. Seems to me that if there ever was, it would truly be a spectacle to behold. And that is what would make it so magical ... the pursuit of perfection, not the pursuit of the really, really good.

The latest 10 "perfect games" were as follows:

^ Roy Halladay-Future Hall of Famer
^ Dallas Braden-Who the hell knows how good he'll be?
^ Mark Buehrle-Solid starter for his era
^ Randy Johnson-Future Hall of Famer
^ David Cone-Very good, not an all-time great
^ David Wells-Seriously, the drunk, seriously?
^ Kenny Rogers-Had his moments
^ Dennis Martinez-Very good ... if you only consider the 1980s
^ Tom Browning-Footnote, if memory serves
^ Mike Witt-Before my time

The highest strikeout total for any perfect game? Sandy Koufax (who was the sh%@, by the way) only had 14. Thats one K putting him over the 50% mark. Hardly perfect.

Point is, why in sports do we change the definitions of our words in order and drama and effect to the moment? Perfect Game, The Game's Hero, The Unbeatable________, Kobe Bryant is a Killer, Shutdown Corner, Lockdown defender, etc. None of those terms or phrases are anywhere near as absolute as we claim them to be. And for the record, I am just as guilty as anyone in the butchery of these linguistic violations.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Baseball's exploding ace pitcher situation

By Rick Morris

NOTE: This column was written for this week's FDH Fantasy Newsletter, but we will reprint material here when it has broader, non-fantasy implications. Certainly, this article fits that description as all real baseball fans would be interested to contemplate the nature of the ace pitcher in the game.

The FDH Breakdown of Baseball’s Exploding Ace Situation

It is our hypothesis that the game of baseball has changed rapidly over the past 12-24 months in terms of ace pitchers in the game. Let’s start by examining a list of those who have definitively stepped away from the game during that span:

^ Roger Clemens
^ Randy Johnson
^ Curt Schilling

Now, here are the ones who have, in our estimation, embodied the status of aces over the past few years:

^ Josh Beckett
^ Chris Carpenter
^ Roy Halladay
^ Dan Haren
^ Roy Oswalt
^ Jake Peavy
^ CC Sabathia
^ Johan Santana
^ Justin Verlander
^ Brandon Webb

Just to show that the net is not being cast excessively wide, here is our list of those who are not, for reasons of consistency, health or both, considered legit aces:

^ Mark Buehrle
^ AJ Burnett
^ Cole Hamels
^ Rich Harden
^ John Lackey (this one hurts, because we have touted him so much over the past few years!)
^ Mike Pelfrey (he’s been an assassin this year, but his ERA has been above five for three of his four full seasons)
^ Brad Penny
^ Ben Sheets
^ Carlos Zambrano
^ Barry Zito

Now, here is the list of pitchers who seem to have turned the corner relatively recently to become aces:

^ Matt Cain
^ Yovani Gallardo
^ Zack Greinke
^ Tommy Hanson
^ “King” Felix Hernandez
^ Phil Hughes
^ Ubaldo Jimenez
^ Josh Johnson
^ Clayton Kershaw
^ Cliff Lee (kind of a late bloomer, but the numbers have been at this level since ‘08)
^ Jon Lester
^ Tim Lincecum
^ Francisco Liriano (actually only now reclaiming his ’06 status after a few years of arm woes)
^ David Price
^ Adam Wainwright

As with the established aces, we have a list of pitchers who we are not quite ready to proclaim at that level:

^ Brett Anderson
^ Chad Billingsley
^ Johnny Cueto
^ Wade Davis
^ Matt Garza
^ Jair Jurrjens
^ Ricky Romero
^ Edinson Volquez

And as an addendum to that list, we have a very short list of likely aces in the making – with the proviso that it is way too soon to put them at that level:

^ Aroldis Chapman
^ Stephen Strasburg

Perhaps some will quibble with our designations, but even if you substitute one name for another on various lists, you will probably come up with a similar number for each grouping.

These lists bear out the hypothesis stated at the beginning: the number of legitimate aces, real #1 pitchers, has just about doubled inside of the last two years. Again, even if you dispute the 10 existing aces and 15 new aces that we listed, if you are using legitimate criteria, your numbers will be exceedingly close to ours regardless of the pitchers you have on them.

The fantasy implications are obvious in the supply-and-demand picture. Surely the most obvious one is that top-shelf pitching is the cheapest it has been since the steroid era first exploded in the mid-‘90s. Indeed, a case could be made that the anchor arms of the game will be enjoying one of the greatest heydays in the history of the game over the next half-decade – at least.

The broader effect on the game’s power is clear as well. While the HR and RBI numbers have been off the recent peak of 1998-2001 for the last decade, they have gone through ebbs and flows. With about two dozen shutdown wings now firmly in place, a sustained downward spike in overall power is likely over the past few years. Indeed, the “canary in the coal mine” for this notion is the presence of several players at the top of the HR list who are – based on all indications – riding out hot early-season rides (Paul Konerko, Jose Bautista, Ty Wigginton and Kelly Johnson). Subtract them from the mix and you have many of the usual suspects looking to top out in the neighborhood of 40 HRs – a classic pre-steroid era plateau.

So while this trend is not gaining significant traction in the fantasy baseball media, it is clearly evident nonetheless and it carries with it transformative notions about how rosters should be assembled in the next several years.

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue XXI

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

2010 Stanley Cup Finals preview

By Rick Morris

Yet again, hockey’s postseason has burned brighter than the one contested on the hardcourts. We have seen Montreal pull historic upsets in two different rounds. We have seen Philadelphia pull off the third 0-3 comeback in a playoff series in league history – and they did it at the expense of the city that managed the only such comeback in Major League history in 2004. We have seen San Jose finally assert themselves as a postseason power in the West, sending home the era’s dominant team in the conference in Detroit – only to skate into a buzzsaw against the mighty Blackhawks in the conference finals.

And we have one round yet to go.

At the beginning of the season, I accurately picked one of the finalists to be here in this round. Shockingly, it was not Chicago. I did actually pick Philadelphia to win the Eastern Conference, and not as a division winner either (I had them slotted as the #4 seed). I did foresee some bumps along the way, but I figured that the veteran presence of Chris Pronger would really help in the postseason. These predictions have certainly manifested themselves.

Here’s some thoughts on how the teams measure up to one another:

^ These teams blazed radically different paths to reach this point. Chicago did face a substantial underdog in the first round in Nashville and ironically, they had to survive quite a scare to prevail in that series. From there, however, they reasserted their superiority of a year ago over a very good Vancouver squad and made mincemeat of a Shark team that had – prior to that point, anyway – put away their “chokers in spring” tag. The Flyers took an easier path on paper to the Finals, first putting away a New Jersey team that has long been a shell of its postseason self, then lollygagging for three games against a Boston team fighting through poor health before roaring back to life. The hot streak remained against Montreal in a strange 7-8 matchup in the conference finals as the Canadiens finally resembled the lowest seed in the East. For the Flyers, who needed a final-day shootout win over the Rangers just to make the playoffs, this run has been less that of a Cinderella and more that of a team finally playing up to its potential at exactly the right moment.

^ Much is made of Chicago’s depth, about how they have the most dangerous top three lines in the league, but Philadelphia is fairly potent during those brief snatches of time when everyone is at full strength. The importance of Simon Gagne’s return from injury in the epic comeback against Boston this year shows how dominating he and the other big guns (Carter/Richards/Briere) can be when they are healthy and at their best. Nobody in the league stacks up to Chicago’s depth at this moment, but the Flyers match up more respectably than most.

^ On the blue line, it would be too pat to portray this series as a potential “passing the torch moment,” since the games of the two players are not entirely similar, but Philly’s Chris Pronger and Chicago’s Duncan Keith will be watched as closely as any two players on the ice. Pronger is probably the player in the series most known to casual fans due to his sustained success over a long period of time and Keith is making a case for himself as the best defenseman in the game right now.

^ Those expecting these two teams to come up short in the playoffs surely would have cited goaltending as a fatal flaw for each. Instead, Antti Niemi and Michael Leighton have come up huge, repeatedly. Neither has a blue-chip pedigree, but Niemi’s prior success in Finland makes him look like royalty compared to Leighton’s journeyman track record. Leighton, of course, is only in net as a type of historical accident, with injuries having previously sidelined Ray Emery and Brian Boucher. Again, while neither goalie comes in with the mark of a purebred, a title for Philly would be an enormous historical oddity inasmuch as the winning goalie has rarely if ever had a resume as underwhelming as Leighton’s.

How do I see this materializing in the end? Frankly, not much differently than the vast majority of analysts. As a previously-admitted Wings fan, I would dearly love to find a reason to pick against my team’s ancient Original Six rival. I do believe that Philly has the proverbial “puncher’s chance,” with their potential for strong scoring and physical play that disrupted Montreal (this season’s true giant-slayer, having previously taken down Washington and Pittsburgh). But the only rationale for picking against the Hawks in this postseason has always come down to their question mark(s) in net and the biggest challenges have likely already been met. Almost all of the games in this series will be hard-fought and down to the wire. Almost all of them will go the same way, however. No, bitter Penguins fans, there is no “Marian Hossa curse.” Chicago in 5.

2010 Stanley Cup Finals storylines

By Rick Morris

Yet again, hockey’s postseason has burned brighter than the one contested on the hardcourts. We have seen Montreal pull historic upsets in two different rounds. We have seen Philadelphia pull off the third 0-3 comeback in a playoff series in league history – and they did it at the expense of the city that managed the only such comeback in Major League history in 2004. We have seen San Jose finally assert themselves as a postseason power in the West, sending home the era’s dominant team in the conference in Detroit – only to skate into a buzzsaw against the mighty Blackhawks in the conference finals.

And we have one round yet to go.

At the beginning of the season, I accurately picked one of the finalists to be here in this round. Shockingly, it was not Chicago. I did actually pick Philadelphia to win the Eastern Conference, and not as a division winner either (I had them slotted as the #4 seed). I did foresee some bumps along the way, but I figured that the veteran presence of Chris Pronger would really help in the postseason. These predictions have certainly manifested themselves.

Let’s look at some other interesting angles to this series:

^ Remarkably, Philly and Chicago, two of the great American sports cities – and two on a relatively short list of metropolitan areas with franchises in all of the “Big Four” sports – have only met for two professional championships. In 1947, the Chicago Cardinals beat the Eagles, 28-21 at Comiskey Park for the NFL Championship. A year later, the Eagles got their revenge in the title game at Shibe Park, 7-0. The “rubber match” between these cities, as it were, now comes more than six decades later. Coincidentally, Chicago’s old NBA hoops coach, Doug Collins, has just signed on in the same capacity in Philadelphia.

^ With the Sixers making the NBA Finals in 2001, the Eagles winning the NFC in 2004 and the Phillies pennants of 2008-09 joining this accomplishment, the city of Philadelphia has seen its teams represented in all four of the “Big Four” championships inside of a decade – with but one title to show for it so far! Amazingly, the city is only replicating what had come previously, with the 1974 and 1975 Flyers, 1980 and 1983 Phillies, 1980 Eagles and 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983 Sixers managed. What a decade that was! The only other occasions for this feat came in New York during the 1950s, New York between 1963 and 1973 (or 1968 and 1978 if you prefer to count the Yankees’ successes of the later years) and New York between 1986 and 1994. Of course, different fans root for different teams in Gotham, so it’s unlikely that there are too many people outside of Philly who have experienced such a run of success with only their hometown favorites involved.

^ While there has been much focus in recent years, and deservedly so, about how the Blackhawks restocked in a hurry with top three picks in consecutive years – Jonathan Toews at #3 in 2006 and Patrick Kane with the top pick a year later – it’s worth noting that both of the top two picks from the ’07 draft are actually representing in the Finals. James van Riemsdyk has certainly come on at a more measured pace than the meteoric Kane, but he has really shown flashes this year of the player he may be destined to become. Speaking of Chicago’s twin aces, the picture is reminiscent of how Pittsburgh landed Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby in 2004 and 2005. That’s a comparison that the Windy City must be loving right about now.

^ Speaking of the prospect of the Hawks hoisting the Cup a year after the Penguins, it would mark a rare consecutive distinction in sports of having very young, talent-laden teams rising extraordinarily quickly to the top. It’s hard to think of too many other teams accomplishing this in the NHL in recent decades – probably Tampa in 2004, although they could not hold their great young core together. In a sport that has traditionally been predicated on seeing teams systematically work their way to the top, there really aren’t any other recent examples. And yet, the other major professional sports are even sparser in terms of seeing these types of teams succeed. You probably have to go back to the 1992 Dallas Cowboys to find a similar team winning the Super Bowl. There are no such examples of such teams winning the NBA Championship in the past few decades without a substantial veteran presence. And only the 2003 Florida Marlins look like a good example of this in baseball. Granted, both Pittsburgh and Chicago had the “veteran chaperone” here and there (Bill Guerin last year, John Madden this year), but neither player can be said to be a core part of the engine.

^ Philadelphia looks like a huge underdog because the Chicago juggernaut seems to be running at full force. If Philly does indeed go down, the fans would be entitled to groan about the team’s poor luck in terms of Finals opponents. Think about who they faced in their five Finals losses since the Cup wins of 1974 and 1975: the ‘90s Red Wings, the ‘80s Oilers (twice), the ‘80s Islanders and the ‘70s Canadiens. Ouch!

^ To this observer, who saw the Cleveland Indians come alive (fleetingly, when they had sound ownership and front office personnel) back in the 1990s, the earlier description of the fanbase as a “sleeping giant” seemed apt. When the team was inspiring the “Major League” movies, it was hard to give the team any love. So too did Blackhawks fans suffer since the team’s last Stanley Cup win in 1961. Unlike the Indians, who were pathetic for decades straight, the Hawks have had their moments here and there over the years, but they’ve never had a look this strong in that 49-year stretch. The town is electrified beyond measure for the Hawks’ success, measured both by constant chatter in the community and decibel levels at home games that rival those at the old Chicago Stadium. Even the explosive offenses of the 1995 Indians and 2010 Blackhawks parallel each other. Certainly, Chicago fans will be hoping for a better ending to their long-awaited date with championship destiny.

^ Another comparison bears watching for Chicago fans, albeit one with a hated rival. The Hawks are said, accurately, to be in the midst of a “short window” based on salary cap commitments and ramifications. A difficult summer is supposed to lie ahead for the front office in this regard. However, the Detroit Red Wings have long consolidated their standing based on the theory that “winning begets winning.” Create a champion, a dynamic winner that promises the constant chance at glory, and others will clamor to join it – even at a reduced rate. Even before the institution of the salary cap, players were routinely taking less money to wear the Winged Wheel (for the best example, check out the below-market dollars paid out to many of the future Hall of Famers on the vaunted ’02 champions). Chicago’s ability to retain existing talent and attract new talent will probably be much less problematic if they end up skating the Cup at the end of this series (much to my chagrin as a Wings fan!).

David Stern picks on easy, convenient, usual target

By Rick Morris

So let me get this straight. David Stern titters and tee-hees about blatant tampering going on right under his nose with the mayor of New York and sitting American president begging LeBron James to sign with their teams (these politicians would accurately understand these pleas to be, in the parlance of their arena, a whopping in-kind contribution to the franchises). His use of the league rules as toilet paper prompted this May 17 tweet from The FDH Lounge account:

“Lebron James is property of the Cavs through June 30. Is David Stern going to have the nards to enforce the league's anti-tampering rules?”

As was further elaborated during my Opening Statement on Episode #103 of THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on, much like free speech rules that the ACLU claims apply to the most odious among us, so too do the anti-tampering strictures exist to protect teams still in the playoffs and unable to devote any organizational efforts to the chase – even the massively unsympathetic Celtics and Lakers. Players are considered to remain the property of their present teams through the full end of the postseason to prevent exactly this kind of anarchy when their teams are eliminated – to say nothing of the fact that the NBA playoffs have become a pathetic undercard to the circus-like speculation, a reality that likely won’t reverse itself in The Finals. If The Commish is OK with that, then the owners have one more reason to wonder about him.

But, inevitably, the big man chose to put his foot down … on Mark Cuban’s neck. Yeah, James Naismith saw that coming and he’s been dead for 70 years.

Cubes happened to engage in some idle speculation about Number 23 – rendered all the more idle, by the way, by the fact that his cap space actually keeps him from being any kind of player for The King’s services whatsoever – and Stern immediately slapped him with a $100,000 fine. He also levied a $10,000 fine against Steve Kerr for the same offense, proving yet again that because of past hostilities, nobody else can be deemed more than 1/10 as guilty as the Mavs owner under any circumstances.

Cuban, you see, committed the heinous crime of being too honest and upfront in his desire for LeBron. Unlike other organizations, he didn’t use any “cutout men” (in Cosa Nostra parlance) like the governor of Texas or Roger Staubach or anybody else to tamper for him. No, sensing the relaxed climate but failing to realize that it did not apply to him, he spoke his own mind and incurred the classic David Stern Pavlovian fine response. Something tells me that if Billy Bob from Waxahachie called into a talk show and said that the Mavs should sign James that Stern would find a way to twist that into a finable offense for Dallas.

I’d hate to see what happened if Jerry Buss ever ticked off the commissioner. That’d be a seven-figure fine for Mark Cuban for sure.

Ever since the 2006 Finals and the ref-worked outcome, people have been comparing the NBA’s credibility to that of the WWE.

What an insult to Vince McMahon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #104: May 26, 2010

By Rick Morris

Variety and fun will abound as always on the 104th episode of THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on [By the way, keep in mind that you can now get your daily dose of Lounge goodies via THE FDH LOUNGE VAULT with classic interviews and panel roundtables dating back to our debut show on January 14, 2007. It airs daily on STN from 6-7 PM EDT.]

After The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries and our look at This Week in The FDH Lounge, we start off super-strong with a panel reviewing the recent TV upfronts which previewed the fall lineups. Our go-to guy on TV and technology, Simon Applebaum of the Tomorrow Will Be Televised podcast and blog will be joined by newly minted FDH Lounge Dignitary Lloyd Carroll of the Queens Chronicle and countless other New York publications. They’ll talk about the next year of television programming and how the Google TV innovation will help change how we view the old boob tube.

In Hour Two, Newsday’s outstanding sports media columnist “The Watchdog” Neil Best joins us to talk about the winning bid for New York/New Jersey for the 2014 Super Bowl. After that, we stay on our positive roll with reporter Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily as we discuss the aforementioned Big Apple Super Bowl, the role of the fragile global economy on the sports landscape, a look back at the Olympics and ahead to the World Cup and much, much more.

Speaking of the World Cup, we start Hour Three with THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER and our once-every-four-years World Cup mock team draft. Draft board and suggested league guidelines are available here. Paulo Pincaro from will be our special guest expert and he will draft with us. Then we close with THE GOON SQUAD and an in-depth examination of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Finals are upon us with the David vs. Goliath matchup of Philadelphia and Chicago. Do the Flyers have any magic left in that slingshot? Our favorite hockey expert, Russ Cohen of Sportsology and Hockeyology, is actually based in Philly, so his insight is especially valuable in this instance. We’ll also touch on the icon Steve Yzerman leaving behind the Winged Wheel to take over the helm of the battered Tampa Bay Lightning and we’ll talk about this recent GSP vs Georges Laraque wrestling match.

As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The new FDH Lounge daily spinoff

By Rick Morris

I am very pleased and proud to announce the creation of THE FDH LOUNGE VAULT (Monday-Friday, 6-7 PM EDT on, a daily spinoff of “The Great American Radio Show on Internet TV” where “nothing is off-topic.”

Our flagship program THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on STN) has yielded hundreds of hours of roundtables on countless subjects in our first 103 episodes, as well as interviews with interesting people from all walks of life – and yes, some celebrity interviews as well. These segments can be accessed on-demand on the FDH home page here and we have a complete catalog of every show’s contents on our FDH Lounge home page here, but for the first time you can hear segments bundled together dating back to our debut on January 14, 2007.

When FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones and I initially envisioned this unique program, we knew that it would be a leap of faith, as all revolutionary projects are. But our FDH Lounge Dignitaries – who comprise the deepest, smartest and most entertaining ensemble anywhere – bought into what we were doing immediately and the ensuing collective effort has enabled us to stand the test of time and create the “Vault” that can now be repurposed on a regular basis for new audiences. The constant strains you will hear in every episode are creativity and innovation and that will always be the case with us.

First thoughts on the NBA Draft lottery

By Jason Jones (posted by Rick Morris)

After taking a look at the results of the NBA Draft lottery, here are my immediate thoughts about how the Top 10 look to shake out and how they will fit into their new teams.

1. WAS-John Wall (starting roster: John Wall, Gilbert Arenas, Josh Howard, Al Thornton, Andray Blatche)

2. PHI-Evan Turner (starting roster: Allen Iverson (maybe), Evan Turner, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Mareese Speights)

3. NJN-Wesley Johnson (starting roster: Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Wesley Johnson, Yi Jianlian, Brook Lopez)

4. MIN-Al Farouq Aminu (starting roster: Jhonny Flynn, Corey Brewer, Al Farouq Aminu, Kevin Love, Al Jefferson)

5. SAC-DeMarcus Cousins (starting roster: Beno Udrih, Tyreke Evans, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Spencer Hawes ...Cousins not an immediate starter)

6. GS-Derrick Favors (starting roster: Stephen Curry, Monte Ellis, Corey Maggette, Anthony Randolph, Andris Biedrens...Favors between not an immediate starter and a project with "GREAT" upside)

7. DET-Greg Monroe (starting roster: Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Charlie Villanueava, Ben Wallace/Chris Wilcox ... Monroe not an immediate starter)

8. LAC-Patrick Patterson (starting roster: Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Patrick Patterson, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman)

9. UTA-Cole Aldrich (starting roster: Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Andrei Kirilenko, Boozer/Milsap, Mehmet Okur...Aldrich immediate backup at C with considerable minutes)

10. IND-Donatas Motiejunas (starting roster: TJ Ford, Brandon Rush, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy, Roy Hibbert...Donatas is a relative project with the upside of Andrea Bargnani and the lowside of Kosta Koufos as a rookie)

^ Madly in love with John Wall
^ In love with Evan Turner
^ Really, really like Wesley Johnson
^ Very intrigued with Patrick Patterson

As of right now, there are only three guys I'm really excited about, to a great degree. I'm sorry, but outside of the top three, I'm afraid it’s a crapshoot. I may be overselling the dropoff, but it looks bad. John Wall could be Dwayne Wade meets Rajon Rondo, Evan Turner could be Paul Pierce meets Joe Johnson and Wesley Johnson could be Andre Iguodala meets Josh Smith and everyone else could be ... bums. It’s harsh, but it looks grim.

In recent years, the second half of the first round and all of the second round in the NBA draft is starting to feel like the 6th and 7th rounds of the NFL draft. Risk moves, flyers, and practice squad guys abound. There will be guys with decent NBA careers, but 20 years from now, no one will confuse this draft with the 2003 draft class.

2010 Sports Business Awards recap

By The FDH New York Bureau Steve Cirvello (posted by Rick Morris)

This past week, I had the honor of once again attending the Sports Business Journal's 2010 Sports Business Awards at the Marriot Marquis Hotel in Manhattan.

For the third straight year, many luminaries from the world of Sports Business and Entertainment were in attendance, and it is a truly first class event that is put on by the very classy SBJ staff, lead by Publisher Richard Weiss and Conference Director Jim Sullivan, who may be coming on The FDH Lounge to recap the event pending his availability. Once again, I would like to thank him for allowing SportsTalk to represent. Here are this year's winners and nominees:


BeCore Promotions


Citi Field
Staples Center
Yankee Stadium


CBS Sports - March Madness on Demand
ESPN Digital Media
National Hockey League
Turner Sports


Dick Baddour - UNC
Gene Bleymaier - Boise State
Dan Guarrero - UCLA
Mal Moore - Alabama


Leverage Agency
Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment
Wasserman Media Group

Winner: NFL

Professional Bull Riders Assoc.


ESPN Networks
FOX Sports
MLB Network
NBC Sports


3ality Digital
Brand Affinity Technologies


Boras Corporation
Wasserman Media Group

Winner: VISA

Proctor & Gamble

Winner: IMG

Genesco Sports Enterprises
GMR Marketing
The Marketing Arm
Momentum Worldwide

Winner: ESPN

CBS Sports
DirecTV Sports
Turner Sports


Cleveland Cavaliers
New Orleans Saints
Philadelpiha Phillies
Washington Capitals


Breeders Cup
NHL Winter Classic
MLB All-Star Game
U.S. Open (Tennis)


Roger Goodell - NFL Commissioner
Tod Leiweke - Vulcan Sports & Entertainment (owns Seahawks, TrailBlazers & Sounders)
Sean McManus - CBS News & Sports

NOTE: There was also a special appearance by NBA Commissioner David Stern, who addressed the attendees on The Power of Sports, and how the various teams and leagues are making a huge difference in a special way in peoples lives.

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue XX

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rand Paul gets demagogued

By Rick Morris

I was glad to see Rand Paul win the Kentucky Senate primary on Tuesday night both because he will be a thorn in the side of the GOP Good Ol' Boys and because his principled libertarian beliefs are somewhat like a cousin to my own paleocon ones. Sadly, it didn't take long for the professional political hacks of the world to set upon this guy and do everything they can to muddy him up for the fall.

His (naive) good faith in going on the Rachel Maddow show Wednesday night was repaid in predictable fashion, as the usual leftist talking points came bellowing up past the show's Adam's apple. Essentially, his Socratic dialogue about the nature of private property rights coexisting with the need for government to enforce basic civil rights was cast aside in favor of a "YES OR NO? SHOULD BLACK KIDS HAVE BEEN TURNED AWAY FROM A LUNCH COUNTER? YES OR NO?" type of deliberate incivility that was not at all masked by the host's usual phony, furrowed-brow fig-leaf attempts at actual back-and-forth conversation.

Unlike the simpletons who immediately denounced him, I understood what he was talking about and I sympathized. I agree that government should enforce laws against discrimination. Aside from the few bigots in all races, this is a point that is universally agreed-upon and for good reason.

However, as a huge believer in the free market, I don't find private property issues to be so black-and-white, no pun intended. For the cradle-to-grave statists like Ezra Klein, who want the government to control health care and every other decision in our lives, the decision to smear Paul in order to make the race at least potentially winnable for the Democrats is a no-brainer. I get that. Klein, by the way, like Maddow, is another fugazi who likes to pose as a reasonable person interested in ideas all the while throwing feces at the other side.

But the idealogues like Klein and Maddow get away with what they do only because the vast majority of people have sadly been far too intellectually lazy to contemplate what they believe in and why. Paul does us a valuable service in thrusting these issues front and center.

My initial impulse when the controversy began was to take Paul's side completely. Mandates on dining and accomodations are private sector ones and isn't it the ACLU that always tells us that the price of freedom is paid by allowing the dirtbags among us to practice their vile beliefs? Of course it's reprehensible for whites to disallow blacks from their establishment -- or blacks to disallow whites. The question of whether it should be illegal is one that a free mind unafraid of political correctness should be free to debate.

As I say, I started by taking Paul's side completely in my capacity as a strong private property advocate. I changed my mind upon reading a column from the great Bruce Bartlett -- one of the foremost thinkers on today's scene -- when he pointed out that the Deep South of the 1960s could not have been pulled out of the nightmare of racism without the measures on public accomodations. I believe strongly that, all things being equal, bigots who exclude people of races other than their own will not exist in business for long. Our races in this country are tribal, but not to the extent of outright hostility in the overwhelming majority of instances. Decent-hearted people would not patronize these businesses and advocates for equality would organize boycotts to successfully shut them down. The free market would work, without the corrupting influence of Mommy Government trying to do what it never can, to legislate what is in people's hearts.

But the key phrase is "all things being equal." Bartlett is right, and I was initially wrong not to take into consideration the reality that 100 years of Jim Crow necessitated the measures I questioned. Otherwise, the deeply-ingrained bigotry of the time would have led to most businesses in the South continuing to refuse to service blacks. So something that I would intellectually classify as a market distortion was necessitated by 100+ years of a huge market distortion in the other direction.

[While we're questioning provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, I think it ideally would have had some more weight against the possibility of quotas. I know that the bill did not authorize them, but it didn't have enough teeth in it against the possibility of reverse discrimination. The lesson here is that even though reverse discrimination might have seemed like an absurd eventuality in 1964, it did come to pass with the notion of set-asides and weighted test scores for federal jobs. Never legislate for the moment, always try to take into consideration the ramifications for decades and generations down the road. I know this firsthand as somebody who expressly got the "Thank you, please apply in the future treatment" once when I checked off "white male" on a mandatory form that was part of a job application. OK, lecture over on this side subject.]

Regardless of where you come down on these subjects, however, as long as you're tackling them in good faith, there ought to be room for your arguments in the arena of ideas. Attempts by statist demagogues who never want any mandate of Big Government to be questioned are wrong, as is the shoehorning of serious public policy debates into sound-bite gotcha politics. Sadly, however, as jerks like Maddow and Klein continue to prove, such methods are the ways of the world these days. Think about that the next time you hear their simpering about why nobody will discuss issues honestly and fearlessly anymore.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #103: May 19, 2010

By Rick Morris

The recent 100th episode milestone for THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on plays into another one on this week’s edition of the show where “nothing is off-topic.”

Before we get into that, however, we start as always with The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries and our look at This Week in The FDH Lounge. From there, Newsday NBA writer Alan Hahn joins us to break down Tuesday night’s lottery, the playoffs and the beginning of the Summer of LeBron.

In Hour Two, we start by paying tribute to the late, great Ronnie James Dio, one of the greatest frontmen of all time, then we make our announcement about THE LOUNGE’s newest spinoff project: THE FDH LOUNGE VAULT, airing Monday-Friday from 6-7 PM on The Sports Talk Network. We dig into our archives for each of these trips back in time to bring you another taste of our unique roundtables and interviews. We’ll actually give you a taste of it right at this point with a look back to Episode #2 when Dignitaries Paul Teeple and Chris Galloway warred over the topic of “Be True To Your School.” Both men are alums of Ohio University, but Teeps admitted to rooting for Ohio State over his old school when the two met on the gridiron. The sparks really flew and we’ll relive the fun here. After that, Original FDH Lounge Dignitary Nate Noy joins us to take a look at some of Tuesday’s momentous election results and his take on the Summer of LeBron.

In Hour Three, THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER examines a trend in fantasy baseball that has taken root over the past year or two, one that should remain in effect for at least the next three or four years: the near-doubling of legitimate aces in the game. Dominant young arms have come along to almost double the ranks of legit #1 pitchers in the game. We will elaborate, examine why the present ranks should remain at that high level going forward and break down the roto implications. Then we close with THE GOON SQUAD and an in-depth examination of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Anatomy of a LeBacle

By Rick Morris

On very rare occasions, from my perch in Cleveland, I am at Ground Zero of the biggest stories in sports. The majority of these instances have come courtesy of LeBron James, the world’s greatest hoops player and two-time defending MVP. The team built around him as the deepest and best in the playoffs was shockingly eliminated this past week in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with a Game Five growlers-in-the-bed performance standing out as the low point of an entire era. As a lifelong Cleveland Cavaliers fan and relatively experienced hoops analyst, I have thoughts on several angles of the series that was.

^ Enough, please, with the “heart of a champion” gaga. The Celtics are who we thought they were, albeit with a young PG in Rajon Rondo closer to full-on superstar status than was known previously and the game’s most gifted defensive assistant coach in Tom Thibodeau. But the notion that this team rose up in some sort of supernatural way as might a Jordan or a Duncan is ridiculous. The core three players from the ’08 title team never won a blessed thing on their own and essentially gravy-trained off of each other to win by sheer collective overwhelming force. They are all two years older and each looks much more than that, even if KG’s knees seem a bit healthier now due to being shot up like a racehorse before each game (allegedly!). Boston was the “other” team in this series. They won because the better team could not execute well enough to beat them. They will not advance to a championship counting on that dynamic to repeat itself twice more.

^ Enough, also, with the “Cavs just weren’t as good as we thought” revisionism. I will trot out the same phrase now that I did prior to the playoff run: “transformers and shape-shifters.” With the pieces assembled by Danny Ferry, the team could go big or small, half-court or wide-open, with equal aplomb. The shallow angle taken by so many in the national media of “How many fans could name any of these players?” is flat-out embarrassing. The day that anybody starts determining the level of talent on a team based on the capacity of Joe Baggadonuts to nod approvingly is the day that they should lose all credibility. Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is the best beat writer in the country, with shoe-leather reporting, analytical skills and professionalism that are the very best, but I strenuously disagree with his conclusion that he (and we the public) were wrong about what the Cavs had in stock. The same goes for the excellent Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated, a Cleveland native who drew the same pained conclusion. To Brian and to Joe, I almost say, “Would that it were so.” Because if that were the case, we could draw conclusions much easier about what happened and what comes next – but instead we are left to piece together a million smaller angles in order to make sense of what seems inexplicable.

^ I noted almost in passing before the playoffs on our FDH LOUNGE Internet TV show (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on that the task before Coach Mike Brown wouldn’t be as easy as it looked, given the need to juggle the egos involved and to keep everyone in rhythm with limited minutes to be distributed. I also noted in passing that the coach had never excelled with these duties previously. Well, he really came up short against Boston and it will cost him his job as it probably should. It pains me to come to that conclusion as I have always stuck up for Brown against the mindless detractors who never gave him enough credit, who begrudged him his 2009 NBA Coach of the Year award and who were too clueless to appreciate the defense-first approach that helped this team to progress so greatly over the past five seasons. Additionally, everything I have always heard is that he is a very nice man and wonderful husband and father, the kind of guy you root for, but at the end of the day this is a results-oriented business. Aside from putting Anthony Parker on Rondo for Game 3 (a move that he had four entire days to plan for, given the television-caused vagaries of the series schedule), his matchup decisions, particularly in-game, were brutal. He was slow to adjust when Boston began exploiting some players defensively and because he had foolishly buried Boobie Gibson when Mo Williams and Delonte West returned to full health, turning to him only added to the feel of desperation. The biggest difficulties Boston experienced were when the Cavs dictated the game to them with an athletic blend of talent – and these moments did not come nearly often enough as Brown allowed himself to be dictated to far to often instead of doing the dictating. Also, his subpar offensive Xs and Os gameplanning (covered up in 2008-09 by then-offensive coordinator John Kuester) caught up to him as the realization of “Oh, by the way, we aren’t really designing any set plays for Antawn Jamison” came to embody a general waste of talent. Granted, certain chemistry issues made his job harder – such as the fact that Jamison and Shaq were never on the court together until the playoffs – but force-feeding lineups that continually put incompatible players together just made matters worse. On every level, the coach came up short, as opposed to General Manager Danny Ferry and owner Dan Gilbert, who gave him everything they could lay their hands on – with money as no object.

^ What happened to #23? Well, there is one distasteful potential angle – to be explored gingerly below – but he certainly did not cover himself in glory during this round, leading to the first legitimate tarnish on his pro career (yes, haters, the first LEGITIMATE tarnish). His demeanor was disturbing, particularly in the now-infamous Game 5, leading to all manners of psychoanalysis. I called out my fellow Cav fans on Twitter Tuesday night for jumping the gun and assuming he did not care sufficiently about winning. My good friend and fellow Lounge Dignitary Paul Teeple was quite vociferous in his disagreement with me. My bottom line is this: to assign such a motive, regardless of what our eyes tell us, is to throw out seven years of observance at the pro level of a will to win that has never before been questioned. Unlike others, I am unwilling to change my belief system about a player’s heart and integrity based on my interpretation of one night’s actions, damning though they may be. While the pain and disability came and went to various degrees (witness LeBron’s last huge performance in Game 3 with the aforementioned long rest), I came to perceive that these elements left him largely disarmed (no pun intended) when they were in effect. Witness (again, no pun intended) the dribble off his foot in Game 6 (bringing back painful memories for me of my all-time favorite hoops player Mark Price in the ’92 Eastern Conference Finals against the Bulls). LeBron NEVER does that when he’s okay physically. Combine Thibodeau’s excellent schemes, the frustration of a coach who’s getting caught with his pants down at the worst possible time and teammates slumping offensively at the worst possible time and he simply wasn’t himself. I think that, given the sharp and almost uninterrupted uphill trajectory in his career growth (given that no playoff eliminations could previously be laid at his feet in any way), he was caught unprepared for a moment in which he had no chance to succeed. While his frustration clearly got the best of him at times, I still do not accept that he stopped caring at the worst possible moment. If anything, the extent to which he cared probably just made matters worse, as his physical issues came to be accompanied by psychological ones. And while his performance in this series will be a black mark on his professional record, and deservedly so, in fairness it bears no resemblance whatsoever to a classic quit job like Scottie Pippen refusing to enter a playoff game when he wasn’t going to get the last shot. As for where he goes from here, there is plenty of time to discuss a topic that is infinitely more complicated than countless media morons are making it out to be.

^ Now, as promised, that “other angle” – I’m not going to delve into the matter here – you can go enter “Delonte West” on any search engine you like – but the truth is that it is going to have to be aired by a major media outlet sooner rather than later. Whatever else we might say about it, we can state with certainty that it would explain in one fell swoop so much of what caused the Cavs to fray from within! It is remarkable that this story made it as high as #8 on the Twitter Trending Topics on Friday night without benefit of any large entity (save Deadspin, which proudly cherishes its place outside the mainstream) giving it the time of day. I applaud Windhorst for refusing to write about it and others who feel that they would be dipping into the grimiest of tabloid muck if they addressed it in any way. At the same time, the story of how the story has become so completely widespread so quickly having risen from the bottom up instead of the top down seems newsworthy in its own right. How that gets done without airing something that could be false and defamatory and completely unworthy is something I still haven’t sorted out yet, as evidenced by my own unwillingness to discuss the story directly.

^ Lastly, I will address the subject of the Cleveland fans. There used to be a T-shirt back in the ‘70s and ‘80s that read “Cleveland, You Gotta Be Tough.” Somewhere along the line, that message got lost as people took the long line of tough breaks as an excuse to whine and moan and do whatever they could to make matters worse. They embraced losers like Butch Davis, Mark Shapiro and Eric Mangini for longer than they should while running pros like Phil Savage and Brady Quinn out of town for the stupidest of reasons. The self-pity that flows from the pores of this populace reeks like the Cuyahoga River waters of days gone by and to a person with a brain trapped in this area, that just makes everything feel that much worse. You can’t throw a dead rat in this town without hitting a pathetic idiot weeping “Only in Cleveland!” I said to fellow FDH Lounge Dignitary Jon Adams, “You know, we’re two of the only people around here who DON’T deserve this,” and he agreed. What happens to “hostages of karma” like us? Who knows? But therein lies the real fear and loathing going forward from this episode. Make no mistake, if the LeBron era ends in this manner, it will be the biggest Cleveland sports indignity to date and the crybabies in this town will be able to drink their bitter tears like nectar for decades to come.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue XIX

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Stanley Cup Playoff predictions: Conference Finals

By Rick Morris

Montreal over Philadelphia in 6: It's impossible to belabor how weird and historic this series is -- from a 7-8 matchup (meaning Philly gets home ice for the first time this round and Montreal has its easiest battle on paper by far this round) to the Flyers becoming the third team in league history and only the fourth team in major sports history to come back from an 0-3 deficit to win (plus coming back from an 0-3 deficit in Game 7 alone!) to the all-time great upsets already lodged by the Habs in the first two rounds. These teams will be bringing it with maximum intensity at all times given what they have already endured and no trend in progress during the series can be taken for granted in terms of continuation. Although invoking logic seems almost absurb given the paths taken to get here, Montreal's apparent large edge in net (given that they are NOT down to their third-string option) looms as the biggest differential between the teams and that is always a critical one.

Chicago over San Jose in 7: While the league office is popping cyanide pills about being deprived of a Pittsburgh/Washington tilt in the conference finals, in a hockey sense if not a mainstream attention sense they are getting something just as good in this matchup. The powerful Sharks finally look as though they can be taken at face value in the postseason, while the explosive young Hawks have unmatched offensive depth and slightly better production overall on the blue line. Neither team should be overwhelming in net, meaning that there could be more than a few 6-5 shootouts coming here and also meaning that either team could be vulnerable to a big upset should they catch the awesome-in-net Montreal squad in the Finals.

Montreal over Chicago in 6

NBA Playoff predictions -- Conference Finals

By Rick Morris

Orlando over Boston in 6: Never mind what we just saw (witnessed?), the Celtics are who Dennis Green thought they were, albeit with a bit more give to KG's knee at this moment and a rapidly progressing star in PG Rondo. The "heart of a champion" gaga would have a bit more credence to it if any of the Rapidly Aging Three had ever won anything on their own. No, in the conference finals, they won't be lucky enough to see a better team underachieve against them -- although there is always hope that a chronic loser like Vince Carter can infect those around him. "Master of Panic" Stan Van Gundy will attack Boston with the athleticism that somehow Mike Brown never thought to employ.

LA Lakers over Phoenix in 6: The Lakers aren't where they were a year ago, but the Suns probably still don't have enough to get over the hump in the West. Steve Nash's ability to quarterback an upset will be hobbled by Phil Jackson having worked the refs already -- a tactic which always works for him, by the way, to the apparent approval of the league. With Lebron's elbow woes having contributed an early exit for the now-former #23 (not yet now-former Cav, New York!), look for Kobe to milk his injury to an Academy Award sympathy performance in keeping with his standing as sports' most utterly synthetic human being.

Orlando over LA Lakers in 6

MLB power rankings for mid-May

By Rick Morris

Preseason power rankings in parentheses.

1 Tampa Bay (5)
2 New York Yankees (1)
3 Minnesota (9)
4 Philadelphia (4)
5 San Diego (30)
6 St. Louis (2)
7 Toronto (28)
8 Texas (14)
9 Boston (3)
10 Detroit (18)
11 Washington (27)
12 San Francisco (20)
13 Cincinnati (19)
14 Florida (11)
15 Oakland (22)
16 Los Angeles Dodgers (7)
17 Atlanta (10)
18 New York Mets (21)
19 Colorado (6)
20 Los Angeles Angels (13)
21 Chicago Cubs (16)
22 Milwaukee (12)
23 Chicago White Sox (8)
24 Pittsburgh (25)
25 Arizona (17)
26 Seattle (15)
27 Cleveland (26)
28 Kansas City (23)
29 Houston (29)
30 Baltimore (24)

BIGGEST RISERS: San Diego (25 spots), Toronto (21 spots), Washington (16 spots), Detroit and San Francisco (8 spots), Oakland (7 spots), Cincinnati, Minnesota and Texas (6 spots), Tampa Bay (4 spots), New York Mets (3 spots)

BIGGEST FALLERS: Chicago White Sox (15 spots), Colorado (13 spots), Seattle (11 spots), Milwaukee (10 spots), Los Angeles Dodgers (9 spots), Arizona (8 spots), Atlanta and Los Angeles Angels (7 spots), Baltimore and Boston (6 spots), Chicago Cubs and Kansas City (5 spots), St. Louis (4 spots), Florida (3 spots)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #102: May 12, 2010

By Rick Morris

As the crew of FDH Lounge Dignitaries -- made up in large part of Cleveland Cavaliers fans -- tries to pick themselves up and dust themselves off after the Game 5 nightmare, Episode #102 of THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on should brighten up everyone's lives as per usual.

After The Opening Statements of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries and our look at This Week in The FDH Lounge, we revisit a segment that we wanted to hit during our 100th Episode Spectacular two weeks ago but could not because of time constraints: FDH Lounge Dignitaries Jason Jones and Ryan Isley dueling it out on the pressing question of whether John Wall is overrated during Episode #83 last December 9. From there, one of our favorite Dignitaries, New York blogger/lawyer/occasional sports talk show host Steve Kallas, joins us for one of his periodic looks at the intersection of sports, ethics and the law. His amazingly insightful column about the legal road ahead for Lawrence Taylor will certainly be among the topics.

Hour Two will be underway once we are joined by FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones, who has compiled a big report about this summer's biggest movies in conjunction with FDH Entertainment Editor Samantha Jones. Want to know where you should spend your summer movie caysh? The Joneses will tell you. An obligatory (but painful, for many of the Dignitaries) overview of the NBA playoffs comes before THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER at the top of Hour Three and an early look at the top three rounds of the FDH Fantasy Football Draft Board for 2010. Then, we close with THE GOON SQUAD and an in-depth examination of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

Sportsology: unmatched Stanley Cup intensity

Posted by Rick Morris

Our good pal Russ Cohen at Sportsology has his finger on the pulse of hockey like nobody else I know. Courtesy of our affiliation under the banner of The 21st Century Media Alliance, here is his latest look at the majesty of spring hockey.

They Play For Honor, Respect and THE CUP
By Russ Cohen

I’ve been covering this game for awhile and in no other sport do I see players “paying the price” to win a championship just to drink out of Lord Stanley’s Cup. Every year players are giving themselves up and their teammates are there to pick them up. When I saw Brian Boucher go down, it was terribly sad. He had done such a great job up to that point. Michael Leighton is now the man once again in Philadelphia and somehow this team is still alive in their quest for the Cup. Boston will get a third chance to close out the series Wednesday night.

The NHL has plenty of parity and these playoffs have been the most unpredictable in recent memory, so much so that television ratings are really soaring right now and the Conference Finals haven’t even started. In some series, they are reaching pre-lockout numbers.

There are three Original Six teams still alive and to me that’s the secret formula. That’s no slight to the other teams but for years when the Original Six teams were getting shut out of the playoffs it hurt the sport.

The NFL postseason is grueling but not as grueling as the NHL playoffs because they play less games on the gridiron and to me the punishment that NHL players take sets them apart. We all saw Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash’s eye and how he played with one eye, but let’s face it, hockey players have been doing that for years.

Naysayers can point to a lot of the NHL’s faults but the one thing they get right year after year is the postseason. The fans know the games are exciting and the players elevate their games to extreme levels just to get a chance to lift the Stanley Cup.

And soon after that winning team does that, many of the players from that winning team line up to get operations just so they can try and do it all over again.

Oakland Raiders - worst drafters EVAR

By Jason Jones (posted by Rick Morris)

So I got to thinking about this JaMarcus Russell situation, as well as how terrible the McFadden and Heyward-Bey picks were. I decided to see how far back I would have to go to find even two back-to-back quality first round picks from the Raiders. I stopped after 25 years. Nnamdi and Woodson are the highlights. This is the worst drafting team in the last quarter century, I'm sure of it. And for the results...

-2010(8th)-Rolando McClain (Most people will disagree with me. I think McClain is overrated. He's slow and gets dragged too much. He's not a thumper. Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis I get this high. This: it’s like taking D'Qwell Jackson with the 8th overall.)
-2009(7th)-Darrius Heyward-Bey (Worst pick of the draft, a fast WR who can't catch...typical Al... See More Davis picks)
-2008(4th)-Darren McFadden (System back and tests much better than he plays. The Scout Ken Becks called this one to a "T.")
-2007(1st)-JaMarcus Russell (Can throw it 75yds from his knees, but who gives a sh&%. And with Calvin Johnson on the board, no less.)
-2006(7th)-Michael Huff (Now, don’t jump on it yet. He is decent, but to pick a safety in the top 10, he better be at least a Pro Bowler.)
-2005(23rd)-Fabian Washington (Not a terrible pick, but c'mon with Heath Miller, Logan Mankins and Roddy White still on the board, bad value.)
-2004(2nd)-Robert Gallery (My personal favorite, the Raider Nation proclaimed him as the next Jonathan Ogden...more like the next Tony Mandarich.)
-2003(31st)-Nnamdi Asomough (Okay, even the Raiders get one right occasionally. Insert "even a blind squirel" reference here.)
-2003(32nd)-Tyler Brayton (In '03, the pick looked better than it does now, still poor value for the first round.)
-2002(17th)-Phillip Buchanon (Played for a handful of teams and never lived up the “Number One Cover Corner” billing.)
-2002(23th)-Napolean Harris (Better of the two picks, but still an underachiever by any standard.)
-2001(28th)-Derrick Gibson (Seriously? Derrick freaking Gibson? Two picks later, Reggie Wayne...three picks later, Todd Heap.)
-2000(17th)-Sebastian Janikowski (Okay, by any standard a first round pick who is that starter at that position for ten years is technically not a bust...but you NEVER NEVER NEVER take a kicker that early.)
-1999(18th)-Matt Stinchcomb (He was ok, but not when you see who was still on the board...Antoine Winfield, Patrick Kerney, Al Wilson.)
-1998(4th)-Charles Woodson (First pick I have no problem with considering.)
-1998(23rd)Mo Collins (Doesn't even deserve a comment.)
-1997(2nd)-Darrell Russell (Yes, slight reach at #2 in my opinion, but a quality player. 2-time Pro Bowler at least.)
-1996(9th)-Ricky Dudley (And I thought we might see two good picks in a row...WRONG.)
-1995(18th)-Napoleon Kaufman (I wonder if they just pick "Napolean's" when they are in a draft? Derrick Brooks went 10 picks later.)
-1993(12th)-Patrick Bates (Don’t even remember him.)
-1992(16th)-Chester McGlockton (Don’t even remember him.)
-1991(24th)-Todd Marinovich (Wooo-Whooo!!! I love picks like that one, it’s a throwaway.)
-1990(11th)-Anthony Smith (Very unimpressive 6-year career, but a typical Raider pick)
-1988(6th)-Tim Brown (Very solid, actually. Not worthy of a top ten pick, but still had a solid career.)
-1988(9th)-Terry McDaniel (Can’t say the same for McDaniel here.)
-1987(15th)-John Clay (blah)
-1986(24th)-Bob Buczkowski (Can't say that it rings a bell)
-1985(23rd)-Jessie Hester (Yeah...I got nothin’.)

Now, that’s 25 years worth of first round picks. It is my hypothesis that the Raiders (whether Oakland or LA) are worst drafting team in the NFL in that time. It’s a miracle that they were able to get to a Super Bowl in that time.

As first round picks go, only six of them (Nnamdi Asomough, Napolean Harris, Sebastian Janikowski, Charles Woodson, Darrell Russell, and Tim Brown) were worth a damn and less deserved first round consideration.

Picks 20-32...Nnamdi (31st), N.Harris (23rd) were decent value picks. Especially Nnamdi, arguably no worse than the 2nd best shutdown corner in the game. Decent picks since they both came between 20-32.

Picks 15-19...Buchanon (17th), Janikowski (17th), Stinchcomb (18th), Kaufman (18th) were all unimpressive considering where they were drafted. If these men were 2nd or 3rd round picks, the sentiment would be different.

Picks 10-14...Terrible, just terrible. Luckily, there weren't many of them.

Picks 1-9...McClain (8th), Heyward-Bey (7th), McFadden (4th), J.Russell (1st), Huff (7th), Gallery (2nd), Woodson (4th), D.Russell (2nd), Dudley (9th), T.Brown (6th), McDaniel (9th). If it weren't for Charles Woodson and Darrell Russell, EVERY SINGLE TOP TEN PICK FOR THE RAIDERS would have been unconditional reaches.

There is a reason the Raiders are generally the laughingstock of the NFL. In an era where teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Colts, and Chargers all consistently compete at high level by effectively drafting well, it’s about time the Raiders take a hint. Teams cannot expect to succeed in the current NFL if each of their top ten first round picks have a 91% change of failure (or bust potential). The sad truth for Raiders fans is that until Al Davis either, 1) Sells the team 2) Gives real authority to someone else or 3) Dies, the Raiders will not have a return to a "Committed to Excellence" level of expectation.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue XVIII

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

FDH Lounge Show #101: May 5, 2010

By Rick Morris

After the big celebration noting the 100th episode of THE FDH LOUNGE (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EDT on, Episode #101 starts the next hundy off with a bang.

We lead off with a talented media pro who we hope will become a semi-regular on the show. Lisa Marie Latino, Yankee Princess blogger and Executive Producer of the cutting-edge multimedia firm Long Shot Productions (and host of the In the Zone web video series), will join us to talk about some of the hottest New York headlines and some of the large national sports stories of the moment. From there, another very interesting personality joins us as ESPN Radio’s Jody MacDonald will also be discussing a host of big national sports stories, but chief among them will be the Kentucky Derby because he is a huge horseracing expert. He is also an expert on the wonderful world of pro wrestling, and knowing this show, that point will come up with a characteristic wicked twist.

At that point, well into Hour Two, we’ll be joined in-studio by one of our newest Dignitaries, FDH Chief Golf Contributor “Mr. Flatstick” Tom Denk. He’ll give us an overview of the PGA landscape coming off of the wild drama at The Masters and the exciting youth movement shaking the sport to its foundation as we head into one of the great tournaments of the year – the so-called “fifth major,” The Players Championship at Sawgrass. Tom was also one of the better industry analysts on the subject of the NFL Draft this year, notching eight correct first-round picks, so who better than he to talk about our draft scores and post-draft observations (also, don’t forget our first-round liveblogging, our NFL Draft guide, our compilation of top prospect highlight videos and our post-draft podcast!).

In Hour Three, our FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER takes a look at baseball’s early season Buy Low and Sell High candidates before THE GOON SQUAD breaks down the ongoing Stanley Cup playoffs.

As always, we urge you to watch the show live (or listen if you’re on dial-up), but if you can’t catch this as it’s happening, you can always catch the FDH archives 24-7 right here or catch us now on iTunes!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gulf of Mexico oil spill -- benefiting whose agenda?

By Rick Morris

OK, this is admittedly tinfoil hat territory. That's never stopped me before, however.
Let's just take a look at this Gulf oil spill through my favorite prism for guessing a REAL culprit: who benefits?
As far as I am concerned, this is the only method that makes sense for ascertaining how events came to unfold. Since I am not some little agnostic guy running around believing that circumstances come to pass randomly, I choose to believe that nothing happens that is truly random.
The closest parallel in my mind is the Oklahoma City bombing. Now, we all know Tim McVeigh's alleged motives. We know them inside and out. But I keep coming back to this point: did the militias and the people he claimed to identify with benefit at all? Certainly not. The excesses of the ATF, Ruby Ridge, Janet Reno's shameful conduct at Waco -- none of these could be spoken of without media poobahs looking to make a citizen's arrest and exile you to Alcatraz.
I have always believed that McVeigh was consciously working against the belief system he claimed to represent. Were any other lefties in league with him, one way or another? I honestly don't know. But I do know who benefited. And it wasn't people like myself, who asked pointed but nonviolent questions of the federal government's role in controlling its citizens.
Fast-forward 15 years ... the president has just made the most reluctant promise of his life to open up small areas of the sea for offshore drilling. In the one instance where I give him the most credit for honesty on the campaign trail, he bucked public opinion to stand with his tree-hugging pals and stood against the "Drill, Baby, Drill!" mantra. I believe firmly that in his pinkish-green heart of hearts, he believed that the future of the Earth was at stake. So clearly, he was going to abandon his cave-in on drilling at the first opportunity, no matter how small.
Now, we know that the Weathermen, the 1960s radical terrorist group helmed at one time by Obama's Chicago homeboy Bill Ayers, believed in the saying that "you can't make an omelette without breaking any eggs." They, and many others on the wacko left, believed in the precept of making matters worse to change the dynamic and allow for their otherwise-improbable measures to be implemented.
So I'm not saying that the Sierra Club blew up this oil platform. Well, I'm not saying it directly! Seriously, though, when you consider that these oil rigs withstood Katrina only to erupt in far worse fashion out of the blue ... c'mon, it would be irresponsible NOT to take the present political climate into consideration. And if the cap-and-trade legislation, which was previously dead-on-arrival in the Senate, miraculously rises up on a bed of polluted water, we'll know that SOMEBODY, SOMEWHERE on the left successfully created their Reichstag Fire 2K10.

FDH Lounge 100th Episode lingering thoughts

By Rick Morris

Just for the sake of reference about our 100th show ... our press release is here, my column with my personal thoughts is located here and the show rundown is here.

Honestly, in my capacity as FDH Managing Partner, it was my obligation to my partners and to our many stakeholders to pump this occasion up as much as I possibly could. Let's face it, milestones such as this one really give you credibility and I was determined to milk as much as I could out of it in order to help set the stage for future growth. There I am, honest to a fault!

I viewed this occasion in a fairly cold-eyed manner, something that did get me excited, but something I saw more as a means to an end in terms of spreading the word about what we do. While I'm way more of a creative type professionally than anything else, I have certainly adapted to being the person responsible for carrying the ball on our business moves.

I just have to say that I was unprepared -- in a good way -- for the reinvigorating vibe that just absolutely surrounded this show. There were numerous friends who reached out to us to offer congratulations, which I really appreciated. Additionally, the blend of new and old -- a look at some of our great moments while making new history with some entertaining moments in real time -- really got my blood flowing, as did the reintegration of some classic FDH Lounge Dignitaries and the show's reimaging by my wonderful partners Jason and Samantha Jones. It was just a moment of real artistic triumph as I got slapped in the face yet again by the magnitude of what we are doing, creating a program that dares to talk about any interesting topic under the sun at any time.

It served as just another reminder of how divinely inspired this whole project is, with all of the requisite pieces right under my nose at the outset and how the subsequent ones (not least of which The FDH New York Bureau Steve Cirvello!) have materialized since. What I have to do is to be the guy who ties everything together and gets the most out of everyone, certainly including myself.

Creatively, there is nothing in the world that I would rather do. Thanks to the countless people who contributed in ways large and small to getting us to this point and keep the faith as we keep steering onward and upward.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue XVII

By Rick Morris

For the most part, we keep our fantasy content on our fantasy website and fantasy blog and keep this site for content on all subjects. It allows our readers to find specific content more easily that way. However, it has come to our attention that because our new fantasy sports newsletter is published on the older Blogger platform that our readers may be limited in their ability to subscribe to it. There does not appear to be a way to have content on the blog forwarded to an aggregate news reader -- however, we know that we have that ability here. So we will link to that newsletter each week right here when it is published. Here is this week's newsletter.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

NBA Playoff predictions -- Round Two

By Rick Morris

Round One picks are 5-2 thus far, with my pick of Atlanta over Milwaukee still hanging in the balance. By the way, the NBA's policy of starting the next round before the previous one has been completed is asinine.

1 LA Lakers over Utah in 5 -- The Lakers are still vulnerable, as the first round showed, but they drew as favorable a style matchup as they could ever want.
7 San Antonio over 3 Phoenix in 6 -- While the Suns are configured far better for the playoffs than they used to be, they still have to prove they can get past the Spurs.
1 Cleveland over 4 Boston in 5 -- Conventional wisdom is that the Celtics have enough left in the tank to stretch The King and His Court, but I just don't see The Over The Hill Gang matching up with the matchless depth of the Cavs.
2 Orlando over 4 Atlanta in 6 or over 5 Milwaukee in 6 -- While the Magic are sure to get by either team, they could be pushed by the athleticism of the Hawks or the amazing toughness of Scott Skiles' Bucks.

1 LA Lakers over 7 San Antonio in 6
1 Cleveland over 2 Orlando in 6

Cleveland over LA Lakers in 6