PLANET RODRIGUEZ – Before getting to the free NFL Divisional Playoffs Picks, there are a few baseball-related items needing to be addressed, including a guy that clearly believes this isn’t Earth that we’re all rotating on – it’s Planet Rodriquez.
An equal number of managers and players gained the support necessary for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. What used to be an honor, is now an exercise of suspicion and skepticism by the Baseball Writers of America, thanks to modern chemistry’s PED’s and players lining up to use them. Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, and Bobby Cox guided teams to many victories, pennants, and World Series wins with rosters adorned with “users” or “juicers.” Can baseball and its fans possibly take a second or third glance at these managerial feats in the same manner the playing careers of Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, and Mike Piazza are being scrutinized?
The State of Baseball is a mess and the 2014 Class of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas – and many more to come – are to be put under the microscope until Cooperstown makes some sort of delineation of the era the Hall of Fame is now recognizing. As a result, I believe we will see more pitchers in an anti-slugger campaign or bias, gaining entrance as the new benchmark for victories dwindles from 300 to 250-275. And yes, amid all this debate, is the year’s suspension of Alex Rodriguez by the Commissioner’s Office and arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. The whole thing is a sh!t sandwich with a diarrhea milk shake.
Today in Carolina, the Panthers are looking to replicate the defensive battle of Week #10’s upset of the 49ers. Oddsmakers have shown the proper respect to Ron Rivera’s squad, going from six-point underdogs that Sunday, to one-point ‘dogs today. What intrigues me a little more in gambling terms, is the Total. At 41 points, the game has set itself up to be another defensive struggle, but from my vantage point the return of Michael Crabtree makes San Fran much more competent in the passing game… and where the Panthers are best exploited. This fact alone should have the Panthers playing catch-up football on the offensive side of the ball. The pick: SF/CAR OVER 41
The second game on today’s menu pits AFC West Division foes San Diego and Denver for the third time this year and serves as the rubber match. The final score of both contests were almost identical – Denver 27-20 and San Diego at Denver (like today) 28-20. Having won five consecutive and six of seven, San Diego is peaking, like previous Super Bowl winners, at the right time. But today is a tall order with Cookie’s Broncos and Peyton Manning off a bye week. The coaching comparison is one not to be overlooked as John Fox trumps anything rookie Mike McCoy serves up. About the only negative for the Broncos are those dreadful Papa John’s commercials featuring Manning. I’d rather catch a communicable disease than sit through another weekend of these ads. This one goes downhill fast for the Chargers (41-10). The picks: DENVER -9 & UNDER 54 1/2