TMS Team Preview: The 2016 New York Yankees

8:30 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Over the coming weeks, Thunder Matt's Saloon will have previews of all 30 MLB teams. We're starting at the bottom and working our way up based on the current Vegas odds for winning the 2016 World Series.

Today we head to the Bronx and talk about the Yankees


2015 Finish: 87-75 (2nd Place in AL East)

So Long: Stephen Drew, Chris Young the Outfielder, Andrew Bailey, John Ryan Murphy, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson

Welcome: Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, Aroldis Chapman

Projected Lineup (via Rotochamp.com)
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Brett Gardner, LF
3. Carlos Beltran, RF
4. Mark Teixeira, 1B
5. Alex Rodriguez, DH
6. Brian McCann, C
7. Chase Headley, 3B
8. Starlin Castro, 2B
9. Didi Gregorius, SS

Starting Rotation: Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova
Setup: Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller
Closer: Chokey McBangbang

Rap Lyric Describing Their 2015 Season:
"Plus you're getting old... Stop it, everybody knows that you've lost it"

   -Atmosphere, "Little Man"

The Yankees haven't been bad per se, but they're not all that great either. The past three seasons have been right around 85 wins and just missing the playoffs. The team is full of aging vets locked into massive contracts, so bringing in talent to help has slowed to a trickle. Starlin Castro was their big offseason acquisition. Not terrible by any means, but not exactly the the splashy move the franchise is known for.

So we're back for more of the same in 2016, with everyone a little older and little more broken down. Everyone but Didi and Starlin are over 30. It'll be a miracle if all these guys can reach 120 games let alone more. The pitching staff has some bright spots with Michael Pineda and Luis Severino but also full of question marks with Masahiro Tanaka (elbow?), Nathan Eovaldi (talent?), and CC Sabathia (sobriety?).

Can they win 85 games and make a run at the playoffs again? Sure. But they could also completely fall apart and finish with 75 wins near the bottom of the division. The AL East isn't exactly a cakewalk. You know it's bad when my brother who's been a die-hard Yankee fan since he was a kid in the early 80s even admits, "They're gonna fucking suck." Yankee fans are rarely this pessimistic. Any fan that's insisting they're gonna win the East are just fooling themselves. Like the high school football star that flunked out of college freshman year and shows back up at homecoming to relive the "glory days." Dude, just admit things are over and go work construction already.

Reason To Watch: Luis Severino. Seeing this young of a star on the Yankees these days is a real treat. He looked great in 11 starts last season and is looking to make his mark this year in his first full season. Also the team has let him loose with no restrictions so he could throw 200 innings. Should be fun, at least until he blows his elbow out.

Reason To Drink: CC Sabathia. We have to drink for him because he can't.

The Fans: These people. Look at them. I mean, fucking look at them!

Yeah, no one wants to hang out with these fuckwads.

Their Worst Contract: Most of them. So many guys making well over $20 million a year that no longer actually warrant those prices. The good news is these bloated contracts are over soon. Teixeira and Beltran are off the books after this year. Sabathia has a vesting option in 2017. A-Rod is done after 2017. The Yankees are looking at a much more nimble payroll soon which will allow them to hopefully acquire some younger talent once more and get back to being the most obnoxious franchise in baseball.

Fantasy Standout: No one. A lot of guys are decent, but I'm not going out of my way to draft any of them.

Fantasy Bust: Chase Headley. Fuck this guy. His first full season with the Yankees was garbage and he's not projected to do any better. Sadly the guy they traded to get him in 2014, Yangervis Solarte is a better fantasy option at 3B this year. Not that anyone is drafting Chase Headley anyway.

The Pop Culture Equivalent To This Team Is: The Transformers sequels. Each year a new one is released it's the same old shit with a monstrous budget. It's old and tired and no one really cares any more.

Aw fuck. Guys, A-Rod's totally juicing again.

TMS Team Preview: The 2016 Cleveland Indians

8:52 AM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Over the coming weeks, Thunder Matt's Saloon will have previews of all 30 MLB teams. We're starting at the bottom and working our way up based on the current Vegas odds for winning the 2016 World Series.

Hey, it's about the time we get to some actual contenders! Today we look at the Cleveland Indians.



2015 Finish: 81-80 (3rd Place in AL Central)

So Long: Shaun Marcum, Mike Aviles, Gavin Floyd, Ryan Raburn, Carlos Marmol,

Welcome: Fat Joba Chamberlain, Felipe Paulino, Collin Cowgill, Rajai Davis, Mike Napoli, Juan Uribe, Marlon BYURN BYURN BYURNNNNN Byrd

Projected Lineup (via Rotochamp.com)
1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Francisco Lindor, SS
3. Carlos Santana, DH
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Lonnie Chisenhall, LF
6. Yan Gomes, C
7. Tyler Naquin, RF
8. Juan Uribe, 3B
9. Rajai Davis, CF

Starting Rotation: Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin
Setup: Bryan Shaw
Closer: Cody Allen

Rap Lyric Describing Their 2015 Season:

"It was all a dream"
   - Notorious BIG, Juicy

The Indians went into 2015 with big things on their mind. A preseason pick by Sports Illustrated to win the World Series, the Indians seemed to be loaded with talent. The problem was that their talent was very top-heavy and after some bad luck and injuries, they barely squeaked out a winning record for the season.

The good news is that all of that talent comes back in 2016. The bad news is that on paper, this is the same team that barely cracked .500 last year and all the same problems are still around.

Let's take a look at the good: Man, are their good players pretty good. Jason Kipnis is an OBP machine capable of hitting 12-15 homers and chipping in just as many steals when he's not busy pulling an oblique muscle from spending too much time at your mom's house. Rookie sensation Francisco Lindor burst onto the scene hitting .313 with 12 homers and 12 steals in just under 100 games. Michael Brantley is a top 10 outfielder when healthy. And the three headed beast at the top of their rotation of Kluber/Carrasco/Salazar is the envy of any team in the majors. Shutting things down in the 9th is Cody Allen, one of the best/most underrated closers in the AL.

So how did such a stacked team end up with such a wet fart of a record last year? The simple answer is: there's no one else. Even 7 great players can't make up for 17 other walking corpses, and the Indians come into this year with that very same lack of depth. Behind Kipnis/Lindor/Brantley in the lineup are a bunch of stiffs. Mike Napoli? Couldn't even get it going in Texas, one of the best offensive environments in baseball. Yan Gomes is maddeningly inconsistent. I didn't know that Juan Uribe was even alive anymore. And Lonnie Chisenhall needs to be brought out back and given the Old Yeller treatment at this point. Trust me, as a Cubs fan, we know what it's like to hold onto hope for a prospect for too long (*cough*Josh Vitters*cough*). Trevor Bauer never met a 3 ball count that he didn't like and the #5 spot in the rotation may not actually exist because Schrodenger's Josh Tomlin is always in a state of being terrible in the rotation and being slightly less terrible out of the bullpen at the same time.

And those awesome stud players the Indians have? Not everything is as good as it looks on paper. Michael Brantley will miss all of April with a shoulder injury, something that can sap players of all their power for entire seasons sometimes. There's a case to be made that Lindor played way over his head last year (a case I will make shortly) and Jason Kipnis is incredibly inconsistent, where he'll give you 3 smokin' hot months and 3 ice cold months in a given season.

All that said, the Indians could figure it all out if Gomes stays healthy and Carlos Santana teams back up with Rob Thomas and puts up a vintage 2013 Santana season, that could make the Indians lineup deep and dangerous. If Gomes and Santana can both reach 20 homers, they've got a real shot as long as Brantley can shake off the rust and do what he did in 2015. Don't be surprised if the Indians threaten to take the division over equally-flawed Detroit and the defending champion Royals.

Reason To Watch: Danny Salazar is NASTY. It's great watching someone pitch who can threaten 12-13 strikeouts every time out. And he's gonna get some strikeout-prone lineups in his division (Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago). Sure, he could take 100 pitches to get through only 5 innings, but those 5 innings will be awesome to watch.

Reason To Drink: 1) It's Cleveland. 2) If you're an Indians fan, you're probably a Browns fan and a Cavs fan too, bringing the total number of championship-less seasons to about 480. 3) Trevor Bauer will have a start where he walks 6 batters in under 4 innings. Probably 3-4 times this year.

The Fans: 


Their Worst Contract: You have to give the Indians credit. Out of their active roster, their highest paid player is Carlos Santana at only $8.5 million. But you also have to remember that they're paying Michael Bourne and Nick Swisher a combined $15 million to sit around and watch porn at home.

Fantasy Standout: Cy Kluber. Guy is great and just because he had a slow start a few seasons in a row, he seems to be coming at a discount in fantasy drafts. He is absolutely one of the top 4 pitchers in baseball. I'd take him over Greinke.

Fantasy Bust: Francisco Lindor. EVERYONE seems to be going nuts about Lindor Chocolate, and if you look at the final numbers of his rookie season, things look great, especially when you factor in the Gold Glove defense at SS. But if you look a little deeper, there's a whole lot of room for regression this season. Lindor was always known as an all glove-decent but not great bat type and I wouldn't be surprised if he goes back to that this season. For his minor league career, Lindor hit one home run every 82 plate appearances. Then when he reached the majors, he homered once every 36.5 plate appearances, putting up a higher ISO than any minor league stop in his career. And that shiny .313 batting average was reliant on a .348 BABIB which even for someone with Lindor's above average speed, is going to be pretty hard to sustain. Then again he is only 22, so growth in the hitting department isn't out of the question. But there's a reason that most projections for him have Lindor putting up the same counting stats he did last year in 50 more games worth of action. I'm not saying he won't be good, but let someone else pay for last year's production rate on draft day.

The Pop Culture Equivalent To This Team Is: Season 2 of Lost. It could get a lot better and reach the potential it has on paper, or this could be the start of when things start to fall apart.

TMS Team Preview: The 2016 Detroit Tigers

9:04 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Over the coming weeks, Thunder Matt's Saloon will have previews of all 30 MLB teams. We're starting at the bottom and working our way up based on the current Vegas odds for winning the 2016 World Series.

Today we head to the Motor City to visit the Tigers.
Rookie hazing rituals never got as bad as Johnny's signature "Grubb Rubb" which left three players hospitalized and one blinded permanently in 1983.
2015 Finish: 74-87 (Last Place in AL Central)

So Long: Alex Avila, Rajai Davis, Tom Gorzelanny, Alfredo Simon, Joe Nathan, Neftali Feliz

Welcome: Francisco Rodriguez, Cameron Maybin, Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Pelfrey, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Justin Wilson, Nate Schierholtz, Mike Aviles, John Mayberry, Justin Upton, Bobby Parnell, Casey McGehee

Projected Lineup (via Rotochamp.com)
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Justin Upton, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. J.D. Martinez, RF
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
7. James McCann, C
8. Jose Iglesias, SS
9. Anthony Gose, CF

Starting Rotation: Jordan Zimmermann, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Daniel Norris, Mike Pelfrey
Setup: Justin Wilson
Closer: Francisco Rodriguez

Rap Lyric Describing Their 2015 Season:
"Fuck"

   -Eminem, one of his songs

After four straight seasons atop the AL Central, the Tigers found themselves in the cellar at the end of 2015. Worse than the Twins, the Indians, and even the god damn White Sox. To say shit fell apart for them is an understatement.

After getting out to a hot start the Tigers quickly fell back to earth with nagging injuries to Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, and Victor Martinez struggling at the one job he has. Once it looked like they weren't going to make the playoffs Dave Dombrowski made the right move and began selling off pieces. Joakim Soria went to the Pirates. David Price to the Jays. Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets. Dombrowski was of course fired soon after that. Because when your GM who helped you reach 4 straight postseasons gives up and starts trading off parts, he clearly has to go. Seriously, the Red Sox gained a solid general manager this offseason.

So now the Tigers are doing what all aging teams that begin to decline do. They start slapping on big free agent band-aids thinking this will save the slowly sinking ship. And why not? Their owner has one foot in the grave and is ready to spend "Fuck you" money on players. Why not bring in Justin Upton and Jordan Zimmermann? Will it help? I don't know, maybe? The clock is definitely ticking though as the other veterans on this team don't have many impact seasons left. The Tigers have enough in the tank to make a possible postseason run this season and next, but I cringe to think about what the 2021 Tigers are gonna look like. This season is like Studio 54 nearing the end of the disco era. Do one last line of coke and dance your ass off because this shit is closing soon.

Reason To Watch: Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. Both of these guys have been outstanding over the years in Detroit, and while they were hampered with injuries last year, they could have a nice little bounceback in 2016. If healthy, Miggy and Verlander are gonna be fun to watch again.
Miggy gives no fucks on where you pitch the ball.
Reason To Drink: The rotation. Zimmermann and Verlander should be solid, but the rest of this rotation has question marks. Anibal Sanchez has yet to string together 30 starts in a season in Detroit. Daniel Norris does show promise but he's still pretty green. I took a crap today and I'm pretty sure that poop could strikeout more people than Mike Pelfrey can.

The Fans: Magnum P.I. liked the Tigers. That's good enough for me.

Their Worst Contract: Victor Martinez. They signed him to a 4 year/$68 million deal last year, at age 36. He of course thanks them with a .245/.301/.366 slash line and career worsts in most other stats as well. They have him for three more years of this shit and he doesn't play the field.

Fantasy Standout: J.D. Martinez. 27 is typically the age that guys hit their prime and Martinez certainly proved that, with an impressive year hitting 38 homers and driving in 102. Put him next to a healthy Miggy and he'll be a top fantasy OF yet again.

Fantasy Bust: Rajai Davis. He's old and not stealing any more. He's also not on the Tigers. Why did you fucking draft him?

The Pop Culture Equivalent To This Team Is: When a sitcom adds a pregnancy story arc to boost ratings. It might work for a bit but this bullshit is getting canceled in another couple seasons anyway.

How did Jordan Zimmermann get so much older after just one season?

TMS Team Preview: The 2016 Seattle Mariners

7:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Over the coming weeks, Thunder Matt's Saloon will have previews of all 30 MLB teams. We're starting at the bottom and working our way up based on the current Vegas odds for winning the 2016 World Series.

Today we look at the Seattle Mariners.


Yep... there they are!

TMS Team Preview: The 2016 Arizona Diamondbacks

6:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Over the coming weeks, Thunder Matt's Saloon will have previews of all 30 MLB teams. We're starting at the bottom and working our way up based on the current Vegas odds for winning the 2016 World Series.

Today we look at the Arizona Diamondbacks.

2015 Finish: 79-83, 3rd place in the NL West

So Long: David Hernandez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jeremy Hellickson, Ender Inciarte, Dansby Swanson, Chase Anderson, Aaron Hill

Welcome: Zack Greinke, Kyle Drabek, Shelby Miller, Tim Stauffer, Tyler Clippard, Matt Capps, Jean Segura, Rickie Weeks

Projected Lineup via Rotochamp.com:
1. AJ Pollock, CF
2. David Peralta, LF
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4. Yasmany Tomas, RF
5. Welington Castillo, C
6. Jake Lamb, 3B
7. Jean Segura, 2B
8. Nick Ahmed, SS

Starting Rotation: Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray, Rubby de la Rosa
Setup: Daniel Hudson, Andrew Chafin, Randall Delgado, Matt Reynolds, Tyler Clippard, Josh Collmenter
Closer: Brad Zeigler

Eagles Lyric Because It's the Desert and I Don't Know Any Rap:
"Well, I'm a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona/And such a fine sight to see/It's a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford/Slowin' down to take a look at me."
- The Eagles, Take It Easy

The Diamondbacks, that team you forget exists from time to time, scored the biggest free agent prize of the winter in Zack Greinke. The fact that they stole him away from division rival LA makes it even sweeter for them. They also acquired Shelby Miller who once again showed us that pitcher W/L records mean nothing by going 6-17 in spite of posting a 3.02 ERA in Atlanta last year. By the way, the Dodgers were apparently interested in acquiring him too, so the Diamondbacks two biggest moves screwed over a division rival. Well done.

Greinke and Miller give Arizona one of the best one-two punches in the league and a lineup featuring MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt and the surprisingly effective AJ Pollock should make them a legit contender for the NL pennant. I would just give them the division crown now, but the Giants still have their evil voodoo magic going. More on that coming up in our Giants preview.

Reason to Watch: Zack Greinke was 51–15 with a 2.30 ERA in three seasons with the Dodgers and got robbed of the Cy Young by a civil war reenactor who had a good month. That ERA will probably rise a bit in Arizona, but Greinke could regress considerably and still be one of the best pitchers in the NL. I hope he no hits the fucking Dodgers every time they play.

Reason to Drink: When it's 120 degrees outside, you need to drink to stay hydrated. However, given that this team currently employs Tony LaRussa and previously employed Mark Grace, you can go ahead and drink for no reason in particular. (pours J├Ąger into a cup of coffee because Drew Carey is a terrible Price is Right host)

The Fans: I honestly have no clue. I've never met one. Arizona is one of those states where a lot of the population came from somewhere else and brought their sports allegiances with them. It took the Cardinals 20 years to develop a real fanbase and they had a 10 year head start on the Diamondbacks. Pro-tip: It would help if you didn't change your entire color scheme every other year.

Their Worst Contract: Even with Zack Greinke on the books for $27 million this year, Arizona has the lowest payroll in baseball. $8 million seems like an awful lot for Tyler Clippard, so let's go with that.

Fantasy Standout: Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke are your obvious choices, so to STIR THE POT, I'm picking Brad Zeigler. Zeigler was 30 of 31 in save opportunities last year and with a significantly improved team I would expect 40+ saves this year.

Fantasy Bust: Jean Segura, because he is an asshole.

The Pop Culture Equivalent Of This Team Is: Something cool, but relatively unknown that you feel special for liking. Basically the complete opposite of The Big Bang Theory which is shitty, widely watched, and something you should be ashamed of.

Arizona's new logo appears to be a snake coughing up a hairball.

TMS Late Night: Top 5 Ad Campaigns That Need To Die

11:30 PM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Ten years after its initial debut and 9 years after it became stale, Dos Equis announced this week that The Most Interesting Man in the World ad campaign would be coming to an end. It was annoying, but there are far, far worse out there. Here are my current Top 5:

5. Denis Leary - Ford

Since 2009, Denis Leary has been doing ads for Ford trucks. Seven years is a long time for any ad campaign to run, but particularly so when that ad campaign consists of a generally unpleasant person snarling about how tough the trucks are while GIANT WORDS fill your screen. There was a time in my life when I found Denis Leary amusing, but then I finished the 9th grade and never looked back.

4. Jack - Jack in the Box

In 1980, after a decade or so of having their customers talk to a clown head at the drive-thru, Jack in the Box famously blew up the clown in an effort to create a more mature image (Note to fast food companies: This never works. I'm talking to you McDonalds. Throw that kale salad in the trash and just make sure the fries are fresh.). By 1994, they were completely out of ideas and brought the clown back in the form of Jack and well, he's terrible. He's all grown up and the CEO now! Ugh. Since blowing him up didn't work, maybe they can put him in the wood chipper Fargo style next time.

It's clever because he's a family man just like you! *GUFAW*

3. Bearded Hipster Focus Group - Chevrolet

This is the only new ad campaign on this list, but holy fuck are they bad. The premise is a bearded hipster is running a focus group of people that would never guess these great vehicle features are on a Chevy. You know why? Because everyone knows Chevy is garbage. If you told them this car had a functioning steering wheel and didn't spontaneously combust, the REAL PEOPLE in the ad would still be shocked. Why is the focus group run by a guy who looks like he owns the entire Mumford and Sons catalog though? Focus groups are run by stodgy corporate types, not some asshole who spends 3 hours grooming his beard every day and droning on incessantly about farm-to-table meals. Maybe Obama should have let GM die. Sometimes dead is better.

2. The Gecko - GEICO

This thing has its own Twitter account. How sad is your life if you follow the GEICO Gecko? The gecko has been around since 1999 and "speaks with a British Cockney accent, because it would be unexpected, according to Martin Agency's Steve Bassett." Well, I'll give you that. I don't think anyone expects a gecko to speak with a Cockney accent. Freshen ya car insurance luv? No. Die. I can only assume this ad campaign has led to many a gecko being brought home as a pet only to die of neglect and get flushed down the toilet because little Tanner forgot to feed it ants. Also, as you can see here, the gecko is a fucking Nazi. You just can't sweep that under the rug GEICO.

1. Flo - Progressive Insurance

Still #1 after all these years. Even sadder than the Gecko's Twitter account (oh, Flo has one too), there is Flo fan-fic. You're on the internet, so I assume you know 96% of fan-fic involves anal rape.

Without another word the man pinned Flo against the side of the counter with his body and looked down at her, the look in his eyes told her exactly what he had in mind.

If you are a sick fuck, you can read the rest here. Spoiler: she gets the Kobe in Colorado treatment - because, ahem, fan-fic. Progressive might want to wake up to the fact that Flo is mostly popular among sexual deviants and isn't really helping to sell insurance. I mean, if you want to be the car insurance company of guys who have to go door to door when they move, go right ahead. It's a free country.

Hi, I'm Jesus and I just moved into the neighborhood. State law requires that I inform you that I use Progressive Insurance.

Grading the March Madness Underdogs - Part 5

7:36 PM | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Welcome back for Part 5 of our comprehensive report cards of the March Madness underdogs. We tackled the 12 seeds through the 15 seeds. Now we take a look at the NCAA tournament equivalent of getting a participation medal in the 16 seeds, since there's no goddamn chance any of these teams will win. I know that every year people are all "BUT IT COULD HAPPEN!" and yeah, technically it can. But it won't. Trust me on this one. The day a 16 seed upsets a 1 seed is the day I'll eat a shoe. My grading will be especially harsh because we need to keep these 16 seeds down.

As before we will be grading on the following criteria.
  • Nickname - Does it make sense? Is it badass or lame?
  • Notable Alumni - I'm just picking one. It's not quantity, it's quality here.
  • Indigenous Bears Nearby - This is pretty self-explanatory
  • Resume Prestige - Does this school look good on your resume?
  • Proximity to my house - Can I drive there, or do I need to get on a god damn plane?
  • Name Brevity - This is serious. I have no time for your 9 syllable school. This isn't Serbia.
  • Elevation Above Sea Level - The higher the better, because... melting ice caps or something.
And awaaaaaayyyyyy we go!


Austin Peay

Where the fuck is this? 
Austin Pee (sorry, I had to) is in Clarksville, Tennessee. They play in the Ohio Valley Conference. I knew a girl in college with the nickname 'The Ohio Valley'. HEY-OOO!!!!! (I didn't)

1. Nickname - The Governors? Maybe if you had Jesse Ventura and AHHNOLD running around in their beefcake prime this would be cool. Now all I picture is the stupid Snidely Whiplash bozo that is their logo.  D

2. Notable Alumni - Bob Harper, fitness trainer on NBC's "The Biggest Loser," To quote their website, "Harper has become one of the most credible and sought-after motivational experts on television." Fantastic! F

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - NO BEAR POPULATION NEARBY. How hard can this category be? Just have more bears around. It's simple, asshole. F

4. Resume Prestige - All I could find is that it's the fastest growing college in Tennessee, which means that it can't be that great because if it were, more people would have gone there in the first place. F

5. Proximity To My House - 7 hours by car, which is just short enough that you psych yourself into it and then immediately regret it in hour 3.5. F

6. Name Brevity - It's short, but again, 'Austin Pee'. F

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 509 feet, which is juuuuuust low enough for... F

FINAL GPA: 0.14


Holy Cross

Where the fuck is this? 
In the fancy schmancy town of Worcester, Massachusetts. They play in the Patriot League. Great.

1. Nickname - Crusaders, which is super cool unless you are a Muslim. You know who hates Muslims? Pope Urban II and Donald Trump. F

2. Notable Alumni - Bill Simmons? That would have been a passing grade 10 years from now. Unfortunately, Bill Simmons has since created a black hole by retreating so far up his own asshole. F

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - This is DEEEEEEP in black bear country. Normally I'd give you an A, but I can't get over the thing about your mascot waging holy war against Muslims. D

4. Resume Prestige - If you're applying for a job where part of your duties is to act stuck up and murder people with a different religion, you'd get an A. But there are only a limited number of seats on President Trump's cabinet, so... F

5. Proximity To My House - Too far. I might as well go somewhere warm and with more religious tolerance. F

6. Name Brevity - You know what's short? Holy Cross. You know what else is really short? 'Sieg Heil!' F

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 480 feet, which isn't nearly high enough.  F

FINAL GPA: 0.14


Southern 

Where the fuck is this? 
Baton Rouge, Lousiana. They play in the SWAC, which also doubles as cool rap slang.

1. Nickname - Jaguars. Not a bad mascot, but the Jacksonville Jaguars aren't too far away and they rub their stink off onto everything and anything.  D

2. Notable Alumni - Randy Jackson. From American Idol. Again, super cool if it was 10 years ago, but not anymore, dawg. F 

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Yeah, there are some pretty close bears. The last thing you need when you're making up some gumbo is for a bear to come by and steal it all though. F 

4. Resume Prestige - Here's how I see it going:

"Where did you go to college?"
"Southern."
Oh, down south? Which school?"
"In Baton Rouge."
"Oh, so LSU?"
"No, Southern University."
"Right, but which southern university?"

No one needs that hassle. F 

5. Proximity To My House - No one drives from Chicago to Louisiana. I get all the cajun spice I need from the Popeyes nearby. F

6. Name Brevity - Short, but too nondescript to get away with being that short (see above).

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 56 feet. And probably a quick judgement from bringing up sea level elevation to anyone in Louisiana. Good thing Spike Lee doesn't read this blog.

FINAL GPA: 0.00


Florida Gulf Coast 

Where the fuck is this? 
Fort Myers, Florida. Atlantic Sun Conference. Remember when they dunked on all those fools so many times a few years back? Yeah, this team is no Dunk City. It's not even Dunk Township. 

1. Nickname - Eagles. Sorry, but Chip Kelly ruined this for you. F

2. Notable Alumni - Chris Sale, starting pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. He's a great pitcher, but they are a garbage team. F 

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Yeah, there are definitely some strong beareas around, but if I'm going all the way down to Florida, I want to see a goddamn croc. Deliverance > The Revenant. F

4. Resume Prestige - I honestly know nothing about this school. F 

5. Proximity To My House - TOO FAR. F

6. Name Brevity - This F is definitely deserved. Typing out Florida Gulf Coast University just caused me to have wrist problems. F

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 10 feet. Let's flood it.

FINAL GPA: 0.00


Fairleigh Dickinson 

Where the fuck is this? 
EHHHHHH WE'RE FROM NEW JERSEY, COMIN' OUTTA DA NORTHEAST CONFERENCE. 

1. Nickname - Knights. Wow, that's original. Was 'Tigers' taken? Shit, you aren't even the only school in New Jersey that's the Knights and New Jersey is the size of Soldier Field.

2. Notable Alumni - Oh man, have you heard of 'No One'? Yeah, I think the answer is no one. Take a look. No. One. F 

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - There are none. I would totally watch a show called Jersey Bears. It's like the Gummy Bears but they would be lit on amphetamines. But there are no bears in Jersey, sooo... F

4. Resume Prestige - The same prestige that my college (Eureka College) has: every job interview gets you at least one "Is that even a real school?". Eureka College almost went bankrupt before my senior year, so this one gets a failing grade too. F 

5. Proximity To My House - I'm in Chicago. None of these stupid schools are close. F

6. Name Brevity - It's only 2 words, but both of those words are long and one of them is impossible to say. "As in Chris Fairleigh?" F

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 128 feet. This is the part of the country that gets ruined in every movie that includes a giant tidal wave. Not even John Cusack can save Chris Fairleigh College.

FINAL GPA: 0.00


Hampton 

Where the fuck is this? 
In good old Hampton, Virginia (natch). Hampton is a 'proud' member of the MEAC. 

1. Nickname - Pirates. Great. First we have a school supporting religious genocide and now we have a school that supports Somali pirates? LOOK AT ME. I'M DE CAPTAHN NAOW.

2. Notable Alumni - As much as I would love to shit on everything, Booker T. Washington went to Hampton and that's awesome. Then again, so did something called DJ Envy, so I have to take off points for that. B 

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Yeah, you've got some pretty solid bear action nearby. Too bad bears hate the taste of Somali pirates. F

4. Resume Prestige - Any school that had Booker T. Washington go there looks excellent wherever you go. B 

5. Proximity To My House - Far. Thirteen hours. That's too far to drive unless...nope, that's always too far to drive. F

6. Name Brevity - It's short, but holy cow, they didn't even throw 'University' at the end. And it's the name of the town? No one likes follow up questions when you're just trying to make smalltalk. "I went to Hampton." Oh, really? The city or the college? TOO MUCH. F

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 10 feet. Same as the CHUDS in Florida.

FINAL GPA: 0.86

Grading the March Madness Underdogs - Part 4

7:31 PM | Comments (0) | by Shooter Muldoon

Welcome back for Part 4 of our in-depth reporting on this year's March Madness underdogs. We've hit every seed from 12 to 14, and now we're at the very bottom rung of reasonable hope - the 15s. While the other underdogs profiled come into the tournament with their backs against the wall, it's not a gigantic shocker if and when they pull off the upset. Meanwhile, the 16 seeds, for all they contribute to the tournament, may as well be a bunch of old Nick Anderson posters grudgingly dragged up from a moldy basement and taped to the arena floor. 

But the 15 seeds ... each game is terror, and each triumph is magic. It doesn't happen often (7 wins against 117 losses), but when it happens, it's like finding a beautiful rainbow that decapitates your annoying neighbor. Never has the phrase "HAHA, LOOK AT THOSE ASSHOLES!" been more apt than watching 1997 South Carolina (Coppin State!), 2012 Duke (Lehigh), or 2013 Georgetown (Florida Gulf Coast University and Air Conditioning Repair School) melt off the court in a puddle of pure grief. The very existence of these upsets creates a thick, black, viscous bile of cynical delight within my gallbladder. I'm told it can melt steel beams.

Do any of this year's Hedge Knights of Borderline Ineptitude have what it takes? Let's find out.

UNC-Asheville

Where the Fuck is This?
Asheville, NC. A perfectly cromulent little mountain burg where I used to go watch the Avett Brothers play for five bucks. This was years before everyone in Brooklyn started dressing like them. Good barbecue, good beer, great town. I don't care to find out what conference they're in. Let's say the Synthesis League.

1. Nickname - The Bulldogs. I will pay them $29 to change it to the Bulldops, though. Until then, D+.

2. Notable Alumni -Topper Shutt, which is either a meteorologist or a porn star. Again, I'm not opening more tabs than I have to.

Also, "alumni" is a plural group of people who have graduated from an institution. An "alumnus" (male), "alumna" (female), or "alum" (colloquial, either sex) is a singular graduate. So let's add a second ... oh. There isn't one. I guess we'll see you next time on Shooter's No-Fun Grammar CircusD-

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Black bears, which are really just the spinach wraps of the bear community. C-

4. Resume Prestige - You know how colleges will trumpet the bullshit sub-sub-regional rankings from some obscure U.S. News and World Report category? Like how West Nevada A&M is 8th in International Diplomacy or something? Well, UNC Asheville's page lists its 2012 reaffirmation of certification as one of the president's major achievements. D

5. Proximity to my House - 654 miles, which isn't terrible so long as I'm planning on visiting restaurants and breweries rather than the sad safety schools of the Carolinas. C

6. Name Brevity - It's brev-ish. C+

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 2,134. B+

Final GPA: 1.76


Weber State

Where the Fuck is This?
Located in scenic, pastoral Ogden, Weber. It's the flagship research institution of the state of Weber.

1. Nickname - The Wildcats. Come on, man. At least change the Create-A-Team settings from the default. D-

2. Notable Alumni - NBA coaching great Dick Motta. If you knew how long I skimmed his page trying to figure out if he was Thad Matta's father, you'd throw rotten fruit at me in passing. D+

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - The great state of Weber is teeming with bear, polar, grizzly, and hirsute male-identifying homosexual alike. A

4. Resume Prestige - I've heard people brag about the most asinine stuff. I've never heard someone brag about graduating from an institution in Uta ... uh, Weber. C

5. Proximity to my House - To reach the land of Weber, you need only open your heart. A-

6. Name Brevity - WEH-BURR WILD-CATS! (clap clap clapclapclap) A-

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 4,300 feet. Good show! A

Final GPA: 2.77

CSU Bakersfield

Where the Fuck is This?
Bakersfield, dummy. They play in the WAC, which is the color beige in sports form.

1. Nickname - The Roadrunners. This is one of those nicknames that your bog-standard community college would consider beneath them. Maybe it has something to do with the local fauna. I don't care. You couldn't pay me to give a shit about CSU Bakersfield. D

2. Notable Alumni - Big Poppa E, professional slam poet. Take a long hard look at yourself, Wikipedia administrator.

Not a stock photo. 

Also, MMA fighter and noted woman-puncher Tito Ortiz rassled for them as a benchwarmer. I don't know if he graduated, and I'm not doing the detective work to find out. This school has only been around since 1965, and I can only conclude that it's spent most of that time functioning as the gross pool filter of the California educational system. D-

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - No bears. Maybe black bears. Or the road runners killed them. D-

4. Resume Prestige - NOPE. D

5. Proximity to my House - 2,039 miles. To get to Bakersfield. F

6. Name Brevity - I demand further brevity. D

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 404. Elevation not found. INTERNET BURN. F

Final GPA: 0.63 (Luckily, that will still get you a CSU Bakersfield degree)

Middle Tennessee

Where the Fuck is This?
Murfreesboro, Tennessee. My cousin went to undergrad there, and once they filmed at episode of Bar Rescue at this shitty place near campus. These are the only two historical events depicted on the town seal. This school became pretty big (22,000 students in the middle of nowhere) after The University of Tennessee instituted lottery scholarships and you couldn't write "don't math good" in place of your SAT score anymore. They play in the Chumbawamba League or something.

1. Nickname - The Blue Raiders. Like the regular Raiders, except their fans have slightly more education and a comparable amount of teeth. B

2. Notable Alumni - Al Gore. Senior, though. Don't get too excited. Also they've produced two Nobel Laureates and a Nashville mayor named Bill Boner. TEE HEE! B+

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - So yadda yadda not a whole lot of Bears (maybe black bears), let's get back to Boner. He once appeared on the Phil Donahue Show with a "singer" (every woman with a decent ego in Nashville thinks they are) he was engaged to. Except he was still married to his third wife at the time. So Boner plays harmonica and she sings "Rocky Top." They got married and divorced afterward, and eventually he left politics and started teaching driver's ed in the suburbs. He's now retired and married to his fifth wife.

I have no idea why he was on the show. I really do love the state of Tennessee. A-

4. Resume Prestige - They've got a degree in Concrete Industry Management. I think my cousin majored in Horses. She likes horses and stuff. C

5. Proximity to my House - 514 miles. I guess at least it's single digits. C

6. Name Brevity - I've never met a soul who insisted on calling it anything but MTSU. Like the full name was a little presumptuous. Or maybe that's how they root out City Folk. B-

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 619 feet. D+

Final GPA: 2.57

Grading the March Madness Underdogs - Part 3

1:21 PM | Comments (1) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Welcome back for Part 3 of our comprehensive report cards of the March Madness underdogs. We tackled the 12 seeds and the 13 seeds. Now we wade into darker waters to talk about the 14 seeds. It'll be ok guys. I'm grading you here, not Governor X. I know his grading curve is a bit tough. Like the stodgy professor in the movies that's a bit of a hard ass, and then you bring a homeless Joe Pesci to class and homeless Joe Pesci gives a passionate speech about the Constitution or something and everyone claps and the professor looks kind of stupid and we're all supposed to have learned something from it and I forget what else happens.

As before we will be grading on the following criteria.
  • Nickname - Does it make sense? Is it badass or lame?
  • Notable Alumni - I'm just picking one. It's not quantity, it's quality here.
  • Indigenous Bears Nearby - This is pretty self-explanatory
  • Resume Prestige - Does this school look good on your resume?
  • Proximity to my house - Can I drive there, or do I need to get on a god damn plane?
  • Name Brevity - This is serious. I have no time for your 9 syllable school. This isn't Serbia.
  • Elevation Above Sea Level - The higher the better, because... melting ice caps or something.
Make sense? No? Well, fuck it we're rolling with it anyway.

Also homeless Joe Pesci dies at the end. SPOILER!


Buffalo


Where the fuck is this? 
Buffalo, New York. Representing the MAC.

1. Nickname - Bulls. This is just confusing. You have an animal in your school name already and then you pick a similar sounding one that is one letter away from your NFL team? I know the alliteration thing is cool and all but I feel like someone could've tried harder here, or even tried at all. D+

2. Notable Alumni - Charles Mingus. Don't get much cooler than that. A

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - My sources say there are black bears in the surrounding areas of Buffalo. One might wander into town but if they're wearing a pair of Zubaz pants and a Jim Kelly jersey no one will probably notice or care. C+

4. Resume Prestige - Some quick reading suggests Buffalo is a pretty legit college and a major research university. It even boasts a president as an alum. Bummer that it's Millard Fillmore though. B+

5. Proximity To My House - About 11 and a half hours to drive it, with a large chunk of the drive through shitass Indiana and Ohio. C

6. Name Brevity - This is one of those State University of New York bullshit things. Bravo on cutting out all the crap and just going with Buffalo here. I don't need you spouting off that long ass name. I'm already onto my next basket of wings and 4th can of Molson, and I forgot what the fuck I even asked you. B+

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 600 feet. Not bad. Actually yes it is bad. F

FINAL GPA: 2.31


Green Bay


Where the fuck is this? 
Green Bay, Wisconsin. They play in the Horizon League which sounds like it'd be a bunch of massage schools.

1. Nickname - Phoenix. Well it's different, I'll give them that. A giant bird made of fire is kind of bad ass I suppose. Yeah, I think I'm ok with th- WAIT your mascot's name is spelled Phlash? C-

2. Notable Alumni - Tony Shalhoub went there but didn't graduate. This is the literal opposite of having Charles Mingus as an alum. F

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Well you're not looking good out of the gate here Green Bay but you aced the final here. Northern Wisconsin is a prime "bearea." B+

4. Resume Prestige - You major in ice fishing? D+

5. Proximity To My House - I can easily get there in my car in under 4 hours. But I won't go, and you can't fucking make me! B+

6. Name Brevity - You followed the same path as some of the other schools covered so far in dropping the excessive bullshit and just going with "Green Bay." Nice job but I see that logo and just think you're a shitty minor league hockey team. B+

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 581 feet. But the water flows from here past Buffalo. How can it be 19 feet lower? Eh who cares. F

FINAL GPA: 1.84


Stephen F. Austin 


Where the fuck is this? 
Nacogdoches, Texas. Yeee-fucking-haw. In the Southland Conference. 

1. Nickname - Lumberjacks. Really? You're named after a founding father of Texas and have the state in your god damn logo but you're the lumberjacks? Does Texas even have trees? 

Well apparently they do and the forestry industry is a big thing in the area. Thanks Wikipedia. It doesn't help your grade here though. C+ 

2. Notable Alumni - Don Henley. Man I hate the Eagles, but it's still better than Tony Shalhoub stopping by to take a shit. D- 

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Not too far from the prime bearea in Arkansas but no bears to be found around Nacogdoches. 

4. Resume Prestige - If you were applying to work for some crazy Texas secessionist he'd probably love you. Unfortunately I'm not sure how the other 99% of employers would feel. C 

5. Proximity To My House - About 15 hours in my car. C- 

6. Name Brevity - There's no good way to say this name. You start rattling off "Stephen F." and by they time you get to "Austin" I've regretted asking. Just say you went to Austin Peay instead. It's quicker and no one outside of those two schools gives a fuck anyway. D- 

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 302 feet. You know, University of Wyoming is over 7000 feet. Maybe you assholes could aspire to be more like them.

FINAL GPA: 1.2 


Fresno State 


Where the fuck is this? 
Fresno, California. Mountain West Conference 

1. Nickname - Bulldogs. God dammit with your fucking bulldogs. Let's see, I gave Yale a C- for theirs so I guess... D+ 

2. Notable Alumni - Former Lieutenant Governor of California Cruz Bustamante. C 

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Fresno is in the San Joaquin Valley. There are no bears here. There's also no hope. At least it's not Stockton I suppose.

4. Resume Prestige - I guess you can aim as high as lieutenant governor. C+ 

5. Proximity To My House - 29 hours by car. Fuuuuuuuuck that.

6. Name Brevity - Just saying the word "Fresno" is depressing. I believe it's Spanish for "failed dreams." I suppose it's short enough, even if you die a little inside every time you say it. B- 

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 308 feet. Maybe move your shit to the mountains where the bears live.

FINAL GPA: 1.33

Grading the March Madness Underdogs - Part 2

6:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Welcome to part 2 of TMS' March Madness Underdog Preview...time to grade the 13 seeds! Just as a refresher, here are our criteria:

  1. Nickname - Does it make sense? Is it badass or lame?
  1. Notable Alumni - I'm just picking one. It's not quantity, it's quality here.
  1. Indigenous Bears Nearby - This is pretty self-explanatory
  1. Resume Prestige - Does this school look good on your resume?
  1. Proximity to my house - Can I drive there, or do I need to get on a god damn plane?
  1. Name Brevity - This is serious. I have no time for your 9 syllable school. This isn't Serbia.
  1. Elevation above sea level - The higher the better, because... melting ice caps or something.

The 13 seeds

Hawaii


Where the fuck is this? 
Just outside of Reykjavik, Iceland.

1. Nickname - Rainbow Warriors. I don't really get this. Rainbows aren't really aggressive. D+

2. Notable Alumni - Michael Savage. The right wing bile spewer has masters degrees in anthropology and ethnobotany from Hawaii. F

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - The only bears in Hawaii are the fat gay kind. F

4. Resume Prestige - I'm going to go out on a limb and say this isn't the most serious school. They probably have a top notch volcano studies program though. C

5. Proximity To My House - 4,000+ km/2,500+miles and no roads. F

6. Name Brevity - Way too many syllables. F

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 47m/154ft. F

Final GPA: 0.55, so Walmart then?

UNC Wilmington

Where the fuck is this? 
The place they filmed Dawson's Creek.

1. Nickname - Seahawks. This reminds me that Pete Carroll is a 9/11 truther. B+

2. Notable Alumni - John Calipari and Skeet Ulrich attended, but didn't graduate. F

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Right in prime black bear country. They are the rats of the woods. A

4. Resume Prestige - It's a hyphenated school in North Carolina near a military base with no notable alumni. F

5. Proximity To My House - 36 hours in the car. F

6. Name Brevity - The name Seahawks is OK, but it's the whole "University of North Carolina - Wilmington" part that is troublesome. D

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 11m/37ft. F

Final GPA: 1.38

Stony Brook


Where the fuck is this? 
Out on Long Island. That's in New York gang.

1. Nickname - Seawolves. Brief and to the point, but wolves don't go in the sea. D

2. Notable Alumni - Dr. Laura. You might remember her from her talk show and being an all around terrible person. F

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - All the wildlife on Long Island has been exterminated. F

4. Resume Prestige - They seem to have an actual academic program, unlike some of these other tournament schools. B+

5. Proximity To My House - 40 hours in the car. F

6. Name Brevity - It's fine. Kind of rolls off the tongue. B

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 43m/142ft. F

Final GPA: 1.22

Iona

Where the fuck is this? 
More New Yorkers. Ugh.

1. Nickname - Gaels. Your nickname is a Gaelic speaking person? D-

2. Notable Alumni - Don McLean. Famous for that 20 minute long song about pie. B-

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Too close to New York City for bears on campus, but you wouldn't have to drive far to see black bears eating out of garbage cans. C+

4. Resume Prestige - It's a Christian college, so I'm just going to assume it's a scam like Azusa Pacific University or the Pope. D-

5. Proximity To My House - 40 hours in the car. F

6. Name Brevity - Quick and to the point, even if both the college name and nickname are terrible. B+

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 162m/532ft. F

Final GPA: 1.28

TMS Team Preview: The 2016 Chicago White Sox

1:52 PM | Comments (1) | by Rich Funk

Over the coming weeks, Thunder Matt's Saloon will have previews of all 30 MLB teams. We're starting at the bottom and working our way up based on the current Vegas odds for winning the 2016 World Series.

Today we look at the White Sox


2015 Finish: 76-86, 4th place in the AL Central

So Long: Gordon Beckham, Jeff Samardzija, Geovany Soto, Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Colvin, Jesse Crain, Dayan Viciedo

Welcome: Alex Avila, BRETT LAWRIE, Todd Frazier, Mat Latos, Jimmy Rollins

Projected Lineup via Rotochamp.com:
1. Adam Eaton, RF
2. Jose Abreu, DH
3. Melky Cabrera, LF
4. Todd Frazier, 3B
5. Brett Lawrie, 2B
6. Adam LaRoche, 1B SURPRISE RETIREMENT!
7. Dioner Navarro, C
8. Austin Jackson, CF
9. Jimmy Rollins, SS

Starting Rotation: Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Mat Latos, John Danks
Setup: Jake Petricka, Zach Duke
Closer: David Robertson

Rap Lyric That Sums Up Their 2015 Season: 
"I can see right through your flower ass"
- 2Pac, Fake Ass Bitches

It seems like around this time every year, baseball talking heads who don't have to fear anything coming close to being held accountable for the garbage that comes out of their mouths all run out of things to say. The "PLAYER XXXX IS IN THE BEST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE" stories have all been told but we're still stuck firmly in the time when minor leaguers make up the majority of each Spring Training lineup by the 5th inning. That's when baseball pundits get really creative, trying to out-HOT TAKE the others and spouting the dumbest things they possibly can, knowing that if what they spew doesn't happen, no one will remember, but if they do hit on one single prediction, they can hold it over everyone else's heads for the next 10 seasons. Honestly, I think that's the highest honor when it comes to working in baseball media, to be the one guy that can follow up everything they say with "But what do I know? I'm only the guy that told everyone that the Kansas City Royals would break out in 2014 when no one else was talking about them!" for a solid decade. It's like your frat brother that never hesitates to break out the "BRO! Remember when I totally called that hole in one that time when we were golfing? EPIC!" Yes, technically that happened, but you also say "Dude I'm about to crush a hole in one" before EVERY drive. Eventually you might be right, but it doesn't mean you're a goddamn genius.

It's during this time of alcohol and Arizona sun induced haze that someone pipes up with something along the lines of "If you really want to find a sleeper team, look no further than the White Sox! That division could go to anyone!"

And it never happens. The White Sox are the ultimate kings of making a splashy move and hoping it distracts the fans from the festering roster problems beneath. For every Jose Abreu signing, there's an Adam LaRoche signing. For every Todd Frazier trade, there's a Jeff Samardzija trade. They constantly have just enough bad pieces to counteract the good pieces.

So where does that leave the 2016 White Sox? In the exact same position. The front office wants to distract you with the flashy top of the lineup. "Man, if that Adam Eaton stays healthy, he's gonna be great! And Jose Abreu hitting second with Frazier at cleanup? In this ballpark? So much scoring!"

That's all well and good, but you seem to forget that Brett Lawrie is now your 2B and your SS is 49 years old and so bad that the Dodgers actually tried to poison him last season? Expect not to get much of anything from LaRoche and Navarro either. Oh, and shiny new toy Todd Frazier is a career .239 hitter in the second half with enough games backing up a trend rather than a fluke. So there's a good chance that the 5-9 positions in your lineup will be a giant windmill factory come July. And you're in the league with a DH. And Melky Cabrera sucks, so you're down to what, 3 actual hitters with any talent?

(UPDATE: After this was written and before it was published, we've received word that, rather than watch the White Sox every day this summer, Adam LaRoche is retiring. Good move by him.)

The pitching staff is in the same boat. Now Chris Sale and Jose Quintana are no Arrieta/Lester, but there are definitely worse guys to have leading your rotation. After that is Carlos Rodon, who never met a batter he couldn't walk and the Serial Killer Currently Known as Mat Latos. Remember Samardzija's season in 2015 White Sox fans? Think of Mat Latos as his dirtier and even more prone to give up 6 ER in a start cousin. Seriously, he's really bad.

Reason to Watch: Only when the Cubs come down to play.

Reason to Drink: Kenny Williams. No one is ever safe when your team is run by the GM equivalent of the one guy in your fantasy baseball league that is constantly making trades that don't make his team any better or worse, but just likes to 'shake things up!'

The Fans:
 There's a lot of bad things I can say about certain subsets of White Sox fans, just as they could say the same about certain Cubs fans. One thing I will share is that I think deep down in a place that they refuse to admit exists, all White Sox fans secretly want to be Cubs fans. You cannot convince me otherwise. There's no other reason they would try to hold this air of superiority over the Cubs. Oh, our last World Series win came in 1908 you (constantly and drunkenly) say? You know that until you stumbled into a World Series win on the back of a botched call against Garrett Anderson in the ALDS that was one of the worst calls I've seen in my life your last one came in the almost-just-as-distant year of 1917, right? And that the White Sox have a total of 3 World Series wins to the Cubs 2? And that both teams have finished in first place in their divisions 3 times since 2000? So why do I run into so many White Sox fans that think their team is so much superior to the Cubs both historically and in modern times? At least when I get that kind of attitude from Cardinals fans, I can understand it since they go to the playoffs every stupid year and have a crapload of World Series wins. No, it's because Sox fans are in denial that they want to bask in the glory of the Cubs but will never let themselves. Whenever you meet someone that says they "root for all Chicago teams" I GUARANTEE that person will follow it up with "but if I had to choose, I like the Sox more than the Cubs." EVERY time. No Cubs fans will ever also root for the Sox, but I hear about it happening the other way around all the time. It's the reason they keep bringing in guys like Samardzija and Geovanny Soto year after year like a creepy ex who steals shit from you so they can be close to your smell.

Their Worst Contract: The highest paid player on the White Sox this season is John Danks. He is making $14.25 million this season, or about $5 million for every quality start he'll post in 2016.

Fantasy Standout: Todd Frazier, if you can trade him at the All Star Break.

Fantasy Bust: Everyone is in a hizzy about the awesome last 6-7 starts that Carlos Rodon made last season. Sorry to geyser Jeff Samardzija-style all over your parade, but even when he had his awesome streak, he was still walking 3.5 batters per 9 innings. That's...a lot. And with Jimmy Rollins at SS and Brett "always a danger of pulling a hamstring or oblique" Lawrie at second, that infield defense ain't going to be very good either.

The Quirk Of Human Behavior Equivalent To This Team Is: People who live in Naperville or Skokie or Elgin that tell people they're from Chicago. You can get away with that if you live on one of the coasts since no one will know where Elgin or Woodstock are, but even then the proper response is to say you're from the "Chicago area". Don't do this. Unless you want to call them the Milwaukee Bears of Chicago too.

Grading the March Madness Underdogs - Part 1

11:04 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

The NCAA Tournament is upon us and now everywhere folks are working feverishly to fill out their brackets. You will spend more time and effort on that lame ass office pool than you probably will on that report you were supposed to have ready last week, but that's neither here nor there. What you want to know is, what schools are most primed to pull off the upset? A 12 knocking off a 5 seed. A 13 shocking a 4. Hell maybe we'll even get a 14 or 15 seed pulling off the rare stunner. And what if, just what if a lowly 16 did the impossible and- .... nah let's not push our luck here.

I'm here today to take a closer look at these underdog schools in the 12 through 16 seeds and grade them on various strengths and weaknesses. Will this help you in filling out your bracket? Not a fucking chance!

No I'm gonna be grading completely arbitrary bullshit for each school and giving you a well-rounded but totally pointless assessment of them. Each school will be graded on the following

  1. Nickname - Does it make sense? Is it badass or lame?
  2. Notable Alumni - I'm just picking one. It's not quantity, it's quality here.
  3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - This is pretty self-explanatory
  4. Resume Prestige - Does this school look good on your resume?
  5. Proximity to my house - Can I drive there, or do I need to get on a god damn plane?
  6. Name Brevity - This is serious. I have no time for your 9 syllable school. This isn't Serbia.
  7. Elevation above sea level - The higher the better, because... melting ice caps or something.

For the first part of this series I will be grading the 12 seeds.

The 12 Seeds

South Dakota State

Where the fuck is this? 
Brookings, South Dakota. They play in the Summit League.

1. Nickname - Jackrabbits. It's not exactly an intimidating nickname but I give them points for not being your generic Tiger or Bulldog. According to Wikipedia jackrabbits were a common game animal in pioneer times but their extremely lean meat made it a "poor choice as a survival food." Oh holy shit there's a whole other article on "Rabbit starvation." C+

2. Notable Alumni - Adam Vinatieri. A pretty well known NFL kicker, but a kicker nonetheless. C+

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Brookings is on the east edge of the state and while I'm sure a rogue black bear may roam down that way, my sources say it's a pretty bear-free area. F

4. Resume Prestige - It's apparently one of the top research universities in the Midwest so I'm sure it doesn't look too shabby on the ol' resume. Plus they claim to have invented Cookies and Cream ice cream. I feel like 18 other schools claim that too though. B

5. Proximity To My House - Google Maps says it would take close to 7 hours for me to drive there. I bet I could do it in 6. B-

6. Name Brevity - 3 words, 5 syllables. It's borderline wordy but still not a hassle. Abbreviating it to SDSU isn't a time saver and you run the risk of having assholes think you mean San Diego State instead, and nobody wants to be compared to those shitheads. C+

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - Approximately 1,621 feet. That's barely passing Jackrabbits. D-

FINAL GPA: 1.9

Yale

Where the fuck is this? 
New Haven, Connecticut. An Ivy League school.

1. Nickname - Bulldogs. Boring. There's like 76 schools with that nickname. You do have an edge over some of your other Ivy counterparts that just have a god damn color for a nickname. C-

2. Notable Alumni - Well shit. There's a laundry list a mile long here. I'll go with Paul Newman though. He always seemed like a pretty awesome guy and "Cool Hand Luke" is a great movie. A

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - The black bear does have habitat in the upper northern reaches of Connecticut. C-

4. Resume Prestige - It's Yale jackass. People fake having gone there just to look better. A

5. Proximity To My House - Close to 17 hours in the car. That's rough but I have drove that in a day. It passes, barely. D

6. Name Brevity - It's four god damn letters. Can't get much better than that. A-

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 59 feet. Dang and you were doing so well! F

FINAL GPA: 2.3

Chattanooga

Where the fuck is this? 
Chattanooga, Tennessee obviously. They play in the Southern Conference or SoCon.

1. Nickname - Mocs. This was shortened from "Moccasins." Was this an insensitive name or something? I just think of the hippy slippers people wear but maybe there's more to it. Supposedly the shortened version also refers to the mockingbird which is Tennessee's state bird. It could also be confused with this guy.  D+

2. Notable Alumni - Dennis Haskins. Yep, Mr. Belding himself is a Moc. B+

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - Yeah, they're close to some prime black bear territory. B-

4. Resume Prestige - Jeez, I don't know. To get a better answer I deferred to fellow bartender and University of Tennessee alum Shooter Muldoon:
"I mean, I guess it's maybe the 4th best institution in the state, and it's not Massachusetts or California. It's not a bad school though."
 Sounds like a slightly above average endorsement to me. C+

5. Proximity To My House - Like an 11 and a half hour drive. Probably closer to 12 when you factor in all the stops at fireworks stores and Waffle Houses. C

6. Name Brevity - It's one word but it's 4 syllables. They did shorten it from Tennessee-Chattanooga so that's a bonus. Also if people there don't call it "The Noog" they should. B-

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 676 feet. I'm disappointed. F

FINAL GPA: 2.04

Arkansas-Little Rock

Where the fuck is this? 
Even more explanatory than the previous school. They're in the powerhouse known as the Sun Belt.

1. Nickname - Trojans. Any nickname that makes me think of USC is not one I care for. D+

2. Notable Alumni - Derek Fisher. I can't decide if this is better or worse than Adam Vinatieri. Better just play it safe and grade it the same. C+

3. Indigenous Bears Nearby - There are black bears in Arkansas but mostly in the northwest part of the state. Little Rock is in the center. C+

4. Resume Prestige - It is Arkansas for starters and it's not even the main Arkansas school. If you're hyphenated there's probably always a better version elsewhere. C-

5. Proximity To My House - About an 11 hour drive. C

6. Name Brevity - Maybe take a page from The Noog and drop the Arkansas? Hyphenated schools are a hassle. D+

7. Elevation Above Sea Level - 335 feet. F

FINAL GPA: 1.56 - Maybe consider trade school instead?