Posted on: May 26, 2008 10:29 am
Edited on: May 26, 2008 3:32 pm

Top 20 War Movies

After you stuff down an apple fritter and coffee while getting ready to barbecue up a storm on Memorial Day, here's my top 20 war movies to consider during Memorial Day (my rules are that they have to be about a modern day war, World War I to the present):
  1. The Great Escape -- Without question, greatest war movie ever made (and a true story). Great cast, excellent story.
  2. Saving Private Ryan -- Best battle scene ever in first 20 minutes.
  3. The Dirty Dozen -- We need more ensemble cast-epic movies like this one.
  4. M*A*S*H
  5. The Longest Day
  6. Kelly's Heroes -- Clint Eastwood, Don Rickles, Donald Sutherland -- you can't go wrong.
  7. Stalag 17 -- Precursor to "Hogan's Heroes."
  8. Schindler's List -- Just when you think you hate Nazis all you can, you watch this movie and hate them more.
  9. Full Metal Jacket -- Much like other war movies, it gets uninteresting once they leave boot camp.
  10. The Deer Hunter -- "You're just too good to be true ... Can't take my eyes off of you ... "
  11. The Big Red One -- Luke Skywalker and Lee Marvin? You can't miss.
  12. Von Ryan's Express -- Frank Sinatra's best movie everrrr.
  13. U-571 -- Watched it again a few weeks ago, it's still keeps you on the edge of your seat nonstop.
  14. Good Morning, Vietnam
  15. The Bridge on the River Kwai -- Best whistling movie everrrr.
  16. Platoon
  17. Apocalypse Now -- Not as big a fan of this as other people, to be honest.
  18. Heartbreak Ridge -- Clint Eastwood + Chet from Weird Science = Good times military movie.
  19. The Train -- Very underrated Burt Lancaster pic about the Nazis trying to steal French art on a train.
  20. Battle of the Bulge

Best nickname so far this season: Monster Max -- That's the tag given to Rangers' catching prospect Max Ramirez. He's tearing apart Double-A pitching with Frisco this season. He's batting .388 with 12 homers and 37 RBI in 46 games so far. He only went 1-for-7 with an RBI over the weekend, but he had a four-game home run streak active before Saturday's game at NW Arkansas. In his past 10 games, he's batting .424 with 11 RBI. He has a few players ahead of him in the organization (Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden), but his presence could help force a trade, whether it's himself or Teagarden. Something tells me the Rangers wish they got something else from Atlanta in exchange for Mark Teixeira. Salty could be good, but they look stocked behind the plate for a few seasons now.

In a sad note, Geremi Gonzalez was struck and killed by Lightning on Sunday in his native Venezuela. With Cory Lidle dying in a plane crash in October of 2006, and Joe Kennedy dying last November of natural causes, Gonzalez makes the third ex-Rays pitcher to die in the past 19 months. Gonzalez threw the pitch that broke Sammy Sosa's corked bat a few seasons ago.
Category: General
Posted on: March 3, 2008 12:02 pm

I Heart Sports Books!

Just read something in The Tampa Tribune about a fan giving Rocco Baldelli a copy of the book Summer of '49, by David Halberstam. Without question, that's one of my favorite all-time sports books. I love reading about sports history, especially biographical stuff like this book that details Joe DiMaggio's Yankees and Ted Williams' Red Sox in an amazing pennant race. If you are a fan of either team -- or just baseball in general -- I implore you to give this book a read. One of my favorite anecdotes in it was when Teddy Ballgame struck out and his teammates razzed him about it. He complained that the only reason he struck out was because home plate wasn't set right. They all called him on it -- so he bet him. Later that day, they measured and the right side of home plate was closer to the pitching rubber than the left side -- and he won his bet. This guy had silly eyesight and an unbelievable batting eye.

So with that as a reminder, I thought I'd drop a list of some of my all-time favorite sports books. Please leave me some comments with some of yours as well. I still haven't read a great hockey book, but I'd love some referrals to some really good ones.

FantasyLand: (Fantasy Baseball) If you have ever played Fantasy Baseball, or you are thinking about playing, you have to read this. It's not just numbers and dorky theories. It's a great story that will make you laugh a lot. Sam Walker does the hobby good.

Summer of '49 -- (Baseball) Great little stories throughout, with some good background info on DiMaggio and Williams. They aren't quite the heros we were led to believe they were.

Cobb: A Biography -- (Baseball) Again, another great biographical book. This one led to the movie with Tommy Lee Jones. Turns out, Cobb was loved by everyone and was frequently asked to perform for children! (Ok, that's a lie.)

Baseball: An Illustrated History -- (Baseball) The book that goes along with Ken Burns' documentary. There's waaaaaaay more info in this book than what made it onto the screen. I still haven't gotten through the whole thing.

Friday Night Lights -- (Football) Trust me, the movie and the television series are nothing like the book -- although I do like both of those as well (the TV show is one of my faves!) I played high school football in Central Florida in 1989 (the year the book is centered around) and I'm shocked at the level of racism in Texas. Great book though.

Fatso: Football When Men Were Really Men -- (Football) If you've ever seen Art Donovan on Letterman or on old NFL Films reels, you'll have an idea of how funny his book is. He's one of the best story-tellers in the history of sports.

Loose Balls: (Basketball) -- The ABA was full of good talent and great characters. This book details the history of the league and how it affected the current NBA game. Again, you'll laugh a lot while reading it.

Please leave me and our readers some of your own recommendations!
Category: General
Tags: Sports Books
Posted on: February 19, 2008 2:34 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2008 7:57 pm

Multi-Sport Fantasy Madness

Is Alex Rodriguez the BEST Fantasy player in all three sports right now?

Rob Tracy, a friend of mine from Elias Sports Bureau, invited me to join him and some of his friends in a Multi-Sport Fantasy League (MLFS) Draft. At first, I misunderstood and I drafted Raquel Welch and Kim Basinger in what I thought was a MILFs draft.

Then they finally straightened me out: It's a 14-team, 3-sport draft using Rotisserie categories for the following:
  • NFL -- TDs, TO/Sack (Def), Rush yds, Rec yds, Pass yds, Pass TDs
  • MLB -- HR, RBI, SB, W, S, Ks
  • NBA -- Pts., Reb., Asst., Steals, Blocks, Total 3s
Rosters include (all starters)
  • NFL: 2 QB, 3 RB, 3 WR, 2 Flex, 1 TE, 1 DST
  • MLB: 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 3 OF, DH, 5 SP, 2 RP
  • NBA: 4 Guards, 4 Forwards, 2 Centers, 2 Flex
Here's the rundown of the draft thus far:
Round 1
  1. Alex Rodriguez - 3B - NYY
  2. LeBron James - F - CLE
  3. LaDainian Tomlinson - RB - SD
  4. Dwight Howard - C - ORL
  5. David Wright - 3B - NYM
  6. Chris Paul - G - NO
  7. Adrian Peterson - RB - MIN
  8. Kobe Bryant - G - LAL
  9. Dwyane Wade - G - MIA ('s pick)
  10. Hanley Ramirez - SS - FLA
  11. Amare Stoudemire - C - PHO
  12. Jimmy Rollins - SS - PHI
  13. Peyton Manning - QB - IND
  14. Ryan Howard - 1B - PHI
Round 2
  1. Brian Westbrook - RB - PHI
  2. Tom Brady - QB - NE
  3. Carson Palmer - QB - CIN
  4. Jose Reyes - SS - NYM
  5. Chase Utley - 2B - PHI
  6. Steven Jackson - RB - STL ('s pick)

So our thinking (Jamey, Dave and Emack are my consultants) is that the basketball categories are the only ones that can be affected by every player drafted, so the tops in that sport have an advantage. LeBron and Dwight Howard are the best picks IMO. Kobe lasting a long as he did surprised me. What we wanted to happen was see Brady or Manning on the comeback in the second round, but it didn't happen. We could have locked up a large portion of the passing categories with either of those two.

Baseball is pretty limited when you consider the number of players, the number of categories they affect, and the amount of sleepers you can pick up are all greater than in the other sports.

Any ideas for us? We're playing this out on our site eventually, but for now, we're doing this draft on the forum section of, which is a pretty cool idea for a site if you get time to check it out. They run a ton of simulation leagues and they answer some crazy questions like, "What would Tony Gwynn hit if he was in front of Babe Ruth in the lineup?"
Category: General
Posted on: February 12, 2008 9:06 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2008 8:01 pm

Handing Out Props

Proper Props
We found out this morning that our very own Ross Devonport won Fantasy Golf Writer of the Year, voted on by the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association)! Ross has only been writing Fantasy Golf for a couple years now, so we're excited that someone from our group was able to receive that kind of recognition at the FSTA Conference. And he's British too! Between him and Amy Winehouse, they're winning everything! (Ross takes waaaaaay fewer drugs.)

We took Ross to lunch to celebrate. Sweet Tomatoes. Yeah, I know, not very manly. Even more un-manly was the fact that Dave Richard and I couldn't wait to go. Their soups are fantastic and the place is perfect to pretend you are on a diet, yet eat ridiculously fattening soups, pastas and pizza. I even took two muffins home (whatever, call the police), but I got what I deserved -- they exploded in the pockets of my cargo pants on the way home -- and the rain didn't help matters. Ross did have half a cup of Cream of Mushroom soup caught in his goatee, so that was fun. He looked like a big Persian cat that has milk hanging off his whiskers... while shoving mac and cheese into his cake-hole.

Along those same lines, here are some other, less noteworthy awards recently handed out:
Emack: Worst Breath Ever Award. I think it's how he wards off Mihai the Vampire. (Runner up: Jamey Eisenberger-breath)
Dave Richard: Most Lunches in One Day (13). 
Scott White: Creepiest Guy to Sit Across From. (He has the posture of a question mark.)

Category: General
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or