Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Knee Jerks: HURRY!! Just Two More Weeks To Savor! Hello, Radio!!

This is your second-to-last chance to catch "The Knee Jerks" in this space!!

We're taking the show to Blog Talk Radio, and in fact we've already done so. Episode One is ready for downloading. You can listen to us every Monday night, usually at 11:00 P.M. Eastern time. But more on that in the actual chat below.

In this week's chat with Big Al of The Wayne Fontes Experience, we discuss the Robbery in Anaheim; the youngster Rick Porcello and the rest of his Tigers teammates; the Lions getting a new Foote; and the usual suspects--Word Association and Jerk of the Week--make appearances.

So without further ado......


Eno: Welcome to Thursday, and the next-to-last text version of "The Knee Jerks: WTF? With Eno & Al." I'm Eno, aka Mr. Journalist, and he's Big Al, aka Mr. Big Shot. Well Al, it's a happy and sad time. We announce the end of our text chats (next week will be the final one) on Thursdays, but we're happy and excited to announce why they're ending. Care to do the honors, sir?

Big Al: We're ending the text chats because I'm marrying Yoko Ono, and breaking up the band.

Eno: You bastard!

Big Al: Seriously, we made a joint decision to move our meeting of the minds to Blog Talk Radio on a weekly basis. We enjoy doing these chats, but they take a MASSIVE amount of time to do, in actual IM time—editing, formatting for our respective blogs, and for you to read them. Moving the Knee Jerks to Blog Talk Radio frees us up to do more writing, and to further explore podcasting. We both dig the broadcast medium, and would like to see where it goes. Plus, it would feel like we're rehashing the same stuff if we do both a BTR podcast and a text chat.

Eno: For sure. The link to Monday's debut show is here. Every episode is archived automatically, so if you can't join us live, you can download and listen at your leisure. Of course, if you DO join us live, you can call in and talk to us, just like "real" radio. Our next show is scheduled for Monday, May 11 at 11pm ET, and will likely be every Monday unless there's a Red Wings playoff conflict or something.

Big Al: Exactly. We do realize our first attempt was a little rough around the edges. My desktop decided to not recognize the mic on my headset, which caused me to use Skype via my laptop instead, which led to the “in a tin can sound” from me. And I had no idea my chair made so much f'n noise! It had never been a problem in the past when I've done other podcasts and radio bits, but I promise it won't happen again. Eno, on the other hand, is a polished pro. So at least we have that going for us, which is nice... We expect to improve every broadcast.

Eno: Aww, you’re too kind. Can I take this time to plug

Big Al: Please do. The floor is yours.

Eno: Well, I'm taking my blogging and my writing services to the next level. is launched, and even though it's not totally polished yet, I do want to encourage people to mosey on over there and check me out.

Big Al: Consider it announced! At least you can finally ditch your previous URL, which was a mouthful!

Eno: LOL...exactly. Although, my blogs won't be moving. The dot com will provide links to them, however. So....what's on your mind, as if I need to ask?

Big Al: Well....since you asked!

Eno: The suspense is killing me!

Big Al: The entirety of SE MI is PISSED today, thanks to the ineptitude of the NHL's referees. THAT WAS A MARIAN HOSSA GOAL! A ref (Brad Watson) who was out of position INTENDS to blow the whistle, claiming he lost sight of the puck, even though the puck was IN PLAIN SIGHT, lying in the crease, visible to for Watson, obviously. Only in a Mickey Mouse league like the NHL would there be a rule saying you can wave off a goal because you INTENDED to blow the damn whistle. Then you have the NHL's explanation, blaming THE DUCKS’ BLACK UNIFORMS. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I get pissed just thinking about it. I hate hockey.

Eno: Well, as I wrote at OOB, the issue wasn't whether Watson lost sight of the puck. I can see by the replay how that might have been possible. My beef is with the rapidness with which he went for the whistle. There was no pile of bodies in the crease. In that case, a "quick" whistle is preferred. He either panicked or wanted a quick whistle, regardless. I bet he gets a dressing down from his bosses, if it hasn't happened already.

Big Al: It's not enough. And NHL fans in other cities wonder why many Wings followers believe there is an anti-Red Wings bias in the NHL. From being an Eastern time zone team playing in the Western Conference, having a playoff travel schedule from HELL, the league using the Wings to prop up the attendance of teams in areas where hockey is considered a third world sport, while the Wings get NOTHING in return (How about a Winter Classic in Michigan, Bettman?), to the salary cap, which was implemented because the Red Wings spent a ton of money and did so smartly (unlike the Rangers), to crap like last night, it does make me wonder. It really does. Still, there is no defending Watson's quick whistle. None. Black uniforms my ass!

Eno: It was, indeed, a shame. The goal absolutely should have counted, and of course it's not a reviewable play. Well, despite that, I think the Red Wings still win this series, don't you, Mr. Pissed Off Big Shot?

Big Al: I'm beginning to wonder about that as well. The Ducks goalie, Jonas Hiller, is standing on his head, stoning the Wings. The Wings are wildly outshooting the Ducks, yet not scoring. The Ducks seem to be getting all the breaks and bounces. The Wings are getting off to slow starts, condemning them to playing from behind. They desperately miss Brian Rafalski, as Chris Chelios was, at times, looking all of his 47 years. This series is going seven games. The Wings should win, the Wings are the more talented team, but the Ducks aren't a typical No. 8 seed. You could legitimately say, going into Game Four, that this series is a toss up.

Eno: No, it won't be easy. At all. But the Red Wings win it. OK, let's talk about something happier. Youngster Rick Porcello fired seven shutout innings at the Twins Tuesday night. Not a bad bounce back after that Yankees debacle, eh?

Big Al: Porcello needed it to save, for the time being at least, his spot in the rotation. It's between him and Zach Miner for the fifth spot once Jeremy Bonderman returns. But last night did show the Porcello we hope to see every start: a dominant pitcher. But dominance is too much to expect of a 20-year-old, so I'd temper my expectation for this season. But it was a nice win, showing the Tigers' tendency to bounce back from tough losses. We also saw the Tigers bring up Jeff Larish and Clete Thomas, move Magglio Ordonez to DH and send Carlos Guillen to the DL. All smart moves, in my opinion.

Eno: Yeah, Guillen was doing no one any good, including himself, by staying in the lineup. Six RBI in 90 AB, and a .200 BA. Yuck. Pretty gruesome. These young pitchers—Porcello, Ryan Perry, and the re-emergence of Justin Verlander as the team's ace, make me feel a lot better about the team while the big guns get their act together. The Tigers need more consistent OH-fense, as they say in Canada. The team's production, if you were to graph it, would look like an EKG reading.

Big Al: The Tigers are being carried offensively by Miguel Cabrera, who is mashing the ball again, and hitting over .400. He's proving to be worth every dime the Tigers are paying him AND Dontrelle Willis. Something else worth mentioning about improving the offense was moving Curtis Granderson down in the order, batting fifth Tuesday night. It makes more sense to bat him third, but the Tigers have to make better use of his burgeoning home run power. Granderson is a 100+ RBI man waiting to happen.

Eno: Granderson is funny, in a way. On the one hand, he seems to be the quintessential leadoff guy, but in other ways he's that No. 3 guy, like you said. It's almost like his prowess makes it tough to slot him correctly. But I say leave him at leadoff. When he's not there, last night notwithstanding, the Tigers' offense seems to be out of sync.

Big Al: The Tigers could try Josh Anderson at leadoff, who is more of your prototypical leadoff man. But his offensive liabilities are likely to be exposed the more he plays. Anderson is being used correctly, as the fourth outfielder. Which means Granderson is still your best option at leadoff. But the offense is going to be inconsistent, as the Tigers went for defense over offense this past off-season. Adam Everett is a non-entity at the plate (his weekend grand slam notwithstanding), Brandon Inge is playing over his head offensively; he won't continue to lead the team in power stats. Same for Gerald Laird, who has really begun to tail off at the plate. You may be calling the Tigers "out of sync" all season.

Eno: True that. OK, big news out of Allen Park: the Lions found their middle linebacker! Mr. Larry Foote, freshly cut by the Steelers. Thoughts?

Big Al: It should soothe the savage fans who were ticked the Lions didn't draft an inside linebacker in the draft, for one thing. The Lions had to have seen the Foote release coming, otherwise not drafting a MLB still makes little sense. Or maybe they got lucky! Either way, this bodes well for the Lions, who now have a starting linebacker corps that is actually of NFL quality. Foote is not a cure all, he's not an all-world player. But he was a good player in Pittsburgh, and one with something to prove—that he’s a three down player. Foote's gambling on a one year deal, meaning he's banking on a good season, allowing him to go to the bank with a big-time free agent deal next year. A hungry football player is something the Lions have long every position.

Eno: Absolutely. I like to think the Lions had this planned out. This also gives draft choice DeAndre Levy time to learn, behind Foote. Like you pointed out at TWFE, there's really no depth, beyond Levy. So here's to everyone's good health! I still don't see a true pass rusher on the team, do you?

Big Al: Well, Rome wasn't built in a day, and the Lions can't build a new defense in one off-season. The only player on the Lions’ starting D who has a history of rushing the passer is OLB Julian Peterson. But it's unrealistic to expect him to carry the pass rush load. At this point, I'll be happy with the Lions no longer having one of the worst defenses in NFL history. They can worry about getting a pass rush specialist next year, as they aren't going to find one now.

Eno: Well said. What do you make of the QB situation? Daunte Culpepper and a couple of peach fuzzies. I think the Lions should go after a veteran backup. We've discussed this before. Do you think the three QBs they have now are the ones that they'll still have in August? Actually, let's boil it down: does Drew Stanton stay or go?

Big Al: He's gone, as soon as a relatively respectable veteran backup QB is available. The Lions are more likely to find one later in this summer, when training camp draws near. There are bound to be more players cut due to salary, and a few may play under center. It seems the only person in Detroit who liked Stanton as a QB was Matt Millen. Not exactly a sterling endorsement. The selection of Matt Stafford has made Stanton even more irrelevant in Detroit, if it's even possible.

Eno: Well, being a Millen disciple didn't hurt Martin Mayhew, did it? (rim shot!) OK, how about some WordAss?

Big Al: Sure thing! Feel free to start...


Eno: Let's start with the Kevin Garnett-less Boston Celtics. Are they in trouble?

Big Al: I hope so, if only to remove the ghastly sight of Brian Scalabrine in a headband from our TV screens. I would not be surprised in the slightest if the Celtics go down to the Magic.

Eno: BTW, those who missed our radio broadcast missed a wonderful diatribe by Al against Scalabrine's headband. Man, he looks brutal—Scalabrine, that is! OK, on to the next one: the scuffling-along Magglio Ordonez.

Big Al: He'll pick it up, and have a respectable season, but he's 35 and no longer the player who had 35 home run power in Chicago, and won a battling title with Detroit. Ordonez was made to play DH. Leyland should do what it takes to keep him there.

Eno: Two more: Marian Hossa.

Big Al: Has to make an impact for the Wings to advance! He did last night, till the Anaheim Screwjob happened...

Eno: And finally, I ask you if Nick Lidstrom wins another Norris Trophy, and if Pavel Datsyuk wins the Hart Trophy, and you say.....

Big Al: No. There's an anti-Red Wing bias, remember?

Eno: Right! OK, fire away, Mr. Big Shot!

Big Al: The former Piston is who is now the new Mayor of Detroit, Dave Bing.

Eno: Ha! Just wrote about him at "Enotes"...umm, good for him. The city needs a visionary and a guy with some urgency. Kenny Cockrel would have been OK, too—but Bingo is better. But I bet he finds Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar easier to deal with than the city council!!

Big Al: Good luck on that; the Detroit city council is full of Matt Millen types. Clowns. Next, Rasheed Wallace reportedly wants $8 million a season to return to the NBA next year. You say...

Eno: Things not fit for print. Either that, or I simply laugh like a hyena.

Big Al: One more, sir. If I say Carlos Guillen is done as an everyday player, you say...

Eno: I hope not. I know that's a wishy-washy answer, but then again, he's played thru injuries before, so I'm going to say no—but not much longer than 2010.

Big Al: As we've covered the gamut on Monday and today, we should wrap things up. You ready to name your second Jerk of the Week?


Eno: YES!! It's Mr. Brett Favre, who now reportedly wants to play for Minnesota, to stick it to the Packers. Suddenly, Favre is the guy you wish would go away; a bad end to his illustrious career, if you ask me.

Big Al: Good call, Eno! Even the Favre-loving media is fed up with his antics. There's no question who my JotW is. It’s NHL referee Brad Watson, for giving Red Wings fans nightmares. I doubt we'll see him work another Wings playoff game anytime soon. A pox on the NHL's house!

Eno: Ah, the Don Denkinger of NHL refs! OK, my friend. Thanks again, and I'll see you next Monday on Blog Talk Radio. That's Monday, May 11 at 11pm ET!! Be there or be square!

Big Al: And next Thursday as well, for our final text chat. As my hero, the head of Hawaii Five-0, Steve McGarrett says, aloha!

Eno: Ciao, Italy!

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