Archive for August, 2008

LOOK OUT FOR OUR NEW MULTIMEDIA WEB SITE! IN THE MEANTIME, ENJOY OUR WATERCOOLER CHATS: FANTASY FOOTBALL TIPS

On NBC’s Today show Sunday morning, I talk about How to Be a Great Fan!

Watch our own Betsy Berns on NBC’s Today Show, “Football Widow’s Getting into the Game.”

One of the ways to get into the Game is to play fantasy football.

Here is a guide to get you started and some tips on having fun and surviving the season.

HOW TO GET STARTED

1) Decide what kind of League
Some Leagues have complicated scoring systems and some are more user friendly. Decide how intense you want this to be

2) Decide what kind of Draft you’re most comfortable with.

Standard draft:  Draft order is determined and each round you pick your favorite available players (similar to a real NFL draft).

Auction: Owners bid on players using a pre-determined fixed budget.

3) Plan to spend a lot of time at the draft (most are live and even if you don’t plan on dedicating your life to fantasy football for 5 months, at least dedicate a good portion of one night to pick the best team available).

4) Search Magazines, books, websites for information on the best players and strategies for draft day (ie, many writers will suggest picking the best running backs early in the draft and/or picking great QB/WR combos).

5) Print out Mock Drafts from your favorite writers and print out cheat sheets of the top ranked Players at each position (not really cheating just getting as much info as you can).


TIPS ON HAVING FUN AND SURVIVING THE SEASON

1) Pay attention to Bye weeks…. forgetting to put in replacement players is the most frustrating reason not to score points.

2) Make sure to check your lineup prior to the deadline in case one of your Players is on injured reserve.

3) Pay attention to the Gossip (if you’re reading that your star QB is out with Paris Hilton the night before a big game, play it safe and play your backup).

4) Pick at least one Player from your favorite home team (you’ll have a miserable season if you are constantly rooting against your favorite team).

5) Try not to pick many Players from teams you hate. You’ll be forced to root for these Players to score points for your team but will end up hating yourself if that team has a winning season.

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LOOK OUT FOR OUR NEW MULTIMEDIA WEB SITE! IN THE MEANTIME, ENJOY OUR WATERCOOLER CHATS: HURRICANE GUSTAV

All eyes this weekend are on the threat of Hurricane Gustav hitting Louisiana…again. In the sporting world, LSU will play Appalachian State at 10:00 am Saturday (the earliest start time for a football game in modern day football history at LSU).

Sports aside, let’s all hope everyone stays safe.

In other, lighter news, check out today’s Washington Post for a mention of female fans and football.


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LOOK OUT FOR OUR NEW MULTIMEDIA WEB SITE! IN THE MEANTIME, ENJOY OUR WATERCOOLER CHATS:YANKS WIN, PACMAN REINSTATED

Baseball

I took the Kids to the Red Sox/Yankees game Thursday afternoon and until the 7th inning, the most exciting part of the game was (and in this order), the foam finger, the ice cream dots, A-Rod booed louder each time he stepped up to bat, the frozen lemonades, and the hot dogs. But then, after melting for 2 1/2 hours in the sun, Jason Giambi walked up to the base and revived the crowd with his beautiful home run to center field. Yankees won in the 9th (3-2).

Football

Adam “Pacman” Jones (cornerback, kick returner) has been officially cleared to play this season for the Dallas Cowboys. If you remember, Jones was mired in legal problems and suspended all last year from the Tennessee Titans. He was traded to the Cowboys in April. If you’ve been watching HBO’s Hard Knocks (the best show on TV), you’ll see Jones working his tail off in training camp. It certainly looks and sounds as if he’s changed.

“It feels good man, you know, to get a second chance and I just have to take advantage of it,” Jones told The Dallas Morning News. “First and foremost, I don’t want to let myself down, definitely my little girl down. I’m thankful for [Cowboys owner] Jerry [Jones], the fans in Dallas and my teammates for believing in me. I need to keep doing what I’ve been doing to get reinstated, staying with myself and my teammates and staying away from those knuckleheads and just stay focused.”

Tune in Sunday, August 31st to NBC’s Weekend Today Show (in the 8:30 am EST hour). I will be on to talk about fantasy football.

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LOOK OUT FOR OUR NEW MULTIMEDIA WEB SITE! IN THE MEANTIME, ENJOY OUR WATERCOOLER CHATS:COLLEGE BALL BEGINS, INSTANT REPLAY DEBUTS, BOOK DEALS

College Football

The season begins today! Which team is your favorite?

Baseball

Instant Replay debuts today in three series: Philadelphia at the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota at Oakland, and Texas at the Los Angeles Angels. As with any change to this hallowed game, be prepared to hear arguments on both sides of this rule. For all those traditionalists out there consider this, the NFL instituted instant replay in 1986, the NHL followed in 1991 and the NBA succumbed in 2002. And, instant replay was even used in this year’s Little League World Series.

The Yankees lost again to the Red Sox Wednesday night (11-3). The Yankees are dangerously close to missing the Post Season, which they have made every years since 1993. I’m heading to the game with my Kids Thursday and hope the game is at least more interesting than the ice cream dots.

Olympics

Michael Phelps reportedly inked a $1.6 million advance for his book, “Built to Succeed”, which should be in bookstores in December. Dara Torres, the 41 year old phenomenon who came out of retirement after she gave birth two years ago to compete in the Olympics, also inked a two book deal. The first book should be on bookshelves by April, 2009. Which book, if any, are you more likely to read?

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LOOK OUT FOR OUR NEW MULTIMEDIA WEB SITE! IN THE MEANTIME, ENJOY OUR WATERCOOLER CHATS:LPGA CONTROVERSY

LPGA

The LPGA (the Women’s Golf tour) will require players to speak English by 2009.

“We live in a sports-entertainment environment,” said Libba Galloway, the LPGA’s deputy commissioner. “For an athlete to be successful today in the sports entertainment world we live in, they need to be great performers on and off the course, and being able to communicate effectively with sponsors and fans is a big part of this.

Expect to hear a lot of controversy on this new mandate.

Football

According to TMZ, Tom Brady bought a plot of land in Brentwood for $11 mill (wonder if that’s where Tom and Giselle plan to retire?)

Baseball

The NY Mets blew a 7-run lead against the Philadelphia Phillies in an important game in the National League East Tuesday. The Phillies won 8-7 in 13 innings and are now ranked First in the NL East.

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LOOK OUT FOR OUR NEW MULTIMEDIA WEB SITE! IN THE MEANTIME, ENJOY OUR WATERCOOLER CHATS: PLAYER TOO GOOD, YANKS/SOX MATCHUP

Baseball Update

In the what is the world coming to category, the Youth Baseball League of New Haven has told a nine-year old boy, Jericho Scott that he is too good to play. Yes, that’s right, they are pulling him (and the team) from the League because he has a 40 mph fastball. Ok, it’s been awhile since I played youth sports, but aren’t you supposed to pull a player if he or she is NOT performing? I’m really confused. Maybe (as my Kids would say) it’s opposite day.

NY Yankees and Boston Red Sox will begin a three game series Tuesday. The Red Sox are 4 1/2 games behind the leading Tampa Bay Rays and the Yankees are trying to climb back in the race for a wild card slot. This series is also interesting because (unless the Yankees make it to the post season), this will be the last time the Sox and Yankees will play at the historic and hallowed Yankee Stadium.

Watercooler Discussion: Any opinions on the Youth Baseball League?

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LOOK OUT FOR OUR NEW MULTIMEDIA WEB SITE! IN THE MEANTIME, ENJOY OUR WATERCOOLER CHATS: OLYMPICS OVER!

Well, the Olympics are over and I can now start going to bed at a reasonably sane hour. It was worth it though! People genuinely seemed to care more during these Olympics. There were more “did you see that last night” conversations in offices. It was primarily the heroes and underdog stories that put the Olympics on everyone’s radars.

First off, there was, of course, Michael Phelps who eclipsed Mark Spitz’s record by winning EIGHT GOLD MEDALS. Then, there was the USA Men’s Gymnastic Team, who won the bronze medal with their ‘back-ups’ essentially. Sasha Artemov, a kid who was told just 3 days before the Olympics that he was going to compete, had the chance to seal the bronze on the pommel horse. While he was notorious for making nervous mistakes, he absolutely nailed his routine and USA captured the bronze. USA’s Nastia Liukin won the all-around gold medal for women’s gymnastics. And, of course, there’s Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. He broke world records in both the 100m relay and 200m relay, surpassing the times of the former unforgettable record holder, USA’s Michael Johnson. Essentially… AMAZING things happened, and people wanted more and more.

On Sunday, the USA Redeem Team had a shot to solidify their name with a Gold medal game against Spain. The medal didn’t come easy, however, with Pau Gasol and Spain giving it everything they had. But in the end, the US prevailed 118-107 behind Kobe Bryant and a spectacular game from Dwayne Wade (27 points). The US Women’s Team, however, easily coasted to their 4th gold medal.

NFL

And, of course, more on the Brett Favre saga. He has been adjusting relatively well to New York, however, when the Jets signed Favre, they had to cut their long-time veteran quarterback, Chad Pennington. Now, Pennington gets a shot in Miami, and it would be interesting to see him thrive, and possibly even BEAT Favre and his old team when the Jets and Dolphins meet on their opening day, Sunday September 7th.

Very sad news for the Giants. In Saturday’s preseason game against the Jets, the Giants’ Pro Bowl defensive end, Osi Umenyiora tore his lateral meniscus in his left knee and is now out for the season. This is very bad news for the Giants as their other Pro Bowl defensive end, Michael Strahan recently retired. There is buzz however on trying to get Strahan to come back for another season…stay tuned!

WATERCOOLER DISCUSSION: WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE EVENT/EVENTS OF THE 2008 OLYMPICS?

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LOOK OUT FOR OUR NEW MULTIMEDIA WEB SITE! IN THE MEANTIME, ENJOY OUR WATERCOOLER CHATS: UPSHAW, OLYMPIC UPDATE

NFL News

Legendary and often controversial NFL Players Association Executive Director, Gene Upshaw died Thursday from pancreatic cancer only a few days after his doctor diagnosed him. Prior to the NFLPA, Upshaw was a hall of fame guard for the Oakland Raiders.

Olympic Update

U.S. Women’s Soccer won the Olympic Gold with a 1-0 victory over Brazil in overtime….that’s the good news!

After a 22 consecutive game winning streak and 3 gold medals, the U.S. Women’s Softball team lost to Japan and had to settle for a silver medal.

And, to top it off, the Men’s and Women’s 4x100m relay teams dropped batons in the preliminaries. Both teams did not advance to the next round.

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LOOK OUT FOR OUR NEW MULTIMEDIA WEB SITE! IN THE MEANTIME, ENJOY OUR WATERCOOLER CHATS: OLYMPIC UPDATE, INSTANT REPLAY, NASCAR NO NO

Olympic Update

1) Fastest Man on Earth! Usain Bolt won the gold medal in the 200m. He is now the first man since 1979 to hold the 100m and 200m records simultaneously. Bolt set a World Record in the 200m by winning in 19.3 seconds….and, he didn’t slow up this time. Some are speculating that Bolt slowed up in the 100m because he already held the world record.

2) Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh did not lose a single set in 14 consecutive Olympic matches (from Athens to Beijing) to win their second consecutive gold medal. No one has ever done that before!

3) Team USA defeated Australia and now faces Argentina in the semifinals. They are really making this basketball competition look pretty easy.

4) U.S. Womens’ Volleyball (on the court vs on the beach) defeated Cuba to advance to the gold medal game.

Baseball Update

MLB umpires and management signed an agreement to implement instant replay in the game.

NASCAR Update

Joe Gibbs Racing is in hot water. The powers that be at NASCAR suspended seven members of JGR for attempting to manipulate a horsepower test after a Nationwide Series race last weekend. JGR drivers Tony Stewart and Joey Logano lost 150 driver points and the teams were placed on probabation.

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LOOK OUT FOR OUR NEW MULTIMEDIA WEB SITE! IN THE MEANTIME, ENJOY OUR WATERCOOLER CHATS: Shawn Johnson Gold, Lindsay and Michael?

Olympic Updates

Gymnastics

Shawn Johnson finally won her gold medal in the balance beam event. She was favored to win the gold in the all-around competition but finished second to her friend and roommate Nastia Liukin. She also got a silver as part of the U.S. team that finished behind China in the team final. Before her gold medal winning event she complained of a headache and stomachache but obviously overcame it all and performed stunningly.

U.S. Women’s Softball

U.S. women’s softball team will compete for its fourth straight gold medal. In fact, the U.S. team has now won 22 Olympic games since the year 2000.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps is now officially a “celebrity”. In a report from Access Hollywood, Lindsay Lohan wrote a text message to Billy Bush. Here is the exchange:

“It made them all stronger — which came in handy when Billy showed Mama a text to her son from actress Lindsay Lohan. Billy handed his Blackberry to Mama for her to read Lindsay’s message to Michael, and her reaction was priceless.”Pardon the language but…” Billy said as he showed her the text.Mama Phelps’ usually jubilant face turned horrified. “OK, Lindsay!!! — Delete! Delete! Delete!”Lindsay’s crime? Telling her son he’s, ‘bleepin’ amazing’!

I loved Michael’s Mom before and during the Olympics, and now you just can’t help but love her even more. Go Debbie!!!!!

And, as a celebrity, Phelps is apparently competition for the ego driven J.Lo After an appearance on “Good Morning America” Aug. 18th, J.Lo was overheard saying that she “couldn’t understand why everyone is talking about that swimmer,” according to a GMA source. “She couldn’t come up with (eight-time gold-medal winner Michael) Phelps’ name, and then she yammered on about how she was the one training for a triathlon just six months after giving birth, and how that was the big story right now, not ‘the swimmer.’ ”

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