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Go, Steelers!

...and, go, every other NFL team too. Do not darken our living rooms again with your mindless violence thinly disguised as "sport", crudely sexual cheerleaders, and $2.6m for a 30-second commercial. Yes, it says a lot that during the annual showcase for the cream of your sport, the adverts are more eagerly anticipated than the game by most people. Even the name - "American Football" - is nonsense. Where, exactly, is it played professionally except by North Americans? And the only time feet come into contact with the ball is when you've failed to advance the ball any other way. Yes, go: please. You will not be missed here.

Now, we just have basketball and ice-hockey to get rid of. The first is a sport dominated by genetic freaks and wannabe gangster rappers; any game that ends in final scores like 122-118 should be kept in the video arcade where it belongs. Meanwhile ice-hockey is perhaps the only game which could lose an entire season of play without anybody actually noticing, save those who specialise in dental repair work. At least the NHL has now largely been relegated to the Unabomber Channel on cable, or some such channel in between the Terrapin Network and Classic Reality Blooper TV, where it belongs.

Fortunately, the counter atop the page continues to lovingly tick-down towards Opening Day - and we still have all of spring training to keep us going before then. It's now February, and pitchers and catchers will be reporting in a couple of weeks: I can then officially come out of hibernation, scratch my ass, and begin to anticipate the return of the One True Sport, sadly missed since the White Sox royally kicked the Astros back in October.

For the moment though, not much going on in D'backsland, besides rumours swirling that we're interested in Josh Fogg. I think this is probably Fogg's agent trying desperately to stir some interest in his client, who went 6-11 last year with an ERA the wrong side of five, and peripherals which make it clear that was in no way an aberrant ERA. Should anything come of this, I shall be the first one on the "Josh Byrne sucks" bandwagon, with Ben at the wheel. :-)

The list of non-roster invitees to spring training was also published:

  • Left-handed pitchers: Neal Musser, Randy Choate, Terry Mulholland, Bill Murphy
  • Right-handed pitchers: Casey Daigle, Kevin Jarvis, Mike Koplove
  • Catchers: Juan Brito, Matt Morgan
  • Infielders: Brian Barden, Jerry Gil, Justin Upton
  • Outfielders: Jarred Ball, Carlos Quentin, Marland Williams

Most of those names should be fairly familar. First I've heard of Musser though, who was at the Mets AAA affiliate last year, going 6-11 with a 5.02 ERA. Which, by a strange coincidence is almost exactly Josh Fogg's line in the majors last year. Perhaps Musser is a pseudonym for Fogg? :-) Morgan is listed as a catcher by the Arizona Daily Star, but The Baseball Cube has him down as a shortstop. Either way, he batted .274 for Tennessee down at Double-A.

Suspect there's not much chance of any of the position players making the roster, bar injury. With our bullpen still far from settled, the relievers have a better chance: Mulholland and Koplove probably have the best odds, perhaps Choate, if he can regain the form that clearly went missing in 2005. For the rest, best think of the opportunity as "experience" for the prospects, or "three weeks in very pleasant weather" for the veterans.

And now, off to Go Daddy I go, bracing myself for the post-Superbowl advert...backlash, apathy, or whatever. Must confess, I thought our commercial was kinda lame: Janet Jackson was two years ago, it's time to move on from wardrobe malfunctions, I feel. There were a number of earlier attempts rejected by ABC [check out the GoDaddy site for those], most of which I thought were superior: I was particularly fond of the one with Candice Michelle wearing a horse's head in bed...