Friday, March 28, 2008

Is She Hot or Am I Missing Something? - The Mercury Girl

I'm starting a new feature at Stiles Points called "Is She Hot or Am I Missing Something?"....basically, it is spotlighting a female who is often overlooked as being Super Hot like a Jessica Simpson or Biel or Alba, etc.....these are the women who are on that level or two below because they may not have as much notoriety or publicity...or in some cases, they may be a tad past their prime...basically they are a strong mid-major, like a Davidson, George Mason, etc...I encourage people to leave their comments...

Jill Wagner - The Mercury Girl
The first female to be featured is Jill Wagner....she is the hot looking female in the latest series of Mercury car commercials...she is absolutely stunning in her latest commercial with a simple black dress and high heels.....

She is 29-years-old and from Winston-Salem, N.C.....besides the Mercury commercials, she starred in "Blade: The Series" (which I never heard of).....she even appeared on "Monk" once...

My thoughts - she is definetly hot....she is classy and has that good girl image who may be a tad bad.....shoot, I never thought about buying a Mercury until she started stumping for it...she is clearly a strong mid-major - kinda like Indiana State when they had Larry this leads to the questions:

Do you think Jill Wagner is hot?

If so, why doesn't she get the publicity?

Am I missing something?

Leave your comments!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beers with Bloggers - Signal to Noise Blog

Today's "Beers with Bloggers" is with the author from Signal to Noise...because he is wary about how his bosses would react to his blog, we will use the pseudonym S2N....S2N lives in California and has a day job in journalism...he is a native of Iowa who spent plenty of Saturdays in Iowa City tailgating at and/or going to Iowa Hawkeye games...I want to thank S2N for his time...he was very quick to answer when I asked him to participate...

Q1. First off, how did you come up with the name Signal to Noise?
A. I took a music recording course in college, and the "signal to noise ratio" is an electrical engineering term that, when you're recording, compares the level of desired sound to background noise. Essentially, the name reminded me of a fancier way of saying "BS filter," and it really didn't box me in if I wanted to write about things other than sports.

Q2. How would you describe your blog?
A. The blog is just my ramblings and occasional attempts at humor on various sports topics, in the past it has handled politics, music, and entertainment, and may do so again. I fail repeatedly at trying to describe it as anything more than something I just do for fun and amusement.

Q3. You state on your blog that you are a big New York Mets fans. What are your thoughts about the Mets this season?
A. God, the Mets scare me so much right now this year. In Johan I trust, especially because he's coming over from a much more difficult league for pitchers and the NL East is not exactly a pitching-rich division (most of the teams don't really roll more than two or three deep in terms of studs rotation-wise.) David Wright will be consistently good and a possible MVP; Jose Reyes will figure out that you can't swoon towards the back end of the season, hopefully. The bullpen concerns me -- how the Mets get from Santana, Pedro, Maine, and Oliver Perez to Billy Wagner is really my question mark -- that is after wondering if Moises Alou, Carlos Delgado, and Carlos Beltran will make it through the season in one piece. After last season's collapse, anything less embarrassing is a bonus.

By the way, if people are asking "Wait, he was born in L.A. and still lives in California, how is he a Mets fan?", I have an explanation: my parents are both NYC natives old enough to remember the Dodgers when they were in Brooklyn. My family has quite a few sports fans who hold a grudge very well, and my dad raised me as a Mets fan.

Q4. With you living on the west coast, I have to ask, what are your thoughts about Joe Torre managing the Dodgers? Will he make a difference with the Dodgers? Do the Dodgers make the playoffs?
A. I think Joe Torre can and will make a difference with the Dodgers, but it won't be enough to make the playoffs. The NL West is a pitcher's division, and Arizona only got better by adding Dan Haren via trade to go with Brandon Webb. San Diego always pitches well, and the Rockies have good young arms.

Now, Derek Lowe and Brad Penny? Good arms. Jason Schmidt is a question mark after his injuries last season. The idea of Russell Martin, Jeff Kent, Andruw Jones, James Loney, and Matt Kemp forming the heart of an order looks really good on paper. The question is whether or not Torre can keep the players on the same page in ways Grady Little couldn't and avoid over-use of his solid bullpen. I think they finish second or third in the division right now, but they won't be sniping at each other when the season is over.

Also, Juan Pierre is stealing playing time from Andre Ethier because of a bad contract. I'm absolutely with the Fire Joe Morgan crew on this.

Q5. Real quick - Kobe, LeBron, or T.Mac for MVP? Make your case.
A. I'm a Kobe partisan, not because I'm a Lakers fan, but because he is showing more flashes of MJ and dealing with a line-up that has been in flux with injuries. This year, he's had some serious help, but he still makes that team go and obviously kicks it in higher gear when Bynum and now Gasol have gotten injured. LeBron has carried that Cavaliers team, but I would go Kobe -- perversely, it seems his trade outburst and obsessive competitive need that drove that made his team better. Plus, Kobe plays really, really good defense -- he takes pride in taking on the opposing team's top guard. That means a lot to me.

Q6. How far do you see the Los Angeles Lakers going in the NBA playoffs? What is their weakness?
A. If the Lakers don't get healthy and win a title this year, they'll do it next year. I want to say they will make the Finals, but there's always San Antonio to deal with before they get there. The Lakers' ideal line-up hasn't set foot on the court together yet (Fisher-Kobe-Odom-Pau-Bynum), and if they do, we've all got to see how and if it clicks in the post-season. I'll say conference finals right now. This team's weakness is injury -- Bynum's still out, Gasol got hurt recently (should be back soon), and Trevor Ariza was playing well off the bench when he got hurt a few months ago. They might be too banged up to be title contenders.

Q7. I have to ask you a football question. Do you think UCLA will become a force in college football now that Rick Neuheisel is their new football coach? What do USC fans think about Norm Chow now being the Bruins offensive coordinator?
A. I don't think we'll really know how Slick Rick will do in Westwood until his third season. I watched him coach in Colorado (I lived in Denver for several years as a teenager), and his slides always came when he got his own recruits in the program, about the third year or so. He'll probably do better this time because a) it's his alma mater, and b) there really is a need to have a competitive program in Westwood to battle the Trojans. There are and will be NFL-level blue-chippers who want to have a better chance at starting at a SoCal program. Neuheisel and the Bruins represent that opportunity.

I think it's an uphill battle for UCLA to become a power like Florida and Ohio State became a couple years ago -- legitimate title threats in both men's revenue sports -- because so much is dedicated to the school's basketball legacy. The school is willing to try, although it is rather telling that they wound up hiring the prodigal son after most of the big coaching names either said no because of money or did not get a sniff from the AD due to perceived or real salary demands. However, Neuheisel is saying and doing all the right things, and giving UCLA football a public face that Karl Dorrell just wasn't equipped personality-wise to do.

Generally, the public sense I get about USC fans' response to Norm Chow taking over O-coordinator duties at UCLA has been "Good for them; we need some competition." I haven't read any sort of Judas comparisons -- this is the Pac-10 we are talking about here, and while fans in L.A. are certainly passionate about college football, it's not quite at the level of SEC backers where the big university's athletics are the only game in town. I would bet the fire will actually start to really burn if and when the Bruins start being competitive again. I don't see that happening for another year, mostly due to a deficiency at the quarterback position.

Q8. I have to ask a non-sports question - Obama, Clinton, or McCain? Why?
A. I was an Edwards person earlier in the race, and I think Obama gets to more of his themes and seems to mean it. There's a lot to be said for inspiration from a candidate; he's the first interesting and compelling orator in politics that I have seen running for president. Policy-wise, I find he and Hillary Clinton are not terribly far apart.

I think Clinton is tied to way too many established interests via her own Senate terms and her husband's connections, and I don't like the continued dynastic succession that her election would essentially become. That doesn't mean I won't vote for her over John McCain; I think he has changed his positions on Bush's economic policy and conduct of the Iraq War in order to garner votes in the primaries. (I was opposed to the Iraq War from the beginning.)

Q9. Who are the five hottest women in sports and/or broadcasting?
A. Wow, that's a tough call. I'll list alphabetically:
- Erin Andrews (duh)
- Bonnie Bernstein (holds her own with NFL guys)
- Stacy Dales (I'm 6'2", I like tall women)
- Maria Sharapova (more duh)
- Serena Williams (you can make cracks about the muscles all you want, but she's always been attractive to me)

I realize my list is fairly standard.

Q10. Last question, this segment is called "Beers with Bloggers." So what are some of your favorite brews? What are some beers that you like that may not be well known nationally?
A. I drink a lot of Guinness (my favorite bar is an Irish pub), plenty of Newcastle, and prefer Coors when I'm drinking cheap. I like drinking locally, and the Firestone-Walker Brewery is a very good one. I have friends and co-workers who have worked there, and it's great stuff. My favorite is the Pale Ale, but you can't go wrong with the Double Barrel Ale either. Sierra Nevada is better known nationally, and that's always been a favorite.

Once again, I want to thank S2N for his time...and I truly understand you wanting to stay anonymous...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tampa Tribune's Joe Henderson gives his thoughts on the Yankees

Stiles Points steps away from the NFL Draft today and looks at baseball...Tampa Tribune's Joe Henderson was kind enough to respond to some questions about the New York Yankees and Hank Steinbrenner....

Q1. First off, what are your thoughts about George Steinbrenner? He is often painted as the bad guy of sports. What are your views of The Boss?
A. I think it’s impossible to label George definitively. He certainly was given to excess with the Yankees and there’s no question his spending habits put extreme pressure on so-called small market teams. But his motive was simple: To win every time. We were allowed a view of him in Tampa that not everyone else got to see – that of civic benefactor whose checkbook was always open for those who needed it most. That trumps any of the baseball stuff in my opinion.

Q2. Real quick - was George Steinbrenner good for baseball? Why or why not?
A. Overall, I think he was good for the game and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Q3. What is your take of Hank Steinbrenner? Does he have the ability to be a good owner?
A. I like Hank’s style so far but it’s way too soon to tell how he’ll do. I thought he handed the Torre and A-Rod situations well and he listened to his advisors when they told him not to overpay for Johan Santana. That’s encouraging.

Q4. During your time at spring training, how do you think the Yankees players adapted to Joe Girardi as the manager instead of Joe Torre? What was the atmosphere like around camp without Torre?
A. The camp was significantly different, in my opinion – a little more urgency, a little less complacency. That won’t hurt, but the true test will come when the season starts. I mean, the Rays have the best Grapefruit League record and we know what that’s worth.

Thanks again to Joe for his time....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

NFL Draft Spotlight on . . . Beau Bell of UNLV

Today's NFL Draft Spotlight is on UNLV linebacker James "Beau" Bell...Bell is 6'3", 245 lbs...he was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year...Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal was nice enough to respond to our questions about Bell...I want to thank Mark for his time...

Q1. Beau Bell is listed as one of the top linebackers in the country. One publication states, "The dude is an animal. Bell flies around and makes plays all over the field." How would you describe Bell?
A. That description is very accurate. Bell is an aggressive player who is especially outstanding against the run. The concern of NFL scouts heading into last season was his ability against the pass, but Bell improved tremendously there and made four interceptions. UNLV put him in positions where he could roam around and make plays, and that's exactly what he did.

Q2. What type of person is Bell off the field? Is he a good practice player? Does he have the desire?
A. Bell is one of the more humble players anyone will meet, especially for a star. I think he never realized how good he was until his senior season. Bell always was a playmaker, but usually deferred to other players when it came to leadership. It was interesting watchiing him grow up and believe in himself more and truly become a leader asa senior. He already led by example through his strong work habits. I do think it will take him a while to become a strong leader in the NFL because I see him again deferring to older players. But if he stays in the league a few years, I could see that kind of growth in confidence occurring again.

Q3. What current NFL player is Bell comparable to?
A. That's a hard question because there are so many unknowns. Bell clearly was the best defensive player in the Mountain West Conference, but what does that mean compared to top linebackers from power conferences? Because it's difficult to compare to even those players, I have a hard time lining him up against an NFL player. One thing in Bell's favor iscornerback Eric Wright came out of UNLV last year and had a successful rookie season for the Cleveland Browns, so Bell could make a major impact as well. Then I think it would be more fair to compare him.

Q4. What must Bell improve upon in order to make an impact in the NFL?
A. I think there are still questions about his ability to drop in pass coverage. Also, before he injured his left knee at Senior Bowl practices, scouts were disappointed he wasn't quicker. Not being able to run at the scouting combine didn't help, either, and Bell did not appear in UNLV's pro day in order to get more training in after the injury. He has scheduled his own workout at UNLV on March 31, so a lot of questions should be answered then.

Q5. Are there any other UNLV players we should keep an eye on for this year's draft? Who are some future NFL prospects that we should pay attention to on the 2008 UNLV team?
A. Bell probably is the only Rebel who will be drafted. If anyone else goes, it probably will be defensive end Jeremy Geathers, who left early. He comes from a football family (cousin Robert Geathers Jr. currently plays for the Cincinnati Bengals), so that could get him an extra look. Cornerback Mil'Von James has a small chance to be drafted, but most likely will sign as a free agent. Kicker Sergio Aguayo, offensive lineman Tim Goins and wide receiver Aaron Straiten would have to go the free agent route. As for next year, there aren't many prospects because most of the top players are sophomores and juniors. Frank Summers, a 240-pound tailback, might be the best bet. Cornerback Geoffery Howard is a possibility. Defensive tackle Jacob Hales probably is a long shot.

I want to thank Mark again for his time!!!...

Monday, March 24, 2008

NFL Draft Spotlight on . . . Chris Johnson of East Carolina

Today's NFL Draft Spotlight is on East Carolina's Chris Johnson...Johnson is a 5'11", 195 lb. running back who is also being projected as a possible wide 2007, Johnson rushed for 1,423 yards and 17 touchdowns...he also had 37 receptions for 528 yards and six touchdowns...

Nathan Summers of the Greenville (NC) Reflector covers East Carolina football and was nice enough to respond to our questions about Johnson...I thank him for his time...

Q1. Chris Johnson is rated as one of the top 10 running backs in this year's draft. What are the strengths of his game? What areas must he improve on?
A. Chris's greatest two strengths are his burst and his durability. While he has already shown he is a gifted sprinter, Johnson's greatest early struggles in college were finding the space and the time to use that speed. As he worked tirelessly on his body while at East Carolina, it finally showed in his senior season. He commanded space because he learned how to find his legs and then lean into the momentum of the play and break tackles. His pass-catching skills make him a legitimate offensive threat, especially on the screen.

Q2. What type of person is Chris Johnson off the field?
A. Chris was always a pretty quiet kid, but definitely grew more comfortable with the spotlight as it grew for him. Like many athletes, the media room isn't his favorite place, but he became comfortable enough with me to ask me questions about stories and to understand the reason for the attention. His teammates have always said he was one of the most devoted players to the ECU program.

Q3. I read in one publication that Johnson may be moved to wide receiver in the NFL. What are your thoughts about that?
A. The wide receiver question has been following Chris since his sophomore season, and seemed at first to be the product of a struggling team needing quick offense. He has blinding speed on routes over the middle and the bubble screen became one of his greatest weapons as a senior. But his growth physically in the last year seems to have made him a better pass-catching back and return man than a classic receiver.

Q4. Are there any other ECU players that we should keep an eye on for this year's draft?
A. Defensive back Travis Williams is a player with speed, flair and personality who had an up-and-down career at ECU, but who played through a couple of coaching changes. He was the other young star on the losing teams of the John Thompson coaching era and, like Johnson, played all over the field. But he was bent on being a corner, and Williams — who made a game-winning overtime interception at Southern Miss as a junior — continued training at Tom shaw's Wide World of Sports in Orlando this winter in hopes of being drafted.

Q5. Who are some of the future NFL prospects that we should pay attention to on the 2008 ECU team?
A. The most obvious emerging stars seem to be the receiving duo of Jamar Bryant and Dwayne Harris, who will be the starting flanks this season in the ECU offense. Young running backs like Jonathan Williams and Norman Whitley will also have the chance to emerge as the next Chris Johnson.

Once again I want to thank is much appreciated...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tournament Predictions and Sunday Stories

Thoughts on today's games:
12:10 - Villanova -5.5 vs. Siena - one week ago today, Nova was sweating about making the they are one win away from the Sweet 16...they win by 7...

2:15 - Texas - 7.5 vs. Miami (Fla) - the way yesterday's games went, all indications show that the U will give Texas a battle...I could see this game being similar to the A&M-UCLA game...Texas wins, but does not cover...

2:30 - Tennessee -4.5 vs. Butler - the Vols better get their shit together starting today...they have been sloppy since their landmark win over Memphis a few weeks back...Vols win, but do not cover...

2:50 - Western Kentucky -5.5 vs. San Diego - San Diego played beautifully against UConn...they played with confidence and a swagger...I'm going with them again today to dump WKU and Elmo's red cousin...

2:50 - Georgetown -5.5 vs. Davidson - if this game was played two months ago, the Hoyas would be a double digit favorite...this is a tough one...I love both teams...Hoyas win, but Stephen Curry is a force once again...

4:45 - Memphis -9 vs. Mississippi State - people probably do not know that Tyler Hansbrough's brother plays for Miss State...Memphis wins by 12 or more...

5:00 - Louisville -7 vs. Oklahoma - I love Rick Pitino and the Ville...but that is too many points to give OU...the Ville wins, but close...

5:15 - North Carolina -11 vs. Arkansas - Carolins wins, but 11 is too many points to give the Hogs...

Sunday Sports Stories
New York Times sports columnist William Rhoden writes about West Virginia's tough-guy coach and player... "The Mountaineers were a finesse team under John Beilein, who coached them for the previous five seasons. Under Huggins, West Virginia has become more physical, what Mazzulla calls “a more beat-you-up team.”" ...
  • William Rhoden

  • New York Times sports columnist Murray Chass writes that David Wells is approaching 45-years-old, but is not willing to hang 'em up yet... "The end has to come at some point, but Wells isn’t ready to recognize this as the end. He did not respond to an interview request, but Clifton said Wells was working out as if it’s not the end, “hoping to get a phone call.”" ...
  • Murray Chass

  • Washington Post sports reporter Sally Jenkins writes how Bruce Pearl has the Tennessee fans rooting for men's basketball too... "The Vols lack a single McDonald's high school all-American on their roster, yet their pressuring, sprint-to-the rim style has racked up 76 victories in three seasons, kept them among the nation's top five all winter and earned them a No. 2 seed in the East Region." ...
  • Sally Jenkins

  • Los Angeles Times NBA beat writer Mark Heisler writes how this year's NBA Draft could be filled with college freshmen... "In a salute to the NCAA tournament, here's our annual mock draft. OK, it's just mine, but thanks to the six NBA people who helped me, along with local gurus Don MacLean and Frank Burlison." ...
  • Mark Heisler

  • Tampa Tribune sports reporter Joey Johnston writes that Cinderella is currently residing in Tampa... "Early Saturday morning, after an emotionally exhausting day-night of NCAA Tournament basketball, Villanova coach Jay Wright was still talking about the unprecedented Cinderella quadruple-header. Four games, four big upsets." ...
  • Joey Johnston

  • Tampa Tribune sports columnist Joe Henderson introduces us to the new Boss of the Yankees... "His father, the famous Boss, has gone into the background for the most part. All Hank will say is, "He's doing good. He's doing all right. He is pretty much retired. Obviously, who better to seek advice from if you need it, but he leaves it up to us now. It's a matter of seeking his opinion out, if we want it." ...
  • Joe Henderson

  • This story ran in Friday's New York Times...Times sports reporter Katie Thomas writes about a tradition at New York Rangers games when Dancin Larry, aka Homo Larry, gets the crowd fired up...the chants of Homo Larry now have gay people upset... "As Goodman’s routine is broadcast on the giant monitors above the ice, a familiar chant picks up momentum. “Ho-mo Lar-ry!” the crowd shouts. “Ho-mo Lar-ry!”" ...
  • Katie Thomas