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Be Prepared…

It’s been a long time since I’ve written on here. Frankly, it’s been too long.

That all changes now.

You’ve probably seen the tweets I’ve been putting out the last few weeks. That was all intentional. I’ve been preparing myself for this very moment…

TSWDP Microphone 5

The Show with Danny P. is BACK!

Starting next week, you will get all new episodes of unequaled, opinionated talk about the upcoming baseball season.  I’ll be bringing you the 2014 MLB Preview – 30 Clubs in 30 Days. These shows will feature a look back to 2013, what the teams did to improve in the off season, and what their realistic goal should be in 2014.

We will have guests, and your opinions are always welcome!

It all starts with the preview of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, on 2/17/14. The previews will continue all the way until March 28.  Here is the full list of teams, and their show date:

AngelsAngels – 2/17

AstrosAstros – 2/18

AthleticsAthletics – 2/19

Blue JaysBlue Jays – 2/20

BravesBraves – 2/21

BrewersBrewers – 2/24

CardinalsCardinals – 2/25

CubsCubs – 2/26

DiamondbacksDiamondbacks – 2/27

DodgersDodgers – 2/28

GiantsGiants – 3/3

IndiansIndians – 3/4

MarinersMariners – 3/5

MarlinsMarlins – 3/6

MetsMets – 3/7

NationalsNationals – 3/10

OriolesOrioles – 3/11

PadresPadres – 3/12

PhilliesPhillies – 3/13

PiratesPirates – 3/14

RangersRangers – 3/17

RaysRays – 3/18

Red SoxRed Sox – 3/19

RedsReds – 3/20

RockiesRockies – 3/21

RoyalsRoyals – 3/24

TigersTigers – 3/25

TwinsTwins – 3/26

White SoxWhite Sox – 3/27

YankeesYankees - 3/28

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Election 2012 – Reaction

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So, I haven’t posted on here in a long time.

Put it this way – my last post here was about the NFC and AFC Championship games. From last season.

So much has happened lately. But, for the sake of time and effort, let’s get to the most recent event.

The 2012 Presidential Election.

If you follow me on twitter (you better, but if you don’t @theshowdannyp), you know I was a co-anchor of Decision 2012 on WCRX-FM in Chicago. Along with that, for those that do know me, I am the least political person you will ever meet. However, for one night, I put my lack of knowledge aside for two reasons:

1.) To learn about the political landscape and the candidates, and

2.) To build my resume up.

I really thought I knew what I was getting into with this coverage. Just follow what the Presidential Election is doing and you’ll be fine, right?

I was so wrong.

Thank God there was a team of reporters and staff surrounding myself and my co-anchors Nicki Butler and Sam Greenberg. Without this team of national, local, and on-scene reporters, we would have sounded like a cheap high school radio club way over their heads.

Paige Johnson was our national corespondent last night. She was the one that followed the House and Senate races with a close eye, and one of the most critical members of our team. In this election, the House and Senate races were just as important as the Presidential race. We, as a team, learned through this process that Congressional races really make the backbone of our government. These are the people that we elect in that construct our bills and try to pass them into laws. Without the intricate job that Paige did, the congressional races around the nation would have gone unnoticed.

To go along with that same point, we put the magnifying glass on the Illinois-based races for congress. The job, that was done exceptionally well, was done by Ashleigh Jung. Her knowledge helped us realize who was winning these critical races for U.S. Congress closer to home.

Our reporters on-the-scene were Tom Moran, who was at McCormick Place for the Democratic Party, Colin Hill at the Witt Hotel for the Republican party, and Nick Bumbaris at the Conaway Center for the Columbia College Chicago Election Party. These three did an amazing job grabbing reaction from the parties and setting the mood for the whole election.

All of our information on the Electoral College came from David Pierczynski and all of our source writers. Their accurate information provided helped us give you the accurate information all night long.

Caitlin Sepessy was our social media ambassador, giving us the trending topics, notable tweets, and facebook posts all night long. A little shy, but a rock star nonetheless. 

Our coverage could not have been completed without the help, knowledge, and guidance of David Berner and Cheryl Morton-Langston. The teaching these two provided to all of us helped make this election coverage the best program I have ever been involved with. Without their knowledge, support, and “tough love,” this program wouldn’t have happened and this experience would have gone by the wayside.

Personally, I couldn’t have asked for two better co-anchors than my “Deep Dish Sports” partner Sam Greenberg, and my close friend Nicki Butler. Keep in mind the three of us, as anchors, had to digest all of the information that was coming to us from the word “Go,” and had to know what all of it meant. Sure, there were times where we slipped a little (okay, I slipped. A lot.), but we made sure that informative questions were asked to our guests throughout the night, kept the listeners informed, and had spirited discussions about the issues at hand. Nicki and Sam did an amazing job leading us for the five-hour long marathon broadcast, and I can’t thank these two enough for being by my side all night.

This really was an interesting night, to say the least. The buzz around the election was one of uncertainty. As soon as some of the key swing states started coming in, however, we started to get a feel of what kind of a night it was going to be, starting with Pennsylvania. When it was announced that the state was projected to go to President Obama, and in the way he took the state, the mood switched from uncertainty to one of “we will know the president tonight.” That’s not saying we were cocky. Not at all. It was the gut feelings we all started to have at that time.

One of the interesting things that happened was when we called the projections of Wisconsin and New Hampshire, two critical swing states this year. We started to see numbers come in from the different precincts in those states and, with the guidance of our team, were told to call the states for President Obama. I started getting text messages from my family saying “Hope you didn’t screw this up! No one is calling Wisconsin and New Hampshire yet!” Fast forward a half-hour. The major networks started calling the states for the President. It feels good knowing the networks were behind a college station!

Funniest thing from the night has to come from me. At about 7:45 pm/CT, we were about to go to break, and I decided I was going to toss it. So I started to preview what was coming up and go into the liner that signifies our board operator Joe Lundstrom to take it to break. So I started saying it, but not without a sports kick:

“…All of this and more is on the way. You’re listening to Deep — Decision 2012…”

Remember, I, along with Sam, host “Deep Dish Sports” on that very same station. I figured it was going to happen to one of us – just not that early.

Overall, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I really feel I have learned a ton about the political system and what to watch for when I go out and vote. I have also learned that no matter what the President, Congress, or any politician does, we, as citizens, have the ultimate power to go out and choose who we want in office.

My final thank you goes to you, the listeners. Each and every one of you gave us the ultimate form of support by either tuning your.dials to WCRX, 88.1 FM, or by streaming us on wcrxfm.com or the TuneIn app for smart phones. You are the reason all of us want to get in to this business, and I can’t thank you enough for your continued support.

Thank you. I’m Danny Pasquerelli, and I approve this message.

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Familiar Faces on Championship Sunday – NFC

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – the Patriots, Giants, 49ers, and Ravens are playing for a trip to the Super Bowl.

Okay, I understand recent memory hasn’t been kind to some of these teams in the playoffs (see Ravens, 49ers), but if we take a look at history these teams have been in this situation before. A lot.  These teams combined have been in the NFC or AFC Championship game an astounding 25 times before this year (this year brings that total up to 29).

It’s no wonder why these teams have made it this far this year.  The Giants, 49ers, and Ravens boast three of the league’s top defenses, while the Patriots bring a highly explosive offense to the table.  When we look at the four teams remaining this year, there’s a lot to break down on both sides of the ball (thus the reason why this is a two-part blog).  So, let’s get right into it.

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – GIANTS @ 49ers – SUNDAY, 6:30 ET, FOX

Did anyone order a defensive matchup, extra hitting, with a side of historical value?

That’s exactly what we have in this year’s NFC Championship matchup.  These teams have met up in the postseason seven other times in their histories, and this should rank up there as one of the all-time classics as well.

For the 49ers, it starts with rookie head coach Jim Harbaugh. Yes, that’s right, I said rookie head coach. You wouldn’t know that from the style of football this 49er team plays with.  The entire team has bought in to the concepts that Jim has brought to the table.  We have never seen Alex Smith play this way, or this good, under center ever in his entire career.  Granit he wasn’t one of the league’s leading passers, but 3,144 yards passing with 17 TD’s is nothing to sneeze at either.  The impressive thing about Smith this year is the five INT’s he has thrown – ALL YEAR LONG – giving him a 1.1 interception percentage, fifth-lowest all-time.

Another thing about this year’s 49er team is, of course, the stifling defense.  This is a team that gave up 14.3 points-per-game – second in the league – and 308 yards per game – fourth best. Led by linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, this defensive squad has been all over the field, resembling the 49er defenses of the 80’s and 90’s. This has been an aspect of the team that has gone M.I.A. for the past few years, and now it’s back.  Cornerback Tarrell Brown can cover Mario Manningham with no issues, while Ahmad Brooks and Parys Haralson come off the edge.  Giants Offensive Coordinator Perry Fewell will be having nightmares scheming for this defensive unit.

On the Giants side of the ball, there’s Eli Manning – one of the most underrated Quarterbacks in the NFL in my opinion. This has to have been the quietest 4,933 passing yards thrown in a season of all time.  The only reason why he was being thrown flowers this year was because Drew Brees had an all-time best performance this year.  Eli is the real deal under center, and his Wide Receivers are reaping the benefits.  Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, and (the best salsa dancer in the end zone of all time) Victor Cruz all put up monster numbers on offense for the Giants this year.  We cannot forget about the two-headed monster in the backfield named Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.  Those two combined for an impressive 1,230 yards and 16 TD on the ground, and are viable weapons in the passing game as well.

The Giants defense is suffocating – just ask the Green Bay Packers.  Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck coming off the edges, while Jason Pierre-Paul blows up the middle is not a settling image if I’m an opposing QB.  The thing about the Giants is that’s all they had to rush to get to Aaron Rodgers. They can certainly do the same to Alex Smith.  The secondary caused 20 INT’s this year, led by Corey Webster’s six.  Antrel Rolle, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Prince Amukamura came into their own this year, disrupting passing attacks along the way.  So, even when you have enough time to throw the ball, which you won’t, the secondary will smother the Receivers so you don’t have a chance.  Now that’s something for 49ers Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman to think about.

MATCHUP BREAKDOWN: 49ers DEFENSIVE LINE vs. GIANTS RUNNING ATTACK. Good luck to Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs this Sunday.  All they have to do is go up against a defensive front that allowed a league-best 77.3 rushing yards per game and only one – that’s right, one – rushing TD all year long.  Bradshaw and Jacobs have struggled against the better running defenses throughout their careers, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if these two were stopped on Sunday.

PREDICTION: Instant classic! These defenses are suffocating, and for the low-scoring, defensive-loving fan this is your game.  Eli can get his yards through the air, but I believe the Giants will have to rely on the big play more often than usual, which almost never bodes well for a visiting team. Although just look at what happened Super Bowl XLII against the Patriots.  I give the 49ers the edge in this game because of their staunch defense, and the ability of Coach Jim Harbaugh to lead his team. I say 49ERS win the game, 17-10.

For the AFC Championship breakdown, click here.

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Familiar Faces on Championship Sunday – AFC

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – the Patriots, Giants, 49ers, and Ravens are playing for a trip to the Super Bowl.

Okay, I understand recent memory hasn’t been kind to some of these teams in the playoffs (see Ravens, 49ers), but if we take a look at history these teams have been in this situation before. A lot.  These teams combined have been in the NFC or AFC Championship game an astounding 25 times before this year (this year brings that total up to 29).

It’s no wonder why these teams have made it this far this year.  The Giants, 49ers, and Ravens boast three of the league’s top defenses, while the Patriots bring a highly explosive offense to the table.  When we look at the four teams remaining this year, there’s a lot to break down on both sides of the ball (thus the reason why this is a two-part blog).  .  So, let’s get right into it.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP – RAVENS @ PATRIOTS – SUNDAY, 3:00 ET, CBS

This is the classic matchup of high-octane offense going up against a historically vaunted defense.  For years now, the Patriots have been in this situation, led almost exclusively by the arm of Tom Brady and the Patriots offense.  Recently, we have seen the Pats defense seemingly take a nice rest while the offense goes to town on the unfortunate souls that are the opposing defense.  The offensive line for Brady and co. has been nothing less than stellar for the past decade.  How else can you explain Matt Cassel looking good behind center?

Because of the o-line, we constantly see Brady in the pocket picking apart the secondary, looking at all the routes, making a sandwich, watching film, and making a phone call to his wife Giselle before a defender comes even close to touching him.  Of course, Brady threads the needle to Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, or any other of the myriad of Wide Receivers, Running Backs, or Tight Ends Brady chooses. It truly is incredible watching the Patriots go to work in the passing game, and it’s an aspect of the Patriots game that can give the Ravens fits all day long.

Meanwhile, we look at the Ravens defense and cringe.  No way, not even in our wildest dreams, do we want to be lined up against the likes of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, or any other member of the flock of Ravens that seem to always be around the ball.  Seriously, don’t dream it. I did, and Lewis still knocked me out.

I have seen a lot of people knocking the Ravens defense for being too old and ineffective lately.  If going 12-4 in the regular season with one of the best defenses in the league, giving up 287 yards per game with a turnover differential of +2, is ineffective and old, then what does this defensive unit look like when clicking on all cylinders? That’s a scary thought. Also, you don’t get to this point without an incredible defense like what the Ravens have.

We can’t forget about Ray Rice in the whole equation.  Establishing himself as one of the premiere running backs in the league, Rice is a potent weapon in the Ravens offensive attack.  We know what can happen when Joe Flacco hooks up with Wide Receivers Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, or Lee Evans (hello, big plays!), but it’s been the 1,364 rushing yards by Rice that has set up the Ravens offensive assault.  If the Patriots want any hope of stopping the Ravens offense, it starts with stopping the running of Rice.

MATCHUP BREAKDOWN: RAVENS SECONDARY vs. PATRIOTS TIGHT ENDS. This is the chess match of the game that coaches Bill Belichick and John Harbaugh will have to figure out.  The Ravens must figure out how to cover tight ends Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. As expected, the Broncos couldn’t do it Saturday night. The Patriots’ tight end tandem combined for 14 catches, 200 yards and four touchdowns. Of course, Gronkowski and Hernandez were going up against the inexperienced safeties of the Broncos. At least the Ravens counter with veteran safeties Reed and Bernard Pollard, who have 16 years of combined NFL experience, and we know how much Reed wants to finally have a Super Bowl ring.

PREDICTION: For those of you tuning in to this game expecting a high scoring affair, you will be sorely disappointed.  As bad as the Patriots defense has been this year, ranking 31st overall in the NFL, they were incredible against the Broncos, getting to Tim Tebow and dropping him for 5 sacks in the game. It’s hard to go against any team that puts up 35 points in a playoff game, much less the first half like the Patriots did on Saturday (a game in which they won 45-10), but the Ravens refuse to make this a shootout.  I suspect this will be a defensive game, and that heavily favors the Ravens. I like the RAVENS to go to Indianapolis, winning the AFC Championship, 24-20.

For the NFC Championship breakdown, click here.

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Black Monday

The Monday after the NFL season ends tends to be a dark time for teams that didn’t necessarily live up to standards.  After the long, grueling season, team presidents and owners survey the landscape, wanting to see what kind of dead weight needs to go.

This season was no different.  Many teams, like the St. Louis Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had massive goals and expectations.  Both of these teams fell flat on their faces, and people lost their jobs over it.  Let’s take a look at who found the sharp end of the axe this time around.

Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo and GM Bill Devaney. These were moves that were a long time coming, to be honest.  The Rams (2-14 this year) have been a dumpster fire since the days of Mike Martz, Kurt Warner, and “The Greatest Show on Turf.”  The hiring of Spagnuolo was a good one at the time, seeing he is a defensive mastermind and that’s what the Rams lacked.  Unfortunately, the defense of the Rams ended up costing Spagnuolo his job, being outscored by 514 in three seasons. That’s 174 points worse than the Bucs, the second-worst point differential in that same time span (-340).  The Rams were just 10-38 in the three years Spagnuolo and Devaney were calling the shots together

Devaney was fired for the same reason as any other GM would be fired – the inept capabilities to establish enough talent on the football field.  Since 2008, when Devaney was hired, the Rams went 12-52 in the four years as GM.  The best draft picks was clearly Sam Bradford, but other than the standout QB, any trade and draft pick has flamed out terribly.

We shall see what is in store for the Rams starting in April.  The Rams have the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris. I still have no idea why the Bucs made this head coaching hire in the first place.  An unproven Morris was basically set up for failure in Tampa, and after a 4-12 season that saw the Bucs lose their last ten in a row (yes, the Bucs started the year 4-2), he was sent packing.  This is the case of another defensive coach being let down by his defense – the Bucs, stated earlier, were outscored this year by 340 points, second-worst only to the aforementioned Rams, and let up a league-high 494 points this season.  Frankly, his offense hasn’t helped either.  Josh Freeman is a QB I just don’t trust behind center, there really is no WR worth mentioning, and LeGarrette Blount isn’t the consistent RB he was projected to be.

Tampa Bay has the fifth pick in the Draft.

Colts fire vice chairman Bill Polian and GM Chris Polian. Well, this certainly won’t make one Peyton Manning happy. After a season that saw the future hall-of-famer on the sidelines because of neck surgery and a team that collapsed because of it, the Colts have decided to part ways with the Polian family.  Since making Manning the top overall selection in the 1998 Draft, the Colts haven’t done much: 141 regular-season wins, 11 playoff appearances, six division titles, two AFC championships and the Super Bowl XLI title. During that span, there have been only three head coaches, two offensive coordinators and one family making the personnel moves – the Polians.

Obviously, I was being facetious – the Colts have been a juggernaut since Manning was drafted, and it’s all because of the Polians. But, we could see the last couple of years that Manning had to carry this team all by himself.  The blueprint has been, “take Manning out, take the Colts out,” and look what they did this year.  Even after this disaster of a season, I still don’t know why these two were let go.

With the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, we will see if the Colts draft the next Peyton Manning in April.

Other moves that happened:

-Bills move Dave Wannstedt to Defensive Coordinator. As long as Wanny isn’t the head coach, this is a good move for the Bills.

-Bears fire GM Jerry Angelo. This is a move that should have happened a few years ago. Now let’s see if the Bears can draft properly and establish a good core of backups. We saw how that worked this year. Not good.

-Chargers retain head coach Norv Turner. Why? The Chargers haven’t made any sort of noise in the playoffs since he took over for Marty Schottenheimer. What makes A.J. Smith, Chargers GM, think 2012 will be any different?

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Welcome!

The Show with Danny P. logoHello everyone!

1-2-12 is finally here, and I would like to welcome you to the newest part of www.theshowwithdannyp.com – the brand new blog!  This is where you will find more topics and major stories in the sports world, and more opinions on them.  I understand that a two-hour show every Sunday night (which you can stream live at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fantasysidelinenetwork) doesn’t cover everything, so I created this so more topics can be explored and discussed.  Of course, per usual of the site, you can comment on anything that is posted here.  Any and all comments are welcomed.

Although, I must warn you, anything that you post on here is liable to be read live on The Show with Danny P. and all other shows on the Fantasy Sideline Network.

All of this would not be possible without the support of all of you, and I am eternally grateful for every thing.  Thank you so much, and let’s make year two even better than the last!

And, of course, you can follow what is going on with The Show with Danny P. on twitter @theshowdannyp.

~Danny P.

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