Most of my vacation is over, but the two-and-a-half days away from the wife and kids while I hung out with good friends from high school was some much-needed therapy. I spent most of the time either eating pizza (Aurelio's and Giordano's), playing cards and being a derelict, sleeping or watching my buds golf. During much of that time, I was hammered with football questions, not that I didn't mind ...
- Upon my arrival at my friend Matt's house, the discussion quickly turned to football, notably football as it pertains to Matt. He asked me hypotheticals about his keeper league team (which I'm a rival owner in, so all of my advice was tempered) as well as the Bears' future (not good at all).
- On the way to New Buffalo, Michigan (don't ask), Matt and my other good friend, Quincy, talked football. About half of the trip was football-related talk (the drive was over an hour). They were both floored when I didn't stutter my AFC Champion team: Cleveland.
- More Bears questions while playing roulette -- the manliest game in any casino, of course. Casino dealer Brian, a devout Royals fan, also wanted to know how I thought the Bears would do. Believe it or not, Brian wanted to know my thoughts on Cedric Benson (anyone NOT off his bandwagon by now?). The most upbeat, positive news I could give him was to draft Matt Forte in Round 6 or 7. "Really?! That high?" he asked. Hey, if a player's going to play ...
Only other note of interest -- not really Fantasy related -- my brother-in-law, David Farby, just finished his freshman year at Syracuse. He's in their Newhouse School of Broadcasting and Journalism, which has churned out legendary sports-broadcast figures such as Bob Costas, Mike Tirico, Jason Horowitz and Eric Mack. Before he finished his first year, he landed an internship at WMVP-AM in Chicago, a sports-talk station affiliated with a network not many people have heard of (it's pronounced "Espen"). Interestingly enough, it's the rival station of the one I am on during the football season, WSCR-AM 670 The Score, which is affiliated with a network EVERYONE knows about, CBS Radio!
Anyhoo, David is an intern for the Silvy and Waddle Show, featuring Chicagoland fave Tom Waddle, an ex-Bears receiver. Waddle was one of my faves when I was younger too. A gritty player who never got the recognition he truly deserved while playing. By the way, David said that Waddle is a cool guy really into his work -- I could have figured that myself, but it's good to know.
Now, get this ... the announcer who does the sports updates during the show is Bryan Dolgin, who was (is?) a fraternity brother of mine at Miami. I met Dolgin before I even came to school at a pre-UM party for incoming Chicagoland freshmen. He's got a year on me and came to the party wearing his fraternity letters with his best friend, Dan Fleischer. Suffice to say, four of us who were at that party wound up being in the fraternity. Now he's pushing around my brother-in-law, who BETTER think long and hard about joining the same fraternity at the Cuse ...
I'm not done ... the executive producer of the show is Randy Merkin, the brother of Chicago White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin. The Merkins lived in Olympia Fields, Ill., right near where I lived when I was little. One of them ... I think it was Scott ... was my camp counselor at River Oaks Camp one summer when I was like 10.
Just a crazy series of coincidences. It really is a small world (or maybe Chicago is just a small city). By the way, if anyone at WMVP wants good, embarrassing stories about David (or Bryan), email me.
Upon my return to Florida, I'm going to help put the finishing touches on the CBSSports.com/Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Football Preview Magazine. One of the projects: 165 words on why I like Ernest Wilford. Not a tough assignment since I think he's got a shot to post career-best numbers (not 1,000 yards, though) with Miami in 2008. The magazine is shaping up to be the most informational -- and believe it or not, controversial -- preview magazines you'll find. Our mock draft is off-the-charts stunning, and Jamey and I each have some really provocative articles to help you get ready for '08.
After the mag is put to bed, I have to start crankin' out preseason outlooks for every player and DST you'll find in the CBSSports.com draft room and player pages this summer. You know, quick blurbs that paint the picture of what you can expect from players this season. I also have to tweak our projections and begin delving into a Draft Prep content series deeper than a Giordano's stuffed pizza (second Gio's reference in the same blog! Nice!!).
But until then, I still have some time left to relax at home.
See ya next week.