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Mark Sanchez Era Begins Today As Jets Name Him Their Starting QB

In what comes as no surprise, the Jets have named rookie Mark Sanchez their starting quarterback. Sanchez beats out Kellen Clemens for the job despite an up-and-down game against the Ravens on Monday night. Sanchez, however, has outplayed Clemens both in training camp and in the two preseason games. He will start this week against the Giants and the season opener against the Houston Texans.

Sanchez had the inside track since he was drafted No. 5 overall at getting the nod, but Clemens should have been able to outplay the USC product this offseason. Clemens has been in the same system for three years now, but showed nothing to put himself even in the conversation for being named the starter. That was disappointing seeing as if Clemens did play well, it could have set up a Drew Brees-Philip Rivers situation. After the Chargers drafted Rivers, Brees remained the starter and went on to have a great season, opening up the door for a trade to the Saints. If the same thing happened this year with Clemens, the Jets could have traded him for a high draft pick. But Clemens couldn't deliver.

Still, the Jets have the starter in place that they wanted all along. The Mark Sanchez Era is officially underway.

Red Sox Reportedly Trade For Closer Billy Wagner, Poser Papelbon Is Shaking In His Cleats

Jonathan Papelbon is probably shaking in his boots right now because ESPN is reporting that Billy Wagner has agreed to be traded to the Red Sox today. The Sox will not pick up the option for next season, as Wagner wanted, but the team can still offer him arbitration. So, Wagner will apparently be a set-up guy for the Sox and jerk closer Papelbon this season. But that isn't what's got Papelbon worried.

As good as Papelbon thinks he is, he sure doesn't have enough confidence in his ability to accept Wagner on the team. Why? Because Papelbon is a poser. He thinks Wagner is here to take his job and that is what he's worried about. Forget about the Sox battling for a wild card spot. Forget about the fact that Wagner would help the Sox bullpen. Forget about the playoffs. Papelbon, the poser, only cares about himself. I hope Red Sox fans can see that and stop fawning over this, well, poser.

Here's what Papelbon told a radio station about Wagner recently. "What has he done? Has he pitched this year?" Papelbon told WEEI. "Is he ready to pitch or is he not? ... I think our bullpen is good where we're at right now. Don't get me wrong. But I guess you could always make it better. It's kind of like the [Eric] Gagne thing, I guess."

Wagner responded this weekend with the same sentiment that most have of Papelbon.

"I don't have any thoughts on somebody like him," Wagner said. "When he walks in my shoes, then I'll say something. Let him be 38 and have Tommy John [surgery] and come back."

During the Yankees series, Papelbon back tracked a bit, making it more about the guy in the bullpen who might lose his job. Of course, that's a bunch of bull.

"How are we going to use this guy now?" Papelbon said of Wagner. "What situations is he going to be best in? Who's going to leave our bullpen? It's a multitude of things; it's not just one specific thing."

Can you hear the violins playing in the background? We all know it's about one specific thing - his job. I think it's great that the Sox got Wagner, just so everyone will get to see Papelbon squirm. Maybe Boston will finally join the rest of us in realizing that this guy is a no-class bum.

Who's No. 1? You Tell Us ... Vote On Who You Think Is Our Top Area High School Football Team

Leading up to the start of the high school football season, we're opening up the trash talk here at GameDay.

First, there is a poll to the right side of the blog that asks who you think will have the best season of the teams in our coverage area. The poll will run for the next three weeks or so, leading up to the opening of the season. So vote now and make sure you spread the word to fellow fans and readers. Those poll results will be published in our high school football special section, which will run in mid-September.

Second, we want to know what you think about the upcoming season. Post your comments right here (or e-mail me at bcarroll@centralctcommunications.com if you prefer) and not only will readers get to see your posts here, we will publish the best ones in that special section as well. So, let us know why you think your team will have the best season among the locals; let us know why you think your team will walk away with a state championship, let us know your picks for the season, both state-wide and in conference; let us know who you think the best player in the area is; let us know why your rival will go winless this year; let us know your thoughts on high school football in general. We want it all.

Once the season starts, look for extended coverage of your favorite high school football team. One thing we will be doing on this blog is running polls each and every week asking you the reader to pick the winner of all of the games in our coverage area. You pick the winner, and we publish the results. Also, we want to know why you made the pick you did, so comment or e-mail with your thoughts on the game and we will publish them as well. We want as much interaction as possible.

So, vote and comment now and get ready for some high school football!

Yankees Are Superior; Brett Favre Is A Loser; Reality Show Killer; Hater Rice ... Here's GameDay

When multiple people actually call me to ask why I don’t update my blog anymore, you know there is a problem. It wasn’t my plan to post very rarely over the past couple months, but it happened. Things have been incredibly hectic since I took over as Executive Sports Editor of both the The Bristol Press and The New Britain Herald, and while I believe both sports sections have improved greatly (and circulation is up), I haven’t given the GameDay crowd what they want.

Well, that changes starting today. And, yes, this time I mean it. So, here we go.

**Just watched the Yankees humiliate the Red Sox once again, this time with the Bombers scoring 20 runs to take the opener at Fenway. This, however, is not surprising at all. The Yankees are vastly superior to the Red Sox and will run away with the division. I still believe the Yanks have to at least win one game this weekend to totally shut the door, but it’s as close to over as it gets. I gotta bring up a conversation in The Herald sports department tonight where one guy said that Jason Varitek was better than Jorge Posada. My response was simple: Jason Varitek stinks. To even put the two in the same sentence is crazy. Oh, the joys of working in New Britain with a crazy Red Sox fan! Saturday’s game should be fun – if you’re a Yankees fan.

**I’ve been asked for my opinion on the Brett Favre situation a bunch of times and my response has been as simple as saying Varitek stinks: I could care less. But I’ll go a little more in depth. The guy is a pure-bred loser who can’t get on with his post-football life. He probably hates being at home with his wife and kids … probably as much as his Jets teammates hated having him on the team late last season. Nobody cares about Favre except ESPN and a bunch of morons in Minnesota. And if you’re telling me only ESPN and Minnesota care, than that means nobody cares. Now, Favre played Friday night against the Kansas City Chiefs and he looked awful. He completed just one pass for four yards in two series against the defensive juggernaut that is the Chiefs. Most of his passes weren’t even close. He looked old and washed up. But it’s not Favre’s fault he’s back in the NFL, it’s the Vikings fault. They could have said no, but they kissed his butt and let him screw yet another team over with his diva attitude. Hearing Favre talk about joining the Vikes was embarrassing, though. I don’t know why he doesn’t see it. I would be embarrassed to say the things he says. But Favre believes he’s God’s gift and we all need to praise him. Well, you couldn’t make it in New York, buddy, so anything you did or do from here doesn’t count. You’ll always be known as a bum. Good luck, Vikings fans. At least you have Adrian Peterson. (By the way, do you now take Michael Turner No. 1 in fantasy drafts with Favre in Minnesota? You know Peterson isn’t going to score as much as he would have without the diva on board. I’ll still take him, but it begs the question.)

**Speaking of fantasy sports, I know I updated a few times with my two baseball leagues, so here’s an update with the season winding down. The one I run, I’m in first place overall, and hold a big lead over Johnny Burnham’s team in Division 1. In Division 2, GameDay nemesis Craig Carroll is within striking distance of the leader. The two biggest moves that I made was getting Jason Bartlett in the first couple weeks off waivers and a month later getting Derrek Lee off waivers. Both have been simply awesome. I also recently traded for Johan Santana (and others) to bolster my rotation. The main piece I gave up was Ryan Braun. It was a big move, but with my offense winning almost every category every week I could afford to move Braun to bolster my struggling pitching rotation. Now I have Santana and CC Sabathia at the top with Jered Weaver and JA Happ rounding out the top four. My pitching had been a disaster with three of my top four pitching picks completely crapping out – Chien-Ming Wang, Edison Volquez and Daisuke Matsuzaka. In the sports writer’s league, I’m in first place as well, in the one-division set up. It’s been a pretty good year for me, but obviously it doesn’t count if I can’t close the deal in the playoffs.

**Just saw a new Coors Light commercial that features NFL coaches in press conferences. First, the commercials are horrible, all of them. Second, this specific one brought back some bad memories. It featured former Jets coach Herman Edwards and his “you play to win the game” presser. The guy at the end, trying to be funny, says “do you ever play to lose the game.” Well, idiot, the answer in the real world is yes. Edwards was a disaster as a head coach and had no idea how to play to win the game. The best he could do was play to tie the game. The fact that the Chiefs gave us a draft pick for him was the biggest fleece of all time. A draft pick for a horrible coach? No wonder why the Chiefs stink.

**Did you see that one of the contestants on VH1’s “Megan Wants a Millionaire” is being charged with killing his ex-wife? The show has already been cancelled, which is fine because those “millionaires” were the most awkward bunch of guys I’ve ever seen. Ryan Jenkins was charged Thursday with the murder of Jasmine Fiore, his former wife. Her mutilated body was found last week in Orange County two days after he was paid for appearing on another VH1 reality show, “I Love Money 3.” That show could be cancelled as well. Jenkins has fled to Canada. That’s some crazy stuff.

**Saw a little bit of the Cowboys new stadium. The screen in the middle of the field is just plain insane. Reserve punter A.J. Trapasso actually hit the huge screen, which hangs over the field. You get a do-over, in case you were wondering.

**Unless he completely implodes against the Ravens Monday night, Mark Sanchez will be the starting quarterback for the Jets on opening day. Actually, even if he does poorly, he’s still going to start. The Sanchez Era starts in Week 1.

**Finally, ever wonder why Jim Rice is hated by just about everybody? Well, you got yet another answer Friday when he spoke to little leaguers in Williamsport. He told them, in a nutshell, not be like Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez and … get this … Derek Jeter. Are you kidding me? You want to make the point of not doing steroids like Manny and A-Rod, fine. But don’t bring Jeter into the mix. It makes you look like a complete fool – a jealous fool. Kids, if you want a role model in sports, I can’t think of anyone better than Derek Jeter. But most importantly, don’t grow up to be the jerk Jim Rice is.

David Ortiz Says He Never Took Steroids ... Sorry, But The Story Just Doesn't Add Up

Just finished watching the David Ortiz press conference about him being on the infamous 2003 list of 104 players who allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing substances. First, it was a complete joke that union general counsel Michael Weiner was there to back up Ortiz. And one reporter brought it up in the press conference ... where was he for Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa?

While Weiner disputed the fact, you didn't see him around when A-Rod was going through this. But when Ortiz is outed, we get all this news from Weiner about people being on the list that may not have truly tested "positive."

"Under the 2003 program, a test could be initially reported as 'positive,' but not treated as such by the bargaining parties on account of the second test," Weiner said.

"Accordingly, the presence of a player's name on any such list does not necessarily mean that the player used a prohibited substance or that the player tested positive under our collectively bargained program," Weiner said.

Again, where was this news when A-Rod was on trail in the media all over the country? It's a disgrace. It's pathetic. It's a joke that Ortiz is getting backed up publicly and others were not, but that isn't the biggest joke that happened at the conference.

Ortiz says that he never took steroids. Fine. But he also said that he has no idea what supplements he took (both in the Dominican Republic and the United States). "I definitely was a little bit careless," Ortiz said. "I was buying supplements and vitamins over the counter ... but I never buy steroids or use steroids."

The question was asked whether or not Ortiz took Andro, and Ortiz said that he had no idea.

So, in case you missed that, Ortiz has no idea what supplements he took, he doesn't even know if he took Andro, but he absolutely knows for sure that he did not take steroids. Does that make sense to anyone? I didn't think so. You can't have it both ways, either you know completely or you don't. If you don't know what you took, you have no idea if you took steroids or not.

But it's not surprising that Ortiz has come up with this defense (remember, this news came out 10 days ago) after the union was working hard on trying to find some way to dispute the legitimacy of "the list." It might work on some, but anyone with a brain can see straight through it.

"I'm not here to make excuses or anything," Ortiz said.

If only he lived by those words. What a disgrace.