From Ryan Howard to futbol to fantasy football

Santo Caruso

Santo CarusoStaff Columnist

Too close for missiles; I’m switching to guns. Rapid fire, get ready…

Any argument against Ryan Howard for NL MVP is patently ridiculous. If you’re just going to argue for the sake of introducing a counterpoint, let that be known. But if the maniacs on “Around the Horn” bring up Beltran’s OPS, when Delgado is having a career year and Wright is at least as valuable as Utley, when Howard has 10 more homeruns and 20 more RBIs (the stats that matter), I swear I will rip the giant apple out of Shea and send it rolling at Woody Paige.While I am on the topic, my father told me to set the over/under for Ryan Howard’s RBI-HR totals at the end of the season. I said 145 and 55, and they laughed calling me overly optimistic. Who’s laughing now, suckas? Who’s laughing now?

It was a solid fantasy draft this year, despite having the dreaded fourth pick, meaning I missed out on LJ, LT and Shaun Alexander. I was left with a similar team as last year’s: D-Mac, the Barber that won’t intercept McNabb, Antonio Gates, the player in a Packer’s jersey Favre can still see (with his old eyes, he thinks he is still throwing to Sterling Sharpe), Philly and Baltimore’s defense to compliment the Roy Williams that will intercept McNabb (I won’t start him against the Eagles; real teams always come first.) and Philly defense, also known as the return of the ’90’s Birds. And yes, I do draft with morons.

My summer in Europe has converted me to the other football, which I will refer to as futbol from here on out. The fans are amazing and the sport is exciting enough to the point where if I get in line to grab a beer, I won’t miss much. Had the Demarcus Beasley goal counted, the United States vs. Italy game should have gone down in history alongside US vs. USSR (minus the potential for nuclear war). Although don’t count Bush out yet, I’ve heard he hates pizza.

Here is my guarantee: every point guard recruit from the New York/New Jersey area will list “Crossover” as his favorite movie for the next ten years. It is the new “Above the Rim,” minus Tupac. At least I think Tupac isn’t in it.

If the Red Sox climb back into the playoff hunt, and Papi returns for the last series, dragging his heart, which is so big it skips beats now, will Boston christen him a saint? I mean, what Southie priest wouldn’t sign off on a few fake miracles so this could happen? St. Papi 34th sounds just about right.

Who am I kidding? John Mark Karr has a better chance of getting his own day care than the Red Sox have of making the playoffs.

Why doesn’t any writer have faith in Team USA? Ignoring how much better picked this team was (gee, Stephon Marbury couldn’t make the team? I am shocked) and how motivated Melo/BronBron/Wade are, every writer seems to believe the Ginobili/Nocioni combo will beat them. Let’s pretend this is a college game, which is fairly comparable to the international game where three-point drunks like JJ Redick can become national Player of the Year over all-around studs like, I don’t know, Randy Foye. Which team would you pick? One starting three McDonald’s All-Americans or the one with Falafel All-South Americans? Tough call.

Two best parts of my European trip: staying up until 4 a.m. every morning to see if Chase Utley got a hit and checking Randy Foye’s sick stats. Message to John Hatz of CAT: please get together a group trip for when the Sixers play Minnesota so I can see my boy again.

What is that whisper in the distance? Something I haven’t heard since February 2005. It sounds like E A G…

(Guess who’s back?)