Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The Baseball Tonight die-hards will tell you that there is nothing sweeter than watching grown men get after it with the leather. This minute of highlight reel is so nasty (see amazing), not even the home run slug-fest segment "Touch 'em All" can touch it. Enjoy.
Video courtesy of ESPN.com
Friday, April 10, 2009
It is just so shocking when an athlete dies. It's at times like these that we remember that the professional athletes we idolize are human too. They hurt, they bleed, and they are just as vulnerable to death as anyone else. Nick Adenhart was so young and so full of talent but life had other plans.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Mother nature has other plans, however. For the Boston Red Sox, the excitement will have to wait at least another day as the possibility of inclement weather has postponed their home opener until tomorrow. Yes, their season will still start and they will play the full 162 game schedule but the Sox are being robbed of one of the best moments of the year. In the most disasterous sports news reported this weekend, baseball will once again be ruined by rain. It's just unbelievable that water, the same liquid that is necessary for human existence, will once again rip out the hearts of fans everywhere. Get here summer, we need you more than ever.
Friday, April 3, 2009
The Bears got a great deal in receiving a young, talented player and now have the best quarterback in the division. In turn, the Broncos got two first round picks to help reload and sent the disgruntled Cutler packing. Both teams got what they needed and were winners in the deal.
Some would argue however, that the real winners in the Cutler deal are the San Diego Chargers. With Cutler out of the AFC West, the Chargers are the favorite to win the division for the next 10 years. Sadly, it will be tougher for the media to paint SD QB Philip Rivers as such a bully, considering the biggest baby in the league is now gone.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Coming into the final round Sean O'Hair was up five strokes and had his heart set on stopping a Woods' comeback attempt. Well Tiger, as he so often does, had other plans. He birdied five holes including the big one on 18 and converted 15 of 15 putts within 10 feet Sunday. It was yet another amazing performance by Tiger when he needed it most.
In his recent column in ESPN the Mag, Rick Reilly describes the "text-narcing" as a step in the right direction for sporting events everywhere. In his hilarious account of this new step in spectator enjoyment, Reilly offers some examples of texts sent to security, a few spoof messages, and even the Cincinnati Bengals number to text in case of an incident (513-381-JERK).
According to Reilly, tattletexting is being offered at this week's NCAA Tournament games as well as in 29 of 32 NFL stadiums. Last season 3,807 texts were sent at NFL games. In addition to ratting on your fellow fan, the text messages can be sent for any kind of problem:
I've driven 4 hours and I've left my tickets behind. Can you help? (They met him at the gate with new tickets.)
This innovative idea does come with some creepy side effects. Can you go to the game and act crazy without worrying that the tool next you is gonna tattletext on you? Worry not sports nut, individuals will not be removed without serious proof. In some stadiums, security is using cameras to zoom in on those being complained about before any action is taken.
So go out there and enjoy the game. Be not afraid of the guy behind you who "smells like he bathes in Jack Daniel's and is cursing more than Amy Winehouse".
To read Rick Reilly's full column click here
In a miraculous final second play, Villanova shocked the basketball world and toppled number one seed and conference foe Pitt last night. With 10 seconds remaining in the game Nova had the ball and the lead 76-74. In an attempt to break the full court press, the Wildcats threw a full court pass that was heading out of bounds. A Villanova player saved the ball right into the hands of a Pittsburgh Panther who advanced the ball to Levance Fields who was fouled. With ice in his veins, Fields sank both shots from the charity stripe to knot the game at 76.
What happened next was simply "March Madness". Villanova borrowed the 1998 Valparaiso play and finished one of the best games of the 2009 tournament in dramatic fashion. Reggie Redding threw in the ball to Dante Cunningham out past the three point line who dished it to Scottie Reynolds. In the final 5.5 seconds, the junior guard weaved his way through traffic and took the ball to the rack. With a Pitt defender in his face he hit a hanging floater to advance the Wildcats to the Final Four.
What a game, what a finish. There were 15 lead changes with six of them coming in the final six minutes of play. The rest of us might be shocked by the upset, but Nova certainly is not. Since seeding began in 1979, they have won an NCAA record 15 games in the tourney as the underdog. Pitt had an amazing year and it was tough that someone had to lose. But this is what college basketball is supposed to be about and what keeps the fans coming back each year. Any team can win on any night. You gotta love this game.
Image courtesy of ESPN.com
Sunday, March 8, 2009
And here we go:
8:07 Armando Galarraga's got the start for the home team Venezuela.
8:08 First pitch...ball outside. F.Y.I, The U.S. has three MVP's in the 1-3 spots in the lineup. Nasty.
8:09 Double in the gap...J-Roll. Speed kills.
8:10 Whoops...Rollins gets picked off when Pedroia bunts through a pitch. That's a huge out.
8:13 Galarraga strikes out two out of three MVP's and there goes the inning.
8:16 Roy Oswalt's got the ball for the young American squad. Can he lead us to vicotry?
8:21 Oh Bobby Abreau...you are a professional hitter.
8:23 95 on the black...toss him a chair.
8:30 Nasty curve, Dunn is done.
8:34 Back from commercial and playing a Katy Perry song in the stadium. Love it.
8:38 Rollins continues to shine for the U.S. on D.
8:40 ESPN goes to commercial to the tune of "Yankee Doodle". Patriotism at its finest.
8:45 Slick bare hand by the Venezuelan third baseman. Flashy yet unnecessary.
8:50 One out rally. Back to back hits for Venezuela. First jam for Oswalt.
8:51 Make that three...and a 1-0 lead for the home team.
8:54 Roll over to second, Oswalt gets himself and the Americans out. After 3, 1-0 Venezuela.
8:55 MLB 2K9 airs their new commercial starring Tim Lincecum. Hilarious.
9:02 Single by Youk, single by Dunn...runners on the corners.
9:03 Seed in the right center gap, a bad angle by the center fielder and some hustle by big Adam Dunn and it's a 2-1 lead for the Red, White, and Blue.
9:07 Close up on Curtis Granderson...love the USA eye black stickers.
9:12 One pitch, one out. Thanks Magglio.
9:17 Runners on second and thrid after a double by Lopez. Infield back and there goes the U.S. lead. Even a jam job to short will get it done.
9:22 After a visit to the mound, a single gives Venezuela the lead and an early exit for Oswald.
9:26 Welcome to the game Mr. Lindstrom. 100 MPH. Wow.
9:29 After 4 frames Venezuela leads the U.S. 3-2.
9:35 J-Roll leads us off with a base hit but Pedroia killed the rally with the 6-4-3.
9:39 For the first time in my life I agree with Rick Sutcliff. The U.S. just replaced Rollins with Jeter. As much as I love DJ2, this was a mistake. Sutcliff is right...you have to decide if you want to win or keep everyone on the roster happy.
9:42 Filthy. Lindstrom who has been pumping fastballs in the upper 90's, just broke off an 85 mph deuce and struck out Miguel Cabrera.
9:48 Youkilis swings and misses at a slider so dirty the backstop couldn't corral it. Man on 1st. That's a rally starter.
9:49 Base knock David Wright. Here we come.
9:52 Great pitch. Even better take on the 3-2 backdoor slider. Dunn aboard and the bases chucked for DeRosa. (Last time someone said he sucked he went triple in the gap.)
9:56 A walk to DeRosa ties the game at three and prompts the Venezuelans to go to the pen.
10:00 Chris Ianetta...TRIP CITY! Opposite field triple to clear the bases. 6-3 U.S.A.
10:12 Jeter moving on the pitch scores on Pedroia's sneaky double down the left field line. What an inning! Two runs in on that hit and a five run lead for the Americans.
10:14 Youkilis steps in...
10:20 He leaves the building. That was a bomb. After seeing 11 pitches he blasts the U.S. to a 7 run lead.
10:24 The inning finally ends with the score 10-3. Unbelievable.
10:29 Just when you think it's over...home run Carlos Guillen. 10-4.
10:31 After a double by Jose Lopez, the Venezuelan faithful borrows an Obama slogan chanting "Yes We Can".
10:34 Tough spin by the Yankee-Red Sox middle combo gets two for one. Oh my..web gem by Pedroia gets the U.S. out of the jam. 10-5.
10:39 BLAST OFF. The U.S. answers back as Dunn goes way bomb. 11-5.
10:47 Big Hack after big hack...the U.S. goes down swinging. Impressive none the less.
10:55 If this game doesn't end soon...after 7, it's 11-5 U.S.
11:05 The U.S. is still getting hits. This is out of control.
11:12 After a quick bathroom break, the U.S. scores again. Courtesy of a DeRosa sac fly.
11:13 This is getting silly. 13-5. Nope 14-5. I am starting to dislike America. One more run and the mercy rule will save us one whole inning.
11:21 I have resorted to checking my e-mail and listening to the game in the background.
11:22 Jose Lopez just hit his third double of the game. Impressive.
11:24 Not sure who is pitching for the U.S. right now. That pretty much sums up the end of this game. Just trying to get through it.
11:40 One run for each squad in the ninth pushes the score to 15-6.
11:45 29 hits between them. Now that is how the game should be played.
11:47 The fat lady has finally sung. Ball game.
With the World Baseball Classic upon us, many professional players are stepping away from spring training to represent their country. For many, it is a chance to escape from the monotony of the cactus league and enjoy competing alongside their countrymen. For a few individuals, however, this tournament means so much more.
Cleveland Indians’ right fielder Shin-Soo Choo suited up for the South Korean team Thursday night as they routed Chinese Taipei 7-0. After his breakout summer with the Tribe last year (64 RBI and 14 bombers in 94 games), you’d expect that he would be counting the days until he could rejoin the Indians camp and start the 2009 campaign.
However, his career with the Indians could be cut short if the South Korean government doesn’t exempt him from the mandatory two years of service in the military that every male citizen must begin before their 30th birthday. At 27, he is primed and ready for an All-Star caliber season, but without a World Baseball Classic title he has little to no chance of getting the free pass.
In a world where professional athletes seem to get away with murder (ahem O.J.), a deserving man might forfeit the career he fought so long to earn. In the name of baseball and quite possibly treason, let’s go
He could do so much more for
Athletes such as Ichiro and Yao Ming have become global figures and put their countries on the map. Allowing this man to continue playing would give the South Koreans a true hero and a connection to all the kids who dream of playing Major League Baseball.
So come on
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Reasons they should keep their mascot:
1. The name would have been taken away much sooner if it was really that offensive.
2. When mascots are references to Native American tribes it only stirs pride and awareness for that Indian nation. (See Seminoles and Aztecs.)
3. Indian tribes are definitely more intimidating than some dumb animal. (Gamecocks, Anteaters, and Gophers...now that's just silly.)
3. Besides, how long until PETA wants ALL the animal names to be banned by the NCAA?
4. Schools like Stanford, whose "Cardinal" are represented by a tree. (If you get too close we will fall on you.)
5. Because if you're going to crack down on a small DII school, then you have to enforce it throughout the NCAA and professional ranks. And it doesn't appear that the Indians, Braves, Chiefs, Chippewas, Utes, Blackhawks, Redskins, or Warriors will be changing anytime soon.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Presinal and the MLB have had a shady past and his most prominent client, Alex Rodriguez, isn't helping his case. Recently however, it has been the entire Dominican Republic baseball program that has been under the microscope. By the way, if officials begin to unravel a web of deceit and lies, don't blame the players.
It is silly to provide excuses for cheating. I don't condone it, and never will. I'm just saying that I understand why it happened and why it still will. The blame needs to be set squarely on the shoulders of the coaches, agents, and scouts in the DR. Players are constantly being fed the wrong advice and information (see Miguel Tejada).
They are told that the only way to change their lives is to play Major League Baseball. Imagine you're a young, naive 17 year old kid in the Dominican, and a trusted advisor told you that the difference between staying on the island for the rest of your life and a professional career worth millions was a shot or pill, would you ask questions?
Most of these kids have family to support and absolutely nothing to lose. Each individual has to make their own decision on PED's, but when it comes to young players making the wrong choices don't blame them...someone probably said it was worth it.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thanks to Favre's flop down the stretch last fall, the free agent market for veteran QB's will be slim pickens this off-season. In this harsh economic climate where teams are pinching pennies and not willing to take chances, guys like Warner and Collins who want short-term/high paid deals will be left out in the cold. To give you an idea what kind of cash we're talking about, Matt Cassel recently got the franchise tag from the Patriots giving him an average salary of the top 5 QB's in football at $14.5 mil a year.
Favre, however, proved that signing a seasoned vet with winning experience can backfire. Signing Favre one year after a miraculous resurrection in Green Bay was disastrous for the Jets. Not only did the Jets not make the playoffs, they are now without a quality QB...again.
One bright spot for Warner is the NFL's attempt to help teams better their rosters. They recently raised the salary cap to $127 million, up $11 mil from 2008. Warner's agent says that they expect to start the bidding somewhere in the Cassel range, and rightly so. Warner did just lead the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance. Unfortunately, as a GM I wouldn't risk my money and team's future on a guy that might fall apart physically or retire in the next 11 months. See what you did Brett?
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Return of the Kid
It's like a dream come true. What Niner fans would have felt had Joe
Somebody Sign Him
Manny Ramirez is still a free agent. I know times are tough and money is tight, but his career .314 batting average and 133 RBI per season speaks for itself. This 500 home run club member not only delivers fans to the ball park, he delivers in the clutch and will deposit balls into the bleachers. Some GM better step up to the plate and deliver the goods. Note to hopeful contenders: spend the money and give your club an instant chance at a title.
Unlike the Olympics, Major League players will be able to compete in the 2009 World Baseball Classic representing their respective countries. It is shaping up to be an amazing tournament that will put the very best ball players on display for the world to see. That being said, I would like to give out some pre-tourney awards as we ready ourselves for this stellar display of baseball talent:
First, to the player who was born in
Second, I would like to award the World Baseball Classic for choosing a time of year when no one is ready to play. March is not baseball season, and eventually they will have to move it to the middle of summer and just take a break in the MLB schedule.
A quick shout out to
Congratulations to team
And finally, I would like to award
Image courtesy of Google.com
Thursday, February 19, 2009
On February 6, I published a post telling the sporting world to stop caring about steroids and start hoping it would just go away. Obviously two weeks of prayer is not enough time to heal 20 years of sin.
Sadly, baseball fans have become too consumed with the details, the damage control, and white smile A-Rod has offered us. No one has questioned his abilities or the awards he may have won because of an unfair advantage.
As disappointment in our heroes continues to mount, when will fans demand that juicers forfeit their awards. In his recent column, ESPN The Mag's Rick Reilly spoke out against the "syringe binge", and gave fans a rallying cry to get behind. He apologized to players who finished second in MVP voting behind known juicers during the steroid era, and returned the trophies to their rightful owners.
Reading this column was like a breath of fresh air, and I am so glad that someone finally proposed that awards should not be won illegally.
We can't let cheaters be most valuable player, batting champ, or rookie of the year. Let's keep our attention and adoration on the guys who do it naturally. But as Reilly wrote at the end of his column, the rest of you guys better not disappoint us.
Read Rick Reilly's full column
Saturday, February 14, 2009
After negotiations for a potential buyout failed, David Beckham will return stateside to reclaim his MLS poster boy status and rejoin the Los Angeles Galaxy. AC Milan made an offer to extract the overpaid midfielder out of his current contract and return him to past English Premier League glory.
However, the MLS felt that the pot wasn’t sweet enough. So reluctantly, Beckham will have to suit up for the Galaxy and catch reunion Spice Girls concerts with the likes of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes for at least one more year.
As much as I would have loved to send the soccer icon packing I am thrilled to death that the MLS is sticking to its guns and making Beckham honor his contract. Too many athletes today will gladly sign on the dotted line for the next big payday but then want out when the team crumbles or as soon as they get a better offer (see Baron Davis and Alex Rodriguez).
It drives true fans crazy that athletes only care about their next check. How are small market teams supposed to compete with the Yankees and Lakers of world? They can’t. As soon as young talent and team chemistry starts to develop guys jump ship for the dollars (see the Oakland Athletics).
So here’s some advice to Mr. Beckham and all the rest of you overpaid whiners out there: 1. Think about who you’re signing with (if it’s the New York Knicks, just say NO). 2. Don’t always go to the highest bidder, winning is still somewhat important in your line of work. And finally, 3. Don’t expect your contract to get restructured just because you did your job well, otherwise the suits should start taking money away every time you screw up.
Picture courtesy of Google.com
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Everybody loves a winner. Why else would someone sport a Tampa Bay Rays hat or a Kevin Garnett jersey? Jumping on the bandwagon is what makes sports fun (hence rooting for the Arizona Cardinals, EVER). Teams always want to be on top. But where’s the balance in sports these days? Unless it’s your team doing the dominating, winning can become pretty disgusting. Tom Brady with his three rings, the Red Sox winning two World Series titles this decade, and the Steelers’ six Vince Lombardi trophies make me sick. However, there is one champion who will continue to draw crowds, amaze audiences, and blow the minds of fans everywhere.
Tiger Woods will go down as the greatest champion in golf history. Unbelievably, the more he wins the more people root for him. The 14-time major champion has the game of a god and the heart of a lion. His competitiveness is unrivaled and his grit grows with every swing. No matter what event or who is in the final group that particular Sunday, fans want Tiger to win. You can’t blame them either.
His passion for winning is contagious and you can see the determination in his eyes. He is the only athlete making over $100 million a year on endorsements alone and still loved by everyone. Last year in the U.S. Open he proved his dominance with grace as he sank that putt on 18 that had 15 men in my house screaming like teenage girls at an *NSYNC concert. Through excruciating pain he walked an extra 18 holes on Monday just to prove that he was the best.
Now we wait. Tiger hasn’t competed since June 2008 thanks to an ACL surgery and if he makes it back for the Master’s in April it will have been 10 months since he suited up for a PGA event. But chances are Tiger will only enter the tourney if he thinks he can win. Woods is the greatest golfer because of his ability to perform under amazing amounts of pressure, and he is the greatest champion of all time because of his need to win. When he does return, I, along with the rest of the world will watch in awe as Tiger blows us away — again.
Image courtesy of Google.com
Sunday, February 8, 2009
If you’ve ever heard the quote, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out”, then you know where this is coming from.
As the cry for a ban on fighting in the NHL circulates the sports world like the wave at a Beyonce concert, there are some hockey purists who would argue that without it the game could not survive. Fighting is synonymous with hockey like turkey is with Thanksgiving. (I know. I just used an American holiday to make a metaphorical reference to a Canadian sport.) But you have to see the big picture. Hockey needs fights. In such a physical sport, fighting allows teams to protect their star players, let other teams know when they’re getting embarrassed and set the tone for playoff series when guys have to look across the ice at the same ugly mug for multiple games in a row. On the ice, fighting is a way for opponents to express frustration and keep the game from getting chippy.
In the defense of fighting:
The fights are always one on one and rarely last more than 30 seconds. Guys earn respect with their teammates for not shying away from scraps. They may look like toothless goons out there, but they are doing the right thing (and have dentures for later). It keeps crowds into the game, protects players from being blasted on every check, and can change the momentum of a game. It is an incredibly honorable part of hockey. Most importantly, in these harsh economic times are we really going to eliminate the role of the enforcer in the NHL? Without fights, those guys would lose their jobs—and they have families too.
Image courtesy of Google.com
Friday, February 6, 2009
Home run king Barry Bonds has been out of the game for over a year now and he is still making headlines. In a Bay Area courtroom yesterday, a judge released documentation that the
1. I am so sick of Barry being the poster child for the juiced era. First of all, Bonds was not the only player in Major League Baseball to use. In fact I am willing to bet that just as many pitchers used than hitters (See: Eric Gagne, Kevin Brown, and Roger Clemens). Don’t punish him for being the best ball player and the best at using the drugs.
2. If there is anyone to blame, it’s the “high ups” in Major League Baseball. They knew exactly what was going on way back in ‘98 when Slammin’ Sammy Sosa and Big Mac were putting balls out of stadiums. But, baseball was still struggling to get fans back from the 1994 strike and this was doing the trick.
3. As baseball fans we have to admit that we turned the other cheek and enjoyed the show. Now, we must move on and stop putting cash in the pockets of low-lives who are writing books faster than rabbits can reproduce and cashing in on our obsession. (See Jose Canseco).
If we stop caring the books will go away, the controversy will soon be over, and we can return to the glorious game that we fell in love with a long time ago.
Monday, February 2, 2009
When your team isn't in the big dance you tend to find yourself rooting for a good game and funny commercials. After three dismal quarters of boring Steelers football, a rousing game of "Where's Larry Fitzgerald?", and some pretty good work by Pepsi, the game shifted into one of the greatest Super Bowl finishes of all-time.
Dramatic third down conversions, a safety, and two lead changes in two minutes helped build up to one of the greatest big stage catches in my history as a sports fan. Who could ask for more?
Apparently I can. Somewhere between the 14-point swing on James Harrison's Super Bowl record 100-yard interception for a touchdown and the end of The Boss' halftime knee slide I became a huge Arizona Cardinals fan. I guess I was just sick of seeing Steel Curtain 2 bail out a poor running game and an impotent red zone offense.
So here you go: The Top 3 Reasons this year's Cinderella Story should have been completed: 3. Big Ben is slow and shouldn't be that elusive. 2. Larry Fitzgerald broke Jerry Rice's playoff records with 30 receptions, 546 yards, and 7 touchdowns (two coming in the Super Bowl and one that should have been the game winner). And finally, 1. The NFL a league built on pride and tradition must have wanted the Steelers to win their NFL record sixth title, because the faux fumble by Kurt Warner at the end of the game wasn't even reviewed (I wanted to NBCee it). Give the NFL's "Walter Payton Man of the Year" one more shot to go Doug Flutie style to Fitz and quite possibly one of the greatest Super Bowl finishes could have become the BEST.
Images courtesy of ESPN.com
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Message to Rangers' fans: Last summer your team was saved by the heroic return of Josh Hamilton and his mammoth bombs. This fancy new "Power Ranger" look won't put butts in the seats this year. It's time for you to put your energy and money into developing young talent and building a pitching staff for poor Ron Washington. Please do something in the AL West before people start asking if you are still a professional organization. Consolation prize: you're a bad team in a hitter's park, it could be worse. (See San Diego Padres).
Image courtesy of ESPN.com