Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I Don't Understand

The structure of today's sports teams is the usual owner, general manager, manager/coach, then the players. But for some reason the Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones doesn't think he needs a general manager and thinks it's best if he's judge, jury, and executioner. When the Cowboys were winning Jerry Jones looked like a genius. Making all the appropriate moves like hiring Jimmy Johnson away from the University of Miami and keeping the core of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irving together long enough to see the bright of three NFL Championships in 1992, 1993, and 1995. The last Cowboy championship was in 1995 that was 17 years ago and for that they're still labeled "America's Team"? For that label the New York Yankees should be labeled "America's Team" since they've been multiple time championships and much more recently than the Cowboys.

Jerry Jones at this stage in his life can't possibly be in touch with the young kids that are coming into the league. Do I want Jerry Jones to get a Twitter account like Indianapolis Colts' owner Jim Irsay? no, but I don't see what Jerry Jones can possibly talk to Dez Bryant about outside of football. The GM's roll is to have an  unbiased view of the team and use that unbiased view to build a team that can win on the field and not just win the headlines the way Jerry Jones seems to think it goes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

They Won't Know What They Have til It's Gone

I've never understood how spoiled fans can abandon their favorite team. In today's sports landscape there is no victim of this like the Miami Heat. Throughout Heat games you can visibly see empty seats in the first 7-10 rows and I find that to be insulting. The Miami Heat are two time defending champs and the people of Miami don't know how lucky they are to have them in their city. Imagine if the New York Knicks were the two time defending champs the Garden would be packed every night. Remember when the Los Angeles Lakers were at their highest point with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant? They played in front of a packed house every night. You couldn't fit more people in the Boston arena when the Celtics were running basketball.

I know fans have the right to do whatever they want with their money and their tickets, but you should show some respect towards the defending champs and showing up at or near halftime and leaving half way through the 3rd quarter or the beginning of the 4th isn't the way to do so. Fans of other teams show up and pack the house just because Miami showed up to play their team and their home crowd decides to show up whenever. How much can there possibly be to do in Miami that you can't make a 7:30pm tip off? Shoot when the Knicks win 5 in a row (which rarely happens) Knick fans show up in droves. And it's not like the Heat have been fantastic for a long time; before Dwayne Wade showed up in 2003 the Miami Heat were an afterthought in NBA circles. I guess some fans just don't deserve a winner.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Biggest Surprises in the NBA so Far

There was a flurry of movements in the offseason and several teams got either better or much worse. The teams that got better like the Golden State Warriors are seeing the fruits of their labor by being predicted to either win the Western Conference or winning the whole thing in the next few years and the teams that have gotten worse trying to tank the season to get a better draft pick like the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers have a record of 10-14 for the Celtics and 7-16 for the Sixers. The surprise here is that with the Celtics' record they are actually not tanking, but they're actually 4th in the Eastern Conference and also leading the Atlantic Division. The Celtics wanted to tank the season to help their draft chances for this upcoming "super" draft, but the atrociousness which is the Eastern Conference hasn't allowed the Celtics to tank successfully. The Sixers on the other hand are on track to tank enough to get a top 10 pick.

The biggest surprise so far this season has to be the Portland Trailblazers. With their record of 18-4 so far this season and no. 1 ranking in the Western Conference no one can honestly say they expected this from a team that went 28-38 last season. Talk about one player making a difference the Trailblazers traded for Robin Lopez from the New Orleans Pelicans to play the Center position which has allowed Trailblazer superstar LaMarcus Aldridge to actually play his natural position which is Power Forward and has allowed Aldridge to face smaller, less physically imposing players which has allowed him to dominate his game while Lopez plays defense and rebound. Damian Lillard has stepped his game up averaging 20 points, 6 assists up from the 19 and 7 he averaged last year. It's still early in the season and anything can happen since it is still December, but as of right now the ineptness of the Eastern Conference and the surprising Trailblazers have definitely given me something to keep my on.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Good for Marcus Mariota

Yesterday, Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota announced that he's going to go back to school for his final year to get his degree and I applaud this. More kids should stay in school and earn their degree (even if it's a joke degree). More emphasis should be put on education and graduate degrees than on being a spring board to professional sports and to a world that they may not be ready for. I understand that most players skip up to the pros to help their families and earn substantially more than they are earning in college, but that's a different story. Education is put on the furthest burner and that's not good from a society standpoint.Kids look up to these "professionals" and these "professionals" would be much more influential had they gotten their degree. I applaud Mariota and I hope that other players follow his lead.

Is Mariota leaving millions on the table? Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. Mariota can come back and have just as good a season as he had this year or maybe even a better year and win him the Heisman trophy and be the number one overall pick next year compared to the no.3 overall pick like he is this year according to mock draft boards.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Yup, and Take the Draft Pick With Ya

Watching the Pittsburgh Steelers v the Baltimore Ravens game I saw something I've never seen before. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was reaching the edge of the field and interfered with a kick return by Ravens returner Jacoby Jones. Forcing Jones to adjust his route to the end zone and then turning and smirking like he got away with something. And now the punishment has been announced to be a 6-figure fine to Mike Tomlin and a potential loss of a draft pick to the Steelers. I'm in favor of the NFL taking the pick and fining Tomlin the full 6-figures. Why? because if the NFL is serious about player safety then had Jones gotten injured trying to adjust to Tomlin being so close to being on the field then that would be a true shame.

So why should the Steelers lose the draft pick? Because Tomlin makes more than enough to cover the 6-figure fine and what is going to stop another coach from doing the same thing? I can see either Harbaugh coach getting that close to the field trying to make a returner adjust their route. Should it be a first round pick? absolutely not, but at least a 6th or 7th rounder should be taken by the NFL because what if the order came up from above to have Tomlin interfere? Take the pick and let these other coaches and teams know that there are consequences to decisions that are being made in the heat of battle.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Not the Savior..

The New York Knicks are 3-12 and dead last in their division looking up at the Toronto Raptors and I've heard on more than one occasion that the Knicks should look to trade away Carmelo Anthony the greatest offensive talent the Knicks have had since Bernard King. Carmelo is averaging 26.5 points per game, 2.5 assists per game, and 9.9 rebounds per game as solid as those numbers are Carmelo's player efficiency rating is 22.16 which middle of the pack for the type of player Carmelo is. The problem with the 3-12 Knicks is that they have looked either lost or completely incompetent on the defensive side of the ball (Carmelo included).

Blaming Carmelo is not the way to go. Blaming the decision-makers of the team is the way to go. The lone real defensive players on the Knicks is Center Tyson Chandler and Guard Iman Shumpert and with Chandler being hurt at the moment that makes the glaring weaknesses on defense even worse. Even though Iman Shumpert and Amare Stoudemire have expressed issues with "ball movement" (which really means that Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith don't pass the ball enough and chuck up and too many shots) on offense they haven't been enough of a force when they do have the ball to demand the ball anyways. This issue goes back to the decision makers once again when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed each team was able to amnesty (an option to get rid of a player by paying the player the rest of his contract without having his contract counting against the salary cap) one player and the Knicks decided to amnesty Chauncy Billups instead the albatross contract of Amare Stoudemire who hasn't even thought of living up to his contract. A trio of Chauncy, Carmelo, and Chandler would've had given the Knicks the right veteran leadership that they need to control the often out of control Iman Shumpert and JR Smith. So don't blame or trade number 7...blame Knicks owner James Dolan.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What the Chicago Bulls should do Now...

Once again Derrick Rose is out for the rest of the season leaving the Bulls without its most dynamic player, leading scorer, and overall leader. So what should the Bulls do now? In my opinion it's time to tank. Trade Luol Deng's expiring contract for picks for the upcoming super draft and FINALLY amnestying Carlos Boozer (or as I like to call him Boozer the loser). Starting over is the best option because the team that's on the court just can't compete with the New York Knicks, forget about the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. These Bulls can't beat the Knicks as they are constituted so it's time to strip it down and just start over.

The Bulls are very good at drafting talent so getting the picks from trading Deng and utilizing the draft picks the Bulls already have they can build a better team. So when Rose comes back next season the Bulls would be better set to compete against the juggernauts of the East. Even with how weak the East is I still say that tanking is the best solution because in today's NBA it's better to be either very good or very bad. Being very good would have your team always in a position to compete and have fans coming to the stadium, being bad helps the team build through the draft and if the picks pan out as they are supposed to bad teams can turn around in a hurry. So if I'm the general manager I'm making phone calls and trying to set up a juggernaut draft room for my super star next season.

Monday, November 25, 2013

When is it Time to Give a 'Legend' the Hook?

The term legend gets thrown around a lot, but I guess Kobe Bryant lands under this label. Personally I don't think he's a legend. Kobe is like Joe Torre who was on the right team at the right time since Shaquille O'Neal was in his prime mowing teams over in the paint leading the Lakers to several championships while Kobe kind of hid in his shadow, but here we are in the last year of Kobe's contract and after stating that he was going to retire after this contract today came the announcement that Kobe has signed a 2 year extension to continue playing basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant has been in the league for 17 years and has played well over 40,000 minutes on the basketball court and it has been starting to show as of late since he's been dealing with nagging injuries the last few years and is coming off major knee surgery this past off season.

You would think that being on one team for as long as Kobe has been and with the decline in his performance and minutes (due to injuries) he would be more welcome to giving the Lakers a discount, but no his extension is for 48 million which isn't going to help his team make the necessary moves to be competitive with the Miami Heats and Indiana Pacers of the world. What free agent is going to want to go play with a ball hog that is taking up a solid chunk of the salary cap? The Lakers need a fresh start and with old man Kobe sticking around that isn't going to happen and the Lakers won't benefit from it anytime soon.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Oh the Good Ole Days

Social networking has become the biggest pain to both professional athletes and the leagues they belong to. Recently Knick guard JR Smith was fined 25,000 dollars for a "threatening" tweet in response to another player who called out the Knicks for signing JR Smith's brother who isn't talented enough to be in the Association. Tampa Bay Ray pitcher David Price got fined for tweeting negatively about umpires. I'm waiting for the day where professional teams ban their players from using social networks. Social networks can be used as tools where players can interact with the public, but when a player takes to Twitter to announce that umpires don't know what they're talking about or threatening other players that's when things go awry. Leagues do have social networking policies in place, but none of that controls when a player gets emotional and goes on a 140 character rant.

Before the explosion of social networks players didn't have the outlets that current players have,  so if a player was upset at something there was no Twitter or Facebook where a player could vent and make themselves or their team look bad. Along those lines professional athletes had much more privacy back in the day, they had more freedom to do whatever they wanted to without having someone posting pictures to Twitter and having ones dirty laundry aired out in mere seconds. I agree with players who have decided not to join Twitter they're able to be angry and not get fined 20,000 dollars for every thoughtless Tweet.

I Hate to Say I Told You So...

But the Brooklyn Nets are looking bad and Jason Kidd is to blame. According to scouts that have watched the Nets play recently have reported that from what they see Kidd isn't coaching the offense or the defense, but that his assistant coaches are, with Lawrence Frank coaching defensive and John Welch coaching offense with Welch setting up plays during games making Jason Kidd just a figure head. Just a dude standing on the sidelines in a suit with the best seats in the house and getting paid to walk around and watch. Fine, it has only been 10 games, but with a win now team hiring Kidd to coach this team was a huge mistake.

Another brilliant NBA mind that hasn't paid off just like Michael Jordan hasn't panned out as owner and/or General Manager of the Charlotte Bobcats. I was on the fence about Kidd's signing since he was a great on court leader, but coaching and running the court are two separate things and Kidd looks overwhelmed. There is still time for the Nets to turn it around and there are plenty injury concerns for the old Brooklyn Nets, but those are excuses and I'm done with excuses and professional sports teams. They should've hired a more experienced coach like Lionel Hollins or George Karl who would've been a better hire than Jason Kidd who before this season has called as many time outs from the bench as I have.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I understand all the support that NFL golden boys (Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees) are going to get, but in my opinion the NFL MVP is Andrew Luck. None of the golden boys are depended upon as much as the Colts rely on Andrew Luck. If the Colts are losing Luck does whatever it takes whether it be running or making throws to get the Colts a win. None of the golden boys put their team on their back the way Luck does in Indianapolis. His stats for the second half of football games so far this season are much more impressive than in the first half. Luck's completion percentage goes up from 57.5 in the first half to 61.7 in the second half, but where the big jump in Luck's second half stats is in his rushing, he's rushed 28 times for 154 yards and 4 touchdowns. For a team that picked up Trent Richardson in a trade with the Browns the fact that Luck has had to run for that many yards just shows the type of dedication he has toward winning.

Due to injuries to his favorite target wide receiver, Reggie Wayne, Andrew Luck has had to make do with an even more inexperienced receiving corp who aren't exactly on the same page with Luck as Wayne was which is why his yardage and throwing TDs aren't going to measure up to the golden boys, but the Colts are still 7-3 and poised to make a run in the playoffs. The golden boys are having their typical years, but everyone expected that from them, Andrew Luck has carried this Colt team to where they are now with his 2,430 passing yards, his 59.4 completion percentage, and 14 TDs.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen Your Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are 7-0 in this young season and it is looking like they're going to be a pain in the side to the defending champion Miami Heat. What makes the Pacers so annoying? Paul George has stepped his game up and is not only playing tremendous defense, but he is now the focal point of the offense. George is averaging 25.1 points per game, 4.0 assists per game, and 7.9 rebounds per game which are all higher than his career averages of 13.3/2.7/5.9. This is the best start by the Indian Pacers in the history of the franchise. Roy Hibbert is averaging 4.3 blocks per game which has to earn him the early favorite for defensive player of the year, but what the stats don't show is how many shots Hibbert has altered because of his presence in the paint.

I'm not about to say that the Pacers are going to come out the East, but they have already beaten the Chicago Bulls and the Brooklyn Nets which are supposed to be two of the powerhouses of the NBA. I believe the Pacers have the same chances that the Heat have to make the Finals. If Hibbert, George, and Lance Stephenson continue to develop and along with a very good bench that has the addition of Luis Scola on it the sky is the limit for these Indiana Pacers. Personally, I believe the loss last year in the playoffs was a lesson that the Pacers are showing that they have learned from and have put those lessons to work for them.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Message Lost in the Delivery

After his suspension for hitting wide receivers harshly Washington Redskin safety Brandon Meriweather returned to play and in an interview he said that he's got no choice but to hit offensive players at their knees and cause career ending injuries. This was welcomed with harsh criticism and overall disapproval by most gas bags on shows on ESPN and NFL Network, but most didn't catch his message. I heard what he said and I got the message. What I'm assuming he meant was that because of the new rules that the NFL has put in place in the name of safety defensive players aren't allowed to hit wide receivers or tight ends high (which includes the head or the chest) which only leaves hitting players low which aren't as protected as the head and chest.

Pads and helmet have been developed to the point where hits don't cause as much damage as they did 30-40 years ago so getting hit high won't cause as much of an issue as it did in the past, but the lower part of a football player is not as protected as the upper part. The typical football player wears thigh pads and knee pads that are as thin as paper and they don't protect players' knees, and that's where players like Meriweather are going to strike players since they can't hit a receiver high. Receivers are going to have to get used to players going for their knees and defensive players are going to have to swinging and missing a lot because hitting a player's knees isn't that easy. So there are going to be a boatload of missed tackles coming and things are look sloppier than they do already.

I don't blame Meriweather for his comments, but he does need to learn how to get his point across without coming off sounding like a maniac. The NFL didn't fine him for a reason because the powers that be know he's right.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What Will Keep David Ortiz out of the Hall of Fame?

David Ortiz ranks #1 in hits and other stats as a designated hitter and he just carried the Red Sox to another World Series title and in my mind he made the case that he should be a hall of famer. I'm not sure about first ballot or not, but at some point he should be in the hall. If Frank Thomas or Edgar Martinez make the hall then Ortiz should be right behind them. Ortiz hasn't been the best with the glove, but he's not exactly a liability with the glove as he proved in St. Louis as he made all the regular plays around the first base bag. Ortiz has been clutch ever since he went to Boston to bat in front of Manny Ramirez and has kept up a pretty solid pace up until a down season in 2009 when he batted .238 on the season, but he still had 28 home runs and 99 runs batted in.

The bigger issue in my opinion for David Ortiz's candidacy for the hall has been the performance enhancing drugs issue that has followed Ortiz ever since his name popped up on a list of players that tested positive for banned substances back in 2003, but the players union backed Ortiz and stated that the list of players released by the New York Times in 2009 was overblown and that not all of them were for PEDs, but nobody wants to hear that. Even to this day people bring up how he's a user, but no one looks at the details and that - more than his position- is going to be the reason he won't make the hall and that's unfortunate because he's doing incredible things with the bat in his hands.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Is Adrian Peterson going to be the Next Barry Sanders?

In the history of the NFL there have been many disappointments, but maybe none bigger than the story of the great Barry Sanders. Barry Sanders played his whole career for the Detroit Lions and had ran for 15,269 yards (just 1,457 yards of the record for running backs) in the 9 years he played for the Lions while gaining the reputation as being one of the most elusive running backs in the history of the NFL. The highlights of Sanders' career has many ankle breaking moves and a bunch of defensive players attempting to tackling Sanders, but missing wildly. Unfortunately though the Detroit Lions weren't ever good enough to break through to win the Super Bowl with Sanders. One of the reasons for Barry Sanders' unexpected retirement was that all the losing. All the losing took away from his competitive spirit and that is understandable. While watching him play I felt bad for Barry Sanders because the goal for all great players is to win the Super Bowl and with all the offensive turmoil that Detroit had suffered through the chances for Barry were small to win the big prize.

In today's NFL the best running back in the game is Adrian Peterson. While his game is different than Barry Sanders' the same affliction is falling upon him. The Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs last year, but that was part miracle and because Peterson had probably the season of his career rushing for 2,097 yards coming off a repair of his ACL which is unheard of. This year the Minnesota Vikings are 1-6 on the season which is appropriate considering that the team has a serious lack of talent at very important positions on the team. The Vikings aren't going anywhere anytime soon and yet they hold onto Peterson the same way the Lions held onto Sanders. If Peterson were to be traded to a contending team he would break the rushing record because the fire of competing for a championship year in and year out would reinvigorate his career. As the trade deadline gets closer I'm hoping to see an Adrian Peterson trade for his sakes and so that history doesn't repeat itself and we lose out on watching another great running back end his career too soon.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Miami Heat or the Field?

With the NBA season right around the corner all of the General Managers were asked who would win the NBA title for this upcoming season and about 79% of the GMs responded with the Miami Heat. I feel like that's a bit of an overreach. As talented as the Miami Heat (LeBron James really) are several other teams have stepped up their rosters this off season. With the Houston Rockets having signed Dwight Howard, the Brooklyn Nets getting Paul Pierce Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett, the Chicago Bulls getting Derrick Rose back, and the Golden State Warriors having signed Andre Iguodala there are several teams ready to challenge the Heat for the title this upcoming year. And let's not forget that the Indiana Pacers who took the Heat to a tough game 7 in last year's Eastern Conference Finals are still hanging around and have gotten better since Danny Granger is coming back only to add more fire power against the Heat.

I'm not about to say that the Miami Heat are overrated, but in fact they are easily the best team in their division, but I think the field is much tougher especially in the East than the GMs have taken into consideration. The Nets are better, the Bulls are better, the Pacers are better, hell even with some luck the Knicks can even make a run at dethroning the champions. And that's without even mentioning the Clippers, the Warriors (who I think is going to win the West), the Spurs, the Rockets, the Thunder, and even the Grizzlies with the size they have in the paint (something Miami has problems with) have the same chance that the Knicks have to beating the Heat. The one team no one even thinks about is the Denver Nuggets, they have a young core of very talented players, but they're missing that superstar piece to them, but they are talented enough to run any team out of the gym.

I'm not counting out the Heat, but the chances of them three-peating is not as high as I think these GMs think. They are going to be heavy favorites, but I wouldn't count out the field just yet. I actually like the Warriors to make the strongest run at the Heat this year if they both make Finals. They have a very balanced team with long distance shooting, a couple low post presences, and now the mid-range game has been solidified with Iguodala. Things are going to get interesting in a hurry.

Monday, October 21, 2013

If Tebow Wants a Job This is the Time..

As I've already heard the St Louis Rams have held internal conversations about potentially signing Tim Tebow, but now that several other quarterbacks have sustained injuries like Jay Cutler in Chicago, Sam Bradford in St Louis, and Matt Schaub in Texas there are other possibilities for Tebow to find a place to play. But what I was thinking was with what coach Greg Schiano did to Josh Freeman by snaking him out of his job Tebow would be perfect to play in Tampa.

Signing Tim Tebow shouldn't take too to much and since the Jaguars already turned down the idea of signing Tebow the Bucs should take advantage of Tebow's popularity in Florida and at least sell out a home game or two and who knows maybe even win a game. I'm thinking Tebow is the gritty type of player that Schiano would love to have behind center and with the wildcat offense a thing of the past no defense should prepare for Tim. I'm no fan of Tim Tebow and the circus he brings to teams, but I guess everybody needs a second or third chance. So Tebow to the Bucs makes sense to me, but who knows if he'll ever get another chance.  

New Era is Starting in Major League Baseball

With the likes of Bobby Cox, Jim Leyland, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa having retired in recent years the new wave of managers in the Majors are of a different style as their predecessors. With this new wave of statistics that is being felt all over the league it is no surprise that managers are also being asked to follow a more statistic based method of managing. Which is why managers like Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays, Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox, and Bud Black of the San Diego Padres tend to rely more on statistics than on the old school values that the previous wave of managers used. The game is going to take on a completely new feel.

Defensive shifts have been increasing a lot lately and players like David Ortiz have seen hit after hit being taken away because one side of the field is loaded with players. Back in the day when David Ortiz was getting clutch hit after clutch hit the right side of the infield didn't have three players and one almost in right field. Things like defensive shifts and the breaking down of the pitching staff to include more specialty pitchers (pitchers who can get out lefties or righties better) are also going to be on the rise. Billy Beane (general manager of the Oakland A's) started the statistic revolution and now teams are taking that concept and making it a part of their managerial search.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

If you Have Two Quarterbacks you Really Have None

The Philadelphia Eagles have an interesting situation on their hands. Michael Vick (the opening day starter of the Eagles) is injured and he won't be back on the field for a couple more weeks and in his absence the Eagles have started Nick Foles who has a much different skill set than Michael Vick. Of the two, Michael Vick is easily the better runner. While Foles is easily the better passer. So the decision comes down to how the head coach (Chip Kelly) decides to run his offense. If he wants to keep the rushing threat of Vick and LeSean McCoy on the field then he can go down that route, but if Kelly wants to have a more traditional and more balanced attack on offense then Foles is the way to go.

If it were up to me, I'd start Vick because it makes it much more difficult for defenses to prepare for the Eagles because the offensive possibilities open up for Kelly. Using Vick's athleticism Kelly can play the Option, the Wildcat, and the Pistol offenses (which are much more running based strategies) while with Foles his limitations on offense are much more traditional. Foles has his own level of athleticism, but it just doesn't compare to Vick's. Foles is the poor-man's Aaron Rodgers he has enough of an arm to make the plays he needs to make, but also has some running abilities that kick in when he's in trouble or when it's a surprise for the defense.

Don't get me wrong I wouldn't trade Foles unless the return is outstanding because we all know that Vick is bound to get hurt again. Vick's reckless when he's on the run with the ball and the defense always gets their shot at hitting him just like RG3. Keep Foles on the bench and he'll eventually get playing time. The notion of starting both shouldn't even be considered because when you have two quarterbacks you really have none.

If I'm a Knick Fan I'd be Nervous

Yesterday, the best scoring talent the Knicks have seen since Bernard King, Carmelo Anthony, announced that he wanted to test free agency and considering the talent level that surrounds Carmelo Anthony this year with the Knicks I'm not sure if it is impossible to say that he may go somewhere else. The best player on the Knicks besides Mr. Anthony is JR Smith who is still maturing and is always a drug suspension away from missing games. Amare Stoudemire who signed on to play for the Knicks on a contract that he didn't deserve has been showing since he signed that he didn't deserve that contract and considering that the Knicks used their amnesty clause on the wrong player a couple years back they're stuck paying and playing him.

Even before Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Knicks for half of their starting lineup and a third of their bench players Carmelo has been saying that he's always wanted to play in New York and always wanted to play on the Knicks. And with this chance he's continued to prove that he is one of the best offensive players in the league and he has been generally happy to be a Knick, but will the fact that he's going to opt out of his last year of his contract and become a free agent bring dirt from ownership in the attempt to make him knock down his asking price? The cat and mouse game of free agency can get nasty. Between "anonymous sources" dirt on both sides of the fence can surface and make each other look bad to the rest of the league and to the public in general.

In my opinion the courtship of Carmelo should be quick; with him returning to the Knicks with a max deal. To play in that hideous blue and orange jersey for the next 6-8 years. Both the Knicks and Carmelo will get something out of the deal, but considering how sensitive the cap space is in basketball the Knicks better tread carefully before they lose any flexibility to fill out the rest of their roster.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Guess I'm Just Old School

Yasiel Puig has taken the Dodgers, Major League Baseball, and ESPN by storm. His antics of flipping his bat, missing cut off men, and just acting like he's the end all be all of baseball has rubbed me, and several others the wrong way. Baseball isn't basketball or football where you can dance and just show off. The reason baseball is treated differently than both the NFL and NBA is because MLB is held to higher standards and Yasiel Puig doesn't understand that. Yoenis Cespedes and other players from Cuba have made the transition to playing in America and haven't acted anywhere near to how Puig has been acting. Puig's antics has cost him the Rookie in the Year. Puig had a very good season in his first year in the majors hitting .319 with 19 home runs and 42 rbi's, but with all of his antics on the field he has turned off the majority of voters for the award.

The biggest thing that turns people off about Yasiel Puig is the bat flip especially when the ball doesn't travel over the wall. It is completely uncalled for especially when you're a rookie and haven't earned the right to flip bats. Other players that showboat after hitting home runs have earned the right to do so and don't do it on a regular basis, but Puig pimps most of his home runs with an obnoxious bat flip. That type of behavior usually earns the hitter a fastball to the ribs, but because of his talent level Puig would steal bases after the hit by pitch so pitchers usually avoid going down that road, until the day that a pitch cracks a rib or bruises a knee to the point where Puig has to sit because he can't play. Puig is very lucky not to have played during the Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens era because he'd be eating dirt at least once or twice per game.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Do Fans go Too Far?

I'd like to think that I'm a die hard Atlanta Braves fan. I follow every movement the Braves do. I read page after page on the internet about whispers and rumors about potential moves that the team might do. But am I the type of fan that will follow a player home? Absolutely not; would I burn a jersey in the middle of the street because my quarterback has played like a bum? Maybe/maybe not. Would I cry in the middle of the street because Derrick Rose decided to take his talents to South beach? No, it's the business part of sports.

There are different levels to fandom. There's the social fan who watches the event doesn't necessarily understand what it is going on, but sees everyone cheering and decides to cheer along. There's the serious fan who watches the event understands the rules and knows what's going on, but decides to wait until the big sport outlets announce moves made by the team. There's the die hard fan who's emotionally invested in the team and spends hours reading and understanding where the team is deciding to go and where the sport is headed in the future, and then there's the Nut job fans who paint their faces and believe that just because they bought a ticket to a game they are owed some promise of a victory and when they aren't given said victory they boo their own players which never has made sense to me.

These are the same fans who taunt other fans mercifully and also decide it's appropriate to taunt the families of the players at the game like recently when the wife of a pitcher who was assaulted by fans after a game because her husband pitched for the opposing team. Fans are definitely needed in sports and it is ok to be passionate about your team, but since we live in a society there are rules to abide by when you are at a sporting event and hassling innocent people is never a part of that.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Here's Why I Can't do Fantasy Sports Anymore

Recently I have joined a fantasy football league and I already kind of regret it, because I wasn't able to put in all the time I need to, to make the roster my own. I'm used to having all my weeks to prepare for the draft. No matter if it's fantasy baseball, football, or basketball for that matter. I like to have back ups to the back ups to the back ups for every position. I look at stats from the off season when the players play in tournaments that aren't aired (at one point I was watching a Russian broadcast to see a point guard prospect that was supposed to make the jump to the NBA, but didn't). I take fantasy sports seriously...maybe too seriously. I've had a lot of time on my hands to make the time investment to all these leagues.

I've been very successful at fantasy sports I've won several leagues won my fair share of money, but I've taken three years off from fantasy sports because I got so angry over a pitcher messing up his elbow that I got a bit depressed. I've learned that that is not normal behavior, but yet I'm back at it taking over for another person's fantasy football team and trying to ride that patchwork team to some kind of victory. I guess I'm kind of glad because if the team doesn't win then it wasn't my fault, but if the team does win then hey I'm a genius. This is not going to get me back into fantasy sports, but it's something that I can see myself enjoying for this season. So beware I'm coming for that trophy and that dough.

Monday, September 30, 2013

What to do About Rondo?

The Boston Celtics did right by Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and Paul Pierce by trading them to the Brooklyn Nets and giving them another chance for them to win another championship, but what to do with their star point guard Rajon Rondo? Rondo who is recovering from a serious knee injury, and who won't be ready to play by the beginning of the season, is still under contract for 2 more years and the team is no where near ready to compete with the likes of the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, or even the New York Knicks for that matter.

So the options are limited for the Celtics (they really only have two options) 1) they let Rondo heal up and play him for whatever is left for this upcoming season and build the franchise around him or 2) they let Rondo heal and trade him as soon as he can prove healthy enough to play at or near the level he was playing at before he got injured. My thought is that it all depends on who you ask. If you're a fan you hope ownership keeps him and builds around him, but if you're management you may want to get as much for a top-5 point guard in the league and who is still in his 20's as you can get.

If the Celtics put Rondo on the market once he's healed and is able to show what he can do I can see several teams lining up to trade for the point guard. The mighty Lakers would probably be the best suitor for Rondo since they've needed a point guard ever since the great Kobe Bryant has started to show his age and Steve Nash isn't going to be long in the NBA. The Lakers can go from a retiring Nash to one of the top point guards in the game in just about 2 years. If I'm the Lakers I'm hoping the Celtics decide to move Rondo.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Raise Your Glasses

To the best closer of all time. To the man with 652 all time saves. To the man that has done it all with one pitch and on just one team. To the man that players on opposing teams respect so much that his goodbye tour was filled with tears (some of happiness to see him go and some sad to see him leave.) To the last man allowed to wear the number 42. To the man who has broken so many bats and dominated so many teams in all his time all with class and dignity. To the man with a .70 era in the postseason which is the best in the history of baseball (with a minimum of 30 innings pitched). To the man with the most saves of all time in the postseason with funny enough 42 saves.

I despised him in 1996 and again in 1999, but there's no way to stay mad at Mariano Rivera. Mo (as he has been nicknamed) is probably the closest thing to Roberto Clemente than all the other players who have to emulate the late Clemente. Mariano Rivera's charitable efforts have gone out to help several poor villages in his home country of Panama. He wore the number 42 in honoring Jackie Robinson and when Major League Baseball retired Robinson's number a hand full of players were allowed to keep wearing number 42 and one of those was Mariano and with the effect he's had on baseball I think it's fitting that he's the last active player to wear the number in a game.

So cheers to the greatest closer of all time. It was a pleasure for me to be able to say "I remember when the great Mariano Rivera used to pitch." and how far class and respect is able to take a person. In my opinion none of his records are going to fall. Mo is going to go down in history as the most decorated relief pitcher of all time and I'm good with that.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Allow me to Look into my Crystal Ball

I woke up to a varying amount of outrage on Facebook over a report that Robinson Cano wants a contract of 10 years and 300 million dollars and immediately I thought to myself "That's a lie. It's a ploy by either side to get leverage on the other side." Robinson Cano knows that he isn't worth 300 million dollars. Even though the money isn't the problem in my opinion those 10 years would make Cano 40 by the time that monstrous contract would expire and seeing what Albert Pujols is going through in Los Angeles I don't see another 10 year deal being given to a player in his 30's.

Robinson Cano has value considering he's the best player on the New York Yankees, but not 300 million dollars worth of value. He hasn't won an MVP, he hasn't won any post season MVP. He does have 2 gold gloves, 4 silver slugger awards (given to the best hitter at each position), and is a 5 time All-Star. All of these accolades show that he is a quality player and he does make second base look way easier than what it really is; Cano will stay with the Yankees. Cano will get a 5-7 year deal bordering 200 million (from 170m - 200m).

Outraged Yankee fans should know better than to believe reports that are coming out before the season is even over. This is about the time where rumors tend to flare up as negotiation tools all to get leverage. Soon you're going to hear that there is a "mystery team" that is thinking about giving Cano something closer to the 300 million than the Yankees are willing to go. It's a tug of war and both sides will come to an agreement somewhere in the middle between the highest offer the Yankees are making and the lowest Cano is willing to go.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Guess Winning does Solve Everything

Last night Jason Giambi hit a walk-off two run home run to propel the Indians past the White Sox and put the Indians in a better position to make the playoffs as one of the Wild Cards, but what people don't bring up is that Giambi was one of the several names that were found to have been using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). Ray Lewis killed somebody, but got away with it and won two Super Bowls and is now a man of God and no one talks about the blood on his hands. Donte Stallworth was a wide receiver in the NFL and also got away with killing someone by paying off the family of the person he killed and is yet still available to be picked up by any NFL team. Stallworth got his win just by being a professional athlete. Lewis may have or may not have pointed a finger at someone else and paid them off to take the blame. Giambi released a prepared apology through the New York Yankees (the team he was on at the time).

So no matter whether you're a juicer, or a killer, or an expert at receiving DUI's as long as the athlete airs his two minute apology and ends up winning anything at all and have the media kinda over look their off the field indiscretions any player can be "forgiven" and allowed to continue taking part in receiving millions of dollars and may even land in the Hall of Fame of their respective sport. I'm not saying that such players shouldn't be allowed to make a living I'm just saying that these players need to have their dirty laundry follow them around wherever they should land and not have fans take it so easy on them because they have earned the stains on their bed sheets.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Is 3 Weeks too Early to Panic?

The Washington Redskins, the New York Giants, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are all 0-3 which means they've played 3 games and have lost all 3. The reason why they've lost differ, but for the most part all of these teams have been a disappointment. There are about 6 teams that are 1-2 (1 win 2 losses) that have also been a disappointment since they have a fan base that has put lofty expectations on their team. The 1-2 San Francisco 49ers have been flat, the play of Colin Kaepernick has been as none existent as the defense's ability to stop the run, but at least they have 1 win. The Washington Redskins with their own "quarterback savior" Robert Griffin the 3rd have yet to pick up a win and I'm wondering if the Washington fan base is getting a bit scared that he isn't all that was said about him or if their coach is the problem.

Who would've thought that Eli Manning would have 8 interceptions which leads the NFL and the New York Giants offense as a whole would have 13 turnovers through just 3 games? During the preseason I watched a coupe of Giants' games and didn't really see a consistent enough offense out of the Giants, but never would I expect them to look and play this woefully. All the teams that are 0-3 have different reasons why they're 0-3 and the last team to make the playoffs after starting a season with an 0-3 record were the 1998 Detroit Lions and the 1998 Buffalo Bills and neither of those teams won a Super Bowl. So t

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Today is Roberto Clemente Day

Today is Roberto Clemente day in Major League Baseball. Roberto Clemente was one of the greatest Hispanic players of all time not just because of the statistics that he put up while playing the game, but because of the humanitarian efforts that he put while alive. As a player Roberto Clemente had all the tools necessary to be successful at playing right field he had speed, athleticism, and a rifle for an arm that cut down a number of runners trying to take an extra base. To this day I think I've only seen one or two players with arms that would be in the same category as Clemente.

Clemente did so much for kids back in his native Puerto Rico and all over Latin America building schools, play grounds, and baseball fields. The day of his death he was on his way to Nicaragua to deliver aid to people affected by a massive earthquake. Players try to memorialize Clemente by wearing the number 21 which Clemente once wore. Puerto Rican first baseman Carlos Delgado was one of those players as was Dominican born Sammy Sosa and American born Paul O'Neill also wore the number 21 in honor of Roberto Clemente.

I wish I were born in time to have watched Mr. Clemente play live it would've been a thrill to watch as every hit he collected lead to his march to 3,000 hits. If isn't obvious Roberto Clemente Walker is in the MLB Hall of Fame and is a hero in Latin America as he is in Pittsburgh. Today, there is an annual Roberto Clemente award which recognizes players who go out of their way to help others just like Mr. Clemente did when he was alive. Congratulations to Mr. Clemente for being the kind of player I wish my favorite ball player would like to be like.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The WORST Owner in Sports

Jeffrey Harold Loria, the current owner of the Miami Marlins is the absolute worst owner I've ever seen and his treatment of his players is appalling. His behavior does not go with how an owner is supposed to behave. Most owners in sports usually shy away from controversy and media ire, but it seems like Mr. Loria thrives under such conditions. Loria is 100 times worst than Jerry Jones (owner/general manager of the football team the Dallas Cowboys). Loria oversteps his boundaries to the point where he's making calls as to who will be called up to the majors (which is usually the general managers job). Yes, the Marlins have two World Series championships, and yes Loria was the helm for the latest one in 2003, but the way he runs his organization is chaotic at best.

Loria's mistreatment of a sports franchise started when he was part owner of the now contracted Montreal Expos. Rumors had it that once Loria took over the Expos his plan was to move the Expos out of Montreal especially after he failed to capture a new stadium for the Expos, but how did Loria expect to get a new stadium when the stadium the Expos played in still hadn't been paid off yet? Once Loria found his way to get out from the Expos by selling the team to Major League Baseball he was able to buy the then Florida Marlins from John Henry who then bought the Boston Red Sox.

I can't imagine being a Florida/Miami Marlins fan. The ownership wins a World Series and the very next off season the team is stripped down with the general manager working at his owner's orders replaces the players that just won a championship with a bunch of rookies. And the fan based has to sit through more years of futility until the prospects that replaced the veterans can make a miracle run instead of building a potential dynasty.

But the last couple of years Loria has just dropped a heaving, filthy, disgusting deuce on the Marlins and their fans. First, the Marlins finally get their stadium in Miami that has a bunch public funds tied to it so the fans have put up or are going to put the money to maintain the stadium and have to pay to watch the lowly Marlins play way under .500 baseball. Then with their new stadium came a bunch of high priced moves signing veterans that have talent and most of them have a winning pedigree which Loria decides to hire Ozzie Guillen to manage. Anyone following baseball knows that Ozzie Guillen is not a manager for veterans he'd be better off managing rookies. After only one season, Loria decides to strip down the team AGAIN this time because "this isn't working. This team needs a new direction." Never gave the players (who he promised he wouldn't trade) that he signed a chance to perform and traded the majority of them to the Toronto Blue Jays.

This year the Miami Marlins had a Minor League hitting coach Tino Martinez, who Loria had hand picked for the job, got out of hand with several minor leaguers and Loria promised never to reveal who the players were in their internal investigation, but then "sources" revealed the names to the media anyways. One of the players who's been around several teams and was hoping to break through with the Marlins Chris Valaika spoke up against Tino Martinez and because he did Loria decided to overrule his general manager (which rarely happens) and leave Valaika in the minors and calling up another player instead as punishment for his testimony against Tino Martinez. The day Loria sells the Marlins there's going to be a parade and the day will be of celebration that he's gone.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Defensive Hustle

Your team is going down field. Charging down field in no huddle. The defense looks like they're on their heels. You can feel the touchdown coming, but then it all stops. How? No one called time out, the two minute warning has been past. So how did the clock stop? Then you see a defensive player "hurt" down on the field grabbing at his calf. While the training staff is attending to the "hurt" player the defense is getting water and catching their breathe while the offense is standing around losing momentum. Two plays later the previously "hurt" player is back on the field ready to make tackles.

If the NFL wants to crack down on something they should crack down on these fake injuries. It shouldn't be a part of the game. If the defense can't keep up with a high powered offense then that's the coordinator's fault for not planning appropriately against the offense. They shouldn't allow players to just drop and act hurt so that they don't get scored upon. I know it's very difficult to actually know when a player is faking, but I suggest that if any player drops and acts hurt they should miss the rest of the defensive stand. So until the team that is on defense is on offense the player that got "hurt" isn't allowed to go back onto the field. That in my opinion would put a stop to these fakers who just flop on the ground like big babies reaching for a hamstring that they know is perfectly fine.

The NFL is trying to watch for these incidents, but I feel they're more worried of the hard hitting than they are of flopping players. Not only does faking injury cause the team on offense to lose momentum, but it also makes the game longer and cause the fan to watch more unnecessary commercials. Personally, I don't like commercials I want to see more of the game and less of Papa John.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


This Saturday Floyd Mayweather Jr. is going to fight Canelo Alvarez and I don't see anyway Alvarez can walk away with a win. Mayweather is the premier defense oriented boxers around, when he tucks his chin behind his shoulder there's little to no way an opposing boxer can get to him. Alvarez is a young talented kid, but I don't think he's ready for the spectacle that is fighting Mayweather. From the trash talking at weigh ins and in the promotions leading up to fight, including the show on Showtime previewing the fight Mayweather finds ways to get into a boxers mind and considering the Alvarez has to drop in weight to fight Mayweather I don't see it.

Also, Mayweather is going to make at least 41 million dollars for this fight on Saturday and with the pay per view costing $75 instead of the usual $50, Mayweather stands to make even more money. In two fights this year Mayweather has made at least 73 million. Alvarez is going to make considerably less than Mayweather to the tune of 5 million but it could reach 12 depending on the ppv sales. The levels of experience is the difference between the two, but the skills that Mayweather contains is going to lead to not only a bigger paycheck, but a win for Mayweather.

The Mayweather haters hate his arrogance and how flashy he is, but he's earned all of it. Mayweather has fought most of the biggest names in his division and with the sport lacking in star power Mayweather just might be the last big name left. Both fighters are undefeated and one of Mayweather's favorite boasts is that he's undefeated; something I know he'd like to take with him whenever he decides to retire. So put 'em and let's get ready to rumble.

Wow that was Week 1

The NFL sure does know how to put on a show. Week 1 was full of twists and turns and stupid penalties. I'm sure that with how the game is being called football is going to be call flag football soon. But the surprise of surprises had to be between the Jets pulling out the win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants having 6 turnover which led to the Cowboys' first win against the Giants in their own home (which is really embarrassing). The Giants can't be too upset about their loss because had it not been for the turnovers the Giants would've easily won that game and also with those 6 turnovers the Cowboys should've won by a larger margin.

The Jets on the other hand better be counting their lucky stars over the over-aggressiveness of a Tampa Bay Buccaneer who had a late hit on quarterback Geno Smith which lead to a 15 yard penalty on the Buccaneers and got them in perfect position to kick a last minute field goal which pushed them over the top to a win that I didn't think they would get. The Philadelphia Eagles showed off their new offense under new head coach Chip Kelly and as fast as they got off to in the first half of the game they just couldn't find the same momentum in the second half and ran only 24 plays while in the first half they went off with 50-some odd plays. The Eagles have the players they need to run Kelly's scheme, but a hard hitting defense will be able to slow them down almost to a crawl.

The Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers played on Sunday and it looks like the rivalry between these two teams is headed back to the days of the 90's when these two teams had several heated showdowns. At one point Packer linebacker Clay Matthews hit 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick while Kaepernick was already out of bounds and it started a melee between the players on the field which lead to a mistake by referees. Since there were offsetting penalties between both teams technically the 49ers should've just lost the down and kicked a field goal instead the referees let the 49ers replay the down which lead to a 49er touchdown. I guess it isn't just the first game for the players.

I can't talk about week 1 without mentioning the show Peyton Manning put on against the defending champion Baltimore Ravens. 7 touchdown passes in one game tied the record for most touchdowns in one game. The Ravens showed little to no pass rush which gave Peyton all the time he needed to pick the Raven secondary apart. Week 2 of the season should have its share of fireworks since the Denver Broncos face the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks face the San Francisco 49ers, and the New England Patriots face the New York Jets. Good to all fantasy owners and to all the betters out there.

Coaching 101

If there is one thing that a manager should do it should be to support their players and last night Mike Redmond manager of the Miami Marlins didn't do that. In an instance where his player had acted outside of his normal demeanor I felt that Redmond should've backed his player instead of feeding him to the wolves and giving the opposing team a pass for their bad behavior. Yes, rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez showed up the Atlanta Braves after his home run, but the Braves had started showing Fernandez up first.

After an Evan Gattis bomb of a home run he stared back at Fernandez and watched his home run go deep into the stands and then third baseman Chris Johnson had started talking some not so polite words to Fernandez after he had lined out to left field. Fernandez's emotions got the best of him and he did what he did, was it wrong? Yes, but still Redmond should've backed his pitcher. At the very least mention how the Braves antagonized him to the point that he got carried away. Two wrongs don't make a right, but not defending your player will cost you some respect from your own locker room.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Maybe it's Time you Hang 'em up

It's sad when a veteran holds on for too long and I think Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter should just call it a career. It's not like he is not going to the Hall of Fame. The Yankee "captain" should go out with his good friend Mariano Rivera since they broke in at about the same time. The same could go for Andy Pettite, but he's actually been able to stay on the field and perform. I actually feel like this should be a wake up call for Mr. Jeter to the fact that its time. He's made a ton of money, he's been the face of the Yankees since he broke into the league, he's bulletproof when it comes to critics (outside of me of course).

If Derek Jeter is to retire he could have his pick of networks to go work for. ESPN would probably throw as much money at him as the Yankees did if he decided to go work for Baseball Tonight. Jeter can become the face of ESPN if he wants, but come on man get off the field. He can barely run without needing a CT after the game, his defense is in the toilet and all of his singles isn't worth the 17 million dollars he's making this year. My advice get ESPN for roughly 8 million dollars after a much needed vacation with whatever super model you're currently seeing and enjoy your retirement. It's getting sad especially since the only reason I think you re-signed with the Yankees was because you saw the contract that A-Rod signed and didn't want to lose the "face of the Yankees" label.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Just Because it is Violent Doesn't Mean it is Bad

I'm worried. The way sports are changing these days anything that comes close to contact is being removed from sports. For example, in football what used to be a legal hit to a wide receiver over the middle that is up in the air now is "hitting a defenseless receiver" and getting anywhere near a quarterback is a flag. Now people are trying to change the only thing in baseball that even comes close to a collision. In baseball there are rare plays at home plate where a runner collides into the catcher trying to knock the ball out of the catcher's mitt, sometimes the collisions are violent (where unfortunately the catcher gets hurt) but most of the times the collisions don't even happen.

In 1970 Pete Rose knocked out Oakland A's catcher Pete Fosse at an All Star game and Fosse was never the same after that incident. I can say that Pete Rose was a nut and shouldn't be a Hall of Famer, but that's a post for a different day. It has been a part of the game since day 1 and it shouldn't go away because gasbags want to be all sensitive.

I heard an ESPN gasbag say "Let's leave boxing as the only violent sport" and I thought to myself "how soft is society getting?" Why can't this rare play stay as part of the sport as it always has been? It isn't everyday that a catcher gets ran over by a runner and gets hurt. Catchers who don't know the appropriate way to block home plate usually are the ones that get hurt. Getting the ball and bracing for the collision usually helps the catcher avoid getting injured. Now stop messing up sports and teach kids the right way to do things.

Friday, September 6, 2013

If Mo wants to go let him GO!!

Mariano Rivera (Mo) has been closing games for the New York Yankees since 1996. Racking up 649 saves with a career era of 2.21, he's the best closer in the history of MLB. Mo's dominance doesn't only reside in the regular season, but in the post season Mo has pitched to the tune of 42 saves and a remarkable .70 era. What makes Mo's career that much more impressive is that he's done all of this with just one pitch. The cut fastball. When his cut fastball is working (and it rarely isn't) it's as unhittable as it gets. While other closers have 95+ mph fastballs Mo gets it done with his cutter.

Considering that Mo has gone above and beyond for the Yankees all these years he's earned the right to say when he wants to retire and he's said that this is going to be his last year in the majors. As is custom in MLB when a specific player has decided to retire other teams offer gifts of appreciation to said player. When Mo had his final game in Minnesota the Twins gave Mo a rocking chair made of broken bats (which is part of what makes Mo's cutter so devious because it has the potential to shatter any bat). So as Mo's goodbye tour continues more and more teams are showing the legend respect with standing ovations and the such.

Imagine being Mo's manager, you would obviously want to keep Mo at the back end of your bullpen until he can't even walk anymore, but cut it out. Don't try to "talk" Mo into staying he's decided he's done let him ride off into the sunset and end his career. The Yankees have his replacement in David Robertson let him come into Spring Training knowing he's the main option at closer and not have to worry about the shadow of Mo hovering over him; Mo isn't Brett Favre.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How I see the Season Ending for the NFC

NFC East
1. Washington Redskins - QB Robert Griffin the 3rd (RG3) is going to learn to slide and get out of bounds and avoid getting hurt. That alone should put the Redskins at the of this wide open division.
2. New York Giants - I didn't see much offensive consistency during the preseason which should is a problem, but I still like the defensive line of the Giants which should help carry them.
3. Dallas Cowboys - How much trust can you put in "America's Team" when they've been under-performing for years?
4. Philadelphia Eagles - New coach, new system that really should've stayed in college. This isn't going to be pretty.

NFC North
1. Green Bay Packers - With QB Aaron Rodgers on the field I don't see how teams will be able to outscore the Packers. Yes the defense needs more of a punch, but Rodgers puts the ball in the end zone...a lot.
2. Detroit Lions - I hear the Bear fans outrage, but QB Matthew Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson aka Megatron should be able to put up enough points and if the defense can show some maturity I think they should make a run.
3. Chicago Bears - QB Jay Cutler is feeling the heat and needs to perform for a new contract as does his favorite target WR Brandon Marshall, but I feel with the new coach and system it may not be for this year.
4. Minnesota Vikings - How long can you rely on a running back that had his knee rebuilt? 

NFC South 
1. Atlanta Falcons - How many more weapons does QB Matt Ryan need before he gets out of that elusive championship?
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - That defense this year will cover many of the mistakes that QB Josh Freeman makes this year.
3. New Orleans Saints - I'm glad they have their head coach back, but I think they're window has closed a bit more on them and the Saints haven't kept up with the other teams in their division who have been loading up on talent.
4. Carolina Panthers - Talk about not keeping up with the division. The head coach Ron Rivera is gone after this year.

NFC West
1. San Francisco 49ers - Probably the most physical team in the NFL. QB Colin Kaepernick gets his first full season as starting QB. The wide receiver corp took a hit with the loss of WR Michael Crabtree and needs more depth.
2. Seattle Seahawks - A talented team on both sides of the ball, but with 6 suspensions of PED use in 2011 that has to raise some eyebrows.
3. St. Louis Rams - A young and talented team with a very good defensive line, but not exactly ready to compete with the likes of the 9ers and Seahawks.
4. Arizona Cardinals - I feel for Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald who is in his like 9th quarterback in the last 4 years. 

How I see this Season Ending for the AFC

These are going to be the standings in my opinion for the upcoming football season...

AFC East
1. New England Patriots - Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will make stars of these no they usually do.
2. Miami Dolphins - They're actually going in the right direction. If QB Ryan Tannehill takes another step forward they may actually make noise in the East.
3. Buffalo Bills - It's going to be a tough year for rookie EJ Manuel and the team is going to usual.
4. New York Jets - It's ugly. Geno Smith isn't anywhere near ready and head coach Rex Ryan is going to get fired.

AFC North
1. Cincinnati Bengals - James Harrison should help bolster an already strong defense and just like the Dolphins QB Andy Dalton needs to take another step forward
2. Pittsburgh Steelers - QB Ben Roethlisberger lost a major weapon this off season and I think the offense takes a step backwards.
3.Baltimore Ravens - I've never seen a Super Bowl winning team lose so much talent in one off season and that's going to lead to them losing a lot. Even though that defense (like usual) should be better than average.
4. Cleveland Browns - They're the Browns. They should be used to being last by now.

AFC South
1. Houston Texans - They're the class of the AFC South and adding Ed Reed can't hurt that is once his hip is ready to go.
2. Indianapolis Colts - QB Andrew Luck is good, but I don't think they're ready to compete against the Texans. They may steal the Wild Card like they did last year.
3. Tennessee Titans - Outside of running back Chris Johnson I don't see even another bright light on this team.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars - I feel for running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

AFC West
1. Denver Broncos - QB Peyton Manning and the Broncos are going to fly through the West. Manning has too many weapons even though the Broncos defense is suspect at best.
2. Kansas City Chiefs - New QB (Alex Smith) and new coach (Andy Reid) are going to be solid not quite contenders yet, but should easily finish second in this division.
3. San Diego Chargers - The only thing keeping me from putting them under the Raiders is that at least they have a semi-competent QB in Philip Rivers.
4. Oakland Raiders - Al Davis the ex-animated owner is gone, he past away last year. And the sadness will carry on because the team is going to bad.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Proof that it isn't Always About the Money

Yesterday Adam Dunn Designated Hitter (DH) of the Chicago White Sox interviewed with Ken Rosenthal baseball insider for FOX Sports and Ken reported that Adam Dunn is ready to retire after this season because he's not having fun. Last season the White Sox were a surprise contender in the American League Central finishing with a 85 wins and 77 losses and missing the second wild card by 8 games. This season the White Sox have 56 wins and 81 losses 20 games back of the second wild card and 24 games back of the Detroit Tigers who pretty much have the American League Central wrapped up. Adam Dunn played his usual game of hitting a ton of home runs while also striking out a lot, but he enjoyed the run the team had last year being on the fringe of playing in the playoffs.

This year it has been a stark 180 for the White Sox. They had high hopes at the beginning of this year, but unfortunately things didn't go their way. The White Sox knew they were "sellers" (a team that is has given up on the current season and is trading away the veterans for prospects to build the team up for the future) early and traded away Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, and a couple of pivotal bullpen arms to contenders. Those were signs to Dunn (who has another year left on his deal worth 15 million) that next season just might be just like this year. White Sox manager Robin Ventura thinks that Dunn is kidding about retiring, but Adam Dunn is not your typical player. Adam Dunn could have 499 home runs and says that if he's not having fun he's willing to walk away from any home run chase or money.

This is refreshing to me, in today's age players tend to look out for themselves and their money instead of the reason why they started playing baseball. Baseball is fun, especially when the team is winning, when the team is performing and contending smiles are everywhere, guys are looking up at the scoreboard hoping and praying that the team they're chasing or are chasing them loses, and those are the moments that as kids you think of while playing ball in the backyard. I know that's why I played. Adam Dunn understands this and I'm glad that he's voiced his opinion. Hopefully this isn't the end of his career.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Have Pitchers Evolved into Babies?

In the early to mid 1900's pitchers were throwing 300+ innings in a season. Going the distance (pitching 9 or more innings) was the norm and pitchers would do it because they would take pride in throwing all them innings. Now a days pitchers that get over 200 innings is a workhorse. Justin Verlander won an MVP and a Cy Young with 250 innings pitched in his 34 games started. This year Clayton Kershaw is having his dominant year and is already at 209 innings which leads the National League and ultimately is going to win him the Cy Young and maybe even the MVP (depending on who you talk to) for this year, but the old school workhorses used to look at the innings now and laugh because those innings numbers would have been in mid to late August for them.

What has changed, well money. Clayton Kershaw is making 11 million dollars this year and is going to break the bank this off season when he is set to become a free agent. Justin Verlander made 12.850 million when he won his MVP and is making upwards of 20 million now. As the philosophies of teams have changed to pitching and playing better defense pitcher's salaries have been on the rise. Now a days if you're a perennial Cy Young candidate or just win one Cy Young you'll probably leave a bank somewhere with heavy pockets. RA Dickey won a Cy Young with the New York Mets in 2012 while making 4.25 million dollars he was traded after the year to the Toronto Blue Jays where at the end of his current deal he's going to be making 12 million dollars a season.

How are innings being cut back, well in today's baseball game a pitcher is asked to go at the very least 7 innings (if the team has an average bullpen) or throw 100 pitches whichever comes first. Once the 7th inning arrives you'll see a reliever in the game to go either one inning or one hitter (if he's a specialist). After that reliever then comes another reliever for the 8th inning and the closer for the 9th (if there is a save situation). There are ways a pitcher can end a game he begins; if there is a perfect game (9 innings, no hits, no runs), a no hitter (9 innings, no hits, no runs, but a few walks) or if there are chances to rest the pitcher in the weeks ahead or he was economical while he was in the game (to the point where he didn't reach the 100 pitches by the 7th inning or later). The more scarcer situation is if the bullpen needs a rest, then no matter what the pitcher may be out there to throw 9 innings that's when a pitcher is going to have to "bear it" so even if he's getting rocked he'll stay on that mound until the manager can't take it anymore then he'll try to find the freshest arm to then remove the starting pitcher.

With salaries for pitchers being this high organizations want to keep their pitchers on the mound so the innings are being cut back little by little. With more pitches being thrown there are bigger chances for a pitcher to get hurt and with the dread Tommy John surgery (named after pitcher Tommy John who was the first player to get the surgery where doctors replace the deteriorated ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow) out there organizations don't want to the risk of losing any of their pitchers especially their "ace" for a whole year (which is typically the amount of time it takes to recover from Tommy John surgery).

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Jets Must Hate Success

The New York Jets are the New York Mets of football and it is appropriate that their names rhyme. Through either bad decisions or just plain ol' bad luck both teams end up disappointing their fan base and yet their fans have grown to understand their teams will most likely always be second fiddle to the New York Giants and New York Yankees respectively. The Jets have an awful quarterback in Mark Sanchez, but I feel that the Jets went against what made them and him successful in his first 2-3 years when they reached the AFC Championship game a couple of times and that was running the ball and playing strong defense. Slowly but surely the defense has gotten older and slower to the point where their defense is now with little to no talent and they haven't had a running back that was worth a damn since Curtis Martin.

I don't know who's idea it was for them to put Mark Sanchez (their scheduled Week 1 starter) into a preseason game in the 4th quarter with what seemed like the 3rd string offensive line, but yet there he was and to no surprise of mine he has suffered a shoulder injury that is going to keep him out for a while and now the Jets think that going with Geno Smith at quarterback over Matt Simms (who in my opinion had the best preseason at quarterback for the Jets) it's going to right the ship since he could do both run and throw, but I think that Simms is better built to handle what is going to be another rough season for the Jets.

So instead of J-E-T-S...Jet fans better get ready to chant G-E-N-O because the Geno era has started. This quarterback situation has lead to a rift between management and beleaguered head coach Rex Ryan (who is probably the strongest supporter of Sanchez). Rex Ryan would've preferred it if Sanchez started because he was the one who drafted Sanchez and even when the execs signed Tim Tebow last year Ryan stuck with Sanchez through a bad year and an infamous butt fumble which even today makes me laugh. Sanchez has had a terrible time with the Jets, but to an extent he has been set up to fail. I know about 3 names on their defense and their rotating door at running back couldn't have helped. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Guess Bill Belichick is God..

Wherever Tim Tebow has gone he's brought his circus with him. Insane fans yelling and pleading for him to be on the field, hoards of media members hounding the head coach asking time after time "When is Tebow going to play?" "How many snaps are you going to give him?" "Don't you think he's better than the quarterback you have now?" and so on and so forth, but when he signed with the New England Patriots Bill Belichick's first meeting with the press he said "This is the last time I'm going to address Tim Tebow with you guys" and I thought to myself "Yea right, he's going to get hounded just like the rest of Tebow's head coaches" but I was wrong. Up until their last preseason game and with his recent release I hadn't heard a peep from Patriots camp about Tim Tebow.

The strong willed Belichick does things his way and doesn't apologize for any of it. He has Super Bowl rings and trophies and feels like he can do whatever he wants with the Patriot franchise and get away with it and to an extent he can. Without Belichick the Patriots don't win all them titles and Tom Brady never gets to start and his greatness would never be known. Belichick takes his risk with players sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. He took a chance with Tebow and it didn't work, but it doesn't faze Belichick he'll just assign Tebow's number to the next project he picks up.

Am I glad that Tebow is (as of right now) out of the league? yes, because at times people in the media get so obsessed over this guy you'd think he'd be the best quarterback to ever come out of college. He's a career 47.9% passer. In other words he's only completed 47.9 percent of his passes and in a fluke of a game he was able to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a playoff game. He is not a number 1 option at quarterback hell he shouldn't even be an option at quarterback, but a team out there will give him a chance. The Buffalo Bills have no quarterback (due to injuries and inefficiencies) I can see them giving Tebow a shot. I'm thinking he'd probably be better than the rookie they're thinking of starting. Plus with the hype (or circus like I prefer to call it) that surrounds Tebow there's always going to be a team to give him a shot.

To Redskin or not to Redskin

So welcome to the age of enlightenment, the Washington Redskins name has been around since 1933 and the issue with the name "Redskins" has also been around since just about the same time. The term "Redskin" has been used as a positive and a negative connotation for Native Americans. Different people have used the history of the word as a reason to either boycott going to their games or to dress up in Native American attire and attend the games. I'm of the mindset that if it has been around for this long and yes it is offensive, then the teams should make an effort to either change the name or appease the insulted people. 

The Washington Redskins should change their name, too bad the owner isn't interested in that option. Nor is he interested in appeasing the insulted Native Americans (because let's be real everybody has a price). The team will continue on with their name and continue on making money off of the name and there is no one that can change it. Not even Congress who had 10 members send a letter to the owner of the team and to the commissioner of the league asking that the name be changed and not only has the owner yet to comply, but the commissioner of the league has cited the nickname's origins and traditions, and polls that support its popularity. So you offended folks are protesting and pretty much wasting your time, because the name isn't going to change any time soon.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Isn't Juicing Still Juicing?

I find it remarkable that when a MLB player tests positive for steroid use media outlets make it sound like the world has ended and when an NFL player tests positive for steroids it's ho-hum almost like nothing happened. And the bigger the baseball name the bigger the storm while no matter the NFL name no one cares and I feel that steroids in the NFL are way more harmful than steroids in MLB, because of the violent nature of football and how big and strong the players are they can cause more harm to one another compared to a guy with a bat assaulting baseballs, but yet the storm around baseball players will always be louder.

In 2013, 20 NFL players have been suspended for violating the substance policy of the NFL the biggest name which is Von Miller linebacker for the Denver Broncos. Fine the substance policy covers everything from illegal drugs like weed and cocaine to PEDs (Performing Enhancing Drugs), but still the media fallout from these 20 names compared to the 8 major leaguers suspended for PEDs in 2013 were completely different. I bet you can name at least 5 players of the 8 that were suspended by MLB while outside of Von Miller the other 19 names from the NFL are damn near anonymous.

What I find troubling is that players in MLB are pretty much forced to have these press conferences and apologize for their PED use while the NFL players are protected by the mighty shield of the NFL and ESPN. The shows on ESPN would much rather talk about how the absence of the player is going to effect the team instead of criticizing the player like they do to the MLB player. I hear "A-Rod is a cheater" spewing from most ESPN gas bags while Von Miller is no longer even spoke about and if he is it's in passing. Von Miller also tried to cover up his use of a "foreign substance" that's why he got 6 games instead the usual 4, but no one outside of NFL fiends that read the full details would know that he did, but everyone knows about Melky Cabrera's fake websites trying to explain his use.

It's almost as if NFL players have to kill living things before they're put into the spotlight of a "bad guy" (and even then after their jail time they probably could come back and play in the NFL and make millions just ask Michael Vick and Dante Stallworth) while a fake positive from a drug test would almost immediately peg a baseball player as a bad guy cheater type and once you're a cheat in baseball people start talking about voiding contracts and things of that nature and trying to ban said player from the league taking their lively hoods. I guess people are waiting for a juiced up football player to kill someone on the field, well that's bound to happen.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How to Fix the Mess of the Second Wild Card

So Bud Selig had a light bulb of an idea to turn the races for the postseason into drama central with a second wild card team and it has worked to an extent, but unfortunately it has messed up the trade deadlines. I've been saying this since he announced the second wild card, but now that I have an actual forum let me officially announce what I think Selig should do, he should push back the none waiver deadline to August 31st and the waiver deadline to the second or third week of September. Why? because with the second wild card more teams are taking longer to decide whether they are "buyers" (a team that is looking for one or more pieces to compete into the playoffs like the Pittsburgh Pirates) or "sellers" (a team without playoff inspirations and is trying to reload with prospects looking forward into the future like the New York Mets).

With the deadlines pushed back more teams that are sellers will notice their standing and decide to sell off pieces without having to deal with the revocable waiver process. Putting a player on revocable waivers opens him up to being claimed by a team and then that team has three options if one of its players is claimed off revocable waivers. That team can either pull the player back without penalty (like the Milwaukee Brewers did when they pulled pitcher Kyle Lohse back after the Atlanta Braves claimed him), work out a trade with the claiming team (like the New York Mets did with the Pittsburgh Pirates), or simply hand the player over for nothing (like Toronto Blue Jays did with Alex Rios and the Chicago White Sox who walked away with Rios without giving anything up). Not that dealing with revocable waivers is that difficult, but it limits the amount of teams that a team can trade a player to. Instead of being able to shop a player to the whole league the team can only offer the player to the team that claimed him.

Let's take Kyle Lohse for example, had the none waiver trade deadline been August 31st the Milwaukee Brewers would've been able to shop Lohse to all the teams that are competing for the playoffs instead of working something out with just the Atlanta Braves. If Milwaukee decides to trade Lohse in the offseason they can angle themselves better to get the best possible package for Lohse instead of whatever the Braves were willing to give for him.

I'm not saying that the revocable waiver deadline should be removed, but it along with the none waiver deadline should be pushed back. The second wild card is a good idea, but moving the trade deadlines back would make the whole situation better.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

MLB's Nightmare can come True

Alex Rodriguez (aka A-Rod) hit his third home run of the season last night. What's the big deal? well it was the 650th home run of his career putting him in the top 5 in all time home runs. The only way you don't know about all the issues around A-Rod is if you've been living under a rock, but if you have been living under said rock here's a quick review. A-Rod has been suspended for 211 games (A-Rod is appealing the suspension which is allowing him to play until there is a decision made of his appeal) due to his involvement in a steroids scandal that has been traced back to after his time in the Texas Rangers organization which conflict with his statement that he hasn't used steroids since he played in Texas.

The 650th home run of his career bites the Yankees because when A-Rod re-signed with the team there were home run escalators put into the contract and A-Rod is one step closer to starting those escalators. At 660 home runs A-Rod is going to begin to collect the first home run escalator worth 30 million dollars and through the 763rd home run which is the all time home run record A-Rod is to collect another 90 million. So if A-Rod breaks the all time home run record he's on the Yankee books for roughly 181 million dollars. That is if he doesn't get suspended. If A-Rod gets suspended he'll miss out on a whole season and would probably reach one of the home run escalators and considering he's 38 years old right now I don't see him getting all the escalators.

Why is this a nightmare for MLB? well because apparently everybody hates A-Rod. The Yankees hate A-Rod, MLB hates A-Rod, even some fans hate A-Rod (I don't hate A-Rod, he did what he did because of the pressure his huge contracts put on him at least that's why I think he did it and that's not his fault). Since MLB hates A-Rod they don't want him around to distract the press with questions about his appeal and of steroids in general from the awesomeness of their precious post season, but the New York Yankees are streaking they have 6 wins in their last 10 games and are just 4 and a half games back of the second wild card spot to make the playoffs and once the team makes the playoffs it's a crap shoot and every team has a chance to be world champions and if A-Rod carries the Yankees to another World Series title that would truly be a nightmare for MLB.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Is the Read Option Really an Option?

There has been a new wave of quarterback in the NFL that aren't your typical Peyton Manning type. Their level of athleticism is off the charts they're almost as fast as running backs and have cannons on their shoulder. The biggest change these athletic guys bring to the game is the change in offense. The coaching staff has to change the offensive strategy of the team. Just like how the West Coast offense changed the game the Read Option (aka the Pistol offense) is doing the same. The read option has been around for a while at the collegiate level. The read option hasn't been able to gain any traction in the NFL, but recently with Tim Tebow, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin the 3rd (RG3), and Colin Kaepernick among other quarterbacks they have been able to show that the read option can be a successful system in the NFL.

The biggest reason the read option hasn't been able to get into the NFL is because after the quarterback makes the initial read and decides whether he wants to throw the ball or run with the ball the quarterback tends to leave himself open to getting hit by the defense and no one wants to have a sitting duck of a quarterback. RG3 has that problem. Whether it was run or pass RG3 found a way to get hit unnecessarily by the defense which lead to RG3 needing to repair his knee and question whether his coach used him properly. Kaepernick and Wilson have been able to avoid injuries by sliding and backing off as soon as they hand the ball off something RG3 needs to learn to do with much more effectiveness if he wants to succeed in the NFL.

Personally, I don't think pocket quarterbacks have anything to worry about because it's only a handful of teams that have been able to hit the lottery and get these kind of quarterbacks. RG3, Wilson, and Kaepernick don't grow on trees so the West coast offense will still be utilized by many teams which still use guys like Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, and Jay Cutler under center. The read option demands a very athletic and strong quarterback who can take a few hits and as these guys go the fad will fade with every failure. 

In the "monkey see monkey do" way that sports goes now most teams have at least one quarterback who can try to mimic the intricacies if the read option. Whether it can be someone that the defense can practice against or maybe the team is trying to shift its offensive prospective best believe a "mobile" quarterback is going to be invited to camp to see if they can get their own Wilson, Kaepernick, or RG3. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Is 30-35 the Same as 160?

I'm not one of those people that thinks a pitcher should win an MVP. Pitchers have their own award, it's called the Cy Young. The reason I don't believe a pitcher should win the MVP is because at a pitcher's best he'll make 30-35 starts in a whole year, while an everyday player plays well everyday. This year Clayton Kershaw is having a very good year, but so is Yadier Molina. Molina is hitting .336 (which leads the National League) with 10 home runs and 60 runs batted in and to do this as a catcher is even more impressive. Catchers take a beating every game, with foul balls that get hit off them and the pounding their hands take from catching those 90-something mile per hour pitches (coming from a former catcher this is no picnic). 

Clayton Kershaw's stat line of 13 wins to 7 losses at a 1.72 era in 198.1 innings so far is very impressive they're Cy Young worthy numbers, but not MVP worthy. Justin Verlander won the MVP in 2011, but I was against that as well. Justin Verlander's numbers at the end of the 2011 season were 24 wins to 5 losses at a 2.40 era in 251 innings were those Cy Young caliber numbers absolutely, but that same Boston Red Sock centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury should've won the MVP, but unfortunately his team collapsed and so did he that last month of 2011 and that opened the door for Verlander to take the award, but I don't see that happening to Yadier Molina. 

Clayton Kershaw will win the National League Cy Young award (especially since the Mets are shutting down Matt Harvey), but Yadi should take home the MVP. I hope the voters don't make the same mistake again..

Saturday, August 24, 2013

To Cap or Not to Cap...That is the Question

In today's sports landscape 3 of the 4 popular American sports (yes, even hockey) have salary caps, except for MLB. There are two teams in the majors with salaries in the 200 million range (the Los Angeles Dodgers and of course the New York Yankees). 12 of 30 total teams have salaries well over 100 million dollars and with Clayton Kershaw about to become the first 200 million dollar pitcher I have to wonder are salaries in the MLB out of hand and should a salary cap be implemented?

 Not saying that Clayton Kershaw doesn't deserve the contract, he's having a season to remember and definitely a Cy Young season, but no human alive is worth 200M especially for just playing a game. I'd like a cap and see the money in the MLB get ranged in a bit, but knowing the MLBPA they're not going to let a cap be put in place because it'll effect their bottom line...and who wants that?

One argument I hear is that not having a salary cap helps MLB lure away some talent that would be better suited to be playing in the NFL or NBA because the money on the contract they signed is fully guaranteed and usually higher than what the NBA offers. That may be true because there are players who get into the game just to get paid and take care of their families. In my opinion the NBA has it right. They have fully guaranteed contracts as well, but there is a salary cap that helps keep the salaries from getting out of control (which is what I believe is happening in the MLB). The highest paid player in the NBA is Kobe Bryant at 30 million and as huge as that number is he's a definite Hall of Famer with several championships under his belt. So there's reason behind his salary, but to give a Cuban defector 60M on promise and a couple YouTube videos is a bit irrational, but that's just the baseball landscape. 

Just wait until Mike Trout is in line for an actual contract. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a helluva dilemma in ahead of them. Mike Trout in his first year in the majors came in second place in the MVP voting won a Rookie of the Year and a Silver Slugger award plus he hit 30 homer runs and stole 30 stolen bases and is a defensive dynamo in that Angel outfield; and did I say that was just his first year in the majors? The Angels are going to be saddled with three huge contracts and only one really earning his money. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Casual Fans v Die Hard Fans/ How to be a Fan

In the world of sports said sports are supported by fans. Casual fans are the fans that don't exactly follow the sport. They're the ones who don't know who the batting coach is, or who the bench coach is, or who the team drafted in the first round, but they attach themselves to a team and cheer for the team. The die hard fans on the other hand is the fan who eats, drinks, and sleeps the team. They know every level of the team almost as much the executives of the team. They stay up as late as they have to while watching their team play on the West coast. There are even die hard fans who get the team permanently tattooed on their bodies. Die hard fans are the "crazies" who paint their bodies in team colors while it's 10 degrees in Green Bay, Wisconsin or in Ohio watching the Buckeyes.

Here's a little advice to all the casual fans out there: don't try to argue with die hard fans, they know things you don't. They know what you don't. You read the sports tabloids and think the biased gas bags of newspapers know, but the die hard fan reads things from other sources. Team insiders that know more than the gas bags. I've stopped reading sports sections years ago because I got better information from the actual team's Twitter feed or the team's blog. Casual fans usually don't read these. So when a die hard fan tells you something just listen, because you may actually learn something.

The road to becoming a fan starts with loving the sport first. If you don't love the sport then there's more of a chance that you won't understand the overall rules and regulations of the sport itself. Next look at teams from your local area to teams in other cities and combine that with the track record of success (because who really wants to cheer for losers except if you're a Cubs fan, but that's a different story), history of the teams (whether they have been a historic franchise ie. the Red Sox and/or Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, or the Green Bay Packers), the context of the stadium they play in (whether it be Wrigley Field in Chicago, Fenway Park in Boston,  or the old Yankee Stadium).

Once you have chosen your team for whatever reason you chose then you have to decide how deep of a fan you wanna be. You can be a casual fan and watch the game whenever it is on TV or you can be a die hard fan who buys TV packages to watch their team if they don't play in your local area. The more invested you become in your team the more pride and disaster you feel with every win or loss. The ultimate feeling is when your team wins that title it's almost like you were a part of the team except that you don't get to kiss the trophy.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Death of the 3+ Out Save

Last night Dusty Baker, manager of the Cincinnati Reds, did something that I haven't seen done in quite a while. He had his closer Aroldis Chapman work 2 complete innings. In today's baseball that's a rarity since most managers usually have a set up guy that pitches the 8th while the closer is used in the 9th. Last night the Reds' set up guy Jonathan Broxton was not effective giving up two runs without recording an out so here comes Chapman. Chapman being known as a flame thrower with some control issues and he actually is a flamethrower with an average velocity of 96-97 on his fastball and also had 2 walks in the 9th inning came in and worked the 8th and 9th inning. Not without any drama though. He had to escape the mess that Broxton left him and also had to quiet the "gritty" bats of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Jonathan Broxton has a 4-something era as Chapman's main set up guy so Chapman may be called upon to "close" games for more than one inning quite a few times especially down the stretch run where every win is vital.

The reason this is such a shock to me is because bullpens have taken on a completely new shape since the 70's and 80's. Before it was guys like Dennis Eckersley, Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Rich "Goose" Gossage, Bruce Sutter, and Lee Smith who regularly worked more than one inning to "close" a game. Now a days managers want to "protect" their closers by stacking their bullpen with "specialists". There's the ever popular LOOGY (Lefty One Out GuY) who comes in when there's a tough left handed hitter and is done after that one lefty so they only face one hitter. Then comes in a righty (who can be the closer) to face the other hitters of the inning. In Dennis Eckersley time he'd have to face every batter lefty, righty, whatever for more than inning sometimes even 3 innings.

Do you know who's to blame for this? That's right Tony LaRussa while in St. Louis he developed this bullpen by committee and that's why the closer role has changed. Even more of a reason why I can't stand Tony LaRussa, but that's a different post all together.