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.