Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bottom of the 9th, Bases Loaded, It's Game 9 of the World Series... [David Stefanini]

That is the dream scenario every kid grows up with correct? Only growing up it was Game 7 of the World Series, not Game 9.

If Scott Boras, one of the biggest agents in sports, gets his way that is exactly what could happen. In a letter addressed to Bud Selig, Boras outlined a policy which would make the World Series a Best-of-9 affair. The first two games would be played on a neutral field, then the Series would follow the normal 2-3-2 format. Boras claims his plan can produce the type of buzz that surrounds the Super Bowl (yeah right).

To go over some of the key points in this idea, here is part of an article from Yahoo Sports:

He would open the weekend on a Friday night with a televised gala announcing the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards, and have the five top candidates for each in attendance.

Hall of Fame voting would be announced Saturday, with the opener that night and Game 2 on Sunday night. After that, the Series would pick up the 2-3-2 format that's been used since 1925 (except for 1943 and 1945, when there were wartime travel restrictions). If the scheduled host club for the opener won the pennant, the Series could become a 3-4-2.

Cities would bid far in advance for the right to host the first two games, and baseball would solicit corporate money, trying to create an event similar to the Super Bowl, Final Four and BCS Championship. Figure on hotels with flowing hospitality suites, ballparks surrounded by champagne-and-caviar-filled tents and tarmacs cluttered with private jets.

"Create this buzz around it the same way they do the Super Bowl," Arizona outfielder Eric Byrnes said. "I think is a very innovative idea."

What do I think about this? I agree with Eric Byrnes (mainly because he has carried my fantasy team) that its an innovative idea. It isn't something wee should automatically throw out, it is something worth looking at. It is something different and could help a league with the steroid cloud over its head.

If people hate it they will talk about that and not steroids, why not consider the idea?

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Around the Baseball World [David Stefanini]

To start lets talk about the story which should be sweeping through the world of sports. Barry Bonds hit career home run #750 today. He is only 5 away from tying the all time record of 755 held by Hank Aaron. Normally I would say, "say what you want about Barry but", but I am not saying that anymore. I am tired of hearing about it. If you don't respect Barry Bonds, SHUT UP! If you think he does not deserve the record and should break a leg SHUT UP! Guess what, Barry Bonds should be an All-Star this year. If pitchers in this league had the balls to pitch to him, he'd have close to double the amount of home runs. But this is a league of chickens who can pitch around someone if there not good enough to get that person out. He has the stats to be on the All-Star team and he better be on that team. If you think he shouldn't be an All-Star, well you know what to do.

Now lets talk about Aubrey Huff. He became the first Oriole to hit for the cycle in Baltimore. Guess I'm done with that story.

Finally, onto my favorite team, the New York Mets. After a miserable stretch of losing 6 series in a row the Mets have found their stride. They were beaten with injuries, but they held onto their division lead. Now they are playing like they have been all year and putting distance between themselves and everyone else. Coming into the night the Phillies were within 3 games of the Mets. After today the Mets leave the ball park with a 5 game lead over the Phillies. Carlos Beltran hit 2 home runs in the 2nd game of the double header. Carlos Delgado hit a homer in the 1st game. It is great to see all the talent the Mets have clicking at one time. They have an AL lineup to complement their surprisingly amazing pitching staff. And lets not forget that guy named Pedro Martinez is coming back..soon.

I predicted the Mets to be in the World Series to face the Boston Red Sox at the beginning of the year. Each passing day it looks as if my prediction has a better chance of happening.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Lo Duca and his Snafu [J. Mark English]

Matt Cerrone from Mets Blog offers up the latest on the Mets catcher, Paul Lo Duca, and his slip of the tongue:

Mets C Paul Lo Duca, during last night’s rain out, as quoted in the Bergen Record by Steve Popper, who gives a blow-by-blow of the event in great detail…

“Listen up everybody. Stop asking me when I'm going to drop my suspension. When are you guys going to drop it? I'm tired of being asked about it. Go ask Tony (Bernazard). God almighty, it's like the president got killed…

“You need to start talking to other people. It's the same three or four people everyday. Nobody else wants to talk. Some of these guys have got to start talking. They speak English, believe me.”

yikes…the thing is, he’s a victim of his own brilliance…fact is, he’s a great quote, as evident by this post…actually, lo duca even admitted to this, calmly, when talking to wfan a few weeks ago

On June 15’s game on SNY, Keith Hernandez singled out Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado, stating that the two players should be more vocal in the clubhouse and with the media.

…i will say this, to lo duca’s credit, i comb through the post-game quotes every night, for hours, as you know, and lo duca and wright make up more than half of them every day…the thing is, like he notes in the wfan comments, the beltran and delgado quotes are often boring and offer zero insight…occasionally, delgado gets lively, usually when directing remarks at himself, but it’s always cliche after cliche from beltran, and often i listen and just discard it all because you guys will get nothing from it…meanwhile, lo duca will be talking about movement on pitches, how he called the game, etc, and wright is talking about pitch selection, going in for the kill, and so on…lo duca and wright are simply far more interesting…

…now, i’m not in the locker room, but if any player, for whatever reason, is avoiding the media and dumping the responsibility upon another player, well, that is weak…the the thing, by lo duca’s own admission on wfan, nobody is skirting the media…yet, he makes that claim last night…so, the question is, which is the truth – last night’s comments, or last week’s comments…fact is, lo duca informed reporters before last night’s rant that he had been in a bad mood all day, so, my guess is that he was overly emotional and shooting his mouth off, and while there may be a hint of natural truth to what he is saying about spanish-speaking players not talking to reporters, i suspect it is not as bad as last night’s remarks came across

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NHL 2007 Hall of Fame Class [J. Mark English]

And what a class it is, including my favorite hockey player of all time, former New York Rangers captain, Mark Messier. Here is more from

They elected “The Captain” into the Hockey Hall of Fame today.

Four of them, in fact.

It was a sad week for hockey when Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens retired on the eve of the 2005-06 season, but hockey fans today hailed the election of these four team leaders from the recent past.

Those four players will form the Class of 2007 inducted Nov. 12 in a ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame building in Toronto. National Hockey League Senior Vice President Jim Gregory was elected in the Builders category.

Included in this group are the second- and fourth-leading scorers of all time, Messier and Francis, and three winners of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Messier, Stevens and MacInnis.

All four have hoisted hockey's most important trophy. Messier won six Stanley Cups, Stevens three, Francis two and MacInnis one.

“The players elected today represent the epitome of hockey excellence," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "Their careers were distinguished by their skill, by their drive, by their refusal to accept anything less than the best. I congratulate the honorees and I commend the Selection Committee on having created a spectacular Class of 2007.

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Craig Biggio Gets Hit Number 3,000 [David Stefanini]

To me this is more impressive than Frank Thomas' 500th career home run. But first, let me tell you this is the first time in MLB history that two players have reached these two monumental milestones on the same day. Craig Biggio and Frank Thomas have just re-written the record books.
Biggio became the 27th player in MLB history to get to the 3,000 hit mark. He is only the 9th player to do it for the same team. That is why it is more impressive than the Thomas homer. In an era where big home runs are hit here is a small guy who came to the ballpark everyday for the same team and just played.
If he doesn't get a hit, he usually gets hit. When he is on base he can steal. He is in a very elite group of people with 250 career home runs and 400 stolen bases. Something that is over looked is he has hit more doubles in his career than Hank Aaron. And by the way he is the only player to play a full season at 2B, C, and OF. Think about that; 3 complete seasons he has spent at different positions. That is like a football player one year being the QB, one the RB, and one the WR. That's a feat which is almost impossible to comprehend.
There is no question that Biggio is a first ballot Hall of Famer. He is one of the very best players to ever play the game.

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Frank Thomas Hits Homer Number 500 [David Stefanini]

Frank Thomas hit his 500th career home run the right way... or so he says. He became the 21st player in MLB history to reach this historic milestone.
He was already well on his way to being a Hall of Famer, but this cemented his place. Now there is no doubt he will get in on the first ballot. Thomas has been a feared hitter for more than a decade and it is nice to see him get to this milestone. There was a time this year I thought ARod would be the first one to get to 500, but Thomas beat him. It's great to see a guy who has carried himself in such a professional way get to such an elite club.
Thomas also may have become the first player to hit career home run #500 and get ejected in the same game. Thomas was thrown out after arguing a called 3rd strike in the 9th inning. Way to go Franky!
Here is the video of this historic home run:

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

**LIVE BLOGGING** -- NBA Draft [David Stefanini]

2007 NBA Draft:

#1 - Portland Trail Blazers: Greg Oden (C - Ohio State)
#2 - Seattle Sonics: Kevin Durant (F - Texas)
#3 - Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford (F - Florida)
#4 - Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley Jr. (G - Ohio State)

Proposed Trade Alert:
The Seattle Sonics trade Ray Allen and the 35th pick to the Boston Celtics for the #5 pick, Delonte West, and Wally Szerbiak.

#5 - Boston Celtics: Jeff Green (F - Georgetown). As mentioned above, Jeff Green will be traded to Seattle.
#6 - Milwaukee Bucks: Yi Jianlian (F - China)
#7 - Minnesota Timberwolves: Corey Brewer (F - Florida)
#8 - Charlotte Bobcats: Brandan Wright (F - North Carolina)
#9 - Chicago Bulls: Joakim Noah (F - Florida)
#10 - Sacramento Kings: Spencer Hawes (C - Washington)
#11 - Atlanta Hawks: Acie Law IV (G - Texas A&M)
#12 - Philadelphia 76ers: Thaddeus Young (G - Georgia Tech)
#13 - New Orleans Hornets: Julian Wright (F - Kansas)
#14 - Los Angeles Clippers: Al Thornton (F - Florida State)
#15 - Detroit Pistons: Rodney Stuckey (G - Eastern Washington)
#16 - Washington Wizards: Nick Young (G - USC)

Proposed Trade Alert:
The New York Knicks make a move, a big one. The Knicks send Channing Frye and Steve Francis to the Portland Trail Blazers for Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau, and Fred Jones. I love this trade for the Knicks. Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph are going to be a great 1-2 punch.

#17 - New Jersey Nets: Sean Williams (F - Boston College)
#18 - Golden State Warriors: Marco Belinelli (G - Italy)
#19 - Los Angeles Lakers: Javaris Crittenton (G - Georgia Tech)
#20 - Miami Heat: Jason Smith (F - Colorado State)
#21 - Philadelphia 76ers: Daequan Cook (G - Ohio State)

Proposed Trade Alert:
The Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers are going to swap picks. The Heat will send Jason Smith to Miami and in return get Daequan Cook, a 2009 2nd round pick, and cash. Brilliant move by the Heat, why not get paid to make your selection?

#22 - Charlotte Bobcats: Jared Dudley (F - Boston College)
#23 - New York Knicks: Wilson Chandler (F - DePaul)

Proposed Trade Alert:
The Portland Trail Blazers have just bought the 24th pick from the Phoenix Suns. The Trail Blazers will give the Suns some cash and the Suns will pick and send the player to the Blazers.

#24 - Phoenix Suns: Rudy Fernandez (G- Spain). As stated above Fernandez will be sent to the Trail Blazers.
#25 - Utah Jazz: Marris Almond (G - Rice)
#26 - Houston Rockets: Aaron Brooks (G - Oregon)
#27 - Detroit Pistons: Arron Afflalo (G - UCLA)
#28 - San Antonio Spurs: Tiago Splitter (F - Brazil)
#29 - Phoenix Suns: Alando Tucker (F - Wisconsin)
#30 - Philadelphia 76ers: Petteri Koponen (G - Finland)

End of Round 1.
The Bulls had a chance to get a low post scorer and passed. They got an energy guy in Joakim Noah, but they are a team full of that. They need a scorer. A winner in this first round is; the Phoenix Suns. They got an absolute steal with drafting Alando Tucker 29th. Also the Atlanta Hawks made a killing on the first round. They got Al Horford and Acie Law. Both of those players are guys who can come in and immediately contribute to the basketball club. Look for them to compete for a playoff spot in 2008.

Beginning of Round 2.
#31 - Seattle Sonics: Carl Landry (F - Purdue)

*UPDATE* Trade Alert:
The trade is now official. In what is clearly the worst move in recent Draft history, the Charlotte Bobcats trade Brandan Wright to the Golden State Warriors for Jason Richardson and Jermaro Davidson.

#32 - Boston Celtics: Gabe Pruitt (G - USC)
#33 - San Antonio Spurs: Marcus Williams (F- Arizona)
#34 - Dallas Mavericks: Nick Fazekas (F- Nevada)
#35 - Seattle Sonics: Glen "Baby" Davis (F - LSU).
As mentioned above this pick will be sent to the Celtics.
#36 - Golden State Warriors: Jermareo Davidson (F - Alabama)

Proposed Trade Alert:
The Philadelphia 76ers will send Petteri Koponen to the Portland Trail Blazers for the 42nd pick and cash.

#37 - Portland Trail Blazers: Josh McRoberts (F- Duke)
#38 - Philadelphia 76ers: Kyrylo Fesenko (C - Ukraine)
#39 - Miami Heat: Stanko Barac (C - Bosnia)
#40 - Los Angeles Lakers: Sun Yue (G - China)
#41 - Minnesota Timberwolves: Chirs Richard (F - Florida)
#42 - Portland Trail Blazers: Derrick Byars (G - Vanderbilt).
As mentioned above, Derrick Byars was drafted for the Portland Trail Blazers.
#43 - New Orleans Hornets: Adam Haluska (G - Iowa)
#44 - Orlando Magic: Reyshawn Terry (F - North Carolina)
#45 - Los Angeles Clippers: Jared Jordan (G - Marist)
#46 - Golden State Warriors: Stephane Lasme (F - Massachusetts)
#47 - Washington Wizards: Dominic McGuire (F - Fresno State)
#48 - Los Angeles Lakers: Marc Gasol (C - Spain)
#49 - Chicago Bulls: Aaron Gray (C -Pittsburgh)

Proposed Trade Alert:
The Indiana Pacers will give the Miami Heat a 2009 2nd Round Pick for Stanko Barac.

#50 - Dallas
Mavericks: Renaldas Seibutis (G - Lithuania)
#51 - Chicago Bulls: JamesOn Curry (G - Oklahoma State)
#52 - Portland Trail Blazers: Taurean Green (G - Florida)
#53 - Portland Trail Blazers: Demetris Nichols (F - Syracuse)
#54 - Houston Rockets: Brad Newley (G - Australia)
#55 - Utah Jazz: Herbert Hill (F - Providence)
#56 - Milwaukee Bucks: Ramon Sessions (G - Nevada)
#57 - Detroit Pistons: Sammy Mejia (G - DePaul)
#58 - San Antonio Spurs: Giorgos Printezis (F - Greece)
#59 - Phoenix Suns: D.J. Strawberry (G - Maryland)... yes it is the son of Darryl.
#60 - Dallas Mavericks: Milovan Rakovic (C - Serbia)

This concludes the 2007 NBA Draft. Overall it was an entertaining draft to watch. There was a lot of deals that were made.

I want to point out how the Portland Trail Blazers have totally revamped their roster. Three years ago this was a complete and total drug trafficking team. Now they have a completely new roster which is young and exciting. They should be applauded for the way they have just uprooted the entire roster and have given it a new look.

The last thing I want to say, the Golden State Warriors should be arrested. They committed robbery on Michael Jordan. They acquired a potential franchise player in exchange for a high flying streaky shooter.

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**LIVE BLOGGING NOTICE** [David Stefanini]

This is a live blogging notice to all the readers of this blog. If you can not get to a TV to watch the NBA Draft tonight do not worry. As long as the massive thunder-storm doesn't knock out my Internet, I will post every 5 minutes who has been drafted and to what team.

Also I will let everyone know of any trades that are made throughout the night.

The draft begins at 7:30, don't forget to check out this page for all the latest updates.

One last reminder before I go, don't forget to refresh your browser to have the latest posts show up.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Who'da Thunk It? [Snave]

Don't look now, but after today's exciting 11-inning 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox, the Seattle Mariners suddenly find themselves with a 42-33 record, just five games out of first place in the AL West and only three games behind the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the loss column. Seattle is now just three games behind Detroit and Cleveland in the AL wild card race. Who'da thunk it?

Many Mariner fans had basically given the team up for dead before this season began, and I will admit to being one of those doubters. I thought this would be a "rebuilding" year, but it looks like the team could still be contending for a wild card position or the AL West title deep into the season.

The Mariners used timely hitting and strong relief pitching to sweep Boston at Safeco Field this afternoon. Jose Lopez hit a deep fly to left field off former Mariner pitcher Joel Pineiro, scoring Ichiro Suzuki all the way from first base. Manny Ramirez played Lopez shallow, and the ball banked off the left field wall, caroming away and allowing Ichiro to cross the plate.

Is it time to begin giving Seattle GM Bill Bavasi some credit for the team's resurgence? Possibly. One of his free-agent signees, Jeff Weaver, started the season 0-6 with an earned run average of over 18, but since a brief stint on the disabled list, Weaver is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.82 in 24 2/3 innings. His overall ERA of 7.71 and his win-loss mark of 2-6 are still terrible, but they don't tell the story of how well he has done since June 9. While free-agent Horacio Ramirez is still on the DL with shoulder tendinitis, it hasn't hurt the rotation at all, as rookie Ryan Feierabend (pronounced "Fear-Bend") has filled in admirably as of late (in today's win he threw five strong shutout innings). Cha-Seung Baek (3-3, 5.74, pronounced "Beck") is still on the DL but could return soon.

Those stats are not particularly good, but when one looks at the bullpen, led by J.J. Putz (he pronounces it "Putts"!) with his 22 straight saves, 0.99 ERA and 0.59 WHIP, backed by lefties Eric O'Flaherty (2.08 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) and George Sherrill (1.50, 0.67) it is easy to see this as a team strength. The primary late-inning right-handers are youngsters Sean Green (2.57) and Brandon Morrow (3.41), with Indians castoff Jason Davis getting some innings. Davis picked up the win today, and lowered his ERA to 5.51 (it ballooned from 4.23 to 5.87 when he allowed seven earned runs in three innings against the Reds last week).

Seattle still needs a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher, maybe two. The M's also need a bit more patience at the plate; although they do have good batting stats, there are several players who "hack" at the plate, including SS Yuniesky Betancourt (only 17 walks in 558 at-bats in 2006, and nine walks in 258 at-bats this year) and the high priced duo of Adrian Beltre (since his monster season with the Dodgers in 2004 his OPS has been under .800) and Richie Sexson (he fans about 150 times per season).

Still, beggars can't be choosers, and Mariner fans have been beggars the last few seasons. Right now, I'm very happy with second place and a .560 winning percentage. It looks like the M's could be buyers, not sellers, come this season's July 31 trading deadline!

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Photos: Raindrops from New York to London [J. Mark English]

Pat-Downs will Continue at NFL Stadiums [J. Mark English]

Did you know that you do not have a constitutional right to watch an NFL football game? Thats what an appeal court just decided today. This is from the Chicago Tribune:

A federal appeals court cleared the way for pat-down searches to resume at Tampa Bay Buccaneers home games, rejecting a fan's contention that they violate his constitutional protection against unreasonable searches.

High school teacher Gordon Johnston successfully challenged the frisking of fans entering Raymond James Stadium in three lower courts, but a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned those rulings Tuesday -- saying Johnston forfeited his right to challenge the constitutionality of the pat-downs when he consented to them.

The court also said Johnston doesn't have a constitutional right to watch a football game, that he was aware of the search policy before entering the stadium and that the Bucs can revoke game tickets for any reason.

"Considering Johnston's ticket was only a revocable license to attend games, there is in the court's opinion at least a question concerning whether Johnston had a constitutional right to pass voluntarily through the stadium gates without being subjected to a pat-down search, even if he had not consented to one," the court wrote.

Comment -

You'd think that all of these legal battles that Johnston put himself through could have been avoided if he had just read the back of his ticket. I went to a Mets game last night, and it basically stated that by entering the stadium I understand that I am in danger of being struck by a baseball, and that I may not hold the Mets responsible for my injuries, or death. If they state that, then a simple pat-down is nothing.

Ex-NFL Players go to Washington [J. Mark English]

Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News reports:

The NFL has abandoned the retired players who turned the league into a $6-billion-a-year enterprise, a group of angry former players said yesterday during a congressional hearing on the league's disability and pension plans.

Despite the enormous wealth generated by pro football, the players claimed, the league and the NFL Players Association stonewall players debilitated by brain and spinal injuries suffered during their careers rather than address the health and financial needs that have left many physically broken, depressed, homeless or suicidal....

...Subcommittee chairwoman Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) said the hearing was scheduled to examine how the NFL's disability and pension plans serve athletes in what she called "the most brutal major American professional sports league."

"Only 284 former players out of nearly 10,000 currently receive long-term disability benefits," Sanchez said. "That translates to less than 3% of retired players, a very small number for any industry, much less one as physically demanding as professional football. The fundamental question then becomes whether this disability process is fair for retired employees of the NFL. The evidence suggests that the vast majority of former players needing benefits do not receive them."...

...NFL vice president Dennis Curran told the panel that benefits for disabled players have skyrocketed in recent years: Players who are permanently disabled and out of the league less than 15 years receive benefits worth $110,000 a year, he said, up from $9,000 in 1982. Last year, former players received more than $55 million in pensions, Curran said. About $20million in disability payments were paid.

The NFL's 2006 agreement with its union increased pensions 25% for those who played before 1982. It also created the 88 Plan, which pays up to $88,000 a year to players suffering from dementia. Retiree benefits have increased in every collective bargaining agreement since 1993.

Comment -

There's an old saying that "one should pedigree your ancestors". The NFL would not be what it is today without the veterans from its yesteryears. The fact that some of them are struggling to receive the pensions the deserve is a scandal. They must receive all the help that they can get. They built the NFL. They played before the time of increased protections that current players enjoy. The sacrificed their minds and bodies to a sport that they loved. They played before the financial rewards were as great as they are now.

The NFLPA must pedigree its past participants and give them the support they need.

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Old Men River [J. Mark English]

New York City was just hit with a blitz of rain showers, that caused rivers in the local areas to overflow. Which reminds me of the song "Old Man River" from the Broadway show, Showboat.

The song was flowing through my head, and then it hit me that its very appropriate that rivers should be over filled tonight. After all there are a lucky seven old men taking the mound tonight in Major League Baseball.

From ESPN:

It was expected to be old-timers' day in the major leagues on Wednesday, when a record seven pitchers in their 40s were scheduled to start. Until Mother Nature interfered.

The New York Yankees' Roger Clemens (44), Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer (44), San Diego's Greg Maddux (41), the New York Mets' Tom Glavine (41), Houston's Woody Williams (40) and Atlanta's John Smoltz (40) are set to pitch on the same day.

Kenny Rogers (42) was scheduled to start for Detroit, but the Tigers' home game against the Texas Rangers was postponed because of rain.

The record of six was set last Friday, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, when all but Clemens started.

Comment -

Its possible that 40 maybe isn't as old for player as it once was. Either it be better training, conditioning, or possibly the help of legal (& illegal) drugs, players are playing until much older into their retired years.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Chris Benoit Kills His Family, Then Himself [David Stefanini]

I can't find the words to write about this horrible event. WWE wrestler Chris Benoit was found dead yesterday with his wife and child. When I first heard this I was saddened, but now I am infuriated. Read this from the Associated Press and you will understand why I want Benoit to burn in hell....
"Pro wrestler Chris Benoit strangled his wife and smothered his son before hanging himself in his weight room, a law enforcement official close to the investigation told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Authorities also said they are investigating whether steroids may have been a factor in the deaths of Benoit, his wife and their 7-year-old son. Steroid abuse has been linked to depression, paranoia, and aggressive behavior or angry outbursts known as "roid rage."
"We don't know yet. That's one of the things we'll be looking at," said Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard. He said test results may not be back for weeks.
Autopsies were scheduled Tuesday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Authorities were investigating the deaths at a secluded Fayette County home as a murder-suicide and were not seeking any suspects. The official who described the manner of death spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information was to be released at a news conference later Tuesday."

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Complete Coverage: NBA Draft [David Stefanini]

With a lot of things going around in the NBA today I think it is time to do a full rundown of exactly what is going on.

First the big news of the day is a potential 4-team trade involving the Celtics, Pacers, T'Wolves, and Lakers. The trade would bring Kevin Garnett to the Lakers to pair with Kobe Bryant. The Celtics would get Jermaine O'Neal, the Pacers would get Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, and the lonely T'Wolves would get draft picks.
Why is this trade likely to happen? The Lakers desperately want to please Kobe. Getting Garnett would make Kobe very happy and stop all the trade talks surrounding him. The Celtics would get an All-Star center to go along with Paul Pierce making them a force in the East. The Pacers would get 2 very good players; one of them being a potential Super-Star. The T'Wolves will finally have let Garnett go after screwing the world and Garnett out of 10 years.
Why is the trade not going to happen? Kevin Garnett wants to go to Phoenix. The Lakers are a good place for him to be, but he wants to be an instant contender. Plus he gets to play with Steve Nash. Also, the T'Wolves want Celtics' young gun, Al Jefferson. The Celtics want to hold onto him and develop him alongside Paul Pierce. If anything is going to prevent this trade from happening it is going to be the Celtics not parting ways with Al Jefferson.
Now onto the upcoming NBA Draft:

If I hear how Greg Oden is a future Hall of Famer one my time I am going to jump off the GW Bridge. Kevin Durant is the best, let me repeat the BEST, player in this upcoming draft. If the season was to start tomorrow Durant would have an instant impact on a teams chances of making it to the playoffs. Year after year Durant is going to single-handily keep his team in the playoff hunt. If they surround him with talent he can take them to the championship.
With that said, Greg Oden should be the #1 pick in the draft. Durant can take his team to the playoffs every year, but an All-Star center puts you in the championship talk every year. Oden is a true center. He is not like Jermaine O'Neal who will step outside and shoot jump shots. Oden is like Shaq, he will wear you down and put your entire team in foul trouble. He is a force on the defensive end and should be taken #1.
Everything I just wrote you guys must of heard 100 times by now about the Durant/Oden Draft. But here is something we should all consider. There are 3 other players in this years Draft that I feel are potential Super-Stars. They are: Mike Conley Jr., Brandan Wright, and Corey Brewer; in that order. Conley Jr. is an amazing point guard who reminds me of a fast Steve Nash. Watching this young man play in the NCAA Tournament make me smile. He plays the game with such passion and fire where he seemingly wills his team to victory.
Next is Brandan Wright. The sky is the limit for this kid. It would not surprise me if in 5 years we are saying Brandan Wright was the best player selected in this years draft. He is long, athletic, and can block shots with the very best of them. This kid as all the talent in the world. The one downside is I am hearing at his workouts he has been slacking in the hustle department. If he can hustle and get his work ethic up, you can mark my words; Wright will be the best player in this draft.
Speaking of long, athletic, physical specimens how about Corey Brewer. Can someone tell me what he can't do on the court?..... I didn't think so. There isn't anything this young man can't do on the court. He has all the pieces for dynamic NBA career.
One more thing before I give you my mock Draft. SHUT UP ABOUT YI JIANLIAN. He is a tall man who can shoot a jump shot. Holy Mother of God, I never heard of such a thing. You mean there is a big man in the world who can shoot jump shots, where I have been these past 10 years? It's not like Garnett, O'Neal, Yao, Darius Miles, Kwame Brown, or My dear Uncle can do that. Give me a freakin' break. The guy is a bum who will be broken in half by any player in the NBA. Leave him in China and tell him to work on his game.
Lastly, let me show you my mock Draft:
  1. Greg Oden
  2. Kevin Durant
  3. Al Horford
  4. Mike Conley Jr.
  5. Brandan Wright
  6. Corey Brewer
  7. Spencer Hawkes
  8. Joakim Noah
  9. Jeff Green
  10. Yi Jianlian

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Photos: English and Co. Takes on Wiffle Balls [J. Mark English]

Here are some pics from the Wiffle Tourny:


What I Missed While in New England [J. Mark English]

What a difference a few days make I guess. The Mets must have used last Thursday to load up on something, because they swept the A's. The Yankees on the other hand have gotten back on board the sinking ship. Way to lose five out of six against the mighty Rockies and Giants.
The United States soccer team can be proud of itself for winning a fourth CONCACAF Gold Cup. This from the New York Times:

The United States retained the CONCACAF Gold Cup in stunning fashion Sunday, by rallying from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Mexico, 2-1, in a pulsating match at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Landon Donovan’s penalty in the 61st minute canceled out Andres Guardado’s first-half goal, before a murderous volley by Benny Feilhaber in the 72nd minute gave the Americans regional bragging rights for the fourth time, and the financial boost of a place at the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa.

Widespread bilingual television coverage and large crowds nationwide demonstrated that the Gold Cup is gaining both in recognition and prestige from its modest 1991 origins. The standard of play among of the region’s 12 participants was higher than observers predicted, particularly by Guadeloupe, which lost in the semifinals. And viewers and fans were accordingly rewarded with an exciting and technically proficient championship game that raised the bar for future tournaments.

Yawn... Wake me up when they actually win a meaning cup. Like oh say, the World Cup. Until then, this is all just meaningless hype for a team that can't compete against the worlds elite teams.
Speaking of sports where the good old U.S. of A. has been lacking... The America Cup is still taking place Valencia, Spain. Nils Erickson of the St. Johns Tradewinds News provides some history about the famed Cup and its regatta:

The Cup is not named after the country, but rather a boat. In 1851 the American yacht “America” was the first winner. The name of every winning yacht is inscribed on the Cup, but it will always remain the America’s Cup. The fact we had the longest winning streak in sports is now a historical footnote.

How will the U.S. team do?

They’re done.

Embarrassingly so. After spending $250 million, billionaire Larry Ellison’s team didn’t survive the “playoffs.” If you do the math, that means he spent about $10 million per race. Or $6 million per hour. Or $100,000 per minute. Or $1,700 per second.

Someone once noted that competing in the Cup is like standing in the shower tearing up $100 bills while the world watches. In Ellison’s case he couldn’t tear up money fast enough by himself.

I guess that’s why he needed a team to do it.

Unlike most sports, the Cup winner does not compete in the “regular season.” The defending Swiss team Alinghi has not been seen racing on either of its new boats.

Cup challenger Emirates Team New Zealand on the other hand survived the “regular season” and the “playoffs.” The term “battle hardened” has been so overused here by the media as an indicator of Team New Zealand’s strength you would think it was a new type of keel.

The finals are a best-of-nine series between the two teams from June 23 to July 7 – if it takes that long.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. But you get a really pretty silver cup. With that said, the winner is entitled to host the next Cup.

And there is good money in that.

In Valencia, the number of hotels has increased five-fold, the airport is new and they built a huge new port. All of which will pay off over the next several decades.
Some other news I missed out on... Pro wrestler, Chris Benoit, was found dead alongside the bodies of his wife and son: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has confirmed in a statement that the bodies of Benoit, his wife Nancy and son Daniel were discovered in their Atlanta home overnight.

Yikes...thats kinda creepy. Thats all I have for now. I still have some more catching up to do...

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Wiffle Ball Tourny Explains my Absence [J. Mark English]

This past weekend I was up in Worcester, Massachusetts, participating in a Wiffle Ball Tournament, hosted by the New England Wiffle Association. Wiffle Ball is becoming the pick up game of choice in New England. Its a lot easier to get a group of friends to play wiffle ball in your back yard, then to play a full game of baseball. Also, its a lot safer since the plastic balls hardly can hurt you if you are hit by one. Nor could they break a window if hit hard. It is keeping baseball a popular sport among up and coming kids, and young adults.

I went to the tournament with some friends, including Addison Quale, a contributor to this blog. We had a blast, and it was a great way to catch some sun on a lazy, hazy summer Saturday. The two teams of four that we put together didn't fair well against some teams that practice every day. There were wiffle ball teams that take their wiffle addictions to extremes. One team, called the Lawn Boys, built a replica of Fenway Park behind their house, where they play every moment they get.

Paul Harber of the Boston Globe wrote an article about how serious some people are taking Wiffle Ball:

It's easy to think of Wiffle Ball as a kid's game, the pastime of lazy summer days. You can play it with just two people --one to pitch, one to hit -- which makes it ideal for days when friends are away on vacation or at camp. For a game of humble and relatively recent origins, invented in 1953 in a Connecticut backyard by a father and son, Wiffle Ball has become solidly knit into the fabric of America.

But Wiffle Ball has, in recent years, developed another, more serious side.

There are competing Wiffle Ball organizations, and leagues where players wear team uniforms, play a season-long schedule, and vie in national tournaments offering as much as $10,000 to the winners.

Locally, there are leagues sprouting up in towns such as Randolph, Weymouth, and Bridgewater.

And the New England Wiffle Association will be holding its annual tournament on July 31 in Stoughton, at the West School

Athletic Complex on Central Street, with as many as 500 teams involved in two age-based divisions. One tournament will feature teams of players age 15 or younger, and the open division's contests are for everyone else.

''We have players who are over 50," said Erik Newmark, executive director of the New England Wiffle Association.

Wiffle Ball is a game well-suited for players with a few years under their belts, given that its official form involves no base running. Whether a hit is a single, double, or triple is determined by where it lands on the marked field. Like in baseball, over the fence is a home run.

And its rules are relatively simple. Games last for six innings. Two strikes make an out, as do cleanly fielded grounders and fly balls. Four balls are a walk (although nobody actually goes anywhere). The strike zone is a plastic target, measuring 18 inches wide and 27 inches high, perched on a stand behind home plate. If a pitch hits the target, which sits 15 inches above the plate, it is considered a strike.

Pitchers throw from 41 feet away from home plate, and there is a speed limit of 38 miles per hour. If an opposing team complains that the pitcher is throwing too fast, Newmark has a radar gun to check.

Teams typically field three players, but there can be as many as five on a team and as few as one. ''We had a one-man team in the tournament a year ago," said Newmark. ''There is an advantage. You get to know what the opposing pitcher is throwing because you are up every at bat."...

....These days he travels to Danvers every Sunday to play in the Golden Stick League, the big leagues of Wiffle Ball. His team, the Blues, is ranked third in the nation, and competes in tournaments across the United States.

''There is nothing like it. Everybody has uniforms and it's highly competitive. There are 24 teams in the league, which is divided into two divisions," said Coutoumas.

One division is called the Pro League, which consists of the better teams and players. There is also a Prospect League, for developing players. The league is affiliated with Fast Plastic, a national Wiffle Ball organization, and features rules that make for games very different than NEWA's style of play.

''It's almost like baseball, and there is no speed limit for pitchers," said Coutoumas. ''Pitchers throw as hard as they can. Some can get it up to 70 miles an hour."

''I think the Internet has been a boost to Wiffle Ball," said Newmark. ''Players from all over the country are able to get together and form leagues and tournaments."

The biggest tournament is the Fast Plastic National Championship in Texas, with teams from across the country competing for the title and its $10,000 prize.

"It's definitely not the same game you use to play in the backyard," said Coutoumas.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ricky Hatton Wants Mayweather Jr. [David Stefanini]

Ricky Hatton wants a showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

I was watching the fight between Hatton and Jose Luis Castillo. I instantly became a believer in Hatton. I think he deserves a fight with Mayweather. Hatton has the pure punching power that is needed to knock the smirk off Mayweathers face.

What other opinions are on the table for Floyd? The only thing I see out there for him is a rematch with Oscar De La Hoya. It is highly likely at some point there will be a rematch, but if it does not happen soon the inner circle of boxing is going to be asking for Hatton vs Mayweather.

Hatton has a chance to do what De La Hoya could not do; hurt Mayweather. I feel Mayweather will try to run away from Hatton and box around him. The only problem with that is, Hatton makes every fight his. I do not think Mayweather has the chin to stand up Hatton. Hopefully we will see this match in the near future.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Miguel Tejada's Streak In Danger [Michael Vinciguerra]

Taken From ESPN:

In Wednesday night's game against the Padres, Tejada was hit on the left wrist by a pitch from Doug Brocail. The source said that the left-wrist fracture, a non-displaced break, is viewed as being serious. If Tejada is forced to miss any action, his streak of 1,152 consecutive regular-season games played would come to an end. It is the fifth-longest streak in big league history and longest current streak in the majors.

I believe if a baseball player was to pursue this kind of record, than an injury such as the one that happened to Tejada, must be devastating. Rarely does a baseball player string together the amount of games Tejada did and once a baseball player breaks his string of games, it's extremly difficult, if even possible, to start a new streak of games. This man played his first game on June 2, 2000 and hasn't stopped. To see the seriousness of how difficult a streak this is, the second longest active streak is by Juan Pierre (343 games) and Grady Sizemore (267 games). These numbers don't nearly match up to Tejada's number. If I was Tejada, I'd pray no balls come my way while playing shortstop and pray for walks while batting.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lets Talk about "Sex Games" [J. Mark English]

Jessica Gavora recently wrote a piece for the National Review about Title IX, and how it may be coming to a high school near you... Here are a few highlights, but of course you can read the whole article at National Review:

Title IX turns 35 this month and the bad gals have officially won. Sex quotas in sports under the anti-discrimination law are de rigeur on college campuses. And the Bush administration’s failure to even challenge this perversion of the law — concocted, for the most part, by and during the Clinton administration — means that eliminating men’s sports opportunities in the name of “creating” opportunities for women now has bipartisan blessing....

The war for how Title IX will be enforced in the nation’s colleges and universities is won. So where do aging, feminist, rent-seeking practitioners of gender politics go next? Why, to our high schools of course....

....This spring, as part of the festival of identity politics that is National Girls and Women in Sports Day, chick sports luminaries like Billie Jean King and Dominique Dawes fanned out across Capitol Hill as part of the Women’s Sports Foundation’s effort to lobby for increased Title IX enforcement in high schools. Because they’re nothing but canny and adaptable, Title IX quota advocates are now using the catch-all excuse of the so-called “epidemic of obesity” as their rationale for forcing teenage boys out of the chance to play lacrosse. Their message: “Get your girls involved in sports; their lives depend on it!”

Leaving aside for the moment the boys who will be reaching for the Doritos and the remote after their athletic opportunities are inevitably slashed as the result of Title IX quotas in high schools, the gals from the Women’s Sports Foundation need not have resorted to such alarmist rhetoric. Undisguised scare tactics, after all, are not necessary for members of Congress — be they Republican or Democrat — to stand by and allow Title IX to become the agent of the very discrimination it was passed to end.

At the center of the pro-quota activists’ marching orders for Congress today is something called the “High School Sports Information Collection Act.” It’s modeled after the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA), which for a dozen years has forced colleges and universities to annually report their athletic participation and expenses — broken down by sex — to the feds. The EADA was meant to be, and is, a one-stop-shopping list for trial lawyers and activist groups looking for schools to sue for failing to meet the Title IX quota. Now, courtesy of Senators Olympia Snowe and Patty Murray, they are about to have the same litigation hit list of high schools.

In a year in which Rutgers, James Madison, Ohio University, Butler, Clarion, Slippery Rock, and Syracuse have eliminated hundreds of men’s roster spots in full or in part due to Title IX, we have yet to see — thankfully — boys’ high-school teams eliminated under the law. But we are beginning to see boys athletic opportunities be limited due to Title IX quota creep in high schools.

Students, parents, coaches, fans, and administrators at South Sumter High School in Bushnell, Florida want desperately to add a boy’s soccer team. The athletic talent is available, coaching is available and financing is available. But what stands in the way is Title IX. School boards and administrators are increasingly concerned that if they add a boys’ sport, they have to add an equivalent — or more – girls’ sports....

....The reason high schools are having trouble finding as many girls to play sports as there are boys clamoring to take the field is apparent to anyone who takes the time to look: Girls have more varied extracurricular interests than boys. Girls out-participate boys in every extracurricular activity — band, drama, debate, student government — every one, that is, except for sports. The extracurricular gender gap so favors girls that the Independent Women’s Forum calculated that if the government were suddenly to require the same gender quota for participation in other extracurricular activities that it does in sports, 36 percent of female choir members, 25 percent of female orchestra members, and 33 percent of female debaters would have to be eliminated....

...with record-low approval ratings comes the opportunity for redemption. President Bush should direct his secretary of Education to issue a clarification stating unambiguously that the regulation that has given rise to Title IX quotas in colleges and universities does not apply in high schools. If protecting the ability of a twenty-something man to run track in college isn’t worth the political pain of offending the pro-quota women’s groups, defending the right of a 13-year-old boy to play baseball for the sheer love of the game should be.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sammy Sosa Hits Number 600 [David Stefanini]

Sammy Sosa hit his 600th career home run tonight.

Most people are going to say it is no big deal because he is a cheater who used steroids. I think that is a stupid thing to say. He reached a milestone only achieved by 4 other human beings. Sosa has never been found guilty of using steroids. So before you run out and crucify him for reaching this milestone take a step back and think about it.

Later this year, probably sooner rather than later, A-Rod is going to hit his 500th career home run. Should we celebrate that more because he clearly doesn't take steroids? No, Sosa hit 600 home runs. When he retires there will not be an asterisk, or any other kind of marking. One hundred years from now people will look at his career totals and say it is amazing what he accomplished. Why should wee be any different?

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Mets Free Fall: This Cover Says it All... [J. Mark English]

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Free Agency and the Draft are upon us! [Chrissy]

From what I have heard, Peter Forsberg "is taking the summer off to decide if he is returning to the NHL." Meanwhile, the Flyers have confirmed a few more spots on their roster around that trade that sent Forsberg to Nashville in the first place in exchange for a 23rd pick in the draft.

Does anyone else mind trading draft picks for players? That's been bothering me for years. Looking back you can speculate and say how this team got this player...and how that pick ended up being a trade for so and so, but the whole thing just doesn't feel hypothetical players for an actual person. I'm not saying to get rid of it, it's just weird.

In other Flyers news Joni Pitkanen, coming off a not so strong year, is in arbitration. I hope we sign him and I hope he has a better year.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see where Daniel Briere and Chris Drury's going to be an exciting free agency season, I hope.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Kobe's Agent: My Client Wants Out [David Stefanini]

Here we go again in Laker-land. According to Kobe Bryant's agent, Kobe is tired of the Lakers organization and wants to be shipped to another team. Recently, Kobe has gone back and forth on what he wants to do. I feel this time he will not change his mind. He wants out of L.A, the question becomes do the Lakers want to trade him?

The Lakers are seeming to be quiet on the subject. They need to understand something, Kobe is not Garnett. Kobe will kick and scream until he gets a new team whereas Garnett does nothing and stays miserable.

Where would Kobe go? Two teams are jumping out from the page to me. The Chicago Bulls seem to be the clear cut obvious choice for Kobe. The Bulls also look very appealing to the Lakers, because they have an abundance of of young talent and potential All-Stars. The second choice would be the New York Knicks.

Since ESPN and everyone else is covering the probablity of the Bulls getting Kobe lets look at the possibility of the Knicks getting him.

First lets look at the cons: The team sucks, Isiah Thomas is an idiot, they have salary cap issues, and the Knicks have no one to offer the Lakers in a trade.

The prons are great however. Kobe would play in New York, his endorsement deals would skyrocket, and if Kobe could lead the Knicks to a title he would go down as Michael Jordan's equal (like it or not).

I am going to say there is a 90% chance Kobe plays for the Lakers next season, a 9% chance it is the Bulls, and a 1% chance he goes to the Knicks.

After next season I would say the percentage is 99% Bulls, and 1% to anyone else in the Eastern Conference.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Top Ten Father/Son Sports Duos [J. Mark English]

The website, "Ask Men", came up with their top ten father/sons sport duos. In honor of Fathers Day I'd thought I'd post the list, and let y'all decide for yourself if you agree or not.
10. Felipe Alou & Moises Alou
9. Dale Earnhardt Sr. & Dale Earnhardt Jr.
8. Ken Norton Sr. & Ken Norton Jr.
7. Calvin Hill & Grant Hill
6. Archie Manning & Peyton Manning
5. Lee Petty & Richard Petty
4. Gordie & Mark Howe
3. Ken Griffey Sr. & Ken Griffey Jr.
2. Bobby Hull & Brett Hull
1. Bobby Bonds & Barry Bonds

My first reaction to this list is why in the world are the Bonds ahead of the Griffeys? I mean one of the greatest father/son moments of all time must have been when Sr. & Jr. Griffey hit back to back home run. The first and only time that a father/son duo hit back to back home runs. Also, wouldn't you have to consider Griffey Sr. a better player then Bonds? If Barroids weren't on the juice his numbers may be very similar to Griffey Jr.

As a naive Giants fan I hope that one day Eli Manning replaces Peyton on that list. There is a 99.9 % chance that this will not happen.

Otherwise I think its a pretty good list.

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Tension a Plenty at the Open [J. Mark English]

Sitting at a bar, having a Father's day meal with my Dad, with the closing moments of the U.S. Open on, made for a perfect evening. Normally I don't make the effort to watch golf. Its a bias that I have about some sports, especially one on one sports. I'd rather see the highlights.

I do not regret however watching the U.S. Open tonight. It was a pleasure to just be allowed to see the closing moments. Even my Dad, who is not the biggest of sport fans, was really into the whole event.

And really, could you have asked for a better ending to the Open? You had a relatively unknown golfer, from Argentina, in the lead with just a stroke advantage over the great Tiger Woods.

Going into the 18th hole, Tiger needed a birdie to force a playoff. He set himself up for about a 25 foot put, that if it went in, would have completed the birdie he needed. All of those seated at the bar were frozen; transfixed on the television set. Some people that were seated, got up to see if Tiger could force a playoff.

Tiger just barely missed the shot, and did not capture his 13th major. The thrill of the moment though was well worth it. You could feel the tension that must have been flowing through his body, as well as Cabrera, in the bar.

I'm glad I took the time to watch. Perhaps it will help me conquer my bias. Towards golf at least, anyways. I'm looking forward to the British Open.

Read more about the Open from the United States Golf Association web page.

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Photos: Angel Cabrera Wins the U.S. Open [J. Mark English]

Nifong Disbarred[J. Mark English]

Former North Carolina DA has been disbarred. Mike Nifong can no longer practice law. Hopefully he will soon be behind bars.

Here is a quick bit about the subject from My Way News:

District Attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred Saturday for his "selfish" rape prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players - a politically motivated act, his judges said, that he inexplicably allowed to fester for months after it was clear the defendants were innocent.

"This matter has been a fiasco. There's no doubt about it," said F. Lane Williamson, the chairman of the three-member disciplinary committee that stripped the veteran prosecutor of his state law license.

Even Nifong and his attorneys supported the decision, though the veteran prosecutor refused to admit to the end that no crime occurred at a March 2006 lacrosse team party.

The committee said Nifong manipulated the investigation to boost his chances of winning his first election for Durham County district attorney. In doing so, he committed "a clear case of intentional prosecutorial misconduct" that involved "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation."

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Video: Derek Lee and Chris Young Instigate Brawl[J. Mark English

Saturday, June 16, 2007

SI's Story of the Man Known as O [J. Mark English]

Gary Smith of Sports Illustrated has written a fantastic piece detailing the rise of Omar Minaya, general manager of the New York Mets. Here are a few excerpts, but make sure you read the whole thing:

Once upon a time, in a castle he had rebuilt from ruins, there lived the most fortunate of men. At dusk on spring and summer days, he could be found gazing from its ramparts. From there he could see what other men surrendered in order to reach such heights. He could see himself.

His castle was a baseball stadium. As the sun sank, he would walk up a ramp instead of the elevator that others of his rank preferred, pause and see his whole life unfurled. He could see the wonderful team he'd assembled, men from faraway lands who played with togetherness and joy. He could see the neighborhood he had grown up in as an immigrant, the fields on which he'd played, the wall he used to sneak over to slip into the castle as a boy. He could see the metallic orb rising from the World's Fair grounds, the vast globe he'd traveled in search of a treasure that turned out to have been right here, in front of him, all along.

He could see the train rumbling into the station just beyond the castle wall and the masses spilling from it, people whose sweat he'd smelled and breath he'd breathed when he was crushed against them on that train all his life. Now they called out to him, "Thank you! Thank you for giving us back our pride!" and were astounded at how familiarly he waved and called back, at how clearly, unlike other kings and moguls, he saw himself in them.

No one called him king, or even the regal name that he was born with: Omar Teodoro Antonio Minaya y Sanchez. He was too humble for that. His family and friends -- even the President of the United States -- called him O.

It was the perfect name for the major leagues' first Hispanic general manager, the perfect letter. Round. An opening. A circle that invited outsiders in and made them feel there was room for them. It was much of the reason that Pedro Martinez had left a world championship team and an adoring public in Boston to join the New York Mets, why other stars had soon followed, why Moises Alou had virtually begged to be included this year. It was why his team looked like the mélange of cultures inside that number 7 train beyond rightfield, and the soundtrack at Shea Stadium pulsed like a festival of music from all their native lands.

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Omar and his Mets: Coverboys [J. Mark English]

Blog Reactions After Amazin's Win [J. Mark English]

The Mets snapped their losing streak last night behind a brilliant pitching performance of Oliver Perez. Roger Clemens took his first loss, although he did very well in a 2-0 pitching duel. Jose Reyes was the catalyst behind the Mets win, including a monster home run into the right field upper deck.

Here are some reactions from both a Mets blog, and a Yankees blog:

...maybe the bright lights of a big series is what the Mets needed to play some crisp baseball, especially defensively...

...give a game ball to reyes, who was 3-for-3 with a home run, 2 rbi and 3 stolen bases...

...give another game ball to Carlos Gomez for a ridunculous Endy Chavez-esque catch between the outstretched arms of yankee fans to take away a home run from Miguel Cairo and throw a strike to second to peg Hideki Matsui at second for an inning-ending double play...

...the effectively wild Oliver Perez did a terrific job settling down after the third inning, compiling 13 straight outs before exiting in the eighth inning... - Metsblog


Oliver Perez was what baseball people call 'effectively wild.' The Yankees did him favor after favor, swinging at pitches out of the zone.

Clemens pitched even better than his first time out, going 6.1 innings allowing just two runs, but the bats went to sleep.

Winning streak over at nine. Tomorrow's an important game.

The rookie T-Clip vs. the 295 game winner Tom Glavine. The Yanks have to win to have a chance to take the series. -
New York Yankees, etc.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Lost and Found? [J. Mark English]

Its about time the blog has something about the hottest topic in the DC beltway, immigration. The New York Post had an article titled "Lost and Found". This is fairly amusing:

The Haitian soccer players are back. Now, two Cuban kickers are missing.

Just as an AWOL group of young Haitian soccer players was rounded up, the Cuban senior national soccer team announced that two players from its junior national squad may have defected before a game in Houston.

Forward Lester More, one of Cuba's leading scorers, disappeared during the team's previous stop at Giants Stadium, team officials said. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso did not return from a group shopping trip in Houston.

"The ones that are not here are not here because they choose not to be," Cuban coach Raul Gonzalez said after his team lost to Honduras, 5-0, Wednesday night. "They went for the gold. I hope they don't end up with thorns."

The coach declined to say whether the two had defected. "I'm a football man, not a politician," he said.

My thoughts -

I'm all for illegal immigration if they're coming over to help my team out. Of course, if your a Cuban, as long as you can get into American waters, you are a citizen, so welcome to the USA!

Otherwise, I'm against the whole illegal immigration thing... So yes, I'm a hypocrite.

Sue yo. ¡Mis equipos de los deportes vienen primero!

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Amazingly Sad [J. Mark English]

The Mets just took a 1-0 lead up on the Yankees. For the seventh straight game they have scored the first run. This time last year they went on a nine game winning streak because they would jump out on top early and not relinquish the lead. This year they are doing the complete opposite. In the previous six games where they scored first, they have lost five of those games. Kinda depressing eh?

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30 Years Later...Looking Back at the Worst Trade Ever [J. Mark English]

In 1977 the New York Mets were four years removed from their last World Series appearance. They had meandered along in the mid 70's, but were not a terrible team. The team still had one of the best pitchers in baseball, Tom Seaver. The Mets also had the most prominent slugger of the decade in Dave Kingman.

The Mets management must have been smoking pot or something because on June 15, 1977, the organization made a fatal decision that set the club back for at least six years. Thirty years ago to the day, the Mets traded the greatest pitcher the team has ever had, Tom Seaver, to the Cincinnati Reds. In return the Mets acquired a list of no names in Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, and Dan Norman. Tom Seaver would go on and haunt the Mets by pitching a no hitter for the Reds. He would return eventually to give guidance to the new members of their staff in the early 80's such as pitchers Ron Darling, and Doc Gooden.

The Mets also had the stupidity to trade away Dave Kingman on the same day. They traded him for future Met manager Bobby Valentine, and a minor leaguer. (Joe Torre was actually the manager of the Mets that year...he was no where near the caliber of a manager that he is now.)

The organization went into a massive decline following these trades. They would not have a winning record again until 1984.

It could be argued that these two trades may have been the worst ever for a franchise.

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Damn Yankees: Have Heart Mets [J. Mark English]

Its tired, same old story. The Yankees are once again rolling along towards another October season filled with fun and bliss. And they do it at the expense of other teams dreams.

Is been the same story going back to 1918 when some guy named Babe Ruth became a Yankee, just to finance a Broadway show. Interestingly enough, forty years later it was a Broadway play that captured the frustrations and hopes of ABY (Anybody But the Yankees) fans across the country.

Who can forget the great show, Damn Yankees? About a die hard fan who sells his soul to play for the Washington Senators and snatch the pennant away from the Yankees. The hit song from the show was the number called Heart.

The New York Mets should take note of this song, and take heart going into the Subway Series. Without further adieu, here is the classic, Heart:

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Duke Players Have Their Day in Court [J. Mark English]

For nearly a solid year, a pitiful man, whom just happened to be a District Attorney in North Carolina, harassed and nearly ruined the lives of a few innocent lacrosse players from Duke. Mike Nifong tortured those athletes, and hung over their heads the fear of being indicted for a crime they did not commit. He dragged a case as far as it could go with no evidence.

Justice has been served though. Today, instead of him prosecuting the Duke players, it was him being put on the stand and having to face those he tormented for too long.

This is from

"My community has suffered enough," a tearful Mike Nifong said Friday during his testimony at his State Bar ethics trial to the surprise of the families and defense attorneys of the cleared lacrosse players, as well as others in the courtroom.

"Throughout the years I have served as a prosecutor I have always tried to do the right thing," a tearful Mike Nifong said. "In this case, I was trying to do the right thing. Much of the criticism directed to me in the is case is justified. The allegations that I'm a liar, however, are not justified."

Nifong said regardless of the State Bar's decision, it would not be fair to the people in Durham County to be represented by "someone who is not held in high esteem."

So what does all of this mean? The pathetic DA will resign, regardless of the outcome of his hearing.

I hope this serves as a lesson to those in power that seek to destroy other peoples lives in order to advance their own career. You will be found out. You will not succeed. Justice has away of correcting the errs in the system.

And to the people who rushed to a verdict, and assumed that the Duke boys were guilty, shame on you. There were members of the Duke faculty that haunted the boys day and night last year. They would go outside their fraternity house holding signs that said "castrate them".

The best way to understand the pain that Nifong caused is to watch the testimony of Reade Seligmann. Click on his name and you'll see the wrong that was done to these fine gentlemen.

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A Triumphant Return! [Chrissy]

Long time, no blog. Sorry for the long delay.

It is with great pleasure that I write about the fact that Rod Brind'Amour has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy, the award for the most outstanding defensive forward, for the second year in a row. (The picture to the right was taken during last year's award ceremony, when his team also won the Stanley Cup. Spring of 2006 was a good time for Brindy)

This, of course, is no surprise to me, but then again I am a little biased.

Other 2007 award winners include:
Sidney Crosby - Hart Trophy (MVP to his team)
Martin Brodeur - Vezina Trophy (Outstanding Goalie)
Evgeni Malkin - Calder Trophy (Outstanding Rookie)
Niklas Lidstrom - Norris Trophy (Outstanding Defenseman)
Pavel Datsyuk - Lady Byng Trophy (Most gentlemanly player)
Alain Vigneault, Canucks - Jack Adams Trophy (Outstanding Coach)

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Photos: Spurs win Title [David Stefanini]

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Final Score: Spurs 83 Cavs 82 [David Stefanini]

12:00 am - HOW ABOUT TONY PARKER! He just won another ring, he won the MVP, and tonight he gets to go home to Eva Longoria! How is that fair? No to mention his millions of dollars in the bank account. Did I mention he is marrying Eva Longoria in a month! Man I am jealous.

11:58 - I am happy to see Michael Finley get his ring he truly deserved it.

11:48 - It would have been a 1 point game if they had more time. The Cavs should feel like absolute crap! They had a chance at this game but threw in the towel. They should leave the arena right now and in there press conference apologize to every single one of their fans. I feel horrible saying I rooted for a team that didn't even want to try.

11:47 - The Cavs are pathetic. Its a 2 point game, and they let the Spurs drain the clock with 40 seconds to go. Now they have a chance in hell of winning and dont have enough time.

11:43 - Damon Jones hits all 3 free-throws and cuts the lead to 3. Don't the Cavs feel stupid now that they didn't foul earlier. They could of had 24 more seconds to make up 3 points.

11:41 - Did someone really just call a foul in this situation? Imagine he makes them all, the Spurs miss both free throws and then LeBron hits the game tying 3 at the buzzer, o forget it.

11:39 - As my friend Xavier just pointed out to me. The Cavs have put up the least amount of effort of any Finals team in history. They settled for jump shots and didn't attack the rim. They didn't go after lose balls, and they didn't play with urgency. Give credit to the Spurs, but the Cavs should leave the floor right now.

11:37 - The Cavs should be embarrassed. They couldn't grab a single rebound when they needed to, and they gave up by not even fouling or double teaming. Get off the court and let the Spurs celebrate on your floor... Jordan would never allow that.

11:36 - And thats all folks.....

11:35 - I said this a few minutes ago, if you can't grab a rebound you don't deserve to win.

11:34 - He hit the 3, then turned it over again.

11:33 - One more turnover for LeBron, and witht hat layup it is a 8 point game with 2 minutes left, say good night.

11:31 - I think the game is over, the Spurs execute and the Cavs don't; its that simple.

11:29 - If you can't get a rebound you don't deserve to win the game. The Cavs gave them 100 chances, 3 to be exact, to get that 3 point play. That hurts, and it is time to shine up the trophy.

11:27 - That 3 y Ginobili really hurts the Cavs. And this person who is barking is killing me. I want this person executed.

11:26 - LETS GO CAVS!!!

11:26 - My God, LeBron can't hit free-throws.

11:24 - My concern is that little break is going to kill the momentum of the Cavs and give the Spurs a chance to catch there breathe and let them do exactly what Manu just did. That hurts, a 4 point possession kills a team.

11:20 - Can someone smack the person who is barking like a dog into the microphone?

11:19 - The Spurs can't score and the Cavs are on an 11-0 run to start the 4th! The Cavs need to just keep running, and not stop running until there legs fall off.

11:18 - The Cavs have a lead for the first time in the second half all series! They are on a run, and they look good!

11:17 - We have ourselves a game ladies and gentlemen. We have ourselves a game!!!

11:15 - Marshall may have gotten away with an extra step, but it cancels out the non-calls on Tony Parker. Marshall makes it a 1 possession game. This is becoming interesting. remarkably.

11:13 - Well LeBron is Mr. Arrogant isn't he? Eric Snow is trying to rally the troops and LBJ sits there bitting his nails.

11:10 - What is going on? The Cavs are making shots, and its a 4 point game! Lets go CAVS!!

11:09 - But then again, they are only down by 6. How is that possible, I would think they are down by 20.

11:08 - I am tempted to turn this off and go to bed.

11:02 - YAWNNNNN. Thankfully we are only 12 minutes away from ending this.

11:01 - Lets see if the Cavs can do something now. They have done this a few times, but together a couple of baskets and then fall apart. Maybe they can keep it together.

10:56 - I am calling this game over. Lets go get the brooms and sweep this horrible series away. Lets not forget, it was an amazing NBA Season and a pretty good playoff run. Just because this series completely sucked, shouldn't take away from this season.

10:53 - What is happening? I am agreeing with the ABC announcers. LeBron needs the ball on the block, and Van Gundy is right, a double-double is completely overrated.

10:50 - KOBE! When Jordan retired in 98, Kobe was a teenager. Kobe had 35 ppg, deserved the MVP last season, and o yeah, scored 81 points in one game.

10:48 - I have an idea that can make this game interesting. Bring in Carmelo Anthony and let him start punching people at random. That should make things interesting.

10:45 - Now I am mad! How come the damn games start before 9, if the Cavs can win any games? What the hell is that about. You saw the rating were horrible so you figured, lets play the games when people are awake? Your just as stupid as MLB. (I don't even know who you are, but the readers hopefully get my point)

10:43 - LeBron's jump shot is not there, why is he not going to the block. I finally agree with Mark Jackson. They can't stop him on the block, go there.

10:42 - To all the young kids out there, learn to play defense. You see what it has done to Bruce Bowen.

10:38 - This is how bad the game/series has been. The Cavs go on a 4-0 run, 4-0, and the Spurs call a time-out to break the momentum.

10:37 - "He lures you to sleep", he certainly does.

10:36 - LeBron named his kid over a movie? Thankfully we are sending these kids to college for a year.

10:34 - The crowd is looking for something, anything to cheer for. But the Cavs just keep throwing it away.

10:33 - Well 24 minutes left in the worst NBA Finals since the Spurs played the Pistons.

10:25 - GIVE ME A BREAK! The Spurs will have more rings than the Lakers but any one of those 3 Lakers teams would wipe the floor with the Spurs. Also this isn't a dynasty. They won 4 titles in 9 years. Win two back to back and then say your a dynasty. Bulls won 3 in a row-twice, the Lakers won 3, but they could have still been winning if they weren't greedy. IF this is a dynasty this is the worst dynasty in sports. Win titles back to back then the Spurs can say they are a dynasty.

10:13 - Earlier I said that I was being entertained, I was so wrong. This series and game is once again horrible. Its not great defense, its horrible offense. No one can knock down shots and the Spurs are just terrible to watch. I think I am going to take a 10 minute nap before this game puts me to sleep, or go read a book. Reading a book is about as interesting as this entire series has been.

10:12 - Why do they need extra time? They cant score anyway, what is the point?

10:08 - That shot was going into until Big Z touched it. At least LeBron looks like he knows he needs to score because no one else can.

10:07 - Sugar Ray Leonard used to buy his fights. Right Marvin Hagler?

10:04 - Terrell Owens is sitting there thinking, "I can play better than LeBron why aren't I out there right now. I'll show them how to play. Just give me the ball."

10:01 - Just to further my Hollywood is out of ideas concept, they needed to do a sequel to Bruce Almighty with Evan Almighty? Why don't they do another Rocky movie... o wait they did.

10:00 - Do the refs believe in calling a travel on Tony Parker. That is at least the third time he has gotten away with to many steps this series.

9:58 - This is the first game I feel as if I am being entertained while I am watching it. Yes it is boring, but I can sit through it. The Cavs are on a little bit of a run, trying to take the lead before half time.

9:55 - Hopefully everyone watching that knows its fake. You never see the ball through an entire shot. Clearly its fake.

9:53 - Jessica Alba has to be the sexiest human alive.

9:52 - That was a great time out by Mike Brown. They needed to give LeBron a few minutes to relax after his minor injury.

9:50 - The Cavs are playing as well as they can, and they are losing the game. Tim Duncan only has 2 points, and The King went to the bench. It doesn't look good for the Cavs.

9:48 - I want to pose this question. Who is the worse free throw shooter, LBJ or Tim Duncan?

9:43 - Well call me a fortune teller. With the exception of Big Z this is the lineup I wanted the Cavs to have. Now they have to run it correctly. Get the ball to LeBron and pass it until one of the 4 shooters gets an open look.

9:40 - I don't like seeing Robert Horry go to the bench, he is one of my favorite players in the league. Also, doesn't Ramon Jones' jumper look sweet?

9:37 - I would like to see the Cavs go with this lineup: Damon Jones, Daniel Gibson, LBJ, Donyell Marshall, and Big Z. Surround LeBron with shooters and see what happens.

9:35 - What is up with all the sequels? Is Hollywood out of ideas? All they do is make comic book movies and sequels. But I will go and bring my girlfriend to watch it and contribute my 20 bucks to the box office.

9:32 - At the end of the 1st quarter the Cavs have a 1 point lead on the Spurs. The thing I noticed about the 1st is this: the Spurs do not look comfortable. For whatever reason it is, they are turning it over and looking more like the Knicks than the Spurs. That was a low-blow for Knick fans out there, but sorry its true. With that said, the Spurs will not play worse than they did and the Cavs are only up 1. Good luck Cleveland.

9:30 - There is the LeBron James the world needs to see. He needs to attack, attack, and attack. They get on the fast break and Snow passes it to Marshall when LeBron is running the court. Now LeBron has to hit free-throws, no chance of that happening.

9:27 - Tell Michelle Tafoya to shut up. A team that has a 3-0 lead in a series, WILL NEVER play like it is Game 7 and they need a win. Please do not tell us that.

9:24 - They really are making a Rush Hour 3. I have been waiting for this movie since Chris Tucker said at the end of Rush Hour 2, "you know he won't be in Rush Hour 3". I can't wait for that movie. I know its not sports related, but neither was the Sopranos and that was worth talking about...

9:23 - The Cavs needed to take a time out. I needed to catch my breathe after seeing Eva Longoria.

9:20 - How come Bruce Bowen can hit that shot, but he can't hit a free throw? I really hope next year we get different announcers in the Finals. LeBron hits a jump shot and he "looks like Jordan". Give me a break.....WOW is Parker fast.

9:16 - The first time out of the game is called. The Cavs have a slim lead and look good. Gibson still can't stop Tony Parker, but at least he has the confidence to keep shooting hitting 3s. Along with Steve Nash, my least favorite player is about to check into the game, Manu Ginobili.

9:13 - I LOVE THIS KID. I am on the Daniel Gibson bandwagon. He certainly had a bad game in his first start yesterday, but thats over with. He is starting today and that is all that matters.

9:12 - This is one of the bad things about the NBA Finals this year. This horrible angle where you see half the court, and nothing else is really bad. Can they please stick to the basics.

9:10 - Its a good sign that LeBron hit a jump shot. He needs to hit those for the Spurs to have a chance.

9:07 - Cavs score first....

9:00 - Greatest comeback in sports history? Did he watch the 2004 Boston Red Sox come back against the New York Yankees? Sure this a championship series whereas the Boston/Yanks series wasn't. However, baseball is more popular, and it is Boston and the Yanks. The Spurs and Cavs haven't had as big of a rivalry.

8:57 - The Cavs will win this game. Why? Daniel Gibson is in the starting lineup! I have only asked for this last week, its about time they listen to me.

***Live Blogging Notice***
I will be doing live blogging tonight during the game. Do not forget to refresh your browser every 5-10 minutes to see my latest comments.

Enjoy the game everyone...if its possible.

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