Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fans of the Balt/Wash. Beltway Full of Futility [J. Mark English]

This is written by Jeremy Rachlin from his East-Coast Bias Blog:

We can go round-and-round about how Baltimore and Washington are two entirely different cities comprised of entirely different types of residents and who support entirely different sports teams. That's worthy of probably an entire blog of its own (not to mention that we've covered it extensively in this space before).

However, DC folks... Baltimore folks... like it or not, the Census, and more importantly Major League Baseball, considers us one large market that contains two teams. There are only four other such markets in major league baseball: Chicago (Cubs/White Sox), New York (Yankees/Mets), Los Angeles Basin (Dodgers/Angels), and Bay Area (Giants/A's).

To my fellow Washingtonians and my friends up I-95 in the City that Reads, I have a message for you: We suck at baseball. I hear you telling me, "Shut up with your old news. It's football season." But no, you don't understand. We're literally the worst ever at baseball. Never before since the major league season has expanded to 162 games in 1961 have two teams in the same "market" experienced the same level of futility as the Orioles and Nats have experienced this season.

I've done a little bit of research into this, care of the most amazing baseball stats site that you could hope to access for free. Since the 1961 season (when as stated, the MLB season expanded to 162 games), on only seven other occasions besides this season have the two teams in the same market both lost 90 games or more.

1967 - Mets (101 games), Yankees (90 games)
1979 - A's (108 games), Giants (91 games)
1980 - Cubs (98 games), White Sox (90 games)
1986 - Cubs (90 games), White Sox (90 games)
1992 - Dodgers (99 games), Angels (90 games)
2006 - Washington (96 games), Orioles (92 games)
2008 - Washington (102 games), Orioles (93 games)
2009 - Washington (103 games and counting), Orioles (97 games and counting)

What is striking about this is that in the first five entries above, the "better" team just barely lost 90 games. In 2008 and 2009, the Orioles and Nationals aren't really within speaking distance of a 90-loss season (93 losses is arguable). What is most striking is that as of the date of this blog entry, the Nats and Orioles have combined for more 2009 losses (200) than any other entry on this list. The next closest are the 1979 Giants and As, who combined for 199 losses. I note that the Orioles and Nats still have ten more games total which they can lose.

If the Orioles should lose three of their last five games and finish with 100 losses (or more), the Nats and O's would bring the ignomy to the DC-Baltimore Metropolitan Area of having the first dual-100-loss season ever experienced by a market with two major league baseball teams.

It's already bad. The only thing left for us all to observe through this Sunday is just how low we're going to set the bar.

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Your Sports Fix 9.30.09 [J. Mark English]

  • Cleveland Indians fire manager Eric Wedge.
  • Minnesota Twins still find themselves two games behind the Detroit Tigers. Wheres the luck?
  • Chris Iannetta was the unlikely hero for the Colorado Rockies last night, as they put some more distance between them and the Atlanta Braves last night.
  • Jim Zorn, head coach of the Washington Redskins, career could be on the line this weekend.
  • Cleveland Browns have named Derek Anderson the starter for this week over quarterback Brady Quinn.
  • Bobby Valentine is coming back to ESPN! (Could the Mets be next?)

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Dementia Risks Connected with NFL [J. Mark English]

Alan Schwarz of the New York Times reports on the recent studies connecting Dimentia to many former NFL players:

A study commissioned by the National Football League reports that Alzheimer’s disease or similar memory-related diseases appear to have been diagnosed in the league’s former players vastly more often than in the national population — including a rate of 19 times the normal rate for men ages 30 through 49.

The N.F.L. has long denied the existence of reliable data about cognitive decline among its players. These numbers would become the league’s first public affirmation of any connection, though the league pointed to limitations of this study.

The findings could ring loud at the youth and college levels, which often take cues from the N.F.L. on safety policies and whose players emulate the pros. Hundreds of on-field concussions are sustained at every level each week, with many going undiagnosed and untreated.

A detailed summary of the N.F.L. study, which was conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, was distributed to league officials this month.

The study has not been peer-reviewed, but the findings fall into step with several recent independent studies regarding N.F.L. players and the effects of their occupational head injuries.

“This is a game-changer — the whole debate, the ball’s now in the N.F.L.’s court,” said Dr. Julian Bailes, the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, and a former team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers whose research found similar links four years ago. “They always say, ‘We’re going to do our own studies.’ And now they have.”

Sean Morey, an Arizona Cardinals player who has been vocal in supporting research in this area, said: “This is about more than us — it’s about the high school kid in 2011 who might not die on the field because he ignored the risks of concussions.”

An N.F.L. spokesman, Greg Aiello, said in an e-mail message that the study did not formally diagnose dementia, that it was subject to shortcomings of telephone surveys and that “there are thousands of retired players who do not have memory problems.”

“Memory disorders affect many people who never played football or other sports,” Mr. Aiello said. “We are trying to understand it as it relates to our retired players.”

As scrutiny of brain injuries in football players has escalated the past three years, with prominent professionals reporting cognitive problems and academic studies supporting a link more generally, the N.F.L. and its medical committee on concussions have steadfastly denied the existence of reliable data on the issue. The league pledged to pursue its own studies, including the one at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Ira Casson, a co-chairman of the concussions committee who has been the league’s primary voice denying any evidence connecting N.F.L. football and dementia, said: “What I take from this report is there’s a need for further studies to see whether or not this finding is going to pan out, if it’s really there or not. I can see that the respondents believe they have been diagnosed. But the next step is to determine whether that is so.”

The N.F.L. is conducting its own rigorous study of 120 retired players, with results expected within a few years. All neurological examinations are being conducted by Dr. Casson....

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

[President] Obama's Olympics Pitch Is Ill-Timed [Ken Blackistone]

Here are some excerpts of an article written by Ken Blackistone of FanHouse:

In short, this is no time for President Obama to make a special trip to Copenhagen to join his home base of Chicago in its final bid for the 2016 Olympics. Just two weeks ago, Obama even admitted he was too busy with health care reform to go to Copenhagen on Oct. 2 to personally pitch Chicago for the Summer Olympics...

...A two-week international sports spectacle seven years from now makes about as much sense being on the president's agenda at this moment as timeout for tiddlywinks...

...We know the 44th president likes his sports as much as his predecessor, a baseball nut. He's done the usual presidential sports' thing in throwing out a first pitch and entertaining championship teams at his Pennsylvania Avenue crib. He's done the unusual by presenting his March Madness bracket on national TV and sitting courtside in casual clothes at an NBA game. He's a participant on the basketball court and golf course, too, and, sort of, on a bowling lane...

....It has been pointed out that Obama is simply doing what other national leaders have done. For example, when London was vying for the 2012 Olympics, British prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, and his wife, Cherie, went to Singapore, where IOC members were holed up before casting their final votes, and spent a couple of days glad-handing voters. Two years later in 2005, Vladimir Putin, Russian president then, visited IOC voters to support Sochi's bid for the 2014 Winter Games.

But Great Britain then didn't have the host of problems facing Obama, and Blair was six years rather than nine months into his office. Putin was in his second term as president when he championed Sochi's bid and, while facing many struggles, exercised his broad authority to get done almost anything he wanted.

Furthermore, London is England. It is synonymous with its home country, it is its heartbeat. And Russia had never hosted a Winter Games.

Chicago is but one of our biggest cities with about 2.8 million people. Another 300 million or so of us make up the rest of the United States. What positive tangible impact will a Chicago Games have on, say, Raleigh, N.C.? Did the Salt Lake City Winter Games help Buffalo, N.Y.?

Hosting an Olympics in this country is a municipal or regional concern. It is not a national issue and, as such, certainly not something that should rise to the docket in the Oval Office. We've seen eight Summer and Winter Games in this country from New York to California and in between. A president need not make the Olympics a special case.

This should be an assignment solely for the first lady, who is as much a part of Chicago as deep dish pizza. She was actually born and reared there. Leave it to her.

What the president is doing is living down to that old Tip O'Neill adage: "All politics is local." This is the president paying off a political IOU to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's cronies – Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, all in Obama's inner sanctum -- who helped him get elected to the Illinois Senate (over one of my political mentors and former professor, Alice Palmer) and eventually the U.S. Senate and the White House. It is also a pay off to real estate interests in Chicago, as Ben Joravsky, author of Hoop Dreams and a longtime friend and political writer in Chicago, observed recently in his Chicago Reader blog: "The Olympic plan is perceived by many as a thinly disguised urban renewal project. They worry that Olympic 'improvements' will drive working-class African-Americans from the near south side."

But Chicago honchos are fearful they are going to lose out to the favorite for the 2016 Games, Rio de Janeiro, or one of the second fiddles, Madrid and Tokyo and couldn't care less. So they pleaded, and then some, with the president to step up on their behalf even though it may mean trampling on his near south side base.

This is not about the president spreading himself too thin, either, which is a criticism that has been raised as he has sought to orchestrate an economic bailout, two wars (the Iraq war is ongoing), reform of health care, closing the Gitmo prison by his deadline (he is likely to miss it), etc. This is a case of the president getting himself involved in something that is not worthy of the Oval Office, like the arrest last summer of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. into which the president inserted himself.

And therein rests the danger. Like in the Gates' case, the president is exposing himself unnecessarily to a losing proposition. There is still a lot of animosity towards the United States outing of foreign IOC members stuffing their pockets in Salt Lake City. The president's involvement doesn't make winning the games a slam dunk. As former Vice President Al Gore staffer Chris Lehane told on Monday: "If they don't come back with the gold, clearly there will be the same questions that American basketball would get if they don't come back with the gold -- they are expected to win."

President Obama isn't in need of another perceived setback.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Video: Brett Favre Miracle Throw Against 49ers!! [J. Mark English]

Week 3 Predictions [David Stefanini]

After a sub-par performance last week I'll try to do better this time:

@NYJ -1 Tennessee: Sanchez is the real deal, so are the Jets. Maybe Vince Young will make an appearance to try to salvage the Titans season.

@Houston -4 Jacksonville: I like Houston in this game. After a beat down by the Jets in week 1, the Texans had a great performance last week against the Titans. Look for their winning ways to continue.

@Philadelphia -7.5 Kansas City: Since McNabb is not playing, I can't see the Eagles beating anybody by more than 7 points. Plus, the real story here is Vick's return.

@Baltimore -13.5 Cleveland: If the Ravens were favored by 30, I would still pick them.

NYG -6.5 @Tampa Bay: 9 Giants are injured with at least 5 (at the time of this post) being inactive. Too much for the G-Men to overcome and cover 6.5 points.

Washington -6.5 @Detroit: Look for the Lions to pick up their first victory since 2007. Why do I say this, cause if they don't win they probably never will.

Green Bay -6.5 @St. Louis: The Packers should win, but I have a funny feeling about the Rams putting up a fight.

@Minnesota -7 San Fransisco: This is a big reality check for the 49ers. Hill has been good as their QB, but the Vikings are one of the elite teams. Look for the Vikings to cover.

@New England -4.5 Atlanta: At this point the Falcons should not be 4.5 underdogs to anybody.

Chicago -2.5 @Seattle: The Bears are turning things around whereas the Seahawks are struggling with injures, the Bears should cover.

New Orleans -6 @Buffalo: I'm not as high on the Saints as everyone else is. If they Saints win this game by 6, I'll become a believer, I'm just not there yet.

@San Diego -6 Miami: The Chargers are such a puzzling team. They have the best players at so many positions, why can't they put together a long 6/7 game winning steak? Maybe it starts now.

Pittsburgh -3.5 @Cinncinnati: I have a feeling the Bengals will win this outright. If not, maybe they lose by a field goal.

Denver -2 @Oakland: Who is the QB for the Raiders?.... Need I say more?

@Arizona -2.5 Indianapolis: Maybe the website I look at is malfunctioning, but HOW ARE THE COLTS UNDERDOGS? Take the Colts in the easiest game of the week.

@Dallas -8.5 Carolina: Too many points for the Cowboys, take the Panthers.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Big Fan the Movie [J. Mark English]

Over the last few months I've been hearing more and more about a movie that was released on August 28th, titled "Big Fan" starring Patton Oswalt, and directed by Robert Siegel. From what I hear it might relate to most fans of any sports franchise. It deals with someone who loves to call in to sports talk radio, and is obsessed with his favorite team, the New York Giants.

Here is the trailer:

Here you will find an interview between Steve Somers of WFAN and Robert Siegel the director of Big Fan:

The movie gets an 88% rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

Here is a review from NY Times movie critic, Manohla Dargis:

The little man at the center of the spasmodically funny and bleak love story “Big Fan” doesn’t come with a halo slung over his head. His speeches are written in ballpoint with a heavy hand and delivered with bleats and bellows on the radio. (The words are so deeply inscribed on the page you could read them by touch.) He doesn’t come with a fanfare and, to judge by the square, squat cut of his jib, he’s an unlikely contender. He’s a regular guy or as close to regular as any 35-year-old can possibly be who sleeps under a poster of his favorite football star while tucked under a coverlet imprinted with the names of N.F.L. teams.

As its title suggests, “Big Fan” is about the love that speaks its name, though also often shrieks it in rock arenas, sports stadiums and other public places of worship. That love can be a beautiful, touching thing: I still remember John Belushi kindly taking the time to sign an autograph that I soon threw away. I just wanted the contact with someone I adored (and being a teenager, I had no idea of its possible market value). There’s a kind of grace in that kind of exchange, as the idol recognizes the supplicant and, if only during the seconds it takes to scrawl a name on a scrap of paper, comes down to earth with the rest of us.

An inability to recognize that love gives “Big Fan” its igniting moment. One evening while chowing down on pizza in Staten Island, two friends, Paul (Patton Oswalt) and Sal (Kevin Corrigan), notice Paul’s favorite Giants player, the fictional Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm), gassing up his S.U.V. Giddy with excitement, the friends start tailing Bishop. They spend much of their days and most of their solitary nights obsessing about the Giants, swapping stories about the team’s triumphs and defeats like war veterans, so following him seems natural, even if it means entering unknown territory like Manhattan. (Where, an incredulous Paul marvels, there are no parking spaces.) Then Bishop discovers he’s been shadowed and flies into a rage, unleashing all the furious energy that makes him so magnificent on the field.

Paul ends up in the hospital, his head wrapped in bandages. Much of what ensues involves his coming to painful terms with the horror of that violent night, a reckoning that upends his life and a favorite late-evening ritual: his calls into a local sports radio show. These broadcast interludes are the high point of his day, week, perhaps life, giving “Paul from Staten Island,” as he’s called, the chance to advocate on behalf of the Giants while trash-talking the competition. Reading from a notepad and pouring all his libidinal energy into the task, he drops statistics, predicts plays and taunts the enemy, his voice alive with swagger and heat. More than an enthusiast, he is a defender of the faith.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kiffin and Meyer: One "Flu" Over the Cuckoo's Nest [Art Spander]

From Real Clear Sports author Art Spander:

Meanwhile, in the "Who said college football was all respect and sportsmanship?'' sweepstakes, the University of Florida held six players out of practice, not so much to prove Lane Kiffin misguided but because the athletes had flu-like symptoms.

Gators coach Urban Meyer expressed concern swine flu could ravage his team. Kiffin, the Tennessee coach, reportedly asked for medical verification, while gleefully hoping the entire Florida squad will be quarantined until 2010, along with Al Davis.

About a year ago, Sept. 30, 2008, Davis dismissed Kiffin from his briefly held position of Oakland Raiders coach, setting off a chain reaction that found Tom Cable taking over at Oakland and Kiffin, after joining Tennessee, taking a lot of shots at Florida and Meyer.

The two schools finally played last Saturday, the Gators, the national champions, winning 23-13, but that was only a three and half hour interim in the verbal game.

Meyer followed up by saying his game plan was conservative because he didn't think the Volunteers appeared to be playing for a win and also that several Florida players already were ailing from the flu.

Never one to let an opportunity slip by without adding his ill-chosen remarks, Kiffin 48 hours later, when asked if he were worried the Gators were contagious and could have given the flu to some Tennessee players, responded, "I don't know. I guess we'll wait and after we're not excited about a performance, we'll tell you everybody was sick.''

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NFL: Power Rankings [David Stefanini]

Here are how I see the NFL teams through the first two weeks of the regular season:

1. Baltimore Ravens: I can't believe how good the offense has been so far. Imagine this offense on the team 5 years ago.

2. Indianapolis Colts: With Peyton Manning looking like, well, Peyton Manning the Colts look poised for another deep run into the playoffs.

3. New York Giants: With Mario Manningham and Steve Smith catching everything thrown their way, can someone point out any weakness on this team?

4. Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson is amazing, we all knew that. The defense is very good, we all knew that. Brett Farve has yet to throw an INT and has a passer rating over 110, that we did not know.

5. New Orleans Saints: I understand they have not played a good team yet, but right now their offense looks unstoppable, how can't they be in the top 5?

6. New York Jets: Mark Sanchez looks great, the running game is clicking, and the defense is making every offense nervous. This team looks very good.

7. Atlanta Falcons: When they acquired Tony Gonzalez many people felt this was going to be a team who won a lot of games this season, it looks like those predictions were correct.

8. Dallas Cowboys: They're still a great team who lost to Super Bowl contender by 2 points. Let's not start panicking yet.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers: What happened to defense and running the ball? They can't run the ball at all and need to find some sort of ground game if their going to repeat as champs.

10. Green Bay Packers: They lost a game they should have won, chalk it up to the one-two 'huh' games every team is allowed each year, for their sake I hope there are not many more of those.

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President Obama Writes Letter to IOC for Chicago [J. Mark English]

Chicago is pulling out all the stops to have the Olympics in Chicago for the year 2016.

Most recently, President Barack Obama, a Chicago resident, has written a letter to the International Olympic Committee, strongly asking them to consider Chicago as the host of the 2016 games.

Stephen Wilson of the Associated Press has more:

"The City of Chicago is designed to host global celebrations and it will deliver a spectacular Olympic experience for one and all," Obama said in a letter to IOC members that was obtained by The Associated Press.

The 338-word typed form letter, dated Sept. 10, is addressed to individual members and bears the signature of the president. It raises the possibility of Obama going to Copenhagen to push the Chicago bid at the Oct. 2 vote.

Chicago — seeking to host the Summer Olympics in the United States for the first time since 1996 — is in a tight contest with Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Madrid.

"I deeply appreciate the tremendous work of the Olympic Movement and wish to convey my strong support for Chicago 2016," Obama said in the letter, citing the "transformative power" of the Olympics to unite people.

Obama, who served as a senator from Illinois and calls Chicago home, said he has supported the city's Olympic bid since it was launched in 2006.

"As President, I see the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games as an extraordinary opportunity for America to renew our bonds of friendship and welcome the world to our shores with open arms," he said. "If you honor Chicago with your selection, we will ensure that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are a key priority for our nation."

Obama noted that he has already established a White House office of Olympic and youth sport.

"You can count on our government to support Chicago's quest to host an unforgettable event and strengthen the Olympic movement," he said. "I believe we have an historic opportunity to do great things together, and I look forward to discussing that opportunity with you, if not in Copenhagen, then soon thereafter if Chicago is your choice."

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Cowboy Stadium? TOO BIG? [J. Mark English]

Jeff Mosier of The Dallas Morning News explains:

Arlington officials and the Dallas Cowboys are discussing the possibility of reducing the number of standing-room-only tickets by two-thirds after crowds became unruly Sunday night when they weren't allowed into the stadium.

Assistant Fire Chief Don Crowson said negotiations Monday would have the Cowboys limit sales to about 10,000 Party Passes at future games, though there could be a few exceptions.

Team officials said they sold 30,000 of the $29 tickets to Sunday's game, which was the Cowboys' first regular-season matchup at the new stadium in Arlington. Cowboys officials, however, said they were willing to talk with the city about changes but have not agreed to anything.

The attendance of 105,121 was a record for a regular-season NFL game.

As kickoff approached Sunday night, Cowboys and public safety officials decided to stop trying to control the flow of fans into the end zone decks when the crowds became angry.

"We believe that it was a better decision to go ahead and let people in vs. confronting them in a situation out on the plaza based on the how the crowd dynamic was evolving," Crowson said.

Although the stadium wasn't truly closed, Crowson said, the number of fans allowed into the end zone decks slowed as the stadium approached capacity. That happened as the start of the game neared.

My thoughts:

Um, what was the the dancers in the upper section of the Stadium? I think I heard Al Michaels joke that they were the minor league cheerleaders as opposed to the actually Cowboy Girls down on the field.

Also, Mike Francesa pointed out that they should not count the fans outside of the stadium as part of the attendance. Its a bit cheesy and not genuine.

The stadium really does look like the Death Star.

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Plaxico Burress Officially Sentenced to Two Years in Jail [J. Mark English]

The New York Giants are sitting pretty (so far) in first place of the NFC East. Mario Manningham and Steve Smith are looking like the real deal. Its almost as if they might be saying Plax who?

Speaking of Plax, he will be watching the Giants, and all of sports from a cell:

Melissa Grace & Larry McShane of the New York Daily News -

A teary Plaxico Burress traded his Giants jersey for a prison jumpsuit Tuesday.

The talented but troubled ex-Super Bowl hero was sentenced to two years in jail for weapons possession, 10 months after he shot himself in a crowded nightclub.

"I want to apologize to my family," Burress said before Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Michael Melkonian imposed the jail term.

Prior to the sentencing, Burress exchanged hugs and kisses with his family - at one point burying his face into the shoulder of his 3-year-old son.

"I love you," Burress whispered to little Elijah before he was led off, wiping tears away and offering a rueful wave to his family.

Burress, 32, carried the boy into the courthouse in one of his last acts as a free man.

"This is a very real, tragic case in many, many ways," defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman said. "... I do not believe, under the circumstances of this case, we're sentencing a true criminal in the sense of that word."

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Monday, September 21, 2009

GO NY GO NY GO! [David Stefanini]

What a day it was yesterday for football fans in New York. First the Jets pull off a great victory over their rivals, the New England Patriots; then the Giants go into what can only be described as the best stadium in the world and beat the Cowboys! Where do I start?

It has to be the New York Jets, because living in New York you would think they just won the Super Bowl. All I heard on the train today and at my office was how the Jets backed up the talk and put a beat down on the Pats. Everyone just assumed the Pats would beat the Jets, myself included, and we would all be talking about how Sanchez is just a rookie and the team has no chance. But Sanchez looks incredible. Nothing bothers him in the game, everything is so fluid from him, and he makes the right decisions at the right times. The kid looks like a solid Pro Bowler and we're two weeks into his career. Also, we can not overlook Leon Washington who does simply everything for the New York Jets. Whether he is returning kicks, running hard, or breaking tackles are the catch the man does everything. Hats off to the Jets who look like a team to be reckon with this season!

Now onto the New York Giants who looked equally as impressive yesterday against the Cowboys. The Giants could not run the ball, but that did not matter. They were able to pick apart the Dallas defense threw the air, by essentially throwing the ball to Mario Manningham and Steve Smith, and ignoring everyone else. Well the game plan worked and the Giants got a big victory early in the season. Go Big Blue!

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hats off to the New York Jets [J. Mark English]

Holy sh*t! The Jets just physically DOMINATED the New England Patriots. Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and the Jets defense backed up all the talk.

New York Jets 16, New England Patriots 9.


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Week 2 Predictions [David Stefanini]

I understand some of the games have already started, but due to a technical error this post was supposed to be up by 11am. So without further a due, here are my picks for Week 2.

@ Kansas City - 2.5 Oakland: Matt Cassel is making his first start in a Chiefs uniform. Along with the fact that I'm not a believer in JaMarcus Russel, I'd take the Chiefs to win this by at least a field goal.

@Tennesse - 7 Houston: I know most people love the Titans, and Houston did look horrible in Week 1, but I have a funny feeling about this game. I don't think the Texans will win the game, but in today's NFL 7 points is a lot, and I don't think the Titans are good enough to cover.

New England -3.5 @ NYJ: This game is going to be a blow out. The Pats didn't look sharp last week which means Bill Belichick was in their ears all week screaming. The Jets looked very good in week one but Mark Sanchez is going to see 50 different defenses this week. Furthermore, for some reason the Jets decided to talk trash to the Pats, which will lead to a beat down of epic proportions. The Pats should win this game by 14+.

@ Green Bay - 8 Cincinnati: Everyone please listen to me, Green Bay is Super Bowl bound this year. Aaron Rodgers is on an elite level and this team is going to go very deep in the playoffs. On the flip side, what has happened to Carson Palmer? He was once considered a top 3 QB, and now he looks very average, even sometimes below average. That means Green Bay is going to beat down the Bengals.

Minnesota -10 @ Detroit: Minnesota is a very complete team whereas the Lions would probably lose to half of the Top 25 teams in college football. Plain and simple, always pick against the Lions.

New Orleans - 3 @ Philadelphia: Again, this one is easy, No McNabb no win.

@ Atlanta -6 Carolina: Don't count Jake Delhomme out just yet. He is experienced and been through the ups and the downs before. Matt Ryan is amazing and will continue to grow, but Carolina is still very talented and Delhomme has something to prove today.

@ Washington -9.5 St. Louis: Washington is not a great team, but STL is horrible. Again always pick against those kind of teams.

@ Jacksonville - 3 Arizona: This is a very tricky game. The Cardinals and Jags both need wins this week so both teams will be playing their hearts out. I think Arizona has too many weapons for the Jags to contend with, and will be able to pull out a win.

@ San Francisco -1 Seattle: I don't know why the Seahawks are not the favorites in this game. They looked great in week 1 and should continue their winning ways against the 49ers.

@ Buffalo - 4 Tampa Bay: The Bills are home this week which should give them a little extra energy. Tampa may have a difficult time dealing with the no huddle offense, so T.O should have a field day against the Bucs CB's.

@ Denver - 3 Cleveland: Denver is not going to be as bad as everyone says they will this season; Cleveland will be. Denver should be able to cover this spread with ease.

@ San Diego - 1 Baltimore: Without LT Baltimore is going to drop back in coverage and make Rivers beat them. Rivers is capable of doing it, but Baltimore looked to sharp and quick in week 1 for me to pick against them.

Pittsburgh - 3 @ Chicago: This may surprise some people but I'd go with Chicago in this game. Cutler had a horrible week so he should bounce back relatively nicely this week. He should carry this team to a victory this weekend.

@ Dallas - 3 NYG: For me this is always the toughest game to pick. Dallas looked good and we all know the Giants may be the most well rounded team in the league, outside of WR's. This game can go either way, but I will give the edge to the Cowboys because of the injuries the Giants have in their secondary. That should allow Romo enough space to pick them apart and keep the Giants on their heels all game.

Indianapolis -3 @ Miami: This spread should be a lot higher. No way the Dolphins come out and beat the Colts.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Brees the Best? Are You Nuts! [David Stefanini]

I was just involved in a conversation where three people were trying to convince me that Drew Brees is the best quarterback in the league. I did learn something from this conversation, my friends are clinically insane! How can someone say Drew Brees is the best? But David he threw for over 5,000 yards last season, he threw for 6 TD's last week alone. All wonderful things however here are somethings that everyone overlooks.

Let's look at his season last year. He had a defense that would put him on the field every other minute giving him endless chances to complete passes. He attempted 635 passes last year! that is an average of 8 yards per attempt. He threw for 37 TD's with 17 INT's which is a ratio of 2:1. Now let's look at Brady's and Manning's numbers next to Brees to see how they stack up:

Brady (2007): 4806 yards, 8.3 per attempt, 50 TD's, 8 INT's, 117 RTG, Super Bowl appearance.
Manning (2008): 4002, 7.2, 27, 12, 95, Playoffs.
Brees (2008): 5069, 8.0, 34, 17, 96, NOTHING!

Brees threw for more yards but had less wins, and more INT's than those 2 quarterbacks. Brady and Manning both have rings where Brees has not even played in a Super Bowl. Furthermore, has any looked at who the Saints played last year? Brady or Manning would have gone for over 6,000 yards with that schedule.

Is he a top 5 QB absolutely, I see him as the 3rd best in the league and someone who I would love on my team. He has a great arm, he is very accurate and he throws for a ton of yards and TD's.

My point is obviously this, Brees is not the best in the game. He is great and he is a top 3 QB but to put him in front of Manning or Brady is not only wrong it's foolish.

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Yankees Glad to Hear Pettitte is Ready [David Stefanini]

New York Yankees' starting pitcher Andy Pettitte is expected to start against the Anaheim Angels this Monday. Why is this important you may be asking. Let me explain...

Andy Pettitte does not have amazing stand-out numbers this year. He has 13 wins on the best team in baseball, his ERA is 4.14 and his WHIP is 1.36. But Andy Pettitte is not about statistics this season, even though his second half numbers look impressive. He is a big game pitcher that most Yankee fans will want to pitch Game 5, if necessary, against the Detroit Tigers (or whoever their first round opponent is). At the beginning of the year many people, including myself, thought Pettitte was washed up and no longer a solid starter. The Yankees signed him to a $5.5 million contract, loaded with incentives, to essentially be their 4th or 5th starter. But as the year has progressed we have all learned something, Pettitte knows how to win and is still a legit starter.

Come playoff time the Yankees will look to him as their 2nd starter, but most likely give him the ball in the most important games. Which is why his health is so important. If Pettitte is not healthy the Yankees will have to rely on unproven postseason starters to carry them. With Pettitte in the rotation the Yankees can put him in the 2nd spot to make key starts in Games 2 and 5 of a series. If Sabathia loses the first game Pettitte will be there to pick up the Yankees like he has done many times. He will also be there for the most important game of most series, Game 5.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Coming soon, in Your Face! COWBOYS STADIUM! [J. Mark English]

Sunday night, the team that America either hates or loves will be treated to the sights of the new wonder of the world. Cowboys Stadium.

The Giants will play the roll of sacrificial lamb, like early Christians in the Roman Colosseum in the good old days.

These photos are from Larry W. Smith/European Pressphoto Agency:

Nicolai Ouroussoff of the New York Times highlights this new 'mecca' or 'monstrosity':

Here’s one thing that can be said for the new Cowboys Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys will play their first home game of the regular season on Sunday against the Giants: it’s not Mickey Mouse architecture.

With a $1.15 billion price tag and a flying saucer-like form, the stadium’s design mercifully avoids the aw-shucks, small-town look that has become common in many American stadiums over the years. There’s no brick cladding, no fake wrought ironwork, no infantilizing theme restaurants that seem as if they had been commissioned by Uncle Walt for the Happiest Place on Earth.

Still, Cowboys Stadium suffers from its own form of nostalgia: its enormous retractable roof, acres of parking and cavernous interiors are straight out of Eisenhower’s America, with its embrace of car culture and a grandiose, bigger-is-better mentality. The result is a somewhat crude reworking of old ideas, one that looks especially unoriginal when compared with the sophisticated and often dazzling stadiums that have been built in Europe and the Far East over the last few years. Worse for fans, its lounges and concourses are so sprawling that I suspect more than a few spectators will get lost and miss the second-half kickoff.

At one point, it looked as if the stadium might be built in a more contained urban setting. Jerry Jones, the team’s owner, considered situating it in Fair Park, a 277-acre park near downtown Dallas whose many Art Deco buildings, including the Cotton Bowl, were built for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. That location would not only have contributed to the revival of the park’s derelict landmarks, but it would also have helped spark the revitalization of one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

But the city rejected the plan as too costly, and Jones was forced to look farther afield, eventually settling on a generic suburban enclave midway between Dallas and Fort Worth, not far from the ballpark where the Texas Rangers play.

Compared with the retro brick facing and quaint castle towers of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Cowboys Stadium, designed by HKS, which has its headquarters in Dallas, does have a certain boldness. Approached from Interstate 30, its massive dome brings to mind the simple geometries and aggressive modern aesthetic of Houston’s Astrodome and the Louisiana Superdome....

...At first, things seem more promising inside. Monumental concrete staircases and circulation ramps are situated near the four corners of the field. The ramps, which are some of the building’s most enjoyable architectural spaces, look broad enough to fit a pair of Cadillacs. Jones has also commissioned more than a dozen works by well-known contemporary artists for the stadium interiors, including a spectacularly colorful abstract composition by Franz Ackermann that decorates one of the staircases. But the vastness of the concourses, some of them 65 feet wide, can make you feel as if you are lost in an international airport terminal. And, as in almost every American stadium today, the seats are broken up by bands of glass-encased corporate suites. The glass can slide open so that wealthy patrons can feel connected to the action on the field — if not to the average fan. Some of the suites even take up prime real estate along the sidelines, a first for the N.F.L.

As it turns out, the biggest controversy so far about the stadium has to do with its supersize scale. The four-sided video board over the field is so big, and hangs so low, that a Tennessee punter hit it during a preseason game. It’s a nice irony that for all the space, there may not be enough room at Cowboys Stadium to play a game.

This morning on the Today Show, former Cowboy, Emmitt Smith gave a tour of the new stadium:

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Feel Good Story of the Year? And from a Phillies Fan! [J. Mark English]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ESPN News for the Day [J. Mark English]

Charlie Weis' fate could hang in the balance this weekend:

Terrell Owens is stirring the straw once again:

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Panini Football Kitchen Sink Case Rip [J. Mark English]

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Football Predictions [David Stefanini]

Welcome to another season of the NFL! With a bunch of good games scheduled to start I figured what time is better than now to make some predictions.

MVP: Everyone seems to be going with either Brady of Adrian Peterson, but I think differently. I'm going with Philip Rivers who is ready to become a top 5 QB in this league. He has a healthy LT, Gates, and Merriman which will allow him to put up ridiculous numbers. Peterson won't win because it will be very difficult to put up numbers like he did last season, therefore the winner is Rivers.

NFC Champs: People love the Vikings and the Eagles, but once again I disagree. The Vikings won't win because Farve is their QB, and the Eagles won't win because their the Eagles. They will have too many injuries and McNabb will be to busy looking over his shoulder. Therefore the Dallas Cowboys get the edge. They have the same team returning without T.O. Felix Jones and Marion Barber will have huge years, Roy Williams will show us all his real talent and Tony Romo should have a big year. Their defense is very solid and for once they are flying under the radar. All positive signs for things to come.

AFC Champs: Either the Pats, Steelers, or Chargers have to be chosen for this title. These three teams are the class of the conference. The Pats get the best QB in the world back, the Steelers return an amazing defense, and the Chargers are talented at every position. The Pats are to easy of a chose, it's very difficult to go back-to-back, so I'm going with the Chargers. Even though they have Norv Turner as a coach, I believe they have enough talent to overcome him and win some football games as long as they can stay healthy.

Super Bowl Champs: I have to go with the Chargers. They are simply to talented all over the football field, even their punter is amazing. As long as LT stays healthy and the old Antonio Gates returns there should be nothing stopping this team from walking out of the 2009-2010 season with a title.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Derek Jeter: New Yankee Hit King - 2,722 Hits [J. Mark English]

Friday, September 11, 2009

Coach Tom Coughlin and September 11, 2001 [J. Mark English]

Steve Serby of the New York Post, caught with New York Giants head coach, Tom Coughlin. Coach Coughlin reflected on the events that occurred in New York City eight years ago today:

This was the day eight years ago when Tom Coughlin needed a miracle. This was the day terror struck and Coughlin, the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars on that fateful morning, didn't have a playbook to tell him how to stop his heart from pounding during those frantic, frightful hours when he wondered whether his son would make it out of the South Tower alive.

"There was no way you could make that time flow by . . . I had my assistant call every two or three minutes just to leave messages on his phone. He didn't pick it up . . . 'Try him, try him, try him, try him, try him,' " Coughlin recalled yesterday.

Coughlin, 63, won his Super Bowl with the Giants at the end of the 2007 season. He had won Super Bowl XXV as an assistant under Bill Parcells. Those were football games. This was life-and-death.

"Because of my faith, I always say that the Holy Spirit took him by the hand and walked him out of the building," Coughlin said, stopping on his way to lunch after practice, three days before the start of the 2009 season.

"The frustration of trying to communicate with someone who's in that circumstance . . . believe it or not, my son Brian, who was in law school, got Tim on the phone, like on the 29th floor. I finally got him on the first floor, on his cell phone, and the only thing I could say to him was, 'Tim, get out of there, fast as you can.' They had practiced a route to safety, and when he got up on that ramp, getting away from the building, that's when I kinda said to myself, 'Thank God he's out of there.' "

Tim, 37 and a bond trader at JP Morgan Securities, was working for Morgan Stanley on the 60th floor. He had made it down to the 44th floor when his tower was hit. His father reached him, finally, as he got close to the bottom of the building.

"I never heard any panic," Tim recalled, "but kind of a general sort of, 'You-really-need-to-get-out-of-there-as-soon-as-possible theme coming from him," Tim said. "You could see airplane seats, just debris everywhere."

Some 15-20 minutes later, as Tim scurried east, then north, his building crumbled. He didn't see it. "I heard it," he said.

What did Tim say to you? "He told me where he was . . . he told me that when he was coming down, firemen" -- and here Coughlin's eyes become moist -- "it chokes me up to talk about it -- the firemen were going up into 2000 degrees," Coughlin said. "Passed him on the stairs!"...

...."When this date comes up, it certainly makes everybody stop and think about where they were on that particular day," Coughlin said. "And of course your heart pours out -- what happens for me and for my family is we just stop and think about all the people who lost their lives in 9/11, and we reflect on the wonderful people and causes that we have been able to become aware of being here in the greater New York City area.

"We thank God obviously for our blessings, but we're very much aware of the families, and we see them all the time -- I saw a fireman up at training camp who had a shirt made up in honor of his dad . . . he lost his dad on 9/11 . . . so it's still a big part of us."

Tim still thinks about the friends, acquaintances and security people who never made it out. He doesn't feel safe anymore whenever he is in New York City. "I tend to not relax as much as I probably need to," he said.

His father was asked if 9/11 changed him. "I like to consider myself a patriot," he said, "but even more so, because of that."

Coughlin will mention 9/11's anniversary to his Giants today. "It's the New York Giants," he said. "It's red, white and blue, that's what I always talk about."

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September 11, 2001: How Baseball Helped Bring us Back [J. Mark English]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NFL: The Year of the Blackout? [J. Mark English]

For years, fans of the NFL have been subjected to the league's television blackout rule with little furry. It was more likely that if the blackout rule was in effect, then the home fans did not want to watch the team anyway. This year it may be because fans cannot afford to the game in these rough economic times.

To sum up how the league is handling this tough issue, Sean Gregory of Time has more:

The 2009 NFL season, which kicks off on Sept. 10 when the defending Super Bowl Champions the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Tennessee Titans, is ripe with intriguing story lines. After missing last season due to injury, can New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady return to Super Bowl form? After spending nearly two years in the slammer, how will Michael Vick fit into the Philadelphia Eagles' offense, not to mention society? And perhaps most puzzling of all, Why, during these historically bad economic times, is the NFL sticking it to its fans?

Granted, the league would take issue with that characterization, but it is nonetheless how many football fans feel about the so-called blackout rule. In recent years, the policy that a game would not be broadcast in a team's local market if it did not sell out its stadium 72 hours prior to kickoff — which dates to 1973, when the league feared that TV broadcasts would stop people from buying tickets — affected just a handful of games. But in the wake of the nation's worst recession in decades, as many as a dozen of the NFL's 32 markets, including Arizona, Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota and San Diego, are in danger of having their local telecasts blacked out. A Jacksonville Jaguars official says it's "very possible" that none of the team's eight home games will be broadcast in the hard-hit region (by comparison, only nine of the NFL's 256 regular-season games last year were blacked out). "My worry is that if the NFL doesn't look at changing the rule, we're losing a fan base," says Richard Clark, president of the Jacksonville City Council. "I would like to think they would really, really look at those communities which are hardest hit and have an honest discussion about it, as opposed to saying this is the way we've always done things."

Clark and other football fans shouldn't hold their breath. "No consideration is being given to changing the blackout policy," says NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. "It has served us well for decades, and we think it would be a mistake to alter it." And as much as some local officials may be griping about it, teams aren't necessarily helping. Some teams that are facing the prospect of blackouts haven't even lowered their ticket prices to entice fans. In Jacksonville, for example, the average general-admission ticket costs $57.34, a 3.7% increase from 2008, according to
Team Marketing Report. The average premium seat now costs $229.17, a 15% increase over the previous year. And local network affiliates aren't necessarily upset that they have to sometimes air a different game, since more competitive teams playing can actually translate to better ratings.

If any U.S. sports league has enough leverage to squeeze its passionate fans — the NFL even blocks satellite-TV signals so bars can't broadcast the game from out of town — it's this one. Despite the recession, from 2008 through 2011, the league will have received $11.6 billion from its network-television partners. Thus, it is keeping the blackout rule to maximize lucrative game-day revenues.

Still, the league hasn't been immune to the downturn: about 160 employees in the league office, for example, were either laid off or took buyouts over the past year. "When there are empty seats at NFL games, everything around the business of the NFL has been compromised," says David Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California, who says that crucial revenues to pay players, stadium bonds and private investors are at risk. Another reason for the rule is that the league believes a full house with screaming fans enhances the television-viewing experience. "If you're watching at home and you see a lot of empty seats, you're going to start wondering to yourself, What's wrong with me? Why am I watching this when people aren't showing up?" says Neal Pilson, founder of Pilson Communications, a consulting firm, and the former president of CBS Sports.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Video: For Sport Fans who Love Music - the Beatles Rockband [J. Mark English]

Video: Pepsi "Refreshes" the NFL and MLB [J. Mark English]

Happy 9/9/09! Courtesy of Kris Liakos of Walkoff Walk [J. Mark English]

I always get a kick out of "meaningful" numbers like today's date. Friends of mine might made use of a muzzle in the year 1111. In anticipation of the date, November 11, 1111, I'd have kept telling everyone just how special the day would be! (I'm sure I am mixing my present and past tenses in that sentence...whatever). Twice in the same day it would be 11:11 on 11/11/1111. I'm sure people fascinated with binary codes would have appreciated a year like 1010 much more, but still, 1111 is something sure to have given the darker ages folks a real hoot.

I digress. Kris Liakos relates today's date to sports. Thank goodness. Kris writes for the blog Walkoff Walk:

Oh yeah. It's 9/9/09, a good day for people like me who like to cross their eyes when they look at stuff. There are other people like that, right? Anyway, last year on 8/8/08 I paid tribute to Yogi, Yaz and Bo. It was one of my favorite pieces and it came out well because I had genuine affection for all three players.

This year we'll be paying tribute to one guy I love (Williams) one semi-tragic hero I find endlessly interesting, and one guy whose shining moment eclipses the rest of his Hall Of Fame career. So here are those 3 guys, back to front.

Bill Mazeroski: Last year was Yaz, this year it's Maz. One of the most impressive defensive infielders of his era, the 2001 Hall Of Fame inductee made 7 All-Star Teams and won 6 Gold Gloves. In 2163 GP he collected 2016 hits and was always a tough strikeout.

But it was the 1960 postseason in which he made his name. He slugged .640 in 7 playoff games that year including his Walkoff Ding Dong in game 7 against the Yankees, the first and only until Joe Carter did it again in 1992. It was one of two championships for Maz, who also played on the 1971 championship team with Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente.

Roger Maris: Maris is another guy, who for better or worse is known primarily for one thing, his 61 Home Runs in 1961. It was a monumental achievement forever tainted by the fact that we have to listen to Billy Crystal talk about it. Most people know the story. Maris and Mantle are neck and neck in the home race all through the summer. Everyone is rooting for Mantle until he gets hurt and the stress of the spotlight causes Maris' hair to turn into a flattop.

The years have made it seem like nobody appreciated what Maris that year since the whole country was full of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle worshipers. Whatever the prevailing sentiment was at the time, Maris was still awarded the MVP, his second straight. It's hard to ignore 366 TB, no matter how you feel about a guy.

While he would never again reach those lofty heights, the rest of Maris' career, both in New York and St. Louis, was respectable. Although to me his subsequent home run dropoff screams STEROIDS. Look at those numbers! His head grew! Maris retired to Gainesville (bad) where he ran a beer distributorship (good) until he passed away in 1985.

Ted WIlliams: There is absolutely nothing I can say about Ted Williams that could contribute to the conversation about him in any meaningful way. Aside from Ruth, there has never been a more discussed and dissected ballplayer. Partly because, aside from Ruth, there was never a better hitter. But Williams' life and career, both in baseball and in the Service, has come to serve as a symbol of Wartime, Post-War, and then War-again America in the middle of last century. His status as "the real life John Wayne" is now repeated to the point of cliche but serves to help illustrate his legacy. When you investigated that era's phony heroes like Wayne you found out there wasn't much there. Frauds mostly. In a life of tough, and sometimes incorrect decisions Williams was never a fraud. But for me, more that anything, it's the numbers.

The numbers are insane. A career OPS of 1.116 fleshes out his 521 HRs, all while playing a total of 495 games from 1950 through 1955. Williams was only 32 in 1950, and had arguably his best season in 1949. To celebrate 9/9/09 today, do me a favor and just look at these stats. Compare them against Gehrig, DiMaggio, Felix Jose or whomever. Numbers transcending sentimentalism and sensationalism show us the real reason for a player's legacy, and it's no wonder that WIlliams' is still so large.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Melanie Oudin: Cinderella at the U.S. Open [J. Mark English]

Katie Leslie with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles the sudden rise of the young Melanie Oudin at the U.S. Open:

Surprise tennis phenom Melanie Oudin may not be ranked in the top 10, 20 or even 40, but she is the new darling of tennis.

The Marietta-based teen was ranked 70th when she hit the courts of the U.S. Open last week, but after beating No. 13 seed Nadia Petrova Monday, she secured a spot in the quarterfinals and in the spotlight.

She was featured Tuesday on “Good Morning America.” The New York Times did a spread on her underdog story and famed sportswriter Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News profiled her rise to tennis fame, noting the 17-year-old ran “through Russian opponents like this is some old James Bond movie.”

“Sometimes it can still happen like this in sports, something this pure and new, a kid like this making you watch out of nowhere,” Lupica marveled. “She is going to be the star of her sport after this whether she makes it to the semis or finals or not.”

Said CBS sportscaster Dick Enberg after her last victory: “A star is born. Don’t underestimate what this woman can do.”

Oudin told “Good Morning America” that she’s still getting used to her fresh fame.

“It’s pretty crazy. It takes some getting used to, everyone knowing who you are now and people wanting to get to know me,” she said. “My sister [twin Katherine] has been so supportive of me and they’re so happy that I’m doing well...”

And despite the attention, she still finds time to be a teen, she said. She enjoys shopping, watching movies and playing cards with her grandmother. Oudin also spends time with her boyfriend, 15-year-old tennis player Austin Smith, who adorned Oudin with the motto “Believe” now featured on her Adidas sneakers.

With untold numbers of new fans watching, the teen takes the court again Wednesday to battle 9th seed Caroline Wozniacki. Fans at her home club in Norcross, the Racquet Club of the South, will convene once again to cheer for their local star.

“Anything can happen,” Oudin told GMA. “There’s no stopping me now I think and I’m just going to keep playing the way I play, and fighting hard, and I think that’s the best you can do.”

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Football Recruit Saves 22 Lives [J. Mark English]

Logan Lowery of the Bulldog Blitz site brings this heartwarming story of a true football hero:

Tuesday morning began just like any other morning for football star Kaleb Eulls.

Eulls and his three younger sisters were among 22 passengers on a school bus bound for Yazoo County High School in western Mississippi until a 14-year old female student boarded the bus armed with a .380 semi-automatic handgun threatening to shoot and ordering the bus driver to pull over.

Eulls had fallen asleep at the back of the bus listening to his mp3 player and did not realize what was happening until one of his sisters woke him up.

"My sister that was in front of me woke up and told me that the girl had a gun," Eulls said. "She was pointing it back and forth at other people and the little kids that were sitting at the back. I just thought real quick and tried to grab her attention before she pointed the gun at anybody else. I wanted her to point it at me so she wouldn't point it at anybody else."

Eulls then opened up the emergency door located in the back and began evacuating as many students as he could from the rear of the bus while trying to reason with the armed female.

"I just tried to talk to her and calm her down," said the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Eulls. "She was just getting louder and louder. I guess for a quick second she looked out the window and when she did that I just sprung at her. I just knocked her down and got the gun away from her. When I got the gun I ran out the back door and disarmed it."

Eulls, who is a four-star defensive end that is verbally committed to play football at Mississippi State next year, was not concerned for his own well being at the moment. He selflessly did what he thought was the right thing to save the life of the others on board.

"I was just scared for the younger kids and my family that was on the bus," Eulls said. "I was just thinking things out step-by-step as quickly as I could. After we got to the school and watched the tape I just sat there thinking 'what in the world did I just do?' I just thought about what if this would have happened or if this would have happened? It was just crazy."

Eulls, already a hometown sports hero in the town of just over 1,300 about 30 miles north of Jackson, Miss., earned the respect of the local law enforcement.

"The (officers) who have been there for a long time told me that they have stared down many barrels before and always felt like it was a big cannon pointing at them," Eulls said. "It is one scary feeling."

Yazoo County Sheriff Tommy Vaughn was quoted in the Jackson, Miss., based The Clarion Ledger saying "If it hadn't been for this star football player, things could have been different. He didn't go overboard, but he did exactly what it took to get her on the ground.

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Video: The Onion: NFL Stars Visit the Lions [J. Mark English]

Video: Miami Downs Florida State, 38-34 (Best Game of the Year?) [J. Mark English]

Friday, September 04, 2009

Senator Curt Schilling? [J. Mark English]

Curt Schilling is stirring a storm on hi blog, 38 Pitches, discussing the possibility of a run for the now vacant seat of the deceased Senator Ted Kennedy:

While my family is obviously the priority, and 38 Studios is a priority, I do have some interest in the possibility. That being said, to get to there from where I am today, many many things would have to align themselves for that to truly happen. I am not going to comment further on the matter since at this point it would be speculation on top of speculation.

My hope is that whatever happens, and whomever it happens to, this state makes the decision and chooses the best person, regardless of sex, race, religion or political affiliation, to help get this state back to the place it deserves to be.

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Labor Day Weekend Movie: The Spirit of the Marathon [J. Mark English]