Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tne New York Daily News (4/30/09) published excerpts from a new book written by Selena Roberts called "A-Rod".
More steroids talk to haunt ARod. Timing couldn't have been any better for boo-birds as ARod's disabled list stint is about ready to end. "A-Rod", the book, will be released on May 12 filled with plenty of ammunition for naysayers. ARod, the player, will have hundreds of thousands boo-birds hounding him in every baseball city upon being activated from the disabled list (probably the same week). NY fans will let him hear it too if the Yanks faulter.
I've read a few juicy tidbits released in today's Daily News column and listened comments by sports tv personalities. Apparantly, after ARod's press conference where spoke of his experimental time frame... those in the know questioned his accuracy and honesty. Eventually, a select few crossed paths with Roberts providing plenty of details for her "A-Rod" 250 page expose.
I was surprised only by one claim. AFraud was taking 'roids dating back to his high school playing days. If this holds true, then he's a complete fraud who should be denied Hall of Fame status. A handful of sportswriters who double as Hall of Fame voters have already said there's no way they could ever vote for a lifetime user. I hope it stands up when it's time for ballots to be counted. Rodriguez only admitted to experimenting while playing for Texas and stopped using in 2004. The book questions his statements and provides guilty by association blurbs such as ARod keeping company as recently as 2008 with Angel Presinal. Presinal has been banned from major league facilities after a steroids incident in 2001. (BTW, if MLB banned Persinal in 2001... how in the world can they claim, in front of a congressional committee, no one knew players were abusing?????????).
So, just when baseball believed it had successfully put the growth hormone/steroids scandal on the back burner... here comes "A-Rod" filled with more accusations by "unnamed sources". Funny thing about unnamed sources is most times, when relating to politics, I believe it's just a reporters way of injecting personal opinion. However, when it comes to sports reporting, these unnamed sources hit stories out of the park with their accuracy. Remember how Jose Canseco was bashed for writing his book outing players? He was called a money hungry lying thug only looking to promote his book. Until.... one by one outed players who denied (McGwire, Palmeiro) were to be proven liars. Remember during the McGwire/Sosa homer record chase stories questioned their validity? (McGwire was using a supplement at the time). Barry Bonds & BALCO.
I think more people will view the newest revelations as who cares? For sports fans, it confirms what most of us think about ballplayers from the 90's. Large numbers were guilty of using but, everyone was in the know.
Here's a few quotes/recaps of the book pasted from today's Daily News (bold) with my thoughts following:
"-In one shocking disclosure, the book accuses A-Rod of "pitch tipping" when he was with the Rangers - letting a friendly opponent at the plate know which pitch was coming in lopsided games." I'm sure ARod's ex-mates are thrilled to be hearing this one. At what point did AFraud think a game was out of hand to warrant tipping pitches from his teammates to opposing hitters? Especially, when he played for the slugging Texas Rangers who were capable of overcoming big deficits. This is cheating. Next news will accuse him of betting on these games?
"-Rodriguez expected players he helped would do the same for him when he was having an off night and needed to get his batting average up and it wouldn't affect the outcome of the game." I certainly hope there weren't any opposing players tipping off ARod... unless they were trying to trick him. These two allegations will need to be confirmed by reliable sources for me to fully believe. It also deserves attention from MLB investigations. Yet, it doesn't seem too far fetched.
"-The 255-page book also chronicles A-Rod's off-the-field escapades: his poker habit; his divorce from his wife, Cynthia; the relationship with Madonna, and dalliances with out-of-town floozies." This part is the juicy stuff tying everything together including a mention of his me-me-me mentality often spoken about by ex-teamers. It's not anything I care about other than gambling. ARod was heavily chastised for frequenting illegal late night poker games.. often before ball games. Has to make you wonder if he was ever approached to throw a game or two?
ARod will be needing earplugs during the season. All of his stats are now called into question. Not just the Texas years... everything. Roberts seems to be well respected in her field. Sports Illustrated writers have been known for breaking big in depth stories. On the surface, Roberts might be right on target. I think this book will contain plenty of supported truths, references and a few items left to reader's imaginations.
Bonds, McGwire, Canseco, ARod... some of the games biggest bashers of the 90's - 00's... had a little help and were rewarded with truckloads of money. Ah, baseball's HGH/'roids soap opera keeps on trucking. I'm guessing it will for many years. Even though many of us say "who cares" or "tell me something new" on the outside... whenever new allegations surface or sources become confirmed about big name and home town players... we follow the story. Players doping was so widespread the gossip will last for years to come. Surging again when the cheats become eligible for Hall of Fame consideration.
Irony. Most of these guys wanted to be so liked. Daydreaming of becoming baseball heroes when they were kids. Heroes who broke records of the games greatest players. Heroes whose names became synonymous with the games greatest. Heroes who won big World Series games. So much for self indulged heroes. Now, many will be remembered via ridicule for generations. Liars, cheaters and dopers. Baseball fans have witnessed tremendous games during the past two decades. It's too bad so many positives will forever be darkened by an forever hanging cloud of artificial influences.
NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Conference Semi-Final matchups are set. There were two great series which lasted the full seven games. Washington stormed back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to send the New York Rangers home to weep. New Jersey was stunned in Game 7 as they blew a lead (and the series) in the final minute to Carolina. Speaking of stunned, Western Conference regular season champion San Jose was knocked off by 8th seed Anaheim.
Semi-Final Predictions (team news on NHL.com)
Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes - Boston's well rested after a sweeping Montreal. On paper, Carolina is no match. Especially after a grueling seven game series vs Devils. Bruins in 5.
Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins - I suggest making sure to set aside time to check out these games. This has the makings of an epic playoff series. This matchup showcases NHL's top 3 scorers (Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, plus two of the three Hart Trophy finalists in Malkin and Ovechkin). The Caps almost got knocked off by NY until they snapped out of an early series funk. Pittsburgh got tough vs Flyers and won in 6. The shots will be flying. Goaltenders hold the keys. Washington in 7.
Detroit Red Wings vs Anaheim Ducks - Detroit needs to thank Anaheim for displacing San Jose. Is it clear sailing for the Wings? I think so. They're too playoff savvy but they better not take the Ducks for granted. Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller was outstanding vs Sharks and will need to duplicate vs Detroit. Not likely. Wings fans were nervous of Osgood before he proved naysayers wrong and returned to his former stellar playoff goaltending. Wings in 5.
Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks - This series will be the end of the road for both teams when Detroit prevails vs Anaheim. Neither has what it takes to beat the wings. However, Vancouver and Chicago will lock horns in a rough battle. These teams are evenly matched. Chicago prevails but will be gassed after this 7 game series and in no shape to challenge Detroit.
I'm thinking the Finals will feature Boston vs Detroit squaring off in one of the NHL's greatest Finals ever.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Embarrassingly visible vacant premium seats at Yankee Stadium created quite a stir for the past couple of weeks. The best seats in the house were mostly unoccupied. Local newspaper photographers jumped all over the chance of snapping shots of empties for publication (NY Daily News Photo above). I had heard unconfirmed rumors of Yankee brass ordering tv cameras to zoom in on players and use best angles to avoid showing vacant seats.
Yanks '09 gate receipts are off. Here's a team paying record salaries, new ballpark, etc and can't sell out. Vastly empty seats are located closest to the field between first and third base. No surprise to anyone outside of management $2,500.00 are a tiny bit overvalued. New York Yankees fans are some of the most loyal in all of sports. Generations of Yankees fans have slept outside over night, stood on hours long lines, braved traffic jams, survived subway derailments, navagated around water main breaks, cut classes, called in sick for work... all to see the Yankees play a baseball game.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Boston and New York were both riding winning streaks heading into this weekend's three game series. Red Sox had won 7 straight. Yanks, showing signs of life, had won 3 in a row. They were tied with 9-6 records. Joe Girardi's Yankees needed a good showing in Fenway. Instead, they received an old fashoned schooling by Terry Francona's Red Sox.
Boston did nearly everything great teams are supposed to do. They hit with runners in scoring position. Battled back when trailing. Pitched effectively. Bullpen saved games. Aggressive baserunning. Good fielding. Power. Managerial moves. Baseball 101 on full display. Sox swept Yanks 5-4, 16-11, 4-1.
My thoughts heading into this early season key matchup was to be more or less of a weather gauge. Yanks entered on a roller coaster type of season. They've looked good and horrific. The test was on vs arch rival Boston and Yanks embarrassed themselves.
Friday: Joba (should be setup for Rivera) pitched 5+ gutsy innings. Yanks were up 4-2... until... Rivera blew his 12th career regular season game vs Boston. Yanks had been 84-0 when leading after 8 since '08. The Sox have Mariano's number. They keep getting big hit after big hit against flat pitches by Rivera. Sox wait for his cutter and destroy high fastballs. Posada/Molina need to change up pitching locations. How many failures does it take for these battery mates to get it right? Big losses to ARod's replacement Ransom and SP Wang (15 day DL). Bruney was nearly lights out most nights setting up Rivera has a bad elbow.
Saturday: All seemed great. Yanks storm out to 6-0 early lead. AJ Burnett had 3 shutout innings behind him. All seemed right... until... Boston stormed back scoring 5 in the 4th, 3 in 5th, 1 in 6th, 3 in 7th and 4 in 8th. Burnett got bombed for 8. No reliever pitched 3 outs as they gave up 8 too! 16-11 Yanks bashed. Saturday's game was Day 1 of my Joe Girardi watch. I think the Steinbrenner watch began Sunday.... Tick Tock.
Sunday: Andy Pettitte has been Yanks only solid SP thus far entering at 2-0 in 3 quality starts. Yanks missed their chances and scored only 1. Yanks caught sleeping in the 5th. Bases loaded vs Pettitte (pitching from a full wind up)... and Ellsbury stole home with ease. It was at this moment I predict Steinbrenner's "official" stop watch was turned on against Girardi. Sloppy baseball. Yanks not on their toes. Not even their veteran southpaw. Tick Tock.
New billion dollar Stadium, new multi-million dollar deals to CC, AJ & Teixeira. Empty prime seating empty. Something's gotta give. Yanks were playoff bound every year for Torre. Girardi, while well liked by his players, can't seem to motivate these guys to produce. Some say "well ARod's been injured" yada yada. It's very early in the year and no need for fans to hit any panic buttons (leave it to owners). If the Yanks finish April with a losing record, Girardi is gone. Tick Tock.
The pitching staff is getting rocked. CC has started slowly. AJ was solid until Boston, same for Pettitte. However, Chien-Ming Wang... Wowie! I've never seen anything like it. So bad, no words sum it up. He's been tossing batting practice meatballs. 3 starts, 6 innings (total), 23 hits, 23 runs, 6 walks, 2 strikeouts (must be a typo), 2 home runs. ERA 34.50!!! Yanks shut him down (15 day DL) and called up a red hot Phil Hughes who was a complete bust in '08. Let's hope his AAA success has given Phil some confidence in preparation for Tuesday's game in Detroit.
As for the hitters, the stats look nice but they're not coming thru in clutch situations. Always seem to be swinging for homers instead of making contact for singles with runners in scoring positions. Yanks aren't doing the little things well consistently. Leaving runners on base game after game. Making bad outs. Tick Tock.
I like Girardi. He was a great manager for Florida before having a public fued with owners. He'll be a great manager for another team. Joe's just not the right guy for this one. Steinbrenner's have been unusually silent. Something has to wake up this team. If Joe can't do it... Yanks will find someone who can.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Baseball's greatest rivalry gets underway Friday night in Boston's rustic Fenway Park. It's the most meaningful early season matchup for the Yankees in years. Boston and NY are tied with 9-6 records. Both are riding winning streaks heading into tonight's opening game (Boston 7, NY 3). Girardi and Francona have pencilled in quite a pitching matchup. It'll be Joba vs Lester (Fri), Burnett vs Beckett (Sat), Pettitte vs Masterson (Sun).
The Yanks got off to a rocky start this year including a 22-4 shellacking in their new stadium. They're on a 3 game mini-streak right now. Girardi's biggest lineup challenge, which I think is a no brainer for this series, is whether to start Melky or rookie Gardner. Melky Cabrera is on fire right now with 4 homers in 3 starts. Big bats will be needed. Melky's faced the pressures vs Boston and responded. He'll probably be given a shot in the opening game vs lefty Lester. I'd start him in all 3. Since I said this, of course Girardi will probably only play him in the opener.
Pitching is always the key for New York. It'll be doom and gloom if starting pitchers can't complete 7 innings. I've always found it funny how pitchers appearances are mostly determined by pitch counts. Only a few go the distance anymore. It wasn't so long ago hurlers like Catfish Hunter, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton and Jim Palmer were throwing complete game after complete game. Sometimes in four man rotations. Y2K starters are handled very delicately. Progress? Back on point... if the Red Sox get to the Yankees bullpen early, it'll be lights out for New York as the Joe Girardi watch heats up sports talk radio.
Red Sox team chemistry is probably the AL's best. They're solid in all aspects of the game. Big Papi is off to a slow start. He'll be ready to go and this series could be just what the Sox need to wake up their sleeping giant. Ortiz (homerless) has already stated Joba better not be head hunting Friday night.
These teams split 9-9 in '08. Boston vs NY is baseball's best rivalry. Year after year these guys slug it out... sometimes with their fists. It doesn't take much for get their benches emptied these days. Diehard baseball fans who still haven't ventured to historic Fenway Park... get up and go! There aren't many authentic ball fields left in the game. Fenway Park is an experience. Hey Yankee fans... don't want to pay Stadium prices? It's only a short drive to Boston!
I'm thinking slugfest Friday night as Joba throws a ton of pitches and is out by 5th. Starting pitchers take control in final two games. This series is an early season barometer of all kinds for New York.
All World All Sports
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
It's NFL Draft time! Teams are busy contacting future stars and negotiating trades for draft positioning. Will 2009's #1 become an instant sensation or the next million dollar bonus baby flop?!?
On the clock with big decisions to make is 2008's record breaking winless Detroit Lions (0-16). Draft or trade has been debated by analysts, bloggers and fans. NFL.com's Reader Poll asks readers Who should the Lions select with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft? Matthew Stafford, QB (Georgia), Aaron Curry, LB (Wake Forrest) and Jason Smith, OT (Baylor) have been mentioned most often as prizes of this years draft.
I think Detroit's most prudent play is to make a pre-draft deal. Detroit owns picks 1 & 20 placing them in a tremendous win, win situation. They should be able to work out a beneficial deal for players and draft picks for #1. No need to throw top dollar after an unproven player when this team needs many to right their ship. I'm sure there's plenty of low round teams willing to deal away players or picks to secure #1. Especially a powerhouse team drafting deep (New England, Philadelphia, Giants, Pittsburgh). Dallas Cowboys do not have any first round picks. Jerry Jones has been known to wheel and deal. Cowboys unveil their new $1B+ stadium and are thirsty for a Championship.
Here's the current NFL draft order and what I think each team needs heading into selection day (April 25):
1 Detroit Lions - Trade down. Select offensive lineman, defensive lineman or game changing LB.
2 St. Louis Rams - Defense, defense, defense. One of NFL's worst units in yds/game and points allowed (465).
3 Kansas City Chiefs - Offense and defense. Going after a top LB is key.
4 Seattle Seahawks - Not nearly as bad as record suggests. WR (who catches more than drops!), OL, DL would help.
5 Cleveland Browns - QB, RB. Browns and interesting team. QB & WR are draft needs.
6 Cincinnati Bengals - Perhaps they should consult a psychologist or two to interview potential draftees.
7 Oakland Raiders - Who would want to play for Al Davis Raiders?
8 Jacksonville Jaguars - Jags just got Holt. Cornerback, LB and OL keys for immediate success.
9 Green Bay Packers - Protection for QB, DB.
10 San Francisco 49ers - Singletary's first draft. Defense, defense, defense. Special teams help in later rounds.
11 Buffalo Bills - Offensive line needs help. FB & TE would be welcomed additions. 2 1st round picks (11, 28) gives Bills flexibility.
12 Denver Broncos - Quickly rebuilding via trades for new coach Josh McDaniels. Two 1st round picks. They'll probably go for best available game changer. Needs are plentiful. QB and defense especially on line and LB's.
13 Washington Redskins - Pass rusher. field leading QB. Campbell was efficient but doesn't have the instincts to lead Skins to division title.
14 New Orleans Saints - Pass rusher, linebackers, CB, Safety and WR. If the Saints can stop opposing offenses then they'll go from average to great overnight.
15 Houston Texans - Solid young nucleus of talent. Pass rushers & secondary help. Perhaps a stud interior lineman if one's still available.
16 San Diego Chargers - Defense. Big game LB would be an instant upgrade. Heavy hitting Safety.
17 New York Jets - I'm expecting NY to deal before they get to #17. QB is a MUST. DB's and Safety needs upgrading.
18 Denver Broncos - See #12
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Offensive line and special teams. For whatever reason, special teams is usually TB's biggest weakness costing them field position and points.
20 Detroit Lions - See #1
21 Philadelphia Eagles - WR's. Eagles wideouts historically can't catch or break free from defenders. McNabb takes the heat but has no help. Front office decision making not great. Philly should trade up.
22 Minnesota Vikings - Go with best available. Offensive line to patch up holes. LB. Minnesota one or two players away from challenging in up for grabs division.
23 New England Patriots - RB, backup QB, pass rusher, depth. Best drafting guru's in NFL reside here. New England is best team at developing talent and making the right picks. It's probably best to just sit back and see which surprise is snagged.
24 Atlanta Falcons - Coming off an eye opening '08. Defensive play makers will keep this team focused on winning.
25 Miami Dolphins - Draft guru Parcells like tough defenders. Miami needs help in many areas on both sides of the field.
26 Baltimore Ravens - New speedy targets for QB Joe Flacco. Baltimore found out the short conservative attack only goes so far. Deep threat WR to spread the field helps immediately.
27 Indianapolis Colts - Defense. The difference between being an NFL dynasty and a great team has been the lack of a killer D. Head Coach slash Defensive Guru Dungy retired. Colts could quickly become the Rams if they're not careful.
28 Buffalo Bills - See #11.
29 New York Giants - WR & CB. Giants need to step up passing game and stop opponents passing game. A mid round LB couldn't hurt either.
30 Tennessee Titans - QB, WR. Titans need to think out of the box and beyond '09. Collins may or may not repeat success from one year ago. Either way, he's only a one season solution. Deep threat wideouts and better pass protection needed.
31 Arizona Cardinals - Offensive line and defense. Super Bowl runner ups want to prove '08 wasn't a fluke. Lack of run stoppers has been a sore spot for years.
32 Pittsburgh Steelers - Super Bowl Champs draft last. Solid team could use a bruising offensive lineman or shut down corner. If they don't trade up then they'll probably tackle weak spots on the depth chart or special teams.
My top rated players by position:
QB: Matthew Stafford (Georgia)
RB: Chris Wells (Ohio State)
WR: Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech)
TE: Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State)
OL: A.Q. Shipley (Center, Penn State)
DL: Peria Jerry (DT, Mississippi)
LB: Aaron Curry (Wake Forrest)
CB: Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio State)
S: Patrick Chung (Oregon)
Monday, April 20, 2009
Another week of sports news made headlines. Plenty to talk about from new ballparks to retiring legends.
GoodNew Yorkers were treated to the unveiling of new baseball stadiums. Yankee Stadium and Citi Field officially opened to tremendous fanfare. Unfortunately, both Yanks & Mets lost their inaugural regular season games.
Florida Marlins (10-1) hot start is turning heads. Florida has baseball's lowest payroll ($36,834,000 vs #1 Yankees $201,449,189). They're a great young team. This organization keeps rolling out baseball's brighest young stars. I've always admired how the Marlins were able to keep winning games year after year considering how they normally trade away star players due to tight budgets.
NBA & NHL Playoffs have begun. Early favorites in hoops seem to be Cleveland and Los Angeles Lakers. On the ice, Boston and San Jose try duplicating their regular season dominance. I'm thinking it'll be Lakers & Bruins as champs.
NFL Draft begins this weekend (April 25). Rumors flying on what Detroit (0-16) will do with the leagues first pick? I wouldn't be surprised to see them deal off #1 for more picks which is exactly what this team needs. If they decide to go first, then their front office needs to get it right. Detroit has a young nucleus of players. 0-16 will be etched into the record books forever but these guys are only a couple of players away from becoming playoff challengers. All sorts of fantasy leagues are open for fans to guess how the draft unfolds.
Is it already hot seat time for Yankees Manager Joe Girardi? 2008 was his first year at the helm (replaced Joe Torre) and Yanks failed to make playoffs for the first time since 1994. Baseball's biggest payroll, new stadium, new monster free agents... if it doesn't fall into place soon, he could be MLB's first managing casualty of '09. 22-4 scalping by Indians couldn't have helped.
New York Giants shopping for a wide receiver. Rumors swirling around Cleveland's Blaylon Edwards. Giants need 2 speedsters for Manning. The coming days leading up to the NFL draft will be very interesting for many teams.
Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett is considering risking returning prematurely from his knee injury. Injuries suck, but KG would be foolish to risk his future. His injury is a great test for the C's to regroup. Many Championships have been won with stars injured on the sidelines.
The Masters handed out another Green Jacket. Angel Cabrera withstood a furious surge then fadaway by Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to win his first Masters.
NASCAR's Mark Martin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix (1st win of the season).
Hall of Fame former Oakland Raiders NFL Head Coach turned game commentator John Madden has called it a career after 30 years in the booth. As Raiders head coach, he became the youngest to win 100 regular season games. Retired from coaching due to ulcers after 7 division titles & 1976 Super Bowl victory. One of the most noted broadcasters and launched best selling video game (Madden NFL, EA Sports). I've always been a Madden fan. I'm going to miss is goofy in game comments and 8 legged Thanksgiving Day turkeys.
New York Yankees, in their Stadium opening weekend, were embarrassed 22-4 by the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe's 14 run second inning was the most ever scored against the Yanks in a single inning. I'm betting the Joe Girardi stop watch has been set. If things don't get better in a hurry, he'll be gone (soon to be followed by GM Cashman). Their new $1.5-billion Stadium unleashed an MLB record 20 home runs (the most ever during an opening homestand at a new park). Apparent routine fly balls to right kept going and going and going... This can't be what the Yanks brass had in mind. Then again, maybe it was just their horrid pitching staff tossing up meatball after meatball.
New York Mets organization deserves chump status for failing to pay any sort of tribute to team history in new Citi Field. Most fan complaints have been how this new park seems more like a tribute to the Dodgers instead of the home team. Exec GM was lured onto local sports talk radio to field questions of fan concerns only to dig a deeper hole. Tax funded field fails to recognize the team for which it was supposed to be built. It's a mind boggling blunder.
Harry Kalas, a people's champion, died on April 13th. Kalas was a legend in the Philadelphia area, calling Phillies games since 1971. He was also known as the voice of NFL Films since 1977. There was never mistaking his voice for another.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thanks for the memories John Madden.
One of the NFL's most popular celebrities is calling it a career. John Madden made his official farewell speech this week. He's done. He was one of the very first coaches I learned of as a kid just learning football while watching games with my father. Don Shula and Tom Landry were the others.
Madden was one of the games best while pacing the Oakland Raiders sidelines. After coaching, he called games in the booth for 30 years. He quickly won over viewers on his way to a stellar broadcasting career. Some of his calls in the booth are the NFL's version of Yogi-isms.
Madden signed up with EA Sports and produced a blockbuster best selling hit, Madden NFL. The games video technology are second to none. Curse believers have noted how most players featured on box covers soon become "jinxed". The "Madden Curse" was born. Garrison Hearst, Eddie George, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Sean Alexander, Vince Young & Brett Favre are former covers who suffered a bit afterwards via injury, production slip off, missed playoffs etc. Too funny. I wonder what goes thru the minds of players when approached by Madden or EA Sports? San Diego's star halfback Tomlinson was rumored to be negotiating with EA two years ago until there was an outcry from fans. He later cited contractual differences as reasoning for terminating consideration. Funny, I don't really believe in curses unless it comes to sports. Quite frankly, I think the players put the kahooky on themselves. Once thoughts of curses gets into their heads... they're doomed.
Love him or not, there's only one John Madden. Nobody can duplicate his colorful style of commentary. He and Pat Summeral were great fun to hear in the booth when watching games. Madden's Thanksgiving Day turkey leg giveaways to players of the game were usually a hit too (as were most of his game mvp type awards). Don't forget about the All Madden Teams or his fear of flying. He travels the country in his famous custom "Madden Cruiser" from which many NFL specials and interviews were filmed. Talk about a homerun by the networks smart enough to sign up Madden. He's earned them plenty of dough.
Ok, so when does the Madden Steakhouse open? So long John. Thanks for the memories!
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New York Mets fans have voiced major complaints about their new stadium. Fans flooded airwaves, blogs, newspapers and whatever other means to state their obvious disappointment and outrage over Citi Field. Most of the outrage is how there is no representation of any Mets history. I agree wholeheartedly (as previously blogged). No mention of former players, World Series Championships, Division Titles, legends, Hall of Famers, former owners, William Shea... you name it, and it's probably not found in Citi Field. But, there's plenty of Dodgers and Jackie Robinson. Might as well call this place Jackie Robinson Field. My friends and I felt like we were watching the Mets play a road game.
Next up on the growing list of concerns is plenty of obstructed view seats from upper levels, behind the left field wall and Pepsi Porch. Not only obstructed by beams, wires and the like... but, also from lack of direct views of the field. Even Mets commentators complained they can't tell if balls hit are fair or foul down the right field line unless they look at their television monitors.
Food service opening night was pitiful on the lower level. Fans are still complaining as Mets management tries to get a handle on how to speed things up. Long lines clog up corridors and keep fans away from live action. We had a tough time even finding vendors on foot selling sodas to fans in their seats. When I went for a Nathan's Hot Dog and a drink I stood on line for 15 minutes before walking around the entire lower level searching for shorter lines. NONE! Ok, this is just my pet peeve and probably can be chaulked up to growing pains. Right? Maybe not.
Here's a replay of WFAN's Mike Francesa interviewing Mets Executive Vice President of Business Operations Dave Howard. Howard fumbled through his answers. Many of his responses were either inaccurate or inept. Especially when he's a EVP.
Some of Howard's choice answers to concerns raised during the interview:
(On Citi being more of Dodgers than Mets)... “There is NO homage to the Dodgers! There is, an appropriate tribute to a great American, someone who singlehandedly probably did more for the advancement of civil rights in our country than anybody, and by the way did that in New York … so we think that’s entirely appropriate, we’re honored and proud to do it … Rachel Robinson is thrilled … it’s not about the Dodgers, it’s about Jackie Robinson and all he did for America …”
My response: Hey that's great. How about a tribute for the team this stadium was built for? Prior Champions? Honor the people who created the Mets organization? Later on Howard fumbled and stated something will be done down the road. COP OUT.
(On obstructed views)... “Here is the issue, this is with regard to seating in fair territory in the outfield, which is something different that we have at Citi Field, that we really did not have much of at Shea Stadium. … the reality is … a little seating we had in fair territory in the outfield at Shea Stadium did have some blind spots on the field, it is NOT obstructed. The way we characterize “obstructed” is if you have an obstruction, something in front of you — a beam, a pillar, something that’s blocking your view. That’s not the case here. It is a function of the geometry of the building. And it is a conscious decision that we made along with the designers and the architects, that we wanted people to be lower and closer to the field, and have great views, and great views of the action. By doing that in fair territory, you are going to have situations where you are going to lose certain blind spots in the deep outfield of those sections. That is something we understood to be a factor. It is true in every new ballpark that has seating in the outfield …”
My response: Someone should take him on a tour of Citi Field. Pictures from obstructed view seats have been photo'd and are all over the internet.
(On parking concerns and concession lines)... “Two significant things about the parking, number one is, we now operate it, and we think we’ll do a better job of driving a better customer experience with regard to parking. … parking will be a significantly better experience all the way around … from a concessions standpoint … based on the last four events … we have been setting records — not just Mets records, but records for Aramark — in terms of business that we have done, so there’s no question that this ballpark, especially with regard to the infrastructure, and the way we have designed the food and beverage and the merchandise layout, it has responded very well.”
My response: So what's your point? Better parking experience? Setting record food sales? Or, just that Mets are making a killing? The way everything is designed actually inhibits the free flow of foot traffic between the foul poles. Try it sometime David.
Well, that's enough griping on Citi Field. It is what it is. And, more importantly, what it is not!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
New Yankee Stadium officially opened this afternoon. Baseball's Grand Cathedral was filled with thousands of awestruck fans. The lucky ones arrived early to view anything and everything Yankees decorating the Stadiums interior and exterior. I can't wait to make my first appearance to see it for myself. Descriptions from friends who attended the Cubs/Yanks exhibition games were not to be believed.
I did get to walk around the majestic Stadium while under construction. It's exterior is like no other and very close to the original Stadium. New Yorkers who grew up watching their old stars claim it's an exact replica.
Yankees Dynasty has a new home. A few superstitious types are worried the ghosts of Babe, Lou, Mickey & Joe D might be lost. We'll soon find out if the Yanks can find their lost magic or if they've got what it takes to create new ones? The stars of old are long gone. Yankees stars of today... Jeter, Rivera, Posada, Sabathia & Teixeira... will soon be making headlines on their way towards many Championships to come.
Unfortunately for fans a game was played today. Yanks hosted the Cleveland Indians this afternoon to christen the ballpark. Yanks were too gracious. They handed Cleveland 10 runs and got scalped 10-2. Not quite what owners, fans and players had in mind for the first game. It's ok as everyone in baseball knows New York will win far more games than they lose here.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
(NHL Playoff Coverage from NHL.com)
Playoff predictions are always fun. This year, NHL Playoffs feature a few red hot teams. Anything can happen. Here are my picks for the opening round.
(1) Boston Bruins vs (8) Montreal Canadiens
32nd Playoff series between these two old foes. Bruins are much better this time. Bruins win in 5.
(2) Washington Capitals vs (7) New York Rangers
Washington's #2 power play unit faces Rangers #1 penalty killing team. Rangers will win this series in 7 hard fought games.
(3) New Jersey Devils vs (6) Carolina Hurricanes
Red hot Carolina brings their A game vs NHL's winningest goalie. Brodeur too tough in playoff hockey. Devils in 5.
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs (5) Philadelphia Flyers
Both teams finished the regular season with 99 points and 264 goals scored. It'll be a fight from start to finish. Penguins win in 7.
(1) San Jose Sharks vs (8) Anaheim Ducks
Sharks eat Ducks. Sweep in 4 no contest games.
(2) Detroit Red Wings vs (7) Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit knows how to win Playoff games. Wings in 5.
(3) Vancouver Canucks vs (6) St Louis Blues
This could be one of the most entertaining matchups. Could be high scoring games. Vancouver in 7.
(4) Chicago Black Hawks vs (5) Calgary Flames
What ever happened to the great Chicago teams? Flames win in 6.
Stay tuned for round by round blogs.
The man behind one of the most distinguishable voices in sports broadcasting history collapsed and died Monday night. Harry Kalas, 73, is a household name in the City of Brotherly Love. He was the voice of Phillies baseball since 1971. Kalas' career stretched far beyond Philadelphia sports. Anyone familiar with NFL Films can easily recognize Kalas voice narrating thousands of play by play highlights.
His voice was one of my all time favorites. Anyone who knew of Kalas could easily recognize his voice much in the same way most can single out James Earl Jones.
Kalas' work in the sports world spanned beyond Philly & NFL Films. CBS Radio, Mutual and Westwood One were some of his other avenues covering the major sports. He even lent his voice for Alcoa Fantastic Finishes and a variety of commercials.
Not many old time announcers remain in professional sports booths. There's been a changing of the guard within recent years due to untimely deaths of famous aged voices.
Kalas memory and voice will live on forever in highlight films. A true class act.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Say goodbye to rustic, old, run down, antiquated Shea Stadium. Citi Field officially opened last night as the new Mets home. New York's new stadium is an eye catcher. I was one of the fortunate fans to be at opening day. Citi's exterior design replicates an old NY favorite, Ebbets Field. It's entrance pays tribute to Jackie Robinson (Robinson Rotunda). Fan reaction has been wide ranging and thoroughly mixed.
Citi Field will provide the new generation many great memories. It's very pleasing to the eye. Each seat is angled for optimum field views. Fans can watch games from most locations while walking around the park. New field dimensions will challenge both hitters and fielders. Tall outfield walls, deep distances from home plate, Pepsi Porch in right field. Outstanding new centerfield scoreboard. And, yes, the Mets Big Apple was transported from Shea and now sits in center too. Better concession stands highlighted by Nathan's Franks and specialty foods. It really is a great place to watch a game.
Transportation couldn't be easier from rail accessability to parking. Security was in plain sight and plentiful. Even New York's finest were on hand using their most technological surveillance including bioligical warfare dectectors, helicopters and sharp shooters who were stationed in not so descrete locations.
For younger Mets fans... it's a great place soon to create memories spanning generations. They'll love it. Tradition rich older fans... it's tough love.
I've been thinking of how best to represent Citi Field in this brief blog. Most of my childhood baseball memories were from days spent rooting on my favorite New York team from great seats in Shea Stadium. At Shea, there was no mistaking it was home to the New York Mets. The famous scoreboard in right field was one of a kind when first built. Mets memories splashed everywhere within its' vast structure. Mets pennants blowing from flagpoles. Shea hosted some of baseball's most memorable moments. It also hosted many great venues from famous concerts to religious leaders. Let's not forget, this was also home for the New York Jets football team too.
I, and many others in attendance last night, had an overwhelming feeling while viewing the game. I felt as though I was watching the Mets in someone else's beautiful new home stadium. Los Angeles Dodgers players will love it. It was built more for old Dodger fans than old Mets fans. Mets Owner Fred Wilpon grew up as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and it shows. More tribute was paid to Brooklyn than to the Mets. How odd!!!!
Citi Field barely displays the Mets name. I counted 4 places where the Mets were represented. 1) "Let's Go Mets!" on the scoreboard. 2) Big Apple in center. 3) A "few" banners buried outside the park. 4) 1969 & 1973 banners on one flag pole. That's it! Nothing, zero, nada on interior walkways, corridors. No Mets emblems. No pictures of current/former players. No World Series moments. No Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, Rusty Staub or player tributes. Nothing to speak of for "Mets" history. Not even outfield fence colors represent the Mets!
Plenty of Dodgers stuff though. Laughable. Citi's main entrance features Robinson Rotunda filled with Jackie related "Brooklyn Dodgers" moments. Complete with engraved marble flooring, a huge Dodger Blue "42" (Robinson's uniform number) and plenty of Dodgers pictures in panoramic view. Interior walkways are filled with Ebbets Field references with no Mets themes. I appreciate the exterior design emulating Ebbets Field. A tribute to Robinson is also nice but NOT as the main attraction for a "New York Mets" team. In practical theory, there's absolutely no connection between Robinson and the Mets.
It's obvious to me Mets owner Fred Wilpon is still infatuated with Brooklyn Dodgers memories from his youth. Most Brooklynites from back then still rightfully hold their deep love and appreciation of their childhood Dodgers stars. However, with Citi, Wilpon seems to set aside the plain and simple fact this is home to the METS!
Funny little known fact is there's more of a historical Mets connection to the New York Giants. Mets first owners (Payson) were also co-owners of the Giants who fiercely opposed their moving to San Francisco. Giants director, Donald Grant, also voted against the move. He became the Mets Chairman of the Board. Mets team colors closely resembled Giants old Navy/Orange. Mets played their first two seasons in the Giants home (Polo Grounds).
A beautiful stadium with a sour taste. How can anyone build a new park which does not honor the home team for which it was built? I'm hoping additions will be made representing Mets history but don't expect to catch me blue in the face from holding my breath! Without some sort of team history, Citi Field is nothing more than a new generic ballpark.
As for the Mets first ever regular season home game. 6-5 loss to the San Diego Padres.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Visit All World All Sports
Joba Chamberlain exploded on the baseball scene back in 2007. The Yankees newest phenom dominated baseball late that September. In 19 games as a reliever, often setting up Mariano Rivera, Joba gave up only 1 run spanning 24 innings and 12 hits. New York fans went wild over their newest favorite player. He was nearly perfect until one buggy playoff night in Cleveland.
At first, Joba was handled over cautiously. Never allowed to pitch in back to back games or more than one inning per game. Yankees management was taking no chances with their rookie's golden arm. In 2008, the strategy was to let Joba begin the year as a set up reliever for Rivera. He was stellar in this role. The 2nd phase of their plan was to have Joba starting games for the rest of his career after the Midsummer Classic (All Star Game). Today, he started his 1st game of 2009 in Kansas City. Yes, he was effective (only 1 earned run in 6 innings) but the Yanks bullpen blew a late lead and the game 6-4.
I couldn't disagree more with the Yanks using Joba as a starting pitcher. In 49 career relief appearances, Chamberlain sports a 1.53 ERA, 78 K's in 59 IP. Unhittable as a bullpen specialist. Remember the most dominating of Yankees teams from the 70's thru now? All had a lights out bullpen. Sparky Lyle and Goose Gossage kept hitters off balance. Rivera setting up John Wetteland earned a couple of titles. Joba setting up Rivera is as close to a lock as a team can get. Once Rivera retires, Joba is the perfect pitcher to fill his illustrious shoes.
Chamberlain has shown flashes as a starter. But, he's far far more dominant as a reliever when he can come into games and just air out his 99 mph fastballs. As a starter, he often labors and gets too deep in pitch counts. He's being mis-used. Obviously, the Yanks want Joba to dominate as a great starting pitcher for the next 10 years. To me he seems like two completely different pitchers. As a reliever, he strikes fear into batters.
New York finally has a solid rotation (Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Wang & Joba). Their bullpen is lacking even though they've tried for years to find a late game solution. Guess what? There's been only one winning formula since their last Championship. Joba + Rivera. Obviously, the Yanks brass isn't paying attention... yet.
Here's a crazy option for the Yanks. Use Joba in 7th & 8th innings. Leave the starting job to someone else. What good is it to the Yanks if Joba goes six strong ... then watches hopelessly from the dugout as NY's bullpen throws away game after game? Heck, at this juncture... I'd entertain signing Pedro Martinez to set up Rivera! Why not? Ok, he's far from my first choice. Point is, Yanks greatest option is to create baseball's best late inning 1-2 punch.
It makes very little sense for Chamberlain to pitch six strong innings if leads are blown resulting in losses. Either the current Yanks pen wakes up quickly (won't happen), or find another starter so this squad can shut down opponents with Joba/Rivera late in games. It's simple logic and most efficient use. Joba could become one of baseball's all time greatest relievers. At this stage of his young career... it's where he's needed most. It's time for the Yanks to put aside their stubborness and see the light.
Friday, April 10, 2009
It's been a week of big sports news items. NCAA basketball champions crowned. Baseball season began. Golfers swinging away at the Masters. And one horrific tragedy taking the life of a 22 year old rookie future star.
University of North Carolina were crowned NCAA Men's Basketball National Champions after knocking off an overwhelmed Michigan State team 89-72. UNC dominated from opening tipoff setting an NCAA Finals record 21 point halftime lead.
University of Connecticut women's team dominated college basketball like no other. Undefeated 39-0. Rarely challenged (won every game by more than 10 points). Blowout Championship victory 76-54 was 6th in school history. One of college basketball's greatest teams ever.
Baseball's regular season has begun. Florida Marlins are the only early season undefeated team (3-0). Yankees pundits were calling for heads after NY lost their opener in Baltimore. Kansas City, my personal surprise team for '09, has come out of the gate strong.
The Masters Championship began. As always, much of the fanfare and press followed Tiger Woods every move. Tiger is nowhere to be found on the leaderboard as Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry lead the field. Who will win the Green Jacket this year?
No Pedro Martinez sightings yet. His tremendous baseball career might be done for good. During the WBC, Pedro was lobbying for a return to MLB by showing off his lively arm. No callers yet.
An early return for injured Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez? Hip surgery sidelined ARod. He was supposed to be out until mid to late May. He's gunning for late April and has begun light baseball related activities.
NFL defensive end Jason Taylor wants to play in Miami again. Rumors suggested interest by New York Jets. "But the Jets are the Jets," Taylor said with a beaming smile. "I've had a lot of history saying bad things about Jets fans. The fireman hat guy [Fireman Ed] and all of the people in New York that are Jets fans are not the ones that are working on Wall Street. I've said all of those things. So I've got to leave it at that."
NCAA Champs UNC (men's), UCONN (women's).
NBA Conference Champs: East - Cleveland, West - Lakers.
NHL Conference Champs: East - Boston Bruins, West - San Jose Sharks.
Andrew Thomas Gallo for killing 22 year old Los Angeles Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart in a hit and run traffic accident. Adenhart, ranked as one of baseball's top 50 prospects, had earlier started and pitched 6 shutout innings for LA in front of family and friends. Gallo had a suspended license because of a previous drunken driving conviction. The cowardly killer ran a red light broadsiding the car killing Adenhart and two friends.
Terrell Owens - after refusing to participate in voluntary workouts with his new Buffalo Bills teammates, TO has finally decided to shape up and show up. It's always something with this guy. His smack talk against Dallas led former QB turned commentator Troy Aikman to suggest TO's release was a solid move by the Cowboys. Funny how none of TO's former teams seem to miss him one bit.
France vs Lance Armstrong - Here we go again. 7 time Tour de France Champion Armstrong is in hot water again with the French. This time for (according to ESPN): "...violating its rules Thursday for not fully cooperating with a drug tester and says it could punish the seven-time Tour de France champion." At question is a 20-minute delay when Armstrong says the tester agreed to let him shower while the American rider's assistants checked the tester's credentials. It's always something with French officials and Lance. From conspiracy theories to French authorities mishandling urine specimens to flat out allegations of lying and cheating. To this date, no admissable evidence has ever been presented prompting Armstrong to snipe: "Was winning the Tour seven times that offensive?!?" This saga is long from over. His latest recent run might get him officially suspended from Tour de France competitions.
New York sportswriters and sports radio hosts make the list for panicking after the Yankees opening day defeat. They made it sound as though the season was lost on its' first day less. Less than 24 hours later NY press berated new stars CC Sabathia & Mark Teixeira as wasted free agent signings. It's amazing how quickly the Yankees were trashed after completing a terrific spring training season (24-10). Someone remind writers it's a 162 game season.
Los Angeles Angels starting rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart, 22, was living his dream. He's ranked as one of baseball's top 50 prospects. He pitched very effectively during spring training winning a job in the Angels injury riddled starting rotation. Wednesday night was his first start of the season and he pitched very well (6 innings 0 runs allowed). Family and friends were in attendance rooting him on. Tragedy struck only a few hours after the game. Adenhart was killed by a hit and run driver in Fullerton, California.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Los Angeles Angels starting rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart, 22, was living his dream. He's ranked as one of baseball's top 50 prospects. He pitched very effectively during spring training winning a job in the Angels injury riddled starting rotation. Last night was his first start of the season and he pitched very well (6 innings 0 runs allowed). Family and friends were in attendance rooting him on.
Tragedy struck only a few hours after the game. Adenhart and three others were killed by a hit and run driver in Fullerton, California. The dream is gone.
Tragic losses of life aren't new to sports. Roberto Clemente, Thurman Munson, Dale Earnhardt, Payne Stewart, Brian Piccolo, Derrick Thomas, Bill Masterson, Hank Gathers, Len Bias, Josh Hancock, Darryl Kile (and others) all died before their time.
Life changes on a dime. Sometimes without warning. Often leaving family members, teammates, friends and fans wondering "why?"
Life is short. Live every minute and take nothing for granted.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard Around the World", Willie Mays "The Catch" & John Elway's "The Drive" are just three in hundreds of sports most memorable plays.
Sometimes, the most memorable plays become players worst nightmares. Here's my list of biggest chokes in sports:
2004 New York Yankees - 3 games to 0 lead lose ALCS to Boston Red Sox. Sox go on to win first World Series in 86 years.
1986 Boston Red Sox - on verge of breaking "The Curse", final out for World Series Win goes thru Bill Buckner's legs. Sox lose Game 6 then surrender 3-0 lead in Game 7 to WS winning New York Mets.
1996 Greg Norman, Masters - Norman held a commanding 6 stroke lead heading into Sunday's final round. He was horrendous and quickly hit everything except fairways and greens. Shot 78 in round to finish 5 strokes behind winner Nick Faldo.
1993 Houston Oilers - 32 point halftime lead vs Buffalo in NFL Playoffs. Bills won in OT, 41-38.
2003 Chicago Cubs - NLCS, 3 games to 1 lead, 6 outs away from playing in World Series... Cubs lose game and series. Bartman is born.
1993 Jana Novotna, Wimbledon - Leading 5 games to 1 in the 3rd (final) set vs Steffi Graf she blew the lead and match. Visibly shaken, she double faulted four times on the way to Wimbledon's biggest choke.
1951 Brooklyn Dodgers - NL's top team held a 13 1/2 game lead in August before blowing it and a one game playoff vs New York Giants. Bobby Thomson's game winning home run became known as "The Shot Heard Around the World."
2007 New York Mets - A 7 game lead with 17 to go wasn't nearly enough for New York. Mets lost 6 of final 7 games (all at home) to finish one game behind Philadelphia. NY would blow another September lead in 2008.
1984 Chicago Cubs - Trying to win their first WS since 1909, Cubs led San Diego 2 games to 0 in best of 5. Chicago loses 3 straight... the curse lives on.
Do you have any of your own to share? Sign up and post up.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Baseball's 2009 regular season is one game old. In a New York minute, sportswriters have lambasted the Yankees and declared the Mets champions.
"BirdBathia"; "Dreadful Debuts"; "New Stars Fizzle as Yanks Absorb a Beating"; "CC Struggles an Eye-Opener".. were just some of the headlines in New York sports sections after Baltimore ripped the Yanks. Talk radio was all over CC & Teixeira. Blogs clucking of how the Yanks wasted $400M via free agency.
CC did stink it up yesterday in Baltimore. But give the guy a break. His first game as a Yankee. It's time for reporters to take a breath and give their keyboards a rest. It's one game. The Yankees are one of baseball's best. Yesterday was a bump in the road. Nothing more. Yanks will win over 100 games in '09 unless injuries rip apart their roster.
Now, on the other side of town headlines paid tribute to the new look Mets bullpen. Mets relievers were pounded in back to back September debacles. Newbies Sean Green, JJ Putz and single season save record holder (62) Francisco Rodriguez fired blanks to protect Santana's opening day win. Mets had a few struggles at the plate but a win is a great way to wash over any opening day short comings. World Series chatter is already brewing out of Flushing. I'd feel better about a WS appearance if Santana could start all 162 games. Mets starting staff could be 2009's problem. After Santana, consistency might tough to find.
New York is a funny town. Things change on a dime. If the Yanks beat up Baltimore by 5 tomorrow... reporters will be star struck all over again. If the Mets lose one, they'll be in the sniper's eye. It's a tough city if you're crazy enough believe what you read.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Major League Baseball's 2009 Opening Day is finally here!
Opening day has different meanings to millions of fans and players everywhere. New seasons intensify many emotions from pennant dreams to memories of times past on and off the field. Moments defined by "where were you when....?" events that changed or highlighted America's favorite pastime. Some of these historical "Where were you when's...?" include: Jackie Robinson's first game; Lou Gehrig's final game; Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard Around the World"; 1969 Mets World Series; 1986 Mets Game 6 victory over Boston? Bucky "(expletive)" Dent? Roger Maris' 61st home run? 2004 Boston "Reverse the Curse" Red Sox stunning come from behind 4 games to 3 ALCS win over Yankees on their way to World Series Championship fame and glory. The list is endless.
In days of old, fans huddled around the nearest radio listening to their home team's opening game. Some kids ditching a school day to buy bleacher tickets. Even grown adults calling into work sick.
Today's technologies afford fans diverse opportunities to catch games from local and satellite radio, ESPN, MLBTV, podcasts, local tv etc. Fans no longer need to miss school or work for a front row seat to watch the action.
My all time favorite moment used to be having a catch with my dad. Every opening day we would either stand in our yard or head to local park and play catch. Sometimes it was early in the morning before school or after he returned home from a long day of work... there was rarely a moment either one of us passed up an opportunity to burn a few fastballs at each other.
Those days are long gone. 2009 is a new year, a new season. New memories will be made for millions of fans and players. So go ahead parents... have a catch with your kid(s). In years to come today's memories will become new "where were you when...?" questions.
An exciting season for New Yorkers. Both teams have tremendous brand new state of the art stadiums. Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will be the talk of the town for a new generation of baseball in the Big Apple.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
It's been another wild week in sports news with much to discuss. It's been a week of good, bad and ugly. Let's begin with good before taking aim at the rest.
Baseball: A new baseball era is set to begin in New York. The new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are set to open this weekend with exhibition games. Yanks host the Cubs. Mets take on Boston. Both will be extended spring training games. Stay tuned for detailed blogs covering cost over runs to non-Met Jackie Robinson's tribute.
PGA: Tiger Woods wins his first post-surgery tourney. The worlds greatest ever golfer was trailing by 5 before turning it up a few notches this past Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill (Orlando). In near darkness, he sank a 15 foot birdie put for a comeback victory. Television ratings soared for the first time since his injury.
Boxing: Senator John McCain is leading the charge to pardon former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson who was sent to prison due to romantic ties with a white woman. Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion on Dec. 26, 1908. McCain has issued a resolution seeking presidential pardon. This is long overdue.
NFL: QB Jay Cutler and the Denver Broncos are back in the news again. Cutler's fued with new coach Josh McDaniels continues to brew. The latest reports state Denver seeks to trade their disgruntled signal caller. This move would be best for everyone involved since personalities are clearly conflicting. Denver's management has handled this situation terribly. New York sports sections have openly promoted suiting up Cutler as the newest member of Gang Green.
NCAA Final Four weekend in Detroit will decide this years champ. Michigan State vs Connecticut, Villanova vs North Carolina. The winners will play Monday night in the National Championship Game.
Wow. This list keeps growing rapidly. Too many head cases lately (or sports figures not using their heads).Allen Iverson has never been the poster boy representing a "team player". I'll sum up his entire NBA career in two words: "Ball Hog" Here's a guy who would rather attempt to dribble past three defenders and toss up off balanced shots than dish it to an open teammate. His latest rant is not wanting to play as a backup off the bench. "I'd rather retire.." is his answer. The perfect distraction as Detroit clings desperately to a playoff birth.
(CBSSports.com) "The Swedish tennis federation was fined $25,000 on Thursday and the city of Malmo banned from hosting Davis Cup matches for five years because of the decision to play Israel behind closed doors. The Davis Cup Committee also said Sweden will lose its choice of venue if a similar situation happens again, and the country will be required to guarantee that future matches will be open to the public. Sweden hosted Israel last month in the first round of the Davis Cup, losing 3-2. The best-of-five series was played behind closed doors because city officials said they couldn't guarantee security at the venue. Critics, including the Israeli team, said Malmo was caving in to threats of violence from anti-Israel groups." So, what happened here? Did the Swedes refuse to protect Israeli players with a security detail? Was this political payback from a government which condemned Israel's recent self defense Gaza incursion?
WR Dante Stallworth turned himself in after killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in Miami. Stallworth told officers he flashed his lights and honked his horn in an attempt to warn Reyes (pedestrian). I guess this drunk bozo never thought of slowing down, stopping or swerving to avoid the poor soul who's now dead. He's facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted.