Archive for July, 2009
WATERCOOLER CHAT: FAVRE OFFICIALLY RETIRED, DUNGY TO TUTOR VICK, PHELPS GIVES UP RECORD, BUEHRLE ON FIRE
Well, that’s it. You won’t have to read anymore stories about it. Brett Favre... has officially retired. The Vikings were awaiting his decision on whether or not he would play for them next season. He had successful shoulder surgery, and the Vikes were actually optimistic Favre would be wearing purple. But in the past 3 months, Favre had been doing some intense soul-searching, and said this decision is the hardest he’s had to make. Ultimately, he said he just didn’t think he could play to a level that would be acceptable. Remember, he is 39 years old. And the sun has set on a legend… again.
Elsewhere in the NFL, former Indianapolis Colts, and Super Bowl champion, coach Tony Dungy has agreed to mentor Michael Vick in his comeback. Vick has said that his priority is getting his life in order, and this inspired Dungy to want to help Vick rehabilitate for the NFL. Dungy has said that he thinks Vick deserves a chance to prove to people that he has changed. Plus, Vick wants to help young people, and serve as a good role model. With Dungy’s help, Vick could actually really surprise some people. And there’s a chance that he could go to the UFL and play right away.
In some swimming news, Michael Phelps (holder of 8 gold medals) had a major setback yesterday. In Phelps best race, the 200meter freestyle, not only did Michael Phelps finish second to Germany’s Paul Biedermann, but Biedermann took away Phelps’ world record in the process. Biedermann beat Phelps by almost a full second! Phelps is not a guy who likes to lose, especially because he’s not used to it, and standing in the 2nd place position was extremely tough for him. Hopefully, he will rebound quickly, and reassume pole position.
Finally, in baseball, Mark Buehrle, the recent PERFECT GAME hero, set another feat yesterday. Coming off his magical game, Buehrle retired 17 batters in a row against the Twins, giving him the record for most consecutive batters retired. That’s 45 up, and 45 down. This means that Buehrle was en route to pitching two perfect games in a row. That’s incredible!! The Hall of Fame would have inducted him immediately after the game. Unfortunately, he gave up a hit in the 6th with two outs, and eventually would give up 5 runs. So his team did lose, but he’s still having a season for the ages. Minnesota 5, Chicago White Sox 3.No comments
The wait is over for Michael Vick. He has been awaiting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision on whether or not he will be reinstated. And yesterday, the call came in. Goodell cleared Vick to participate in pre-season. However, it is still a partial re-instatemant, as Vick is suspended until Game 6 (and that isn’t an official date). This means that Vick can sign with a team, practice with a team, and play pre-season games, but he can’t set foot on the field until Week 6.
So, the main question is, which team? The experts are tossing around ideas, and the two top choices seem to be the Dolphins or the Patriots. The Dolphins because they like to run the Wildcat offense, in which a running back or receiver lines up at quarterback, with the option to run. Vick would be perfect for this. The Patriots because they are a well-oiled machine. There would be no competition at quarterback (Tom Brady is their man), thus ensuring from the get-go that Vick behave and not challenge the coach. The Patriots would use him sparingly and on trick plays, and putting Vick on the field would thoroughly confuse the defense. Plus, the Patriots have a reputation for giving veterans a second chance (i.e. Fred Taylor, Corey Dillon, Junior Seau). We will see which team he chooses.
In the NBA, Miami Heat is currently in Los Angeles courting Lamar Odom. Odom has said he didn’t know where he would play next season, and Wade is trying to convince him that Miami is the place. Odom has also made it publicly known in his career that he likes playing in warm weather, and by the beach. That pretty much only means the Lakers, Clippers, or Heat. (The 3 teams he has played for so far). If the Heat get Odom, it would give him another scoring option to take the pressure of Wade.
Elsewhere in the NBA, it looks like the Charlotte Bobcats and New Orleans Hornets are about to make an even swap. The Bobcats would send center Emeka Okafor, the former UCONN superstar, to New Orleans in exchange for Tyson Chandler. Both of these guys are having slightly above average careers, and this trade is a gamble for both teams, as either guy could become a break-out star. Well, strong role player is more like it, but either way, both of these clubs needed to shake things up.No comments
It was the GOLD CUP final in soccer between the U.S. and Mexico. Remember, Team USA is hot right now, coming off a phenomenal display in the Confederations Cup (They beat #1 Spain in the semi-finals). So expectations were high heading into the championship game against Mexico yesterday. Unfortunately, this game was ALL MEXICO from front to end. The U.S. simply couldn’t get anything going, and Mexico scored goal after goal, shutting out the Americans. A setback for Team USA, but they should rebound over the next 11 months before the WORLD CUP in South Africa. Mexico 5, USA 0.
In the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens continue to so suffer setbacks at the wide-receiver position. Their #1 WR, Derrick Mason, announced his retirement a few weeks ago, giving them a huge gap at the position. On Saturday, they brought in 30-year veteran Drew Bennett to fill the whole, and give the 2nd year quarterback Joe Flacco another weapon. However, get this, one day after signing with Baltimore, Drew Bennett announced HIS RETIREMENT TOO! He said when he got home from Baltimore, a previous knee injury flared up, and he knew he just couldn’t play football anymore. That leaves the Ravens empty handed yet again. At the same time, they may get lucky, as future Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and all-star Anquan Boldin are still looking to play in new cities this upcoming season.
In the NBA, the Portland Trailblazers took a major step this weekend to try and become contenders. For the past few years, the Blazers have been a “team on the rise”. They collected a bunch of young, emerging stars and nobody knows when they are going to make the leap. Nabbing the #5 playoff spot was a good start, but they fell under Houston’s pressure. They’ve got all the pieces, and are now taking a page from the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets were a “team on the rise” too. They had one of the league’s best players in Carmelo Anthony, and a bunch of other solid weapons, but they didn’t have a leader. Then, last season they traded for point-guard Chauncey Billups, and he completely turned the team around. They nabbed the #2 spot, and gave the Lakers a very tough battle. So… the Blazers copied them, and brought in veteran point-guard Andre Miller from Philly. Miller should finally give the Blazers the leadership they need. He’s got an all-star in Brandon Roy to work with, and former #1 pick Greg Oden is coming into his own. This experiment could pay off, and put the new-look Blazers back up towards the top of the Western standings.No comments
Wow, it was truly a memorable day in the baseball world.
In what many thought was a benign day game between the Chicago White Sox and visiting Tampa Bay Devil Rays turned out to be one of the most memorable sporting events of the past 10 years. In baseball, probably the most special two words you can utter are ‘perfect game’. Why? Because they are so rare. No-Hitters happen every now and then, but a no-hitter allows for walks and errors. A perfect game means 27 batters up, and 27 batters down, and NOBODY on base. Thus, a perfect game. And there hasn’t been one since Randy Johnson pitched one for the Diamondbacks in 2004.
Well, yesterday, pitcher had a magical day. He was pitching a perfect games through 7 games, and that’s when people start to take notice. That’s when it starts to get mentioned on Sports Center. That’s when people start Twittering about it. And then… he got past the 8th inning. Just 3 more batters necessary. And remember, this is when the stress is on. The White Sox essentially had the game in the bag with a 5-run lead, so it was all about taking care of Mark, and hoping for a little luck.
Mark was pitching quickly, not taking his time and making himself nervous like other pitchers might do. It was just pitch, get the ball back from the catcher, and quickly pitch again. Then, in the bottom of the 9th inning came a play baseball fans will remember for a long time to come. The White Sox put in back-up centerfielder Dewayne Wise, who was put in for no other reason but his defense. A safety precaution for the perfect game, nothing more. Then, the first batter hits a home-run shot towards none other but… Dewayne Wise. This ball was a home-run, but NO!!!! Dewayne Wise climbed the wall, reached over the fence, and made the catch. And when he landed, the ball bobbled out of his glove and he caught it again. It was purely miraculous. And to achieve a perfect game, you need miracles!! Truly unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!
The next batter went out on a breezed strike-out, and then the final batter grounded to shortstop, and… that’s all she wrote. PERFECT GAME for Mark Buehrle. Keep in mind too that Buehrle has a reputation as an above average pitcher, nothing more. Now he is in the record books. He has a no-hitter to his name, a World Series Ring, and now… a perfect game. Congrats to Mark.
Elsewhere in sports, in his new book, LeBron James admitted to smoking marajuana in High School. He said he felt stressed by all the attention and publicity he was getting, and decided to try it in Junior Year. LeBron also said he was a little too arrogant in High School, dubbing himself “The Chosen One”. He said it was immature, but at the time it made sense, considering that about every reporter in the country was rushing him every second. The book is due out in December, and is co-authored by Buzz Bissinger, who penned the original classic, Friday Night Lights.No comments
In baseball, the NL Central is the hottest division in baseball. The Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, and Astros are all in the playoff hunt. But the lowly Astros, who have been lingering at the bottom for a few seasons, are now heating up. Yesterday, they hoped to beat the first-place St. Louis Cardinals and move within one game of the division leaders. Well, they got a marvelous performance from their pitcher Roy Oswalt, who has been phenomenol over his lat four games. Yesterday was no exception, as he took on former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter in a pivotal game.
The Cardinals got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 3-1 lead. But the Astros rallied back, on account of big hits from Kaz Matsui and Chris Coste, to tie the game at 3 in the ninth. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Miguel Tejada, in a walk-off single, hits a single to bring in a run and help the Houston Astros sweep the series against the first place Cards. This was also Tejada’s 12th game-winning walk-off hit. That’s simply amazing. Houston 4, St. Louis 3.
Elsewhere in baseball, Manny Ramirez has been out of the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup with a bruised left hand. So, he was riding the bench against the Cincinnati Reds, even though it was Manny bobblehead night, but… he was available. With the game tied at 2 in the 6th inning, the Dodgers called on Manny to pinch-hit. And, on the very first pitch, he swung, and crushed the ball out of the park for a grand slam. Now that’s good entertainment. Los Angeles Dodgers 6, Cincy 2.
In the NBA, Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Lamar Odom has said he’s not sure if he will be in a Laker uniform this year. The Lakers weren’t sure they could pay him what he wants, and Odom is looking elsewhere. However, Odom was an integral piece of the Lakers championship run, and they definitely need him back next year to keep the team chemistry together. Well, yesterday, Laker superstar Kobe Bryant said he was confident Odom would be back next year in the purple and gold. Sure, it’s just Bryant’s opinion, but it’s an opinion that will resonate throughout the city of Los Angeles.No comments
In the NFL, there seems to be a small shift happening. Recently Michael Vick was mentioned alongside the upstart United Football League. If he doesn’t get reinstated to the NFL, there’s a chance he would be play for the UFL, a league designed to catch NFL excess. Well, now Bills backup quarterback J.P. Losman has opted to play in the UFL as opposed to being a back-up in the NFL. Buffalo essentially told him he would be second fiddle to Trent Edwards. And at 28 years old, he opted for playing time instead of sitting on the bench. Perhaps playing in the UFL will attract more NFL scouts than riding the sidelines in the pros. After all, if nobody sees you play in a live game, how do they know you can do the job?
In cycling, Lance Armstrong came out recently and said he didn’t think he had a chance of winning the Tour De France this year. He said he plans to help his teammate Alberto Contador win the coveted Yellow Jersey leader position. However, yesterday Armstrong had a tremendous day, and accelerated into second place. Now, Armstrong’s confidence is restored, and winning is a possibility. Lance said he still plans to help his teammate Contador win the event, but could assume the leader position if Contador has a “bad day”. Lance winning the Tour De France this year is doubtful, but fans around the world would love to see him win his 8th straight.
And some interesting news out of college basketball. Former UCLA basketball great Ed O’ Bannon, who helped the Bruins win a National Championship in 1995, is suing the NCAA. He said that the NCAA is unfairly using his image (and the image of other players) to sell DVDs and promote for upcoming events (i.e. March Madness). For example, the NCAA might sell a DVD of best moments of college basketball, but the student athletes receive none of the proceeds. O’Bannon felt this was unfair, as student athletes are FORCED to sign away all their rights. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, and we will see how this story progresses.
Finally, the Philadelphia Phillies are red-hot right now, and were looking for their 10th straight win. They took on the Cubs, and were tied in the 4th inning. The game took us all the way into the 13th inning, when with 2 on base, the Phillies Jayson Werth, who’s having an incredible season, blasted a home run to give the Phils their 10th straight win! These guys are a blast to watch right now. If they’re on, catch ’em. Philadelphia 4, Chicago Cubs 1.No comments
In the NBA, there has been some speculation that the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash might pursue other teams. He’s always wanted a ring, and given that he’s a free agent in 2010, and many thought he would head to the Knicks (as that’s where he spends his off-seasons). He’s on the down slope of his career, and the Suns look to be entering a borderline re-building stage. However, yesterday the Suns locked up Nash for 2 more years, keeping him off the free agent market in 2010. And for the next two years, he will be earning a whopping $22 million. And this is in addition to the 13 million he will make next year. Question is, will this move pay off for the Suns?
Michael Vick was officially released from federal custody. This means that his ankle bracelet came off. Now he has a long road ahead of him to get to the NFL. First off, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has to officially re-instate him, and make him eligible for the NFL. He plans to hire superstar conditioning coach Tom Shaw to help him get ready. However, getting back will be a tough because teams don’t necessarily want to roll the dice on Vick. Plus, he takes a lot of publicity away from what the team wants cameras to focus on in the off-season.
There is a good chance that Vick could play for the United Football League. This would allow him the opportunity to get back in shape, get a feel for the football field again, and show the NFL that he is serious about a comeback. That it’s not just about the money, he’s actually remorseful, and wants to play the sport he’s been born to play. Remember, this guy is a freak athlete. Some think he could play in Orlando for former New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett. With an offensive mind like Haslett’s, Vick could really show the league what he’s made of. However, if Vick does get a chance in the NFL, it would most likely be as a receiver or a back-up quarterback.
Finally, uh-oh, baseball has its favorite rivalry back in full swing. Yesterday, the Red Sox beat the Orioles to move into a first place tie with the New York Yankees. This will set off a race for the AL East title for the rest of the season that will be a thrill ride to watch. While anything can happen in the playoffs, these two teams are all about bragging rights in the regular season. Just the day of being pronounced “the winner of your division” is enough to throw in the face of the rival fan base. Boston 2, Baltimore 1.No comments
The Cleveland Cavaliers added another piece to their hopeful championship puzzle this weekend, signing Miami Heat forward Jamario Moon. The Heat will have 10 days to match the offer, although many feel this is a done deal. The Heat already have a few players at that position, and are pursuing both the Lakers’ Lamar Odom and Utah’s Carlos Boozer this off-season. With Moon, the Cavs get a swing-man that could take care of some of scoring load. Not much, but maybe 10 – 15 points per game. Hey, any work they can take off LeBron, so he has energy to play top-notch defense, is a great acquisition.
Elsewhere in sports, an exciting finish in one of golf’s major tournaments… the British Open. It came down to Stewart Cink and Tom Watson, the 59 year old veteran. Tom Watson muscled his way all the way to the finish, forcing a 4-hole playoff against Cink. But, from that point on, Watson just came unraveled. On the 3rd playoff hole, Watson crushed the ball into the weeds. Then, when trying to get himself out of there, just chipped the ball about 15 yards — very frustrating. Once he got onto the green, he missed an easy putt, scored a double-bogey and his playoff woes continued. Cink, meanwhile, was masterful, and took the British Open Championship. However, at the ripe age of 59 years old, he was the crowd favorite and he got a round of respectful applause.
In baseball, there’s an interesting rookie sensation story developing in Philadelphia. Rookie J.A. Happ has a perfect 6-0 record, and was looking for his 7th straight yesterday. He pitched 7 great innings, only gave up 5 hits, struck out 4, and didn’t give up any runs. This guy is good. The Phillies Raul Ibanez doubled home two runs, Jimmy Rollins knocked one in as well, and the rookie Happ earned his seventh straight win. More importantly, Philadelphia has won 8 straight, and are pulling away in the NL-East. They just might repeat as World series champions if they keep playing this good.
Finally, in soccer, the David Beckham saga continues. He was called out by American soccer star Landon Donovan for not trying hard enough, and retaliated by saying he was the best thing to happen to American soccer. Well, even his home town fans of the Los Angeles Galaxy disagreed with that claim, as Beckham was booed in his first game back. There was even a section with a banner that read, “Go Home Fraud”. While he was booed, he still played well, and even kicked a game tying goal. Didn’t help. He was booed during that play too. Beckham should realize, American sports fans don’t like arrogance — regardless of skill level. Case in point: Barry Bonds.No comments
Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard set a milestone yesterday in his 658th career game. He became the fastest player to reach 200 Home-Runs. Howard is 29 years old right now, and now many are trying to predict how many career home-runs he will hit. Ralph Kiner was the previous record-holder, but Ryan Howard said he basically has no idea who that is. And in some bonus news, the Phillies went on to win the game against the Marlins. Philadelphia 4, Florida 0.
The Manny Ramirez booing tour is finally over. Booing Tour? Yep, Manny Ramirez came back in the middle of a Dodgers road trip, and he was booed at every stadium. Well, yesterday, he came back to Dodger Stadium and was greeted with thunderous cheering. Unfortunately for Dodger fans, however, Humberto Quintero and the Houston Astros pummeled them, and concluded Manny’s homecoming by shutting him and Dodgers out. Houston 3, LA Dodgers 0.
Elsewhere in sports, some free agency news out of the NBA. Last year, when Carlos Boozer went down with an injury, the Utah Jazz found that they had a diamond on their bench. A second-round draft pick named Paul Millsap. Millsap stepped in for Boozer and played phenomenoly. So well, in fact, that the Jazz said they might shop Boozer around in the off-season. Just last week there was serious interest from the Chicago Bulls to bring Boozer in. Well, Boozer is now leaning towards staying with the Jazz, and Millsap got a lucrative offer from Portland. Now, the Jazz organization has stated that they will match the Blazers offer of $32 million, and try to keep Millsap in purple. If the Blazers acquired Millsap, they would most likely shop their Power Forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and try to bring in a key missing piece.
Also out of the NBA, it appears that the Minnesota Timberwolves really want their #5 draft pick, Ricky Rubio, to play with them next season. This youngster has been hailed as the next phenom in sports. His YouTube highlight reels garner millions of views, and he was a sensation on Spain’s Olympic team. Well, he is under contract to play for DKV Joventut in Spain next season, and the only way the Wolves can get him is if they buy him out for 6.6. Million. With this said, Wolves President David Kahn will travel to Spain and try to convince them to lower the price tag for Rubio. Rubio was concerned that he wouldn’t get lucrative endorsement deals from playing in Minnesota, but it appears that sponsors are drooling over him simply because of his baby-face looks.No comments
In the NFL, an update on the Brett Favre saga. Except this time, Brett Favre has set his own deadline for the Vikings. In the past few weeks he has had shoulder surgery, worked out for the Vikings, and even (supposedly) received an ultimatum from them. Now, he said he would let the Vikings know whether or not he will play by July 30th — the start of training camp. He said he was doing the best he could, and wanted to ensure that he is at full strength for the Vikings if he decides to play. And if does, it’s going to sell a lot of tickets for the Vikings! Plus, they play the Packers on Monday Night Football in Week 3.
Next up, the story revolving around the tragic death of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair continues. It turns out that McNair didn’t have a will. Not a big surprise considering he was only 36, and his wife will now take control of his estate. A Nashville judge gave her 60 days to get McNair’s assets in order. This must be incredibly hard for a woman who just lost her husband to a murder-suicide. We will keep you abreast of how this tradgedy continues to unfold.
And in baseball, a major trade. Pedro Martinez, likely one of the top 20 players of all time, is switching teams again. After his glory years in Boston, he jumped ship to play with the New York Mets. Now, with a little gas still left in the tank, Martinez is headed to the World Series Champions: The Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are expected to be in the playoffs again this year, and Pedro has said that “they need a little help, and he thinks that he can help them”. Bottom line is this — if they DO get to the playoffs, having Pedro pitch in any clutch game should make any coach feel comfortable.
And finally, the drama revolving around soccer mega-star David Beckham continues in full force. Last week, U.S. soccer hero Landon Donovan called out Beckham, saying David didn’t really try while he played with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and definitely didn’t deserve to be the highest paid player in the league. Donovan said it’s fine that Beckham is there to boost the reputation of the league, but Beckham should have to play at full potential. Donovan continued, ‘He didn’t even show up to games if he was injured. He should at least be there.’ Now, Beckham says he has no reason to apologize. He said he did play hard, and is the best thing to happen to that league. Sure, very egotistical, but the real question is… how will this controversy affect his play this season?No comments