Archive for July, 2010

WATERCOOLER CHAT: PHILLIES ADD PITCHER, TEBOW SIGNS CONTRACT, TYREE RETIRES A GIANT

BASEBALL

A major trade in in the air.  The Houston Astros have been on the down swing for quite awhile now.  They haven’t exactly been playoff contenders, and currently they’re 14 games out of first place.  Therefore, they were able to get rid of their star pitcher Roy Oswalt.  So where would he go?  To the city that appears to be the prime destination of pitchers looking for a championship ring.  Not the Yankees — the Phillies.  Yep, Philadelphia did their annual “Add a star pitcher to the rotation in hopes of another World Series appearance.  Oswalt joins the all-star line-up that includes ace Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.  Expect to see Philly go deep in the playoffs.

FOOTBALL

And in the NFL, former college superstar Tim Tebow has finally come to contract terms with the Denver Broncos signing a 5-year deal.  Tebow is expected to compete with Kyle Orton for the starting job.  Many experts criticized Broncos coach Josh McDaniels for drafting Tebow not only in the first round, but also ahead of Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen and Texas QB Colt McCoy.  But McDaniels saw promise in Tebow’s work ethic and drive and thinks he can mold a star quarterback.  Congrats to Tebow.

Elsewhere in the NFL, former NY Giants hero David Tyree is making headlines again.  To refresh your memory, Tyree was responsible for the now classic “Helmet Catch”, which led to the NY Giants upsetting the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl three years ago.  The Giants recently let him go, but they’ve decided to sign him to a 1-day contract so Tyree can retire as a New York Giant.   Tyree will forever be remembered as a hero in New York.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: NBA NATIONAL TEAM HUNT, MLS EXHIBITION, SAD NBA NEWS

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, Team USA is trying to find their perfect new national team.  They  invited many of the NBA’s rising stars, but cuts need to be made.  And yesterday, they shed 4 players from the roster.  First up, Tyreke Evans, last year’s rookie of the year.  Evans missed the last two practices and just didn’t have his heart in it.  Then, JaVale McGee, the up-and-coming big man for the Washington Wizards. He’s good, but apparently expendable.  Next up, Gerald Wallace, the star of the Charlotte Bobcats.  He played poorly in the scrimmage, and didn’t have stats up to par.  Finally, OJ Mayo of the Memphis Grizzlies.  He’s looked sluggish out there and doesn’t appear to be in tip top shape.  The roster is now at 15, with 3 more to go.

SOCCER

MLS decided to host an exhibition game that pitted the all-stars of the MLS against the mighty Manchester United.  They drew a crowd of 70,000 people.  Now that’s excitement for American soccer.  However, this may not have been the best idea.  Manchester United absolutely crushed the MLS All-Stars, scoring a healthy 5 goals against them.  The bad news:  The MLS has a long way to go before it gains international respect.  The good news:  To draw a crowd of 70,000 for an exhibition game only means that interest in the sport is growing at a healthy rate.  Manchester United 5, MLS All Stars 2.

BASKETBALL

Finally… some very sad news.  Recent NBA journeyman Lorenzen Wright was found dead yesterday.  He had been reported missing 10 days ago, and now the Memphis police department said they found an unidentified body near a wooded area 15 miles south of downtown Memphis.  It turned out to be Wright.  Throughout the day, over 200 people came to the scene to mourn including former NBA star Penny Hardaway.  He said, “I cried. The emotions hit me immediately. It’s just sad because we lost a good person and a brother”.  This is very hard news for everyone involved.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: OWENS FINDS TEAM, SHOULDER PADS, MARADONA FIRED

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, it appears that after much searching Terrell Owens has finally found a team.  Many teams publicly said they weren’t interested in Owens, but one team saw the benefit of having the former superstar on their squad.  Now, Terrell Owens will be a Cincinnati Bengal.  This is a smart pick-up for the Bengals, because, essentially, they have nothing to lose.  Sure Owens can be a nuisance in the clubhouse, but the Bengals have chemistry woes anyway.  Moreover, now Owens will play opposite another superstar in Chad Ochocinco.  This pairs two of the biggest loudmouth, diva receivers in the league.  During this decade, Owens and Ochocinco were responsible for almost every memorable touchdown celebration.  Having these guys on the same team could be very entertaining.

Elsewhere in the NFL, there has been on a lot of media stir over rookie Dez Bryant’s refusal to carry Roy Williams shoulder pads.  This is typically part of the rookie hazing ritual, but Bryant said he wouldn’t do it.  Then again, most likely, if quarterback Tony Romo asked him to carry shoulder pads, he would do it.  Roy Williams is Bryant’s direct competitor and will probably take his job.  Not carrying his shoulder pads sends a clear message that he is coming for him — that he is here to compete for the job.  Bryant has said he wasn’t familiar with the hazing ritual, but this is more covering his tracks than anything else.

SOCCER

Finally, in some soccer news, Argentina started off their World Cup campaign red hot.  They had a new head coach in former Argentinian superstar Diego Maradona, but he was criticized for selecting an older roster to compete in the tournament.  Well, his critics were silenced when Argentina won their first three World Cup games, and even the first game of the second round against Mexico.  Maradona looked like a hero, and Argentina was a heavy favorite to get to the championship.  Then… came Germany.  Argentina was spanked by the Germans and went home in embarrassing defeat.  With that loss, Maradona’s National Coaching Stint comes to an end.  He was fired yesterday.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: NEW HOME FOR GRADY, NO GRUNT WORK FOR BRYANT, CONTADOR WINS TOUR

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, it looks like a former superstar may have found a new home.  Yes, Tracy McGrady was once thought of as a superstar.  He was the man in Toronto, moved to the Orlando Magic, then signed a big contract with Houston.  He and Yao Ming were supposed to battle the Lakers and Spurs every year for a championship.  Well, McGrady was plagued by injuries during his time in Houston (as was Yao), and he just sort of crumbled there.  Last season, he went to the Knicks and actually looked pretty good.  Many thought if he found the right place, he could be an interesting spark off the bench.  Now it appears that that right place is Chicago.  They have all the pieces in place to sign him, and sources say that’s where he will go.  The favorites in the East now are Miami, Orlando, and Boston, but Chicago is putting together a nice package hoping to cause havoc in the post-season.

FOOTBALL

And in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys have signed Dez Bryant to a five-year deal.  According to reports, the star rookie receiver has been a golden child — showing up to practice early and doing everything he’s been told.  Well, yesterday he had his first backlash.  Apparently, the rookie declined to carry fellow receiver Roy Williams shoulder pads.  That is a rite of passage in NFL training camps — rookies do grunt work and go through a hazing process.  Bryant has said, “I was drafted to play football, not carry shoulder pads”.  While this may be true, not going thru the rookie “team grunt” process is a big no-no.  Williams has said he needs to move to Phase 2 of hazing now, and we’ll see what that looks like.

CYCLING

Finally, in an exciting day in the cycling world, we had a winner for the Tour De France.  Unfortunately, the American hero, Lance Armstrong, wasn’t standing atop the podium.  In fact he finished in 23rd place, a far cry from the 3rd place finish in 2009 after coming out of retirement.  When asked how he felt, Armstrong replied, “I need a cold beer”.  This year’s victor — none other than the three-time champion Alberto Contador from Spain.  This has become custom for Contador as he is poised to take Armstrong’s spot in the sport as the world’s best cyclist — an amazing feat of athleticism.  Congrats to Contador.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: CHRIS PAUL WANTS TRADE, AROD CLOSE TO 600, ROOKIES SIGN CONTRACT

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, it looks like LeBron’s forming of a superteam… is contagious. The latest news now is that Chris Paul, New Orleans’ superstar point guard, wants a trade prior to the beginning of the season.  The Hornets are clearly Chris Paul’s team and one would think he would want to get strong pieces in play to make a championship run.  After all, the Hornets were the #2 seed in the West in 2008.  They CAN put together a good team, but reports indicate that Paul wants out.

So where would he go?  Apparently, Paul’s first choice is to join Amar’e Stoudemire in New York, and recruit Carmelo Anthony in 2011 to form their own superteam to compete with the Miami Heat monster that is Dwayne Wade/LeBron James/Chris Bosh.  He said he’d also like to go to Los Angeles, Orlando, or Portland.  Basically, he’s saying that he wants a better team with more help to win a championship.  And obviously — there is fan backlash.  For starters, Paul still has 2 more years left on his contract.  At least LeBron was a free agent and could do whatever he wanted.  Paul is essentially saying, “Get me outta here!!!”.  It will be very interesting to see how this plays out in the coming weeks.

BASEBALL

Alex Rodriguez blasted his 599th home run against the Kansas City Royals.  This is a tremendous feat, and there are only a few players that have hit the 600 mark on home-runs.  However, it seems that baseball world really isn’t that interested.  Why?  Because just last year, A-Rod admitted that he used performance-enhancing substances.  Once you come out with that, it seriously diminishes your accomplishments.  Therefore, while 600 homers is impressive, baseball fans can’t get behind it to cheer.  It’s most likely that A-Rod’s 600th shot will be celebrated with a quiet whimper.  NY Yankees 10, Kansas City 4.

FOOTBALL

Finally, in the NFL, two star rookies have signed long-term contracts with their respective teams.  The Cleveland Browns signed Texas quarterback Colt McCoy to a 4-year deal.  McCoy will most likely study from the bench this year, but the Browns have big plans for him in his second season.  And of course there’s a chance we see him later this year.  Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys have signed their much touted receiver Dez Bryant to a 5 year deal worth $11.8 Million.  Bryant will be an explosive weapon in Tony Romo’s offense, and gives them three solid receivers (Bryant, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten).  Watch out for the Cowboys next season!


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WATERCOOLER CHAT: STRASBURG TAKES MOUND, CLIPPERS REBUILDING, JEREMY LIN

BASEBALL

In baseball, the biggest stories come when Washington Nationals phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg takes the mound.  People come out in droves to see this kid, even though the Nationals aren’t exactly the best team.  Now ESPN is starting to broadcast unimportant Nationals games, such as last night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.

The story of this game centered around the Reds’ clutch hitter Johnny Gomes.  Gomes needed just one more home-run for the 100 Home Run mark.  He publicly stated he hoped it would happen against the Nationals so he could hit one off the ‘kid’ (i.e. Strasuerg).  Would he get his wish?  Well, Gomes got two opportunities against Strasburg and, um, struck out both times.  Strasburg even whipped a 99mph fastball right by Gomes for a Strike 3 call.  This kid truly is phenomenal.  So how many years before he winds up on the Yankees?  Washington 8, Cincinnati 5.

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, the Los Angeles Clippers are starting to rebuild.  They’ve been plagued by injuries and bad management the past few seasons, but they are about to roll out a solid line-up come opening day.  They have last year’s #1 draft pick Blake Griffin, as well as Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, and some solid rookie draft picks.  Now, they’re thinking of adding veteran, and former superstar Tracy McGrady to the mix.  McGrady is definitely past his prime (primarily due to severe injuries), but his leadership and guidance could be the glue that gets the Clippers in the playoffs.

Finally, some very interesting news from the Golden State Warriors camp.  They just signed undrafted rookie Jeremy Lin.  Why is this special?  Well, Lin is the first Asian-American player to play in the NBA for quite a while now.  Furthermore, he played his college ball at Harvard — not exactly a locale for many pro NBA athletes.  The Warriors must see something in Lin’s style that they feel could benefit the team.  Lin said, “I understand there are not many Asians in the NBA and there are not many Ivy Leaguers in the NBA.  Maybe I can help break the stereotype.”  Hopefully, Lin is a success.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: USC TROJANS TAKING HIT, DEVILS CONTRACT REJECTED, PINIELLA RETIRING

FOOTBALL

In college football, the mighty USC Trojans have taken a huge hit this off-season.  They lost their head coach, Pete Carroll, and then got in trouble with the NCAA for recruiting violations.  And many believe Pete Carroll jumped ship for the NFL because he knew the glory days were over.  Then we saw their former offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin, come running back.  In his lap… a school with a 2-year suspension from post-season play.

The main controversy is over the recruiting of Reggie Bush.  Bush was an absolute superstar at USC, and now the Trojan organization is trying to completely shed themselves of that era.  They gave illegal benefits to Bush and also O.J. Mayo in their basketball program.  To try and show their remorse, they’ve returned Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy.

While the 2-year suspension is bad, the severe restriction of scholarships over the next few years will truly damage USC’s program.  They fired their current athletic director and hired Pat Haden, but without scholarships, the best-of-the best won’t want to play at USC because they can’t go there for free.  USC disappeared during the 1990’s, had an amazing resurgence this decade, but are now poised to go to the bottom of the ranks again.  This opens the door for a new power in the PAC-10.  Watch out for Arizona, Cal and Washington.

HOCKEY

In a follow up story from the hockey world, it appears that the NHL is rejecting the incredible 17-year, $102 Million offer the New Jersey Devils offered Ilya Kovalchuk.  They said it was an attempt to circumvent the league’s salary cap.  This is accounting ‘cuteseyness’, but at the end of the day, offering that deal and breaking it up into various payments for different years was New Jersey’s attempt to keep a great player not only for his whole career — but even past it.  He was going to get paid until he was 44.  Assuming he only plays to his mid to late 30s, that’s practically 6 years where he wouldn’t be on the roster (and his salary wouldn’t count against the cap that year)  This kind of thing is very bad for the league.

BASEBALL

Finally, in baseball — the end of an era.  Lou Piniella is retiring as manager of the Chicago Cubs.  Piniella has been coaching for nearly 40 years.  He’s 66 years old, has five trips to the World Series, and proudly owns 3 World Series Rings.  Piniella said he just can’t handle the grind any more.  When he says grind, he doesn’t mean actually managing the game — that’s easy on the body.  He just can’t do all the traveling anymore.  Remember, baseball is a long 162-game season, and you’re on the road for half of that.  Piniella is done with it and wants to focus on spending more time with his family.  Congrats to Lou for a great career.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: WADE IN HEAT FOR REMARK, KOVALCHUK 17 YEAR CONTRACT, OWENS GOING NOWHERE

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, all the media’s eyes are still on the Miami Heat.  They have been subject to extreme scrutiny, and the latest is a controversial comment by Dwayne Wade.  Wade was being interviewed about his projections for next year, and he said while the Heat would be good, they would still might lose every now and then.  He went on to say that if the Heat did lose a couple in a row then the media would freak out like the World Trade was coming down again.  Of course, the media has been lambasting him for the last 24 hours.  Not the smartest comment.

Well, yesterday, Wade released a public apology saying that what he said was taken out of context.  Wade was implying that the media will treat a string of Heat loses like it’s a national catastrophe, when, in all truth, it’s not important at all.  Of course, Wade’s hyperbolic example shouldn’t have been uttered, but since the cat’s out of the bag, Wade had to play damage control.

HOCKEY

In some strange news from the hockey world, the New Jersey Devils have just written a very interesting contract.  They recently signed the highly coveted Ilya Kovalchuk.  Sure, we’ve seen this before, but the Devils locked up Kovalchuk for the next, count ’em, 17 YEARS!!!  Talk about job security in the sports world.  The deal is worth $102 million, and will pay him various amounts over different spans of the contract.  This signing has raised questions as to whether teams should be able to lock up players for this long.  It could start a trend that may be bad for the league.  Imagine if every year, nobody was available in the off-season.

FOOTBALL

Finally, in the NFL, Terrell Owens is still without a job.  This guy was frequently thought of as one of, if not THE best receiver in the league.  Only problem is… he has character issues that have sent him packing from 3 teams.  Last year, he landed in Buffalo, and the team hoped Owens would give them a down-field threat.  Well, Owens had a lackluster year with the Bills and now believes that the word on the street is he’s slowing down.  However, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is confident that Owens will sign with a team very soon.  Then again, nobody can figure out who wants him.  The Chargers and Seahawks have a huge demand for receivers, but they have publicly said they don’t want him.


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WATERCOOLER CHAT: FIRST SOUTH AFRICAN TO WIN BRITISH OPEN, JORDAN WEIGHS IN ON LEBRON, ARMSTRONG AND LEMOND NONSENSE

Golf

The British Open was in full effect.  Of course everyone wanted to see if Tiger Woods would return to form, but that simply didn’t happen.  Woods finished the tournament tied for 23rd — not exactly the Tiger Woods we remember.  No, the result marked yet another achievement for the country of South Africa.  This month, they hosted the World Cup, and saw it play out without one dangerous incident (as many thought South Africa as a host would be a disaster).  And now, one of their own won the British Open Championship

Louis Oosthuizen became the first South African player ever to win the championship.  Moreover, Oosthuizen has one of those classic underdog stories.  Apparently, he needed money from the Ernie Els foundation, (a famous golfer), just to buy clubs.  To add a political element to the story, Oosthuizen has been working with the same Black Caddie for 7-years now.  In South Africa, with their apartheid history, this is a HUGE deal.  And now Oosthuizen and his caddie are sitting on top of the golf world.

BASKETBALL

In more LeBron James saga news, another great is weighing in on LeBron’s decision to join the Miami Heat.  This time… it’s the greatest of all, Michael Jordan.  Jordan said he’s shocked to see LeBron join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.  Jordan made a comparison to his own life, saying, “There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team,'”  Jordan followed that up with, “In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.”  Clearly there is a competitive spirit to LeBron that’s been lost, especially with the media saying, “This is WADE’S team”.  But, perhaps, LeBron himself doesn’t care about any of that.

CYCLING

Finally, in the cycling world, there are scandalous reports against 7-Time Tour De France Champion, Lance Armstrong.  The rumor is that Lance tried to pay someone $300,000 to say that Greg LeMond, a 3-time Tour De France Champion, used a banned drug.  This may not have any water, however, because Armstrong immediately came to the press and said this was “nonsense”.  Armstrong and LeMond will get their chance to explain the full story to authorities, but Armstrong said he’s not worried in the slightest that he did anything wrong.  Clearly, Armstrong is confident his name is clear.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: WADE SAYS LEBRON DIDN’T QUIT, WARRIORS TO MANDALAY, MLS WON’T PART WITH DONOVAN

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, the juggernaut Miami Heat continue to make more headlines.  This time, it’s LeBron James’ new teammate, Dwayne Wade, telling the press that “LeBron never quit on Cleveland”.  Where did this come from?  Well, since LeBron left, the Cavs owner has been running his mouth that LeBron quit on them.  Some Cleveland fans appear to be mirroring this sentiment.  Now Dwayne Wade is telling the press that LeBron never quit, but rather was a victim of the Boston Celtics stifling defense.  Let  me explain.

Boston beat the Miami Heat in the first round of last season’s playoffs, and Wade said it was because they implement a defense whereby its impossible for ONE player to beat you.  They contain the all-star and either make him shoot from the top of the key or pass.  And if you don’t have solid teammates around you — your team is in serious trouble.  Wade said that LeBron gives 100% every night and did his best to get Cleveland their championship.  He just fell a little short.

Elsewhere in the NBA, it looks like the Golden State Warriors might be turning things around soon.  The Warriors represent a major area — (i.e. San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose).  There is a lot of money in this area, and it behooves the NBA to have a successful franchise there.  Well, their franchise has been sold to the movie business for $450 Million.  And more specifically, Peter Guber of Mandalay Entertainment.  Mandalay was behind such films as “Donnie Brasco” and “Enemy at the Gates”, and Guber himself was responsible for bringing “Batman” to the screen.  With the team in his hands, there’s a chance the Warriors get a new identity and start causing havoc in the west.  Last year, they were very fun to watch, and this year they improved even more.

SOCCER

As we all know, USA’s Landon Donovan became a national hero last month, especially after scoring a miracle goal against Algeria to put the US in the round of 16.  Well, now he’s being courted by major international teams in Europe.  Unfortunately for Donovan, USA’s MLS League doesn’t want to part ways with him.  Donovan is the superstar, All-American face of MLS and losing him would be detrimental to the league.  Moreover, MLS is trying to bolster their talent roster, recently signing aging French superstar, Thierry Henry to the big market New York Red Bulls.  Looks like the U.S. gets to keep our golden boy Donovan.

There’s more Donovan news. A pregnant British woman is now claiming that Donovan is the father of her child. Donovan was separated from his wife last year while playing in England and at one point intimated that if it was true, he’d take responsibility. Now, he is completely denying the claim.


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