Archive for August, 2010

WATERCOOLER CHAT: CONTROVERSIAL CALL AT PGA, TIM TEBOW’S DEBUT

GOLF

Martin Kaymer’s impressive win in the PGA champtionship was overshadowed by the  controversial call that penalized fellow golfer Dustin Johnson two strokes on the 18th hole in final round.  Johnson thought he was heading to a playoff but then heard that he grounded his club. The controversy is whether or not the “bunker” was actually defined as a bunker or something else that would have been legal. Prepare to hear more about this in the next few days. For a definition of “grounding your club” click here.

FOOTBALL

Tim Tebow was one of the most high profile rookies coming out of the NFL Draft this year. Everyone had opinions on whether or not he would fare as well in the NFL as he did in College. Well, his rookie debut as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos went pretty well. The Broncos lost to the Cincinnati Bengals but Tebow finished with a decent 105 yards passing and a rushing touchdown. (Bengas 33, Broncos 24)

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: NBA POTENTIAL LOCKOUT, BARKLEY LEBRON BASHING, PHILLIES TURNING AROUND

BASKETBALL

There are whisperings in the NBA of a potential lockout.  That would mean no basketball because there are no basketball players.  Well, newly acquired Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall said that if there IS a lockout, he would play in the NBA.  He said, “I’m that good”.  He even said he would pair with a trainer and basketball coach to get in shape for the NBA.   Of course all the spotlight is now on Miami basketball with the recent birth of the juggernaut Miami Heat, and Marshall’s comments show that every single person down there has basketball fever.  Plus, there’s a chance that there might be a football lockout next year, so Marshall would have plenty of time to pursue these dreams.

In some more LeBron bashing drama, Charles Barkley has publicly stated that he thinks LeBron James is a “punk” move.  He said he didn’t like that one-hour special or the big Heat Celebration the next day (where the new trio danced on a lighted stage to fans).  Barkley said that he thought just going to Miami was a “punk move” and that LeBron should have stayed in Cleveland.  Well, on LeBron’s Twitter account, going by the name of King James, LeBron wrote, “Don’t think for one min that I haven’t been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone”.  Barkley immediately said “Add me to that list”.  Then Sir Charles announced if he has a problem with me, he knows where to find me, I’m on TV every week

BASEBALL

The defending National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies were in a bit of a slump this season.  However, they are really starting to turn it around.  Last night they trailed the LA Dodgers by 7 runs, but had an 8 run surge in the 8th and 9th inning to make the comeback.  The hero was Carlos Ruiz — he doubled in the 9th bringing in the winning run.  What an amazing comeback.  The Phillies are hoping to guarantee their playoff spot and make a serious run at their 3rd straight World Series appearance.  Philadelphia 10, LA Dodgers 9.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: THOMAS OUT, NBA TRADE, REVIS STILL HOLDING OUT

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, the New York Knicks hired Hall of Famer and former Knick General Manager Isiah Thomas to be their “consultant”.  Nobody knew what this meant, and nobody could make sense of this hire.  After all, Thomas essentially drove the Knicks organization into the ground with terrible signings and bad draft picks.  It was because of him that the Knicks struggled with the salary room to get LeBron.  Sure, they made a run at him in the end, but instead of having a core of good players (like the Bulls), they had a disappointing team.  Not exactly appetizing to a guy who wants to win championships right away.  Plus, Thomas was involved in a sexual abuse case within the organization.  So hiring him back was curious. What’s going on behind closed doors that we don’t know about?

Well, Wednesday, the NBA said the hiring of Thomas is a violation because of his current job as a college basketball coach.  They said that Isaiah couldn’t be a part of both the NCAA and the NBA.  Thomas then twisted this into another story, saying that he would only come back to the NBA in the role of General Manager.  Talk about ego.  After his horrible track record with the Knicks, who would want Thomas running their organization?

Elsewhere in the NBA, a major trade that could help multiple organizations.  First, the New Orleans Hornets are trying to appease their star Chris Paul by surrounding him with supporting talent.  They just brought in Trevor Ariza, who was instrumental in helping the Lakers win a title in 2009.  Unfortunately, they had to ship rising point-guard Darren Collison away.  However, Collison landed in a spot that was desperate for a quality point guard, Indiana.  Indiana has a lot of young talent in Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, and two hot rookies.  Having a quick point guard who shoots well will only help them jell faster.

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, it looks like the New York Jets and star cornerback Darrelle Revis can not come to an agreement.  Revis has been holding out saying he wants a much bigger contract.  Last season, as a rookie, he proved himself to be one of top cornerbacks in the game.  And now he wants compensation for it.  Well, because they’re at loggerheads, it looks like Revis will miss the pre-season and there’s a chance he might not even play games.  They’re at a pure stand still.  The good news:  This story  will be prominently featured and explained in HBO’s Hard Knocks series, so that should be thoroughly entertaining.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: VAN GUNDY THINKS HEAT WILL BREAK RECORDS, REDS RESURFACE

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, with all the hype circling the Miami Heat going into next season, many have wondered if this group will be as good as expected.  After all, this is three-alpha dogs all trying to play team ball.  Some experts were predicting this team wouldn’t even reach the finals, but get beat by Boston or Orlando in the conference finals.  Well, a certain ex-head coach/current announcer thinks very differently.  Former NY Knicks and Houston Rockets head coach doesn’t just think the Heat will be excellent, but they will break numerous records, including the famous 72-win season set by Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the late 90’s.  That would mean the Heat would have to lose fewer than 10 games the entire season.  We’ll see if Van Gundy is spot-on.

Elsewhere in basketball, the NBA announced it would play two regular season games in London at O2 arena, where the league had played exhibition games in seasons past.  This is all part of the league’s effort to bring even more international awareness to the NBA — to get loyal fans in every crevasse. It’ll be two games featuring The Toronto Raptors vs. The New Jersey Nets.  By playing two games, it keeps things fair, and ensures that these teams don’t have a home court disadvantage to the rest of the league.

BASEBALL

For the first time since 1995, the Cincinnati Reds are hoping to reach the playoffs.  This team has been practically invisible over the last 15 years.  They made headlines by signing the then red-hot Ken Griffey Jr. at the end of the 1990s, but that experiment was a total failure.  Since then, they’ve hovered around last place and haven’t had many marquee players to draw attention.  Now, they’ve made a resurgence, and yesterday traded for slugger Jim Edmonds from the Milwaukee Brewers.  This trade shows that they think they have a fighting chance to do some damage in the post-season.  Perhaps Cincinnati will return to it’s glory days of the late 70s and 80s.  Hey, if the Phillies can do it…

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: TIGERS WORST OUTING, 2006 SUPER BOWL MISTAKES, TINA THOMPSON SCORING LEADER

GOLF

It was the Bridgestone Invitational, and Tiger Woods was the favorite.  Woods is typically favored to at least finish in the top 5 in every single golf tournament.  We’ve seen him win so many times, you just expect him to dominate.  After all, he’s won 14 major tournaments in his career and he’s still considered young.  Well, at Bridgestone, the prelude to the PGA Championship at Whistling Streets, Tiger Woods played his worst professional golf outing ever.

Woods finished 18 over par, shooting a 77, and finishing in 78th place out of an 80-man field.  This is truly horrible, especially for the guy considered to be the best golfer in the world.  So now, many are asking the question:  “Is Tiger Woods finished?”  “Is his electric career on the decline?” “Did the media coverage of his abhorrent sexual exploits do him in?”  Well, these are all fair questions, because the Woods out there right now is completely different than the Woods winning Masters after Masters.  We may be entering the era where Woods is just another golfer.

FOOTBALL

Elsewhere, in the NFL, referee Bill Leavy has publicly admitted that he made two very bad calls in the 2006 Super Bowl featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks.  This Super Bowl is in the history books as having notoriously bad officiating, so to hear the actual referee from the game admit to two bad calls that may have cost the Seattle Seahawks the game is pretty remarkable.  The Seahawks organization has applauded Bill Leavy’s courage to admit such mistakes, but the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t care less.  Their primary argument is that two calls can’t swing an entire game, but they’re also upset that people are still thinking about their 2006 Super Bowl when they also won in 2009.  Either way, both teams will have a tough time getting to the Super Bowl THIS year.

BASKETBALL

Finally, in some rare news out of the WNBA, the Los Angeles Sparks’ Tina Thompson became the all-time WNBA scoring leader.  She had 6,250 points going into the game, and needed just 14 points to surpass fellow Los Angeles Sparks superstar Lisa Leslie for the all-time scoring title.  And she did just that scoring 23 points on the night. Unfortunately, the Sparks lost in the end, but a remarkable achievement for Thompson.   San Antonio 92, LA Sparks 83.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: CHANGES TO BIG TEN, PITINO’S AFFAIR, SHANNON BROWN SIGNED TO LAKERS

FOOTBALL

In college football, there have been some major changes in the historic Big Ten conference.  The Big Ten is home to Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa and other football powerhouses.  Now, however, they will inherit Nebraska (a long time Big 12 team) and have their own conference championship.  College championships are very interesting because they can theoretically pit the two best teams in the country against each other prior to the BCS Championship game.  This has happened in the SEC Championship a few times.  Well, the Big Ten has selected Indianapolis as the first destination for this conference championship game.  Now it’s possible that rivals Michigan and Ohio State play each other twice in the same season.

BASKETBALL

In college basketball,  Louisville coach Rick Pitino’s affair was back in the news. This time, however, in a legal manner.  In 2003, Pitino had a fling with a woman at a restaurant.  Afterwards, she wanted millions to keep quiet.  Pitino, makes a living not only as a coach, but as a brand name of fine coaching and leadership.  In fact, he sells books on leadership.  Having his name tarnished could have been detrimental.  However, yesterday, a court found this woman, Karen Cunagin Sypher, guilty of extortion.  Pitino did have the affair, but he came clean with it, and pursued legal action.  Louisville’s athletic director said Pitino would not be penalized for his conduct, but Pitino did apologize for his “discretion”.

Finally, in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers are trying to keep their championship team in tact.  And yesterday, they took another major step toward keeping the nucleus together signing slam-dunk superstar Shannon Brown to a 2-year deal.  For most of the off-season, Brown was expected to leave, as he was a rising star and could be a strong piece elsewhere.  But, the Lakers know how valuable a young star like Brown is, and if Brown keeps playing well, he could be a key piece in the post-Kobe era in LA.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: BRETT NOW UNDECIDED, THE SHAQ TO CELTICS, AROD HITS 600TH

FOOTBALL

And here we go again.  Just one day — ONE DAY after Favre announced his retirement he has told the media that he is still undecided and that he would return if healthy.  This guy is truly unbelievable!  Many experts believe that Favre doesn’t want to go to training camp — that he would prefer to be the savior of the Vikings if they get off to a slow start.  Without Favre, the Vikings start Tavarias Jackson at QB.  If the Vikings get out to a 1-3 start, Favre would love to come marching back on the field and win the game.  If he succeeds, people will talk of what an amazing player he is.  If he fails, he can blame it on the injury.   But, as of right now, Favre is saying he never officially retired.  This is just too confusing.

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, with all the attention on the Miami Heat, it’s important not to forget which team is the defending Eastern Conference Champion.  That team is the Boston Celtics, and they’re not exactly rolling over.  Remember, they still have Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and possibly the best point guard in the league, Rajon Rondo.  Well, now they’ve signed up the big fella — Shaquille O’ Neal.  O’Neal is definitely in the twilight of his career, but he still confuses defenses when he’s on the court.  They don’t know how to guard him or play against him.  He change a team’s complete offensive strategy.  This was a smart sign for the Celtics, and O’Neal will play a huge factor come playoff time.

BASEBALL

Finally, in baseball, Alex Rodriguez finally got over the hump.  He has been standing at 599 home-runs for almost 2 weeks now.  He’s been in a terrible slump.  Well, yesterday, against the Toronto Blue Jays, A-Rod sent the ball soaring for his 600th home run.  This is a tremendous achievement, as only 7 players have hit the 600 mark. With that said, there is a huge cloud and asterisk hovering over this accomplishment, as A-Rod publicly admitted last season that he had spent a considerable amount of career time using illegal substances.  This is the reason why 600 home-runs isn’t making big headlines.  NY Yankees 5, Toronto 1.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: NBA MATCHUPS REVEALED, FAVRE RETIRES

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, the major match-ups of the season were revealed.  The series will open with none other than LeBron James/Dwayne Wade/Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat.  Their first contest:  An away game against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics.  This is very interesting.  The Celtics are still LOADED, and will be a tough competitor.  And remember, all the pressure is on the Heat to not only succeed, but to CRUSH the competition.  If they beat the Celtics, nobody will care, but they need to beat the Celtics by at least 10 points to prove a point that they are the team to beat.  And, if the Heat lose, get ready for the criticism to begin.

The other opening night game features Kobe Bryant and the defending champion LA Lakers vs. a rejuvenated Houston Rockets team, who hope to have a healthy Yao Ming.  Another prime-time match-up will take place December 2nd, when LeBron James travels to Cleveland in a Miami Heat jersey.  The Heat should destroy the Cavs, but it will be fascinating to watch the LeBron backlash in Cleveland.  And you can definitely believe the Cavs will be playing their best ball.

Of course, the most anticipated match-up the NBA puts on Christmas day.  This year, that game is no surprise.  It’s the triple-headed monster that is the Miami Heat traveling to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers and the now underdog Kobe Bryant.  Everyone wants to see if Kobe can win his 6th title, and more importantly, win it against a Goliath of a competitor.  People think the Heat have an unfair advantage with all that talent, and that Kobe is the superstar who led his OWN team to 5 championships.  That game will be purely exhilarating.

Elsewhere in the NBA, LeBron James has taken out a full page in the Cleveland newspaper thanking Akron for all of their support.  This has raised ire from Cleveland fans.  LeBron is from Akron and that’s where he played his High School ball, but he has been a hero to Cleveland, not just Akron, and Cleveland residents feel they are owed a sincere amount of gratitude for their support.  Thanking just “Akron” feels like a slap-in-the-face, and an obvious admission that he didn’t like playing there — at least not towards the end.

FOOTBALL

Finally, in the NFL, it looks like an era is officially closed.  Yesterday, Brett Favre retired for good.  Sure, this is the third time, and they were all “official” or “final” or whatever he said at the time, but this one feels real.  Favre had all the leverage in the world heading into training camp.  Vikings coach Brad Childress said he would be as patient with Favre as necessary.  But Favre, coming off surgery, decided he wasn’t able to play yet another season.  Then again, many are speculating that Favre didn’t want to do training camp and may simply be on-call.  They think he’s waiting for the Vikings to flounder at QB and come begging for him to play, at which point he would happily throw on a uniform and jump right under center.  But, for now, it looks like the Brett Favre era has come to a close in the NFL.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MANNING NEW CONTRACT, REVIS WANTS ONE TOO, MODANO ONE YEAR WITH RED WINGS

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, Peyton Manning’s contract is about to expire.  Currently, Manning is the highest paid player in the NFL, and rightly so.  Over the last few seasons he has solidified his dominance as the best and smartest quarterback in the game.  Now, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is dead set on making Peyton Manning the highest paid player in the NFL… again.  Manning is 34 years old, but Irsay wants to make sure that Manning shatters any and all records in a Colts uniform.  Plus, the Colts are annual super bowl contenders with Peyton at the helm.  Given the Colts horrible stint in the 90s, you can’t let your team go into a downward spiral if it’s avoidable.  Most notably, Manning’s age isn’t really a huge concern given the recent success of older quarterbacks Brett Favre and Kurt Warner.

Elsewhere in the NFL, some controversy in New York.  The Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis established himself as one of the premiere cornerbacks in the NFL last year.  He was just a rookie, but many think he may be the best cornerback in the game.  Revis… is one of these people.  Well, even though Revis is under contract for three more years, he is holding out from camp saying he wants a new contract.  On one hand, you can side with Jets management.  Revis signed a contract and has to honor it, because it could go the other way too — if he had underperformed, he still would have gotten paid.  On the other hand, Revis knows how valuable he is to the Jets and is grossly underpaid for his skill level.  Either way, Revis is threatening to skip games if they don’t bring him a new contract.  What will the Jets do?

HOCKEY

Former heart throb Mike Modano has signed a one year contract with the Detroit Red Wings.  Once upon a time Mike Modano was the face of the NHL.  A fantastic player, he was the “hot hockey player”, the good-looking guy the NHL could put on magazine covers to get a female audience.  He has since dropped down the ranks, but now the Red Wings are hoping he still has some magic left in him.  He will be a reserve player for Detroit, but ideally can provide mentorship to some of their younger players.  And — he’s still quite attractive.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: DENVER TRAINING CAMP INJURIES, MASOLI SECOND CHANCE, NBA SPECIAL

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, some of the training camps were in full effect.  And in Denver, not everything got started on the right foot.  In just their first day of practice, Denver’s two top running backs went down to injury.  Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter suffered injuries requiring them to be carted off the field.  This is a horrible way to start the season.  There is no report how long they will be out for — whether it will be a week or two or substantial time where they would miss games.  this is good news for their recent waiver wire pick-up Kolby Smith, however.   He suddenly finds himself at the top of their depth chart.

In college football, it looks like former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is going to get a second chance.  The former Oregon Duck was kicked off the team because of two serious run-ins with the law.  Masoli has the skills and talents to be successful, however, and is still pursuing a substantial college career — with his eyes on the NFL as well.  That second chance is coming from the SEC’s renovated Ole Miss team.  Ole Miss had a strong season last year, and having Masoli on their depth chart may help them get to the next level — perhaps even a BCS Championship appearance.  Then again, Masoli is only joining the team as a walk-on, there is no guarantee that he will play.

BASKETBALL

NBA TV is preparing an hour-long special where they will reveal the marquee games of the upcoming NBA season.  Sure, everybody plays everybody in the NBA, but it’s always interesting to see when they will air certain games.  For example, Christmas always has a slew of riveting games, primarily for the gossip and dramatic story lines that lay underneath.  This year, you can be sure that LeBron’s return to Cleveland, and Kobe’s first match-up against the triple-headed Miami monster will be prime-time match-ups.

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