Archive for June, 2011
It was an interleague match-up between the two best teams in baseball: The Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox. Many think that this could be this year’s World Series match-up with both teams boasting a super talented roster. With that said, the Phillies have been mired by injuries. But that hasn’t stopped them from keeping their winning going. These guys have a terrific victory-minded attitude. They know that if they can just slog through these rough patches in the season, they can get a top spot in the series, and their remarkable pitching staff should lead them to a World Series appearance. Last night, they got a great game from Raul Ibanez. He knocked in two runs (a single and a homer) and gave the Phils a narrow victory over the Red Sox. Philly now has the best record in baseball at 51-30. Philadelphia 2, Boston 1.
And, in the NBA, it was another pivotal day for the Portland Trailblazers franchise. In 2007, they selected Greg Oden with the #1 overall pick (Over #2 Kevin Durant). Well, he has been injured every year since — either for the entire season or most of it. Bottom line is… he has never been a factor. That’s 4 straight years. Many thought they would give up on the experiment and see what they can get from him. However, Oden is ONLY 23 years old and the Blazers still believe that he will become a top NBA center. That’s why they offered him an $8.8 million qualifying offer to become a restricted free agent. This means that he can test the market, but they will have the right to match any offer. And if they do, he stays. Then again, if he gets hurt again, that should pretty much do it for Oden in Portland. And if history tells us anything… you can probably expect that.
Finally, in some crazy news, here’s a new way to look at a sports movie classic. Charlie Sheen, who we all know had a meltdown earlier this year, has mentioned a new piece of movie history. Sheen famously played Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in the baseball comedy classic MAJOR LEAGUE. Yesterday Sheen said that while filming Major League… he was taking steroids. This is wholly unnecessary for a movie of this type, so you have to assume that Sheen thought the role needed an edge. Sheen said that the ‘roids put another 5mph on his fastball. He also mentioned that the drug didn’t have much effect except for making him feel more irritable.No comments
It’s official: The Los Angeles Dodgers are broke. Monday, their owner, Frank McCourt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. McCourt made a string of bad and unethical decisions while owner of the Dodgers. He bought mansions all over the United States using the Dodgers money, and basically made the wrong decision at every turn. He completely stopped caring about the welfare of the team, and only focused on himself. Fans are outraged by this because it essentially means the team won’t make too many active strides to improve until they get a new owner. McCourt seriously drove this storied franchise into the ground, and Major League Baseball had to step in and seize ownership of the Dodgers. The case will continue to escalate, and hopefully the Dodgers will be able to turn things around.
More Wimbledon action. Unfortunately, however, we lost both Serena and Venus Williams i Sn the 4th round. Serena, who was vying to win her 3rd straight Wimbledon championship, fell to Marion Bartoli. Note that this is the first time since 2006 that neither Williams sister was in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. Call it an off year. And, on top of that, the top seed Carolina Wozniacki was bounced as well. Wozniacki has yet to win a major championship yet, but many thought this could be her year to possibly take the Wimbledon crown. This leaves the door open to establish some new legitimate star power in women’s tennis.
And in the NBA, with lockout talks all the buzz in the headlines, all we can really do is focus on the positive and talk about free agency. Sure, the season may be delayed, but the NBA has one of the most exciting off-seasons in sports. It’s always fun to see which teams are bolstering their rosters in strategic ways. Yesterday, former all-star David West of the New Orleans Hornets said he would test out the free agency landscape. West has been a clutch player for the Hornets, made even better by having, arguably, the best point guard in the game (Chris Paul). But West wants to see what other teams will give him a shot, or possibly join a legitimate contender (the Bulls or Lakers come to mind as possible destinations). Either way, it looks like the lockout is upon us, and former superstar Charles Barkley said it would take a ‘miracle’ for that not to happen.No comments
In college basketball, the Kentucky Wildcats have decided to extend John Calipari’s contract. And of course he will get more money. This is notable because many speculated that Calipari was getting ready to head to the NBA, but Kentucky is extremely pleased with what he has done with the program. Kentucky is the most storied programs in college basketball, and even in the 90s they were racking up championships and #1 seeds in the tourney. They dipped for most of this past decade, but with Calipari at the helm, they began getting superstar recruits again. And the proof is in the pudding. Calipari got John Wall (#1 overall), DeMarcus Cousins (#4 overall), and just this past season his star Brandon Knight went #8 overall to the Pistons, while a guy who didn’t even play, Enes Kanter from Turkey, went #3 overall. Sure, no university is happy when their star players depart to the pros, but, make no mistake about it, it’s all about money, and Kentucky makes a ton of money on college basketball.
In golf, things just keep getting better for the best female golfer in the world. Yesterday, 22-year old Yani Tseng won her 4th major, nabbing the LPGA Championship. This makes her the youngest female golfer to win 4 major tournaments. And don’t think she just barely won, she clobbered the field, winning by 10 strokes. Having a dominate player in any individual sport is a great thing. It heightens awareness to the sport to see if that person can continue destroying the competition. Tiger Woods is easily the best thing to ever happen to golf. During his supreme reign, golf ratings were through the roof just to see if Tiger would keep winning. With Yani Tseng, we seem to have that same type of superstar athleticism. She could really drive some major awareness to women’s golf, which would be fantastic.
It was a happy day for Yankees fan. The Yankees have something called Old-Timers day, where they invite back former players and coaches who proudly wore the pin stripe uniform. Sundy, they saw a familiar face that hadn’t donned the Yankees gear in a few years. That’s right — Joe Torre was back in Yankee blue. He sat down to answer questions for the media and said he was happy to be party of the Yankees again (if only for just a little bit). They had this same event a few years ago, but Torre was managing the Dodgers at the time and couldn’t put on the uniform. Torre said there is no animosity between him and the Yankees brass, and that he’s happy doing his job as Vice President of Baseball Operations for the league. Torre’s long time relationship with the Yankees ended after he lost a playoff series to the Cleveland Indians in 2007. Now he’s always welcome in their house.No comments
Thursday night: The NBA Draft. Here were the highlights.
Cleveland began their rebuilding efforts by selecting Duke point-guard Kyrie Irving with the #1 overall pick. He’s definitely a good player, but we only saw him play 8 games at Duke. There are concerns, however, that Irving doesn’t have the same explosiveness as previous point guards drafted #1 overall (i.e. Derrick Rose and John Wall). Then at #4, the Cavs added another big piece taking Texas big man Tristan Thompson. That gives them both a solid point guard and a potential low post dominant force. And they could also deal a few pieces before the season. They still probably won’t make the playoffs, but they are showing the fans that they ARE trying to rebuild.
Everyone was expecting a major trade from Minnesota at the #2 spot, but they kept the pick and picked the explosive Derrick Williams out of Arizona. The Wolves will be an interesting team next year. They’re finally getting pretty boy Ricky Rubio back from Spain and it looks like they’re also firing their coach Kurt Rambis in the next few days. They lost former top pick point-guard Johnny Flynn last night to Houston in a trade, but they’re so loaded at that position. You can bet that with a better coach, the T-Wolves could be a serious threat next season.
Moving down the first round, there was a plethora of international players. Utah added big man Enes Kanter at #3 from Turkey, the Raptors grabbed the versatile Jonas Valanclunas, the Washington Wizards nabbed a big athletic guy in Jan Vesely from Czech Republic, and the Charlotte Bobcats added the huge guy from Congo Bismack Biyombo. This influx of international talent should add a new dimension to the NBA.
Two of the biggest questions of the night were where two of the biggest stars in college basketball would play. That would be BYU’s Jimmer Fredette and the superstar who led UCONN all the way to the title, Kemba Walker. The Sacramento Kings traded up to get Jimmer, but many think that this was less of a basketball pick and more of a desperate financial move. Most thought that Jimmer would slip to the 12 – 15 zone, but the Kings need to sell some serious tickets and get on TV. They thought having a celebrity player like Jimmer Fredette might put people in the seats. If they want to stay in Sacramento, they need to make money NOW. And they’re hoping that Jimmer is as good as most have said. As for Kemba, he’s headed to Charlotte. Walker proved that he’s ready to play now and has the will to win, but it took until the 9th pick overall for a team to take a chance on him. Charlotte parted ways with Stephen Jackson last night, one of their leading scorers, but they’re hoping that getting these two young guys both with huge amounts of potential might propel them into the playoffs.No comments
Thursday is the NBA draft, and a few rumors have been circling. First off, it seems that the Minnesota Timberwolves were/are possibly talking with the Phoenix Suns about acquiring Steve Nash for the #2 overall pick. However, sources from the T-Wolves denied this, as did a source from the Suns, president Lon Babby. He stated, “I have said it a billion times, we are not trading Nash”. But everyone feels that Nash will not be in a Suns uniform at the start of the season (whenever that is). He has only a year or two left (kind of like Jason Kidd) and will want to be a part of a contender. He wants that ring just like every other player.
In other trade talks, it looks like the Sixers Andre Iguodala might be headed out of town. Iguodala can be a serious force when he wants to be, but he has a tendency to disappear in big games (i.e. the playoffs). Well, there is talk of Iguodala going to the Lakers for Lamar Odom (and probably some other players). That would give the Lakers another scoring punch to take some pressure off Kobe. However, the Timberwolves are also interested in Iguodala, and might give up their #2 pick for him. Remember, the T-Wolves have a lot of nice pieces in place currently (Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Luke Ridenour, and a bunch of young guys). Adding Iguodala would give them even more firepower for a playoff push. They could be the next Memphis Grizzlies-type surprise.
Cliff Lee is on fire right now for the Philadelphia Phillies. Wednesday, he threw his second straight shut-out. Lee said that when he goes out to the mound for a start, he imagines throwing a full game. Most pitchers expect that even in a good performance, they will pitch about 6 innings. But Lee said he felt like he could go 10 or 11 innings even. Cliff attributes his success to playing at home (in Philly) where it all started. Each home game feels like a homecoming to him, and it helps with his confidence at the mound. All National League teams better beware because the Phillies have no intentions of anything BUT a World Series win this year. It seems like anything else is inexcusable. Philadelphia 4, St. Louis 0.No comments
It was an emotional day in the tennis circuit yesterday, as Serena Williams returned to the court. Over the past year, Serena had to take some serious time off to tend to her health issues. She had two foot operations and had to undergo treatment for two blood clots in her lungs. That is a lot for someone to handle — even a superstar athlete like Serena. Yesterday Serena was back in action at Wimbledon. She was able to beat Aravane Rezai to advance to the second round, and as soon as she did, she buried her face in a towel and cried. After the match, Serena said, “I usually don’t cry … but it’s just been so hard”. She said her goal was to actually play in Wimbledon and win at least one match. Goal achieved. Now… how far will she get? Congratulations to Serena.
And in the NBA, it looks like Tony Parker (formerly married to Eva Longoria) may have seen his last days as a San Antonio Spur. The Spurs are allegedly talking to teams about swapping Parker for a high draft pick. They’ve talked with both Sacramento and Toronto about moving up, and both of those teams could seriously use a solid point guard like Parker. After all, Sacramento started Beno Udrich at point guard most of the season, and you simply can’t get very far with that guy running the show. Plus, earlier last season, Parker said publicly that he thought this past season was the Spurs last chance to win a title in the Duncan era. The team is aging and the league is getting younger. The Spurs played their heart out, got the #1 seed, but couldn’t beat a young, vibrant Memphis Grizzlies team. The question now is whom do the Spurs want to draft? Most likely, they have their eye on one of the promising European players.
Finally, Pat Riley, the General Manager of the Miami Heat, spoke to the press yesterday about the Heat’s future. First off, he told them flat out that he would not be coaching again. Riley said that he had “the fire”, but that he would support their young coach Erik Spoelstra — that it was only his 3rd year and that he would only get better. Riley mentioned that he would find more help for LeBron, D-Wade, and Bosh, but is also excited about the prospects of playing with a healthy Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller, both of whom were hurt for lengthy periods this season. And then he said that the Heat have no intention of moving up in the draft (as that can be costly) and would try to pick a great player at #31 (the first pick of the second round). Ah the Heat, they never get old.No comments
In the NBA, the draft is upon us this Thursday, which gives us a number of storylines leading up to the big day.
First off, the Cleveland Cavaliers still don’t know what to do with the #1 Pick. Up to this point, it was widely assumed that they would pick Duke star point-guard Kyrie Irving. But remember, Irving only played 8 regular season healthy games last season. He’s a risky pick. Now they’re talking about possibly selecting Arizona power forward Derrick Williams with the #1 pick. Ideally, they would like both, BUT that would require them to trade their #4 pick and move up to the #2 spot. But if they remain in the #4 spot, many think they would opt to go big and take Enes Kanter from Turkey. There is still a ton of drama leading up to the big day, and we’ll keep you posted on any big pre-draft trades. Remember, last year, there were TONS of trades during the draft. It was hard to keep track.
And, 2 years after the fact, Spanish star Ricky Rubio is coming to the U.S. At only 16 years old, Rubio was the star of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Minnesota Timberwolves selected him with their early top pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, but Rubio opted to stay and play in Spain for at least 2 years. Many thought that Rubio wouldn’t play for a small market team like Minnesota, and that he would demand a trade to the likes of a New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Now he’s coming to Minnesota and will hopefully be wearing a T-Wolves jersey at the start of the season. However, regardless of all the hype surrounding Rubio, it must be noted that his stats in the Euro League were, um, not so good. He’s known for his amazing passing skills, but… he’s only averaging 5 points per game. Even so, it’s hard to deny that he was marvelous against the best of the best American players in the Olympics.
Finally, in baseball, very bad news for Cardinals fans. Unfortunately, it looks like the first place Cardinals will be without Albert Pujols for 6 weeks. This is a major blow, because it’s very tough to replace, arguably, the best player in baseball. However, the Cards are famous for playing through ANYTHING. They lost Matt Halladay earlier this year to an injury, and they played on. They know how to get through things, and since they’re in first place, they still have something to play for. For Pujols, he asked for a gigantic contract at the beginning of the season, but the organization was reticent to give him that much money for 10 years. And now, the onus is on Pujols to show the team that he can bounce back from an injury, get back out there, and continue slugging balls. Hopefully St. Louis can hold on until he returns.No comments
We may be seeing the beginnings of something special. Rory McIllroy is just a young kid, just about the same age as when Tiger Woods began his domination of the sport. McIllroy played incredibly well at The Masters this year, but let his lead slip towards the end. Probably just nervous jitters from a young talent playing with the big boys. However, that experience served him well, because at the U.S. Open in Washington D.C., McIllroy proved that he is the next force of nature in golf. McIllroy had the lowest 72-hole score in the history of the U.S. Open Tournament. And recognize that the tournament is 111 years old. It was truly a brilliant performance, and he has already garnered the title of “The Next Tiger Woods”. And in this case… he’s earning that nickname.
The Florida Marlins entered the season with a ton of promise. They had an ace in pitcher Josh Johnson, as well as their shortstop Hanley Ramirez, whom some might argue is the best player in baseball. However, they got off to a rocky start, and had a horrible June, going 1-18. That led to their head coach Edwin Rodriguez resigning. And, in a situation like this, “resigning” typically means “was about to be fired”. So, their season might be a wash, but what’s interesting is their replacement hire. The Marlins have decided to anoint Jack McKeon as manager. McKeon was responsible for the Marlins 2003 World Series win, and will bring a serious amount of ‘hope’ back to the organization. BUT, there’s just one little thing — HE’S 80 YEARS OLD!! Sure, you don’t ‘have’ to be young and active to be a baseball manager, but it’s hard to do much at 80 years old, yet alone all the traveling and practices that come from a hectic baseball season. This should be an interesting experiment.
Finally, in some legal news, it looks like Shaquille O’ Neal, fresh off his retirement, could be in some trouble. It appears that a man testified that in 2008 he was kidnapped and beaten by a group of gang members who were trying to retrieve a Shaq sex tape. They kidnapped him in West Hollywood, and took him to the home of a Crips gang leader. The group demanded that he give them the sex tape, but the victim said he didn’t have it — that it was recorded over. At this point, it’s unclear what connection Shaq may have to this incident, but if it turns out he was involved in this type of gang-related activity, he will be in serious trouble.No comments
NO WATERCOOLERS NEXT WEEK. WE’LL BE BACK ON JUNE 20TH!!!
In the NBA, an important Game 5 between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. The series was tied at 2 and everybody was expecting yet another fantastic game. Every single game in this series has been exciting and come down to the wire. The main question, would LeBron rise to the occasion or disappear again in the 4th quarter? The game started out neck-and-neck, but a late 1st quarter hip injury to Dwayne Wade sent him to the sideline. In the meantime, LeBron tore it up, slowly building his way to a triple-double. Wade would come back in the second quarter, but left again until midway through the 3rd quarter, and they sorely needed him.
For the Mavs, Nowitzki had yet another great night, with 29 points, but the real heroes for the Mavs were their guards Jason Terry and J.J. Barea. Both of them put up points — Terry (21), Barea (17), and hit some clutch 3-pointers when it counted. But, of course, the game came down to the final minutes… again. Would LeBron show up? The answer: Not really. He missed some big shots late, and now has a combined total of 11 4th quarter points in this entire series. That’s not good for a guy dubbed the league’s best player, and, earlier this month, “Better than Jordan”. On the other end, however, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry had two amazing 3 points to essentially ice the game for the Mavs and send the series back to Miami. The Mavs are now leading 3-2. Many assume the Heat will run away with Game 6, and we’ll see a Game 7, but don’t underestimate a superstar like Dirk Nowitzki who is just 1 game away from winning his first title. Dallas 112, Miami 103.
Elsewhere, in college football, with Terrelle Pryor’s career at Ohio State over, he has to now start exploring his professional options. With the draft already behind us, Pryor may have to look elsewhere. And it appears that the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders have come calling his name. However, Pryor immediately said he’s not interested in playing for the CFL and will hopefully take part in the NFL supplemental draft. That would at least land him in the leagues. Sounds good, but first Pryor has to be declared eligible for that draft. If he’s not, he would probably have to play in either the CFL or the USFL. But once you’re exposed, the NFL might look past you. Plus, there’s always hot names coming out of college and a guy like Pryor, as talented as he may be, may be forgotten completely.
On the flip side, it looks like overall #1 draft pick Cam Newton, also the National Championship and Heisman Trophy Winner, is getting along famously with his new team in Carolina. They held unofficial workouts yesterday, and Newton said he’s getting a feel for what their offense will be. Even so, Newton had to take the time to fly to Washington D.C. to meet President Obama at the White House with the rest of his Auburn Tigers team. It’s still uncertain what type of NFL player Newton will be, but, so far, the Panthers are very happy with their somewhat risky pick.No comments
In the NHL, the Boston Bruins had a chance to even the series on the mighty Vancouver Canucks. Going into Boston’s home stand, there was a lot of criticism about Boston’s goalie Tim Thomas. He was viewed as mediocre and far inferior to Vancouver’s goalie Roberto Luongo. But, suddenly, Thomas has turned into a hero. On Monday, he only gave up 1 goal, and Wednesday night… he wouldn’t give up ANY. In fact, anytime the Boston defense broke down, Thomas bailed them out of the jam by making an incredible save. Last night, the Bruins did all the scoring, including a beautiful goal from Michael Ryder. And the Bruins win again, and now look like the better team in the series. Vancouver looked sluggish out there and failed to stop the Bruins when it counted. So now, we have two championships to watch tied at 2-2. Boston 4, Vancouver 0.
In the NBA, Charles Barkley, always one to share his opinion, has publicly said that he just can’t root for the Heat. He thinks they’re a “whiny bunch”. He also ripped Miami Heat fans saying that they, essentially, have no passion. Barkley stated that when he’s in Chicago, for example, it’s loud, and in Dallas it’s crazy. But in Miami… it’s quiet. This is just another way of Barkley calling Miami’s fans fair weather. After all, their attendance was pretty shoddy until they landed LeBron and Bosh. Sure, they’ve gone on a run this post-season, but it’s pretty clear that, like Barkley, most of America is rooting against the Heat.
And, of course, Thursday night is Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Most believe that whichever team wins Game 5 will win the series. However, this is a MUST WIN game for the Mavericks. There is no way that the Mavs can win 2 games back-to-back in Miami. Charles Barkely said that anybody who thinks that is an idiot. And, in some interesting news, the Mavericks’ DeShawn Stevenson went on the Jim Rome show and said that LeBron basically “checked out” at the end of Game 4. LeBron received a lot of criticism for this, and Stevenson said this, of course, was good for Dallas, but that it looked like LeBron just stood around and watched D-Wade catch fire and decided to relax. This goes back to the ego thing that everybody was worried about. If Dwyane Wade is THE MAN, that makes LeBron the Pippen to his Jordan. And people that are world renowned as superstars don’t take well to this. Either way, it’s going to be an action-packed Game 5.No comments