Archive for July, 2012

WATERCOOLER CHAT: DREAM TEAM BOASTING, GRIFFIN INJURED, SHAMEFUL COVERUP AT PENN STATE

BASKETBALL

This year’s Olympic Dream Team got under way in a Vegas summer league game against The Dominicans.  It was, of course, a complete route, but the interesting news came out before the game.  Kobe Bryant said that he thought this year’s Olympic team could beat the original 1992 Olympics Dream Team.  Kobe said that a lot of those players were older and playing towards the end of their career.  Michael Jordan, upon hearing this, said he literally laughed out loud.  Jordan basically said that the original Dream Team boasted 11 Hall of Famers and, assuming that they played in their prime, the 92 team would run the floor with them.  Charles Barkley even went so far as to say that only 3 players on this year’s team (LeBron, Durant, Kobe) would even make the original Dream Team.  The other guys would have no chance.  Essentially, Kobe awoke a sleeping giant.

And in some more Olympics basketball news, it looks like Team USA will be without even more of their stars.  After already losing Dwayne Wade, Lamar Odom, Dwight Howard, and Derrick Rose to injuries, Team USA will now be without Blake Griffin.  Griffin woke up Thursday morning complaining of pain in his knee.  It turns out that this pain was a torn meniscus — forcing him off the team.  Plus, there’s no way the Los Angeles Clippers, after spending $95MM on Griffin, were going to let him try and play through that injury.  So it’ll be interesting to see whom they choose as his replacement.  There are a lot of guys who would love Griffin’s spot.

FOOTBALL

And finally, the major news of the day, was the latest in the Penn State Scandal.  A 267-page report, known as the Freeh report, detailed the entire situation surrounding Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.  But this report was primarily focused on how the university responded to the situation that broke in 1998.  Sandusky was pronounced ‘guilty’ by a jury, so now the interesting thing becomes how much did Penn State officials know and ‘not know’.  And it appears that they knew quite a lot, and decided to play cover up — fearing losing their jobs, their salaries, and not exposing themselves to the bad press it would bring.  This cover up included then head coach Joe Paterno — they all pretty much turned a blind eye to Sandusky’s reported behavior.  Because of this, Sandusky’s abuse went on for 10 years — with many more boys being victimized in the process.  It’s a very sad and shameful situation at Penn State.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: NL BRAGGING RIGHTS, DWIGHT HOWARD TALKS

BASEBALL

In MLB, the mid-summer classic now has National League bragging rights again. Justin Verlander, who has given up just seven earned runs all year in the first inning opened the game for the American League by giving up five. And from their the NL never looked back to win the game 8-0. The San Francisco Giants’ all-stars looked to be on fire with Matt Cain starting the game with two scoreless innings, Pablo Sandoval with a triple, three RBIs and a run scored, Buster Posey with a hit of his own and the game’s MVP Melky Cabrera with a 2-run home run off of Texas Ranger starter Matt Harrison. Chipper Jones gave a pep talk to the NL before the game, saying he didn’t want to go out with a loss. He singled through the right side in his at bat during the game and can now retire with a final All-Star Game win. Notably from last night, MLB allowed players to use twitter during the game, but only once they had exited.

 BASKETBALL

In the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets have joined back in on the Dwight Howard talks. The Cleveland Cavaliers have dropped out as the third team in a deal with the Brooklyn Nets and now it seems as though the Magic will take the best deal for them in the next 48 hours. But as teams are chasing the Miami Heat to be crowned NBA champions, the Heat are getting even better. Rashard Lewis, the veteran sharp shooter has given Miami a discount and taken close to the minimum. He has agreed to $2.8 million for two years. It appears as though Lewis, who has had one of the worst contracts in the NBA in the past, could have gotten more money from other teams, but now wants to play for the Miami Heat. He played just 28 games last year after being nagged by a right knee injury. The former all-star averaged nearly 8 points a game last year, but does have a career average of more than 16 points per game.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: CAMBY A KNICK, HOME RUN DERBY, HOPE SOLO TESTS POSITIVE

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, Marcus Camby is now a New York Knick again. Camby was a Knick from 1998 to 2002. The unrestricted free agent center was part of a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets. The contract he signed is for $13.2 million over three years. In return, the Rockets receive Toney Douglas, Jerome Jordan, and Josh Harrellson, and two second round picks. Although the league cannot finalize any deal until July 11, Camby looks to make the Knicks one of the top defensive teams in the NBA by teaming up with defensive player of the year Tyson Chandler. Last season, Camby averaged 7.1 points and 9.3 rebounds in 19 games.

 BASEBALL

In the MLB, the All-Star Game Weekend festivities continued last night with the Home Run Derby. The AL captain, New York Yankee second baseman, Robinson Cano, got booed as he entered the batter’s box by Kansas City fans for not choosing hometown hero, Billy Butler. But, it appeared as though Cano made the right decision. With the exception of Cano himself, the defending champion, his teammates put on a show. Cano went homerless in his one round, while NL captain Matt Kemp only hit one himself. The two that put on the show however was Jose Bautista and Prince Fielder. Both had rounds of 11 homeruns each, but Fielder outlasted his teammate from Toronto. Fielder was crowned champion again in the contest, which makes it his second title in the Show-Me State. His first Home Run Derby win was just two years ago, in St. Louis.

OLYMPICS

As the Olympics get closer, the United States gets ready to make heroes of their athletes. But one popular player is already in a little bit of trouble. Hope Solo, the popular women’s soccer goalie for the United States has tested positive in a drug test. On Monday, she received a public warning from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after she tested positive for Canrenone. Canrenone is a banned substance and appeared in a urine test she took on June 15. She accepted the warning, but still is eligible to play in the upcoming London Olympics. The 30-year-old goalie said she had it in her system because of a medication her doctor prescribed for pre-menstrual purposes. Solo is considered one of the top keepers in the world, and looks to help the United States bring home a gold medal.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: FEDERER WINS 7TH WIMBLEDON TITLE, FUTURES GAME, TEIXEIRA HELP YANKS, NBA OFF SEASON NEWS

TENNIS

Roger Federer is back to being the number one ranked player in the world. Rafael Nadal, Federer’s toughest rival, exited the tournament very early in an upset and Novak Djokovic, his other big rival, lost to Federer in the semifinals of Wimbledon. Djokovic lost his number one world ranking as Federer won his 17th Grand Slam Title. He defeated Andy Murray 4-6,7-5,6-3,6-4, on Sunday to equal Pete Sampras’ seven Wimbledon record titles. The 30 year-old Federer is now 17-7 in Grand Slam Finals, with seven of those wins coming at Wimbledon at the All England Club.

 BASEBALL

In Major League Baseball the home of the All Star game, Kansas City, was home to the Futures Game. The top minor league talent and prospects come out to play a showcase for fans. The highlights of the game included the games MVP, Detroit prospect Nick Castellanos, who had a three-run home run and Kansas City’s own Wil Myers adding three RBIs. And if you blinked, you missed Reds’ prospect Billy Hamilton tripling in runs. Hamilton right now is on pace for history with 104 stolen bases in just 82 games.

And as exciting as the game was, while the Futures Game was being played, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, still had some business to take care of before heading into the All Start Break. Before the game, Red Sox pitcher, Vicente Padilla said, “In this sport, as competitive ball players, we get pretty fired up. So I think, maybe, [Mark Teixeira] picked the wrong profession. I think he’d be better off playing a women’s sport.” This was in response to Padilla accusing Teixeira of prejudice against Latin ballplayers.  Teixeira ended up laughing off the comments, but seemed to help the Yankees destroy the Red Sox 7-3. In the very first inning, Teixeira doubled in two RBI to put the Yankees up, and they never looked back. The Yankees young starter, Ivan Nova, pitched well Sunday, by striking out 10 and allowing just one earned run over six innings.

 BASKETBALL

In the NBA, the crazy offseason continues. Ray Allen, a pretty good player in his own right, is getting older, so it doesn’t look like he’s chasing money, but rather championships. Allen has left the Boston Celtics to join the Miami Heat.  Allen makes the Heat even scarier and deeper of a team. Allen, a three-point assassin over the past two years has shot over 44 percent from behind the arc. Allen took half as much money as he would have from another team.

In other news, the New Orleans Hornets added former Magic forward Ryan Anderson in a sign-and trade-deal. Anderson looks to make around 35 million dollars over the next four years. And it appears, the Dwight Howard drama will continue. New reports are surfacing that the Cleveland Cavaliers may be a third team in a deal that could help Brooklyn land Howard.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: SPAIN DOMINATES WORLD CUP, LIN’S A FREE AGENT, NETS WANT WILLIAMS

SOCCER

This weekend, the major story was out of the soccer world.  It was the final game of the 2012 Euro Cup.  This is essentially like the World Cup, except exclusively for Europe — so bragging rights were on the line.  This year saw a final between Italy and Spain.  Spain won the 2010 World Cup, and is making a case to be the best team of all time.  They are purely dominant right now, winning the last Euro Cup and the World Cup.  Winning this would empirically pronounce them a dynasty and one of the best teams ever.  Even with emerging superstar Mario Balotelli, Italy simply couldn’t get a goal on Spain.  Meanwhile, Spain had no problem scoring on Italy.  They got two early goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba, and in the end with just 10 minutes left, they added two more goals from Fernando Torres (happy because he got his goal) and Juan Mata.  A dominating win for Spain — a team with its eyes on winning two straight World Cups in 2014.  Spain 4, Italy 0.

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, free agency is kicking off on Monday.  One of the most interesting free agents in this year’s crop is Jeremy Lin.  He was sports media’s darling for about 2 weeks given his sudden emergence and Asian marketability.  He got injured towards the end of the season, and everyone expected he would obviously return to the Knicks — a major market for him to thrive.  However, if another team offers him a HUGE deal, the Knicks might not be so quick to offer given that they are already kind of set in the back court.  Plus, there are a lot of rumors that the Knicks will chase Steve Nash to put him with Carmelo and reunite him with Amare.  Nash would give that team some leadership and make them even more of a cohesive unit.  So overspending on Lin, a player that is good, but not necessarily a star, might not be the best financial move.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Finally, in the other lead story in the NBA is where superstar point-guard Deron Williams will land.  The two teams courting him the hardest are the Dallas Mavericks, who would love to make him a long-term plan over the next 5 or 6 seasons, and his current team:  The Brooklyn Nets.  The Nets want him because they believe he would play a big factor in helping court superstar Dwight Howard to Brooklyn.  If the Nets can secure both stars, they would immediately become relevant in the East, and even a legitimate contender.  Plus, that would likely lure other free agents to the Nets — after all it is New York.  So, as of right now, Deron Williams has a lot of power and a ton of leverage. Expect him to see a very big, lucrative deal in the coming weeks.

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