Archive for August, 2012

WATERCOOLER CHAT: CRAZY DALLAS FAN, HONEY BADGER IN REHAB, NOBLE GIANTS

FOOTBALL

In some interesting and annoying news out of Dallas, a Cowboys’ fan is reportedly suing Jerry Jones and the Cowboys organization because she burned her rear on a bench outside their stadium.  In 2010, she claims she sat on a bench while waiting to watch a Cowboys scrimmage.  It was 100 degrees that day, and the bench she chose was made out of black marble and fully exposed to the sun.  The lawyers claim that this made the bench unreasonably hot and exposed the woman to dangerous conditions.  She sat and burned her backside and now wants retribution from the organization.  Given that the new stadium and campus is just a few years old, there’s a chance that the Cowboys overlooked an engineering error such as leaving a black marble bench in the sun, but really? Can’t people take responsibility for themselves? If you’re sitting and feel you’re getting hot, go somewhere else! This is just too ridiculous.

And in college football, it appears that the Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu will not be playing football next season — not at LSU, and apparently not anywhere.  Mathieu has checked into a rehab facility in Houston to try and heal his alcohol and drug addiction.  LSU dismissed him from their football program because of substance-abuse, but it has not been specified as to what drugs Mathieu was on.  Mathieu is also being assisted by former basketball player and coach John Lucas, who also suffered from alcohol and drug addiction back in his playing days.  Mathieu is too talented not to ever receive another chance playing football, and we could be witnessing the beginning one of the better comeback stories of the modern era here.

Also from the NFL, the Giants did something noble yesterday.  Tom Teves now lives in Colorado, but is a lifelong Giants fan.  Teves’ son, Alex Teves, was one of the tragic victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting from July.  Alex was killed while he was shielding his girlfriend from a barrage of bullets.  He was a true hero.  Tom Teves needed to get away from the area because his grief was too much to handle, so he headed to New Jersey to check out the Giants practice.  Teves said this would have been the highlight of his son’s life.  Eli Manning, Justin Tuck, and Tom Coughlin all greeted Teves and even offered to host him at their homes.  It was the only way they could help.  Teves said he appreciated the gesture and just hopes that they have a great season.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: HERNANDEZ PERFECT GAME, WITTEN’S INJURY BAD FOR COWBOYS, US SOCCER WINS FRIENDLY

BASEBALL

Prior to this season, there has only been 20 recorded perfect games in history.  And with only about 120 games into the season, we’ve already seen 2 perfect games pitched.  That’s pretty incredible.  And what’s even more incredible… we saw another one last night. Felix Hernandez, the ace pitcher in Seattle, found himself in a position to throw a perfect game.  And he was trying to do it against a team that’s been hot lately:  The Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  Hernandez had 12 strikeouts on the night, including Sean Rodriguez, the last player at bat for the Devil Rays.   Congratulations to Hernandez, a pitcher whose been quietly lighting it up in Seattle the past few seasons.  He can now add this achievement to his Cy Young Award.  Seattle 1, Tampa Bay 0.

FOOTBALL

The Cowboys have been reliant on tight end Jason Witten the past few seasons.  He has been Tony Romo’s roommate and right hand man on the team.  In Monday’s pre-season game against the Raiders, Witten suffered a lacerated spleen — a rare injury and one that the Cowboys coaching staff are calling serious.  They have told Witten that he needs to remain very still for the next 7-10 days.  Witten is expected back for Week 1 of the season, but if it turns out that his spleen is ruptured, Witten would require surgery.  If that happens, there’s no telling when he would be able to return to the field.  Without Witten, the Cowboys offense looks very different.  They’re desperately hoping he will be ready to go on September 5th vs. the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

SOCCER

Every now and then the U.S. travels to Mexico for a ‘friendly’ international soccer bout.  But the sad truth is… the U.S. hasn’t won on Mexican soil in the last 24 tries.  They are 0-23-1 (that one lucky tie).  Mexico is very serious about their soccer, especially when it comes to taking on their border rival.  But, yesterday, the streak finally ended thanks to an unlikely goal from Orozco Fiscal.  Fiscal is a defensive player, but found himself in scoring position and took a shot.  That shot gave the U.S. the victory, and bolstered their self-esteem as a football program.  With the win, the U.S. now need to take their soccer program very seriously.  The World Cup is 2 years away, and they have enough time to prepare to take on the best of the world.  They just have to get the right roster and play to their strengths.  Just imagine if they pulled off a major upset in 2014.  USA 1, Mexico 0.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: ANGELS BACK ON TRACK, BYNUM KNEE SURGERY, 3 ON 3 AT THE OLYMPICS

BASEBALL

The Los Angeles Angels have all the talent in the world.  They’ve got the best player in baseball in Albert Pujols, the best young player in baseball in Mike Trout, and they just traded for one of the best pitchers in baseball in Zack Greinke.  They were hot earlier this summer, but August has been a rough month for the halos.  At 0-1, Greinke was looking to get his first win as an Angel.  And he would get that opportunity against the Indians.  Greinke pitched marvelously, and got some fantastic run support from Pujols, who blasted a 3-run homer.  Remember that Pujols struggled earlier this season, but now has 26 homers, and is on pace to finish yet another season with 30 home runs.  Greinke got out of there with a win, and hopefully the Angles are getting back on track for the playoffs.  LA Angeles 9, Cleveland 6.

BASKETBALL

As the new face of the 76ers franchise, the Philly coaching staff wants Andrew Bynum to be as healthy as possible for the remainder of his career.  Bynum has been plagued by knee injuries, and only last year was he able to stay healthy and complete the full season.  It was a season that saw him definitely emerge as the second best center in the league.  The Sixers want to protect their investment, so they’re sending Bynum to Germany for the same type of knee surgery that both Kobe and Alex Rodriguez have undergone.  It’s a type of operation that isn’t sanctioned in the US, but seems to be working wonders for some of the best athletes in the world.  The Sixers are banking that it can cure Bynum’s knee woes, and ensure that he stays dominant for at least the next 5 seasons.

Finally, in basketball, there has been some outcry that there is only ONE basketball event in the Olympics.  It’s basically just… basketball.  Seems obvious, but they spend 2 weeks trying to determine who will get the gold medal.  Meanwhile, swimming has tons of entertaining events in which an athlete can medal.  And volleyball has at least two:  the 6-person team and the 2-on-2 beach volleyball.  So why shouldn’t basketball have a 3-on-3 half court event.  After all, every basketball player in the world has played 3-on-3 ball at some point, so everybody could relate to it.  Each country could have multiple representatives, and the teams would be very exciting.  Imagine LeBron, Chris Paul, and Kevin Love taking on Carmelo, Durant, and Derrick Rose in the gold medal match.  That would be fun to watch, and now the Olympic committee has said that they are considering it for the 2016 Olympics. Why say no to something that everybody would want to see?

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: REF LOCKOUT A PROBLEM, CHAD NOT HANGIN WITH THE DOLPHINS, HONEY BADGER OUT OF LSU FOOTBALL

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, it looks like the referee lockout may pose more of a problem than the league may have hoped.  The referees are locked out right now over disputes with the league.  For example, the NFL wants to make a group of officials who only work part-time in the NFL work full time.  But, many of these referees have full time jobs and won’t be able to do this.  As of right now, it appears that the two groups are at loggerheads.  This is a bad thing because the players have been openly complaining about the current replacement refs, and the coaches are getting vexed as well.  But if the lockout stays firm, the NFL is now considering starting the season with these replacement refs.  If this is the case, we might be seeing some very bad calls the first few weeks of the season.

Elsewhere in the NFL, after just a few weeks with the organization, the Miami Dolphins have decided to part ways with Chad Johnson (formerly Ocho Cinco).  Johnson was already becoming a star again on HBO Hard Knocks, but the clock was already ticking on Johnson’s time with the Dolphins.  He was arrested this weekend for domestic abuse claims, and that is not the PR or type of character the Dolphins want on their team.  Plus, head coach Joe Philbin said it wasn’t just one isolated incident.  Philbin didn’t like how Johnson used a lot of profanity with the media, and stated that it was Johnson’s overall body of negative work that got him released from the team.  The Dolphins were terrible last season, and they need to remain focused on getting better.  Chad Johnson was more about himself than the team as a whole.  And you don’t want that when you’re trying to rebuild.

Finally, in college football, Tyrann Mathieu (The Honey Badger) was recently released from LSU’s football program after testing positive for substance-abuse.  This is a big deal considering that Mathieu made a huge name for himself last season, and established himself as one of the best players in college football.  He was in line to become a high draft pick and make a ton of money from an NFL Career and endorsements.  Honey Badger was kicked off the football program, but not out of the university.  He said that he wants to get his degree and hoped to return to the Tigers for the 2013 season, but yesterday they said that Tyrann can never play for the university again.  Now it’s likely that Mathieu will transfer to a smaller school hoping to get another crack at playing football.  If he’s lucky, he’ll still stay in the eye of NFL scouts, and hopefully get a ahot at an NFL team.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: USA CAN’T COMPETE WITH BOLT, LEBRON AND US SNAG GOLD, COLTS GOOD HANDS WITH LUCK

OLYMPICS

It was a wild weekend in the Olympics, a weekend that included the closing, much anticipated track and field event:  the men’s 4 x 100m relay.  Essentially, this race measures the fastest overall country.  It’s a team game that involves four people sprinting with every single wind that they’ve got.  Plus, it’s got that needling little issue of passing the baton, something that’s been difficult for the US Men’s team the past few years.  They’ve had drops before, and if you drop it, consider your race over.  The women absolutely dominated their 4 x 400m relay, but the men were just hoping to get on the medal stand.  And of course, they would have to get through Usain Bolt and Jamaica if they wanted to hoist gold. The men got off to a fantastic start, staying neck and neck with Jamaica, but in the final stretch it was Usain Bolt vs. USA’s Ryan Bailey, and there is just no catching Bolt.  Not only did Jamaica win, they set the world record.    Congratulations to Usain Bolt for being the fastest sprinter ever!

Elsewhere in the Olympics, it was the gold medal basketball game between the United States and Spain.  This was a rematch of the 2008 gold medal match in Beijing where we met a very young Ricky Rubio.  That game came down to the wire, and Spain would certainly be looking for revenge.  And they have an advantage over the US — a big front court that included the Gasol brothers (Pau and Marc).  Then again, the US has… LeBron.  And LeBron would make his presence felt in this game.  The match was pretty much neck and neck all the way until the end of the 3rd quarter.  There were even parts where Spain was in front.  But in the 4th, LeBron took over, slamming down some monster knocks, and a dagger 3-pointer towards the end of the game that sealed the deal. Behind Kevin Durant’s 30 points, and LeBron’s 4th quarter surge, the US defended their gold medal and kept the US as the king of the basketball world. Now they’ll head back to the States to get ready to beat each other in the upcoming NBA season.

FOOTBALL

And in the NFL, we got our first glimpse of the Peyton Manning’s heir apparent in Indianapolis:  Andrew Luck.  Remember, the Colts cut Manning to turn the kingdom over to Luck.  Would he let them down?  In his very first pass as a Colt, Andrew Luck dumped it off to Donald Brown who ran it all the way to the end zone for a 63 yard touchdown.  By the way, Manning also threw for a touchdown in his preseason debut way back in 1998.  Luck finished the game with 188 yards and 2 touchdowns.  It looks like the Colts are in good hands with Luck.  He’s got good weapons around him, and they should have a much better season than last year.  It’s likely not a playoff season for the Colts, but they will be competitive.  Indianapolis 38, St. Louis 3.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: HOWARD TO LAKERS, US WOMENS SOCCER AVENGES, USAIN BOLTS TO GOLD IN 200

BASKETBALL

After what seems like an eternity, Dwight Howard finally made his move. He’s going to be aLaker. In a multi trade with the Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers will receive Howard,  while Andre Iguodala will go to the Nuggets, and the 76ers will get Andre Iguodala while the Magic gets a bunch of first round pics, Arron Affalo,Al Harrington, and Nikola Vucevic. Orlando was looking to rebuild and wanted to get rid of salary and focus on young players and draft pics.  As for the Lakers, it’s too early to tell just how successful this move could be, but it will certainly be exciting to watch them with their trio of superstars in Howard, Nash and Kobe.

OLYMPICS

US Women’s soccer avenged their World Cup loss last year against Japan and won 2-1 to get the Gold medal. This is the US Team’s third consecutive gold medal. Carli Lloyd scored both goals for the US and late in the game, soccer darling Hope Solo made a huge save to secure the US win.

Usain Bolt just makes it look so easy. After decidedly winning the 100 meter race on Sunday making him the “fastest man in the world”, he added a win in the 200 meter. If this sounds familiar, it is because he achieved this four years ago in the Beijing Olympics and is now the only man with back to back Olympic titles in these two events. Jamaica’s Bolt is certainly not shy and after winning said,  “I would say I’m the greatest.”.

 

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MISTY MAY AND KERRI WALSH BEST EVER PLAYED, DEMUS INCHED OUT, FELIX TRIUMPHS, MEN’S BASKETBALL STILL DOMINANT

OLYMPICS

It was the gold medal final of women’s beach volleyball.  This year, the United States was so dominate in this sport, that the final match was between the two U.S. teams.  That included the two time Olympic Gold medal winning team of Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings vs. the up-and-coming stars of April Ross and Jennifer Kessy.  Regardless of the United States guaranteeing a gold for this event, the stands were still packed with fans hoping for an electric battle.  May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings didn’t play their best first set, but they still pulled it out.  Then, in the second set, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings had all the momentum, and they seized their third straight gold medal victory.  This team set out to be the best that ever played the sport, 12 years ago, and they’ve achieved that feat.  Amazing!

And in women’s 400m hurdles, Lashinda Demus was hoping to finally win gold after 8 years of trying.  These athletes train almost every day for years, all prepping for this one race that is over in just a minute.  Demus fell behind early, and needed to surge back at the end.  After the final hurdle, Demus gained on the leader Natalya Antyukh from Russia.  In the final 40 feet, Demus inched closer and closer and closer, but at the last second, Russia’s Natalya Antyukh thrust her waist forward to nab the gold medal.  Demus lost by a hair.  In the post-race interview, Demus said she will not quit until she wins gold — that we will definitely see her in the 2016 Olympics.  That’s pure determination.

After just barely missing gold in2008 in Beijing (by .19), Allyson Felix can now rest easy with her stunning win in the 200 meter final. The US Team is clearly much more dominant in London then they were four years ago.

And in men’s basketball, it was a quarterfinal match-up for the U.S. as they took on Australia.  This was yet another game dominated by the United States.  Kobe Bryant finished with 20 points, which is notable considering he hasn’t had the best Olympics thus far.  And LeBron had a fantastic night, as he recorded a triple-double.  The U.S. are simply having no problem with the competition out there, and you have to imagine that their play will only get more fierce as they approach the gold medal.  Next up for the U.S… Manu Ginobili and Argentina.  Russia will take on Spain in the other semifinal.  USA 119, Australia 86.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: RAISMAN RAISES GOLD, US VS US IN VOLLEYBALL FINALS, WELLS NO FILLER

OLYMPICS

In women’s gymnastics, Aly Raisman was hoping that she could redeem herself from the women’s all around individual competition and medal in the balance beam final.  On Sunday night, Makayla Maroney fell on her vault and netted a silver — could Aly Raisman get a gold for the U.S?  She was up against some very tough competition from the Chinese.  They were nearly flawless on the beam and nabbed the gold and silver.  But the bronze was up for grabs.  Raisman gave a spectacular performance, which concluded with a very difficult dismount, but after the judges scores, Aly found herself in 4th place.  It was all over.  However, world renowned gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi shouted at the U.S. coach from the stands, telling him to challenge the score.  He did, and the judges recalculated the results.  The result:  Aly Raisman pulled into 3rd place, and brought a bronze medal home for the U.S.   Needless to say… her parents were ecstatic in the crowd.

And in women’s beach volleyball, it was the semifinal match-up between the United States and China.  The U.S. boasted their strong duo of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, but the Chinese were not to be taken lightly.  The Chinese got out to a huge lead in the first set, but May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings came storming back to win the set.  Then, in the second set, it was tight for awhile, but the U.S. pulled away to win the set and find themselves in the gold medal final.  And, guess which team they are playing?  None other than the OTHER U.S. duo of April Ross and Jennifer Kessy, who beat Brazil to earn a trip to the gold medal match.  Clearly, the U.S. has one heck of a proclivity in beach volleyball.

And in track and field, an Olympic first.  It was the women’s 100m Hurdles, which boasted some fantastic stars.  The U.S. were represented by three amazing runners:  Lolo Jones, Dawn Harper, and Kellie Wells.  Harper was the favorite, but the race also included Sally Pearson from Australia, who won the World Championship in this event.  Plus, Australia has never won an Olympic gold medal in a track racing event.  And for Wells, people didn’t expect her to medal, but her coach asked her earlier in the year if she was tired of being a “land filler” (i.e. someone who races, but finishes 6th thru 9th. Wells was, and was determined to prove people wrong last night.  The race was quick, and came down to a photo finish between USA’s Dawn Harper and Australia’s Sally Pearson. But, by a nose, it was Pearson, giving Australia their first racing gold medal.  And who got the bronze?  Yep, Kellie Wells.  She proved everybody wrong.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MUSAFINA GRABS GOLD, ALEX MORGAN OLYMPIC HERO, T.O. HAS A JOB

OLYMPICS

In gymnastics, after winning the all around individual competition in women’s gymnastics, Gabby Douglas was hoping to nab gold in the Uneven Bars.  Except standing in her way was what most experts believe is the best gymnast in the world — Russia’s Aliya Mustafina.  Gabby Douglas was fantastic as always, but she made a mistake during one of her turns on the higher bar.  She didn’t have the energy to fall the correct way and perform the correct spin, and that resulted in a huge deduction.  With that deduction, Mustafina’s masterful performance helped her claim the gold.

And in women’s soccer, the ladies were in the semifinal hoping to win a trip to the Championship game.  It was a close game throughout, but the amazing moment came in the 123rd minute.  Alex Morgan is the young star of this women’s Olympic team.  She was a key role player in the World Cup last year, is an emerging superstar, and she is collecting her early highlight reel at these Olympics.  So when she headed in a last minute goal against Canada to send the United States to their fifth  Olympic final, it practically cemented her role as an Olympic hero to the United States.  There’s something special about these rising female soccer stars — they have an effect that excites the nation and gets a lot of young girls interested in sports..  Just a great group of people.

And finally, in some news out of the NFL, it looks like Terrell Owens (T.O.) finally has a job again in the NFL.  The Seattle Seahawks have decided to give him both a chance AND a one-year contract.  The Seahawks have brought in a number of NFL veterans at receiver to give their young quarterbacks some capable targets.  They also brought in former star Braylon Edwards and the reliable Antonio Bryant.  Owens though fits head coach Pete Carroll’s desire to have another tall receiver oppositte their #1 receiver:  Sidney Rice.  In addition to these veterans, they also have a lot of emerging young stars in Ben Obumanu, Golden Tate, and Doug Baldwin.  Watch out for the Seahawks this year.  They’ve been dormant the past few seasons, but this might be the year they turn it around.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MCKAYLA GETS SILVER, RICHARDS ROSS GUNS IT, BOLT WINS THE GOLD

OLYMPICS

After the Americans won both the team and individual competitions in the Olympics, it was time to focus on individual events. McKayla Maroney is regarded as the best vaulter in the world. She is on this Olympic team… merely to vault. Her vault during the team competition was awesome and flawless, so she was likely to win gold in the specific ‘vault’ competition. She had a fantastic first jump, but on her second jump, McKayla sadly fell down. With all those hundreds and hundreds of jumps she did in practice, it is extremely disappointing for her that she didn’t land on her feet. With the fall, McKayla finished with the silver medal with the gold going to Romania. A bummer for Maroney, but she should still hang her head high by her overall performance in these Olympics.

In track, it was the gold medal race of the women’s 400m. This is a tricky race, because it’s about speed and strength. Unlike the 100m, it’s not about giving it all you got right away. A runner has to pace himself/herself. Sometimes you have to start out slow, save your energy, and then speed burst down the final 100m. Well, that apparently was the plan for USA’s Sonya Richards Ross. She was behind for most of the way, then gunned it for the final 100m and surged past the crowd. She came to the Olympics to nab her first gold medal, and that goal has been achieved. The practice takes years, and the actual event takes just a minute. But when you’re sitting there in first place after the race — it’s all worth it.

 

And finally, Sunday held one of the most anticipated events of the Olympics. It was the Men’s 100m final, which dictates “the fastest man in the world”. The favorite was of course Usain Bolt, the hero of the 2008 Olympics who set a World Record. Bolt has been ‘the guy’ for the past 4 years, but recently, Bolt has been slipping. He raced poorly in the Jamaican qualifiers, losing to his training partner Johan Blake. Plus, Justin Gaitlin from the United States was super focused on beating Bolt. Everyone thought that Bolt was vulnerable.  It was a three-way tie for most the race between Bolt, Blake, and Gaitlin, but in the end, Bolt turned on the jets and pulled way ahead of the competition. And for the second Olympics in a row, Jamaica is home to the fastest man in the world. And now, with Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce winning the women’s 100m, they also have the fastest woman in the world. That’s one fast country.

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