Archive for August, 2013

WATERCOOLER CHAT: COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON BEGINS, GIANTS SUFFER SETBACK, HAWKS’ COACH IN TROUBLE

FOOTBALL

Thursday marked the beginning of college football season, and who better to feature than the most feared defensive player in college football JaDaveon Clowney.  Clowney & #6 South Carolina took on their nearby rival North Carolina.  While all eyes were on Clowney to essentially see if he would tear someone’s head off, the real hero of the game was new South Carolina featured running back Mike Davis.  Davis broke a huge touchdown run early and looked like a great running back replacing former Gamecocks superstar Marcus Lattimore.  The Gamecocks crushed the Tar Heels and will be very tough to beat this year.  South Carolina 27, North Carolina 10.

And in the NFL, in a Giants pre-season game against the New England Patriots, the Giants suffered a major setback.  Earlier this off-season, the Giants released their sturdy running back Ahmad Bradshaw.  They decided to go with the combo of Andre Brown and David Wilson.  But in the game, Andre Brown went down with a fractured leg and is predicted to miss 6 weeks.  The Giants don’t have much in terms of back-up running backs, so this is a huge blow.  Then again, the last time everyone thought the Giants were too depleted by injuries, they won the Super Bowl.

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, the Atlanta Hawks are hoping for a change of face next season.  They brought in new head coach Mike Budenholzer, and have handed him the keys to the castle.  When you’re looking for a new strong leader, it’s never a good thing when that leader gets in trouble and trouble he got in when it was reported that Budenholzer was arrested for drinking and driving. It’s hard to respect a coach who does that.  He’s not exactly presenting himself as the best role model for his players.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: FLACCO POSTER UP IN DENVER, RGIII TO START, JOHNNY FOOTBALL SUSPENSION A JOKE

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the opening game in Denver featuring the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens.  Traditionally, the season opener is hosted by the Super Bowl Winner.  But, the Ravens couldn’t play the home opener because the Baltimore Orioles have a home game and it makes it practically impossible to play a football home game there.  They share a lot of parking.  So now in Denver, there are huge posters of both Peyton Manning AND Joe Flacco outside of Mile High Stadium..  And the Broncos fan don’t like that.  Remember, Flacco was responsible for knocking the Broncos out of the playoffs.  The NFL is just trying to make this a big event, but it is irking fans big time.

Elsewhere in the NFL, in a miraculous turn of events, it looks like Redskins star second-year quarterback will actually start Game 1 of the NFL season.  Here is why this is amazing:  ROBERT GRIFFIN III HAD FULL RECONSTRUCTIVE KNEE SURGERY IN JANUARY. JANUARY!  Usually that takes at least a year to recover, and then players typically take it slow.  Griffin is apparently cleared by doctors to play just 8 months after suffering a serious injury.  This guy is practically Superman.  Either way, the Redskins definitely need their star if they’re going to make a run at the playoffs again.  And RG3 is good, REALLY GOOD.

And finally, the big story of the day came from college football.  After 2 months of turmoil over Texas A&M’s QB Johnny Manziel signing autographs for money, the NCAA has finally come to a decision.  There was a lot of speculation that Manziel could actually be suspended for a number of games if not the whole season. Then again, this guy is worth so much money to the NCAA this season (as he’s a must see product), it’s hard to imagine them actually disciplining him at all.   So Wednesday, they made their call.  Johnny Manziel is SUSPENDED… for the first half of the first game of the season.  Wow, don’t lay it on too thick.  The real punishment for Manziel is that he’ll likely lose out on the voting for the Heisman trophy this year.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: HERNANDEZ USER OF ANGEL DUST, TEBOW NOT CUT, MAVS GEICO SPOOF

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, some more disturbing news form the Aaron Hernandez case.  New details keep coming out about this guy, and the latest shocking development is that Aaron Hernandez was an avid user of the drug angel dust.  Apparently, according to sources, Hernandez was heavily into the drug during his time at the University of Florida, and even did his best to try and falsely pass drug tests.  Hernandez’ trial won’t take place until some time from now, but a lot of magazines (including Rolling Stone) are dead set on revealing all the skeletons in Aaron’s closet.  It should be interesting to see what comes out next.

Elsewhere in the NFL, the New England Patriots have made their first line of roster cuts.  And there was one name that everyone was looking for:  Tim Tebow.  Would he make the first string of cuts?  The answer:  Yes.  He survived the gauntlet.  This is no guarantee that he will make the team — far from it actually, but it’s an indicator that the Pats’ brass are at least curious to see how having him around will help the squad.  Patriots owner Robert Kraft has said that he is rooting for Tebow to make the team, but it is ultimately Bill Belichick’s decision at the end of the day.  Good drama before the season starts.

BASKETBALL

Finally, in some much more lighthearted news, the Dallas Mavericks are pulling out some creative measures to sell season tickets.  They’re not projected to do much in the West, so they have to do what they can to get fans to pony up for the season.  That’s why they created a spoof on Geico’s “Hump Day Camel” ad.  This one is best explained… if you watch, but let’s just say it features Dirk Nowitzki as the camel.  Here is a link to the video:

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: HARVEY SURGERY, BILLIE JEAN MATCH RIGGED, ODOM IN HOTEL,MCGRADY TO RETIRE

BASEBALL

The Mets have had one bright spot this season,  pitcher Matt Harvey.  Harvey turned in some brilliant pitching performances, and was even named as the starter of the All Star Game.  But on Monday they learned that not only had Matt Harvey suffered a serious injury, but he would also need the infamous Tommy John surgery.  This is a risky surgery that has helped many pitchers in the past, but can also have debilitating effects on a pitcher’s career.  This could be a serious setback for the Mets and for Harvey’s career.

TENNIS

The most watched and infamous match in tennis history between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs is now called in to question. According to a friend of Riggs, mafia bosses conspired with Riggs to tank the match so they could reap $100,000 in gambling debts owed by Riggs. When the match took place in 1973, Billie Jean was ranked number two in the world and Bobby was a former champion in men’s tennis. The match was hyped for weeks with Bobby boasting that a champion men’s player could beat any woman player. When King won the match, she became the champion of the women’s lib movement.

BASKETBALL

And in the NBA, former Lakers star Lamar Odom , who has been missing for a few days, was reported to have been holed up in a hotel room with a serious drug problem.  Apparently, Odom’s friends were in the room trying to help him through it.  The drug problem was unspecified, but his friends are with him trying to help him cope and get him some legitimate help.  His wife Khloe Kardashian said on Twitter about the media, “Really hard to sit here and listen to people talk s— about my family.”   Hopefully Lamar finds the help he needs and is ready to play this season.  A contender could use his services if he’s healthy.

Finally in the NBA, it’s the end of an era.  Tracy McGrady was one of the ‘straight from High School’ era kids.  He went straight from High School to the NBA in 1997.  Just a young kid drafted by the Raptors.  Immediately, McGrady was an electrifying success, and got a big payday to play for the Orlando Magic.  Then, in the middle of last decade, McGrady was brought into Houston to be the face of the franchise, but the Rockets couldn’t make any real serious noise in the West.  Plus McGrady suffered from nagging knee injuries during the later half of his career.  On Monday, McGrady decided to retire after 16 seasons in the NBA with 7 different teams.  He was on the Spurs last season, and was hoping to help them win a ring (even if just with a few minutes of playing time here and there).  They fell short, and McGrady felt he just couldn’t play any more in the league.  There is a chance he goes to play professionally for China, but it looks like his days in the NBA are over.  Congratulations to McGrady on a great career.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: LAMAR ODOM MISSING, BILLS HAVING ISSUES, RAIDERS LOOKING TO PRYOR, JETS’ SANCHEZ DOWN, JAPAN WINS WORLD SERIES

BASKETBALL

LA Clippers basketball player and husband of Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom, has been missing  since Wednesday when Khloe allegedly kicked him out of the house. Odom has had drug issues in the past and sources say he may be on a bender right now.

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, the Buffalo Bills were projected to have a relatively decent season this year.  They were high on their top QB draft pick EJ Manuel, they drafted an onslaught of speedy wide receivers, and they have a much improved defense that was projected to wreak havoc.  However, this pre-season, they are having some serious issues.  EJ Manuel went out with an injury, and will miss at least the remainder of the pre-season, and their other QB, Kevin Kolb, went down with a serious concussion.  So basically, they are without a quarterback.  This weekend, they were forced to go out and sign former USC star QB Matt Leinart.  

Elsewhere in the NFL, the Oakland Raiders have also been searching for a quarterback.  They brought in Matt Flynn from the Seahawks, but he has failed to impress.  Fortunately, it looks like they might have found their man in former High School and Ohio State stand-out Terrelle Pryor.  Pryor has actually made their offense look good lately, and has earned the right to start their final pre-season game.  The Raiders don’t have a lot of threatening weapons surrounding Pryor, but if this team can pull it together, they could be an tough team to play.  Pryor has excellent athleticism, and is far more unpredictable than Matt Flynn.

Rex Ryan, the Jets’ head coach, took some heat this weekend when he played their projected starting QB, Mark Sanchez at the end of a pre-season game against the Giants.  Sanchez went down with a shoulder injury and could possibly miss the beginning of the season.  If Sanchez doesn’t start then Geno Smith will likely take the reigns.  This is not great news for the Jets as Smith doesn’t look close to ready yet.

BASEBALL

In the Little League World Series, it came down to Japan vs. Chula Vista, California.  Team California has been surging lately, but the kids from Japan are always tough to beat.  There was a tough moment early in the game when a California player took a ball to the head, but the pitcher showed good sportsmanship and went to make sure he was alright.  These Japanese kids were known for their sharp fundamental baseball skills, and those skills helped them win the Little League World Series.  Congratulations to Japan.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: 4000TH HIT FOR ICHIRO, BELL OUT FOR STEELERS, CHRIS PAUL TO HEAD UNION

BASEBALL

The Yankees hosted the Toronto Blue Jays in what turned out to be a very special night.  Ichiro Suzuki, the Japanese phenom who wowed the baseball world when he came to the Seattle Mariners in the late 90s, recorded his 4000th hit.  This is a remarkable achievement.  When Suzuki came to the US, he was followed around by the media non-stop.  It was like a circus.  However, Ichiro always kept a low-profile, and fans gravitated towards his calm/cool demeanor.  To see him do something incredible like this is a huge success for the international sport of baseball.  It shows that the game has evolved to produce Hall of Fame players from many different countries across the globe.  And the Yankees even got the win.  NY Yankees 4, Toronto 2.  

FOOTBALL

And in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers were excited in this year’s draft when they nabbed start Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell.  He was expected to be their running back of the future, and fantasy football owners were itching to draft him.  Unfortunately, however, the pre-season is unpredictable, and Bell suffered an injury that will likely sideline him for 6-8 weeks.  This is a huge blow for the Steelers who had huge expectations for Bell right out of the gate.  They will have to rely on their other running backs Chris Redmond and Johnathan Dwyer to carry the workload.

BASKETBALL

Finally, the NBA Players Association has selected its new president.  There was a lot of time that LeBron might get the gig, but he pulled out at the last minute.  So the players have selected Chris Paul to represent them.  This is an important union for the players and deals with some potentially big issues (age limit controversy is always a hot topic).

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: VON MILLER 6 GAME BAN, VICK STARTER IN PHILLY, PUIG STUCK IN TRAFFIC

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, it’s official, the Denver Broncos star defensive back Von Miller has received a 6-game ban for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.  This puts a serious dent in their defense, and makes them quite vulnerable up front.  Last year, Denver had one of the most feared defenses in the NFL, but without Miller, it’s just not the same face.  Plus, the Broncos already lost Elvis Dumerville to a snafu contract deadline situation, and he wound up signing with the conference rival Baltimore Ravens.  Peyton Manning will definitely have their offense firing on all cylinders, but without the defense, this isn’t the same team to be feared.  Plus, there have been reports that Denver’s backfield running back situation isn’t looking so hot either.

Elsewhere in the NFL, many people were wondering who new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly would choose as the starting quarterback.  Would it be the veteran super-athlete yet injury-prone Michael Vick, or the promising second-year quarterback Nick Foles? Tuesday, Kelly made his decision tapping Michael Vick as the starter.  You can expect some very exciting things from the Eagles offense this season, as Coach Kelly was the mastermind behind the creative offense we saw in at the University of Oregon over the last couple seasons.  The Eagles are definitely a team to keep an eye on.

BASEBALL

And finally, out of the baseball world, Los Angeles Dodgers’ star rookie Yasiel Puig was late to practice (violation of team rules) and pulled out the old “stuck in traffic” line (which, of course, we’ve all used).  Coach Don Mattingly  wasn’t too happy.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MILLER MAY HURT BRONCOS, TY LAWSON DOMESTIC ABUSE CHARGE, AUSTRALIAN PLAYER KILLED FOR BOREDOM

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, the Denver Broncos are expected to have an exceptional season this year.  They don’t have much competition in the AFC West, and Peyton Manning looks at the top of his game.  But Monday, it looks like they were dealt a major blow.  Their all-star defensive back Von Miller recently got in trouble for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.  Many thought he could face a 4-game suspension, but now it looks like Miller actually may be handed a 6-game suspension.  In the NFL, every game you play counts, and every win matters when you’re racing for Home Field Advantage or even just a playoff spot.  Not having Miller out there is really going to hurt the Broncos.  It’s not a done deal yet, but it’s looking quite probable.

BASKETBALL

Denver Nuggets star point guard Ty Lawson was arrested on domestic violence charges.  Allegedly, there were claims of “striking, shoving, and kicking”.  Lawson is out on a $1000 bond, but it’s always upsetting when a once likable star player has a character issue like this.  Clearly, we don’t know all the issues now, but if the charges are true, he will rightly lose the support of his many fans.

BASEBALL

And in some horrible news out of Oklahoma, an Australian baseball player playing for East Central University in Oklahoma, was murdered in cold blood.  He was killed, according to reports, because a group of three teenagers were bored.  The teens told police that they were bored, so they wanted to see what it felt like to kill somebody.  They arbitrarily chose Christopher Lane, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The kids drove up on him, and shot him in the back.  It’s just a tragic, evil story.  Lane had just returned from Australia a week ago to begin school in the fall.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: JOHNNY FOOTBALL HAS ADRIAN PETERSON BACKING, PATRICK PETERSON PRAISED, SANCHEZ STARTING JOB

FOOTBALL

In an update in the Johnny Manziel autograph scandal, a major NFL star is coming to his defense.  As a recap, Manziel caught fire for signing autographs for money.  It is completely against the rules for an NCAA student athlete to profit from his collegiate athletic experience in any way.  But now, Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson has said that he thinks Manziel SHOULD get paid.  Peterson said, “The universities are making a lot of money off of student-athletes in general. So, yeah, he should be able to make money. I think so. They make millions off of these college athletes and they made millions off of the guys I played with as well. Yeah, he should be getting paid”.   This isn’t exactly an original sentiment, but when another former college superstar also thinks this way, people tend to pay some attention.

In the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals had a lackluster year last season, and they will definitely be looking to turn it around come opening day.  They aren’t projected to do much this season, but they do have an up-and-coming defense led by cornerback Patrick Peterson.  And Thursday, the Cardinals owner dropped the highest of praises on Peterson:  He compared him to Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, arguably the best all-around athletes of the last 30 years.  Remember, those guys played two sports professionally, and were great at both.  Everyone wonders if there will be another guy like him, but the Cardinals owner thinks that, if there ever was, Peterson would be that guy.

Finally, in the drama that is the New York Jets, it looks like pretty-boy Mark Sanchez will get the snaps as the starter in the Jets home opener.  There has been a lot of controversy as to who would be the man in New York.  Would it be Mark Sanchez (who had a horrible year last season) or their rookie Geno Smith (who looks pretty bad right now).  It looks like Jets coach Rex Ryan is sticking with his guy Sanchez for now, but don’t be surprised if he changes his mind next week.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: BRADY WENT DOWN, BARTOLI RETIRES, BACHELORETTE COMMITS SUICIDE

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, Patriots fans got a huge scare at training camp.  In a somewhat rare occurrence, the Patriots were having a dual practice with another team:  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  This is so the players can see a fresh opponent, even though it’s all just light contact.  Even though it’s just a practice, these players are still on different teams, and they want to hurt each other.  So things got fierce, causing one of Tom Brady’s guards to fall backwards and land on Brady’s ankle.  Brady went down, and didn’t get up.  All Pats fans held their breath, but eventually Brady got up and walked off.  This begs the question of whether the NFL should have dual practices.

TENNIS

And in tennis, after coming off a Wimbledon women’s championship, Marion Bartoli has decided to retire at age 28.  She was a huge underdog to win Wimbledon, and when she took home the prize, we’ll always remember how she climbed into the crowd to hug her family.  But Wednesday, Bartoli had an early exit in a small tournament, and citing significant injuries, she knew it was time to stop.  Once you have a nagging injury in a hyper-athletic sport like tennis, it’s very hard to continue playing at a super high level.  Sometimes the pain is just too much and you have to do what’s best for your body going forward.  But if you do have to retire from tennis, it never hurts to have a Wimbledon championship under your belt.

Finally, in a very sad story, Gia Allemand, the girlfriend of New Orleans Pelicans sharpshooter Ryan Anderson, has died in apparent suicide.  Allemand is best knows as a reality star on the bachelor.  She was a former ballet star and model.  Anderson released a statement saying that Allemand is the best person he knew — that she was always smiling and making other people around her smile.  A very sad story, but according to reports, all of her family and long-time friends were at her side when she died.

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