Saturday, May 31, 2008
There has been a lot of talk, and will be more in the coming weeks, that maple bats should be outlawed in Major League Baseball. Over half the hitters in baseball use the maple bats now, as opposed to the traditional ash bats. Scientists say the maple and ash bats impact the ball the same, but players like them because they feel harder. But while an ash bat usually splinters, a maple bat shatters more violently when it breaks. Susan Rhodes, an LA Dodgers fan, suffered serious facial injuries after a broken bat flew into the stands. Not only is it dangerous for fans, some of whom may not be paying attention to all aspects of the game, but it's unsafe for the players too. They don't use aluminum bats in MLB because batted balls fly with more force and speed and the bats have a larger sweet spot, making dangerous hits more likely. So why not outlaw a bat that could impale an unsuspecting fielder? Imagine a ground ball to second, Cano fields, and while Jeter's looking on he gets stabbed by this flying-javelin piece of broken bat. I don't think that would be good for anyone.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Finally. The NBA told teams at this week's pre-draft camp that it will fine them if a player clearly flops, starting next season. There's nothing worse than seeing a guy go flying across the court from a slight tap. It's like a bad wrestling match. Hopefully this will stop Tony Parker and the like from trying to do it all the time. Then again, the league doesn't know what amount the fine would be yet. So if it's, say, $1,000, is that really going to stop a player making $12 mil from flopping? I don't know if they're going to be thinking about their wallets when they're playing. If they did, Rasheed Wallace probably wouldn't have had a profanity-laced, technical-prompting, fine-inducing tirade in last night's Celtics-Pistons game. Look at me, flip-flopping on this argument.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Bobby Petrino, member of the Fraternal Society of Hypocrites, spoke to the media on Tuesday and said he felt there was "no other choice" but to leave the Falcons. The timing of it, he says, was unfortunate. But Bobby, couldn't you have just ridden out the storm? When asked if his time with the Falcons was like a dream sequence from Dallas, he replied, "That's not the show I thought of. Did you ever see the movie Misery?"
Monday, May 26, 2008
Today's closed door meeting between Mets manager Willie Randolph, GM Omar Minaya, and owners Jeff and Fred Wilpon has come and gone, with Willie remaining as manager. The higher-ups did not say that Randolph will remain for the rest of the season, but he will stay for now. I would imagine if the Metropolitans get swept at home by the first-place Marlins, Randolph's seat will get hotter.
Keith Hernandez isn't afraid to say anything on the air, whether it be sexist, racist or unthinkable. So it's no surprise that during Saturday's Mets telecast, he openly ripped former teammate Gary Carter for his public declaration of interest in New York's potentially vacant head coaching seat. Hernandez said Carter was "walking around unconscious."
This is the second thing I've heard Hernandez say that I've ever agreed with, the first being, "No play for Mr. Gray."
It's been a tumultuous week for Willie Randolph. Not only did he have a spat with SNY and some controversial comments reported by Ian O'Connor, but the Mets went 1-6 on their recent road trip. Today, he's in New York meeting with owners Jeff and Fred Wilpon, presumably to either figure out how to fix this mess or end Willie's tenure in orange and blue. I really don't think all of this is Willie's fault but things just aren't working well at Shea. Clearly these Metropolitans are still suffering a hangover from last year's monumental collapse. And you can't blame Willie for Carlos Delgado's putrid average or Johan Santana's less-than-ace-like-performance. I still think, though, that Randolph will be done soon in New York, perhaps as early as today. He was already walking on fragile and shaky ground, and I don't think his comments - whether you agree or disagree - helped the matter.
Brooke Hogan, the "Hulkster's" daughter, was involved in a multiple car crash yesterday in Florida. ... but she wasn't injured. ... and it doesn't look like she's at fault. ... there was serious damage to the car. Your brother is a crazy, maniacal driver who almost killed someone, so now they want to make a big deal out of every several-car pile-up you get into. Jeez. How's that new reality show coming?
Today is Memorial Day, the day we take time out to thank all the men and women who have lost their lives serving this country. While we're at it, let's thank all the people serving right now, or who have ever served. Whether you a pro-war, anti-war, or wonder aloud what is it good for, you have to respect the soldiers and their contributions. If you don't believe me, think about the worst day you've ever had at work. Think of how much you hated it and wanted to do anything else but that. But think about it this way... Was anyone ever shooting at you as you ran through a minefield to the coffee machine? Were people tossing grenades your way as you tried to photocopy those TPS reports? If you've ever whined about your job, and God knows I sure have, today is the day to put it all in perspective.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Salisbury just won their second-straight Division III lacrosse National Championship, their 8th in school history. Just like last year, they defeated Cortland to capture the crown, this time with a 19-13 final score. The Gulls have not lost a game since Cortland beat them in the 2006 title game. Kylor Berkman had 5 goals and 2 assists for the Gulls, while Chris Hanson had 4 goals and 1 assist for the Dragons. UPDATE: Here's the game recap from Fran Elia, SUNY Cortland's Sports Information Director.
Leaders from the US and European PGA Tours met with IOC president Jacque Rogge to discuss the possibility of golf being included in the 2016 Olympics. The sport hasn't been a part of the event since 1904. There are probably a lot of hurdles that would need to be cleared for this to work. Would the big name golfers want to play? The Olympics would be smack in the middle of PGA Tour season, so would Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and the like want to interrupt that? I think they would. Say what you want about Tiger, but he loves to win. What better than adding Olympic Gold Medalist to his already monstrous list of accomplishments? I would guess that a lot of pro golfers would also like to compete and represent their countries. It would be like a more meaningful Ryder Cup, with more than a US v. Europe feel. I'm sure there's very little chance of this happening, since it's been over 100 years and they've been casually discussing it for the last 25, but I would love to see it. I'm sure NBC would love to see it, too.
I just realized that although I am able to watch this game because I bought the extra sports tier on Time Warner, a lot of people might not have it on their cable/satellite systems. So here's the link for the live gametracker from CSTV.com, which is what CBS College Sports TV used to be called.
...at least so far, with Salisbury leading 9-6 with 10 minutes to go in the second. It's been back-and-forth, with lots of quick goals and hard hits. It's exactly what a not-so-avid lacrosse fan like myself needs to get interested. As for analysis, I don't know if Cortland isn't that good at defense, or the Gulls offense is just incredible. Cortland's offense hasn't been bad either, but they seem to only be scoring on breakaways. Salisbury is having no trouble setting it up and still scoring.
The Division III Men's Lacrosse final is today at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. For the third straight year it will feature Cortland battling Salisbury for the National Championship. In 2006, Cortland won 13-12 on a last second goal. In 2007, Salisbury won 15-9. Game coverage starts at 1:30pm on CBS College Sports TV. Here's what some of the real media is saying about today's renewed rivalry: - "These two in Div. 3 know each other well" - Matt Porter, Boston Globe - "Salisbury plans to set record pace in Div. III finale" - Bill Wagner, The Capital Gazette - "Quick glance at Division II, III lacrosse championships" - Eddie Timanus, USA Today
Saturday, May 24, 2008
...or something like that. Anyway, I've been messing around with the site layout all day (as you might have noticed) and I've finally settled on a new design. That lime green/light blue thing was a little straining on the eyes, so I went with this simple black/navy blue/red design. Feel free to leave some feedback and tell me what you think.
In high school, the best athlete on the field is usually a pitcher. They can throw the hardest and most accurately and can usually hit the best as well. I guess that's why it's no surprise that Cubs SP Carlos Zambrano went 4-for-5 at the plate and struck out six while allowing only two runs from the bump. His four-hit performance was the first by a Cubs pitcher in almost 44 years. Zambrano is now batting .343 for the season.
Friday, May 23, 2008
During my time on our radio show, "CortSide," if a player was awful I would suggest trading them for anything, and then give examples like a pack of gum, a sack of potatoes, etc. As it turns out, I apparently wasn't being that facetious. The Calgary Vipers of the Golden Baseball League traded pitcher John Odom to the Laredo Broncos of the United League on Tuesday... for ten maple baseball bats. Laredo had offered cash instead of the bats, but Vipers President Peter Young said that would have been "an insult." Yes, Peter, cash would have been much more insulting than ten bats. Huh?
Monday, May 19, 2008
You might not know this about me. I have what some would call a "man crush" on Gus Johnson. I love announcers with passion and excitement, and Gus definitely has both of those qualities. Today it was announced that Johnson will join Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo as play-by-play commentator for CBS' Saturday Night Fights mixed martial arts show. The article says that Johnson is also a practicing mixed martial artist, which I did not know. Johnson currently does PBP work for CBS' football and basketball coverage and calls Knicks games on MSG when Mike Breen is away doing the ESPN/ABC gig. This might make me finally watch some MMA. HD will make me watch almost anything. Throw in Gus Johnson and I'm definitely there. The only thing that would make it better is if Walt "Clyde" Frazier was the analyst. "Chuck Liddell is really percolating! He's punching and crunching his opponents!"
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The SUNY Cortland men's lacrosse team defeated Ithaca College today to advance to the NCAA Division III National Championship Game. They will play Salisbury in the final for the third year in a row, next Sunday at 1:30 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Two years ago, Cortland defeated Salisbury to win the crown. Last year, Salisbury beat the Dragons for the championship. Are these two schools the Spurs and Pistons of D3 lacrosse?
The Mets royally boot-stomped the Yankees this weekend in the rain-shortened Subway Series. I'll be the first to admit that the Yankees looked slow and sluggish against the Mets, like they do against all teams offensively. The Yankees have been without Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada for a while now, but there are plenty of other good hitters in this lineup that just aren't stepping up. It's early in the season and if you're hanging you're hat on beating a team in an interleague series in May, you might want to re-analyze your franchise's goals. But the series is meaningful in New York to the fans. And the coaches must be into it, no matter what they say, because why else would Willie Randolph have pushed back Johan Santana's start so he could face the Yankees?
Thursday, May 15, 2008
It's only right that I give you an update on the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons teams that I told you about a few days ago. - The men's lacrosse team has advanced to the Division III semifinals and will host Ithaca College on Sunday. Ithaca defeated Cortland, 9-8, earlier in the year. Cortland is ranked #2 and Ithaca #7 in the USILA poll. - The Cortland baseball team beat Grove City, 10-1, to set up a second round playoff matchup with Montclair State. - The softball team will face the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the first round of the NCAA D3 World Series. The tournament is double elimination and features eight teams. Cortland is seeded 4th, UW-W 5th.
Billy Wagner and I apparently have one thing in common: We both like bashing the Mets. The difference is that I don't play for them. Wagner continued a season-long verbal onslaught of his teammates after today's 1-0 loss to the Nationals. The Mets closer questioned why he was being interviewed after the game when he didn't play, while Carlos Delgado wasn't even available for comments. While I like that Wagner is outspoken and that sometimes fires a team up, sometimes enough is enough. It seems like every week "Billy the Kid" is shooting from the hip again. Nelson Figueroa and some of the Mets thought Washington players cheering for their own hitter from the dugout was "bush league," but openly calling out your teammates on a weekly basis through the media isn't?
Monday, May 12, 2008
I always like to promote my alma mater, SUNY Cortland, which also happens to be a Division III sports powerhouse. It's spring NCAA playoff time and that means Cortland, once again, is showing a strong presence. - The Cortland baseball team is the #1 seed in their 8-team regional that kicks off Wednesday. - Also on Wednesday is the Cortland men's lacrosse team's third-round playoff game against Middlebury. Two years ago, Cortland won the NCAA title and last year finished second. - Finally, the Cortland softball team is heading to the Division III World Series, which begins this Friday. For more on the Red Dragons, be sure to visit CortlandRedDragons.com. Cortland's Sports Information Director Fran Elia, whom I worked closely with during my time covering Cortland sports, is one of the best out there.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
This whole Joba Chamberlain fist-pump controversy is getting a little out of hand. I don't understand why everyone wants him to not show emotion. Sure, he shouldn't have been crying like a little leaguer in the dugout after giving up a game-costing three run homer the other night. And maybe he shouldn't pump his fist so emphatically during games in May. But this is the culture of sports now. It's what lets Dikembe Mutombo wag his finger after blocking a shot. It's what lets Jon Papelbon do a Braveheart-like scream after retiring the side. It's what lets Chad Johnson dance like Michael Flatly after a touchdown. I'm not condoning those actions, but it's sports, it's entertainment. These are grown men playing kid's games. How do we expect them not to show emotion, whether it be over-the-top or not? When someone makes a great play and shows too much emotion, the media kills them for it. When someone makes a bonehead play and doesn't show emotion or regret, the media kills them for it. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in that? The bottom line is that sports just should not be taken that seriously. I know it's a big money industry and a business, but sports is an escape from the serious issues of life. So I don't care if Joba pumps his fist. I don't care if Manny Ramirez pulls out a pair of binoculars to watch his next home run. The way to make them stop is to shut them up on the field. Manny knows that he's liable to get plunked after he showboats at the plate, but he doesn't care, it's "Manny Being Manny." Joba knows he faces repercussions, too, but that's how he plays the game. And we need to always remember that it is just that; a game.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Gilbert Arenas has been blogging for two years on NBA.com. In his anniversary post yesterday, he wrote (among many other things) that if Antawn Jamison is not re-signed by the Washington Wizards, Gilbert won't return to the team either. "When you’re doing pick and roll with a player like him, they can’t double you, they can’t trap you because you have a pick and pop guy who can shoot the three at your four position. My success is because of him too. If he doesn’t come back, I’m not coming back. I know everybody is focusing on whether I’m coming back, but I’m focusing on what he’s doing. If he doesn’t come back, then I’m not coming back." A pretty bold statement by Agent Zero, but Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said today that the team "is on the same page" with Arenas because they also want the tandem to return. Sure, he's a little wacky at times, but it's nice to see a star like Arenas proudly admitting that his success is partly due to the help of a teammate. Somewhere, Scottie Pippen is smiling.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Giants former-starting pitcher is now a former-reliever, although he didn't make any relief appearances. Zito will re-join San Francisco's starting rotation Wednesday in a start against the Pirates, in Pittsburgh. That's important news for the six of you that still own him in your fantasy league. The Yankees have taken a lot of heat about the Carl Pavano signing, but this one is looking bad right now and I don't think it's too early to say that. Zito was 0-6 in April after a terrible 2007 campaign, and he's making about $18 million per. At least with Pavano, he's "injured" and can't show us how bad he truly would be, at $10 million a year.
Chris Henry was granted permission to leave the state of Ohio to attend tryouts with other NFL teams today by Hamilton County Judge Richard Bernat. Henry will be released from electronic monitoring and house arrest. The judge said, "We're willing to give him some latitude given the fact that he obviously needs to find some employment." I understand that Henry's line of work is football, but there's no other employment he could get than in the game? If he needs a job, I'm sure there is a McDonald's or Burger King somewhere in Cincinnati that would hire him. Maybe he could wait tables? Sure, he is a football player. That's all he's ever been, it's all he's ever known. But to say that there is nothing else that a football player could possibly do to earn a living is demeaning to intelligent athletes who earned their college degrees. Someone like Chris Henry, who has attended college and graduated high school, can certainly find some employer willing to hire them, even with his past criminal history. There are millions and millions of Americans living very happy lifestyles on incomes that are pocket change to NFL players. Basically what the judge is saying here is that the only job Chris Henry can do is football. He can't work construction. He can't be a cashier at a convenience store. He can't get a job as a custodian. He can't do anything but play football. And that's ridiculous. Even Pacman Jones was able to land a wrestling gig.
In my earlier post discussing college football's poorly structured playoff system, I mentioned that Tim Tebow didn't need his education all that badly, that he would have something else to fall back on. I meant a professional career, but apparently the Heisman Trophy winner has learned another skill he can use if that doesn't work out. During spring break, Tebow traveled to the Philippines and helped circumsice impoverished children. Tebow started as just a speaker, then became a helper, and eventually they let him do some slicing. You can't make this stuff up.
Monday, May 5, 2008
ESPN is really spending a lot of time focusing on college football here in the first week of May. Regardless, all of this talk has got me thinking about the current BCS system, which will be in effect until the 2014-15 season. I've always thought that at least a four-team playoff was the way to go, with an eight-team version as my real preference. I really don't see why not. If college athletes at Division II and III schools - the ones that presumably need to earn their degrees or else - can handle the rigors of a football playoff system during final exams and through winter break, then why can't players at the D1 level? Guys like Tim Tebow aren't exactly nervous about their next Basketweaving 101 exam. That's not to say that all athletes are morons or take really easy classes, but they know that they have another talent that can get them much more financially than getting a Communications degree and working in Sales at a newspaper, for instance. (See: Tony Arnoldine) Aside from that, it would make for an incredibly exciting holiday season and probably more money for the NCAA. And we would finally be able, just like in college basketball, crown a real - no debate involved - National Champion.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
ESPN is reporting that Carmelo Anthony's lawyer said his blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit when 'Melo was stopped and charged with drunk driving on April 14th. Even the lawyer says in the story that this is, "old news," yet ESPN feels it necessary to make it "Breaking News." Why is it old news? Carmelo failed three field sobriety tests, so my guess was that he was probably over the limit. Turns out I was right.
I don't understand why professional journalists get so upset with bloggers, but they're totally fine with breaking news through text message. That's what happened with Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz, who relayed word that he will be returning to the team as a reliever through that medium. The text message was sent to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and read, "I'm planning on coming back as a reliever first, and more than likely for the rest of the year." Smoltz must have a QWERTY keyboard on his phone to send that explicit text, unless his T9-word skills are better than I think.
It's funny how you don't hear anything bad about a person for years, and then something happens that questions his character and the floodgates open. That's pretty much what's happening with Roger Clemens. Several outlets are reporting today that not only did "The Rocket" have an affair with country singer Mindy McCready, he also may have been involved with John Daly's former wife, Paulette Dean Daly. Affairs are not out of the ordinary in professional sports, I'm sure, but this still isn't good when your integrity is already in question. Clemens already seemed like a liar and a cheat, and now he really seems like a cheat. His lawyers are denying it all, even though McCready has already confirmed the tryst and Paulette Daly said she couldn't comment on it.