Friday, April 30, 2010

Brett Favre is up to his old tricks again

If Brett Favre ever does decide to retire, he could certainly transition to a great career in public relations. The guy is all about publicity and he's doing it again.

According to ESPN, Favre has been told he needs to have ankle surgery if he wants to play in 2010.

So many things come to mind here. For one, why not have the surgery right after the 2009 season ended, when pictures came out that showed Favre's bruised ankle? The answer, most likely, is that this way Favre has a built-in reason not to show up for training camp on time, not that the Vikings were going to make him anyway.

And there's always the Favre spectacle. That's really what this is about. This is one more way for Favre to show what a "warrior" he is and how he's gritty and tough. The crazy thing is that Favre doesn't need to do this stuff. The media already loves him, they eat up everything he says and does, and constantly pay him the attention he so desperately desires.

Either way, get ready for the next few months to be saturated by Brett and the Injured Ankle, coming to an ESPN near you soon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dropping Links: Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Some links for your perusing pleasure on this Tuesday night or as you settle in at your desk Wednesday morning.

- PastaPadre tells us that the UFC 2010 Undisputed demo will be out Thursday.

- Erin "Page Views" Andrews was on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and NextRound.net has the video clips. Erin Andrews, Erin Andrews, Erin Andrews... there.

- Major League Baseball is cracking down on what its writers can say on Twitter. Fang's Bites has more.

- CNBC's Darren Rovell tells us that Ike Davis is doing wonders for the Mets, not only on the field but in terms of memorabilia.

- ESPN.com with the news that Alan Faneca, who was released by the Jets this weekend, has signed a deal with the Cardinals. He joins Kerry Rhodes and Jay Feely as former Airplanes to join Arizona.

- Tim Tebow's Broncos jersey is the top selling rookie jersey of them all. Shutdown Corner has a look.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dropping Links: Thursday, April 22, 2010

Here are some links from around the internet as you take in the 2010 NFL Draft.

- Drew Brees has been named as the cover athlete for Madden 11 and PastaPadre has the official cover art and more information about the game and some new screenshots.

- Ringside Rants has the news of WWE releasing six performers today, with Mickie James and Shelton Benjamin being the most notable names.

- Fang's Bites tells us more about the CBS/Turner Sports agreement to broadcast the NCAA Tournament. CBS has the Final Four until 2015, when TBS will begin airing it during even years starting in 2016. Under the new deal, all games will be aired on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV.

- CNBC's Darren Rovell wonders if Nike should end their endorsement deal with Ben Roethlisberger following his suspension and off-field troubles.

Dallas Braden gets in shouting match with A-Rod for running across "his mound"

During today's Yankees-A's game, Oakland pitcher Dallas Braden shouted at Alex Rodriguez for running across the pitcher's mound trying to get back to first base from third after running out a foul ball.

The 26-year-old Braden said after the game, “I don’t care if I’m Cy Young or the 25th man on the roster, if I’ve got the ball in my hand and I’m on that mound, that’s my mound… He ran across the pitcher’s mound foot on my rubber. No, not happening. We’re not the door mat anymore.” Braden also added, "He should maybe watch his Captain a little more often."

Maybe there is some unspoken rule that an opposing player shouldn't run across the pitcher's mound but A-Rod had never heard of it, along with just about everyone else in the world.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kevin Garnett gets tossed, faces suspension that could cost Celtics

Kevin Garnett was ejected during the final moments of yesterday's Celtics win over the Heat after he elbowed Quentin Richardson in the face.


It really looks like Richardson was just coming over to check on Pierce. Garnett first blocks out Q-Rich and then delivers a back-elbow to the jaw for seemingly no reason.

Everyone raves about how Garnett is intense and an "emotional leader," which is fine, but when does it become just for show? Not only was the elbow unprovoked but Garnett will likely see a suspension for at least one game of this continuing series. As we've seen, Boston is a much different team without Garnett on the floor.

Richardson later admitted that he thought Pierce was exaggerating his injury and thought, "Is he taking a break like he does so many times?" You may remember two years ago when Pierce was taken off the court weeping and in a wheelchair after injuring his knee, then returned as if he were totally fine.

Garnett, to his credit, said following the game that he just lost his composure and was ready for an impending suspension.

Perhaps it was Dwyane Wade who summed it up best when he said, "We're in the playoffs, that's all. Just a couple of basketball players acting tough."

Dropping Links: Sunday, April 18, 2010

- Ubaldo Jimenez tossed the first no-hitter in Rockies history yesterday, walking six and working exclusively out of the stretch for the final five innings. The no-no is the first of the season and leaves the Mets, Padres and Rays as the only teams without a no-hitter.

- The Mets beat the Cardinals in 20 long, boring innings. New York scored the first run of the game in the top of the 19th off of utility player Joe Mather. St. Louis evened the score in the bottom of the frame when Francisco Rodriguez blew his first save of the season. Mather stayed in to pitch since the Cardinals had no one left and he gave up one more run, with Mike Pelfrey coming on to get the save in the bottom of the 20th.

- Our friend Bob Mantz is getting more mainstream attention, this time getting a reference in Hondo's New York Post piece.

- ESPN's fancy touch-screen is pretty cool, except when you realize how hard it is to operate, as Todd McShay showed us.

Strikeforce: Nashville event ends in brawl, tarnishes company

While Gus Johnson was interviewing the victorious Jake Shields, Jason Miller - the man Shields had just defeated - came back into the cage and a melee soon followed.


Strikeforce is already considered by many to be a second-rate organization and incidents like this one only further that reputation. You can't blame the company for the actions of one man, but the majority of Strikeforce's publicity - especially to an audience that isn't very familiar with MMA - will revolve around Miller's actions.

You can hear Gus Johnson lamenting the incident in the video, saying things like, "Oh God" and "Gentlemen, we're on national television!"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dropping Links: Thursday, April 15, 2010

Here are some links from around the blogosphere as I get settled back into the blogging cycle.

- Club Seat Sports previews the Eastern Conference first round NBA playoff matchups.

- The always hilarious Tirico Suave perfectly illustrates the sincerity of Ben Roethlisberger.

- PastaPadre has more about the ESPN integration into NCAA Football 11.

- Shutdown Corner tells us that Brett Favre gave his Vikings teammates Wrangler jeans that he, of course, also got for free. It may not be the same as showing up for offseason workouts, but it's something I suppose.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dropping Links: Friday, April 9, 2010

I'll be heading to Baltimore for a few days for a work-related trip, so here are some links to keep your thirst for what's great around the web quenched until my return.

- Our friend Bob Mantz got a nice shoutout on the new Versus program, The Daily Line, from none other than internet favorite Jenn Sterger. Check out the video below.


- No Guts, No Glory tells us that Tim Tebow is your NCAA Football 11 cover boy, as expected.

- PastaPadre has some new UFC Undisputed 2010 videos.

- The Hall of Very Good introduces a new segment, the Friday 5, and speaks with Jeff Cirillo.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Video: The Tiger Woods PR machine is in full swing with new commercial

You'll undoubtedly be bombarded with this new Nike Tiger Woods commercial as we get set for the Masters this weekend. The rebuilding of Eldrick's image has already begun and continues with this eerie commercial that features a voiceover from Woods' deceased father.

World Cup 2010, Vol 5: This might get Messi

tonyblogs.net Senior Soccer Analyst and Los Angeles correspondent, Josh Garcia, is back with the fifth of his continuing series examining the 2010 World Cup.

A little more than two months stands in the way of me being able to watch the World Cup (at work, hopefully). I’m literally starting to get giddy. Four years ago I was heading into my Senior year of college. I was living in Cortland, NY, and “couldn’t find a summer job.” Too bad for me that the World Cup was on all day, starting at 9am and going until 5pm. It took the place of my job. I gained weight, never went outside, didn’t talk to anybody and loved every minute.

I watched about 98% of the games in 2006. I recall watching Argentina V. Serbia and Montenegro and hearing about this Argentinean “prodigy” that was coming into a blow out for the last 15 minutes. This “prodigy” soon set up Hernan Crespo’s goal from a precise ball across the 6. He would later score a goal to go up 6 to nothing. Needless to say, he had flashes of brilliance.

The youngest player to represent Argentina, who was just responsible for two goals in 10 minutes, was Lionel Messi. Messi is now touted as the world’s best footballer. Messi confirmed this with his four goals against Arsenal on Tuesday in a Champions League quarterfinal match. If I were speaking to a first time World Cup viewer, I would recommend starting with watching Argentina in Group B. Argentina will be one of the more compelling teams with Messi, headlining a world-class roster led by Football Legend Diego Maradona. (Soccer/Football History 101, “Hand of God”)

If there is a coach at the World Cup with more actual playing experience, I’d like to know. Maradona has played in four World Cups (I’m giving him credit for '94) and reached two finals. Who better to lead? Nigeria, Korea Republic and Greece will most likely be vying for the second spot coming out of the group. Nigeria is going to be a fun team to watch. They have an abundance of goal scorers and veterans to anchor their defense, including Jon Obi Mikel and Joseph Yobo. Keep an eye on Obafemi Martins, who is a pure striker.

Greece is only appearing in their second World Cup and is looking to avenge the 4-0 loss they suffered to Argentina in the group stage in the United States. In fact, Greece is looking to score their first goal in World Cup play, since they were outscored 10 to nothing in their first and only appearance. Lucky for them, they have top striker Theofanis Gekas who scored 10 goals during qualifying. Don’t sleep on Greece though, they thrive on being the underdogs. Europe found that out in 2004.

Korea Republic (AKA: South Korea) rounds out group B, and South Africa will mark their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance. Following a dynamic run in 2002 that saw them reach the semifinals by beating countries such as Portugal, Spain and Italy, the Taeguk Warriors saw a disappointing run in 2006 where they didn’t make it out of group play.

Either way, group B will be one of the more entertaining groups to watch merely for the fact that you’ll be watching the greatest footballer in the world, Lionel Messi.

(Image courtesy Online Betting.UK)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Seth Davis' "When March Went Mad" is a great read for any sports fan

If you're craving more college basketball with the season coming to a close with a great Duke-Butler game last night, you might want to grab a copy of Seth Davis' "When March Went Mad." Davis, who you undoubtedly saw working as a studio analyst for this year's NCAA Tournament, tells a wonderful story of a time when college basketball was nothing like it is today.

In 1979, the title game truly was a David v. Goliath battle. The Michigan State Spartans were lead by Magic Johnson, a charismatic collegiate star, while the Indiana State Sycamores were lead by Larry Bird, at the time a shy kid who didn't want anything to do with the media. In almost every way, Bird and Magic - and their respective teams - were complete opposites.

While detailing each team's season seems a little dry, Davis brings it to life with great stories, quotes and details. Once you pick this book up, it will be hard to put it down as you relive Indiana State's run from unheard of squad to national finalists and Michigan State's up-and-down marathon to the title game.

It was a totally different time back then, with nowhere near the coverage we have today, making the story even more intriguing. This was more than a small-school v. big-school matchup, it was the dawning of the basketball boom and would eventually reinvigorate the NBA. Davis gives us a "before they were stars" look at two of the sport's biggest names and the rivalry that started it all.

Davis perfectly tells the story of one of the most important contests in the history of sports, hyperbole-free and with a seemingly effortless style. Whether you're a hoops fan, general sports enthusiast or media historian, "When March Went Mad" is an excellent read.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Video: Mark Buehrle makes crazy flip play in White Sox opener

Check out this video (until MLB inevitably removes it from YouTube) of Mark Buehrle flashing some leather on opening day. The ball hits off his foot then he chases it down and flips it through the legs with the glove to Paul Konerko, who makes a nice bare handed grab.


Wow.

Some more thoughts on the Donovan McNabb trade

A few notable items came out last night after the trade of Donovan McNabb to the Redskins was made official.

The first of those is that the Eagles had offers on the table from the Raiders and Bills, but sent McNabb to Washington out of respect for the quarterback. McNabb did not want to go to Oakland or Buffalo, so the Philly front office wanted to make him happy and did so by trading him within the division and to their rivals, the Redskins.

While this is a nice gesture and one we don't often see in sports, the Eagles should have done what was best for the team. Granted, McNabb wouldn't have signed an extension to stay in Oakland or Buffalo, and perhaps the offers from those teams were not as good as what the Redskins were willing to part with. But perhaps it would have been worth taking a little lower of a draft pick in order to not have to see McNabb twice a year?

What the Eagles got in return was a nice haul. A second round pick (37th overall) in this year's draft and either a third- or fourth-round pick in 2011 is certainly nothing to sneeze at. But word is that the Redskins first offered a straight up trade of Albert Haynesworth, the defensive lineman whom they just signed to a mega contract in the previous offseason, for McNabb.

I can't say I'm shocked that Washington would be willing to part with Haynesworth already. There were questions about his attitude and work ethic before he signed with the 'Skins and Haynesworth was also suspended previously for stomping on the head of an opposing player. All of the above also explains why the Eagles preferred to receive draft picks in return for McNabb.

The Eagles were ready to move on without the face of their franchise. After so many offseasons of speculation, it was time to finally trade McNabb. The Redskins still need a lot of help to return to their glory days, but they were the winners in this deal.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Reports: Eagles trade Donovan McNabb to Redskins

Apparently all of that Donovan McNabb trade talk wasn't just the annual speculation that we usually get. Multiple sources are reporting that the Eagles have agreed to trade McNabb to the Redskins in exchange for Washington's second round pick in this year's NFL draft and a future pick.

What is so amazing about this is that the Eagles were willing to ship McNabb to a team within their division. All of the previous speculation revolved around the Raiders and Rams, but Daniel Snyder loves making big moves and did that today by acquiring McNabb.

I would assume that Jason Campbell would be shipped out of town soon. For what it would take to get him, I could see a few teams stepping up to make a deal.

Philadelphia has gotten rid of many of the faces of the franchise this season, with the two most notable names being McNabb and Brian Westbrook. The Redskins, meanwhile, are adding new names almost daily it seems. In addition to McNabb, they've also added Willie Parker and Larry Johnson on the offensive side.

Video: Andrew Bogut's amazing rubber arm trick

If you haven't eaten your Easter meal yet, I would suggest turning away. Below is the clip from last night's Bucks game of Andrew Bogut landing on his arm in a way that arms aren't supposed to be landed on.


Luckily for Bogut he only slightly dislocated his elbow, but also broke his hand. It's a big blow to the playoff chances of the Bucks, but thankfully there isn't more damage to Bogut's arm.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2010 MLB predictions: Division and wild card winners

With the 2010 Major League Baseball season set to begin Sunday night, I'll once again gaze into my crystal ball and attempt to predict the division and wild card winners from each league. All teams marked with an asterisk are playoff teams.

AL East
1. New York Yankees*
2. Boston Red Sox*
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central
1. Minnesota Twins*
2. Detroit Tigers
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Cleveland Indians

AL West
1. Seattle Mariners*
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
3. Texas Rangers
4. Oakland A's

I'm not one of the people sold on the Rays. It seems like they're the trendy team to pick to win the American League but I'm not seeing it. Yes, they have a good offense and decent pitching, but they had that last year and didn't make the playoffs. I understand they tightened up their bullpen, but that wasn't the only problem the Rays had in 2009... While I have the Red Sox as the wild card winners, I could see the Angels, Rangers or Tigers all grabbing that spot.

NL East
1. Philadelphia Phillies*
2. Atlanta Braves
3. New York Mets
4. Florida Marlins
5. Washington Nationals

NL Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals*
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Houston Astros

NL West
1. Colorado Rockies*
2. Los Angeles Dodgers*
3. San Francisco Giants
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. San Diego Padres

The Phillies are the odds-on favorite to win the National League and return to the World Series. The Cardinals will challenge, but they don't have the complete package that Philadelphia does. I have the Dodgers grabbing the wild card, but could see the Giants sneaking ahead of them in the division. Los Angeles really did nothing in the offseason, thanks to an ugly front office divorce, but likely still have the talent to make the playoffs.

Dropping Links: Saturday, April 3, 2010

On iPad release day, here are some links for you to check out, perhaps on your new device.

- While the Knicks are absolute garbage, David Lee is still doing his thing and positioning himself for a big contract this summer. Lee had his first triple-double in New York's Friday night loss, scoring 37, grabbing 20 boards and dishing out 10 assists. Many Knicks fans are quick to include Lee with any "Big Two" free agents they can sign this summer when discussing their wish list, but Lee will command big money. If you want Bosh, Lee won't be back.

- Club Seat Sports has 2010 rankings for MLB starting pitchers.

- PastaPadre gives us a closer look at FIFA World Cup 2010, which hits shelves in a few weeks. I'm personally excited for this version of the futbol game, as you can play right along with the World Cup, and it will also feature an online World Cup mode.

- ESPN360.com becomes ESPN3.com this weekend and Fang's Bites has the press release. It's not much more than a name and URL change, and the site will continue to stream live sports that aren't shown on ESPN or ESPN2.