Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dropping Links: Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Some links from around the web as we inch closer to one of the biggest free agent bonanzas in sports history.

- Speaking of which, Ken Berger gives us today's roundup of rumors from around the league, including how the Knicks are trying hard to move Eddy Curry's contract before they meet with King James and giving some insight into Dwight Howard's offseason wishes for the Magic.

- Denard Span hit three triples and drove in five runs for the Twins last night. Big League Stew has more, including video of Span's 4-for-4 game.

- ESPN did a really dumb Free Agency Summit special last night, which was meant to be funny but was actually just really hokey. You could probably have expected that since Bill Simmons was involved. Tirico Suave has photo evidence.

- Club Seat Sports weighs in on the increasingly popular "Should Stephen Strasburg be an All-Star?" debate.

- The Hall of Very Good is giving away four tickets to the "Road to Wrigley" game between the Peoria Chiefs and Kane County Cougars. If you're a reader from near Chicago, be sure to check it out.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dropping Links: Monday, June 28, 2010

- Ken Berger has some rumors and notes as we approach the NBA free agency period, including difficulties the Knicks may have, more on the Bulls and - of course - some stuff about LeBron James.

- In the midst of a team slump, Evan Longoria and BJ Upton got into it in the Rays' dugout yesterday after Upton jogged after a ball in the outfield. Big League Stew has more.

- John Isner, the winner of tennis' longest match ever, will present the Top Ten list on tonight's Late Show with David Letterman.

- PastaPadre tells how Fedor Emelianenko's 69-second loss over the weekend will ultimately hurt the EA Sports MMA franchise.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Report: Magic discussed trading Carter and Nelson to Hornets for Paul

As is always the case around the time of the NBA Draft, the rumors are flying. One of the more interesting items has the Magic and Hornets discussing a swap that would send Chris Paul to Orlando for Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson.

From Fanhouse:
The Orlando Magic's preliminary inquiry into the availability of point guard Chris Paul involved a discussion that included a trade of both starting guards Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson to New Orleans.

The Magic, as part of the early discussion, would receive both Paul and small forward James Posey, according to a second NBA source that confirmed the original FanHouse story by Sam Amick involving the two teams.
The Magic would obviously benefit from adding Chris Paul and pairing him with Dwight Howard, even though Nelson certainly is no slouch. The move would make sense for the Hornets from a salary standpoint, with Vince Carter's deal up after this season and Nelson making a reasonable amount of money over the next three years.

While Paul recently said he would be open to a trade if the Hornets aren't planning on trying to win championships, the team has said they have no plans to trade him. Orlando GM Otis Smith denied the talk as well. We've heard that song and dance before, though, and this trade would benefit both teams. Unlike most salary-driven trades, New Orleans would get back a quality point guard that can score.

If I had to bet on it, I'd say Paul stays in New Orleans. If he were to be dealt, though, this is probably the most likely scenario.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

Doug Glanville's "The Game From Where I Stand" is a great read

Unlike some former pro athletes who have used books as a way to lash out at critics and teammates, Doug Glanville tells the story of a ballplayer who has been both a star and a bench player, and relates the ups and downs of the game to those of everyday people.

Glanville considered himself lucky to be a professional athlete and with each example he provides of how the life of a baseball player can be difficult, he follows with a grateful appreciation that he got to do something that millions dream of. Reading along, it is easy to make a connection with Glanville.

While the book isn't hard-hitting, it is an interesting read. Glanville jumps around quite a bit but tells some good stories of fellow players and continually weaves the game of baseball and real life together seamlessly. The writing is very good and, from all accounts, no ghostwriter was used. This is all Glanville, a former contributor to the New York Times and Ivy League graduate.

He eventually dips into the ever-present conversation about steroids, saying that everyone turned into a 12-year-old boy again "wanting to believe in magic" while watching Mark McGwire take batting practice. Glanville further explains an understanding for why players used performance enhancing drugs, while also disagreeing with it.

Glanville, now an ESPN analyst, tells of things like finding a new place to live when you're traded, the stark differences between the Minor Leagues and "the show," and clubhouse etiquette, especially when it relates to wives and girlfriends.

Doug Glanville's intelligence and eloquence is easily sensed throughout the pages of "The Game From Where I Stand." While there aren't any shocking revelations, it's a great read for anyone interested in seeing a different side of baseball and those that play the game.

Dropping Links: Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some links to help you get through the rest of your Wednesday afternoon.

- Fredi Gonzalez has been relieved of his duties as manager of the Florida Marlins, even though the team is only a few games under .500 and Gonzalez has more wins than any manager in Marlins history. Big League Stew has more.

- ESPN reports that a team source says the Lakers are interested in signing Raja Bell this offseason. Bell hardly played last season but could be a nice addition to the Los Angeles bench.

- Club Seat Sports details the top five overpaid players in the NBA, a yearly installment to the site.

- PastaPadre tells us that the PS3 patch for UFC 2010 Undisputed is now available.

- Shutdown Corner has a look at some of the player and team rankings for Madden 11 that have slipped through the cracks already.

(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Video: Ron Artest's therapy session before Game 7 of the NBA Finals

Ron Artest thanked, among others, his psychiatrist after the Lakers won Game 7 of the NBA Finals. During Artest's Tuesday appearance on George Lopez Tonight, this skit aired showing Ron's pregame session with his "therapist," Helen Mirren.

Donovan's dramatic goal sends US to World Cup Knockout Stage


In a match that featured many missed opportunities, the United States finally capitalized when Landon Donovan scored in the 91st minute, giving the Americans a 1-0 victory and advancing them to the round of 16.

Just minutes before, it seemed as though the US would be eliminated thanks to their tie score and England's 1-0 lead over Slovenia. But just like that the Yanks went from elimination to winning Group C.

Clint Dempsey had several great scoring chances throughout the match but couldn't connect, and his goal in the 21st minute was called back due to a very questionable offside call. Had the United States not pulled out the miraculous victory, the bad officiating would have been the focus again, just as it was after the Americans' match against Slovenia last Friday.

All that matters now, though, is that the US team is still alive. England, whom the US played to a draw in their World Cup opener, also advanced to the Knockout Stage. The United States will play the Group D runner-up Saturday at 2:30pm ET.

(Hat tip to Mojo Hoops for the video)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dropping Links: Monday, June 21, 2010

- Big League Stew has the great Father's Day story of John McDonald homering yesterday in his first at bat since his father's death the previous Tuesday.

- PastaPadre has the Top 25 rankings according to NCAA Football 11, which hits store shelves in just a few weeks.

- ESPN reports that Panthers WR Steve Smith broke his arm playing flag football at his football camp this weekend. Smith has already had surgery and should be ready for the regular season opener.

- Ringside Rants reviews last night's WWE Fatal 4 Way pay-per-view from Long Island, NY.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Manute Bol passes away at the age of 47

Former NBA player Manute Bol passed away Saturday in Virginia after battling Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and being treated for severe kidney trouble. The 7'7" Bol played for the then-Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat during his ten years in the NBA.

After retiring from basketball, Bol was well-known for his humanitarian efforts and work with charitable causes. He established the Ring True Foundation to provide aid to Sudanese refugees and began making several appearances to promote the organization.

In 2002, Bol boxed William "Refrigerator" Perry for a Fox Celebrity Boxing show, during which the phone number to the foundation was broadcast in exchange for Bol agreeing to appear. He also signed a one-day contract with the Indianapolis Ice of the Central Hockey League and had a stint as a horse jockey, both in an effort to generate publicity for the organization and raise money to help children in the Sudan. He has most recently been involved as a board member of Sudan Sunrise.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Video: What if basketball were like the World Cup?

It seems like everyone and their mother is bashing soccer right now, with the World Cup going on and being less-than-thrilling to the casual fan. I've actually been enjoying the World Cup so far, but I can certainly see why people may find it boring. This clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live sums it all up.


The only thing missing is a vuvuzela backing track.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dropping Links: Wednesday, June 16, 2010

- The Shark Guys give us the top 15 reasons soccer is better than baseball. Definitely worth a read.

- Dr. Phil has joined the masses and weighs in on the LeBron-Cleveland saga in this clip, via That NBA Lottery Pick.

- Big League Stew wonders if we should be considering Stephen Strasburg for the All-Star Game.

- Fang's Bites tells us about the new executive producer of NBC Sports, Sam Flood.

- Check out PastaPadre's E3 Padrecast from day one of the expo in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reports: Tom Izzo will stay at Michigan State

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that sources have indicated Tom Izzo has decided to remain the Michigan State head basketball coach. The paper also reports Izzo will formally announce the decision at a press conference later this evening.

This is the right move by Izzo. He is regarded as one of the best coaches in college basketball, so why take the risk of jumping to the NBA and failing like so many others have done? It would be an especially big risk without knowing if the Cavaliers will be able to re-sign LeBron James.

The Cavaliers will now likely turn to their second option, Byron Scott, whom they interviewed last week. Scott has had some success in the NBA and might be the better option between the two, based simply on his familiarity with the pro game and past accomplishments in New Jersey and New Orleans.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Video: Steve Nash's awkward "Goal!" dream

I admit that I'll post anything Steve Nash does that is even mildly funny, so why wouldn't I post this clip the biggest soccer fan in the NBA put together? It's for a Visa promotion, where the company is asking fans to submit their best "Goal!" shouting videos.


The Brandi Chastain bit at the end is 14 years old, but I'll give Nash a pass for going with it since that's the only thing most Americans know about soccer.

(Hat tip to Game On! for the clip)

Dropping Links: Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some links as you sip your third cup of coffee at your desk this Tuesday morning:

- Torii Hunter had a Joe Canseco-esque moment last night, assisting a Casey McGehee fly ball and turning it into a home run. Big League Stew has more.

- The Blue Jays defeated the Padres 6-3 after an earthquake shook Petco Park. The quake registered at 5.7 and was centered about 85 miles away from San Diego.

- Ohio's "Touchdown Jesus" statue burned to the ground after being struck by lightning Monday night.

- The Hall of Very Good has your Twitter Tuesday update.

- PastaPadre is at E3 and has new details on the EA Sports MMA videogame.

- The city of New York is gathering up a cast of stars to try to lure LeBron to the Big Apple. Game On! has the info.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Video: A USA v. England World Cup re-enactment using Legos

If you missed Saturday's USA v. England World Cup match, in which the two teams played to a draw, consider yourself a bad American. I kid, I kid. In any case, the folks at Lego Fussball re-created the most thrilling moments of the game using Legos, complete with dubbed in announcing.


(Hat tip to The Guardian and YouTube user alternageek)

ESPN3 will stream to your Xbox 360 beginning in November

ESPN announced during today's E3 pre-conference that ESPN3 streaming content will be available to Xbox 360 owners beginning in November. The only requirements are an Xbox Live Gold membership and that your internet service provider has an agreement with ESPN3.com. The current affiliated service providers include AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, among others.

ESPN3.com, formerly ESPN360.com, shows thousands of live sporting events, highlights, and on-demand ESPN video clips. Aside from the appeal of watching all of these events on your television instead of your computer, there will also be social networking connectivity and it will work with Microsoft's new Kinect system, which has motion and voice sensor technology.

For the full press release, visit Fang's Bites.

Video: Vince Young caught on camera fighting in a strip club

As I'm sure you've heard by now, Vince Young got in a fight at a strip club this weekend. Apparently what ignited the angst was someone flashing an upside-down "Hook 'em Horns" gesture at Young, after the Titans QB tried to withdraw money from the cash cage at the club and was upset with a surcharge. All very classy stuff.


Whatever started the brawl, this isn't good for Vince Young. With commissioner Roger Goodell doing his best to crack down on guys who give the league a bad name, it will be interesting to see if any penalties are handed out to Young.

(Hat tip to Shutdown Corner)

Dropping Links: Monday, June 14, 2010

Some links from around the web on this Monday afternoon:

- Big League Stew has a look at the nation's best wiffle ball fields.

- Bob's Blitz tells us more about Tommy Dee of The Knicks Blog.

- This weekend was the 40th anniversary of the no-hitter thrown on LSD. Club Seat Sports has the recap.

- The NCAA Football 11 demo is out now for the PS3 and Xbox 360, according to PastaPadre.

- Darren Rovell tells us more about how ESPN/ABC will balance out the sound at the World Cup to compensate for the constant him of vuvuzelas.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Video: Stephen Strasburg presents the Top Ten on the Late Show

Fresh off his seven inning, 14 strikeout performance, Stephen Strasburg appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman Thursday night to present the "Top Ten Little Known Facts About Stephen Strasburg."


"Dumb guys think I directed E.T." might be my favorite one.

Dropping Links: Friday, June 11, 2010

- Tom Izzo met with the Cavaliers Thursday night to discuss their head coaching vacancy, with reports swirling that Izzo is "leaning towards" taking the job.

- It isn't a big shock when ESPN's Colin Cowherd says something stupid, but Thursday he took it to another level. While discussing USC's two-year postseason ban, Cowherd made an unfortunate analogy relating to the military. Bob's Blitz has the audio.

- PastaPadre has details on two new sports-related videogame titles, WWE All-Stars and Supremacy MMA.

- Browser-based PC game Quick Hit Football has signed a multiyear deal to acquire the NFL license. The NFL license is exclusive to EA Sports for console games, but since Quick Hit is a free online game, the deal was able to be made.

(Photo courtesy ESPN.com)

Video: A Red Sox fan's tribute song to Marco Scu Scu Scutaro

YouTube user paulpaq has professed his love for Boston Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro through the use of song. His parody of the Phil Collins hit "Sussudio" will undoubtedly be wedged in your head for hours after watching this video.


(Hat tip to Outside the Boxscore)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup 2010: The Soccer/Futbol Debate

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

Maybe it’s where I come from or grew up that finds me always defending this sport. Oneonta, NY is home to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. I like to consider myself an ambassador of sorts and "enlightener" of the beautiful game. It is my favorite sport to watch, play, write and talk about.

No sport is as polarizing as soccer or, as most people call it, football. You either love it like the rest of the world or you hate it like an American. We live in a society of haters. People read stories all day, watch videos, listen to songs, and then usually they leave comments. These comments are usually hateful, idiotic, illogical, or poorly worded messages. I’ll hopefully get to all the really dumb comments.

Now I like to consider myself fair and unbiased when it comes to most logical arguments. I can look at both sides, the negatives and the positives. I can see why people love it and why some Americans are not the biggest fans of Soccer. I get it, Americans like to see scoring and cars going around in circles. That’s why the NFL, NBA, MLB and NASCAR are so huge. I’m a fan of three out of the four. I also understand that only mostly Americans care about the NFL. It is America’s sport and we take great pride in that fact. The NBA is becoming more globally appealing, and for many countries, basketball is their number two sport, behind soccer. MLB has had mixed success in their World Baseball Classic. Ironically, the USA have not won a WBC. I say ironic because the winner in October is the “World Champion,” not National Champion.

The big three do have a lot of scoring, touchdowns, 3-pointers, home runs, alley oops, field goals, sac flys, etc. Americans love to see their sports with a healthy amount of scoring, or else what’s the point? That’s commonly a knock against soccer. “I never see any scoring.” I get that, when you’re used to MLB games that are 8-5, NBA games that are 99-94 and NFL games that are 35-31. I get how you can watch a 0-0 soccer draw and be unimpressed. For the record, I’ve seen entertaining 0-0 soccer games, that include cards, cross bar hits and many near misses.

Soccer doesn’t have time outs like most sports, it’s a full 90 minutes plus stoppage time. No commercials and the only time it is stopped is when someone is injured or “injured.” Don’t worry I’ll get back to that. American football literally plays for 12 minutes per game. That’s the average amount that the ball is actually in play. With all the commercial breaks and pauses in between plays, I don’t understand. American football players have full pads and helmets. Soccer players have shin guards and bones will break. I say this because I always hear soccer players are the "P" word.

Editor's note: Pretty nasty injury in the video below. Not exactly Joe Theismann-esque, but you probably shouldn't watch if you're squeamish.

I hear and read soccer isn’t even a sport. How is that even an argument? "You can’t even use your hands." Goalies can and Diego Maradona will beg to differ. You also throw in the ball when it's out of bounds on either sideline. That you can tie in soccer is a big problem Americans have with it. You can tie in American football and hockey, too.

Soccer is as much about creating the goals as it is scoring the goals. There is a certain art to soccer. For football fans it’s sort of like watching a Barry Sanders highlight. You don’t watch to see Barry enter the endzone, you watch for what he does on the field, his elusiveness, his coming out of a pile. To a certain extent that is true with soccer, it’s about creating the opportunity.

I’ll be the first one to tell you, its hard to be a soccer fan in America, when the MLS compared to EPL or La Liga is like watching middle school girls basketball compared to the NBA. MLS is slower paced and less skilled than the best leagues, but it is improving. Europe sees it as a retirement home for guys who have lost a step, but at the same time, MLS is sending some of its talent around the world to compete with the best.

I can’t stand when players fake injury or barely get hit and are flailing on the ground like they got shot, but I do see the strategy in taking a dive around the 20 yard mark to set up a free kick. I get that part, but I don’t like the acting or diving. I think there should be harsher penalties if you are faking it, but it really is no different than Pau Gasol taking a charge or a QB getting “hit,” falling to the ground and taking a 15-yard penalty. All of it, for better or worse is part of the game.

All I know is that in less than 24 hours I’ll be telivisionally (made that word up) united with most of the world as we celebrate the planet’s biggest sporting event. 106 million people watched this year's Super Bowl, and the World Cup finals will be about seven times larger with billions of people watching the tournament.

Saturday will be the USA’s biggest challenge of the group stage as they play England. If you are or aren’t soccer fan, you should at least tune in to this one game. The Americans don’t have much of a chance but there is always hope and if anybody is old enough to remember what happened in 1950, then they know all it takes is one.

It looks like Pete Carroll did, in fact, get out just in time

When Pete Carroll decided to leave USC to become the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, many people were wondering why one of the most high profile college coaches would leave one of the most high profile college programs.

Carroll has played it off as though the offer was just too good to turn down and that he wanted to give the NFL another shot.

At the time, many people believed Carroll was just running from impending sanctions that would be levied against USC. With the recent news that the Trojans have received a two-year postseason ban, a reduction in scholarships and the forfeit of wins, it looks like Carroll made the right decision.

The USC program will undoubtedly take a hit from all of this, with players likely wanting to transfer out. Keep in mind, USC always has some of the nation's best recruits and, while playing at USC puts you in the national spotlight, the lack of a postseason can make playing the games less meaningful during the year.

Tennessee fans are probably happy that Lane Kiffin, who ditched the Vols after one season to become head coach of the Trojans, will have a hard time navigating through this mess as well.

(Photo courtesy Joshua Trujillo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Oklahoma State the latest to jump to the Pac 10?

TMZ, of all sources, is reporting that Oklahoma State's jump to the Pac 10 is "a done deal."

With the news of Colorado leaving the Big 12 to join the Pac 10 official and Nebraska's defection to the Big 10 imminent, the dominoes are starting to fall. It has been rumored for a while now that Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma would also be joining the Pac 10, leaving the Big 12 all but dead.

TMZ's source in the Oklahoma State athletic department claims it's "just a matter of time" before all of those teams leave the Big 12, forming a Super Conference that already includes USC and UCLA, among others.

(Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images North America)

TBS will air Stephen Strasburg's second Major League start on Sunday

Via Fang's Bites comes word that TBS, originally scheduled to air the Red Sox battling the Phillies on its National Game of the Week, will instead show Stephen Strasburg making his second Major League start as the Nationals take on the Indians in Cleveland.

Dick Stockton, Buck Martinez and Dennis Eckersley will call the game that will begin at 1:00pm ET. TBS will also add some additional cameras for the broadcast, including two super slow motion cams.

This is a smart move as many fans will be clamoring to get a live glimpse of Strasburg in action, coming off his seven inning, 14 strikeout performance in his debut. It seems like TBS shows the Red Sox, Phillies or Yankees every week anyway, and this will give fans a chance to catch a young phenom and an up-and-coming Nationals team.

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Dropping Links: Thursday, June 10, 2010

- An interesting offer has come in for naming rights to the New Meadowlands Stadium, which will be home to the Giants and Jets, as well as Super Bowl XLVIII.

- Club Seat Sports gives us a breakdown of what the future may hold for the Washington Nationals.

- Former Michigan State basketball coach Jud Heathcote thinks Tom Izzo is seriously considering leaving the Spartans to coach the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, but probably only if he can get some assurance from LeBron James that he'll re-sign with the team.

- PastaPadre has a first look at NBA Elite 11, the franchise formerly known as NBA Live.

- CNBC's Darren Rovell tells us that the P90X workout system has turned into a cash giant.

- I'm a day late grabbing this, but the Hall of Very Good has ten things about Stephen Strasburg's awesome Major League debut.

(Photo courtesy NewMeadowlandsStadium.com)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Armando Galarraga robbed of perfect game on blown call at first

Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was robbed of what would have been the third perfect game in a month when first base umpire Jim Joyce clearly blew a call that would have been the final out.

Miguel Cabrera went to his right to field Jason Donald's ground ball and fired to a covering Galarraga, seemingly beating the runner by about a step. Umpire Jim Joyce ruled Donald safe and was showered with boos for the remainder of the game.

Galarraga retired to next batter to end the game, finishing with a one-hit shutout.

Even Donald thought he was out and was in disbelief, hands on head, after he was ruled safe. Miguel Cabrera had begun celebrating until he realized Joyce had called the runner safe.

(Image courtesy of 3030FM.com)