Sunday, June 22, 2014

Padres fire General Manager Josh Byrnes

The struggling San Diego Padres have fired general manager Josh Byrnes.

The team announced the dismissal in a release Sunday, just minutes before the Padres were to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Padres are 32-43 and 12 1/2 games out of first in the NL West. They finished 76-86 in each of Byrnes' first two seasons in the position.

Ownership has expressed a desire to have a more competitive team year in and year out. 

“This ownership group is committed to fielding a team that consistently competes for postseason play,” said Padres President and CEO Mike Dee. “Thus far this season, the results on the field have been mixed at best and clearly have not lived up to expectations. After a lengthy evaluation of every facet of our baseball operations, we have decided to make this change today.”

“The search for a new General Manager begins immediately,” Dee said. “We are looking for someone who can define, direct and lead this franchise’s baseball philosophy for years to come.”

For now Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations Omar Minaya and Assistant General Managers AJ Hinch and Fred Uhlman, Jr. will man the general manager's position until the Padres find a replacement.

I don't think this will make a difference in the team's performance for the rest of the season as I suspect manager Bud Black will be the next to go and some of the team's high priced veterans will be traded.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Elijah Holyfield offered football scholarship by Michigan

Elijah Holyfield, the son of former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield has built quite a reputation on the  football field.

Elijah, who is a running back in Atlanta is  big time recruit and has been offered by a number of big time programs such as Wisconsin, Ohio State, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Holyfield, who plays for the Woodward Academy in Atlanta, has been offered a scholarship in the 2016 class by the Michigan Wolverines.

The Wolverines are trying to get their program back to a championship level are hoping that Holyfield's championship pedigree can rub off on the rest of the team. I'm sure Brady Hoke is hoping that Holyfield is the real deal like his father once was.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sheldon Richardson wants the Jets to give Muhammad Wilkerson a new contract

Sheldon Richardson isn't afraid to speak his mind. Whether it be about an opponent or his ability Richardson will let his opinion be known. In this case it's about keeping a teammate around.

 Muhammad Wilkerson earned a base salary of $1.2 million this season along with $975,000 in bonuses. The Jets picked up a fifth-year option on Wilkerson for 2015, when he will make $6.9 million. In Richardson's mind that has to change. He wants the Jets to give Wilkerson a nice contract extension.

“Hopefully, they do the right thing and pay the man,” Richardson said. “That’s coming from me. That’s somebody I want around. But it’s just business. You have no control over it.“He’s due for a paycheck, though. Believe that, he’s due for a paycheck.”

It is not likely to influence the leaders and Richardson doesn't call any shots in the organization, but Wilkerson will be glad to know that he has the support of his teammates.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Gary Payton says Damian Lillard must get better on defense

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has become one of the fastest rising stars in the NBA. Lillard along with LaMarcus Aldridge have transformed the Blazers into a threat in the Western Conference.

Even though Lillard has shown that he is one of the better players in the league, former NBA All-Star, Hall of Famer and fellow Oakland native Gary Payton says that Lillard must become a better defender to make his team better and become an elite player.

“He can be like Patrick Beverley [of the Houston Rockets] if he wants to, but that’s a mindset,” Payton told Chris Haynes of Thursday night at American AirlinesArena. “I think Damian has to be willing and ready to play that type of way. Right now, he’s scoring so easily and he’s so good at the offensive end, he doesn’t have to think about defense. He doesn’t have to think about it because he knows he can outscore somebody.

“He can have 35 [points] when he wants to and that’s where the game is going right now. But we have to get that out his mindset. If he wants to be a two-way guard and have his name in a legacy for being that way, he has to step it up on the defensive end.”

Payton and Lillard were supposed to workout together last summer but their scheduled didn't vibe. Payton in dogging Lillard, he just wants to see him be one of the best and perhaps get his team to a championship level. Payton feels that being an elite level defender is a state of mind more than scheduling workouts.

“It’s all about your mentality. You can’t teach nobody nothing about good defense,” Payton says. “All you can do is if you have good hands, good feet and you get the mindset that you’re going to sit down and lock somebody up. You have to want to learn how to do it and watch yourself do it. That’s when you become good. I can’t go out there and say, ‘Okay, move your feet, do this, move this, move your hands right there.’ No, you have to have instincts with the game. It’s a mentality. Defense just isn’t a part of our game nowadays.”

“Just like John Stockton, he was a two-way guard. He played defense and he played offense and he went into the Hall of Fame averaging 12 points and 12 assists. So that’s just the way people have to do it in my opinion. That’s the way I came up playing against basketball players like that."

If Lillard is going to get tips from anyone defensively why not from one of the better defenders that played the game. Payton has thrown down a challenge to Lillard but not in a negative way. Payton knows there are more ways to impact a game.

“I think Damian has the potential to be a dominant defender and I think he wants that because he’s a smart basketball player and he wants to get better every year,” he said. “I think he’s going to go in and see the way he’s not stopping guards that he should be stopping. There’s no way that you can stop guards in the NBA right now anyways with the rules. All you can do is contain them and if you can contain them, you’ll disrupt their rhythm. I’m hopeful he’ll get it.” 

Lillard isn't terrible but the series against the San Antonio Spurs showed that he needs to be able to contain players like Tony Parker in order to become a championship team instead of facing first or second round playoff exits.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Greg Oden wants to play more next season

Center Greg Oden was signed by the Miami Heat as an insurance policy in case the team needed to go big in the playoffs, mostly to combat the Indiana Pacers' Roy Hibbert. Oden wasn't used since Hibbert had a horrible playoff season.

Oden didn't play much this season, but the biggest bust this side of Sam Bowie isn't done playing. Oden says he plans on playing next season whether it be in Miami or somewhere else. He also would like to see more playing time than he did this season.

Oden, who will be an unrestricted free agent, is disappointed how things turned out, but is taking it all in stride.

“Yeah, I’m sure I’m playing again next year but honestly I haven’t given that much thought,” Oden told's Chris Haynes Wednesday after practice. “I’m trying to concentrate on this and getting this ring first and after that, that’s part of the thought process. My body feels good. I can still play.  I’ll be alright….

“It wasn’t what I was hoping it would be,” the big man said. “I would definitely like to have played more but you know, everything that I’ve been through, I’m just happy to be out there and being on a team. Last year  I wasn’t and this year I’m on a team that possibly can win the championship. I’m happy in that, but personally, playing wise, I’m not has happy as I want to be.”

You have to give Oden credit for coming this far in his recovery from multiple knee surgeries. His best bet though is for him to be a piece on a contending team more than going to a team where fans and teammates might expect a bit more out of the former number one pick.

Even though it's hard to feel sorry for someone who has millions in the bank, you almost have to feel sorry for him. He'll always be labeled as a bust, not because he couldn't play, but because he was always hurt, Kevin Durant's meteoric rise to stardom and the fact that he was the number one pick. Someone will give Oden a shot but it might be a long shot if he's anywhere near productive.    

Seahawks sign former Vikings All Pro Kevin Williams

The Seattle Seahawks have bolstered their depth on their defensive line by reportedly signing former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams. 

Williams will be entering his 12th season in the NFL, having spent his entire career until now with the Minnesota Vikings. Williams started 15 games last season for the Vikings with 3 ½ sacks and an interception.

It's almost a case of the rich getting richer as the Super Bowl champion Seahawks will be getting a six time Pro Bowler and five time first team All Pro player. Williams had contemplated retirement if he couldn't find a team that would give him a fair deal.

Williams won't be used as much as he was in Minnesota as the Seahawks favor a deep rotation for their defensive line.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Indiana quarterback Tre Roberson to transfer

After taking part in a two quarterback system last season with Nate Sudfeld, Tre Roberson has announced that he'll be transferring from the Indiana football program. Roberson's departure along with Cam Coffman's means that Sudfeld will be the Hoosiers' clear cut starter this season.

Roberson, who was Indiana's Mr. Football in 2010 was the program's first true freshman starter in 2011. A broken leg wiped out most of his sophomore season. He came back in 2013 to share the job (four starts) with Sudfeld. Head coach Kevin Wilson planned to employ the same two quarterback system that he used last year, which might've contributed to Roberson's departure.

“I want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates and Indiana University for all of their support over the last three years,” Roberson said. “My time in Bloomington will always hold a special place in my heart. I wish everyone at IU all the best as I move on to the next chapter in my life.”

For his career, Roberson threw for 2,433 yards, 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  He added 10 touchdowns running the ball.

This comes as a surprise to many in the IU community as none saw this coming. I don't think pundits around college football or Wilson saw this coming, although he sounds content on move on with Sudfeld as his starter.

“We appreciate and thank Tre for his contributions to our football program both on and off the field,” Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. “He is an outstanding player and a great young man. We wish him well as he moves forward with his career.”

Roberson is a dual threat talent who will be a sought after transfer. With his ability to make plays through the air and on the ground, look for plenty of high major schools to try to woo Roberson to their campus.