Saturday, October 31, 2009

Will the Lakers be "the family circus"

An early season 94-80 loss to the Dallas Mavericks have Mark Cuban and a few others saying I told you so. I know it's early in the season, but the Lakers looked bad last night, in the process making Mavericks owner Mark Cuban seem prophetic. During the preseason he said that the Ron Artest signing would open the door for others in the Western Conference. True things weren't working last night but i'm sure Phil Jackson will get everything straightned out and Kobe Bryant will make sure everyone stays on the same page. Another potential distraction is Lamar Odom. With the high profile marriage to reality tv Khloe Kardashian, he'll have more cameras following him than he had before. Odom usually keeps out of the spotlight, now he's being thrust into it. Hopefully he can keep his mind on his game and not crumble under the increased attention he gets away from the arena. An immense talent, he's always had a tendency to drift and disappear during games. Although this seems like a recipe for trouble i think the Lakers will overcome this circus atmosphere to remain kings of the west until proven otherwise.

Quick note on college basketball

The NCAA head honchos are thinking of of putting a new rule in place that would prevent coaches from hiring outsiders as assistants and camp counselors. This would hopefully end the "package deal" that we frequently see in college basketball. The deal where the college coach hires or pays an AAU coach or a "handler" so the kid will go to his school. Personally I hope this goes through that way it levels the playing field somewhat in the world of college basketball. Also it would show who the true recruiters are and kids choosing a school based on the program alone rather than going somewhere because someone was paid. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

Twitter makes trouble for athletes

Nothing against the Twitter craze going on right now, but i just don't get it. To me it's almost like what i'm doing now your giving details of your day. Over the summer i began to hear more about professional athletes "tweeting". If i'm an athlete i want no part of this. You might as well invite the press over or get a reality show, which is another topic for another day. Now athletes are finding themselves getting in a bit of hot water over twitter. One is the case of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The thing about it is it wasn't him "tweeting", it was his brother Marcus lighting the flame. It was all about Larry's role in the offense and apparent disenchantment with the coaching staff. Of course there was some damage control done, now all is well in Cardinal country.This past week it's soon to be former Kansas City Chiefs star Larry Johnson. He goes on his twitter account and blasts his teammates, using gay slurs along the way, and flames his coach, Todd Haley. After the story comes out he tries to make the account private. Too late. He's now suspended  and banned from all team activities. He's apologized and has filed a grievance with the NFL. One local case involved Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. He alledgedly was giving updates on whether or not he was going to play. I know Chad OchoCinco swears by it, but i just think it's more trouble than it's worth. Just line up the news trucks outside your home if you want to let everyone know what your doing.    

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Los Angeles Clippers. Snakebit or just a bad organization?

Once again the Los Angeles Clippers have been snakebitten, spit in the face by the basketball gods. The top overall draft pick Blake Griffin, gone for about two months. Honestly i'm one of the few who for some odd reason has a fascination with the Clippers.I don't knbow why i just have something for the downtrodden in sports. I know, they've botched nearly every personnel move in franchise history. With them it seems like a bad horror movie, when someone says "when you go there you become one of them".It's not that all the players happened to be bad players, its that they made bad deals or players got hurt. There was the Moses Malone deal back in 1976. The selling of Bob McAdoo, the trading of Marques Johnson, which came back to haunt them since they dealt for him after his best days in Milwaukee to Danny Manning blowing out his knee, Danny Ferry forcing his way out of town, Shaun Livingston mangling his leg, and now this. At least they parlayed Ferry into two number one picks and Ron Harper, but he had to go ahead and get hurt.Then Harper said playing for the Clippers was worse than being in prison. The Clips had a few playoff seasons during the 90's and earlier this decade, but bad luck has once again reared its ugly head with the Blake Griffin injury and then i hear in the season opener last night that baron Davis is basically playing one one good leg. I thought this team had a chance to make some regular season noise in the Western Conference, but i don't think they can withstand injuries of any sort. The season's still young and maybe they can actually get it together. They do have Mike Dunleavy as coach so anything's possible. If you want to know more about the Clippers franchise run of bad luck click on the Bill Simmons article he wrote about this back in July. It's downright funny how he breaks all this down.

Bernard King for the Hall of Fame

With age i realize i'm becoming a lot more old school. That's why i believe Bernard King belongs in the Basketball Hall of Fame. I was too young to remember the Bernie and Ernie (Grunfeld) show while he was at the University of Tennessee. But i do remember a lot of his NBA exploits. This man was a scoring machine in every sense of the word. Damn near unstoppable. I believe that Michael Jordan never wins a scoring title if Bernard never gets hurt. The moment i remember in particular is when he torched the Detroit Pistons, in a five game playoff series to the tune of 44 points a game. Correct me if i'm wrong. It made head coach Hubie Brown look like a genius at times. A one man wrecking crew, I always joked that it was Hubie's easiest coaching job. Imagine the sideline huddle where Hubie says, "just give it to Bernard". I know that series alone probably ran Kelly Tripucka out of Detroit. He just couldn't handle him on the defensive end. Bernard wasn't the greatest defender either, but coach Brown had a way of hiding that. I really hate the fact a lot of people overlooked how good of a player he was, as he was overshadowed by the Larry Bird's, Julius Erving's, and Magic Johnson's of the world. Call it bad timing. Another bad break, almost in a literal sense was the knee injury he suffered in 1985 i believe. I would've loved to see what damage a healthy King and Patrick Ewing could've done together. It's time to give the man his due and finally elect him into the Hall of Fame, he deserves it. Sometimes i wonder if i'm the only one that carries the torch for his election. I know i'd like to see him in.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Jake Delhomme=Steve Blass?

In a previous posting I mentioned that Jake Delhomme was still shell shocked by the performance in last season's playoff loss to Arizona, in which he threw six interceptions. Correct me if i'm wrong.This is a quick fall from grace for someone that was considered to be near the top of the second tier quarterbacks.The last time i've seen something like this was how quickly Jim Everett fell off. In my opinion, this seems to be the equal of the "Steve Blass syndrome". To anyone not familiar with Steve Blass, he was a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 60's and 70's, who had a stellar start to his career and had a sudden loss of control which pretty much ended his career. If you don't know him, look up the names Mackey Sasser, Steve Sax, Chuck Knoblauch, and most recently Rick Ankiel. The reason I say this is because of the high  amount of interceptions Delhomme has thrown. Since the Arizona debacle he has yet to have an interception free game. In a way I almost feel sorry for the guy. I don't know him personally, but he seems to be like a genuinely good guy with a downhome southern personality. He has to take a lot of flak from the fans and his teammates, especially the tempermental Steve Smith. As a fan I hope he gets it together and soon (not for fantasy purposes either). First he must get over the interceptions which i don't think he can, therefore sinking the Panthers' season and you know who's gonna take the blame for that. Pick up your game Jake and get back on track. If you don't your career is most likely over on a sour note no less.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

WTF? Things that aren't funny but are

Maybe I just have a sick sense of humor, or just someone that sees the lighter side of life.This news story is about a former paramedic who faked a 911 call to try to sneak back in to her place of employment to obtain drugs for the pain she had from an apparent leg injury.She wound up being crushed by the garage door when she tried to get back in. It's not a good thing, but i can't make this stuff up.   

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Trying to climb back up the ladder

Isaiah "J.R." Rider. Once a man with a promising NBA future is now struggling to catch on anywhere for one last shot at glory. Drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fifth overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft, his career started with so much promise. Capturing the slam dunk title at All Star weekend as a rookie seemed like a prelude to bigger things.The problem was he couldn't stay out of his own way. Frequent tardiness, run ins with coaches, and various legal problems derailed his career.I remember when he played with the Lakers, where he did win a championsip ring, but left off the playoff roster, he was suspended for a home game against the Indiana Pacers for what else, being late. Craig Sager interviewed him after the game and asked him "with his family and friends watching wasn't he embarrassed by not playing that night.His reply to Sager was "aren't you embarrassed by your clothes". To me, that moment and the east bay funk dunk that won the slam dunk championship were my favorite memories of him. Now he's trying to catch on overseas or anywhere right now.He's playing for the North Texas Fresh of the American Basketball Association.For more on his trials and tribulations you can follow this link.

Ringside thoughts

Last week i took in a couple of good boxing matches from the super six tournament for supremacy of the super middleweight division. To those who aren't familiar, i'll tell you the names of the contestants.Some you might recognize, some you won't.The tournament consists of the top six fighters in the super middleweight division.Mikkel Kessler(Denmark), "King" Arthur Abraham (Germany), Carl Froch (England), Jermain Taylor (USA), Andre Direll (USA), Andre Ward (USA).From the looks of it, it almost looks like a US vs. Europe format, but its far from it.
  The first fight was "King" Arthur Abraham vs. Jermain Taylor. I'm not a boxing expert, just one that recognizes a good fight when they see one.This was a good fight, although i'm sure Abraham had the fight won on points even if it was a close decision since the fight was in Germany.Abraham put together a fine performance and he would've won on points against the outmatched Taylor.The fight went to the 12th round when Abraham came up with a dazzling knockout of a tired Taylor.More thoughts on Taylor later.If i were a betting man, i'd put it on Abraham to win the tournament.The second fight was more entertaining as it pitted Carl Froch vs. Andre Direll. Direll was clearly the more skilled of the two, but it was Froch and the "will not skill" that won out in a slightly controversial 12 round split decision. I thought Direll put together a fine performance as did Froch, but i think the home "ring" advantage helped Froch in the end. Froch was outskilled as I stated earlier, but as the fight went on I could see Direll was frustrated by Froch trying to turn the fight into a brawl. There was a point in the fifth round i believe where Froch had a point taken for hip tossing Direll to the canvas. Direll also had a point taken for what reason i don't know and neither did the commentators. Personally i thought Direll should have kept fighting his fight and stopped waiting for the referee to either disqualify Froch or take points from him.It happened after every clinch where Direll would look at the ref. He should've kept fighting and he would have pulled out the win. I thought he did enough to win, but when fighting the champ, on his home turf no less, you have to be thoroughly dominant to take a decision, or win by knockout.
  As for Jermain Taylor,i really don't know waht's become of him.It wasn't that long ago he came away with two decisions over the legendary Bernard Hopkins. I do think other fighters found a chink in his armor during the two Hopkins fights. He got tired in the later rounds.When he went against Kelly Pavlik he punched himself out early and it cost him.He always seems to get tired in the later rounds.Check out the fight against Carl Froch and you'll know what i'm talking about.He's still young and talented, but he's had too many big fight losses recently.I hate to say this, but i think he'll become the "name" opponent for young up and comers to get a big win against.Like a steppingstone of sorts.I hope he can get it together and string together some impressive wins. 

How the mighty have fallen

I'm sure some of you may be familiar with former University of Michigan hoops hero and NBA player Rumeal Robinson.Twenty years ago he was the toast of the college basketball world and a first round draft pick.Fast foreward to today and he is claiming to be broke and penniless.From what i hear he also said he had a 15 year addiction to strip clubs.Also i hear that he scammed his adoptive mother and lost her house.  I don't claim to know what went on in this case and won't try to act like i do.Living here in the Detroit area, i'm familiar with his basketball career and some of the tough times he had to go through, as he was one of the first Prop 48 cases in college sports.Its sad to see him go out like this, but perhaps another cautionary tale to other professional athletes on how to not blow through every nickel and dime and make wiser investments. For more on this story click this link to get the lowdown on how he has fallen so far.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sabathia is paying off big time

CC Sabathia is finally putting together some big time performances in the postseason.After past failures in the playoffs with the Indians and Brewers, he has shown why the Yankees paid him big money in the offseason.After mowing down the Angels for eight innings in the ALCS in a 10-1 over the Angels, the Yankees are one win away from their first World Series appearance since 2003.Buoyed by an offense that battered starter Scott Kazmir and the other pitchers the Angels put out there in game 4, the Yankees seized the momentum that seemed to swing the Angels' way after a thrilling 5-4 win in game 3.This was Sabathia's second win in the ALCS, which was a big money performance and is showing why there was a lot of fuss why the Yankees paid him handsomely in the free agent period.Clearly the best move the Yankees made in the offseason. 

My thoughts on the NFL: Week 6, my power rankings

Just my thoughts on the nfl in week 6.Dante Wesley of the Carolina Panthers gets special mention for the whack job he did on Tampa Bay's Clifton Smith.More on that later.

1.New Orleans Saints-They were impressive in their beatdown of the Giants.They were at home for that game and they also have to prove they can win in the elements provided they don't get homefield in the playoffs.

2.Denver Broncos-This team has finally won me over.After a dominating performance over the Chargers on the road no less, proved to me that they are for real.Kyle Orton has been very good as a "game manager".

3.Minnesota Vikings-Sometimes its better to be lucky than good.The defense seems to have let up a bit, but the offense is starting to click.

4.Indianapolis Colts-Idle this week.The rest gives them time to rest and recharge for week 7.

5.New York Giants-The G-men dropped a few notches after being dismantled by the Saints.Still the best in the NFC East, and top 3 in the conference.

6.New England Patriots-The Pats seem  to be finally clicking.Even at a #6 ranking still a force to be reckoned with.The team to beat in the AFC East.

7.Atlanta Falcons-Had a tough, hard nosed win over the Bears, going into this week's showdown with the Saints.The defense will have to keep the high flying Saints grounded.Can't really afford a shootout.

8.Pittsburgh Steelers-This might be a little low for them at this point.Another team that seems to finally be clicking.The backfield will be really dangerous when Willie Parker comes back healthy.

9.Green Bay Packers-Playing the Lions might be the tonic this team needs.Has to cut out the penalties if they want to hang with elite.

10.Cincinnati Bengals-Don't drink the kool aid just yet.The cardiac cats couldn't pull off another comeback against Houston.Still not completely sold on this team yet.

11.Baltimore Ravens-Another loss in heartbreaking fashion.The offense is doing a lot better than many have thought.The defense will get back to their hard hitting ways.Hopefully its sooner than later.

12.Philadelphia Eagles-This team is puzzling.Losing to the Raiders was inexcusable.Why does it seem Donovan McNabb seems to forget about certain game situations.First the Super Bowl, then not knowing games end in a tie, now not knowing how many timeouts he has.Puzzling.

13.Arizona Cardinals-Will the real Cardinals please stand up.Are they the team that has looked good for the last 2 weeks, or the team that was throttled by the Colts.

14.Chicago Bears-Jay Cutler, and this team as a whole needs to cut down on the mistakes.They should be better than they are.

15.Dallas Cowboys-Even though they have a winning record and were idle this week, they are fradulent until proven otherwise.Roy Williams has been a big disappointment.

16.New York Jets-Somewhere down the line the Sanchez mistakes will hurt them.If the running game and defense can keep them in it, the mistakes won't hurt as much.

17.San Diego Chargers-A team that is grossly overacheiving for the talent it has on the field.The defense  can't stop anyone and the o-line can't block anyone.If Norv Turner's not on the hot seat, he should be.Fraudulent until proven otherwise.

18.Houston Texans-Finally starting to play some good ball.Needs to get the running game going.Defense is solid.Things are looking up down in Houston.

19.San Francisco 49ers-I like Mike Singletary and what he's doing out there in frisco.They're still a few years away, but do benefit in playing in a pretty weak division.

20.Miami Dolphins-Idle this week.Not yet a bonafide playoff contender.They are tough and will give teams a run for their money.Let Chad Henne get some receivers around him and they will be downrgight scary.

21.Carolina Panthers-They just seem dysfunctional right now. Jake Delhomme still seems shell shocked over his playoff performance.He better step it up because they have no one behind him.

22.Jacksonville Jaguars-Very inconsistent.Inconsistent with few playmakers, even though others are starting to step it up(Mike Sims-Walker).Still no excuse to let the lowly Rams hang around.

23.Seattle Seahawks-I really don't know what to make of this team.When they are healthy they are dangerous,which happens to be few and far between.      

24.Washington Redskins-This team is in trouble.Overpriced and underachieving has gotten Jim Zorn mighty  close to Dan Snyder's sharp axe.They should be better with one of the easier 6 game stretches to start season.

25.Buffalo Bills-They looked like they had some promise at the start of the season.Now it looks like a lost season.How long before T.O. starts talking his way out of town, although this one really isn't his fault.

26.Detroit Lions-Even after being dogged in Green Bay, they are the best out of a bad bunch.They have a bye week and can use that time to heal up.Still need to upgrade the talent level.

27.Kansas City Chiefs-Not looking like the easy win that it looked like at the start.Chiefs are starting to slowly get it together.Just need to get more out of Larry Johnson while he's still there.A tradeable commodity they should definitely try to get something for him in the offseason.

28.Oakland Raiders-Got a win over the Eagles, who i think overlooked the Raiders.Nonetheless it looked like pride finally kicked in for the Raiders.The defense is this team's calling card and stepped up big time last week.The offense has a long way to go.

29.Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Raheem Morris is just trying to put his stamp on the team at this point.Its gonna be a long winter down in Tampa, and an equally long rebuilding project.

30.Tennessee Titans-Clearly not as bad as the 59-0 trucking they got by New England.Going through a bad stretch right now, let's hope they didn't quit on coach Jeff Fisher, one of the good guys in the NFL.Who knew Albert Haynesworth and Jim Schwartz meant so much to the Titans.

31.Cleveland Browns-The Browns are just a bad football team. They have no answer at quarterback, play in a tough division, and really have no identity on what they want to be.Eric Mangini probably wishes he was back with  the Jets right about now.

32.St.Louis Rams-How Jacksonville let this team hang with them is beyond me.Another bad football team that needs playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Even though this hit was illegal as a crime on the street, i loved it. Definitely the whack job of the week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hoping the Lions can get it right

I hate to admit it to others, but i am a diehard Detroit Lions fan.I know, i know, they're the butt of jokes all the and are constantly ridiculed.From ownership down they've been a farce of an NFL franchise.Also, it's pretty bad when the glory days are before my time and the early to mid 90's when they made the playoffs only to make a quick exit.Those days, the Wayne Fontes days, were exciting and also frustrating as they teased us and gave us Lions fans false hope.Look up the 58-37 beatdown in the 95 playoffs and you'll know what i'm talking about.Don't even get me started with the Millen error.He sold us a bad bill of goods.Remember him coming in saying "I want to win and win now", pounding his fist on the podium.Hiring Marty Mornhinweg, who they should've let Cleveland hire started it all.Fast forward to now and I think they might have actually got it right this time around.The jury is still out on Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand in the front office.They seem competent though and might be the people to get this franchise turned around.I think they had a decent draft, although i really didn't care for the Matthew Stafford selection.Mayhew made so decent free agent signings and trades.Also, the big one to many in this area was the hiring of the coach,Jim Schwartz.Many here in the Detroit area are hungry for a winner,and feel Schwartz may be the guy to bring one to town.Even though they currently stand at 1-5, i feel he doesn't try to sell us on false hope and tells it like it is.Check out what he said about the second half of the Chicago game.He knows it'll take time to build a winner here, but he also has to convince the players they are a good football team.Changing the culture will be difficult, be he seems committed to getting the job done.Let's hope ownership will have patience and give him the time to get the job done.He actually seems like a real coach, something that hasn't been around here for awhile.Give him time and he will get it done, i have confidence and patience.Like I mentioned before, let's hope ownership and fans for that matter give him the time to do the job.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The USFL:A good idea that went wayward

I remember when the USFL first started in 1983.i was only 11 years old then and thought it would never work.Some of the names i knew of,some i never heard of.Even the players i heard of,i thought to myself,"they couldn't make it in the NFL".As the season went on i was pleasantly surprised and quickly embraced the michigan panthers as my team,pretty obvious since i lived here in the detroit area.I remember it like yesterday.Bobby Hebert at quarterback,local hero Anthony Carter at receiver,and two unknowns that became big stars in the league,running back Ken Lacy,and the "sackman" John Corker.they started slowly but went on a roll that culminated in a championship,defeating the Philadelphia Stars 24-22.I couldn't wait until the next season started and figured the NFL might be in some serious trouble.Alas,the USFL was in trouble.From my point of view, I feel the owners,flush with quick success,got too greedy.They started giving out big money contracts to players not yet drafted and to NFL stars that used the USFL as leveraage in negotiations.The locals around Detroit can remember Billy Sims nearly jumping ship to the Houston Gamblers.The contract i remember most is the ridiculous contract given to Steve Young by the Los Angeles Express.I believe it was 40 years for $43 million dollars.I could be wrong on this.If i am let me know.I know there is more to the story,but eventually,while the league was expanding,sank itself and folded.The USFL ended up suing the NFL and actually won.The amount:$1 dollar.It was exciting while it lasted and if managed correctly I feel some teams could have merged with the NFL. I still remember the players and uniforms and the teams. I just wish it lasted longer, but all good things must come to an end.          

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Detroit Pistons. How will they do this year?

As the name of my blog states, I have an opinion for almost anything. This goes out to the local Piston fans. How do you think they will do this year. On paper it looks like a 40-45 win team,but as we all know games aren't played on paper.I think Joe Dumars did well in free agency bringing in Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. I wasn't too thrilled with the draft but who else could we take at that position in the draft.They're trying to rebuild on the fly which is not a bad thing,but we'll have to see what moves come by the trade deadline if any.I feel they won't be among the elite,but still competitive enough to put a scare into some of the  better teams. Personally i see a 43-39 finish in the regular season and somewhere between a 6 to 8 seed in the playoffs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bowl games and Bobby Bowden

I love college football as much as any fan out there. Admit it, I know there are plenty of guys out there that love their college football from noon to night every Saturday. I'm one of them.but I just can't take anymore bowl games. There's too many as it is and now the powers that be in the NCAA are going to give us more. I remember looking forward to the New Year's Day bowl games knowing you were going to watch 8 to 10 of the top teams in the nation. Now the games don't mean as much as they used to thanks to the creation of the BCS. Even the games prior to New Years had some excitement and a decent matchup to watch. Now it seems that mediocrity is being rewarded and we as fans get stuck watching crappy matchups and teams that we hardly follow. How about that Florida Atlantic/Stanford matchup. They really need to cut down on the games and reward teams that win at least 7 games instead of the current 6. I think it would make for better matchups therefore better games.not saying that some teams aren't deserving,but you can finish damn near dead last in your conference and still get to go bowling.
  Another subject is good ol' Bobby Bowden. Currently under fire at Florida State and rightfully so. His teams have seen a dramatic decline in recent years. I don't think the game has passed him by, but I think there were some factors in that decline. Of course there's recruiting,but I think a big one was losing Mark Richt to Georgia. That one seems to get overlooked. Another one which is well publicized is hiring his son Jeff as offensive coordinator. I personally think he has hung on to Mickey Andrews as his defensive coordinator for too long as i think many have caught on to his schemes. I do think Bobby needs to retire,but should be able to go out on his own terms. He built it up to elite status,won big,and has a couple of national championships. If it weren't for him they might be scuffling with the Memphis' and SMU's of the world. I know times are tough for the Seminoles right now but don't run the man that brought you to the pearly gates of college football out of town. He deserves to go out on his own and who knows this thing might turn around like it did for Joe Paterno at Penn State when they were calling for his head. At least give him a chance to see if it can get turned around.