Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Phillies fans should step away from the ledge

The Philadelphia Phillies have been scuffling a bit and I bet there fans are getting impatient. That's just how it is in Philadelphia. There are reasons why and some that can be solved. I don't have the answers or I wouldn't be writing this. Phillie fans should be patient, they've proven in the past to be a strong second half team.
   First,they need Jimmy Rollins back. For all their offensive talent, Rollins is the man that makes the Phillies go. As I write this, he should be back in the lineup. The offense has been up and down and you can tell they clearly miss him. No offense and no pun intended there, but Wilson Valdez and Juan Castro just don't don't have the same impact.
   Secondly, they need to stay healthy.As they get Rollins back, they lose Placido Polanco and Chase Utley.Two very important cogs in the machine. This year more than any in the past few years, the Phillies have been burned by injury.
   Last but not least,they need consistent starting pitching by anyone not named Roy Halladay. Cole Hamels is good, but he hasn't been the same since his World Series mvp year. And after Hamels who knows. J.A. Happ has seemed to regress, and you never know what your gonna get from Joe Blanton. It looks like they'll be picking up Pedro Martinez after the All Star break again. Maybe they enter the Cliff Lee sweepstakes again or they could swing a trade for someone like Erik Bedard who could use a change of scenery. Maybe pick off one of Arizona's pitchers,maybe Dan Haren. They'll need another arm, because you can't outscore everyone. They also need help in the bullpen, more notably closer, because they simply cannot count on Brad Lidge. I don't know where they can get that kind of help without giving up a king's ransom,but its worth a try.
   Like I stated earlier, the Phillies have proven to be a strong second half team in the past.Ask the Mets about that. The opposition in the division seems to be a little tougher this year as the Mets and Braves are playing good baseball right now. I'm not sold on the Mets. I just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop for them and the Braves are good but I think they need another bat to surpass the Phillies. Philadelphia still is the team to beat in the NL East and maybe the National League.The fans need to stop grumbling because things could be worse.Fans step away from the ledge.      

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tigers get hosed by the umps again

The Detroit Tigers are having a hard time with bad umpiring so far this season.It hasn't happened a lot,but two glaring mistakes have cost them a possible win and a perfect game.Everyone knows about the perfect game that wasn't.Umpire Jim Joyce made a bad call when Armando Galarraga clearly beat the Indians' Jason Donald to the bag at first. Joyce quickly realized he made the wrong call and everything turned out well as the Tigers fans and organization,as well as Galarraga showed a lot of class.
  Which brings us to yesterday.As the Tigers rallied from a 4-1 defecit,literally walking down the Atlanta Braves,they were doomed by a bad call to end the game.With Johnny Damon at the plate and the bases loaded with two outs, Damon was called out on strikes on what appeared to be ball four,which would've tied the game at four. The ball was clearly outside,and how Damon didn't go nuts after the call was made is beyond me. Home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom admitted after the game that he made a bad call. He said that he was too quick on the call since he didn't realize the ball was going to break outside the strike zone. I'm not going to blame the umps for another Tigers loss.They didn't capitalize on their oppurtunities,which seems to be a common theme for this team year after year.I won't say they would've won the game.But they were deprived an oppurtunity to do so.But when you miss something so clear as ball four,because maybe you wanted to end the game or thought the ball looked good on the way to the batter,you can point the finger at human error. Umpires and referees arre only human and are subject to mistakes,but there needs to be a system in place to make sure bad calls aren't becoming the norm in Major League Baseball.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Is Strasburg All Star material?

Washington Nationals rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg is for real. He has lived up to the hype surrounding him since he was drafted first overall out of San Diego State. True,he hasn't pitched against the elite teams in the majors,but the stats he's put up,you can't deny he's on the fast track to the Rookie of the Year award. The question is,if Strasburg continues at his current pace,does he deserve to be named to the All-Star team. True, it would be a case of too much too soon. But can you really name 7 or 8 better starters than Strasburg at this point. Halladay,Carpenter,Cain,Lincecum, and maybe Santana are clearly ahead of Strasburg in the pitching class of the National League. But right now I can't think of anyone else that stands above him. He may not named to the All Star squad this summer,but you can put money on it that he'll be a fixture there for years to come.    

I don't like soccer but the U.S. squad has me paying attention

I'm not a soccer fan nor will I ever will be. But the U.S. team in the World Cup has me paying a little attention to the sport for once. I'm not here to pimp the sport or give it props. I could really care less. But for some reason i've paid attention to it. Maybe because the U.S. actually has a chance to make a deep run for the first time in ages. Yeah I know,don't break your ankle jumping off the bandwagon. Hey,I never claimed to have actually like the sport in the first place,so all you faux Yankees,Lakers,and Cowboys fans can shut up. Maybe it's my patriotism kicking in a little bit. I don't know. All I know is that privately I've jumped on the wagon and won't jump off until the U.S. is out of the tournament.     

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Management needs more to do

The Pittsburgh Pirates fired one of the pierogi mascot racers for criticizing the the contract extensions given to GM Neal Huntington and manager John Russell on his Facebook page. Andrew Kurtz,the perpetrator of said crime, was already under suspicion because of a violation of team rules. I wonder what those rules were. The 24 year old Kurtz was back on his feet though,given a job by the Washington(Pa.) Wild Things,an independent minor league team, as one of the racing hot dogs.Management,especially in the Pirates organization need to do better things with their time, like scouting better players for example, instead of worrying about what the racing pierogis are doing in their off time.

R.I.P. Manute Bol

The Sudanese gentle giant Manute Bol has passed away ath age 47. Bol,who starred collegiately at the University of Bridgeport,played 10 years in the NBA. The 7 foot 7 giant started his career with the Washington Bullets and went on to play for the Philadelphia 76ers,Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat.More humanitarian than player,most of his earnings went to help his native Sudan. Bol passed from acute kidney failure and Stevens-Johnson syndrome,a skin disease. Bol was a rare athlete,not from his size,but because of his efforts in his native homeland. R.I.P. to a true giant in every sense of the word.  

Friday, June 18, 2010

Call me crazy but Artest may have been Lakers' MVP

I know there will be millions calling me crazy,but Ron Artest may have been the true Finals MVP for the Lakers.It may not show in the offensive statistics, but you can't deny the job he did on Boston's Paul Pierce.Pierce who was the Finals MVP two years ago against these same Lakers, was locked up by Artest.Pierce,the self proclaimed best player in the world, really never got it going offensively in this years finals.Lacking a scorer and one on one option in the halfcourt,kinda doomed the Celtics.Kevin Garnett was a shell of himself and Ray Allen was hot for only one game.They needed Pierce to step up and Artest didn't allow him to do so,save for game 5.Besides the defensive job he did on Pierce, he also stepped up with a timely shot or two. "Crazy" Ron will never be known as an offensive force, or even a dependable option,but he showed that he can step up in the face of pressure and is a teammate that can be counted on, on both ends of the court. Kobe Bryant will always be number one in Lakerland while he's there,but at least Kobe knows Ron has his back.

Iverson wants back in

According to reports and his manager, Allen Iverson is eyeing a comeback. I say good for him. He also needs to get a clue. He clearly isn't the player he once was and doesn't have the star power he once had. I've always said that ther is a role for him in the league. That would be as a gunner off the bench,that can also finish off a game, or spell an injured starter. He's no longer a 30-40 minutes per game player. He can still play and I think he should have a better swan song than being a borderline quitter.He'll never be an all star player again,but I've been wrong before.I never bought the "retirement" talk he gave last season.Fans and opposing players as well as Iverson himself knows he still has more game than a lot of the players in the league today. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some Lakers need to stop playing scared

Kobe Bryant is right.His teammates need to man up and play ball. Despite being the defending champions, some Lakers aren't getting rid of the notion that they're soft. Going into a possible season ending Game 6, Bryant seemed to questions some of his teammates' toughness. I really don't like to see a player calling out his teammates,but in this case Bryant may be right. No one besides him seemed to show up for Game 5. Andrew Bynum gets a pass because he's basically playing on one leg. I'll also give "crazy" Ron Artest a pass since for the first four games, he had Paul Pierce shackled. But the rest of the gang needs to step up if the Lakers stand a chance to make it to Game 7 and attempt to sweep the next two games. Pau Gasol seemed to shed the soft label after last season's finals, but he hasn't done anything to change my opinion of him. A good player, but a traditional European softy. Lamar Odom has regressed to floating, the story of his whole career. The rest just haven't made the most of their opportunities. Bottom line, if the Lakers want to live to see another day, tonight is the night to lay it all on the line, because tomorrow may be too late.