Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thoughts From Doc Gooden

Since he has lots of idle time on his hands, Doc Gooden has lots of random thoughts going through his mind. About what, I don't know. Except for this tidbit that he somehow has an "inside scoop" on where Albert Pujols may land in free agency.

Look for Albert Pujols to follow Ozzie Guillen to Florida if the cardinals don’t resign him. #insidescoop.

Straight from Doc's Twiiter account. I wonder what prompted him to say that. Maybe he knows something we don't. If it weren't for his checkered past I'd give him more credibility. He did play in the majors so he might have some kind of inside contact, so I have to give him some credit.

Maybe I'll start a Twitter account so I can get some more of Doc's inside scoops.

Arvydas Sabonis Suffers A Heart Attack

Former Portland Trailblazers big man Arvydas Sabonis suffered a heart attack in his native country of Lithuania while playing basketball. He was rushed to the hospital and is believed to be in stable condition.

The Trailblazers issued a press release confirming Sabonis' status.

"The Portland Trail Blazers have confirmed that Arvydas Sabonis has been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack in his native Lithuania," the statement read. "His condition is believed to be non-life threatening. Our thoughts are with Arvydas and his family at this time. We wish him well in a speedy recovery."

Shaquille O'Neal once joked that Sabonis was one of the centers he made retire from the NBA. I thought his basketball playing days were over once he retired from the NBA. Sabonis was an effective player although he came to the NBA when he was on the downside of his playing career. Truth is Sabonis was a beast when he played over in Europe and would've given plenty of opposing big men trouble had he decided to come to the NBA after he was drafted in 1986.

He played seven seasons with the Blazers and posted career NBA averages of 12.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. In Europe, he was named player of the year eight times and won a gold medal while representing the Soviet Union at the 1988 Olympics.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dungy Labels The Texans As The Biggest Fakers

All the talk in the NFL is surrounding players faking injuries. The league has said they will punish players that are caught faking. Deon Grant played his macho card as to why he wouldn't fake one. I believe some teams might do it to save their team a timeout.

Former NFL head coach Tony Dungy has been pretty opinionated since he's been out of the game. During an interview on the Dan Patrick Show, Dungy was asked if he ever had a player fake an injury. Of course the answer was no but he did have something to say about who were the kings of faking injuries.

"No I've never done that but in the time I was coaching in Indy we saw it quite a bit, we really did," Dungy said. "It's a tactic that is used, it's part of what's happening now in the NFL and it's really tough to prove. We sent in a lot of tapes to the league and it never could get resolved so just kind of have to go with the flow and know that it's going to happen."

"The biggest offenders we saw were the Houston Texans. We played them twice a year, our players knew the defensive line coach there, they knew the signal for faking an injury," he said. "Chad Bratzke would always tell me, 'Here it comes. Guy's gonna fall down right now.'

"And that's what would happen and, you know, they'd catch their breath or whatever and get the substitutions in, you'd send it in to the league and say, 'Hey, this guy was never contacted on the play, let's look at it. The trainer's out there for three or four minutes working on him.'

"But it really is hard to tell. And how can you say when a guy really is hurt and when he isn't? Miraculously, though, they all seem to come back into the game."

Instead of stewing about it then, maybe Dungy should've went public with those allegations. I know that isn't his style and it wouldnt've went over too good, but that might've been the only way that it could've been resolved. Don't come out now that you're a member of the media and bring it up.   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

South Carolina's New Duds

It looks like UnderArmour is trying to catch Nike in the unique uniform design department.

South Carolina will be sporting new Wounded Warrior Project uniforms for their game against Auburn on October 1.

In an effort to recognize the sacrifices made by members of our Armed Forces as well as to commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11, this year’s uniforms will embrace the American spirit by incorporating a custom “USA stars and stripes” head-to-toe design. To further support all veterans, each team will replace their last names on their jerseys with a core value embellishment – Duty, Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, Country, or Service – and will be led on field by selected wounded warrior honorary captains.

“As we continue to reflect on the tenth anniversary of September 11, we recognize the importance of honoring those that lost their lives on that day and the men and women of our Armed Forces that continue to fight for freedom,” said Matt Mirchin, Under Armour Senior Vice President, Sports Marketing. “We are privileged to work with Wounded Warrior Project, South Carolina, Texas Tech, and the University of South Florida to carry on the tradition of these special games and support the Believe in Heroes campaign.”

First there were the crazy Maryland uniforms and now these. Actually they don't look that bad. I like them more than their regular uniforms.

Deon Grant Says He Wasn't Faking

After the St. Louis Rams filed a complaint with the NFL about the New York Giants faking injuries, the league sent out a memo basically stating that those caught faking an injury will be punished.

Giants safety Deon Grant says that if there's a problem he'll gladly address it. Grant was the main culprit along with teammate Jacquian Williams in the injurygate scandal. Grant isn't too happy about it and says he's too tough to fake an injury.

"I wanna ask a question: From the first time I touched the football field, how many games (have) I (missed)?" Grant said Wednesday, noting that he's played 162 out of 162 possible games since he came into the league back in 2001. "None, right? None. Now to this day I got two torn MCLs. I just had wrist surgery two years ago. I had a hole in my labrum and a torn rotator cuff. I (haven't) missed (any) games."

"I went out one play," Grant said. "I got banged up, and went right back in and finished the game -- (just like I have) every game for my career. My whole thing is when (do) you know (if) somebody faking an injury? ... I'm not no duck or no dummy. I'm not about to be going out there banging myself up like they do in the movies.

"You look at my knees now, do you see this knee (my right one), this knee is smaller than that one (my left one)? You see the bang up, right?"

Grant claimed he banged knees on the previous play and the Rams tried to line up while he was out of position. Besides going out of his way to prove how macho he is, he also implied that a teammate, maybe Justin Tuck told him to "just go down".

"And I was like, 'No,'" Grant said. "But as I was walking they lined up knowing I couldn't get back into my position because of the injury, so I went down. It just so happened Jacquain -- he was catching a cramp at the same time -- and he went down.

Grant had plenty to say. He said if the league wants to fine him he's ok. Just give him some money for the metal plates in his knees and the surgeries. He also doesn't care what the Rams think either.

"Like I just told (you), if you want me to be fined for that, how about (the league) give me money for playing on these torn MCLs, for me finishing the season with a torn rotator cuff and with a labrum that I got fixed before the season so I won't miss (any) games and sell my team out like that," Grant said.

"Give me some money for this metal plate and screws that I have in my hip that was a career-ending injury," he continued. "I can keep going on and on. Give me some money for finishing the season with a cast on, with a broken wrist and torn ligaments. Want me to keep going? Give me some money for me breaking my finger and it popping through my skin and the bone's just hanging out and I wrap it up and finish a preseason game or start a preseason game because the game hasn't even started -- I did that in warmups.

"I can go on and on and on. So if you want to talk about claims and all that other stuff, and all this toughness and softness, nobody's gonna try me first of all with the softness thing. But if you wanna talk about this whole toughness and all that, I got the injuries to speak for it.

"What was that down and distance when that happened?" Grant asked. "(Second-and-2) So they had, what, (three) plays to score right? So how you slowing somebody down?

"They already got down the field right? You got (three) plays, and I'm not even in the game the next play. You got (three) plays to score and that's what you're complaining about? C'mon."

We get it Deon. You're just way too tough to be faking. Personally I don't care one way or another. There will always be a team willing to bend the rules to get an edge. If he wasn't faking then oh well. Life goes on. We know football players are big and tough, I just don't care for someone to go out of their way to prove it.



Monday, September 19, 2011

Jeff George Wants One More Shot

Apparently Jeff George feels he still has some unfinished business in the NFL. George was the former number one pick in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

George, who resides in Indianapolis, is still politicking for a job in the NFL. George last played in the NFL in 2001 with the Washington Redskins told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times that "he could pick up the Colts offense in a matter of days".

Ok Jeff, just like you picked up the Raiders offense back in '97. George probably still has a cannon for an arm and probably could still play today. But he was such a headcase and malcontent he was seemingly blackballed. Ok let me rephrase that. No team in their right mind would give him a shot.

Especially when it looks like the Colts have a legitimate shot at winning the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

Tony Romo Is Owed An Apology

I'm not the biggest Tony Romo slappy around, but I have to give him his due. It's about time plenty of others do the same. It was announced that Romo played yesterday's game against the San Francisco 49ers with a cracked rib. It was reported later today that Romo has a punctured lung.

Now I know many Cowboys fans have a love/hate relationship with Romo. It's true that he hasn't led them anywhere and was the goat in a week 1 loss to the New York Jets. But yesterday's performance was heroic. Before I get lambasted here, the Cowboys were doing nothing in yesterday's game when Jon Kitna was at the helm. So think about that for a moment.

There are plenty of players that would've sat out the rest of yesterday's game. Remember when Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler left last season's NFC Championship game because of a questionable injury. I do and he was ripped from coast to coast because of it. I'm not saying that because of yesterday's game that Romo is the next coming of Johnny Unitas, but what he did yesterday was beyond macho.

Maybe it's time to cut Romo a little slack and not focus so much on his negatives.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cowboys Kicker Says They Need To "Hit Ted Ginn In The Mouth"

When there's some trash talk going on in the NFL it usually isn't the kicker being the player doing the talking. Dallas Cowboys kicker David Buehler doesn't follow that unwritten protocol.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Ted Ginn singlehandedly saved the 49ers in their season opener with a kick and punt return for touchdowns. Buehler seems to think that if Ginn getys his hands on the ball, the Cowboys need to hit him in the mouth.

"If the wind is at my back, hopefully I'll get the green light and be able to kick a touchback and keep it out of Ted Ginn's hands because he is a dangerous returner," Cowboys kicker David Buehler said. "As long as you hit him in the mouth earlier, I think he might give up."

Considering that Buehler only had one touchback in five attempts last week, the Cowboys might get that chance.


Reeves Says Falcons Abandoned Vick

Michael Vick will be making a homecoming of sorts this Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles square off against the Atlanta Falcons. For those who remember, Vick started his career with the Falcons before a dog fighting scandal derailed his career for a few years.

Former Falcons head coach Dan Reeves was at the helm when Vick was drafted number one overall in 2001. Reeves had been accused of holding Vick back in his formative years in the NFL. Vick had been accused of ending Reeves' coaching life in Atlanta.

Even though Reeves was burned by Vick, an article in the Philadelphia Daily News indicates that the two are friendly with each other and send each other text messages. Reeves had some things to say about Vick and the Falcons organization. He feels that in Vick's darkest moment that the Falcons turned their back on him.

“When Mike really needed them they turned their back on him in my opinion,” said Reeves. “They could have been a big supporter and they let him go. I think it could have been handled differently.

“I wasn’t there so I don’t know the organization’s standpoint, but I thought they could have been more supportive and instead they severed ties with him.”

Vick doesn't see it that way and has accepted full responsiblity for his actions. Falcons owner Arthur Blank felt that Vick brought it upon himself, but yet lobbied for Vick to get a second chance in the NFL.

“He has let down his fans and his team. He has damaged the reputation of our club and the entire National Football League, and betrayed the trust of many people,” said Falcons owner Arthur Blank in the summer of 2007.

“Only he can answer why he did what he did. At the end of the day he put himself in this position, and the responsibility for doing so rests on his shoulders.”

Vick says he still has respect for Blank, which proves that he harbors no ill feelings about the way the whole ordeal was handled by the Falcons.

“I’m pretty sure every guy in that organization has the utmost respect for him, and I still do,” said Vick of Blank. “I always wish him nothing but the best. I still care about him and I love him unconditionally, and it will always be that way.”

My personal opinion about what Reeves said is that Blank tried to stand by Vick as long as he could. Vick still respects Blank for treating him more like a family member than an employee. When a family member does something wrong, you still support them but in different ways. Blank supported Vick by telling league officials that he should get a second chance, he just couldn't stand by him with the dogfighting scandal hanging over his head.


Ortiz Feels Sorry For Manny

David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez seemed inseperable during their time together as teammates with the Boston Red Sox. Ortiz and Ramirez might have been the most dyanamic one-two punch in Major League Baseball during their time in the same lineup. They were best friends and you could tell by the way they interacted with each other.

That's probably why Ortiz said that he is "shocked and disappointed" by Ramirez's recent actions. If you remember, Ramirez was suspended for 100 games for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy a second time. Ramirez abruptly retired five games into the season on April 8. Ramirez was recently arrested for domestic violence.

Just like any other professional athlete faced with a life of normalcy, if you can call it that, Ramirez doesn't know what to do with himself. Something that Ortiz touched on in a recent interview.

"To be honest with you, I've talked to some guys and when it comes down to retirement, even when they get prepared to do it, once they do it they're not ready for it," Ortiz said Friday. "And in Manny's situation he retired from the game when nobody expected it, so I think it has to be a little hard for him just chilling and not playing the game that he loved.

"I mean, I'm not using that as an excuse for him to do what he did because you can never go that far. I've only heard comments about what happened and I don't really know, nobody really knows what happened behind closed doors at his house. But everybody knows you cannot go that far and let that happen. Everybody knows how we, as humans, look at that."

"When it comes down to the game, I can't imagine how he feels about not playing," Ortiz said. "He knows it's all his fault. He can't blame nobody but himself, so it might get even worse. When you can blame it on somebody else you at least have an argument but when you know it's all your fault it's got to be even harder."

"It has to be [difficult]," Ortiz said. "The last time we talked was when we played each other in spring training. Manny's a hard guy to reach. I think it'll be easy for me to get in touch with Obama than it would be to get in touch with Manny. I would like to at some point and see how he's doing."

Ortiz also expressed his disappointment with Ramirez regarding the domestic violence sllegations surrounding him. Obvioulsy this is something Ortiz never thought would happen.

"They are a beautiful couple and they have great kids and a beautiful family, so hopefully they figure things out and he realizes that what he did was wrong," Ortiz said. "He needs to regroup with his family and have a good life.

"He had a wonderful career, and it didn't end the way he wanted it to, but he still had a great career. You marry your wife one day because you think that's the right person to be right next to. Now that you need her the most, you don't want to be going through things like that. It's easier said than done, but Manny's a good dude. He's not a bad person. I hope everything works out for him and his family."

Manny needs to reevaluate what's important to him right now. He's lost without the game of baseball and it's starting to show. Witness the way he handled the media when they tried to interview him outside of his house. He needs to realize who cares about him. Ortiz has tried to reach out to him. It's about time he returned the favor.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Leyland Gets Defensive

The Detroit Tigers had their 12 game winning streak snapped last night against the Oakland A's. It wa the Tigers' best stretch since 1934. They have simply ran away from the American League Central. despite what the Tigers have accomplished, well they still have to clinch the division, there are some non believers out there that believe their current hot streak is a byproduct of being in a bad division and playing against lesser competition recently.

Manager Jim Leyland doesn't want to hear any of it. Leyland was asked about the quality of the division and exploded.

"Let me remind you of something," Leyland said. "It was three months ago, two months ago, that the Cleveland Indians were the talk of baseball. Everybody was saying they were pretty good.

"Now all of a sudden, because we beat them, they're bad? That's not fair. I'm not falling for that.

"The Central is the division we play in. Nobody is going to take anything away from my team. When they had to step it up, they stepped it up.

"Nobody can take that away from us. I'm not going to let anybody put a damper on what those guys have done.

"We have a pitcher out there with 23 wins. We have a guy with 40-some saves. We have three or four guys hitting .300. We have an All-Star catcher and other All-Stars. We're OK."

"I can't help what happened with the White Sox and Cleveland. But I'm not going to get sucked into the division being bad so that when you play other divisions, you're going to have trouble.

"We might. We might not. But I guarantee you one thing, and this you can print. It's not like everyone is lining up to play the Tigers. We're pretty good, too.

"I'm not going to let anybody take away from what this team has done up to this point — and we really haven't done enough yet. I'm not counting my chickens.

"But don't give me that bull about the Central. I'm not going to answer silly questions and to me, that's a silly question.

"The Central is what it is. That's the division we play in. Right now, we have the best record in the Central and we've earned where we're at. That's the way I look at it."

Leyland is correct. You only play who they put in front of you. They can't help it if Cleveland and Minnesota ran into some bad luck with injuries. It's not their fault that the moves the White Sox made didn't pan out. On paper Chicago was supposed to win the division and was a fring World Series contender. The Twins are always held in high regard and the Indians are ahead of schedule.

Instead of saying how bad the AL Central is, the Tigers should be applauded for taking it up a notch when they had to, considering their recent run of late season fades.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Blue Court

There have been teams that have tried to mimic Boise State's blue turf field. No one has tried it in college basketball until now.

Cal State Bakersfield may have started a new trend by making their home court a blue court.

I don't know how much of a home court advantage it will give them, but it's good to see a school be innovative and try to get people outside of their city and campus to take notice of the program. With CS-Bakersfield on the lower rung of Division I hoops this is a way to gain national interest, a little gimmicky, but it might work. I'll wait and see if there will be others that try to follow suit.

Sapp Calls Steelers Old And Slow

If you want to awake a sleeping giant this is the way you do it. After receiving a thorough thrashing by the Baltimore Ravens in week one, Warren Sapp went on Showtime's "Inside The NFL" and trashed the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now everyone is entitled to a bad day and the Steelers just happened to have one in the first week of the season. Don't tell Sapp that, because he has a different take on the Steelers.

"The Pittsburgh Steelers. I have three things: old, slow and it’s over," Sapp says. "It’s just that simple. James Harrison told us that he was 70-to-75 percent. It looked more like 40 percent to me if you are looking at the ballgame I was looking at. And Hines Ward, Mercedes Sapp can cover Hines Ward right now. You have to be kidding me ... Mercedes is my 13-year-old daughter. She will cover Hines Ward in a heartbeat.

"And Troy Polamalu, Ed Dixon runs this crossing route. Troy Polamalu is trying to grab him to have a pass interference and he can’t even get close enough to grab him. [It] looked like he was dragging a wagon behind him. Touchdown Baltimore. Pittsburgh Steelers done."

Wow. Old, slow, and done. It's a bit early to write off the Steelers isn't it? They are the defending AFC champions and if they're old, slow, and done, the Ravens aren't too far behind them. I'd just say they came into the season limping a bit and the Ravens took advantage of it. They also played with a lot of emotion and a chip on their shoulder. The Steelers will be motivated by that loss and what Sapp had to say about them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Harbaugh Wants More TV Time For The 49ers

Jim Harbaugh might want to "win with cruelty" while he's with the San Francisco 49ers if he's going to serve notice to various media outlets.

Harbaugh was a little miffed when he noticed that there weren't too many Niners highlights while he was doing a little channel surfing.

“Kind of flipped through the channels, the NFL Network, the highlight express, and the ESPN blitz, and never caught one highlight of the 49ers on any of those,” Harbaugh said today.

Harbaugh said the lack of 49ers highlights on TV demonstrates the perception that the 49ers aren’t a good team.

“I mean, just kind of documents what you know. What the perception is of our team around the league and around the country,” Harbaugh said. “It’ll be up to us to do something about that. We can take control of that and that’s something we need to do.”

I can't blame network execs for the lack of 49er highlights. They've been borderline horrible for the past decade. Besides, the only highlights they had yesterday were the Ted Ginn kick and punt returns. Other than that there wasn't too much to recap. Harbaugh should worry more about winning games rather than how many highlights get on television or risk being shown the door like his predecessors (Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jerry Kill Has A Seizure On The Sideline

Minnesota Golden Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill had to leave the game with New Mexico State after collapsing on the sidelines. Apparently Kill had a seizure and taken from TCF Bank Stadium by ambulance Saturday night after collapsing on the sidelines with 20 seconds to go in the game.

Team doctor Pat Smith says Kill "was at no time under any risk in any way.''

Smith says the 90-degree temperature coupled with dehydration might have played a role in the seizure.

The Golden Gophers were driving for a potential tying score when Kill fell to the sidelines, his legs kicking and his head moving back and forth as medical personnel rushed to his side, according to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune report.

Kill was taken to a local hospital and is reported to be in stable condition. He had a previous seziure in 2005, which had been his second in four years.

This would be a blow to the Gophers who are trying to rebuild their program. The Gophers have been crippled since they decided to jettison Glen Mason as coach. When you are perpetually rebuilding, you need any kind of stability you can get. Having something like this happen doesn't make it any easier to lure recruits to a school that has a hard time getting quality, big time players.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Fan Refers To Baylor As "She"

With the demise of the Big 12 nearly coming to fruition, Baylor is determined to be the fly in the ointment. They won't let Texas A&M go without a fight which sets up for an interesting football game. Now Baylor is "confident" they will be able to latch on with the Big East if the Big 12 folds.

There are some, including me, who feel that Baylor is talking out of both sides of their mouth. They weren't talking about preserving decades of Texas football when the old SWC disbanded and left Houston, Rice, TCU, and SMU on the side of the road.

One fan sums up how they feel about Baylor and likens the school to a girl.

artisan3m says:

Sep 8, 2011 4:38 PM

Baylor doesn’t belong in the Big 12 ~ never has and never will be a perennial powerhouse in football. Basketball and baseball/softball, yes. Football, no. She should be in a conference where she has at least an even chance of earning a football championship. That will never happen in a league where Baylor has a hard time finishing 1-4 in its own division on an annual basis. This will not be warmly received, but Baylor is a leech on the state universities she competes with. Her fans are fair weather supporters and if the Bears lose two games before October, it is not unlikely that the visitors will put more butts in the seats than Baylor will. She ought to be in CUSA or MWC and she is hardly a BcS contender in any conference.
All of this is football driven and it's true that Baylor wants to save it's own hide and keep their AQ money. The football program would be better served building themselves up in the Mountain West or Conference USA. They might be able to contend in the Big East with their current edition of teams there. The basketball program is up and coming so that could balance out what the Bears lack in football. But in all of this, who cares about basketball? 


Nets Owner Prokhorov Has His Bank Raided

New Jersey Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has major money. So much he can sign Travis Outlaw to one of the most ridiculous contracts in the offseason and not miss it. Contracts like those are why the NBA is in a lockout right now.

Even with all that money bad things can happen. Like when your bank is raided. Prokhorov co-owns the International Finance Club bank, known by its Russian acronym MFK, with a 27.7 percent share.

Information from Reuters.com.

The head of the International Finance Club bank, known by its Russian acronym MFK, said the evening raid on the bank's office in central Moscow had nothing to do with Prokhorov's Right Cause party or even with the bank's operations.

"Investigative actions were conducted in relation to one of our borrowers. This has nothing to with Right Cause or Onexim," the bank's chief, Oksana Lifar, told Reuters by telephone. Onexim is Prokhorov's investment vehicle.

A lawyer for the bank, Dmitry Kharitonov, said he could not rule out a link to the party, which Prokhorov took charge of in June, making a controversial political debut ahead of the parliamentary vote and a March 2012 presidential election.

Several luxury cars drew up outside the bank on a busy boulevard near the Kremlin and law enforcement officers, some wearing masks and carrying guns, entered and ordered employees and clients not to leave, Kharitonov said.

"They put all the employees in one area and kept them there for an hour without explaining what was going on," he told reporters. "After an hour, they said there were no claims against the bank, and no searches were carried out."

Asked whether the raid could have been related to Prokhorov's involvement in Right Cause, Kharitonov said, "I cannot rule it out. I don't know, but I think nothing can be ruled out."

So this could all be a political power play. Who really knows the truth.I'm kind of speechless about it. This was straight out of Hollywood all we were missing was Bruce Willis to come and save everyone.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Baylor Wants The Big 12 To Stay Together

As the Big 12 continues to go down in flames all around them, Baylor is singing like Al Green. It's not too much of a shock that the people at Baylor want the conference to stay together. No one has been pulling at Baylor's coattails, so they've started a campaign to keep things together.

Nothing is more beloved in Texas than Texas football. Entire towns travel to neighboring communities on Friday nights as rivals meet under the Friday night lights; Saturday mornings find families rushing out to pee wee football games and spending their afternoons with friends tailgating or watching some of the most historic and storied football rivalries in the nation; Sunday afternoons see families gathered in living rooms across the state to cheer on the Cowboys or the Texans.

Football in Texas is more than a passing interest, it is a part of the fabric of this great state.

Will Texans stand by and watch hundred-year-old rivalries be cast aside as the state's largest universities align themselves with other states across the country?

Will Texans sit and watch as Texas' flagship universities pledge their loyalties to other states?

Will Texans stand by as our most promising student athletes are lured out of Texas by new rivals?

Will Texans watch as our most precious resources—the great minds of the next generation—are exported to new conference institutions?

Texans must stand up and call the leadership of the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech to clear-headed thinking about the state's future. Texas' flagship institutions of higher learning are the guardians of the state's future—their loyalties must first be to Texas and to her citizens. Ask these leaders to take a stand for Texas and to stop this madness that will lead to the dissolution of the Big 12 and the end of an era for Texas.

This is the only stand Baylor can take or they face being left out of a BCS conference and going at it in Conference USA or the Mountain West and even that's not guaranteed. If it wasn't for Ann Richards, Baylor wouldn't have been in the Big 12 in the first place (Texas Tech also got in for political reasons too).

Now you want to do what's best for "Texas football"? Why didn't you think about TCU, Houston, Rice, and SMU back in the 90's? You didn't stick up for them and now you may be the jilted bride. Of course Baylor wants the Big 12 to stick together. The problem is that the reason they want to stay together is the same reason that nobody will listen to them. They don't have any pull in the conference and nobody has been knocking down their door to invite them into their conference. The were lumped in with the other Texas teams when the Big 8 was expanded to the Big 12 and they will be lumped into Conference USA or something like that. They are starting to come around slowly in athletics but they are still no where close to contending year after year.

Isn't this poetic justice?

Adam Loewen Reinvents Himself

Adam Loewen was once the highest Canadian player drafted in Major League Baseball. He was the number four pick in the 2002 draft and made it to the bigs with the Baltimore Orioles in 2006. He was thought to be a fixture in their rotation for the future. That was as a pitcher.

After two stress fractures to his left elbow, it was too early for Loewen to give up on his baseball dreams. So Loewen went the Rick Ankiel route and reinvented himself as an outfielder. Loewen was one of the Toronto Blue Jays' September call-ups after hitting .311, with 16 home runs and 79 RBI, for the Las Vegas 51s, the Blue Jays’ farm team in the Pacific Coast League.

Pretty impressive for someone whose career was thought to be over.

“Adam’s done a great job,” said Tony LaCava, the Blue Jays’ assistant general manager, who is with the Jays for a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners before he and GM Alex Anthopoulos arrive in Vancouver on Thursday to check out the Jays’ single-A prospects. “It’s very unusual what he’s done — going from major league pitcher to minor league outfielder. He’s another Rick Ankiel. Not many have done it, but he’s really put himself in a good spot. I think he’s certainly on the verge of becoming a viable major league player.”

Granted, he has been hitting minor league pitching and playing in minor league parks, specifically the one in Las Vegas. The people that matter in the Blue Jays organization think Loewen has a future with the team. Maybe a platoon outfielder? Who knows.

Toronto does plan on giving Loewen a few starts to see if he's worth keeping around.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Could Nene Go To The Heat When The Lockout Ends?

No knows if there is going to be an end to the NBA lockout. It seems as if no one really cares if it does end. Everyday there are players jumping ship to some random foreign league so they can keep their skills sharp or keep the money rolling in.

The lockout still hasn't put an end to rumors or speculation regarding trades and free agency. News out of Miami is that the Heat could pursue Denver Nuggets  free agent big man Nene.

Many call this possibility a longshot. Maybe not. Nene says that he wants to win a title. Miami is loaded for a title run. He also says it's not about the money. Now usually when someone says that, it's about the money when it comes time to sign a contract. Nene says that's not the case.

Nene told The Denver Post: “If people think it’s about money, they’re wrong. I’ve saved my money. I could retire today.”

There would be a $6 million dollar mid-level exception available and Nene would be leaving plenty of money on the table.

If Nene did sign with Miami, that could be the move to put Miami over the top. Nene could start at center, Chris Bosh permanently at the 4 spot and Udonis Haslem coming off the bench to strengthen that area. This could possibly make Heat haters' head's explode.

Cassel Could Miss The Opener With A Rib Injury

This is why you keep your starters in for the bare minimum in the final exhibition game. The Kansas City Chiefs had to place starting tight end Tony Moeaki on injured reserve with a knee injury. Now there is news that starting quarterback Matt Cassel could miss the opener against the Buffalo Bills with a rib injury he s suffered against Green Bay in the final preseason game.

Cassel was sacked by 340 pound nose tackle Howard Green and the team initially said he just had the wind knocked out of him.

Cassel confirmed this afterwards when he said “I just got the wind knocked out of me,’’ he said. “We were just being cautious.’’

Head coach Todd Haley added “Unfortuntately, he got dinged up a little bit. I’m not overly concerned.’’

A report by the Kansas City Star's Adam Teicher said a source close to the situation said they overheard coach Todd Haley tell backup Tyler Palko “You’d better be ready to play Sunday’’ after the game.

If Cassel misses the opener, the Chiefs could be in a bit of trouble. The offense seemed to struggle in the preseason, but you can't put too much stock into that. Haley just better hope that the injury isn't that serious.

I bet that Cassel plays on Sunday, but expect a heavy dose of Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles. I also bet Haley will hold out the starters in next year's preseason finale.

Just remember that Drago vs. Creed was also an exhibition.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Get Your San Diego Chargers Wine

The San Diego Chargers have entered the wine business. The NFL team has combined with Napa Valley winemaker Anthony Bell of Napa Valley’s Bell Wine Cellars to create a Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is to celebrate the fifty years that the team has played in San Diego

It's called Legacy and I guess they call it a celebratory wine. To celebrate what, a legacy of choking in the playoffs? A legacy of slow starts to torpedo an otherwise fine regular season? I'll let Chargers Executive Vice President and CEO A.G. Spanos explain it to you.

“We think our fans will enjoy having a bottle of Chargers Legacy wine for any occasion as well as on game days,” said Chargers Executive Vice President and CEO A.G. Spanos. “We want nothing but the best for our fans.”

“Producing a special wine like Chargers Legacy is similar to winning football games,” Bell said. “It’s a team effort that requires patience, determination, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, and great talent.”

Isn't that statement a contradiction of sorts. The Chargers have had a team with great talent, only to waste it and lose a game they have no business losing in the playoffs. Or they find a way to lose a home playoff game. Or they waste it with their slow starts in the regular season. Do you want me to go on?

The Chargers aren't the first team to sell wine. The New York Jets came out with "Jets Uncorked" last year. How appropiate. They might have wanted to call it "Rex Ryan uncorked". 

If you want to do the best by Charger fans, don't worry about selling wine at the stadium or in a grocery store, worry about trying to get a Lombardi Trophy in the trophy case. That would be truly celebratory. 

No More Old Style At Cubs Games?

It looks like Chicago Cubs fans will have something else to worry about. No, their World Series-less streak isn't coming to an end, but the well may run dry on Old Style beer being served at Wrigley Field.

According to a published report, billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos fired off a memo to senior staffers shortly after he bought Pabst last year that he wanted to "exit the Cubs deal" in favor of spending more to market Old Style Light.

Pabst's chief marketing officer Bryan Crowley declined to acknowledge the memo exists as the Chicago Tribune first reported this summer. However, he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that a contract is set to expire after this season between the Cubs and the company, which also makes Old Milwaukee and Schlitz.

Old Style has been served at Wrigley Field for 61 years so after hearing the rumor about the beer no longer being served there Cubs fans aren't taking it lightly.

"It's history, this field and this beer," said Fred Kist, a 59-year-old suburban Chicago resident who grew up an Ernie Banks home run away from the park. "Wrigley Field will lose something by losing Old Style."

"I went from vendor to vendor until I found Old Style," said Pete McCarty of Mobile, Ala., who attended his first Cubs game last week. "To me, that's Wrigley Field."

"Not acceptable," said Jennifer Miller.

The question is now what do the Cubs sell if Old Style isn't available. 


Reds Prsopect Billy Hamilton Steals 100 Bases

The stolen base seems to be a thing of the past. Once upon a time, the fastest players routinely swiped between 75-100 bags in a year. Nowdays it seems if a player is able to steal 50 bases, it's considered a great feat.

Don't tell Cincinnati Reds farmhand Billy Hamilton that the art of the steal is dead. Hamilton who plays for the Dayton Dragons, the Reds' Single-A farm team, swiped three bases against the Lansing Lugnuts to reach the 100 stolen base plateau.

Hamilton became just the 12th player in recorded Minor League Baseball history to steal 100 bases in a season. He broke the Cincinnati Reds all-time organizational record, surpassing Ramon Sambo's 98 with the Cedar Rapids Reds in 1988. Hamilton is the first player to steal 100 bases in a season since 2001 when Chris Morris of Peoria stole a Midwest League record 111.

Hamilton is regarded as the Reds' top infield prospect and fastest player. His stats say he needs work at the plate, but if he can find a way to get on base he's a dangerous player.

I would love to see the stolen base become a bigger part of baseball. Some of these managers need to turn their fastest players loose on the bases.  

Pryor Appeals His Suspension

With Jim Tressel being hired by the Indianapolis Colts this week, Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor has notified the NFL to appeal his five game suspension according to the NFL Network's Albert Breer. 

Some have applauded this as a smart move by Pryor since he was disciplined for the problems he had while he was still at Ohio State.

Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar tweeted Sunday morning that it was a "Smart decision by Pryor and his people to appeal five-game suspension now. NFL has to address Tressel, change the [suspension], or REALLY look bad."

In my opinion NFL commisioner Roger Goodell shouldn't have power over anything that happens outside of the NFL unless it has to do wtih drugs or criminal activity. Pryor's mentor and Pittsburgh Steeles backup quarterback Charlie Batch feels that Goodell overstepped his boundaries on this particular issue.

As of now the league faces a dicey situation. Tressel's contract and status still has to be approved by the NFL. But he did resign from Ohio State under pressure from the NCAA and admitted  that he failed to share with the NCAA information regarding activities that jeopardized the eligibility of Pryor and other players. 

The best thing to do is to give both parties (Tressel and Pryor) a three game suspension. To me that would be the right thing to do, although since the Ohio State scandal didn't come under his jurisdiction neither should be punished.


Brandon Meriweather Finds A New Home

That was fast. Shortly after being cut by the New England Patriots, two time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather has signed with the Chicago Bears.  The terms of the one year contract are undisclosed.

Meriweather was the biggest name on the cut list this weekend. This could wind up being a good signing by the Bears especially if Meriweather can play up to his Pro Bowl status of the last two years. He is known as a freelancer so it's unknown what impact he would have on an already solid defense.   

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gary Pinkel Fingers Dan Beebe For The Big 12's Problems

In an interview on Tim Brando's Yahoo! Sports show, Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel didn't mince words when he talked about the problems the Big 12 conference is having trying to stay together.

"Obviously, we have some issues in our league. When you have Nebraska leave one year. Colorado leaves. Also now Texas A&M. Three really good football teams. … You know, we’ve got some issues. Without question there’s some issues that other leagues don’t have. You don’t hear anything about any other league in the country having these kind of problems. We all know where it starts. Mike Alden’s not the point man here. Dan Beebe is. Dan Beebe’s our commissioner. He’s the guy to ask. I don’t know what they’re going to do. I’m just focusing now on winning the football game. … There’s just no one in the country, no other league in the country, where this stuff goes on. And it’s really a shame because the potential of the league is just so tremendous. Anyway, I have no control over it. We’re just trying to beat Miami (Ohio)."

This is almost a repeat of what he said in Dallas for Big 12 media days in late July. He lays the blame right at Dan Beebe's feet for pretty much bowing down to Texas and letting them call the shots in the Big 12. The fact that Nebraska left should have been a red flag right there. To chase off one of the original Big 6 teams takes some work. It's clear Beebe will do whatever he needs to keep Texas happy. Tom Osborne is far too classy to come out and say why the Huskers bolted though I think most of us with a pulse can figure out why. I think Pinkel summed up what a lot of others in the conference are thinking but won't say. Texas A&M simply went public with it albeit in a very aggressive manner.

It's beginning to look like the Big 12 may crumble sooner than expected.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Calipari Gets A Corn Maze In His Likeness

It seems like having a corn maze in someone's likeness is all the rage nowdays. The latest to get a corn maze in his honor is Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari.

This was done at the corn maze at Kelley Farms.

“We think a lot of Coach Calipari,” said farm owner John Kelley. “He’s almost like part of the family. Kelley. Calipari. I think we might be related, somewhere way back,” he laughs.

“Really, we just want to let Coach Cal know how much he means to Kentucky and how much Kentucky appreciates having him lead our basketball team.”

In addition to the image of Coach Cal, this year’s maze will also feature a basketball-themed word puzzle, spread throughout the winding paths.

The people of Kentucky would appreciate it even more if he can bring home a national championship.

More Rumblings In The Conference Landscape

Yesterday Texas A&M made a decision to leave the Big 12 by July of 2012, more than likely to the SEC. The Big 12 has been in survival mode since last year when Nebraska and Colorado jumped ship to the Big Ten and Pac-12 respectively. The conference nearly imploded and pledged to stay together for the future.

That was until the people in Aggieland got so upset at their blood rivals in Austin and figured they've had enough. Now there's this, right out of the Austin American Statesman. Kirk Bohls wrote a piece titled 'One more move and Big 12 is over'.

If you read this, they're putting the future of the Big 12 squarely on Oklahoma's back. In the process keeping the blood off of their hands. The folks at Texas would love for Oklahoma to make the first move and bolt for the Pac-12 so that they can blame the conference's demise on someone other than themselves. I'm no insider but I bet if I asked anyone down in College Station who blew up the Big 12 and they'd say Texas. To me Texas and Oklahoma are joined at the hip and they aren't going anywhere without each other. On the other hand the Big 12 still has options as long as Oklahoma and Texas are around.

So far the speculation has linked Arkansas, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, BYU, Air Force, Louisville,Houston and SMU. The Big 12 would love to have Arkansas come back home and return to their roots but I'm not sure they are feel ing the same way toward the Big 12. Notre Dame has reaffrimed their independence and axes Pittsburgh as a possible mate. Notre Dame's independence makes me want conference armageddon to come sooner than later. I'm not sold on Louisville as a Big 12 member, but they would be credible in basketball but who cares about that sport anyway. All of this is football driven. I've always thought that Houston should've been included in the original Big 12.

There are stories about BYU and Air Force having contact with Big 12 officials and SMU has been politicking to get back into the big time.  

If there's this much backbiting going on as the article stated, they should've parted ways already.

Jonas Valanciunas Gets A Rap Song

Even the most hyped rookies don't have anyone pay homage to them. But those rookies aren't Toronto Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas.

Valanciunas hasn't played an NBA game and we'll never know when he'll actually hit the hardwood, but a rap group from Toronto by the name of O'Grime has made him the focus of their song.

I don't know how serious they (O'Grime) feel about Big V, but the Raptor fans better hope he can live up to his lofty draft status.