Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Luke Scott takes shots at Red Sox fans

The Boston Red Sox choked away the American League wild card last season, which made for a joyous celebration in Tampa, Florida. But the Tampa Bay Rays weren't the only team celebrating that final night of the season. The Baltimore Orioles were doing their part by taking out the Red Sox on the final night and celebrating when the Rays came back to beat the New York Yankees.

Former Oriole Luke Scott was injured for the last game, but he took much pleasure in the Red Sox not making the playoffs. Scott became a Rays fan for those last few hours of the 2011 season.

"I'd already had [right-shoulder] surgery, so I was in the clubhouse during the game," Scott said. "The guys were battling. I was sitting in the clubhouse watching the game with some of my teammates, guys that weren't playing. We were following back and forth.

"We were pulling for Tampa Bay. They were down, 7-0, and we were like, 'Dang-it, we've got to beat Boston, so we can force this playoff.' And then the next thing you know the score [in St. Petersburg is] 7-6. Then it's 7-7. And we're going into the ninth against one of the best closers in the game."

Scott isn't one to hold his tongue though and had some parting shots for Red Sox fans. I'll say this, he doesn't like them very much.

"Just their arrogance," Scott said. "The fans come in and they take over the city. They're ruthless. They're vulgar. They cause trouble. They talk about your family. Swear at you. Who likes that? When people do that, it just gives you more incentive to beat them. Then when things like [the last game of last season] happen, you celebrate even more. You go to St. Louis -- classiest fans in the game. You do well, there's no vulgarity. You know what? You don't wish them bad."

"The clubhouse afterward was like we'd just won the World Series -- a lot of celebrating, a lot of high emotions," Scott said.

"Everybody's giving high-fives, then all of a sudden [Longoria] homers," Scott said. "Everybody's in the clubhouse and it's like, Bam! And we're like, 'Go home Boston! Pack your bags. See you next year."

I guess a last place team does have some kind of emotion, even though I don't think Buck Showalter had the Orioles packing it in. Scott fired more shots at the Sox fans.

"I got to see a priceless thing driving back to my apartment," Scott said. "I see all the Boston fans walking around, and I mean they were crying crocodile tears. People were like this, walking side by side."

Scott wrapped his arm around a reporter's waist and began to wail to demonstrate.

"It was like someone shot their dog. I rolled down the window and I'm like, 'Ah, hah, sucks doesn't it, when someone laughs or makes fun of you when things aren't going your way.'" 

I can hear him saying that in a Boston accent. Scott isn't one of the best players in the game, but I'm sure he'll get showered with boos and more when the Rays visit Boston. It should make for interesting theater this season.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mattingly stakes his claim for Los Angeles

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly spent his playing career with the New York Yankees, so he should be well versed in "crosstown" battles. Not battles on the field, but for fans and a certain market share. The Yankees and New York Mets share the Gotham headlines, but the Yanks are the far more dominant team. It's hard for a Yankees fan to convert to a Mets fan.

The Los Angeles Angels have been around for awhile. They were known as the California Angels and Anaheim Angels, before going headfirst into the Los Angeles market. They share the area with the Dodgers and have made the biggest splashes. Namely in free agency. To Mattingly it doesn't matter. Los Angeles will always belong to the Dodgers in his mind.

"It's kind of like Mets-Yankees," Mattingly said just before the Dodgers' first full-squad workout of spring training. "The Yankees are the team. [The Mets] are going to have their years when they play well, but the Yankees are still the team. I don't want to badmouth the Angels at all. Mr. [Angels owner Arte] Moreno has done a great job down there in Anaheim, and [Angels manager] Mike [Scioscia] does a great job. But we're the Dodgers, and that isn't going to change."

"We're still going to need to play good baseball," Mattingly said. "But at the end of the day, if we do things right, worry about ourselves and take care of business, we don't need to worry about what another team is doing. I don't mean this as a negative, because [the Angels] have done a tremendous job down there.

"But at the end of the day, the Dodgers are still the Dodgers."

With the signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in the off season coupled with the Dodgers looking for a new owner, the Angels are gaining ground quickly. The Dodgers do have the name recognition and historical significance, but their product on the field has been lacking recently. They have to produce on the field to reclaim the market they held by themselves for so long.  

Hemingway calling for a Michigan upset in opener

Many oddsmakers have Michigan as a 13 point underdog in the season opener against Alabama. We all know games are won on the field and not on paper or in Vegas. The Crimson Tide should be the favorites since they are the defending national champion. But it will be a new year so it's no guarantee the Tide will roll over Michigan.

Former Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway has the utmost confidence in his ex-teammates. In fact he thinks Michigan will pull an upset in the opener.

"They're going to grind from day one, all the way up to that point," Hemingway told the Birmingham (Ala.) News about the Michigan-Alabama game. "I already went through it and I know how it is."

Bold words for someone not playing in the game. 

I'm sure Nick Saban will have Alabama working hard and grinding despite winning a national championship. If  Michigan can field a decent defense they will compete, but it's hard not to pick Bama in this game.

Roy entertaining thoughts of a comeback

There was a point when Brandon Roy was one of the top young players in the game. Roy garnered Rookie of the Year honors and was a three time All-Star. Then his knees betrayed him and he wasn't the same player. There were flashes, like the playoff comeback against Dallas last year, but due to no cartilage in his knees, Roy was robbed of his explosiveness which led him to retire at the young age of 27.

After some time away from the game and working out behind the scenes, Roy is entertaining the thought of making a comeback. Roy told Eurobasket, 'It's hard being away from the game. Don't be surprised if you see Brandon Roy make his way back to the court.' 

 'It burns being away from the game and watching the entire season from the outside.'

   I'm sure Roy will have his detractors, but he believes that he can make it happen. Throw in the fact that sources say that despite his knee problems, his retirement wasn't "all health related". That's something he won't talk about.

'There's something to it, but it's not the right time for me to get into it right now,' Roy said. 'I've been doing some treatment and I'm trying to leave the window open to returning to basketball.'   

I think there was some team turmoil behind the scenes and Roy decided it was best for the team if he left town. Just my personal opinion. I also think he still sees himself as the All-Star level player he was before his knees robbed him of his skills. If there is some way to make it back Roy is determined to find it.

“It’s the truth. It’s really hard being so far away from the game. I spend time watching Jamal (Crawford) and following all of his games; Will (Conroy) and Tre (Simmons) are both doing their thing, so it’s driving me to wanna come back out there. If the treatment I’ve been looking into can work, I believe there’s a good chance you will see Brandon Roy back hoopin’."

I would love to see this happen, but I just don't see how. Roy's knees were bone on bone and at points he reminded me of Horace Pinker from the movie "Shocker". Unless there is some procedure that can get some cartilage in his knees, Roy will stay on the sidelines. I would hate to see him struggle trying to make a comeback.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Could there be a Haynesworth/Fisher reunion?

Jeff Fisher might want to think before he follows through with this idea. Signing free agent defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Yes, the same Haynesworth who has washed out since leaving the Tennessee Titans in a contract year.

When asked by a reporter if there was any interest in Haynesworth, Fisher didn't completely dismiss the notion of having the big man sign with the Rams.

"There's some unrestricted free agents out there now that are not under contract that we've been talking about," Fisher said. "He's one of them. Whether we go ahead and do something, that remains to be seen."

Don't do it Jeff. Save yourself the headache. Haynesworth has battled back, weight, and knee problems, not to mention a bad attitude while washing out in Washington, New England, and Tampa Bay. Fisher might not want to entertain the thought of reuniting with Fat Albert. It could turn out to be the worse offseason signing this year.

Rockets' Morris receives citation for bar fight

Houston Rockets rookie forward Marcus Morris proved that all homecomings aren't good ones.

After watching his former team, the Kansas Jayhawks pull out a thrilling overtime win over Missouri, it seems that Morris may have partied too hard.

Morris faces a misdemeanor battery citation over a reported Lawrence bar incident several hours after his former Kansas teammates beat Missouri on Saturday.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Supervising City Prosecutor Jerry Little confirmed the citation Monday afternoon.

The citation stems from a 2:37 a.m. Sunday police call to a Lawrence bar.

Police spokeswoman Kim Murphree says a male employee was punched twice and that two men received citations. Little says those citations show that Marcus Morris is scheduled to appear March 20 in Lawrence Municipal Court.

Marcus attended the game with his twin brother Markieff, who's also a former Jayhawk. Markieff was not implicated in any wrongdoing. Maybe there was alcohol involved, maybe not, but Morris, Marcus that is, needs to get it together before he torpedoes his own NBA career.

Barry Sanders seeks a divorce

It looks like Deion won't be the only Sanders getting a divorce. According to a report in the Detroit News, former Detroit Lions great Barry Sanders is seeking a divorce from his wife of 11 years Lauren Campbell-Sanders. Campbell-Sanders is a news anchor at WDIV in Detroit.

In his divorce filing in Oakland Circuit Court, Sanders, 43, of West Bloomfield Township, said there has been a breakdown in his 11-year marriage with native Detroiter Lauren Campbell-Sanders, who works at WDIV (Ch. 4).

In the lawsuit assigned to Oakland Circuit Judge Lisa Gorcyca, Sanders seeks joint custody of their three sons, aged 4, 8 and 10, until they are 18 years of age, but is asking the court to make his wife responsible for all of their health insurance and health care expenses.

Sanders said in the lawsuit he intends to provide child support in accordance with state guidelines.

As much as I hate to see the disintegration of a marriage, but hopefully this doesn't get ugly and played out in public like the Deion/Pilar Sanders divorce. Hopefully all ends well and they can be civil to each other.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aldridge had thoughts of leaving Portland

Since the days of Bill Walton it seems like the Portland Trail Blazers have been cursed by injuries to their stars. Either injuries or bad apples in the locker room. The latest blow to the Blazers has been Greg Oden's latest setback trying to recover from knee surgery, which will probably end his Blazers career and put his NBA career in serious jeopardy.

There was once a time when the Blazers were thought to be an up and coming force in the NBA. I was one of those believers. They had Brandon Roy, the team leader and All-Star. LaMarcus Aldridge, a big man with tons of potential. Then there was Greg Oden, who was thought to be the next dominant big man in the NBA. With the three young guns on board. Aldridge felt out of place and low in the pecking order behind Roy, Oden, and Andre Miller. So Aldridge was at a point where he thought leaving Portland would be better for his career.

"I was the last of the Big Three," Aldridge said, referring to his importance. "I even remember Coach telling me that the team is really good, but you are the glue," referring to a term for a role player who does the little things to keep the team together. "And I was like, 'Aw man, I'm the glue?' I mean, that's not a bad role, but I saw myself being so much more." 

Aldridge is now the cornerstone of the franchise since the Blazers lost Roy to retirement (bad knees) and Oden to chronic knee problems. But Aldridge had doubts about being in Portland and him being an All-Star if Roy and Oden remained healthy.

"No. No. No. I wouldn't," Aldridge said. "I mean, I would go as far to ask would I even still be here?"

"I probably would have ended up signing somewhere else," Aldridge said. "Think about it. I was the last option out of those guys, so they both would have gotten max deals, and they wouldn't have given me my deal (five years, $62.5 million). They only signed me because I was the only low post threat left on the team. If they had Greg, they don't give me the number I wanted, and I'm somewhere else. I think about it all the time. I wouldn't even be here had Greg not gotten hurt." 

Now Aldridge holds no grudges and wished the two had stayed healthy to see how things would've turned out. But there is no doubt that he might've been forced to leave to advance his career to the level it is now. Aldridge is happy in Portland and not because he's option number one. He just wanted a bigger role on the team, but he happened to get it because the other two stars were felled by injury. I'm sure Aldridge would like to rewrite the script but if the Blazers could get a few pieces to surround Aldridge they could be thought of as a contender once again.  

Is Saunders trying to line himself up for the Golden Gophers job?

To some in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Golden Gophers head basketball coach, Tubby Smith, might be a disappointment. When Smith arrived in Minneapolis, there were some hoping that he could recreate the magic that Clem Haskins had during his run at Minnesota. Instead there has been mediocrity that could land Smith on the proverbial hot seat with two years left on his contract.

Flip Saunders is an ex-NBA coach and Minnesota alum. Since he is unemployed he has a lot of idle time on his hands. So in an interview with KFAN's Dan Barreiro, it almost sounds like Saunders is doing a bit of politicking on his behalf for the Minnesota job. 

When answering questions about why college coaches have failed in the NBA, Saunders unintentionally sounded as if he wanted the job.

"One thing I’ve always said a lot is college coaches don’t always translate to the NBA. But yet guys have been college, gone to the NBA, that maybe fail in the NBA even their experience when they go back to college, they always say they’re much better coaches in college after they’ve been to the NBA."

After Barreiro jumped on the reply, Saunders back-pedaled, saying " No, no, no, no don’t throw that out there. I’m just saying if you look at guys like Larry Brown, [who] went from a pro coach and then goes back to UCLA and Kansas, has a lot of success; you look at [John] Calipari, as far as [Rick] Pitino. And if you talk to a lot of those guys, you’ve got to realize you spend 24/7 on basketball; it’s the purest you can be from a standpoint of basketball that there is as far as just working on basketball and just working on different plays, different schemes. So when you’re doing that, and you’re playing so many games, 110 games a year when you’re in the playoffs, those are the things that are going to make you better as a coach because the more situations you see the better you’re going to get."

I get what he was saying, but Saunders could've used a better choice of words. As much as I dislike Saunders as a coach, I don't think he was trying to get a jump on the Minnesota gig. I think he might be content in his unemployment right now and would like a few years away from the game.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Abreu: Play me or trade me

At age 37, Bobby Abreu isn't exactly washed up as a Major League Baseball player. If he's hid in a good lineup he could still produce. Not at a high level, but he can still produce. Put him with the Detroit Tigers at DH or in leftfield and I think he could go for 15-20 homers and a .275 average. I just don't think he's an everyday player at this point in his career.

Don't tell that to Abreu. He still wants to be an everyday player and if the Los Angeles Angels don't give him that chance he wants to be traded.

"I'm an every-day player. I can still be in the lineup for a Major League team," said Abreu from his native Venezuela. "I will not be on the bench knowing that I can play.

"If the Angels don't have a position for me, then the best thing is to trade me. It would be the correct (thing) to do. I won't be able to do nothing sitting in the bench."

"I want to play, and I believe I can help this team. But if there is no spot for me, then I would prefer to play somewhere different," said the left-handed hitter and two time All-Star.

At this point Abreu is no more than a platoon player. He can still be an effective player, just not an everyday player. I'm not saying he is ready for spot duty, but if he wants to play everyday it might be as a DH.

Iverson gets a contract offer...from indoor soccer league

It looks like another obscure indoor sports league is making big news again. After Terrell Owens signed with the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, the Rochester Lancers of the Major Indoor Soccer League announced they have offered a contract to former NBA star Allen Iverson. 

Under the contract offered, Iverson would make $20,000 per game, with a $5,000 bonus for each goal scored. There would also be win bonuses and merchandise bonuses. There's only one problem. There are only two games left in the season.

"Allen Iverson is one of the premier athletes of our time," said Rich Randall, Lancers vice president.  "With his athleticism and competitive hunger, I think he can be a great fit with our team and fans as we make an important playoff push, while also driving interest to an exciting, growing sport."  

I find it nothing more than a ploy to get your team and league in the news. I guess any publicity is good publicity in this case. Don't look for Iverson to be kicking it on a soccer field near you. Even though Iverson has been reported to be in dire straits financially, the money wouldn't be enough to satisfy Iverson and his lavish lifestyle. But if he wants to stay over here in the U.S. this would be his chance.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chisora slaps Klitschko at weigh in

Heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora is talking a big game before his title fight against champion Vitali Klitschko. First he went Babe Ruth and called his shot by saying he would knock Klitschko out in the eighth round. Now he came up with the bad idea of slapping Klitschko at the weigh in.

That ranks right up there with jumping in shark infested waters. Be ambitious but be smart. Not many think Chisora has a chance but he thinks he has as good a shot as anyone to beat the 40 year old champion.

"Everybody's tired of you and your brother," Chisora said. "There's no excitement in the ring. It's time for the new king. People want a new relief in boxing. Him and his brother have killed the sport I love."

"I'm looking forward to this fight," Chisora said. "And I trained hard. And the way we're going to be fighting will be a hundred miles an hour from the first round to round eight, which I promise you fans that he's going down on."

"Right now, I can smell fear in this corner right now. If you can't smell it, I can. You know, right here I smell a bit of fear, to the opposite side, because they know they're about to lose something massive," Chisora said as he pointed at Klitschko earlier this week.

"I'm physically, emotionally, mentally looking forward to this fight because it's going to be one heck of a fight, I tell you that now."

After the pimp slap by Chisora, Vitali promised that he'll be the one giving the beating on Saturday.

"I am going to hit back on Saturday," the Ukrainian champion said. "He will get his beating."

"Chisora can hit, and I do, too. So I don't see it going 12 rounds," Klitschko said.

 "I'm really looking forward to teaching this young gentleman a lesson," the champion said. "He is from Great Britain, but he's lacking appropriate manners."

It sounds like Chisora is looking to make this a brawl. I don't know if he wants to do that with Klitschko, who is a skilled ring technician. Chisora might get his shots in but I see another Klitschko stoppage in the seventh round.

Maybe after this Chisora will remember he's Dereck Chisora and not Muhammad Ali.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cliff Avril wants to get paid

The Detroit Lions face some key offseason decisions. The decisions they make will shape the future and deteermine whether they will move forward or fall back next season. One of the bigger decisions will be what to do about Cliff Avril.

Avril, a defensive end, had a career year with 11 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries, an interception and 2 touchdowns. Avril benefited from playing alongside Ndamukong Suh, but he has always produced. Now that he's a free agent, Avril is looking to cash in. And who can blame him. In the NFL you get the money while you're hot.

He discussed his situation in an interview with Rich Gannon and Adam Schein on  SiriusXM NFL Radio today. He wants to remain a Lion, but he won't come cheap.

"I just want to be paid as one of the guys that's helping the team grow," Avril said. "I want to be there. We have a young D-line. But I know it's a business, and you only hit free agency once or twice in your career, so you definitely have to take advantage of it."

"There's no such thing as a hometown discount in the NFL," he said. "Once you can't play anymore, they're going to let you go, so you definitely have to strike gold when you can.

"That said, if they and another team present the same thing, I'd definitely stay with the Lions." 

"I kind of think the Lions will try to do the right thing, I guess," he said. "A lot of teams don't think the Lions will let me hit free agency. But a few teams have called."

He also said he would favor a team that focuses on the defensive line rather than linebackers or safeties. That would work in Detroit's favor.

This is what scares me as a Lions fan. Eventually players will want to get paid and there won't be enough to go around. That could stunt the growth of this team.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Faulk downplays Stafford's acheivements

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had an impressive season. He passed for 5,038 yards, 41 touchdowns, led the Lions to 10 wins and the playoffs, and won the NFL's comeback player of the year award. Mighty fine for someone the missed a good portion of his first two seasons.

Former St. Louis Ram and current NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk doesn't see Stafford's accomplishments as a big deal. Instead Faulk said he wasn't impressed and called passing for 5,000 yards is the norm in today's NFL.

"Throwing for 5,000 yards in the NFL right now is nothing," Faulk said. "I don't want to take anything away from it. As much as people throw the football now, you better have 5,000 (yards) if you have Calvin Johnson."      

I'd like to ask what is Faulk smoking? The 5,000 yard plateau has only been done five times in NFL history and he calls it the norm? Drew Bledsoe had over 600 pass attempts on four occasions and never broke 5,000 yards. If you take away Calvin Johnson, Stafford still passes for about 3,500 yards and 25 touchdowns. Still not that bad.

While I don't know that Faulk has an agenda, it's clear he's been dining on paint chips. Stafford's season is absolutely impressive. It's not run of the mill, even in this pass-happy league.

I imagine this was a classic case of overstatement. From what I can gather, without having seen him make the statement, his point was that it's not a big deal to throw for 5,000 yards, as it was in Marino's day. If that's what he meant, fine. I totally agree. It used to be a big deal to rush for 1,000 yards; it's not a huge statement any longer.

On the other hand, if Faulk is trying to dismiss Stafford's season altogether as somehow being par for the course, he has no leg to stand on. Jon Kitna had Calvin Johnson at his disposal. Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpepper, Joe Montana and MANY others had outstanding receivers at their disposal. It's not to say Stafford is the greatest thing since sliced bread, rather that he had a fantastic season, regardless of era or weapons. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oswalt could find himself without a home

There are teams in need of a proven veteran pitcher to round out their rotations. Some are contenders and there are some trying to climb the ladder in the standings. The Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox or Cincinnati Reds would be a good fit for the veteran hurler. Problem is Oswalt is being awfully picky to whom he plays for.

I know a player who has earned their right to be a free agent can take their time and assess which situation they want to go play in. That's a major part of being a free agent. But if you're a veteran trying for one last good contract and a shot at a championship then I figure you sign with who gives you the best chance at a title. Oswalt had a chance to win in Philadelphia, but the Phillies blew it as a collective. Now Oswalt is looking to move on to presumably stay close to his father in Mississippi or his Missouri farm. So it would seem the Cardinals would be a good fit for him. A report two weeks ago said the Cardinals locked up Oswalt but it obviously didn't happen.

The one time Houston Astro would also be a good fit for the Rangers who just lost their number one starter C.J. Wilson to the Los Angeles Angels. But he won't sign there either. He already said he won't go to Detroit and hasn't turned down the Red Sox but doesn't exactly want to play there either.

“He wanted to go to Texas. That’s not gonna happen. He wanted to go back to Philadelphia. That’s not gonna happen. He had some interest in the Reds. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. So his choices still come down to, I think, going to Boston, where they have a clear need but he doesn’t seem to want to play, and going to St. Louis, where all his friends say he would love to be. But to do that, he has to do it on their terms.”     

  Jayson Stark, ESPN

With pitchers and catchers due to report in another week, Oswalt could be left without a home or scuffling to take whatever a team offers him. Time is running out and Oswalt is taking his sweet time trying to find a team. I think it comes down to the Cardinals or Rangers and he won't exactly like the terms of the deal.

Jeremy Lin rookie cards are selling high

Jeremy Lin has been the hottest name in the NBA in the past two weeks. Name me one player who's garnered more interest since the Super Bowl. That's right Jeremy Lin. With the New York Knicks upstaging Kobe Bryant and the Lakers (Lin had 38 points) last night, Lin's stock is high.

You know what else is high? The stock on Lin's rookie card. Lin's rise is one of epic proportions. No one knows how long it'll last, but for now enjoy the ride.

From Paniniamerica.comHis name is Jeremy Lin. He plays point guard for the New York Knicks. And in the last 24 hours, his 2010-11 Panini America autographed Rookie Cards have sold for as much as $1,000. Another one sold for $799. Since Tuesday, nearly two dozen have been snagged for at least $200. Non-auto cards are selling at $100 apiece.     

“That’s why people like to collect,” Panini America NBA Brand Manager David Porter said. “You never know when someone like Jeremy Lin is going to have that opportunity to play and prove himself. Less than a week ago, his cards were at the bottom of collectors’ want lists. Now, the chase is on even for his base cards. That’s what makes collecting cards so unpredictable.”

No one saw this coming and if they did I want that person to pick out some lottery numbers for me. Lin is a great story and I'd like to see his meteoric rise continue. It just goes back to what I always say. If you can play, you can play.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mitch Mustain signs with the White Sox

Former USC and Arkansas quarterback, Mitch Mustain, was once a five star high school prospect. Mustain was highly thought of and was handed the reins to the Arkansas kingdom for a eight games. His removal from the starting job there led to him transferring to USC.

Fast forward to 2012 and Mustain is trying out a different avenue in the world of professional sports. He's going back to baseball. After the college stints at USC and Arkansas, and a brief foray in the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Georgia Force in the Arena Football League, the next chapter in Mustain's life will be him trying to latch on with the Chicago White Sox.

Mustain signed a minor league deal with the White Sox as a pitcher. The last time he pitched was in high school back in 2004. Good thing Mustain had a connection in the White Sox organization. A friend who plays in the White Sox system contacted a scout to watch Mustain's throwing session at the University of Arkansas.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen,” he said.

“He hit me up on a Friday and said the scout could be here the next Friday,” Mustain said. “So I went out on Tuesday and played long toss to stretch out my arm.”

“I was hitting my spots and my curve ball was on,” he said. “I’m hoping to eventually get to 94 or 95 [miles per hour],”. I’m excited to see where it goes.”

Not many have been able to make the transition from one sport to the other with such a long layoff. I'm pretty sure Mustain will be beating the bushes for a while he fine tunes his arm and gets his location down. There will be plenty that will want to get their licks in on him while he's still trying to get his feet under him in a different sport.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kevin Love to enter the Three Point Contest

Kevin Love has surprised me by being a highly productive NBA player. I thought he would be a solid player, but not this good. He has turned himself into a double-double machine and was recently named to his second All-Star game.

If that wasn't enough, Love says he will be participating in the the league's Three Point Contest. A surprise to many, but not to Love.

 "I think I got a good shot at anything I do," Love said. "I’m a pretty competitive guy." 

Love is shooting 37.8 percent from deep this year so i say he's got a chance.

Derrick Rose asks Isiah Thomas for some winning advice

Say what you want about Isiah Thomas, but he was one of the all time greats of the NBA. In my opinion, he gets overlooked during the "golden years" of the 80s. They always mention Magic, Bird, and Jordan, but fail to mention Thomas. He was one of the fiercest competitors that ever played. For a little guy, he had a lot of heart and was one of the toughest players in the league.

Current Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose wants to win. He wants to win some championships and wants to be one of the greatest to play the game. He just doesn't go around beating his chest saying it.

After losing to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals last summer, Rose sought out Chicago legend Thomas for some counsel and advice.  

Isiah Thomas said he met Rose last year after a game in Detroit and that Rose contacted him after the Bulls' season had ended.

"He was pretty down," Thomas told by phone on Wednesday. "He asked me 'How did you do it? How did you win back-to-back championships at this size?' And my response to him was that once you understand your opponent and know your opponent better than you know yourself, you'll win."

Translation: Study film like your life depends on it.

Rose looks up to Thomas and despite his front office troubles, he knows that Thomas knows what it takes to win.

"... He's somebody where in Chicago, you definitely got to look up to, especially being a guard, winning championships in this league," Rose said. "[I] try to take things out of his game and put them into mine. But [he's] a cool dude. I played against his son in AAU. And he's from Chicago so I got to look up to him."

"It's hard to pattern your game after somebody that's great like that," Rose said. "If anything, he was a winner. His will to win, no matter how big he was on the floor, he was a small guy, but his passion for the game and how dedicated he was to playing the game."

Rose, like Thomas, is enduring his share of bumps and bruises in pursuit of an NBA championship. But like Thomas he is more than willing to pay the price. Growing up in a tough Chicago environment will give you that  kind of attitude. That means being tough and doing whatever it takes to win.  

Victorino to appear in a Hawaii Five-O episode

Anyone who pays attention knows that Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino is a ntive Hawaiian. So I guess it would be a natural fit to appear in an episode of the CBS television show "Hawaii Five-O".

Victorino will be appearing in the February 20 episode.

According to CBS, Victorino stars as a business executive on a company retreat. Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno also appears in the episode as a Hawaiian history buff. The episode centers around the murder of a man dressed as a Hawaiian NaKoa warrior.

We'll see if Victorino has the chops to get a few more acting jobs in the future.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Theismann thinks the Redskins signing Manning is"horrific"

While the Indianapolis Colts decide whether or not to keep quarterback Peyton Manning, there are plenty of rumors as to where Manning will be playing next season.

The Washington Redskins are in that conversation and I'm pretty sure the idea of having Manning in a Redskins uniform excites the fan base. Count ex-Redskin quarterback as the one who's not excited. Theismann thinks it would be a "horrific idea" to sign Manning. 

“It’s not a good idea, it’s not a bad idea — It’s a horrific idea,” he told 106.7 last week via DC SportsBog. ”It would be one of the poorest things that we could do as a franchise. Are we gonna go find another guy for just a couple of years again? Haven’t we done this before? Haven’t we seen this act before? And by the way, if you get Peyton Manning, don’t you have a concern about protecting him? Don’t you have a concern about who he throws the football to?”

“We’re tired of looking for stop gaps,” Theismann said. “It’s time to draft one of your own, or make a deal for a young one of your own, and nurture him, and then put the players around him. If we’re gonna be 5-11, if we’re gonna be 6-10, let’s do it with somebody who’s [learning as he goes], instead of guys that have been here, making mistakes.”

I understand where Theismann is coming from. Since Dan Snyder has taken over the Redskins, he's acted as if he's playing strat-o-matic baseball rather than amking smart decisions to improve his football team. So that's where Theismann's frustration kicks in. He actually makes sense instead of being the normal blowhard that he is.

On the other hand, it's Peyton Manning. And anyone who can make Blair White and Pierre Garcon a threat might be able to work wonders with Santana Moss. While Manning might only be around for a few years, you take your quarterback of the future and let him sit behind Manning and learn the game. That way you don't have a young "savior" setting the franchise back another five years if he screws it up. Also, Mike Shanahan might feel compelled to hand the offense to Manning.

If the Redskins sign Manning, it might be the smartest signing Snyder has ever made.      

Kobe won't chase rings

Some say Kobe Bryant is headed toward the twilight of a brilliant NBA career. I can't tell by the way he's playing and putting the Los Angeles Lakers on his back this season. Bryant is showing those that are ready to hand the torch to LeBron, Wade, or Derrick Rose that he's still capable of performing at a high level. Whether the Lakers will remain a high level team is a different story.

The Lakers have declined a bit this season. The bench is weak, Pau Gasol plays like he saw the ghost of Maurice Lucas, they're looking for an upper echelon point guard, and are still looking to make a blockbuster trade. So if the Lakers happen to go down the tubes, there will be Kobe trade rumors. But Bryant vows to remain a Laker for life, no matter how bad things get. Bryant told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that he wouldn't  leave L.A. to chase another title or chase additional rings.  

“Why would I want to go somewhere else, that ship sailed in (2007),” Bryant said. “If there was ever a time I was going to move to go play someplace else, that was it. I’m not going to jump ship to chase a sixth ring, it’s just not going to happen.

“It’s going to happen here or it’s not going to happen.”

“You think I’d hang around and average 18 points, 19 points… hell no.”

Translation: I'll be the alpha dog in L.A. until i decide I want to retire and I'll never go anywhere to be a role player.

I'll give Bryant credit. He plans on being there for better or worse when most will leave a team to go chase titles.  


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Clippers interested in signing J.R. Smith

The Los Angeles Clippers may not be done raiding the Chinese Basketball Association for the NBA talent that played there during the lockout.

After Kenyon Martin was cleared by FIBA to go back to the NBA, the Clippers pounced and signed the free agent to a one year deal on Friday. They might not be finished according to a source, saying that they have an interest in swingman J.R. Smith.

From Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:  The Clippers, still not done dealing after signing Kenyon Martin on Friday, will pursue guard J.R. Smith after the team he plays on in the Chinese Basketball Assn. finishes its season and he becomes eligible to play in the NBA, said a person not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. 

He would be an unrestricted free agent that the Clippers could sign to the mini-mid-level exception of $2.5 million, or for the veteran minimum of about $1 million.

Under the CBA rules, Smith still can't return to the NBA until his Zhejiang Golden Bulls team's season is over. If the Golden Bulls miss the playoffs, it could open the door for Smith to return to the NBA by the All-Star weekend, Feb. 25-26.

If the Clippers do sign Smith, it would provide a boost to their bench scoring at the wing position behind Caron Butler. Smith can shoot the lights out and would be a solid addition if he can keep his head on straight. The Clippers may actually have the locker room presence to keep him in line since he was a teammate of Martin and Chauncey Billups in Denver and Chris Paul in New Orleans. 

The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are also looking hard at Smith, but the Clippers might be the favorites to sign him due to the aforementioned connections.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Marshall Faulk won't cut Jeff Fisher any slack

Marshall Faulk is one of the greatest St. Louis Rams of all time. If there were a Mr. Ram, he might be it. He won a Super Bowl with the Rams and was the centerpiece of "The Greatest Show On Turf". During media day at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Faulk was made available to talk to media and he gave his thoughts on the state of the Rams and former head coach Mike Martz. To say the least Faulk isn't thrilled with the Rams and isn't willing to cut new coach Jeff Fisher any slack despite his track record with the Tennessee Titans.    

• Faulk on Fisher: No. 28 expects quick results and doesn't seem inclined to give Fisher the benefit of the doubt if the Rams' reconstruction takes longer than expected.
"We'll see. That's all I can say. We will see," Faulk said. "Jeff had a long and illustrious tenure in Tennessee and Houston. How long is (owner) Stan Kroenke going to wait? Will they give him all five years regardless of how bumpy it is? If Jeff hits three of those 8-8 seasons, what do you do? That's a lot of money to be mediocre. You've got to deliver."
• Faulk on Brian Schottenheimer: "I'm sorry, but can you tell me what Schottenheimer did with the Jets that would give confidence that he can be the one to turn this offense around and to get (quarterback) Sam Bradford going? He had better talent to work with in New York than he'll have right away in St. Louis. So we'll see what he can get done."
• Faulk on the future of the Rams' franchise: Is he worried that the team will move? "No, I'm not," he said.
• Does Faulk believe the Rams will stay in St. Louis? "I hope so. I hope that's the case. I would hate to see the city without the team," he said.
• Faulk on the retirement of Mike Martz, his former head coach in St. Louis: "I know that he has a lot to offer. It's bad that he takes a knock for being a passing guy, when you look at today's NFL. And what he did and how we did it — that's what everybody's doing right now."
• Faulk defending Martz's work as offensive coordinator in Chicago: "Martz was working with lesser talent than he's accustomed to working with. And I believe that (in the 2010 season) they were playing in the NFC championship, at home, against the Packers. With Caleb Hanie in the game after Jay Cutler went down. And they were in the game. If he didn't do a good job, they should have let him go then. Other than (running back) Matt Forte, there wasn't anyone that was fear inducing. I'm defending Mike because I can only imagine how hard it was to game plan with what he had. Look at what Green Bay put on the field offensively. Look at what Detroit put on the field offensively. And you have to play them twice a year? Do your best. And I believe he did his best."

Faulk shouldn't talk down about Fisher. He had a good run in Tennessee and almost beat the team Faulk played for in the Super Bowl. I can understand if the Rams hired anyone without a track record like Fisher's. Granted he could've done more in Tennessee, but some of those seasons the Titans overachieved. In my opinion, the Rams made the best hire this offseason.   The way it sounds is that Faulk would likje to have someone that coaches an offensive style of football with a lot of run and gun.    

Rapper Birdman bets $5 million on the Patriots

The Super Bowl is a gamblers paradise. Bets on the game, prop bets, and just about anything you can put a wager on that pertains to the Super Bowl.

New Orleans rapper, Bryan "Birdman" Williams is looking to capitalize on the gambling craze of the Super Bowl. A man who clearly has too much money on his hands, Williams is putting $5 million dollars on the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLVI.

All I can say is that he's putting his money where his mouth is.

Hoke says there's no "Gentleman's Agreement" in the Big Ten

The Urban Meyer effect is up and running in the Big Ten and a couple of coaches aren’t happy about it.

This past recruiting season the new Ohio State football boss Meyer managed to flip his fair share share of recruits including Mark Dantonio’s top recruit in Se’Von Pittman. The same can be said for Bret Bielema at Wisconsin who lost prized offensive lineman Kyle Dodson on recruiting day to Ohio State.

“(Ohio State has) a new coach, and it’s different,” Dantonio told the Detroit News. “I would say it’s pretty unethical, in the end.”

Bielema echoed those sentiments after losing prized offensive lineman Kyle Dodson to Ohio State on signing day.

“There are a few things that happened early on that I made people aware of that I didn’t want to see in this league, that I had seen take place in other leagues,” Bielema said on Wednesday. “Other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal.

“I was very up front and was very pointed to the fact, actually reached out to Coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him. The situation got rectified.”

According to, Bielema told Sporting News that Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez would be talking to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney today in Chicago about Meyer’s tactics.

Now you may be wondering why Bielema and Dantonio are so upset in a conference that’s extremely competitive and takes great pride in their rivalries?

It all boils down to a so-called “gentleman’s agreement” amongst the Big Ten coaches.

Bielema further called Meyer’s recruiting tactics “illegal” in light of the “gentleman’s agreement” which says that no coach in the Big Ten will actively go after a recruit that is already verbally committed to another Big Ten school.

Not all Big Ten coaches though agree on this “gentlemen’s agreement” and on those coaches is Michigan’s Brady Hoke…

“As far as I’ve known, it’s always been fair game until they sign,” said Hoke, who’s been in the league one year as a head coach and seven as an assistant. “I don’t have as much a problem with that and, hopefully, we don’t get too many of those that go away from you.

“But, I don’t think there needs to be an agreement, to be honest with you. Kids are going to be kids. They’re 18 years old, 17 years old. As long as everything has been handled in an ethical manner and professional manner, and by the rules, I don’t have a problem with it.”

Now Hoke hasn’t experienced the same draw backs that Dantonio and Bielema have experienced with recruits flipping to Ohio State. In fact Hoke was able to flip five-star offensive lineman Kyle Kalis from Ohio State prior to Meyer being announced as the new head coach.

Again though in a competitive conference with top notch coaches it should be expected that programs are going to do everything they possibly can to make their teams better. This includes trying to flip rival schools recruits to their own.

In the end a verbal commitment means nothing. Hoke isn't about making excuses about anything. He knows the game and isn't going to whine about anything.

Now about those 16 scholarships OSU had open and oversigning at 25 commitments is another story.

Home of Junior Hemingway burglarized

Former Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway having one of the worse moments of his life right now.

The family home in Conway, South Carolina was robbed for the second time in four months. Thieves knocked down the front door and stole nearly $5,000 in goods. That included a large screen television and several of Hemingway's Michigan mementos, which included his jerseys and bowl rings. his Sugar Bowl MVP trophy was left behind.

"The sad thing is, this stuff just can't be replaced," Hemingway father Kenneth Hemingway said.

It's not the dollar value attached to the crime, it's the sentimental value of it. Hopefully the people who did this will be brought to justice and the items can be recovered.    

The feuding Fielders

Cecil Fielder had a lot to say when his baseball prodigy son, Prince, signed his 9 year, $214 million dollar mega-contract with the Detroit Tigers. Cecil went as far to say that the relationship has "improved" and that "time heals all wounds".

Prince on the other hand wouldn't answer questions about him and his father at his introductory press conference, instead focusing on him being a Tiger.

The common thread between the two is that both will have played for the Tigers and they're both heavyweight home run hitters. Beyond that there is nothing between the two.

In an interview in the Detroit Free Press, Cecil spoke about the still strained relationship and about Prince as a man before being inducted into the Ted Williams Hall of Fame.

“But I do not know if it’s improving,” Fielder said tonight, before being inducted into the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame with former New York Yankees teammate Tino Martinez. “I worry how he’s grown as a man.”

The father expressed “disappointment” with his son over the estranged relationship he said his son had with “the whole family.” The father said his son did not communicate with anybody on either side of his extended family.

Cecil Fielder, who said his son had him “thrown out” of a family room at Turner Field in Atlanta a couple of years ago, said he had no plans to attend any Tigers game, despite his affection for owner Mike Ilitch.

“I’m not going nowhere around it,” Fielder said. “Mr. Ilitch is my man, but there’s been some awful (stuff). I don’t want to get in the position where he throws me out of the damn stadium. I’ll have a chance to see him on TV.”

“He can’t hide behind (agent) Scott Boras with ‘no comment’ to all the questions,” Fielder said. “I say he has to grow up, and sooner or later, he will grow up. You don’t want to stay stuck in whatever cocoon you are in, stay stuck in your cocoon.”

A fractured relationship. There's a shocker. And with the gas can Cecil just broke out, it's not going to improve any time in the near future. That might've been an opinion he wanted to keep to himself and let the writers say that.

As far as Prince goes, at some point he has to extend an olive branch to his father. Yes, he did some things that might take a long time to get over, but as a man that is something you get over. I'm not saying do it right away, but sometime in the future.

I know this from personal this from personal experience and you don't want to wait until a loved one is on their deathbed to make peace with them.

In the meantime, Cecil should just stay mum on the subject of his son.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Josh Hamilton Has A "Relapse"

According to a report by Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, Texas Rangers outfielder, Josh Hamilton, had a relapse with alcohol at a Dallas area bar.

In a statement, the Rangers said they were ``aware of a situation, but we don't have further comment at this time.''

Before the bashers come out, no one knows if he just had one beer or was absolutely trashed. Hopefully everyone has a wait and see approach with this recent turn of events. There should be more to follow.   

Jason Pierre-Paul Starts The Smack Talk

There hasn't been too much smack talk going on this week between the two Super Bowl combatants, the New York Giants and New England Patriots. Unless you count Antrel Rolle's retracted guarantee or Mario Manningham hoping he gets lined up against Julian Edelman, there's not much to go on.

Maybe Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has broken the ice. The Giants and Patriots faced off earlier this season in week 9. A game which resulted in a Giants win. The Giants defense sacked Patriots quarterback tom Brady twice that game, but to hear Pierre-Paul tell it, Brady heard footsteps all game.

“I think it will have much impact on his performance because if you look at Week 9, when we played them, it’s like he felt us," Pierre-Paul said during Thursday's media availability. "When we looked back on the film, we watched the film, and we didn’t really rush like we can rush as a defense. He was throwing balls on the ground and stuff, but like I said, it’s going to be a battle. We have to get there. We have to. …     

"(Brady) did react to pressure that didn’t exist, and he was just throwing the ball places where there wasn’t even a receiver there. Imagine us getting there even faster and actually doing our jobs and getting hits on him.” 

It's true that if you pressure Brady, he tends to play bad. But this is the Super Bowl and he is a two time Super Bowl MVP. He hasn't played his best against the Giants recently, but those comments might fire him up a little.

Ohio State Refuses To List Michigan On Its Schedule

When Brady Hoke took over at Michigan he promised to get back to Michigan roots. Part of those roots are the hatred for Ohio State. Hoke never mentioned the Buckeyes by name always referring to them as Ohio.

After an off year by the Buckeyes which Michigan broke the seemingly decade long losing streak to Ohio State, the Bucks decided to go Woody Hayes on Michigan when they made their schedule.

 It's vintage Michigan vs. Ohio State. Hoke vs. Meyer. The new faces of the best rivalry in the Big Ten.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Matt Garza Has His 2008 AL Championship Ring Stolen

When someone gets a championship ring of any kind the person that has it normally guards it with his/her life. They're pretty hard to come by and they don't get handed out like Halloween candy.

Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza is finding out just how valuable those rings are. Garza was victimized in a robbery in which his 2008 American League Championship ring was stolen.

Sheriff's detectives are investigating a burglary at the Fresno County home of Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, a theft that included his 2008 American League championship ring earned while playing with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The ring is valued at $30,000, the Sheriff's Office said. The burglary happened between the afternoon of Jan. 26 and late Tuesday morning. Garza's name is engraved inside the ring, which has several white diamonds and one yellow diamond.
Hopefully this story has a good ending. 

Read more here:

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LeSean McCoy Admits To Not Trying

In light of Aaron Rodgers putting his NFC Pro Bowl teammates on blast for putting forth a lackluster effort, Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy admitted to not trying in the game Sunday.

 "Yeah? I'm one of those guys," McCoy said when asked about Rodgers comments. "You walk around every practice and the guys before the games on other teams are like 'take your time' because we're going on a very slow pace, very easy.

"And you get out there and you see guys half-doing it and you do the same thing."

Wow, that's a shocker. A player that actually admits to not trying in the Pro Bowl. Not too many do. McCoy just had enough guts to say it.

I'll say it again. I don't blame them for not trying. They have too much at stake too get hurt in a meaningless game.