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.