Trading the Steel curatin for Steel bars-New guy gets serious…

March 27, 2008

According to a report, last week at a restaurant in suburban Pittsburgh, Wide Receiver Cedrick Wilson punched his girlfriend during a dispute. Wilson was quickly arrested and was later released on $10,000 bail. Since the incident, Wilson’s girlfriend, Lindsey Paulat, has said that he did not punch her at anytime, but simply pushed the side of her head, which was misconstrued by those around the couple.  That is the story that is circulating around these two over the past week. Whether he punched her or pushed her head in anger is not for me to say, I wasn’t there. What I can say is that there is never an excuse for a man to his hands on a woman in anger. It was the actions of Wilson that is despicable, no matter how he may have done it.       

steelers.jpg    cedrickwilson.gif

This is just another embarrassing moment in the current NFL. No matter if you think Roger Goodell has done a good job “cleaning-up” the league, the problems continue and they are bad for everyone involved; the teams, the league, the players, and the fans. It’s getting harder and harder to root for some of these teams and players when they act like over-exposed, pampered, above-the-law jerks, who don’t have to answer to anyone because they have athletic talent. I love sports…I’ll repeat myself…I LOVE SPORTS! I love watching them, playing them on Play station, talking about them, thinking about them, and daydreaming that I had worked harder on my wrist shot as a kid…which on another topic, would have put me on a better career path. I am just getting tired of hearing these stories about athletes behaving like asses! 

Now, I’m a Cleveland Browns fan and due to that I HATE the Steelers, and my first thought when I heard this story was “go figure, what do you expect from a filthy Steeler?”. However, as news broke of Wilson’s release from the team I actually had a split second of respect for the Black and Gold. But as I dug a little more, it seems very hypocritical that the Steelers took such a “stand” against Wilson, a back-up, but star linebacker, James Harrison was arrested for the same thing, and he is still on the team. 

You can’t say that you are taking a stand against bad behavior for some, but for others you turn a blind eye. Yes, Harrison will be punished by the league in some capacity, but you is he still planning on heading to off-season training in a few weeks, and Wilson is looking for a job? Both actions are completely inexcusable, but this hierarchy of stars who can get away with anything, and second tier guys who are used as the sacrificial lambs just to make it seem like those in charge are trying to make a difference.  

Harrison’s actions were defended by Rooney, who even said “What Jimmy Harrison was doing and how the incident occurred, what he was trying to do was really well worth it”…WHAT? He slapped his girlfriend after breaking down her door. How is that worth it? Wilson punched/pushed his girl at a restaurant, and was released. And I know that I am picking on one of the more classless organizations in sports, but this double-standard is completely ridiculous.  

There are a million and one people in this country who would do anything to get to the level that these guys have. I was a young man who wasn’t fast enough to me an elite football player, but if given another chance I would bust my butt just as hard to get to another level. These men have ability that is such a rare gift, and they translate it into having all the money in the world, but zero class. And the only way that anything will change is if the guys who are going to the Pro-Bowl and the guys who have their uniforms hanging in every sporting good store in the U.S. are finally held accountable.

The fans will keep watching the game, even if they never see James Harrison, Cedric Wilson, Pacman Jones, Bryant McKinney, and the entire Cincinatti Bengals defense ever again. These men are spectacular talents, but I’d rather watch someone with half the talent, but twice the heart.


On a weird Yankee kick

March 27, 2008

For some reason, the team I hate the most of all, continues to invade my thoughts, and forces me to put it into print.  I recently heard(actually it was probably 2 weeks ago), that as the Yankees build their new park they are preparing the activities at the “old” Yankee Stadium.  The part that perturb’s me the most, is that the last scheduled event at hallowed Yankee Stadium will NOT be a New York Yankees home game.  Huh?  It will however be a hockey game.  Yes, that’s right, a hockey game.

yankeestadium.jpg

Now, I don’t pretend to be a baseball historian, but I do consider myself a good baseball fan, with a solid understanding and respect for the game and its history.  Its something that my parents and grandfather really plugged into me.  When I heard this, I thought, “are they crazy.”  So please, people of NYC, rise up against this.  Yankee Stadium is a living museum.  A historical place locked in time that children dream about, men long for, and sports writers lament about.  Just in my lifetime,  the Yankees have been to the play offs eleven times.  Eight of which they won the pennant, and 4 of which they won World Championships.  Let me also remind you that guys like DiMaggio, Mantle, Maris, Rizzuto, Mattingly and Gehrig all played there.  I’m not sure, but I think Ruth only played at the Polo Grounds(where the hell is Tony Reali when I need him?)

The bottom line is that people are always in a rush to think if could, they never think if they should. While I belive that variety is the spice of life, this isn’t the case with Yankee Stadium.  The actual plan is for it to be knocked down and create a part, but I hope they acknowledge that one of the few last great old stadiums stood there.

That might even leave this long time Yankee-hater look forward to one last post season game there…


Madness, madness everywhere…

March 22, 2008

My bracket is shot already…Thanks to USC.  If you are watching right now, Frank-ly sports really needs Duke to win.

Here’s the Frank-ly sports final four:

North Carolina-Psycho T is pretty good, but Ty Lawson is the best player on that team

Pittsburgh-Panthers are playing out of their minds right now.  I look forward to them playing Memphis.  Levance Fields vs. Derrick Rose…nuf’ said

UCLA-Only team athletic enough to beat the Tarheels.  If you haven’t seen Kevin Love yet, tune in because he is a treat.  Collison is the quickest player in America

Kansas-Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk…

Midwest Region-The possible Kansas and Georgetown match up is exciting.  The sexy pick for a mid-major is Davidson.  Stephen Curry could be the best pure shooter in tournament.

East Region-North Carolina’s presence in this bracket really looms large for all the other teams.  If Pitino can get Louisville running, they have a shot and going deep.  Chris Lofton and Tennessee are playing some good basketball as well. 

West-UCLA is a shoe in for the final four. UConn was the first victim of the Madness, falling to San Diego.  Xavier is no longer a sleeper, and can really get up and down.  Having a veteran point guard in Lavendar is a commodity to have.  West Virginia could surprise everyone.  Western Kentucky is the mid-major to watch in this group.

South-We’ll finally see what Memphis is made of.  This region could have the best group of guards in the entire tournament.

Buckle up folks, this is going to be good.


A.L. West Preview

March 20, 2008

  The A.L. West is the Angels to win or lose. They have all the tools to be a great team, and they will win a lot of games. Signing Torii Hunter to team up with Vlad will help this team score a lot of runs. The Angels are the best small ball team in all of baseball, and that will frustrate the entire A.L. The starting rotation of Lackey, Escobar, Garland, and Weaver is as good as any rotation in the game. They will be the hardest road win in the A.L., and at the end of the season, they very well could have the best record in the Bigs. Their bullpen is strong with Closer Rodriguez, Shields, and Speier. One thing to note with the Angels…they are deep. They have Guy who can step in at any position and play like an everyday player. Gary Matthews Jr. is the odd man out in the outfield, and that shows how good that outfield is.

               

The Mariners have been trying to get over the hump for several years, and this year they might be there. Adding Eric Bedard to the rotation with Hernandez, Washburn, and Silva was as good a move as any this off season that didn’t involve anyone named Santana. The best lead-off man in baseball is still here, and he is still really good. He can set up scoring chances as well or better than anyone else, but finding someone to bring him in might be the hard part. Beltre has never earned his huge paycheck, but he has the power to drive in a lot of runs and one really good year may make some forget about all the money he’s stolen so far. A pitcher by committee bullpen has to be straightened out if the Mariners want to get to the playoffs, and even if they have a great year, they may still be looking up at the Angels.

              

  Now a team that has baffled me for years, the Oakland A’s have been a training ground for some of baseball’s best players. And it seems that once these guys hit their stride, they are traded off and the rebuilding continues. Joe Blanton is the ace here, which means he is most likely going to be traded before the season is over. Dan Haren is gone, so it is all up to Blanton ot be the anchor of the pitching staff. The offense is made up of new faces and youth. Eric Chavez returns as the most recognized name in the lineup, but he’ll most likely be wearing a new uniform by season’s end.

               

And the team that has talent, a good lineup, and an impecible way of losing. The Rangers have added Milton Bradley to an offense that can be pretty good. Blalock, Young, Hamilton and Bradley will score runs, but it is hard to bet for a team that hasn’t been good since Nolan Ryan left. The pitching staff is led by Kevin Millwood, who’s best days are behind him, and Padilla and McCarthy need to get good very fast if this team wants to have a respectable year. Look for this Rangers team to score a lot of runs while giving up a lot more. It will be a battle between them and the A’s as to who finishes the season in the third spot in the A.L. West.

 

Projected Finish                  W            L

Los Angeles Angels           100          62

Seattle Mariners                   88            74

Texas Rangers                      70            92

Oakland A’s                          63            99


Thanks Billy….

March 20, 2008

Recently, comedian Billy Crystal pursued a childhood dream to become a Yankee.  Through some nice connections with Derek Jeter, Billy was able sign a one day contract with the Yankees to appear in a game.  Last week, Billy got his dream and appeared at a game as a DH for the Yankees.  In his only at bat, he was able to work the count like a pro to 3-2, even fouling off a nice pitch, only to strike out.  Nonetheless, Crystal will go down as an official Yankee..I’m so jealous.  Who would kill to fulfill a dream to play for their favorite team.

billycrystal.jpg

I guess my point is that we should all thank Billy Crystal for not being afraid to fail, going out on a limb, and most of all embracing his inner-child. Hardly a stretch for the funny comedian.  Yes, I know he’s filthy rich and knows the most popular Yankee, maybe of all time, who happens to be his friend.  Overall though, that takes guts.  It was extremely refreshing to see Crystal sitting on the bench, pounding Gatorade, and chewing 100 sticks of gum at a time. For that one gleaming moment, he was “one of the guys.”  Part of the crew, right back in his bedroom at age 5, sitting in the Yankees dugout.

I really appreciate it Billy, and I’ll think of you in my coming days, as I decide what dreams I might really make a run at.


AL Central Preview-New Guy keeping at it…

March 14, 2008

I am going to go against the rest of the sports world who think that the Central may as well just hand the pennant to the Tigers. They will be very good, and they will make the playoffs, but they have a number of huge question marks that will cause them problems throughout the season. They will have the  most complete offense in the league, but they have a very weak bullpen. If their starters remain healthy, they will be one of the best starting five in all of baseball. Verlander is incredible and Bonderman eat up innings, but Kenny Rogers is old and highly overrated. Willis hasn’t been good for the past two season, and the better hitting A.L. will cause him a lot of grief. The best news for A.L. Central foes is watching Todd Jones run in from the bullpen. He is past his prime, and gives up far too many big hits. However, having Cabrera, Ordonez, Sheffield in the lineup will win them a lot of games.

               

The team to beat in the Division will be the reigning Champions. The Cleveland Indians are bringing back the same team from last year, with only minor additions and losses. They will have to figure out who is playing 3B and LF, and Travis Hafner has to return to his 2006 self if this team is going to get back to the A.L.C.S. They have the best starting rotation in the Central and it is deep. They have several options for the fifth spot, and having the reigning Cy Young winner is huge. Sizemore will continue to be star and Martinez will continue to be one of the best hitters in baseball. The bullpen is strong, and with the addition of Kobayashi (not the weiner king) will make them deeper and stronger. Borowski is terrifying to Indians fans, because he gives up a lot of hits and runs, but he does get the job done. Not to mention his set-up man is the best in the Bigs.

               

For a team only three years removed from a World Series Championship, this team is in bad shape, but thankfully for them so are the Twins and Royals. With Konerko and Thome as the 3, 4 hitters, this team should generate a lot of runs. They added Nick Swisher to play CF after the failed experiment of Brian Anderson ran Aaron Rowand out of town. They can still put up some runs on the board, but Mark Buehrle and Jose Contreras aren’t going to be able to stabilize this weak pitching staff. Bobby Jenks is an average Closer, but the rest of the bullpen is below average.

               

Now, the Minnesota Twins completely screwed the pooch with their handling of the Santana trade. They had offers on the table that would have given them Major League ready players immediattely. However, they waited and overplayed their hand, and walked away with four prospects who are still a year or two from the Majors. The loss of Santana makes this starting rotation go from formidable to pretty weak. Boof Bonser and Livan Hernandez are not the guys to replace a Santana. The Twins are hoping that Liriano returns to form, but that is a very big question mark. The offense has two of the best young players in the game in Morneau and Mauer, but that is about it. The offense will suffer and they won’t score enough runs to make up for the subpar pitching.

               

And unfortunatley, the team sitting on the bottom of the standings will be the Royals. I want these guys to win, and I would be happy for .500 baseball, but they are just not good. They have young talent and a few decent veterans, but the weak pitching and the uncertain production of everyone in blue makes this team easy to bet against. They will be better than the Orioles, but that may be it. The biggest off-season moves they made were signing Gil Meche and Jose Guillen, enough said. They will show signs of getting it together, but in the end…they won’t. They will beat the good teams, and lose to the bad, and round and round they’ll go. Expect teams to come to the fire sale at the trade deadline, because guys like DeJesus, Pena, Teahan, and Buck are good young players who need a better situation to play in.

 

Projected Finish                  W            L

Cleveland Indians                98            64

Detroit Tigers                       97            65

Chicago White Sox              80            82

Minnesota Twins                 75            87

Kansas City Royals             70            92


AL East Preview-courtesy of the new guy…

March 9, 2008

Ok, I told you guys that I was going to have a newspaper buddy of mine help to class this blog up a bit…So here is his first post.  He’ll be doing a series on the MLB American League.  Hopefully he doesn’t ruin my credibility.

A.L. East

 This year may prove to be the best competition the A.L. East has seen in many years. The Red Sox are still the class of the Division, but they have bigger question marks in their pitching staff then most will admit. They have an elite pitcher in Josh Beckett, but with the overpriced Dice-K and the aging wonders Schilling and Wakefield can not be effective all year. Their hitting is the best in baseball, but Manny and Ortiz are getting older and their bodies have shown signs of failing.

 

               

As for the rest of the Division, the Yankees may see themselves watching the postseason with the rest of us. Their pitching staff is weak, and moving Chamberlain to the rotation and out of the bullpen may actually weaken the team. They have no bullpen, and Rivera was the best…10 years ago. A-Rod will hit the ball everywhere and will win another MVP, but he’s never won a championship, and he won’t anytime soon.

               

My surprise team of the A.L. East, and of the American League will be the Toronto Blue Jays, IF, they can find a way to stay healthy. It’s a long season, and anything can happen, but they have all the tools to be a playoff team. Roy Halladay is one of the best in the game, and if A.J. Burnett can have a healthy season, the Jays will win quite a few games. They have power in the ourfield and a nice middle infield. Scott Rolen can be great if he’s healthy, but the addition of Marco Scutaro will help soften the blow of any sustained injury.

               

Now for the two teams that just can’t get it together. The Rays will NOT finish last in the A.L. East, which will be a small victory for the team with the worst home field in all of sports. They are young and very talented. This team is building from the inside, and are a few years away from really turning heads. Carl Crawford is underrated and underappreciated and the youngsters Longoria, Baldelli, and Upton are very good.

               

The team that will finish in dead last place in the A.L. East, and the entire A.L. will be the Balitmore Orioles. They are bad, and they aren’t getting better. This is a team that is rebuilding, and with an ace like Jeremy Guthrie, they are in a lot of trouble. Brian Roberts will be gone by the trade deadline, and the only guy who could drive in runs is now in Houston.

Projected Finish                  W            L

Boston Red Sox                    94            68

New York Yankees               85            77

Toronto Blue Jays               85            77

Tampa Bay Rays                  75            87

Baltimore Orioles                  1              161