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Slapshots and Hip Checks 4/18
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Atlanta MLS Stanley Cup P;ayoffs MLB

 

Damn near forgot to write this post then just as I nodded off I jumped up and said to myself...ahh fuck, it's Thursday and I need to write a post...now what, cuz I got nothin'!! 

Let's see what I can rant about...MLB players, let's start with these guys. I don't know about any of the other Gabber's in fantasy baseball, but my two teams (I have one in Jeff's league too) are walking MASH units, and this is exactly how my teams started last season too. Mark Texiera...this frickin' douche bag lands right back where he was last year about his time...the DL. And how much are the Spankees paying this Workman's Comp claim? He's obviously been schooled well in this organization from their previous losers that were paid astro-bucks only to  hang out at practice or sit in the clubhouse to watch games. Does Carl Pavano ring a bell? Or A-Roid? Both of these guys were paid huge ducats and both found their way to the DL for tons of missed games. So what is it with baseball players and their inability to be ready for the season? I mean baseball isn't a contact sport, there's no one being checked into boards, no one getting a slap shot to the testes, there's no tackling, so what's the deal? Is spring training too short? Do most of these guys do nothing in the offseason? It has to have something to do with not being properly prepared...how else do you explain all these DL's and day to days for hamstrings, pulled muscles etc? I would think this topic has come up within clubs who experience these issues...but is it on the team or the player to be ready for the start of the season? Burning questions, but it's not hard to notice looking around the leagues I'm in that I'm  not the only one dealing with it. Talk amongst yourselves...discuss. 

 

The NHL playoffs are in round 1, Boston faces off against Detroit in Boston for game one tomorrow night and I'm all fired up about it. No, not worried about the season series between the two, two of those four games were decided by one point, Boston won one and had a lousy game against the Wings at the start of the season...this is the playoffs, it's a whole new season and what happened over the last 82 games was just a precursor to get to season two. Again, if you've never spent any time watching playoff hockey you're really missing the very best the game has to offer...you're not going to see better games, heated competition and guys playing until their legs fall off to win that double OT like you would in any other sport. Certainly not the NBA...that's for sure. Check it out, you won't be disappointed!

Yesterday, here in Atlanta it was announced that an MLS team would begin playing games here in 2017...Arthur Blank is behind this. Now I have nothing against AB...I really don't, but this is a bit short-sighted on his part. In my seven years here I'm still trying to find how the existing teams are marketed...I really mean that. Go to NY or LA or even Boston, you see billboards galore, players in local TV commercials, everyone dressed in their gear, all that, but not here. First, this is college football country before anything else, then it's probably NASCAR and pro football, the Braves, even with their non-stop TV coverage can't sellout, and the Hawks...it's basketball, who cares? That's why I don't understand the logic to add a team from yet another sport after hockey failed miserably - TWICE, the Braves lacked any support from the city of Atlanta to build a new stadium (keep in mind, the one they're in now was built all the way back in 1996 for the Olympics, so it's only natural that place would be in dire need of replacement) so they're building in Cobb County/Marietta and they'll be opening for the 2017 season. They can't keep a hockey team, they're moving the MLB team out of town and it appears Blank's logic seems to be something has to replace what's left. Sorry Arthur, it's not going to work and this team will be heading for (if you ask DVT) Winnipeg right behind the Thrashers/Jets. If the people of Atlanta don't understand hockey and this is a football town what makes him think soccer has any chance at all? Really not seeing it, and from what I'm hearing so far it's got as much support as the Ferris Wheel they built downtown, (Arthur Blank was a huge advocate for this too) ... yeah, a fuckin' Ferris Wheel. Are you all getting that this town seems to put the cart before the horse? It's not like the roads didn't need repair, the highways around Atlanta aren't too fucked up and money couldn't be spent to rectify what amounts to a ride along the gauntlet each trip to the city, but we got a Ferris Wheel and you too can ride it for $25 for 15 minutes after you pay $20 across the street to park. Maybe that's where all the money is coming from to support the Falcons new stadium and this MLS team that has no business being here. Keep in mind, you heard it here first...this team... GONE by 2020. 

Have a great weekend! 

Mocking a Draft... 2014
Category: NFL

                    

    Well folks, it’s that time of year once again. The baseball season is underway, the NBA and NHL have their playoffs in full swing… and yet, all we want to talk about is FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL! On May 8th, the futures of NFL franchises across the country will be decided as the 2014 NFL Draft kicks off. Every self-professed expert and their mother have thrown their mock drafts out there… so I figured it was about time to throw mine out there as well.

   The draft can be a funny thing. You go in looking at players who were absolute studs in college, thinking there is no way they’ll fall flat on their faces in the NFL. Look at the beast of a linebacker that came out of Alabama in 2010, Rolando McLain. A lot of people thought the Raiders made a solid pick at the time… now he’s out of the league. In that same draft, another linebacker NaVorro Bowman out of Penn State lasted into the third round… and he’s the Pro Bowler. The point is, it’s all conjecture at this point… you THINK you know something and how a guy would fit somewhere, and you don’t really know. Hell, think the 49ers wouldn’t love a mulligan on the 2005 draft, where they got Alex Smith #1 overall instead of Aaron Rodgers? No doubt about it.

   It’s kind of like a guessing game for grownups… so here goes my attempt at mocking the draft. The first pick will be who I think they’ll actually draft… the second pick will be who I would draft if I were running all 32 NFL franchises.

 

  1. Houston Texans- DE Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina.

My pick: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M.

  The Texans have a few needs, mainly at QB, RB, OL, S. For the most part, it is considered outlandish to pick either a safety or running back this high in a draft, especially with the expendable nature of running backs in the league today. The question then becomes this: Do you draft for need, or take the best player on the board? This is a deep draft for quarterbacks, and the team just hired a “QB guru” in Bill O’Brien from Penn State. In this spot, the Texans grab the freak of nature that is Clowney and pair him with J.J. Watt on the outside, giving the defense two bookend guys who can harass opposing quarterbacks.

   If I’m running the show in Houston, I grab the local kid, the seat filler, the guy that I think is a future league MVP in Johnny Manziel. For me, the guy just has the “it” factor. The attitude he brings with him would have been an issue in the NFL of yesteryear… but I think his “swagger” as the kids call it helps him fit right into today’s NFL locker room.

 

  1. St. Louis Rams- OT Greg Robinson, Auburn.

My pick: Same.

   The Rams needs include OL, WR, S, CB, and some would say QB. I would be amongst those who say quarterback is a question mark, with Sam Bradford struggling thus far in his NFL career. You also have to look at the system they use, which is Jeff Fisher’s offense. Fisher loves to “pound the rock”, which apparently didn’t rub off on his protégé Jim Schwartz… so they would love to get ahold of a big, road grader like Robinson. If they can’t trade down, the Rams take Robinson here.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars- QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida.

My pick: DE Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina.

   You name it, the Jags need it! They made a few nice additions in free agency, but this is a team in need of a boatload of talent if they hope to do any more winning. Bortles really burst onto the scene this year, leading UCF to a win over Penn State, and eventually a win over favored Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. He’s the 6’5” prototype bodied type of quarterback that teams dream about. The cons: he played at a small school and operated mostly out of the shotgun at UCF, and struggled against some top tier competition (Ohio State in 2012, South Carolina in 2013). He has a lot of upside, and is worth the risk of a top ten pick.

   If Clowney is available here, the Jags will pounce on him. Widely considered the top talent of the draft, he won’t make it past #3, if he even makes it past #1 and 2.

  1. Cleveland Browns- WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson.

My pick: QB Blake Bortles, UCF.

   The Browns have a good sized list of needs on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense, aside from some depth, is fairly stout. Their needs include QB, RB, OL, WR. If Watkins falls to four, they could easily make that pick and pair him with Josh Gordon, giving the team’s QB the best set of options a Browns QB has had in a long, long time… whomever that ends up being.

   If Bortles is there at four, the Browns take him. If 1-3 pass on Manziel, the Browns should take him and thank the folks in the front offices of Houston, St. Louis, and Jacksonville, because they’ve finally broken the QB curse. If I’m Cleveland and I want my quarterback of the future out of this crop, I get him now while I have my pick of the litter. Bortles, as discussed earlier, has his flaws, but he’s got a ton of upside and should be a solid NFL QB.

  1. Oakland Raiders- OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo.

My pick: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson.

   Mack is the second best pass rushing prospect in the draft behind Clowney, and should help the Raiders get over the loss of Lamarr Houston to the Bears. Mack may end up being an upgrade over Houston, as he is a great instinctive player who is all over the field. If Clowney’s character and work ethic issues end up derailing his career, Mack may end up being the guy we talk about as the best defensive player to come out of the 2014 draft a few years down the line.

   The Raiders drafting a receiver… nearly as cliché as the Lions doing so. But, Watkins is a massive talent, and if the Raiders fall in love with one thing, it’s a receiver with speed. Watkins has that, and if he’s on the board, the Raiders are compelled to take him.

  1. Atlanta Falcons- OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M.

My pick: Same.

    The Falcons needs include DL, OL, TE. If Mack is on the board, they’ll be tempted; but protecting a guy they have over $100 million invested in with Matt Ryan wins out here.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA.

My pick: OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo.

   The Bucs have needs, including DL, TE, OL, WR, and CB… and getting a top tier pass rusher here would be their idea of heaven. The stock on Barr seems to be dropping of late, but he’s an athletic, versatile player who would fit Lovie Smith’s scheme well. If Mack were there, the Bucs may very well think it is Christmas.

  1. Minnesota Vikings- QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M.

My pick: LB CJ Mosley, Alabama.  

    In my draft, Manziel is already off the board… here, it is not the case. The Vikings get a guy who, in my opinion, is a new incarnation of Minnesota legend Fran Tarkenton by drafting Johnny Football, and the memories of Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, and Matt Cassell from last season begin to fade far, far away from memory. If the Vikings end up with Manziel, they will win the NFC North next season.  

   The Vikings have a big need at quarterback, but they also have a big hole at linebacker with Chad Greenway getting older, slower, and more expensive by the day. Mosley fills that need, and the Vikings gamble on a different QB later in the draft; a McCarron, Murray or Mettenberger.  

  1. Buffalo Bills- OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan.

My pick: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA.

    The Bills made their choice last year to go after a quarterback, and go their QB of the future in E.J. Manuel in what some (especially me) would call a questionable move. That said, you have to protect that investment, and Lewan fits the bill.

   If a pass rusher like Barr is still available, the Bills will snap him up.

  1. Detroit Lions- CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State.

My pick: Same.

    The Lions have a long list of needs, including CB, S, WR, OL, DE, but getting Gilbert here gives them the best cover corner available in the draft. He’s got good size, so he matches up well with bigger receivers, and is a play maker in the secondary. The downside is his abilities helping on the run and making tackles, which is lacking. Mike Evans of A&M is another possibility here, as is TE Eric Ebron of North Carolina… but if the Lions use another top ten pick on an offensive player, I will just lose my freaking mind! On the defensive side of the ball, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama is another possibility, but I think Gilbert is the best call for the Lions here.

  1. Tennessee Titans- S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama.

My pick: Same.

    Clinton-Dix, despite his ridiculous “first name”, is no laughing matter on the field. The Titans needs include S, DL, QB, and with most of the big pass rushers off the board and the QB talent left not exactly blowing current starter Jake Locker out of the water at this point, Clinton-Dix gives the Titans the most likely contributor from day one.

  1. New York Giants- LB CJ Mosley, Alabama.

My pick: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan.

    The Giants have some pretty big holes to fill on both sides of the ball, so there is no pick that is outside the imagination. They have needs at LB, CB, OL, and WR. If Mosley is there, he gives the Giants a solid presence inside reminiscent of the days Harry Carson roamed the middle of the field in New Jersey.

     I say the Giants take Lewan in order to protect Eli Manning and give this team a shot at winning the always unpredictable NFC East. They could easily go for Eric Ebron or Mike Evans as well here, or one of the two first-round quality corners left like Dennard or Roby.

  1. St.Louis Rams- WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M.

  My pick: Same.

    The Rams grabbed some protection for Bradford already in this round, and they’re picking again. This time, they’ll get Bradford a big target outside in Evans. FS Calvin Pryor of Louisville is another possibility here, but I think Evans is too big of a talent for the Rams to pass up on here.

  1. Chicago Bears- DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State.

My pick: DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame.

   Either way, you would think the Bears would seek to shore up the hole left by the departure of Henry Melton in the middle of their defense with their top overall pick. Some say Jernigan is the top candidate for that role, while I would say Nix is probably the best overall DT in this draft. I just think Nix is the better space-eater of the two, but Jernigan does have better pass rush ability.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State.

My pick: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State.

   The Steelers have a number of ways they can go here; CB, S, OL, and WR are all needs. The top three OT’s are all gone, and #15 overall is far too early for a guard, unless you’re looking at an elite level talent. Roby is a bit of a reach this high, as he compares to 3-4 other corners who should be available in the second round; but he does fill that need for them. For my money, Benjamin is the best pick here. He’s got the size and catch radius you really look for in an outside target, he should translate well to the NFL.

  1. Dallas Cowboys- S Calvin Pryor, Louisville.

My pick: Same.

   The Cowboys are in desperate need of back end help for their secondary, and Pryor is the best player available to fill that need. They could draft a defensive lineman or corner, but Pryor seems to fit the bill best.

  1. Baltimore Ravens- WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State.  

My pick: DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame.

    The Ravens have a few needs, OL and WR being two of them. This is a fairly deep draft at WR talent-wise, but with the top three guys now off the board, I think Baltimore waits on that position and grabs a solid defensive lineman to add to their stockpile in Tuitt. If Benjamin were there, he would give Flacco a big WR to target opposite Torrey and Steve Smith.

  1. New York Jets- TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina.

My pick: CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State.

    The Jets have a number of needs, not the least of which is at corner. They could go with a WR, OL, CB, TE, or even another DL, but I like them to target the defensive side of the ball this year early in the draft with Roby. Ebron gives young QB Geno Smith a safety valve while they continue to search for the answer at WR that free-agent signing Eric Decker might just help to shore up.

  1. Miami Dolphins- OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame.

My pick: Same.

    With the departure of half their offensive line from last year (and it wasn’t all that effective to begin with) mid-season due to the bullying scandal, the Dolphins are desperate to shore up the line. Signing Branden Albert was a step in the right direction, while they did overpay, but they still need to get protection for Ryan Tannehill. Martin is the best fit at this point of the draft.

  1. Arizona Cardinals- QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville.

My pick: Same.

    Bridgewater at #20 overall would have sounded a bit crazy a few months back, but his stock has gone down, and the Cardinals have needed a quarterback since Kurt Warner walked out the door. Carson Palmer played admirably last year, but he’s at the end of the line as an NFL starter, maybe a year or two ahead of him. This gives Bridgewater a year or so to learn from Palmer and develop.

  1. Green Bay Packers- OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State.

My pick: TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina.

     The Packers have needs at TE, S, and LB, and Shazier certainly helps fill that void if Ebron is already off the board. If Ebron falls here, I’m sure the Packers would shit a brick of joy after the likely loss of Jermichael Finley.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Marquise Lee, U$C

My pick: Same.

    The Eagles have a few needs on the defensive side of the ball, but the corners, safeties, and linebackers that would make sense in the first round are all but taken. Marquise Lee gives the Eagles a playmaking threat to replace DeSean Jackson.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs- DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame.

My pick: OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State.

    Either way you look at it, the Chiefs are looking to add to their pass rush. They could use a WR, but there are better options available in the second round than any guy you can safely take here.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State.

My pick: Same.

    The Bengals needs include corner, safety, and linebacker, and Dennard is the best player still available that fills a need for this playoff-ready team. Some might say it’s time to look at a new quarterback in Cincy… but I say give the ginger another year to figure out that whole playoff thing.

  1. San Diego Chargers- DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame.

My pick: DT Tommy Jernigan, Florida State.

    The Chargers got to the playoffs last year, and the defense was a strength once again. That said, they could use a little beef in the middle, and that’s where Nix or Jernigan come in.

  1. Cleveland Browns- OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State.

My pick: RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State.

    The Browns snagged WR Sammy Watkins earlier in the “who they’ll probably pick” version of this draft, so in this version I’ll go with Jackson, the best guard in the draft to keep whomever the quarterback is upright to throw to Watkins/Gordon.

   In my version, I went with Blake Bortles, so here I’ll go with a workhorse running back who fits the AFC North mentality well in Carlos Hyde.

  1. New Orleans Saints- CB Jason Verrett, Texas Christian University.

My pick: OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State.

   The Saints have a few needs, and none are extreme, so they can really afford to go with the best player available here. Verrett fills a need at corner, and gives the Saints D the kind of edge they’ve been missing… but he may be a bit of a reach in the first round. For my draft, I’ll go with Jackson, who replaces the departed Carl Nicks as a starting guard.

  1. Carolina Panthers- WR Davante Adams, Fresno State.

My pick: WR Donte Moncrief, Mississippi.

    These two compare fairly evenly, with Moncrief having an advantage in height and speed, but Adams gives you more consistency. Cam Newton needs a new #1-4 target at WR, so either way grabbing one here is almost a must for the Panthers.

  1. New England Patriots- DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota.

My pick: Same.

   Hageman seems to fit that Patriots mold, but he is a bit of a boom or bust type of prospect. He’s been compared to former Patriot Richard Seymour in his abilities.

  1. San Francisco 49ers- OLB/DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State.

My pick: Same.

    Lawrence is a hybrid DE/OLB (depending on scheme) that can give the 49ers the insurance they need in case Aldon Smith’s stupidity finally gets the best of him.  Kony Ealy may be another option here, but I look for the 49ers to go for a pass rusher with all four top corners off the board.

  1. Denver Broncos- DE Kony Ealy, Missouri.

My pick: DE Ed Stinson, Alabama.

   The Broncos two biggest needs, OL and CB, are both far past their limits in terms of being a reach here… Ealy and Stinson provide additional depth along the defensive line.

  1. Seattle Seahawks- WR Donte Moncrief, Mississippi.

My pick: WR Jarvis Landry, Louisiana State.

   The Seahawks are a rare, run-first offense, but even they need to air it out from time to time to keep teams honest. With the loss of Golden Tate, they are in need of a new target for Russell Wilson.

 

    Well, there you have it folks. Thanks for checking out my mock draft, and be sure to let me know what you think about it in the comment section below! Thanks as always for reading.

Talking Sports
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB NHL Network

There has been a few interesting things going in the world of Major League Baseball. I have seen a few interesting articles , if nothing else it will make you think a little about the state of the game and that perhaps in buds World everything isn’t coming roses.

The first is an Unnamed source as MLB Executive from Buster Olney’s paid blog according to Fox Sports April 7th  I’ll take with a grain of salt because a source or the executive isn’t listed. He suggests to move the games to 7 innings(hold your Baseball purist thoughts). The mystery man’s reasoning makes a lot of sense. The younger audience wants things faster and quicker games would average around 2 and half hours instead of 3 plus. IT also would cut down injuries. There are a lot more injuries. Basically the landscaping is charging is what he is saying. The reality is Major League Baseball is experiencing great numbers at the gate is it really charging or is the product itself bringing in better  numbers?

According to MLB Press Release h 2013 was the 6th best year for attendance in the history of baseball and the numbers over the past decade have been amongst the highest in history. Maybe as much as things change they don’t.

The other article is about how fans are being hurt over Blackout restrictions by MLB According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports   Passan says that because of the cash to regional networks some folks living in areas where there is multiple team blackouts are getting screwed. Folks living in Buffalo, Arkansas, Iowa, and even Las Vegas are restricted to blackouts and can’t watch games. Baseball has no interest in fixing mainly due to the huge amount of cash regional sports networks are throwing at teams There is a lawsuit pending in federal court in the Southern District of New York. Baseball and Direct TV and others are  asking for a dismissal the judge turned the motion down. It’s likely that baseball will try to use it’s anti trust exemption. Baseball is arguing every  game is available on Direct TV. That is where the blackouts happen in Vegas. California teams and Arizona all those games are subject to blackouts in Las Vegas. As others are in Buffalo like Blue Jays, Yankees and Mets I’m assuming. Baseball will bring out it’s trump card (Can you Guess What It is?) Ding, Ding,Ding You got it the Anti Trust exemption.

Baseball can easily fix this open up some of the blackouts in these areas and let the fnas choose. The argument that everything is available on Direct TV doesn’t fly especially at the monthly cost of $30 a month just for the package that blackouts out games in these areas. Keep an eye on this one it’s going to be interesting.

Instant Replay has been over whelming successful so far the Red Sox got screwed on two  challenges that the ruling on the field was overturned and the replay was wrong. I guess there are some bugs in the system. They brought a system in that wasn’t effectively tested. I heard one argument from a reporter saying there isn’t enough cameras at exhibition games and not enough games are televised / I guess maybe he doesn’t get MLB Network with two of those meaningless games were on everyday. He said they don’t use enough cameras in those games so bring in more and test the damn thing. It’s here to stay but many people say and I think I’m among them think this will change the game and outcomes. Basically, they want to take the human factor away. We all excepted the human error of an umpire for many years as matter fact it was entertaining watching a guy like Earl Weaver state his case.right wrong or in different..

LIL Warriors Report

Laser laced them up Saturday Night and scored a goal in a non contact coaches vs graduating Bantam game. He scored from the top of the slot.

NHL Playoffs

Let the games begin it’s the best Hockey all year.

Last Night there were three games to start the second season.

Ducks beat the Stars

Canadiens beat Lighting

Penguins beat the Blue Jackets

There are some excellent first round matchups Chicago and St Louis should go 7,Philadelphia and the Rangers should be a blood bath, LA and San Jose another great matchup and of course the one I look forward to is Boston-Detroit enjoy the games.

Thursday's Thoughts - 4/17/14
Category: FEATURED

Hi guys, it's your Uncle B.O.B. filling in for Ole Harry this week while he tends to something.  Before I go any further, I want to wish everybody a Happy Easter.  May you enjoy your day however you choose to celebrate, be it church, family, BBQ, formal dinner, or just sitting watching Baseball, NASCAR, or the NBA/NHL playoffs on the recliner in the Man Cave.  It's definitely one heckuva sports weekend that's for sure.

Today, I want to touch on all four of the major sports.

NBA.  Thankfully the sham of a regular season is over.  A regular season that had teams purposely fielding the worst possible team they can in order to gamble on ping pong balls in May.  So you intentionally piss off your fans in the hopes that a set of ping pong balls in a closed off back room go your way?

I want to say good job to the Phoenix Suns who had a surprisingly strong season, and just missed out on the playoffs.  47 wins (six games over .500) and they can’t get into the playoffs?  That’s a damn shame, and shame on the NBA.  Here’s the rub with the Suns, they have three, possibly four first round picks in the upcoming draft.  Phoenix is on the rise (no pun intended) in the NBA.

Stephen A. Smith is absolutely right – no team who has a below .500 record in the regular season should be allowed into the dance, period end of story.  Forget conferences, it’s time to take the 16 best teams regardless and seed them accordingly, so long as they are above .500.

NBA Western Playoffs.  (1) San Antonio vs. (8) Dallas; (2) OKC vs. (7) Memphis ; (3)  Clippers vs. (6) Golden State; (4) Houston vs. (5)  Portland.  No series will be easy and I can only begin to imagine the matchups in the second round, but I’m not gonna consider anything an upset here.

One thing you should watch out for out west is that Golden State lost Andrew Bogut to a cracked rib which supposedly is dangerously close to his lung.  No idea how long he’ll be out.  That and the rumored tension with HC Mark Jackson may make Golden State the one easy out in a very tough West giving the Clippers a huge break.

Sacramento Kings.  The Kings ended the season with less than 30 wins, a small disappointment as I expected 32, but this season admittedly was a write-off season, a season for on-court evaluation and cleaning up the mess of the Maloofs.  Yes, there was frustrations including poor defense, questionable effort, constant whining to the officials, dumb ass technical, and a lack of production at the 2 and 4 spots, and a significant overpopulation at said “4”. 

But there were also some positives:  Ben McLemore is showing signs of improvement at the 2-guard spot, Ray McCallum is showing signs of being a quality backup PG, and Reggie Evans showed some solid play at the “4” late which significantly enhanced the Kings ability to rebound, and I’ll bet you didn’t know that there were three players on the Kings who averaged 20 points per game:  DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, and little Isaiah Thomas. 

The Kings are the proverbial work in progress, with aggressive ownership and management.  Don’t be surprised if you hear their name in trades come draft night and in free agency.  The rumors continue to persist that Rondo is coming to the Kings (with Gerald Wallace) for a massive package to Boston in return which includes two First Round picks, Isiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, and something else.  Hey Boston, it ain’t gonna happen.

NHL Playoffs.  This is the time of year Hockey grows on me, and in the first round I get the added attraction of San Jose vs. LA Kings in the first round.  Now come on San Jose, let’s get a NORCAL victory over a SOCAL team! 

         

MLB.  Hey Jeff, thank you.  Watching morning/afternoon Baseball in the middle of the week on MLB Network does not suck at all.  I am looking forward to this all season long. It's a solid break from Law and Order reruns.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching Oakland/Minny last week from Target Field.

Speaking of which, I absolutely love that Target Field in Minneapolis and would like nothing better than to attend a game there.  Knowing that this is my last realistic chance, and after extensive negotiating w/Mrs. B.O.B., we will be going there in mid-May for a night game the night before Jerry’s graduation, weather and logistics permitting – making a day out of it and maybe finding a “juicy lucy” and other Midwest type of food.  I had been hoping for a day game, but the schedule didn’t quite work out for that.  I hope to have some cool pics.

Tampa Bay Bucs.  Tampa has already signed 15 players in Free Agency, which is good because the Bucs only have six picks in this draft (none in the 4th round).

NFL.com says the Bucs need OL (see a pattern here yet?), CB, and QB.  QB is interesting in that they already have Josh McCown and Mike Glennon.  Would the Bucs roll the dice on a QB at #7 if Bortles, Manziel, or Bridgwater were left?  Would they go after Mettenberger or a less hyped QB in a later round?

This is where the draft tends to get really interesting because with all the FA signings down in Tampa, the scores of unsigned free agents they had last season, and now new management (including Lovie Smith as the Head Coach, who I’m not high on), nobody is going to be able to get a feel for what the Bucs are gonna do, but this media pressure for them to take a QB could be a mistake.  Work on your line. 

College Football – Michigan State 2014 schedule.  Sparty taking the Big Ten, then winning the Rose Bowl was absolutely HUGE for the credibility of the Big Ten in 2013.  No longer is this conference Ohio State’s personal playground and the rest a bunch of underachievers. 

Home:  Jacksonville State, Eastern Michigan, Wyoming, Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers

Road:  Oregon, Purdue, Indiana, Maryland, Penn State

Neutral:  Big Ten Championship Game

Oregon on September 6th?  On the road?  Don’t tell me other schools couldn’t schedule games like this.    Now this is what I’m talking about and I’m hoping that in the future we see more of this.  I get Eastern Michigan, but I’m not as sold on the rest (Wyoming, Jax State?) of their OOC.  Oregon will help, but if they get through the Big Ten, will their OOC be enough to convince a new selection board for an NC Game?

Deep Thoughts 4-16-14
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Jackie Robinson Boston Marathon Draft Day Old time baseball Tommy John and today's pitchers Arnold Palmer the most important golfer

 

 

Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. This week marks two very significant events. Tuesday was Jackie Robinson day and the anniversary of the bombing at last year’s Boston Marathon. MLB does a great job each year of recognizing Robinson by having each MLB player wear #42. While this is a great tribute, I have a question. On Jackie Robinson day, shouldn’t the Dodgers be playing at home? It really does seem like a slap in the face to me to not only have the Dodgers on the road…but playing at San Francisco. I am really scratching my head over this. I am also trying to understand why someone would leave two dummy backpacks at the Boston Marathon finish line. It is acts like this that make me wonder about the direction of our country. Sick…

BOB mentioned yesterday in his blog about Aldon Smith’s latest screw up. Telling TSA agents that you have a bomb is not very bright. This does not strike me as the act of a mentally stable person, but maybe he is just an idiot. Either way, I think BOB is right, Sheriff Goodell will ask Smith to take the year off. This is really a bad deal for the 49ers as their defense is not the same without him. But, I figure that this is out of the team’s hands at this point. It will be interesting to see if they cut him loose or save a spot for him.

I caught the movie Draft Day last weekend. If you like football, you will definitely like this movie. It was like a big spoonful of football. I would not say it is Costner’s best work, but it is definitely worth watching. It was interesting watching the behind the scene conversations. Given the timing of the approaching draft, it makes the current headlines rather intriguing. I saw on Tuesday that an “anonymous” NFL executive thinks that Clowney is “spoiled” and “lazy”. Teams are looking for any reason to cause a player to drop. Is this truly what this executive believes or is he trying to allow Clowney to fall into their lap? Johnny Manziel is slammed because he scores too high on the Wonderlic test. It is whispered that he may be too smart to be coachable. Vince Young was slammed because he scored too low on the test…maybe he is not smart enough to learn the playbook. It really is a game of chess. The media sucks up the words like a Hoover on steroids. I am not even sure that they realize that they are being played by the teams…either way, they are pawns. There was a time that we could believe what we read in the paper, but those times are long gone.

 

 

 

 

 

I have been reading an old book about baseball stories. I found the book at an antique store and figured for a few bucks it would be interesting to read. The stories are an assortment of short stories, poems…each one is different. There was the original story that I suppose the Field of Dreams was based upon. One very short story was about a guy that walked into a bar. A baseball game was on the small TV in the corner. An older guy sitting next to him started talking about baseball and complaining about the way games today (probably 40 years ago) are described. Lanz commented on BOB’s blog yesterday how Vin Scully used words to paint a picture of the game. That is exactly what this old guy was complaining about in this story. He missed listening to a baseball game on the radio; because those play by play guys painted that picture for their listeners…they had to. TV guys have gotten lazy. Most do not understand what it is to do a play by play. They use words like velocity instead of bringing the heat or throwing gas and location instead of nibbling around the corners. As I read this story, I realized that the old man was exactly right. I have spent those summer nights lying in my bed with my eyes closed…seeing the game through the words. I watch the game now, and don’t really listen as much to the words of the broadcast. Often, I think that I see as much or more than the guys doing the broadcast. Baseball is great today and I love being able to watch so many game on TV. But, there will always be something special about listening to a baseball game on the radio.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

I think we have all noticed how many pitchers are MIA this year. The dreaded phrase “Tommy John” surgery has been spoken 20 times this year. I started looking around trying to find some answers. One theory is that the MLB strike zone is so tight that pitchers have given up throwing slower breaking balls and now throw a cut fastball, slider and split finger fastball. Hitters spend hours watching video now. They are much more patient at the plate because they know that the tight strike zones favor hitters. There is some potential truth to this. Fastballs are thrown with the shoulder. Curveballs are thrown with the shoulder and wrist. The harder breaking balls all stress the elbow. I can see this, but I don’t think it tells the entire story. So I went to the expert on the matter…Dr. James Andrews. Dr. Andrews believes that there are several factors that are causing the UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) to fray and eventually fail. Kids are bigger and stronger and the UCL is just not able to keep pace with how hard the young pitchers are throwing. Also, baseball has become a year round sport in many parts of the country. He believes that young pitchers are not getting a break like they used to. Instead of putting away the baseball glove and picking up a football or basketball, they simply play on. A comment on the article about Dr. Andrews was spot on. He remembers listening to 2 visiting hockey coaches from Finland. They said if you want to be one of the best 12 year old players around then play year round. But if you want to still be a good player when you are 16 or 17 then drop the game when your season is over and play other sports that interest you because eventually water seeks its level and others will catch up or your zeal for the game will be greatly diminished

My son began playing tournament baseball when he was 11. But, we limited the amount of games that the kids played. But there are others that do not. I am a firm believer that playing all sports is of great benefit for young athletes. Focusing on one sport at a young age often burns kids out. It also can lead to overuse of a pitchers arm…which is what we are beginning to see at the professional level. There is really nothing that the MLB can do to change this, except perhaps offer direction. Baseball should spend time preparing messages to younger players and their parents. Most kids will never play professional baseball, but the facts should be known. Throwing a baseball is not a natural action. Throwing a baseball hard puts stress on the shoulder and elbow.

Based on this information, it does not appear that anything will change soon. For the record, of those 20 pitchers undergoing Tommy John surgery only one is from outside the US. It is clear that this problem is something that is homegrown. Hopefully, it will be something that we can soon begin to change.

 


 

 

 


Last weekend was the Masters. The big news leading up to this great tournament was that Tiger Woods would not be healthy enough to participate in this year’s Masters. I have been a big fan of Tiger Wood's golfing. I have watched him perform at a level that few have ever approached. I cheered Tiger on in his pursuit of the major championship record. But, in the back of my mind, I had a nagging feeling like I had forgotten something. This week, I was reminded what I had forgotten. For all of those wins, Tiger Woods will never have something…he will never be the King of golf. There has only ever been one man in golf that completely grabbed the fancy of the country and that was Arnold Palmer. Although, Jack Nicklaus will wear the crown of best player, it is Arnold Palmer that captivated our nation and brought attention to the game of golf. Men wanted to be Palmer and women just wanted him. Class, charisma and charm were characteristics of Arnold Palmer. When Palmer began to make a move up the leader board, he would hitch his pants and eagerly charge toward the next shot. The adoring crowds were called “Arnie’s Army” and they would announce a great shot with a surge of cheers. Seriously, there was no doubt when Palmer sank a long putt or hit a great shot. ..You just knew. He did not so much play golf, as attack the course. As a small kid, I remember thinking that there was something different about this man.  

 

 

 

 

Through all of his professional successes, Palmer remained a hero to every man. You cannot find anyone that will say something bad about Palmer. He has been a gentleman from the beginning. He always had time for a smile and a handshake. Athletes of today would do well to examine the manner that this giant of another generation has handled his business.

 

Here are a few facts about Arnold Palmer:

Hale Irwin said that he learned from Arnold that the most important part of being a professional golfer was what you did outside the ropes.

Palmer said that his father told him…You don’t need to tell anyone how good you are, you show them how good you are.

You can have a discussion over who is the best golfer of all time, but there is no question that Arnold Palmer has been the most important golfer of all time.

Johnny Bench named his son Justin Palmer Bench. Now, that is impressive.

Palmer represents the values of what America used to be. He is an American icon.

Arnold Palmer loved to add lemonade to his glass of iced tea…now that drink is called an Arnold Palmer.

There is so much more about Palmer to discuss. He beat prostate cancer in 1999, but has never quit his fight to beat the disease. He has donated money and been very outspoken to help raise awareness for fighting cancer. He built a Children’s hospital in Florida that remains one of the most impressive hospitals in the country for children.

 

Arnold Palmer brought attention and money to the PGA tour. He helped create the Senior Tour and the Golf Channel. He defined how to create a brand, by living his life doing good things. He began flying his own plane in the 1950s. In watching the golf channel story, it detailed how Palmer decided that at 80 years of age that he should leave the flying to someone else. On his last flight from the west coast to Orlando…he got the red carpet treatment from each airport that he was in communication with. Apparently, all of the airports across the country cleared the way for his flight. I am not a pilot, but supposedly, this is just not done. He did not have to wait for anything…which speaks to the respect that the air traffic guys had for Palmer as a pilot. From his humble beginnings, Palmer has created a huge place in American history…and he has done it the right way.

 

Tiger Woods has been a student of golf and has focused his attention to try to eclipse these records. It is a shame that Tiger does not understand that golf is only a small part of the legacy he will leave behind. It is sad, but I sort of see Tiger Woods as I do Barry Bonds. Both were great players that never realized the true meaning of being a champion. Arnold Palmer is 85 and won’t be with us much longer. It is time we took a moment to acknowledge just how special his life has been.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

                                                             I think that everyone is ready for the snow to stop...

 


 

 

 

This is a picture of the Utah Valley University baseball field. The UTPA Broncs headed to Orem Utah to take on the Wolverines last weekend. They took 2 out of 3, but could not close out the sweep on Sunday. Watching the games online, I could not help but admire the beautiful venue...at least until the weather turned bad on Sunday. Blake and his guys managed to just beat the snow out of town. Next week is a home series against Bakersfield. Hopefully, they can just keep winning 2 out of three. Taking a series the rest of the way will allow the Broncs to make the conference tournament in May.

 

 

That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey...

 

 

"Too bad you can't buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out."

 

"If you're a young Mafia gangster out on your first date, I bet it's real embarrassing if someone tries to kill you. "

 

 

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own...

 

 

 

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