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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs Quite an OLB Combination for Baltimore Ravens

Newly acquired Pro Bowl pass rusher Elvis Dumervil will take his physical today with the Baltimore Ravens to make his five year deal with Baltimore official. Dumervil and Terrell Suggs will now be one of the most feared pass rushing combinations in the NFL.


Dumervil, already one of the most feared pass rushers in the game, is joining a Ravens defense that lost Paul Kruger this offseason due to free agency, but in all honesty, is by far and away an upgrade from Kruger and for half the cost. Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome knows exactly what he is doing, and hopefully Baltimore fans now fully understand this. Dumervil, who is still just 29 years of age, is coming off an 11 sack season, (two more than Kruger last year) has 63.5 career sacks, 16 forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries. In addition, Dumervil has recorded 11 or more sacks in a season three times and has had at least 8.5 sacks in five of his six full seasons.

Now, Dumervil will be opposite of the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Terrell Suggs. Suggs, who is now 30 years old, is a five time Pro Bowler in his own right. Terrell has 84.5 career sacks in his ten NFL seasons and has also added 25 forced fumbles and 11 fumble recoveries. Suggs has had at least eight sacks in seven of his ten seasons, and should be completely healthy heading into the 2013 season, after being affected by a torn ACL that he suffered in the offseason last year and a torn biceps this season.

Friday, March 15, 2013

51 Year Old Herschel Walker Seeks UFC Fight

Herschel Walker is mostly known for his Heisman campaign at the University of Georgia and his time in the NFL as a running back, but Walker is looking to take the next step in his MMA career by competing in the UFC.

Walker was on the Lavar Arrington Show and had this to say about his MMA Career:
“I absolutely love MMA. I think it’s an excellent sport.”
“If I were younger, I’d be doing it right now.”
“Because I’m a little bit older and I have a business going, I say I’d like to do one more fight, and then I think it’s time for me to step aside and give it to the young people. But I’d like to do one more fight.”

Christian Ponder strikes back at Percy Harvin

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin got his way and was traded away from the Minnesota Vikings partly because of his reported feelings about his former quarterback Christian Ponder.

Ponder has wasted very little time stepping to the proverbial podium and letting it be known that he could care less what Harvin says, does or thinks.

The Pioneer Press ran a variety of statements from Ponder that started off assertive but eventually became pretty direct.

Ponder started off by stating that he and Harvin had a nice relationship and that since he did not hear the words come out of Harvin’s mouth, it didn’t matter much.

“The thing is, there’s no quote strictly from Percy that he was the one saying it,” Ponder said. “I haven’t put too much thought into it. If that was his opinion, that’s unfortunate. But he’s a Seahawk now, so it doesn’t really matter.”

That turned into  this.

“People have their opinions. There were things I could have done better (last season). But now that he’s on a different team, his opinion doesn’t really mean much.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Finding Outfield Value

by Brian Jones

At the tail end of last week I recorded a fantasy baseball podcast segment for The Phil Naessens Show.

We talked exclusively about outfielders: who are the elite players, is this guy better than this guy, who might rebound or fall, etc.  It was mostly a fly-by look at fantasy outfielders.  Maybe not the kind of hardcore insight frequent Crackerjack readers might be looking for, but if you are just looking for some basic outfield pointers, give it a listen.

After I finished podcasting with Phil I could not get outfielders off of my brain.  With 90 outfielders starting in Major League Baseball on any given day, it should not be hard to find value at the back end of this 90 players.  Certainly there are going to be $1 players and players taken in the 15th round that turn out to be regular contributors for winning ball clubs.  But, I wondered, how can I find value at the top of that list, especially in the top 20 players?  So I pulled out the Draft Kit and got to work.

Protecting The Players And The Plate

5.25 ounces.  9.25 inches in circumference.  Constructed of a mixture of cowhide, rubber, and thread.  Hardly the description of a lethal object.  Even when hurled at over 90 miles per hour, it is hard to imagine it being able to kill a human being, especially one armored in composite elbow armor and impact resistant helmets.

Yet the evidence is there.  Tony Conigliaro's fractured jaw and cheekbones and eye damage in 1967.  The pitch to the skull that ended derailed Dickie Thon's career in 1985.  Of course there is the fastball from Dennis Martinez that ended Kirby Puckett's Hall of Fame career in 1995.  The major league pitch is as dangerous as any tackle in football or check in hockey.  When that amount of energy is released on such a small impact area, the damage can be extreme.

So many would ask why the brush back pitch is still permitted in baseball.  It seems to be a product of a long forgotten era, when players sharpened their spikes to enhance the damage from their slides, or would plow over a catcher if he happened to be anywhere near the plate.  The era of Ty Cobb and his reckless assault on defending players, or of hyper-competitive Pete Rose's desire to win at any cost, such as running over Ray Fosse during the 1970 All-Star game.  The era of Nolan Ryan warning batters to not crowd the plate or risk a fastball to the dome.  An era before we knew what kind of long term damage concussions could have, before we regularly saw players ending their career looking like they were made of straw and glue.

Securities Broker Banned For Life After Defrauding Over 30 NFL Players Out Of $40 Million


Statistics show that after just two years of retirement 78% of NFL players are “financially stressed”…in other words broke. This is a fact that is sadly disturbing, and often occurs due to poor spending habits and lack of long-term planning, but another major component to this financial instability is getting and making poor investment choices.

Last week, Florida financial advisor Jeffrey Rubin was banned from the securities industry for life after putting a group of current and former NFL players in an extremely risky investment that ultimately resulted in over $40million in losses. The group of players cheated out of millions included: Santana Moss, Plaxico Burress, Samari Rolle, Greg Olsen, Devin Thomas, Terrell Owens, Santonio Holmes, Fred Taylor, Jevon Kearse, Kyle Orton, and Clinton Portis many of whom by coincidence or not were represented by
NFL Agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Blue Jays Jose Bautista Says Canada to Blame for Brawl With Mexico


It’s going to be interesting to see how Canadians react to the Toronto Blue Jays’ best player criticizing the national team.

Last night, during a World Baseball Classic first round game between Canada and Mexico, a bench clearing brawl broke out after Mexican pitcher Arnold Leon beaned Canadian hitter Rene Tosoni after the previous hitter bunted for a hit with a six-run lead.

There’s an unwritten rule in the baseball culture that states that players shouldn’t bunt when their team has a huge lead because it’s seen as an attempt to  run up the score, but in the WBC every run counts so teams try to score as many as possible to aid in advancing to the next round. Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who has emerged in the last three years as one of the games best sluggers, doesn’t see it as an excuse
.“I’m not buying the fact that teams are bunting when they’re up by six because of the rules of the WBC,” Bautista told reporters Sunday morning.
“I believe in the unwritten rules of the game. They should be respected. It’s a code amongst players and everybody who plays baseball at a level higher than Little League knows what it is and there’s no excuse.”

Chris Gamble retires after release from the Carolina Panthers

Cornerback Chris Gamble was released from the Carolina Panthers last week in what is considered to be a salary cap maneuver. 

Although he would not have a problem finding work, Gamble has decided to walk away from the field after dealing with a recent rash of injuries.

Over the past three seasons Gamble has dealt with shoulder, ankle, hamstring, and concussion problems.

Through it all, he remained a starter on a Carolina team that is now forced to rebuild their secondary through cheaper free agents or rookies selected in the draft.

Percy Harvin Traded To The Seahawks

After what was looking like an upcoming soap opera between Percy Harvin and the Vikings, NFL Insider Jay Glazer has reported that the Vikings have traded Harvin to the Seahawks. Adam Schefter revealed that the deal is expected to include Seattle’s first round pick in this year’s NFL draft (25). It also includes a 2013 seventh-rounder and a middle-round pick in 2014.

A steep price to pay for a receiver who has yet to catch 1000 yards in any one season?

Maybe, but there is no doubt the Seahawks desperately needed help at the position. Sidney Rice has one strong year under his belt, back when he was catching passes from Brett Favre in 2009. Pushing him to the No. 2 spot, with Golden Tate sliding in at No. 3 makes this unit look much more dangerous than it did in 2012. Add Marshawn Lynch in the backfield and the team boasting one of the better defenses in the league, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team contend for the NFC West as soon as this year. So from a talent standpoint, I think the Seahawks made the best move possible. They may have been eyeing one of the top receivers in this year’s draft class, but why not use that pick to get a guy who already has NFL experience?

Instant Analysis: Anquan Boldin traded to the 49ers


It’s punch, counter-punch today in the NFC West as the 49ers have swung a deal with the Ravens to acquire Anquan Boldin in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. As with the trade of Harvin to Seattle, this moves creates a ripple effect in dynasty leagues. Let’s take a look at the key players whose values need to be reviewed after this move:

Anquan Boldin, WR SF

Boldin is a physical, no nonsense player who fits perfectly within the scheme and philosophy of the “other” Harbaugh’s team. There’s no question he’ll add elements of toughness, leadership and physicality to the San Francisco locker room and on the field.

As far as his dynasty value, this really doesn’t change too much. Boldin is likely going to be the third option at best in the passing attack behind Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. He’ll be a player targeted on third downs and in the red zone as well. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Boldin post a season with 50-60 catches, 750 yards and a handful of touchdowns. If you have an owner in your league who expects more than that, it’s time to trade Boldin and get something while you can as this will not be the vintage Boldin from his days in Arizona.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Everybody take a deep breath.....Wes Welker will be staying in New England

 

Relax all you fans of the Patriots, Wes Welker will still be catching balls from Tom Brady. Contrary to all the buzz on Twitter and Facebook, as well as a bunch of podcasts and interviews, you will still see number 83 lining up on Sundays next to Gronk and Hernandez.

I know his agent has stated that Welker will not re-sign with New England without testing the free agent market, that's a bit of a negotiating ploy as well as just good business sense. Would you sign a contract with your employer if you felt other companies would offer more? I would hope you would at least go for the interview to listen, even if your heart was still in your current job. This is Welker's last shot at a big multi-year contract so I am sure his agent will be plugging his numbers to anyone that will listen. Here's the problems that they face in this scenario: ( I might get blasted by Welker fans for the following so I apologize now if my opinions hurt your feelings.)

First- Wes Welker's success comes from the type of offense that the Patriots use more so than his athletic ability. I am certainly not saying that he is a poor, out of shape has been; but really, do you think he would have had three consecutive 100 plus reception seasons playing on 98% of the other teams? The Patriots offense is geared around Tom Brady and what he does best, that being quick counts and short dump offs to any number of targets. There is no single dominant receiver in the Patriot offense and that is why it is so successful. Take for instance the Gronkowski injury of last year. Here we have a TE who had one of, if not the best season that a TE has ever had. His injury would have crippled some other teams but not New England, next guy steps in and the offense continues to prosper. Let's just say that Welker needs the Patriots more than the Patriots need Welker.

Evaluating the Philadelphia Eagles 2012 Draft 1 year later

ROUND 1
Pick 1: Fletcher Cox DT, Mississippi State
Cox had a very solid rookie season.  He finished the season with 39 tackles and 5.5 sacks, which are good numbers for a DT.  He showed the ability to play in all facets which made him such a high draft pick.  The Eagles need him to be the leader of their young defense, and so far so good.

ROUND 2
Pick 46: Mychal Kendricks LB, California
Kendricks was thought to be a big of a project with a really high upside.  He was known to be a very athletic linebacker, but not overwhelmed opponent in college, though he did show good production.  Some people graded his second round selection as a reach, but it turns out that the Eagle may have known something that the rest of us didn't.

Kendricks finished the season with 75 tackles, with 5 sacks, and is at the top of the depth chart at one of the OLB spots for the Eagles.

2 picks, 2 starters

Pick 59: Vinny Curry DE, Marshall
Curry was a disappointment in his rookie season.

He was a healthy scratch until week 12 and finished with 9 tackles and 0 sacks.  There is potential here, but Curry has to work his up the depth chart or this will be a wasted pick.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Boxer Julio Chavez Jr. suspended and fined for failing drug test

Former world boxing champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico will be watching from ringside over the next nine months as he was suspended for that length of time for testing positive in a drug test last year. He was hit where it hurts by the Nevada State Athletic Commission as well since they added on a fine of $900,000. Chavez was tested after losing a title fight to champion Sergio Martinez in Las Vegas on Sept. 15.

The test results revealed Chavez had marijuana in his system and it was the second offense he’s committed in Nevada over the last three years. Chavez claimed he couldn’t obtain a visa to attend the hearing on Feb. 27, so it was conducted by telephone while his lawyer showed up in person. Chavez’s team asked for a fine of just $10,000 to go along with a suspension of six months, but the athletic commission wasn’t swayed and he lost a vote 3-2. Chavez’s defense was that marijuana isn’t a performance enhancing drug.

Yushin Okami thunders on with split decision victory over Hector Lombard

Many people believed that either Hector Lombard would win by knockout or Yushin Okami would win in grinding fashion, the latter prevailed.

Okami landed an early takedown off a Lombard leg kick, but Lightning was able to get up immediately.

Lombard was landing shot after shot until Okami landed yet another takedown.

45-year-old Fitz ‘The Whip’ Vanderpool wins Canadian Middleweight Title

When Canadian boxer Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool sets his mind on accomplishing something, it’s almost impossible to stop him. Vanderpool ended his seven-year retirement last September to return to the ring and earned a six-round unanimous decision over 30-year-old Phil Rose. That was quite an accomplishment, but when you consider Vanderpool is now 45 years-old, it made the achievement even more impressive.

He didn’t stop there though. The veteran boxer decided he might as well carry on to see if he could add to his collection of Canadian title belts and challenged 28-year-old Roberto McLellan of Williams Lake, British Columbia for the vacant National Boxing Authority middleweight title.

The bout took place at the Lions Club in Moncton, New Brunswick on Mar 2 with Vanderpool of Kitchener, Ontario claiming the crown with a unanimous 10-round victory. McLellan got off to a pretty good start and used his footwork and speed to keep away from Vanderpool. However, the former WBF World Jr. Middleweight Champion picked up the pace to take over the rest of the way and landed the harder shots.

Evgeny Gradovich upsets Billy Dib for IBF Featherweight Title

Australia’s Billy Dib may want to think twice about boxing in America as he’s now 0-2 in the U.S. The former IBF Featherweight Champion lost his second bout in the States as well as his title belt on Mar. 1 when he dropped a split decision to unbeaten Evgeny Gradovich of Russia at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Both men had their moments during the 12 rounds and the closeness of the fight showed on the judges’ scorecards as they had it 114-112 and 114-112 for Gradovich and 114-112 for Dib. Both fighters had a point deducted in the eighth round by referee Eddie Claudio as they were holding each other. Dib’s face was bloody and battered after the fight while Gradovich looked to be in a bit better shape.

The win was considered a bit of an upset since the challenger only had four week’s notice to prepare for the contest. Dib was originally supposed to meet Luis Franco, a former Cuban Olympian, but he pulled out of the title fight due to a disagreement over his purse. He may now be regretting that decision since Dib had an off night.

Richard Abril retains WBA Lightweight Crown in brawl with Sharif Bogere

Richard Abril got lured into a toe-to-toe braw against Sharif Bogere at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on March 2, but still controlled the action for the majority of the fight and successfully defended the WBA Lightweight Championship by a unanimous decision. Bogere of Uganda tried to get on the inside of the taller Abril of Cuba, and it worked for the first few rounds, but Abril figured things out after that and took charge.

It definitely wasn’t a pretty affair, but it was exciting and filled with drama. There was a lot of holding going on courtesy of Abril, while Bogere wasn’t shy about using his head as a weapon. The champion had a point taken away from him by referee Russell Mora in the eighth round for excessive holding and Bogere had one docked from him in the 12th round for continuing to lead with his head.

Abril suffered a large cut over his right eye in the sixth round, but his corner men managed to keep it under control. After the fight he said he thought he won it, but admitted that it was hard to concentrate because it was quite a dirty battle. He added that the cut didn’t bother him and he knew his cut man would be able to stem the bleeding.

The fight seemed to change direction after Abril was docked a point as he stopped holding and starting punching. He landed some crisp, clean combinations to the head of Bogere and used his superior reach to keep the oncoming challenger at bay. The judges basically all saw the fight the same way and Abril was awarded the decision by scores of 116-110, 116-110, and 115-111.

Matthew Hatton falls short against Chris van Heerden in Welterweight Title Shot

It certainly wasn’t third time lucky for English boxer Matthew Hatton as he failed again in his third shot at winning a world title, this time against IBO Welterweight Champion Chris ‘The Heat’ van Heerden in Johannesburg on March 3. Like his other two failed title attempts, Hatton went the distance, but lost by a unanimous decision to the champion.

Hatton managed to start the fight well and grew in confidence after opening a wide cut to Van Heerden’s right eyelid during the third round. Hatton’s edge didn’t last much longer than that though as the champion started to use his superior strength and speed to take control. It wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it had its moments. Van Heerden’s hand was raised in victory after 12 rounds as the judges scored the contest 118-110, 117-112, and 116-112.

2nd Woman, Former Sex Instructor, Files Paternity Suit Against Michael Jordan


NBA legend Michael Jordan has more to worry about, as it's being reported that another woman (making it two) have come out and claims that Jordan is INDEED the father of her child.

According to Gossip Extra, the woman, Pamela Smith, is claiming that Jordan and her had sex, which produced a love child. She's suing Jordan for child support and also to prove (by way of a paternity test) that Jordan is the father of her teenage soon.

Also, she wants the right to change her teenage son's last name to JORDAN.

Metta World Peace Says He’s Not Dirty, Just Aggressive

Metta World Peace sometimes has trouble controlling his elbows, and after getting a flagrant 2 for a hit on the Nuggets Kenneth Faried the other night, World Peace is trying to do damage control.
World Peace says George Karl and other older coaches and players can understand where he’s coming from, and that he’s simply a guy who plays hard and aggressive, but he’s not dirty according to ESPN L.A.
“As I get older, I’m learning how to just play hard,” World Peace said. “It’s not like I brought this aggression to the league. I didn’t invent this. This is what we watched, this is what we saw. The Bill Laimbeers and the [Dennis] Rodmans, they play hard and they wasn’t trying to hurt anybody. They played hard. They played with passion. We grew up wanting to play with passion. So, when the guys say we’re dirty, we’re just playing hard. We’re not playing dirty. We’re just playing. We’re reacting. We’re going hard. We want to win.”
Karl spoke on the matter, and stated that from his view, World Peace’s elbow to Faried’s face seem premeditated.

Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman Says Nobody Wants To Watch Cheaters

Major League Baseball and it’s performance enhancing drug problem has given the game a black eye and raised suspicions for every player that puts up good statistics year in and year out.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig  is seeking stronger penalties for performance-enhancing drug users, and some players are now voicing their support for the commissioners efforts.

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman spoke out on the subject recently, and said that “nobody wants to watch cheaters play.”
“If you want harsher penalties, I’m all for that,” Zimmerman told USA TODAY Sports. “Nobody wants to watch cheaters. Those guys make those of us who don’t cheat and use things look worse.
“It’s not fair. It’s tough to play this game when you don’t have any sort of chemical help, and that’s the point of this game. That’s why the season’s so long, and not too many people make it to this level — it’s such a grind physically and mentally. It’s not good for the sport.”

Rani Yahya impressive with unanimous decision victory over Mizuto Hirota

A very quick start in the featherweight division, as Rani Yahya immediately threw some feints and leg kicks against Mizuto Hirota.

Yahya showed in the first round that he is extremely comfortable no matter what position he is on the ground. Hirota had him on his back for a portion of the round and Yahya showed his patience and control.
Once Yahya reversed and gained the dominant position, he searched for numerous submissions, but was unlucky.

Keyshawn Johnson Thinks The Jets Should Trade Darrelle Revis


Keyshawn Johnson has made a nice transition from former NFL player to quality NFL analyst, so when he speaks, he’s usually knowledgeable about the situation.

Johnson was speaking to Newsday about the franchise that drafted him, and said he would advice the New York Jets to trade Darrelle Revis right now, and get some value back in return.
“I think it’s a smart move if they do move him and get value,” the former Jets receiver said. “He’s not going to win any games for you. He’s a defensive back who will shut down the [opponents'] top receiver, but the ball is not in his hands. The Jets need more than a top corner. They need some pieces. If he gives them the value to get those pieces, then move him.”

UFC / MMA: Silva reminds the world he’s far from washed up with KO of Stann

Wanderlei Silva scored a second-round knockout of Brian Stann in their light-heavyweight bout
Silva became a legend in Japan with the now-defunct Pride organization in the early days of MMA
Stann said the loss stings, but he was glad he fought someone he called one of his favorite fighters

(PhatzRadio / USA Today) — SAITAMA, Japan — As far as storybook endings go, it’s going to be pretty hard to top this one.

After a torrid first-round pace in which both fighters scored multiple knockdowns, Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 5-7 UFC) knocked out Brian Stann (12-6, 6-5) in the second in his return to Japan — where he became an MMA legend years ago with the now-defunct Pride organization.

And if there was any concerns Silva would call it quits as he approaches 50 career fights, he likely set them aside for now.

The light-heavyweight bout headlined Saturday’s UFC on FUEL TV 8 event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Randy Moss reportedly done in San Fran; end of the line?

While there’s doubt where Randy Moss will ultimately end up, his short-term plans aren’t as concrete.

A source tells ProFootballTalk.com that the 49ers are planning to “steer clear” of Moss, making it clear that the future Hall of Fame receiver won’t be back in a San Francisco uniform next season.

It’s not too surprising.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Legendary Coach Pat Summitt to Speak at Minnesota Alzheimer's Conference

Doctors call it an epidemic and in Minnesota almost 98,000 people are suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.

This weekend hundreds of people from across the country are coming to St. Paul to talk about dementia and there will be a special guest on hand to help. Pat Summitt will speak during a conference called "Meeting of the Minds" hosted by the Alzheimer's Association and Mayo Clinic.

Summitt is the winningest college basketball coach of all time, capturing 8 national titles during her 38 year career. In 2011, Summitt announced that doctors at Mayo clinic had diagnosed her with early onset Alzheimer's.

"What courage it takes to step outside of your box that you are used to being in and say, 'I am going through something and it's difficult and I'm going to need help but I'm also going to fight it,'" said Michelle Marciniak, who played for the Lady Vols under Summitt.

Marciniak remembers when her former coach started to change.

Andre Iguodala says JaVale McGee is actually smart

When you think of the Denver Nuggets' JaVale McGee the first thing that comes to mind is one of the many boneheaded plays he's made in his short NBA career. Granted most of those were with the Washington Wizards so I can give him half a pass on that.

McGee has never been known to be the sharpest tool in the shed but his teammate Andre Iguodala tells a different story. During an interview with GQ magazine Iguodala revealed a much brighter side to McGee.

JaVale McGee is one of the smartest guys I know. Like, he's a nerd, plays with gadgets and is into technology. He's funny--he's got crazy jokes and his timing with jokes is really funny. You have to be really smart to think the way he does. He's a thinker, so his mind goes into a lot of different places, and I think that can be taken the wrong way when he's on the court--he can be an over-thinker at times.

Vladimir Guerrero wants to attempt a comeback

You hate to see athletes way past their prime trying to hang on. Some know when to leave (John Elway, Ray Lewis, Marvin Hagler) and there are some who don't know when to say when (Rickey Henderson, Brett Favre). If there is anyone in the world of sports that wants one last shot at glory they should ask Willie Mays or Joe Namath how their last years turned out.

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported that MLB slugger Vladimir Guerrero is entertaining the thought of a comeback. 

At age 38 he could possibly still have something left in the tank. But injuries have taken their toll on Guerrero and the last time he played in the majors he was a shell of his former self. There are no more out of the strike zone homers. No more shoe top doubles. He can no longer turn on a quality fastball.

Adam Jones: I’m going after Cal Ripken’s Record


There are 162 game in a Major League Baseball season. With so many games and so little time off in between, you typically can see numerous players get days off from time to time in an effort to conserve their energy. It actually has gotten to the point where it is a rarity to see a player not miss a game all season.

But the Baltimore Orioles Adam Jones has a different mentality. Jones didn’t miss a single game all last season, something the young star outfielder takes pride in. In fact, Jones was so pleased with his games played streak, that he feels he has a shot at breaking the all-time record of consecutive games played. 2,632. A mark held by another Orioles great Cal Ripken.

New York Yankees Ichiro Suzuki walks away from car accident unscathed

New York Yankees Ichiro Suzuki gave fans yet another reason to believe it’s going to that kind of year.

Although he walked away with not even a scratch, Suzuki totaled his Range Rover near George M. Steinbrenner Field on Saturday in Tampa, Florida.

According to the New York Post, the 39-year-old stated that he is not even sore.

“Not at all,” the Yankees’ right fielder said when asked if he is sore. “I almost want my body to feel something but my body didn’t react. I guess you can say that you are going to have to do a lot worse for me to get hurt.”

Suzuki was cheked out by team doctors before practice on Sunday.

Mike Trout’s Agent Says his Contract for $510K is Unfair


I don’t think anyone who witnessed Mike Trout’s phenomenal season last year for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, can disagree with his agent Craig Landis’ assertion that his client is going to be grossly underpaid for the approaching baseball season.

Under the MLB’s collective bargaining agreement, in most cases, players aren’t arbitration eligible until they have three years of Major League service under their belt, and the most teams can do to reward players who perform at high level during that time, is add a few thousand to the minimum salary ($490,000).

Landis made his feelings known on the situation in an email to the L.A. Times and lets just say that he isn’t happy.

The Ugly side of Football


The Ugly Side of Sports

It seems that every sport at one point has fallen victim to a scandal, whether it be relevant to a specific player, team, referee, or an entire league, no sport is immune. The amount of betting in the sporting industry invites such scandals and hopefully many are caught before they make any lasting effects on the sport. Over the past few weeks many of us have witnessed the ongoing scandal of fixed soccer matches and wondered will it ever stop. In total it is estimated that 680 games have been deemed as suspicious, 150 of these games have been deemed from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and 380 have been claimed to be played in Europe. All are a mix of World Cup qualifiers and European Championship qualifiers and a few have been claimed to be Champions league games. It can be stated that European soccer will never be the same after this recent investigation.

The 19 month investigation has discovered to date 11 million dollars in profit and 3 million in bribes. In total 50 people have been arrested and another 425 are under investigation. It is safe to say that more people will be arrested before we hear the end of this scandal. What can fans do to move past this painful scandal and get back to the beauty of the most popular sport in the world? With sports betting so prevalent on the web and in the public is there a way to stop this type of activity?

Steve Young Says Joe Flacco Deserves His Historic Contract

Steve Young is a Hall of Famer, and one of the best to play the quarterback position.  Young knows what quality quarterback play is, and is opinion is always valued.

Young spoke about the historic contract Joe Flacco will sign on Monday, making him the highest paid player in NFL history, and according to USA Today, Young says Flacco deserves every dollar he gets.
“Joe is worth this deal because he did it when it mattered,” Young, an ESPN analyst, told USA TODAY Sports just minutes after the agreement was announced by the Ravens.
“So did Eli Manning do it when it mattered — and all the great ones do it when it matters. To play perfect football in January and February is the Holy Grail for a quarterback, right? That’s the place.
“When Joe Flacco threw 11 touchdowns with no interceptions in January and Feburary and won the Super Bowl, that’s why the Ravens had no choice but to pay him what they did.”

Giants Backup QB David Carr Wants Starting Job


I won’t hold it against anyone who forgot David Carr still played football, he’s hasn’t had an opportunity to start a game in his two stints with the New York Giants (2008-09, 2011-12) due to Eli Manning’s incredible durability.

Carr plans to strike while the iron is hot according to Ralph Vacchiano of the NY Daily News, and turn to free agency in an attempt to salvage his once promising career.
The 33-year-old Carr is planning to test the free-agent market to see if he can find a better opportunity to play elsewhere, according to someone familiar with his plans. Carr, who was the No. 1 overall pick of the NFL draft way back in 2002 but hasn’t started a regular season game since 2007, will be an unrestricted free agent on March 12 and expects to draw some interest from around the league.

EVERYTHING BUT THE KITTENS SINK

Fraud De-clawed — #11 Wildcats roar back from 14 down in second half, repeatedly getting to the hoop, but can’t sink the lay-ups, and can’t string together enough stops, suffering a road sweep by sc and UCLA, and a season sweep by the Bruins, who close out New Pauley’s inaugural season with a huge 74-69 Senior Day victory over over-rated Arizona that puts UCLA in a tie for First Place in the Pac-12

Own-ahs of Arizona.

UCLA is back on top of the Conference, after completing a sweep of the Nationally-ranked Arizona Wildcats, 74-69.  It was Senior Day in New Pauley Pavilion, marking the Bruins’ final home game of the year, and the one Senior on the team — Larry Drew II — was absolutely instrumental in the victory.  Drew ran the Offense to near-perfection for about 30 minutes before finally tiring.  He had 9 Assists to only 1 Turnover before committing 3 more Turnovers later, 2 near the end when he had apparently run out of gas. 

He played 38 of a possible 40, and not only did he Quarterback the attack, he also burned the sagging Zona Defense, hitting 2 Three’s and scoring a total of 14 Points.  No Wildcat scored more than the Bruins’ “pass-first” Point Guard.  He also had a big Steal that slowed the Wildcats’ late momentum.

Drew and the Bruins maintained a small lead for most of the first half, sparked by 15 Points by Kyle Anderson, in his best half of Basketball of his young career.  He was all over the court, always in the right place at the right time, and Arizona couldn’t stop him from getting to the bucket.  Almost all his points were from the Paint.  The Cats adjusted in the second half, as Anderson added only 2 more points to his total, but it was a huge bucket, on a crucial putback.

The Bruins were led once again by Shabazz Muhammad, who scored 18.  He got 5 early points to get the Bruins rolling, and he got the game-clinching points, on two Free Throws, after getting a game-saving Defensive Rebound with 9 seconds left in the game, with the Bruins up by only 3 at the time.

The Bruins took a 40-36 lead into Halftime, and early in the second half, went on a 12-0 spurt to take a 14-point lead.  But the Cats have been obliterating late deficits all season long, and this afternoon was no different.  They found multiple ways to get to the basket, and they would have probably won this game if they hadn’t missed SO MANY uncontested gimmes, including a blown dunk.  But they hit a few late three-pointers to whittle the lead down, and those late Drew Turnovers allowed them to cut it to 3.  But on the do-or-die possession in the final seconds when Arizona had a chance to tie, Mark Lyons drove to the hoop under duress, forced up a shot that rimmed out, and Shabazz corralled the Rebound — and sank the free throws — to sink the Cats.  Arizona will still make the NCAA Tourney, of course, but they now have no chance of winning the Regular Season Conference Championship, and their National Ranking and their eventual Tournament SEEDING just took a major hit.

Error-free Arsenal would bring about a good result

For any team that is routinely, and typically properly, castigated because of its defensive problems, it’s gone overlooked that Toolbox have conceded less goals abroad than every other Premier League team this year.

They have let in only 11 on the highway, and, as long as they can maintain that record, they are able to feel confident of having an effect at Whitened Hart Lane on Sunday. The problem, obviously, is the fact that

Toolbox have, with vague apologies to Guns N’ Roses, a hunger for self-destruction. Should there be a method to concede a calamitous goal at worst moment, they are a lot more than able to find it.

The mistakes are often fundamental, the kind of factor you realized any professional footballer to prevent. Arsene Wenger may have viewed Tottenham play West Pork on Monday, and even though he spoke at his news conference about not having to pay particular focus on Gareth Bale, you may be quite sure he’ll be instructing his defence to avoid exactly what the Hammers did.

They permitted Bale onto his presently lethal left feet, gave him some time and space to obtain shots away, and were duly punished for this. Maybe it is not as apparent like a miskick in to the path of the very most in-form striker in Europe, or perhaps a goalkeeper letting a really stoppable shot go past him, but they are goals which were totally avoidable.

Cowboys Brandon Carr Says He Likes Monte Kiffin’s Old-School Approach

New Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin recently turned 73 years old, and has been around a lot of good defenses.

Kiffin has an old school approach that he brings to coaching and to the game of football.  Kiffin is hoping he can turn a recently mediocre Cowboys defense into something special, and as cornerback Brandon Carr told the Dallas Morning News, “he likes and can appreciate Kiffin’s old-school approach.”
“He seemed like an old-school ball coach, a no-nonsense guy that makes everyone out there accountable for their actions,” Carr said. “The short meeting that we had he gave me a lot of information and insight. He let his enthusiasm rub off on me.”

Robert Kraft: We Are Lucky To Have Roger Goodell As Commissioner

Before everyone goes ballistic, remember Roger Goodell works for the NFL and it’s owners.  Goodell was featured on ESPN’s Outside The Lines this morning, and during the telecast Patriots owner Robert Kraft was asked about Goodell as a commissioner.

Mr. Kraft didn’t mince words when describing what kind of Commissioner Goodell is.  According to Pro Football Talk, Kraft said that “I think we really lucked out with him as commissioner.”
“I think we really lucked out with him as commissioner,” Kraft said. “I think Roger, once he assumed this position, really runs the NFL like he owns it and thinks like an owner.”

Friday, March 1, 2013

Breaking Down The Alex Smith Trade

Breaking down the Alex Smith trade can be done more conclusively once Smith’s career as a Chief has ended, and the players who were selected with the additional draft picks have received a chance to perform for the 49ers. However, in the immediate aftermath of the trade between San Francisco and Kansas City, it is completely feasible to analyze what has occurred, and how it is likely to benefit both teams.

Smith was firmly entrenched as a backup in San Francisco, and the 49ers were wise to move him. Yet, Kansas City did well by securing a proven starter who will upgrade a position of serious weakness in recent seasons. He will be 29 when the regular season commences in September, and the Chiefs will have a better opportunity to win this season and beyond, then they would have experienced by allowing four-year starter Matt Cassel or former backup Brady Quinn to continue taking snaps. Smith became very efficient during the final two years of his eight-year tenure in San Francisco, after Jim Harbaugh joined the organization.

That said, Smith can hardly be considered an elite signal caller, and there are undeniable limitations with his game. He only generated 15+ touchdowns passes in two different seasons, and his career best is only 18. Plus, his TD/INT quotient was only favorable after Harbaugh became his head coach in 2011. Prior to that that time, Smith had tossed 51 scoring throws, and 53 INTs. That should be alarming to anyone who perceives Smith based primarily upon what he accomplished in the past two seasons.  But Andy Reid should construct his strategy around Smith capabilities, and the Chiefs’ offense should improve next season. The image of Smith connecting on short throws to Jamaal Charles is unquestionably strong.

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s interest in Peyton Manning during the 2012 offseason made it clear that Smith was not firmly entrenched in the team’s long-term strategy. The team eventually made a logical and successful decision to bench Smith, and place Colin Kaepernick into the starting role. Kaepernick’s subsequent performance made Smith extremely expendable, and the 49ers’ decision to trade him was extremely logical.

Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry explodes with 54-point performance against the Knicks

The Golden State Warriors lost to the New York Knicks 109-105 on Wednesday but no one can say that Stephen Curry didn’t do his part.

In the breakout career performance, Curry put up 54 points of offense knocking down 11-of-13 three point attempts.

Curry’s week has been eventful as he was last seen being used as rag doll when been thrown around in the Warriors tussle with the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

That incident left them without their big man David Lee who was serving out a one-game suspension on Wednesday.

Lee’s absence sparked Curry’s offensive watershed.

Heavyweight Tony Thompson Upsets David Price With Second-Round Knockout

Forty-one-year-old American heavyweight veteran Tony Thompson proved that the last thing a boxer loses is usually his power as he knocked out Commonwealth and British Champion David Price in the second round at the Echo Arena in Price’s hometown of Liverpool, England on Feb. 23. The odd thing about the fight was that Thompson hasn’t really been known as a power puncher at any time in his career.

The 6-foot-5-inch Thompson caught the 6-foot-8 Price with a right hook to the side of the head which caused him to lose his equilibrium. Price fell to the canvas and managed to get to his feet before referee Steve Gray reached the count of 10, but he was on wobbly legs and Gray put an end to the fight right then and there before the bout was six minutes old

Thompson saw his record rise to 37-3 with 25 Kos with the win while the 29-year-old Price suffered his first defeat as a pro and dropped to 15-1 with 13 Kos. Most insiders figured that Price, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, would easily beat the aging Thompson on his way to a world title shot.

Ishe Smith pulls out split decision win over Cornelius Bundrage for Jr. Middleweight title

With Las Vegas, Nevada being the world’s undisputed hotbed of boxing it seemed rather odd that no fighter born and bred in Sin City had ever been crowned a major world champion. That all changed on Feb. 24 at the Masonic Temple in Detroit of all places, when 34-year-old Ishe Smith pounded out a 12-round split decision over 39-year-old Cornelius Bundrage in his hometown to take away his IBF Junior Middleweight Title.

The bout was a rather sloppy affair right from the opening bell and the first few rounds saw little in the way of action. Both boxers were trying to establish their jabs and also threw the occasional right hand. The rounds were had to score since they were quite uneventful other than the second round in which Bundrage had a point deducted from him by the referee for hitting Smith while he was dwn after slipping to the canvas.

The bout picked up in action during the final six rounds, but was still far from a great promotion for the sweet science. It did have its moments of intrigue and drama though as both Bundrage and Smith clocked each other with some solid shots to the head while almost completely ignoring each other bodies.
The judging proved that it was a difficult bout to score as two of the judges scored it in favor of Smith at 116-11 while the third judge had Bundrage winning it by a 114-113. The judges did agree on several rounds though with all three of them scoring rounds one and two for Bundrage while giving Smith rounds seven, 10, and 11.

Both boxers made names for themselves several years ago on the Contender reality television series. Smith broke down in tears after being announced the winner and said he’s been waiting 13 long years to become a world champion. He also admitted to having suicidal thoughts a few years ago. He claimed that he suffered an injury to his ribs during training camp, but there was no way he was going to pull out of a world title fight.

Undefeated Heavyweights Vyacheslav Glazkov and Malik Scott fight to 10-round draw

When television broadcasters were hyping the heavyweight bout between undefeated boxers Vyacheslav Glazkov and Malik Scott at Huntington, New York’s Paramount Theater, on Feb. 23 they were claiming that somebody’s O had to go. Of course, this wasn’t technically true since the bout could end and a draw and that’s exactly what happened after 10 rounds of boxing.

The 33-year-old Philadelphia American veteran Scott tried to use his superior height and reach while the 28-year-old Glazkov, a former bronze-medal winner with the Ukrainian Olympic boxing team, attempted to bull his way inside and land his shots. Both boxers had an equal amount of success throughout the bout and this was reflected in the judges scoring. One judge had it 98-92 for Scott, while another gave the nod to Glazkov 96-94 and the third judge had it even at 95-95.

Scott got the better of the early rounds while Glazkov came on during the second half of the fight when he started to close the distance and smother his opponent. Scott landed more blows in the bout by connecting with 161 of his shots while Glazkov landed 127 and arguably the harder shots. Scott’s connect ratio was also better at 41 per cent compared to 27 per cent by Glazkov.

After the bout, Glazkov said he thought he won the contest because Scott ran for most of the bout and didn’t want to exchange blows with him. Scott responded by saying that he’s a boxer who has good footwork and if he’s utilizing the ring then it’s up to his opponent to stop him or cut the ring off. He added that if they meet again he’ll stop Glazkov and the Ukrainian is lucky the fight went to the scorecards.
Since the judging was deemed to be controversial in some quarters, there’s a good chance that a rematch could be held before the year’s out. With the draw, Scott’s record went to 34-0-1 with 12 Kos while Glazkov’s went to 14-0-1 with 10 Kos.

John Mayberry should not make Phillies Opening Day roster

If John Mayberry was an animal he would be a cat, because he is already working on his fifth baseball life. It’s amazing to think just how fortunate Mayberry has been in his career. Here's a look at the many opportunities Mayberry has been given and why he used up his last.

Call up #1: John Mayberry finished his 2009 season at Lehigh Valley with a .256 batting average, a .332 OBP, and 13 HR. Not exactly the kind of numbers that draw big league attention, especially for a 25-year-old with 2,306 career minor league PA’s. Nonetheless, Mayberry received his phone call and hit .211 in 57 at-bats with the big club.

Call up #2: Mayberry spent the entire 2010 season (outside of a brief September call up) in AAA, where he hit .267 with 15 homers, a .328 OBS, and 111 strikeouts. Those numbers gave him yet another shot. It didn’t last long, though, as he hit .231 with just 3 home runs in 45 games through June 1st and he was sent down again.

Call up #3: After hitting .265 with 4 homers in 28 games at Lehigh Valley, wouldn’t you know he received another call-up. This time he did not disappoint. From July 22nd on, Mayberry hit .315 with 10 HR, 25 RBI, a .621 slugging percentage, and a .998 OPS.

Call up #4: Those 49 games to finish 2011 earned John a starting role with the Phillies in 2012. He proceeded to hit .245 with a .301 OBP and just 14 homers in 145 games.

Call up #5: Here we are again. Despite another poor season, Mayberry still has a job on a major league team.

Why is Mayberry still on Phillies roster?

Are the Dallas Cowboys ready to set Doug Free?

Will the Cowboys release Doug Free after signing him to a big contract a couple of years ago? The answer is not as simple as it sounds.

Your Dallas Cowboys have some big fish to fry before the season begins:
  1. They have changed from the 3-4 to the 4-3 on defense. With Anthony Spencer, the team’s leading tackler from 2012, a free agent, the Cowboys need to either franchise him (which will cost roughly $10 million), sign him to a long-term contract or move on. Before they decide what to do with Spencer, they have to decide whether he will be effective as a defensive end in a 4-3 versus his natural position as a 3-4 outsider linebacker.
  2. They have to address a porous offensive line that gave up 36 sacks (how did Romo survive?) and produced a paltry average of 3.6 yards per carry on the ground.
  3. They are currently $30 million over the cap.
One place the Cowboys may look for cap relief is at right tackle. Two years ago, after Doug Free had a breakout year at left tackle, the Cowboys signed him to a big contract. Then They drafted Tyron Smith and moved Free to right tackle, where he struggled mightily. Free had eight fals starts and seven holding penalties in 2012, giving him the lead in penalties accrued among NFL tackles. The reason you jump the snap and hold defenders is simple: You are getting beat. By season’s end, Free found himself in a rotation at RT with Jeremy Parnell. That is how far his once-shining star had fallen.

Terrell Suggs Guarantees Every Team in the NFL Hates the Patriots


The Baltimore Ravens have never been shy to air out any and all grievances they have towards the New England Patriots.

Although OLB Terrell Suggs has been vocal in the past about his dislike for the Patriots, Suggs “guarantees
the other 31 NFL teams hate the New England Patriots,” according to his on air interview on WEEI on The Big Show.
 “The NFL is not very big,” Suggs said on WEEI. “You think we don’t talk to guys that have played for the New England Patriots, that have been on the New England Patriots that have been like, ‘Oh, it’s been like this.’ It ain’t just me. Why did Bart Scott say the same thing? You think it’s just us? You think it’s just got something to do with us? No. This is because we have inside information. We know.”