Thursday, July 31, 2008

MLB Trade Deadline

Baseballs non-waiver trade deadline was 4pm today and some big names have been on the move. In the days leading up some big bats and a few strong arms have been on the move. Granted this is just phase one of "deadlines" there is still a push to get things done sooner rather then later and avoid other teams from blocking trades.

It all started with Millwakee picking up C.C. Sebathia, a move that more or less forced the Cubs to go after and acquire Rich Harden in what amounts to an arms race in the NL Central.
The Angles, who hold the best record in baseball went out and got Mark Teixeira from the Braves and made their club even that much more dangerous with a big slugging bat. No guarantee for a World Series win but a step in the right direction for sure.

Griffey Jr. has been shipped to the White Sox. Though getting up in age still a productive bat and a good glove. With the possibility of getting to a World Series for the first time in his career may just be a good motivator.

Pudge Rodriguez has traded his Tiger stripes for Yankee pinstripes. A questionable move by Detroit but a great pick up for the hated Yankees, especially with Posada being done for the season. Farnsworth was not a lot to give away and sometimes I wonder why people continue to do deals with the Yankees, Brian Cashman must be a great salesman.

Jason Bay and Manny Ramirez were thought to be on the move, and so they were.... for each other. Manny has become such a pain to Red Sox management that It looks like they were viewing it as addition by subtraction. Tough to move a guy that you can in no way replace what he brings you on the field but if it cleans up the locker room maybe in the long run it is worth it.
Jason Bay is a good player and they may be able to keep him with the $20 mil they will save next year on Manny. He should be a decent fit with the Red Sox.
Also the Pirates have managed to aquire another LaRoche lad and now they have a full complement with Andy and Adam.

The fact that Adam Dunn was not moved is interesting, Maybe JP Riccardi was right and the strike out ratio and other issues was not far off the mark.

Speaking of JP, it looks like he decided to stand pat and hold onto AJ Burnett and opted not to acquire Raul Ibanez... and so sit the Jays treading water yet again, not in but not out.

Although these deals were not achieved by the 4pm deadline there is still the possibility of moves to be made before the next waiver deadline comes and goes. That blockbuster could still happen, lets keep our eyes peeled on that.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Say It Ain't So, Joe

Disgraced ex-NBA official Tim Donaghy was sentenced to 15 Months in jail hopefully bringing an end to this storey.
Is it just me or did the NBA make it through pretty clean in this whole mess? This had the potential to bring down the league and even when it was in the news everyday it didn’t seem to carry a lot of weight. Same thing with the baseball steroid mess. It seems to now be a back burner issue after it looked to rock the sport. Sure some individuals like Clemens and Bonds have taken much of the hits but on the whole the sport has fared pretty well. It is interesting in a sport that still brings up the 1919 "Black Sox" that these new issues don’t carry the same power.
It is just like WWE Wrestling, very few bodies can look like that naturally and it is easier to assume that everybody is juicing and the sooner we realize that the quicker we can move on and just appreciate it for what it is, entertainment and a distraction.
It will be interesting to see with the upcoming Olympics if that is the case there as well. Will the stories of success and unanticipated victories carry more weight then the inevitable positive drug tests that are sure to come in the coming weeks.
Are we as a society at the point that the sports we follow are a mere escape for us from our daily routine and troubles? Maybe we have much less interest in some of the more shady dealings and just take it at face value and just enjoy.
For the record i did not include the Tour De France in this list as i do not deem it of any relevance as it neither compelling nor interesting even if it does have the most enhancing by its performers.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chopped down by my own tomahawk

Today brings mixed emotions as my favorite team has told me that they have given up on the season and are looking to the future. 7.5 games out and Tim Hudson and slugger Chipper Jones being put on the disabled list. The Atlanta Braves have traded away slugger and excellent fielder Mark Teixeira. They did get a good player in return and a prospect pitcher that will help the bullpen in the future. It was a good deal as there was no way they would be able to re-sign him and got a cheaper option at 1st base for a few years. As a fan I have mixed emotions, on one hand I respect that they are looking to get better for the future and do so in a fiscally responsible way on the other hand you have different fingers, just kidding of course. On the other hand it is always a difficult thing to admit that you had a good run but now is time to re-tool and look toward the future especially when it is only late July. Maybe this is more of a sting for me as I was spoiled throughout the 90's and early 2000's when the Braves were on their run of 14 consecutive Division Championships and World Series win and it was a given that you would see them in October, even if it was only briefly (we are all well aware of some of the playoff struggles in some years, but at least they were there).

Here is to next year and hopefully a revival to the good old days.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Brickyard Baby

Johnson wins “Tiring” Race at Indy

In a race that was marred by bad tires and tire ware that forced competition cautions. A race that was one of the worst races to watch even for the most die hard of fan. One that prevented pole sitter Jimmie Johnson from driving away from everyone, in the end justice prevailed.
Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate Brickyard 400 in the NASCAR series on Sunday. The 2 time defending NASCAR champion won his 2nd race at Indianapolis and looks for that to set him up, like it did in 2006 for the championship. Can he go for 3 in a row? The odds are stacked against him, especially the way Kyle Busch has run this year but this is a good start to get the second half on track.

As for the race itself it was difficult to watch on TV, from the pits and probably from behind the wheel. There will need to be a lot of changes to prevent tires from ruining another race at the most well known track in the USA. F1 had issues during the United States Grand Prix a few years back because of tires as well. 7 teams were forced to pull out and on 3 teams that were running Bridgestone tires started the race, making the event look like a farce.
How bad was it? Teams spent an estimated $34,000 on Goodyear rubber.
It is not good for the sport of racing nor for the allure of Indy and the legacy it carries. Hopefully Goodyear can get this righted and soon or they may loose their right to supply tires to the most popular North American series.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Around The Horn

Having the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) being televised over the past few weeks with teh AVP on NBC in anticipation of the Olympics has been a real treat for me. I may be one of the few that truely enjoy beach volleyball for the volleyball. I will watch both the men’s and woman’s matches both with near equal interest.
That being said here is some truths: 1) HD was made for woman’s beach volleyball 2) I think I am in love with Misty May and Kerri Walsh 3) With the fans in the stands being as hot or hotter then those on the court, how does it not get more time on tv and pull in huge ratings?

Roger Federer was ousted in the first round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto in his first match after his epic match with Rafael Nadal.
Well that eliminates the potential for me going to Torono to watch Tennis and makes for a disappointing end to those who have tickets. Just like the Leafs, Toronto has disappointed their fans...again.

Iraq has been barred from the Beijing games.
Apparently politics does play a role in the Olympics, I am shocked. It begs the question how did Beijing get the games in the first place.

Michelle Wie is to play yet another men’s event at the PGA Tour’s Legends Reno-Tahoe Open.
Not only has she never made a men's cut but she doesn’t even know the rules on the LPGA. "Wie" are tired of this song.

Mats Sundin is to make his decision on August 1 on if and where he will play next season.
I guess Campbell Chunky Soup is perishable and it expires within the next week ( Mats, your soup is ready!!)

Steve Bartman, That Cubs "fan" who rightly or wrongly has been blamed for ruining the Cubs chances win the World Series has turned down $25,000 to come out of hiding and sign 1 autograph.
Wisely he has declined and has averted what was sure to have been either a set up or a trap, either way there would be no good to come from that. 25 Ger is a lot of coin but you gotta stay down in teh basement if you are that dude.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fight Club- Lady Style

It has been quite a week of aggressive behaviour, but this time it has been from the women of sports. There have been 2 incidents in the last 3 days. Most recently it was the Malice in the Palace 2 WNBA style. During the Sparks-Shock game a brew-ha-ha broke out that was by all accounts a pushing match but by WNBA standards it was an all out brawl. There will be fines suspensions and controversy with Rick Mahorn making contact with Lisa Leslie. It was incidental contact in a peacekeeping role so that shouldn’t become much an issue.
The other was in the IRL between Danica Patrick and Milka Duno after Danica got run on the track and went down to the rivals pits to have a “discussion”. That turned into a bit of a catfight and ended in a towel being thrown. Danica has a history of being a bit of a hothead but this is the first time her target was a woman and offered the opportunity for some physical violence. Unfortunately it didn’t go down like that and cooler heads prevailed and we the fans were robbed of a potential girl-girl fight. Maybe they will cross paths in the future...we can only hope.

2 incidents of Girls Being Boys but 2 different views:
The WNBA incident is a black eye for the “sport” and a bad reflection on the league. Sadly this is the only way that they any exposure at all that the league actually exists. Before this I bet the average person didn’t know the WNBA season was even on.As for Danica it is just good pub and lets face it 2 cute girls yelling at each other is not the most un-watchable thing in the world and i am sure that if you pole any men they would agree.
So Boo WNBA and YEAH Cat Fight!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Espy's

After watching the ESPY’s on Sunday I have sadly come to the conclusion that Justin Timberlake is actually pretty funny and actually does have some talent. (See the opening to the Show Here, it is actually worth looking at) . It pains me to say but he actually did do a good job overall as the host of this awards show. For those who don’t know the Espy’s are the sports equivalent to the Academy Awards but on by ESPN and brings in the top athletes and some entertainment personalities for their 2 hour show.

For a list of winners click HERE

Sure there were some awkward moments as they did show Brett Farve plenty and cracked some jokes then would pan between him and would be replacement Aaron Rogers. Also it appeared that Beck’s (David Beckham) wife Posh is either very bitter and was utterly displeased to be there or she is just a very snobby lady. I think perhaps it is a little from column A and a little from Column B.
One of the funniest skits was when a video of an angry Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State University football coach, during a news conference that showed Justin Timberlake as the reporter and the classic line "I'M A MAN, I'M 40!" (see it here).

This is an award show that gets it right, they show only a handful of categories on TV, actually has entertaining skits and in this case songs and give a list of the other awards that were won but didn’t need to show the acceptance and the un-drama (thats right-UN-drama!).

It had a bit of everything...the highlights, the lowlights, the memorials of the people lost over the past year and the things that go beyond sports and society and go straight to the heart. Exactly what sports is supposed to do.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Around The Horn

Greg Norman (53, and one of the coolest autographs one will find) is an early leader at the Open Championship.
I didn’t know that there were Sharks in England, good to know

March Madness will have a new voice next year as CBS has parted ways with Billy Packard and replaced him with Clark Kellogg. Packard had that "voice you grew up with" after calling 34 straight Final Fours. Though he was also known to be a little gruff and was forced to make 2 apologies in recent years 1 after being asked to identify himself by two female students checking credentials before a game at Duke."You need to get a life. Since when do we let women control who gets into a men’s basketball game? Why don’t you go find a women’s game to let people into?" and referring to Allen Iverson as a "tough little monkey."
Maybe not as good as Don Imus but not bad. Packard will be missed Calling the Final 4 games and it is unlikely that Corn Flake (Kellogg) will bring the same edge.

Beijing has come out with its list of banned items and restricted items as well as its code of conduct. No spitting, stand in line, and be polite to other nationalities. Banned items include guns, ammunition, crossbows, daggers, fireworks, flammable materials, corrosive chemicals and radioactive materials.
I was going to go and take in the Olympic experience and maybe catch Field hockey or Fencing.
You may not bring in your dagger or crossbow but apparently a walloping mallet/stick or Swords and Foils are ok.

Reggie Jackson was walking down the street in New York with his 17 year old daughter and commented to a photographer to identify the young lady as his daughter. Jackson commented "That’s my daughter, that’s not my girlfriend! I’m not A-Rod here!"
Good line but would have been more fitting if he would have said the he was not Roger Clemens at least A-Rod’s are legal, while we aren’t so sure about Ms. McCready... Allegedly.

The Leafs are going to give away tickets to an added Pre-season game.
Good for them to make an effort to do something for their fans, and ticket giveaway is a fitting thing as they are used to giving things like wins away easier then $5 hooker.

Kirk Radomski found a receipt for HGH he claims is linked to Roger Clemens under his TV.
What happened to the days that we could hide our incriminating evidence under our mattresses? Just another example of how electronics have taken over our lives.

More drug infractions in the Tour de Farce
I guess that it counts for something that they are at least catching people. After like 9 years of multiple expulsions wouldn’t you think to either go in clean or just shut the whole thing down? Steve Howe didn’t even get this many chances

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NASCAR Silly Season Indeed

Apparently NASCAR has decided to follow in the path made throughout the years by Hollywood and the WWE...the power couple or in this case alliances. Maybe that is where Survivor and The Apprentice got the idea from. With the most recent addition to Hendrick Motorsports, Mark Martin, giving the team 4 of the premier drivers in the series. Is it any wonder that Ryan Newman is leaving Penske Racing? Funny how that decision was made after Tony Stewart asked and was released from his contract next year to not only join but be part owner of the now Stewart/Hass Racing Team. That will have one car filled by Tony but who could be in line to drive the second car, is there anyone without a ride for next year? (Ryan Newman I am looking in your direction). With the money that is needed to run and actually be able to compete there is little chance for small teams to compete let alone qualify half the time.
Being a Jimmie Johnson fan it doesn’t bother me as much as some others because he is the back to back reigning Champion and that ain’t not bad.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All Star Reflection

They always say that at a baseball game that there is the potential that you’ll see something that you have never seen before, so why should an All Star Game be any different? 15 innings and near chaos...sure why not. As I had mentioned in an earlier posting having too many people go into the game isn’t like to good ol’ days but it can leave you high and dry in a big hurry. Pitchers and managers alike were at near breaking points. NL Manager Clint Hurdle said to 3rd baseman David Wright... "I told David, ‘You were the last pick, I went and got you. Have you ever pitched in an All-Star game?" Francona apparently asked an MLB official if he could pitch...i am guessing the official wasn’t Bud Selig.
Ken Rosenthal’s idea of having 4 extra ranked pitchers on reserve for those pitcher that may have pitched on the previous Sunday is a great alternative. That would give a little more flexibility to the managers while not endangering million dollar arms.
The pre game was great to see with the parade on the red carpet and all the old time hero's and Hall of Famers. It was a sight that any fan would get chills from. It was great to see the current players interacting with the vets. Mr. Cub Earnie Banks and Kosuke Fukudome was cool to see. A personal highlight was to see my favorite player Chipper Jones with his parents and his Smokin' hot wife in the parade and getting some facetime on Fox.
Other then the length of the game it was a fitting way to close out Yankee was like the ghosts didn’t want to let the place go and kept the game hanging in the balance until the bitter end.
Canadian Justin Morneau had a great game and a great break all around. After becoming the Home Run Champion that no one will remember after Josh Hamilton stole the show Morneau went 2-4 with 2 runs including the game winning run.

On a side note all tours of Yankee Stadium are sold out and the usual $20 ticket is available on Stub Hub ranging from $79-$200. That may have just solidified my not going to see it. Guess I will have to put my focus on Wriggly and Fenway.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Josh - Bombing in the Bronx

What Josh Hamilton has just done is nothing short of amazing! In the usually mundane and uneventful “batting practice” known as the Home Run Derby, Hamilton has done something never done before. Not only did he hit 28 Home Runs in the first round, many of them were absolute bombs. I don’t even care what he does from here on out, whether he winds up the champ or not, just the fact that he displayed that kind of power for that amount of time was simply awesome. It is well documented about his past after being drafted 1st overall in 1999 and his struggles about his drug use and spending his $3.96 million signing bonus on crack and alcohol. For him to not only be a potential triple crown candidate All Star and potentially a Home Run Derby champ but to even be alive is one of the greatest stories in sport. I was in awe with probably everybody else in Yankee Stadium. In a park that already has all sorts of history it is just fitting in the last All Star Game in New York having Hamilton make even more history. Way to go Josh, keep this unbelievable season going.

The Stars Come Out

We have hit the "midway" point of the baseball season and it is All Star time. Of all the major sports except for maybe NASCAR the MLB All Star game is the only game that can be played close to what the game is actually like. Any of the contact games are just too risky for players to go all out for little or no reason and risk injury.
Unfortunately over time, baseball’s game has turned from a passionate game too more of a spectacle in recent years. Long are the days of the old timers who would play a full game not just 2 or 3 innings, the desperation to win that was once there just isn’t there anymore and the pride of the league in free agent era does not exist and with the recent inter-league play that has come in there is less of a mystery between the 2 leagues. Lets just say the is little chance that you will see Manny Ramirez take out Giovanni Soto at home...actually you probably wouldn’t see that anyway, but you get the jist. Despite Bud Selig trying to make the game "count" by awarding home field for the World Series to the winning league, it is very transparent of his attempt to make the game draw a few more people and up the tv ratings. Lets just enjoy the game for what it is and that is a celebration of the game for the fans to enjoy and a chance to say goodbye to one of the most historic parks in baseball history, Yankee Stadium.
I would have loved to gone there one to take it in for myself but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.
For those who are fans of the game I guess it doesn’t really matter. If you are going to get up for a Pardes-vs-Giants game then this will be light years ahead of that. Actually the All Star Game is actually more meaningful then a Pardes-vs-Giants game....both those teams are Not Good.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Around The Horn

Should injured Canadian Hurdler Perdita Felicien be allowed to make the Canadian team without qualifying?
No, if the alleged worlds fastest man Tyson Gay doesn’t get to run the 200 because he cramped up at the US Trials then she shouldn’t get to run either. I guess it doesn't matter either way with the stigma of 'roids especially in track does it even matter. If a syringe is pushed and no one sees it does it indeed boost performance?

Was there anything funnier then when Felicien hit the hurdle at the 2004 Olympics and went down taking out a rival?
No, No there was not

Michael Vick Filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection while in federal prison
How bad with money can you be to have such a huge signing bonus and salary and blow it all in such little time?

The Falcons bet on the wrong dog in that race...What? Too Soon??

Gary Bettman has tried to put an end to Burke/Lowe feud after Lowe fired back at Burke this week after a year of animosity.
It may have taken a year for Lowe to come up with a comeback but when he did he did so with gusto.
I am just glad that Craig McTavish talked him out of ‘Jerk Store, I am going with Jerk Store... Jerk Store’ though "Your cranium called. It’s got some space to rent.", "The zoo called. You’re due back by six." and "Oh yeah? Well I had sex with your wife!" could also have worked

KC Chiefs Tight End Tony Gonzalez recently saved a choking man in a restaurant after he began choking on a piece of meat
This marks the first time in recent memory that an NFL Player saved a life instead of took one, good work Tony!

Is there anything more insignificant then the Tour De France right now?
No Armstrong, no testosterone laced Landis, no least from this side of the lake. France can keep their cyclist...err bike riders not steroid cycles.

Mark Martin signs on with Hendrick Motorsports for a full ride next season.
What, does he think he is a boxer? He comes out of retirement more then Leave it to!

Justin Gimelstob fired a rant about his dislike Anna Kournikova with whom he once trained with. I will let his words tell it best.
"I’m going to serve it right at the body, about 128 [mph], right into her midriff," he said. "If she’s not crying by the time she comes off court then I did not do my job."
Asked if that meant he hated the Russian, with whom he trained as a youth player, he replied: "Hate is a very strong word. I just despise her to the maximum level just below hate." He added that he would not like to sleep with Kournikova, "because she’s such a douche". Instead, "I wouldn’t mind my brother, who is kind of a stud, nail her and then reap the benefits."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Sunday morning I got up and did my regular routine, ESPN The Reporters with Canadian John Saunders who is right in his element as host of that panel discussion. Another solid line-up with author of one of my favorite books of all time; FAB FIVE - from the Detroit Free Press, Mitch Albom, Times writer Mike Lupica and Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan. I then followed it up with the Canadian knock off and hit or miss version The Sports Reporters hosted by Dave Hodge. When that was over i switched to the the ongoing tennis match on NBC.Little did I know then that I was going to, over the next 7 or so hours and a few rain showers be treated to one of, if not the greatest tennis match's of all time.

I am not a huge tennis fan and will usually only watch for a few minutes here or there during a finals but this was a degree. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to watch the match in its entirety from beginning to end. The fact that the running time was nearly 5 hours and there were two rain delays also played a significant factor. That was the beauty of this particular match between Worlds #1 and #2 Roger Federer and Rafel Nadal, I will get to see it again no doubt as it will surely be played often on ESPN Classics or you can go to and stream or download the match. Maybe not ESPN Classic Canada as there will no doubt be a CFL game from 1977. The rivalry, the shot making, the drama and the fact that it was at Wimbledon made it the most epic battles of all time.
A five set epic that Nadal wound up winning in near darkness ( 6-4, 6-4,6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10),9-7)at the all England Club ending a run for Federer at Wimbledon. In typical form, both were humble in victory and in defeat.

Even if you are not a tennis fan you can’t help but be drawn in by this match.

The Wimbledon Men’s Final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal took a hefty Nielsen preliminary 4.6 household rating/12 share, some 44% higher than last year’s 3.2/9. It was the best-rated final in eight years, since a 5.0/14 for Pete Sampras-Patrick Rafter match.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

-Around The Horn-
A quick view of the week in sports

ARod is again involved in controversy, not for on field antics but in his personal life. The triangle has now been extended into a square. ARod’s wife Cynthia has been linked to rocker Lenny Kravitz in London and now Arod himself has seemed to have left his stripper in Toronto and has been linked to the Material girl herself Madonna. This is why Yankee fan doesn’t get with ARod...Jeeter is seen with untouchable models, DJ is the golden boy and knows how to do things right, ARod is allegedly hitting a 50 yr old mother. That is just bad for business. Alex needs to follow the lead from his captain. He is sure to be able to afford it...until the settlement.

The NBA is so embarrassed by referee Tim Donaghy that it wants him to reimburse the league for the cost of his basketball shoes. The NBA said in a court filing it spent $750 over three seasons to buy sneakers. This is not about money just to further humiliate him. Most of the time Leagues take the high road it is nice to see for once a little pettiness.

This may be a bit removed, but a classically insensitive remark by golf commentator Johnny Miller about recent US Open runner up Rocco Mediate caught my ear figured that it would fit well with the Around the Horn feature. Miller said Mediate “looks like the guy who cleans Tiger’s swimming pool.” He also said, “Guys with the name ‘Rocco’ don’t get on the trophy, do they?”. He later apologised but it was classically funny none the less.

I won’t even comment on Jason Giambi’s new ‘Stache except to say that i think even John Holmes is jealous of this one. For a great ‘Stache list visit Page 2 by clicking the hyperlink.

Mats Sundin is doing one heck of an impression of Brett Farve, and Farve is doing a great impression of an early episode of Friends with the will they or won’t they Ross and Rachel storyline. Just make a decision in a decent amount of time and stick with it. Stop being selfish and hold up half of a league worth of teams and make a decision one way or the other. Like burying a beloved pet cat in the back yard we just want closure.

In honor of our friends to the south today i say Happy 4th of July and a day that is going to be like the Super Bowl... you betcha the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Joey Chestnut will defend his title in this the Kentucky Derby of binge eating. Nothing says Independence like inhaling some wieners. If we can keep these down we’ll be sitting pretty!