Archive for August 2011

Marquette basketball to play on ESPN networks 11 times this year

August 31, 2011

 

Sun. Jan 1 12:00 p.m. Villanova at Marquette ESPNU
Wed. Jan 4 6:00 p.m. Marquette at Georgetown ESPNU
Wed. Jan 11 6:00 p.m. St. John’s at Marquette ESPNU
Sat. Jan 14 1:00 p.m. Pittsburgh at Marquette ESPNU
Mon. Jan 16 2:30 p.m. Louisville at Marquette ESPN / ESPN3.com
Sat. Jan 28 11:00 a.m. Marquette at Villanova ESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Mon. Feb 6 8:00 p.m. Marquette at DePaul ESPNU
Sat. Feb 11 2:00 p.m. Cincinnati at Marquette ESPNU
Sat. Feb 18 11:00 a.m. Marquette at Connecticut ESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Fri. Feb 24 8:00 p.m. Marquette at West Virginia ESPN / ESPN3.com
Wed. Feb 29 6:00 p.m. Marquette at Cincinnati ESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com

  …This is telling me that Marquette is now known as a TOP Big East school in the country. They used to play on the Big East network for a lot of these games last year but now there will be a lot on ESPNU and a few big matchups on ESPN primetime. To be honest, this is something I don’t think anyone saw coming a few years ago when Buzz Williams was hired. I think this schedule improves the recognition of Marquette’s program and their success the past few years in the Big East and NCAA tournaments. In the end, by having this deal, the program takes a BIG step forward. But if they don’t live up to their hype when the lights are flashing, they might have to say bye-bye to the national spotlight in the upcoming years…

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The New York Yankees are Good, Rich, and Lucky

August 31, 2011

This is a great article by Grant Brisbee of SB Nation regarding baseball and the luck the Yankees have had. Not to mention how much payroll leads to success in the MLB. Check it out…

The Yankees are leading MLB in payroll. Again. Silly Yankees. Don’t they know that money can’t buy championships? Of course not. Money can’t buy anything. It’s an inanimate object. It can’t even buy a bag of FunYuns if the dollar is too wrinkly.

Teams can use money to buy players, but the teams who spend a lot of money on payroll aren’t even guaranteeing wins, much less championships. Here are the twelve teams who will spend more than $100,000,000 on payroll this year: 

1. New York Yankees $201,689,030
2. Philadelphia Phillies $172,976,381
3. Boston Red Sox $161,407,476
4. Los Angeles Angels $138,998,524
5. Chicago White Sox $129,285,539
6. Chicago Cubs $125,480,664
7. New York Mets $120,147,310
8. San Francisco Giants $118,216,833
9. Minnesota Twins $112,737,000
10. Detroit Tigers $105,705,232
11. St. Louis Cardinals $105,433,572
12. Los Angeles Dodgers $103,788,990

The top three are three of the best teams in baseball, of course. But of the nine teams that follow, only one is likely to make the playoffs. The Angels have a decent chance, and the Giants technically aren’t out of it, but the teams who spent more than $100 million in 2011 had just as good of a chance at finishing under .500 as they did of making the playoffs.

One of my biggest pet peeves in baseball today is a reductive haves/have-nots discussion. That sort of thing makes baseball seem predictable, which it most certainly isn’t. Yes, the Yankees have a substantial, irrefutable advantage as the only team willing to spend $200 million. They can afford players like Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett, and when the latter started to stink, they offered to throw sacks of doubloons at Cliff Lee. The Yankees are rich, and that helps them greatly.

When people focus on what the Yankees spent this year, though, it’s irritating. Not because I’m some radical laissez-faire fetishist, but because it ignores how lucky the Yankees have been this year.

  W-L G GS CG SHO     IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Bartolo Colon 8-9 24 21 1 1     138.2 138 65 56 17 34 116 3.63 1.24

 

  W-L G GS CG       IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Freddy Garcia 11-7 22 21 0       128.1 125 48 44 10 38 85 3.09 1.27

 

  W-L G GS CG       IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Ivan Nova 14-4 24 22 0       131.2 136 64 58 12 45 81 3.96 1.37

The Yankees have gotten 64 starts out of those three pitchers. Two of them might have been dead before this season started, I haven’t checked their Wikipedia pages yet. The Yankees entered the season with three known quantities in the starting rotation. After that, they were just hoping to patch things up until the trading deadline. And of those three known quantities, here’s how they’ve done this season:

  • One was the ace he was supposed to be
  • One has continued to pitch far below expectations
  • One completely disintegrated

It should have been a complete disaster. It should have been “Sabathia and Sabathia, and pray for Sabathia.” Instead, the Yankees found three good pitchers by putting an ad on Craigslist. Other teams spend millions internationally, in the draft, and on the market looking for pitchers like Colon, Garcia, and Nova. Like, oh, the Yankees, for one. And after all of that, the Yankees rotation is being held together ably by two minor-league deals and a semi-prospect.

Don’t let the word “luck” irritate you, Yankees fans. All sorts of credit goes to the Yankees’ scouts, coaches, and front office for correctly predicting that they could find a couple of useful players out of the group they invited to camp. But for all three of them to hit in the same season with barely a hiccup? That’s not how any pitching staffs are supposed to work, much less pitching staffs cobbled together in January.

Colon hadn’t pitched since 2009, and he hadn’t pitched a full season since 2005. Garcia hasn’t stayed healthy for a whole season since 2006, and he was merely decent when he has been healthy since then. Nova’s career strikeout rate in the minors was 6.4 — that’s a hard strikeout rate for a right-hander to thrive with in the majors, and that was his career mark in the minors. And that’s before accounting for the fact that young pitchers are all weirdos whose performances are usually impossible to predict.

Yet here the Yankees are, ready to make the playoffs again, behind a ridiculous offense and a lot of good pitching. A ton of that has to do with money (and talent evaluation), don’t get me wrong. But don’t ignore the good fortune that the Yankees have enjoyed, either.

I know what you’re thinking now: “Finally. Finally the Yankees catch a few breaks.” Yep. It’s about time.

This is perfectly argued and perfectly said. As a New Yorker and a guy who follows the Yankees, I don’t even know how they have won as many games and are even in contention for first place. I guess when you have the big bucks, there are no whammies…

ESPN the Magazine: What if Michael Vick was white?

August 30, 2011

Saw this story on ESPN.com and I think it is a must read for football players and future sociologist out there who want to understand more about race in sports. This story appears in the Sept. 5 issue of ESPN The Magazine and is written by Touré…

(Photo illustration by D'arcy Hyde for ESPN The Magazine )

WHEN MICHAEL VICK PLAYS, I see streetball. I don’t just mean that sort of football where you have to count to four-Mississippi before you can rush the quarterback, nearly everything breaks down and it’s all great fun. I also mean street basketball. Vick’s style reminds me of Allen Iverson — the speed, the court sense, the sharp cuts, the dekes, the swag. In those breathtaking moments when the Eagles QB abandons the pocket and takes off, it feels as if he’s thumbing his nose at the whole regimented, militaristic ethos of the game.

All of that is why, to me, Vick seems to have a deeply African-American approach to the game. I’m not saying that a black QB who stands in the pocket ain’t playing black. I’m saying Vick’s style is so badass, so artistic, so fluid, so flamboyant, so relentless — so representative of black athletic style — that if there were a stat for swagger points, Vick would be the No. 1 quarterback in the league by far.

Race is an undeniable and complex element of Vick’s story, both because of his style as well as the rarity of black QBs in the NFL. A decade after he became the first black QB to be drafted No. 1 overall, about one in five of the league’s passers is African-American, compared with two-thirds of all players. But after his arrest for dogfighting, so many people asked: Would a white football player have gotten nearly two years in prison for what Vick did to dogs?

This question makes me cringe. It is so facile, naive, shortsighted and flawed that it is meaningless. Whiteness comes with great advantages, but it’s not a get-out-of-every-crime-free card. Killing dogs is a heinous crime that disgusts and frightens many Americans. I’m certain white privilege would not be enough to rescue a white NFL star caught killing dogs.

The problem with the “switch the subject’s race to determine if it’s racism” test runs much deeper than that. It fails to take into account that switching someone’s race changes his entire existence. In making Vick white, you have him born to different parents. That alone sets his life trajectory in an entirely different direction. Thus when this hypothetical white Michael Vick … wait, I can’t even continue that sentence in good faith. I mean, who would this white Vick be? That person is unknowable. When you alter his race, it’s like those Back to the Future movies where someone goes back in time, inadvertently changes one small thing about his parents’ dating history and then the person starts to disappear. If Vick had been born to white parents, you wouldn’t even be reading this right now. That Vick would have had radically different options in life compared with the Vick who grew up in the projects of Newport News, Va., where many young black men see sports as the only way out.

This is not to say there aren’t insights to be gained from hypotheticals. One pertinent question: Would a white kid have been introduced to dogfighting at a young age and have it become normalized to the extent that he builds it into his life after he joins the NFL? It’s possible, but it’s far less likely because what made Vick stand out among dogfighters is less race than class. The deep pockets of an NFL star led to a kennel that was too big not to fail eventually. But if it did, though, would this white kid have been busted? Remember, it wasn’t suspicion of dogfighting that started the investigation that put Vick in jail. It was that element that we’ve all seen hold back or bring down so many athletes from the hood — the entourage. Vick’s cousin Davon Boddie was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell in Hampton, Va. When police asked him for his address, he led them to the home where Bad Newz Kennels was located. After that, Vick never had a chance.

Here’s another question: If Vick grew up with the paternal support that white kids are more likely to have (72 percent percent of black children are born to unwed mothers compared with 29 percent of white children), would he have been involved in dogfighting? I ask this not to look for an excuse but to explore the roots of his behavior. Vick’s stunningly stupid moral breakdown with respect to dogs is certainly related to the culture of the world he grew up in, which he says fully embraced dogfighting. But it’s also related to the household he grew up in.

Vick’s father, Michael Boddie, was not a positive influence on him growing up. Boddie admitted to The Washington Post that he was a cocaine user and had been high and drunk around young Vick. He says he often prepared the family garage so Vick could have pit bull fights there. Boddie’s account is disputed by a family friend, who says Vick’s mother would not have allowed that. Either way, at some point in Vick’s youth, his father became estranged from the family. This breakdown of Vick’s paternal relationship is a pattern that’s all too common among black men of his generation. Too many are left to define manhood on their own, so they gravitate toward the most charismatic and inspiring men in their world. Sometimes those men are gritty local sports coaches who teach them the value of hard work, but sometimes they’re ghetto celebrities who are unsavory role models with bad habits.

Ultimately, there is no separating Vick from his circumstances: his race, parents, economics and opportunities. Alter any of those elements and everything about him and how the world sees him would be unrecognizable.

So let’s look at him a different way. Let’s see him as someone in the third act of the epic movie that is his life, leading a team that many expect to see in the Super Bowl. Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” is playing underneath because the humbled protagonist has finally overcome his personal demons and has begun living up to his athletic promise. And to those who believe we should judge a man by how he responds when dealing with the worst life has to offer — with how he climbs after he hits rock bottom — Michael Vick has become heroic.

And that has nothing to do with race.

…This is an interesting article but also confuses me and probably every football fan. What does Mike Vick’s success in the NFL have anything to do with his race? Is the author trying to say that African-American Quarterbacks in the NFL are not liked because of race? Are they not good  enough to win because of their skin color? These are the questions that I have to ask throughout the article because he clearly thinks Vick would have been different and played differently if he was a caucasian quarterback. To be honest, I think Vick is a top 5 quarterback regardless of race, economics, or opportunity. If you are a great player and a great talent in the NFL, it shouldn’t matter what race you or where you are from. All that should matter is that you love the game and play it at the highest level. Yes, he has made mistakes, but in his defense many white players have made bad decisions. It’s not only the African-American players that get into trouble and hurt themselves. Overall, he’s a great player and you can’t knock his skills. That’s why Michael Vick is so popular in the NFL and it is why he is now part of the 100 million contract club…

The Sports Cycle Update: Little League World Series

August 29, 2011

Donnie Dwyer covers the Little League World Series from WIlliamsport, Pennsylvannia and discusses the change in our youth sports and the affect professionals have on our children…

Photo Gallery: Yankees vs. Athletics on July 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

Here is a photo gallery of the New York Yankees 17-7 victory over the Oakland Athletics at new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The biggest part about this game was the fact that it was 101 degrees at the stadium, Texiera hit a grand slam, and rookie 3rd Baseman Brandon Laird (brother of Cardinals catcher, Gerald Laird) got his first major league hit. We were sitting in section 332A Row 4 Seats 1-4 and lets just say they were right by the foul pole in left field. To get the shots on my new Cannon Rebel Camera are phenomenal. I hope you enjoy the pictures and would love to hear your comments about them…

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Is Mark Sanchez a model or a quarterback?

August 18, 2011

New York Jets quarterback, Mark Sanchez has led his team to the AFC championship two years in a row. He also has been on the cover of men’s magazine, GQ,  for two years and has been taking hits from his coaches and teammates about being a “pretty boy.” New right tackle Wayne Hunter knows he has to do his job if Sanchez is going to keep his marketability level high enough for the glossy magazines.

“Mark’s a pretty boy, a California pretty boy,” Hunter said. “I can’t get him hit too many times or else he won’t be on the cover of anything.”

 To read more on what other players say in the article, CLICK HERE

I have to agree with Wayne Hunter on his quarterback. Yes, Sanchez has been doing his job and brought his team to the AFC Championship but No, he should stop being on the covers of magazines and focus on the cover of his quarterback playbook. Sometimes players don’t realize the significance being on a cover of a magazine or being on television every single day. One thing for sure is that it is distracting in the huddle and it can affect the chemistry of the team. When Center Nick Mangold talked about Sanchez in his white pants during a huddle in practice I laughed but was disturbed at the same time. These guys are supposed to be talking football, not clothing styles. But hey, if Mark loves to do it and the Jets keep winning no one will complain. Unless you don’t beat Tom Brady and the Patriots…

Stat of the Night in the MLB

August 17, 2011

That’s insane! That’s almost like 3 seasons. He is one of the true slap hitters in the game to go along with Luis Castillo and Ichiro in their era. Those guys just know how to find holes in the infield, steal bases, and score runs. I think Pierre is one of the most underrated outfielders in baseball and I think that when he was younger he could have been a top 15 outfielder in the league. Sometimes speed and contact means more than just Home Runs and RBI’s…