Archive for January 2012

January 23, 2012

Just wanted to repost this to you fans and make you realize that Super Bowl Sunday is going to be ELITE Quarterback weekend. Eli said he is in the same class with Brady and now they square off. He has proved me wrong and I want to show you all what I mean…

The Sports Cycle

The New York Giants quarterback, who does have a Super Bowl MVP award to his name, said on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN New York 1050 on Tuesday that he considers himself to be a top quarterback who belongs in the same class as New England’s Tom Brady.

“I consider myself in that class and Tom Brady is a great quarterback, he’s a great player and what you’ve seen with him is he’s gotten better every year and he started off winning championships and I think he’s a better quarterback now than what he was, in all honesty, when he was winning those championships,” Manning said Tuesday. “It’s funny, you say well he won championships, but the team, but I think know he’s grown up and gotten better every year and that’s what I’m trying to do. I kind of hope these next seven years of my quarterback…

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New York Yankees added much needed pitching this season with key deals

January 23, 2012

Last year, the Yankees were still the best in baseball despite having such a mixed rotation. This has been the story for the Yankees in the past few years since they have won the World Series in 2009.

Let’s be honest Yankee fans, you cannot win baseball games when your #4 and #5 starters are Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. While they made great stories and both players produced, it doesn’t lead to postseason success.

So the Yankees made two significant deals in their big spending week. The New York Yankees traded top prospect Jesus Montero and right-handed pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for phenom pitcher Michael Pineda and righty Jose Campos.

The Yankees receive the 22-year-old Pineda after he went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA for the Mariners as a rookie last year.

After an up-and-down year in Triple-A, Montero came up to the majors and showed off his electric bat. In 18 games, he hit .328 with four home runs and 28 RBIs. He was expected to be the Yankees designated hitter this season.

This was the right move because the Yankees needed to get better in the rotation and Pineda has PLUS stuff and he is definitely the right pitcher the Yankees needed in the rotation. With Lefty Sabathia and Righty Pineda both throwing 95+ at the top of your rotation, it scares a lot of batters. This move makes the Yankees better in 2012 and for future seasons regardless of letting go of Montero.

He was a guy who had potential and tons of power but where were the Yankees going to play him? DH spot? Catcher? He had no clear-cut decision. Now he goes to the already young Mariners who are looking for some offense and Montero can do that especially playing the DH position. He can be put in the middle of the lineup with Smoak, Ackley, Wells, and Ichiro.

He will get a chance to play everyday on a young squad and will not be played around like the Yankees did for the past few seasons. Yankee fans should thank the organization for giving him a chance somewhere else. Otherwise, he would have been stuck in Yankees purgatory for many years.

The Yankees didn’t stop there. They added former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to their rotation.

Kuroda went 13-16 in 2011, but that was more a reflection of the Dodgers’ awful run support than his performance. He posted a career-best 3.07 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 202 innings. He made $12.5 million last season and has a 3.45 ERA with a win-loss record of 41-46 in four years.

This deal gives the Yankees depth and now a rotation that fills out to be Sabathia, Pineda, Hughes, Kuroda, and Nova. Freddy Garcia and A.J. Burnett will be the 6th and 7th starter on the team in case of injury or emergency.

This depth in the rotation gives the Yankees stability that they can win 97 games but also can be a consistent AL East winner every single year. So yes they did give up offense in Montero but how did they lose to the Tigers last year in the Playoffs? Pitching.

The games of baseball always comes down to the guy on the mound. If the starter cannot get you into the 7th or 8th inning, you won’t be able to hear “Enter the Sandman” as much as you want to on a daily basis. The Yankees made great moves and you will see the improvement this season.

Shaquille O’Neal providing entertainment to the NBA after long career

January 17, 2012

I wrote over the summer about how the NBA will miss Shaquille O’Neal this coming year after his long 19 year career. After watching the first few weeks of the season, I was completely wrong. Have you watch TNT or NBA TV lately?? Shaq has become the face of the NBA on television with the likes of Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. His enthusiasm, passion, and comedic actions to the sport of basketball make fans want to turn on the television and actually watch the halftime and post game shows. Shaq is a MUST WATCH after you read this post. He has been hilarious over the past few weeks of the season and here are some clips of what I am talking about folks…


Dwight Howard breaks the record for Free Throw Attempts in a single game

January 13, 2012

(MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

I am posting this after drinking a nice cold water and sitting on my couch thinking, did I just watch that? Did I watch the most boring second half in my entire life? Yes, I did actually do that and I have to say that I am throughly entertained. The reason was because it was something no one has ever seen in an NBA game.

With about 2 minutes left in the third quarter and Andris Biedrins in foul trouble with 5, the tallest player to guard the 6 foot 11 inches Dwight Howard was David Lee and he is only 6 foot 9. Not to mention, Howard is 265 pounds and David is 240. Howard was just muscling his way inside getting easy opportunities leading to his 45 points. 

So what could the Warriors do to stop Big number 12? The answer was send him to the free throw line. Dwight Howard had never shot more than 24 free throws in a game which he had four times previously. Certainly, nothing compared to the Warriors’ plans.

Howard eclipsed his old mark with in the third quarter, getting hacked and held intentionally at the end of each quarter. Golden State’s rookie coach Mark Jackson’s strategy slowed down the pace and refused to let the Magic’s potent shooters find their rhythm.

So what was Stan Van Gundy’s strategy when he saw what the old ESPN analyst was thinking? He said,

“I’m looking at them like, `We’re not going to run a play. He’s going to foul him,” Van Gundy said. “What are we going to bother with diagraming a play? Make the free throw, play some defense.”

That about summed up this entire game in a nut shell.

Howard broke Wilt Chamberlain’s nearly 50-year-old NBA record for most free throw attempts in a game, making 21 of 39 in the Orlando Magic’s 117-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors. He said after the game,

“I just tried to be aggressive and get to the line. I didn’t care if I missed 30,” Howard said. “I was still going to go up there and shoot the next one with confidence.”

He finished with 45 points and 23 rebounds and it was his 1st career game with 40+ points, 20+ rebounds.

He’s the only active player to accomplish that feat. The last player to have at least 40 points and 20 rebounds was Shaquille O’Neal who had 48 points and 20 rebounds against the Celtics on March 1, 2003, according to STATS LLC.

So I just had to tell you all out there that a new coach tried a new strategy after watching so many of his games year after year and Howard still beat the Warriors on their home floor. Even with Howard going 21-39 at the free throw, he shot 12-21 (57%) from the field. The guy just couldn’t get stopped.

Unfortunately, his next game will be against the New York Knicks. They have Tyson Chandler and a deeper bench so don’t expect the same result again. Just take this game in and say to yourself, did this really happen? Yes, it did. And we probably won’t see it happen again.

Reds Hall of Famer Barry Larkin could have been part of 2000 New York Mets

January 11, 2012

Via New York Post’s Dan Martin:

Barry Larkin has no regrets about never joining the Mets.

The shortstop, elected to the Hall of Fame on Monday, was on the verge of going to the Mets in July 2000, but rejected the move when then-general manager Steve Phillips decided not to give him the three-year contract he wanted.

“I certainly am happy that I didn’t accept that trade,” Larkin said at a press conference at the Waldorf yesterday of the swap that would have included former Mets prospect and future bust Alex Escobar.

Instead, Larkin wound up getting the three-year deal he wanted from the Reds, and the Mets were left to use Mike Bordick and Kurt Abbott at shortstop in their five-game World Series loss to the Yankees.

“We were ready to come to New York,” Larkin said, a 12-time All-Star who won a World Series with the Reds in 1990. “Being in Cincinnati for so long, I didn’t want to go to another organization as a potential rental player and play half a season.”

Larkin mentioned that Jose Reyes would eventually take over the position, but Reyes didn’t become the Mets’ full-time shortstop until 2005.

Still, Larkin likely would have helped in the postseason that year, because the Mets were without Rey Ordonez, who went down with a broken arm. Bordick and Abbott combined to go 3-for-16 in the Series.

“When they wouldn’t give me that commitment, that’s when it fell apart,” said Larkin, the 1995 NL MVP. “That’s what I was looking for in Cincinnati, three more years.”

At the time, Larkin said he was told by Reds management they were not interested in giving him a long-term deal.

“I was told I was not coming back to Cincinnati,” Larkin said. “I wanted to know if I would be there for a while.”

But team owner Carl Lindner had a change of heart.

“He said ‘The natives have spoken,’ ” Larkin said. “The fans really wanted me to stay, so that’s what happened.”

The Mets likely didn’t have too many second thoughts about not giving him the three extra seasons, because Larkin’s best years turned out to be behind him.

Although Larkin played until 2004, he never again reached the production of the seasons that propelled him to Cooperstown, where he will be inducted in June along with former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo.

After reading this I realized that the Mets could have won a World Series in 2000 against the Yankees. The one position the Mets lacked that season was shortstop both defensively and offensively when Rey Ordonez went down with an injury. Could you imagine how different the team would have been? Could you imagine the success the team could have brought in? But on the other hand, I am glad he stayed on the Reds his entire career. It makes him the good guy and not the bad guy who was out for the money but for the love of the Cincinnati Reds. I am glad he is a Hall of Famer and a Red for life, but I couldn’t help but think what could it have been like. Only Steve Phillips would not make a deal that could impact the future of the Mets. Oh what it could meant for a young Mets fan…

No love for Eric Young in Hall of Fame voting

January 11, 2012

Via ESPN Page 2:

Where is the love for Eric Young?

All the focus is on Barry Larkin’s election to the Hall of Fame, but where is the outrage over Eric Young falling just 429 votes short? While 86 percent of the writers somehow saw fit to elect Larkin, a 12-time All-Star, nine-time Silver Slugger, three-time Gold Glover, one-time MVP, one-time 30-30 man and full-time Reds player, why did only one writer find room on the ballot for Young?

For crying out loud, that’s only one more vote than Phil Nevin received and half as many as Brad Radke.

We’re talking about a guy who batted for a higher career average than Harmon Killebrew, played in more All-Star Games than Ty Cobb, hit more home runs than Christy Mathewson, scored more runs than Sandy Koufax and played in more postseasons than Ernie Banks. All those guys are in Cooperstown yet Young finishes 429 votes short? And these writers consider themselves baseball “experts”?

Worse, now Young falls off the ballot because he didn’t receive 5 percent of the vote! Why aren’t Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck foaming at the mouth over this? Why aren’t the Republican candidates debating this and producing negative commercials in New Hampshire? “Barry Larkin is going into the Hall of Fame, even though he missed more than 600 games in his career — that’s four full seasons in which he was paid to do absolutely nothing!” Why aren’t statheads developing a more obscure, baffling statistic than WAR so the writers can properly evaluate Young’s career and …

Wait a second. I just remembered. I didn’t vote for Eric, either.

Never mind.

I thought I would share this article to show you fans how obscure and crazy the Hall of Fame voting is every single year. Eric Young was a good player, not a great player for 16 seasons. But if you relate his achievements and stats to other players, he’s a hall of famer. With so much talk every year about writers voting incorrectly it makes me bring up this question, should the computer start deciding who is in and who is out? Could it be more accurate than the system right now? I would try it out…

Barry Larkin is a true Hall of Famer

January 11, 2012

Via Stats and Info ESPN Blog:

After getting 62 percent of the votes last year, 13 percent shy of induction, Barry Larkin became the 24th shortstop elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with a jump to 86 percent of the vote.

Larkin, on the ballot for the third time, was the only player voted in on the ballot, and will join the late Ron Santo, elected last month by the Golden Era Committee getting inducted.

Larkin was a 12-time All-Star, nine-time Silver Slugger award winner, and star for the 1990 Cincinnati Reds team that won the World Series.

Larkin is one of five players who played at least half their games at shortstop, who finished with at least 2,000 hits and 150 home runs, along with Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr., Robin Yount, Alan Trammell and Joe Cronin (Ernie Banks isn’t listed because he played more games at first base than shortstop).

From 1986 to 2004 (the span of his playing career), Larkin ranked in the top three among shortstops in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored, hits, stolen bases, and runs batted in. He made nine Silver Slugger teams. The only infielder to make more is Alex Rodriguez.

Larkin was successful on 83 percent of his stolen base attempts, the fifth-best career rate for anyone with at least 200 stolen bases.

(Dilip Vishwanat/TSN/Icon SMI)

Larkin fares very well in advanced metrics, rating as the 10th best shortstop all-time, using both the Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.com versions of Wins Above Replacement. If we include Banks in the discussion, his WAR rates sixth-best among those who debuted since World War II ended (1945).

Larkin’s trademark was that he was one of the toughest players in baseball to strike out. He ranked in the top 10 in his league in that category six times, leading the NL in being toughest to whiff in 1988. He finished his career with 817 strikeouts and 939 walks in 9,057 plate appearances.

Larkin joins the likes of fellow Reds such as Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench as Hall of Fame inductees. He rates among the top three Reds all-time in games, runs, hits, extra-base hits, walks, and stolen bases.

Finishing second on the ballots was Jack Morris, who received 382, or 66.7 percent, of the vote. 430 of 573 votes were needed for induction. Other players receiving more than 50 percent of the votes were Jeff Bagwell (56.0 percent) and Lee Smith (50.6).

Barry Larkin was one of the best shortstops to play ever and can put himself among the names of  Ozzie Smith, Phil Rizzuto,
and Robin Yount. The thing I love about Larkin’s career was he played on the Reds his entire career. To me, that makes you an instant hall of famer. He won the World Series with the 1990 team and played until he was 40 until management wanted to move on. That is what I call dedication and that gets you more votes into the Hall of Fame in my opinion. Finally, he changed the game at the shortstop position. Barry won 9 silver slugger awards, NINE! That isn’t done by many shortstops in the league. He showed other teams that power, speed, consistency, and great defense is what you need at the shortstop position. In the past ten years, I can’t think of any other player that could be consistent with Barry Larkin’s career besides Derek Jeter. And we know where he will be after his long Yankee career is over…