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Archive for May, 2009

Wieters to make MLB debut

May 29, 2009 Comments off

The day that so many have waited so long for has finally arrived. Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will make his big league debut Friday against the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.
If you’re a fantasy baseball person, check your league, he is still available in 30 percent of ESPN leagues and likely will outperform your current starter, unless you have Joe Mauer.
Why is everyone so hyped about Wieters? Consider these words from ESPN’s Buster Olney on Baseball Tonight:
“He is regarded as baseball’s best prospect,” Olney said. “He’s probably the best prospect that the Orioles have turned out since Cal Ripken in the early 1980’s.”
Or these words from a teammate yesterday:
“He is the switch-hitting Jesus.”
Wow. Sure, the Orioles haven’t really been known for turning out any big time prospects over that period, but to be compared to Ripken or Jesus in anyway is a huge credit to the ability of this young man. He has also drawn comparison to Mauer, who is having a monster start.
This is exactly why I, along with the entire Orioles’ fan base, have been waiting patiently all season for the arrival of Wieters in the big leagues.
So far this season, Wieters is batting .305 with five home runs and 30 RBIs in 39 games through Wednesday with Triple-A Norfolk. Yet, many believe those numbers will pale in comparison to his eventual numbers as the everyday catcher for Baltimore.
If you have MLB.tv or MLB Extra Innings, be sure to catch the game tonight at 6:05 p.m. (CDT). If you cannot watch it live, follow it on MLB.com or catch the highlights tonight on SportsCenter. Sure, there may be a big NBA playoff game on tonight, but it will likely not decide the series between the Lakers and Nuggets.
The debut of Wieters, on the other hand, is something that cannot be missed.
Categories: Uncategorized

Some links from the sports world

May 28, 2009 Comments off
Only five games in baseball today, including an off day for the Milwaukee Brewers. With little to watch today, I thought I’d take a look at a few things in the news today. So here we go:

The Packers would be smart to settle things with both players as soon as possible. Each of them is too important to the team to allow things like this to become major issues, especially with Aaron Kampman moving to outside linebacker in the Packers’ new 3-4 defense.

ESPN fails to note Lee Corso is more than 70 years old. For anyone else over the age of 70, a stroke would be a big deal, regardless of how minor it truly was. Why is this story’s focus more on whether or not the guy will be on GameDay and not on how his health is?
Personally, I think Corso should consider himself lucky, retire from broadcasting, and enjoy his final years with his family and friends. If he needs to watch football so badly, I’m sure whatever he makes for GameDay is enough to buy tickets to one game a week.

Apparently ex-Kentucky head coach Billy Gillispie never signed a true contract and simply had a sort of “gentlemen’s agreement” with the Wildcats. This could make Rich Rodriguez and West Virginia look like child’s play.

Jason Varitek managed to hit two home runs and get tossed from today’s game along with manager Terry Francona, but not before Twins’ catcher Mike Redmond and manager Ron Gardenhire got the boot in the top half of the seventh.
To make things even more interesting, the home plate umpire had only recently been called up from Triple-A. We’ll see how much longer he lasts with that quick hook.

If Manny Ramirez earns a spot in the starting lineup for this year’s midsummer classic, I promise you I will not watch. It’s absolutely embarrassing that he is even fourth at this point.
Categories: Uncategorized

Barcelona wins UEFA Champions League Final

May 27, 2009 Comments off

Before the championship match between Barcelona and Manchester United began, it was unclear whether the Barcelona defense would be good enough to stop the United.
I mean, three of their four usual starters were unavailable for the Champions League final, could they really stop Cristiano Ronaldo and the United’s front line?
Well, 90 minutes and a 2-0 victory later, it’s clear Barcelona is the best football team in Europe.
If you missed it, there’s a replay tonight at 10 p.m. CDT. I don’t know about you, but I’ll have a hard time not watching it again. When else do you get to watch such great football in the U.S.?
It took them some time to get going, but after a Samuel Eto’o goal in the 10th minute, Barcelona never looked back. Over the final 80 minutes the United had no chance to get back in the game, and they, along with everyone else, knew it.
After the first 10 minutes of strong play by Manchester United, they never presented a true challenge to Barcelona, looking like a shadow of their usual selves the rest of the way. Barcelona, on the other hand, enjoyed a 1-0 lead most of the game that seemed more like 3-0 with the ease with which they were able to maintain it.
Barcelona controlled the rest of the game, passing and moving with ease while Manchester United were unable to right the ship, fading away after 10 strong minutes early in the match.
And when Lionel Messi put Barcelona up 2-0 in the 70th minute all they had to do was close out the final 20 minutes to receive the trophy. And they did, easily.
Not only did they play like the best team in Europe, Barcelona also celebrated like the best team in Europe. After forming a guard of honor while the United received their medals at the podium, Barcelona didn’t hold back in their own celebration.
There was plenty of confetti, fist pumps, yelling and singing to go around. The celebration by Barcelona made the annual celebration by the Super Bowl champs look like a youth league championship by comparison.
The only letdown in today’s Champions League final is that there is such a time zone discrepancy between the United States and Europe. It’s unfortunate because the UEFA Champions League final is as exciting a sporting event to watch as the biggest game annually in the States (the Super Bowl) if not more so.
It’s certainly one of the biggest annual events in Europe, and it’s unfortunate it cannot be aired during prime time in the United States to allow more Americans to witness the incredible football being played by these teams. Of course, since that will never happen, I’ll settle for an excellent championship matinee that still allows me to catch the NBA playoffs later tonight.
And now, while Manchester United are left with a lot of unanswered questions, Barcelona proved today they were the best team in Europe.
Categories: Uncategorized

Another NBA playoff classic

May 26, 2009 Comments off

The 2009 NBA playoffs just keep getting better. And one thing is evident: LeBron James has the ability to be a closer and to lead his team past Orlando to the NBA Finals.
Sure, he may not have sealed the deal in Tuesday night’s Game 4 at Orlando, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. James had a heck of a game, he just didn’t get enough help.
Unfortunately, when he doesn’t sit out in the last 29 minutes of the game, he can’t do it all on his own. And his teammates just didn’t have what it takes to help him out.
Sure, Delonte West, Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson are good players, but Orlando’s Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and Rafer Alston have simply outperformed them in late-game situations in the Cavaliers’ lossed.
The Cavaliers’ 10-4 run to close out regulation was spearheaded by James and his sheer desire to lead his team to a victory. And those two free throws to tie the game? Unbelievable.
James shot just 78 percent from the line this season and that’s an improvement on his career 73.8 percent clip from the stripe. Yet, with the game on the line, he hit potentially the two most crucial free throws of his career Tuesday night.
But, all the effort it took just to send the game to overtime was enough to allow the Magic to steal the momentum in the extra period.
In overtime, James did his best to counter Dwight Howard, who scored 10 of 16 points in the extra period for the Magic. James, on the other hand, had 10 of Cleveland’s 14 overtime points. But it wasn’t enough, as Howard and the Magic took advantage of several mistakes by the Cavaliers to earn the 116-114 Game 4 victory.
Even a three-pointer by James with under five seconds remaining just wasn’t enough. After Lewis hit one of two free throws, James could not hit a long three to win at the buzzer.
He had one great buzzer-beating shot in him, but not a second. James finished with 44 points, and it still just wasn’t enough.
Now, the Magic have a huge advantage going back to Cleveland. Tonight, Howard was better than James, but if only because his teammates performed better than James’ did.
Let’s hope the last game (or two or three) of this series is as exciting as the first four. And we’ll see if the Cavaliers and James can close out at home to keep their championship hopes alive.
Categories: Uncategorized

Braun and Hardy lead all-star voting

May 26, 2009 Comments off

Finally some news worth reading! After looking over the neverending NFL coverage on ESPN.com, I checked my Twitter updates. Luckily, I follow Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Tom Haudricourt who posted about this story.
In the first NL all-star voting update released by the MLB today. Among the leaders are eight Milwaukee Brewers players, including Ryan Braun (who leads all NL outfielders) and J.J. Hardy (who leads NL shortstops).
Though he will miss the rest of the regular season, Rickie Weeks is among four Brewers who rank second in all-star voting at their respective positions. The others? Bill Hall, Prince Fielder, Jason Kendall round out the Crew’s second place vote-getters.
As for Mike Cameron and Corey Hart, they rank fifth and seventh, respectively, in the outfield. Imagine this: the entire Brewers starting lineup could find its way into the all-star game if Brewers fans increase their voting even more.
More likely, however, would be Braun and Hardy maintaining their respective leads along with Fielder getting the nod as the backup to Albert Pujols and Trevor Hoffman getting a spot in the NL bullpen.
No matter what happens, the Brew Crew should be well represented at the All-Star Game.
Categories: Uncategorized

Entertainment and Sports Programming Network? More like NFL Programming Network

May 26, 2009 Comments off

Yesterday was Labor Day, the unofficial opener to the summer season. Families took vacations, business boomed for seasonal businesses and our fallen soldiers were honored by many.
Seems like a perfect time to come out with the first NFL Power Rankings of the season, right?
Come on, ESPN. If you’re going to pimp out the NFL this much at least put a disclaimer on your front page (Something along the lines of how much more important the NFL is than any other sport).
Neverless, the geniuses in Bristol, Conn., know what sells and America loves its football. Myself, I would prefer not to think about football until at least August. Even then, if forced to choose between preseason NFL coverage and the final stretch of the baseball season I would take America’s pastime in a heartbeat.
Besides, does it really matter when the top of the list features the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and New York Giants? Try thinking outside the box once in a while. Anybody can predict the reigning champions are the best team in football. But who saw the Steelers coming at this point last year?
I wish ESPN would quit force feeding NFL content during the heart of the NBA and NHL playoffs and the MLB season. Until that happens, consider me frustrated.
Categories: Uncategorized