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Archive for May, 2009

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

Bill Hall should start at shortstop

May 25, 2009 Comments off

As long as J.J. Hardy is out, Craig Counsell is the most likely candidate to replace him. Personally, I think Bill Hall should get an opportunity to start at shortstop sometime this week.
Hall, who drove in the game winner today for Milwaukee, has a better arm and more range than Counsell, despite his recent hitting woes. I think, especially against a lefty, Hall deserves a look at the position.
Counsell proved today, on the first hit of the game surrendered by Yovani Gallardo, he does not have the arm to be an elite shortstop at the MLB level. If I were him, I would be glad the Cardinals managed one more hit off Gallardo, because a hit like that is not the one you want to be the only hit allowed in a ballgame.
Hall, on the other hand, has a cannon. If he had fielded that ball, just as with J.J. Hardy, there’s a good chance Gallardo’s no-hit bid could have been intact.
It’s clear manager Ken Macha and the Brewers want to keep Mat Gamel in the lineup whenever they can, so why not shift Hall to shortstop? You could even play Counsell at second base if he is preferred in the lineup over Casey McGehee.
Yes, Hall has struggled against right-handed pitching this season, but the best way for him to get out of that slump is to face more right-handers, not by riding the bench. And besides, he sure looked good today against righty Kyle McClellan.
So, what do you say Macha, can we see Billy at shortstop?’
Categories: Uncategorized

Pitching duel better than slugfest

May 25, 2009 Comments off

Remember that episode of The Simpsons when Bart goes crazy and believes Major League Baseball is spying on him? And when Mark McGwire comes in an distracts everyone by hitting a few dingers? I’ve always thought that was the perfect representation of the mentality of the average baseball fan, especially in 1999 when the episode aired.
Well, personally, while a big home run does get me off my feet at the park, nothing excites me more than a game filled with excellent defense and a great pitchers’ duel. Today, the Brewers and Cardinals provided just that.
Yovani Gallardo pitched a no-hitter into the sixth inning while his counterpart, Chris Carpenter, took a perfect game into the seventh. Each pitched eight innings of shut out ball for their respective teams while allowing only two hits. Carpenter struck out 10 and Gallardo retired six on strikes. The two combined to average fewer than 15 pitches per inning.
The game went to extra innings scoreless, something rare in today’s game. In the 10th, Brewers pitcher Carlos Villanueva shut down the Cardinals in order, setting up the most exciting finish of the season in Milwaukee.
Second baseman Casey McGehee hit a hard grounder at Brian Barden (April’s NL Rookie of the Month), who couldn’t handle it, putting the go-ahead run on base for the Brew Crew. Next up for the Brewers, Ryan Braun hit a grounder off the glove of pitcher Kyle McClellan that was fielded by shortstop Brendan Ryan and thrown to first to record the first out.
McGehee advanced to second on the play and would move to third on a fielder’s choice by Mike Cameron, who grounded to first following an intentional walk issued to Prince Fielder.
Bill Hall, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning for rookie Mat Gamel, came through with a two-out single to the right centerfield gap to drive in McGehee for the game-winning run. And if anybody deserved that moment, it was Hall, who had been struggling.
It doesn’t get much better than a 1-0 walkoff win.
Categories: Uncategorized