Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I will be the first to admit I've been remiss in updating this blog...my apologies lots of craziness going on here at WSBA but things are settling down and I need to tend to business.

The Olympics ended their 17 day run in London on Sunday with an expected win by the latest U-S Men's Basketball Dream Team.  The Lebron-Kobe led squad got the gold medal with a 7 point win over Spain.  I suspect that Magic, Bird and MJ are now laughing at the assertion, by the current group, that they were equal to the original 1992 Dream Team.  I suspect if Dream Team 1992 played Dream Team 2012--in their primes--you would see a double digit win by the '92 group.

I've read with interest some of the comments blasting NBC's coverage.  I think considering the circumstances the network did very well.  I knew that Usain Bolt won the 100 and 200 Meter dashes in mid-afternoon last week but I made sure I was tuned in to watch the feat.  As technology improves it is going to be very hard for any network to cover sporting events as they occur around the world.  However reading a tweet or a text alert that Bolt won is no comparison to seeing him run with the greatest of ease.

Friday, June 22, 2012

About Time

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you know that I hate the BCS...plain and simple.  I have long advocated for a playoff system to determine college football's National Champ.  Looks like I'm going to get my wish soon.  The Commissioners of the BCS member conferences have OK'd a plan to create a 4 team playoff starting in 2014.  Many of the details of the selection of the teams are to be determined but in the end the Top 4 teams in the country will play for the National Title after the lucrative bowl season. 

This arrangement will be much fairer,not the fairest, way to determine the title holder.  Let me give you an example of how UNFAIR the BCS was.  Just this past January Alabama won the National Title beating LSU however the Crimson Tide didn't win their Division of the SEC (won by LSU) or the SEC Title (also won by LSU) but they got to play in the BCS Title game because the incredibly screwed up polls had them as the #2 team.  I'm hoping that the NCAA uses some sort of committee to pick the 4 teams.  The committee should also use an RPI system, like they use in basketball, to help determine the teams.  The RPI looks at strength of schedule and record and is a much fairer indicator of the top teams.  With all that being said there will be plenty of arguments between who is the #4 which makes the cut and #5 which misses.  My solution is go with 8 teams--this adds--just 1 more game and you will get a much equitable system. 

The NCAA is finally making progress. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Who Cares

I find it very interesting that everyone is so interested in where and how Terrell Suggs injured his Achilles about a month ago.  Siz says it was during a workout while others have reported that he was hurt will playing in a basketball game.  I don't care how he got hurt...playing basketball is not illegal last time I looked.  The big news is that Suggs did get hurt.  Off-season injuries occur.  As long as T-Siz wasn't jumping on a trampoline like Jobba Chamberlain then how he got injured is irrelevant.  The good news, for the team,  is the injury occurred in April. Suggs had surgery and could return to the team by mid-season.  The Suggs injury will put more pressure on Paul Kruger, Rookie Courtney Upshaw and Sergio Kindle.  These 3 guys will be thrust into the lineup as Suggs recovers. 

Another month has gone by and the Orioles still haven't faded from the AL East race.  Despite losing 6 straight and 7 of 9 the Birds have won 3 of their last 4 and moved back into sole possession of 1st place in the very tough division.  The O's go for a sweep of the Red Sox tonight.  The O's have won 7 straight at Fenway.  The team is starting to get healthy again after being hit by a rash of injuries including a broken hand for Rightfielder Nick Markakis.  Rookie pitcher Wei Yin Chen won his 5th game last night pitching 7 innings of 7 hit 1 run ball.  Chen is looking to be one of the finds of the season.  If he continues to pitch at this rate he would win 12-15 games...didn't expect that out of a rookie coming from the Japanese League.  Right now the Orioles continue to be pretty good story. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Right Moves

In the last week the Orioles have made a couple of good moves. 

The first move was signing Centerfielder Adam Jones to a 6 year $85.5 million dollar deal.  The contract works out to about 14 and a half million per year.  The 26 year old Jones is about to hit his prime as a player and is developing into a real threat at the plate.  He has 16 homers which is tied for 2nd in the American League...5th in RBI's with 34 and tied for 7th in hitting with a .317 average.  If he continues to be this productive over the length of the contract the Orioles will be getting a bargain.  In addition the signing shows the fans the club is committed to the future.  The Orioles have the building blocks of a very good team with Jones, Catcher Matt Wieters, Rightfielder Nick Markakis and Shortstop J-J Hardy. 

The other smart move was not to get involved in a bidding war for the services of Starter Roy Oswalt.  The team kicked the tires and talked with his agent but in the end decided not to pony up and spend money getting an aging balky pitcher.  Remember last year Oswalt was part of the Philles rotation but spent several stints on the disabled list with back troubles.  Oswalt signed a minor league deal--for $5 million--with the Rangers yesterday.  However it could be a month before he makes it into the rotation in Texas.  The Rangers are a team built to win in the post-season.  The Orioles are a team that needs to be prudent with its money and go after a player at the trading deadline IF they are still in the pennant race. 

One other note.  Keep your eye on the progress of 19 year old Dylan Bundy.  The Orioles 2011 first round draft pick has eaten alive low minor league hitters.  No less than Jim Palmer thinks the teen has big league stuff NOW.  Palmer, when talking about Bundy, says the Orioles should stretch him out a bit in the minors and bring him up to the big league club later this summer.  Many question the prudence of doing this, with such a young player, but Palmer says he was in the big leagues at 19.  Palmer was about 19 and a half when he was called up to play for the Orioles in April of 1965.  He went 5-4 with 6 starts and 21 relief appearances for the Birds in the first season of his Hall of Fame career.  I'll defer to Cakes on whether or not the Birds should bring Bundy up this season. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Now what

In case you haven't looked at the baseball standings this Monday morning you might see something unusual.  The Orioles have the best record in the big leagues and lead the very tough A-L East by a half game over the Rays.  The Birds have won 5 straight games.  They took 2 of 3 from the Yankees last week and then  over the weekend swept the Red Sox in Fenway for the first time in 18 seasons.  How are they doing it?  With good old fashion pitching.  The team's ERA is 2.78 and that is over a half a run better than any other team in the American League.  Combine this with a bullpen which has been lights out and viola winning baseball.  The big question is can they continue to do this over the remaining 134 games.  I don't expect that to happen but once again things are getting exciting for Orioles fans.

Another baseball observation from yesterday.  Phils lefty Cole Hamels did a pretty bush league thing yesterday.  In the 1st inning of the finale with the Nationals Hamels plunked Washington's phenom Bryce Harper in the back with a pitch.  After the game Hamels admitted he hit the 19 year old on purpose saying that was his welcome to baseball moment.  Really!  Come on Cole I thought you were better than that.  This kid is just trying to make it in the bigs...just like you did just a few short years ago.  Harper wasn't hurt and then got his revenge a few innings later when he stroked a single off Hamels and when he got to third after another hit stole home when Hamels threw to first.  Good for Harper.  Hamels may not like him because he is cocky and hasn't paid his dues but you have to respect the talent.  I suspect the Phillies will be dealing with Harper for a long time.  He will probably stay with the team for the remainder of the season after Nats Rightfielder Jayson Werth broke his wrist in last night's game.  Harper could be a fixture in outfield in Washington for awhile.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

1st Month

A couple of impressions about the first month of the baseball season for the Orioles and the Phillies.  On this first day of May the Orioles sit a game out of 1st in the A-L East with a 14-9 record.  The Orioles have to be one of the early surprises of the 2012 season.  The Birds have used some great starting pitching combined with a potent offensive lineup to forge the strong showing.  Centerfielder Adam Jones is playing like a guy in the final year of a contract.  My guess is at some point the team will come around and hand him a lucrative long-term deal. The surprises for the Orioles have been the additions at starting pitcher.  Jason Hammel is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA...Wei-Yin Chen is 2-0 with a 2.02 ERA and Tommy Hunter is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA.  All 3 have been very effective for Manager Buck Showalter.  The bullpen has been terrific as well with reliever Pedro Strop 3-1 with a couple of saves and a 2.08 ERA while closer Jim Johnson has 7 saves and hasn't given up an earned run.  Lets see if this holds up.

Now if you are a Phils fans their is cause for concern.  The team has scored 2 or fewer runs in well over half their games and I don't care how many Roy Halladay's, Cole Hammels or Vance Worley's you have on your staff you need more run support that what they are getting right now.  The Phils are awaiting the return of 1st Baseman Ryan Howard and 2nd baseman Chase Utley.  However neither of their top hitters has a target date for returning to the line-up.  I think the All-Star break is the most likely time and by then it might be too late.  In addition pitcher Cliff Lee has been sidelined with a pulled rib cage muscle...never good for a pitcher.  All in all the Phillies fans would like to forget the month of April but the team starts a very difficult stretch to at the beginning of May with 3 games in Atlanta...3 in DC against the Nats and then 3 in New York against the Mets.  Right now the 11-12 Phillies are staring up in the standings at all three of these teams.

Monday, April 23, 2012


On Thursday one of the most hyped events of the sporting year will be held when the NFL draft kicks off with the Colts taking Stanford QB Andrew Luck.  Sometime on Saturday afternoon the final pick will be made.  I have always been amazed how high or low fans feel after every pick.  The whole thing is a giant crap shot.  For every Tom Brady (7th round by the Patriots) there is a Ryan Leaf (2nd overall pick by the Chargers) in the annual draft.  Guys like Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have made careers out of this annual ritual.  However, very few players selected in the next week or so will make that much of a difference for the team they are going to this coming season.  If the team is bad today...they will still be bad on Monday.  Andrew Luck will not put the Colts in the Super Bowl next February.  There is a reason the Colts were 2-14 last season and not all of it was because Peyton Manning was hurt.  Will Luck make the Colts a playoff contender in a few years...maybe but not without lots of other pieces via the remainder of the draft or free agency.

My whole point is stop looking at the NFL draft as the be all-end all for your favorite team.  Some players just don't make the jump from College to the Pros.  The landscape is littered with can't miss prospects who missed. 

All that being said I suspect the Ravens will try very hard to draft Alabama Linebacker Dont'a Hightower.  From all reports the 2 year Tide Captain is a Ray Lewis clone. If he is half as good as the future Hall of Famer the Ravens will be very happy.  I expect if Hightower is available from about spot 20 to where the Ravens pick at 29 the team will make a deal to insure they get their replacement for #52. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Doing the right thing

Yesterday was a unique day in sports where 1 person said he was sorry for an off the cuff remark and another was fired for lying to his bosses.

In Miami yesterday Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen held an hour long news conference in which he took the blame for a "stupid"--his word--comment praising Cuban Communist leader Fidel Castro.  This is not a freedom of speech issue.  Guillen is free to say what he wants and often does...this is about being sensitive to the people who you are trying to attract to see your team. Ozzie Guillen is the manager of the Miami Marlins.  The team just moved into a nice new ballpark near Little Havana in downtown Miami.  The Marlins need to attract the large Cuban and Latino community in South Florida if they hope to thrive. Guillen put that in jeopardy. The Venezuelan admitted during his news conference he should will stick to sports and leave politics alone.  Good advice.

Now for the other stunner yesterday.  The University of Arkansas has fired Head Football Coach Bobby Petrino because he lied to them.  On April Fools Day Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident that hospitalized him overnight with rib and spine injuries.  Petrino however forgot to tell the university that his recently hired female assistant was a passenger on the motorcycle.  In fact both the school and his family released statements saying that the 51 year old married father of 4 was alone at the time of the wreck.  Bad idea.  25 year old former Razorbacks volleyball player Jessica Dorrell is mentioned as being an uninjured passenger on Petrino's motorcycle in the police report.  The kicker here is Dorrell was recently hired by Petrino as a staff assistant and that he had loaned her 20 thousand dollars.  You guessed it Dorrell has been Petrino's mistress for some time now.  A-D Jeff Long did the right thing by acting quickly and firing Petrino from his $3 million job.  I'm guessing Petrino never sees pay days like this again.  What he does in his personal life is not my business.  He made his personal life the business of the University the minute he authorized the hiring of Dorrell--over 159 other candidates--and then lied about her being on the motorcycle at the time of the accident.  This is just another case of a big time college coach thinking he is above the law.  Good for Arkansas for making the move and I will be rooting for the Razorbacks to win the BCS Championship game this fall under an interim coach.