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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday, June 21st, 2008 - Heartbreak

I've watched a lot of sports in my time and not sure I've ever gone from euphoria to despair so fast as the last two minutes of Croatia's loss to Turkey last night. And what is it with Croatia giving up goals in key games immediately after taking a lead? Shades of the World Cup semi-finals in 1998 against France. I still cannot believe it...the Yankees are just smarter than the rest. They drafted a switch-pitcher who made his debut last night for a minor league squad. That's right, the guy can throw with both arms. And word is, he can switch which he throws with - legally - between batters...UEFA is talking about expanding Euro to 20 or 24 teams? Opinion: don't do it...silently, I had vowed to crack on John Gibbons and his bosses daily until somebody was axed and in short order, it was done. Cito Gaston has long deserved a job in the bigs, but this just seems a little odd. Gibbons record as manager was 305-305...the Toronto Maple Leafs have given hated rival Montreal until July 1st to negotiate a deal with Mats Sundin. The New York Rangers are also interested. Good for Sundin if he can get out of that disaster area...oddest draft quote I've ever seen from new Leafs coach Ron Wilson, on first round pick Luke Schenn: "by trading up for him, it sent a message that we are going for youth." Umm, what were they going to do, draft someone who is 35?...Holland is the winner today (-144) in a series of selections gone south (12-14, -$146) after opening 7-3...a survey of 495 MLB players by Sports Illustrated had Derek Jeter win top spot as most overrated player in the bigs...Toronto FC host Kansas City today. Catch it at 3:30 on CBC...have a great Saturday.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday, June 20th, 2008 - Time To Cook Some Turkey

Portugal might have played the worst game in a big spot you could imagine. Shoddy defending on at least two German goals (first and last, both "defended" by Paulo Ferreira), and a sophomoric attack in the second half where they tried to attack the Germans down the middle and shoot from a distance. Did they not notice Croatia beat Germany on the flanks at will, and they scored themselves in the first half coming from wide? With Luiz Philipe Scolari off to coach Chelsea now, Manchester United need not fear much if that is the best he can get out of a team...a 12-13 record is shameful at this stage of the Euros. Worse is being in the red for the tourney now too at -$46. Today, a reversal. Croatia wins (-108) and the weekend gets off to a rip roaring start. I'm going to suggest 2-0, because 1-0 would have my heart pounding a little too bad for reporting Evgeni Malkin had re-signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Should've had a second source other than SportsNet. Malkin is said to be heading to the LA Kings in a trade for the #2 pick in Saturday's draft. If you're the Kings, that is a no-brainer...I'm not sure they're the best mullets in sports history, but there are some definite beauties here...every team in the NL Central has lost a minimum of three in a row except for the Milwaukee Brewers who have won four straight. Who'd they play last series again?...and very classy of JP Ricciardi to go off on Adam Dunn and question his desire as a player. This from the same guy who brought in AJ Burnett, who makes the Tin Man of the Wizard of Oz look like Rocky Balboa. For his part, Dunn called Ricciardi a clown. Well, he's got some kinda nose anyway...remember Charles Barkley saying he wasn't going to gamble for a few years after his last fiasco, where he owed a casino $400k? Fast forward a couple weeks and he's in a poker tourney in Vegas, albeit a charity event...Joba Chamberlain fanned 9 and is looking better by the start. The Yanks have now won seven straight. With A-Rod having one of those months (7 HR, 20 RBI), maybe there's some life in them bones, even minus Chien-Ming Wang...have a great Friday. G0 Cro!

Best MMA Knockouts of 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday, June 19th, 2008 - Cuban Ain't Feelin' The Olympic Spirit

More than a little surprised Sweden was a total no-show in their must-win game against Russia who totally dominated the game. That puts the Russians, coached by Guus Hiddink, up against his homeland Holland on Saturday which completes the final eight...the first quarter-final goes today with Germany facing Portugal. Maybe the most interesting matchup of the quarters. You've got a well rested Portuguese side with loads of skill in the midfield against the traditionally powerful, physical German side who have looked vulnerable, and have that mental midget Jens Lehmann in goal. Who wins? It's always tough to write off Germany as they've practically mastered the art of navigating a tournament but I've got Portugal going through (+145. Yours truly is 12-12 at Pinnacle, +$46). Why not? Nuno Gomes promised a goal after I guess Tiger Woods wasn't just being dramatic when it came to his knee bothering him. He's got an ACL issue and stress fractures in his left leg and is having surgery and done for the year which begs the question, does golf even have a "year"? It never really ends, does it? Of course, that he's won 10 tournies with a torn ACL will do wonders for those that argue golf isn't a sport...Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban got off this gem on the Olympics: "It's not that I don't like the idea of them representing their countries. If the Olympics were truly a nationalistic endeavor built on sport and part of the public domain, I would be willing to take risk and support their playing. What I don't like is that we lie to ourselves and pretend that the Olympians represent our country. They don't. They have taken relatively low paying jobs working for the Olympics, who in turn sell the broadcast and marketing rights for billions of dollars in profits, all the while creating enormous risk for those of us who pay them for their day jobs that support their families. It's amazing how players who are free agents won't participate, but those with guaranteed contracts will. I hate the fact that we lie to ourselves and pretend this is about representing country. It's not. It's about money." Not one part of that do I disagree with...more and more, the similarities between the Leafs and Jays are blowing my mind. In the lead role, you've got Richard Peddie and Paul Godfrey, who think they know sports because they appear on Off The Record every other day. For GM's, you've got well, nothing yet and JP Ricciardi who incidentally has delivered nothing yet. Both have a guy that they vastly overpaid for considering what they've delivered: AJ Burnett? Meet Jason Blake. But at least both have a couple vets and great leaders in Mats Sundin and Roy Halladay. Oh, and the Jays don't have Don Cherry. Advantage Jays...the Yankees signed Sir Sidney Ponson to a minor league deal, his second go-round with the Yankees. Who is next? Boomer Wells? just doesn't sound right: Motley Crue, on Larry King Live tonight...have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 - Celtics in six

Has there ever been a better but less inspired collection of talent than France's entry at Euro 2008? Betting that Spain didn't figure their reward for winning Group D would be Italy in the second round, albeit minus Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso. Holland dominated play against Romania for the most part with almost all their regular starters on the bench. Only they and Croatia go to the quarters with perfect 3-0 records, with Spain in line to do the same...the final day of roundrobin play goes today as the final qualifier in Group D gets settled in the Sweden/Russia matchup. I've got Sweden (+168) and Spain (-129). Goodbye Greece, here's hoping we don't have to endure you for a long, long time at a major competition. The Pinnacle account is at 11-11 and +$ it just me or the deeper the NBA playoffs went, the less you watched and were interested? Not sure I saw more than a couple quarters of the final...over the year plus of writing for this space, there have been repeated nukes dropped on AJ Burnett and JP Ricciardi. Steve Simmons summed up many of those arguments that cannot be argued against in this excellent piece. Of course, Jays President Paul Godfrey, who also needs to meet the sharp end of an axe, disagrees...Manchester City's Paul Dickov to Toronto FC? Now there's a jersey I'd be forced to tea leaves tell me Cristiano Ronaldo is done with Manchester United. Guessing the day Portugal's run at Euro is up is the day we'll hear of his intentions. Not sure how you leave the team that is tops in Europe for the mess that is Real Madrid, particularly when United stayed loyal to you after his debacle with Wayne Rooney, rape charges and the will forever make me smile when I think of Mats Sundin getting in the Hall of Fame the first try and Doug Gilmour needing at least a couple attempts. Fitting, that, for the moronic Leafs fans that buy Don Cherry's "Kingston boys!" garbage and ignore the far better player has been in their roster for far longer. Oh, and Sundin didn't tap his 13-year old babysitter. About time Glenn Anderson got in...Lukas Podolski doubtful with a calf issue. That's a huge loss for Germany if he's out...Willie Randolph is slated to be one of the NL coaches at the All-Star Game next month at his old home of Yankee Stadium. Guessing that won't happen, at least not in a Mets uniform...the Boston Celtics completed one of the most impressive turnarounds in sports as far as I'm concerned, in a single year. They blew the Lakers out of the building in game 6 with a 131-92 win...Dustin McGowan doesn't like road cooking. He's 1-3 with a 6.02 ERA...have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 - Something's Wang

After Croatia went to England in a meaningless game for them and punched them in the mouth, should've known to take Croatia yesterday. The Croatian B team dominated Poland in a game that was nowhere near as close as the 1-0 suggested...Germany scraped by Austria on a beauty from Michael Ballack...a 1-1 day with Pinnacle, and the account sits at a paltry $22 on a 10-10 record. Today, going to play the Holland draw with Romania (+286) and will be utterly stunned if Italy can't beat France (+148)...guess JP Losman's push for a trade from the Buffalo Bills hasn't exactly progressed…further evidence Leafs fans will go to any length in search of hope: there is talk the Leafs haven't won the Stanley Cup since CBC brought on the famed and overly-discussed-of-late "hockey theme song" and that now that it's off CBC, the curse is gone. Yeah, either it was that or decades of mismanagement encouraged and tolerated by the stupidest group of fans in sport...Johnathan Papelbon says the Red Sox are not done paying the Rays back for the brawl a couple weeks back. Somewhere, Todd Bertuzzi's ears just perked up...Aaron Rodgers told The Jim Rome Show that if Brett Favre is playing this year, it won't be for the Packers. Good for him...after weeks of silence, and after the Yankees lost Chien-Ming Wang, Mt. Steinbrenner Jr. erupted on the subject of pitchers hitting with this gem: "My only message is simple. The National League needs to join the 21st century...that was a rule from the 1800s." On that subject, I tend to agree. There's nothing more painful than watching a pitcher roll up to the batter's box, hitting .180, and go down on three pitches while trying to drop a bunt...Wang, out until September, leads the majors in wins by a pitcher since 2006, with 46. With no Wang, there is no October for the Yankees, not the way things stand at least...Tiger Woods does it again, going into sudden death after he and Rocco Mediate were deadlocked after 18 playoff wholes yesterday. 14 majors and counting...Philadelphia Philly Ryan Howard has four homers in his last four as he starts to heat up. Guessing he's now got more total bases than whiffs?...Chad Johnson is no longer fun. In fact, he might be crazy...the Mets axed Willie Randolph at 3:15am today. Willie deserved better than to be left twisting like that for that long...have a great Tuesday.

Worth a view from the weekend. The Texas Rangers go slip-n-slide at Shea, and win over the fans.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday, June 16th, 2008 - Czeching Out

I've seen some impressive choke jobs in my time but with a 2-0 lead and 15 minutes to go in a soccer game, you generally have to figure a team with the reputed best goalie in the game is pretty safe. Nope. The Czechs snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in their game against Turkey as the Turks rallied for a 3-2 thriller. The win earns the Turks a spot in the quarter-finals against Croatia on Friday while the Czech's go's all or nothing of late in the Euro account for yours truly following yesterday's 0-2 day. 9-9 overall but still up at +89. Today on the Pinnacle lines, I'm taking Germany (duh) at -299, and that one could get ugly. Also, am feeling the draw (+258) in the Croatia/Poland tilt, though Croatia will be sitting anyone who has a yellow going into this one...fading fast: the Toronto Blue Jays who have dropped two games further back of Boston in the last week...Tiger Woods needed to sink a birdie putt to force a playoff to be played today against Rocco Mediate...Teemu Selanne might be looking to (no pun intended) finish his career in Montreal...Italian and French players whining about Holland resting players in a game where a Romanian win puts them both out need to look in the mirror for who to blame for their predicament. Holland owes them nothing and has earned the right to rest guys...are the Jays working the official scoring to keep Roy Halladay's ERA down? Lou Piniella thought there was some curious decisions for the home side...when Danny Ainge took the Boston Celtics job, his owner told him if he built a winner, he'd retire his #44. Maybe the lamest thing I've heard in sports in some time...despite the LA Lakers going 7 minutes without scoring in the third quarter to let the Celtics back in it - and haven't they done that enough for one series? - the Lakers won 103-98 to force game 6. Not sure I like their chances of taking both games in Boston, but if anybody is comfortable going into someone else's house and imposing their will, it is Kobe Bryant...good of AJ Burnett to publicly talk of how it'd be nice to go to a place like Chicago where baseball is breakfast, lunch and dinner. Something tells me that Mr. .500 would wilt under the pressure and easily make it 101 years for the Cubbies...have a great Monday.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday, June 15th, 2008 - Ricketts Rocks It

Here come those C.C. Sabathia-to-the-Yankees rumors that this spot mentioned a year back. The Yanks need a guy like C.C. bad, preferably the 2007 edition, however. The injuries to Phil "The Franchise" Hughes and Ian Kennedy will limit their innings into next year big is the scoreboard in the Dallas Cowboys new stadium? The Dallas News says to "imagine four city buses parked in a line. Now imagine another layer of buses stacked on top of them. Add five more layers and hang the 28-bus cluster over a mental football field." So, it's big?...Johnny Damon is hitting an MLB best .443 since May 20th in a nice bounce back year for him. Even more impressive is that Mike Mussina, who couldn't break a pane of glass with his fastball, is sitting at 10 wins in mid-June...perfect day for the Euro account - based on a $100 wager per game on the money line at Pinnacle - which now sits at +$289 on a 9-7 record. Things get a little dicey now with teams that have advanced sure to rest some players, but thems the breaks. Today, I've got Portugal (+151) despite them being sure to rest some notables, and playing the draw in the Turkey/Czech game (+209) which sets up a real mess for tie-breaking purposes...Dennis Green says Greece is who we thought they were. Namely, garbage. The 2004 champions that nobody thought were good have been sent packing...Paul Pierce was asked to compare himself to Carmelo Anthony: "I've never got a DUI." True story...Toronto FC dropped an emphatic 3-1 win on the Colorado Rapids last night at a rocking BMO Field. Rohan Ricketts scored his first and second goals eight minutes apart, with the second perhaps the best goal in TFC history. You can catch it below. TFC is now 5-0-2 at home this year. TFC is also 6-1-3 all time when Danny Dichio scores...had to love the 1978 throwbacks the Cleveland Indians wore last night. The San Diego Padres, not so much...have a great Sunday.