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Saturday, November 7, 2009

A loaded Saturday of sports

The English Premier League hilites the morning sporting action today, and there isn't much in the way of marquee matchups, until you hit tomorrow's battle between the top two as Manchester United visit Chelsea. For the wagering set, Arsenal and Tottenham should be easy money today.

Good luck figuring out the Toronto Raptors. One Friday night they get throttled by the Memphis Grizzlies, the next they go out on the road and crush the New Orleans Hornets 107-90. Once this Jekyll and Hyde squad figures out how to consistently play defence, they might be onto something. Of course, that'll mean less of Jose Calderon on the floor for starters. After all, he is to defence what crack is to celibacy.

In the NCAA today, the big ones to watch out for are (#11) Penn State taking on (#16) Ohio State at 3:30 today, and kicking off at the same time are (#9) LSU visiting (#3) Alabama. Geaux Tigers!

What was a bigger lock - Manny Ramirez activating his $20 million player option with the LA Dodgers, or the Philadelphia Phillies exercising their $9 million option with Cliff Lee?

Joel Sherman
from the New York Post figures that the Yankees are very likely to be quiet on the free agent market this off-season - so no Matt Holliday (good), Jason Bay (good) or John Lackey (am torn) - though he hints they could dive into trade talks for a Roy Halladay or Felix Hernandez if and when those come up.

Strikeforce are bringing their meal ticket - Fedor Emelianenko - to prime time television tonight when he faces the undefeated Brett Rogers on CBS. Rogers has won his last 10 by knock out and it'll be interesting to see if he can challenge the seemingly invincible Emelianenko.

Of course, if a rival MMA organization is going to get some spotlight, you have to expect Dana White and UFC to do something to remind everyone who the best in the business are, so of course, the UFC is airing some great recent fights on Spike TV free of charge. If you haven't seen the Randy Couture vs. 'Minotauro' Nogueira fight from UFC 102, tonight is your chance to catch it for free. This one is fight-of-the-year territory so check it out. Also shown tonight are previous fights from Kenny Florian vs. BJ Penn, Anderson Silva's demolition of Forrest Griffin, and Rich Franklin taking on Vitor Balfort.

In other MMA news, there are rumors that Dan Henderson has left the UFC and signed with Strikeforce, a move UFC boss Dana White said would only expedite the demise of Strikeforce because of what they're paying Fedor Emelianenko and now Hendo. White said the move is "1000%" done.

6 NHL games last night, only two had more than five goals scored.

For all those that said he wouldn't, because he couldn't get it done in the post-season, safe to say Alex Rodriguez has put the "not clutch" thing to bed. Virtually every hit the Yankees needed through their entire run was delivered by #13 and he's no doubt the playoff MVP if they gave out such a thing. His 68 at bats with 6 homers and 18 RBI would project to 49 HR and 145 RBI over a 550 at bat regular season.

Only 95 days til pitchers and catchers report.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, November 6, 2009

I miss baseball already

Nice sign the Kansas City Chiefs have posted in their locker room. That ought to change everything.

Investment tip of the day: pound your money into ticker tape companies. There is gonna be a huge run on supply in Manhattan today.

Speaking of the World Series, Philadelphia Phillies mouthpiece Jimmy Rollins still is talking: "They were the better team this series," Rollins said Wednesday night. "Do I think we're the better team? I really do. They just executed. I think we weren't playing bad, but they were playing that much better. ... They got the hits, we didn't. It's that simple." He's half right, a lot of guys got hits, he just wasn't one of them. But the Yankees came through arguably the toughest division from no doubt the better league with the best record this year, and he thinks his Phillies are still better after a six game defeat? Good luck with that, J-Roll.

I really don't understand what all the fuss is about over the Toronto Maple Leafs getting their H1N1 shots. After all, what kind of society do we live in if we can't take care of the weak and infirm? You have my permission to use that one. I know you will.

The defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew were bounced in the playoff quarterfinals by Real Salt Lake. Former Toronto FC striker Danny Dichio tabbed RSL a week ago to win the Cup. Seemed ridiculous at the time with that matchup to start the playoffs. Not so much, now.

Is it me, or does it seem like every game involving the Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs - head to head or otherwise - goes to overtime?

Roy Williams says he's not trying to be a Terrell Owens. Really, he might want to consider it in the "shut your mouth til you've actually done something" sense. If a winless Detroit team is looking to unload you, that should've set off alarm bells, Jerry Jones. And speaking of T.O., when asked what he'd be doing during the bye week, he cleverly replied that he's "not going to Cabo".

Who said the ladies couldn't be vicious in sports? Check out the hilites of this women's soccer game between BYU and New Mexico.

Have a great Friday.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sweetest victory

The New York Yankees left no doubt as to the outcome of Game 6 of the World Series last night in grabbing the lead early and building on it thanks to six (6!) RBI from Hideki Matsui, who nabbed MVP honors as the Yankees lifted championship #27 and finished the decade the way they started it - on top of the baseball world. Truth be told, had you said that CC Sabathia gets no wins, Cliff Lee gets two, Mark Teixera and Robinson Cano do almost nothing offensively while Chase Utley kills everything, I'd have assumed they lost the series. But, that wasn't the case and the best team in the game this year got it done. Alex Rodriguez exorcised his playoff demons in spectacular fashion and put that old, lame "playoff bust" tag to bed permanently and literally looked five years younger after the win. If they gave an MVP for the entire playoff, he's a no doubter. Amazing to see the entire team rushing towards him (right) at the conclusion and it is going to be wild to see what he produces with full health next year and a giant monkey off his back. Andy Pettitte won all 3 clinchers through the playoffs, Mariano Rivera saved every game that needed it, and Derek Jeter hit .400 or so in the World Series. So fitting. The head is a bit hurting this morning, but it was oh so awesome.

Inter Milan trailed for almost the entire game before popping a late pair in a 2-1 win over Dynamo Kiev in yesterday's Champions League play. Liverpool may have been dealt a death blow with a 1-1 draw at Lyon in which they conceded a last minute goal.

The Carolina Hurricanes had 17 goals scored over their 10 game losing streak.

The latest poll at Sports Illustrated saw Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward voted dirtiest player in the game. That's really something to have not only an offensive player lead, but a wideout. You'd assume a lineman or a linebacker generally. I suspect our friends at Empties Crushed will not let this go without comment.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams says that him and quarterback Tony Romo are not in sync right now, and seems to suggest that it is more Romo's fault. First, thanks for stating the obvious, Worst Cowboys Trade Ever, Roy. Second, maybe you're the common denominator here when Romo's had success with other guys in the year since you've been in Dallas and you've produced nowhere near your pay packet? Stop talking Roy. Start making plays, if you can.

Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Clinch night?

Game 6 of the World Series goes tonight and you'd think that being at home, adding Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui's bats to the mix, and getting a second crack at Pedro Martinez should mean advantage Yankees but the Phillies are the best road team in the game this year, and are renowned for their resiliency much the same way the Yankees are. Who wins? I'm thinking the Yankees get to Pedro early and that brings in that bullpen of BJ Ryan clones and the Yanks score a pile tonight. Of course, that'd be easier to believe if Mark Teixera and Robinson Cano were doing anything. If Andy Pettitte is smart, he throws nothing hittable to Chase Utley and deals with Ryan Howard, who hits lefties the way a cat hits a pit bull.

Speaking of Yanks/Phillies, check out this brawl at Yankee Stadium last week between fans of both. Wonder how this didn't get more widespread coverage? Oh, right, it isn't soccer.

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is apologizing for his team's 2-5 start, saying they've let "everyone down". Trust me on this one, Dan, you have not let this guy down. Stay the course.

Another game, another overtime loss for the Toronto Maple Leafs, this time 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. But hey, Phil Kessel set a personal best for number of shots on goal, if that means anything to anybody.

What a wild day of Champions League play yesterday. Manchester United rallied from a 3-1 deficit to draw CSKA Moscow and book their spot in the round of 16. Chelsea and Atletico Madrid played to a 2-2 draw in Didier Drogba's return, and Real Madrid and AC Milan played to an entertaining 1-1 draw. Today, a beat up and desperate Liverpool travel to Lyon in the most interesting matchup of the day. See the rest of today's schedule here.

After going to air drunk and proceeding to have a few more on air a few weeks back, Gabe Morency's days at Hardcore Sports Radio are done. Even though he'll be doing webcasts in a few weeks time, it's a shame to see such a different voice in sports get less exposure. Morency also has a book coming in six months that will shock, he says, and also says that Hardcore Sports Radio will be done in six months. Going quietly, he is not.

I'm never going to pretend to know how a Quarterback Rating is calculated, nor do I much care, but my boy TS passed me this little nugget: if every pass a quarterback attempts falls to the ground incomplete, his QB rating is 39.6. Cleveland Brown's QB Derek Anderson's quarterback rating is 36.2.

The H1N1 shots are a big news item of late, to state the obvious. So it shouldn't be surprising that when the Calgary Flames players and family jump the line while others wait in what is supposed to be the high risk first phase, it is going to catch headlines and draw some hate. Memo to the Flames: you best be winning games and a lot of them in the near future.

Have a great Wednesday. Finish them, Yankees!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Back to the Bronx...

The World Series is indeed going to go to six games after The Chase Utley Show last night. Utley dinged a pair of homers to give him five for the series as the Phillies hung on for an 8-6 win to leave the series at 3-2 Yankees with Game 6 in The Bronx tomorrow. Phillies starter Cliff Lee wasn't great, but he didn't have to be as AJ Burnett was terrible for the Yankees. Still, the Yankees could've tied the game in the top of the 9th but Derek Jeter meekly grounded into a double play. Has a guy ever had more hits with zero impact in a series than #2? Worst of all for the Yanks are Mark Teixera and Robinson Cano, both looking entirely lost at the plate for most of the playoffs. Yankee Stadium will be on fire tomorrow with Pedro Martinez starting for the Phillies and Andy Pettitte going on short rest for the Yanks.

Fox’s World Series ratings are up more than 40 percent from last year. That little tidbit makes it awfully tough for the mental midgets who rail about how the Yankees are bad for baseball.

The Philadelphia Eagles have scored 30 or more points in four of their last seven games. Take the ovah!

Alanis Morissette singing the U.S. national anthem for the World Series' sixth game seems a bit odd, her being Canadian and all.

Remember boxer Prince Nasim Hamed, the guy whose ring entrances would take longer than most of his fights? Seems the Prince is now the size of a small kingdom, if this pic is any indication. Here's the "before" shot.

Movie director James Cameron (Terminator, Titanic) says we are just a couple years away from seeing a Super Bowl broadcast in 3D. Interesting. Let's hope that the San Diego Chargers aren't in that one - nobody needs to see Norv Turner any more vividly than he already is shown.

The Cleveland Browns are 55-114 since returning to the NFL a decade ago with one playoff appearance and after a 1-7 start, kicked their GM to the curb who was hired - on coach Eric Mangini's suggestion - just this past summer. Right, because it was George Kokinis fault they suck in every phase of the game mere months after he came in.

It is another day of Champions League group play today, with the featured games Real Madrid and AC Milan and Chelsea taking on Atletico Madrid. Chelsea will welcome back Didier Drogba after his three game suspension after losing the plot on the referee last year when Chelsea bowed out in the semis.

The Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk is a man after my heart for the way he is blasting Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon. Check out these two gems from the last two days. First, yesterday he wrote that "the only way Jose Calderon is ever going to stop someone from getting to the hole is if he's reincarnated as an unrepaired ball mark on a golf green" and then today, in advocating Jarrett Jack to start ahead of Jose, "Calderon, don't let anybody kid you, has had his best NBA moments playing against second-string players."

As it stands today with one week left on the schedule, a maximum of three of the six CFL playoff squads will finish the season with better than .500 records.

Love that Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has filed a grievance to recover $4 million paid to Dany Heatley as part of a signing bonus only to see Heatley bail a couple years into his deal. Hope he wins.

Carrie Underwood's new record has a song called "Cowboy Casanova" that includes the line "take it from me, that boy is a disease." What, she couldn't have done it as a duet with Jessica Simpson and left no doubt as to the subject being their ex-boyfriend Tony Romo?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yankees deliver late...again

Yet another Yankee 9th inning rally gave them a 7-4 lead and when Mariano Rivera is coming in, that's as good as gold and it was a 7-4 final. A-Rod drove in the winning run, but the key play was Johnny Damon stealing two bases on one pitch when he spotted no man at third because of the shift the Phillies were playing with Mark Teixera at the plate. Jimmy Rollins "Phillies in five" prediction is looking like it could well go the other way. The Yankees can grab their 27th championship tonight with a lead and 27 outs. AJ Burnett will go to the bump on short rest while Cliff Lee is up for the Phillies.

The New York Giants have given up 86 points in the last two games after getting crushed 40-17 by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Not sure many would have figured that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be the long winless team at this point of the season, but that they are.

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the debut of the goalie mask in pro hockey. I know hockey players are rarely running a lot of mental horsepower, but even by those standards it seems insane that there was a time guys played without masks.

What kind of a guy has repeatedly hit wives and girlfriends in the past, including with punches to the jaw? If you had "Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable" as your pick, you win. I'm not sure how Cable continues to be employed after breaking an assistant coaches jaw in the off season, and now this, but then I remembered, this is the Raiders we're talking about.

Now this is how you play special teams in football folks. Pay close attention.

Check out this site for great, and by great, I mean "terrible" uniforms from different sports over the years. I wasn't sure this would be a credible list unless the original Toronto Raptors uniforms made the grade, and of course, it did.

Check out this high school QB's pass for a two-point convert a couple weeks back. Oh, the score was 58-0 when they went for the deuce.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I need a kamera...

It sure didn't look good for the New York Yankees in the second inning, with Andy Pettitte struggling, down 3-0 and runners on, and the Yanks hitting sub-.200 as a team, but then things started happening and an A-Rod homer cut the lead to 3-2, Andy Pettitte drove home Nick Swisher and then scored himself with Derek Jeter and the Yanks suddenly had some offence off of Phillies starter Cole Hamels. The final ended up 8-5 Yankees for a 2-1 series lead. Cole Hamels, should it go 7, would start for the Phillies. In other words, advantage Yankees. In tonight's matchup, CC Sabathia goes to the hill for the Bronx Bombers, while the Phillies counter with Joe Blanton after using 120 of Cliff Lee's bullets in the series opener. Joe Blanton is a career 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in his career starts against the Yankees.

Jayson Werth, Toronto Blue Jays reject, has seven post season homers this year, one more than Alex Rodriguez. That second one he hit last night was an absolute bomb.

Did you notice Mark Teixeira doesn't have a World Series patch on his jersey like the rest of the players. Odd.

Another night, another rouge for the Toronto Maple Leafs. This time, they were shootout losers to the Montreal Canadiens.

At the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Metallica finished by playing "Enter Sandman" with video clips of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who has been entering games to that song since 1996, played in the background. Not bad.

What are the odds that with the Yankees in Philly for the World Series that the New York Giants, the fav football team of most Yankee fans (with Mets fans supporting the Jets), are also in Philly to play the Eagles? Could get ugly!

Word is Phil Kessel will be making his return to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Think there's any pressure on One Nut? He's got a big contract, and the Leafs traded two first round picks for him and right now, the first is positioned as the top pick overall right now.

As if we needed further evidence he's a liar, the Old Has Been says that today's game in Green Bay is merely one of 16 and there are no sentiments attached. [sarcasm]Right, the way he acted a couple weeks back in Minnesota when the Vikes beat the Pack was the act of a guy who wasn't any more interested in winning than normal. [/sarcasm]

Off to Buffalo today with the fellas to see which two game winning streak comes to an end, Houston's or Buffalo's. Should be good times!

Chelsea hammered Bolton 4-0 yesterday to stay atop the EPL. Manchester United kept pace in second place by beating Blackburn xx-xx. Despite Tottenham spouting off that they were a better side than Arsenal, it was Arsenal who smoked them 3-0 and it should've been by at least a couple more. Liverpool saw red - twice - and finished with nine men in a 3-1 loss to Fulham. No doubt Rafa Benitez is prepping a conspiracy theory.

Soccer coaches are unlike any other in that they've got little room for political correctness for fear of facing an opponent down the road. England's coach Fabio Capello - Italian born - took that to impressive heights when he trashed the Italian soccer league as being run by hooligans, and Serie A being a place that praises and rewards diving unlike England. Don't suspect he's got Christmas plans to head home.