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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Classic? Really?

Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva meet in a key light heavyweight matchup tonight at UFC 108 where one of them will suffer the second loss of their career. Hard not to like Rashad, methinks. The rest of the card isn't loaded with big names, but those usually end up being the best fights. That goes tonight at 10pm.

A strange weekend for the English Premier League. After a flurry of games the past three weeks, the fixture list is empty until January 5th. What to do?

Considering no wideout this year has put up over 70 yards on the New York Jets lock-down corner Darrelle Revis - not Randy Moss, not Steve Smith, not anybody - Cincinnati Bengal Chad Ochocinco is talking a big game for Sunday night. Should he manage a TD on Revis, #85 is planning to jump on somebody's shoulder like famed Jet's fan "Fireman Ed" and work the crowd on a "O-C-H-O, Ocho, Ocho, Ocho!" chant. How awesome is that idea? Hope it happens, but with Revis, odds are it won't.

Do pictures of yourself from New Year's Eve have you embarrassed? It could be worse, you could be a celeb. Check out these 50 fine drunken looks.

Shame on me for not going with a Washington "Bullets" joke yesterday in the Gilbert Arenas discussion. If proven true, you have to figure the Wizards look to
void his large, very bad contract. More details are emerging on the incident and it occurred over a card game on a plane two days prior. Well at least they're not going overboard.

Shouldn't the NHL stop calling the annual outdoor game the "Winter Classic" until it actually has, you know, a classic game or two? Another snoozer yesterday, won by the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime. Still, an awesome atmosphere, but how lame was the "Sweet Caroline" bit? I'd have rather seen Dennis Leary up there singing "Asshole", dedicated to Gary Bettman.

After LaMarr Woodley of the Pittsburgh Steelers talked of how the Cincinnati Bengals would lay down, Bengal Tank Johnson fired back - get it? - and telling Woodley to mind his own business, and reminding him the Bengals didn't lie down against the Steelers twice this year. Still, speculation is the Indianapolis Colts pulled their starters last week to help keep the Steelers out of the playoff rest them.

The NFL Competition Committee is going to look into the resting of players issue. Nonsense, I say. If a team is in a spot to rest players, they've earned it. The rest of the teams can't count on another to do their work for them if they haven't taken care of business themselves. As hot as Indianapolis Colts fans have been over giving up a shot at going perfect, they'll quickly forget it with a win in Miami on February 7th.

The U.S. Olympic hockey team was announced yesterday with no major production, no iron grip on the media of the nation, and little fanfare. They've got a very interesting team put together, and a new generation of players for the most part with the old horses - Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, etc. - on the outside. Wonder if Chris Chelios was figuring on an invite?

Toronto Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion was hospitalized after a firework blew up in his face. Imagine that - a Blue Jay having something blow up in his face? It is usually May when that happens. Hit this!

Have a great Saturday.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

A happy and healthy 2010 to all, and welcome to a new decade. May it be filled with good health and fun. I know in terms of sports, it is a special year ahead with the World Cup set for June/July and the Olympics of course in February in Vancouver/Whistler. Good times ahead!

Here's an incredible article that looks at the business of baseball. Going to include a lengthy quote, not attributing the source initially, because that may colour your opinion. For those that are worried about what the big money teams spend, here's what could well be an even bigger problem to the competitive fabric of the game: what the "small" market teams spend:

“We heard a lot last year about the impending doom of the economics of baseball, and they had another record year of revenues, $6 billion again this year, and the economy is better, so the real truth of baseball right now is a lot of teams are starting to identify their ownerships from the following perspective: that they have an ownership that’s going to pay off their debt by getting the revenue sharing and money they’re getting from central baseball - $80 million-$90 million a year - and they’re going to turn around and draw 1.5-2 million, make $40 or $50 a head. All of a sudden, they’re sitting there with $200 million in revenues and they’re spending $50 million, $60 million, $70 million on players. Those are obviously owners that are going to have to be looked at.’’

“We’ve seen a number of teams that are just sitting back,’’ he said. “We have clubs who aren’t successful getting $80 million before they ever sell a ticket. The question is always going to be, in the end, what are they doing with that money? For most of them, they’re paying off their debt to purchase the franchise. So they become owners, debt-free, but they have not done a lot to contribute to the success of the game.

“The fans have to look at it and realize that kind of revenue is available. The other part of it is I think we’ve proven time and time again that investment in players produces revenue streams and success points for franchises. Even in an economy where many businesses are struggling, in our industry, as I said last year, we’ve been able to keep revenues at a record level.’’

"While that growth was going on - which is phenomenal growth - every offseason there were statements by teams that the industry was headed south,’’ he said. “Go back and look at the quotes and who’s making them. If I’m a fan, I really have to question it and look at the history of my franchise and the others and evaluate what commitment each franchise is making.

“Some are doing a good job of it. Some are making decisions going forward, and there are others basically using our industry as a method for acquiring hundreds of millions of dollars in assets on the backs of the industry.’’

The source? Super agent Scott Boras, who clearly doesn't buy the stories some franchises are selling. Frankly, the math he's offering works so the real losers out there are the fans supporting the Pittsburgh's, Florida's and San Diego's of the world and financing their team's ownership while watching a crap product most years. Thoughts?

Check out the Top 10 Middle Finger moments in sports. Good stuff.

As per New Year's Day tradition, plenty of NCAA action on the go today including the Rose Bowl where Ohio State will face Oregon, and the Sugar Bowl that will see two new coaches in play for Cincinnati and Florida.

AT&T is ending its sponsorship of Tiger Woods. This really shouldn't affect the company greatly. Now, if Tiger were to drop AT&T as his cell provider and vehicle for his text messages to his ladies, then we'd have concern for AT&T.

The NHL Winter Classic goes today in Boston, with the Bruins hosting the Philadelphia Flyers. It is always more cool to watch the atmosphere than the game itself, which usually tends to be a bit dicey with choppy ice, especially with the forecast calling for temperatures around freezing and a chance of rain. In fact, the game may be called off and moved to Saturday. Check it on NBC at 1pm.

Pittsburgh Steeler LaMarr Woodley is whining that the Cincinnati Bengals are going to lie down to keep his Steelers out of the NFL playoffs, as a Bengals loss eliminates the Steelers and puts the New York Jets in. Three things on that: the Bengals didn't lie down when they beat said Steelers this year. Twice. Second: they don't owe you anything. Third: the Steelers had far more to do with their situation than the Bengals did.

What would All-Star voting - any sport - be without something ridiculous like Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson leading voting?

And what says "team" more than two guys drawing guns on each other in the locker room over a gambling debt? That's what Washington Wizards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton did on Christmas Eve. Lovely stuff.

At the World Junior's, Canada rallied to beat the U.S. 5-4 in a shootout. Cost me a wager at -2 +112, the sons of...

Have a great New Year's Day.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last entry of the decade

Well, at least yesterday's coverage of The Announcement of Canada's Men's Olympic Hockey Team For Vancouver 2010 wasn't ridiculous and overdone. End sarcasm. Tiger Woods could have been in the middle of a battle with H1N1 and banged the Queen on Parliament Hill with Osama bin Laden ready to tag in and it wouldn't have got a mention yesterday in the media. Sad, really.

One prominent baseball source says if the Minnesota Twins don't re-up with catcher Joe Mauer before he hits free agency, it could cost $30 million to do so with both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox anxious to ink the three time batting champion. lists the Top 10 new stadiums of the past decade, with photos of course. Definitely some lookers in the bunch.

Here are the Quotes of the Year, and there just happens to be 25 of them.

Concerned with what kind of environment they could have on their hands with a playoff birth on the line, and a night game to host it, the New York Jets will not be selling booze at the last regular season game at Giants Stadium this Sunday night. Great idea, now people will just drink that much more before going in. They best hope there isn't a snowfall or fans will have two hands free to launch some snowballs.

Baseball America lists the Top 20 MLB prospects going into 2010. Good news for you Toronto Blue Jay fans who dominate the readership here, Kyle Drabek, acquired in the Roy Halladay deal, made the grade at #16. The bad news: one guy they were looking to deal for - Jesus Montero, in the Yankee system - ranked #5.

There are a lot of athletes with some impressive dating resume's. Here are the top 10. For me, Brad Penny, Andy Roddick and Tom Brady are the winners, though Brady lags behind for what Tara Reid has become. Derek Jeter has a helluva list, but you already knew that.

Not only could a capless year result in spending gone wild in 2010 for the NFL's teams, it could also result in teams bottoming out their payroll too with no minimum in play. Don't kid yourself folks, the only way a cap works for parity purposes is if there is a floor. The lack of a labor deal will also make it tougher for free agents to move. Must read stuff here.

Former Pittsburgh Steeler's coach Bill Cowher has expressed interest in the head coaching job in Buffalo and really, could there be a better fit than the iron-willed blue collar Cowher in that town? That team needs a name like that badly after year's of ineptitude.

Five straight wins for the Toronto Raptors now after they beat Charlotte 107-103, all minus Jose Calderon. Interestingly, and not coincidentally, they've also shown shards of defence in the process.

The San Jose Sharks became the first NHL team since 1982 to score two penalty shot goals in the same game. Wow your friends tonight with that bit of trivia.

So Mike Leach was finally turfed from Texas Tech after locking a concussed player in a dark room for three hours. Word is that Under Armour, who make their uniforms, is developing a glow in the dark jersey to honour the occasion. I kid.

Finally, best wishes for a Happy 2010 to all of you. Most importantly tonight, do not drink and drive. Catch you on the flipside.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Loads of NFL stuff, Pens BUSted

With their team bus stuck en route to Buffalo in heavy snow, do you think a single player got out to help the coaching staff push the thing? Incredible. I know hockey players bill themselves as the most regular of athletes, but wasn't it the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens who helped shovel out the field in Baltimore a couple weeks ago so they could play? Boo, Pens. The Sabres ended up beating the Pens 4-3.

With New England Patriots QB Tom Brady nursing a shore shoulder, ribs, and finger, and his team locked into their playoff slot, coach Bill Belichick was asked if he has a philosophy on resting key players and came back with this gem: "yeah, absolutely...I do what's best for our football team. That's definitely my philosophy." Brilliant.

Check out Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant point production the last five games, four of which were on the road: 30-38-30-40-35. He has also scored 30-plus in 16 of his last 24 games, and just turned 21 three months ago. Meanwhile, the guy picked ahead of him in the draft - Greg Oden - is out for the year with another season ending injury. Portland, you got this one wrong.

As great as Adrian Peterson is, he has already fumbled 20 times in 988 touches in his three seasons for the Minnesota Vikings. Over the course of 15 years, Emmitt Smith fumbled 54 times on 4,924 touches. And don't kid yourself, Smith played on some terrible teams in his early years and late. Thanks to TS for that stat.

Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable throws out the suggestion that JaMarcus Russell killed the Raiders season. Right, because the circus of the head coach busting an assistant's jaw and having allegations of beating his wife was good for the team.

B. Kennedy sends this gem on hockey fights: if fighting is part of the game, why don't coaches spend time drilling it and teaching it? Why are there no instructional videos on how to fight? But, I guess that diving is also part of the game and it isn't practiced or drilled, presumably. Funny that Hockey Fan gets up in arms at talk of the former not being part of the game but objects to the latter. At least the latter happens with the clock moving.

Four teams are still alive for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Here's how it breaks down.

The New York Mets finally made a move of significance yesterday, inking left fielder Jason Bay to a 4 year, $66 million deal. Not sure how much Bay will enjoy going from the smallest outfield to perhaps the biggest with wonky knees and an arm Johnny Damon doesn't even envy. Expect his offence to suffer plenty. But hey, at least he can give the Mets the book on Roy Halladay! Lee Jenkins at likes the move for the Mets.

Tracey McGrady's days in Houston are finally done. One might say he's got an eye on the exit and the other somewhere else, even. Not content playing small minutes in nothing situations, T-Mac has parted ways with the club and they're looking to deal him. Interesting and shocking fact: T-Mac is the highest paid player in the NBA.

Four ESPN analysts joined Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio and at various times called the Dallas Cowboys the class of the NFC, and the most complete team in all aspects in the league. Not sure what those statements mean, other than the tide turns quick in the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts are selling how they're not concerned with streaks and are looking to win the Super Bowl. Does that mean Peyton Manning's streak of never having missed a start comes to an end with a nothing game Sunday? Doubtful.

The New York Jets could slide into the playoffs with two wins over teams resting players: Indy last week and Cincinnati this. If the Bengals see the right results Sunday afternoon, they'll pull some key names for Sunday night.

And another thing: why don't all the teams play at the same time in Week 17 to prevent teams getting this kind of advantage like the Bengals and Jets are getting?

Not sure how two Cleveland Browns make the Pro Bowl, but no Cincinnati Bengals. Not even Cedric Benson? Save for missing a couple games, I'd think he'd be an MVP contender so to not make the Pro Bowl is meaningless. Jim Trotter at looks at other omissions. Good news for The Old Has Been: he made the Pro Bowl as a back up to Drew Brees. Better news for the The Old Has Been: with the New Orleans Saints a legit contender, he may get the start now that the game is being played the week before the Super Bowl.

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A 9-iron to the face?

The way the playoffs are shaping up, there's a chance we could see Cincinnati vs. New York Jets, Philadelphia vs Dallas and Arizona vs. Green Bay in Week 17 and the Wild Card weekend. Odd. Here is what the AFC playoff picture shapes up as and who needs to do what, and see what else happen. Right now it is advantage New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens.

Good to see The Old Has Been remembering it is the stretch run and he's piloting his team into the ground with their third loss in four games and now has his Vikings in danger of losing their bye week. This was a 36-30 overtime loss in what should've been a gimme on a Monday night with the Chicago Bears dead and buried. Apparently, Bears QB Jay Cutler flipped a middle finger towards the stands when the fans at Soldier Field booed when they kneeled the ball with seconds to go before overtime. Cutler is a tool.

In case you missed Jerry Jones on Sunday night's broadcast discussing labor talks, it was pretty clear that the owners are intending to blow up the current system. A season in 2011 is by no means a guarantee at this point, and with an uncapped year in 2010, the landscape of the NFL could be changing very significantly in years to come.

Canada downed Switzerland 6-0 yesterday to move to 2-0 in the World Junior's. The Canucks have yet to concede a goal.

There is an interesting email making the rounds detailing the moments before and after Tiger Woods fateful meeting with a tree and a fire hydrant a month or so ago. Pretty interesting stuff, if only for the vision of his wife cracking him in the head with a nine iron. Also, word there is they aren't divorcing.

The Buffalo Bills are said to be interested in bringing Charlie Weis in to coach the team next year, and word is he's interested in doing so. If that happens, do the Bills deal for Brady Quinn to work with his former coach at Notre Lame? Let that percolate, Bills fans.

A great SI piece on the biggest trades of the decade in baseball, as well as best and worst free agent signings, best draft bargains and biggest draft busts. Rest easy, Blue Jays fans, Vernon Wells didn't crack the top five. Interestingly, the Boston Red Sox figured on three of the five trades listed.

Bill Simmons - The Sports Guy - at ESPN looks at ways to change your NBA destiny, including more than a few scenarios for the Toronto Raptors that see them dealing away Chris Bosh (perhaps necessary) and Jose Calderon (answering my prayers).

Hard to imagine that the NFL didn't anticipate booking The Who to play the Super Bowl this season might not be greeted with some protest over Pete Townsend's child porn past and former registration as a sex offender in the UK. And right on cue, the protests are mounting.

Check out the 20 Most Oogled Women of Playboy 2009.

Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell might have overplayed his hand. Yanking his starters to show he's not worried about a perfect record is fine, but only if they go the distance and win the Super Bowl. Anything less and he'll be reminded that this past Sunday is where things started to go askew. By worrying about the pressure of perfection, he may have just put even more pressure on his team.

If you've got time, take a read of the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliot breaking down the Roy Halladay deal day by day and the aftermath. Very interesting stuff. The classy Halladay even sent Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous a text message on December 17th to thank him for the opportunity. I'm a Yankee fan to the core - if you didn't know - but if my squad doesn't get another ring in 2010, can't think of a guy who deserves it more than Leroy.

Have a great Tuesday.

Monday, December 28, 2009

NFC comes clear, AFC not so much

The playoff picture became a little clearer in the NFC at least, with Dallas and Green Bay locking up their spots to settle the field of six, and the New York Giants flaming out spectacularly in losing 41-9 to the Carolina Panthers in their last home game at Giants Stadium. What were the New Orleans Saints doing losing to Tampa Bay? I know the Saints have little to play for, but that's ridiculous. Check out Saints owner Tom Benson celebrating what he thought was the game winning field goal for his team, only to see it go wide.

In the AFC, the New York Jets stayed alive with a 29-15 win over previously unbeaten Indianapolis, who decided it was a good idea to take Peyton Manning out of the game with lots to of time on the clock and a mere 15-10 lead. The Jets scored 19 from then on, the Colts nada. Does Giants Stadium now become Jets Stadium for a week? They're the only team that will play there again after all. Should the Jets beat Cincinnati next week, they're in among a pack of 8-7 teams at the moment, including Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Houston and formerly 6-0 Denver.

Memo to Tony Romo: I believe again.

Real Madrid have targeted Sergio Aguero, David Villa and Wayne Rooney for future acquisitions. I think I'd cry if they picked up Rooney, who is my fav player in the game. Maybe they've figured out that it was Rooney who made Ronaldo as good as he was the past couple seasons? Rooney was dynamite in yesterday's 3-1 win for Manchester United over Hull City, including an incredible pass through a defenders legs to Dimitar Berbatov.

Hard to imagine there are many better players in the world today than Cesc Fabregas. He scored a pair of beauties yesterday for Arsenal as they downed Aston Villa 3-0.

China has instituted a karaoke monitoring system to alert authorities when inappropriate songs are being played. That ought to be put in place everywhere.

The sporting world is about to get a big jolt in the near future when TMZ Sports launches. This is gonna be great.

Here's an idea for the World Junior Hockey Championships to prevent 16-0 jokes that do nothing for anybody when you count +/- as a tiebreaker. Have goals against elevated above that. Seriously - why not reward a team that keeps the total against down, something a good team can control, to save from the game becoming a joke? Far more sporting, that's for certain. Canada faces Switzerland today.

Have a great Monday. It is Monday, right?