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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Night Football is back

The NFL's run of Thursday games starts tonight with the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Atlanta Falcons. Suspect the bookmakers got the line wrong here as the Falcons are -1.5. I'd be surprised if the Ravens lost this one at all.

The New Orleans Hornets are a perfect 7-0 at this early stage of the NBA season. Anybody saw that coming?

I'm sure the Miami Heat blowing a 20-point third quarter lead to the Utah Jazz didn't make anybody smile on Tuesday night. Or not.

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman made a trip to Arkansas yesterday to meet with free agent prize pitcher Cliff Lee. Word is Lee is looking for a CC Sabathia-like deal of seven years and $161 million. That ought to trim the field from the reported seven or eight teams said to be interested. Get 'er done, Cash.

Monday's start of the NCAA season will see the ESPN family of networks broadcast 28 games over 24 hours. And here I thought Canada loved hockey. That's insane.

If you're an MMA fan at all, The Score will be airing the second last WEC card tonight at 9pm Eastern before they're folded into owner UFC's brand. Look for yours truly in the 15th row if you're watching.

A nice development in the pro soccer ranks: fewer and fewer teams are putting the ball out of play when an opponent is down. It was a nice sporting touch in the early days when guys were legitimately hurt in challenges (collisions or tackles for the uninitiated). But as some turned it into strategy to kill the flow of games, it turned into a farce. Good to see teams now leave the decision to halt play for injury in the hands of the officials.

Derek Jeter won the Gold Glove for the American League, which even this Yankee fan will say is comical. Elvis Andrus was far more deserving. As for Robinson Cano and Mark Teixera: no question. Best at their spots hands down.

Have you seen those "Shake Weight" ads? Most ridiculously hilarious thing I've ever seen. Not at all suggestive. Google it if you are wondering.

The NHL is changing its all-star format. It will have elected captains who will then pick the teams. At least the lead-up will be more interesting than the game then. If that eliminates fan voting, then that's a definite improvement.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Derby time in Manchester

Things will get heated in Manchester today with cross-town rivals Man City hosting Man United in English Premier League action.

There are six teams remaining in the CFL Grey Cup hunt. The Argos are the long shot at 16-1, pretty long odds for so few teams remaining. Message being sent by Vegas? Clearly.

Crazy story regarding Auburn QB Cam Newton, Heisman candidate, and talk he was paid $180,000 to go to Auburn. The best part of the story is Florida coach Urban Meyer - he of the 30+ players arrested during his tenure - denying that it was him that floated the story to the media.

Another night of inept offense - read "non-existant" - for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I get that Ron Wilson and Brian Burke point to the first line as being the biggest culprits, but even an average team will shut down Phil Kessel et al when the other three lines pose almost no threat to score at all. Sure the Leafs defense is improved, but last I checked, you can't win if you don't score, and too often, the Leafs generate nothing. The Leafs were beat 4-0 by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Carolina 7 - Edmonton 1. Ouch.

The NBA best hope its TV deals remain strong. Too many games I flipped by last night with gaping sections of empty seats, Milwaukee and New Orleans especially. Speaking of empty seats, imagine there will be a few in Toronto tonight with the 1-6 Raptors hosting the 1-6 Charlotte Bobcats.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Triano uncensored

On a work trip with a whole lot of extra-curriculars in some town in Nevada I've never been to before. Could be trouble! So, not likely to see much linkage, and won't be on daily I'd imagine, but them's the breaks. .

The Toronto Raptors coach Jay Triano gave a pretty fired up response to his team's bad body language after another loss last night, this one to the Golden State Warriors, by a 109-102 score. Triano gave the dump button a healthy workout in defending his players as having poor body language because they care and want to win. Maybe they were upset over the reported 6,000 empty seats?

Hey Jerry Jones, here's a thought: You've ripped through numerous coaches over the years in search of the Super Bowl that has eluded you for a decade and a half. Maybe it is time to look a little higher? You know, get an actual GM? Crazy, I know. The Cowboys are 14 point dogs at the New York Giants in Week 10. Is there anyone that thinks they cover that? I don't. Oh, Jerry finally got around to putting Wade Phillips out of his misery. Jason Garrett, who has found ways to blow loads of offensive talent, takes over as lead man.

Joe Morgan and Jon Miller are off the Sunday Night Baseball crew. Often enjoyed them - other than Miller constantly butchering the pronunciation of Adrian Beltré - but if Dan Shulman gets the promotion, all is good. Love Shulman.

One board in two of four games for Chris Bosh, and his numbers overall are about half of what he produced last year before quitting...errr...getting hurt. Not exactly what you'd expect for $16 million or so.

Talk of Derek Jeter getting three years for up to $60 million from the New York Yankees has me feeling ill. Or maybe it is the $6.50 price of beer on this flight? Anyways, I'd rather see Jeter get $60 million for three years than $60 million for five. The term will hurt the Yanks far more than the cash will.

A full slate of English Premier League and Serie A action over the next couple days.

The Buffalo Bills are favored over Detroit this weekend. Wonder how bad Detroit wants to beat them to keep the Bills in line for a winless season after the Leos pulled the trick a few years back?

If anyone has seen or heard from Chad Ochocinco, please alert the Cincinnati Bengals. He's barely more productive than Chris Henry this season. On the plus side for the Bengals, the Batman to Ochocinco's Robin/Hasbeen, Terrell Owens, is in line to hit all his incentives.

Surprise teams for reasons you'd prefer as a fan of them this NFL season: Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Bucs. Aren't 4th place schedules great?

Did you know the MLS Cup is in Toronto in less than two weeks? The way MLSE is promoting it - which is to say it isn't - you probably didn't. They'll likely draw a Jays/Argos/Raptors sized crowd.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Great sign - at right - from the San Francisco Giants championship parade last week.

The beatings just keep getting worse - and by worse, I mean hilarious - for the Dallas Cowboys.  Since Tony Romo went down three weeks back, the Cowboys have given up 114 points in a little over 10 quarters.  And this from an alleged defensive coach named Wade PhillipsJerry Jones may not want to pay a coach for next year if the league goes into a lockout, but surely even he can't take repeated embarrassments for a team that has obviously quit.  What else could it be if you're going to get pounded 45-7 on Sunday Night Football?  Jones is meeting with his "coaching staff" today.

The Arizona Cardinals have 8 TD's scored this year on kick, punt or interception returns. They have 6 scored by conventional means.  Might explain partly why they're investigating a deal for Donovan McNabb.  Guess they don't worry about his "cardio fitness" like the Washington Redskins do.

Tweets @benmaller: Phil Jackson on Raptors w/out Bosh: "We played them once last year and it felt like Bosh wasn't there, like he was in Miami".  For his part, Bosh is trying to find his game and fit in.  Here's hoping much failure for he and his teammates.
RM returns at 6pm.