Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Two Champions League semi-finalists will get confirmed today. Barcelona is all but a sure thing thanks to their 5-1 home demolition of Shaktar Dontesk last week and the return match in Donetsk all but a formality (2:45pm on TSN). But here's where it gets real interesting: Chelsea visit Manchester United with United having won the opening leg in London 1-0 last week, so a Chelsea 1-0 win sends this one to extra time. Is that what I expect? No, not with Fortress Old Trafford in play for the Red Devils. I'm again going conservative here with a 1-1 draw, with coverage on Setanta at 2:45.
The Tampa Bay Rays entered last night having scored 20 runs for the season, a far cry from their pace last year where they scored the third most in the game. Last night's 16 on Boston will have aided things. And Memo to MLB Teams: do not buy the hype on any Japanese pitcher coming over for a giant posting fee and salary. The names Hideki Irabu, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kei Igawa are cautionary tales, one and all.
Perhaps the most impressive number in Steve Nash's huge collection of: for 9 straight seasons, his teams lead the NBA in offensive efficiency. That comes to an end this year. Hall of Famer, slam dunk.
Here's one to make a few Buffalo Bills fans I know shudder. Rumor has it that wherever Cam Newton gets drafted, a QB that shares the same agent will also go to mentor him. Yep, Brett Favre.
Ron Wilson is the only coach in Toronto Maple Leafs history to lead the team to three straight years without a playoff appearance - and the Leafs have certainly afforded many opportunities to achieve three straight misses - and it looks like he'll keep his job. Meanwhile, coaches all around him on the outside-looking-in list are getting canned.
The Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners entered MLB in the same year. The Jays have two World Series to the M's none. Beyond that, they share empty stadiums in common. See that "crowd" last night with King Felix Hernandez on the hill? Just over 13,000, their lowest number in 12 years at Safeco Field. They could deal him to New York and I'm not sure any locals in the Pacific Northwest would notice for weeks. Some exaggeration there, admittedly. Oh, and if you're like me, you missed the Jays implosion last night. Up 7-0, they lost 8-7. What the hell was manager John Farrell thinking intentionally putting the winning run on base?
ESPN is among the bidders for the NHL's hockey rights, where they'd show games on ESPN2 and the Stanley Cup Finals on ABC. $200 million a year isn't much, but better than any U.S. package I can ever recall. If Gary Bettman has an ounce of brains, he jumps to be on the sports leader. Come on Gary, prove that a blind squirrel can find a nut.
Derek Jeter's 2011 so far: of the 28 outs he has recorded this year, just three (including a sacrifice fly) have been made in the outfield.
Hands up, who had the Cleveland Indians with an 8-2 record and leading the AL Central? Me neither, figured they'd be dead last wire to wire.
22:05. That's the total time, in minutes and seconds, that Manny Ramirez spent at the plate and on the bases as a Tampa Bay Ray. Graphic evidence here. Amazing what people come up with on the interweb.
AJ Burnett is 7-0 as a New York Yankee in April historically. Now to convince him every month is April.
A little Bridge Burning for a Tuesday morning. Get on down to your local record store and grab Foo Fighters "Wasting Light" today. You'll thank me later.
Posted by TB at 10:41 AM