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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Quick one for a Saturday...

The Florida Panthers have now missed the playoffs 10 straight seasons, topping the previous record of 9.

Landon Donovan of the LA Galaxy on Argentina and Barcelona's Lionel Messi in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated: "if LeBron James went out and played basketball with high school kids - that's what Messi looks like when he plays against everyone else. And he's doing it against professionals." - SI

DeKev points us to a bit that says the Steve Nash story of a few days ago might not be true, and that the child his ex-wife had was in fact his.  So why has Nash been silent on the story?  Perhaps it is because it was he who was having the affair?

Now this is how you take a penalty kick...

Friday, April 8, 2011

1100 blog entries...damn.

Today marks blog entry #1,100.  Not sure how many more there will be, but that shocks me.

John Molinaro at CBC looks at how new Toronto FC manager Aron Winter has changed the culture at the team, and frankly, I love it.

Now this is hilarious: Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlesberger says his religious beliefs prevent him from living with his fiancee before they're married.  What religion is okay with rape?

Yeah, and there's no scoring in soccer.  Cristiano Ronaldo has 71 goals in 77 games for Real Madrid.

This year's Tampa Bay Rays and the 1992 Detroit Tigers are the only teams since 1900 to never lead in their first 6 games of a season.  Speaking of the Rays, they join the Boston Red Sox in matching 0-6 starts which I'm not sure Las Vegas would have even offered a line on.  Had a good laugh seeing a Boston media outlet declaring before the season that the Sox would challenge the 1927 Yankees for best team ever. That said, 9% of all playoff teams have had a losing streak of at least seven games.

Roy Halladay has allowed 1 or no runs in 18 of his 35 regular-season starts with Philadelphia Phillies over the last 2 seasons. He's 2-for-2 this year after yesterday.

ESPN's Buster Olney on Seattle Mariners rookie pitcher Michael Pineda: "A talent evaluator's observation about the Mariners' Michael Pineda: 'It looks like the Mariners have another guy who has the potential to lead a staff.' If Pineda turns out to be as good as he appeared he could be in his first outing, it would change the context greatly for the Mariners in considering a Felix Hernandez deal."  Somewhere, Yankees GM Brian Cashman is dialing his Blackberry.

What is a crazier stat than the Denver Nuggets record since dealing Carmelo Anthony?  How about this: they've cut an average of 10 points off per game.

Boston Red Sox reliever starter reliever starter reliever Tim Wakefield is 13 behind the all-time Boston Red Sox wins record, trailing both Roger Clemens and Cy Young's 192. One of those things is not like the others.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney was dropped by Coke from a $600,000 per year endorsement after swearing into a camera after scoring a third goal last Saturday.  So if you're keeping score at home: Coke thinks it is okay to bang hookers while your pregnant wife is at home, but do not swear into a camera.

Graphic evidence that there in the world of big league closers, there is Mariano Rivera, and then there's everyone else.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

0-5 in Beantown? The heart bleeds.

Three of the four Champions League ties are already decided more or less after Barcelona - as predicted - thumped Shaktar Donetsk 5-1 yesterday.  The other game was a tense one with Wayne Rooney netting the lone goal in a 1-0 Manchester United win over Chelsea in London, giving United an edge heading home to Old Trafford where they're a very tough team to beat.  But 1-0 is hardly insurmountable, so this will be one to watch on Tuesday.

What's better than the Boston Red Sox opening 0-4?  Why, the Red Sox opening 0-5 of course.  Maybe they aren't who most experts thought they were?  Not saying it is going to happen, but can you imagine the angst in Beantown if they get swept this weekend by the visiting New York Yankees?  In wild-card era, 25 teams (before this year) started 0-4. Only one won 90+ games ('99 Arizona Diamondbacks).  Don't have an 0-5 stat at the moment.

The Denver Nuggets are 15-4 since dealing Carmelo Anthony.  Anybody saw that one coming?

Toronto Blue Jay Ricky Romero is currently dating Rima Fakih, at right, the reigning Miss USA.  She's noteworthy for being in the running for a future as a WWE perfomer on their reality series "Tough Enough".  Pretty sure when she won her crown, that wasn't included in the answer she gave for her hopes for the future.  The part about dating a Blue Jay, that is.

A tip of the hat to frequent reader JM for passing this awesome link on: Brian Wilson's virtual beard.  As cool as it sounds.

Are the Toronto Raptors actually better without Andrea Bargnani in the lineup?  A sample size small enough that only a Toronto Blue Jay fan would value it, but a sample nonetheless.

Looks like more than a few New York Giants fans aren't sticking around waiting for the lockout to end.  Check out the number of listings available of people selling their Personal Seat Licenses, some as high as $160,000.

The Masters starts today.  Expect a deluge of Tiger Woods coverage.  And no, even if he flames out this weekend, he's not done.

A mere six games into the 2011 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates now have 24% of their entire 2010 road win total.

Might Chelsea striker Didier Drogba be MLS bound this summer?  One thing for sure: he would freaking DOMINATE.

The 25 dirtiest hits in sports.  Zdeno Chara's hit on Max Pacioretty did not make the list.  Maybe that inspires Chara for the playoffs with a date with Montreal in the offing?

My boy Bukakke will be thrilled to know he can tweet at a guy in Seattle while at a Mariners game and have beer delivered to his seat.

The next great NBA Hall of Fame debate might be Vince Carter, but not if the good people of Toronto get a vote.

Maybe the nastiest hockey thing I've seen, and that is saying something.

More backyard wrestling moves gone wrong, with added points here for the bounce off of the lawn...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Les Mediocre?

There were goals galore in yesterday's Champions League quarters.  Inter Milan opened the scoring all of 44 seconds in against Schalke with a long range bullet from Dejan Stojakovic, but even playing at home wasn't enough for the defending champions, who were hammered by the Germans 5-2 in a win that all but assures their passage to the semi-finals.  And who predicted that for a team not exactly lighting up the German Bundesliga?  Once again, an Italian defence was exposed by teams with pace, same as AS Roma, AC Milan etc. before them in Champions League play.  The other game saw Tottenham's Peter Crouch take two terrible, well deserved, yellow cards and get ejected, which all but meant it was a matter of time before Real Madrid built on their 1-0 lead at the time and build they did, en route to a 4-0 smashing of Spurs that kills any drama for the return leg next Wednesday in London.

Up today, Barcelona hosts Shaktar Donetsk, and anything other than a comfortable Barca pasting will shock me.  I'm betting Barca at -2.  The other game is an all-English affair with Manchester United at Chelsea.  Have a feeling Chelsea takes this one as United's defence, hurt as it is, has struggled of late to handle teams coming at them with speed which Chelsea showed in their EPL game last month with big second half pressure, but it is a big game, and Chelsea captain John Terry is always a prime suspect to do something stupid that costs his team, so there is that.  Thinking Chelsea 2-1, but hoping for a draw, preferably with goals scored.

Stats like these warm my heart: no team has opened the season at 0-4 and gone on to win the World Series.  Here's looking at you, Boston Red Sox starting pitchers have 9.30 ERA, which is the highest for Boston staff thru first 4 games of a season since ERA became official AL stat in 1913.  That, and their fourth loss to open the year last night was to Cleveland.

18,579 - that's the tiny crowd the Cleveland Indians drew last weekend.  Over the course of two days.  The Tribe has fallen a long way from the days of 455 straight sell-outs at Jacob's Progressive Field.  The Tampa Bay Rays only drew 13,173 last night.  Mike Ozanian at Forbes predicts the Rays will be contracted at the end of the 2014 season.

For as much abuse as Toronto Maple Leaf Phil Kessel takes, he's one of only eight NHLers to have 30 or more goals in each of the last three season.

The Baltimore Orioles are 38-23 since Buck Showalter took over as manager. They were worst team in bigs when he took over at 32-73.  Nice work, BS.

If you're planning a road trip to any MLB games this year, there's a fantastic guide here at Fox Sports that will help you sort out what to do, eat, see and more for each MLB team.

After last night's win, the Minnesota Twins are now 7-31 in New York under manager Ron Gardenhire.  And not sure what Yankees manager Joe Girardi was thinking pulling a still strong CC Sabathia after seven and using Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera for a second straight night, especially when you've got AJ Burnett waiting in the wings with a potential implosion tonight.

Dallas Cowboys Tight End Martellus Bennett - he's the one not named Jason Witten more noted for internet videos and dropping balls - thinks QB Tony Romo should have to compete with Jon Kitna for the starters job.  And the clock ticking down Bennett's last days in Dallas

When did merely making the NHL playoffs become cause for celebration among Montreal Canadiens fans?   Shocking the messages I'm seeing on Twitter and Facebook from a group of fans who once expected a playoff run, nevermind qualification.  Have Les Glorieux fans become Les Mediocre?  Sad, really, and I'm sincere in saying that.

More backyard wrestling moves gone wrong...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

UConn win ugly

Well that was a perfectly terrible ending to an otherwise entertaining NCAA hoops tourney.  53-41?  It looked like a WNBA game, or what one would imagine a WNBA game looks like since nobody has fully watched one.  Maybe the NCAA should note that since Final Fours moved to domes 15 years ago, 3-pt FG% is down to 32% and overall FG% down to 42% from 36% and 46% respectively before.  Something to do with depth perception I guess?  Of course, the NCAA won't give up the added revenue, quality of play be damned.

Into the quarter-finals of Champions League we go the next couple days, with a pair of games on each day.  Today, hard not to like Inter Milan to take the opening leg over Shalke at the San Siro, though Inter looked less than strong in a 2-0 loss to AC Milan Saturday so they'll have much to bounce back from.  Tottenham Hotspur look to continue their run with a trip to visit Real Madrid, who are without Karim Benzema for sure, but on the upside it appears Cristiano Ronaldo will play.  As much as I'd love a Spurs upset here, and Rafael Van Der Vaart stab his old team in the heart, I'm thinking Real do the business at home.  Can't imagine Real coach Jose Mourinho guides his team to a second straight home loss, not after Saturday's loss was the first time in 150 games he coached across three teams that he tasted home defeat.

Former MLBer Kevin Millar might be the guy I hate most in baseball history.  He was the epitome of a self-promoting douche while with Boston, then was the lead figure in the final weekend of 2009 mutiny in Toronto against manager Cito Gaston, and then was booted from front row seats at Fenway last year that he didn't have tickets for - thanks for the memories, KM! - and is now saying that former Chicago Cubs manager Lou Pinella wasn't prepared as manager of the team.  Wonder how Millar picked all that up, given he was cut in spring training.

You may have heard Steve Nash left his wife and filed for divorce days after she gave birth in December.  An un-Nashlike thing, most assumed.  Until you hear that it turns out the baby came out black, and the father was in fact former Phoenix Sun teammate Jason Richardson, who was quickly moved to the Orlando Magic.  I knew there had to be some reason the Suns would take on Wince Carter, but never thought it'd be that.

Former New York Met GM and baseball analyst Steve Phillips says, on the subject of Barry Bonds and steroids: “Thank God for steroids. It brought the game back from extinction.” A bit extreme, no?  Don't believe the game was extinct, or even heading there, but no doubt the long ball did bring lots of spotlight back to baseball coming out of the lockout.

Wonder how Gary Bettman and the NHL would feel about a player in another sport being given a two-game suspension for swearing?   That seems as harsh as the NHL seems lenient all too often.

Not sure if you noticed but the Mets have a pinch runner named "Hu".  It is great when he starts on first.

Sugar Shack time at Epic Meal Time...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Not only did Fulham unveil that Michael Jackson statue we referenced a couple weeks back, but owner Mohamed Al Fayed told fans they can "go to hell" if they don't like it.

Not sure about you, but when the Boston Red Sox open the MLB season 0-3, that to me qualifies as a good start to the season.

When did 47,984 become a sell-out at Rogers Centre?  Wasn't it closer to 51,000 in the glory days decades ago?  Like the Jays fan base, the Dome is shrinking.

Joe Posnanski at looks at the top 32 players in Major League Baseball today. Jon Heyman looks at some of the biggest questions early in the MLB season, leading off with whether the Philadelphia Phillies should be the NL favorite, while ESPN's SweetSpot Blog lists six reasons the Phil's won't be around come October.

Didn't we say a few weeks back here that it was odd Toronto FC was using Maicon Santos in full-page ads rather than Dwayne De RosarioMeRo was dealt on Friday to the New York Red Bull. CBC's JasonDeVos says the move is a good one for both teams , and I have to agree.  TFC wasn't going to win anything with DeRosario in the last days of his prime years, so going younger and deeper is the way to go, I say.  Tony Tchina is going to be fantastic for in the TFC midfield.

The final week of the NHL season is upon us.

The NCAA championship game goes tonight with surprise Butler in the final against UConn.  I've got the Huskies winning comfortably in this one, but Butler has proven people wrong from the get-go.

You know what is annoying?  Those 15 second ads before you watch a video online. The upside is the Chris Rock bit on David Letterman on baseball's opening day is well worth the watch.  Rock's beloved Mets are destroyed in this clip.

Because backyard wrestling moves never grow old...