White Hat Sports Headlines

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Tomorrow night the Celtics play a huge game. They are tied in their best of 7 series with the Atlanta Hawks 2 games apiece. Nobody is really panicing right now in this region because the Celtics still have Game 5 at home in Boston. (They love that dirty water.) The Celtics have been amazing at home this season and especially in the third quarter of games. This one should be sewn up before the dreaded 4th quarter even gets there. But the question is still there, what if the Celtics do lose Game 5?

In that scenario they would have their backs against the wall and have to go back to the dreaded Phillips Arena (which might as well be the House of Pain for the C's right now) for a Game 6. Pretty much they need to win Game 5 right now, because the Celt's have played very hard in this series and it hasn't been successful at all on the road. I don't know what it is, I don't know if it's psycological that they can't play on the road or the theory that I believe is that Doc Rivers is in way over his head right now. They played well in games 1 and 2 and then somewhere he paniced. When the Hawks made their Game 3 push, he paniced and tried to keep his starters in the game instead of going with his set rotation that drove me nuts during the beginning of the series, but after they started consistently winning the younger players started to step up I started to see that it was actually working. Isn't that just like Doc though, just as soon as I start to agree with something that he does, he has to go and change it and turn it into a minus again. The second one of the younger bench players goes into the game and makes a bad play or misses a cut (apparently Leon Powe missed 5 defensive switches) he benches them and feels he can't trust them. So what am I to do about this? What can I do to to help raise the Celtics in Game 5?

I need to be there for them, I am scheduled to be at Fenway Park for the series finale with the Blue Jays thursday night, so me and my buddy Tommy Gunn are going down a night early and going to the TD Garden for Game 5.

I'm psyched, I haven't been there for a Celtics game since 2002 and that was against the Wizards. My pal Riley and I were going to get a chance to see Michael Jordan who decided that he needed to take that game off, but I still got to see the great Christian Laettner play, so I was happy. (Go DUKE!) My first playoff game in any sport, ladies and gentlemen, HERE WE GO!

~Sterling Pingree

Hard times

In the words of the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes, (not to be confused with the American Dream Dusty Pedroia) "That is hard times."
That is exactly what this past week has been in Boston Sports. Let's recap.

The Red Sox beat the Angels in a classic comeback game at fenway, from then till they beat Doc Halladay tonight, they hadn't won a single game.

The Celtics won last wednesday in Game two of their first round series with the Atlanta Hawks. Since then? They lost two straight in the daunting confines of Phillips Arena (the word confines just doesn't work for basketball, definatly just a baseball word.)

So this afternoon I was sitting here about to read Bill Simmons latest marathon chat session, thinking to myself about how high I was riding just a week ago. I went to the Sox game with my buddy Griffin and we were talking about how we both thought the Celtics were going far in the playoffs and that the Hawks and even the Cav's didn't prove any match up for the 66 win Celtics. We gushed about the Red Sox who at that point were about to win about their 10th win in 11 tries and were absolutely firing on all cylinders. Since then, nothing good has happened, (except for Jerod Mayo to the Patriots, this is a good thing.....I think) but tonight we got an epic performance that when you couple it with the reverse jinx proficy dream that I had last night, makes it all that much more amazing.
I had a dream last night that Jon Lester gave up 7 runs in just 2+ innings tonight and the Sox got shut out by the DOC. The complete opposite happened, the DOC only shut them out for 8 2/3 innings and Jon Lester did the same through 8 innings. A stunning victory for the Sox, maybe tides are turning again with this win and the Celtics coming back to the TD Garden tomorrow night for game 5.
This could be the beginning of something again.

~Sterling Pingree

Winners and losers of the NFL Draft part 2

okay so the first part of this post was about who I thought the winners were in this years NFL draft. This time its all about who I thought were the losers in the draft and why I have given these teams that title.

The biggest loser in this draft goes to the Atlanta Falcons for drafting Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. Don't get me wrong Matt Ryan is a good quarterback but the falcons didn't need to make that pick. One school of thought on this is that by picking Ryan the Atlanta faithful think that its saying we are done with Mike Vick.... WRONG! If that was the case then when Ryan was picked people wouldn't have said the words Mike Vick right off the bat... but they did. All Atlanta did was add more fuel to an already raging fire within the organization. Atlanta better hope that Ryan pans out fast because if not... I wouldn't put it past the Falcons to count the days until Vick gets out of prison....

Another team that left me scratching my head was the Tennessee Titans. They have a franchise quarterback in Vince Young, but there is just one problem.... he doesn't have a number one wide receiver that can make plays. So Tennessee goes out and drafts an okay wide receiver who's name I cant remember right now because he's not that big of a player. The point I'm trying to make is that any good quarterback will tell you that it makes a world of difference to have a number one wide out to throw to when you need a big play. Vince young can't keep carrying the Titans on just his legs alone... sooner or later the Titans will need to get Vince some real help.

~Derek Gause~

Winners and losers of the NFL Draft part 1

The draft is over and all of the teams in the NFL have made their picks to help better themselves.But that doesn't mean that it was necessarily the right choice when it comes to the winners and losers of the draft.

First of all I would like to congratulate all of the drafts winners who I thought were the real winners. My hat goes off to the New England Patriots for filling in the two spots that they needed to. The Pats have had a good defense over the past few years, but they were aging at Linebacker so they did the smart thing and drafted young linebackers. They also had some holes in the secondary so they went out and got a corner, a job well done by the Patriots.

In my honest opinion the team that had the best draft was the Kansas City Chiefs. some might say I'm crazy but they did exactly what they said they were going to do.. they drafted players that could hep them instantly, not a couple of years down the road. Their biggest pick was of course Dorsey, the stud Defensive end out of LSU.

My third winner of the draft was the Miami Dolphins because they went out and got their guy on Tuesday before the draft... then went out and got Chad Henne the quarterback from Michigan. There is one honorable mentions that i would like to mention such as the Minnesota Vikings. They needed to get a quarterback in case Jackson struggles and they went out and got John David Booty from USC.

~Derek Gause~

Monday, April 28, 2008

Who's to Blame?

Talladega was Talladega yesterday, especially near the end.

The cars were running four-wide. Bobby Labonte was on the inside, with Tony Stewart next to him on the outside line. Another car was to Tony's outside, too. That car came in on Tony, pinching him and forcing him into Bobby and, before you knew it, five or six cars were piled up on the outside wall. The car that caused it all kept on going.

In the final lap, several cars were battling for position. This same car hits another car, causing "The Big One" and depriving the fans of the exciting finish that was brewing between Kyle Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya and others.

One car caused both of the big wrecks at Talladega.

Now, if the driver had been someone like David Ragan, you know that the announcers and the other drivers would have been all over him. We've seen it happen before.

In both cases, though, the announcers ignored what was right before their eyes, what was clearly shown on the replays. The announcers refused to say what caused both of the the wrecks. And I think we all know why.

Because the truth is that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drove recklessly and caused both of the big wrecks yesterday. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. caused substantial damage to almost half the cars in the field. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is to blame for what happened.

But you'll never hear it from the announcers or the other drivers, because Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is the golden boy of NASCAR.

Aaron Larsen

Talladega Observations.

- What a race at the 2.66 mile superspeedway Sunday, and it proves just what team is the one to beat this season.

- There's no driver hotter than Kyle Busch at the moment, and it's surprising that there aren't very many people wearing M & M's gear in the stands yet. Sooner or later, this kid's gonna start winning some fans over as he continues his dominance.

- Two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart once again had a car that could win at Talladega but failed to do so. He's now winless in 18 tries at the track, and finished 38th Sunday.

- It looked like Dale Earnhardt Jr. might finally break into the win column after 70 races, but he caught up in one of the late wrecks before salvaging a 10th place finish.

- At one point near the halfway mark in the race, third-place finisher Denny Hamlin radioed to crew chief Mike Ford that his right foot was aching so badly from having to keep it steadily glued to the floor on top of his gas pedal, that he was hoping for a caution so that he could give it a rest. Ford suggested he try using his left foot to give himself some relief. Hamlin did, but it provided only some help.

- Sam Hornish Jr.'s first-rate performance at the Daytona 500 made for the promise of an equally strong run Sunday. However, some questionable pit strategy and an engine that eventually was running on only seven cylinders stymied his afternoon. The rookie of the year candidate barely remains in the top 35 in points (33rd).

- I have no idea what Jamie McMurray was thinking on Lap 170 when he drove his Ford Fusion into the side of eventual race winner Busch. The result could have been a disaster, taking out much of the field.

Next weekend it's racing under the lights Richmond.

Aaron Larsen

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kobe 4 MVP

Oh, there are those of you out there that will say Kevin Garnett or Chris Paul, but it has to be the Kobe LeBron race to the finish. The stats they put up and how they carry their teams just stands out too much.

“You can’t just continue to take what Kobe is doing for granted,” Pistons president and Hall of Famer Joe Dumars said. “The guy is one of the truly great players and he should be recognized as such.”

No one needs historical context to make the case for Bryant this year. His season stands on its own. At 29, this isn’t a lifetime achievement award. Kobe is still the best of the best. MVPs, however, are never won overnight in the NBA. Mostly, it takes constructing credibility over the years. He’s been so great, for so long that Dumars is right: People do take him for granted.

Voters have to running out of excuses.

Still, Bryant is an MVP. He’s been the best player, a three-time champion and voters must ask themselves: If I don’t vote for him this year, what will it ever take? His talent, his accomplishments, his place in history, command multiple MVPs. This has been a season when everything has come together to make his candidacy unimpeachable.

His time, his trophy.

The time for Kobe is now. Kobe for MVP. If not Kobe this year, what more does he have to do?


Lakers and Spurs prove "D" wins

Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers make you think of offense with Kobe and his jumpers raining down from up high.

Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs make you think of offense with Tim facing up and playing like a power forward and Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker slicing through the defense.

Truth be told, both teams are very efficient on offense, but even more efficient of defense.

More truth to be told, the Suns and Nuggets do not play a lot of defense. In fact, one of the main factors in getting Shaq for the Suns was to guard Tim Duncan. Maybe they should guard the other four guys on the court too.

As for the Nuggets, they don’t guard much of anyone.

Phil Jackson

Like all good coaches; Phil Jackson was not satisfied with the Lakers latest effort.

Anthony and A.I. shot a combined 10-for-38 and finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively.

No thanks to the Lakers, either, suggested coach Phil Jackson.

“I thought our defense packed it in on them, but they missed some easy shots,” Jackson said. “I told the team at halftime, ‘They’re not going to shoot like this for the whole game. They missed some close shots, some shots they usually make. We’ll have to play better defense in the second half.’

“But they never showed up. They never got it going.”


Tony Parker was on fire for the Spurs in game 3.

The Spurs led from opening tip to final buzzer, playing what Manu Ginobili later called “almost a perfect game.” Parker never has been better, scoring a career-best 41 points, distributing 12 assists and peppering the Suns with jump shot after jump shot for the 40 minutes he spent on the floor.

You wonder how many points Tony Parker would have had if any of the Suns had bothered to guard him?

Teams like Denver and Phoenix can cruise through the regular season winning on all offense, looking great, placing players on the All Star team, but it all becomes a joke when they try to win playoff games against good defensive teams.

NBA Basketball special comment You must have a balance between offense and defense to win big games.


Friday, April 25, 2008

For The Love Of Madden

It was recently announced that Brett Favre would be on the cover of the new Madden game. This comes as a surprise, as Madden's covers have always been current players, and unless they know something we don't, Favre is retired. I can think of two reasons this occured.

1. Frank Caliendo: This guy is hilarious. He does some of the best impersonations out there, and his John Madden is second to none. And he hits the nail on the head by saying that John Madden is in love with Brett Favre. Whenever John Madden talks about Brett Favre he just gushes. This leads me to believe that Madden forced EA Sport's hand on the matter, making them put Favre on the cover as a retirement present. Imagine that discussion between Favre and Madden.

Brett Favre: Well, gosh, I really do appreciate it John.
John Madden: I just hope it shows you how I truly feel for you.
Favre: What do you mean?
Madden: Well, I think it's better if I just sing you this song to show you how I really feel when I'm around you...
Favre: Uhhhh, John? I gotta go.
Madden: Wait, wait, wait...(cues music) One, you're like a dream come true....Two, just want to be with you...
Favre: (hangs up phone)
Madden: Three...Brett it's plain to see that you're the only one for me..and four...Brett, are you there? Brett?

2. The Madden Curse: I urge you to click on that link and see the list that is compiled of NFL players on the cover. I get that superstitions are that and nothing more, but this is beyond superstition. As far as I'm concerned after an event occurs 6 or more times in a ten year period, especially when it can only occur at a rate of one per year, it is no longer a curse. It is a fact. And wouldn't it make sense that all the current NFL stars refused to be put on the cover and they had to have some star power, and Favre was the obvious choice. Now, if somehow Favre gets injured within the next year we should just start putting people we want to get hurt on the cover. For what it's worth, heres my first nominee for the cover.

~Aaron Jackson

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Masterson Gets First Career MLB Start

Justin Masterson, starting pitcher for the Red Sox farm team the Portland Sea Dogs, will get his first start today with the Red Sox. This comes after Josh Beckett and Dice-K were both scratched from their starts, and gives the fans their first look at one of the top pitching prospects in the organization.

Masterson will look to follow a long line of succesfull major league players coming from the Sea Dog's organization. The list includes players like Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Clay Buccholz, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Beckett and Kevin Youkilis.

"He's one of the nicest kids you'll ever meet," manager Terry Francona said in an interview with boston.com. "I think his future is very bright. Hopefully we'll get a chance to glimpse some of that."

So far this season Masterson has allowed only two runs and 14 hits over 19 innings, and although he has never pitched above double A it seems clear now is the right time to give him his shot. From watching him personally I can tell you he has great control, and a sinker that reminds people a lot of Derek Lowe.

When asked about the start by the Portland Press Herald Masterson stated "I'm just real excited. It's hard to put into words, but I just want to put together a quality performance."

~Aaron Jackson

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The NFL Draft

2008 NFL Draft

This weekend marks yet another NFL draft where the best college players will hope to be drafted to an NFL franchise. We wont have to wait for the Dolphins to make their number one pick since they already made theirs. I like the fact that there is already things moving and it's only Wednesday. I am interested to see who the Rams pick since technically they are going to make the number one pick now in a sense.

I like the draft up until it gets past the top 25 draft picks because after that I lose interest. And of course I usually stop watching after my team makes their pick... and I go back and forth to see the other picks that they make. But lets face it people... most of the country watches the draft just to see who the number one guy is... and which quarterback is going to be picked first. This year's class is lead by the Boston College standout Matt Ryan.
Matt Ryan

Ryan is easily the drafts favorite for this year when it comes to number ones or the quarterback of choice. The other thing that draws people in is the fact that there are always those top prospects who drop in the draft or go un-drafted. The network always does a good job of zooming in and capturing the emotion of that one top guy as he waits to hear his named called but doesn't hear it.

I will be tuning into the draft this weekend to see who goes where , who gets traded and who gets shafted.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Will Other Teams Figure Out New Car?

What if no other team figures out the new car and Carl Edwards keeps on winning? Every team does not have the same financial depth or technical expertise at its disposal. All teams are not created equal. Yet, it is the goal of NASCAR to provide exceptional and quality racing for fans, sponsors and all other interested parties every time the green flag waves.

If NASCAR is to achieve its goal of maintaining its long held superior standard in the sport of racing, it must continue to do everything in its power to assure that every organization under its influence has a fair opportunity to perform well. Doing so means being openly receptive to the suggestions, misgivings and problems incurred by owners, teams, drivers, crews, sponsors and support entities. It is short-sighted and unrealistic to expect things to go smoothly in the first year of running this new car of conundrum.

Testing of the car is a good thing and should be encouraged, supported and test sessions should be fully attended by every team, whenever scheduled. Experimentation during races is difficult enough, and can lead to disappointing performances for fans who have every right to expect the most for their money. Races that end with ten cars on the lead lap and a leader nine seconds ahead of a sad little pack are not good shows!

The best drivers in the sport are speaking out - not complaining - but voicing their opinions, and they have a right to be heard. Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. cannot all be wrong and not one of them has forgotten how to drive.

Listen to them and give them a chance to help improve and refine this new car.

Aaron Larsen

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Playoff beard

playoff beard

The Playoff beard is my favorite tradition that the NHL has during playoff time. It's something that every team does during playoff time, nobody shaves or cuts their hair until they either win the Stanley cup or they are eliminated from the playoffs. As you can see in the picture above.... some players really embrace the whole tradition. Now for all the hockey haters out there they probably think that it stupid. That's fine you have the right to your own opinion.. as do I. The playoff beard is unique in the sense that when you look at the players who have them.. you can see the story that it tells, showing that him and the team are going through hell to win the cup. And with each passing series.. the road gets tougher and longer and you can see it on their faces.

I also find the playoff beard interesting since it has been catching on in other sports such as basketball. The perfect example of that would be the Cleveland Cavaliers.. the past few years Lebron and company have embraced this tradition.
playoff beard

~Derek Gause~

The Value Of It All

The NBA MVP has been something that is always contested, with multiple players always being able to make a case for the trophy. This year Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Chris Paul all can make a bid for the prize, and to me only one stands out.

Chris Paul is the 2008 NBA MVP. He is the MVP because he lead his team that no one thought could win to a top seed in the Western Conference. He is the MVP because he averaged 21 points and 12 assists a game. He is the MVP because his team was one of the only teams not to make a significant trade, yet he didn't say anything and continued to lead his team. He is the MVP because he took a team in New Orleans that no one cared about and made them care. He is the MVP because he was the Most Valuable Player in the league.

I get it. Kobe Bryant was "snubbed" for a few years in a row. Kevin Garnett took a team that was horrible last year and helped make them the best team in the league. Lebron James almost averaged a triple double and led the NBA in fourth quarter scoring. All these guys have claims to the MVP trophy. But none of them took a bunch of role players and led them to the top of a conference that is probably one of the toughest conferences ever in the NBA. Kobe didn't make his teammates all that much better, and he has much more talent around him than Paul. Garnett had two other superstars playing along side him, and his numbers are not overwhelming. Lebron's numbers are amazing, but his team wasn't that great and played in the weaker conference. Combine all those things and it means one thing; Chris Paul deserves the MVP. Kobe, you're going to have to settle for second place again.

~Aaron Jackson

Hendrick has "Dream Team," but JGR has Kyle Busch

A lot of things go on in NASCAR, both on and off the track, but nothing seems to compare to the drama generated by the ability and desire of Kyle Busch, doing whatever he has to do to cross the finish line first.

A third place finish by the young marvel is just as exciting as when he wins. The kid seems to have so much energy racing for whatever position he needs to take. He's proved that he can drive anything and everything in his new stable - Joe Gibbs Racing.

So far, the 2008 season seems to be a dream season for Kyle Busch. He's won three straight Nationwide races, he's led the points standings in the Sprint Cup Series, he's won a race in the Sprint Cup Series, and has shown the "Champion in the Making" qualities that he was pegged with during his rookie year. He always does his best to win, no matter what type of car he has.

His car control is second to none and his instincts are seemingly perfect. Each day he matures, and as his wisdom develops and is stored, it becomes more pronounced. If he is as good as he is now, how much better can he become in the future? NASCAR fans can look forward to continued excitement.

Busch does not have legions of fans that stand and scream when he achieves, and there are not thousands of # 18 hats, shirts and jackets worn by adoring throngs.....yet. Perhaps he will never know the popularity of several of his peers. However, he does not seem motivated by numbers of fans who love him. Rather, his strong sense of self, faith in his ability, and the goals which he has set for himself keep him grounded. Success to him, will be measured by accomplishments.

Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon,Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth.....all the best, please know:

You've got serious company, and he's one tough competitor. Like him or not, he's fast, he's fearless, he's good, he's clean and he's honest. He has some positive and some negative. He'll be around for a long, long time and that is great for the sport of racing.

Aaron Larsen

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Grand times. (Non-Boston Sports Fans Need Not Read)

I am sitting here catching up on Bill Simmons podcasts from last week. While listening to him talk to his buddy, House, I am reflecting on that is coming up in Boston sports, in the next couple days. The last 24 hours have seen two Red Sox come back victories in the last few, (they're starting to look locked in and October Clutch right now).
I saw one of the greatest hockey games i've ever seen. (Easily the best Bruins game I've ever watched, right behind UMaine beating UMass in triple OT in the Hockey Easy finals in 2004 and the 1999 National Championship game.) The Bruins playing inspirated hockey and swapping goals with the Habs for the entire third period and driving my dad nuts, forcing him to jump on and off the bandwagon 3 times in a 10 minute period simultaniously breaking all kinds of bangwagon records. The B's won, and now we have DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN, GAME 7. We're heading for heartbreak, the team is giving fans (and making new fans) reason to hope that they could dispatch of the hated rival, Canadiens. Just an all out exciting night last night, even leading to Jerry Remy wondering if the Bruins comeback inspired the Red Sox to best the Rangers.
The idea of Manny Ramirez becoming inspired by Marco Sturm has me laughing and being not positive why.
So here's the dream schedule that is actually taking place.

Sunday 1:37 Rangers at Red Sox (Sox winning 6-5 in a comeback win, a vintage Wakefield victory, 8 innings,5 earned runs and gets the W)

Sunday 8:30 Atlanta Hawks @ Boston Celtics Eastern Conference Playoffs Round 1 Game 1
The Celtics are the number one seed in the playoffs, OVERALL! This is going to be vintage of the Celtics end up in the Finals against the Lakers.

Monday 11:04AM Texas Rangers @ Boston Red Sox for the PATRIOTS Day Game. Gotta love the 11AM start on Marathon Monday in Boston. The pitching match up even reaks of intrigue as well, Kason (You traded me for Eric Gagne) Gabbard vs. Clay (I desperately need a nickname) Buchholz.

Monday 7:00pm Boston Bruins @ Montreal Canadiens DUN DUN DUNNNNN GAME 7
The Sox and Bruins don't over lap each other, I can watch both games, no resentment. GO B's.

Tuesday 7:05pm Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Boston Red Sox, Jered Weaver vs. Josh Beckett
I know what you're thinking, I'm reaching looking forward to this mid-April match up of two teams that should make the playoffs. Maybe I am, but this is my maiden voyage of the 2008 season, my buddy Griff and I are heading down for this one.
Random stat: This will be my 8th game since the start of 2006, and the fourth time I've seen Josh Beckett pitch. How is that for numbers. (The others are, 2 Schilling, 1 Kyle Snyder, it was the end of 2006 and he actually threw a gem. Paps came in and left grabbing his shoulder, this was the equivalent of the JFK assassignation at Fenway Park. The other starer was Julian Tavarez, 2-1 loss to the Rangers, worst game I've ever seen at Fenway.)

Wednesday 7:05pm Angels @ Red Sox Gotta love baseball playing everyday.

Wednesday 8:05pm Hawks @ Celtics Game 2

Saturday Noon The NFL Draft. The Patriots hold the 7th overall pick. Are you ready for them to trade the pick for Chad Johnson?????????

You might want to be!

~Sterling Pingree

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Bits O' Info"

Couple of quick things to get to in this post:

~Roger Federer made it to his first final in the year 2008. It seems like tennis stars fade as quickly as they come, and while Federer was certainly more dominant than most it seems as though his days of being a finals shoe-in are over. It'll be interesting to see if he starts to become dominant again, or if he will continue to fall back towards the pack.

~The NHL playoffs have been amazing so far. I am by no means a huge hockey fan, but the sport definitely seems to be on a slow crawl back into the spotlight. It still has a long way to go, with getting off Versus being the first step, but if they can continue with the exciting play I've seen so far in the playoffs they should be able to rebound.

~Colin Cowherd ripped into the Seattle Supersonics on his show this week, saying that they don't deserve an NBA team. He says they made their choice when they gave new stadiums to multiple other teams before giving the Sonics one. He also said that it's ridiculous that the former owner of the Sonics, Howard Schultz, is upset with Clay Bennett (who bought the team from Schultz). He believes that Schultz should have known Bennett would want to take the team to Oklahoma City as Bennett is from there and has his business based there. I understand where he is coming from, but I completely disagree with what he is saying. Seattle deserves a team, and the Sonics are rich in tradition. Just because one idiotic owner sold it to another one doesn't mean the fans of the Sonics should suffer. And seriously, if David Stern is considering putting teams overseas, wouldn't it make sense to put a new team in Oklahoma City while he is at it.

~Aaron Jackson

Diamond Points

Well I can honestly say this was one of the longest weeks in Major League history. With the Mets and Nationals going 14 innings thursday night and the Padres and Rockies going 22 innings the same night, alot of people didn't think the weekend would ever get here. It has, here we are and we are getting dangerously close to the dog days of summer, which will be upon us before we know it.

~Daisuke Matsuzaka became the first American League pitcher to earn his 4th win of the season. While besides his first start stateside this year in Oakland and the home opener against Detroit he has been pretty ordinary. Against the Yankees he walked too many, and last night against Texas he went into alot of deep counts and gave up one out doubles to make a potentially easy inning's level of difficulty jump up a couple notches. The good news is that he is finally getting the run support that he lacked last season and it pulling out victories that he never would have last season.

~Brian Bannister picked up his first loss last night against the Oakland Athletics. Bannister had started the season as statistically the best pitcher in the American League. Heading into last night's contest he was 3-0 with a sub-1 ERA, leading the league in both categories. His loss last night was inevitable, but who it was against might be somewhat alarming. The Athletics have not set the world on fire with their offensive prowess, (or their new home alternative black jersey's) but before last night they had only hit 6 home runs on the season. As a Red Sox fan, I can name two of them; one by Mark Ellis, the second batter of the season and the other by Jack Cust against Boston in their first game in McAphee Coliseum. Who gave up these two homers? That's right, the aforementioned Matsuzaka. Apparently the A's rise to the occasion when they face the league's best. Which leads me to Diamond Point Number 3.

~Weekly there is an argument between my friend Tom and I and more than frequently it's about which pitcher to trade, pick up or drop in fantasy baseball. For the first three weeks of the season Livan Hernandez had been the focal point. This week that changed with his need for a starter in his "other" fantasy league. Looking strictly at the number so far this season there was a name that immediately jumped out at him. Zack Greinke. Greinke has made three starts heading into today's contest with the A's, and won all three against some of the AL's best, Detroit, New York and Seattle. Each game he has pitched atleast 7 innings, including a complete game victory last time out against the Mariners and over all has a tidy 0.75 ERA. So why didn't I think this was the best pitcher available? (Because I'm not a fad guy, I don't pick up guys just because they have had a great first week of the season. Chris Shelton anybody?) Look at his career thus far, he has been demoted to the minors, to the bullpen, i think there were a few times during the Tony Muser Era in KC that they might want to demote him to Japan. He has taken leave of absences from the team and from just pitching in general. Psychologically he has had alot weighing on his shoulders since the first time he stepped onto a Major League mound, as a 20-year old on May 22, 2004. Perhaps this is the year where Greinke can turn it around, or Oakland might continue it's routine this year of tagging league leaders and nobody else. We'll find out Saturday in Oakland.

~Sterling Pingree

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Barber and Cowboys

The Cowboys have held preliminary talks with the running back's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, according to multiple sources, and are offering a financial package in the $30 million range.

Barber wants a package between $40 million and $60 million.

Barber's asking price is comparable to deals given to Kansas City running back Larry Johnson (five years, $43.2 million), Washington's Clinton Portis (eight years, $50.5 million) and San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson (six years, $60 million).

The Cowboys, according to the sources, believe the deal that free agent running back Michael Turner signed with Atlanta in March (six years, $34.5 million with $15 million in guarantees) is close to what Barber is worth.

Dallas is also willing to give Barber a contract close to what Baltimore gave Willis McGahee last year, a seven-year deal worth as much as $40.12 million, if the last two years of it are picked up.

Migues Tejada and Old Women have somthing in common

Miguel Tejada of the Houston Astros has come clean about his real age. The National Post reports:

"Tejada admitted to Astros general manager Ed Wade on Thursday that he is actually 33 - two years older than he is listed in the team's media guide.

Tejada said he wanted to correct information he gave to the Oakland Athletics when he signed with them in 1993. Tejada, who grew up in a poverty-stricken town in the Dominican Republic, revealed that a youth coach encouraged him to say he was 17."

Lying about your age is only acceptable when you're that 44 year old guy in a Jonas Brothers chat room telling everyone you're a 13 year old girl. By acceptable, of course, I mean totally creepy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Major League, Major League Baseball Game of the Week

This column is the love child of two different happenings.
While watching Baseball tonight this past Friday night with my pal Joey, he had a great idea. That there should be a Major League Game of the Week, and by Major League he means as in the movie.
I’m watching Major League II right now. It was a tough decision between the two movies, (the third one doesn’t exist and never happened) but I felt like watching Roger Dorn’s glorious comeback against the White Sox. Think about it, his hit by pitch against the White Sox would be to Cleveland, what Dave Roberts steal is to Boston fans.
This column is about Joey’s idea, though. There have to be one terrible major league match up per week. There just mathematically has to be, there are only 14 teams that have a chance to get to the World Series, and there are 30 teams. Pick the worst match up of the week and have Bob Uecker do the game as if he is Harry Doyle from the Major League movies. To make it even more satirical, we have him do the game with a fine upstanding former ballplayer (the equivalent to “Monty…..What’s his name.” I think the perfect pick for this has to be Cal Ripken Jr.
I’m as surprised as anybody by my Ripken pick believe me. I always liked him I guess, but was never his biggest fan. I appreciated what he did, even if I thought that he was perhaps a little more celebrated than he should have been at times. But in his post career I’ve found myself liking Cal more and more. In his gig as an analyst during last year’s playoffs he was surprisingly very good and he has exactly the clean cut image that I want in this role. Why you might ask?
Because, when the Marlins are getting beat by the Pirates 5-0 (I know, let’s just pretend that the Pirates could shut somebody out) you want Harry Doyle taking hauls right off the bottle and saying things to Cal like:

Doyle: “Cal, did you ever drink in a game during your streak?”

Ripken: “No. Why?”

Doyle: “Cause’ I did just watching you.”

Ripken: “Freddy Sanchez is a good ballplayer.”

Doyle: “Ever hit the town with Bill Clinton.”

Ripken: “No. Why?”

Doyle: “Oh because I did and I was thinking you were with us. It must have been your brother Billy. Or Frank Thomas, I don’t really remember.”

(Side note. As if Roger Dorn sells Jack Parkman to a division rival a couple months into the season. And how on earth does he get a Japanese outfielder as compensation? Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bud Selig era has infected film as well. What’s next?)
The Major League, Major League Baseball Game of the Week needs to happen. I’m not sure what channel would pick it up, but I would definitely pitch it to HBO first. For reason’s like I just witnessed when Vaughn gives up the game winning home run against Seattle and sends Randy Quaid over the edge. Doyle’s call:
“Vaughn kicks and delivers the pitch. Oh, Shit! Unless that Shaquille O’Neal in left this one’s outta here.”
This has to happen especially on HBO because we need the profanity and the public intoxication. Something that I just don’t see CBS getting behind, but they did give the anchor job to Katie Couric, stranger things have happened.

~Sterling Pingree

Sprint Cup Power Rankings - Talladega

1. Jeff Burton - It should have been a worse night for the 31 team, but he turned it into a sixth place finish.

2. Carl Edward - I think it's clear he's the guy to beat this year after his amazing comeback from his multiple penalties on pit road. He was a lap down and outside the top-30 midway through the race and still finished in the top-10.

3. Jimmie Johnson - He may be back or he may not be back but it's clear the 48 team's struggles are behind them.

4. Kyle Busch - He was a nonfactor for most of the night but I still think we haven't heard the last of him.

5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - It's becoming a recurring theme now: Jr. starts near the front, leads laps, and then his car fades away toward the end.

6. Denny Hamlin - His worst finish in the last four races is just sixth.

7. Kevin Harvick - His last three finishes are 12th, 11th, & 19th. If he keeps that up, he won't be sitting in the top-10 for very much longer.

8. Tony Stewart - He had a pretty cool-looking car on Saturday night, but didn't have the cool finish to go with it. His team never could get a handle on the car and a late error on pit road by Stewart cost them a top-10 finish.

9. Greg Biffle - He needed a strong finish at Phoenix and got it.

10. Clint Bowyer - He's clearly one of the best on these flat, mile-long tracks and I expect him move up in the standings as the season goes on.

11. Jeff Gordon - He had a solid 13th place finish after finishing dead last at Texas but it's clear the team still has some work to do on their setups.

12. Ryan Newman - His momentum is dead now after starting the season off well. He's been inconsistent and he had a last place finish on Saturday night. He's gonna need a strong finish at 'Dega in a few weeks.

Aaron Larsen

Monday, April 14, 2008

Drunken Expectations

With the NBA playoffs coming up soon every team is getting ready. Some are getting ready for playoff action and some are getting ready for an early off season, but they are both getting ready nonetheless. Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets is getting ready for something other than the playoffs now however, as he was arrested late Sunday night on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The arrest comes at a time when the Nuggets do not need distractions, as they are clinging to the 8th and final playoff spot.

Carmelo was first thrust into the spotlight in high school, where he was considered one of the top NBA prospects in the country. He attended Syracuse for one year of college, winning an NCAA Championship while there. He was drafted by the Nuggets in the lottery, and has become an extremely good player on the court. Off the court, however, is another issue.

Carmelo has been involved in multiple incidents, including a fight last season at Madison Square Garden. No one has ever said he is a bad person, and I am certainly not accusing him of that. I am however accusing him of being extremely immature. He, along with Allen Iverson, needs to be leading his team to the playoffs, and he isn't. I understand if he isn't a natural leader and would rather lead by example, but it's one thing to be a quiet star and another thing to be a distraction. Carmelo is slowly going from the former and becoming more the latter.

Obviously, Carmelo still has plenty of time to change, and players with bad attitudes certainly do it all the time. Randy Moss and Kobe Bryant are both players that were considered major distractions for their teams at some point, and both took this last season to change their ways. Whether or not Carmelo can do something similar is yet to be seen, but if he doesn't he could become just another in a long line of players that have great talent and horrible attitudes.

~Aaron Jackson

Welcome Back Kapler

He was 1/3 of the outfield when the final out was recorded. He was the 19 of the 19-18 outfield trivia question when the 86 year curse was broken under a lunar eclipse in St. Louis October 27, 2004. Gabe Kapler was the adored 4th outfielder on the 2004 Red Sox World Series Championship team. He will never have to pay for a drink in Boston again for the pure fact that he was one of “The 25”. He was the guy that was always talked about in dream scenarios like, “I don’t think I’d want to start a fight with Kapler” or “I’d take Kapler over anyone in Major League Baseball in a fight.” Kapler’s career has been anything but typical, so why now that he is one of the hottest hitters in the first couple weeks of the 2008 season should we be surprised?
Gabe’s career before he got to Boston was beginning to be a story of a can’t miss prospect that missed. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 57th round of the 1995 Amateur Draft. He rocketed through the minor leagues on his way to Tiger Stadium (that’s what Comerica Park was before there was a Comerica Park and every stadium wasn’t sponsored by some corporation). On the way there he was dealt to the Texas Rangers in a “huge” deal for two times MVP Juan Gonzalez. His time in Texas was forgettable and ended up getting his contract bought out by the Boston Red Sox in June of 2003. Between then and now he has signed with the Red Sox three different times, battled through injuries and hardships, won rings and extinguished curses. Then after the 2006 season he did a strange thing, he retired; at age 31 he walked away from the game to become a Manager.
Kapler managed one season inside the Red Sox organization, he managed the Class-A, Greenville Drive. After the season Kapler decided he still had the bug, which he wanted to see if he could come back to the Major leagues. The obvious destination would be the sign with the Red Sox for the 4th (or is it the 5th) time. Instead he signed a one year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. So far, so good. In 16 games this season, he is hitting .423 with 4 home runs, 11 rbi and 8 runs scored. Good to see him hitting well and batting 2nd in a good line up. But the weekend of May 16th-18th, he will get a huge ovation his first at-bat of each game, after that if he continues his torrid pace, the drinks could stop flowing.
Till he retires, again that is.

~Sterling Pingree

Phoenix Reactions & Observations.

- I didn't think it was going to last very long, and sure enough, Jimmie Johnson and the 48 team found their way back to Victory Lane. Some may think this team isn't back, but with three straight top-5s, including a win, this team has shown the strength that has netted them two straight championships.

- It was another subpar race for Matt Kenseth. I wonder how anxious he's feeling about the Chase right now.

- I'm getting tired of one third of the field being a lap down at the end of the race. I know it's just an indication of how much better the drivers with this new car figured out are, compared to the drivers who haven't, but it makes for some boring racing.

- I thought the racing at the end of the night was great: not knowing who would win because teams had to bank on fuel mileage to finish. It was exciting, suspenseful, and unpredictable.

- It was a good points race for Jeff Gordon, moving up to 13th in points and just eight points out of 12th - the cutoff point for the Chase. His team clearly needs a bit more work with this new car as they just barely managed to finish 13th on Saturday.

- I would have liked to see Mark Martin win the race on Saturday, and wish he hadn't fueled up. He had nothing to lose, and wasn't racing for points, and seeing him in Victory Lane one more time would be very nice.

- Kurt Busch is nowhere to be seen on the radar right now. With the way his team has looked, I don't know if he has it in him to put together yet another summertime hot streak.

- Tony Stewart didn't get a handle on his car at all on Saturday night. He got a little better as the night went down, but stalling his car on the final pit stop didn't help matters.

- Kevin Harvick should have had a top-5 finish but he also had a bad pit stop late in the race and ended up finishing 19th. The finish dropped him three spots in the points standings.

Next up is Talladega after an off weekend next weekend.

Aaron Larsen

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Coco Crisp to Cali?

Coco Crisp, of the 2007 World Series champions the Boston Red Sox, has purchased a $3-million getaway in a gated Rancho Mirage community.

The former Los Angeles home of Universal Studios staff composer Herman Stein and his wife, Anita, has come on the market at $1,049,000. The composer died at age 91 on March 15, 2007. Anita Stein, who died in 2001, was a violist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

This adds to the speculation that Coco Crisp will be dealt as soon as the Red Sox get an offer they fill is fair for the center fielder. Now that the Sox have a new young OF (with a better bat) it is only a matter of time and maybe the Sox and Coco know something the rest of us dont.....for now!


Yankee's remove Big Papi Jersey

The man is a mason - born and raised in the Country Club section of southeast Bronx.

"As I stuck it in, I said, 'The Yankees are done for the next 30 years.' I only put a 30-year curse because I'm 46 and in 30 years I'll be dead, and I won't care if the Yankees win then," said "Gino," who spoke from a construction job in Manhattan.

Already, the man's co-workers defaced his station wagon with Yankee slogans written in shoe polish. Long a Yankee hater, the turncoat hatched his plan last August after refusing to set foot on the job out of spite.

Since this has been reported the workers have dug into the cement and removed the Red Sox jersey so there would not be a "curse" on the Yankees.

It was a Red Sox big papi jersey that was buried and now with it being brought up, maybe its a symbolic sign that the person David Ortiz (big papi) will also awake from the bottom and start hitting like we know he can, instead of his dreadful .071 batting average he currently has!


Who is the better Athlete?

Okay earlier this past week something interesting was brought to my attention about an athletic comparison. As I was walking to the dining hall I was stopped by a couple of my friends and they had a question for me. The question was simply this... "Hey Gause who is the better athlete... Tiger Woods or the swimmer Micheal Phelps?"
micheal phelpsTiger Woods

Now I for one think its not even close... as in im saying that it's Tiger Woods in a land slide. Why? because all you have to do is compare swimming to golf and I think its pretty safe to say that it takes a lot more to hit a tiny ball into a hole then it does to swim a few laps in a fast time.

Now this blog is a short one because I want to see what everyone else thinks so tell me what you think by posting your opinions in the comment box.

~Derek Gause~

Stanley Cup PLayoffs

playoffs, stanley, cup, logo, nhl

So far in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the action has not disappointed. Most of the series have been rather exciting with the exception of a couple that have been one sided. The first one sided series thus far starts with the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins are up 2-0 on the Senators and the Canadiens up 2-0 on the Bruins, along with the Devils trailing 2-0 to the Rangers. The only one that is surprising to me are the New York Rangers just owning the Devils right now. But then again the Devils don't have any scoring and their goalie Martin Brodeur, is getting old. The best thing about that series is the fact that Rangers forward Scott Gomez, is sticking it to his former team. I love it because he's playing with a chip on his shoulder and is making New Jersey with they still had him.
Scott Gomez #19 waits for a faceoff against the Philadelphia Flyers during preseason action on September 22, 2007 at Madison Square Garden

Now out West the 2-0 series are as follows.... Detroit up 2-0 on Nashville and Dallas is up on the defending champions The Anaheim Ducks 2-0. Nobody thought that Dallas would go into game one on the road and shut out the Ducks 4-0, but they did thanks to four power play goals by the Stars. The X factor for the stars thus far has been the play of Goalie Marty Turco, he has not had much playoff success in the past but he has finally come through for the Stars so far. Now Dallas is heading back home with a chance to go up 3-0 on the Ducks... if the Ducks lose game three I think the series if over. It's going to be up Turco to keep stopping the puck for Dallas.
Marty Turco Rawks!

The Series that Has been my favorite so far is the 3 vs. 6 match up out west between Colorado and Minnesota.It's my favorite series so far because both games have gone to overtime with the Avs taking game one and the Wild winning game two just the other night. Every time that these two clubs meet it is never disappointing because they are so evenly matched and the games are always close. This year I think the Wild could win this series in seven, and it will be because of the stellar play and leadership of their captain.... Brian Rolston.

~Derek Gause~

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Olympic Pride

Walking through Boston a couple weeks ago I noticed a large group of people in Boston Common. They were mostly sitting on mats, and it led to this exchange between myself and my friend.

My Friend: "Are they all doing Yoga?"

Me: "I think it's a protest, but I'm not sure."

Now as we got close I realized that it was a large group of Chinese protesters that were trying to help people learn about what is happening in Tibet. For anyone that doesn't know, you can go here to get more information of exactly what is happening there.

Recently, there has been a lot of media coverage in regards to Tibet and the goings on there. This isn't a recent occurrence however, the issues there have been going on for some time now. The reason it is now getting the publicity it deserves is because of the 2008 summer Olympics in China.

As a sports media member I think it's great for sports because it shows how important sports are. Sure, they are entertainment, but they also often provide a window into more serious matters. It's not realistic to expect everyone to know about every issue in the world, but if someone watches the Olympic coverage this year they will also become aware of Tibet. That awareness will make a difference, whether it be slight or significant, and sports are what allowed that to happen.

As a regular media member I am disgusted by the fact that the Olympics is the event that finally brings Tibet to the public eye. If people like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears can get considerable news coverage on a daily basis why can't something as important as Tibet get some news coverage. It shouldn't take the Olympics to make the media bring Tibet to the public eye. Tibet should get news coverage because of the events happening there, not because of a series of protests that are affecting the carrying of the Olympic torch.

~Aaron Jackson

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Best of Wrestlemania 24

WrestleMania 24 Logo

This years Wrestlemania has come and gone and as a die hard wrestling fan I feel the need to share with you my bests from the years Wrestlemania.

The first best that I have is the Wrestlemania site and set itself. It was held at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. What a perfect location that was... in my opinion A Wrestlemania is made by where its going to be held. I was so happy that they finally had another Wrestlemania outside, it makes for a much better atmosphere. The set was amazing especially since they had a nice touch to it with the ring be covered by this roof thing with lights. I would show you a picture but i couldn't find one small enough to fit on the page.

The next thing that was great was the fact that for once the WWE was not predictable when it came to the WWE championship. They went old school and actually surprised the fans by having the heel (Randy Orton) retain his WWE Championship. It was a nice change of pace and it made a statement that maybe Vince really does know what the fans like to see.
wrestlemania 24

On a much sadder note seeing the Last match that Ric Flair will ever have at Wrestlemania qualifies as a best. Why? because Ric flair had an amazing 36 years career and it was ended by the man who has idolized him since he was 16.. Shawn Michaels. Ric flair is the greatest of all time and the best wrestler to ever put on a pair of boots. WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
ric flair

My last best of Wrestlemania was the choice to have the last match of the night be The Undertaker vs. Edge.. the title vs. the streak. This was the first time that Edge has gotten to headline and main event a Wrestlemania as the Champion. In my opinion by far it was the best match of the night... Edge and taker did a good job of telling the fans the story that was unfolding before our eyes. It was the best Maine event match I have seen in a long time considering that this was the first time that Edge and Taker have really done an angle together and it didn't disappoint.

~Derek Gause~

Mike Vick ballin' it up in prison

Mike Vick

This past week it was brought to my attention that Mike Vick has been keeping in shape by playing football in prison. ESPN reported that Vick is the all time QB for both sides when him and his fellow inmates are playing.

At first I thought that he was playing in an actual league considering that some prison's have leagues where other inmates play against inmates from different prison's.I'm not at all surprised that Vick is playing quarterback, but I am surprised that this story wasn't broken sooner. It's funny to me because I honestly had forgotten all about Mike Vick all together until I saw the story about what he's doing in prison. I honesty forgot about him because I don't care about him and never really have, even when he was in the NFL. Then you throw in what he did with those dogs and that sealed the deal for me since I am a dog lover.

Anyways, I guess its nice that Vick is trying to keep in shape while he's in prison but i don't think playing with a bunch of convicts is really gonna help him get better or improve his mediocre quarterbacking skills that he had in the NFL. Yes he can run but that's about all he could do as far as I am concerned. If he does get reinstated when he gets out I think its going to be a rough up hill climb for Vick to come back to a game and perform at the same level he did, considering that he will have been out of it for 2 years. And when I mean perform at the level he did I mean athletically.... because like I said before his quarterbacking skills were not the greatest. But who knows maybe there's an inmate that he plays with that could help him improve in that department...

~Derek Gause~

Sprint Cup Power Rankings - Phoenix

1. Jeff Burton - He maintains the points lead after finishing a solid 6th on Sunday.

2. Kyle Busch - If it weren't for mechanical failures and possibly his head, Busch would probably still be the points leader. The mechanical issues will be solved and after showing a lot of patience on Sunday, Busch showed that his head is all right.

3. Carl Edwards - He's proven that he can dominate on the 1.5 mile tracks, but the flat tracks are unknown. This Saturday night in Phoenix, Edwards will have an opportunity to show everybody what his flat track program is like, and if he can run well there, you have to say he's the early favorite to win the Cup.

4. Tony Stewart - Ended Sunday's race with another top-10 finish. I'm sure he's just biding his time before he goes his usual summertime streak of two or three wins in a row.

5. Kevin Harvick - He had to deal with a bad car on Sunday, but his team never gave up and Harvick was able to manage an 11th place finish.

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Jr. finished 12th on Sunday, and this season - unlike last year - 12th isn't so good. Expectations have really changed for the 88 team this time around.

8. Jimmie Johnson - Johnson finally does well at a 1.5 mile track this year. The question, though, is whether or not he can maintain this short burst of momentum into Phoenix this weekend. I think he can.

9. Denny Hamlin - Hamlin now has four top-10s in his last five races, and it looks like he's starting to return to form.

10. Jeff Gordon - The 24 team was absolutely clueless in Texas, and for just the second time in his 16-year career, Gordon finished dead last. I expect this team to rebound on Saturday night, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they struggle a little bit.

11. Ryan Newman - Okay, so maybe Newman should be a bit higher than the likes of Gordon after his fourth place finish on Sunday, but Gordon didn't fail post-race inspection like Newman did. Expect possible penalties to be announced later this afternoon.

12. Greg Biffle - He deserved to finish a lot higher than he did, if it weren't for a blown engine. I think a rebound is inevitable as Roush Fenway Racing has been running strong all year, so far.

Aaron Larsen

Show Me the Money

College basketball is over and the NBA playoffs are just about to get underway. That can only mean one thing....the NBA Draft. Seriously though, there is a debate as to who is going to be the number one overall pick. At this point it seems to be between two players; Michael Beasley of Kansas State and Derrick Rose of Memphis. Here is how I would do it if I was an NBA GM.

David Stern: "With the Number One overall selection in the 2008 NBA draft, the Seattle Supersonics select Derrick Rose, point guard, Memphis."

Now given, the Supersonics won't have the best chance of getting the #1 pick, but how often does the team with the most balls (ping pong, c'mon now) actually win the lottery? Can you imagine a nucleus of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Derrick Rose? That is a team that has a whole lot of potential.

In terms of justifying my pick of Rose over Beasley it's simple. Talented swing men are all over the place. On the other hand, talented point guards are tough to find. Also, you have to take into consideration the way the NBA is turning. The point guard is becoming the most important position in the sport. Just look at guys like Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Steve Nash. Each guy is the leader of his team, and each guy has a team that could potentially win the championship this year.

You can make the case that Beasley will put up the bigger numbers, and that Beasley is slightly more NBA ready in his physique. As far as I'm concerned though point guards are the future of the league, and Derrick Rose has all the tools to be one of the best.

~Aaron Jackson

Monday, April 7, 2008

Texas Reactions & Observations.

- It was clear Carl Edwards was a favorite to win the race Sunday, but I don't know if anybody thought he'd be that good. It's clear Roush Fenway has done their homework with this new car.

- It was a big rebound for Jimmie Johnson after struggling mightily on the 1.5 mile tracks earlier in the season. He looked like he had a car that could win throughout the entire race.

- On the other side of the Hendrick spectrum, Jeff Gordon finished dead last for just the second time in his 16 year career. Ironically, the first time was also in Texas, but in 1999.

- Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had good cars so far this season, but for whatever reason his team seems to lose the handle on his cars as the race goes on. He'll need to fix that issue if he wants to win a few races this season.

- Kevin Harvick may have had junk to drive with all day, but his team never gave up and salvaged an 11th place finish.

- Ryan Newman finished fourth but failed post-race inspection, so if you exclude that, Juan Pablo Montoya was the highest-finishing Dodge, in 19th. Imagine if Montoya actually got cars that drove well.

- Tony Stewart moved up one spot in the standings after his team made some changes to the car that decreased its performance from Happy Hour practice on Saturday. He was still able to manage a top-10 finish, though.

Next weekend is the race at Phoenix, and it's the first night race of the season. Expect Joe Gibbs Racing to be the team to beat when they hit the track under the lights.

Aaron Larsen

Red Sox Ring Ceremony, How it should go.

I had a dream last night and it upset me. (I realize I’m starting this column like Lance Harbor started his speech at the pep rally during the opening of Varsity Blues, stay with me I’m going somewhere.) What upset me was that I had some how missed the Red Sox home opener and World Series Ring celebration. I’m looking forward to watching this because it finally gives closure to last season, you get to see the ring finally and with the Red Sox they usually pull off a big celebration of some sort with a few chill moments mixed in. You’re thinking to yourself right now “Sterling, how could they top the ceremony for the 2004 team, they gave Pesky a ring. What’s going to top that?”
I’ll tell you what could top it in forms of cheap drama and entertainment value, and that’s a wrestling style ceremony.
(This is completely fictitious, but you have to admit it would be funny.)

We open up with a live shot of Fenway Park with the camera panning around to the team waiting in the dugout eager to get their hardware. For some reason we spot former Red Sox manager and Fox personality Kevin Kennedy in the dugout. Must be covering the event for Fox……radio perhaps? Way too much is made of this by Jerry Remy who just can’t let it go as to why he’s here and starts hurling insults at him over the air. In a strange electronic malfunction Kennedy gets Remy’s broadcast in his ear and starts firing back all live on NESN. The ceremony starts and the feud continues. Beckett, Lowell, Pedroia and Papelbon get their rings and are standing on the field. Kennedy is now making his way to the podium to interrupt the speech; by the way did I mention that the player introductions today are being made by Luis Tiant? (How great would that be? Thick Cuban accent, Fu Manchu mustache, usually rocking a sweet pair of shades and a cigar. He pretty much is a wrestler, in fact, I think the WWE might have stolen his identity and called him Estrada. John W. Henry might want to look into this.) Kennedy goes into a rant about how he would take his 1995 AL East Championship team over the 2007 World Champions anytime and that the Indians team that his team got swept by would have beaten them too. Dusty “The American Dream” Pedroia charges Kennedy and challenges him to a fight right there in the middle of the field

Remy has had enough, he runs down onto the field to a standing ovation and steps between the two and says as President of Red Sox Nation he has an idea. Today, in this very ball park there will be a Steel Cage Match between the two sides. Kennedy insists that it should be a 6 man tag match. Pedroia is ready and he and Remy says he’s in too. Kennedy takes the microphone and wants to introduce his tag team partners…………

Jim Ross takes the microphone upstairs replacing Remy (could be a good idea for the season too, just a thought) and starts to talk about Kennedy when something starts playing from the speakers of Fenway Park.

“WWWWHAT THE HELL IS THAT? OH, GOOD GOD. TH-THAT’S JOSE CANSECO’S MUSIC!!!!!” Yells Ross as Mr. Vindicated strolls out towards the field wearing his 1995 AL East Championship shirt, twitching the whole way (kind of like if The Rock had turrets). Half way there Jose stops and points towards the stands where Roger Clemens is making his way down onto the field. “OH MY GOD, THAT’S ROGER CLEMENS!!! CANSECO AND CLEMENS ARE GONNA FIGHT IN A CAGE. THEY’RE ON STEROIDS, THEY’RE GONNA TEAR YOUNG DUSTY APART!!!”

As the two monsters stand next to a smug looking Kennedy, Pedroia grabs the microphone from him and prepares to announce his tag team partner.

“Our tag team partner, (dramatic pause) hails from Venice Beach, California. (Crowd starts to buzz again) He is weighing in at 303 lbs, (crowd knows who’s coming out) The Immortal, HULK HOGAN!”

Hulk comes out of the dugout and the crowd erupts in the stands. A wrestling ring complete with steel cage is brought out onto the field from the cage area underneath the centerfield bleachers. To be fair, the only member of both teams is scheduled as the special guest referee. Tim Wakefield pulls open his jersey to reveal a striped referees shirt. The match starts with a bang, all four me in the ring slugging it out. The Roiders as they are called by Ross double team on Pedroia till he makes the tag to Remy and “Marlboro Red Remy” gets the “tar” (that’s a pun, ha-ha) knocked out of him. Till he can finally make the tag to Hogan, who proceeds to give right hands and body slams to Kennedy, Clemens and Canseco. A double close line ends with all 6 men laying on the ground and the crowd on its feet as 1995 MVP and member of the ’95 team, Mo Vaughn makes his way out to the ring carrying a steel chair. Kennedy thinks he’s going to help them because he was on that team, Canseco and Clemens thinks he’s going to help them because he was named in the Mitchell Report. Vaughn breaks into the cage and clocks Clemens and Canseco with the chair knocking them both unconscious. While he does, Pedroia has climbed to the top of the cage.


Dusty flies off the top of the cage and lands on top of Clemens and Wakefield counts the 1……2……….3!!!!!!! Dusty’s theme music the American Dream plays over the loudspeaker and crowd is standing and chanting while Pedroia, Remy and Hogan pose in the middle of the ring.

Yeah, now that would be a great ceremony.

One that nobody would expect, except for me that is.

~Sterling Pingree

Sunday, April 6, 2008

No Love for Brady Quinn

GM Phil Savage just doesn’t want to play nice. After publicly crowning Derek Anderson the 2008 starter, he’s continuing to push his agenda. Read his latest comments as published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"Coach Romeo Crennel reiterated there is competition at every position, including quarterback, at this year’s training camp. But Savage clarified those remarks. “The reality is you don’t give a guy $8 million and expect him to be in an open competition,” Savage said of incumbent starter Derek Anderson. “He would have to play really poorly and Brady (Quinn) would have to play lights out (to beat him out).”

So Phil what happened to that “quarterback of the future” talk from last year? How quickly we forget. Brady I guess should just take it easy. Just sit back and be complacent. Derek

i played like poop

Shelley Duncan boiled down his first start of the season to one word. "Poop," Duncan said as he fiddled with the tab of a soda can in front of his clubhouse stall after yesterday's 6-3 loss to the Rays. He finished 1-for-4, grounded out with two runners on base to end the eighth and committed a throwing error that led to two unearned runs. "I feel like I have some work to do," Duncan said. "I felt like poop a little bit. Hopefully, I can put the work in the cage and next time around I can be sharp."

As for his choice of words, Duncan said, "It just means you feel you can do a lot better, you feel you can feel a lot better. You don't feel like your swing at everything was 100 percent. That was me [yesterday]. Poop." You must give him credit for being honest. With the ground out to end the 8th, and the error in the second, fans that watched the game must agree they thought he played like "poop" too.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Those Pesky Blue Jays

Taking 3 of 4 fromt he Oakland A's was a nice way to start the year for the Red Sox. They were having a tough time scoring but they had two good pitching performances from Daisuke and Lester, but that momentum is gone south now that the team is north of the border. Marcum pitched well, but not that well last night to top Tim Wakefield, who for 5 innings looked like he was going to have the Cy Young sewn up by June. Even with Drew belting an improbable 3 run game tying homer, the Sox couldn't overcome the magic of Blue Jays opening night. Today was strange, but I felt the Sox were in trouble from the first pitch of "flat brimmed Opie Taylor"(Jesse Litsch).

Buchholz was good in my unhumble opinion. He attacked hitters, his curve ball had hitters off balance, his fast ball had life and when he kept his change up down it was down right unhittable, just ask Matt Stairs who whiffed on it 3 times. The turning point was Casey's error in the 4th directly after the Red Sox had taken a 2-1 lead. It opened up for a quasi big inning and the Sox just never recovered. As none of the "Question Marks" of the bullpen supplied any answers as to who is going to get sent down when Beckett is activated fromt he DL for tomorrow's start or who's going away when Mike Timlin comes back in a couple more days.

While we're here my picks for this: David Aardsma threw 11 pitches to David Eckstein last night and ended up giving him a free pass to start the 7th inning and was promptly removed. He gets my vote and my mom's too, because well, they have a history, check out my Grading the Champs piece for the reason's behind that.

I think Snyder has more upside as a long reliever, though he did walk two today. I just don't know how much faith I would have in Julian Tavarez, plus Tavarez might have some value in a trade if you throw him in with Coco. Which I guess is a forgone conclusion, as any fantasy owner with Jacoby Ellsbury hopes because the mean time is worse than tandem running backs.

Tomorrow's a new day and Beckett is hurling against Doc Halladay. It'll be a classic, if the Sox can score and keep Eckstein and some Dude named Lyle (Seinfeld Reference, look up The Dude) off the bases.

Sterling Pingree

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Road to the Playoffs

Here it is, the finale of The Road to the Playoffs special. In case you missed them, you can catch part one of the Eastern Conference breakdown here, and for the Western Conference you can see part one here, and part two here. Onward we go.

5. Washington Wizards (final projection 42-40): This team can be a dangerous team if they can put it all together. They definitely have the talent to be a contender in the East, and they have shown that they can compete on any given night without Gilbert Arenas, and with him they are that much better. Their key is going to be how healthy they truly are. Arenas has missed most of the season, Caron Butler missed significant time, and Antawn Jamison is also now hurt. If they are all healthy come playoff time they can really be a factor in the playoffs. If not, they could be a first round exit.

6. Atlanta Hawks (final projection 40-42): This is a team that has really impressed me lately. I said at the trade deadline they needed a point guard, and I think they got the best available one at this point in Mike Bibby. He is only 28, and this is a young team that can definitely challenge in the playoffs. I still think they are a year or two away, but they have a great nucleus of young talent and should at least be a very frustrating opponent for either the Celtics or the Pistons. I honestly think if they can get the 7 seed they have a legit shot of taking down the Pistons, but against the Celts they just are too young. Either way, I think they can take a game or two regardless of the opponent.

7. Toronto Raptors (final projection 42-40): I just don't see them with enough talent to get it done in the playoffs. They have a great player in Chris Bosh, and two good guards in T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon, but after that they are pretty thin. Most of the foreign players on the roster haven't played up to expectations this season, and it has hurt them. I could see them being a tough first round exit, but nothing more.

8. Philadelphia 76ers (final projection 41-41): This is a team that has overachieved a lot this season, and I don't see them winning more than one game come playoff time. They have a decent team talent wise, but they will be facing experienced teams in the first round. They do have some really raw guys that could be really good in a few years, and they have a legit superstar in the making in Andre Iguodala. I could see them making some noise in the playoffs if Louis Williams can play consistently, otherwise it could be 4 and out.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Welcome to Opening Day: Sort of

I feel like Bob Uecker’s character from Major League, Harry Doyle, these days. Remember when he is obliterated during game one of a double header against the Red Sox, and he says:
“Welcome back to Major League Baseball, sort of.”

That’s what I’m feeling like this week and really for the past week concerning the start of the MLB season. I mean really how many opening days can we really have? The season “officially” opened last Tuesday morning, stateside and then the season was stagnant until the Washington Nationals of all teams hosted Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN this past Sunday night to open their new ballpark. (More on this in a minute.) Here’s where it gets complicated, the rest of the Major’s open up the next day, Monday, and now the Red Sox are finally playing again tonight which to the best of my knowledge is Tuesday again. My question is, which one was the real opening day? I’m not here to try and answer this question, I’m going to be useless and complain about it as if Bud Selig were smart enough to read this and then smart enough to carry out my wishes. I’m going to pretend now that I’m older than I am and tell you things that I think I remember from when I was a boy.
I re
member opening day being an exciting day; you watched games because even though there were games played a few days ago, those didn’t count because nobody was really trying to win those games because they don’t count. On Opening Day they actually count and people want to watch them. If your team wins its opener people are saying things like, “just 161 to go” and fun things like this. When you team opens the season up in Japan and the first game start at 6AM EST, you get questions like, “Did you wake up for the Red Sox?”
I having conversations like the one I had yesterday with my Dad:

Me: “Did you watch the Nationals game last night?”

Dad: “I saw it for a minute, wait, was that a real game?”

Me: “Yeah that was opening day.”

Dad: “They opened with the Nationals?”

Me: “Yeah.

Dad: “And the Sox don’t play till Tuesday night.”

Me: Reluctantly, “Yeah.”

Dad: “Makes a lot of sense.”

It doesn’t make sense at all. Why on Earth are there so many different opening days? I’m not ignorant enough to not know that it has something to do with revenue, but come on the scheduling could be a little better, right? Take the Red Sox early schedule for instance. Does it seem fair or to at least make sense to anybody that the Red Sox are going to open 4 ball parks this season including their own and open ball parks in 3 different countries (Japan, Canada and USA) before they open their own? Of course not, I guess Bud will do anything but look at steroids. He’s like a teenager at this point.

Final note, I rather enjoyed watching the Braves-Nationals game Sunday night. It had a patriotic feel to it with the President throwing out the first pitch in our Nation’s Capital. I think that this needs to be a tradition, here’s what I propose to do that might keep everybody happy except for the Japanese, but we only play there every 4 years. Open up Sunday night (yes, the same night as Wrestle Mania) at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. and have the President throw out the first pitch. Then the next day have the rest of Baseball play a full schedule and the season has started. This way only two teams start early and nobody has a day like I did yesterday, where I felt like the kid Santa forgot because the Red Sox weren’t on and everybody else’s team’s were playing.

~Sterling Pingree

Sprint Cup Power Rankings - Texas

1. Jeff Burton - He's now led a lap in five of the first six races and has finished in the top-15 in each race.

2. Tony Stewart - He hasn't won yet but he's still sitting well in the standings after posting a solid finish on Sunday.

3. Kyle Busch - Two straight mediocre finishes for Busch and the momentum he had to start the season is slowly fading away.

4. Kevin Harvick - He's still moseying about quietly in the top-10.

5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - He's still higher in the standings than Gordon and Johnson, despite finishing worse than the two on Sunday.

6. Jeff Gordon - Gordon says he likes Texas, but his stats tell a different story. He has yet to win at Texas and has yet to post back-to-back top-10s this season.

7. Carl Edwards - It's time for another 1.5 mile track where Edwards has been head and shoulders above the rest, so far this season.

8. Greg Biffle - Well, he wasn't going to finish well in every race and his struggles at Martinsville were well-documented before the race began Sunday. Texas should be a different story.

9. Denny Hamlin - He finally got a burst of momentum he needed with a win on Sunday, but whether or not he can maintain it is another story.

10. Kasey Kahne - He's the only Dodge in the top-10 in points right now.

11. Clint Bowyer - A top-10 finish at Martinsville drops Bowyer to 10th in the points standings, oddly enough, but RCR still has all three drivers in the top-12 in points.

12. Jimmie Johnson - It was no surprise to see Johnson finish well at Martinsville but now the drivers head to another 1.5 mile track where the 48 team has struggled so far.

Aaron Larsen