Twins Need A Nap
After the greatest game in recent Twins memory finished on Tuesday night, the AL Central Champions jumped on a plane and did not get to NYC until 4 am. And the Twins paid for it in their performance.
The Yankees have always been the kryptonite to the Twins Superman, but I do not see how the decision of when to play the first game of the playoffs can fall into the hands of the opponent.
MLB knew that the AL Central would come down to he Twins and the Detroit Tigers, and should have stepped in the moment they knew the 163rd game was needed.
Twins = The most exciting race that was left in MLB and an incredible 12 inning game in the last game of he regular season.
MLB = Thanks so much, but the Yankees want you to play in less than 18 hours. So, you better get ready.
I understand NY using the advantage given to them, but I think that it is ridiculous that MLB allowed them to make the decision.
All in all, I do not expect the Twins to win the series, it’s the Yankees and the Twins are 0-9 when playing New York this season.
The US team plays Honduras on Saturday in the second to last World Cup Qualifier. With a win, the US books their trip to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Will play Cost Rica at RFK in Washington, D.C. on October 14th.
Below are the Scenarios and then Group Standing from USSoccer.com going into the last two games.
The U.S. has to equal or exceed the number of points that Costa Rica earns hosting Trinidad & Tobago, which can be accomplished the following ways:
- A U.S. win (with any Costa Rica result)
- A Costa Rica loss (with any U.S. result)
- A U.S. tie with a Costa Rica tie or loss
|Trinidad & Tobago||8||1||5||2||8||16||-8||5|
Previous Results Againist Honduras and Costa Rica from June 2009.
|Jun. 3||Costa Rica vs. United States||3-1||Estadio Ricardo Saprissa; San Jose, Costa Rica|
|Jun. 6||El Salvador vs. Mexico||2-1||Estadio Cuzcatlan; San Salvador, El Salvador|
|Jun. 6||Trinidad & Tobago vs. Costa Rica||2-3||Dwight Yorke Stadium; Bacolet, Tobago|
|Jun. 6||United States vs. Honduras||2-1||Soldier Field; Chicago, Ill.|
|Jun. 10||Honduras vs. El Salvador||1-0||Estadio Olimpico; San Pedro Sula, Honduras|
|Jun. 10||Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago||1-0||Estadio Azteca; Mexico City, Mexico|
PS – Midfielder Clint Dempsey is out injured – The guy in the picture is US Striker Charlie Davies.
Article From Yahoo.com on Landon Donovan
An article/interview from Yahoo Sports by Martin Rogers touches on obviously, his divorce to actress Bianca Kajlich and his new focus on his professional options in Europe.
Other Random Bits
- The Minnesota Vikings are 4-0 heading into a game in St. Louis against and team at is struggling – to say the least. This game could get very ugly for the Rams.
- I predicted the score of the Vikings-Packers MNF game at 31-21 in a MN win. Not too bad the game finished 30-23.
- There was a fight in an NBA preseason game between Miami Heat center Jamaal Magloire and Detroit’s Jonas Jerebko. The both will suspended for regular season games, when they probably won’t play. Oh well – I guess it is news – some how.
- Jeff Jordan, Michael Jordan’s oldest son, is looking to return to the Illinois’ basketball team. Retirement does not do that family well.
- Hey, the NHL regular season started – did anybody know?
- Joe Mauer should be the AL MVP. And if first basemen Justin Morneau would have been healthy, they would have been the No.1 and 2 candidates. When was the last time that happened? Really?
I have a whole lot of college basketball preview and picks to get out there, and I will do that soon.
But first, North Dakota States basketball team will be highlighted on the four hour broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN2.
“Other schools being featured are Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina and Washington. ESPNU anchor Lowell Galindo will host the show with Jim Barbar providing on-site commentary at NDSU.” taken from the Fargo Forum article.
Should be a good time to start the season.
Here is a sampling of the lastest articles on soccer in the US featuring the National Team, MLS and players playing abroad.
Beckham has chance to end career on a high from the AP.
Luring more athletes to play soccer the answer? by Jeff Carlisle, ESPNsoccernet
Dempsey to miss qualifier with sprained shoulder from the AP.
MLS Chief say Beckham may return after Milan loan by Rob Harris, AP Sports Writer
Goal.com MLS Rankings: Galactic Playoff Return Leads To L.A.’s Climb by Kyle McCarthy
Did anyone know that the Minnesota Vikings are playing the Green Bay Packers tonight?!?
I have heard/read that the expected ratings are supposed to be on par with Super Bowls. Crazy!
It will be a close, tough, game, but I expected the Vikings to win 31-21 with Brett Favre throwing two touchdowns.
While most of you are probably asking; ”Is an award for a fuel efficient car?” It is not.
“…the 2009 Honda Player of the Year Award that honors the best performer on the U.S. national team.” and the finalist are: LA Galaxy (MLS) midfielder – Landon Donovan, Everton (English Premier League) goalie – Tim Howard, and Hull City (EPL) striker - Jozy Altidore.
Here is the press release from ESPN.com, which I quoted earlier.
This is a great topic as US Soccer has become the “IT” team as they upset Spain and made it the finals to play Brazil in the Confederation Cup this summer, and writer Bill Simmons has become a fan of the game, which gets them even more ESPN.com front page coverage.
The three finalists have proven extremely valuable to the US National Team. Howard and Donovan have been regulars on the first team for years, but Altidore has just recently taken hold of a starting spot. But if you take these players off the team, the US would not have a chance of getting to South Africa in 2010.
Everyone knows Donovan. He has been the “next great hope” for nearly ten years , he currently is the captain of LA Galaxy, has always been good on the national team. But this summer has seen take his game to a new level. He has taken over for a when the team needed him and knows when and how to use his teammates. His creativity and pace have pushed him to new confidence and has turned in some quality goals.
Howard has firmly taken his place on top the list of talented-bald-headed-American goal keepers. Howard has kept the US team in many games. When he is on top of his game, he seems to be one step ahead, getting to lose balls with authority and commanding the defense like a general. He has been one of the best keepers in England on a team that is lacking a solid back line.
Altidore is unlike the other two. He is here because he performed well this summer, but he is younger, only 19-year-old, and does not have the body of work like Howard and Donovan. That said, Altidore is the future of American soccer and we have seen his progress against some of the best teams in the world. Even from the early part of the summer, he have seen his first touch get better, and his ability to hold of defenders with his strength is impressive. At this rate, we will see on this list of finalist for many years to come.
This is not the award for the best American player, its for the player who has performed the best for the US National Team. It is tough a decision between Howard and Donovan. You could really argue the case for either guy and it would make sense.
If the choice were up to me, I would pick…wait for it…Landon Donovan.
Without Donovan, the US would look lost. The don’t have another player as creative as Donovan and he can change the game quickly and is not afraid to involve his teammates.
USA Roster – Honduras/Costa Rica from USSoccer.com
|Altidore, Jozy||F||5-11||175||11/06/89||Boca Raton, Fla.||Hull City (England)||19/8|
|Bocanegra, Carlos||D||6-0||170||05/25/79||Alta Loma, Calif.||Stade Rennais (France)||72/11|
|Bornstein, Jonathan||D||5-9||145||11/07/84||Los Alamitos, Calif.||Chivas USA||22/1|
|Bradley, Michael||M||6-2||175||07/31/87||Manhattan Beach, Calif.||Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany)||36/6|
|Casey, Conor||F||6-1||170||07/25/81||Gilpin, Colo.||Colorado Rapids||14/0|
|Cherundolo, Steve||D||5-6||145||02/19/79||San Diego, Calif.||Hannover 96 (Germany)||54/2|
|Ching, Brian||F||5-11||195||05/24/78||Haleiwa, Hawaii||Houston Dynamo||43/10|
|Clark, Ricardo||M||5-10||150||05/10/83||Jonesboro, Ga.||Houston Dynamo||25/2|
|Conrad, Jimmy||D||6-2||185||02/12/77||Temple City, Calif.||Kansas City Wizards||26/1|
|Cooper, Kenny||F||6-3||210||10/21/84||Dallas, Texas||1860 Munich (Germany)||9/4|
|Davies, Charlie||F||5-10||160||06/25/86||Manchester, N.H.||Sochaux (France)||16/4|
|Dempsey, Clint||F||6-1||170||03/09/83||Nacogdoches, Texas||Fulham FC (England)||59/17|
|Donovan, Landon||M||5-8||150||03/04/82||Redlands, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy||118/41|
|Feilhaber, Benny||M||5-9||150||01/19/85||Irvine, Calif.||AGF Aarhus (Denmark)||26/2|
|Goodson, Clarence||D||6-4||170||05/17/82||Alexandria, Va.||IK Start (Norway)||6/1|
|Guzan, Brad||GK||6-4||210||09/09/84||Homer Glen, Ill.||Aston Villa (England)||13/0|
|Holden, Stuart||M||5-10||160||08/01/85||Houston, Texas||Houston Dynamo||8/2|
|Howard, Tim||GK||6-3||210||03/06/79||North Brunswick, N.J.||Everton FC (England)||46/0|
|Onyewu, Oguchi||D||6-4||210||05/13/82||Olney, Md.||AC Milan (Italy)||49/5|
|Rogers, Robbie||M||5-10||165||05/12/87||Huntington Beach, Calif.||Columbus Crew||6/1|
|Spector, Jonathan||D||6-0||180||03/01/86||Arlington Heights, Ill.||West Ham United (England)||20/0|
|Torres, Jose Francisco||M||5-7||135||10/29/87||Longview, Texas||Pachuca (Mexico)||6/0|
Info from USSoccer.com.
Destination 2010: America’s quest to play in World Cup 2010 all hinged on one week in Septemberby Luke Cyphers for ESPN the Magazine
Donovan ‘proud’ of Beckham’s MLS progress by Martin Rogers from Yahoo Sports.
Donovan should headline MLS’ Best XI lineupby Kristian Dyer for ESPNsoccernet.
Random David Beckham Thought
As I have stated before, I am almost done with Grant Wahl’s books, The Beckham Experiment. And after reading and watching some clips, I need to ask a question to all soccer fans out there.
Why has nothing been said about the fact since leaving ManU, he has always signed with clubs that have Adidas as thier kit/jersey provider?
Everyone knows that Beckham has been an Adidas guy for years, but I find this very interesting, for lack of a better word. Maybe this is more commonplace than I thought. But since he left ManU – jerseys made my Nike – he has been with Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan – all have their jerseys provided by Adidas.
NFL Bits of Info
- Brett Favre is the first Vikings QB to throw for 300 yards since Daunte Culpepper did it in 2005 – that was 63 games ago.
- Terrell Owens played a games without a catch fo the first time since is rookie season in 1996 - 185 games ago.
- The Detroit Lions won!
Lamar Odom Married Khloe Kardashian
What? Not sure I care enough to really want to know that details. But here is the article from ESPN.com.
Minnesota Twins Still In The Chase
The Twins are only two games back and start a four-game series with the Detroit Tigers to determine the AL Central Championship.
While neither team has a great record, this will make for the most interesting baseball to watch in the remainder for the regular season.
For a solid preview on the series, take a look at ESPN.com’s breakdown.
|Chicago Sox||75||81||.481||8.5||43-38||32-43||700||720||-20||Won 1||3-7||0.0|
|Kansas City||64||92||.410||19.5||33-48||31-44||662||799||-137||Won 1||5-5||0.0|
2010 Recruiting Class/Conference Rankings
ESPN.com has put it’s ranking for the college basketball recruiting classes of 2010 and the Big Ten have four of the top fifteen - Ohio State is No. 1, Illinois at No. 4, Michigan State at No. 9, and Michigan at No. 14 (Purdue is No. 20).
I made some statements last year saying that Big Ten is getting better very quickly and this is just more proof. The Big Ten is going to be a very dangerous conference top to bottom, and this years BigTen/ACC Challenge should be very competitive - just like last year - minus the UNC and Duke games.
Jay Bilas has the Big Ten ranked as the No.1 conference in the country and here are his points.
“The Big Ten always has been strong at the top, but the bottom of the league often has let the league down. For too many seasons, the Big Ten has been unfairly criticized for its style of play and the relative weakness of the lower third of the conference. Not this season. There is nary a doormat in the league, as Northwestern, Iowa and Indiana all will be much improved and much more competitive nationally. Michigan State and Purdue are the two best teams in the league, and the Spartans make a great case for being the best team in the country. Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio State will be in the national discussion all season. It should have happened long ago, but the conference should finally win the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, an annual irritant to the Big Ten’s reputation. If a team survives this league’s slate, it truly will be among the nation’s best teams.”
To see Bilas’ full blog post, click here.
The US National Team has a massive game against Honduras October 10th, in their attempt to close the deal and book their tickets to the World Cup this summer in South Africa. But due to security concerns, the game may be moved to a neutral site.
Depending on which site you read, some report that FIFA officials are ok with the game, and other report that there is much more concern and the game will be moved.
Here are a couple of articles highlighting the US Team and Goalie Tim Howard.
From ESPN’s Outside the Lines: Fever Pitch by Wayne Drehs.
Article on US and Everton goalie, Tim Howard: Howard’s game growing in stature at Everton by Ken Lawrence.
The Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl
I am about two-thirds the way through the book and here are some thoughts so far.
- The book is a deeper look at somethings we already knew.
- I like Landon Donovan even more than I did before. He tells it like it is. Check out his website.
- Alexi Lalas is smarter than we give him credit – but I still don’t like to hear him talk.
- Beckham seems like a down to earth guy – as down to earth as a guy who made $50 Million in 2007.
- The “getting-to-know-you” aspect of the other players like, Donovan, Alan Gordon and Cris Klein is maybe the most important piece that fans don’t get on a regular basis.
- The dealings of the Galaxy, 19 Entertainment, AEG and others can be very shady at times.
- I make more money than a good chunk of LA’s roster – sad.
I will review the book more when I finish the book. Here is a link to Wahls Sports Illustrated archive.
With all the negative between Serena Williams seriously threatening a ling judge and Michael Jordan’s ego filled Hall of Fame Speech, I thought it would be good to read some good stories in the sports world.
Tennessee Titan’s QB Vince Young helped out the family of the late Steve McNair. Even the smallest gestures have a greater effect than we know.
Little Girl Who Threw the Ball Back – Gets More in Return
“Less than a day after the now-famous video of 3-year-old Emily’s foul ball rejection at a Phillies game went viral, the family from Laurel Springs, N.J. appeared on Thursday’s “Today Show” to talk about the highlight that has captured the country’s heart.“ From Yahoosports.com. Check out the post here.
Hoops for Troops
“For the past week, Fran Fraschilla took part in Operation Hardwood VI: Hoops for Troops, a USO-sponsored trip that lets current and former coaches bring a slice of home — in this case, college basketball — to some of our soldiers stationed in Iraq.“ From ESPN.com.
Vitale to Pay for Slain Teenager’s Funeral
“It really hits home when this happens in your own community,” Vitale said. “It boggles my mind how young people can get hold of guns and something like this happens. One senseless act and so many lives have been affected.”From Fanhouse.com
Coach Refuses Raise to Send Team on Over Seas Trip
That might not be totally fair, but I did not like it. To summarize the main theme of the speech – “I am really competitive, I took things personally, but you all motivated me….but I am still better than you”
I did not hear David Robinson’s speech, but I am sure it was much more articulate and humble. Not that Jordan’s speech was horrible, but it was completely filled with his ego and the fact that he felt that he was more important than the organization. If going on to say that the players win games, not the organization.
He rambled, did not articulate his feelings well and seemed to want to remind everyone in the room how and why he is the best NBA player of all time.
Jordan was emotional from the beginning of his speech. I am sure he was thinking about his father, he had a room filled with teammates and other familiar people. And whenever you watch a your own career retrospective, and I sure it brings back a lot feelings.
Congrats to Micheal Jordan, John Stockton, David Robinson, Jerry Sloan and C. Vivian Stringer. You all deserved it.
Scottie Pippen Will Be In The HOF Soon
It was great to see Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, Steve Kerr and even Dennis Rodman at the ceremony – I was not there, I just watched. I will be happy when Pippen gets elected – he is eligible in 2010. I think people are starting to forget how good he was. How important he was to Jordan’s success and the Bulls six championships.
Pippen’s career stat line was 16.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.2 apg, and 2.0 steals a game. He also shot 47.3% from the field and 70% from the foul line. Pippen was a seven time All-Star, and in the 1993-94 All-Star game, he won the MVP Award.
Pippen and Jordan were they only two players for the Bulls for all six titles. And Pippen was the perfect balance to Jordan. While Jordan dominated the ball, Pippen was good open shooter, could finish in traffic and at the rim. But Pippen was even more dominate as a defender. He was able to guard point guards to power forwards. With a combination of speed, anticipation and long arms; Pippen was a defensive threat anywhere on the court.
1990-91 NBA All-Defensive (2nd)
1991-92 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1991-92 NBA All-NBA (2nd)
1992-93 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1992-93 NBA All-NBA (3rd)
1993-94 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1993-94 NBA All-NBA (1st)
1994-95 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1994-95 NBA All-NBA (1st)
1995-96 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1995-96 NBA All-NBA (1st)
1996-97 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1996-97 NBA All-NBA (2nd)
1997-98 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1997-98 NBA All-NBA (3rd)
1998-99 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1999-00 NBA All-Defensive (2nd)
Stats taken from www.basketball-reference.com
This is the last Sunday until early February that we will have without the NFL. With that season about to start, I think it is time to give an a forecast of what the Vikings could – and should – accomplish in the 2009-10 season.
1. After Bernard Berrian, the receivers lack much proven ability. Sydney Rice has yet to prove he is a worthy No. 2, and Bobby Wade is going to give what you think he will and not much more. Percy Harvin should be a great asset for the receiver core and I like Darius Reynaud – the former West Virginia Mountaineer – he will get major looks on special teams.
2. Center of Attention! There is plenty of reason to believe that the offensive line should be as good as they have been in the pasty few years, but long time starting center and Minnesota native Matt Birk, is now in Baltimore and the Vikings are looking to second year player John Sullivan, to take over for the Pro Bowler.
3. The Vikings offense skill players maybe the best in the league. Adrian Peterson is a gimme. But then you have RB Chester Taylor, Berrian, Harvin, and TE Visanthe Shiancoe. There are plenty of targets for Brett Favre.
4. Brett Favre must stay withing the system. If, and it is a major IF, Favre can stay within the system, the Vikings should be even more lethal then they were last year.
5. The linebackers were good last year, and they were without EJ Henderson. For many years the linebackers were the weakness of the Vikings defense. Look how quickly things turn around. The squads leading tacker, Chad Greenway, Ben Leiber, along with Henderson make the most complete trio of linebackers in the NFC North.
6. The pass defense is like the pass offense – needs to prove they are good enough! With two new safeties – Tyrell Johnson and Madieu Williams, the Vikings would have been stupid not to resign Pro Bowl CB Antoine Winfield. Cedric Griffin‘s time is now. He needs to show that he can balance the field and tackle like his counter-part, Winfield.
7. If the Vikings don’t reach at least the NFC Championship game, Brad Childress should be gone. He has too many tools in the tool box that if can’t fix the problem, it’s not the tools’ fault.
8. The defensive line is the deepest in the league. Seriously – take a look.
9. The back-up QB’s will see very little game time this season. Favre is the most durable QB of all-time. with the added incentive of coming back to the league, unless Favre is nearly dead, he will be under center.
10. Know who you are. Like Shaq going to Cleavland, or some other major player going to a VERY good team, you have to remember what makes you a VERY good team. And in Minnesotas case, it is Peterson and the defense. While this team as many weapons, the team’s bread and butter is the typical smash mouth football. That being said, MN did a nice job last year switch gears with Berrian and Taylor, and I would imagine that Harvin will add another layer into the much deeper playbook that Childress will use with Favre.
PREDICTION - 12-4 and play in the NFC Championship game. I am not saying if the Vikings will win or lose, but they will make it there.
I have stayed away from really discussing Ricky Rubio. I don’t know why, but I have. Maybe for me it was a one of those situations that, if you don’t talk about it, it will take care of itself. And as of this week, it did not take care of itself….or did it?
Rubio is just eighteen years old. While he has been playing in Spanish professional league’s, he is still only eighteen and has a lot that he can learn before coming over to the NBA. If that is what he really wants to do.
With his former team, DKV Joventut, Rubio was making around $70K a year. Not that much for a board line international phenomenon who showed just what kind of player he can be by holding his own against the US Men’s Team which feature Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
Understatement of the day: The Minnesota Timberwolves picked a lot of point guards in June’s draft.
Four in all.
After making a Rubio the fifth selection, the T’Wolves picked Jonny Flynn at No. 6, Ty Lawson at No. 18 – Lawson was later traded to the Denver Nuggets. Then finally with No. 45, MN choose Nick Calathes and traded his rights to the Dallas Mavericks. Since then Calathes signed a contract to play in Greece with Panathinaikos.
The only non-point guard the Timberwolves picked was UNC Star Shooting Guard Wayne Ellington at No. 28.
So, the main question everyone would like to pose to new GM David Kahn is this: Why choose Rubio and Flynn is you actually thought Rubio was going to come to the NBA? And a completely legit follow-up would be: If Flynn was the player you wanted, why not pick Flynn and Steph Curry or DeMar DeRozan?
Kahn has responded to like question saying that he fully believed that Flynn and Rubio could play int he same back court. But everyone who knows anything about those two players knows they are almost the same player. Rubio and Flynn are both pass-first point guards. Neither one is dominant scorer and is at their best when others players get easy buckets.
That being said, Flynn did average 17.8 point a game in during the 2008-09 season – his last at Syracuse. Flynn also average 6.7 assist per game while shooting 45 percent from the field. While last season Rubio averaged 9.8 points per game and 5.8 assists and he has never had a season where he has been a double figure scorer.
One major difference is that Flynn has been the leader of his team the past couple years, while Rubio has not. But the confidence to lead and the ability to be a leader can come with age and experince.
So after all that, what do you do? Put yourself in Kahn’s shoes. The answer is easy.
Start Flynn, Ellington, Love, Jefferson and Corey Brewer and let them grow. Let them struggle to win. Let them make their mistakes and let them lose. And through that they will acquire more lottery picks and then when the time comes to reevaluate “if” the Timberwolves want Rubio, they will.
In two or three years, Rubio will only be 20-21. And by that time the Timberwolves, if they can keep the pieces of the puzzle together, you have the potential to add an exciting-young player or you could also trade his rights and get a couple other pieces. Either would be a solid move to cement a team that should have come together and be a playoff contender.
To summarize. I would not have picked Rubio if Flynn is “your guy”. I would have gone with Flynn and DeRozan or Curry. But after the fact, Rubio staying in Spain is th ebest option. It is like a piece of relaestate that will only go up in value. – or something like that.