Category Archives: Quick Hits

Quick Hits: 1/30/10

I think I am finally sober enough after drinking myself into unconsciousness after the Vikings again, crapped all over themselves – and all of us who cheer for the Purple.

To tell the truth, I actually thought that there was a chance to win it.  After all the fumbling and self-inflected wounds, I still thought the Vikings had a chance to kick a field goal as time expired.  Oh, tortured souls are we.

Since I don’t want spent too much time rehashing the game, here are my Mini-Hits versions for my points of interest.

  • Based on how the game ended, and ignoring the fact that he signed an extension, I am not sure Brad Childress should keep his job.  To all those you think I am just now piling on – please read some other posts.  I have never held Childress in the highest esteem.
  • The evening was very exciting on Facebook, as 90% of my friends grew-up in Minnesota and North Dakota.  The status updates were amazing.
  • So the NFL came out and said that the hit in the picture on Brett Favre should have been a 15-yard plenty.  Awesome.  So why was it not called?  The ref was right there.
  • The purple started running with some authority in the fourth quarter and then they would call a stupid pass play.  Just run the ball.
  • I thought that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman talked about the Saints defense and their coordinator way too much.  Even though Vikings out gained the Saints.
  • I have watched the Saints several times this year, and I thought they looked very average.
  • Even though the Vikings lost, I think it is safe to say we were the better team.

Vikings Side-Note:  Offensive Linemen Bryant McKinnie was kicked out the NFC All-Pro team.  What the hell?

Super Bowl Prediction

The Saints showed a ton of holes and the Colts defense is better than people think.  add that with Peyton Manning pretty much in the zone, and I see the Colts winning 34 – 17.

The Saints are not going to get away with the boarder-line hits on Manning.  There is no way.

US Soccer Bits

Timberwolves Talk

I follow the NBA and enjoy watching most teams, but they only team that I really have any connection with is the Minnesota T’Wolves.  For the casual fan, this season has probably been very difficult to watch.  And while I have yelled at the TV plenty of times, I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“A light at the end of the tunnel”?  Really?

Yeah.  I will do a full post on the state of the Timberwolves down the road, but this team as plenty of draft picks, will have cap room and have pieces for a competitive team.  Plus the rights to Ricky Rubio.

So I decided to play GM with ESPN’s Trade Machine and came up with this trade that would reshape the T’Wolves.

If you can’t read this picture, the Wolves give up Al Jefferson, Brian Cardinal and Mark Blount’s expiring contracts, and Ramon Sessions to the Phoenix Suns, the Wolves would get Amare Stoudemire, Jared Dudley and Channing Frye from Phoenix and Joe Johnson from Atlanta.  Atlanta would get Leandro Barbosa.  At best, there is a 0.005692% chance of this actually happening.   But let’s play pretend.  After this trade, the Wolves starting line-up would be

  • PG – Flynn
  • SG – Johnson
  • SF – Corey Brewer
  • PF – Amare
  • C – Frye

You would still have Kevin Love, Jared Dudley and others off the bench.  You would give your best player in Jefferson and back-up PG in Ramon Sessions – but Sessions is not your future – and Cardinal and Blount don’t play.  This is a just a dream, but I would love to think that anything can happen with David Kahn.  Like I said, this probably will not happen.  But my point is, THERE ARE OPTIONS!!

I will do a more in-depth look at the Wolves and the possibilities that are available this off-season, suitable free agents and draft picks.

Until then, I will relish the Wolves win over the Clippers!!

Wolves Side-Note:  Has Corey Brewer finally figure it out?  Looks like it.

College Basketball Hits

  • Jay Bilas’ Midseason Awards.
  • The Minnesota Gophers were dominating the MSU Spartans, but then end up losing 65-64.  I still can not figure this team out.  They really have no “go-to player”.  Then again, neither does Purdue.
  • Ohio State took a hit with Evan Turner out after breaking two vertebrae is his lower back.  But since he has returned he is leading the No. 24 Buckeyes in points per game (18.4), rebounds per game (9.9), and assist per game (5.5).  It may take while, but this Buckeye team is not cupcake.
  • UNC has fallen out of the Top-25 for the first time January 2006. Currently the Tarheels record is 13-7 and are 2-3 in the ACC – but there is still time.

Quick Hits: 1/06/10

Happy New Year.

Hope you all have enjoyed the holidays and all of the sporting events.

What a great time of the year.  The NFL is gearing up for the playoffs, college bowl season is fantastic, out-door hockey, and college basketball has started conference play.  Plus international soccer leagues are about to open transfer season and the NBA has been strong since the season started.

But let’s start with my favorite NFL Team – The Minnesota Vikings. Who are now taking the week off to rest before their match-up next weekend.

The Vikings beat-up a tired, ready-to-be-done New York Giants, 44-7.  Yes – we are back on track! I would be very careful about getting to comfortable with a win against a team that had a 0% chance of making the playoffs.

Let’s recap:

After the Vikings started 10-1 and gave a win away to the Steelers, they lost 3 of their last 5 games and really showed flaws – but we will not getting to that now.

Let’s look at their schedule.

  1. Of the thirteen different teams the Purple played in the year, only five had winning records. The Packers (11-5), Steelers and Ravens (9-7), Cardinals (10-6), and Bengals(10-6).
  2. Twelve wins were against teams with a combined record of 66-94, highlighted by wins against Green Bay (2 wins), Baltimore, Cincinnati, and two 8-8 teams in the 49ers and the Giants.
  3. Four losses to Arizona, Chicago (7-9), Carolina (8-8) and Pittsburgh with a combined record of 34-30.
  4. Total combined record of all opponents = 93-115*.

*Some of the numbers may look off – but I only used the records of conference opponents once.

I know you can only play the teams on your schedule, but there has to be more concern about a team that has played so inconsistently against poorer teams.  The Vikings have weapons all over the field – yet there now is an uncertainty that was not there in the first half of the year.

Losing E.J. Henderson was huge, Antoine Winfield missed a good deal fo the season, and Bernard Berrian is finally healthy.  Bryannt McKinnie is playing better of late, but was awful for a while.  The offensive line as a whole needs to give Brett Favre time.  Jared Allen looks like every other defensive end in the league, not like Allen who was an MVP candidate.  That falls on the defensive cordinator for not scheming enough to get Allen away from double and triple teams, because you know Allen’s motor is not problem.

We still have Favre, AP, Percy and Rice – the Sydney Edition – and very good defense.  Yet, I have this feeling that the Cowboys or Eagles are going to come to the Dome and blow it up.

The thought of the Vikings woes have not kept me up at night – I have a six-week-old baby girl to do that for me – but there has to be concern running through this organization.  Head Coach Brad Childress has never been in this situation – a first round bye.  A lot will be said about what kind of coach he really is with this much time to prepare.  Childress – prove you are worthy of the contract extension.  Because I don’t think you deserved it.

Best College Basketball Program Of The 2000’s

I started this around Christmas, and totally forgot about it.  But this decade has been quite the decade for College Basketball  powerhouses to reestablish themselves and new ones to appear.

So here the suspects: Michigan State (Champs in ’00), Duke(’01) UConn (’04), UNC (’05 and ’09), Florida (’06 and ’07), and Kansas(’08).  I did not include the ’02 Maryland and ’03 Syracuse – no real reason to explain.

And here are the Top Five.

Honorable Mention: UConn – The Huskies have been monsters in the Big East and had a great team in ’04.  But they were a George Mason run away from their second title of the decade in ’06.  Can you imagine that game Florida Vs. UConn?  Just to get to the Championship game.  So much NBA talent – head – going –  to – explode.

5.  Duke – Winning in 2001 with arguable the best team of the decade – Jason Williams, Shane Battier, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, Nate James and Chris Duhon.  Had more wins in the 2000’s than any other program with 291, won 7 ACC Tourney Championships and four regular season Championships.  But played in only two Final Fours and came up very short later in the decade – by Duke standards.

4.  Florida – I know what you are thinking how can the only back-to-backers in the decade be 4th.  A couple of reasons.  The “What have you done for me lately” mentality kicks in hard since the last title.  Only won three SEC tourney championships, but only one outright SEC regular season championship and two co-championships.

3.  Kansas – Consistency kills.  From Roy Williams to Bill Self, the Jayhawks never slipped.  Never fell into the funk that Florida did.  One very good team with Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison that played in two Final Fours and then one great team in the 2008 Jayhawks, led by Bradon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins, Darrel Arthur, and Darnell Jackson.  They also dominated the Big 12, like no other powerhouse dominated their conference with seven total regular season Championships.

2. Michigan State – One National Championship, four Final Four’s (with the ’99 Final Four, they made three appearances in a row.  Only other team to do that is UCLA in the last ten years).  Fall victim to the fact that they never dominated a conference that was very weak for most of the decade, winning only three regular season Championships and only one tourney crown in 2000.  The 2005 team is one of my favorite teams of the decade with Shannon Brown, Maurice Ager, and Drew Neitzel which beat Adam Morrison’s 43 points and Gonzaga in triple-overtime in the Maui Invitational.

1.  North Carolina – Two National Championships, four Final Fours, and probably has built the biggest and best recruiting/NBA pipeline ever.  UNC does not rebuild – they “reload”.  But then you have the Matt Doherty fail.  Doherty took the team from No. 1 in the country in his first season to 8-20 in his second to 17-15 in his third.  He had players, the same players the Williams won with in 2005.  We can not forget Tyler Hansbrough.  Without him, 2006 would have been difficult.  This program has returned to dominance and there is not end in sight.

Coach of the Decade Award – Tom Izzo.  Roy Williams would be a very close second, but Izzo just wins.  And like many of the top coaches, his passion is obvious.  Izzo has also become such a part of the community like that make the fans love him even more.

College Basketball Mini Hits

  • Evan Turner is expect to be back tonight against Indiana, earlier than first thought.  And all is right in the Buckeye nation.
  • No. 4 Purdue beat the Gophers pretty handily, 79-60.  The first half was close only because the Boilermakers could not shot the ball.  That changed in the second half.
  • No. 2 Texas was pushed by Arkansas 96-85.  Even with foul trouble, Damion James won the game with a couple big jump shots to seal the game. 
  • UNC lost to Charleston 79-82.  While it is big for Charleston, it is still early January.  Everything will be OK.  UNC will be just fine, they just need to get healthy.

Landon Donovan Has Arrived In England

The US Soccer golden boy is set to begin his 10-week loan with Everton which is a soccer club in the English Premier League.

“I am ready to enjoy it and I want to personally get myself sharp while I am here,” Donovan said Tuesday. “Tim Howard has had nothing but great things to say about this team so I am excited. Going into a World Cup year this experience will keep me sharp.”

The loan is great for Donovan as he has come into his own as a player.  With his showing with the US in the Confederations Cup and with the LA Galaxy, Donovan is looking to replace the issues he has had in Europe with a good spell with Everton.

This loan also increase the amount of attention surrounding the US National Team’s opening group stage match against England in South Africa this summer.  SideNote:  ESPN will be showing World Cup games in 3-D.  WHAT?

Donovan will need sometime to get back into shape, but this is a great situation for him.  Donovan is a very sensitive person, and his play fluctuates with his emotions.  So having Howard there is key.  A fellow American who has seen Donovan play to the best of his ability and can be there to give guidance if needed.

Click here for the entire article.

Happy Holidays

I am sure everyone is busy trying to get loose ends taken care of before the end of the year.  I have all my shopping done – which means my wife completed out shopping – I did buy her gift, all by myself!  And I did a fine job, thank you very much.

I hope you have a good holiday and safe travel as we take time to forget about work and focus on family and friends.  With this “time-off”, there will be plenty of sporting events to watch.  The other day we had  No. 2 Texas beat No. 9 Michigan State and No. 1 Kansas beat a tough California team.

So here are some very Quick Hits before I go into a Christmas Cookie Comma.

Final Four = Two Conferences?

There is a very good chance that in the Final Four, we will have two teams from the Big 12 (Kansas and Texas) and two from the Big Ten (MSU and Purdue).  What is missing?  A team from either coasts, the SEC, Big East or the ACC.

Look at the rankings and tell me other than Kentucky, who looks like a legit team?

  • No. 3 Kentucky – Even though I think they are legit – at this point – the Calapari Crew is a John Wall injury away from getting knocked out in the second round of the NCCAs.

Kentucky Side-Note:  Patrick Patterson needs to buy John Wall a very nice Christmas present for getting him easy buckets, and raising his draft stock.  Patterson is ranked No. 9 on Chard Fords Big Board.

  • No.5 Syracuse and No. 6 West Virginia – I have more faith in the Orangemen than the Mountaineers.  But to be fair, I have not seen much of either team.
  • No. 7 Duke – While Kyle Singler is the pre-season All-American, Jon Scheyer is the most important player in Durham.  And if Scheyer goes down, they only have two guards who can really play in Nolan Smith and freshmen, Andre Dawkins.
  • No. 8 Villanova – Could struggle mightily against teams with height and they also do not have the depth like the other teams.  ‘Nova has only two players over 6’8″ in freshmen Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton.  Both play around 17 minutes a game, but thats against the cupcakes.
  • No. 10 UNC – While this team is loaded with NBA draft picks,  I am not sure which is the “go-to-guy”.  But I am sure that Roy Williams doesn’t know either.  My suggestion – Will Graves needs more touches.

Note To Media – Everything Will Be Fine With The Vikings!

I am so sick of hearing about a schism – or a feud involving Head Coach Brad Childress and Brett Favre.  Did you notice that I did not have to tell you what Favre’s role is, we know it.  Childress…um…not so much.

This happens to every team, but when it is Brett Favre, it becomes front page news.  Granted, when it is Randy Moss or Terrell Owens, it’s pretty much the same.  Isn’t “ego” great.

If there really is an issue, and Childress is talking about Favre and not to Favre, there is an issue and ultimately Childress is biting the hand that has fed him a nice-new contract extension.  But this happens, you hug-it-out and then you move on.  The have won the division and already locked up their playoff spot, and are playing only because the games are on the schedule.

It will be OK, everyone breath.  Have some egg nog and just one more cookie with the Hersey Kiss in the middle.

*If you go to the serach engine on ESPN.com and type in “Brad Childress” – you get 1948 articles/stories/podcast where Childress is mentioned.  Roughly 92.3% is from the last three days.  Seriously ESPN, way to be your own bull @#$! hype machine.

Mini-Hits

Happy Holidays everyone.

Quick Hits: 12/08/09

Happy Holidays everyone.  I apologize for my lack of posting – I find it tough during the holidays – but this year I have an even more legit “excuse”.  My daughter was born on Nov. 24th.  So my wife and I have been busy with that, along with trying to get everything ready for Christmas.

That being said, here is a very Mini-Quick Hits.

1. Allen Iverson returns to Philly – I will have more on this later.  Here is ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridans view on it.

2. The US Men’s National Team will play England in the first round of the Group Stage of the 2010 World Cup.  I have said this before, but the US Soccer site is pretty sweet.  Here is the article from www.ussoccer.com.

3. Speaking of soccer (that was my well thought-out transition) – Everton, a mid-table club in the English Premier League – also the team of US National Team goalie Tim Howard, is reportedly interested in Landon Donavon.

4. Injury Update

  • Ohio State’s Evan Turner broke 2 vertebrae and will be out up to eight weeks.  Here is the AP article.  I am a big fan of Turner and feel bad for the kid.  I hope he comes back ath the same level, with even more drive!
  • Vikings middle linebacker and Captain E.J. Henderson broke his leg in the game on Sunday night.  After playing in only 4 games last season because of an injury with dislocated toes, the Henderson will be out the reminder of the season.
  • On the other end of the healing spectrum – The Timberwolves welcomed back Kevin Love from a broken wrist. In the three games back, Love has played 24, 26, and 30 minutes and is averaging 15.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg and two steals a game.

5. North Dakota State’s All-Time leading scorer, Ben Woodside, is set to play in the Pro A League All-Star game in France.  Woodside was selected as the member of the best non-French team that will compete against the best French players in the league.  Woodside is averaging 16.6 ppg in 31 minutes a game. 

Woodside also has a blog that he keeps rather up-to-date at http://benwoodside.blogspot.com.

6. The Heisman Trophy finalist have been announced.  They are: Toby Gerhart - RB from Stanford, Mark Ingram – RB from Alabama, Colt McCoy – QB from Texas, Ndamukong Suh – DT from Nebraska , and some guy named Tim Tebow . 

7. It is Really no Surprise, but Joe Mauer was Announced as the Winner of Most Valuable Player in the American League of Major League Baseball.  I wanted that sentence to feel grand and important – so I capitalized a lot!

The following info is from ESPN.com.

AL MVP Voting

Joe Mauer received 27 of 28 first-place votes to win his first AL MVP award. The only other player to get a first-place vote was the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, who finished fourth. A breakdown of the voting:

Player, team Total
Joe Mauer, Twins 387
Mark Teixeira, Yankees 225
Derek Jeter, Yankees 193

Here is the link for the full article by the AP on ESPN.com. Plus you get some video.

Mauer is only the second catcher, Ivan Rodriguez in ’99, to win the award.  And is the second Twin on the current roster to win the AVP Award.  Justin Morneau won the award in 2006 – that announcement was not as accepted as this one.  Mauer was the best candidate, and it would have been fun, if Morneau would have been healthy, to see them both as top five finisher.

Twins MVPS

  • Mauer
  • Morneau
  • Rod Carew (’77)
  • Harmon Killebrew (’69)
  • Zoilo Versalles (’65)

Quick Hits: 11/20/09

New Look Twins

The Minnesota Twins are heading to a new Stadium in the 2010 season.  And what do you do when you make a  majorchange?  You make another change, but not-so major.

The Twins showcased their new uniforms for the first season in the new pad.  Here is a gallery of photos from the Star Tribune.

At first look, I didn’t really see any major differences to the home jerseys, but I like the road jerseys.  Both are semi-retro jerseys that are a tribute to the 1961 uniforms.

That is outfielder Denard Span in the home white and pitcher Scott Baker in the road uniform.

I love the colors of the Twins.  Dark blue and red with white or gray.  My favorite colors of any Minnesota team.

College Basketball

I am watching an ESPN Classic game from Nov. 9th, 2000.  Kansas vs. UCLA played at MSG with lineups filled with future NBA players.

  • For Kansas: Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison,  and Drew Gooden,
  • For UCLA:  Earl Watson, Jason Kapoano, Matt Barnes, and Dan Gadzuric.

Watching just a part of that game got me thinking about the depth of the those teams and of the top teams of this season.  Look at the top eight teams in this seasons ESPN/USA Today poll.  What do you see?  Teams that can easily go eight or nine deep.

  1. Kansas – We all know about Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry.  But in the Morris twins, Brady Morningstar and Tyshawn Taylor ( and others), this team has a lot of players who played meaning minutes.
  2. Michigan State – This years Spartans exemplify the saying: “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”   But they still have a go-to guy in Kalin Lucas – the Big Ten player of the year.
  3. Texas – The Longhorns not only have depth, but they have senior leadership.  In Justin Mason, Damion James, and Dexter Pittman – who is set for a breakout season.  Plus they have a killer freshmen class highlighted by Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton.
  4. UNC - The Champs have six players 6’8″ or taller and all of them should see playing time.  Plus they have Will Graves, Larry Drew, and Marcus Ginyard.
  5. Kentucky – Some guy named John Wall.
  6. Villanova – They are guard heavy led by Scottie Reynolds, and the Corey’s – stoke and Fischer.  Plus Duke transfer Taylor King adds fire power.
  7. Purdue - Do not forget about the Boilermakers.  Robbie Hummel, E’Twuan Moore , Chris Kramer, JuJuan Jackson, Keaton Grant, Lewis Jackson, plus a talented freshmen class.  PS – Out of all the players on the Purdue roster, only 3 are not from Indiana.
  8. Duke – Lead by Kyle Singler, Jon Scheyer, and Nolan Smith.  This years Blue Devils has more height in the Plumlee brothers, both are 6’10”, Brian Zoubek at 7’1″, and Ryan Kelly at 6’10” and they have freshmen Andre Dawkins.

Most every team would survive an injury to a major player (minus the backcourts of UNC and Duke and the frontcourt with Villanova), and that is what has separated the good teams from the great teams.

My early season Final Four: Texas, MSU, Kansas and Purdue.

Quick Hits: 11/16/09

I have not posted lately, and there are a couple of reasons for that.  The main reason is that my wife and I are expecting a baby any day.  Not that I have blocked sports out completely – I am reading Bill Simmons The Book of Basketball - and have of course watched The Vikings and as much soccer and basketball as allowed.

Here are some quick and thoughts.

1.  The Vikings look like a legit team.  I know what most of are thinking, of course they do, they are 8-1.  But some of the Vikings faithful will remember that the purple also had a 6-0 start in 2003 and pooped all over themselves and did not make playoffs.  So yeah, I held out judgment until now.

2.  I watched the Texas Longhorns Men’s Basketball team play the other night.  I am having an internal struggle as to which team is deeper, Texas or Michigan State.  Both have experienced leaders, but Texas has a killer freshmen class.  Good thing they play each other in Texas on Dec. 22nd.

Warriors Bucks Basketball

3.  Who has Brandon Jennings on his fantasy basketball team?  That would be me.  I have also received a ton of hits on this site because of this post, when I said the following about Jennings prior to the draft:

“I have not seen much of him after the high school all-star games, but I do not like what I have heard.  The word is that he reminds people of Iverson, and I am not a fan of Iverson.  Jennings is quick, picks the flashy over fundamental, and looks to prompt himself.  Sounds like Sebsastian Telfair all over again.  But he could do very well playing for Golden State.”

We do not get a lot of Bucks games, but what I have seen you can sense a level of maturity that and respect for the game that was not there before.  Teammates respect him, he carries himself very well in interviews, and he plays within the offense.  None of which were said about him before he went to Italy.

4.  The other night I had trouble sleeping because I did not get to see the end of the LA Galaxy – Houston Dynamo match-up.  I am old and need sleepy-time.  Now, I am not a David Beckham rub – I prefer Mr. Donovan – but I was thinking about what it would mean to soccer in the US if the Galaxy win the MLS Cup with Beckham.  Everyone would forget Grant Wahl’s book – Yes, that is the second sports book reference at Barnes and Noble. I have a membership.  Everyone would forgive the trip to Italy, and all the other Beckham mess.  Everyone would ignore the response he got from his own fans when he came back.  All because he made it about the team, and they won.

Side – note:  I am not sure which is worse,  three different links to www.bn.com or the fact that I struggled sleeping thinking about the outcome of the game.

Stephen Jackson

Breaking News: The Golden State Warriors sent Stephen Jackson to the Charlotte Bobcats. “In a deal that NBA front-office sources said came together quickly Sunday night and received the needed league approval Monday morning, Golden State sent Jackson and guard Acie Law to the Bobcats in exchange for veteran swingmen Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic.”  from ESPN.com.

This may not seem like a big deal, but Jackson will fit in well with the Bobcats, while Charlotte did not give much up to get him.  Larry Brown got a player with offensive fire power, who still works on defense.  Now he has a starting line-up of Raymond Felton, Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler with D.J. Augustin, Gerald Henderson, Derrick Brown coming off the bench.  Can you say “Up-Grade”.

And Jackson will be on his best behavior with Brown on the bench and the Greatest of All-Time – Michael Jordan in case you were wondering – not too far away.

Side – Note:  I bet that is the first ever blog post that has been interrupted by breaking news.  Well, at least on this blog.

5.  I watched all of ten minutes of the Kentucky Blue-White game, and I already love John Wall. In that ten minutes he had two dunks, at least four assist – two lobs – and was all over the place.  Kentucky coach John Calipari has done it again with another one-hit-wonder.  See: Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans.  I have heard rumors that Wall is even quicker than Rose.  That is unfair.

Quick Hits: 10/09/09

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.

US Soccer

davies-charlie_1614

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:

  1. A U.S. win (with any Costa Rica result)
  2. A Costa Rica loss (with any U.S. result)
  3. A U.S. tie with a Costa Rica tie or loss

Standings

Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
United States 8 5 2 1 14 9 +5 16
Mexico 8 5 3 0 11 8 +3 15
Honduras 8 4 3 1 14 8 +6 13
Costa Rica 8 4 4 0 9 13 -4 12
El Salvador 8 2 4 2 8 10 -2 8
Trinidad & Tobago 8 1 5 2 8 16 -8 5

Previous Results Againist Honduras and Costa Rica from June 2009.

Date Match Kickoff/
Result
Venue
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.

Click here for entire post.

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?

Quick Hits: 9/28/09

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.

CENTRAL W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10 POFF
Detroit 83 72 .535 - 48-26 35-46 714 705 +9 Lost 1 5-5 77.0
Minnesota 81 74 .523 2 45-33 36-41 765 727 +38 Lost 1 8-2 23.0
Chicago Sox 75 81 .481 8.5 43-38 32-43 700 720 -20 Won 1 3-7 0.0
Cleveland 64 91 .413 19 34-44 30-47 752 825 -73 Won 3 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.

US Soccer

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.

  1. The book is a deeper look at somethings we already knew.
  2. I like Landon Donovan even more than I did before.  He tells it like it is.  Check out his website.
  3. Alexi Lalas is smarter than we give him credit – but I still don’t like to hear him talk.
  4. Beckham seems like a down to earth guy – as down to earth as a guy who made $50 Million in 2007.
  5. 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.
  6. The dealings of the Galaxy, 19 Entertainment, AEG and others can be very shady at times.
  7. 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.

Quick Hits: 8/28/09

NBA Puts the Brakes on Smith and Richardson

OK.  Lame title.

The NBA had to suspend Denver Nugget’s J.R Smith and Golden State Warrior’s Jason Richardson for being horribly stupid drivers.

Smith will be on the bench in street clothes for seven games after pleading guilty for reckless driving and Richardson gets a two game suspension for driving drunk.

Both guys have had issues driving.  Smith was in an accident that caused the death of a passenger in his car in 2007  and Richardson drove 90 mph in a 35 mph zone with his three year old son in the back seat WITHOUT a car seat.

Richardson is the bigger idiot, but Smith seems to find his name in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.  Either way, suspensions were warranted.

Arsenal Vs. Manchester United

For thosCesc Fabregase of you who did not know, the English Premiere League started up again.  And this Saturdays match-up at Old Trafford, is the first real test of the season for Arsenal and the first match-up of any of the “Big Four” – ManU, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

United has already had a bump in the road in the form of recently promoted Burnley, but a match-up against another major squad, may set the Red Devils back on course.

This is also the match of the EPL two longest-term tenured coaches in Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, who has been there since 1996, and United Sir Alex Ferguson, who has been the head of this giant since 1986.

My Prediction – Arsenal 2 – United 1*  United is having issues with the back four and Wayne Rooney has yet to convince me that he is the team leader, but Arsenal needs Cesc Fabregas to be fit.

Dick Vitales Top-40 Teams

I like this list - Short, sweet, and to the point.   Here is a quick hint: Kansas is No. 1 and Kentucky is No.2.

Should be a interesting year.

LeBron by LeBron

Here is a sold write about LeBron James’ documentary by Fanhouse’s Will Bronson.

World Football Daily

steven-cohen

After much thought and public feedback, Steven Cohen has decided to move in a new direction.   Changing the branding from World SOCCER Daily to World FOOTBALL Daily, the new show will be viewed and heard by paying a monthly subscription.

On a short show today Steven, with co-host Kenny Hassan, explained the changes that are taking place.  Highlighting the new shift in programing, the creation of a new company, the revamped focus of the show, and how the show intends to “stay afloat”.

The brief broadcast showcased the greater investment in the show that has been made by the hosts, with a few other, to validate the $9.99 monthly subscription.   The greater investment was obviously seen in the higher quality cameras, closer and improved camera angles, and improved sound equipment.  Side note: the sound still needs to be worked out however.

Cohen had decided to stop production of World Soccer Daily after threats of all kinds, from a certain group of Liverpool Supporters, had become too intense and were not only directed at Cohen, but also his step-children and their friends.  The backlash was from the Liverpool supporters, was based on comments Cohen had made about the tragedy that took place in 1996 known as the Hillsborough Disaster, which involved the death of 96 Liverpool fans.

As I have stated in prior posts, I do not have enough knowledge to have an opinion on the events that took place in 1996 or Cohen’s comments.  Either way, the show will have it’s last free broadcast on Monday, August 31st.

www.worldsoccerdaily.com

You can listen to Friday’s podcast by heading to this page.

Other Peoples Work

  • NBA Most Overrated as Written by Charley Rosen at Foxsports.com

In this article, Rosen argues that KG, CP3, and Chris Bosh – and others – are overrated.  Rosen’s article has a few legit points, but he has no real proof to his argument.  What is his standard?  

In the article Rosen claims that KG is not clutch and does not come through in important games.  He also states that CP3 does not play defense and is very ineffective in half court offense out side of a pick and roll. 

Anyway.  Take a read.    

  • Sporting News:  Top 50 Coach’s of All-Time

“Headlining the new issue of Sporting News Magazine: our list of sports’ 50 greatest coaches of all time, as selected by a panel of 118 Hall of Famers, championship coaches and other experts.”

This is a very interesting article by Jeff D’Alessio which lists coaches from all the major sports – i.e. NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, and college basketball and football.

Here is the Top-11 from the list, they only question I have.  Don Shula?  Really?  

1. John Wooden, college basketball

2. Vince Lombardi, NFL
3. Bear Bryant, college football
4. Phil Jackson, NBA
5. Don Shula, NFL
6. Red Auerbach, NBA
7. Scotty Bowman, NHL
8. Dean Smith, college basketball
9. Casey Stengel, MLB
10. Knute Rockne, college football
11. Pat Summitt, women’s college basketball

  • All-Metrodome Team

Tyler Mason, from MLB.com, put together an 18 man team of the best players that played in the Metrodome starting in 1982.  It mostly players from the 1987 ’91 Championship Teams, Paul Molter and Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan.   Kirby Puckett

I am good with 98% of the list.  Gladden is questionable when you look at Shane Mack.  But I am not sure where Morneau fits on the team, but he does deserve it – AL MVP. 

Paul Molitorat DH is the biggest question mark.  He had one great season in 1996 and then fell off quickly.   But I am not sure there is a better choice available than Molitor.

  •  Chili Davis 1991-1992
  •  Paul Molitor 1996-1998
  •  David Ortiz 1997-2002
  •  Roy Smalley 1982 & 1985-1987
  •  Dave Winfield 1993-1994
  • Here is the complete ballot.

    PS – Brett Favre = Still Retired.