February 10, 2014
Winter Olympics open for business: The Winter Olympics began in Sochi last and while the talk in the early part of the week was focused on hotel rooms and some negative talk of the host city, that was quickly forgotten once the games started. The U.S. wrapped up the weekend with a solid start, winning two gold medals and four overall, sitting in second in the medal count behind only Norway and in a tie with the Netherlands.
Sochi Opening Ceremony fail: Four out of five ain’t bad!
Michael Sam announces he is gay: The NFL will in all likelihood have its first openly gay player next season as Missouri All-American Michael Sam made his historic announcement over the weekend. His interview could affect his draft stock, obviously, with some GM’s perhaps wanting to avoid the attention he would bring to their team. However, his talent won’t be overlooked and the former SEC Defensive Player of the Year will almost certainly be selected.
National Signing Day: College football’s National Signing Day came and went on Wednesday and the big winners were again the SEC teams. The conference had seven of the top ten recruiting classes according to ESPN and the rich just keep getting richer. The ACC, including the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles, made some headway, with three top 12 classes (Miami and Clemson were the others). But overall, it’s still the SEC’s world.
Maurice Cheeks ousted in Detroit: The Maurice Cheeks era in Detroit was indeed a quick one. The former player and current coach was let go by the club after only 50 games this season. While the Pistons aren’t having a great year, the move was a curious one as even at only 21-29, Detroit sat a mere ½ game out of the playoffs at the time of the firing. Whoever inherits the reins will be getting a team with some potential. With Brandon Jennings, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond, the team has solid young talent, and players like Josh Smith and Rodney Stuckey provide some quality depth. However, even in the weak Eastern Conference, the Pistons still are a couple of players away from making any serious noise until their young stars develop a bit more.
Tracy McGrady trying hand at baseball: That title isn’t a typo – former NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady is hoping to play professional baseball. The basketball star played some baseball in high school, but yeah, that’s about it. The first thing you should know about this is that it’s not a Michael Jordan-sized attempt. Jordan went into the Chicago White Sox’ minor league system in the hopes that he could reach the majors. McGrady will be trying to pitch for the Sugar Land Skeeters – the same team that gave Roger Clemens the opportunity to pitch for a few games in the past. The Skeeters are an independent team not affiliated with any major league club and even a successful stint there isn’t likely to land T-Mac on an MLB roster.
Nine out of Ten: Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Martin says he wasn’t surprised at the team’s dominance over the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl last week. During an interview, Martin boasted that the team could probably beat Denver 90 out of 100 times with the Broncos maybe getting “lucky those other ten times.” Martin could surely learn to respect his opponent a bit more and while the Seahawks easily handled the Broncos, I’m not sure that any team could shut down that offense 90 times out of 100 – especially considering that Seattle figured out Manning’s hand gestures and knew what was coming most of the time.
Memphis Grizzlies tattoos: Who wants a free Memphis Grizzlies’ neck tattoo?!?! Don’t raise your hands all at once.
Ralph Kiner dies at 91: Former Pittsburgh Pirates star and Mets broadcaster, Ralph Kiner, passed away at the age of 91. Kiner started his career by leading the National League in home runs in his first seven seasons and later became one of baseball’s most recognizable announcers, calling games for the New York Mets. Kiner was one of the few players that was a Hall of Famer and able to transition over to become a quality broadcaster.
Damian Lillard Ironman: Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard has a busy weekend ahead of him. Last week, he announced he would participate in the Slam Dunk event, Three-Point Shootout, and the Skills Challenge during Saturday night of the NBA All-Star weekend. That won’t be all, though. On Friday, Lillard will play in the Rising Stars Game and then will take the court on Sunday for the All-Star Game. All in all, it’s the first time anyone has participated in all of the three Saturday events, let alone everything else during All-Star weekend. The ‘losers’ in this are actually the Trailblazers who could use a rested Lillard coming out of the break. Still, it’s impressive that he is willing to do so much and as a legitimate superstar, this is exactly the kind of the participation the league needs from its best players.