July 30, 2013
Alfonso Soriano returns to Yankees: In desperate need of offense with so many injuries to key players, the New York Yankees turned to a familiar face, trading for outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Soriano began his career in New York as a second baseman before later playing for the Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals, and most recently, the Chicago Cubs. The outfielder is past his prime, but a recent hot streak was proof that he can still provide a surge of power. After hitting only nine home runs in the first three months of the season, Soriano has hit nearly that many already in July with eight this month heading into this past weekend.
Jeremy Maclin out for year: NFL training camps are underway and that can only mean one thing – injuries won’t be far behind. The biggest casualty thus far may be the Eagles’ young wide receiver, Jeremy Maclin, who is out for the season after tearing an ACL in a practice. With perhaps their best wideout injured, Philadelphia’s season gets off to a rocky start. The team still has DeSean Jackson at receiver, but Maclin’s loss gives rookie head coach Chip Kelly less to work with on offense – his area of expertise.
Jaromir Jagr signs with New Jersey Devils: Even at 41, Jaromir Jagr isn’t ready to hang up his skates. After playing for the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars last year, the winger has signed a one-year $2 million deal with the New Jersey Devils. Jagr isn’t the player he once was, but still has a little left in the tank after scoring 35 points (including 16 goals in 45 games this past season). Plus, with Ilya Kovalchuk leaving New Jersey to play in Russia, the team was in desperate need of scoring. Jagr ranks eighth all-time among NHL players in scoring and his 681 career goals are good for tenth overall.
Lebron > Kobe in ESPN poll: When it comes to the most popular player in the NBA, LeBron James passed up Kobe Bryant for the first time in a few years according to an ESPN poll. Bryant had beaten out James the past few seasons, but after his second consecutive title, James overtook him last week. Really, it’s just proof that time heals all wounds. Immediately after the much-scrutinized “Decision” broadcast where James announced his intention to leave Cleveland for Miami, he took a huge publicity hit and was even viewed as a villain by many. But after a few years with the Heat and winning a couple of rings, liking LeBron is once again okay.
101 Russian women set a skydiving record: Yeah, I’m not even going to try to add anything to this. Feel free to watch for yourself.
Matt Garza pickup costly for Rangers: Matt Garza may not quite be a household name, but the pitcher could be the best starter that gets dealt before baseball’s trade deadline this season. At 7-1 with a 2.87 ERA, Garza is having a career year and was heavily desired by contenders before he was traded to the Texas Rangers by the Cubs. Garza didn’t come cheap, however. He cost Texas two of their top prospects entering this season, pitcher Justin Grimm and first baseman Mike Olt. Both have struggled to a degree this season, but Grimm has seven wins with the major league team while Olt has 12 home runs in the minors. The trade also cost the Rangers C.J. Edwards, a flamethrower who has dominated Rookie League and Class A in the minors the past two seasons. Also, keep in mind that Garza could only be a rental player as he’s due to become a free agent after this year. All things considered, the Rangers need to not only make the playoffs, but maybe even reach a World Series for this trade to come out in their favor.
Tim Hudson injury hurts Braves: Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson suffered a devastating injury last week when his ankle was broken by the Mets’ Eric Young, Jr. in a collision at first base. The injury was a big one as the veteran will miss the rest of the season. That hurts Atlanta’s playoff chances at least a bit and the team is already looking around for a potential trade. The Braves hold a comfortable lead in the NL East, but should the team hold on for a playoff spot, Hudson’s veteran presence will be sorely missed in the postseason.
Matt Harvey likely to end season early: Similar to what the Washington Nationals did with prized young pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the New York Mets are planning to keep Matt Harvey on a limit for the rest of the year. Mets manager Terry Collins has said Harvey has about ten more starts left instead of the 13 or so he may reach if he continued to pitch every fifth day. While similar to Strasburg’s situation, though, it’s a bit different considering the Mets aren’t likely to be in the playoffs as the Nats were. One thing that will be interesting, though, is to see if the loss in starts costs Harvey when it comes to the Cy Young voting.
July 15, 2013
Tim Lincecum tosses no-no: San Francisco Giants’ pitcher took a huge step forward when he threw a no-hitter over the weekend. Lincecum blanked the San Diego Padres for his first career no-no and surely had to boost his confidence a bit. Since becoming one of baseball’s dominant pitchers, Lincecum has struggled lately. ‘The Freak’ is only 5-9 with a 4.26 ERA this season and was 10-15 with an ERA over 5.00 last year. Things had gotten so bad that there’s even been talk of moving the former Cy Young Award winner to the bullpen. It’s only one game, but if there’s anything that Lincecum proved it’s that he still can be an ace when he has his best stuff
Ilya Kovalchuk headed to Russia: New Jersey Devils’ star Ilya Kovalchuk made a splash when he decided to leave the league and, reportedly, head to Russia to play. The strange decision is made even stranger when it was known that he was leaving a contract set to pay him a whopping $77 million over the next 12 years. Kovalchuk apparently will suit up for SKA St. Petersburg in the renowned KHL. The move was an unexpected one, but he’s from Russia and had a desire to go back home, so from that standpoint it makes more sense.
ACC’s Florida State gets SEC championship ring: No, really – this happened. Florida State players received their ACC conference championship rings recently, but only one problem – one of the pieces of jewelry declared them SEC champs. Offensive lineman Menelik Watson noticed the mistake on his version, according to ESPN. Whoops. Seriously, how does this happen? Wouldn’t something so important at least get checked by more than one set of eyeballs? According to the school, though, his is the only known version with the mistake.
Ron Artest a Knick?: As was widely discussed, the Los Angeles Lakers amnestied forward Ron Artest to avoid paying him the rest of his contract for next season. Despite his declining skills and off-court antics, there’s already interest by the New York Knicks to bring him on board. Other rumored possibilities include the Los Angeles Clippers and even the Shanghai Sharks in China. Artest isn’t a star in the league anymore, but he’s more than capable of still producing as a backup or even as a starter if not too much is asked of him.
David Wright causes stir in HR derby picks: The Mets’ David Wright caused a bit of a stir last week when he made his picks for baseball’s home run derby competition. Wright chose Carlos Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, and Michael Cuddyer as his teammates to join him in the event. Gonzalez is the league leader and Harper won the fan vote, so those two picks were justified by many. But the Cuddyer pick was a head-scratcher until it was learned that he and Wright were BFFs. I don’t even necessarily blame Wright for picking his friend over more worthy candidates such as the Phillies’ Dominic Brown and the Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez, which obviously angered fans of both clubs. The real problem was with him having the right to pick the players instead of the league doing it.
Justin Bieber steps on logo … somehow this is news: Pop icon Justin Bieber made headlines last week when he stood on the Chicago Blackhawks’ logo in the dressing room. He was in town performing and posing for pictures with the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup, standing on the logo until asked to move away from it. The logo, if you haven’t heard, is a pretty sacred thing when it comes to hockey locker rooms and media/outsiders have gotten in trouble over the years for not knowing the rules. For what it’s worth, this angered plenty of hockey fans on the Twittersphere because, well, it’s the Twittersphere.
Chris Davis sets record: One of the biggest stories in baseball this season has been the emergence of Baltimore Orioles’ sensation Chris Davis. Davis continued his miraculous year with his 37th home run on Sunday – a blast that tied Reggie Jackson’s long-held American League record before the All-Star break. Davis also has 93 RBIs, second in the majors behind only Miguel Cabrera, and is also batting .315. To say he’s an MVP candidate at this point would be a huge understatement. Cabrera will give him a run for his money, though, and the two have to be considered neck and neck right now.