June 3, 2013

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The Week In Sports

By: Anson Whaley

Grant Hill retires: In a somewhat expected move, forward Grant Hill retired from the NBA last season. For many, Hill will be remembered for the injuries that ate up much of his career. Injuries again kept him down this year as the forward appeared in only 29 games all season with the Los Angeles Clippers, and at 40, it’s clear he should have retired. But Hill should never be forgotten. He was the 1994-95 Rookie of the Year and a seven-time All-Star. Hill wasn’t always healthy, but when he was, he was one of the NBA’s best forwards earlier in his career.

The Kansas City Royals hired George Brett to be their Hitting Coach.

Rangers coach John Tortorella fired: Shortly after being ousted by the Boston Bruins in the NHL’s Eastern Conference semifinals, the New York Rangers dumped head coach John Tortorella. The Rangers had hopes of reaching the Stanley Cup finals this season, but actually regressed after making the Eastern Conference finals last year. Tortorella had some success in New York, but was rumored to have rubbed some of his players the wrong way. After not advancing past the first round in each of his first three seasons with the Rangers, Tortorella had done better each of the past two seasons. It wasn’t enough to keep his job, but as a former Stanley Cup winning coach in Tampa Bay, he should get another chance down the line.

Steve Smith (the other one) retires: New York Giants receiver Steve Smith (not to be confused with the Carolina PanthersSteve Smith) has decided to hang up his cleats. Smith was a former Pro Bowler and just signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. He was always a bit underrated as a receiver and finishes with seven 1,000-yard seasons under his belt. He nearly had another in 2009 when he finished with 982 yards and there’s little doubt he had something left in the tank. Smith had nearly 2,600 receiving yards over the past two seasons with 11 touchdowns. At 34, he probably still has some football left in him. It will be interesting to see if he changes his mind when training camp rolls around.

Phoenix Suns hire Jeff Hornacek as head coach: Jeff Hornacek, a former shooting guard in the NBA, will head back to Phoenix to serve as the team’s new head coach. Hornacek played for the Suns from 1986 – 1992 and also had stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz. He helped the Jazz to two trips to the NBA Finals alongside Karl Malone and John Stockton. After retiring, he became an instructor with the Jazz and then an assistant. Hornacek will come in somewhat unproven with only a few years of experience as an assistant. And considering the mess that is the Phoenix Suns right now, that will make it even harder to succeed.

Everett Golson suspended for 2013: Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson was suspended by the team due to ‘poor academic judgment.’ There hasn’t yet been confirmation on what exactly that means, but one thing is for certain – he won’t be suiting up for the Irish this fall. It’s a blow to a team that went to the BCS Championship with him at the helm last year. Notre Dame must now turn to another option – most likely senior Tommy Rees. But Malik Zaire could have an outside shot at the job as he comes in as a highly touted freshman this year. But without Golson, the team’s stock is taking a significant hit.

Kansas City Royals hire George Brett as hitting coach: Stuck in the middle of a long losing streak, the Kansas City Royals have turned to perhaps the best player in the history of their franchise – George Brett. Brett will assume duties as the team’s new hitting coach. Let’s face it – giving the job to a franchise icon who just happens to be one of the best hitters in the last 50 years isn’t a bad idea. But stars generally have a difficult time coaching and often, aren’t able to teach others how to play the game as well as they could. Still, for just taking a shot in the dark on a midseason hire, the Royals could have done worse.

Floyd Mayweather to fight Saul Alvarez: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. recently announced that he would fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on September 14th. The match will pit a pair of unbeatens as Mayweather is 44-0-0 while Alvarez is 42-0-1. While this is a big deal and surely a fight that Mayweather will trumpet, Alvarez isn’t Manny Pacquiao - the fighter many would like to see battle Mayweather. In the announcement on (where else) Twitter, Mayweather made sure to tell us that he’s ‘giving the fans what they want’ by participating in the fight. Thanks, I guess?

NCAA Golfer penalized for car washing: Yep, you heard that one correctly. The NCAA penalized an unidentified women’s golfer for washing her own car. The reason? She reportedly used water on the campus that technically belonged to the university and was forced to pay the school $20.00 – the approximate value of the water and hose that was estimated by the organization. I’m all for following the rules and I think the NCAA gets a bad rap sometimes. They’ve got a difficult job in trying to police schools and student athletes, and I get that letting smaller things go can easily escalate into bigger problems. But seriously, can’t we have a common sense clause that allows for a warning in some instances?

May 31, 2013

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In Case You Missed It: May Edition

By: Joe Williams

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like something crazy is happening on a daily basis in the sports world. Maybe it’s always been that way and it’s just that we now have the technology that allows us to see and hear everything. Either way, there is just too much crazy for one article at the end of the year to cover it all so let’s just take it a month at a time. Here are some of the wacky sports stories from this May.

The New York Knicks ended up looking pretty foolish when lost Game 5 against the Boston Celtics after they came to the arena dressed in all black because they were “attending the Celtics funeral.”

Aroldis Chapman ate 18 pastries before a game in May.

Wichita State catcher Tyler Baker chased down and captured a squirrel with his batting helmet after the animal ended up in the infield when Baker was on second base.

Washington Nationals outfielder, Bryce Harper, was ejected from a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates because he slammed his bat and his helmet to the ground.

An NFL quarterback who attempted just eight passes last season and is now unemployed was named Most Influential Athlete by Forbes Magazine. That’s right. Tim Tebow is at it again.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Joel Hanrahan threw a wild pitch that actually went right through a sign on the wall behind home plate.

The Oakland A’s lost a game to the Cleveland Indians when a blown call cost them what would have been a game-tying home run in the top of the ninth. Not only did the umpires miss the call live, but then they went to the replay and still got it wrong.

A Jacksonville Jaguars fan sent President Obama a petition asking the President to force the Jaguars to sign unemployed quarterback Tim Tebow.

MLB umpires suffered another embarrassing incident when they allowed the Houston Astros to go to their bullpen twice before a pitch was thrown. The Angels argued the call and after three huddles and a phone call, the incorrect call was upheld.

An average citizen contacted the NBA to declare himself eligible for the draft. Surprisingly, he received a personal response from the NBA informing him that he is a free agent and can sign with any team.

A fan at a San Francisco Giants game fell onto the field while reaching for a ball, lost his pants and was then ejected from the game.

A fan at a Chicago Blackhawks playoff game went into labor in the stands. But she wasn’t about to leave during an elimination game and waited until after the game to go to the hospital.

Lorenzo Cain of the Kansas City Royals was awarded a walk after receiving just three balls instead of the required four in a game against the New York Yankees.

San Diego Chargers rookie Manti Te’o actually showed up at the Maxim Hot 100 party after the magazine put his fake girlfriend at No. 69 in its Hot 100 list.

Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman blew a save against the Philadelphia Phillies. This was after he at 18 pastries before the game.

A snow cone vender at a Houston Astros game was fired after bringing the snow cones into the bathroom and leaving them on the floor while he used the toilet.

More to come in June I’m sure.

June 5, 2012

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10 MLB Teams That Will Miss The Playoffs

By: Joe Williams

It is hard to believe, but the MLB season is already one-third of the way over. Nobody has locked up a playoff spot yet, but several teams have dug themselves such a big hole that they probably can’t climb out of it. Therefore, its time to eliminate a third of the teams. Who are the 10 teams that aren’t going anywhere in 2012?

Will the Chicago Cubs miss the playoffs again this season?

Chicago Cubs

No surprise here. This is the only team in baseball in sixth place in its division. They just finished off a 12-game losing streak and are currently on a four-game skid. The fans have had to wait more than 100 years for a championship and you can be sure the wait will not end in 2012.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins won 94 games and the A.L. Central in 2010. The have won 84 games and held down last place in the division ever since. Much of the blame can be given to injuries to some of their best players but that doesn’t make the Twins feel any better.

Houston Astros

Houston was far and away the worst team in baseball in 2011. That isn’t the case this year. They have been awful (6-19) on the road but a good team at home (17-12). Houston looks to be on its way back to contending, but it won’t be this year.

San Diego Padres

This is currently the worst team in baseball. They too, have not been the same since the 2010 season when they blew the lead in the N.L. West and missed the playoffs by a game. There isn’t much to cheer about here.

Kansas City Royals

Is it time to bring back Bo Jackson? The Royals have just one winning season since 1994. They are said to have a lot of young talent that will turn it around but it is looking as though that wont happen until 2013 or 2014.

Oakland A’s

Their recent nine-game losing streak really hurt. They are now down to fourth in the A.L. West and eight games back of Texas. They are just six games out of a wild card spot, but there are just too many teams to leapfrog.

Colorado Rockies

Colorado is 9.5 games out in the N.L. West and 6.5 in the wild card chase. These guys have built a reputation of getting hot and making a late-season run, but can they do it again? They have the offense to get it done but the pitching staff is the worst in baseball.

Seattle Mariners

Somehow the Mariners are 10th scoring runs. But they are 27th in batting average, 28th in on base percentage and 26th in slugging. Sooner or later that is going to catch up to them and their scoring will go down, along with their post-season hopes.

Boston Red Sox

The Sox are currently in last in the A.L. East. They are under .500 at home. Their pitching staff is near the bottom of the league. They have had too many injuries. Too many off the field issues. The division is too tough.

Philadelphia Phillies

It’s the same story in Philly as it is in Boston. They are last in the N.L. East. They also have had too many injuries (Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Jim Thome, and Chase Utley are just a few of the players they have on the DL right now) and too many good teams in their division.

March 30, 2012

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2012 MLB Under the Radar Teams

By: Matt Bowen

Opening Day for the 2012 MLB season is April 5 and this season promises to be one for the ages. While there are many teams that are expected to win, there are a few that are currently flying under the radar. Although merely forgotten about at the moment, these teams will be known and feared by all at the end of the season.

These teams are filled with youth who have just enough experience to make an impact for the entire 162 game season. Baseball fans should expect to see an abundance of these teams’ gear hit the streets of America by the time October rolls around.

Here are the 2012 MLB teams who will surprise all:

Kansas City Royals: This team may be the most talented young team in all of baseball. At 27 years old, Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon is the elder statesmen of the bunch. DH Billy Butler was once compared to Bo Jackson and is only 25 years old. Now considered veterans, these guys look to lead the way for the ridiculous talent on this team.

Kansas City fans have a lot to look forward to this upcoming season.

First baseman Eric Hosmer is going to be great this season. In 128 games in 2011, he hit .293 with 19 homers and 78 RBI. This season, don’t be surprised when Hosmer hits .315 with 30 homers and 99 RBI. 2012 is the season where he’s propelled into a superstar.

Along with Hosmer, the Royals have young third baseman Mike Moustakas—who’s only 23 years old. In 89 games in his rookie season of 2011, Moustakas struggled early, but finished strong. He ended with a .263 batting average but batted .352 in September.

Moustakas will pick up where he left off in 2011. In total, he’ll bat at least .280 with 80 RBIs this upcoming season.

With the All-Star game being played in Kansas City this season, Moustakas will make a case for himself to be among the game’s best at the mid-summer classic.

Washington Nationals: How could this team be left of this list? Stud pitcher Stephen Strasburg has recovered from injury and will be the Opening Day starter. The team also has up-and-coming talent in first baseman Michael Morse, catcher Wilson Ramos, closer Drew Storen and a 19-year-old kid by the name of Bryce Harper.

Although Harper has yet to play a game in the big leagues and won’t make the Opening Day roster, he’ll get his cup of coffee in “The Show” sooner than later. His meteoric rise to fame began a few years ago when he left high school early to go play college ball at the age of 16. Baseball hasn’t had this much surrounding a kid’s debut in the majors since “The Kid” himself—Ken Griffey Jr. Needless to say, expectations are enormous for Harper, but everything he’s done thus far is solid proof why he’s a prodigy.

With a bolstered pitching staff with the likes of Edwin Jackson and Gio Gonzalez, the Nationals are nothing to scoff at—they’ll be contenders this season.

Keep your eye on these teams as the season progresses. Can’t wait for the two sweetest words of all—“Play Ball.”

June 8, 2011

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Ten MLB Teams That Will Miss The Playoffs

By: Joe Williams

The MLB season is a little more than one-third of the way over. Therefore, its time to eliminate a third of the teams. Who are the ten MLB teams that aren’t going anywhere in 2011?

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles are a victim of circumstance. If they were in any division other than the A.L. East, I might say they still have a shot. 27-31 isn’t terrible considering their recent history, but they have four solid teams in front of them. It’s too tall a hill to climb, especially with the health of Brian Roberts and Luke Scott up in the air.

Minnesota Twins

Looking at the standings in the A.L. Central is like an optical illusion. Cleveland at the top? Minnesota at the bottom? The Twins have picked up five games on Cleveland in the last five days, but they have dug themselves too deep of a hole. Nobody saw this team going 22-37 to start the year.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals surprised everyone with a 10-4 start. That’s the good news. They’ve gone 16-30 since. That’s bad news. They are 20-18 at home, but just 6-16 on the road. With another 59 road games on the schedule, Kansas City fans are going to be anxious for football season in the fall.

Oakland A’s

Aside from a three-game sweep of the Orioles, Oakland has only won two other games in their last 19. Couple that stretch with Texas winning eight of nine and the A’s are done.

Washington Nationals

They’ve got a shot to finish with 75-80 wins. It’s not about 2011 for this team. With Bryce Harper and Steven Strasburg likely on the way in 2012, the focus is on the future. That’s a good thing because they are 10 games out in the N.L. East and have 10 teams in front of them for the wild card.

New York Mets

Let’s just say the Mets are a mess. They have financial problems, ownership problems, injury problems and just about any other problems a baseball team can have. On the bright side, they are close to .500 so their record is better than one would think. That being said, the Mets won’t have Bud Selig worrying about November weather in New York.

Pittsburgh Pirates

They are the Pittsburgh Pirates. What more needs to be said? Until they prove they can win more than they lose for an entire season, talking about the playoffs is a waste of time. At 28-30 with a winning record on the road, the Pirates have some things to be positive about. One thing I’m positive about…they won’t be in the post season.

Wrigley Field

Chicago Cubs

This looks like a team in the midst of a century long slump. The roster is full of once-great, overpaid veterans that aren’t performing on the field and are just as bad off the field. These guys can’t get along and lately they can’t get a win. If the MLB rosters were wiped clean and they re-drafted the entire league, no team would benefit more than the loveable losers in Chicago.

Houston Astros

They have the worst record in the National League. They are the only team in baseball in 6th place in their division. The roster only has a couple names the average fan will recognize. Not a good sign. But on the bright side, the Cubs are trying their best to get Houston into 5th place in the N.L. Central.

San Diego Padres

They blew their shot last year. They led the N.L. West for most of the season and faded when it counted. Adrian Gonzalez is in Boston and surprisingly, the San Diego offense is the lowest-scoring in baseball. The bullpen is great but it doesn’t help much if you can’t score.