September 23, 2013

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The Week in Sports

By: Anson Whaley

Andy Pettitte retiring … again: New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte has announced he will retire at the end of the season. The retirement marks his second one, as he previously stepped down after the end of 2010 only to return in 2012. Pettitte has had an incredible career, but it will also be marred by his involvement in the Roger Clemens’ PED scandal and his own admission that he took PEDs. The drugs likely cost Pettitte any chance that he had to make the Baseball Hall of Fame as voters have been slow to vote for admitted steroid users. With a career ERA approaching 4.00, getting in would have been difficult, anyway. The PED admission, though, will likely keep him out despite more than 250 career wins and nearly 2,500 strikeouts.

Trent Richardson didn't stay in Cleveland long.

Cleveland Browns make blockbuster trade: The Cleveland Browns shocked the world with a trade early last week, dealing 2012 first-round pick Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for their 2014 first-round pick. The move was a curious one as the Browns gave up on the running back only 18 games into his career. He was the No. 3 overall pick and it’s quite possible that the selection they receive in return will not be nearly as high. Richardson rushed for nearly 1,000 yards in his rookie season and had 11 touchdowns. His weak career 3.5 yards per carry didn’t impress the Browns, but the move still seems a bit premature. There’s no telling how good Richardson can be and at only 22, Cleveland could have given up on him too soon. The rumor is that the Browns are stockpiling picks in the hopes of moving up to select a franchise quarterback in the NFL Draft, but without the top selection, there’s no guarantee they’ll get the player they want.

Metta World Peace makes bold claim: New York Knicks forward Metta World Peace, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest, is used to making bold claims. He made another one recently when he declared the Los Angeles Lakers, his former team, would reach the NBA Finals. Most seasons, that doesn’t sound so ridiculous. However, after L.A. recently lost Dwight Howard, Antawn Jamison, and Metta World Peace himself, the team isn’t expected to do much. In fact, even with that strong supporting cast last season, the Lakers barely made the playoffs where they were unceremoniously swept by the San Antonio Spurs. It’s hard to see Los Angeles making his claim come true.

Supreme Court: A Kansas City Royals mascot is headed to the Supreme Court for throwing a hot dog. Seems about right.

Deron Williams hurt: The Brooklyn Nets made some significant offseason moves in bringing in former Boston Celtics All-Stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Along with point guard Deron Williams, the club is expected to contend for the Eastern Conference title this season. The preseason isn’t even here yet, but the Nets are already off to an ominous start as Williams is reportedly in a walking boot, suffering an offseason injury. A team spokesman confirmed he has a sprained ankle and a bone bruise. It’s not ideal, but not the end of the world, either. Williams is expected to be ready in time for training camp, which opens up on October 1st.

Washington Capitals will host 2015 Winter Classic: The NHL made good on a promise a few years ago to award the Washington Capitals with a Winter Classic game and the franchise will host the event in 2015. The site and opponent are still unknown, but the Caps will get to host the game. FedEx Field, Nationals Park, and RFK Stadium have all been listed as possibilities for the event, which has become one of hockey’s premier events. Assuming he’s still in a Capitals jersey by then, the move is a good one for the NHL as it will feature Alex Ovechkin – one of the league’s top players.

Marc Trestman = Willy Wonka: Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said his coach, Marc Trestman, is kind of like Willy Wonka. Not Johnny Depp Willy Wonka, but the Gene Wilder version. So there’s that. No word on which teammates he equates to Oompa Loompas.

Coach K says transfer rules need fixed: Duke basketball head coach, Mike Krzyzewski, recently commented about the NCAA’s rules allowing players to transfer to other schools. Coach K is all for letting players transfer, but has called for some uniformity in the rules. Currently, players must sit out for a season if they wish to transfer to another school but the NCAA makes certain exceptions for players with extenuating circumstances, such as family illnesses. Krzyzewski is probably right since there are no real hard and fast rules when it comes to making exceptions for certain players. By forcing everyone to sit out for a year, regardless of situation, the rules would be more consistent.

Emeka Okafor out with herniated disc: Washington Wizards center Emeka Okafor is out indefinitely with a herniated disc. It’s unknown how long the center will be out, but if it’s for any considerable amount of time, it will be a big deal to Washington. The team currently has only one other true center on their roster in 6’11” Nene Hilario and the Wizards could be forced to sign another one before the season begins. At 30, Okafor is on the downside of his career. But he played well last year, averaging nearly a double-double (9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds) and was a productive player in the post for Washington.

April 15, 2013

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The Week In Sports

By: Anson Whaley

Adam Scott wins first Masters in dramatic fashion: Golf’s biggest event was front and center this weekend and there were plenty of theatrics. First, there was 14-year old Tianlang Guan taking the world by storm by not only making the cut, but finishing as the youngest low amateur in the history of the tournament. Then, there was Tiger-gate, when Tiger Woods took an illegal drop that caused many to question if he should remain in the event. Finally, Adam Scott walked away with his first ever Masters win after defeating Angel Cabrera in a playoff with a birdie on the second hole. Say what you will about golf, but there are few things in the world of sports that can compare to Sunday at the Masters.

How far can the Lakers go without Kobe Bryant?

Kobe Bryant tears Achilles tendon – out for season: The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled all season with a star-studded lineup, but they may have been dealt a death blow last week. Star guard Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of this season. So how did the Lakers respond to losing their best player? By promptly beating what could be the best team in the Western Conference – the San Antonio Spurs. Los Angeles’ win on Sunday proved there is still life within the team. While the backcourt is in shambles (especially with Steve Nash who has missed several games), the frontcourt can still be one of the best in the league with center Dwight Howard and forwards Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, and Antawn Jamison. The Lakers may have a more difficult time keeping up with the younger Oklahoma City Thunder, but you’ve got to give them a fighting chance against the Spurs if they meet in the playoffs.

Louisville defeated Michigan for the NCAA championship: A week later and it seems like old news by now, but the Louisville Cardinals won their first title under Rick Pitino with an 82-76 win over the Michigan Wolverines last Monday. Pitino became the first coach to win NCAA championships with two different teams. The Cardinals went on a tear late in the season and became the trendy pick to win the title. Nearly as important as winning the championship was that they allowed folks like me to finish respectably in their bracket pools despite a plethora of other questionable picks.

Jeff Garcia to New York Jets – ditch Tim Tebow: Former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia had some interesting comments about young quarterback Tim Tebow in a USA Today interview. Speaking about Tebow, Garcia said he just brings distraction and that having him on the Jets doesn’t add anything positive. He then went on to say that starting quarterback Mark Sanchez’ main competition will come from aging veteran David Garrard or little-used Greg McElroy. I won’t totally disagree with Garcia that Tebow is a major distraction, but I’m not so sure he still can’t contribute to the team if used effectively. I’m not of the opinion that he’s an ideal starting quarterback, but there are certain packages where he can be used infrequently and make plays with his legs. Is that more valuable than what Garrard or McElroy can add? Unless one of them unseats Sanchez or plays considerably as a backup, I’d say yes.

Wrigley Field to get updated look: The Chicago Cubs announced that historic Wrigley Field will get some upgrades as part of a $500 million renovation. That will include the Field’s first electronic video board. Typically I hate stuff like this, but sometimes upgrades are needed to remain competitive. And as long as there’s no plan to make sweeping changes to one of the most recognizable stadiums in baseball, it’s hard to complain too loudly.