Saturday, May 14, 2011

Posada asking out of lineup?

I just finished reading Bill Madden's book on the late George Steinbrenner and Buster Olney's book about the Yankees title failures after the 2001 season so my views may be a little influenced by those books. But I can't believe that ANY hitter would ask out of a game against an arch-rival. Seems to me that the most-likely explanation is that one of the Steinbrenner's made the change for the manager and directed that the story be that Posada asked out of the lineup. Interestingly, Posada, Girardi, and Cashman all have different stories on this on GAME NIGHT. (Not much difference than Carney, Obama, and Biden on the Bin Laden strike by the way) Serves the Yankees right that they lost 6-0.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sacramento Kings to Anaheim

I don't see how the Maloof's will succeed with their plan to move to Anaheim. The Sports equivalent would be for the Tennessee Titans to try to move to Fort Worth and butt in on the Cowboys. The Lakers are the signature franchise of the modern NBA, they surely will be able to to convince the league not to allow the Kings to move to Anaheim.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Coach Tressel

I guess he had a point trying for a 2-game suspension while his players' suspensions were being appealed. As the leader of the program he should set the example. For not doing the right thing as the person in charge - he should sit at least an extra game, interestingly enough, Nebraska is game #6.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

TCU to the Big East?

I think it would have made a lot more sense to have the Mountain West football Champion play the Big East football Champion instead. Is the basketball tourney going to include all 17 teams? Or its own Les Robinson game, but worse since instead of an 8-9 it will be a 16-17? Or will 1 team stay home? Or will this be the final domino that splits the conference along football and non-football lines?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bowl Month?

I remember Bowl Week not that long ago. The expansion of bowls and games has to be bordering on unsustainable. Saw the New Mexico Bowl last weekend... and there are games daily through New Year's.... then the BCS overflows into the first week of January... and the bowl season closes out January 9th before Auburn and Oregon play on the 10th... will Cam Newton still be eligible then? I'm not sure the demand is there for B.C.-Nevada on the 9th or Pitt-Kentucky on the 8th. Did the NCAA hire someone from the NBA to ensure the longest postseason mathematically possible?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Vikings Debacle

Head Coach Brad Childress was Monday’s casualty. It is logical based on the track that he led the team down. It was understandable that bringing back Brett Favre to play QB was Plan A. But Favre needed to be in training camp with the rest of the team. Childress even should have had some leverage to get Favre into training camp. Since the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb before the draft, the Vikings would have been a trade target for the Eagles since Favre’s return was uncertain at that point. Not unlikely, but also not certain. Childress could have pushed Favre into declaring his intent to return in 2010 in April by selling to Favre that if he couldn’t commit, Childress owed it to the rest of the team to acquire McNabb once that opportunity arose. Side effects of Favre not reporting until mid-August: RB Adrian Peterson skipped some off-season activities, WR Percy Harvin hasn’t practiced much more than Favre has. Add in WR Sidney Rice’s late training camp injury requiring surgery and it isn’t difficult to see the Vikings less efficient on offense in 2010 than 2009.
The turnovers are the killer. They have committed multiple turnovers in all but 2 games. They have AVERAGED -2 in net turnovers per game, near the bottom of the league. Favre is responsible for the bulk of the turnovers between interceptions and fumbles. One can’t help but wonder how many turnovers are a result of insufficient preparation? A couple of weeks of additional practice or series in preseason games might have Favre and his receivers in sync. Peterson has not been a turnover problem this year – unfortunately he had a poor game against the Saints last January.
The net -2 means that the defense isn’t causing the turnovers. And that can be explained by the difference in line play. The Vikings’ line has had difficulty forming a pocket for Favre (he should understand that taking a sack is better than throwing an interception) while its defensive line has not collapsed the pocket on many quarterbacks. While the Vikings have been behind in many games, only the Green Bay game was a wide-enough spread that the Packers wouldn’t need to run a balanced run-pass offense.
Childress has made some questionable tactical decisions this season. He has chosen to go for a number of 4th down and short plays with an inefficient offense instead of attempting FGs. With a team that is not scoring many points, FG’s are a good choice. Even more so when the offense continually fails to convert the 4th downs into 1st downs (or TDs when from the 1 yard line).
The Randy Moss escapade was another questionable decision. Why trade a valuable 3rd round pick in next year’s draft for a player you may only have for 13 games? The Patriots traded a 6th round pick to Oakland to acquire Moss and the Patriots were interested in trading him for the same reason Oakland was in 2007. Childress’ offer should have been for a 7th round pick in the 2011 draft. Childress probably needed to cut Moss loose after the New England game combined with other events that occurred that week, but making that cut resulted in the rope around his neck getting very tight.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

College Football Realignment

Nebraska to the Big Ten makes sense; the Cornhuskers definitely lost a lot when the Big 8 became the Big 12. They lost their Thanksgiving weekend game with Oklahoma when the two rivals were placed in separate divisions (Texas-Oklahoma became the marquee regular season conference game). The Big 12 chose not to preserve or establish cross-divisional rivalries the way that the SEC has (Florida/LSU, Auburn/Georgia, Alabama/Tennessee, etc.). A consideration may have been the conference championship game the first weekend in December – a rematch wouldn’t be best for the conference. That coupled with the conference center of gravity moving from Kansas City to Dallas over the past 15 years, it makes sense for the Huskers to move to the Big Ten. I had to laugh at the idea that Rutgers would receive a Big 10 invite. Only non-sports fan MBA’s would think the Rutgers athletic program would deliver the New York City media market to the Big 10 (and its network). Notre Dame and Penn State are the college programs that NYC fans follow. For basketball, St John’s, Syracuse, and Connecticut fans have been buying the bulk of the Big East tournament tickets at Madison Square Garden for 30 years. Rutgers might make sense geographically, but not practically. I don’t think that the Big 10 will go to 16 teams unless Notre Dame is part of the equation.
Colorado and Utah to the Pac-X enable that conference to hold a championship game but I’m not sure how much this addition will help the Pac-10. Colorado football hasn’t been bowling much recently, and while Utah was strong in the Mountain West, they will find the size and speed much more challenging over the course of a full season compared to 1 or 2 inter-conference games that are more important to them than their Pac-10 opponents. The attempt at luring Texas and Oklahoma was a good strategic first strike towards the 16-team Super Conference, but I don’t know that it can be successfully employed. The Big East has 16 teams for basketball and hasn’t found a good regular season or post-season tournament format yet. The college seasons don’t have enough games to facilitate a thorough conference schedule for 16 teams. The 12-team format with 2 6-team divisions allows for a good schedule, but the best remains an 8-team conference. That enables home-and home for basketball and a full slate for football. Would a 16 team format with minimal cross-divisional regular season competition be successful?
The unanswered question about Texas and Oklahoma is which universities eventually move with them if the 16 team Super Conferences form? Texas Tech may very well turn into Iowa State in 5 years. Bob Knight has left, his son has also left; will the basketball program improve, or will it fall back to its historical performance? And with Mike Leach’s ouster as Football coach, will they be able to continue their offensive excellence that has led them to recent success? Texas A&M didn’t want to partner with the Pac-10, but was interested in the SEC. The SEC only would need 4 programs to get to 16 – would the 4th school be Oklahoma State or basketball-rich Kansas? Or do they bring 5 and point South Carolina back to the ACC? First on the map for the Big 12 is getting back to 12 members so they can hold those recently booked Championship games at JerryWorld. Do two of the snubbed SWC members (Rice, SMU, TCU, Houston) receive invites? Or does the conference look to expand geographically and invite Memphis and Louisville? While those programs would be in the SEC’s area, I don’t think that the SEC would be particularly interested in them.

The Decision

LeBron James should have done his show at the interview table following the Game 6 loss to the Celtics. The Cavs gave up on their home court down 9 points with a minute to play against a team that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson described as the best NBA team at blowing leads late. In that 4th quarter against the Cavs, the Celtics missed 6 free throws. It may have been the first time in NBA playoff history that it actually took one minute to play the last minute of the game!
I didn’t watch the show, but whoever enabled him to think that stabbing his home city in the back on national TV is a moron. And LeBron can’t be far from moron status himself to go along with the idea. While LeBron apparantely talked about his legacy, this charade will not be recorded as a positive note. I don’t have a problem with him choosing his team or his teammates, but the other historically elite players (Jordan, Bird, Magic, Kobe) in the Free Agent era have carried themselves much better than he has this summer. He simply should have made his visits, chose his team, and simply signed his contract.
His comment about not having to be “The Man” are reminiscent of what Carl Pavano and Mike Mussina said when signing with the Yankees. Pavano’s comments were directed at the intensity of the Boston fan base while he was being targeted by both the Red Sox and the Yankees in 2003 – I think Pavano won more games for the Twins after the All-Star break last season than he did in 3 years in New York. While Mussina enjoyed success in New York, the Yankees didn’t win any championships and had more first round playoff exits (5) than World Series appearances (2) during his 8 years in pinstripes.