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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rick Gosselin: Closet Eagles fan?

I like that the Dallas Morning News did a story on the Eagles defense, but can we teach Rick Gosselin what the hell a synonym is!?

Paragraph excerpts in order:

The Eagles aren't going to take any chances with health in 2008.

Even though Philadelphia had two Pro Bowl-caliber cornerbacks in Sheppard and Sheldon Brown, they signed a third – Asante Samuel – away from the AFC champion New England Patriots in free agency. He led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 2006. Counting the playoffs, Samuel has intercepted 19 passes in his last 37 games. He has six career touchdowns on interceptions.

The Eagles drafted safety Quintin Demps, who intercepted 17 career passes and scored four defensive touchdowns at UTEP. He set a school record with 404 career yards on interceptions.

The Eagles also heated up their pass rush, signing end Chris Clemons (eight sacks in 2007) away from the Oakland Raiders in free agency and drafting tackle Trevor Laws from Notre Dame in the second round.

The Eagles now go five deep at both end and tackle – a depth chart that includes three first-round draft picks (tackles Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson and end Jerome McDougle), two seconds (Laws and end Victor Abiamiri), a third (end Bryan Smith) and a couple of big-money free agents (ends Clemons and Darren Howard).

If the Eagles can increase pressure on quarterbacks and make them throw the ball out of rhythm, turnover opportunities should increase. Johnson feels he has a cast capable of finishing off those opportunities.

The Eagles, in related news, can also be referred to as Philadelphia, the Birds, Philly, they (on second reference) and Tony Romo's daddy. That is all.

LeBron supports Obama

Despite the advice and blueprint of his idol, Michael Jordan, LeBron James has endorsed a political candidate.

Cleveland Plain Dealer:

James has lavished a little more than 0.1 percent of his 2008-09 salary of $14.4 million on the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, according to Federal Election Commission records. In June, the Cavaliers star donated $20,000 to the Democratic White House Victory Fund, a joint committee set up by Obama and the Democratic Party for the presidential race.

I'm glad to know that LeBron and I have more in common than a 40-inch-plus vertical.

More annoying? Michelle Wie vs. Britney Spears

Does Michelle Wie's saga remind anyone else of Britney Spears'?

Whose parents are worse?
Michelle's parents control her every move and shop her around the world to pad their wallets.

I don't even know who Britney's dad is, but I know her mom sold out Jamie Lynn for money from Gossip.

Edge: Spears

More money for doing less:
Wie definitely works hard on her game although she has sponsorships in the $10 million range and isn't a full-time member of any tour. (She has one LPGA exemption left.)

I think Spears has just one Grammy nomination for "Toxic," but she was very attractive early in her career and put out multiple albums.

Edge: Wie

Bigger fall off the map:
Wie hasn't won anything that anyone cares about since taking the Women's U.S. Public Links Championship when she was 13.

Spears shaved her head.

Edge: Spears

I'll give Britney the final edge as a younger Wie still has a chance to redeem herself. I just hope it doesn't come this week.

Iowa tickets for disaster victims are also disastrous

This is a nice gesture by the Iowa Hawkeyes, but I don't think I'd want to watch another natural disaster after experiencing one.

From the Des Moines Register:

Victims and those who who supported victims of recent natural disasters in Iowa are eligible for free tickets to home football games at the University of Iowa, officials announced today.

Two tickets for either the Aug. 30 game against Maine or Sept. 6 against Florida International will be given to people who provide completed FEMA disaster assistance application forms.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz is the highest paid state employee in all of Iowa, but that doesn't mean he has any control over his players.

Can we get some real golf reporters?

I can't stand when casual reporters analyzing golf tournaments. Surely this stems from my own dedication to and scrutiny of the sport, but I get upset when people like Bill Plaschke blabber on Around the Horn about how Michelle Wie will be overswinging this week by trying to keep up with the men. Those are the stupid statements that eat away at the credibility of general sports reporters trying to give insight into golf.

Then I read this column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer by Bill Livingston, who I had never read until today (unlike Plaschke who I like otherwise.)

Still, I wish we could put the lasers back in the science lab.

Lasers are what designated volunteers use for a PGA Tour media service called ShotLink. The shot-trackers use lasers to determine a shot's distance, then record on PDAs (personal digital assistants) the yardage, the spot on the course where the ball lies, and maybe the golfer's astrological sign.

I, and I'm sure many other tournament golfers, like to know exactly how far a tour golfer hits his shot so we know how they play in different situations. But that doesn't have to take away from the traditional lingo we're used to:

The sports world, including the PGA Tour, has gone stat crazy. But Tour golfers still use the formula that sufficed for years. From one to six feet, they measure putts by each foot. At eight, 10 and 12 feet, they measure two feet at a time. Then it's three, for 15- and 18-footers. Back to two feet to reach 20, but then it's a quick march in five-foot increments to 40 feet. After that, 10-foot increases stretch to infinity and beyond.

So I thought maybe Bill did know a little more than he let on -- until he came back with these ridiculous comments:

Once, we (who do you mean by "we?") had lingo. Now we have lasers. Monster putts were "snakes," and sometimes, for truly vast distances, "anacondas." Around the cup and out was a "U-turn," and around and in was a "victory lap." A missed gimme was "afraid of the dark." Hacking it back and forth across the green was "Army golf -- Left, right, left!" On the green, more than three putts was going into the "hockey mode."

Only hackers talk like that, Bill. But don't worry, that's exactly what most reporters are in the sport. And since golf isn't as commonly played of a sport as baseball, basketball and football, to name a few, it's understandable that most reporters don't have a good grasp on the nuances of the sport. Please, though, don't remove all doubt with this annoying posturing.

No more disrespecting Philly fans

After reading this story, I don't want to hear any more comments about how rude Philadelphia fans are until they overtake Chicago fans with an incident of their own.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The 34-year-old Chicago-area man also received a municipal ticket for assault and battery after police say he punched his sister in the mouth as she tried to intervene in the fight.

Police believe that the Cubs fans were so drunk that they took the Brewers fan/victim as Steve Bartman.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Greatest regular season day in LA Angels history*


I don't know much about the history of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but I don't need to before declaring that July 29, 2008 was two outs from being the greatest non-postseason day in franchise history. First they give up Casey Kotchman and a minor league pitcher for Mark Teixeira**, then John Lackey almost no-hits the Boston Red Sox in an act of revenge for Jon Lester doing the same thing to the Angels on May 19.

Dustin Pedroia broke up the no-hit bid with a seeing-eye grounder between third and short before Kevin Youkilis launched a hanging Lackey pitch over the Green Monster.

-Lackey's career numbers in seven games at Fenway Park before tonight: 1-4, 35 IP, 7.46 ERA, seven HR, 12 BB.
-The last no-hitter in Fenway Park was thrown in 1958.

This also would have served as redemption for the Angels after their no-hitter by committee on June 28 was not only deemed unofficial because it spanned just eight innings, but also turned into a 1-0 loss to the Dodgers.

What's great about this is that Teixeira didn't play tonight (although he is optimistic that he will tomorrow) and the Angels still dominated their closest competition in the American League (and probably all of baseball.)

As a sidenote, Kotchman must be pissed.

**That's the story I wrote for The Sports Network.

Men's Basketball breathing easy in Beijing

With all the dirty laundry aired by the NBA this year -- the Tim Donaghy scandal, Josh Howard admitting he's a pothead and the ups and downs of Kobe Bryant -- I think the men's basketball team will best cope with Beijing's poor air quality:

The heavy haze was among the worst seen in Beijing in the past month, despite drastic pollution controls put in force July 20 that included pulling half the city's 3.3 million vehicles off the roads.

It is not known how much the measures, which also included halting most construction and closing some factories in the capital and surrounding provinces, have helped.

Maybe they should have U2 concert to raise funds to buy a giant air filter for the city.

Derrick Mason: "I guarantee you we're going to win more games."

I'm glad Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason is feeling spry. So well, in fact, that he guaranteed Baltimore would win more than five games (its 2007 total) this season. Thank you, Derrick, for such a bold statement to give all the Purple Faithful hope for at least a six-win season.

From the Baltimore Sun:

And it's with his usual confidence that he predicts the Ravens will be much better than last year's 5-11 record despite so much youth on offense.

"You can't go off what you did last year, whether you were an 11-5 team or a 5-11 team," Mason said. "You can't do it. This league changes so fast with free agency, so just because you were at the bottom of the league the previous year doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be in the bottom of the league the following year.

"I believe we're going to prove that. We're not going to be the same team. I guarantee you we're going to win more games than [last year]."

In related news, Bart Scott plans on hurting as many of those young offensive players as possible between now and the Sept. 7 season opener vs. Cincinnati.

A separate Sun story:

Until the season starts, though, the pain apparently will stay in-house. In the past two days at McDaniel College, Scott, an inside linebacker, has delivered hits hard enough to knock the helmets off two running backs.

When he separated rookie runner Ray Rice from his helmet yesterday, Scott quickly retrieved it and tossed it downfield. It was reminiscent of last season, when Scott picked up an official's flag in frustration and heaved it into the stands in a December loss to the New England Patriots. That toss drew another Ravens penalty.

Enjoy the season, Ravens fans!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sports Network Stories: 7/18/08 - 7/20/08

July 20
Verlander's gem helps Tigers split with Orioles

Connecticut beats Sky to end skid

July 18
Gamer: Scott leads HR parade as O's down Tigers

Molina carries Cardinals over Padres; unlucky 13 for Maddux

Monarchs weather late Atlanta rally

Jags WR Porter undergoes surgery

A dignified Daly and no reason to miss Tiger

At least for today, John Daly was a role model.

Maybe not during one of his divorces, his rehab stints or his being accused by Golf Digest’s No. 1 teacher, Butch Harmon of not taking the game seriously, but today, yes.

As Daly was walking up the 18th hole massaging his right wrist, his score of +28 may have had viewers thinking they were watching The International, the Stableford scoring PGA Tour event, instead of the British Open.

He didn’t explode like in the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, he didn’t rush his par putt on the 18th green that he would miss and he didn’t react negatively to the sarcastically cheering fans as he holed out.

The only consolation I can think of to offer Daly for his effort is that he didn’t finish alone in last – Jamie Howarth shot 85-84 to match Daly’s 80-89 – tying for 153rd.

But the two-time major champion behaved like one at a time when it was least expected.


With Greg Norman, Rocco Mediate and David Duval all in the top five at the halfway point there’s no reason to put an asterisk on the excitement surrounding the Claret Jug. The only people who have a problem with Tiger Woods not being at the tournament are Tiger himself and all the non-hardcore golf fans that didn’t follow the sport until his 1997 Masters triumph.


Norman used to be my favorite golfer until he started chicken-winging his elbows after a round at the Kemper Open and knocked me out of the way. To be frank, he’s a jerk.

But that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a great story if he, Duval, Mediate or even the far and really-far behind Sergio Garcia (73 today, +5, six shots back) and Phil Mickelson (68, +7, eight shots back) won.

And they’re all chasing K.J. Choi who has seemed poised to win a major for awhile. Don’t stay out late tonight or tomorrow, you’ll want to get up early so that you don’t miss the weekend, even though Daly won’t be taking any more shots. Well, at least not on the course.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Derby shmerby ... can we get a rule change?

My heart rose with each baseball that Josh Hamilton deposited into the oblivion last night28 in all for the first round.

That he was the top slugger in that round by 20 homers, left five outs (give or take one) on the table in the second round and still didn’t win is a travesty.

He was at a big disadvantage to begin with by selecting Grandpa Simpson to pitch. By Erin Andrews’ count he threw 42 pitches – absolute seeds for sure – in the first round alone.

Wouldn’t you expect the geezer to be winded by the time Hamilton faced winner Justin Morneau in the finals? That late night pitching delivery of Grandpa Simpson, whose real name I couldn’t care less about, looked like the next Comcast Digital commercial to go along with that turtle couple.

If Morneau didn’t want to decline the trophy, someone should have stolen it from him. Instead of wiping the slate clean for the final two players, they should keep the totals with the low man going first. He should hit for at least five outs, and if he hasn’t tied or taken the lead in five outs, he should finish out his allotted 10 outs. If he does tie or pass the leader in five outs or less, then the leader should go for five outs, or ten if he doesn’t pass the new leader. If he does the former new leader should get to use his last five outs to reclaim the lead.

Basically, since Morneau trailed going into the finals last night, he should have had to use all 10 of his outs and, since he didn’t pass Hamilton, lost without Hamilton ever having to hit in the final. If this seems like it would suck the fun out of the Derby by depriving the fans of on more round by a home run hitter, then look no further than the record-setting tear Hamilton went on in round one and tell me they didn’t get their money’s worth.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

NASCAR driver on steroids!

Kyle Busch has to be on steroids. I don't know much about NASCAR, but I do know that nobody wins seven races by July without a little performance enhancement.

Yeah, right, Busch is probably cleaner than his engine. And I'm glad we have a sport where someone can dominate and nobody can accuse that person of getting an edge with steroids.

So wait a minute, you're telling me a driver could be in better shape than the rest of his competitors and the only advantage he would have is being able to defend himself against Tony Stewart after running him into the wall?

Well then why the hell do some people still call race car driving a sport? Sure, being in shape has its advantages: staying focused longer, being able to do a backflip off your car or climb a fence after a victory and of course actually being able to fit inside your car.

If those are the only benefits of being in good shape as a driver, then I still think the oversized Tony Gwynn could make a run at the Sprint Cup.

Congrats to Busch, but please don't call him an athlete.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I need a haircut

I shot myself in the foot yesterday. I wrote on my Frederick News-Post blog that I wouldn't cut my hair until the Orioles get back above .500 (or when school starts on Aug. 27). Tonight's loss/demoralization to the Red Sox ensures that I'll be waiting until at least after the All-Star break to visit the barber shop.

I don't plan on the Orioles bailing me out before school starts so I'll go for the Rickie Fowler look and see if that helps my golf game for the rest of the summer.

The Orioles are two games below .500 with one game left against Boston before the break (that only one player, George Sherrill, will participate in. I think Sherrill has five blown saves in the last two weeks so he's clearly the best choice). Then they start an 11-game homestand. As I said in the blog, if they don't pull it off then I could look like Robinson Crusoe by the time I go back to school.

Sports Newtork Stories: 7/12/08

July 12
Gamer: Youkilis slams Red Sox to rout of Orioles

CFL: Cates's late TD lifts Saskatchewan over Hamilton

WNBA: Lynx defeats fizzling Comets