Saturday, May 23, 2009

LeBron Wins It For Cavs [David Stefanini]

For a quick recap: The game was amazing. The Cavs had a huge lead which the Magic cut into with their ability to make three pointers. Magic take a 2 point lead with 1 second left only to have LeBron hit a game winning three pointer at the buzzer.

What else can you say other than its what LeBron does best? He is amazing and continues his climb to the top of the league.

At the beginning of these playoffs I stated to my friends that the Magic are going to defeat the Lakers for the NBA Championship and nothing has happened to change my mind. The Magic already took the home court advantage away from the Cavs and it took a miraculous shot from LeBron James to avoid a 2-0 series lead for the Magic. Anyone else out there having deja vu? Remember a few years ago when the underdog Detroit Pistons went into the Staples Center and won Game 1 against the Lakers? In Game 2, Kobe Bryant hit a miraculous three pointer to avoid a 2-0 hole. The Pistons said, they accomplished what they wanted to and winning Game 2 wasn't that important. I get the same feeling with this Magic team. The Cavs don't match up well with the Magic and there is no reason why this series should go longer than 5 or 6 games. (Magic winning).

With that said every night I'm praying for hours that I get to see the 'Dream Match-up'. LeBron vs Kobe in the NBA Finals. The NBA has had questionable things happen in the past that has led to a belief of games and drafts being fixed. If there was ever a time to fix anything it is this. David Stern, PLEASE make it that we all get to see the Lakers vs the Cavs in the Finals. It's only fitting. These Conference Finals, as good as they have been, are merely an appetizer to the main course.

Ladies and Gentlemen with the Cavs win tonight the Magic Number to the perfect NBA Finals is down to 6. Three wins by the Lakers and three from the Cavs and we get The Great One vs The Chosen One.

Tomorrow look for the Lakers to bounce back from their disappointing loss in Game 2. Kobe was not hitting his jump shots and unless Jesus Christ himself is in the arena to prevent it you can guarantee that Kobe will find his jumper in Denver. Lakers win a close one to move 2-1 up.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coming Soon: United Football League [J. Mark English]

As networks reveal their fall lineups of new television show, one in particular might sound like a repeat of an already existing show. NBC's "Friday Night Lights" is about to go head to head against the reality version of "Friday Night Lights".

Look out National Football League, you have a new challenger.

Greg Garber of ESPN explains:

The history books say that six different outdoor leagues have come into
existence during the NFL's long and steady climb to the top of professional sports. The first two attempts appreciably changed the composition of the NFL. Three teams from the All-America Football Conference were absorbed by the NFL in 1950; and 20 years later, the American Football League merged 10 of its teams with the NFL...

....The underlying premise of the UFL's launch is to meet untapped demand.

League executives cite a 2007 ESPN/The Sports Network poll indicating that half of those who describe themselves as avid NFL fans have never attended a game. Scaling UFL tickets at an average
price of $20, the reasoning goes, should make the new league's games an easy destination and turn the UFL into an attractive alternative in these difficult economic times..

...Four teams -- New York/Hartford, Orlando, Las Vegas/Los Angeles and San Francisco/Sacramento -- will play a six-week season in the UFL, concluding with a championship game on Thanksgiving weekend. Games will be played on Thursday and Friday nights to avoid conflicts with the NFL and, for the most part, college. Rosters will be stocked, with regional priority, from the pool of players released by NFL teams in training camp. San Francisco will have first rights to players cut from the AFC and NFC West rosters, while New York owns the AFC and NFC East, with Orlando getting AFC and NFC South players and Las Vegas the AFC and NFC North players.

There is a proposed salary cap of $12-20 million for each team's players and a $3 million cap for staff salaries, including the four head coaches: Dennis Green, Jim Fassel, Jim Haslett and Ted Cottrell. With the exception of Cottrell, all have been NFL head coaches but failed to land a current lead NFL job despite a recent spate of openings.

Going forward, the plan is to have a second-year draft and slowly expand the league to between 10 and 12 teams, as well as increase the length of the season. The UFL has positioned its franchises mostly in places without NFL competition. Three teams will play home games in two markets to see where the interest lies. League officials point to Los Angeles as a sprawling, underserved market; but the recent suspension of operations by the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League suggests the City of Angels might still be immune to the pleasures of pro football.

The UFL was founded by Wall Street investor Bill Hambrecht, once a minority partner in the USFL's Oakland franchise, and former Google executive Tim Armstrong. Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is also part of the roster of investors that paid a collective $30 million for the four franchises.

My thoughts -

Given the economic situation, this league might actually have staying power.

During the short lived XFL season, actually became watchable once it focused more on football at the end of its season. It started to look like a credible minor league, that help improve players that were almost NFL ready. Players like Tommy Maddox, and Rod "He Hates Me" Smart turned in some decent seasons in the NFL after playing in the XFL.

The UFL should not try to compete with the NFL, but instead act as a safety net for players on the edge of being pros. The UFL will have numerous players to recruit. The Arena Football League cancelled last season, making many of their players available, as well as players from NFL Europe, and the Canadian Football League.

Third stringers in the NFL, might be tempted to jump to the UFL to get more playing time and more exposure.

Even troubled players such as Michael Vick might consider coming to the UFL.

Clark Judge of CBS Sports mulled this option a few weeks ago:

Here's a prediction: Michael Vick plays this season, but he doesn't play in the NFL. He plays in the UFL.

That's the fledgling league that hired Jim Fassel, Jim Haslett, Ted Cottrell and Dennis Green as head coaches and is expected to open in October.

It's also a league starved for attention, and in Michael Vick, it would have it. Not only would he attract thousands of fans, either to support him or protest his return, but he would deliver a buzz startups crave. Moreover, he would bring in a media army, and if you don't believe it, you didn't see reporters camped outside federal prison in Fort Leavenworth on Wednesday.

Getting back to the economics of our country. The Negro Leagues greatest financial success came in the 1930's during the great depression. Most people wanted to see baseball, but could not afford the MLB prices. Instead they paid for the far cheaper seats of the Negro League, and were highly entertained. Perhaps, the UFL might benefit from the same sort of economic success in a down market. Do you really think Detroit Lion fans want to spend over $100 (which after parking, and concession comes out to be much more then that) to see their awful football team? And what if the NFL starts blacking out more games because sell outs are harder to come by? The UFL is ready to pounce on this probability.

Friday nights may never be the same.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Your Fix is Back 5.19.09 [J. Mark English]

  • Aliene Voisin of the Sacremento Bee opines about the lack of guarantees with the top spot in the NBA draft.
  • Tom Knott of the Washington Times, thinks that getting the right draft pick has more to do with luck then anything else. (I guess this is why he is a writer and does not work in the NBA.)
  • Apparently the Los Angeles Lakers will not be able to beat the Denver Nuggets on talent alone. Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times argues this point.
  • Jon "Baby Face" Gruden joins the Monday Night Football crew, and Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune knows that it will be a perfect fit for ESPN.
  • Comcast has reached a deal with the NFL Network. This will mean that at 10 million cable subscribers will now be able to see the best sports network on cable. (Seriously, last night I was able to see a game between the Cowboys & Giants from 1994. It took me back to a time in my life when I could focus on sports and nothing else!)
  • Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer breaks down the hypocrisy of sports betting in Delaware.
  • Are the Detroit Red Wings unbeatable? Not according to Carol Slezak of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • The Red Wings may be locked up in battle with the Chicago Blackhawks for the rights to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, but the Blackhawks are already big winners. Forbes columnist, Nathan Vardi, discusses the economic turnaround of the 'Hawks.
  • Guess who is impressing his coaches so far? Terrell Owens! Yet to be a distraction, Buffalo New's Mark Gaughan, talks about the improved 'focus' of Owens.
  • Speaking of troubled NFL stars... Ann Killion of the Mercury News is convinced that an NFL team will take a chance on Michael Vick.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Fast Filly is Preakness Betting Favorite" [NBC News]

(Photo) Way to Go Girl! Rachel Alexandra the Filly Wins the Preakness Stakes! [J. Mark English]

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thinking the Unthinkable: Yankee Stadium a Failure? [J. Mark English]

Any discussion of the new Yankee Stadium being considered a "failure" is premature. Prognosticators who suggest the new Yankee Stadium is a disaster, are judging its success during a time when recession is rife in all sectors of the economy.

The two new ball parks in New York, may have opened this year, but the infancy of planning for the stadiums began many years ago. If these two stadiums had opened in the late 1990's, then the seats would be filled to capacity, and the waiting list to buy any seat might include a wait of at least years.

It is bad fortune that the two teams opened up the stadiums just when the economic downturn is in full stride.

Darren Everson of the Wall Street Journal opines about the abysmal beginnings of the new Yankee Stadium:

For more than 80 years, Yankee Stadium was the most revered sports venue on the planet. The new Yankee Stadium's fate is yet to be determined.

Since it opened in April, scads of empty seats in prime locations have compelled the team to cut prices. Tickets to a recent Boston Red Sox game, usually a hot item, were selling for $8 on StubHub, the online reseller. Home runs are flying out of the place at an alarming rate (the park's average of 3.62 per game led the majors before Thursday night). The Yankees absorbed a 10-2 loss in the park's first regular-season game and allowed a stunning 22 runs in its third.

As the Yankees return Friday for their third homestand at the new "Taj Mahal," as outfielder Nick Swisher calls the park, here's a sobering thought for the franchise and its fans: What if this $1.5 billion ballpark doesn't help the team? Is it possible that this magnificent facility could fail?

Team President Randy Levine says he's untroubled by the park's early negative reviews, or the notion it could go down as a failure. "The old Yankee Stadium, the cathedral of baseball, had 83 years of history. This stadium has been open a month," he says. "We believe this stadium will have its own great life and great memories."

When new stadiums have flopped in the past -- that is, when the public has come to loathe them or their teams haven't benefited from them -- it's generally been for one of four reasons, say historians, sports executives and fans. Either the stadium catered too much to affluent fans, or too little, or had dimensions or weather conditions that negatively affected play...

....The new Yankee Stadium has seemed cursed from the beginning, as if Babe Ruth disapproved of the abandonment of the house he built. That it opened during a recession, with a major-league-high $72.97 average price for a nonpremium ticket (up 76% over 2008, according to Team Marketing Report) has created contempt among fans who otherwise love the team. "They don't have a good enough team to charge those prices," says 35-year-old fan Jeff Burrows of Brooklyn, who toured the park recently with his father. "They've made almost every mistake you can make," says Roger Noll, a professor of economics emeritus at Stanford. "There's nothing that's been as unpopular as this."

The question is whether all the trouble ultimately will be worth it. If the new stadium fails to augment the Yankees' payroll advantage over competing clubs, and if its propensity to allow home runs makes it difficult to craft an effective pitching staff -- what was the point?...

...Some Yankee fans are optimistic. John Sexton, president of New York University and a longtime season-ticket holder, says the park isn't perfect -- he wishes Monument Park weren't so hidden from view. Still, he says, "In five years we may be looking back on this and saying we're glad we did it."

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Your Fix is Back 5.15.09 [J. Mark English]

  • This weekend's Preakness will no longer be dubbed "the Freakness" because its going BYO-less this year. Jill Rosen of the Baltimore Sun talks about how the lack of alcohol in the infield might affect the race this year.
  • Has coach Phil Jackson "Zen Master" technique worn thin with the Los Angeles Lakers?
  • After the Penguins took care of the Captials in game 7, Ron Cook argues that this years Pens' may be better then last years team.
  • Boston Bruin fans are still recovering from the shock of the Carolina Hurricanes upset win in Game 7 last night.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Rare Sight in Our Nations Capital: Game 7 [J. Mark English]

This is from Barry Syrluga of the Washington Post:

There have been precious few events in Washington sports like the one that will take place tonight at Verizon Center, and the heroes of years past have names such as Dale Hunter, a Washington Capitals great, because he once scored an overtime winner to keep a season alive. Painfully, the villains include names like Pat LaFontaine, the New York Islander who unforgettably turned an April morning miserable for Washington fans, because he scored in the fourth overtime, ending a never-ending game, not to mention the Capitals' season.

Only 10 times, in any sport, has Washington hosted a Game 7, a history that dates back to the 1924 World Series, when Walter Johnson came out of the Senators' bullpen to beat the New York Giants at old Griffith Stadium. Bobby Dandridge had his moment, leading the Bullets -- remember them? -- over the San Antonio Spurs by a bucket out in Landover, now 30 years past. Just two weeks ago, Sergei Fedorov took his turn, burying the New York Rangers in the first round of these Stanley Cup playoffs because he scored late in the third period of a tie game, when a goal the other way would have sent the Capitals home for a long, painful summer.

So tonight, into the specter of Washington Game 7s, enter Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, the stars of the Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively. As good as this Eastern Conference semifinal series has been -- and, impossibly, "it's lived up to the hype," Washington forward Brooks Laich said -- it is only tonight when it can cement itself as one of the best and most riveting events in Washington sports history.

"It's what's going to make these guys great," Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's going to make them remembered. No one's going to remember who lost Game 7. But they've got the ability to -- and I told them yesterday -- to create history again."

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Phelps is Back After Suspension [J. Mark English]

Michael Phelps, after serving a three month ban from swimming, will be returning to the pool this weekend. Karen Crouse of the New York Times writes:

Delivering multiple golds was going to be like labor: an all-out push for the Beijing Olympics, followed by a breather, then another hard push for the 2012 Games in London.

That was the master plan drawn up several years ago by Michael Phelps’s coach, Bob Bowman, and approved by his mother, Debbie, and it worked like a dream. For nine days last summer in China, Phelps could do no wrong as he surpassed the swimmer Mark Spitz’s record with eight gold medals.

With the high-degree-of-difficulty phase of the plan completed to perfection, there seemed like less need for a safety net. Bowman broke ground on his horse farm in northern Maryland and resumed coaching. Debbie Phelps worked on a memoir and welcomed new students as the principal of Windsor Middle School.

For the first time in his life, Phelps, 23, was allowed time and space to broaden his circle of influence and interests.

The idea was to give Phelps room to breathe, not inhale.

In February, a photograph of Phelps holding a marijuana pipe surfaced. Bowman had miscalculated. Swimming would not be the hard part for Phelps. Negotiating his way on land with only his wits to guide him would be more difficult.

For nearly 12 years, Phelps had been hermetically protected from the outside world. From his heart rate to his social activities, nothing went unmonitored.

“I had this monster goal and I achieved it,” Phelps said last week. “To be able to do what I did, my life growing up had to be how it was.”

The blueprint for becoming the most well-rounded swimmer in history turned out to have a built-in flaw. It made Phelps one-dimensional, someone who by his own admission is lost without the structure of his sport.

“The trade-off is he missed some experiences that other people had,” Bowman said. “I guess the question is, what do we do after that? And I think that’s what he’s working on now, expanding his horizons beyond swimming.”


Shortly after being suspended, Saturday Night Live did a great "Really?" segment in regards to Phelps:

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Your Fix is Back 5.12.09 [J. Mark English]

  • Mark Cuban had the decency to apologize to Kenyon Martin, as well as Martin's Mom.
  • NFL Commish, Roger Goodell is seriously considering having a second regular season game in London. ENOUGH! Please stop forcing teams to lose a home game during the regular season. I seriously do not think that the NFL will be fielding amazing talent from Europe any time in the near future. Hasn't NFL Europe been a total flop? They are even entertaining the idea of having a Super Bowl in England. Are you kidding me? Instead of having a SB in England, lets try having one in NEW England first.
  • Let the bidding begin! Pieces of the old Yankee Stadium are being auctioned off starting today. I'm willing to bet that the pieces will be put out for far more then what they are worth. Hold out till the prices come down - and they will come down.
  • Speaking of the Yankees and things getting old, Roger Clemens is back in the news. He once again has denied using steroids. Sure thing Roger... Maybe most of the players would have a chance of reconciliation with the fans and the HOF voters if they would just own up to their mistakes.
  • A baby bumps a kid. Well, not really. Glen "baby" Davis, of the Boston Celtics, has apologized for bumping a 12 year old Orlando Magic fan.
  • The doctor of wrestler Chris Benoit (you might remember him from such shootings of his wife and son) has been sent to jail for up to ten years.
  • Peggy Noonan, of the Wall Street Journal, had a great "obit" about the death of former Bills QB Jack Kemp this past weekend. He a true renaissance man.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Celtics/Rockets Even Their Series [David Stefanini]

While the Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets have established themselves as the two dominant teams in this years playoffs with 3-0 series leads over their respected opponents; the Lakers and Celtics find themselves in a dog-fight.
On Sunday, the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets tied their respected series at 2-2. Both teams are without their injured big men, but both teams found a way to battle and pull out victories.
The Celtics who already went through a seven game war with the Chicago Bulls find themselves in another street fight with the Orlando Magic. After the Magic won game 1, and then took a 2-1 series lead, the outlook for the Celtics looked bleak. They found themselves down by one point with little time left and the ball in the hands of their closer, Paul Pierce. Everyone in the arena, and everyone watching TV knew what was coming, a pull up jump shot from the elbow by Pierce. Then the unthinkable happened. Pierce passed the ball to an open Glen 'Big Baby' Davis, who goes on to hit the game winning jump shot at the buzzer. Game 5 is on Tuesday and promises to be very exciting.
Onto the West Coast where the Rockets pulled off one of the more shocking victories we have seen this playoff season. One day after finding out they will be without All-Star Yao Ming for the remainder of the playoffs, down 2-1 in the series, and giving home court back to the Lakers the Rockets start out on fire hitting every shot they threw up at the rim. The final score, a 12 point victory for the Rockets, was not an indicator as to how lob sided this game was. The Lakers were never in contention in this game. Everyone expected a blowout in this game, but from the other team. Game 5 is going to be back in Lakerland, where I fully anticipate the Rockets to receive a spanking. The Rockets played with great emotion feeding off their home crowd, but now the Lakers are going to be ready for an explosion early and often.
Predictions: Celtics win Game 5, Lakers win Game 5

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Yankees Fight Back To Beat Orioles 5-3 [David Stefanini]

Joba Chamberlin looked like he was on his way to his second loss of the season, but Johnny Damon hit a three-run home run in the top of the 7th inning to give the Yankees a 5-3 victory. Joba pitched 6 innings while giving up three runs and striking out five. The Yankees offense once again looked out of sink, but found a way to win the game.

Everyone in Yankee world needs to relax a little bit a take a deep breath. The weather is starting to warm up which means C. C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira are going to start producing like they usually do. The fans at the Stadium who are booing these guys when they go out on the field have every right to do so. However, it is important to note that both of these players are slow starters who produce better results as the season goes on. Sabathia pitched a gem his last start, and Tex belted his 7th home run of the season.

The most important thing to take out of this game is how Mariano Rivera pitched. We all know the bullpen is going to be an achilles heel of this team all season long, but what non of us expect is Mo' to continue to struggle. Everytime his name is mentioned on WFAN or ESPN radio, I hear questions about is this the year he finally begins to break down? I think he is not from this planet and he will continue to get better with age, so to see him go out and not give up a hit is a very good sign to all Yankee fans that Mo' is ok. Once he gets back to being himself he'll likely stay that way for the rest of the season.

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Mets Win Seventh In A Row [David Stefanini]

Make it 7 wins in a row for the New York Mets. This was a game two weeks ago that the Mets would have lost. After already winning the series by taking the first two games and fifth starter Livan Hernandez getting off to a slow start, the Mets would have struggled through the afternoon and lost the game. This time however, they battled back, took the lead and later turned the game into a 4 run victory.

Omir Santos drove in two big runs in the 4th inning and continues to look impressive. The thing I like about him is how he runs. He got caught stealing after he drove in those two runs, but he is a deceptively fast runner. This team has a lot of speed with the likes of Reyes,Beltran and those guys, but having a catcher with some speed just contributes to the Mets base running ability. Brian Schneider is set to start rehabbing soon, but is there any Mets fan who wants him to return?

There is yet more good news about this team. Tomorrow the best pitcher in the world, Johan Santana is scheduled to make his 7th start of the season. The game is against the Atlanta Braves and their ace Derek Lowe.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Chuck Daly Dead at 78 [David Stefanini]

This from

Chuck Daly, who coached the original Dream Team to the Olympic gold medal in 1992 after winning back-to-back NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons, has died. He was 78.

He died Saturday morning in Jupiter, Fla., with his family by his side, the team said. The Pistons announced in March that the Hall of Fame coach had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment.

He was renowned for his ability to create harmony out of diverse personalities at all levels of the game, whether they were Ivy Leaguers at Pennsylvania, Dream Teamers Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, or Pistons as dissimilar as Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars.

"It's a players' league. They allow you to coach them or they don't," Daly once said. "Once they stop allowing you to coach, you're on your way out."

Daly was voted one of the 10 greatest coaches of the NBA's first half-century in 1996, two years after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the first coach to win both an NBA title and Olympic gold.

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Around the Horn [David Stefanini]

  • Alex Rodriguez hit a 3-run HR on the very first pitch he saw this season. The happiest person that AROD is back, Mark Teixeria. Now all the attention can be taken off his lack of production and put on AROD. Furthermore, finally C.C gives the Yankees something worth talking about. Complete game 4 hit shutout.

  • The Mets won their fifth game in a row. As a Met fan I'm so happy they are finally playing like they are capable. As a Met fan I'm waiting for them to lose 3 out of 4 and play .500 ball for the next month. Jonathan Niese looked very good against the Pirates. Leave Oliver Perez wherever he is and let this kid Niese develop. He has great stuff.

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost their second straight game without Manny. Just make HGH and steroids legal and all this will go away. I enjoy watching superior athletes playing at the highest level possible. Hitters and pitchers are doing performance enhancing drugs, so it cancels itself out. They are harmful, but so is alcohol and cigarettes, if someone wants to risk their health for better performance I say it should be allowed.

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks introduced their new manager A.J. Hinch. He is 34 years old with no managerial experience. Good luck Arizona you're going to need it.

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Kobe, Lakers Take 2-1 Series Lead [David Stefanini]

Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers went into Houston without their starting point guard and beat the Rockets 108-94. The reason for this win, in one work - Kobe.

Kobe Bryant was not going to let the Lakers lose this game tonight and there was nothing that any of the Rocket's players could of done. The Lakers are the most talented team of the league who are impossible to beat when they are knocking three pointers. I have watched most of their games this season thanks to NBA's League Pass, and other than the new Transformers trailer I have not seen anything as good as the Lakers when they are clicking on all cylinders.

This game was over after Kobe hit a three point buzzer beater with Ron Artest all over him. That took the crowd out of the game, the air out of the Rockets and showed his teammates that everything will be okay.

Another reason why the Lakers won tonights game was Ron Artest. As the announcers were accurately pointing out in the second half, Artest was throwing up three pointers like they were going out of style. It's one thing when you are feeling it but he wasn't even close on these shots. Throughout the game Trevor Ariza, who was guarding Artest, was jumping on a pump fake every time. If Artest would just pump fake Ariza, take two dribbles towards the rim and shoot, this may have been a completely different game.

The last thing worth knowing about this game is the 'Flagrant 2' that was called on Artest with under a minute to go in the game. Personally I feel this was a complete joke. The way the NBA is treating fouls these days is a disaster. Let the players play. This is the playoffs not the preseason. I will guarantee that the NBA will lower the Flagrant 2 to a Flagrant 1 tomorrow after the play is reviewed.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Really LA? (with apologies to SNL) [Addison Quale]

Really LA? You didn't see this coming? Really LA? You thought Manny Ramirez was a good upstanding citizen of a ballplayer that had the best interests of the Dodgers at heart? Really LA? You are shocked that Manny has turned out to be a total jerk? I mean, come on. Really Bill Plaschke of the LA Times? You have come to learn in time that Manny Ramirez is a selfish player who can no longer be trusted? Really? All of this has "dropped a bomb on Mannywood, leveling the Dodgers' spirit, stripping the Dodgers' psyche, and blowing up the Dodgers' safe." Really LA? Was it the 5+ years of selfish grandstanding he committed over in Boston, the beating of a senior citizen on staff and the refusal to honor his contract with the Sox and play ball that helped you solve this serpentine riddle? Or was it the less than not even 10 months of selfish grandstanding with the Dodgers before failing a drug test that tipped you off? I mean, come on. Really LA? Like Michael Bluth says to his father George in Arrested Development after he tells his son that Saddam Hussein never made good on his contract to purchase Bluth model homes: "You mean, you didn't realize that he wouldn't pay?" Really LA? You didn't realize that Manny Ramirez was not to be trusted? You didn't realize that he wouldn't play? That Mannywood was built on a foundation of sand? That the face of your franchise was a low-life scoundrel? I mean, come on. Really LA?

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Manny Suspended for Steroids! [J. Mark English]

Its really hard to be shocked these days given the "steroid" era of baseball. However, another one bites the dust! The man so many teams passed up on in the off season, whom propelled the Dodgers to the best record in baseball in this young season, has been suspended. Manny Ramirez will miss 50 games due to using performing enhancing drugs:

The suspension will cost Ramirez $7.7 million, or roughly 31% of his $25-million salary. Players in violation of baseball's drug policy are not paid during suspensions.

Ramirez is expected to attribute the test results to medication received from a doctor for a personal medical issue, according to a source familiar with matter but not authorized to speak publicly.

The Dodgers informed triple-A outfielder Xavier Paul this morning that he was being promoted to Los Angeles.

With the suspension taking effect with tonight's game against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium, Ramirez will not be eligible to return to the team until July 3.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

There and Back Again [J. Mark English]

For the few of you avid readers of this blog, you might have noticed that the site has not been updated much since the fall of 2007. (Sarcasm?)

There are no good reasons why this site has not been updated on a regular basis.

Consider the site reopened. American Legends Blog 2.0 is up and running!

As editor of the site, I will reach out to writers who share different views and passions as they follow the world of sports.

The business that this site is affiliated with, American Legends, will keep sports cards and memorabilia collectors up to speed with the latest news in the industry. There will also be postings about any special sales that will be going on, and updates on fantastic collections that have been purchased.

Also, please join our Facebook fan page. Our hope is to build an online community of enthusiastic sport fans who want to be involved in the wonderful world of sports in a way that only the magic of the internet can provide.

There are millions of sports blogs available to anyone spending time online. This blog will not offer the false promise of being anything other then a group of fans who just want to share therir take on the sporting community. This site will not attempt to be a source of news, other then to help point readers to articles of interest from our point of view.

If we can find our way into your niche of sports blogs that you check on a regular basis, then we will do our best to keep the ideas on this site fresh, full of ideas, and a commitment to regular updates.

Should you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail:

Finally, over the past year, the New York Mets left my heart aching after two breakdowns in consecutive seasons, both occuring on the last day of the season. Sandwhiched between these collapses I felt the thrill of seeing the New York Giants win a Super Bowl in a unforgettable upset of the undefeated New England Patriots.

The Mets and the Giants have tempered my emotional reaction to sports. The bitterness of the Mets quickly gave way to the realities of life. In the same way, the Giants winning the Super Bowl did nothing to improve my own life, except give me an excuse to take a day off from work to see them in a parade.

The Philadelphia Phillies won a World Series, in a city that had not seen a sports championship since 1983. The city was jubliant in the glow of finally being champions again, but what did that do to ebb crime in the city of Brotherly Love?

The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup last spring. Did Lord Stanley bring jobs back to an ailing city, that has been ravaged by recession?

These questions are rhetorical.

Why do we care so much? Why, despite the economic downturn, are people still coming out to the parks? Okay, so Yankee Stadium isn't selling out the $2,500 seats, and attendence has been slipping across the board. But even on bad nights in New York, for example, the baseball attendence is still well above 30,000. Think about how much money is being spent on the nights that baseball is in town in New York. Shouldn't fans be saving that money?

Sports must have a deeper meaning if we are convinced to throw away our money. There must also be a certain madness of sports that is able to capitvate our emotional interests.

President Teddy Roosevelt described the "aurora" of athletes in this famous saying:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Epictetus, the stoic Greek philosopher once observed about the ancient Olympics:

You would fain be victor at the Olympic games, you say. Yes, but weigh the conditions, weigh the consequences; then and then only, lay to your hand--if it be for your profit. You must live by rule, submit to diet, abstain from dainty meats, exercise your body perforce at stated hours, in heat or in cold; drink no cold water, nor, it may be, wine. In a word, you must surrender yourself wholly to your trainer, as though to a physician....

Weigh these things fully, and then, if you will, lay to your hand; if as the price of these things you would gain Freedom, Tranquillity, and passionless Serenity.

These two describe the boundless abilites of man The passive observer sees what he/she hoped they could be. Professional sports offers us a chance to live vicariously in a dream that we could not achieve.

Which is why we live for the zenith of sports, and suffer willingly through the heart wrenching losses. Even if the moment is fleeting, sports may give us the encouragement to step into our own arenas, and achieve our own dreams.

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Miracles On and Off the Field [David Tyree]

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Selling Your Cards [Mark Rubin]

Selling your sports card collection can be difficult for any collector. Whether you need money for financial reasons i.e. a wedding, a down payment on a car or house, or if your heart just is not in it anymore, it can be a tough decision.

That's why Mark Rubin of American Legends wants to make things simple for you. Since 1978, Mark has built a reputation of fairness, integrity and honesty. As someone who was a collector once himself, he understands how difficult it can be to part with your prized possessions.

Mark has over 30 years of experience buying deals of all sizes, from $100 to $100,000 collections. If you have items to sell that are on our current baseball buying list, basketball buying list, football buying list, hockey buying list or miscellaneous buying list, Mark will evaluate your items and give you a fair offer immediately.

For a list of items we are currently buying click on links to the right.

If you are interested in selling, PLEASE CONTACT Mark Rubin at 914-725-2225 or via email at A phone call is all it takes to get started.


Some of Mark's prized deals in the past decade include:

The Tallahassee Collection – This $200,000 collection was amassed between 1966 and 1990. Highlights include tons of Topps unopened wax packs and boxes from 1954 ñ 1974, Topps baseball sets and test issues from the early 1960ís on up, a near run of Topps football sets, the first Topps basketball and hockey sets, a Mars Attacks set, rare non-sport boxes and original Topps art, proofs and uncut sheets.

The Northern Westchester Find – Thousands of high grade single superstar cards from the early 1900ís to the 1970ís including a Fatima Shoeless Joe Jackson, 1948 Leaf Joe DiMaggio PSA 7, and dozens of high grade Mickey Mantle cards.
The Turkey Red Cabinet Deal ñ almost 40 different mid grade T3 Turkey Red cards including Cy Young, Johnny Evers and Mordecai Brown.

1933 Goudey Set – Spectacular set averaging in Ex to ExMt condition including ExMt Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

The Full Topps Run Collection – this deal contained all the Topps baseball sets from the 1951 Topps Red Backs to the 1994 Topps set including the 1952 Topps with a PSA 7 Mickey Mantle rookie.

The Southern Westchester Find – nearly two million cards accumulated over the course of the past 40 years including over 5,000 superstar cards from 1909 to 1973.

The 2008 Find – A run of 1956 to 1980 Topps sets, plus a complete collection of Mets cards.

All of these deals were at least five figures but smaller deals are always welcome!

You can make an appointment to visit American Legends or Mark will be happy to come to you or make other arrangements to meet your specific needs.

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