Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rasmussen Poll Report: Michael Vick [Scott Rasmussen]

The famed political pollster took the temperature of football fans as to how they feel about the possible return of Michael Vick:

The National Football League on Monday partially reinstated Michael Vick after his 18-month prison term for running a dogfighting ring, but Americans are closely divided over whether it’s a good idea for the league to let the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback play again.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 35% favor allowing Vick to return to the NFL, while 39% oppose the move. Seventeen percent (17%) say they’ve never heard of the disgraced quarterback, and 10% are not sure what the league should do.

The survey was taken prior to the NFL’s announcement of Vick’s conditional reinstatement and his unsuccessful efforts thus far this week to find a team that is interested in him.

Men by a 45% to 40% margin say Vick should be allowed to play again. Women by 11 points – 37% to 26% - disagree. But women are also nearly three times as likely not to have heard of Vick.

Adults under the age of 40 are more likely to support his return to professional football than those who are older. Eighty-two percent (82%) of blacks think the NFL should let Vick, who is African-American, play again, but the plurality of whites (46%) disagrees.

Under the conditional reinstatement, Vick can participate in practices and the final two games of pre-season, but he cannot play in regular season games until at least mid-October. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he will consider Vick’s full reinstatement at that time.

Vick isn’t the only former quarterback in the news. Former Green Bay Packers star Brett Favre is considering coming out of retirement. The Minnesota Vikings were initially interested in him, and 35% of adults in Minnesota said the Vikings would be a better team than last year with Favre at the helm.

In a survey last September, 54% of adults said they were at least somewhat likely to watch professional football on TV on a fall weekend. Thirty-eight percent (38%) said they were very likely to do so.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of men said they were very likely to watch televised pro football on a fall weekend, compared to 26% of women. Women were nearly three times as likely not to watch it at all.

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Mark Buehrle Top Ten List [David Letterman]

No Surprise David Ortiz Used Steroids in 2003 [Dan Shanoff]

This is written by Dan Shanoff from his blog:

Please -- PLEASE -- tell me that you're not shocked to find out that David Ortiz used PEDs back in 2003. (Obviously, to find out Manny was is hardly a shock at this point.)

I have never been much of a PED hysteric -- I'm more of a realist: Everyone was using PEDs in some way, either steroids or amphetamines, so it is what it is.

But you can bet that a hot meme will quickly become: "Well just how delegitimized is Boston's 2004 title now?" We're not taking the banner away, obviously. But it's certainly tainted.

And that's the point: Everything is tainted. Therefore: In a twisted way, nothing is tainted.

I think what should offend fans more than the cheating is Big Papi's lying. He has consistently denied using steroids. Which makes him a Hall of Fame hypocrite.

It's always the cover-up, never the actual crime. I don't blame Ortiz for the cheating; I blame him for lying about the cheating.

-- D.S.

UPDATE: Because I am more concerned about the lying than the cheating, can we please agree to have a one-day window where anyone who ever used PEDs can admit to it without punishment (aside from taint, I guess). After that, if it came out you used, we would know you were a liar and in the best interests of baseball, you'd be banned. So clean! And when we figure out that EVERYONE did it, it wouldn't be a big deal anymore.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Video: Lenny "Bernie Madoff" Dykstras Nails It [J. Mark English]

Around the Blog-o-sphere [J. Mark English]

Here are some of the topics being covered by fellow sport bloggers:
  • Michael Walker, Jr. of Press Tent ( asks us not to blame ABC for failing to air the British Open in HDTV.
  • Dashiell Bennett with Deadspin says that NASCAR driver, Jeremy Mayfield, is going to 'war' against his own sports, as well as his 'whore' of a Stepmom!
  • Matt Kalman's Bruins Blog announces that the Boston Bruins will faceoff against the Philadelphia Flyers in the next installment of the NHL's Winter Classic - at Fenway Park.
  • Shutdown Corner details the most recent wackiness of Chad Ochocinco, whom plans to tweet during games next year despite NFL rules.
  • Speaking of twitter, Charlie Villanueva of the Detroit Pistons, sits down with Jimmy Traina of SI to talk about his popular tweets, and thoughts of the Lebron James 'dunkgate' tape.
  • Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Blog thinks that President Obama dissed the Washington Nationals. (Rush Limbaugh thinks that Mr. Obama throws like a girl compared to former president, George W. Bush)
  • Sports Biz takes an in-depth look at Major League Baseball's attendance half way through the season.

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Mets Second Half Chances [David Stefanini]

The Mets begin the second half of the season tonight against the Atlanta Braves. Since the Phillies won the NL East last season with 92 wins I figured the Mets would need to get to 93 to make the playoffs this year. This means they need to find 51 wins out of their final 75 games. I looked at their schedule and game up with a list of the teams they will play and how many games against them. Here is that list:

ATL – 13

WSH – 9

HOU – 6

COL – 7

ARI – 7

STL – 2

SD – 4

SF – 4

PHI – 8

FLA – 9

CHC – 6

With seeing this list do the Mets have a real shot at making the playoffs or should they look to become sellers in this market?

They play 13 games against the Atlanta Braves who always give the Mets trouble. 7 games are on the road and 6 games are at home. They Mets are a better team than the Braves and should be able to take 8 out of 13 against them. This leaves them 43 wins short.

Then we go to the Nationals who are the worst team in the league. The Mets should easily take 7 out of the 9. If they don't take advantagae of the Nationals they will not have a chance at making the playoffs. They are now 36 wins short.

Houston is a .500 team at 44 and 44, so by their own record we'll give the Mets half of those games, 3. 33 more wins to go.

Colorado is a very good team sitting 6 games above .500. Right now they are better than the Mets so we have to assume only 3 wins for the Mets. 30 wins left.

Arizona is a horrible team and the Mets should only lose to Dan Haren. Let's assume Haren pitches one game and 'Zona steals another win, this still gives the Mets 5 wins leaving them only 25 short.

The Cardinals are next on the list and only have a 2 game series at Citi. Let's assume it's a split, 24 wins left.

San Diego is a bad team but I don't see the Mets being comnpleting any 4 game sweeps, therefore only 3 wins in this series. 21 left.

San Francisco is a very strong team with a lot of potential. Maybe they fall off later this season, maybe they continue this strong run. Right now they are better than the Mets and the only win here is when Santana pitches, 1 win for the Mets, 20 left.

Obviously the 8 most important games left for the Mets are against the Phillies. They are a strong team who the Mets always play well. These teams play great games which the Mets always have a lead late and the Phillies find a way to pull it out. Since these teams always play each other so closely it would be unfair to either team to assume a victory out of the eight games, so the Mets get 4 more wins leaving them 16 short.

The Marlins have been a thorn in the side of the Mets but this season the Mets should be able to beat them. The Marlins are streaky and it depends when you catch them. Mets are given 6 wins here, leaving them 10 games short.

There are only 6 games left against the Cubs and at this point we can only assume a split against the Cubs, leaving the Mets 7 games short of 93 wins.

Is my analyze accurate, probably not, but I don't think it is to far off give or take a few games in certain series. I tried to be as fair as possible in doing this. So where do the Mets pick up these 7 wins? Maybe win all 9 against the Nats, win some more against the Giants and do more than just split against the Phils. Are the Mets really capable of doing this? I don't think so. I hope I am wrong but how I look at it is exactly like this. Met's falling roughly 7 games short of winning the division.

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Fantasy Ranking: 2nd Half [David Stefanini]

The fantasy staff at has put out a list of the top players for your fantasy baseball team in the second half of the season. Here is a peek at the top 10.

1. Albert Pujols
2. Hanley Ramirez
3. Ryan Braun
4. David Wright
5. Chase Utley
6. Ian Kinsler
7. Carl Crawford
8. Tim Lincecum
9. Mark Teixeira
10. Miguel Cabrera

When I looked at this list I initially thought why is Teixeira there and not A-Rod? Who was the genius that made that error? Look at Teixeira's numbers: .275/21/63/56/1 (Avg, HR, RBI, R, SB). Now look at A-Rod's: .256/17/50/35/3. Tex has played 26 more games than A-Rod, and A-Rod is just beginning to shake off the rust. A-Rod on average is hitting more HR's, driving in more runs, and he already has more stolen bases. His average is so low because when he first came back he couldn't hit anything. In the second half, Tex is going to do what he always does, and more than likely so will A-Rod. With that said who would you rather have, a healthy A-Rod, or a healthy Tex?

Next how is David Wright so high on this list? He is stealing a lot of bases and he has a very nice batting average, but wouldn't you want Crawford instead? Crawford's batting average won't hurt your team at all, he steals more than twice the amount of bases and this season he even has more home runs than Wright. Their RBIs and runs scored numbers are very close.

So there are my thoughts on this. It's a very good list and I would suggest looking at the remainder of the top 250 players on it. However, if you can pick up A-Rod and only have to pay like he is a player outside the top 10, do it. He will have a monstrous second half like he always does. Also, if you can get top dollar for Tex I would trade him. There are several players you can get at 1B to fill in for his power.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sports Writers Fix 7.15.09 [J. Mark English]

  • Another year, another All Star game, and another win by the American League. Their dominance is starting to get a really old. Jayson Stark of ESPN opines about the 'ridiculousness' of the A.L.'s annual drubbing of the N.L.: It's a streak that includes 12 wins and Bud Selig's favorite All-Star tie (in 2002). And we don't care how superior you may believe the American League to be at any given moment. That's still totally ridiculous.
  • STAN is the MAN (Joe Posnanski, Kansas City Star): The Man did not hit in 56 straight games. He did not hit .400. He did not hit 61 home runs in a season, and he did not hit 500 home runs in a career. Stan Musial did not play in 2,632 consecutive games, and he did not knock out 4,256 hits, and he did not hit three home runs in a World Series game. He did not say funny or clever things like “It ain’t over ’til it’s over,” or “Nice guys finish last.” As far as I know, he did not have a candy bar named after him.....Then, there were a few other things Stan Musial did not do, other things that filled the mind on an emotional Tuesday night in St. Louis, All-Star night, as Musial rode in a small red car from right field while 46,000-strong applauded for him — few shrieks, few yells, just applause, like waves crashing on the beach....But no part of the night could touch that pregame scene of Musial, 88 years old now, riding in from the outfield, the St. Louis applause all around him like humidity. He held a bright white baseball. He smiled his famous smile. They say that Musial these days has good days and bad days. This, obviously, was one of the good ones.
  • STAN's TRIBUTE a DUD (Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Today): In 1994, PBS aired the documentary "Baseball," by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns. It was a terrific piece of work, but in St. Louis we remembered it for a regrettable reason: Stan Musial was largely overlooked....When the All-Star Game came to St. Louis in the summer of 2009, we thought all of that would change for Musial. Finally, he'd have the kind of showcase that would reopen the vault and display his collection of 3,630 hits, 475 homers, 1,951 RBIs, three MVPs, seven batting titles and 24 All-Star Games. And then it would be impossible for any baseball fan, young or old, to ignore the magnitude of his career....Except that it didn't happen, at least not the way it should have. Tuesday night, Busch Stadium was filled to capacity with 46,760 fans who couldn't wait to embrace The Man, and his moment. If you were there, you were probably ready to cry, to let it all out, to share a deeply sentimental experience with other Cardinals fans. You were probably hoping for a memory that would last a lifetime. Something truly special....Sadly, the moment fell flat. Musial was brought out in a golf cart, and it transported him slowly along the dirt path leading from the wagon gate in right field, past the first-base (National League) dugout, and toward home plate.
  • Guess who's back? Greg Norman, and just in time for the British Open. Could he possibly compete for his first Majors victory? Greg Stoda of reveals the latest: The unmistakable and giant-sized ego, so much a part of what makes Greg Norman who and what he is, has come bubbling to the surface once more....It's a terrific thing, in fact, as the British Open dawns Thursday on the Ailsa Course at Turnberry, where Norman, in another life, won the Claret Jug in 1986. It was his first major championship victory, and was assumed to be a harbinger of many more. Norman instead won exactly one more of the biggies (the 1993 British Open), and the litany of his own failures - and majors stolen from him - has been well-documented.
  • Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times breaks down possible tough times ahead for the NBA: Commissioner David Stern said Tuesday that less than half the N.B.A.’s teams turned a profit last season and that some owners had argued that a worst-case decrease in the salary cap of 5 percent might be too optimistic....The league’s board of governors convened here and will meet again Aug. 4 with the players union in hopes of jump-starting negotiations toward reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. The current one expires in June 2011....Last week, the league predicted that its salary cap could drop to between $50.4 million and $53.6 million in 2010-11, which would represent a loss between 2.5 percent and 5 percent in basketball-related revenue. On Tuesday, Stern added that teams could face at least a 10 percent drop in ticket revenue next season.
  • Has Lebron James image waned recently? Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald states bodly, yes!: Please, let this be an act of brilliant, on-the-spot viral advertisement (or nonadvertisement) by Nike....It's the only way LeBron James can come out of this hidden-video fiasco without looking like the most childish, egomaniacal, embarrassingly self-absorbed superstar athlete ever....It's disturbing enough that it can shift the public opinion of an athlete seemingly on the verge of solely dominating the sports landscape. If the decision was strictly made to avoid any public embarrassment, an embarrassment that would have been mild and lasted about two seconds -- the equivalent of tripping over your feet while walking down the street and looking around to notice who saw it happen -- then James would be viewed as one of the most misguided athletes of our time. He would be the guy who tries too hard to be liked. The guy whose image is more important than his accomplishments. The guy whose own teammates would mock him behind his back and would be a lot more fun to defeat than to run with.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Photos: 2009 All-Star Game [David Stefanini]

Pedro Signs With Phillies [David Stefanini]

According to Todd Zolecki of, the Philadelphia Phillies have signed Pedro Martinez to a 1 year contract worth $1 million, and could reach an up to $1.5 million with incentives. We all knew this would happen once Pedro passed his physical.

I think this is a great signing for the Phillies and it gets my very angry, once again at the Mets. Why not pay him the money? He only got a maximum of $2.5 million, the Mets couldn't find $2.5 million to spend on a starter? Of course not, but they'll spend $2.5 million on a bench player.

Back to the story of the Phillies, I think this move doesn't make them the favorites nor do I think it tremendously improves their rotation. It makes them a slightly better team with a slightly improved rotation. Pedro is not the Pedro we're used to seeing, and I doubt he will be very good this season, but I do think he'll pitch very effectively especially when playing the Mets.

I wonder if Pedro does well, will he be looking to come back next season and pitch again? I would think so and he deserves it. He is one of the best pitchers in history and a first ballot Hall of Famer. The Phillies just made a very smart move, I have a feeling Pedro will be much better than people think.

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America's Got Talent: AcroDunk [David Stefanini]

I understand this is a 'baseball' day, but my mother just emailed this video to me. I know it's a week late, but it's worth watching.

World Series Game 7, Who is Your Starter? [David Stefanini]

This was a question just posed to me by a good friend of mine. He randomly called me and made me pick a starting pitcher to start and win game 7 of the World Series.

This pitcher would need to have several characteristics in order for me to chose him. So I decided to quickly run down the list of pitchers that I have seen, in other words pitchers from the 90's and up. This is the short list I produced: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens.

After looking at this list I realized as great as Johan is he has not pitched in a World Series game and does not possess the career numbers in which the others do; so he was eliminated from the thought process. Next was Greg Maddux, for as great as he was posted a losing record in the World Series, though he has a 2.09 ERA in 5 games. He was a brilliant pitcher who possessed the intelligence to be considered, but I wanted someone who had 'disgusting' stuff. Someone who scared you. I then looked at Roger Clemens who is 12-8 with a 3.75 ERA. He was amazing, but did it using steroids. In today's game he may be suspended so I couldn't take that risk.

That left me with Johnson and Martinez, two guys who have such amazing arms, and both have great baseball intelligence. Johnson's postseason statistics are not tremendously impressive but his World Series record and ERA are incredible. However, when you put these two legendary pitchers statistics together you get a feel for how amazing Pedro Martinez was.

Pedro in his prime was simply untouchable. Just go to and punch in his name to look at these stats. In 1999 he had probably the most amazing season I have ever seen, like I said earlier I started watching baseball in the early 90's. His numbers: 23-4, 2.07 ERA, .923 WHIP, 313 K's, and how does he follow this season, with arguably a better one: 18-6, 1.74 ERA, .737 WHIP, 284 K's. He only pitched one World Series game and pitched 7 shut out innings of stellar baseball. Want more evidence supporting my claim? How about a 6-2 Postseason record doing it while going against the great Yankee teams and other AL power houses of recent memory. His seasons form 1997-2003 go down as the best stretch of any pitcher not named Koufax.

Give me Pedro in his prime any day over anyone else I have ever seen, and probably Pedro over anyone in history. Feel free to argue this in the comment section as it's only my opinion and J. Mark English will more than likely argue against Pedro.

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Should All-Star Game Count? [David Stefanini]

I think it's idiotic to have this game determine who gets home field advantage in the World Series. What's wrong with having an exhibition game to showcase the all-stars? Is it fair to the team with the best record in the league to have to travel on the road in the World Series? I think the answer is no. Just tell the managers to play the game to win, or find something else to give to the winning team.

I understand why the move was made. Fans want the game to count for something. Years ago the game meant something because you were either for the NL or the AL. Players would spend their entire 18 year careers in the NL or the AL and truly felt connected to that conference. In today's game due to free agency players hop conferences every year. Not many players have ties to a specific conference.

Did the fact that this game 'counts' last year end the game without a tie, no. Let the game play out, let the starters stay in longer. Let the pitchers actually throw a couple innings. Maybe as a backup have two extra pitchers added to the team and keep them as 'reserves'. Just in case the game goes into extra innings have two starters on each team waiting in the bullpen to throw 3 or 4 innings.

If I was a fan of a team who has a real shot at reaching the World Series I would be praying that the best pitchers and hitters play the most amount of time. This game should be for entertainment only. If you want the game to matter, give money to the winning team and watch how much harder these millionaires play. Instead of telling Freddy Sanchez of the Pirates to play is hardest because Pittsburgh may need to host the World Series.

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Matt Cassel Signs 6 Yr Deal [David Stefanini]

Matt Cassel and the Kansas City Chiefs have agreed on a 6 year extension worth 63 million dollars. My initial reaction to this is, are you kidding me? Yes Cassel had a good season with the Patriots last season, but it's the Patriots. This year, he is with the Chiefs, who don't exactly have the same talent level in terms of players or coaches.
The main concern I have about Cassel going forward is how good will he be outside of Belichick's system. We all know he is a genius and the way he manages a game is brilliant. I feel Cassel accelerated last season mainly for this reason and the compliments of WR's around him. The Chiefs don't have Randy Moss or Wes Welker, or anyone close to their talent level.
Do I think Cassel will be a complete bust, no, but I don't think he is going to be a star. He will be an average quarterback who can lead a team to some victories but will need a lot of talent around him to take the team very far.

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President's First Pitch [David Stefanini]

With President Obama set to throw out the first pitch tonight at the All-Star Game, I decided to post a video of another President throwing out a first pitch. This is from the video, Nine Innings From Ground Zero. Love him or hate him, there is no doubting that when President Bush threw out the first pitch there was a sense of unity and representation that no President has shown before, or since.

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Prince Became the King [David Stefanini]

Last night at the home run derby there was a lot of anticipation. Albert Pujols was going to blow us all away and Ryan Howard was going to return home and give Pujols all he could handle. It was supposed to be very entertaining and one of the best Home Run Derby's we have seen in quite sometime.
The first two batters, Nelson Cruz and Prince Fielder, start off by each hitting 11 home runs and getting the crowd on their feet. However, for the next 2 hours I found it very difficult to stay awake. We had a 3 player bat off which combined for 3 home runs, Pujols looked exhausted after playing a double header the night before and though Howard did perform well it wasn't what we all expected.
Emerging from last night as the biggest winner had to be Nelson Cruz who most of the country probably never heard of. He put on an amazing show by hitting numerous home runs into the third and fourth level of the stadium. But the championship went to the Prince. With numerous shots that went 450 feet plus, including one of 503, Prince showed he is the home run champion this year. Congrats.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Yankees First Half in Review [David Stefanini]

I'll start with the New York Yankees because they seemingly are always ahead of the Mets in every category.
Let's begin with the off season signings. C.C. Sabathia has not pitched up to expectations in his first season in pin stripes. After playing like a machine last season to carry the Brewers to the playoffs Sabathia got a huge contract and like most players has failed to live up to the dollars he is paid. He is 8-6 with a 3.86 ERA and 95 strikeouts. I never though A.J. Burnett would out perform Sabathia but he has with a 8-4 record with a 3.77 ERA and 101 strikeouts. On to Mark Texiera who has been stellar for the Yankees. He has lived up to his contract and is carrying a large burden of the offense.
The rest of the starting rotation has been performing way below expectations. Chien-Ming Wang has been an absolute disaster, Joba is not the starter everyone thought he would be, and Andy Pettitte below his normal.
Even with all these problems the Yankees find themselves only 3 games behind Boston in the AL East and in control of the AL Wild Card. But are they good enough to compete with the top teams? They have yet to win a single game against Boston and just got swept by the Angels over the weekend. The Yankees should not have a problem making the playoffs but how far can they go? C.C. is a better second half pitcher and hopefully the other starters can get their games on track.
I feel the Yankees will only be as successful as their starting pitching is. If the pitching can get things going and begin to live up to expectations the Yankees will be the team to beat, but right now I think they're the third best team in the AL behind Boston and the Angels.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

First Half Thoughts [David Stefanini]

We are officially through the first half of the baseball season and what a season it has been. Here are a few things I picked up on:

  • Albert Pujols is incredible. Though I knew this already.
  • The Mets are somehow still in contention after losing their stars and backups.
  • The Yankees are good, not as good as the Red Sox.
  • If anyone thinks they can beat the Dodgers get them psychiatric help ASAP.
  • What happened to the Rays? I thought they would be great this year, oh well.
  • Have I mentioned how good Pujols is?
  • Cy Young: Dan Haren and Zack Greinke
  • MVP: Albert Pujols (should get it in both leagues) and Joe Mauer


Reyes and Delgado Work Out [David Stefanini]

The news that Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado were working out today is great news for the New York Mets. Who do the Mets need back more, who knows, but they definitely could use one of them.

Delgado took batting practice for the first time since May 19th and Jose Reyes was doing agility drills. They showed clips of Reyes doing drills and working on his explosiveness which was so great to see. He wasn't limping and he looked like he was getting close to where everyone wants him to be. The question now becomes when.

No one seems to have an answer to that question and it seems as if no one wants to even take a guess at it. All I have read or heard is there is no timetable for the return of anyone. Carlos Beltran seems to have fallen off the face of the planet. I have heard nothing about him. Delgado says he is taking it week by week, which means we are probably a month away from seeing him. Reyes is saying nothing about when he can come back.

At this point it is good to just hear about these stars doing something. Even if they are still weeks away from returning it gives us Met fans hope. However, when they come back will the Phils be to far away? Reyes will bring the energy and hopefully Delgado will bring the power. How about Beltran who is a combination of power and speed? Will he be back soon? These are all questions above my pay grade (which remains at $0) and I hope the Mets executives have the answers.

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Arturo Gatti Found Dead [David Stefanini]

In remembrance of fallen boxer Arturo Gatti here is a video tribute of his greatest hits. Gatti was 37. His wife has reportedly been arrested and been officially named a suspect in his death.

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A-Rod Moves Into 10th All-Time [David Stefanini]

Alex Rodriguez hit two home runs last night to move into sole possession of 10th place on the all-time home run list, moving past Rafael Palmeiro.

Most of you guys reading this are going to be thinking, he is a cheater he does not belong on this list. Give me a break. Hank Aaron did not take performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), but he didn't have to hit against pitchers who used them either. Everyone forgets this little fact when speaking of the hitters. How come its wrong for a power hitter to take steroids but everyone forgets the pitchers that get suspended.

How many extra home runs would A-Rod of hit if the pitchers he went up against were all clean? I understand his numbers may be somewhat inflated but there is no way of judging how many home runs were added to his total because of PEDs or stolen from him.

Everyone in this era, including Albert Pujols, is going to have their image tarnished. In others words stop complaining and live with it. Bonds is the home run champion, A-Rod will likely break his record and there is nothing you or I can do about it. We happened to live in an era where technology exploded and allowed for breakthroughs in training, diets, and yes steroids and human growth hormones (HGH). Batters and pitchers used them, I'm not saying there is a perfect balance; there is no question the amount of home runs has unnaturally been enhanced. Just be happy that we get to watch great talent like A-Rod and Pujols and live with the rest of it.

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In Johan We Trust [David Stefanini]

Name one positive thing for the New York Mets this season. Everyone just answered: Johan Santana.

How far can one starter carry a team? I'm not sure what the answer to that question is, but I have a feeling we will find out this season. He really should have 15 wins on this season when you consider the games he lost this year. How about throwing 7 innings, striking out 13 batters while giving up 0 ER, AND LOSING!

By his standards he had a sub par June and the Mets tanked with him. However on this night Johan would not be denied as he pitched 7 scoreless innings to lead the Mets to a much needed victory.

Another thing worth noting is the return of Angel Pagan, who looks like a legit replacement for Jose Reyes as the lead off batter for this team. He as great speed and understands what is asked of him in this game. He gets things going and is very aggressive on the base pads, while providing above average defense in center field. I'm in favor of benching Francouer of Shef IF/when Beltran ever returns. And no, I'm not saying this after one good game from Pagan. He has done this going back to last season, his problem is staying on the field. If he can play I think he'll be fine.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Great Joba Debate [David Stefanini]

After another sub par performance from Joba last night, ladies and gentlemen I present to you a question that most of us got tired of throughout the past year and a half... should Joba Chamberlain be a starter of a reliever?

Now most of us thought this question was answered when Joba tossed a gem last season at Fenway Park beating Josh Beckett 1-0. Then we again thought the question was over earlier in this season when Joba looked to be finding his stride as a starter. But now the question is presented once again and this time I think it's seriously time to consider it.

I was always for Joba being in the starting rotation. The kid came up throwing smoke and making batters look terrible at the plate. I assumed, like the New York Yankees did, he should be a starter giving the team as many innings as he can. When your in the bullpen your limited to the amount of batters you face, and Joba was clearly someone the Yankees wanted to maximize. But now I'm starting to realize how beneficial it would be for Joba to be in the bullpen. When he stepped out in the 8th inning and the Yankees were leading everyone, including the opponents, knew the game was over. He was getting his fastball up to 100 MPH and throwing his devastating slider. Now he is trying to stretch his innings by cutting back on his fastball and is not nearly as effective.

The Yankees have enough money that they can go out and buy a starting pitcher at any point. With the emergence of Phil Hughes as a solid starter the Yankees seem to be fine in the starting rotation for the next few years. What they are missing is a solid reliever not named Mariano.

Furthermore, Mariano is just a human. At some point he is not going to be around and their will be a huge hole in the back of their bullpen. If Joba is a reliever there is no worry for the Yankees when this inevitability happens. They simply move Joba to the closer position and you now have a lights out closer for the future.

The bottom line is this. Joba is not as effective of a starter as he is a reliever. Opponents had zero chance of hitting him when he is throwing at his maximum potential. As a starter hitters are getting to him early and often. His pitch count is usually very high which puts a strain on the bullpen.

Joba should be sent down to the minors for a little while to get himself back into the mindset of a set up man. That way the Yankees can play the game for 7 innings and not have to be on the edge of their seat for the final two.

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Photos: Sanchez's No-Hitter [David Stefanini]

Jonathan Sanchez Tosses a No-No [David Stefanini]

Jonathan Sanchez threw a no hitter last night against the San Diego Padres. He almost threw a perfect game but with one out in the 8th inning Giants third baseman Juan Uribe committed an error which surrendered the first and only base runner of the evening for the Padres.

Lets not kill the Giants defense for giving up the perfect game, because exactly one inning later with one out in the ninth pinch hitter Edgar Gonzalez hit a bullet to center field. Aaron Rowand drifted back and made an amazing leaping catch to preserve the no hitter.

This comes as a complete shock. Sanchez had a terrible season coming into the night with a record of 2-8 and was making the start only because Randy Johnson was placed on the DL. Sanchez had spent the previous three weeks in the bullpen trying to regain his confidence, I'm going to guess last night helped him immensely.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Another Stellar Move by the Mets [David Stefanini]

I'm hear to report yet another stellar move pulled by the New York Mets. They have traded outfielder Ryan Church to the Braves for outfielder Jeff Francouer.

In other words the Mets got rid of a decent hitting OF for a guy who strikes out a lot, and who posses little power. Francouer is batting a whopping .250 with 5 HRs this season. The one thing I can say about Francouer is he has a cannon for an arm. But like that matters with the amount of hits given up by the Met's pitchers.

Lets take a different stance on this trade, maybe the Mets looked to improve on team speed. Francouer has an incredible 5 SB this season whereas Church has 6.

Maybe it was to cut payroll, Francouer is making roughly 3.4 million whereas Church is making 2.8 million.

Okay I'll be serious now, the Mets clearly made this trade to get men on base more often. Francouer has an astronomical .282 OBP whereas Church has .332!

The only thing I can see positive in this trade is that Francouer is just 25 years old with a ton of upside. He seems to have a chance to develop great power and is a very good defensive RF. However, Church was a really good defender as well and he was only 30 years old with plenty of baseball left...

I took the time to run Church's numbers since he came off the DL and here they are: .291/.335/.401. Now lets compare those to Francouer's numbers for the season .250/.282/.352.

To keep going as why this trade is so great for the Mets lets see their corner outfielders. They now have 3 right handed batters with Sheffield, Tatis, and Francouer.

Great job Minaya! This is exactly why I'm a Mets fan....

If anyone has any idea why this trade was made, in terms of the Mets benefiting, in any other way than I have mentioned please feel free to leave a comment. I really want to hear how this is a good thing. This is what Minaya has to say about it, “This had nothing to do with not liking Ryan Church, but, one thing we like about Francoeur is the amount of games he plays."

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Giants RB Jacobs Takes Shot at Romo [David Stefanini]

New York Giant's running back Brandon Jacobs took a shot earlier this week at Dallas Cowboy's quarterback Tony Romo.
"I don't think he's that good of a passer to be honest with you... His luck will be gone sooner or later." Jacobs said, "...I'm not a fan of Tony Romo, no."
First off let me say, well done Jacobs, you made me write an article about the NFL when no one, including myself really cares what is going on.
Now onto my reaction. AMEN! I don't understand why everyone is in love with Tony Romo. Yes, he dates all the girls most men wish they could, and he is pretty good the first couple of months of the season, but other than that he is an average quarterback. He has not made it out of the first round but yet he is mentioned as one of the premier QBs in the league. Win a playoff game, or post a winning record in December and maybe I can consider you decent.
Furthermore, this is nice to see from the New York Giants. I like a little trash talk to get inside the head of your opponents. It shows how confident the Giants are going into the upcoming season. Now if we could only drag Romo away from Jessica Simpson and get him to come back at Jacobs then we would have a real story on our hands.

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Video: Ariel Investments CEO John Rogers Schools Michael Jordan [J. Mark English]

If Nike won't let us see Lebron James being posterized, then we can at least see Michael Jordan getting taken to the cleaners by a CEO.

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Can Lance Armstrong Win the Tour de France? [J. Mark English]

Coming out of retirement, Lance Armstrong appears to be just within reach of first place in the Tour de France. Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times has more:

It took only one move for Lance Armstrong to draw all eyes upon him and the Tour de France.

It came midafternoon on Monday, Day 3 of cycling's most prestigious race, when a sudden and vicious crosswind whipped across the sun-baked area known as the Camargue in southeastern France. The 37-year-old Texan, chasing an impossible dream in what has been a most improbable comeback, stood up in his saddle and pounced.

The rival Columbia-HTC team made a bold push to take the lead of the peloton and Armstrong, four years after retiring and 10 months after announcing -- amid scoffs -- that he would take up competitive cycling once more, saw it coming and broke into a sprint.

That is all it took.

The Tour, once heaped with scorn amid numerous doping cases, is must-see TV again. Riding for Team Astana, the man who prevailed over cancer and has won an unprecedented seven Tours is back.

"What you saw from Lance this week was both strong riding and smart riding," said Columbia team veteran George Hincapie, who was Armstrong's teammate for all seven victories and spoke by phone from Barcelona, where Thursday's stage ended. "The guy is in great shape, plus he's so smart."

On Monday, Armstrong jumped from 10th to third, 40 seconds behind the leader, Fabian Cancellara. And in Armstrong's wake, his chief rivals -- including once-presumed Astana leader Alberto Contador, who became testy afterward -- were left bobbing helplessly behind, colorfully clad buoys scattered about the open road.

As Day 7 gets underway today, Armstrong is 0.22 of a second away from the lead and heading into the climbing stages of the Pyrenees, long his greatest strength.

His surprising performance has dramatically increased crowds and excitement in France, where Armstrong over the years has had a disagreeable relationship with both the owners of the race and the French public over unproven doping allegations.

Yet, like every cyclist in this race, Armstrong has been repeatedly tested for illegal substances by his team, the International Cycling Federation and the Tour itself. He has said via Twitter that he has been tested more than 30 times since January.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

If Lebron Dunks on a Kid, and No One Sees it, Did it Happen? [J. Mark English]

Nike is hoping the answer is no. The Nike corporation is putting a kabash on a video showing a young kid posterizing Lebron James, their number one investment.

Here is more from the New York Daily News (Michael Obernauer):

Nike spends millions on ads telling us that "We Are All Witnesses" to what LeBron James does on a basketball court.

So what do they call this, witness protection?

Another controversy is erupting around "Chosen One" LeBron James for what by some accounts is more childish behavior, this time after a college player dunked on LeBron at his skills camp and Nike swooshed in to seize the tapes - possibly at James' behest.

James was playing in a pickup game at the Nike-run LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, when Xavier sophomore Jordan Crawford threw down a two-handed jam over the Cavaliers star - with cameras on the sidelines rolling.

Ryan Miller, a freelance cameraman working the camp, told that James called over Nike Basketball senior director Lynn Merritt shortly after the dunk, and that minutes later his tapes were taken away.

"LeBron came over and told him something. ... LeBron said, 'Hey, Lynn, come here," Miller said. Merritt approached Miller shortly thereafter and "he just said, 'We have to take your tape," Miller said. "They took it from other guys, too."

A spokesman for the shoe behemoth said Nike confiscated the tapes only because cameramen violated the camp's policy by filming after hours.

"Nike has been operating basketball camps for the benefit of young athletes for decades and has longstanding policies in place regarding what events are open and closed to media coverage," Nike spokesman KeJuan Wilkins said. "Unfortunately, for the first time in four years, two journalists did not respect our no-videotaping policy at an after-hours pick-up game Monday evening following the LeBron James Skills Academy."

"Jordan Crawford is a great player. LeBron has been dunked on before, it's no big deal," a source close to James told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "It was a pickup game and it happened in competition."

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RealClearSports: Top Ten Players in Uniforms that Just Look Wrong [RCS]

In light of the premonition of the 'John Hancock moment' between Favre and the Vikes, RealClearSports compiled a list of the top ten athletes who appear the most awkward in an unfamiliar uniform.

Check out the list for yourself:

10. Babe Ruth, Boston Braves (Also, when he wore the Dodgers uniform as a coach)

9. Jerry Rice, Seattle Seahawks

8. Trio of NBA Hall of Famers (Hakeek Olojuwan, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone)

7. Wade Boggs, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

6. Gordie Howe, Hartford Whalers (But to be fair, the dude was 51)

5. "Franchise" Quarterbacks (Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana)

4. Michael Jordan, Birmingham Barons (If he had stuck with baseball he might have been a 'Mike Cameron')

3. Pete Rose, Montreal Expos (Not the Phillies tight fitting baby blue pajamas?)

2. Joe DiMaggio, Oakland Athletics

1. Bobby Orr, Chicago Blackhawks

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Mets Chances Going Forward [David Stefanini]

Roughly halfway through the baseball season I think it's time to take a realistic look at the chances the New York Mets have at making the playoffs.

This is a team, once again, who on paper was the clear favorite going into the season to win the NL East. Just like the past two seasons when the team takes the field they look nothing like the favorites. They currently sit 4.5 games back of the Phillies in the NL East and 5.5 games back of the San Francisco Giants in the NL Wild Card.

Everyone has blamed the injuries this year for the teams failures, I'm not buying that. Yes it is very difficult when 3 of your 4 best position players get injured. Not to mention 2 of your 5 starters, and your new set-up man. However, when all these players were on the field they weren't exactly notching victories every night looking unstoppable. They have no clue how to play defense and outside of Santana no starter has really been there consistently.

Last night they got one of their injured players back, Oliver Perez. He was wild Ollie again, but he managed to pitch 5 innings and pick up a victory. Can us Met fans count on him the rest of the season, no. So where else can we look for help, Carlos Beltran has not stepped on a field in a while, Carlos Delgado can't even jog, and everyday it looks more like Jose Reyes will not come back this season at all.

I still believe this team has a chance at making the playoffs. Watching most of their games this season they have lost in some of the weirdest ways possible. A dropped pop-up, a few bad calls, forgetting to hit the base pads. I know it's all part of the game but you have to figure in the second half the Law of Averages will begin to work out and those loses will start to turn into wins for the Mets.

These next four games should give us an indication as to how this team will do in the second half. If they come out like a desperate team hustling for every ball and running everything out, maybe putting up a 5 game winning streak, or even taking 3 out of the final 4 games we can all have a glimmer of hope going into the second half. But if the Mets fall to 6 or 7 games back of the Phils for first I don't see anyway possible for this team to make the playoffs.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Video: Federer the Great - Wimbledon Final [J. Mark English]

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Video: Live Streaming of Michael Jackson's Memorial Service

Monday, July 06, 2009

NBA Offseason Off to Blazing Start [David Stefanini]

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2009-2010 NBA basketball season is officially over before it even begins...more on this later. Sure LeBron James got a new sidekick, but at this point J. Mark English is a better center than Shaq (maybe a little overstated there). Point is Shaq is not going to bring a title to Cleveland. He can't guard the likes of Kevin Garnett or Dwight Howard.

Speaking of KG and the new Superman, they both acquired big name stars to add onto the team. Rasheed Wallace has reportedly agreed to terms with the Boston Celtics. But does this really get anyone excited? 'Sheed has had his better days already pass and in this NBA a big man who can hit outside shots is not all that uncommon. Dwight Howard got a new teammate in Vince Carter which in my opinion is a better addition than 'Sheed. With Jameer Nelson coming back and the addition of Vince Carter this Orlando Magic team may be the only one who has a shot at dethroning the Lakers.

Now onto the Lakers who I believe have already won next years championship. To deal with the loss of Trevor Ariza the Lakers go out and sign someone who is a better shooter, a better defender, and a bigger body, Ron Artest. How are you going to beat the Lakers now? With Andrew Bynum continuing to grow, Pau Gasol playing at his best, and that guy named Kobe how can this team be beaten? Their bench can't possibly play any worse than they did this past season, so they have to improve a little bit.

Most of you are probably saying but KG is healthy and the Celtics will be there in the end. Maybe your right, but the Lakers are clearly the class of the league right now and unless Kobe misses the season due to an injury there is no one that is going to stop him from title number 5.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Video: Steve McNair Killed [J. Mark English]

More from Judy Battista and Chris Hine of the New York Times:

Steve McNair, the former N.F.L. quarterback who shared the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2003, was found dead Saturday with a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Nashville police.

McNair, 36, and an unidentified woman were found dead with gunshot wounds Saturday afternoon inside a condominium in downtown Nashville, the police said. The Associated Press quoted a police spokesman saying that the woman was not McNair’s wife, Mechelle. The police also said they had tentatively identified the dead woman but were not releasing her name.

McNair played for the Tennessee Titans for 11 years, taking them within inches of overtime against the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl after the 1999 season. He retired before the 2008 season after playing for two years in Baltimore. In his 13-year career, he established himself as one of the best quarterbacks of his era and earned the nickname Air McNair.

“The N.F.L. has lost a brother, and I believe black quarterbacks have lost a pioneer,” said Jets linebacker Bart Scott, who played with McNair in Baltimore.

The Houston Oilers, who later moved to Tennessee, drafted McNair with the third overall pick in 1995 out of Alcorn State, a historically black college where McNair first displayed his dazzling ability to scramble or throw — and a toughness that pushed him to play through numerous injuries. Other players marveled at his grittiness, and in 1999, he returned from early-season back surgery to take the Titans to the Super Bowl.

The greatest stretch of his career may have occurred in the 2002 season, when McNair had so many injuries that he could not practice for two months. He led the Titans to five straight victories to finish the regular season before they lost in the American Football Conference championship game.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Just a Few More Videos: Baseball Heroes of World War II [J. Mark English]

This is to honor America, its pastime, and the heroes who entertained us on the field, as well as served our country (Part One is on the left, Part Two is on the right):

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