Friday, October 30, 2009

New York Yankees Rain on Pedro Martinez's Parade: Who's Daddy Now?

In case you’re wondering, “Who’s Your Daddy!” chants rained down in a hurry on a villain still wearing Jheri curls and bearing frightening fastballs. His return to New York wasn’t too lenient, including an unbearable crowd that had waited to avenge cruel remarks that dated back to the days when Pedro Martinez faced the New York Yankees as a member of the archrival Red Sox.

In Game Two of the 2009 World Series, attention turned immediately to Martinez as rebellious media personnel dwelled on animosity that developed when he derived fame pitching for Boston. More than anything, in a much-maligned rivalry, Martinez articulated antipathy, which initiated buzz entering the second game of a series written in epic proportion.

He was definitely anxious to beat the much-scrutinized organization. Trust me, it makes sense, if spectators will remember the abrasive chants that impetuous Yankees’ fans originated, then it’s understandable. Late in the 2004 regular season, repugnant drama intensified a chaotic rivalry as continuous disasters escalated between the Yankees and Pedro.

Does that mean last night's game was more Phillies vs. Yankees or Pedro vs. Yankees? I insist that Game Two, in general, strictly revolved around Pedro vs. Yankees.

He’ll feel bitterness towards the Yankees for the remainder of his career, and whenever he faces the pinstripes in pitching duels. To this day, Martinez hasn’t yet shaken off his resentful emotions, still seeking an epic performance to deprive and send the Yankees into monstrous spending collapse.

If Pedro amazingly pitches to the Yankees in a pivotal Game Seven, illusions suddenly become a reality. He’d definitely be empowered, and a valuable arm relied upon to force New York to self-destruct. Just like that, an embattled organization would be considered a failure, literally squandering $432.5 million on three high-profile players.

By now, ideas are formulating in Pedro's mind, wondering if he could have another shot at suffocating the Yankees.

Mostly in New York, a large percentage of the populace despises Pedro and holds grudges. From most people's perspectives he’s a villainous, arrogant jerk, when in fairness, a perturbed crowd provoked additional troubles, fuming Martinez in the aftermath.

It’s almost proper to fault Yankees fans as much as Pedro, when, back in 2004, he was on the hook for a distasteful 11-1 loss and a humongous crowd chanted unpleasantly. That prompted the woeful Martinez to emphatically speak out, impetuously pronouncing, “I tip my cap and call the Yankees my Daddy.”

Ever since, issues have arisen, despite the fact that he has displayed superb pitching for much of his career, especially in big games where he’s usually flawless and unbeatable. Of course, seeking an advantage over an antagonist doesn’t oftentimes perpetuate as intended.

Sometimes a night isn’t an excellent one, but it is a typical night until late in the sixth inning. What occurred was that the Yankees' star power knocked around Martinez, who gave up three runs.

Once Charlie Manuel summoned Martinez's replacement, a rude and obnoxious chorus sounded as Martinez walked to the dugout and pointed skyward. Near the visitors’ dugout, he wore a sarcastic smirk mocking a bad-mannered crowd and eyed a return later in the series to avenge a 3-1 loss to the hated Yankees.

Playing for the Phillies doesn’t renew likability, but overshadows an impressive performance typical of Pedro in critical games. But he gave up a fourth-inning homer to Mark Teixiera, who broke out a slump when his at-bats were desperately needed to avoid a possible 0-2 skid starting the World Series.

Another player coming from out of nowhere was Hideki Matsui, depositing a home run and the craftiness that describes the Yankees as Bronx Bombers to rain on Pedro’s show, a widely watched showcase in the second game of the World Series.

But we should have turned our attention to A.J. Burnett. The Yankees couldn’t afford two consecutive losses, and were fortunate to tie the series at 1-1. It seems whichever club’s rotation lasts longest will win a title, and by far, the Phillies have an advantage.

The night before, Cliff Lee was a famous celebrity, but last night, it was Burnett earning all the glory. Anyone should when earning $82.5 million to revive pinstripes of failures in prior years. His pitching performance avenged memories of a gruesome outing against the Angels, now taking attention away from Pedro's getting the start.

The formidable nights are downplayed. Nobody is dwelling on the foolish on-field melee of the past, which turned repulsive, revealing a sinful side of Martinez. To this day, everyone can explain in detail how badly he pushed 72-year-old Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer to the ground.

But now, everyone is talking about today’s issues. Pedro’s start against the Yankees drew publicity for previous episodes.

Technically, it only rained on Pedro’s parade.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

To Rule Out Phillies Is Understatement: Cliff Lee Too Extraordinary

His challenge arrived ever so quickly amid an epic duel, unimaginably surprising the world at a time when baseball extends to November, and diminishes our interest as we direct our full attention to football and basketball.

But in a city, where baseball devotees are warned, courtesy of Doppler reports, the rabid New York crowd couldn’t care less about getting drenched in October madness. When it pertains to the Yankees, especially after a World Series drought delayed sustained success as mystique and prestige exist around the Bronx, fans will attend and witness their boys in pinstripes attempt to add a championship to a gratifying tradition.

Unfortunately, on a night when it seemed the Yankees were fitted naming the next Mr. October, it turned into the Phillies favor. The emergence of Cliff Lee is suddenly startling the entire world, instantly petrifying a confident crowd seated faithfully in the cozy seats inside the colossal Yankees Stadium, where an epic classical is expected to deliver thrills for the ages. It’s happening in a year Philadelphia is on verge of sustaining back-to-back greatness, since the Cincinnati Reds accomplished such a historic sequence.

The former Cy Young Award winner is the centerpiece to the Phillies unforeseen return to the World Series, starved to attain a legitimate appetizer of holding the gleaming prize, like most of his teammates last season when experiencing a joyful moment.

It’s an understatement to dismiss the Phillies over the Yankees, a world favorite as masses clearly are brainwashed for the total of titles amassed and mystique, which symbolizes America’s team.

Let’s not fail realizing that Lee out performed his old partner and longtime teammate CC Sabathia, indications of how evenly match the Phillies rotation might be. This series can potentially last seven games, meaning the entire nation will probably witness one of the greatest pitching duels in the World Series. Without taking a guess, the two clubs will start each of their aces in a pivotal Game Seven.

For much of the postseason, Sabathia and Lee have thrown effectively, pitching like no other, proficient enough to dominate in critical situation. First, the Yankees must strike in Game Two for legitimate hopes to contend with the defending champs whose impeccable pitching heroics continue to aid Philadelphia, thriving and overcoming adversity in the regular-season.

At Yankee Stadium, the newly palace, where fans wear ponchos keeping dry, was silent enough hearing the velocity of Lee’s deadly changeup or his deliverance of the breaking ball. These days, of course, paying attention to Lee is easier unlike before when he spent ample of seasons, throwing unhittable curveballs for the dreadful Cleveland Indians.

So, the opportunity to showcase his pitching prowess on a superior club merits notability, intimidating the hottest hitter in baseball, Alex Rodriguez on his invincible changeup and Mark Teixeira was hitless as well, failing to catch up to an indomitable changeup.

Lee contained the hottest team in baseball, with an unbelievable performance this postseason, if not the most memorable postseason outing. The monster statistics are staggering, maintaining an all-time low ERA of 0.54. Is that invincible enough?

Let’s mention his 3-0 start, quickly emerging to stardom in a city where the cheese steaks exist, and where Lee throws heaters scorching greater than a Philly cheese steak on the grill. His impressive performance disappointed the Yankees in their first ever World Series game played at their new stadium.

That’s anything but exciting, when fans could debate that Sabathia had a stellar postseason. Don’t forget he shut down the Los Angeles Angels with his ferocious fastball, putting a freeze on the hottest offense in the regular-season. Throughout, his postseason experience, he kept fans wearing pinstripes warm by throwing flame-throwers, and stopped the Angels for showcasing their aggressive base running.

Even though, the Yankees might have a bit more star power, Lee’s outstanding mechanics demonstrates different features. It’s a bit similar to last season, when the Phillies were led by the sound left-hander who emerged into a legendary icon and earned MVP honors.

Cole Hamels was unhittable, ridiculously nailing pitches inside, located near the corners of home plate. Well, this year, the surprising hero is Lee. He’s pitching wonderfully, named your new Mr. October.

Fittingly, is to know what is at stake. That being said, Lee’s complete-game, 10-strikeout, six-hit spectacle is for all the reason manager Charlie Manuel should consider starting the strikeout expert on three-day rest if necessary.

After slowing down A-Rod, who overnight earned his nickname back, overcame a hideous scandal and finally flourished and rejuvenated tradition in the postseason, it’s probable to happen suggesting Lee returns to the mound on short rest.

It’s not a simple task, stifling evidently a steroid-free slugger. In the postseason alone, A-Rod numbers were more terrifying than Freddy and Jason, hitting a staggering .438 with five homers and 12 RBI, but not when there’s a gifted ace as perilous as Lee.

Knowingly, the Phillies were in desperate need of a top-notch ace to solidify a feeble rotation. The front office had good sense, pulling off the surprising blockbuster deal and stole Lee from Cleveland.


Yes, the Phillies were smarter than any organization before the non-waiver trade deadline came to an official close. Their initiative plans was to obtain Toronto’s ace Roy Halladay, but the deal was withdrawn when embattled and then-general manager J.P. Ricciardi’s prices were too steep for getting a deal done. There are certainly no regrets, finding out that Lee is the centerpiece to their dominant postseason.

In two seasons, the Phillies are 17-4. That’s the greatest streak in NL history, mainly because of their ability to retire opposing hitters. But the offense compiles hits whenever necessary, sort of like last night when Chase Utley drilled two solo homers off Sabathia, which changed morale of the game.

And later to break opening a nice lead, Raul Ibanez redeemed himself of a bases-loaded situation that could have created damage earlier in the contest by lacing a two-run single. It extended the lead and finalized a 6-1 victory, stunning the entire state of New York.

Currently, Philly cheese steaks are much tastier than a New York steak. Seems on this night, Lee got the best of CC concerning and disappointing an entire city. So, belittling the Phillies is a mistake, and ignoring the unthinkable arm of the invincible lefty.

Clearly, as things appear now, he’s a better ace throwing like a legend and World Series MVP. Just think, if the Phillies win the next three games, he’ll be named the Most Valuable Player.

There’s no need to start conversations. Just watch, Lee.

He’s extraordinary.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shaq or No Shaq, Boston Celtics Still Put Fear into Cleveland Cavs

Your average basketball loyalist fails to understand that the Cleveland Cavaliers might not be mighty after all. Because they now consist of the Man of Steel, Superman, the Big Catus or the Big Diesel, doesn’t legitimize pure dominance over a menacing team in the most compelling conference.

But when the Celtics rejuvenated and returned to precedence two seasons ago, reaching a climax that Boston vastly owned in the 1970s and '80s, Kevin Garnett smoked a victory cigar and emotionally lifted his head skyward. Moments later, he shouted to the heavens "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!"

Words are similar for the Cavs, too. But we must remember, it’s an understatement not to fear the Boston Celtics, when lately most of the hype is centered on the revamped Cavs. In their respective offseasons, the front office made a desperate transition, when general manager Danny Ferry and owner Dan Gilbert were decisive in adding physicality to mitigate fragile and soft toughness inside.

One reason upgrading the roster was greatly relevant to build a forceful and contending core around NBA’s most attractive superstar LeBron James was a solution for bribing the reigning Most Valuable Player to remain in a Cavs uniform.

The last thing to imagine is James departing to New York and suiting up for the Knicks, undoubtedly expanding revenue as a distraught town will easily transform into a cheerful environment and detach from a disoriented era, which left a horrid stain.

Meanwhile, in such an active locale, an intense crowd is accustomed to high-flying dunks, the baby powder toss, and surprising tricks.

The engaging fans are attached to LeBron's finesse plays that no player could match, and bringing in Shaq is obviously an annex for aspiration in the near future. Aiming for a championship in a town where fans and winning championships rocks, the hype is worth dwelling on.

There’s no excuses now, with a forceful center who at one point in his career was known as the most dominant center, right? Well, there’s a few excuses you can simply make. There are tough obstacles taunting the Cavs, vastly becoming archrivals in a much-competitive conference.

Obviously, an entire season could be menacing, longer and exhausting, when a bloody matchup in likelihood could ruin a potential year for the Cavs and force LeBron to seek a change of scenery.

Considering his next destination is a flattering home, where contending for multiple titles is a top propriety, LeBron will finally sense a clear understanding on what winning the grandest prize is like in his proud career, rather than attaining awards for individual excellence.

If there’s one team capable of dismantling strong beliefs or corroding superiority, the Celtics are fitted to persuade LeBron to leave town and force Shaq to retire.

To start with, the Celtics are introducing a new vision of Celtic Pride. For now shamrocks and victory cigars are earning praise, as analyst and basketball devotees anoint the Boston Three Party, more than giving credit to purple and gold.

Although it’s early to tell which team is equipped, admittedly you can predict the Celtics will be competing for the shining Larry O’Brien Trophy, attempting to win their second title in three seasons.

The regular season launched tonight, and the Celtics body language defines a starved group, still bitter of the significant injury of Kevin Garnett, which paralyzed last season and dismissed satisfaction.

No longer was the general public optimistic, giving the Cavs a slight advantage as Garnett missed the entire postseason by nursing and recovering from a serious knee injury.

Whenever the Big Ticket, punches in his ticket, the Celtics are a legitimate powerhouse and tough to defeat. Garnett is their inspirational leader, their defensive expert, putting on a show for spectators who purchased a ticket. Being healthier than ever, his presence inside gives them a chance of reclaiming prevalence.

Yet on nights like this one, the Celtics leaned on their top-notch point guards, demolishing Shaq’s debut and LeBron’s assurance of owning Boston and their residences.

Late in the game as minutes trickled, Pierce was clutched and nailed two crucial jumpers with 1:03 remaining. That tallied a final score of 95-89 to scratch out a victory over the new-look Cavs.

Then again, most could have a mutual notion about the Celtics, after adding depth inside and building a fierce tandem. Most predict that Boston will win it all because of the addition of Rasheed Wallace, who scored 12 points in his debut, known for his toughness by clogging the middle and making it difficult for opponents to drive the lane smoothly.

As for the Cavs, King James posted an usual 38 points. Of course, it's not good enough to overthrow a fortunate team like the Celtics, having all the ingredients to reclaim the spotlight and possibly meet their archenemies in a rematch in June.

As we know, the Celtics-Cavs are bloody, meaning it will be a hard-fought war throughout the year.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are scarier and bloodier. Guess anything is possible!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Al Horford and Mike Bibby will go opening night in Atlanta

The Hawks received good news today after learning that their all five of their starters will be healthy and cleared to play tomorrow night in the Atlanta Hawks’ opening night.

It was only 48 hours ago that both Al Horford and Mike Bibby were at the practice facility receiving treatment from their injuries.

Horford is going to play even though he sprained his ankle in the Hawks’ preseason finale against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Bibby’s injury actually occurred during the team’s Sunday practice. He sprained his left (non-shooting) wrist while participating in team drills.

“You always get nervous when any of your players go down,” small forward Marvin Williams said. “I’m just glad they’re both going to be okay and ready to play against Indiana. You want everybody healthy and read to go to start a season. That’s always a top priority.”

Atlanta is no stranger to having starters and key players missing games because of his injury. Last season the Hawks saw Horford, Williams, and Josh Smith miss a total of 42 games, just more than half of the season.

“It can hurt you,” head coach Mike Woodson said. “We’ve been fortunate the last two years to avoid some of that. It didn’t really bites us bad last year until the playoffs. Hopefully, we can stay away from that and stay strong throughout the year, because above all things, that’s the key to having a strong season.”

Monday, October 26, 2009

At Last, Yankees Validates Traditional Earnings

They haven’t won 26 titles in 40 appearances for nothing, or haven’t spent an outrageous $423.5 million for the series MVP C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett. Even the house Derek Jeter built was invested, confident of reliving glorious celebrations and pennant runs.

Last year alone the dauntless co-chairmen Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, spent $1.5 billion in creations of the immense Yankee Stadium when times were fragile, and battered in economic downturns.

At the time, squandering massive profit was considerably trivial. Eventually, last winter turned into a crazy uproar, labeled as an egotistic and greedy franchise.

For much of the winter, the Steinbrenner family was criticized for spending foolishly, knowing their unsuccessful letdowns in the yesteryears, slumps that were cynical in which lavishing sizable paychecks weren’t an antidote for reviving traditional pinstripes.

But in a season of uncertainty, the Yankees vanquished adversity, without derailing and encountering a financial collapse to doom prestige and stature, earned decades ago when it became America’s team, where beloved icons were merely perceived.

This time, New York arrives on schedule when the leaves shed, when pumpkins harvest, and when Jack-O-Lanterns sit on your neighbor’s front porch celebrating the most foolish holiday. This isn’t a prank the Yankees have arrived, fulfilling a familiar scenario in a month where children wear costumes and Trick or Treat collecting sweets to satisfy a rowdy bunch for a few weeks.

But now, in New York, long-awaited fans are satisfied that the most scrutinized and capitalist franchise in sports has erased ghastly fiascoes and memorable collapses in the postseason.

Not long ago, the Yankees collapsed amid a nightmarish series, facing archenemies the Boston Red Sox, who trailed the series 3-0, and suddenly pulled off the most dramatic comeback in sports breaking 86 years of misery.

For a long time, New York failed to cease agonizing defeats against the Los Angeles Angels, a team at one point with magical aggressiveness in running the bases and producing runs. It was perfect magic, located a block away from Disneyland, but magic now resides near the subways in the Bronx.

A primary factor in the Yankees successful drive to the pennant, amid a revamped year, is the sudden uprise of Alex Rodriguez, who failed in previous postseasons. He faltered in previous seasons, amassing most of his RBI and homers in the regular-season when games weren’t as significant. But now, he’s worthy of the nickname “Mr. October”, guiding this franchise to their first World Series appearance in nine years.

In the meantime, A-Rod isn’t A-Fraud, convincing us he’s free of contaminated juice after confessing and apologizing to the world when his name was revealed from a list of 104 players using performance enhancers, which disheartened the masses who were convinced that he was the purest slugger in the game.

Of course now, we believe all his homers are belted naturally, untainted of any substances. Arriving to the biggest level, for the first time in his career, he’s chasing hardware on the grandest stage. But above all, the Yankees as an entire are favorites and craving to win their 27th title, staying atop all teams in the majors.

In fairness, after spending billions and owning the largest payroll in the game, the main priority is to win a championship. Otherwise, the Steinbrenner’s are considered failures, and in likelihood, could be portrayed as spending fools.

Next thing, skeptics will consider the Yankees as the biggest bust, while typical fans will defend and wait again. The worst case scenario is their believable season could finish wastefully, but the best case scenario is their persuasive season could symbolize a dominant franchise, possibly starting off the new decade with aspiration.

A franchise with a $210 million payroll cannot afford to perform the choke job. But with a mentor, Joe Girardi, who can actually manage the world’s most demanding job and has handled the scrutiny and media tension well, the players are grasping a sense of the game from a well-experienced and well-respected manager.

It took long enough, but now $275 million giving to A-Rod makes sense after having a breakout and monster postseason, ending all dreadful droughts. Sure, critics could utter he has a good luck charm in Kate Hudson, his starlet girlfriend. But Mark Teixeira might have a slight impact as well, making A-Rod’s assignments less painful. His presents have definitely abstracted tremendous pressure, of which much isn’t strictly relied upon Rodriguez.

In the offseason, Teixeira was a huge blockbuster deal, shocking majority of the masses after landing with the Yankees. Courtesy of the powerful and manipulating agent Scott Boras, Teixeira was certain to earn the biggest deal on the market and accepted an eight-year, $185 million deal to wear pinstripes.

There’s also Sabathia, the best pitcher arguably in the postseason, which tells us why he’s the richest hard-thrower in the majors.

The Angels were unsuccessful, striking out constantly and failed even to hit ground outs or fly outs. Sabathia’s ridiculous fastball seems untouchable, his nasty slider seems impossible on making contact, and his presence seems intimidating, which might pose problems for the Philadelphia Phillies. At the newly stadium, fans vastly shout out “C.C.! C.C.! C.C.! Usually, Sabathia lasts in late innings and almost pitches complete games, because of his dangerous arm that cannot be reckon with.

On the other side, the overpowering Yankees, ruined the Angels optimistic season. But it mostly came from errant plays and costly plays that are formidable amid a pennant race. For many, this was their year, riding on inspiration of the late Nick Adenhart. But clumsy base running, botched throws and goofed up pitching, enough to make Goofy hide out in Disneyland, wasn’t passable to trounce pinstripes.

Still, credit goes to the Yankees for closing it out in Game Six with a 5-2 win that punched a ticket to the World Series with the Phillies waiting. No rain was in the forecast, but it was a night when Andy Pettitte’s cutters were as flawless as C.C.’s fastball, pitching in the greatest game of his lifetime. Then, Mariano Rivera entered the game in the eighth inning to post a six-out save, striking out Gary Matthews Jr. on the final out, and relived the glorious celebrations that average New Yorkers are accustomed to in a well-known ritual.

Again, the Yankees are your renaissance team.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jamal Crawford scores a team-high while Dwight Howard and Vince Carter look in mid-season form

In the Atlanta Hawks last preseason game before the regular season starts next week, four of their starting five played at least twenty minutes. However, so did the Orlando Magic, who reminded the Hawks who the defending Eastern Conference champion was while on route to a blowout 123-86 win.

The win kept the Orlando Magic (8-0) with a perfect record, remaining the only unbeaten team. In fact, every team has at least two losses.

For the Hawks (5-2), their All-Star and leader, Joe Johnson led the Hawks starters with 11 points. He only shot 2-of-9 from the field, but was 7-of-9 from the charity stripe. Forward Josh Smith chipped in with 10 points, the only other Hawk starter to make it to double-digit points.

Smith, who is coming off his best season in the NBA, is expecting big things for himself and his team this season. He also had 6 rebounds and led all players with five personal fouls in almost 30 minutes of action.

The new duo of Dwight Howard and Vince Carter is in full swing and looks ready to explode come next week. Both Howard and Carter played more than half of the game, and both shot 9-of-10 from the field.

Howard finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds (all defensive), and 3 blocked shots. Carter had a game-high 26 points that went with his game-high five three pointers. Carter was perfect from behind-the-arc. His five 3-pointers were more than the Hawks made as an entire team.

Atlanta’s new backup point guard Jamal Crawford’s 30 minutes and 49 seconds of action was the most anyone saw in Friday night’s game. His 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting led the Hawks.

The Hawks’ first round draft pick, Jeff Teague, got a chance to get some good game experience with 25 minutes of action. Unfortunately, he was 0-of-15 from the field, including 0-of-4 from the free-throw line. He did lead the Hawks with four assists.

In the Hawks’ seven preseason games, Teague averaged 12.1 points and 4.3 assists per game. He did shoot an exceptional .871 from the foul line, but only made one of the eleven 3’s he shot in the seven games. His highest point total of the preseason, 19 points, came in the Hawks’ preseason opener against the New Orleans Hornets on October 7th. He also played the most minutes he saw in any preseason game against the Hornets with 33.

The Hawks will make their 2009-2010 season debut on Wednesday at 7pm at Indiana against the Pacers.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Josh Smith and Atlanta Hawks: Defense wins championships

We know he can jump out of the gym.

We know he can blocks shots out of the gym.

However, is the season where he will bring enough to the gym and earn his first NBA All-Star selection?

The Atlanta Hawks’ high-flying forward Josh Smith is ready to begin his sixth NBA season.
Smith is ready for team success and personal success.

“After all the goals we have as a team-and we have lots of them-those are definitely my goals,” Smith said. “And I don’t think they are too far-fetched. I’m six years into my career and I’ve tasted some success. I want more of that, for my team and myself, in that order.”

One of Josh’s goals this season is to earn a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team, something that he has yet to do in his young NBA career. He and head coach Mike Woodson think he can do it by becoming an elite defender.

“It’s not always about scoring the ball,” Woodson said. “Sometimes it’s about leading the league in rebounding or the best defensive player in the league that helps you make an All-Star team. I remember Ben Wallace making a few that way.”

Along with never making an All-Star team, Smith has been missing from the All-Defensive team also. Smith has averaged 2.3 blocks per game, something that Smith feels people have overlooked.

“I’ve heard people say, ‘Well, blocking shots doesn’t always mean someone’s playing great defense.’ “I disagree,” Smith said. “It’s hard work, too. It’s a game changer as well. If you do it right, it can change the game on any play.”

It’s true. His shot-blocking ability is among the best shot blockers in the league. But, defense is not just about blocking shots. Rebounding is also a key part to defense. In his career, Smith is just averaging 7.4 rebounds per game.

“I’ve worked really hard on that part of my game in the past few years and especially this past summer,” he said. “Honestly, I would appreciate making the All-Defensive team more than anything.”

Defending and rebounding is what wins games, coach Woodson commented when asked about Smith’s season goals.

“But I want Josh thinking big and aiming high with all his goals,” he added. “I want him to shoot for all of it, so long as it helps this team win games.”

Last night, Smith and the Hawks handed a 113-95 loss to the visiting Washington Wizards. Their next game is Thursday against the Miami Heat.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Statement: Phillies Confirm How To Play Like Champs

You practically can feel the loving wealth, spreading around the streets of Philly. At a point when Philly cheese steaks aren’t as tasty or lovable as the Philadelphia Phillies, the rabid town has again went nuts, not over the Eagles or Michael Vick’s craze, not over the Sixers season-opener next week, and definitely not over the Flyers.

For now, a fervid and rambunctious crowd is crazy for the Phillies on a raucous Broad Street, where the uncontrollable fanatics are wilder than the Philly Phanatic, yet celebrating a back-to-back appearance in the World Series.

No wonder why there’s a crack in the Liberty Bell, when loud echoes are heard in an entire community that gives its heart to the luckiest franchise in Philly this century. No wonder why boos have turned into cheers the last few seasons.

So, on another frigid night at Citizens Bank Park, the large capacity erupted on nearly each homer crushed out of the hitters-friendly park. Much of the night, fans erupted spirit and sounded off with “Beat L.A.!” chants.

That’s technically all you need to know, describing a well-experienced and mettlesome core predicating the factual character of champs. After all, entering the season, the Phillies knew what it took.

Despite struggling and overcoming adversity, Philadelphia never quit and raised intensity a notch when producing wins suddenly became meaningful. Similar to last year, the Phillies informed to the entire world, where the champion banners belong. Similar to last year, they were overmatched for the Dodgers, having fun and precisely romped Los Angeles in five games and clinched the NLCS with a 4-games-to-1 differential.

Greater than clinching the National League Title, the Phillies are in good position to repeat a NL pennant in 13 years. If the Phillies happens to reach an agenda and writes a new chapter in the history books, it will be the first franchise to complete such an unforeseen achievement since the Cincinnati Reds defined tenacity, longevity and unity. It’s the same features, the Phillies constitutes greatly, staying together as a unified core and illustrated the significance of having chemistry.

Meanwhile, Joe Torre’s squad is still growing. The Dodgers have good chemistry inside the clubhouse, but a feeble rotation was a vital factor in a horrid letdown. Missing out at the non-waiver trade deadline badly blemished the Dodgers, like watching Rocky Balboa in a one-sided heavyweight fight, or similar to watching Vick single-handedly thrash defenders in the” Wildcat” formation and rush for all-purpose yards.

No need to take a guess, our country was earnestly awaiting Broadway vs. Hollywood, New York vs. Los Angeles, Steinbrenner vs. Torre, Yankees-Dodgers World Series. A newborn rivalry was waiting to produce fresh blood, but now it has the makings of an East Coast clash among two top-profile clubs with large influences on the market.

When it consists of two teams with dangerous sluggers, a pair of strikeout aces, an epic classic is bound to happen. For instance, take Ryan Howard, a legitimate big man who beautifully makes contact with a hard-throwing pitch to crush a massive shot, which normally goes the distances. He’s the high-profile hitter who emerged into a slugfest machine, depositing nearly all baseballs into the stands. Believed to be one of the purist hitters in the game, $5 foot-longs at Subway are a factor, lifting his performance level. That’s one way to enhance your performance level, right?

Not much of a factor in Game Five, Howard was greatly appreciated at the end of the night. Honored with the series Most Valuable Player award, and absorbed more chants and cheers, rather than boos when his endless homers devised momentum and intrepid. As the Phillies still believe with enough zest to win it all, Howard said excitedly, “we have one more step: then we got action”.

The cleverest general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr. also stood before a large capacity crowd thanking all the loyal fans for their support, when credit goes to him for assembling and bringing in proper necessities to contend for back-to-back jubilance. He was very successful in fortifying the rotation, realizing how shaky the bullpen was for much of the year. All his savvy arrangements paid off, and now Philadelphia advances to the World Series again as the Dodgers were hammered for the second straight year against a franchise that made smarter decisions and aggressively pursued in acquiring depth improving in the second half of the season.

Heavily, the front office put too much effort in retaining Manny Ramirez. In the offseason, Ned Colletti overacted, centered on continuous negotiations with baseball agent and manipulator Scott Boras, just to hold on to the Mannywood marketing product that has abruptly deteriorated. There’s not much left to see from a so-called slugging wannabe who damn-near contaminated an entire era as the masses never considered the Great Manny a bust.

But his numbers have plunged since the league banned the most despised hitter in the game for a 50-games suspension. In just 32 at-bats the wannabe or Manny Being a Dope Idiot had disappointing results, finishing with a homer, four RBI’s and six strikeouts. Just from staring at the stat sheet, I noticed he had more strikeouts than RBI’s.

If you ask me, I just can’t see a player who falsified the game returning in a blue uniform.

Hopeful days are approaching for the Dodgers. In a 10-4 rout, Los Angeles lost swaggering, but refused to leave without a fight. Despite losing, positive signs were presented when outfielder Andre Ethier and first baseman James Loney each belted solo shots. The youth of the Dodgers are developing an identity, but has yet risen to a premier level, needing to consolidate the pitching rotation.

A series summarized by dominant pitching, despite a substandard bullpen, the Phillies relied on the brilliant heroics of Cliff Lee, a left-handed ace who’s artistic throws, by far, is the greatest breaking ball in the game. Pedro Martinez was star-studded and kept the Dodgers’ bats quiet, a midseason acquisition that was very productive in timely situations.

After all, the Phillies aren’t a fluke. Other players shined in critical roles, burning the Dodger Dogs, mostly on hits soaring through the chilled skies of Philly. There was outfielder Jayson Werth, collecting five homers this postseason, and likely the biggest one of his career in the seventh inning when he lofted a solo shot.

There was center fielder Shane Victorino, the Flyin’ Hawaiian and pest in center, rarely dropping shots traveling his direction. But offensively, he came up big, nailing a two-run homer off the sensational Clayton Kershaw in the sixth inning to give the Phillies a commanding 8-3 lead.

That led to a Philly-tastic celebration, when players jived on the mound like big children. When Victorino caught a fly ball to record the final out, fireworks brighten the skies, just as the Phillies energized the crowd igniting a towel-swinging party. The champagne was chilled, and when they made way to the clubhouse the party started as teammates were drenched.

But on the other side, in the dugout, sat the helpless Dodgers upset on how it all ended somberly and stared at the celebration reflecting from a disappointing letdown. Overcoming the heartbreaking defeat when the young Jonathan Broxton blew the save in Game Four, they came into the game with a readiness mindset, but the Phillies weren’t a match, having all the weapons to overpower faith.

Theory is, the Phillies weren’t only smarter, but overlooked and overmatched, confirming to the world that they still are the experts to beat. In the City of Brotherly, champs reside and believe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Love or Hate, Boo or Kiss: Titletown Rules In Philly

Welcome to Philly, the city of Brotherly Love.

Wait, the city of Brotherly Love, not after the year of 1968 when they booed Santa Claus, becoming notorious for their infamous boos among four major pro sports teams. Fans booed merely anyone who underachieves or criticizes their city and even their own teams.

At halftime of the Philadelphia Eagles game, Philly fans’ booed and hurled snowballs at St. Nick on a snowy day at Franklin Field and watched the last-place Philadelphia Eagles finish the season 2-12, losing to Minnesota. In today’s era, Philly fans’ continues to lack some class. When dislikable athletes remains healthy, they'll shout out disgruntled boos.

For example, former Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia absorbed a couple of hits that made him daze and confuse, when fans were apparently upset after not getting injured badly. For maintaining good health, it drew booes, as ungenerous Philly devotees badly wished Garcia suffered severe injuries to be replaced by their backup quarterback A.J. Feely.

There have been a number of athletes who have faced scrutiny and criticism, obviously Donovan McNabb’s name is mentioned as a primary target of criticism, getting booed for inconsistency. As a response, he sorely ripped Philly fans, and referred to them as ungrateful supporters when he brought much to the Philly organization.

Notice, you are described as the City of Ungratefully Love and the City that Booed Santa. But, at the same time, fans who craves back-to-back triumph with another championship banner. It's well-deserving for a town, embracing and explicating true sporting passion. And lately the feverish crowd has been lovely and loyal to the Philadelphia Phillies.

A town filled with pride and dignity, is known for the Liberty Bell, known for Rocky climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Arts, and known for Philly cheesesteak eateries at nearly every corner.

Last year, it was a town known for its reprehensible championship droughts. For the first time since the 76ers won the NBA championship in 1983, a major franchise in Philadelphia won a title.

Teams in all four major sporting leagues had at least a championship appearance in this century, but failed winning a championship in 100 consecutive seasons. That was suddenly snapped when the Phillies dominated and shocked the world, ending an atrocious drought. Once again, the frenzied citizens have something worth celebrating after the Phillies are en route to make its second World Series appearance.

Unstoppable dominance absolutely has removed memories of a 15-year relapse. As usual, the Phillies are the closet major pro sports team to maintain poise and uplift humanity. Just a year ago, clinching a title restored joy back in a town, where fans supported its major sporting teams through fragile times.

But now, the hangover is over, as a double dose of glory reappears in what is considered to be the greatest championship appearance in history. The 76ers and Eagles were the last two teams to come close at winning it all.

First, the Sixers advanced to the 2001 NBA finals, a sensational playoff run, led by Allen Iverson. But the run ended in five games against the dominant Los Angeles Lakers. Then, McNabb led the underdog Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2004 against New England, losing a heartbreaker on the grandest stage. Following a downfall, they came close to making a Super Bowl appearance in 2002, when they played Tampa Bay in the NFC Championship.

But unfortunately, the Buccaneers' defense played superb and shocked the Eagles for the win. Before that, the Philadelphia Flyers loss to New Jersey in 2000 after having a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. The Devils won the game late in Game 7, breaking the hearts of a championship-starved town.

Although booing all four of their major pro sports teams, still the loyal crowd deeply falls in love with all four of their major pro sports teams. They aren’t booing now, but are cheering, eager to witness another championship before the century comes to a closure.

Yet again, the Phillies gives a die-hard community opportunities to hold a long-awaited parade down Broad Street, where fans will show aggressively cheer proudly without needing boos as a message to mend its performance level. Yes, a rowdy bunch booed teams before at games and after games.

Usually, when fans boo teams, it's true signs of love. After all, it’s the City of Brotherly Love.

The best sports fans in America, I might add.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Amaro, Phillies Smart Handling Business, But Dodgers' Bungles Prove Costly

On another bone-chilling night, in the last of the ninth inning, the Phillies still preserved the biggest hit. A shot on a night that dictated the Dodgers' season.

If there’s a veteran the Phillies can depend on, Jimmy Rollins is the name to single out.

The unexpected heroics turned a tense moment into another celebration in the stands, with only a game remaining before the Phillies make their second consecutive appearance to the biggest stage.

The late heroics Monday night smeared the Dodgers’ favorable outcome. It seemed to be a sure victory for Los Angeles until momentum shifted, confidence plunged, and body language appeared sluggish. But it was mostly momentum and the well-experienced veterans handling desperation and crucial moments in the game.

It is important to have a clutch hitter in the lineup, especially a veteran stepping up in moments when a critical shot into the gap is needed. Jimmy Rollins laced a two-run, scoring double off hard-throwing closer Jonathan Broxton, to put a stranglehold on the Dodgers.

Meanwhile, Rollins gave the Phillies cushion, and secured belief in a team aiming for their second straight title. A dramatic 5-4 victory over the lowly Dodgers describes fortitude of defending champions.

Besides characterizing champs, it identifies the shrewdest club in baseball. Last night illustrated and unleashed the true colors of the Dodgers' postseason failures, just as it delivered facts about the Phillies.

I'm not saying the Dodgers are unintelligent, but it is moderate admitting that general manager Ned Colletti has failed the organization in his fourth season serving as team executive. Although he was unsuccessful during the trade deadline, owner Frank McCourt is loyal to the so-called genius when he desperately acquired Manny Ramirez.

Of course, it made Colletti seem as if he was the cleverest general manager in baseball. Back then, Ramirez was portrayed as the purist slugger in the game, before getting humiliated for shamefully storing a fertility drug that produced artificial testosterones, which banned the inglorious juicer for 50 games.

Perhaps the Mannywood campaign is a great marketing product, but the bad thing is, the Dodgers have a no-good fraud that hasn’t done much.

Fans are too naïve to garner the truth and take advantage of the discount seating in the Mannywood section.

But instead of the long negotiating that took forever during the offseason, McCourt and Colletti should’ve tried adding veteran pitching to strengthen the paltry rotation. In the midst of their offseason shopping, the Dodgers were more comfortable appeasing and compromising with the manipulator Scott Boras and his deceptive client Ramirez.

Granted, Colletti made relevant transitions and upgrades, with his midseason acquisitions in the past two seasons, which included Casey Blake, Greg Maddux, George Sherrill, Jon Garland, Vicente Padilla, and Jim Thome. From the list, he had sense enough to acquire four pitchers, but, still, none are strikeout pitchers.

So that’s why the Phillies are lasting longer in the postseason, and could incredibly win it back-to-back. Between the Yankees and Philadelphia, they won the offseason or midseason sweepstakes, overwhelming us with their assertive pursuits to build a noteworthy franchise leading into October.

Right now, it seems the rookie leads. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro is the smartest in baseball, outsmarting other executives who’re afraid to spend valuable profit.

He doesn’t mind granting enormous investments to players, and expects a lot from the well-experienced club.

Before the trade deadline, Los Angeles had ample chance to acquire the best pitcher in the postseason, Cliff Lee. Imagine if he was available to shut down the Phillies with a wicked breaking ball, or if he had a 0.72 ERA with more hard-throwing strikeouts than any pitcher, currently.

Simply, the Dodgers missed out during the deadline, when they were listening to offers and considering acquiring the greatest pitcher in the game today, Roy Halladay, but allowed the offer to vanish without attempting to negotiate and deal some of their young prospects to reinforce unreliable pitching.

But the big-name ace they can utilize right now is Lee or Pedro Martinez. Fact is, the Dodgers need a strikeout pitcher to stay alive with opponents, all having indomitable aces who control momentum. Truth is, Amaro accomplished good results in his first year, a savviest sequence that average general managers cannot master as a rookie.

At 44, Amaro imprinted a stout legacy, bringing aboard unfamiliar faces but enough talent to keep the Phillies crisp.

Immediately, it was good to overhaul and keep potentiality of winning multiple titles intact, signing free agent pitcher Chan Ho Park, who has thrown effectively against the Dodgers, and left fielder Raul Ibanez, who started off the season by seeing the ball well.

Above all, Amaro ensured emphasis of building a future around the growing legend Cole Hamels and streaky hitter Ryan Howard, whose home runs are hotter than a Philly cheese steak, giving each of them multi-year contracts. I must say, $5 foot-longs at Subway are worth eating as long as it is legal for enhancing the performance level.

Aside from Howard’s enhanced diet, Amaro assembled depth when he pulled off the blockbuster deal of the year, which should earn him Manager of the Year. Somehow prices weren’t steep, keeping all pitching prospects at home, while stealing and landing left-hander Lee, who was acquired for nothing from Cleveland.

The upgrading has proved worthy. When the Phillies spent 141 days in first place, including 126 consecutive days since late May. And now has extended their dominant postseason streak, topping each opponent without facing legitimate challenges for unhittable pitching, as the Dodgers aren’t perennial contenders.

It’s hard not having a dependable ace to bail you out. But for the Phillies it’s a fairly easier task, only because management was smarter.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cliff Lee Amazingly Unhittable, Dodgers No Match For Phillies

The population in Philly is thinking “Brotherly Lee”, rather than Brotherly Love, according to a sign a fan held up proudly. On a bone-chilling night, fans welcomed home the Philadelphia Phillies, believing for a second consecutive season that they can sustain back-to-back glory. It’s a town that doesn’t quit believing, and currently a town louder than people wearing blue in Mannywood.

For decades, the Phillies were humiliated, but was the first major franchise to celebrate, relieving dismay with a thrilling victory last season. In a hapless town, where winning titles never happened, the franchise accomplished a delightful deed. But other franchises in Philly haven’t been very successful reaching a pinnacle like the Phillies, who were the fortunate ones, capable of ending horrid droughts in an infatuated sports town.

It refreshes memories of the surreal finish a year ago, when the gifted left-hander Cole Hamels promptly emerged as a legend and was named Most Valuable Player for sensational effort on the mound. But more importantly, he led the Phillies to the most fascinating victory in franchise history, seesawing to their first championship since 1980.

So far, in the postseason, the pitching has what it takes to pummel the Dodgers for the second consecutive season, dismantling rapturous dreams of a Yankees-Dodgers World Series, Torre-Steinbrenner showdown.

Instead the world is possibly awaiting a Yankees-Phillies showdown, two franchises showcasing brilliant pitching mechanics. No doubt, most weren’t highly favoring the Phillies, and overlooked the powerful-arm and superb breaking ball thrower.

You ignored the reigning Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, who menacingly threw at the man in blue, gradually forestalling the Dodgers of advancing to the biggest stage. The Phillies are no match against the hitless team, now struggling to produce runs. A frenzied crowd will continuous erupt in Philly, if the sterling rotation tramples the fragile Dodgers' lineup.

Problem is the Dodgers aren’t getting enough out of their paltry rotation. Blame it on skipper Joe Torre, whose choices are anything but wise. Leaving Clayton Kershaw in the Game One for a long time, allowed the sensational ace to surrender runs. It might have been preventable if Torre summoned for a steady reliever.

It takes a blunder in one game to change the complexion of the series, and one game was enough to improvise momentum. Perhaps, Torre sacrificed a befitting rotation, juggling around pitchers, such as Hiroki Kuroda, who surrendered hits as the game turned into a horrific nightmare.

What is Torre thinking?

Sorry, but the intelligent team here appears to be the Phillies, knowing what type of pitches to throw at the Dodgers. It’s indeed a privilege to have a dominant ace, backing up Hamels and veteran Pedro Martinez. An experienced ace, with a wicked breaking ball, is an essential offering to the Phillies shaky bullpen. You never know where closer Brad Lidge’s state of mind is, and J.A Happ has a history of walking batters.

But Lee, a starter all of us slept on lasted eight innings, without allowing runs and walks. For the time being, refer to him as “Mr. October”, after becoming the first pitcher lasting eight innings without giving up runs and walks, while striking out 10.

It’s greatly impossible compiling hits against Lee, who merely has surrendered two runs in 24 1/3 postseason innings. It’s no better way to describe it, as his remarkable pitching, by far, is the best seen this postseason.

Before the trade deadline, rumors surfaced that the Phillies were set to make a trade with Toronto for ace Roy Halladay, but failed to agree on a deal. After all, the Phillies were smart enough to fortify their weaknesses, and surprisingly acquired Lee.

If they’d failed to acquire the ace, where would they be now? This season alone, he has boosted up their assurance and solidified the rotation. For much of the season, Lee has done exactly what he brought to our attention last night, dominating in the postseason with an unthinkable O.74 ERA. With brilliant command and location, it’s hard to envision anyone compiling hits on Lee, who continues smashing the strike zone.

He’s unhittable, he’s unstoppable, and he’s undeniable.

He highlighted a Phillies 11-0 rout, as well as slugger Ryan Howard, who became the first player to drive in a run in seven straight games in a single postseason, producing a two-run, triple in the first-inning. And former Dodger, Jayson Werth evoked damage by lacing a two-run shot over the center-field wall. From there, the Dodgers never looked back, amid Lee’s wonderful outing that dictated the Dodgers season.

Instead of Thinking Blue, Thinking Red is logical.

Jeff Reed Cited After Steelers Victory

The Steelers had beaten the Browns 27- 14, Kicker Jeff Reed had two Field Goals. For party boy Jeff Reed this inevitably called for celebration.

After drinking at a bar just a few blocks from the stadium in which he just played an NFL game, Reed recieved a Citation for Public Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct. Reed will recieve a summons in the Mail and will have to appear in court.

This is the second time this year that Reed has had trouble with the law. In February he paid $543 in fines after pleading guilty to Disorderly Conduct and Criminal Mischief for damaging a paper towel dispenser in a convenience store bathroom.

When asked about the incident team spokesman Dave Lockett says the team is still gathering information and has no comment

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mets and Yankees On Top Of Matt Holliday List

Ken Davidoff of NY Newsday has reported that a source "in the loop" with Matt Holliday has informed him that the star LF wants to play in New York.

The Mets and Yankees are on top of Hollidays list when he becomes a Free Agent, and it has been reported that he is on top their list as well.

I know the Mets are going to make a hard push for Holliday, however the Yankees are the clear cut favorites in the Holliday Sweepstakes.

Even though Holliday likes playing in the National League, Citi Field has a very spacious outfield and playing there could be tough for the defensively challenged outfielder.

The Yankees will also have alot more money to spend as they have two Left Fielders coming off the payroll at 13 million a piece, and adding Holliday would make their Lineup almost unfair.

To add to the pile Winning is probably a factor, actually I think I have said enough I'm starting to get sick with this slant.

Holliday will most likely be looking for a 4 or 5 year deal worth about 15 million a year.

Buzz : Josh Cribbs, Brady Quinn Staying With Browns

With the Trade deadline rapidly approaching and the recent trade of Braylon edwards there has been speculation that the Browns arent done dealing.

Last week Brady Quinn put his house up for sale, and everybody took it as a sign he will be the next to go. Quinn who lost his job as starting QB to Derek anderson week three has said that he just wanted to downsize and shorten his commute. The Browns have also denied that he will be traded.

After all with the inconsistent Play of Derek Anderson and Eric Mangini at the helm Quinn can reprise his role as starter in the near future.

Another player who has been mentioned in possible trades by the media is Josh Cribbs. Cribbs is involved in a contract dispute with the Browns and is not hiding his frustration.

"I'm gonna be stuck," Cribbs said. "I don't know what I'm going to do right now. It will tremendously disappoint me if nothing gets done. That's no secret. I'm going to be very disappointed."

When asked about the situation Browns head coach Eric Mangini replied "No interest in moving Josh Cribbs, Josh is going to be a Cleveland Brown. ... [The contract] is not something that we're focusing on. In terms of a timetable, it's an organizational thing we'll look at. Josh and I are trying to get ready for the game on Sunday."

Cribbs, a team captain has tried to stand by his teammates and admits it can be tough to maintain a good image while looking out for himself.

"Off the field it weighs on me, but on the field I'm Josh Cribbs," he said. "I have to show up for my team. I'm a captain and a leader, so I have to set an example by my play on the field.

"You have to just wait for yours, I guess. I'm trying to be patient and play football, because when all else fails, that's all I know how to do right now. I'm not a business guy, I'm not a contract guy. I'm going to continue to give my heart and soul to this team. What more can I do?"

Its been reported that as many as five teams have inquired about Cribbs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Might Be a Mets Fan, But I'll Be Rooting For Pedro

As a Mets fan its my duty to hate the Phillies in any way possible. Trust me given the recent history between these two teams the job has been easy.

However as the Phillies look to go on to their second straight World Series (wow that really hurt to type) I will be rooting for them come game time.

The reason I can put aside the hatred is because one of my favorite players of all time happens to be pitching for them, Pedro Martinez.

Even though Pedro's time as a met wasn’t exactly great, he tried his best. The Man genuinely cared about the team and about the fans. That is why I will always have a deep respect for Pedro Martinez.

Don’t get me wrong I do respect the Phillies, lets face it they play hard and never quit. They play the game the right way and I cant deny that they have a great team on the field and in the front office. (That hurt too)

Its just that my dislike for them totally outweighs those feelings, I wont lie I was very upset when they won last night.

Today I hope they can get the win for Pedro in what might be one of his last big moments in the game he loves so much.

Although I will say this, when it comes to baseball, the teams I root for have a knack for losing. After all I am a Mets fan. If this happened to be the one time in a few years that doesn’t happen it would be a bit ironic.

Alex Rodriguez's Sudden Postseason Arrival Is Vital, Good To Expunge 'Roids

NEW YORK—We’re imploring and dreaming of an epic classic, a spectacle that’s enticing enough to discard all the steroid bust that has disappointed us for much of the season. Right now, baseball happens to have a dream series in mind, as many are thinking blue and wishing for pinstripes.

Yes, our eyes are set on a Dodgers-Yankees World Series, and to predict a series, it has the makings for a historic and memorable classic in ages.

But there are others whose eyes are set on the Angels and the inspiration journey, precisely for the late Nick Adenhart.

As fans are awaiting Joe Torre to seek vengeance on the Steinbrenners or the Angels to seize a victory for Nick, the entire world neglected to mention that Alex Rodriguez needs and merits a victory just as much.

Eight months removed from confessing to the world of shameful steroid revelations, A-Rod is producing RBI, hitting homers, and finally breaking postseason droughts. He is showing up when winning counts and convincing the world that he’s free of steroids, now hitting purer than ever.

At critical moments, in clutch situations, he’s now earning the nickname "Mr. October."

In the postseason, his deeds are good to relieve and discard steroid revelations that ruined his credibility, despite confessing and apologizing to the entire world on national television.

During the interview, Rodriguez referred to himself as “young, naïve, and stupid.” But now, it doesn’t seem like that, as the star is producing monster numbers when he is definitely needed.

Rodriguez is now excelling after arriving late and is getting it done. Having the heroics of the enigmatic third baseman hasn't had in recent years is the difference in the Yankees' season (along with the pitching).

Still, here in New York, skeptics and people who embrace the pinstripes are gushing on A-Rod’s postseason dominance. The spotlight is shining over him as if the Yankees are featured in a Broadway opera.

Of late, Rodriguez’s bats have sung and made noise at each plate appearance. Against the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, he demolished opposing pitching by swinging his lumber productively, verifying his presence in the postseason.

When A-Rod finished pestering Twins pitchers, he had compiled two homers, six RBI, and a .455 batting average in three games.

It's the enormous deeds when countless droughts have toppled success that have led to continuous criticism in recent seasons.

Whenever postseason failures transpired, A-Rod was labeled as the scapegoat by critical media and personnel and he even took poundings from the fans, getting booed more than receiving standing ovations.

Overcoming much adversity this season, he’s transcending expectations and now is hitting like the home run king.

But when revelations uncovered that he had coated his system with juice, fans easily disregarded Rodriguez as the next historic home run king.

Despite getting busted for using steroids by Sports Illustrated and deeply humiliated by premier writer and author Selena Roberts in a book that presumably delivers truthful information, A-Rod could greatly rebuild his reputation if he continues producing in critical moments and if he wins a World Series.

In that case, it would be transparent to forget about his performance-enhancing drug bust, an issue that hijacked spirit before the baseball season started, an issue that described commissioner Bud Selig as an apathetic and shameful individual who didn’t care about resolving drug turmoil, and an issue that shockingly unmasked a mysterious list of 104 players.

It’s understandable to believe that Rodriguez is the man who’s responsible for inglorious bedlam, but now he’s the man who’s responsible for hurried postseason dominance.

Entering the postseason, he only inherited one RBI in his previous 59 at-bats in the postseason, was zero for his last 27 at-bats with runners on base, and was zero for his last 18 with runners in scoring position.

Moving away from the Madonna lifestyle and finding companionship with his new girlfriend, Kate Hudson, might be a good luck charm for A-Rod.

Not yet has he stared down his opponents, but has expressed more excitement and relaxation and less timidness with the media. More significantly, he’s relaxed at each plate appearance and is more serious on winning his first pennant to leave behind all the scrutiny and negative issues that have followed Rodriguez for much of the season.

As we’re familiar with his foolish camera snapshots that appear on magazine issues, his way of getting attention through the local media—which endlessly crowd the spacious clubhouse just to have a conversation with the attention seeker—and his girl troubles that have presented problems (for now, that is), he’s seemingly focused on winning and guiding the Yankees to the World Series.

Even more, he’s focused on leading them to a championship so they can hang another banner inside their spacious palace. Since A-Rod’s arrival, the Yankees have failed preserving a title, but with his numbers skyrocketing, maybe this is the year.

However, there is still more baseball to be played, and facing the Angels is certainly a legitimate test for the Yankees.

The Angels are the only AL team with a winning regular season record since 1996, and Yankees nemesis and fast-throwing right-hander John Lackey has had tremendous success against their batters.

Although A-Rod has struggled mightily the last time he faced the Angels in the postseason, when he went 2-for-15 with no RBI and six walks, 2009 is a different year as he’s now displaying adequate results.

But this is a time for A-Rod to clear away from all the tainted steroid incidents. So he’s decisive and serious to win his first ever title, unlike previous seasons, when he wasn’t relied upon.

Winning it all may not fully revitalize his crippled legacy, but his steroid issues might reduce some if people again idolize the pretty boy as a pure baseball slugger.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yanks' Pinstripes Inevitably Tangible To Implode: Is This Their Year?

It is well established, we’ve approached a point when the entire world is heavily paying attention to the New York Yankees.

Much is at stake for the casual investors, making all the blockbusters deals and stealing nearly all big-name free-agents on the market.

History over the last five years specifies indignities and failures, explicating greed and egotism among major league teams. The boundless salary caps permitted the dauntless co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner to assertively spend a massive share of their $210-million payroll.

It’s obvious the Yankees are the most capitalist and most scrutinized franchise in professional sports. Citizens in the state of New York wear pinstripes, espousing a laudable tradition, but are fatigued of inferior letdowns the last five seasons.

For now, it seems mystique could flourish in a month the Yankees are known for dominating the postseason, with aggressive base running, RBI, homers, and solid batting averages, good enough for a fall classic spectacle and adding a World Series title.

Anything less than a title is considered a failure, and temptations are immense with all the offseason renovations. Adding a 27th championship banner at the newly colossal venue is imperative for excelling under high expectations and confirming traditional gratifications.

What appears to be happening in America is all heads are turned directly to the Yankees. Suddenly our country is fascinated with pinstripes, becoming the biggest curiosity in October. Guess you can refer to them as Mr. October, after signing big-name free-agents and frustrating teams around the league with greedy idiosyncrasy.

Last winter, the Steinbrenners were criticized by reporters and executives of other teams for pulling off every blockbuster deal that was available on the market. From all their outrageous signings, they were considered a joke, a laughingstock in baseball facing uncertainty for lavishing enormous deals.

Amid a fragile market, the Yankees were making impressive approaches by negotiating and speaking the proper terms to baseball’s most powerful and stubborn-minded agent, Scott Boras.

It seemed a bit absurd to many when the Yankees spent $432.5 million for CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira, emphasizing the significance of winning in New York, where pinstripes are a symbol of world champions.

A large part to the Yankees' noteworthy postseason is Alex Rodriguez. It’s not hard debating if his homers are pure, vindicated to be clean of performance-enhancing drugs.

Before the season, A-Rod’s confession and admission to the entire world was a shameful letdown, imploding the beautiful landscape of baseball that had discarded all performance enhancing drug bust until his name surfaced into newspapers, magazines and A-Rod’s agitator Selena Roberts, published a book that revealed he used steroids dating back to his playing days in high school.

Even if there’s a suggestion for expunging a steroid crisis and validate that baseball is amid a wonderful turnaround for loyal folks in New York who long awaited an ALCS appearance is winning and advancing in the postseason.

Even it is a remedy that chimes perfectly for A-Rod’s crippled legacy, now hitting and reaching expectations, a scenario he has failed to attain.

He now has finally arrived in October, belting the critical shots needed to contend for a title. He’s more serious, craving his first ring wearing pinstripes, alongside slugger Teixeira, whose walk-off home runs could menace opposing teams.

Rodriguez is dominating, and rising as the scariest slugger in the postseason. Even though, slugging and driving in runners in scoring position was anticipated a long time ago, it’s never too late to make noise in the postseason.

Earlier in the year, revelations, girl troubles, and injuries prompted distractions, enough to self-destruct a believable season. But Rodriguez is more of a solution than a problem, with two homers, six RBI, and a .455 batting average in three games.

It’s enough to appease a desperate and superior franchise, now overdue of ultimate triumph. Here in America, populace either loves or hates the world’s most beloved or despised franchise.

Here in America, they’re America’s team and amass more fans than any team in our pastime. Whether you hate or love them, the Yankees are this year’s team to beat; playing with much certainty and embody morale, ideal factors that have storied magnitude.

America’s most-publicized team is now excelling with enough value and depth. After all, the Steinbrenners weren’t spending fools who squandered big dollars without discerning contrast between values or a bust. They were doubted too soon, and even if the Yanks fail to win this year, still they’ve erased futility restoring into championship contenders.

Last season, it was the biggest dysfunctional team in America, but it merely took one season to change the complexion and revive tradition. More cream pies are thrown in the faces of Yankee players, and homers are shot out of the gigantic playground.

It almost seemed like the Yankees were on brink of self-destruction and inevitably nearing a spending collapse, which would’ve left them in similar plights, they were stuck in before adding depth in the offseason.

Healing from gloomy downfalls, manager Joe Girardi shouldn’t be worried about his job security, especially if they win it all. He also has built a strong bond with veteran shortstop Derek Jeter, the long-time Yankee captain who has witnessed timeless moments while wearing pinstripes. Girardi built a good relationship with Hank and Hal, when he served as Yankees catcher. All advantages secure his job status in the managerial role.

When abysmal pitching doomed the Yankees, postseason fortune was held at a minimum. Surrendering multiple hits hindered thinkable seasons, prematurely forcing elimination and longer suffering.

But it could be the year when they don’t have to wait, agonized of failures and pitching deficits. Turns out signing top-level pitchers with expectations weren’t such a bad conception, as it has paid off having the proper finances to build a champion-bound team like earlier in the decade.

It’s now a stout pitching rotation with Sabathia, who pitched like an ace in Game One, threw his heaters and struck out nine batters outmatching Minnesota. Burnett has respectively pitched exceptional, rarely committed errant throws and elevated pitches in the strike zone, where batters couldn’t make contact with the speedy object.

Despite getting a no-decision in Game Two, still he is a legitimate piece for the immediate reinforcements, gradually advancing as the traditional team known so well.

Not much stigma describes a horrific franchise. The irony is their incredible pitching, and A-Rod is portrayed as Mr. October, brainwashing skeptics to root and wear pinstripes. It has reproduced a ritual that symbolizes baseball.

You don’t have to love them, but America’s beloved team is back. Is this their year?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wallace Very Optimistic On Celtics This Season

When Rasheed Wallace signed with the Boston Celtics this offseason, you know he was going to talk with his mouth, and in the games…complain to the refs. But right now, it’s his mouth as he says the Celtics can surpass the Bulls record of 72 games won in a season.

Said Wallace in an interview:

“‘Oh definitely. Definitely, playing with those three other guys, also combining that with the guys we have on the bench, I think we can definitely can. Me personally, I think we can get that Bulls record. You know we have the talent for it. We have the will for it and … I think we have the defense for it.’

[Halzack:] Do you want me to use that?

‘You can. Because honestly, I really do feel that. That was a good team. They had some [Hall of Famers] on there, but we have a few on this team, too.’”

Weird, huh? But according to a source, which is my buddy Jay King’s site, his site at Celtics Town says that the Celtics won 66 games two years ago and 62 games last year, with Kevin Garnett injured for part of the season. With K.G. healthy this year and Boston looking much better with new additions and all that, the Celtics are better than both of those teams combined!

But the Celtics are going to have to battle some tough teams this season along with their players staying healthy. Can they do it? Possibly, but heck, we’ll see. Anyways, Wallace is a dreamer, right?

I’m a Dreamer…

Looks Like People Are Going to Be More Serious on the Broncos

People were never serious about Josh McDaniels when he became the new coach of the Denver Broncos. Nobody believed he could lead the team after crybaby Jay Cutler left the team when McDaniels granted his wish in trading him to the Chicago Bears.

Then came Brandon Marshall, saying he wanted to leave as well. McDaniels really could’ve done it as he was calling other teams like the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Jets. He then brought back a little bit trust from his fans when Marshall stayed.

McDaniels made some good moves in the offseason like drafting Knowshon Moreno and signing Correll Buckhalter. But everyone thought the Broncos will fail under quarterbacks of Kyle Orton and Chris Simms, who were battling for the starting job.

Orton was named the starter. His stats weren’t good, but his win/loss record was efficient and was enough for the Broncos of him being the franchise QB and the leader of the team. And he was wearing that number eight, a number ahead of one of the greats: John Elway.

In the first game of the NFL season, the Broncos were leading the Bengals, 6-0. The Bengals drove down the field as running back Cedric Benson scored a touchdown to give the Bengals the lead, and most importantly, a victory. It was 7-6, but things weren’t over.

The Broncos had one last shot. It was a Hail Mary pass as Orton threw to Brandon Marshall. The pass was tipped by Leon Hall. Was it over? Probably but then, out of nowhere, Brandon Stokley, one of the best slot receivers in NFL history, caught the ball and ran all the way for a touchdown to give the Broncos an easy, and an astonishing win.

So there are Music City Miracles, and yes, there are Mile-High Miracles as well. The Broncos then went on to win a few more games. But even though they still stand at undefeated, people still doubt them as a real NFL team. Are they for real? Well, they had to prove the test against the New England Patriots.

The Patriots were rolling in the first half of the game. With a missed field goal by the Broncos, the Pats rolled down the field. The drive really opened when Sammy Morris broke for a long gain after catching a dump-off pass from Tom Brady. He was down inside the red zone as the Pats got an easy touchdown to Wes Welker to lead the game.

Then, with the first half almost over, the Pats were leading, 10-7, and they were in the red zone. A touchdown was made by Tom Brady. He’s back! But look, he wasn’t fully back as the Broncos proved it during the second half.

You really think Josh McDaniels will lose to the Patriots! The Patriots for crying out loud! Josh had to bring revenge. It was the pupil, as in McDaniels, vs. the Teacher, in which that is Bill Belichick. The Broncos caught up in the game and rolled to victory in overtime, 20-17.

“It was a little bit more special to me because I knew how hard it would be to beat them,” McDaniels said. He added: “It’s a great challenge coaching against Bill and his staff, and playing against that team with all those great players. That’s why it’s special. It’s not special just because I was in New England.”

McDaniels is now going to make a dynasty with the Broncos. They are rolling and are one of the best teams in the AFC. But now, they are facing more tougher tests in the weeks passing by.

They face the Chargers on Monday Night next week, then the Ravens, and then the Steelers. Tough road games as they face 3-4 defenses, and man they are tough! But hey, these guys can do it.

And now, I don’t think anyone should be surprised at all if they beat those teams.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Top 5 NBA Bench Squads Entering This Season

The bench.

1. A long seat, often without a back, for two or more persons.

Some may think that "riding the pine" is bad and totally useless.

News flash folks; it isn't!

In fact, it is the most vital part of any team. Without a bench, your starters are screwed. The bench players are there to give the starters the rest they need, and to help keep the energy high during the game.

Let us continue ranking the top five benches going in this 2009-2010 season.

5 - Chicago Bulls

The Windy City may seem like an unpredictable place at this moment, but their bench also seems to have some sort of steady pace.

Last year, guard Derrick Rose was given the duty to step up as starting point guard.

Kirk Hinrich did an outstanding job holding his own. He was constant, averaging 9.9 points per game and 3.9 assists per game.

With Ben Gordon gone, the guard slot is not as talented as before. Bringing guard Jannero Pargo brings back a nice consistency of play and experience.

The forwards are not in a bad spot either.

Brad Miller can hold his own in the post, and can knock down the open jumper if he so desires. Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah are there for hustle and defence. Offense from them is simply gravy. Having Brad Miller is a good back drop from some offensive need.

Oh, let's not forget James Johnson and Taj Gibson, two legit rookies who are ready to play on the professional stage.

4 - Minnesota Timberwolves

Well, many people are expecting big things from this young team. They've made some mistakes this off-season, but have fixed them with so very good signings.

Aleksander Pavlovic was a good snag. He was under utilized in Cleveland and can now be useful for this Minnesota squad. He is good spot up shooter, which the T'Wolves need.

Ryan Hollins proved himself this past playoffs with the Dallas Mavericks. He is a high energy player who did his best against Kenyon Martin and Tim Duncan.

Expect him to log heavy minutes for Kevin Love and Al Jefferson.

What the T'Wolves did this off-season was log up on guards. As of now the T'Wolves have Jonny Flynn, Antonio Daniels, Ramon Sessions, and Wayne Ellington.

These guards are extremely talented and can handle the rock as well as score.

Kurt Rambis will have a tough time managing talented guards.

3 - Los Angeles Lakers [Tie]

The Los Angeles Lakers are part of this fiasco. Many argue the Laker's off-season changes; whether they were good or bad. As of now however, the Lakers still have a solid bench.

It appears that Lamar Odom will be working the sixth man position, which he has done with better composure.

Shannon Brown, Sasha Vujacic, and Jordan Farmar seem to be the bench-guard rotation for Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher.

The wilkd-card for this bench squad is Adam Morrison. His role was keeping the bench warm last year. Expect him to sub in for Ron Artest.

Many have forgotten his game in Gonzaga and some of Charlotte. I see it as Luke Walton and
Morrison battling for playing time.

3 - Dallas Mavericks [Tie]

This team has had many ups and downs in the past five years. Some are still unsure about thier potential in the West. Dirk Nowitzki is the main guy, followed by Josh Howard, Jason Kidd, and Shawn Marion.

As regards to bench, the Mavs are equipped with the proper tools. Jason Terry is still there holding down the sixth man spot and potentially being a starter is JJ Barea can keep up with starter minutes.

Rodrigue Beaubois is the rookie who everyone in Dallas will be looking at. He is talented and can definitely be able to back up Barea.

The Mavs bulked up on forwards this offseason, aqcuiring Shawn Marion, Drew Gooden, and Tim Thomas.

Quinton Ross and James Singleton are two under looked players coming in this season. If Rick Carlisle gives them steady minutes, expect energy and hard nose-to-nose defence.

2 - Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James and his troops hit the jackpot this offseason.

It remains to be seen how Shaq and LeBron will co-exist with each each, but with this there is also questions about the bench rotation.

With Shaquille O'Neal in town Zydrunas Ilgauskas will most likely be sitting down to start games, which is totally fine. Having Big Z off the bench is more than enough for a solid bench, but it gets better.

Anthony Parker is an amazing sntach for Cleveland. His inside and outside game is steady, and brings defence 100 percent every night.

Leon Powe will be a nice fit. his ability to rebound and play the low-post has been well documented. He is going to be a nice back-up for Anderson Varejao.

LeBron has no excuses to not winning a ring this year.

1 - Boston Celtics

The Bostons Celtics' bench has been well-structured since the arrival of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.

When Eddie House isn't peeing his shorts, the Celtics' bench can be a very intimidating bench.

But entering this season, regardless of the potty errors, the Boston bench is going to be one hard force to stop.

It is somewhat uncertain of Rasheed Wallace's place on the Celtics; some say a starter, others call out bench player.

His role will be much appreciated coming off the bench for the Celtics. Coming in for a semi-injured Kevin Garnett will help the boys in green a lot. The Celtics need that one more ounce of energy and Wallace supplies it.

Maquis Daniels will need to keep his play consistent this year. He is going to come in for Ray Allen or Paul Pierce, but either way, solid play will be expected by Doc Rivers. Daniels proved that he is a force to reckon with in Indiana. Now the test is Boston.

"Big Baby" Glen Davis has proved that he can hang with the big boys, but his worth will be going back to the bench.

He did an outstanding job stepping in this past playoffs. He will be a good substitution for the Celtics.

Other noteworthy bench figures are Eddie House, Shelden Williams, Tony Allen, and J.R. Giddens.

Tebow Relieve Headaches But Restores Title Urge

Well, this was bound to happen, a low-scoring contest with a pair of top-notch teams clashing in a Saturday night SEC showdown. Once again, the Florida Gators aren’t pulverizing their opponents or failing to create large margins.

It certainly signifies that Urban Meyer’s squad is not nearly the same dominant team as a year ago. No team is intimidated or agitated, encountering a well-mannered citizen Tim Tebow, who is an immaculate and generous man quarterbacking the Gators to meritorious achievements.

He’s a cool dude, engaged with strong religious backgrounds at the Swamp where he's building upon a valuable legacy that will always have its own realm. His endearing charisma is likable, changing the mindsets and reminding teammates to take the urgent approach.

Even though most are accustomed to Tebow’s unpredictable jump passes and outlandish tricks rarely executed by a quarterback, he’s not an almighty god or Superman. Our minds are brainwashed, used to seeing his unexpected game-changing plays, and ignore possibilities of freak accidents.

Just like the rest, Tebow is human. He divulged this when he suffered a severe concussion two weeks ago and carefully prevailed yet in the most substantial game. On an important night, it constituted a contest with massive bowl implications. In his first return since the injury, at a hostile territory where LSU faithful were rambunctious under the raindrops, Tebow was an intrepid adventurer.

That’s what most referred to him as, recovering slowly from his frighten injury. But he guided Florida’s offense, handing off more passes in the spread formation. The running game was active and dynamically a perfect concept on a night his soft skull was in danger of additional damage, even when doctors cleared Tebow to play mid-morning.

If it had not been for Urban Meyer, Florida’s mastermind coach, who had the national title on his mind and selfishly insisted that Tebow take a risk, John Brantley could've started and made an attempt guiding the top school in the nation. Leading up to the game, Meyer encouraged Tebow to put his career and life on the line, to stay national title bound.

The problem I had with this ordeal is how could a coach encourage a player to start the game after suffering a brutal injury? And how could he give much latitude, calling it a game-time decision? Fine, much was at stake, entering a matchup with fourth-ranked LSU. Perhaps keeping national title hopes intact was more crucial than a weakened skull that couldn’t experience another bull-rush, painful collision.

Each possession offered scary thoughts, quickly recalling the incident that occurred two weeks ago, when he vomited, appeared dazed and was carted off the field. Later, he was transported to an ambulance and to a Kentucky hospital, where he stayed overnight before finally been discharged.

From experiencing a dangerous moment, predicting that Tebow was better off sitting it out, indicated common sense. Oh, but not for a tough guy, willing to put his life in harms way to keep national title dreams alive. He wasn’t worried, surviving aggressive bull-rushes and blitzes by LSU’s much-improved defense. But he lasted a three-hour contest without taking significant hits directly to the head, and ultimately downplayed the aftermath of his terrifying concussion.

The most beloved athlete in the nation failed recognizing possible aftereffects and dangerous speculations of significant head trauma. At Death Valley, he faced frightened afterthoughts, but took harassment and violent tackles from defenders. Instead of sitting out a game, Tebow wasn’t concerned about his health and guided the Gators to a 13-3 victory over the Tigers to keep them in national contention.

His presence was vital, and favored their outcome in Baton Rouge, where it seems like an intimidating environment. It was momentary, when Tebow amazingly outlasted a corner blitz and formidable jerk when Lazarius Levingston yanked the facemask, to which he was whistled for a personal foul that initiated leeway for the Gators offensively.

Despite recovering from a concussion, Tebow gets fired up instantly. Having a tough-driven mentality, allows him to create in the option and spread formation. It certainly seemed to be their trick, when he hurled a 24-yard scoring pass to a wide open Riley Cooper.

A large crowd made the trip, Gator-chomping on an evening with much uncertainty. A nice capacity witnessed a splendid performance by Tebow, throwing 11 of 16 passes for 134 yards and an interception in a meaningful game. As most Gators faithful were proud, few worried heavily until the game ended at Tiger Stadium, where LSU had won 32 consecutive games.

Tebow dominated on the field, staying healthy as if he had never suffered a concussion. That's because he’s a tough-minded player, and doesn’t allow an injury to cease his capabilities. On the night, he was mobile as usual, despite limited rushes because the Gators medical staff wanted to be cautious.

Sure, it was relatively expected, when precautionary actions had to be taken. Most would’ve had common sense, knowing that his presence as a rushing quarterback would be minimized. But mostly, he completed the game phenomenally, despite not having an effective rush attack, a dynamic attribute that describes a powerful Tebow.

He’s the world’s powerful athlete, and greatest role model. Usually, when a player takes a shot to the head, they are confounded, but Tebow is the same as before. He’s a player with heart, dignifying passion to win.

He’s a champ, by far, surviving Baton Rouge trauma. No more concussions, just an antidote for putting aside headaches and uplifting gratifications.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What The Hell Is Wrong With the ESPN Body Issue?

Okay, seriously, what the hell is ESPN doing with this Body Issue thing? It just seems, well, immature. This is not a way to show off athletes. Why the hell would you show naked pictures of athletes covering their body parts with trophies or their hands alone?

It’s just messed up. I mean, I couldn’t even go through two pictures of the Skin Games album. I mean, seriously, are you kidding me? What if some random six-year-old, who is a sports fan (trust me, there are a lot of them out there), who goes on and looks at this stuff!

It’s outrageous I tell you, outrageous! It just isn’t right! What good comes out of random people all of the world looking at naked pictures of star athletes. It’s pretty much a porn section on ESPN for guys who are high on drugs being happy after each picture.

It just makes Serena Williams look bad and make her look like a porn star for god’s sake, which is just horrible.

Seriously, what’s the deal of that? I kind of feel regretted for subscribing to their magazine now. I never knew they would publish this stuff. Now when I receive it in the mail, my parents will think I am some 13-year-old kid trying to get his way.

This is no better than the naked pictures of Erin Andrews. Not cool, okay? Just not cool. I hope ESPN doesn’t do this again. To me, it makes athletes look bad and it feels to me that it tarnishes their image.

It seems like they are using athletes. Once again, ESPN does some lame scam just to get more viewers. First, they bash sports teams like the Grizzlies and Raiders. Many people hate the Grizzlies and Raiders and now they are more haters in the world because of the ESPN staff being haters as well.

Now, they are here, bashing the sports world with nudity.

Right now, I would rather see an article with nothing but cursing in it than that. So please, people out there, if you like this stuff, maybe it’s just me or it’s that people are paying attention to the athlete’s appearance, than the talent itself.

NBA Talk: You Better Watch Out For Amare Stoudemire This Season

Amare Stoudemire, the star power forward on the Phoenix Suns, is forced to wear goggles for the rest of his career. Although that might not suit him throughout his time shooting hoops, he's ready.

Ready? Ready for what? He's ready for this season. After missing most of the season last year, despite scoring 21 points and eight rebounds, he's ready. Amare Stoudemire will be focused this season, and will be a strong competitor.

Two eye surgeries, no big deal to him. Wearing goggles, he can expect worse. Injury machine, heck, that's done for good with him. He's reminding the league that he will be dominant on the court.

With Arizona teams already struggling here so far, with the Cardinals being pummeled by almost every NFL team and the Mercury looking to lose in the Finals to the Fever, it's up to the Suns to show who's boss in Grand Canyon state.

Stoudemire hasn't played for more than eight months and played in his first preseason game not too long ago. He's also showing the league that you can still be assertive even though you had to battle through tough injuries.

"I really enjoy the game of basketball now," Stoudemire said told Marc Stein in an ESPN report. "I did [before], but now I definitely appreciate it."

Now here is Amare, playing in an exhibition game against the Warriors on Saturday Night...outdoors. But you think things are easy for the guy.

No, not at all. 6'10," 250-pound athlete had just recovered from a detached retina in which he had to go through some grueling procedures. These included laying on his stomach for ten straight days, on his stomach.

This certainly must be worst than his injury back in 2005, in which he was rebounding from a microfracture surgery on his left knee.

How is that rehab going for Mr. Stoudemire? Amare recalls on the rehab in just one word: Brutal. No, make that two word: Extremely brutal.

"Hard to deal with, hard to get over, still think about it," he said. "A lot of folks probably wouldn't be able to do it. But it makes you enjoy the moment. I'm just ready to play ball. We don't even talk about the [contract] stuff. I'm just trying to focus on getting myself reacclimated to this team and this system. As far as the season and me being here, I don't think about it. I'm here now, that's how I look at it."

Shaq is gone, so it seems like Amare will be getting a lot of playing time, and I really mean a lot. Stoudemire, Nash, Hill, Lopez and Richardson will be the guys for this season.

But most of those guys mentioned are injured. Can Amare lead his Suns to the playoffs, and most importantly, the Finals? Yes he can. I don't expect him to give up, not one bit.

Why else would he have number one plastered on his jersey?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Face Reality: Tim Tebow Needs to Protect Health, Not an Optimistic Year

There’s no doubt college football benefits when Tim Tebow plays—a folksy quarterback with religious beliefs symbolizing humankind and aspiration for a better future. Not only is he an ambassador for college football, but the top-ranked Florida Gators, whose showdown against fourth-ranked LSU might dictate a national title.

At large, bowl implications are pivotal, if the Gators are craving to defend their title, but more significant is Tebow’s health status.

Two weeks ago, Superman indicated to the nation that he’s just as human as the rest of us living in a society were citizens believe their beloved heroes are invincible and made of steel.

Unfortunately, a horrid scene occurred on the field when Tebow collided brutally with a team-mate’s knee, bouncing off the turf as he sustained a concussion, quickly becoming another victim of head trauma in a win over Kentucky. A vital injury scared Gainesville, stopped Gator Chomps, left fans in a state of shock and elicited constant queries about his status for the biggest game yet on the calendar.

It shouldn’t matter which team the Gators are playing, but what should matter is protecting Tebow. Another significant blow to the head is risky, meaning it could be career-threatening or life-threatening. Urban Meyer should weigh his options carefully before rushing a hesitant Tebow back in a position, where contact generally transpires.

No doubt he’ll be the primary target on LSU’s agenda in a Saturday afternoon SEC clash. But more importantly, Tebow must be protected from sustaining another concussion. In recent years, players have died when medical staff failed to monitor thoroughly, allowing players to return prematurely.

If the Gators were to bring back Tebow, the program isn’t only jeopardizing a successful title run, but risking a life.

No game is that important, in which someone’s health is vulnerable of more unpredictable trauma, creating hapless ordeals and chaotic burdens. Knowingly, the importance of Tebow’s presence is crucial, if the Gators desire a victory.

This is a huge burden on Meyer, publicizing that the former Heisman winner is a game-time decision, and that he’s ready to return in a hostile game. Not good or a clever choice in a bitter territory, where he'll take unsympathetic abuse for two-hours.

He runs often, meaning the defense is already familiar with his game plan and well-designed options. And you can’t imagine him making an impact immediately, sluggish while still recovering. Since his concussion, Tebow hasn’t played and had limited practice, making it difficult to predict.

There’s not much to anticipate, when he really should sit this one out. Most have urged Tebow not to play until a well-known doctor gives advice and clears him. Losing a game won’t destroy an entire season with the SEC ranked as the best conference in football.

If the Gators lose to the Tigers, a national title remains irrefutable, and will keep hopes alive. In likelihood, they’re only victims of BCS fraud by dropping two or more games. That’s not envisioned because of their depth and defensive regimen, giving them slight advantages in the toughest conference.

You shouldn’t worry about the Gators. You should heavily worry about Tebow.

There’s much on the line in severe weather conditions, with heavy rains expected in the forecast. The top-ranked Gators seemingly care about prestige and bidding for a national title, rather than the most-lovable player in college athletics.

Believe it or not, we don’t want to sadly witness another devastating scene, like watching him vomit as he’s carted off the field and later seen in an ambulance. The worst-case scenario is a foolish decision might backfire on Meyer, but, of course, the best-case scenario is Tebow might throw a game-winning touchdown pass in the final seconds. You never know.

Even though, Meyer has mentioned earlier in the week that Florida’s medical personal will decide if Tebow plays in game with bowl implications. The problem is, Meyer is allowing such a thing, knowing it was a severe and frighten injury.

So, why is he putting his respectful leader in such a predicament, where matters can become worst? Is it because he’s desperate to defend a title? Is it because his reign and legacy is significant, and Tebow brings most glory before departing to the NFL?

As most of us fathomed that Meyer’s mind is greatly on amassing victories, and not an ailing quarterback, the NFL is paying close attention. Last week, a statement was released of studies, and unmasked that NFL retirees are likely to suffer memory lost. Between the ages of 30 and 49, retirees are likely diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

But coaches don’t realize it until it’s too late, selfishly ignoring medical advice and following their instincts. As it seems, Meyer has a self-centered psyche and protects optimistic season, jaded of injury excuses and selfish as well.

In reality, Tebow is severely injured. And to risk health is being negligent.

The best advice to offer Tebow is protecting his health, not a season of feasibility.