Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tampa Bay Rays Misunderstand Fans: It's Not a Personal, But an Economic Downturn


Bombarded by economic downturns in Florida, unemployment rates are at an all-time high, the average citizen’s income has deflated and the Tampa Bay Rays are the least important in Florida these days.

The sea of empty seats at Tropicana Field on Monday, even on the upper deck in an abominable dome not fitting for a baseball franchise with 12,446 in attendance and surely fewer in the stands, disappointed David Price and Evan Longoria.

Thousands of fans missed out on a game that the Rays could have clinched a playoff berth, but it was nothing personal toward a believable franchise with a potential shot of winning the pennant. Moreover, most Americans are mired in a shortage of income, not an emotional feud towards a brand of quality or the images of dramatic and precise moments.

This isn’t surprising for a number of reasons, not when a trend cripples the state, struggling with a beleaguered house sector or the lost of jobs as unemployment rates inflate, let alone purchasing expensive tickets to witness the Rays inside a dormant venue.

It is well established baseball is on decline in a town that really hasn’t been distinguished as a baseball town, but it wasn’t long ago when the community worshipped the Rays on their unthinkable postseason run.

That led to the Rays first ever World Series appearance in a year Tampa Bay dominated the fall, increasingly raising revenue for a prosperous business. The atmosphere was electric. The place was buzzing. The Trop was a packed house. Famous for its waffle houses and nice vacationing spots, Tampa is not a crazed baseball locale and predominately an abundance of fans are devoted to football.

As the season dwindles and the playoffs are almost upon us, the undoubted notion is that the team will fill in empty seats for playoff games, to celebrate a glorious event in October. But it was rudely irresponsible, when Price and Longoria urged the hard-working people in how to spend their money in these fragile times.

The truth is, this is a recession we are experiencing, and currently the average home owner or overseer of a household saves money to contribute with their mortgages and monthly bills.


So the storyline is, now since the Rays are disappointingly losing a large portion of fans, that the Rays most unbelievable turnaround in baseball history is irrelevant in a way. The declining turnout is very unsurprising when the team can stun the defending champs New York Yankees in the postseason and win the title.

Right around this time, baseball is a watchful sport and strongly reminds us relevancy still exist in a game poisoned by performance-enhancers and cons. But even if the Rays had a remarkable season in their existence a few seasons ago, this season the Rays are roughly entertaining 22,913 fans with two home games left.

Nearly two years after a charming moment uplifted the Rays and erased the degrading failures, fans suddenly filled in seats as it became the loudest venue in baseball. The surroundings were intimidating packed with fans on nights the crowd crazily immersed into the Rays sensational stride and clanged annoying cowbells to cheer heavily.

It is becoming abundantly clear that the Rays are promising to offer 20,000 free tickets for the regular-season home finale against Baltimore. However, for the average fan, this is a lifetime fortune Wednesday night, an opportunity for a number of people to watch a game close and personal. The freebie is a way to coax a large crowd in attending the finale and offering its generous support for the Rays.

Huge crowd, perhaps, generated by the smartest suggestion, is accommodating with Florida in an economic disaster as are senior citizens in St. Petersburg, many of whom are taxpayers and disapprove the Rays project of building a new stadium.

It’s almost pathetic players are complaining and badmouthing the hard working people. All of this, of course, was inconsiderate and absurd. The masses work laboriously in their jobs, and being ripped by athletes with millions is uncalled for.

So we were caught off guard Monday night, overwhelmed that Price would callously bash the crowd via Twitter. And during an impromptu news conference to address the media, Longoria called it embarrassing. Stuart Sternberg, principal owner of the Rays, pledged reduction in payroll to draw a huge crowd, but it still doesn’t guarantee sellouts or a new ballpark in the future.

It’s not a high-market franchise, unfortunately. And as much as the Rays attempt to amaze fans by inserting a unique 10,000 gallon aquarium located behind the right-center field wall, turning a ballpark into a Sea World exhibit, instead the fans are more aroused by free tickets.

Meantime, the Rays have accomplished the unprecedented by winning 90-plus games in the AL East division two of the last three years in the franchise’s first decade of existence. But until the Rays move to a new ballpark and the economy reforms, it won’t be such a misconception to give out free tickets every now and then.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Being Number One in the NBA: It's All About the Image

Kevin Durant is currently tearing it up in the basketball world lately. He is just coming off some great seasons in the NBA, along with being the youngest player to win the scoring-title, in which he did just last season. He also led Team USA to beat Hedo Turkoglu and Turkey in the FIBA World Championships, setting records there as well.

Soon enough, he will be accepted as the number one player in the NBA. Many would want to tend to disagree with me on that statement. A lot of other names pop up that could replace Durant.

Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, and Carmelo Anthony are some players just to name a few.

However, Bryant's time could pass in the next few years or so. And plus, to face the truth, they are many Kobe haters out there. There are so many Kobe haters that they don't even think he was the best player this past decade, or the best right now!

LeBron James has been viewed as a negative influence in sports to the American population, according to a poll. He is in the top ten list of the Most Hated Players in Sports. So, obviously, that will take some impact. With Carmelo Anthony wanting to leave Denver, that will have some impact, too.

Dwight Howard has yet to prove himself that he can lead a team by himself to the Finals or be the man. You can tell that from the series against the Boston Celtics last year in the playoffs.

Then there is Dwyane Wade, who won't be accepted as number one due to him being on the Miami Heat, as he has guys like LeBron and Chris Bosh.

So that leaves us as Durant, who will be viewed as the best player in the league. Being known as the number one player is from the people. And many will say that. Durant recently signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and is making a small-market team grow.

LeBron did that, and was viewed as number one. That was, until, he left the Heat.

Same went for Kobe Bryant, who would be compared to Michael Jordan. But when the so-called rape charges and "selfishness" came in, Bryant was completely ratted out and gained haters. This will soon happen to James.

Same for Carmelo, who is pretty much copying LeBron. Chris Paul will also go into that vote.

Then there is Dwynae Wade. He could be lucky if he is considered number one, but with people thinking of how "stacked" his team is, it just can't happen.

And so there we have it, Durant will be number one.

And to be number one in the NBA, or number-one all-time, it's all about the image. If Kobe had the praise James used to receive, or Durant is currently having right now, I bet you anything he would be considered in MJ's range among the eyes of many people. But due to his image of the troubles he had long ago, it's just won't happen.

He can have more rings than Bill Russell, be the all-time points leader, and even just be completely unstoppable (even the age he is at right now) but he still won't be accepted as the best player ever. Soon enough, the best he can be is probably at number two.

And it is all because of the rape charges and things like that.

LeBron James was at that point in being the next Jordan, until he left Cleveland. Now he is in a different role. But I think he can still end up as the Top 20 players in the game.

As for right now, Durant is going to be the next best thing since Jordan for right now. No one will except Kobe. It's just as simple as it. It's reality. I can't imagine how pissed Los Angeles Laker fans are everyday when they hear haters ranting about Kobe.

People tend to look at the silly things off the court that happened than what they did in the game. Isn't it to be considered the best is to show it on the floor, not off the hardwood?

Not everyone's image is perfect, but they shouldn't over-exaggerate it. I mean, Jordan has had his fair share of ups-and-downs. He's cheated on his wife before, he's had gambling problems, and if you read The Jordan Rules he's had a massive ego as well. But he was competitive.

I will always think that Jordan will be the best player of all-time, unless of someone appears out of nowhere to be amazing.

But people, my main point is, the key to being number one in the NBA, or any sport or anything for that matter, is all about your image.

So if Kevin Durant leaves the Thunder once his contract expires, I wouldn't be surprised if someone else is chosen as number one.

Not at all.

Hungry Chicago Bears No Longer Hibernate, but Legitimize Conviction

If the facet of life presents full of surprises, it could be the elusive, unforeseen fairy tales happening before our very eyes in the NFL.

In sports, when you witness a sense of unpredictability or surrealism, it’s normally a funny trend that happens every season.

It’s hard to believe the Chiefs are 3-0. It’s hard to fathom the Niners are 0-3, just as it’s hard to realize the Bears are 3-0. It’s unbelievable. It’s surreal.

In reality, though, it has happened, and what we are witnessing is authentic in a season of fairy tales and a season when we are clueless of what to believe.


Now the Chicago Bears, largely considered the most appealing and creative team in football, are currently an unbeaten franchise in a town that has been mired in misfortune, as every major franchise has been victimized of hapless letdowns. The trends of hopelessness badly blemished an avid sports town, but as of recently, the Bears are a cure of aspiration, sending a statement to the NFC North.

As the game progressed at a sold-out Soldier Field in a Monday night showdown against bitter foes the Green Bay Packers, the wildest crowd roared on a bone-chilling night in the Windy City. All in all, the Bears are ferocious in the National Football League, no longer hibernating in the darkness with regular-season fiascoes that unhinged the prominence of the Bears’ prior history.

But at long last, the hard-driven Bears are propelling in prime contention and Jay Cutler is getting his shot at redemption, maturing into a much-efficient quarterback under Mike Martz’s creativity and originality. It quickly developed that the Bears' style on offense is the difference in a much-improved onslaught, escaping the agonizing breakdowns and defining improbability of becoming NFL elite.

It’s evident as Chicago wins its third straight game to begin the regular season that they are legitimizing resiliency at a moment when the NFL is suddenly a league with surprises and mystique. Three weeks into the season, and already the Bears are being revered, while in conversations to win the division. Wait, win the division?

Yes, you heard it right.

Even if the season has just begun, the Bears are unbeaten, amazingly after surviving a season opener against the Detroit Lions, a contest blown by the poor officiating on Calvin Johnson's eye-popping one-handed touchdown catch as time expired. But either way, the Bears will take it.

Shortly after the win over the Dallas Cowboys, general manager Jerry Angelo was impressed with the resurrection as the Bears preserved an enormous one for the victors.

It figured that he’s really impressed and convinced when the Bears survived a 20-17 win, which is highly a conception given that Chicago seems invincible, fierce, and unbeaten. But the reprieve, as the Bears are accomplishing near-perfection, coincides with the idea that this team is built and potent enough to win massive games in critical moments.

If the Bears aren’t thrilling in their dazzling performances, then reconsider it because of the lightning speed of All-Pro returner Devin Hester.

It’s very seldom we witness a brutal kick returner return one for a touchdown, and when an electrifying play is seen, it makes headlines. Every now and then, Hester returns the ball to the end zone untouched with his blistering, dangerous speed, an unparalleled component for the Bears' remarkable streak early in the season.

With all the miracles in sports, Hester scored with a 62-yard return for a touchdown when the Packers mistakenly punted in his direction and gave him a shot to bring out his agility and quickness, and he darted by opposing defenders for his first score on special teams since the last game of the 2007 season.

Are the Bears really good?

However, they did manage to take advantage of the sloppy miscues committed by the Packers. It’s a bad recipe. Right now, at least, the Bears are proving to be virtually dominant and sensational, whether or not Green Bay had clumsy mistakes. That is precisely what gave the Bears good field position: a pass interference call against the Packers’ Morgan Burnett.


Most importantly, the Bears caught a break once the refs blew the whistles and overruled Jay Cutler’s interception to set up a 19-yard field goal attempt Robbie Gould booted for the game-winner.

Early in the third quarter, the Bears trailed 10-7, and it looked as if Lovie Smith would be sitting in the hot seat and in trouble of losing his coaching job. But starting off the season with a strong case of goodness might have just saved his coaching tenure. Only a few years ago, disgracefully, he was criticized and has been the scapegoat for the travesty and misery that pathetically circled the Bears.


At least at this point, Cutler is rebounding from his pitiful decisions last season when he led the league with the most interceptions and embarrassed himself. Not as advertised, he wasn’t living up to expectations and hadn’t played like a franchise quarterback. He was projected as the savior in Chicago’s deficiencies at the most important position but instead had been ridiculed for constantly tossing into double coverage and lofting ill-advised throws.

On a night the Bears wore throwback 1940s jerseys and paid tribute in a moment of silence before the game in honor of former Bear George Blanda, who died Monday, though he was shaky in the game, Cutler had discipline and awareness to lead the Bears. Besides flaws in his throwing motion and the tendency to overthrow his receivers, he threw for 221 yards and answered on an interception.

In his favor, it was reversed by a helmet-to-helmet hit charged to Packers linebacker Frank Zombo. With a team record of 18 penalties by the Packers, the Bears were the smarter opponents and took advantage. Good teams take advantage of mistakes. Good teams win on turnovers. Less than three minutes left in the game, veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher stripped James Jones and forced a fumble, and the Bears’ Tim Jennings recovered the ball.


By halftime they were still alive and they prevailed, with the Bears' monstrous defense dictating the momentum on their sizable effort. Flash back to the preseason, and you’d see this isn’t the same team we are seeing now. Flash back to the preseason, and you’d see a dissimilar team, a team with no identity.

Entering the game, Cutler had a 5-10 record in night games. The history of his struggles was obvious in the first half, with interceptions, overthrows, and incomplete passes.

But even better, the Bears won.

Whether or not they won it on the Packers' sloppy plays, still they are a dominant team and built with elite toughness.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ryan Mallett's Costly Blunders Devastate Arkansas


This could have been the biggest upset on the year in college football, and because Arkansas is the emergence on turf, as a beautiful story in the game, an upset was brewing. So now, as quickly as the Razorbacks had the top-ranked team in the nation, the dark horses fall out of bowl contention when all Arkansas needed was a thrilling win over Alabama.

And so it ends with a surprise, although it really wasn’t a surprise to watch the Razorbacks fall. During kickoff, the lively crowd was electric and believed that every conceivable element, from a high-powered offense to the rifle-armed pocket passer Ryan Mallett to a frenzy erupting early in the venue to the strong confidence, were well-equipped to stun Nick Saban and Alabama. If nothing else, the Razorbacks are the social consciousness in a town, where the masses occupy a craze on Saturdays and traditionally admire a sport we truly idolize.

This might have been, in sense, the game Arkansas needed to win in order to protect its national title bid and be proclaimed as prime contenders. The delusional belief almost happened with the mania increasingly rising in Fayetteville, where rabid supporters wearing seas of red were rambunctious on the opening drive, of course, coming on the first play when Mallett corralled a high snap and hurled a 31-yard pass to Jairus Wright.

Had it not been for Alabama’s blown assignment on defense that allowed Mallett to follow with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Wingo Jr., then Arkansas would have had a harder task scoring on the first drive. It turns out, the Razorbacks are immensely talented, but couldn’t survive in the end to cap arguably the most dazzling upset, as Alabama survived a 24-20 win. It was a bit shocking that Wingo raced out of the backfield uncovered and untouched on an eye-opening drive to boost momentum.

By halftime, Mallett had his team in position to pull off the improbable and delight a record home crowd of 76,808. The atmosphere was solemn and tense, until the impressive drive materialized and forced the spiritual crowd to wildly erupt. The startling notion of the Razorbacks possibly winning, simply felt rational and believable. In the case of the uncertainty and prodigy, it figured that the Razorbacks were capable of smearing ‘Bama’s national title hopes, it figured that they were mentally built to disrupt the mindsets of a dominant football program, and it figured that they were poise to encounter a challenging matchup.


The problem isn’t what happened, though. The problem is that the Razorbacks had the Crimson Tide. The fact is, Ar-Kansas almost secured a win and stayed unbeaten in a way to mount into bowl contention. For now, however, the nation is already convinced Mallett is a frontrunner in the Heisman campaign, a favorable candidate by judging his powerful arm and his ability to lead a high-powered offense. Even though he has the components of franchise quarterback, even though he is the factor on why the Razorbacks are a compelling team, and even though he is NFL-ready, he still has flaws for his inconsistent throwing mechanics.

And clearly, his miscues so badly cost Arkansas a chance of mounting into the BCS picture on a night the state was initially ready to launch a party into the wee hours. It has been since 1969 for which fans have waited for a game with plenty of implications, and a pivotal showdown so immense. At last, the Razorbacks had a shot a of redemption with a 13 point lead in the second half, but all of the sudden, turned complacent and stumbled in the middle of an onslaught against a composed and balanced Crimson Tide. So, he wasn’t exactly flawless, but almost led the team to a triumphant moment and honestly almost heightened his Heisman status.

There was plenty on the line in this contest, with much to prove as a redemptive tale almost wrote a gratifying ending, but he faltered with much at stake. Just like that, he gaffed of what might have been his sweetest win in his collegiate career. With all this, he is still one of the most admirable quarterbacks in the game today, if not the greatest with his incredible arm strength and athleticism. In the end, Arkansas blew a 20-7 third-quarter lead, to painfully doom an optimistic program and leave a large population disappointed.

In the end, he unraveled and gently committed miscues, happening at a moment when he is projected to be a top pick in the draft, and happening at a moment when the Razorbacks were elite in the SEC, evidently tough enough to send Alabama home teary-eyed, depraved of sustaining back-to-back joy. Much to the chagrin of disillusioned fans, the Razorbacks weren’t able to survive a sizable comeback as moments became painful and excruciating.

The dream of becoming BCS elite faded out of the equation in a game that was supposed to regard a stable program with tremendous talent. Undoubtedly, this was the biggest game in history, just as much as it was the biggest letdown. On his aerial blunders, he overthrew his intended receiver for an interception that lead to two interceptions, and doomed the state of a revival football program. For a moment there, it looked as if the game plan Arkansas had exploited would benefit in their favor.


Even if he threw for 250 yards, he fell short and was eclipsed by the Tides’ brutal rushing attack of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. See, in the first half, Alabama abandoned its running game and showcased aerial deficiencies. The rare blemishes of turnovers were costly for the Tide. It was a rarity to see Greg McElroy have first-half miscues, throwing picks on consecutive first-half possessions that gave Arkansas decent field position to gain a 17-7 lead.

But the brand of Alabama is the lethal running game, a clear understatement and underestimating trend. The savoir on a day it seemed the Tide were vulnerable of a collapse was Ingram. Clearly, he had a 54-yard first-half run touchdown run and stiff-armed two defenders down the sideline, and ran for a remarkable 157 yards on 24carries. His dynamic duo, Richardson, compiled 85 yards on just eight touches. But he had the highlight play of the game, when Alabama picked off Mallett to take over at the 12-yard line.

Losing so agonizingly is a heartbreaker for a state that has been waiting for overjoyed moments and dazzling endings. This was very stunning and upsetting to Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who had his players prepared for a defining game. This was a major blow to an entire state and town.

This one will hurt for a while.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

No Josh Hamilton: Power Rangers Too Powerless


His name is familiar and critical amid an unthinkable postseason push, and without Josh Hamilton, the comeback kid in baseball for restoring humankind and inspiration following a remorseful recovery a few years ago before he almost self-destructed, the Texas Rangers are doomed unless their superstar suddenly uplifts the psyche of a favorable club from imploding.

And to believe we debated, with considerable reasoning, whether the Rangers are equipped without the virtuous slugger in a period when the franchise is bearing a crisis is a trait of optimism.

Nowadays, after turning his life around by avoiding his troubled comrades and choosing to wisely stay away from bars and tattoo parlors, he honestly has emerged as a famous sports figure and has been a convenient essential in a workable nucleus in the heart of Texas.

By virtue, he mirthfully revived his troubled personality and habits and became a well-behaved role model to forge a touching story in baseball. It doesn’t take long, of course, to purge critics and skeptics, and it doesn’t take long for an athlete to repair his image.

All Hamilton needed was a mesmerizing spectacle in New York, where he captivated all fans sitting in the stands at the old Yankee Stadium as a participant in the Home Run Derby contest at the All-Star Game, but in reality, he needed a team to believe in his restoration.

With the Rangers expected to surge in the postseason, riding closer towards clinching the AL West division, he is depended upon to lead Texas on a spectacular chase. It’s quite known that he has reclaimed his talent and saved himself. Finally, he has exorcised a myriad of critics with multiple coming out parties from the clouded images of alcohol and drugs that almost sadly crippled his career and cost him his life.

Typically, during his blemished era when he had been banished from baseball in 2004 and was strung out on coke and drunk a bottle of Crown Royal a day and tossed away his $4 million signing bonus, Hamilton had certainty that he’d eventually make a strong recovery and return to the majors as a good-natured superstar. He indeed came back as a natural talent and almost had a miraculous run, becoming a Triple Crown threat.

These days, of course, he is the paradigm of a valuable lesson that anybody can fight off adversity and elude turbulence. But the latest injury report pertaining to Hamilton, the majors’ leading hitter and a top AL MVP candidate revealed Tuesday that he suffered three fractured ribs and has not played since crashing into a wall at Minnesota Sept. 4.

The bad news is that his departure spells doom for the AL West leading Rangers. He is, respectively, the superstar of a playoff-caliber team, a catalyst in the lineup, and certainly without him the Rangers aren’t a vital playoff threat.

The irony is that Hamilton means a lot to the clubhouse and has been phenomenal as the Rangers have blistered with the assistance of arguably the streakiest and finest hitter in baseball. Without him over the past 14 games into Tuesday, the Rangers have finished a mere 8-6 to somehow survive and shun the horror of a lousy letdown late in the season.

With all the remarkable comebacks in the past, it’s hard to envision Hamilton sitting out in his first postseason appearance, a perennial objective that tremendously took diligence and inspiration, accomplished when he finally gave up on alcohol and drugs.


After nearly destroying his career, in reality, he matured and wasn’t as na├»ve or brainless and realized the importance of saving not only his livelihood, but his spirit. The reality of an imminent future is that he simply rationalized he had to release all the trauma of depravity for a cure of humanity. And now, he’s suffering from a similar crisis, inactive because of a serious injury and it could cost Hamilton to miss the postseason.

One of the frustrating issues about the Rangers is that without Cliff Lee at the top of the rotation and Hamilton in the middle of the order, they are clearly an elusive team vulnerable of dropping in the first-round.

How ironic it is for Hamilton that he’s being treated and given an anti-inflammatory injection and an epidural nerve-block injection for pain, all while having a dazzling season with his swaggering hits and discipline at every at-bat. Meanwhile, he’s very confident he’ll be back for the action this fall.

“I have to be optimistic,” Hamilton says. “If not, I’d be moping around here, dragging around, and that’s not going to do good for my teammates.”

Again, he’s fighting off the adversity and bearing with the circumstances, only this time while nursing an injury. In a way, he has no choice and tries to improve his health to contribute with his teammates in an epic marathon presumably.

In the process, the Rangers are aiming to drive to the fall classic, but without the particular ingredient, which is Hamilton, Texas will have an uncomfortable and difficult task for surviving in the postseason.

By all means, as the Rangers aim closer to capturing their first postseason appearance since 1999, the commodity and ambition shrinks completely.

Amid a critical juncture, if the Rangers meet the New York Yankees in the first round, as expected, it is sensible to think that the Yankees will pulverize the Rangers, despite the tremendous pressure as favorites to pull off the best-of-seven series defeat. Above all, the Rangers have nothing to lose, proclaimed as underdogs.

Because the Yanks are having an abysmal season, Texas took advantage of New York’s sluggish spurts and managed to beat the Yankees in a three-game sweep. It would be foolish to suggest, as the body language is sturdier, as the mindset is more alarmed and as the intensity rises rapidly, that the Bronx Bombers won’t awaken and assert for the postseason.

And to match the Yankees' toughness, the Rangers will need the strength of Hamilton, who solidifies the lineup with his powerful bat.


One of the things Hamilton is selling is parity and resiliency in the lineup. While he has been hampered by ailments, as the Rangers ride based on his incredible hitting, he showed two small stable fractures in the seventh and eighth ribs in his right side. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to work in a few at-bats and rehab assignments in the final series of the regular season to return to hitting form and repossess his swagger.

If the Rangers cannot survive without Hamilton, they are in trouble. Considering his severe injury, Hamilton seems incapable of returning to the line up in time for the postseason. But mostly, he needs time to regain form, and needs to handle the uncomfortable pain.

The downside is the limited ripple effect without Hamilton, and the Rangers are less efficient as the hitting ratio plunges drastically. His unprecedented success is timely and parlays the high-powered offense of the Power Rangers, whenever he is part of the lineup. In the meantime, he leads the majors with a .361 batting average, and leads the majors with a .635 slugging percentage.

Incredibly, inexplicably, he has drilled 31 homers, drove in 97 RBI and scored 97 runs in 130 games. But unfortunately, he has missed 15 straight games because of his injury.

So far, Hamilton has been informed by doctors that he can play when he can tolerate pain. Knowingly, he can tolerate aches and pains. After all, he’s strong. Anytime someone overcomes drug and alcohol addictions, they are strong mentally and physically.

“I think it’s something happy,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after hearing the news. “To know that once the residue of the shots wear off, he can start doing activities, and then it’s tolerance.”

“Hopefully, his tolerance can get him back on the field.”

Maybe.

After the shots, Hamilton said he felt relieved, but the next 48 to 72 hours are the most decisive. For now, however, the Rangers are bottomless with Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Vladimir Guerrero, Nelson Cruz, and Elvis Andrus, a lineup conceivably built with dexterity.

And surely among all things it seems Lee, the undeniable ace a year ago with the Phillies, has recuperated from his frequent back injuries and could possibly formulate an encore with his extraordinary, hitless masterpiece. As it turns out, David Murphy has taken the place of Hamilton and has filled in efficiently, hitting .397 in his past 17 games.

Unless he comes out of a flak jacket-type vest, reduces the periodic cortisone shots and arrives on time, it’s still highly unlikely that the Rangers win without his presence. With an eight-game lead in the AL West, they’ll win the division, no doubt.

However, it’s not clear when he might play a game for the Rangers. Realistically, without Hamilton, the Power Rangers aren’t nearly as powerful.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eagles QB Controversy Is Worth Putting to Rest: Michael Vick Is Right For Job


A lot of us raised our eyebrows at the recent news coming out of Philly, at a time when desperate times calls for desperate measures, at a time when the Philadelphia Eagles are battered in an ugly quarterback controversy and at a time when head coach Andy Reid finally made up his damn mind and wisely named Michael Vick as the Eagles starting quarterback.

It was a clear understanding Tuesday when the ever changeable Reid finally ended his obnoxious flip-flopping and stopped playing musical chairs with Kevin Kolb and Vick, a nudging debate that had Philly fanatics wondering, and yet Reid essentially favored Vick to be his primary passer, eventually the dysfunctional population in Philly were ready to embark on madness.

If the Eagles miss the playoffs and have a hapless run this season, in all likelihood, Reid’s job status could be in jeopardy.

Much to the chagrin of the Eagles, who obviously regrets ever giving up on the classy veteran Donovan McNabb to begin a modern era and promise the starting job to Kolb, the team misses the former quarterback ever since dealing him to the Washington Redskins in the spring.

Regarding the campaign of a peeving controversy, Reid is doing everything he can to salvage his shaky job, and has been on the hot seat for the last few years.

Seemingly, he made the right choice, a decision he won’t regret, a decision that clearly benefits the Eagles this season. Maybe not next season or five seasons down the road. But right now.

If the Eagles wish to be in playoff contention, then turning the job over to Vick is a brilliant move.

And if Vick starts to decline, Reid can always replace him with Kolb. It’s about making sure any coach does the right thing to accommodate with the team’s needs.


The disarray is just awful ever since a concussed Kolb suffered a significant blow to the head late in the second quarter of the season-opener.

If a player suffers a concussion these days, normally the team monitors the player carefully and refuses to rush any player back onto the field, as a significant hit to the head is dangerous and could cause serious damage.

But in this case, Reid is not benching Kolb for precautionary actions and, in the meantime, has opted to start Vick over Kolb.

Because it’s a sports town that adores excitement and a magnetic superstar to awe their senses, the most infamous felon in sports is now depended upon to be the hero in a chaotic community.

In a flux, Vick is the right choice if the Eagles are trying to win and seek our attention in a successive run.

“When someone is playing at the level Michael Vick is playing, you have to give him an opportunity.” Reid told reporters Tuesday. “This isn’t about Kevin Kolb’s play. You’re talking about Michael Vick as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now.”

He’s right.

The hottest quarterback for the Eagles is Vick, and maybe he is the difference in a sudden resurrection for a team that badly felt it was the moment to refurbish and move on without McNabb, mainly to satisfy an ungrateful city that no longer appreciated the ability or diligence of a Pro Bowl quarterback.

But now, this is another opportunity for Vick, now a changed man who showed remorse a long time ago when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated the fallen star, to repair his dismantled image and prove he is still valuable and have speed and agility to lead a disintegrated organization.

Believe it or not, Vick is experienced and has turned out gracious and remorseful, greatly maturing as a modest man.

It’s quite impossible to forget a gruesome crime, but it’s common to forgive a man of his misdeeds when he has paid his debts to society and served 19 months in prison and the final two in home confinement on dogfighting conviction, a hideous crime that revealed Vick’s senseless behavior.

The sad thing is, he was mentally disturbed enough to bankroll a dogfighting ring and brutally killed dogs as an amusing activity, and pathetically ended his brief stint with the Atlanta Falcons.

Instead of coming forth, he lied to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, a classy chairman who urges strong character.

But much trust was lost and the Falcons dismissed the beloved superstar in one community that adored Vick and supported him amid the dogfighting scandal.

The anonymity of this horrible crisis allowed teams to ignore the availability of Vick, but Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie was a lone businessman willing to take a risk as McNabb lobbied for the convenience of Vick.

It’s clear that the Eagles are in a rebuilding stage and, however, if the team falters and misses the playoffs, then it’s logical to assume Reid will be canned. Logic tells us.


It is sort of hard to believe Reid. Believe this: It’s very baffling to understand his instinctive plan when he insisted all along Kolb would start as soon as he returned from a concussion, and then one day later announced that he’d bench Kolb in favor of Vick.

Now, suddenly, his choice of words seems logical. To be real, Vick had two dazzling performances and gives the Eagles hope, maybe not in the future but as of now.

To be real, he is playing at the highest level of his phenomenal career, despite limited action the last two seasons he missed because of the dogfighting scandal.

“There’s not a thing that changed with Kevin Kolb,” Reid said Wednesday. “This was all about Michael Vick and the way he has played the game. It’s that simple. He has played as outstanding as any quarterback in the league to this point.”

“He exceeded even my expectation. Kevin Kolb has a bright, bright future. My feelings about Kevin haven’t changed one bit. But Michael has surprised all of us with his play.”

He is, theoretically, an early surprise and waited in the wings of Kolb and McNabb, similar to Kolb who calmly waited in the wings of McNabb and finally had his turn until he sustained a concussion.

My suggestion is that Reid doesn’t trust in Kolb and lost confidence in his second-round draft pick in 2007.

And with all the complications surrounding concussions, maybe his intentions are to conserve Kolb as much as possible and then he’ll be back as the starter.

By naming Vick the starter, though, Reid made a risky transition and replaced his young quarterback with a veteran. The stunning development to bench Kolb is bad news in a way. He could become unhappy and demand a trade elsewhere.

From a winning standpoint, Vick is more experienced and prepared to handle the task. If suddenly this exchange backfires, Reid will likely be fired and Kolb will very much be traded to another team, where he is gladly welcomed and named the starter.

The entire city had became attached and begun to worship Kolb. But as we know the critics in Philly could be vindictive and critical, just as some were towards Kolb and were begging for Reid to sit him and bring in Vick.

The wish was granted. Now, can he lead the Eagles?

However, this town didn’t believe in Vick, this town believed in Kolb. But we all know Reid’s philosophy by now. In understanding, he is experimenting with his quarterbacks. He realizes that Vick is the hottest. And if he fails, he can always bring in Kolb, realizing he has plenty of time to develop as a stud.

For the time being, Vick is better than any other star. This week alone, he is the league’s fourth-ranked quarterback with a rating of 105.5, higher than Drew Brees, greater than Tom Brady and more impressive than Matt Schaub, surpassing his career best of 81.2.

In the meantime, Kolb’s confidence is under turmoil and Reid is targeted mightily by critics, but he has handled the pressure, criticism and controversies. So this is the way he protects the future, by sitting down and abandoning Kolb the first time he struggled and suffered an injury, the first time he seemed under duress, and the first time he seemed like a JV quarterback not a franchise quarterback.

Make no mistake, Reid has beckoned the right guy to run the Eagles offense.

The fact is, the Eagles are better with Vick as starter.

Trust me.

Michael Vick Could Be the Next Best Thing That Has Happened to Andy Reid Since Donovan McNabb

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Andy Reid probably saw his first, great glimpse of the unstoppable, flying Michael Vick back in the 2005 NFC Championship game. Vick would lead his underrated Atlanta Falcons to the NFC title game, only to face a solid quarterback in Donovan McNabb, and his company of the brotherly love Philadelphia Eagles.

The next season, however, Vick brought revenge in a 14-10 win at Atlanta. Vick was running here and there, converting first downs not only on his arm, but a lot on his legs. And Vick couldn’t be stopped. The defenses were too slow for the very-mobile, athletic quarterback. They couldn’t believe their eyes.

Just a season later, Vick would one of the best years of his career, being the first quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards. However, things would soon go all but downhill for Michael. Yes, of course, the dog fighting charges. And from there, we all know what happened. We all know the story. And now he’s back, and with the Eagles.

Just about a week or so, I wrote a column about Vick. This is different.

To start things off, people should finally shut their mouths and forgive the man. If you won’t, I don’t care. I am among the growing many that will support Vick. I am also a dog-owner myself, a proud owner of a four-year-old, German Shepherd breed dog named Christy. She was born right around the ending of the 2006-07 season, Vick’s last year in the NFL before heading to prison.

If you don’t forgive Vick, then why do people continue to forgive people like Ben Roethlisberger, Adam “Pacman” Jones, Donte Stallworth, and many more. Some of the things they have done are worse than Vick. And again, I am a dog-owner, but no offense, but Stallworth killing a man is much worse than killing dogs. Although what Vick did was extremely, and entirely gruesome, it’s starting to get very overhyped.

I will forgive Vick for his troubles. Along with that, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. Will, “no dip Sherlock” on that part, but it’s not like Vick did everything that was said. There were other folks who had a bigger part, but it goes to show you that sometimes you can’t always trust your friends, no matter who close you are to them.

The Eagles obviously made a mistake in letting Donovan McNabb go. If you look at it right now, McNabb has so far been doing a lot better. He’s been tearing it up with the Washington Redskins. After a sudden-death overtime loss to the Houston Texans, McNabb threw for over 400 yards! The Redskins came close, but McNabb excelled.

Meanwhile, Andy Reid is looking at Kevin Kolb. Kolb, so far, has been overrated. In fact, the kid is garbage. I don’t see how anyone can be dumb enough to think he could still be starting. I understand Reid’s point on still starting Kolb after the Eagles’ close Week One loss. But there was no way he would still keep Vick on the bench after excelling in Week Two, which was a win over the Detroit Lions.

Vick now has become the full-time starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. His first game, which was a 27-20 comeback loss to the Green Bay Packers, Vick threw for 175 yards along with a 108 passer rating. He would also have 103 yards on the ground. Against the Lions, he passed for 284 yards and two touchdowns, showing off his passing skills.

Vick has obviously made a comeback, and a very very big one. One of my partners at footbasket.com, JR, made a great video about Vick last year. JR is seen on NBC, and is a popular sports icon on YouTube.com. His show, JR Sport Brief, has teamed up with FootBasket. But back to my point. JR made a video about Vick coming back to the NFL. He talked about him not starting but he will do his little things here and there. And maybe a year later, he can explore at starting again.

Well now the time has come. After doing his little things her and there, Vick has gotten a second chance to prove himself. And so far, the guy hasn’t disappointed the fans. Vick can still run the ball. What people are saying that “it is a new generation of football and defenses aren’t scared of Vick’s rushing ability,” is just bull. Vick still scares defenses with his legs, enough said.

And his passing, well, I am very impressed! Vick has showed the passing skills people have been waiting to see. Plus, N0. Seven finally has weapons. He has guys like LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, DeSean Jackson, and more. With Vick, the Eagles can succeed. Reid made the right decision in starting him.

“When someone is playing at the level Michael Vick is playing, you have to give him an opportunity,” Reid said.

Meanwhile, Kevin Kolb could get traded. According to the Associated Press, numerous teams have called the Eagles on a possible trade. Kolb has been out for the last six quarters of playing time due to his big hit, as he got laid out by A.J. Hawk. This led to a concussion. And boom, Vick comes in, and explodes on offense. From there, you know how the whole story goes.

“We have had calls,” the team official for the Eagles said on Wednesday.

Reid was asked if Kolb could get traded by the deadline, which is on October 19th.

“Listen, I can’t predict anything down that far, nobody in this league can do that,” Reid replied.

Reid should be proud of the decision he has made. And this could just be like starting all over again. A new quarterback, a new team, a new dynsasty. The Eagles can still be great. And with Vick, the possibilities are rising more and more each week he plays. And Reid should know that. Reid can build a great quarterback out of Vick than he already his, just like he did to Donovan McNabb.

They could build another great quarterback-coach duo. The Eagles have found the quarterback they have been looking for since McNabb left. Super Five is gone. Welcome to Super Seven! Reid will definitely not regret this decision. I have the Eagles winning or making the playoffs in the Wild Card for the NFC East division.

Vick will be the key. And with Vick for hopefully these next few years, the Eagles can go back to their old, great winning ways.

Michael Vick could easily be the next best thing to Andy Reid since Donovan McNabb.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mark Sanchez Leads Jets, Gets Even With Patriots: This Sends a Statement


For a moment, the world laughed at the New York Jets, one of the most appealing franchises in the NFL labeled as the most overrated franchise, based on their abysmal and humiliating performance in a prime-time meeting with the Baltimore Ravens.

One day soon, the team in the Meadowlands is likely to blossom as an unstoppable force and escape the inept times to end derision that religiously ridiculed the Jets, a team over the summer that bothered us greatly with its cockiness and smart ass guarantees of a Super Bowl win.

Maybe it wasn’t the time and place for prematurely forecasting an appearance on football’s grandest stage, but as a confident unit, maybe it had some truth.

As the most talented franchise in the NFL, the Jets are the type of team that seek our attention with nonsensical publicity and we love to acknowledge an efficient core, especially when it brings fun to the game populace enjoys in America.

The latest noteworthy win, after convincingly pummeling its foes the New England Patriots, might redefine a sense of belief the rest of the way as the Jets are still on pace to prove worthy of testing its wills in the Super Bowl.

It gives antagonist Tom Brady all the reason to despise the enemies of their division more than ever, weeks removed from his bitter statement when he was asked if he watches the HBO show “Hard Knocks” and said that he hates the Jets.

And something significant always happens when the Patriots and Jets encounter each other on the same turf, raged over the ridiculous trash talk and hard blows in every meeting.

Given the history of antipathy, a critical win may have been enough to settle the score and avenge a heartbreaking letdown last season.

They were sluggish and too complacent in the first half, fatigued and had trouble slowing down the Patriots efficient running plays as Jets head coach Rex Ryan called a sequence of unforeseen schemes, but were incapable tactics and allowed the Pats to gain positive yardage.

They were bullied and outran by an undersized receiving core, and the secondary played like kids who stepped onto the turf for the first time.

But in context of strengthening as a competitive force in football, the Jets challenged came ever quickly and finally happened when Mark Sanchez led New York to a 28-14 win over the Patriots to make a significant statement.

For once, we all understand what Ryan meant when he boldly described the Jets as a Super Bowl team. It wasn’t amazingly, as it seemed, all about the offense but a tenacious defensive unit, which set a tone during the second-half and harassed Brady and his bunch.

It was almost time to panic, and fans had begun to maintain their collective breaths nervous and frightened over the possibility of witnessing a huge disappointment.


With much buzz surrounding the Jets for what is supposed to be a remarkable season amid a pursuit, after many of whom credited the Jets as a trendy pick to win the division, Sanchez matured and completed 21-of-30 passes for 220 yards with a career-high three touchdown passes.

LaDainian Tomlinson, a classy veteran with blistering speed, flashed back to his record-setting days and intensified the rambunctious crowd in the stands on a 31-yard run and ensured a scoring drive without center Nick Mangold.

It’s no longer accurate to refer to Sanchez as a hapless passer who appeared to be confused and frustrated with his incompetent performance. This time, his body language defined him as a franchise quarterback, and he surely was the difference in the Jets recovery.

The assumption that the Jets have invested much hope in Sanchez ever since bringing a modest leader to the organization to rid the flustering era of worthless failures is benefiting the team aiming for headline performances and relevancy.

Seemingly, of course, the Jets were resilient in the aftermath of a devastating rout to the Ravens, and the lost of defensive leader Kris Jenkins after suffering a knee injury.

The adversity has brought the Jets together as a cohesive core, now a team with enough heart and fortitude to assemble a nice pursuit and punch a ticket to the Super Bowl.

From the luxurious suites, owner Woody Johnson watched elated with the sudden progress and growth of Sanchez. Filled with much pressure, he plays with the Super Bowl expectations and a franchise that resides in a territory where the media is very critical if a player under-performs.

In a town where tabloids and fans ridicule useless athletes, Sanchez played a key role in a must-needed win to avoid a 0-2 skid and defied the odds in dazzling performance.


He played with a determined desire and displayed a skilled throwing motion at the New Meadowland Stadium on Sunday afternoon, and fired up the energetic crowd with the ability to translate his mobility and tremendous energy on the pro level. If you haven’t notice, the Jets are blessed to have an elite quarterback.

The frightening turn-of-events happened moments after Randy Moss’ jaw-dropping one-handed touchdown late in the second quarter, and without prolific cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Jets were still potent and physical by raising the intensity level.

It was a huge loss that Revis grabbed his left hamstring and didn’t return. By halftime, they trailed, they seemed victimized and they seemed doomed.

But the Jets survived in desperation and sent a statement to the NFL, becoming a modest favorite to rise to the occasion on Feb. 6.

There were times when Ryan’s team relied on the Patriots clumsiness and took advantage of two pass interference calls to take a commanding lead.

At one point, the Jets effortlessly picked off Brady’s intended pass to Moss on a sterling defensive play. In an instance, the ball was tipped by the Patriots wide receiver and then bounced off of Antonio Cromarite’s helmet and into the arms of Brodney Pool.

In the end, Sanchez was surrounded by a swarm of photographers and reporters. A legion of fans gathered collectively outside the tunnel and applauded him for overcoming a shaky and awful performance. It couldn’t have come at a better time against the Jets’ arch rivals on a day they were limited and lost Revis to a hamstring injury.

It couldn’t have come at a better time that the ageless Tomlinson finished with 102 all-purpose yards. It couldn’t have come at a better time that Braylon Edwards amazingly caught five passes, and converted on the two-point conversion.

It couldn’t have come at a better time that tight end Dustin Keller caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.

As the Jets get the last laugh against the Spy-gate criminals, Sanchez made it all possible and stopped the devious Bill Belichick and his partner in crime Brady.

“This is just the beginning,” Sanchez said.

Indeed.

It could be the beginning to a wonderful ending.

The Latest of Jacory Harris Shows That Racism Is Still a Problem, Even In Sports

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Jacory Harris had a very disappointing game when the Miami Hurricanes took on Terrelle Pryor and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Harris tossed four interceptions in the team’s loss. Although there had to be a negativity said about Harris, one man went overboard. The man sent a Twitter message to Harris’s Twitter account, saying that the reason the Hurricanes lost was because they had a black quarterback.

Now, to me, that just sounds terrible and it is something that is definitely not right to say in today’s world. Since this incident happened, all the players on Miami’s roster had to terminate their accounts on the social network. Harris said it didn’t bother him all that much.

“Not really worried about it,” Harris told the Associated Press. “I know people say things like that. It’s part of the sport. Got to get used to it.”

Nobody could ever find the tweet again since the termination of the account. It was recalled that this isn’t the first time that Harris has received racist comments.

“It’s flat-out wrong,” Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt said. “It’s sad. It’s disappointing. In a position that we celebrate, living in one of the most diverse communities in our nation, to have this type of behavior is appalling. It’s not tolerable. Jacory is a very talented young man. We’ll just continue on focusing to do the right things and rise above these type of comments.”

Harris said this is a final message on his Twitter.

“You see some things and you get kind of hurt, because sometimes it’s your fans that say the things,” Harris said. “It’ll be the ones that probably just before the game wrote you some encouraging message, then after the game say they don’t want a black quarterback here. Stuff like that. It’s cool.”

However, all the Hurricanes’ players’ Twitter accounts weren’t deleted because of the message Harris received, but it’s a good thing they deleted beforehand so the message won’t cause such a fuss as it already is.

“We choose to focus on those positives rather than one individual, who chooses to make such ignorant comments,” Shannon said. “It’s sad that Jacory would be exposed to those types of statements. They have no place in our society and are not tolerated at the University of Miami.”

Harris said he won’t let the comments affect him.

“It’s happened before, but it’s nothing that I’m worried about,” Harris said. “I’m not worried about it, so you guys shouldn’t be worried about it. I’m OK with it. It’s not a problem. Not with me.”

His teammates were furious of what happened, however.

“Hearing something like that, coming here to a diverse school, you would think we’re past that,” said defensive lineman Marcus Forston, who was Harris’ high school teammate at Miami Northwestern High. “That’s in the past. We all came to this school together. We’ve got a diverse locker room, and in there, you don’t want to hear anything like that.”

“We’re going to take it with a grain of salt and make it a positive thing. So they’re saying that we don’t need that type of quarterback or they’re saying we’re not good enough or that we’re supposed to be winning championships? It’s because we are supposed to be doing that,” said linebacker Jordan Futch.

Miami is the only team that has a basketball coach and a football coach that are African-Americans, which are Shannon and Frank Haith.

Harris is trying to focus on the team’s next game against the Pittsburgh Panthers and will try to not worry about the hate message he received on Twitter.

“It is disheartening. It’s something that you look it and it kind of brings you to tears, a little bit,” Harris said. “But at the same time, you know it’s just a comment. Nothing else will be taken after that. There will be no steps taken after that. That’s his opinion. That’s that person’s opinion. Got to live with it.”

This news easily shows that racism is a big problem in today’s world. When can people stop with race? Why do people need to keep creating walls to divide us from each other? What’s the difference about your skin color, religion, or anything. We are all human. And what makes it worse is that it is probably coming from some redneck white man.

The man should realize that his people did one of the worst things for the last 300 years. Slaves, name-calling, racial slurs, and a whole lot more. They went as far as to creating a clan and burning people’s houses down to hanging them to death. Seriously? What’s the deal?

And bringing this B.S. into sports just makes it a whole lot worse. When does a skin color matter? There’s so many bad things that go on in this world, and this has by far have to be one of the worst. And this man is probably very narrow-minded. No disrespect to white people, but a lot of them are just narrow-minded. I am Indian as my parents were from India. I have taken some racial slurs before, and seeing this just bursts my bubble.

A lot of white folks think that a colored person can’t come to America because they can’t speak English or anything. It just has to be owned and run by white people. Seriously? The racists out there should come out of their rock they are living in and see who are President is: Barack Obama, ladies and gentleman. Oh, and news flash: English is ripped off from many languages. Along with that, the white people stole the land. It was originally owned by Native Americans.

So many racist things have been said, and in sports. Without a lot of the “colored” people, as you wish you may call them, we wouldn’t appreciate music the way it is, sports the way it is, entertainment the way it is, or the world the way it is. Since the many things that have happened to people like Michael Vick, or Terrell Owens, more racial slurs come up.

It is just not right. Racist is easily one of the worst things that has happened in sports. Easily. No question about it. From LeBron James’ decision to Jacory Harris, the racism continues. From Hank Aaron and his hate mails to N.W.A. and their support of the Oakland Raiders, the racism continues.

A lot of disrespect is still in sports. For example, take a look at three sports teams. They are pretty much showing huge disrespect to the Native Americans. The teams? The Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Redskins, and the Cleveland Indians. All of them show Native Americans in their logo, and for years, there has been protest of the logo. It’s just terrible the way they show the disrespect.

It affects children in this way. I read a great report by Jody Wagner over at Bleacher Report. He found a report from Professor Cornel Pewewardy of how racist logos like what they show in the teams I just labeled affect the children of our society.

Jacory Harris had a very disappointing game when the Miami Hurricanes took on Terrelle Pryor and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Harris tossed four interceptions in the team’s loss. Although there had to be a negativity said about Harris, one man went overboard. The man sent a Twitter message to Harris’s Twitter account, saying that the reason the Hurricanes lost was because they had a black quarterback.

Now, to me, that just sounds terrible and it is something that is definitely not right to say in today’s world. Since this incident happened, all the players on Miami’s roster had to terminate their accounts on the social network. Harris said it didn’t bother him all that much.

“Not really worried about it,” Harris told the Associated Press. “I know people say things like that. It’s part of the sport. Got to get used to it.”

Nobody could ever find the tweet again since the termination of the account. It was recalled that this isn’t the first time that Harris has received racist comments.

“It’s flat-out wrong,” Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt said. “It’s sad. It’s disappointing. In a position that we celebrate, living in one of the most diverse communities in our nation, to have this type of behavior is appalling. It’s not tolerable. Jacory is a very talented young man. We’ll just continue on focusing to do the right things and rise above these type of comments.”

Harris said this is a final message on his Twitter.

“You see some things and you get kind of hurt, because sometimes it’s your fans that say the things,” Harris said. “It’ll be the ones that probably just before the game wrote you some encouraging message, then after the game say they don’t want a black quarterback here. Stuff like that. It’s cool.”

However, all the Hurricanes’ players’ Twitter accounts weren’t deleted because of the message Harris received, but it’s a good thing they deleted beforehand so the message won’t cause such a fuss as it already is.

“We choose to focus on those positives rather than one individual, who chooses to make such ignorant comments,” Shannon said. “It’s sad that Jacory would be exposed to those types of statements. They have no place in our society and are not tolerated at the University of Miami.”

Harris said he won’t let the comments affect him.

“It’s happened before, but it’s nothing that I’m worried about,” Harris said. “I’m not worried about it, so you guys shouldn’t be worried about it. I’m OK with it. It’s not a problem. Not with me.”

His teammates were furious of what happened, however.

“Hearing something like that, coming here to a diverse school, you would think we’re past that,” said defensive lineman Marcus Forston, who was Harris’ high school teammate at Miami Northwestern High. “That’s in the past. We all came to this school together. We’ve got a diverse locker room, and in there, you don’t want to hear anything like that.”

“We’re going to take it with a grain of salt and make it a positive thing. So they’re saying that we don’t need that type of quarterback or they’re saying we’re not good enough or that we’re supposed to be winning championships? It’s because we are supposed to be doing that,” said linebacker Jordan Futch.

Miami is the only team that has a basketball coach and a football coach that are African-Americans, which are Shannon and Frank Haith.

Harris is trying to focus on the team’s next game against the Pittsburgh Panthers and will try to not worry about the hate message he received on Twitter.

“It is disheartening. It’s something that you look it and it kind of brings you to tears, a little bit,” Harris said. “But at the same time, you know it’s just a comment. Nothing else will be taken after that. There will be no steps taken after that. That’s his opinion. That’s that person’s opinion. Got to live with it.”

This news easily shows that racism is a big problem in today’s world. When can people stop with race? Why do people need to keep creating walls to divide us from each other? What’s the difference about your skin color, religion, or anything. We are all human. And what makes it worse is that it is probably coming from some redneck white man.

The man should realize that his people did one of the worst things for the last 300 years. Slaves, name-calling, racial slurs, and a whole lot more. They went as far as to creating a clan and burning people’s houses down to hanging them to death. Seriously? What’s the deal?

And bringing this B.S. into sports just makes it a whole lot worse. When does a skin color matter? There’s so many bad things that go on in this world, and this has by far have to be one of the worst. And this man is probably very narrow-minded. No disrespect to white people, but a lot of them are just narrow-minded. I am Indian as my parents were from India. I have taken some racial slurs before, and seeing this just bursts my bubble.

A lot of white folks think that a colored person can’t come to America because they can’t speak English or anything. It just has to be owned and run by white people. Seriously? The racists out there should come out of their rock they are living in and see who are President is: Barack Obama, ladies and gentleman. Oh, and news flash: English is ripped off from many languages. Along with that, the white people stole the land. It was originally owned by Native Americans.

So many racist things have been said, and in sports. Without a lot of the “colored” people, as you wish you may call them, we wouldn’t appreciate music the way it is, sports the way it is, entertainment the way it is, or the world the way it is. Since the many things that have happened to people like Michael Vick, or Terrell Owens, more racial slurs come up.

It is just not right. Racist is easily one of the worst things that has happened in sports. Easily. No question about it. From LeBron James’ decision to Jacory Harris, the racism continues. From Hank Aaron and his hate mails to N.W.A. and their support of the Oakland Raiders, the racism continues.

A lot of disrespect is still in sports. For example, take a look at three sports teams. They are pretty much showing huge disrespect to the Native Americans. The teams? The Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Redskins, and the Cleveland Indians. All of them show Native Americans in their logo, and for years, there has been protest of the logo. It’s just terrible the way they show the disrespect.

It affects children in this way. I read a great report by Jody Wagner over at Bleacher Report. He found a report from Professor Cornel Pewewardy of how racist logos like what they show in the teams I just labeled affect the children of our society.

“Children’s self images are very pliable and susceptible to external forces, especially if they are steeped in violent and negative images. Unfortunately, for Indigenous Peoples many false images of ethnicity still dominate the consciousness of the American psyche,” he said.

Here was the following I read in Wagner’s report of what others have said:


LA Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke said, “It’s a horrible derogatory name towards Native Americans!” and “I can’t believe it’s been allowed to go on this long.”
Writer Suzan Shown Harjo said, “The r-word is the most derogatory thing Native Peoples can be called in the English language.”
Artist Charlene Teters said, “American Indians are human beings, not mascots.”
Xavier University Professor David Rider said, “Negative images and attitudes toward American Indians have served precisely the same function: To protect the historical oppressors from a sense of guilt over the atrocities committed agianst Indians and to justify further exploitation.”
It’s time to put an end to racism, especially in sports. I know there are still some really dumb people out there who still haven’t come to the fact that their time with bossing around the “colored” people is now over and they will continue to be the dumb redneck racists they continue to be.

But I hope one day this all stops.

Because it’s getting annoying.

And it could ruin our world as we know it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Patriots-Jets: A Bitter War Sends a Reality Check to Lackluster Jets

It doesn’t take long, just unforeseen drivel and everlasting trash talk, before a long-awaited Sunday sends each team into a bitter clash and lures television viewers, as the game of the weekend is Patriots vs. Jets, a pair of teams set to meet on a collision course in a late afternoon war.

So now, it’s a traditional birthright to anoint a couple of teams that have fueled a hated rivalry and allured fans all over the world, magnetizing our minds and hearts as loyalists wait to be entertained by a resentful feud in an emotional contest. If there’s anybody more whimsical and comical, it’s New York Jets' head coach Rex Ryan, the funniest man who tells jokes about his own belly during news conferences and becomes famous in a community, where local tabloids tease the next comedian to make Broadway laugh.

If there’s a villain everyone despises greatly, it’s Bill Belichick, of course: the Spygate criminal and arrogant mastermind who really wasn’t a modest genius, but a devious con artist for ruining the aspects of football with his slick demeanor. Now, suddenly, we are witnessing an unfriendly tale in football and a competitive symphony between the Jets and Patriots.


By now, it is known that the Jets disclosed the truth and accused the Patriots of cheating, shockingly disgracing and embarrassing Belichick as three of their Super Bowl rings were called into uncertainty and tainted. The full-blown history of animosity comes as no surprise, and it was exactly not surprising a few weeks ago when Tom Brady was asked if he watches “Hard Knocks,” the Jets reality show and said bitterly that he loathes the Jets.

“I hate the Jets, so I refuse to support that show.”

This was a harsh statement for the Jets, who are now fiery and ready to take on the enemies of the AFC East division. It was a modest assessment that those were retaliation words, more than senseless words, and could easily force the Jets to be meaner, disciplined, and more violent. Maybe this is a wake up call entering the second week of the regular season, currently 0-1 in the standings.

Maybe this cures any thoughts of another meltdown as the Jets take on their foes in a critical matchup early in the unpredictable season. Seen as darlings and a rebirth in football, the overexposed show on HBO has advertised the Jets as primary contenders in an unsettled division. As recently, the team wearing green in New York is overrated, unprepared, and incapable of riding to the Super Bowl.


But with plenty of talent and reinforcements, the Jets are capable of punching a ticket to Dallas. As it is, no one expected the Jets to begin the season 0-1, but at the New Meadowlands Stadium, particularly with a feel of desperation to avoid an 0-2 skid, the Jets will enter the game with a stronger, urgent mentality and partly because of its opponent. In many instances, the Jets seem very vulnerable and have to withstand the pressure as doubt becomes immense for a team which embodied much fluidity.

For now, of course, the Jets are a respectable pick to win the division, despite the slow start that can suddenly transform into a credible streak. But with all the adversity, New York is suddenly facing hard times. And ever since they collapsed on Monday Night Football in their season opener against Baltimore and accounted for the most penalty yards in 22 years, learned defensive star Kris Jenkins will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, and lastly, were accused by a female reporter who filed a harassment complaint against players and coaches, the Jets hit a downside.


In a way, this is a huge advantage for the Patriots. This is supposed to be an ecstatic game in the most intense atmosphere. The Pats will treat it as if they are contending for a playoff berth or like this is a postseason matchup, still upset over the revelations of Spygate. Back in the day, Jets owner Woody Johnson hired Eric Mangini from Belichick’s staff. From there, it sparked an ugly feud, and Belichick refused to talk to him as he clearly was viewed as a traitor for accepting the coaching gig in New York and converting to green attire. He simply broke NFL rules for spying on teams, publicly creating a fuss once the Jets exposed evidence of his secretive tapes. That explains why THE BRADY BUNCH hates the Jets, as well as BELICHEAT, right?

Exactly, end of discussion.

By working underneath the so-called mastermind, Mangini obviously knew all of Belichick’s secrets and infected schemes. Ever since then, the Pats disliked the Jets. Ever since then, the Jets disliked the Pats. So, it’s a mutual feeling of hate and bitterness, no doubt. And publicly announcing that a player strongly dislikes a team builds rivalries, and the Pats and Jets have become the biggest, most appealing rivals in the NFL. This isn’t just another game. This is a violent game with lots of implications.

The Pats and Jets are expected to collide with powerful blows and brutal contact, to spill blood all over the turf. How interesting we are gazing at yet another rivalry happening before our very eyes, more fun and exciting than the Lakers-Celtics, Yankees-Red Sox, North Carolina-Duke, or Candiens-Bruins. All that matters is a bitter rivalry on opposite sides. As it turns out, Ryan is bombastic and silly, but more than ever, he’s a flawless defensive specialist with innovative tactics to inhibit Brady’s passing display, another way to make his task miserable.


The problem is, of course, the Jets offense and Mark Sanchez’s miserable performance. In comparison, he’s a pretty boy as was Joe Namath, who recently tweeted “conservative play calling style,” referring to the Jets' struggling offense.

Sanchez has the intangibles to be the best quarterback in the league, but as of now, his body language reveals frustration and paranoia terrified to hurl downfield passes and worried about throwing interceptions for an encore season, tossing a mere 22 picks last season, and pitifully lost 31-14 to the Patriots last November.

He badly tossed four interceptions, and New England’s top receiver Wes Welker caught 15 passes for 192 yards. But this time around, Sanchez is looking to rebound and get even with the demons standing in their way, just as the Pats are looking to maintain an edge over the Jets.

So here we go, ready to watch the Jets-Pats war.

Let the fight begin.

Friday, September 17, 2010

To Rid Unsavory Transgressions, Bruce Pearl Has To Vanish

There was a savory smell not long ago from every barbecue joint in Tennessee, the delicious taste that left the folks in the south believing strongly in the Tennessee Volunteers and head coach Bruce Pearl, a custodian the die-hard fans trusted in and gathered to feast on pork shoulders, beef brisket, smoked turkey, ribs and smoked chicken.


As Tennesseans consumed the tasty food proudly served at the local dinners, they failed to realize that something smelled very bad, and it’s not the beans or smoked sausages, but it’s a troubling basketball scandal that has surfaced. It would not be a stunning reaction now that Pearl has admittedly acknowledged he lied to NCAA investigators regarding excessive phone calls to recruits. As a way to lure millions of prospects to commit to a finer program, he wrongly violated and deceived NCAA rules.

More than ever, this is something for the trustees to carefully evaluate and then maybe decide on generally firing Pearl for not only lying, but endangering a famous school’s image. The university is pondering and dealing with the emergence of a disgraceful scandal and, eventually, Tennessee will be ungenerous and dismiss Pearl. Faced with a lot of trouble, as unlawful recruiting perpetually extends pointless hypocrisy and conspiracy, the basketball program is hit by sanctions in a mess with the NCAA.

What happened, of course, is that Pearl committed a shameful sin and has outraged the program with his dishonesty, finally dauntless enough to admit he didn’t tell the truth in a June interview. He actually lived a lie until he felt it was time to relieve a powerful burden he no longer could bear. Beyond all measures, Pearl unleashing the truth doesn’t resolve the ongoing issue, but terrifies and upsets a Tennessee community still overcoming the alleged infractions and the abrupt departure of Lane Kiffin that stained the university when he left for the USC coaching job.

All the emotion and calamity is an eye-opener for a university that is mired in difficulty as long as Pearl is installing a dishonest message. But as shamelessly bad as the athletic program may save Pearl from himself, he is the face of the Vols since rebuilding a prevailing team and providing a strong principle of inspiration and, in likelihood, could be allowed another chance.

The more this story unfolds, the harder it is to imagine that his job security is still intact, placed in an unfamiliar situation, and now that his status is hit with tremendous uncertainty, he’s criticized today for mostly sharing “incorrect and misleading information” to the NCAA in relations to unlawfully hosting recruits. Pearl, by nature, is the most animated coach in college basketball, known for sporting his orange sports coat or intensifying the fans at the Lady Volunteers’ basketball games.


He’s very fortunate that he isn’t fired. Perhaps, it’s not too late to terminate Pearl. He orchestrated the Vols renovation this era, and regularly scolded his players for making unwise choices and groomed his kids as if they were his own children. But it seems none of it matters, especially when trust is lost after he lied to investigators, and when he’ll be docked $1.5 million in pay over the next five years. So for now, athletic director Mike Hamilton needs to traditionally follow principles and handle the situation honestly and fairly. Or does he deserve to be fired?

He is, infamously, a disingenuous and an ineffectual administrator and has been unaware of the treachery happening within the program, something that was least expected at Rocky Top. Once before, sins tarnished the school in which Kiffin is involved in a pending investigation for six infractions of violating NCAA rules. And now this is another bummer. This time, Pearl lies to the NCAA. This time, realistically, he’s labeled as a cheater and sadly is a cheater who believed he could have gotten away with infamy when he lied under serious circumstances.

It wasn’t long ago, now afflicted by guilt for keeping the truth hidden, when he confessed to his transgression at a press conference and acknowledged that he had to release the truth, grasping an understanding that he used poor judgment. All of the sudden, he came clean because he clearly felt he was busted, and eventually he would have been busted when the NCAA had already interviewed witnesses close to Pearl.


Rather than tell the truth, he lied and refused to take accountability for his actions, and now is distinguished as an arbitrary liar. It’s true that many coaches look for an edge as far as in recruiting the top prospects in the nation, but it may have cost Pearl his coaching job for dangerously violating the rules. At best, we can sense that he’s self-indulgent and negligent and tried daringly to beat the system, when the system has actually beaten the most famous, godlike citizen in Tennessee, now the shameful liar who broke into tears and genuinely announced that his information was a hoax.

It wasn’t until Friday when he sincerely said:

“I provided incorrect and misleading information to the NCAA. I do apologize from the bottom of my heart. I let everybody down.”

The NCAA has let everyone down, too. Rest assured that the NCAA is troubling and a chaotic industry, in tremendous disarray. The irony of this farce is that the organization is unbalanced with faulty scandals staining the symbol of collegiate sports, and setting poor images for student athletes by allowing players and coaches to have too much exemption. As it all strays, the folks in charge are unaware of fraud and infractions committed at prestigious university. But coaches and players understand the rule book, yet they commit costly blunders, which are normally regretful.

This is a paradigm as to why it’s hard to trust coaches and players. And certainly, Pearl isn’t the only coach who tried to take an edge in competition for recruits. And thus the pitiful cheating persists in sports, it’s easy to flash back to the painful episodes at Indiana when former coach Kelvin Sampson infamously committed a reckless crime and recruited over the phone.

The mishandling of the scandal smudged Indiana, an athletic program still trying to repair its image after taking a risk when the school brought aboard Sampson, despite the fact he had illegally recruited over the phone at Oklahoma. There were troubles here in Southern California as well, especially when Tim Floyd stepped down for making a direct cash payment to a wannabe agent for the rights of O.J. Mayo.

That was a learning experience for any coach, but obviously not Pearl.

Such an action constitutes a major penalty, or at least it should. But more importantly, it’s a valid indicator that Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek needs to dismiss Pearl and Hamilton. The recruiting violations are serious and he relatively broke minor NCAA rules in 2008. According to sources, he entertained high school juniors in his house, which is prohibited but he foolishly broke the rules.

And now again, he badly made poor judgment and will now earn $500,000 less in fiscal in 2011, $600,000 less in fiscal in 2012 and so forth, including a bonus worth $500,000 will now be delayed to 2015. By lying to investigators, he clearly forgot they could trace his phone. Meanwhile, he’s embarrassed for calling a high-school recruit more than once and week, and suddenly has been perceived as a criminal. But, of course, the problem here is that he lied.

As it is in college sports egregious scandals normally justifies improper benefits, but supports a number of athletes who come from poor backgrounds and receive extra money and gifts for their families. But from this standpoint, Pearl’s lack of moral judgment was a risky blunder. He had riches, but lost it. He had become a successful coach, but may lose it. Then again, he’s arguably the best coach in the history of Tennessee basketball. So maybe he does keep his job. But he deserves to be fired.

Maybe this is a one-time mistake. Maybe this is the moment to wave farewell.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sainz's Hysteria Is a Paradigm to Restrict Media of Locker Rooms


It’s too bad the majority of the population isn’t obsessed with sports itself but obsessed with the sexism, which now seizes all attention and sadly ruins the reputation of journalism and sports itself.

So now, we are no longer buzzing about pro football as we glance at the recent features of Ines Sainz, a television reporter affiliated with TV Azteca in Mexico.

She was asking for trouble when she subjected herself to a locker room full of men as a reporter, standing and wearing tight pants and a low-cut blouse, sexy attire known to attract the opposite sex.

Do men have no values? No, it’s a man’s instinct. The temptations of hearing offensive remarks are likely, especially if women reporters walk onto the premises dressed as the hottest reporter in the locker room.

As if the locker room is a nightclub, female reporters forget it’s a line of work, not an environment to impress athletic men.

The assumption is to deny the accusations of a girl, who among any other female reporter, came to work at Media Day during the Super Bowl festivities and allowed a couple of linemen to lift her onto their shoulder pads.

This is a problem heard too often in sports, dwelling on an ongoing issue that has been happening for a long time during postgame interviews inside locker rooms. This is a problem when the media is given access and talks with athletes near lockers, where a swarm of reporters, close to 50 bodies, are tightly together in corners.

This is a problem that won’t go away as long as women are allowed into a room of privacy to interview and interrogate players personally. It’s another chaotic investigation, perpetrated to create a dramatic disaster and could last a long time after she accused New York Jets players of harassment.

So just like that, Sainz expects us to feel sympathy of her recent claim and expects us to publicly reinforce the issue and believe her side of the story, while holding the Jets liable for sexual harassment.

These days, it’s hard to believe accusations, especially when women vastly accuse men of a crime. So now, as quickly as it takes to make an offensive slur, she is angry with the Jets and tweeted Saturday that she felt uncomfortable surrounded by Jets’ coaches and players, as she tried to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez, who is of Mexican descent.

Now shamefully, too much focus leans toward sexual appeal and features in sports, as we fall in love with Sportscenter anchor Hannah Storm or sadly glance at disturbing videos of a psychotic man secretly videotaping reporter Erin Andrews as she stood nude in her hotel room.

If there’s one positive note in this story, it’s the notion that male athletes view women as a sexy feature and stare heavily.

That usually leads to offensive words, and women feel uncomfortable with the disrespectful comments. In truth, this is obviously more evidence of the abhorrent culture affecting pro sports.

It’s far easier to realize that we live in a misogynist society, a cultural aspect when average women are distastefully approached by men and singled out from an inane statement.

But the last thing the NFL needs is a relapse with a minor mistake that can greatly destroy the reputation of the admirable enterprise everyone strongly relishes. The only way to avoid an enormous claim, realistically, is to restrict the media of access in the locker room.

The conference room is traditionally supposed to be a time when reporters interview players, but oddly enough, the female reporters are allowed to speak with players as they step out of the showers naked.

However, any female reporter is vulnerable if they saunter into the locker room dressed in trendy pants and low-cut blouses. And considering that she put herself in a ridiculous predicament, she had it coming.


By inserting her body, she easily becomes the immense topic in sports, as every man talks about Ms. Sainz who apparently exposes her body at the workplace.

Next time she may carefully think about the circumstances of dressing sexy, and the NFL will deliberate whether it’s appropriate for the media to enter the locker room and gather post-game interviews.

As for her, maybe she’ll take advice from an outspoken Clinton Portis, the Washington Redskins running back, who recently was asked to elaborate on the farce involving the TV Azteca reporter and her mistreatment in the locker room of oblivious Jets’ players.

“You know man, I think you put women reporters in the locker room in positions to see guys walking around naked, and you sit in the locker room with 53 guys, and all of the sudden you see a nice woman in the locker room, I think men are gonna tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman,” Portis said to a radio station in DC. “For the woman, I think they make it so much that you can’t interact and you can’t be involved with athletes, you can’t talk to these guys, you can’t interact with these guys.

“And I mean, you put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she’s gonna want somebody. I don’t know what kind of woman won’t, if you get to go and look at 53 men’s packages. And you’re just setting here, ‘Oh, none of this is attractive to me.’ I know you’re doing a job, but at the same time, the same way I’m gonna’ cut my eye if I see somebody worth talking to, I’m sure they do the same thing.”

He’s exactly right. Everyone is human, everyone has feelings, everyone finds someone attractive, and everyone falls in love.

But he clearly stereotyped women and issued an apology for inanely publicizing silly remarks. Meanwhile, Sainz is not distinguished as a well-known female writer but is viewed as an appealing model or a diva queen and desires to be noticed every time she walks into a locker room.

Then, Arizona’s Darnell Dockett foolishly tweeted.

“All I can do is LOL at the jets Female Reporter! She walks into the locker room full of men and think some one not gonna say nothing LMFAO!!!”

No wonder literary is badly impaired in this country.

However, Sainz isn’t the first female to witness such a disgraceful experience. Back in the day, the NFL formed a policy mandating that female journalists have similar access to players as male journalists.

It’s very seldom that men are judged, but women are constantly labeled. To all the prejudice, as we witness sexism and strongly judge racism, gender, and religious beliefs, we are once again entrapped. Only this time by a female reporter who is sadly crying that she was harassed, but brought it on herself.

“I want to make clear that in no moment did I even feel offended, much less at risk or in danger while there,” Sainz told the Spanish-language program DeporTV on Monday. “It was simply a situation that got out of hand. I waited for the interview with Mark Sanchez, we did it and it turned out great…the next day the press is reporting that I was a victim of harassment and inappropriate behavior by the Jets.”

I don’t know what to believe.

But all of this could have been prevented had she not came dressed like a teenager in high school. The sad thing is, athletes are still exposing themselves as irresponsible and disrespectful men.

As the NFL took a stance in this issue to protect morality and its image, Sainz is viewed as the mindless one.

Sorry, I don’t feel sorry for her. I am not condoning it, but she gave the Jets’ every reason to disrespect her.