Tag Archives: MLB

Injustices Across Sports Pt. 1

By BJ

It’s been an absolutely crazy week and a half in sports with superstars joining new teams via trades (Chris Paul) or mega-signings (Albert Pujols). But not to be overshadowed are the injustices that also seems to be breaking every other day. Let’s examine the darker side of sports.

NBA

Last week, Dan Gilbert made himself an owner to be dubiously

The desperate owner.

remembered–had anyone possibly forgotten about the LeBron James fiasco–by single-handedly getting the attention of Commissioner David Stern with this email I’ll re-post in its entirety.

Commissioner,

It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.

This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.

Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.

I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).

I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen.

I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do.

When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?

Please advise….

Dan G.

I didn’t know you could shoot down a trade for fear of a team’s next move or that a player who averaged 12 and 7 last season is a max-salary player. (Marc Gasol quietly signed with Memphis Wednesday for four years and $57.7 million.) It’s nice to see the inner workings of NBA owners colluding to bring down better teams.

Whiny. Bitch.

Stern vetoed the trade citing “basketball reasons,” which sure as hell

The subject of all the fussing and fighting.

had nothing to do with ensuring the league-owned Hornets get as much as they can for their superstar.

What they got from the Clippers
Eric Gordon
Chris Kaman
Al-Farouq Aminu
1st-round pick

What they would’ve gotten from the Lakers and Rockets
Kevin Martin
Luis Scola
Lamar Odom
Goran Dragic
1st-round pick

I could make a case and simply say would you rather have Odom and Dragic or move up in the first round of next year’s draft? I’d argue you if you said the trade to the Clippers clearly got them better value nor did they have the foresight to see that marginal difference when they vetoed the first trade. Rather, Stern, Gilbert and co. saw the Lakers an already great team and the Clippers a non-threat.

Part of the reason the trade was admittedly vetoed was because they tried to prevent superstars from going to only big-market teams like L.A. That’s blatantly hypocritical to overlook the Clippers, who share the same stadium as the Lakers, as a big-market team.

Sunday, Lamar Odomwas traded to the defending champions for a

Maybe, 'Big Baby' Davis can finally hand off his nickname to L.O.

bag of peanuts. When responding to the trade, Kobe Bryant said they gave away the versatile forward “seemingly for nothing.” Now, you know how the Pau Gasol trade felt to everyone else. Lakers 1, Washington Generals 1.

Lakers fans have got the Odom giveaway all wrong. Or maybe, they’re just turning a blind eye as they do whenever anything doesn’t go their way. Odom cried his way out of the team. I can’t remember the last time someone got so publicly butthurt over a trade, failed or not, but the man missed both practices and had no intention of returning to the court in purple and gold. He got his wish, and there will be no sad eulogy for his departure.

MLB

Saturday, NL MVP Ryan Braun tested positive for PEDs and if it holds, will be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2012 season. The injustice? No baseball award has ever been revoked, and there’s absolutely no talk of Braun losing his. But that’s the second injustice. How Braun ever won the award to begin with, or it even being a two-man race, is beyond belief.

Matt Kemp owned Braun across the board and was one homerun shy of 40/40, a feat that I believe would’ve made the voting a little easier for the Jayson Starks‘ out there. The only reason I could think of for voters choosing Braun over Kemp is because the Brewers made the playoffs, a criterion I hate in MLB MVP voting. Braun had Prince Fielder, who had as good a season as him; the Dodgers didn’t have a single other player even have a decent offensive season, which ensures better opportunity for Braun. As if the PEDs didn’t do that.

I disagree with everything Starks says in his article, defending Braun in that he should keep his undeserving award. From reasons ranging from ‘because it’s never been done in history before and if we do it to this, when will it stop” (like a total idiot) to ‘his stats weren’t any better this year than in his career’ (which is even worse; question his entire career), it should be a no-brainer that Braun should have to give up his award to the second-place Kemp. You know, the best guy who did not cheat this season.

LPGA to Require Players to Learn English

By BJ

Last Wednesday, the LPGA decided to suspend players if they couldn’t pass an oral English test beginning at the end of 2009. Their reasoning is that they want to help the players’ “professional development” and to be able to reach out to the media and sponsors. The new rule, inconspicuously targeted at the growing number of Koreans dominating each event, is being viewed as fair by the Koreans, who feel that most of the 45 players on the Tour would be able to pass a simple test if given one today. If they do fail, the LPGA claims they would get tutors to work with the players on their English. I’m sorry, are we back in school here? Does that just sound ridiculous to everyone else?

But really, can this ruling be any more discriminatory? There are a handful of baseball and basketball players that only speak their native language (e.g. Spanish, Japanese) and need translators and that has not hurt the nature of the game one bit. The same goes for golf and the fact that the U.S. is trying to cut the level of competition by hoping to knock off some of the Koreans is downright shameful and a disgrace to the entire country. Point, Koreans.

Kimbo Slice is set to fight Ken Shamrock on October 4. Can Shamrock, who is 44 and on a five-fight skid, still have enough left to make the 34-year-old Slice (3-0) tap out? Or did Slice choose another over-the-hill opponent like he did in Tank Abbott?

The U.S. “Redeem Team” won the gold after eight long years, fending off Spain in a 118-107 final. Talks of who would win a Redeem Team match up against the 1992 Dream Team? Forget about it. The Dream Team owns this year’s squad in every category and beat 3rd place Lithuania by 51 points and 2nd place Croatia by 32. The way softball was decided to quit play for the next eight years after the U.S.’s domination four years ago, I’m surprised the IOC allowed basketball to resume play after 1992.

1992 2008
W-L 8-0 8-0
PPG 117.3 106.3
Opp PPG 73.5 78.4
Margin of win +43.8 +27.9
FG pct 57.8 55.0
Opp FG pct 36.5 40.3
APG 29.9 18.8

The Dodgers may be 11-13 after acquiring Manny Ramirez, in the midst of a 4-game losing streak and currently 3 games behind Arizona for the NL West lead, but don’t blame Manny for any of those slumps. The star left fielder sure is pulling his own weight, hitting six home runs and driving in 21 RBI with a whopping .361 average. Jeff Kent, who has the luxury of hitting before Ramirez in the 3-spot, doesn’t believe Manny is the reason why he’s batting .398 in August, the only month where he’s batting over .300. I say get over yourself, Kent. You’re 40, and you were batting a measly .255 before this month.

MLB – Five weeks remaining:

Standings (if the playoffs were to end today) as of Monday:
AL East
(1) Tampa Bay (79-50)
AL Central
(4) Chicago White Sox (75-56)
AL West
(2) Los Angeles Angels (79-51)
AL Wild Card
(3) Boston Red Sox (75-55)
Closest team to playoffs:
Minnesota Twins (74-57)

NL East
(3) New York Mets (73-59)
NL Central
(1) Chicago Cubs (81-50)
NL West
(4) Arizona Diamondbacks (68-63)
NL Wild Card
(2) Milwaukee Brewers (76-55)
Closest team to playoffs:
Philadelphia Phillies (72-59)

Analysis: The Yankees host Boston for the last time at Yankee Stadium for a 3-game series and five games back on the Sox. Crucial series for New York in their quest to make the playoffs. Keep an eye on Colorado. Winners of nine of their last 11, the Rockies are just 7 games back from the division lead, and you all remember what happened last year in September.

Stat projections:
The Chicago White Sox’s Carlos Quentin leads the majors with 36 home runs and is projected to hit 45 for the year, the lowest home run leader since Matt Williams of the San Francisco Giants hit 43 in 1994.
The Los Angeles Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez, who is projected to finish with a ridiculous 62 saves, is 7 saves away from tying Bobby Thigpen’s 1990 record of 57 saves in a season. K-Rod currently has more saves than San Diego (49), Seattle (49) and Washington (46) have wins and reached 50 quicker than anyone, his 129 games far quicker than Eric Gagne (143 games) and Thigpen (145).

Dodgers Acquire Maddux

By BJ

The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly gotten Greg Maddux in a trade with San Diego on Monday, and it is not immediately known who the Padres will get in return. It is the second time the Dodgers have traded for Maddux midseason, as they swapped him from the Chicago Cubs in 2006. The 42-year-old pitcher is 6-9 with a 3.99 ERA this season, and the Dodgers are currently tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL West lead.

Maddux clearly still has some left in the tank and should help out a rotation that just lost Brad Penny likely for the year. Note: in 2006, Maddux went 9-11 with a 4.69 ERA with the Cubs but 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA with the Dodgers.

The U.S. (5-0) basketball team took care of Germany (1-4) 106-57 on Monday, limiting Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman to a combined 20 points in a game that was over soon after it began. The U.S. now have a quarterfinals date with Australia Wednesday at 7:15a PT, where they are 3 games from the gold but are now in single-elimination play.

It should be an interesting game, as the two faced off in exhibition play two weeks ago and the U.S. had a tough 11-point victory without Australia’s best player, Andrew Bogut.

Oscar De La Hoya is looking elsewhere for his December 6 bout that would mark the end of his career after talks with Manny Pacquiao have broken down. De La Hoya had given in to Manny’s wants on two of the three issues (147-pound weight limit and 8 ounce gloves) but wouldn’t budge from the 70-30 revenue split. Manny demanded 40 percent so now De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KO) is looking at “The Contender” first season winner and current WBC junior middleweight champion Sergio Mora (21-0-1, 5 KO). The two sides are closing in on a deal, but the fight is contingent on Mora defeating Vernon Forrest in their September 13 rematch.

Tough break for both Oscar’s and Manny’s camps, as the issue was whether Manny deserves more than 30 percent, which is what Floyd Mayweather got in his fight with De La Hoya. Should Manny just box and still rake in about $15-20 million, having never earned more than $5 million in a previous bout? He already had Oscar give into the more important issues.

MLB – Six weeks remaining: 

Standings (if the playoffs were to end today) as of Monday:
AL East
(2) Tampa Bay (76-48)
AL Central
(4) Chicago White Sox (71-53)
AL West
(1) Los Angeles Angels (76-47)
AL Wild Card
(3) Boston Red Sox (72-53)
Closest team to playoffs:
Minnesota Twins (70-54)

NL East
(3) NY Mets (68-57)
NL Central
(1) Chicago Cubs (76-48)
NL West
(4) Arizona Diamondbacks (64-60)
NL Wild Card
(2) Milwaukee Brewers (72-54)
Closest team to playoffs:
Los Angeles Dodgers (64-60)

Analysis: The Rays aren’t competing for division lead right now, they’re suddenly contending for best team in baseball. More and more, the Yankees (and their $207 million payroll) aren’t going to make the playoffs this year, currently 5.5 games back from the Red Sox. At least, their $40 million waste of a pitcher Carl Pavano might make it to the mound on Saturday, but no, that’s no consolation. In the NL, the East and West both look they’ll be going down to the wire again, with a different race in the West this year.

Stat projections:
The Chicago White Sox’s Carlos Quentin leads the majors with 34 home runs and is projected to hit 45 for the year, the lowest home run leader since Matt Williams of the San Francisco Giants hit 43 in 1994.
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Brandon Webb leads the league with 18 wins and is projected to win 24 games this year, tying Randy Johnson in 2002 and John Smoltz in 1996 for most wins in a season since Bob Welch of the Oakland Athletics won 27 in 1990.
The Los Angeles Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez, who is projected to finish with a ridiculous 62 saves, is 10 saves away from tying Bobby Thigpen‘s 1990 record of 57 saves in a season. K-Rod currently has more saves than Seattle (46) and Washington (44) have wins.

After Upsetting Federer, Blake Turns to Pouting

By BJ

Jayson Stark from ESPN wrote an article Thursday on how signing Manny Ramirez to a 4-year, $100 million contract this offseason would be dangerous for the sport of baseball. His problem? That “it would, in effect, be an open invitation to every selfish superstar in baseball to pull a Manny. Act up. Stop hustling. Stop trying. Refuse to play. Make up an injury. Whatever you have to do to get back out there on the free-agent market.”

That, my friend, already happens and won’t affect those who don’t have that type of attitude. If you want to pay a 36-year-old outfielder $25 million a year until he’s the age of 40, that’s your choice to be that stupid. Stark said it himself, there are only two players in history to have three 30-homer seasons after turning 37 – Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron.

But seriously, the first name that comes to my mind that has experienced a similar situation is Brett Favre when he was in Atlanta back in 1991. He wasn’t getting playing time; the starter on that team was Chris Miller, who was a Pro Bowler that year, so Favre acted up and got dealt like he wished. It’s not going to change a damn thing in the sport. There are always people who will act up for money or whatever, and Ramirez’s antics won’t negatively affect baseball one bit.

After pitching a scoreless ninth to record his second career save on Tuesday, Brad Ziegler of the Oakland Athletics gave up his first career run in two innings of work Thursday. Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton did Ziegler in with an RBI double, but not after Ziegler posted the modern record for longest scoreless streak with 39 innings.

Ziegler’s current stat line:
40.0 IP, 1-0, 2 SV, 9 HLD, 18 K, 0.23 ERA

In Friday’s men’s tennis singles semifinal, James Blake of the U.S. lost to Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez 4-6, 7-5, 11-9. Notwithstanding three match points he failed to convert, Blake decided to blame the loss on Gonzalez for not admitting a disputed point two games before the finish. As the only American to have a shot at a medal in the men’s or women’s singles, Blake needs to shut up about the issue. He didn’t lose from that one point and even if Gonzalez got a lucky break, Blake is being hypocritical about sportsmanship in the Olympics. Regardless, this is what Blake had to say about his competitor. “Whatever he wants to say is fine. Whatever is going to get him to have some sleep tonight, then that’s fine.”

In all fairness, it’s not up to the player to make the calls – that’s what the judge is for. And I’m sure he wouldn’t be so enthusiastic to rectify the point with a chance at a gold medal on the line. I don’t buy that. Gonzalez will face Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s final, as Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

Update on Michael Phelps:

7-for-7 in Gold medals

Friday – Gold in 200 IM
Saturday – Gold in 100 butterfly
Sunday – 400 medley relay

U.S. Olympic basketball (3-0):

Thursday – def. Greece 92-69
Saturday – vs. Spain @ 7:15a PT

Spain’s Slanted Sense of Humor

By BJ

U.S. Olympic basketball:
Sun. – def. China 101-70
Tues. – def. Angola 97-76
Thurs. – vs. Greece (1-1) @ 5a PT

While China has played well in their two losses, including an overtime defeat to Spain with a disqualified Yao Ming on the bench, their recent opponent thought it would be somehow humorous to have the national basketball team slant their eyes, like the Chinese, for the camera. It’s unbelievable how insensitive and unfunny it is for an entire team of men to pull off a childhood racial joke. And to think that it wouldn’t offend anyone. They should have their four-year sponsorship to giant Li-Ning Footwear revoked for their stupidity.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the man of the Olympics, Michael Phelps, with five gold medals thus far in this Beijing Olympics, is already the winningest Olympian in history. At 23-years-old, Phelps has 11 career golds with three events left to attempt to become the first to win eight golds in one Games. The remaining races:

Thurs. night in the U.S. – 200 individual medley
Friday night in the U.S. – 100 butterfly
Sat. night in the U.S. – 4×100 medley relay

The Philadelphia 76ers have signed restricted free agent Andre Iguodala to a six-year, $80 million contract and yes, I’m here to criticize yet another undeserving signing. See, I’m all about an athlete making more than another if he’s better than his counterpart, and with over $13 million a year awarded to AI2, that salary will be more than LeBron James made this year (with one less year of experience), which is as crazy as Donovan McNabb saying that his Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the NFC. Well, with all of the hype as top contenders in the East, let’s see Philly improve from that 7th seed where they finished two games below .500. I can’t see them cracking the top half over Boston, Detroit, Orlando or Cleveland.

The Oakland Athletics’ Brad Ziegler pitched three more scoreless innings last Thursday and Friday, recording his first career save in a 2-inning effort on Friday. After, manager Bob Geren said Ziegler has “definitely earned” the closer’s role in light of Huston Street‘s recent struggles, who has converted only five of his last nine save opportunities and lost four games in the process.

LeBron Entertains the Thought of Leaving for Europe

By BJ

Last year, David Beckham signed a 5-year, $250 million deal to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS. In the 1997-98 season, Michael Jordan made $33 million with the Chicago Bulls. When LeBron James is able to opt out after the 2009-10 season, NBA teams already creating salary cap space for “the summer of LeBron” can’t even afford to offer James $20 million a year (from their idiotic free-agent signings). So what does the King have to say about that?

James has reportedly said on Tuesday that he would strongly consider playing in Europe if offered $50 million a year. The source close to James said that he would play for only a year or two if he went abroad before returning to the NBA. Is there any easier way to make $100 million in two years? I can’t see LeBron going, but you can’t blame him for leaving with that kind of money offered to him as well as the opportunity to truly be a global icon. I know there’s not a whole lot you can’t do with $40 million that you can do with $100 million, but you have $100 million!

Several more players bolted overseas, making the number of NBA players who have signed to an international team for next season nine. Josh Childress (3-year, $20 million), Carlos Arroyo (3-year, $7.5 million) and Earl Boykins (1-year, $3.5 million) are the only players of the nine who have played exclusively in the NBA before going abroad for next season.

Brett Favre is a New York Jet. After a roller coaster ride that began after he was reinstated in the NFL by commissioner Roger Goodell on Sunday, the Packers management subsequently said that there would be a quarterback battle with Aaron Rodgers in camp, contrary to what they’ve been telling the public all along. But after a private meeting with last year’s Packers quarterback on Tuesday, the two agreed on one thing – that Favre likely would not be playing in Green Bay. In the wake of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets looking to become the recipient of Favre, the Jets won over Green Bay with a conditional fourth-round pick to the Pack on Wednesday that could become a second-round pick based on Favre’s performance.

The Jets cut starter Chad Pennington on Thursday to clear salary cap space for Favre. Pennington was due $4.8 million this season.

The U.S. basketball team wrapped up their exhibition tuneup with an 87-76 win over Australia on Tuesday and while analysts are saying it’s good they were able to overcome their struggles in a close game when it didn’t count yet, it reaffirms the recent belief that an NBA All-Star team, even with Kobe Bryant, can’t dominate international competition at will like we all think they should. Their first game is Sunday against host China at 7:15p PDT.

Update: The Oakland Athletics’ Brad Ziegler tossed two more innings without giving up a run Tuesday, upping his total to 34 scoreless innings without giving up a run. He is now just three innings shy of the team record for longest streak without giving up a run, and with Huston Street‘s sixth blown save of the year in the same game, Ziegler is reportedly in the closer mix.

Manny Heading to the Dodgers

By BJ

Well, forget the Fish. Manny Ramirez is headed to the Dodgers in a three-team trade that has Jason Bay heading to Boston pending commissioner’s approval.

MLB Trade Deadline: Thursday @ 1p PT
Trades since Tuesday:

LAA traded Casey Kotchman and pitching prospect Stephen Marek to Atlanta for Mark Teixeira.
NYY traded Kyle Farnsworth to Detroit for Ivan Rodriguez.
NYY traded LaTroy Hawkins to Houston for minor league infielder Matt Cusick.
Florida traded pitching prospect Gaby Hernandez to Seattle for Arthur Rhodes.
CWS traded Nick Masset and minor league infielder Danny Richar to Cincinnati for Ken Griffey Jr. and cash.

I’m surprised ESPN has no coverage of Paul Pierce‘s recent response to a Spanish reporter while Pierce is in Madrid, which went like this. Q: “Is Kobe really the best player in the world?” Pierce: “I don’t think Kobe is the best player. I’m the best player. There’s a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don’t cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself.”

Now before you Lakers fans jump on Pierce like an Asian fight, understand this. Pierce is reeling off of an NBA championship over Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, where he was named Finals MVP. He watched first-hand the regular season MVP get thrown off his game while he upped his and played neck-and-neck with and I’ll be the first to admit, outplayed Kobe in the stretch. So in one series, Pierce gained the ultimate confidence that he could top the best, which is why he felt sane when he said what he said.

Okay, now you can jump on Pierce.

Michelle Wie is set to try her hands again with the men, as she attempts to qualify in the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open this weekend. I think Annika Sorenstam speaks for all of us when she says that Wie shouldn’t be competing with men if she can’t even qualify in a women’s major. What I want to bring up is how much tournament director Michael Stearns is shaming the PGA by inviting the 18-year-old child star to play at a level she isn’t even close to being able to play at. Stearns said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I happen to believe she’s a great player. Who’s on the list here who won a U.S. Publinks at age 13?”

That attitude says it all. We admit, Wie was a great player. Five years ago. Now, she’s playing with the pros and has rode on her childhood fame for quite too long now. She’s just another face in the LPGA and is just embarrassing herself every time she plays with the men. But good luck to her trying to make the cut for the first time in eight tries on the PGA Tour.

Update:

ATP Masters Series
Second Round Wednesday: (2) Rafael Nadal def. Florent Serra 6-0, 6-1
Third Round Thursday: Ivo Karlovic def. (1) Roger Federer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6

The Oakland Athletics’ Brad Ziegler threw three scoreless innings Wednesday to run his record for most scoreless innings to start a career to 30.

Team USA basketball 114 – Turkey (exhibition) 82