Friday, August 05, 2005What Happens In Vegas....
From the AP wire:
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ The 2007 NBA All-Star game will be played in Las Vegas, making it the first city without an NBA franchise to host the event.
Commissioner David Stern made the announcement Friday, calling the game "a merger between the basketball capital of the world and the entertainment capital of the world.''
The game will be played at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus.
Casinos will not take bets on any All-Star events under a ban proposed by the NBA and approved by state gambling regulators.
My Weekly Column...
Basically I suggest taking a page out of NASCAR's book, accepting the fact that it's a niche sport and start throwing ideas up against the wall to see what sticks. They need to develop characters and quickly.
Time for the NHL to Go For Broke [The Ledger]
Game ball goes to the Cincinnati Reds
CINCINNATI (AP) _ Cincinnati Reds players rallied around a 6-year-old boy after his grandfather collapsed in the stands this week.
"We just tried to make a bad situation a little better,'' outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
While paramedics were working on the grandfather, a security officer took the boy to the Reds' bullpen. The Reds did not release the name of the grandfather, who died Wednesday night of an apparent heart attack.
The boy, identified as Antonio Perez, sat with players for the last two innings of the game, and Griffey went and got him when the game ended. The boy participated in the Reds' high-fives celebrating their 8-5 victory over Atlanta, and he then joined the players in the clubhouse.
Clubhouse manager Rick Stowe said the Reds showered the boy with bats, wristbands and autographed baseballs. Shortstop Felipe Lopez gave him the batting helmet that he wore in this year's All-Star game.
The players entertained the boy until his parents arrived.
"We play a game,'' Griffey told the Enquirer. "What he was going through doesn't compare. It was important that the little guy not be by himself.''
Sheffield Appoints Himself as Leader...
"I know who the leader is on the team," Sheffield said in an explosive New York magazine interview set to hit newsstands Monday. "I ain't going to say who it is, but I know who it is. I know who the team feeds off. I know who the opposing team comes in knowing they have to defend to stop the Yankees."
Oh c'mon Sheff, spill it.
The 17-year veteran blasts the media for hyping team captain Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez over every other player on the team - and says the Yankees lack family values, chemistry and trust. "Why shouldn't I tell the truth?" Sheffield told writer Stephen Rodrick. "I ain't trying to get no Pepsi commercial."
Sheffield never mentions Jeter and A-Rod by name, but he told New York the media portrays the two superstars "in a positive light and everyone else is garbage."
Sheffield Keeps it Real...Really Real [NYDN]
Thursday, August 04, 2005T.O. Takes One
Anyone wanna bet that Skippy Bayless claims the injury is a fraud tomorrow on Cold Pizza and the Eagles should trade Owens for Cedric Wilson.
Meanwhile the Eagles say 'no' to a new deal, but promise to keep the receiver through a huge roster bonus of $9 million next season. [Newsday]
Didn't the Patriots make a similar promise to Troy Brown??
Back to the Bench
Things started out well, but they just couldn't finish. And the Palmeiro thing didn't help you out either. Oh well, maybe Torre kept your position coach spot warm.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005Five Teams, 13 Players, One Trade...
Memphis: Trades Jason Williams, James Posey and Andre Emmett to Miami for Eddie Jones.
Sacramento: Acquires Bonzi Wells from Memphis for Bobby Jackson and Greg Ostertag.
Utah: Acquires Ostertag in above mentioned trade and trades Curtis Borchardt to Boston and Kirk Synder to New Orleans for future considerations. Trades Raul Lopez to Memphis.
Miami: Acquires Antonie Walker for Qyntel Woods, the rights to Albert Miralles, two second-round picks, cash considerations and the rights to Roberto Duenas (who the HELL are these guys???!?!)
New Orleans: Acquires Rasual Butler from Miami.
From the AP wire:
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit Lions president Matt Millen has agreed to a five-year contract extension, owner William Clay Ford Sr. announced Wednesday.
Millen, who is in the fifth and final season of his original contract, said that he agreed to the deal last month, but the announcement was delayed to avoid taking the focus off the team. The extension will run through the 2010 season.
The Lions have gone 16-48 since Millen was hired out of the Fox television booth, including a league-record 24-game road losing streak.
One of Millen's first moves was to hire Marty Mornhinweg to replace Gary Moeller as the team's coach. Mornhinweg lost the first 12 games of his career and went 5-27 in two seasons before being replaced by current coach Steve Mariucci for the 2003 season.
Mariucci has had more success, going 11-21 and ending the road losing streak in last season's opener at Chicago.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005Finally the NHL...
Onto the NHL. I've sort of let the hoopla from the hockey fan(s) die down after a couple of weeks of celebration. Believe it or not, the NHL is still on a major lifeline.
The best things about the new agreement is obviously the salary cap. Hockey players were making an obscene amount of money before, ridiculously overpaid. Think about it, we're in the free-agent signing period right now and you've got decent defensemen like Adrian Aucoin making $15-16 million over four seasons. Before the new agreement that number is $28 million over four seasons. Does anyone think Adrian Aucoin deserves $7M per? Does Adrian Aucoin think he deserves $7M per?
So new agreement puts hockey players from ridiculously overpaid to grossly overpaid. The next best thing are the new rules...I'm apprehensive about this because the NHL is notorious for not enforcing anything classified as new. For the last five years they claimed they were going to call obstruction and they haven't done it yet (a new officiating crew as part of this new agreement wouldn't have been a bad idea by the way).
Getting rid of half the lines and moving the dimensions 4 feet wider is nice. The best part is totally restricting the goalie's area of work. The days of Marty Brodeur skating 30 feet outside of the net to play the puck is over. Thank god. I agree with Bill Simmons when he says that goalies should be chained like dogs [Link].
Shootouts are the best of the new ideas though because that will actually get the fans excited to see overtime. Hockey is the only sport that has the opportunity to make overtime games more appealing than regulation ones. The NBA couldn't have both teams line up for a sudden-death shootout from half court. This is one of those ideas that was so obvious that it's further proof that NHL owners and players lost all their grip on reality. The shootout should've been implemented 10 years ago.
And yes it should also be implemented for the playoffs. NHL playoff hockey is about as overrated as "Friends". The last good NHL postseason was 1994, ever since then the playoffs have sucked because instead of three hours of neutral zone trap hockey, there were six hours and five overtimes. I remember a game a couple years back that went five OTs and the shot count for both teams was in the upper 50s. Less than eight shots a period! That's BORING. At least TRY to score. In the playoffs give them two OTs max and go to a shootout. The world is moving quicker these days.
The bad of the new agreement is the fact that despite all these new rules, the league still doesn't have a decent national TV contract AND they didn't cut any dead wood.
The bad side of no national TV is that there won't be any promotions of opening night on ESPN, TNT, FX or anywhere else. And there's no guarantee that the NHL will be back on ESPN. Why should they? The Worldwide Sports Leader can easily slip in a tape of Poker and quadruple ratings. The NHL should agree to a deal with anyone who will take them and quickly. If Bravo offers them a deal but wants locker room access for the guys from "Queer Eye", the league needs to accept it.
This also doesn't allow the NHL to immediately capitalize on the 2006 Olympics. So there remains much work to do for hockey to survive. A new agreement put life into a dying sport, now the NHL needs to go through full reconstructive surgery.
Monday, August 01, 2005Off Your High Horse Raffy....
Somewhere Jose Canseco will be getting a nice little chuckle over this one.