Archives for: 2009, week 06


Co-MVP's Cap Off All Star Weekend!

Permalink 01:33:20 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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By Digger

Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant put on quite a show Sunday night. Shaq was the last team West All Star player introduced. He came out wearing a Jabbawockeez mask and then did a "freelance" routine while boogying side by side with his kids favorite group. Then Shaq made his former coach look good. Phil Jackson's West team was trailing by 10 before deciding to send in Shaq off the bench. The West scored 11 in a row with Shaq & Kobe on the floor as part of a 19-0 run and never looked back. O'Neal needed only 11 minutes to slam down 17 points. He had played in 14 straight All Star Games before missing out last year. He was voted in by NBA Coaches and didn't disappoint his home crowd.

Kobe had a great game too. It seemed obvious Shaq was going to be named game MVP. In the 2nd half, Kobe went to work. His 27 points & 23 shots led were game highs.

It was fun watching these two playing on the same team together. Their in game chemistry came back to life as an electified crowd went nuts. Who knows how many more Championships they would have won? LA's star was on the rise as these two delivered 3 consecutive NBA Titles from 1999-2002. Lakers have not won a Championship after the well publicised Kobe/Shaq fued fueled the big mans departure out of LA.

O'Neal and Bryant were voted All Star Game Co-MVP's. Both men have won this award 3 times each (tied for 3rd most). It was a fitting ending seeing these two share this award.

Both said they've made up after years of media driven ill will. Their fallout had become quick Hollywood fodder. Could it be possible there's more too this quick little friendly get together? I wouldn't be overly surprised if these two are reunited in LA before next weekend. Shaq's current team, Phoenix, is about to make some serious changes. News of coach Terry Porter's firing will have been made official by the time most of you have read this. It's rumored the Suns will dismantle their current roster.

Shaq back to LA with Jackson & Kobe? We'll soon find out if LA can push the right buttons in search of another Championship. This move, while unlikely, would do it. Shaq's having a solid season and the Lakers lost starting center Andrew Bynum for the year. Rent-a-Shaq makes perfect sense. Not the best move for Phoenix to trade their biggest gate attraction to a division rival. However, these aren't normal times. Owners/teams cash strapped, etc. A few Suns players names have already been floated between GM's. If LA wants a title now, this makes would really turn up the volume on other NBA teams. LA would then be ready to take down anyone in their path.

NBA trade deadline is right around the corner. I suspect most teams not living up to expectations or in dire straights financially are about to start swapping out players.


News Makers, Rumors, Champs & More Chumps

Permalink 03:40:36 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

It's been a wild week in sports news with much to discuss. It's been a week of good, bad and ugly. Let's begin with good stuff today before taking aim at the rest.

College Basketball season is winding down... and what a season! Current #1 is University of Connecticut. Are they here to stay? Apparently so. After taking over as our nations top ranked team UConn is streaking... 12 wins in a row! It's been a team effort (stats) top to bottom spreading the ball around.

NBA All Star Weekend will entertain basketball fans around the world. In my eyes, it's the pre-game festivities which rule the day. Highlighted events include: All Star Celebrity Game, Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam, Playstation Competition, 3 Point Shootout, H-O-R-S-E competition, Rookies game and Slam Dunk Contest. Most will be televised by TNT. Then, on Sunday, it's the NBA All Star Game.
The skills competitions have been great over the years. Days of old featured tremendous Slam Dunk contests starring the likes of Dr. J, George Gervin & Michael Jordan highlight reel dunks. One of my favorite contests used to be the 3 point shootout. It's a relatively new cast of characters entering this years events ushering in a changing generation of players. It will be fun to watch when I finally get to see it (my viewing time will come via tape delay... it's Valentine's Day Saturday... so NBA will have to take a back seat to my sharing a wonderful night with my special girl).

Celtics vs Lakers rivalry shows no signs of slowing down after a very physical 1 point LA win in Boston. These two teams are my odds on favorites to meet up again in the Finals. Madison Square Garden is still buzzing after back to back stellar performances by LA's Kobe (set MSG scoring record) and Cleveland LeBron James who delighted fans anxiously awaiting is arrival as a NY Knick. NY fans can finally hold their heads high after turbulent years under Isiah. NY is now playing inspired basketball for the first time in years. Amazing how quickly things come around when someone who knows what they are doing is placed in charge of day to day operations.

NHL: NBC will televise NY Rangers vs Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. This is one of the NHL's classic rivalries which is always a heavy hitting game. I used to love going to MSG to see them bloody the ice back in the 70's. Back in the day, the best games in MSG used to be Rangers vs Philly and Rangers vs Boston. Once the Islanders started playing good hockey, NY vs NY was 2nd to none for many years. Heck, in MSG the "Potvin Sucks" chant still echoes from the rafters!

NFL: Retired again... Brett Favre! Is it for real this time? I'm guessing if new Jets coach Ryan wanted Favre, he'd still be a Jet. Favre took most of the heat for NY failing to make the playoffs. While he had ups and downs, Favre was not the problem. Poor coaching and play calling doomed this team. 2009 will have many new faces, perhaps even NFL future HOF LB Ray Lewis?

Manny Ramirez is still unsigned! Many of baseball's stars remain unsigned free agents with only 12 days before Spring Training officially begins. Interestingly enough.. not many rumors surrounding who might be pursuing the games greats.
The biggest baseball rumor surfaced today. Bud Selig may suspend Alex Rodriguez, might re-crown Hank Aaron as baseball's home run king in the wake of steroids. Steroids issue will not go away. Funny, now Selig says ridding the game of substances has been a top priorty for 10 years. Really? Bull____!

Champs; Sadly, none to report this week.

Chumps: Plenty. Where to begin?
Former MLB and famous spitter Roberto Alomar is being sued by his former girlfriend who claims Alomar knowingly had AIDS while they had unprotected sex in spite of his denials. No one said Alomar was a good guy. If these charges hold true, hopefully he'll be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Another week filled with negative Alex Rodriguez news. Now he's fessing up to having used steroids. Give him slight credit for owning up (even after years of denials). However, Selig will hang him out to dry... and has all but stated he's about to.

Selig... MLB's most incompetent Commissioner in the history of baseball. Now? he wants to take action against players the league encouraged to continue juicing so he and his boys club of owners could make hundreds of millions of dollars. Selig acts as if widespread usage is new news. I'll be hitting this topic hard again very soon in days leading up to Spring Training.

Olympic swimmer Phelps. Why in the world are local SC authorities wasting so much time investigating whether or not Phelps took a bong hit? He was photographed taking a hit of an illegal substance. While I do not condone his actions one bit the question begs to be asked... who cares? Why waste taxpayers dollars with a full blown investigation? Funny how things work. It's ok not to investigate admitted pot and cocaine users who run for public office but lets attack a 23 year old Olympic hero. Little to no investigation has taken place by public authorities into the validity of our current President being a U.S. citizen... an unvetted leader of the free world... but, hey... lets make life hell for Phelps. Arrests have already been made in this case (not Phelps) as a desperate prosecutor tries making a name for himself.

Stay tuned for next weeks edition of News, Rumors, Champs & Chumps.... plus much more from the world of sports.


ARod, AFraud, ARoid Speaks Up!

Permalink 04:00:00 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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by Digger

Loads of random thoughts surround today's surprise announcement by Alex Rodriguez. ARod sat down for a one on one interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons fessing up to using PED's between 2001-03 before it was a banned substance by MLB. I've written numerous blogs about steroids in baseball and how poorly every aspect has been handled (or not).

Well, today I'll give ARod slight kudos for speaking up. It took a lot of guts for him to step up and tell everyone what we already knew. There was no Rafael Palmeiro type finger waving denials. No McGwire "I'm not here to talk about my past" bs. No Barry Bonds style non-denials. No, no, Canseco chest bashing bragging either. Just a not so simple moment of an icon admitting wrong doing based on Sports Illustrated article stating ARod tested PED positive in 2003.

ARod explained what led him down this path. However, the skeptical side of me will question when he actually stopped. 2003 is hard to believe. One more question is ARod sorry for what he did? Or, for getting caught??

Scratch below the surface of this latest outing of a baseball PED user. So much more to go with many obstacles, disinformation and political style slick deflection of attention still looming. First of all, regardless of anyone's opinion of who did what... (random thoughts)
- this drug test was to be strictly confidential under the safeguards provided by MLB and the Players Association. Why release this news now "6" years later? These documents should have been destroyed. MLBPA fumbled this badly. No, not for failing to cover up... but, for failing to protect the right of privacy. MLBPA is one of our country's strongest and most well disciplined unions.
- 104 players tested positive, why only release ARod's name? What about the other 103? A hole in the dam was just made by releasing ARod's name. Now, it's time to name them all.
- Anyone who thinks only 104 were guilty should remember players were notified testing was to be done. Some quit. Users were tipped off by team officials when they would be tested. Users also tainted results with masking agents. So, 104 will not be an accurate reflection of depths to which this scandals reaches.
- Owners still getting a free pass. Players in the know getting a free pass. Team doctors in the know... General Managers ... it's a pathetic mess.
- Union denies MLBPA Officials tipped off players, namely ARod, on eve of testing.
- The Mitchell Reports was highly biased. Mitchell is part of the Red Sox organization. Most of the players under suspicion in his analysis played in New York. He failed to detail what was happening in every other major league city. Failed to address core of problem = EVERYONE KNEW!
- EVERYONE from Commissioner to Owners to Players knew how widespread this epidemic had become and most are still in denial. Epidemic is incorrect. This was a conspiracy. Conspiracy evolved to protecting players "CONTINUED USAGE". Now, game conspires to deny any knowledge despite repeated articles written dating over 20 years. Denials after former player admissions (NL MVP Ken Caminiti).
- No one really wanted this to stop. Baseball revenues were growing at astronomical rates as players started hitting homers at alarming rates. Gate receipts, marketing revs, tv revs and players contracts all took off.
- MLBPA Executive allegedly kept 2003 records to prove/hope for enough false positive tests so testing would be permanently banned! Included was tipping off players to testing. A charge being denied.

All of this stuff is irritating since I hate cheaters. People will argue until they are blue faced stating it wasn't against the rules since baseball didn't drug test or not part of any league/union agreements. Garbage. Players weren't taking these substances to better their health. Each one shot up, rubbed cream, popped pills for one unified purpose.... to become a better baseball player. Most denied suspicions to hide their actions. Covered their tracks by obtaining steroids from other countries, using designer drugs, BALCO etc. Guilty... PERIOD.

Hank Aaron & Roger Maris endured tremendous hardships when chasing Babe Ruth's home run record. Aaron the subject of racial indecencies and death threats. Maris faced relentless criticism and negative New York press. His record stood at *61 in record books until the asterik was finally removed. Reflecting back a few years to 1998 baseball season now sickens me. Mark McGwire vs Sammy Sosa phony homer show produced by MLB....

1998: McGwire (70) and Sosa (66) went toe to toe most of the year chasing Maris' record. The stomach turning part is how McGwire went out of his way to phony up to the Maris family. I'm sure Mac's emotions were very genuine and heartfelt to a point. He had spent much time with them as Mrs. Maris and kids traveled the country as Mac neared 61. Fans packed stadiums as baseball promoted this event to the hilt. At the time, baseball was recovering from a different black eye... one of the MANY under Bud Selig. Well, guess what? It was all phony. Time and time again McGwire sat a post-game news conferences stating how wonderful it was to be mentioned in the same sentence as Roger Maris. How difficult it was for Maris' family to watch their father's record about to be broken. And, all the while Mac was juicing with a previously unbanned substance. What a ____! Sosa, while never formally proven, was juicing too. Baseball encouraged one of the games greatest records to be shattered by a dirty player. WOW! A couple of years later, Bonds broke McGwire's record. A few years later, Bonds becomes the All Time Home Run King. 1998 was the year covering up steroids in baseball became a conspiracy!

I hope Hall of Fame voters remember these times when casting ballots!

Guess what else baseball? Outing the names of 103 is important if only to reinforce innocense for those suspected who have not ventured into substances. Once this happens ... stop pointing fingers at players! Own up and admit how deep this conspiracy scandal reached. Stop using players names as a distraction away from what was really happening behind the scenes. I mean come on, it's already been proven General Managers discussed juiced players while negotiating trades and contracts.

Funny thing about baseball's image. Over time it's taken hits. Some heavier than others. Yet, time after time baseball bounces back. So, would baseball end if its' Commissioner or owners stepped to the microphone and told the world they had full knowledge steroids became a major problem? Or, that MLB profited from looking the other way?

People forgive mistakes.

We just hate liars and cheats!