Archives for: 2009, week 17


NBA Conference Semi Final Predictions

Permalink 06:52:47 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

The NBA Playoffs opening round showcased two epic series. Boston vs Chicago went the full seven games. Four games went into OT featuring double and triple OT wins by the Bulls. Atlanta knocked off Miami in a seesaw, heavy hitting seven gamer. Now it's time for the Conference Semi-Finals. Here's how I see it.......

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Atlanta Hawks: Cavs were barely challenged during their sweep of Detroit. LeBron James & Co. will be too tough to handle. Atlanta is a team on the rise. They'll fight to the finish behind a very balanced scoring attack. Spreading the ball around is what these guys to best. Bibby, Johnson, Smith, Murray, Harford, Pachulia, Williams & Evans all contribute.
Cleveland in 5.

Boston Celtics vs Orlando Magic: I think this will be an amazing series to follow. Earlier this season reigning NBA Champs Boston seemed like odds on favorite to repeat. Injuries have taken their toll. Celtics barely survived a great first round challenge without Garnett. Ray Allen (23.4 ppg), Paul Pierce (23.1), Rajon Rondo (19.4), Glen Davis (18.1) and Kendrick Perkins (13.3) make up Boston's wide open attack. They'll need to set up high percentage looks vs Magics quick D. Orlando, is a team on the rise with star calibur players. They dumped the 76ers in 6. I think the key to this series is Dwight Howard (24.0, 15.0 reb). His defense will be key as will how he handles a series full of double teams. I think Boston is spent after a ton of first round minutes. Orlando is hungry and eager to KO last years champs.
Orlando in 6.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets: LA is on a collision course with NBA Finals destiny. Phil Jackson will keep them focused every game. Kobe leads the way. I'm sure he has orders from Jackson to get everyone involved early to slow down opposing double teams. Lakers are playing sound basketball with a great gameplan. I'm betting on Houston to give LA a big challenge this series. Rick Adelman's defense plays stingy (94.4 ppg) and must create plenty of turnovers to get the Rockets off the ground. Transition basketball is the key to their success. In round one, Houston stymied Portland to less than 90 points in all but one game. This will be a very hard fought series.
LA in 7.

Denver Nuggets vs Dallas Mavericks: Denver is rolling in confidence after their first round win. George Karl tries to put playoff ghosts from his past to rest. Nuggets pile up point in a hurry. Anthony (24.0), Billups (22.6) & Smith (16.0) will be key cogs. Biggest question is if the Nuggest can play D vs Mavs big shooters? Dallas got hot down the stretch to qualify and then shocked San Antonio in 5. Jason Kidd needs to fire high % shots when he's not dishing off to Dirk (19.2), Howard (18.0) & Terry (13.4). Mavs are hot. I'm expecting a shootout in every games. It'll be a battle to the finish.
Dallas in 6.

This round will be great to watch... don't miss it.



New "A-Rod" Book Hammers AFraud!

Permalink 07:40:00 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

Tne New York Daily News (4/30/09) published excerpts from a new book written by Selena Roberts called "A-Rod".

More steroids talk to haunt ARod. Timing couldn't have been any better for boo-birds as ARod's disabled list stint is about ready to end. "A-Rod", the book, will be released on May 12 filled with plenty of ammunition for naysayers. ARod, the player, will have hundreds of thousands boo-birds hounding him in every baseball city upon being activated from the disabled list (probably the same week). NY fans will let him hear it too if the Yanks faulter.

I've read a few juicy tidbits released in today's Daily News column and listened comments by sports tv personalities. Apparantly, after ARod's press conference where spoke of his experimental time frame... those in the know questioned his accuracy and honesty. Eventually, a select few crossed paths with Roberts providing plenty of details for her "A-Rod" 250 page expose.

I was surprised only by one claim. AFraud was taking 'roids dating back to his high school playing days. If this holds true, then he's a complete fraud who should be denied Hall of Fame status. A handful of sportswriters who double as Hall of Fame voters have already said there's no way they could ever vote for a lifetime user. I hope it stands up when it's time for ballots to be counted. Rodriguez only admitted to experimenting while playing for Texas and stopped using in 2004. The book questions his statements and provides guilty by association blurbs such as ARod keeping company as recently as 2008 with Angel Presinal. Presinal has been banned from major league facilities after a steroids incident in 2001. (BTW, if MLB banned Persinal in 2001... how in the world can they claim, in front of a congressional committee, no one knew players were abusing?????????).

So, just when baseball believed it had successfully put the growth hormone/steroids scandal on the back burner... here comes "A-Rod" filled with more accusations by "unnamed sources". Funny thing about unnamed sources is most times, when relating to politics, I believe it's just a reporters way of injecting personal opinion. However, when it comes to sports reporting, these unnamed sources hit stories out of the park with their accuracy. Remember how Jose Canseco was bashed for writing his book outing players? He was called a money hungry lying thug only looking to promote his book. Until.... one by one outed players who denied (McGwire, Palmeiro) were to be proven liars. Remember during the McGwire/Sosa homer record chase stories questioned their validity? (McGwire was using a supplement at the time). Barry Bonds & BALCO.

I think more people will view the newest revelations as who cares? For sports fans, it confirms what most of us think about ballplayers from the 90's. Large numbers were guilty of using but, everyone was in the know.

Here's a few quotes/recaps of the book pasted from today's Daily News (bold) with my thoughts following:

"-In one shocking disclosure, the book accuses A-Rod of "pitch tipping" when he was with the Rangers - letting a friendly opponent at the plate know which pitch was coming in lopsided games." I'm sure ARod's ex-mates are thrilled to be hearing this one. At what point did AFraud think a game was out of hand to warrant tipping pitches from his teammates to opposing hitters? Especially, when he played for the slugging Texas Rangers who were capable of overcoming big deficits. This is cheating. Next news will accuse him of betting on these games?
"-Rodriguez expected players he helped would do the same for him when he was having an off night and needed to get his batting average up and it wouldn't affect the outcome of the game." I certainly hope there weren't any opposing players tipping off ARod... unless they were trying to trick him. These two allegations will need to be confirmed by reliable sources for me to fully believe. It also deserves attention from MLB investigations. Yet, it doesn't seem too far fetched.
"-The 255-page book also chronicles A-Rod's off-the-field escapades: his poker habit; his divorce from his wife, Cynthia; the relationship with Madonna, and dalliances with out-of-town floozies." This part is the juicy stuff tying everything together including a mention of his me-me-me mentality often spoken about by ex-teamers. It's not anything I care about other than gambling. ARod was heavily chastised for frequenting illegal late night poker games.. often before ball games. Has to make you wonder if he was ever approached to throw a game or two?

ARod will be needing earplugs during the season. All of his stats are now called into question. Not just the Texas years... everything. Roberts seems to be well respected in her field. Sports Illustrated writers have been known for breaking big in depth stories. On the surface, Roberts might be right on target. I think this book will contain plenty of supported truths, references and a few items left to reader's imaginations.

Bonds, McGwire, Canseco, ARod... some of the games biggest bashers of the 90's - 00's... had a little help and were rewarded with truckloads of money. Ah, baseball's HGH/'roids soap opera keeps on trucking. I'm guessing it will for many years. Even though many of us say "who cares" or "tell me something new" on the outside... whenever new allegations surface or sources become confirmed about big name and home town players... we follow the story. Players doping was so widespread the gossip will last for years to come. Surging again when the cheats become eligible for Hall of Fame consideration.

Irony. Most of these guys wanted to be so liked. Daydreaming of becoming baseball heroes when they were kids. Heroes who broke records of the games greatest players. Heroes whose names became synonymous with the games greatest. Heroes who won big World Series games. So much for self indulged heroes. Now, many will be remembered via ridicule for generations. Liars, cheaters and dopers. Baseball fans have witnessed tremendous games during the past two decades. It's too bad so many positives will forever be darkened by an forever hanging cloud of artificial influences.


Stanley Cup Playoffs - Conference Semi-Final Predictions

Permalink 06:00:00 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Conference Semi-Final matchups are set. There were two great series which lasted the full seven games. Washington stormed back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to send the New York Rangers home to weep. New Jersey was stunned in Game 7 as they blew a lead (and the series) in the final minute to Carolina. Speaking of stunned, Western Conference regular season champion San Jose was knocked off by 8th seed Anaheim.

Semi-Final Predictions (team news on
Eastern Conference:
Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes - Boston's well rested after a sweeping Montreal. On paper, Carolina is no match. Especially after a grueling seven game series vs Devils. Bruins in 5.

Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins - I suggest making sure to set aside time to check out these games. This has the makings of an epic playoff series. This matchup showcases NHL's top 3 scorers (Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, plus two of the three Hart Trophy finalists in Malkin and Ovechkin). The Caps almost got knocked off by NY until they snapped out of an early series funk. Pittsburgh got tough vs Flyers and won in 6. The shots will be flying. Goaltenders hold the keys. Washington in 7.

Western Conference:
Detroit Red Wings vs Anaheim Ducks - Detroit needs to thank Anaheim for displacing San Jose. Is it clear sailing for the Wings? I think so. They're too playoff savvy but they better not take the Ducks for granted. Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller was outstanding vs Sharks and will need to duplicate vs Detroit. Not likely. Wings fans were nervous of Osgood before he proved naysayers wrong and returned to his former stellar playoff goaltending. Wings in 5.

Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks - This series will be the end of the road for both teams when Detroit prevails vs Anaheim. Neither has what it takes to beat the wings. However, Vancouver and Chicago will lock horns in a rough battle. These teams are evenly matched. Chicago prevails but will be gassed after this 7 game series and in no shape to challenge Detroit.

I'm thinking the Finals will feature Boston vs Detroit squaring off in one of the NHL's greatest Finals ever.



Yanks Slash Ticket Prices....

Permalink 09:45:00 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

Embarrassingly visible vacant premium seats at Yankee Stadium created quite a stir for the past couple of weeks. The best seats in the house were mostly unoccupied. Local newspaper photographers jumped all over the chance of snapping shots of empties for publication (NY Daily News Photo above). I had heard unconfirmed rumors of Yankee brass ordering tv cameras to zoom in on players and use best angles to avoid showing vacant seats.

Yanks '09 gate receipts are off. Here's a team paying record salaries, new ballpark, etc and can't sell out. Vastly empty seats are located closest to the field between first and third base. No surprise to anyone outside of management $2,500.00 are a tiny bit overvalued. New York Yankees fans are some of the most loyal in all of sports. Generations of Yankees fans have slept outside over night, stood on hours long lines, braved traffic jams, survived subway derailments, navagated around water main breaks, cut classes, called in sick for work... all to see the Yankees play a baseball game.

How do the Yankees pay their respects (lack of) back to dedicated fans. A billion dollar plus tax payer funded stadium filled with seats only a few can afford. Greedy? Just a bit. Granted, seat prices were set in place when economic times seemed to be thriving and the Yanks were counting on heavy corporate ownership. Therein lies the problem. Times have changed.

The Steinbrenner's finally grew tired of dwindling revenues and decided to slash ticket prices. Remember those $2,500 Legends seats (behind dugouts)? Well, now they're $1,250 per seat. Keep holding out fans... maybe by the All Star break tix will be halved again! Seats along the the right field and left field foul lines are down to $650 from $1,000. Tickets for the Delta SKY 360 Suite overlooking home plate drop from $750 to $550.

What a bargain! They're still nuts! These new tickets prices have been reduced but are still way out of the park for most fans. Yanks are testing the "if you build it, they will come" proverb. Get a grib. Slash them another 65% and maybe they'll fill up. Nowadays, very few people are squandering bucks. Prices of nearly everything are rising. Days of easy come are gone for most. Do you think people will be lining up for $650 to sit near a foul pole vs watching a game on a large flat screen? Not.

I'll keep an ear open for WFAN tomorrow. Loads of listeners will be jamming the phones peppering sportsjockey's with opinions. My 2 cents, pictures of empty seats will remain. Yanks struggle. Management becomes frustrated. First casualty, Girardi. He might want to hold the door open for Cashman. Tick Tock.



Yankees Exposed, Red Sox Romp!

Permalink 08:20:00 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

Boston and New York were both riding winning streaks heading into this weekend's three game series. Red Sox had won 7 straight. Yanks, showing signs of life, had won 3 in a row. They were tied with 9-6 records. Joe Girardi's Yankees needed a good showing in Fenway. Instead, they received an old fashoned schooling by Terry Francona's Red Sox.

Boston did nearly everything great teams are supposed to do. They hit with runners in scoring position. Battled back when trailing. Pitched effectively. Bullpen saved games. Aggressive baserunning. Good fielding. Power. Managerial moves. Baseball 101 on full display. Sox swept Yanks 5-4, 16-11, 4-1.

My thoughts heading into this early season key matchup was to be more or less of a weather gauge. Yanks entered on a roller coaster type of season. They've looked good and horrific. The test was on vs arch rival Boston and Yanks embarrassed themselves.

Friday: Joba (should be setup for Rivera) pitched 5+ gutsy innings. Yanks were up 4-2... until... Rivera blew his 12th career regular season game vs Boston. Yanks had been 84-0 when leading after 8 since '08. The Sox have Mariano's number. They keep getting big hit after big hit against flat pitches by Rivera. Sox wait for his cutter and destroy high fastballs. Posada/Molina need to change up pitching locations. How many failures does it take for these battery mates to get it right? Big losses to ARod's replacement Ransom and SP Wang (15 day DL). Bruney was nearly lights out most nights setting up Rivera has a bad elbow.

Saturday: All seemed great. Yanks storm out to 6-0 early lead. AJ Burnett had 3 shutout innings behind him. All seemed right... until... Boston stormed back scoring 5 in the 4th, 3 in 5th, 1 in 6th, 3 in 7th and 4 in 8th. Burnett got bombed for 8. No reliever pitched 3 outs as they gave up 8 too! 16-11 Yanks bashed. Saturday's game was Day 1 of my Joe Girardi watch. I think the Steinbrenner watch began Sunday.... Tick Tock.

Sunday: Andy Pettitte has been Yanks only solid SP thus far entering at 2-0 in 3 quality starts. Yanks missed their chances and scored only 1. Yanks caught sleeping in the 5th. Bases loaded vs Pettitte (pitching from a full wind up)... and Ellsbury stole home with ease. It was at this moment I predict Steinbrenner's "official" stop watch was turned on against Girardi. Sloppy baseball. Yanks not on their toes. Not even their veteran southpaw. Tick Tock.

New billion dollar Stadium, new multi-million dollar deals to CC, AJ & Teixeira. Empty prime seating empty. Something's gotta give. Yanks were playoff bound every year for Torre. Girardi, while well liked by his players, can't seem to motivate these guys to produce. Some say "well ARod's been injured" yada yada. It's very early in the year and no need for fans to hit any panic buttons (leave it to owners). If the Yanks finish April with a losing record, Girardi is gone. Tick Tock.

The pitching staff is getting rocked. CC has started slowly. AJ was solid until Boston, same for Pettitte. However, Chien-Ming Wang... Wowie! I've never seen anything like it. So bad, no words sum it up. He's been tossing batting practice meatballs. 3 starts, 6 innings (total), 23 hits, 23 runs, 6 walks, 2 strikeouts (must be a typo), 2 home runs. ERA 34.50!!! Yanks shut him down (15 day DL) and called up a red hot Phil Hughes who was a complete bust in '08. Let's hope his AAA success has given Phil some confidence in preparation for Tuesday's game in Detroit.

As for the hitters, the stats look nice but they're not coming thru in clutch situations. Always seem to be swinging for homers instead of making contact for singles with runners in scoring positions. Yanks aren't doing the little things well consistently. Leaving runners on base game after game. Making bad outs. Tick Tock.

I like Girardi. He was a great manager for Florida before having a public fued with owners. He'll be a great manager for another team. Joe's just not the right guy for this one. Steinbrenner's have been unusually silent. Something has to wake up this team. If Joe can't do it... Yanks will find someone who can.