Archives for: 2009, week 25


NBA + NHL Draft Chatter

Permalink 12:55:42 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

Who had the not so smart idea of scheduling both NBA & NHL drafts on over lapping days? Simultaneous drafts is a marketing snafu for both leagues. The NBA has made great strides in positive self marketing in recent years. NHL has rebounded nicely from a work stoppage which hurt their fan base. However, not only does dual drafts distract fan attention... it's timing in the broader picture of current sporting events couldn't be worse. Wimbledon, FIFA Conferations Cup Finals and interleague baseball play are in full throttle garnering much attention in sporting press news & blogs. Perhaps, both leagues will wise up next year.

NBA kicked off their opening draft day Thursday. LA Clippers got things started selected most coveted Blake Griffin. Clippers have been a laughingstock for nearly all of their 25 year history. Perhaps Griffin can help stabilize Los Angeles' other team.

Draft day boo-birds chirped loudly when New York Knicks selected Jordan Hill with their first round pick. He could be an excellent fit into NY's new offensive scheme. But, this move is a big gamble for a team which has made very questionable picks in recent history.

Making big news from across the ocean... Sacramento Kings first round pick was Israel's Omri Casspi. It's the first time an Israeli has been selected in NBA's opening round. He has strong credentials. Let's see if he can handle the pressures of everyday play in the NBA.

Some of the biggest news has been trades. Cleveland is hungry for a championship. Opponents daily doubling of LeBron James prompted Cavs front office to deal for another dominating presence. Shaquille O'Neal heads to Cleveland after the Cavs had no answers for Orlando's Howard in this years playoffs. Can Shaq still be a dominating force? Teamed up with James provides one simple answer, YES! NBA's Eastern Conference was already extremely tough. Now, it's a whole lot tougher.

Conference Champs Orlando didn't sit still as they added a big gun of their own trading for New Jersey's Vince Carter. Talk about two teams heading in opposite directions. It wasn't long ago the Nets were tops in the East. NJ has been in a tailspin making one bad trade after another. Carter to Orlando brings veteran big game experience to this youthful group on the rise.

NHL draft begins tonight. New Yorkers are wondering if the Islanders will find yet another way to goof on draft day. The local rumor mill has narrowed down the Isles top pick to one of three players. Gretzky-like hype surrounds John Tavares. Victor Hedman has been another name tossed around town. Then there's a player considered most ready to make an immediate impact, Matt Duchene. New York has a penchant for mucking up drafts in recent years. Turmoil has surrounded this team for years. From where I sit, only one pick makes sense. If there's a player with potential rivaling Gretzky then how can they pass? Islanders need an impact player. A scorer. A glimmer of hope. John Tavares must be the top pick. They'd be wise to double up too. After their first pick, they should trade for another first rounder if possible. 2009 draft is loaded with talent. If NY is serious on returning to respectability... the time is now!



Fantasy Baseball Blues

Permalink 07:34:13 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

Fantasy baseball managers across the country have scrambled all season long to fill voids created by player injuries and subpar performances from some of the games biggest stars. Thousands of teams are played on various internet sites from ESPN to Yahoo. Games are composed in many formats from rotisserie to head to head. No matter which version you play, 2009 has been a rollercoaster year for most players. As for managers, it's been survival of the fittest trying to cope with roster losses.

I've been playing fantasy baseball for years. Since the days of Prodigy Online. Remember Prodigy? As draft day approaches managers spend time ranking players based on personal preferences. Power, speed, pitching and favorite players all factor into decision making processes. 2009 has been a season of a vast injuries and subpar performances from a few key players selected high in a majority of drafts.

Anyone drafting New York players this year are probably disappointed. Alex Rodriguez, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and Chien Ming Wong represent a few players disrupting teams leaving managers scrambling for replacements. Just like in the pros... from east coast to west coast it's been a season of trying to field healthy lineups and plenty of trade chatter.

Streaky hitting has also played an important part in fantasy team performances this year. Take a player like Swisher (NY) who was probably a very late draft pick in most leagues. He wasn't slated to be more than a replacement player for the Yankees. Nady was supposed to be their everyday right fielder until an early season injury landed him an extensive disabled list stay. Swisher was red hot in April only to come crashing down to earth in June.

Manny Ramirez, after officially signing with LA, was probably ranked on everyone's top 10. A 50 game MLB suspension certainly riled thousands of fans outside of Hollywood. I'll throw out a few more names which have fantasy managers grumbling... Jimmy Rollins (.214), Garrett Atkins (.206), Jay Bruce (.216), Alfonso Soriano (.224), Grady Sizemore (.227), Russell Martin (.244), Francisco Liriano (5.88), Brad Lidge (7.27, 8 blown saves) and Kerry Wood (5.68, 4 blown). Baseball's disabled list has been overly crowded again in '09. Scrambling to replace a replacement player has also handcuffed numerous teams, fantasy and pro.

One of my favorite fantasy games is Baseball Manager (BBM). It's not your normal fantasy setup and is based on live games and a stat pool compromised of unused stats from previous games. In Baseball Manager lineups are designated against right handed or left handed starters. If a player is in your lineup facing a righty, and also faces a righty in real life on the same day, then his live appearance is used. If not, then a random previous appearance is selected from his stat pool. BBM is a unique style of playing fantasy baseball. Other games are fine but this one requires a bit more of managerial challenges from player salaries to setting lineups and reliever appearances.

Right around this time of year another wrench gets thrown at teams in AL & NL only fantasy leagues. Trades. Teams could lose their star players when getting traded from one league to another. MLB teams out of playoff contention or struggling in attendance often shed heavy contracts by dealing players to contenders. Adrian Gonzalez to the Angels? Michael Young to St. Louis? Anything and everything can happen approaching MLB trade deadlines.



Fehr No More: Baseball's Union Leader Retires!

Permalink 02:53:09 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

All World All Sports

-Digger's Daily-

Major League Baseball Players Association chief Don Fehr is calling it quits after nearly 26 years as lead man for one of our countries most successful unions. Fehr replaced a legend union man named Marvin Miller who was largely responsible for setting up the mlb's current arbitration and free agency system.

Love him or hate him, during Fehr's tenure baseball's average salary went from approximately $280,000 to $3.2+M. His career consumed highs and lows. There's no question of his ability to negotiate collective bargaining agreements in favor of players gaining greater salaries. Greed has run amuck throughout baseball. Fehr made sure players got their share of the pie. Fehr successfully argued baseball owners were guilty of collusion against free agent players during the 80's (won $280M settlement). Since then, average salaries continue climbing to record levels.

I have one major complaint and a few gripes against Fehr. Performance Enhancing Drugs. For years Fehr lobbied against any sort of drug testing for major league players from cocaine to steroids. It's the steroids (PED's) which had fans in an uproar over the total disregard for morals of the game. The warning signs were there. Ken Caminiti, Jose Canseco and various sports reporters sounded alarms but nobody was listening until "The Game of Shadows" was published. MLBPA did everything possible to block testing for controlled substances for far too long. We know the rest of the story. However, Fehr was never forthright with Congress or America's fans until a perverbial gun was placed to his head.

Baseball's 232 day work stoppage remains another of my gripes against Fehr which lead to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. Lack of a true commissioner of baseball and MLBPA's silence when Selig was named "interim" (later to become "official") was a bit mind boggling. Selig was former owner of Milwaukee's Brewers presenting a direct conflict to the commissioners office.

Fehr's true strength was appearing as a pillar of strength when negotiating new labor deals. Rarely, at least not publicly, did he ever waver from public statements and collective bargaining demands. He's expected to officially step down sometime before March 2010.