Archives for: 2010, week 01

01/09/10

Baseball Finance 101: Collusion or Scared Money?

Permalink 11:03:20 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Spring Training is one month away. Major League Baseball owners have been very slow to sign free agents leaving players wondering (or worrying) where, or if, they'll play in 2010. The state of our economy and how it's effected teams/owners bottom lines may be factoring into why so many talented players remain without jobs. Or, is it? America's favorite pasttime has never been a stranger to controversy. Owners colluding has been famously proven in years past. Is it resurfacing again? To contradict many blogs I've been reading my answer is no.

Owners are concerned as economic trends remain worrisome. Some MLB teams have clamped down. Tightening their purse strings at any cost. Big market teams in New York, Boston and LA continue to spend as they see fit. Smaller market, less competitive teams continue to struggle with dwindling gate receipts and escalating costs. There's one team with perennial lackluster attendance cellar dwellers spending more than most anticipated. Ironicly, they're based in Washington! The Washington Nationals have opened their piggy banks by signing veteran All Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez (2 years, $6M hoping he can settle down one of baseball's most pathetic and oft injured pitching staffs. Throw in Jason Marquis (2 years, $12M) plus Mike Capps (1 year, $3M) and it may appear as though the Nationals are finally trying to build a competitive team. Seattle Mariners have been busy too making blockbuster trades and key additions as they see a clear opportunity to challenge in the AL West.

I remain completely surprised so many talented players remain unsigned when a majority of teams need help. Taking a look at some of these remaing free agent notables: Jermaine Dye, Vlad Guerrero, Aubry Huff, Miguel Tejada, Jon Garland, Johnny Damon, Rick Ankiel, Orlando Hudson, Rod Barajas, Russell Branyan, Orlando Cabrera, Felipe Lopez. These names represent a few of what I call potential impact players ready to contribute. Perhaps their asking prices are too high. A few haven't even been offered deals. Most surprising to me isn't the lack of bigger named signings outside of Dye & Tejada. Not by a longshot. It's the lack of activity surrounding more versatile guys and starting pitchers. Here's the complete list of available free agents listed on ESPN.com

Time is ticking. Pre-season games begin in March. I expect there to be a flurry of activity as spring training is only weeks away. Time will tell.

Early 2010 Random Rumblings

Permalink 07:00:00 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Just a few thoughts off the top of my head with one week of the new year barely completed.

Hats off the College Football's new National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide. What happened to Colt McCoy? This kids draft stock is on serious hold in my eyes. The biggest game of his young football career and he didn't have the guts to come back out onto the field. You have to feel for his Texas Longhorns teammates who played a great game to just stay close until Alabama pulled away late. For those who missed it, QB McCoy was hit during Texas' 2nd series. He immediately went to the sidelines never to return. Apparently, all the hubbub is over a pinched nerve. It didn't seem too severe when McCoy was jumping around the sidelines after halftime. Buck up kid. Be a man. At the very least, he should have tried playing at least a few snaps. He did not look hurt. Flashbacks of Thurman Thomas Super Bowl chicken out move vs Dallas.

What in the world gets into the heads of pro athletes. Now, it's NBA star Gilbert Arenas who gets brandished a gun. IN THE LOCKERROOM! I give a ton of credit to Commissioner Stern for immediately suspending this nut who was crazy enough to then finger point gun motions at his teammates moments later. A law enforcement investigation is currently underway. Throw the book at him. Maybe Gil's cell will read "Plaxico was here!"

Theo Epstein is quietly rebuilding another tough Red Sox ballclub. 2010 theme is big time defense. Beltre's arrival to man 3B is a nice addition and I'm betting his bat reawakens within Fenway's cozy confines. They may not have enough guns to win the East, but Wild Card is always well within their grasp.

01/07/10

2010 to Crown New BCS & NFL Champions!

Permalink 12:15:30 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Get ready for serious football action. Thursday night is college football's BCS Championship Game, #1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs #2 Texas Longhorns. Two of the nations perrenial top football programs will go head to head in a winner take all game. Following closely behind, NFL Playoffs kick off with the Wild Card round beginning Saturday. Here's my two cents version of how the games will play out...

BCS

Texas Longhorns (13-0) - Barely challenged by opponents in '09 until beating Nebraska by 1 in the regular season finale 13-12. Nation's 3rd ranked offense led by senior QB Colt McCoy and WR Jordan Shipley will have their hands full vs nation's 2nd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide defense. Texas plays a high powered game featuring speed on both sides of the line. Alabama's offensive line might be the difference maker in this one. If they're able to pound Longhorn defensive line into the ground (no easy task) then Heisman Trophy winner Ingram will have a huge night. Texas LB's will need to play big and they will.

Prediction: Texas 23 Alabama 19

NFL
(Saturday)
Jets (9-7) @ Bengals (10-6): Jets trifecta - rookie coach, rookie qb, NFL #1 defense. Jets defense is NFL's best and will be needed to set up great field position for suspect offense. Chad Ochocinco lost his own challenge and was supposed to change his name back to Chad Johnson (hasn't happened) after being shut out by Jets CB Revis. Chad whoever may get shut out again.
Jets 20 Bengals 9

Eagles (11-5) @ Cowboys (11-5): Cowboys snapped a December dry spell to win NFC East in final game vs Philadelphia. Dallas defense has posted back to back shutouts. I've always been a firm believer in momentum heading into playoff football and Cowboys are hot, hot, hot. Did Eagles defense play possum last weekend? They're a blitz first defense and hardly blitzed Romo last weekend. Expect a very aggressive D this go around. If so, watch out for Romo to Witten as Philly is weak defending TE's running wide open vs blitz schemes.
Cowboys 31 Eagles 20

(Sunday)
Ravens (9-7) @ Patriots (10-6): Ravens are dangerous. Problem is their game is inconsistent on both offense and defense. When they're good, they're good. When bad, they play like crud. I'm expecting Baltimore's D to be very motivated and agressive. Same goes for offense vs Pats weak and exposed secondary. This isn't the same Patriots team which not too long ago dominated games. They won't on Sunday either. Brady lost a key weapon last weekend (Welker). Defense is banged up. Running game has no chance vs Ravens D line. Moss will be double teamed. Belichick needs one heck of a game plan run to perfection if New England is to have any chance on Sundaay afternoon.
Ravens 27 Patriots 17

Packers (11-5) @ Cardinals (10-6): No one gave Arizona any chance heading into last years' opening round playoff game. Guess what? They ended up one play from winning the Super Bowl! I doubt many are giving them much of a shot in this game either. Green Bay is hot and playing great football lately. Their defense has been making big play after big play. On offense, Rodgers is in the zone leading the NFL's 3rd highest scoring offense. Warner won't go easily and is usually money in big games. Young RB Wells will need to play the game of his life and not fumble. Protecting the pigskin is key for turnover happy Cards.
Packers 34 Cardinals 23

01/06/10

Andre Dawson Voted into Hall of Fame

Permalink 04:02:01 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

It's official. After 8 years of wondering and waiting the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) voted Andre Dawson into the Hall of Fame. Dawson, named on 77.9% of ballots (75% needed for election), was one of the NL's most feared hitters during his 21 year career.

21 year MLB career stats include: 1977 NL Rookie of the Year, 1987 NL MVP, 438 HR, 1591 RBI, .279 BA, 314 SB, 8 time All Star, 8 Gold Gloves.

Debates often rage when it comes to discussing future HOF candidates. Dawson's name was often debated as are many of this years nominee's who failed to garner enough votes (Blyleven, McGwire, Dale Murphy, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Tim Raines). For me, Dawson's selection was never about why or why not. It was only a question of when? The question has now been answered... 2010.

I was lucky enough to watch Dawson play live many times when his Expos and Cubs played at Shea Stadium. He was a gifted 5 tool player that did it all offensively and defensively playing hurt throughout most of his career. The only knock of his career was a relatively low on base percentage meaning he didn't walk enough (or made too many outs) for the naysayers. However, when he hit, he hit everything hard and was a big time clutch hitter when games were on the line. Defensively, his shot gun right arm not only cut runners down on the base path's but, they would often reconsider attempting to go for an extra base.

Andre Dawson was a man who simply loved to play the game. It wasn't about money as evidenced by his once signing a "blank contract" with the Chicago Cubs. He told Chicago to fill in any amount... he just wanted to play. Dallas Green filled in $500,000 (2nd lowest salary on Cubs) during a period when owners colluded against free agents. Dawson went onto win NL MVP honors posting a career season (49 HR, 137 RBI).

Today's headlines of Andre Dawson... the "Hawk"... finally landing where he belongs in the National Baseball Hall of Fame is great news. Perhaps, next year will finally be Bert Blyleven's turn.

01/04/10

Ochocinco No More? Trash Talker Loses Own Challenge!

Permalink 01:28:50 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

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-Digger's Daily-

Happy New Year!

What a great few days of football from college to pro games. It's only gets better from here. Soon a new National Champion will be crowned. Next weekend NFL Playoffs begin.

Here's a little side note from Sunday night's pre-game interview with Chad Ochocinco. Remember, Chad's real last name used to be Johnson before he legally changed to Ochocinco. This week, Ocho has been engaged in lighthearted trash talking of how he was going to beat New York Jets defensive back Revis. One of his twitter posts read as follows:

"I'm coming to the big apple to give NY what they've never seen, an escape inmate gone wild on Revis island. Try and cover me."

Today he took it to a new level. And, if he's a man of his word, Chad Ochocinco will soon be legally re-named Chad Johnson. During the Bengals/Jets pre-game interview Chad stated how Revis couldn't cover him. I guess playing top notch defense vs Randy Moss & Terrell Owens two games each didn't mean much to Chad. Not to mention shutting down nearly every opposing wideout.

Ochocinco's trash talking was all stated in good fun and without malice. He's a colorful character always looking to say or do something on the shocking side to garner attention on and off the field. But, did he go too far tonight? Will Revis call him out? Here's the pregame challenge quote during the Costas interview:

"If Revis were to shut me down, I will change my name back to Johnson. That’s how confident I am. It’s not happening.”

Guess how many catches Mr. Ochocinco recorded Sunday night? ZERO. New York's defense laid it all on the line. A win guaranteed them a playoff birth. They did more than win. It was total domination 37-0. Chad didn't catch a single pass. Revis was all over him from the very first snap.

The question remains.... will Chad honor his word even if spoken in jest and revert back to Johnson?