Memorial Day signals summer's beginning. Baseball is in full swing as nearly 1/3 of the season is complete. Division races seem to dictate all divisions will be hotly contested through 162 games. Many teams are surprising the baseball world. All NL East teams are sporting winning records. Tampa Bay's 32 victories are MLB's best. Division cellar dweller Baltimore is the games biggest loser (32). Complicated power rankings this week. Here's how it shakes out (top 10):
1) Tampa Bay Rays (32-15) Baseball's top team on a 3 game losing streak. Rotation and pitching has carried these guys.
2) New York Yankees (28-18) Girardi has guided a steady ship dealing with many injuries.
3) San Diego Padres (28-19) Can you believe SD has MLB's top staff? MLB best 2.85 team ERA and 9 shutouts. Opposing hitters batting only .229 (2nd best). Can this hold up during dog days of summer? Lineup getting key situational hits but ranks 26th in batting (.241) and 23rd in runs scored.
4) Philadelphia Phillies (26-19) In a cold spell. 4 game losing streak including back to back shutout losses to Mets. Is Oswalt in their future?
5) Minnesota Twins (26-20) If it wasn't for having to play the Yanks (1-4) then Twins might be sitting #2. Minnesota's dealt with many injuries since training camp and continues to win.
6) Boston Red Sox (27-21) After much turmoil in April, the Sox have turned it on in May (16-9) currently riding a 5 game hot streak. Look out, here they come.
7) Texas Rangers (26-21) Rangers are making a bid for their first division title since 1999. Rangers teams usually fade in smothering 100 degree summer Texas heat. If ever a team needed Roy Oswalt.. this is it.
8) Toronto Blue Jays (27-22) No Halladay? No problem. Instead, batters are destroying baseball's. #1 in runs (255), doubles (119), homers (79) & slugging (.461).
9) Los Angeles Dodgers (26-20) LA's injury list keeps growing. Torre working wonders to keep them winning.
10) Cincinnati Reds (27-20) Dusty Baker has these guys playing energized ball. No question they can hit. 23rd ranked pitching staff (4.51) might mean Cincy's hold of 1st place can't last much longer.
Chicago Blackhawks vs Philadelphia Flyers. Get ready for a hard hitting Stanley Cup Finals. These teams are red hot heading into Gane 1. Chicago knocked off the Predators (4-2) and Coyotes (4-2) before clobbering San Jose in four straight to reach the finals. Philadelphia stunned opening round opponent New Jersey in 5. Boston was next blew a 3 games to none lead before Philly stormed back including overcoming a 3-0 deficit in Game 7. Riding a new high the 7th ranked Flyers disposed of #8 Montreal in 5.
Breaking it down.
Chicago enters the Finals trying to wipe out a 49 year Cup drought. This is just the squad to do it. On offense it's been a complete team effort. Eight different players scored 17 or more goals and four handed out 40 or more assists. Team theme play continuing on full throttle. Dustin Byfugien netted 8. Jonathan Toews leads all Playoff scorers with 26 points (7 G, 19 A). Five players have 9 or more assists. How can Philadelphia match up? They can't. The Blackhawks will continue applying pressure. This time they take aim at Flyers net minders. Between the pipes for Chicago has been a red hot Antti Nemi (12-4, 2.33 - 2 shutouts). 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks represents best squad in recent franchise memory.
Philadelphia seems to take advantage of every little mistake. Most had these guys left for dead after falling behind Boston 3-0. Never say die Flyers are rolling. Not many gave them any shot against the Devils. Even less vs Boston. Many are now wondering after they eliminated cinderella Montreal. Statistically, Philly's regular season individual totals didn't turn any heads. Mike Richards (31 G, 31 A) and Jeff Carter (33 G, 28A) led the attack with only netted 236 goals. What is turning heads has been the stellar performance turned in by understudy goalie Michael Leighton. Leighton has been a gem. 8-1 sporting a 1.45 goals against average. He's the key. If able to stop Chicago onslaughts??? Anything is possible. The Flyers rely on physical play from pounding hits on the boards to disrupting center ice play. Clean crisp passing and puck protection represent the biggest musts for the Flyers to prevail.
Prediction: Chicago's plan is to bring aggressive play by all lines into the Flyers zone. Philadelphia hopes jarring hits and mid ice pickoffs are enough to throw the Blackhawks off their game. Leighton has been nearly impossible to beat in net. Chicago will certainly test his nerve. 'Hawks too strong and well balanced for Philly to handle.
Chicago in 5!
NFL Commissioner Goodell officially announced the New Meadowlands Stadium has been selected as host venue for Super Bowl XLVIII. The 2014 will be the league's first Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium in a cold weather city. There were four rounds of secret balloting before the hosting city was selected. New Jersey beat out Tampa Bay and Miami.
Let the debate rage. Critics and supporters have begun feasting on today's news. There's good and shady swirling around the 2014 game. Time to take a look at all sides. First up, there's a standing NFL 50 degree rule stating no Super Bowl will be awarded to a city averaging colder than 50 degree winter temperatures (unless indoors). So why the exception? It's been reported often, except in the official SB award press releases, Commissioner Goodell has lobbied for the NY/NJ venue. No direct finger pointing has come from Tampa owners but it's very clear Goodell's influence played a role in the final decision. Perhaps even a little arm twisting. Why? For generations both Giants and Jets season tickets had been sold out. There were thousands of names on season ticket waiting lists. Often times, season ticket holders assigned (gifted) their seats in last will and testaments. A not so funny thing happened when Giants and Jets team owners announced building the New Meadowlands Stadium. PSL's were put into place. PSL stands for "personal seat license" which is a one time purchase which gives the fan a right to buy season tickets (plus, season ticket costs). For Giants fans PSL's range from $1,000 to $20,000. Jets fans have to fork over $4,000 to $30,000. Both teams are experiencing extreme difficulty selling season tickets (especially in today's economy). Rumor has it Goodell's intervention is an attempt to help the Giants and Jets sell remaining PSL's & season tickets. How much of a consideration this had on awarding SB XLVII the public will probably never know.
"Under normal circumstances, we probably would have walked away with the trophy," said Sandy MacKinnon of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl bid committee. "But the NFL was interested in making history with New York City and a new stadium. I think the odds were stacked against the traditional sunshine climate."
On the upside. Is it really a big deal if two teams compete for the NFL Championship in less than optimal weather conditions? No. Afterall, this is the NFL. The battle of the gridiron. Sports biggest stage. It's disconcerting hearing NFL guru's complaining of potentially cold or wet game conditions. This is the NFL. Previous Super Bowls have been predicated around warm or perfect weather conditions. Many seem to forget, before Super Bowls, Championship games were played in many less than perfect settings. That's football. Brutal cold Championships hosted in Green Bay, Chicago, Baltimore & New York. It's only fitting football's grand game is played on the world's biggest stage. Projected revenues for the New York, New Jersey area expected to exceed $550 million for the local economy represent a shot in the arm for a city in steep economic turmoil. It's high time the Super Bowl could be played in less than perfect weather conditions. Bringing the game to a new venue is a great move. SB XLVIII in 2014 will be played in the backyard of the world's media capital.
There's never a lull in sports news. Here are just a few events from the past week. Many of you have email All World All Sports seeking our comments. Thank you for participating. This edition is dedicated to your submissions.
Mark Cuban The Dallas Mavericks owner continues to lock horns with NBA brass. Cuban has paid upwards of $500,000 in NBA levied fines. He got knocked again last week. This time to the tune of $100,000.00 for rules violation of tampering with soon to be free agent LeBron James. Picking up on quotes from various news sources: "The outspoken billionaire, in an interview this week with CNNMoney.com, said "anybody" would be interested in James. Cuban said it would be tough to sign the two-time defending league MVP in free agency, but a sign-and-trade deal with Cleveland is something he would look at." Yes, this simple statement was considered tampering. Cuban's no fool. He knew this little statement would justify league action. What it really accomplished was to send James a signal Dallas is very interested. Perhaps it was simply a scheme to plant a subliminal thought in James mind when he starts evaluating future teams? $100,000 is a hefty sum to most but barely a parking ticket to a billionaire.
Houston Astros Roy Oswalt wants a trade. The question of this moment is which team will step up? Oswalt wants to play for a contender. In all likelihood, Houston will demand future top rated talent in return for a potential Hall of Fame hurler. As of now, Houston's public stance has denied attempting to trade their most popular player after reports surfaced Oswalt's agent politely advised of his willing to drop a contractual non-trade clause. The best fits for Roy?
1) Minnesota hits a grand slam if they're able to make a deal. They sit in perfect position in cash and talent. Oswalt pitching to Joe Mauer would be create baseball's best pitcher/catcher tandem. 2) Yankees and Red Sox always seem to be within a nose of signing the games biggest names. Boston is hurting. Specifically, Sox hurlers have been less than reliable and everyone in Boston is edgy. 3) It would be hard imagining any AL team being able to stop New York if Yankees brass nab Oswalt. NY is a real long shot. They're probably considering this one but might take a pass. Yanks have severely decimated their minor league system and are facing key injuries. 4) Division rival Cincinnati seems intent on contending in 2010. They're a young bunch rich with stocked high radar type minor leaguers. 5) Texas. Yes, the bankrupt soon to be sold Rangers seem logical. Texas minors always produce heavy hitting free swingers. There's no MLB team more in need of a dominant #1 starting pitcher. Arlington is within striking distance of Houston affording Roy close proximity to family. MLB is temporarily bailing out financially strapped Texas aiding their sale to a new ownership group which includes Nolan Ryan. If the Rangers are serious of winning a title, this presents an immediate short term shot in the arm. Attendance figures would boom during R.O. starts. No high profile starter has opted for Texas in quite a long time. 6) Phillies are contenders. If Oswalt wants to remain in NL and win then maybe this is a team worth considering. Citizen's Bank Park could be a turnoff and Philadelphia is currently experiencing one of the highest crime rates in our nation. 7) Detroit - paired with Verlander creates a tremendous playoff 1-2 to rival potential playoff foes New York or Tampa Bay. Tigers would need to be creative in determining players to give Houston without upsetting team chemistry.
Here we go again. Another athlete who tirelessly denied doing anything illegal fesses up to what everyone already knew. Cyclist Floyd Landis spent years and thousands of dollars trying to convince the world he was innocent of any wrong doing. Yesterday, Landis attempted to come clean. He now admits to using performance-enhancing drugs for most of his career as a professional road cyclist, including the race whose title he briefly held (Tour de France).
Quoting directly from According to ESPN.com (Bonnie D. Ford, May 20, 2010):
"In a lengthy telephone interview from California, Landis detailed extensive, consistent use of the red blood cell booster erythropoietin (commonly known as EPO), testosterone, human growth hormone and frequent blood transfusions, along with female hormones and a one-time experiment with insulin, during the years he rode for the U.S. Postal Service and Switzerland-based Phonak teams."
Once a liar, always a liar. Landis went about cheating from day 1 as an amateur. Landis, in true cowardly fashion, is now practicing diversionary tactics. He's naming names to shift the spotlight. Ford's article further claims Landis is... "implicating dozens of other athletes, including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong; team management and owners; and officials of the sport's national and international governing bodies."
Lance Armstrong spent most of his career under suspicion. Now, here comes a former teammate giving him up. True or false? Does it really matter anymore? Will Armstrong be the next to fess up? I'm amazed at the depths individuals, teams, leagues and officials go to cover up bad apples. World governments are experts in these deceitful practices. Anyone listening to Obama can figure out his words never match up with bills signed into law. Corruption from sports to politics is at an all time high. Reaping in millions by fabricating false stories or covering up devious actions only to come clean telling all what was known from day 1.
So, who's next to come forward about their past? In recent years headlines entertained us with Tiger Woods, Pete Rose, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Ben Roethlisberger, Gilbert Arenas and countless others. Tell me why these guys are treated as royalty?
Philadelphia. A city rich in sports tradition. Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia Phillies. Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia 76ers. Each had their fair share of time in the sun. Each produced a long list of beloved sports heroes and championship teams. Mike Schmidt, Robin Roberts, Julius Erving, Wilbert Montgomery, Chuck Bednerick, Reggie White & Bobby Clarke are just a few. Philadelphia is famously known as "the City of Brotherly Love". That is, unless you happen to root for an opposing player.
Philly has a long history and strong reputation of hosting rogue, rowdy fans. A long list of incidents have taken place in Philadelphia hosting stadiums and arenas. Even Santa Claus was soundly booed and snowballed during an Eagles 1968 halftime show soon to be made famous around the country by Howard Cosell's national sports tv show. Car fires, fields trashed, near riots, drunken spectacles and clashes with police led city officials to create a temporary prison at Veterans Stadium during football season. Current state of affairs demonstrate police seem fed up with unruly behavior when only two weeks ago a foolish fan was tased after streaking onto the baseball diamond during a Phillies game. Most recently, during Game 1 of NHL's Eastern Conference Finals, a Montreal sportswriter's car was badly vandalized during the Flyers/Canadians contest.
What's up Philadelphia? An extremely long history of pathetic actions during sporting events continues growing. To what end? For what purpose? Just to prove drunks should always be denied entrance to games? Who cares if a visitor roots for their team and against yours? What if it was your son, sister, daughter or wife getting pummeled, robbed and victimized? It's high time city officials enact legislation dictating extreme harsh penalties resulting from public disturbances at athletic events. Cut off all alcohol sales as your citizens have proven numerous times they cannot handle drinking responsibly. Team owners should be held to task for not hiring enough security to keep everyone safe. As the saying goes, it only takes one rotten apple to ruin it for everyone else. Time to crack down hard on unsavory Philadelphia fans.
Buckle up. The Western Conference Finals start tonight. Two high flying offenses are ready for battle. Defending champion Los Angeles Lakers will shoot for their second consecutive title. A short lived turmoil was brewing as LA survived shaky early round performances. They'll need to solve a red hot Phoenix Suns squad fresh from a dominating sweep of San Antonio.
Coach Phil Jackson needs to keep LA's top guns fresh and role players focused at all times. Kobe Bryant leads LA shooters with 26.9 points/game. KB needs to do a much better job protecting the ball (3.7 turnovers/game) while creating opportunities for his supporting cast. Paul Gasol is averaging 20.2 points on 56% shooting. Key for LA is transition defense. Mental lapses, if any, will cost them dearly. When LA is on, their tops. Obviously, they'll have to play like champions for another shot at the title.
Look out LA, the Phoenix Suns seem to be doing everything right. It's been a total team effort. Phoenix has capitalized on opponents mistakes throughout this playoff season. On offense, they've been exploding to the hoop creating opportunities on nearly every trip down the floor. Almost everyone is putting the ball through the iron. Jason Richardson (21.9 - 51%), Amare Staudmire (20.5 - 51.4%) and Steve Nash (17.8 - 51.2%) lead starters. Bench players aren't afraid to put it up either. Phoenix roster has shot 47.6% in 10 playoff games including 42% of 3 point attempts.
Prediction: Phoenix and LA like to run. Both averaging over 100 ppg. It's all about Kobe in LA. Lakers bench cannot be counted on. Transition defense and ball protection are two major keys to this series. Wild card key to success is stamina. Both teams will be taxed after three quarters. Phoenix bench has been clutch. LA represents a most difficult challenge. Everyone's getting the job done for sharp shooting Suns. Phoenix stuns basketball world with a huge upset. Phoenix Suns in 6.
(7) Philadelphia Flyers vs (8) Montreal Canadiens: Nobody predicted the 7th and 8th seeds would square off to represent the East. Here they are nonetheless. Both teams are coming off exciting rounds. Philadelphia trailed Boston 3 games to none in the series and 3-0 in Game 7 to stun the Bruins. Montreal went toe to toe with Pittsburgh surviving a grueling 7 game series. Key to this series relies on Montreal's ability to stop Philadelphia's flying attack and for others to find the net besides Mike Cammelleri (12 goals) and Brian Gionta (7 goals). All Flyers lines have been applying heavy pressure on opposing netminders led by Mike Richards (17 points), Danny Briere (15), Chris Pronger (11) and Claude Giruox (11). These two split the season series 2-2. Prediction: Flyers in 6
(1) San Jose Sharks vs (2) Chicago Blackhawks West's top two teams go head to head. Chicago took the regular season series 3-1 including two in OT. This one will go the distance. Joe Pavelski's 9 goals lead San Jose shooters who will have their hands full vs a tenacious Chicago mid ice game. Jonathan Toews has been setting up teammates (14 assists) and figures to do more of the same. All games should go down to the closing minutes. Prediction: Chicago in 7
Get ready for intense basketball.
Orlando vs Boston promises to be a titanic Eastern Conference Finals battle. They're two very smart and physical teams not strangers to pressure basketball. Boston won it all in 2007-08 but last year their injured squad was sent packing by Orlando. The Celtics are clicking. Everyone seems to be contributing by way of clutch shooting or key steals. Rajon Rondo has been nearly impossible to slow down (17.7 PPG). When defenses converge, Rondo dishes (11 A/G) to Ray Allen (18.3), Kevin Garnett (17.1) and Paul Pierce (16.6). Kendrick Perkins has been doing a fine job clogging up the lanes (2.30 blocks/game). Can they reach the Finals? Orlando seems to have their number winning 7 of last 10.
No team has solved Orlando this playoff season. The Magic are 8-0 dominating opponents by a whopping 101.0 to 83.8 margin. Dwight Howard (15.4 PPG, 11.3 REB, 2.8 BLK) & Co. shutting down opposing players with ease. Howard has been unstoppable hitting 68% from the field. Jameer Nelson connected 52% for 20.5 points. Rachard Lewis (54%, 16.4) and Vince Carter (16.9) kept Charlotte and Atlanta searching for answers. It's been a team effort from top to bottom. Magic have set their signts on one thing and one thing only. Winning Orlando's first NBA Championship. Will a one week layover between series leave Orlando rusty? Late nights and premature partying will have dire performance consequences if Magic players took unnecessary liberties.
Boston is flying high with renewed self confidence after frustrating Cleveland. They're healthy this time around and primed for revenge. Every game could go right down to the wire. Game 1 goes to Celtics as Magic struggle to sink baskets. Magic responds to wake up call by winning Game 2. Going Green? Celtics will take this memorable series in 7 hotly contested games.
It's power ranking time. A few movers and shakers creeping up the lists while favorites take a hit. NHL Playoffs produced a few surprises. Montreal stunned Pittsburgh. Boston 3 games to none lead vs Flyers has been erased (3-3). Tigers pitchers stymied potent Yankees lineup. Celtics sticking it to LeBron and Cavs. Lakers and Magic appear headed for another showdown. Baseball's first coaching casualty is KC's Hillman who was sacked Thursday after a dismal 12-23 beginning.
1- Tampa Bay (24-10): AL best 104 runs against, 2nd best 189 runs scored. Rays are for real.
2- Yankees (22-12): Hiccuped losing 3 of 4 in Detroit. Banged up but too strong to fold.
3- Minnesota (22-12): Creating ways to win. Banged up all year. Gardenhire one of mlb's best field generals.
4- Philadelphia (20-15): NL's strongest lineup expecting return of Rollins. Bullpen woes continue. Sign stealing scandal swept under rug by MLB.
5- San Diego (22-12): Young roster is beginning to believe. If SD lineup could hit they'd have mlb's best record. Lights out bullpen shutting down opponents.
6- Detroit (20-15): 3 of 4 from Yanks puts Tigers in thick of Central race. Look out if hot pitching continues.
7- St Louis (20-15): Lineup not producing runs and lacks big lefty stick. They need to make a trade.
8- Texas Rangers (20-15): AL West leaders have history of wilting in summer heat. Starting pitchers need to step up.
9- Washington (19-15): That's right, looked who cracked the top 10 !!!
10-Mets (18-16): Washington and Mets in top 10! Armageddon nearing?
1- LA Lakers: Only Phoenix stands in the way of another finals appearance.
2- Orlando: Breezed into Conference Finals. They want revenge from Championship loss to Lakers.
3- Phoenix: Climbed up a few notches after sweeping Spurs. Will fall with loss to LA.
4- Boston: Looking sharp as ever. Too much talent for Cavs to handle. Can they knock off Magic?
5- Cleveland: LeBron's injury and lack of coolness from supporting cast doomed Cavs vs Celtics.
6- Atlanta: Their future is bright.
7- Dallas: When will playoff chokes end?
8- Denver: Off seasons moves loom large.
9- San Antonio: Stunned themselves with loss to Phoenix.
10-Utah: Great young team. Great coach.
1- Washington: Still tops even though they were bounced early.
2- Chicago: Soon to be Stanley Cup Champs? Or, will it be San Jose?
3- San Jose: Conference Finals vs Chicago will be better than Cup matchup.
4- Vancouver: Solid team. Great season. Couldn't get past Chicago.
5- Detroit: Hot down the stretch. Out played by SJ in semi's.
6- Pittsburgh: How did they crumble vs Montreal?
7- Phoenix: Strong team ousted by Detroit in 7.
8- New Jersey: Coach resigned after stunning playoff defeat.
9- Buffalo: Fine team folded in playoffs.
10-Los Angeles: Future seems bright.
1- New Orleans: Super Bowl Champs.
2- Indianapolis: Great draft. Beefed up defense.
3- Minnesota: Favre will be back. Immediate impact top 2 draft picks.
4- Dallas: Playoff failures point to one thing... coaching staff. Roster is very strong. No team leader.
5- NY Jets: Ryan is building defense by thuggery. Opposing players will be crying uncle by halftime. Offense will mature quickly with great field position all game long.
6- San Diego: Fine tuned roster dumping LT. Great draft. D needs to step up in '10.
7- NY Giants: Injuries doomed D in '09. Maturing WR's could have big year. OL was terrible and will rebound.
8- Green Bay: Horrible draft. Total bust. Defense holds they key to future success (or failures).
9- Atlanta: Great draft addressing pressing needs.
10-Houston: Solid draft. If both lines play better, 2010 will be Texans' best season in franchise history. Solid draft results.
1- Ernie Els
2- Phil Mickelson
3- Jim Furyk
4- Anthony Kim
5- Steve Stricker
6- Tim Clark
7- Camilo Villegas
8- Ben Crane
9- Retief Goosen
(MLB rankings based on records thru 6 pm, 5/13/10)
Will Cleveland's front office resign LeBron James before he's eligible to file for free agency on July 1? Win or lose, tonight represents a very real possibility LeBron's days in Cleveland are finished.
The Cavaliers current 5 year run is best in team history. Back to back 60+ win seasons (current), 3 semi-final appearances, one conference final appearance and one NBA Finals loss. Not a bad run. All made possible by back to back NBA MVP, LeBron James. Cavs brass were banking on at least another Conference Finals this year. Standing in their way has been a determined Boston Celtics squad completely dominating James and the Cavs.
So what happens if Boston sends Cleveland packing tonight? Are the Cavs seriously considering dumping one of the NBA's biggest stars? A huge mistake. If Cleveland fears allocating a boat load of cash for one player then they'd be wise to consider a sign and trade deal. This would afford Cleveland leverage for obtaining talent in return for the NBA's reigning MVP. Letting James leave without seeking compensation is absolute insanity.
New York Knicks fans are keeping their fingers crossed. New York has done everything possible in anticipation of LeBron declaring free agency come July 1. They've dumped high priced players, cleared salary cap room, hired new front office personnel and a coaching staff. New York sports media has employed a full court press on airwaves near and far attempting to court James. Everything from championships on Broadway to luxurious homes has been discussed. A few other players have been targeted but, it's obvious James is their prime target. Time will tell.
Major League Baseball has told the Philadelphia Phillies to stop using binocular's from their bullpen during ballgames. Wednesday night, Phillies bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was caught on live tv peering in towards home plate.
According to an ESPN.com article "FSN Rocky Mountain, the flagship broadcaster of the Colorado Rockies, showed Billmeyer using the binoculars to peer in on Colorado catcher Miguel Olivo while the Phillies were at bat in the top of the second inning. It also showed a quick image of Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino in the dugout on the bullpen phone in the top of the second."
All teams try to steal signs flashed from dugouts, third base coaches and catchers. Crossing the line is when devices are used from binoculars, cell phones, telephones, recorders and so on. Teams who notice a pitcher tipping off pitches or coaches flashing sloppy signs should not be flagged. In the Phillies case it's quite different. They've been accused on many occasions of stealing catching signals of opposing catchers using center field camera's and now binoculars from their own bullpen. This is flat out cheating. Will MLB's Commissioners Office take any concrete action or levy fines?
Philadelphia's NL East rival NY Mets complained of Phils stealing signs back in '07. By Boston in '08. Arizona in '10. Former Phillies shortstop, coach and manager Larry Bowa fluffed off rumors of sign stealing... "That's the rumor. Now, is it proven? No." Guess what Larry? Incriminating evidence has been found.
May 2010 has been packed with action and wide ranging sports stories. Arrests, playoff games, perfect games, taunts and tasers. Time to tackle a few eye catchers.
Lawrence Taylor was arrexted on rape charges stemming from his night with a 16 year old prostitute in upstate New York. LT's life keeps teetering on self destruction from cocaine abusing days to poor judgement. Now it's a rape rap. LT is no stranger to being arrested. So, why did LT forget one of his rights? To remain silent. LT admitted to arresting officers he paid $300 for sex but didn't realize the woman was actually an underage teenager. LT's latest drama will be played out in newspapers until its' conclusion. For more on athletes in trouble check out SportsRagePage.com
Two sports fans tasered in less than one week after creating disturbances. The first incident happened at Citizens Bank Park during a Phillies game. A moronic 17 year old teen jumped onto the field and began running. He managed to illude stadium security until a uniformed Philadelphia cop subdued the kid with a taser gun. The cop is now being investigated for excessive use of force. According to reports, the teen ignored his father's plea not to run onto the field. The rest was history. Fans should know if they're dumb enough to pull a stunt like this then expect a swift butt kicking when you're finally captured.
The second taser incident happened at The Players Championship golf event this weekend in Florida. Apparently a drunk Tiger Woods heckler refused to quiet down and soon went into another rant after being approached by St. Johns County Sheriff Deputies. When the deputies finally resorted to arresting the man he resisted and was quickly tasered. The PGA Tour commented immediately following with this statement: "The Tour's position is and has always been that anything that disrupts the competition or the enjoyment of our fans will be dealt with accordingly, as was the case today."
Does anyone remember Yankees Alex Rodriguez vs A's Dallas Braden brouhaha? It started a couple of weeks ago when ARod ran across the mound on his way back towards the Yankees dugout after being retired by the A's southpaw pitcher. Braden took exception and launched a bratty verbal tirade. Media outlets seized on this story and blew it way out of proportion. Braden's rants continued well after the game. ARod attempted to quell any further discussion by stating he didn't want "to extend his (Braden) extra 15 minutes of fame." Well guess what happened yesterday in Oakland? Braden's fame was forever extended. Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game vs Tampa Bay on Mother's Day. Braden's grandmother, who was in attendance watching her grandson's perfect gem, joined in the ARod bashing. After the perfect game grannie told ARod to "stick it". Congratulations Dallas Braden on your perfect game. Now stop whining and shut up!
Phoenix Suns finally beat San Antonio Spurs. Yes, that's right hoops fans, Phoenix beat the Spurs. San Antonio had disposed of Phoenix in four straight playoff series until Sunday. The Suns got the revenge this year by sweeping their arch rivals in a hard hitting series. It seemed like every Spurs mistake quickly turned into a Suns advantage. Don't expect much more from Phoenix in this years playoffs. Then again, never say never.
Surprise, surprise. Check out baseball's pitching leaders. Not quite a who's who of household names. American League ERA leaders are: CJ Wilson (Tex) 1.51, Phil Hughes (NYY) 1.69 and Doug Fister (Sea) 1.71. National League's top 3: Ubaldo Jiminez (Col) 0.93, Livan Hernandez (Was) 1.04 and Jaime Garcia (STL) 1.18. Hardcore baseball fans know these names well while many others have been asking "Who?" Let's see if these guys can keep up early season successes for the long haul.
The baseball world lost two legends this week. Ernie Harwell (May 4) and Robin Roberts (May 6) have passed away. Detroit and Philadelphia fans have been recollecting and sharing their fond memories of two baseball icons.
Ernie Harwell passed away on May 4th. Harwell was the voice of baseball's Detroit Tigers for over 42 years. Sportscasters nationwide quickly praised Harwell upon learning of his death. Players, reporters and countless others have shared fond memories. Nearly all agree Hartwell was one of the games good guys. One common theme was Hartwell's ability to touch others lives by how he lived life and endless support of fellow men and women.
Philadelphia Phillies star righthander Robin Roberts died last night at 83. He was a Phillies star pitcher who helped deliver the 1950 pennant. Roberts won 20 or more games six years in a row from 1950-55 including 28-7 in 1952 (career stats). In an effort to honor Roberts, his No. 36 jersey will hang in the Phillies dugout beginning today and will remain throughout the season, both at Citizens Bank Park and on the road.
MLB 2010 All Star Game voting (sponsored by Sprint) is well underway. Arguments have been made against offering voting too early in a young season. Arguments have also been made about ballot box stuffing. Fans can cast up to 25 votes per email address online. A bit much? You be the judge.
Here's a quick list of early season stars by position.
1B (Tie) Justin Morneau (MIN) - .356 BA, 1.138 OPS, 14 XBH;
Paul Konerko (CWS) - 12 HR, 24 RBI, 1.171 OPS
2B Robinson Cano (NYY) - .371, 9 HR, 21 RBI, 1.149 OPS
3B Evan Longoria (TAM) - .347, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 1.028 OPS
SS Derek Jeter (NYY) - .321, 16 R, 20 RBI
OF Vernon Wells (TOR) - .327, 8 HR, 1.054 OPS
OF Austin Jackson (DET) - .377, .954 OPS
OF Shin-Soo Choo (CLE) - 16 RBI, .423 OBA, .891 OPS
C Joe Mauer (MIN) - .345, .906 OPS
DH Jose Guillen (KC) - .282, 7 HR, 19 RBI
SP Ubaldo Jiminez (COL) - 6-0, 0.87 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 44 SO, 41.1 IP
CL Mariano Rivera (NYY) - 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 7 SV
Good grief. Here's another dumb jock incident. Hofstra University's new head basketball coach, who has yet to step on the court, has resigned in disgrace after being arrested last week on a DUI charge after falling asleep at a traffic light. Tim Welsh is now history after signing a 5 year $3M contact to replace long time head coach Tom Pecora.
Two hours after arrest, Welsh's blood alcohol level was more than double the legal .08 limit as he registered in at .18. Hofstra suspended him immediately following word of arrest on drunk driving related charges. Welsh stepped up today and did the right thing. His quick resignation affords Hofstra's athletic program ample time to search for a dignified replacement.
It's not often a coach quits before his first game (unless your Bill Belichick). Add Welsh's name to the long list of sports personalities in trouble with the law. For more names, crimes and athletic scandals visit "SportsRagePage.com"
2010 NBA Playoffs are going strong. Opening round games were great to watch even though only one series went the distance. Now it's time for the Conference Semifinals. Two great matchups on paper are Cleveland vs Boston and San Antonio vs Phoenix. Anything can happen from here on in. Whichever teams capitalize most from opponents mistakes should be victorious. Predictions......
Cleveland over Boston in 7 - James was officially awarded his second consecutive NBA MVP Award on Sunday. James knows to become one of the all time greats now rests squarely on leading Cleveland to championship glory.
Orlando over Atlanta in 5 - Magic chasing after 1st championship. Atlanta's great season will soon end.
Los Angeles over Utah in 5- Kobe stepped up in Game 1 as LA almost dropped the opener. LA has generally looked great in wins and abysmal in defeat. Utah will keep up the pressure on every play.
San Antonio over Phoenix in 7 - Both teams are red hot and playing smart heads up hoops. This will be a 15 round slugfest.
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