Archives for: 2010, week 21

05/27/10

Memorial Day Weekend Baseball Power Rankings

Permalink 03:20:58 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

"All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

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.

05/26/10

Stanley Cup Finals: Chicago Blackhawks vs Philadelphia Flyers

Permalink 05:00:45 am, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

"All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

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!

05/25/10

New Meadowlands Stadium Wins 2014 Super Bowl Honors

Permalink 08:07:11 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

"All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

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.

05/24/10

Texas Headline Twisters

Permalink 09:52:53 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs  

"All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

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.

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