The NFL continues to clamp down on discipline with the stiff penalty the New York Jets received for tampering. Not only did they not lose a draft pick, they weren’t even forced to switch places in a round with the Patriots.
Meanwhile, in an inteview with Charlie Rose, commissioner Roger Goodell said the Deflategate decision should be out soon. No rush Roger, only been 102 days and counting. We know you want to get it right because you have a responsibility to all 32 teams.
Tom Brady not showing up at the White House was bothersome and borderline disrespectful. However, it wasn’t because Brady is racist as Stephen A. Smith implied (a ludicrous suggestion) and it wasn’t because he is a Republican. It was because Tom Brady decided that a family event was more important. Life is about track record and Brady has exemplified leadership at every turn including being the first Patriot at offseason workouts.
Joe Haden said neither he nor his Browns teammates knew Josh Gordon wasn’t permitted to drink when they hung out together in Vegas? Tom Arnold also said that he didn’t know Roseanne Barr wasn’t allowed to eat at the Caesars Palace buffet. Michael Vick’s friends didnt know that he shouldn’t be hanging out at the local dog pound.
I’m excited to see the Eagles employ their quarterbacks this season. The competition won’t be as fierce as people imagine though because Sam Bradford got injured while I was writing this blog. Eagles executives are saying Tim Tebow has showed marked improvement since his time with the Patriots. So this means he can throw eight yards downfield?
Eli Manning will have a better year this season than his brother Peyton!
I think the Anaheim Angels might be sharing the use of some of Josh Hamilton’s substances. They trade Hamilton to Texas for a player to be named and/or some small cash considerations. This means that the Angels could still be responsible for as much as 83 of the 90 million dollars for the next three years. Wow, they really wanted to get rid of him. The signing of Hamilton will go down as one of the worst decisions if not the worst in Angels history and has set them back as a franchise enormously. This doesn’t even speak to how much they are overpaying Albert Pujols.
Major League baseball continues to be a big bore. Ask people who do Fantasy Baseball how much they would actually pay attention if fantasy didn’t exist. More important, ask them how much time they watch baseball is highlight shows and ticker updates as opposed to the actual game. If any sport could benefit from a red zone concept, it would be baseball. The changes that MLB has utilized to speed up the game, has trimmed off a whopping eight minutes.
Baseball needs villains. The ARod story is interesting because he is so easy to root against. Every sport has guys that are easy to root against or for and who are effectively promoted and celebrated by the league. In football you have Brady, Manning, Richard Sherman for example. In basketball, you have LeBron, Carmelo, Dwight Howard, Kobe and then likable guys like Anthony Davis and Steph Curry. In hockey, you have Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, P.K. Subban, any Canadiens player etc.
MLB does a poor job promoting its stars and changing its culture. However, I am really excited to see Jacob DeGrom take the mound for the best team in baseball…the New York Mets.
The Yankees are much better than people think. Yes, they just lost Tanaka for a month and who knows what they can count on from him moving forward, but after starting 3-6, they are 10-2 in the last 12, have a dominant bullpen and their hitting is coming around. Would take their roster in a heartbeat right now over Boston’s!
Speaking of the Red Sox, what a mess. They have been fortunate with some poor opponent defense and the play of Hanley Ramirez, but a lot of troubling signs. Rick Porcello and Joe Kelly will be fine but realistically are #3 and #4 starters. Clay Buchholz and Wade Miley are disasters and Justin Masterson is fine as your 5. Time for the Sox to bring up some young arms and end the Buchholz tenure. As for the hitting, Napoli has been in a huge funk, Allen Craig looks like he forgot how to play baseball and Xander Bogaerts just doesn’t seem to hit the ball that hard. Calling Cole Hamels!
If you predicted the Houston Astros would be 13-7 and the New York Mets would be 15-6 at this point, you should immediately proceed to Las Vegas.
A few thoughts as we gear up for the start of the 2015 MLB season.
The Boston Red Sox have had a somewhat bizarre offseason. They have seemingly loaded up on offense, could have the best 1-6 hitters in baseball if things fall right, but have no #1 or possibly #2 starter, have a 40-year-old closer Koji Uehara, who looked tired and ineffective the final months of last season and a bullpen that has some undefined roles and potentially a lot of mediocrity. I have always been a huge fan of compiling assets, but those assets seem to represent redundancy while leaving too many holes. The Red Sox have the best young prospects in baseball and have trade chips aplenty but here are the things I question most heading into the season:
1. The Red Sox declined to resign Jon Lester because of his age and potential decline. Yet, they opted to resign Uehara for 2 years and 18 million instead of resigning Andrew Miller for four years and 36 million despite the fact that Miller is a lefty, is in the prime of his career and is clearly trending upward. Miller went to the Yankees and this decision will be one the Sox sorely regret.
2. The Sox signed Rusney Castillo to a seven year-72 million contract last season. Who signs a player to an average salary of 10 million plus and then can’t find a place in the starting lineup for him? Shane Victorino was named the starter but not on merit and solely based on his past success and the likelihood that he will be a clubhouse problem and become petulant if he is coming off the bench.
3. Xander Bogaerts. I am a big fan and believer, but if he stumbles and he will get a huge leash, the Red Sox have a big hole at SS offensively and defensively. If the rumblings start midway through the season of moving Hanley Ramirez back to SS, that will create a whole new set of problems.
It will be interesting to see how former Red Sox player Will Middlebrooks does in San Diego considering it is not a good hitter’s park. If Middlebrooks does well, he hit .333 in spring training, and it proves out that the Red Sox panicked and gave up too quick, then the 95 million dollars spent on Pablo Sandoval will look bad. However, in light of the Sox losing Christian Vazquez, acquiring Ryan Hanigan for Middlebrooks could help save some face.
Speaking of the Padres, they are one of the most intriguing teams to watch heading into the season. Justin Upton and Matt Kemp have a chance to rebound for big years. Wil Myers and Will Middlebrooks get out from under the pressure of their previous teams and if either or both can perform effectively, the Padres could be a force to be reckoned with. San Diego also acquired all-star catcher Derek Norris, ace pitcher James Shields who should thrive in San Diego and they took minor risks on Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson.
The Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs saga is getting all too repetitive. So the Cubs sent him down to the minors so they could secure an extra year of service time and delay him going to free agency and having to deal with uber-agent Scott Boras. All Bryant did in spring training was hit nine home runs, knock in 15 runs and hit .425 in 40 at bats. Those are Stephen Drew’s power numbers over the last two season coupled with a batting average approximately 300 points less. The players association agreed to this rule and every time a team exploits it, there is an uproar. Next time the collective bargaining agreement comes due, surely this issue will be addressed. However, the Cubs have a potentially contending team for the first time in God knows how long and more importantly, their fans can say the word playoffs without breaking out in laughter. If at the end of the season, the Cubs miss the playoffs by one to three games, everyone will be asking if Kris Bryant could have made the difference and for a team that hasn’t won since… well let’s just say the last time they won: a loaf of bread was five cents, a gallon of milk was 32 cents and a gallon of gas was 11 cents, having another year of service time might not be worth losing a playoff spot.
And how could I finish baseball without discussing the Bronx Bombers. Anytime you go into the season thinking this could be our year if Mark Teixeira bounces back and stays healthy, Alex Rodriguez stays healthy and doesn’t implode, Carlos Beltran stays healthy and bounces back, Tanaka’s elbow holds up, Sabathia’s arm doesn’t fall off from overuse or from holding up his belly and Michael Pineda can stay healthy and fulfill his previous vast potential, you can’t feel good. The only lock on this team offensively might be Jacoby Ellsbury and let’s face it, he is so overdue to get hurt.
Too bad the New York Mets lost Zack Wheeler for the year because it would have been great to see Matt Harvey and Wheeler as a 1-2 punch.
As MLB gears up, the NBA and NHL regular seasons wind down.
As usual the Western Conference holds all the intrigue and excitement. Not thinking too many people are breathlessly awaiting how far the Atlanta Hawks or Toronto Raptors go in the playoffs. The Western Conference should ultimately come down to the Warriors and Clippers. LA has the talent, athleticism and coaching to stay with Golden State, but I am not sure the IQ is there and I truly believe Golden State could be a team of destiny this season as they have virtually no weakness. Everybody still has to get by San Antonio of course but seeing Stephen Curry and the young gun Warriors in the Finals would be refreshing to say the least. By the way, six of the top seven teams in the NBA are in the Western Conference.
Congrats to Phil Jackson on a brilliant first season with the Knicks guiding them to the worst season in franchise history as they are currently 14-61. I wonder if it was a big deal in losing out on getting Steve Kerr to coach the team and settling for Derek Fisher?
I pointed out in my last blog how much more successful the Celtics have performed post-Rondo and how much less successful the Mavs have performed. What seems to be the hidden gem from that trade though is Jae Crowder. He is a jack of all trades and a player Danny Ainge insisted on. Crowder can rebound, pass, shoot from the outside and defend any of the frontcourt positions despite being only 6’6’’.
With all the struggles Kevin Love continues to have in Cleveland and the steady improvement Andrew Wiggins is having in Minnesota, perhaps Cleveland wishes they could rethink that trade. But if Love leaves after this season or doesn’t live up to his potential come playoff time than that failed trade is on LeBron because Cleveland doesn’t pull the trigger on that without LeBron cajoling management.
I am about 50% over losing Darelle Revis and have two other thoughts. First, I thought it was telling last week that Revis felt the need to point out that the Patriots offer wasn’t in the ballpark. This was heavily reported after he decided to resign with the Jets anyway so this was hardly news. What Revis intentionally chose not to address was whether he would have resigned with the Patriots if the offer was in the ballpark. I maintain the Patriots didn’t make a competitive offer because they felt his heart was with the Jets all along and they didnt want to be embarrassed and match the Jets and still lose the player. On the flip side, if the Pats could have resigned him, but they were thinking towards next season when they will have to address the contracts of Donta Hightower, Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins, then shame on them. Jones has been injury prone and inconsistent, Hightower is overrated and Collins looks very promising, but why not keep the proven commodity at a position that is virtually impossible to find a stud.
Can’t wait until MLB umpires start issuing delay of game warnings.
World Series prediction:
Washington Nationals win it all and beat the Baltimore Orioles in the Beltway Series.
The Red Sox allegedly outbid 11 other teams to land Cuban prize Yoan Moncada. Some scouts are calling him the next Robinson Cano and the Yankees were rumored to be the top threat to sign him based on their dire middle infield needs. The Sox have now spent over 300 million dollars in the last year on Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Moncada and fellow Cuban Rusney Castillo. It seems like one year ago, Sox executive Larry Lucchino was boasting about how the Sox aren’t like the Yankees and don’t need to spend big money on free agency to build their team after the Yankees had spent close to 400 million on Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka. Thanks Larry for setting the record straight.
Not sure I have ever seen a goalie take two minor penalties within six seconds and have a goal scored in between like what happened Sunday when Tuukka Rask accomplished this feat against the Blackhawks. The first penalty was for delay of game and the second was for slashing after he was frustrated when he allowed the goal.
Can’t wait to see the results of the Wonderlic tests from the NFL Combine. Or better yet, who had the fastest 40 yard dash time?
No Patriots fan should feel at ease until they know the fate of whether Darrelle Revis will return.
World B. Free meets Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf meets Kareem Abdul Jabaar. Things are looking up for Braves outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. formerly BJ Upton Jr. After hitting .226 over the sample size of the last five years, B.J. had identified the problem as having the wrong name which caused his batting average to plummet. Perhaps his brother Justin should change his name to Melvin also.
By the way, when former UCLA running back Sharmon Shah changed his name to Kareem Abdul Jabaar, it was great irritating LA fans by calling the former Lakers center Sharmon Shah so there would be no confusion on who the real Jabaar is.
The NBA trade deadline doesn’t seem to have the same luster when Goran Dragic is the most exciting player being moved.
Austin Rivers had 28 points for the Clippers last Saturday night in their win over Sacramento.
The race for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference is ratcheting up so much so though that the NFC South is getting very jealous. Brooklyn is currently holding the 8th spot with a sparkling 22-31 record but have no fear, Charlotte, Detroit, Indiana and Boston are right on their heels at 11 and 12 games under .500. Adam Silver has it right when he talks about revamping the playoff format, as just like Carolina in the NFL, it is embarrassing for a sports league to field a playoff team that is nine games under .500 especially when there are two other teams (Phoenix, New Orleans) that are over .500.
Never thought I would see the day when Golden State was 43-9 and New York was 10-44.
Great to see Kevin Garnett close out his career in Minnesota. After all the acrimony with owner Glen Taylor when he was originally traded, he has the opportunity to mentor a tremendous amount of young talent in Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine (slam dunk champion) among others. Hopefully Garnett calls it a career though at the end of this season as he is a shadow of his former self and when his frustration led to head-butting Dwight Howard last month, time to hang it up.
Why would the Celtics acquire a guy that ruined the CBA, dismantled the Knicks organization and threw one of the worst passes in NBA playoff history to Larry Bird? Oh that is the other Isiah Thomas! Seems like a good acquisition on the surface for the Celts, but a little concerning that teams keep getting rid of such a potent sparkplug and scorer off the bench. Specifically, Phoenix who had just signed him to a four-year deal and now looked to get rid of him in year one of that deal.
As Tiger Woods struggles and injuries continue to mount, he might have reached rock bottom when Josh Scobee challenged him to play $100,000 per hole at the San Jose Country Club. For those of you who don’t know who Josh Scobee is (unless you do fantasy football and even then you might not know since he is in the bottom tier of kickers), he is the Jacksonville Jaguars kicker. Is this how desperate Jacksonville is to get in the news? Next thing you know we will see Stephen Gostkowski challenging Michael Phelps in the 100m breaststroke or Ali-Haji-Sheikh (for you Giants fans) challenging Floyd Mayweather.
Watch out for India in the World Cricket Cup. My scouting team tells me they are definitely the favorite.
Can we stop the duck boat parades already for Boston championships? Do fans really enjoy standing for hours in one spot so they can waive to players as they go by? Remember the rallies at City Hall Plaza for the Celtics in the 80’s and the Superbowl rally where Robert Kraft was dancing and goofing with the players in February of 2002. Heck, Larry Bird proclaimed in 1981 that Moses (Malone) does eat bleep! The crowd roared and for a great memory. Fans want to hear from the players. If safety and practicality truly prevent the rallies at City Hall Plaza anymore, than move the Pats celebration to Gillette Stadium or the Sox to Fenway Park or at least end the celebrations at a central rallying point. The Bruins did a version of that in 2011.
Enough about Pablo Sandoval’s weight. Look what happened to C.C. Sabathia when he tried to lose weight. If there was ever a sport where you could get away without being in shape, baseball is it and he has proven himself successful while playing with that weight. Look at Bartolo Colon and Prince Fielder. Ok maybe not Prince Fielder.
Did you see the look on Alex Rodriguez when he wrote his apology?
The win over Chicago doesn’t change the fact that the Boston Bruins are an unmitigated disaster. It has very little to do with injuries and players slumping and what it mostly has to do with is a stubborn coach who the players are now tuning out and a General Manager who has done a below average job drafting, overestimated the players on his roster, and allowed the roster to grow stale by not incorporating the appropriate turnover. Chiarelli is adding insult to injury by putting players like David Pastrnak and Malcolm Subban into a dysfunctional and downtrodden situation which if allowed to linger, can hamper a player’s development. You can survive a lot in sports, but bad team chemistry, lack of confidence among teammates and the coach throwing players under the bus on a routine basis will not work. A blockbuster is needed at the deadline.
Even with the loss of stud goaltender Pekka Rinne, the Nashville Predators still have the best record in hockey. The bad news is the reward for that could be a first round matchup with the defending Stanley Cup champion and all of the sudden red-hot L.A. Kings.
Sports Cheater of the week: Joe Johnson for stealing from Brooklyn Nets ownership.
Johnson is the second highest paid player in the league and is still owed three years and 70 million. All this for the 45th leading scorer in the NBA.