Monthly Archives: April 2012

Miami Better Be Right About Ryan Tannehill

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When the Miami Dolphins hand in their eighth overall pick to commissioner Roger Gooddell I hope for their sake that the name Ryan Tannehill isn’t on it.

Listen Miami, I know you’ve had a bad winter and spring. I know you missed out on Peyton Manning, I know Matt Flynn said no thanks to you, but is that still reason to reach for a QB most people didn’t have in the first round at number 8?

Here’s a few a things that you should know about Tannehill:

He’s 6-5, has a strong arm, is pretty athletic and can put up yards.

He also can’t read coverages, he’s also a poor decision maker, he’s only been a QB for 2 years (was a receiver at Texas A&M). He cant hold a lead (remember the Oklahoma State and Arkansas games?) he’s terrible under pressure and most important Miami is that you’re trying to talk yourselves into him.

Are you really sure that Tannehill is the guy that you want to be your QB of the future? Are you positive that he’s not Chad Henne 2.0? Is he really better than Brandon Weeden or Russell Wilson (yeah he’s 5-11 but if he was 6-2 he’d be the number three pick in the draft… Seriously)?

Aren’t there other areas that you could improve in while this year and get a better QB next year (Andy Murray and Matt Barkley are light years better than Tannehill)?

Why not draft Melvin Ingram or Michael Floyd? Why not trade back and get Jonathan Martin to protect a QB?

The Dolphins need so much help in so many areas that drafting a QB no one is sure about may be a waste of time.

If you draft the wrong QB you’re setting yourself back years. Everyone knows the the Dolphins won’t be good anytime soon so why are you in a hurry to draft a subpar QB?

Look, if you think Tannehill’s the man for you then by all means snatch him up. However, you better be very sure about this.

The Lions set themselves back five years with Joey Harrington, the Cardinals are losing time with Kevin Kolb, and the Bills wasted three years with Trent Edwards and aren’t sure about Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Quarterback is the hardest position to judge in this league and you better right or face major consequences if you’re not.

If I were the Dolphins I wouldn’t take Ryan Tannehill and miss out on other future prospects. However, if that’s your guy you want then take him.

Just remember all of the QB’s you’ve run through since Dan Marino, all of the failures you’ve had on the field and all of the areas that you need help in.

Now double check that card and hand it over to the commish.

Don’t make the wrong choice Miami, your immediate future depends on it.

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Bruins Fans Go Too Far

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I am a black man. I love hockey. I hate the Bruins and the Capitals for different hockey reasons.

I hate the Bruins because I’m a New Yorker and hate anything Boston. I hate the Caps because they’ve bounced my Rangers in the last 2 years that they’ve played in the playoffs.

I don’t hate anyone person on each team. Sure I call Alex Ovechkin names, don’t like Tim Thomas for not seeing president Barack Obama and I think Caps fans are bums but that’s just me being a fan.

The reason for this politically correct explanation of my hockey allegiances is because after last nights racist twitter bashing of Capitals forward Joel Ward I feel like fans need to get a grip on reality.

In case you missed it Ward beat Boston with a rebound putback in overtime to lift the Caps to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Almost immeadiately after scoring his winning goal angry Bruins fans took to twitter to bash Ward and mainly used his skin color as a target.

The word nigger was spewed in more tweets than I would like to remember and once again put Boston’s race relations in a bad light.

Boston has long had a reputation of racism towards black athletes and last night Bruins fans did there best in bringing them back to life.

The tweets were a reminder of just how stupid something like racism is and how even more stupid it is in 2012 in Boston where it’s most notable athletes are Paul Pierce, David Ortiz and has hailed guys like Deion Branch and Pedro Martinez in the past, all of whom are dark skinned.

I understand the anger associated with watching your team lose in the playoffs. Last year I blasted any Caps fan I saw for not being real hockey fans and for the Caps being lucky.

But it’s a game. What do you get for taking your frustration out on a guy who was just doing his job and scored the biggest goal of his life?

Furthermore why is his race such a big deal?

What’s the satisfaction gained from sitting in front of your computer and calling Joel Ward the N bomb on twitter, Facebook or any other social network?

It’s degrading, despicable and gives hockey another unnecessary black eye.

Hockey has had the worst race relations due to its lack of ethnicity and much ballyhooed moments of ignorance (yeah I mean you the guy who threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds in London, Ontario back in October). I know hockey isn’t the only place where incidents involving race happens (go to a Utah Jazz game in the NBA and see for yourself) but because of its demographic and history it’s always magnified when things like this happens.

In the heat of the moment as fans we all lose our cool, but to degrade another man because of his skin and ethnicity is unacceptable and intolerable.

I hope that the people who wrote those things take a step back and realize how awful it was to put those things out to the public and do their best to not do it again.

Does it anger me as a black man? Yes it does. But it won’t deter me from watching a sport I love and follow immensely.

I’m a huge hockey fan and will continue to be one. Incidents like these are not reflective of the league. I know how great a sport it is for all cultures that participate in it and hope that people find different avenues to express their frustration.

I also hope that if the Caps play the Rangers again that we kick their tails up and down the ice and get revenge for our last two oustings.

It should be hatred of team in sports not hatred of race.


The £50 Million Goal

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I hate Fernando Torres… Seriously.

Even in my infancy as a Chelsea fan I’ve been able to transfer some of my New York uncalled for hatred towards a soccer player that has resembled Carl Pavano more so than Wayne Rooney.

When Chelsea decided to pay a ginormous transfer fee to get Torres from Liverpool last January I became skeptical almost immeadiately.

I wondered aloud why did Chelsea need another striker? They had Didier Drogba coming off of a career year, vets like Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda and young guys like Soloman Kalou and Daniel Sturridge coming up.

Paying a kings ransom for an up and down, yet immensely talented player like Torres seemed like overkill. It was like watching the Yankees trading for Alex Rodriguez, we didn’t need him but hey you can’t have too much offense right?

Well once Torres hit Stamford Bridge the offense must have been left behind in Liverpool. To say that Torres has underachieved with the Blues is like saying the Rangers giving Wade Redden $39 million dollars was a slight mistake.

Torres has scores 4 goals in 16 months with of premier league play with Chelsea… 4. Including FA Cup and Champions league action he’s scored 13.

The man who has the highest transfer fee ever has been a disaster on the field. Either Torres has had the worst luck in the world or maybe he really is just a bum.

Ever since his arrival Chelsea dropped from first to third in last year’s EPL table and is currently sixth. To compound things he has been outscored by the man who he replaced and is now a substitute in most matches that being Drogba.

Hell in it’s semifinals match against defending champion Barcelona Drogba scored the only goal to give Chelsea the advantage in aggregate.

So in entering Tuesday’s second match against Barca you had to figure that Drogba would once again outshine Torres and lead Chelsea to an unexpected appearance in the Champion League final.

And then divine intervention took place.

At the 80 minute mark with Barcelona leading 2-1 (and tied in aggregate scoring) manager Roberto Di Matteo subbed out Drogba for Torres in an effort to get some fresh legs on the field for a late push.

With Chelsea on the brink after losing John Terry to a red card and a bad foul taken by Raul Meireles deep in their defense end somehow the ball found Torres with nothing but green grass and Barca goalie Victor Valdes in front of him.

With one quick move and a leap Torres found the back of the net and Chelsea found its way to Abromovich’s much wanted Champions League final.

Ain’t that a trip.

It was easily the greatest and most memorable goal in Torres’s career. In ten seconds Torres took all of the bad karma that he had gathered since coming to Chelsea, all of the disappointment, the underachieving and poor press and buried in victorious fashion leaving the Blues sideline jubilated and Camp Nou stunned.

It was what Abromovich had envisioned when he signed Torres coming to pass. After 16 months of disappointment, sorrow and despair Fernando Torres finally arrived as a member of Chelsea FC and proved he was worth the hefty price paid for his transfer from Liverpool.

Am I exaggerating? Maybe a little. But coming through in the clutch goes a long way for any athlete with his perception and fan base.

Torres was facing pressure to succeed and was viewed as a disappointment by most everyone around the game. By lifting Chelsea to the Champions League final Torres has excersized a lot of those demons and has given himself another chance to prove his worth on a bigger stage.

If Chelsea defeats Bayern Munich in the final in late May we will look back at the Torres goal in Camp Nou as the defining moment in their run.

It was the moment that sprung Chelsea to an elusive title, that makes them one of the premier clubs in all of football and means that £50 million was the proper price to spend on a mercurial forward who had seen better days in his career but finally proved he was worth the money.

I wish I could say the same for Pavano.


The NHL Playoffs Are Out Of Control

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Playoff time in the NHL is the greatest time of year in any sport.

The action gets so jacked up and intense that you would think that games 1-7 are life or death. Year after year players leave everything on the ice whether you are an 8 seed or a 1 seed in the name of Lord Stanley.

Injuries don’t matter, hits are harder, everyone gets in the way of slap shots… it’s a daily spectacle that leaves you on the edge of seat and wincing at every bone-crushing check and unbelievable save.

You know this going into the playoffs and you adjust accordingly as a player and as a fan… However, this year’s playoffs?

Man, no one was ready for this.

Virtually every series except New Jersey vs. Florida has been hate-filled and angry.

St. Louis hates San Jose, Ottawa wants revenge against New York, Phoenix and Chicago have traded blows… Then there’s been the Philly and Pittsburgh series, where do we begin there?

These playoffs are on steroids, everyone’s angry at everyone, violence has been kicked up several notches and Brendad Shanahan hasn’t had much time to make a sandwich because he’s too busy looking over tape of reckless hits.

What the hell is going on?

In the first round of this year’s playoffs there have been more match penalties, more suspensions and more game misconducts than in years past… AND THE PLAYOFFS ARE ONLY A WEEK OLD!!

Look at these occurances and consequences:

Shea Weber fined $2500 for throwing Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the boards

Carl Hagelin suspended three games for elbowing Daniel Alfredsson in the head an giving him a concussion

Aaron Asham suspended four games for trying to decapitate Braydon Schenn

Nicklas Backstrom suspended one game for cross checking Rich Peverly in the head

Michael Shaw suspended three games for knocking goalie Mike Smith in the head

James Neal suspended one game for blindsiding Claude Giroux

Raffi Torres suspended indefinitely for concussing Marian Hossa…

And let me reiterate that the playoffs are only a week old.

I know that hockey is a violent sport and stuff like this happens, but not as frequent as this.

There has been more goonery than actually hockey it would seem to the casual hockey fan. In an interview Dan Boyle said that it seems like guys are just trying to start stuff on the ice. Jonathan Toews doesn’t know what to expect right now… Both guys aren’t alone in their feelings.

At first I was loving the hate being spread around the playoffs. It felt like old time hockey and was great for the game. Now it’s getting out of hand.

The Torres hit should be the last draw for Shanahan and the front offices in the league. They have to start hammering guys with longer suspensions to get their points across.

Shanahan has been criticized for being to lenient on more skilled players like Weber and Backstrom and hammering guys like Asham and Hagelin who are either too young or not as skilled.

He’s got to make things fair across the board. Like Colin Campbell did to Matt Cooke last year Shanahan has to start doing to these players.

Hockey is a self policing game, however when there needs to be stiffer policing from suits in the offices.

Shanahan has to suspend Torres for the rest of the playoffs and encourage referees to get tougher on the ice. Referees have to call these games tighter, which means more penalties and control these games before they continue to get out of hand.

Games like Sundays Flyers-Pens free for all are great once in a while but they’re happening every night in the playoffs. The league has to get this over excessive play under control before someone gets really injured out there.

The over aggressiveness has taken away from some great hockey as well. Jonathan Quick has been putting on a show in the Kings-Canucks series, the Predators-Red Wings matchup has been great with Pekka Rinne dominating the action and game 3 of the Rangers-Senators series was non stop up and down hockey with great goaltending from both teams.

The playoffs have been their normal unbeatable selves, however the action has to be placed back on the skillful play and not on the over excessive violence that has stolen the headlines.

I’m all for a few fights and scrums but this has been ridiculous.

Hopefully we can get back to the great hockey that’s been played so far and not have anymore Marian Hossa incidents.


Lessons Learned From Ozzie Guillen’s Biggest Mistake

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Honestly, when I heard Ozzie Guillen’s most recent comments I thought about a few things:

1. It’s just Ozzie being Ozzie. He’s just stirring the pot, being controversial and trying to put himself in the limelight like he’s done so many times in his managerial career.

Guillen has a way of being brash and bombastful that’s both entertaining and head scratching. His ESPN:60 interview is still one of my favorites for his constant f bomb dropping and extreme ness for keeping it real.

That’s how Ozzie is. He never had and I thought never would slow his roll. He was as honest as they came in every sense.

2. The subject of Fidel Castro was one I never could grasp being an American from up north.

I knew about the Cuban Missile Crisis, his role of absolute power as a Cuban dictator and the fact that he wasn’t very well liked. I never quite understood why but in my head it was etched that Americans don’t like Castro and since that’s what I’m told than neither do I.

3. I factored all of this in my head when I heard Ozzie say that he loved and respected Castro in and interview with Time Magazine recently.

At first was the normal Ozzie being Ozzie reaction. “so what?”, I thought, “he has a different opinion of Castro big deal.”

I don’t like the guy (again not fully understanding who Castro was) but he’s entitled to an opinion.

However, it is a big deal, especially in South Florida where the Cuban population is larger than in any sector of the United States.

Being from the northern part of the states you don’t get the same vibe of Cuban culture that you do in Florida. Things like Castro are a huge deal down in Miami because so many people fled Cuba to be rid of the horrors and terror that ran wild in the Castro era.

To hear stories and read about them online in recent days gave me a new light on just how much of a terror Castro was.

Dan LeBatard of the Miami Herald (who is also Cuban-American) referred to Castro as the Cuban version of Adolf Hitler. To learn about a group of women in Miami called “The Women In White” who are wives of political prisoners in Cuba who were tortured and killed was eye opening.

For the people of South Florida who fled Cuba to find a peace of mind and freedom in the United States the subject of Castro is spine tingling and frightening to even think about.

To imagine the kinds of things that they witnessed were akin to the holocaust in a sense. While Castro wasn’t trying to kill off an entire race he was doing just as much damage in oppressing a culture.

Which brings me back to Guillen.

To understand the gut-wrenching and mind-numbing feeling of the crimes committed by Castro, then you could never love or respect a person who would even think of committing these acts.

Especially when you’re are the manager of a team that sits right in the heart of Little Havana in Miami and the fan base that you have targeted mostly is that of Latin decent.

Ozzie Guillen crossed a line. He was his normal bombastful self but was inconsiderate of the feelings of the people that he has lives around for the last decade of his life.

Guillen is a resident of Miami, he’s loved by the Latin community and was hired by the Marlins to be part of a driving force to bring more fans, Latin and otherwise to the new Marlins Park.

Guillen should’ve known better than to say what he said regarding Castro, not just for them but for the sake of his own Venezuelan people as well.

Castro was an ally of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez who is just as hated by the Venezuelan people and who Guillen has denounced before publicly.

If you aren’t a fan of Chavez then how can you respect one of his allies?

In his televised news conference I saw a different version of Ozzie Guillen. He was embarrassed, nervous, on edge, at the mercy of reporters and at times he looked like he didn’t want to be there. It was Ozzie on the hot seat, he spoke about being stupid, being misinterpreted but most of all he expressed embarrassment and shame.

He was shameful for letting down his team, his fans and most importantly his community for seemingly siding with one of the world’s most haneous leaders that did damage to many of the people that Guillen sees and talks to on a daily basis.

Guillen said he would do everything in his power to make things right within his community and he should.

After the last few days he’s learned how much his words can hurt a community and a culture, he may have finally learned that he doesn’t have to speak up on everything that crosses his mind and he taught me something.

As much as sports rule my daily life you have to be aware of everything.

I hated Fidel Castro but now there are reasons as to why.

I know his methods of madness, his atrocities committed and it’s affect on the people of Cuba.

I know that he and Hitler are equals in the eyes of Latin Americans and his impact should never be taken lightly especially to those that know it first hand.

Ozzie Guillen understands that just as much as I do now.