Tag Archives: Derek Jeter

The Oriole Revival

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I knew this day was coming it was bound to happen.

The signs were everywhere, things were changing, I wrote about the possibility of it coming to fruition two years ago.

Even still the pessimist in me didn’t quite believe it, but now I do… The Baltimore Orioles are back and they are the most dangerous team in the American League.

We’ve been around this black before a bunch of times. The O’s start hot, look competitive, then around late May or early June they get left in the dust by the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox.

It was happening again this year, you saw that Jason Hammel was their “ace”, the improvement of Matt Wieters, how Adam Jones was bouncing back from a bad year and the rumors of Manny Machado being a cant miss prospect.

But these were the Orioles, how could I possibly take this seriously? Ever since I lived in Maryland I’ve seen this story.

Melvin Mora was their missing piece, Miguel Tejada would help turn the franchise around, Adam Loewen and Daniel Cabrera were aces in the making, and they all fell flat.

I could imaging O’s fans faces when after getting their hopes up early this season again that the team was beating blown past by the Yankees during a blistering June.

After the all-star break the Yankees were up by ten and the O’s were looking at adding another year to my favorite Orioles taunt…

What’s the difference between Yankee Stadium an Camden Yards? You can always get a hot dog in October in Yankee stadium.

(my favorite thing in life is to taunt Orioles fans. I absolutely love it. It was the only joy I got out of living in Maryland. Their fans are so bitter, so salty and so bad that their Yankee hate ticked me off.

The worst was when the Red Sox took off and O’s fans adopted them as their second team. Watch Camden Yards in a sea of red was beyond sickening. Baltimore fans never understood sticking with your team through thick and thin and I killed them for it every single time. I kind of miss it actually.)

Then all of a sudden Buck Showalter started working his magic coinciding with the Yankees catching the injury virus. It started with A-rod going down with a hand injury and has forged ahead with a string Wieters big hits, Jones’s MVP like clutchness, the revival of JJ Hardy and a rotation that I could tell you nothing about.

Their top guy is a dude called Wei-Yei Chen, he has a 4.06 ERA and 12 wins. Their closer Jim Johnson is someone the Yankees used to kill and he has an ERA near 3. I have to stop looking at stats because based off of stats alone I’m getting ticked off that this team climbed back into the race for the AL East.

There’s no way that a team with a shoddy rotation and a lineup without a guy batting over .300 should be ahead of the Yankees or Rays for that matter.

However, that’s the case.

With 20 games left the Orioles and Yankees are tied for the division lead and the Yankees have become a mash unit.

A-rod, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Mark Teixiera and a cast of thousands have been on the DL in the last month. David Robertson hasn’t been the same since injuring himself earlier this season and now Derek Jeter has an ankle sprain.

I know Jeter said he isn’t panicking but he’s gotta be thinking what next?

With these injuries, lack of clutching hitting and a banged up rotation consisting of David Phelps and Freddy Garcia, how much longer can the Yankees hold on to the slimmest of leads?

This is an Orioles fan dream. A suffering Yankees team, a pennant race 16 years in the making, baseball fans around the country pulling for them and all the bounces seem to be going their way.

The real telltale sign was this weekend during a four game set at Camden Yards. Since I was a kid I called it Yankee Stadium south because there were always more Yankees than O’s fan packing the stadium.

Not this time. It was all orange everything, deafening noise and you couldn’t see a speck of blue.

That’s when it really hit me, the Orioles are back. Thank god I’m in not Maryland to be a part of it.


Random Thoughts Vol. 3

OH GOD THERE'S MORE?!?!

Beginning of the month, been watching a lot of sports… yep, it’s time for another round of random thoughts.

Fernando Torres has scored one goal since being acquired by Chelsea in January… one. I always pick the best teams to follow don’t I?

The Yankees wouldn’t trade for Ubaldo Jimenez due to concerns about his velocity. In a possible trade the Rockies would’ve wanted Ivan Nova as part of the deal… Jimenez hasn’t made it past the 5th inning in 3 of his 7 starts with the Indians, Nova hasn’t lost since June… I think Cashman got that one right.

Losing to a FCS school should be like relegation in soccer shouldn’t it? Hi Oregon State.

Me at 8:30 pm last Saturday of the Boise State-Georgia game: “those Georgia uniforms are hideous.”

Me 48 hours  while watching the Maryland-Miami game: “those are the worst uniforms I have ever seen.”

Nyjer Morgan called Albert Pujols “Alberta,” does he realize Pujols is 4 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than him?

Oregon State should probably leave this out of the recruiting package.

Baylor is mad that Texas A&M is leaving the Big 12 and possibly breaking up the conference leaving them in football limbo. Somewhere Rice, TCU and SMU are uttering to themselves karma is a mother.

Wait a minute, Kevin Durant has tattoos?

At least David Garrard and Byron Leftwich have something in common to be mad about.

The way that analysts were criticizing his QB skills you would’ve swore Tim Tebow was black.

Appalachian wants to join the FBS… after getting drubbed 66-13 by Virginia Tech they should reconsider.

Tom Brady said he would welcome back Randy Moss with open arms. I’m not saying that’s in some way related to Chad Ochocinco… but I’m saying.

So if John Isner wins the U.S. Open is his career a bigger success than Andy Roddick’s?

Utah State almost beat Auburn, BYU beat Ole Miss, and Utah beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl years ago… maybe the SEC should stop playing teams from Utah.

Stephen Strasburg’s back, and he looks good.

(honestly it didn’t matter if the Nats lost that game or not, all that mattered was if Strasburg looked like he was the same pitcher he was before he left or not and he was. His movement and velocity were pretty darn good, he made everything look effortless and dominated a decent Dodgers lineup. If I’m the Nats and I look at a rotation with Strasburg, a rejuvenated Chien-Ming Wang, Jordan Zimmerman and John Lannon at bats like Ryan Zimmerman and Mike Morse then I’m feeling good about next year. that is if Jayson Werth can hit with that $18 million per year salary on his back.)

That Carlos Beltran deal isn’t working out so well for the Giants… shocker.

Who’s the next program to get stung by the NCAA? I’ll take South Carolina.

I’m still blinded by Maryland’s uniforms.

TIki Barber is shocked that no one threw him a bone this offseason. I mean who wouldn’t want a 36 year-old running back that hasn’t played in 5 years with tons of public baggage?

Ndamukong Suh is not dirty, he’s just playing football the way Deacon Jones would like.

It might be time for Tiger Woods to consider new career options.

This hasn't gone exactly as planned.

I will not talk about A.J. Burnett, I will not talk about A.J. Burnett, I will not talk about A.J. Burnett.

Aaron Rodgers called out Mark Sanchez for his GQ pictures. What can Sanchez respond with? Rodgers just won a Super Bowl he can say what he wants.

I think we might actually have a season without Brett Favre.

I have a feeling Luke Fickell might be more conservative than Jim Tressel.

By the way, how does Tressel get a six game suspension from the NFL for his NCAA violations?

(Goodell needs to keep college problems in college. Their penalties don’t transfer to the NFL. Tressel quit/ got fired by the Ohio State University so his 5 game suspension is pretty much obliterated. The fact that Tressel and Terrelle Pryor for that matter have carry over suspensions from college shows that maybe Goodell has too much power when it come to these disciplinary actions and should some of that power stripped. And it will be… in ten years with a new CBA. Good job NFLPA.)

Doesn’t it seem like Lance Briggs and the Bears have been beefing since 2006?

Apparently the NBA is making strides to getting a CBA done real soon. How does Wilson Chandler feel about that?

If the Philadelphia Phillies don’t win the World Series it would be a Greek tragedy.

I have a few choice words for how the Baltimore Orioles handled the makeup games with the New York Yankees and the results of those games. I can’t say them on this blog but I’ll let your mind wander.

After all of the controversy surrounding Ohio State this year how do three more players get suspended for taking benefits? I should’ve went to Ohio University.

I expected more from the Winnipeg Jets jerseys.

Mike Fisher you lucky son of a gun.

At least they weren’t Maryland’s.

(you know what’s even scarier than what we witnessed on Monday night? There are more than 12 color combinations that Under Armour has in store for this year. Under Armour is based in Baltimore, Maryland and I guess they are doing to the Terps what Nike did to the Oregon Ducks… except Oregon’s outfits look extremely cool. Oregon’s designs have flair and eye popping designs, Maryland’s are a horror show. There was way too much of the Maryland flag for any human being to take. A message to UA: emulation is the sincerest form of flattery but leave the flashy stuff to Oregon. By the way Maryland’s football team is going to make some noise this year and you should pay more attention to Danny O’Brian than his jersey.)

What Ana Ivonivic could’ve been.

Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly broke up… hide your girlfriends New York.

NHL training camps start this week…

That mean we’re a month a away from Rachel McAdams shots at Vancouver games and Carrie Underwood at Predators games.

God I love hockey.


The Debate: Curtis Granderson, AL MVP

AL MVP? You're looking at him.

So Adrian Gonzalez is going to win MVP in the American League. I’ve conceded this fact I know it will happen and there’s nothing that I can do about it.

Gonzalez has been everything that the Red Sox hoped for when they acquired him from San Diego. He has stabilized their lineup, hit for average and driven in a ton of runs. Basically without him in the lineup the Red Sox are not the same team they don’t have the same pop in the order and no one can really match what he does as far as production goes.

His MVP candidacy can only be trumped by two other Red Sox who are having great years in Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury and maybe a dark horse candidate in Jose Bautista can steal some votes. Besides that Gonzalez should run away with this thing as the Red Sox guide their way into the playoffs and to a possible AL East title…

Ok that was my take on the AL MVP race up until today when I did my normal weekly numbers look up and checked out league leaders and to see who else was ballin out of control currently. There was Gonzalez in all of his glory with a monstrous .348 batting average and a .408 on base percentage to go with 102 RBI. Those numbers, along with his great defense at first base can more than lock up the MVP race for him.

Mark Teixiera can thank Grandy for his power numbers.

But here’s the revelation that I have come to after further review and after getting my head together… Adrian Gonzalez is not the AL MVP if the season ended today… Curtis Granderson is.

Yep, I hear the calls from all of you that this is a homer pick seeing as how I am a super crazy Yankees fan and that I’m just finding a way to diminish Gonzalez’s value to the Red Sox. Honestly I’m not; I think Gonzalez is without question the best Red Sox player right now. He is putting up great numbers and has been a great addition to the Red Sox lineup.

With that said Granderson has been much more valuable.

With Alex Rodriguez fighting through injuries, Derek Jeter’s early season struggles, Mark Teixeira’s horrendous batting average and a ton of uncertainty in the rotation with Phil Hughes arm problems and injuries to Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano it was Granderson that made all of that irrelevant.

Granderson took Teixeira’s number 3 spot in the lineup after A-Rod’s injury and took off. He’s producing power numbers at a career rate and is doing it with ease. Granderson has set career highs in home runs (36), RBI (103) and slugging (.591) and is doing it against left handed and right handed pitching.

For anyone that has followed Granderson throughout his career you know about his deficiencies against lefties. Last year he barely hit .200 against them and found himself on the bench in games against lefties and replaced in games by the likes of Austin Kearns. Yeah it wasn’t cool. This year he’s hitting .279 against them thanks to help from hitting Coach Teddy Long and looks as comfortable as ever.

Take a look at his stats for a minute and compare them to the three Red Sox Gonzalez, Pedroia and Ellsbury as well as Toronto outfielder Jose Bautista. Of all 5 contenders Granderson does have a ton more strikeouts with 135, trails Bautista, Gonzalez and Pedroia in on-base percentage and has the lowest batting average at .278. However, let’s be real about strikeouts these days, they don’t matter. This is a free swinging era and seeing high strikeout totals is nothing new. In 2006 when Ryan Howard won MVP he struck out 186 times, he also hit .300 with 50 home runs and 140 RBI. Also his OBP is almost .380 so who cares that he’s 11th in that category when you get on base that much.

Granderson has monster numbers in most offensive categories. He’s 1st in runs, triples and RBI, 2nd in Home runs and slugging, 3rd in OPS, 6th in walks and 8th in steals. Look at those runs for a minute; yes he is 11th in OBP but when he gets on base he scores almost every single time. Jacoby Ellsbury has scored 93 times, 2nd in the league, and is a league leader in steals… AND IS STILL ALMOST 30 RUNS BEHIND GRANDERSON! To get on base like that and score runs at that pace is silly. He has an outside shot at scoring 150 runs this season and breaking Jeff Bagwell’s modern day mark of 152 (the record is 198 in 1894 and that’s never getting broken).

He’s put Yankee batters in great position to knock in runs all year with his ability to get on base and his speed. As poor as Tex has been hitting this year his power numbers are still gaudy because he hits behind Granderson and has been able to get good pitches to hit, same for Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher.

(Side note: A dark horse candidate for MVP is Cano as well. Top 10 in four offensive categories, could have 200 hits, a gold glove at second base and is scorching hot in the second half. Yeah I know I’m giving my Yankees a little too much slurpage but they deserve it.

Granderson's not bad defensively either.

I honestly thought that the Yankees were going to be mediocre this year with the Red Sox getting Gonzalez and Carl Crawford as well as the Yankees pitching problems. However, you name the person and they’ve stepped up.

David Robertson has become one of the game’s best setup men, Granderson’s career year to ease the A-Rod ills, Ivan Nova emerging as the Yankees number 2 starter and Swisher finding his swing in the summer months have all lifted the Yankees to a possible playoff spot. This was an iffy year and guys have been stepping up and killing it.)

More than anything Granderson has become the most reliable man in the Yankee lineup. It’s almost as if you expect him to get on base and score runs every game. It doesn’t matter if he gets a hit or not he somehow finds a way to score a run. A few games ago Granderson went 0-3 and scored 2 runs… how does that happen? In yesterday’s 22-9 massacre of Oakland he had 2 hits and scored 4 runs… really?

He’s having a gaudy year and is as worthy of MVP as anyone in the league. If Bautista is truly MVP worthy why is his team playing so poorly even with him in the lineup? Also how can you distinguish one of the Red Sox players as MVP?

Who is truly more valuable Ellsbury, Pedroia or Gonzalez? If you take any of them out of the lineup will the Red Sox still be effective offensively? Who makes the other two guys better? Hell David Ortiz missed time in the lineup two weeks ago and the Sox went 4-4 and fell behind the Yankees in the AL East momentarily so maybe he should get MVP votes.

The point I’m making is it’s hard to choose an MVP from a team where there are three candidates because really who is more valuable. With Granderson you see his value and his effect on the Yankees lineup from top to bottom. He sets the tone, drives in runs, and has made other players in the lineup better.

Without Granderson the Yankees wouldn’t be in the position that they are in. His big numbers and big plays have the Yankees sitting pretty in the AL Wildcard and possibly winning the AL East.

He deserves props and respect for the season that he is having, but more than anything he deserves to be the AL MVP.


The Birthday Confessions Of A Sports Writer

Nothing will ever beat this game.

So I turned —- today (you’ll never get my age ever in life), and I’m currently nursing a hangover thanks to the normal heavy dosage of liquor consumption made possible by my friends (raspberry rum and soda and raspberry vodka and soda are two totally different entities, ugh).

This is hardly the condition I should be in to write a blog especially when there isn’t much to discuss right now.

However, in this silly mind of mine I decided to give you some of my sports confessions.

We as sports writers get our favoritism, views and beliefs in sports at a young age and two things happen; either you stick to your guns or you switch up sides.

I’m the latter of this. Truth is my New York sports bias is a recent thing. I used to…

Wait, let’s do this in a proper numerical style. I mean why give you a drawn out explanation then get into the confessions? I think we’ll do 24 facts, not my age but the number I wanted to wear if I ever got to play with Michael Jordan as a kid because 23 was sort of taken.

1. I hated New York sports teams growing up

Giants, hated them. Yankees, they sucked. Mets, them too. Knicks, yuck. Rangers… That’ll be number two.

My mom forged my sports life as a kid. I loved who she loved because she was a sports nut. She loved Joe Montana, Michael Jordan, and the Mets. All I knew was the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls, baseball cards and that NY sucked.

I actually cried when the 49ers lost to the Giants in 1991 when they were trying to three-peat. That seems so weird now especially now that I scream at Eli Manning every two seconds and own 8 giants jerseys.

This is how I got into hockey.

(my favorite sports moment is still Super Bowl 23. Me and my mom watched that game on the couch together with me curled up underneath her. As Montana led the 49ers up the field on that last late fourth quarter drive my mom and I slowly pulled away from each other and moved closer to the TV until Montana hit John Taylor for the winning score. You should’ve seen us scream and parade around our house like we had won the Super Bowl. That will never be beat.)

2. I used to hate hockey.

I mean I’m black and from the projects in Brooklyn, NY. My mom hated hockey and so did I. She always thought it was a dumb sport and there were no black players so there was no point for it. Since I followed her lead with everything (except the mets, I wasn’t that dumb) I followed that philosophy.

Then the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup and I watched it all. That hooked me.

I was in Washington D.C. when it happened but I felt the energy of New York. I learned about the 54 year curse, how much of a hockey city New York actually is and how truly bad ass Mark Messier truly was.

After that run you couldn’t pull me away from a hockey game. Even when the New Jersey Devils killed hockey in the late 90’s I was still into it heavy.

(I guess you could say the Rangers made me a New York fan. After that run in 94 I felt that I had to like all New York teams because how could I like teams from other cities when I was a true New Yorker?)

3. I was a Michigan fan growing up. (Florida State too.)

In New York there was no college team team in the area that drew attention. Every Saturday the TV selections were Notre Dame, Florida State on ESPN and the Big Ten on ABC with Michigan on every single week.

Truth is I always wanted to go to Michigan. I loved the colors, the fight song, Brian Griese, Elvis Grbac, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson… And the fab five… And Glen Rice’s performance against Seton Hall in 1989….

I still have more great Michigan memories than Ohio State memories… AND I WENT TO OHIO STATE!!!

I could point out moments in great games like the Rose Bowl in 1997 versus Washington State, I cried when Kordell Stewart’s hail Mary beat Michigan in the Big House, I was so happy when we got revenge in Boulder some years later…

I should probably stop there before all of my Ohio State buddies kill me.

4. I never truly liked Tiger Woods

HELLLLOOOO HEISMAN!

There was always something off about him to me. He was too pristine, too clean. Me being from the projects I felt as though with black men there had to be some nasty streak in you somewhere. Jordan had one, Michael Irvin too, Jerry Rice was a prick at times but Tiger was too perfect.

I didn’t like how he always won and how everyone jumped on his bandwagon. I didn’t like how black people crowned him as our king of the moment when he didn’t seem interested in being black (whatever that means) I just never liked him.

When this scandal tore him down I laughed at him, but it didn’t bother me too much. It was just another athlete taking a nose dive. I don’t feel bad for him, I don’t care that he’s not playing well and honestly I dont care if he ever does again.

5. Maryland made me love Duke

I used to be the biggest Duke hater alive… They beat UNLV when I loved Larry Johnson, they prevented the Fab Five from winning a title, The Laettner shot that beat Kentucky made me want to stab myself… and I couldn’t believe that this many white guys were good at basketball and that they kept beating brothers.

(side note 2: for Grant Hill and coach K to criticize Jalen Rose for saying that Hill was an Uncle Tom because he played at Duke was silly. Everyone in the projects felt like that. We liked Kenny Anderson, baggy shorts and baldies. Hill and any other Dukie was a sellout to us. How could they play with all of these white boys and not there own people? Do I think like that now? Of course not. I understand what coaching can do and that you can ball no matter the color. But still you can’t criticize a guy for saying something that the majority of people like him felt was true.)

Then I moved to Maryland where they hate anything New York; Yankees, Jets, Metrostars it didn’t matter. I didn’t understand the hatred because one, New York wasn’t their rival in anything and two, because it didn’t make sense. It got to the point where I kept hearing Yankees this, Giants that, blah blah blah that I got angry and said that I would hate the Terrapins just out if spite.

And who do Terps fans hate more than anything?… Duke.

So there I was cheering for Duke, the team I always hated but because I wanted to piss Marylanders off I was forcing myself to like.

That’s when I fell in love with Jay Williams, Shane Battier and Carlos Boozer and they had me hooked.

It was Williams especially because he was a Jersey kid and I always liked guys from my neck of the woods. I loved his game, fearlessness and how he ate the Terps for lunch. His ten points in 58 seconds still makes me laugh.

Watching Maryland fans whine and cry more than made up for the Yankees not winning a World Series for ten years.

6. I didn’t care that Brett Hull’s skate was in the crease.

The skate had nothing to do with the goal. Get over it Buffalo.

Dumbest… Rule… Ever!!! So many goals were disallowed because of that dumb rule that never should have been made because half of the time the skates never interfered with the goalie.

Did Hull affect Hasek’s angle? No. Did Hull interfere with Hasek? No. Did he skate in late and come up on the side if Hasek an nothing to do with the goal? Yes.

Ok then. Sorry Buffalo deal with it.

7. My least favorite sports moment as a kid was watching my Oakland A’s get swept by the Cincinnati Reds.

How did Eck, Dave Stewart, Rickey Henderson and my favorite player Mark McGwire not only lose but look awful against the Reds? Was Jose Rijo that good? How about Chris Sabo and Eric Davis? That was the first time in my life where I went to school the next day after a game and couldn’t stop thinking how in the hell that just happened.

The A’s were so much better, they had the pitching, the hitting and the power and they lost to The Nasty Boys?

I need a juice box.

8. Syracuse-Georgetown is the best basketball rivalry in college basketball

John Thompson, Jim Boeheim, Billy Owens, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Sherman Douglas, technical fouls, physical basketball, a loud Carrier Dome and an even louder Capital Center… God I love the Big East.

9. I will always hate Texas A&M football

Why? Because they screwed Michael Bishop out of everything.

A title, a Heisman, and a pro career.

I only watched Kansas State because of Bishop and his speed, arm and instinct. I couldn’t name another Wildcat from that team but I just loved Bishop.

I didn’t care that he was six feet tall or needed some fine tuning. I just knew that once K-State got to the National Championship all the world would see his skill…

And Sirr Parker killed that.

I’m glad the SEC said no to you.

10. I really don’t care who did steroids in baseball

It was legal and it brought the game back.

Where would baseball be if Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa didn’t have their home run chase?

Steroids or not that was a magical summer where everyone sat in front if the television and their lives hinged on every at bat. It was awesome; McGwire found the fountain of youth, Sosa emerged as a superstar and the game was popular again.

As much as everyone hides it we love baseball. We all played it, watched it live and have fun at the yard whenever go. The game was suffering well after the strike of 1994 it needed a boost and this was it.

Yeah he did steroids... he also saved baseball.

Did the use get out of control? Yes, but to me it was worth it and I’ll always remember the summer of 1998 as the summer that baseball truly came back.

11. Steffi Graf is my least favorite athlete ever.

She beat Monica Seles who was my favorite women’s player at the time, she beat Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, she won seemingly every tournament she played and won with ease.

She wasn’t snooty, had no mean strike, no off the court issues… nothing.

She was just a machine, a well-oiled wrecking ball that made Saturday’s at Roland Garros and Wimbledon no fun to watch because you knew she was going to win.

She was the Bulls before the Jordan, golf before Tiger and Yankees before their rise…

And she was a total class act. That’s why I hated her I guess.

12. The only reason why I hate The Pittsburgh Steelers is Super Bowl 40

The Seahawks played against 17 men at a time, the Steelers and the refs. Quite honestly the worst called game ever and the Steelers acted like nothing happened. I still want Mike Holmgren to body slam Bill Cowher.

13. If Ohio State plays Syracuse in anything… I’m cheering for Syracuse

Buckeye Nation is really going to kill me.

Now I was a Michigan fan and I loved the Seminoles but I always wanted to be an Orangeman (and I would’ve if tuition wasn’t $42,000 a year).

Of course in basketball I loved the Orange and always will, however I like Syracuse football as much as I love OSU football.

Those were the Donovan McNabb days when he was slinging it to Marvin Harrison. I had a man crush on McNabb because he was just a beast. He could run it, throw it and make a three pointer every once in awhile. He was the first in the era of the scrambling QB and he made it work.

Harrison I thought was going to be the next Jerry Rice, and he almost was. He made everything look easy and could catch any ball thrown at him. With those two guys I thought it was the beginning if a dynasty at The Cuse on the field…

But we know how that went.

Fast forward to this year and The Cuse is on its way back. Coming off of an 8-5 year Syracuse has an outside shot at the Big East and could win 9 games. I’m honestly more excited for Orange football than Buckeye football.

Maybe it was the scandal, the tats, the selling of rings but I’m over it. I want to cheer for something I can believe in and right now my childhood favorites are trending up. I’m not totally abandoning Ohio State, but if they square off against the Orange I might be in a Syracuse Marathon Men shirt.

I’m looking so bad to the alumni right now.

My man Donovan.

14. I laughed at The Knicks when Reggie Miller scored 8 points in 17 seconds

I mean it was funny.

15. I still think the Ravens fixed Super Bowl 34

THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL THAT BALTIMORE CAN SCORE 34 POINTS!!!! ESPECIALLY AGAINST A TOP FIVE DEFENSE!!! AND I’M STICKING WITH THAT!!!!

16. My first pair of basketball kicks weren’t Jordan’s… They were Ewing’s

That orange and blue with the basketball hanging off the side… C’mon son! They were way fresher than the Jordans.

17. As much as I loved Mark Messier my favorite Ranger is Adam Graves

You ever date a girl who isn’t prettier than other girls that you’ve dated, doesn’t have big boobs, doesn’t have a great body, but makes you happy and does all the little things? That’s Adam Graves. He wasn’t as well known as Messier or Brian Leetch, he wasn’t as rough as Jeff Beukeboom and he wasn’t Mike Gartner fast.

But he always scored goals when you needed them, always killed penalties well and always laid it out in the ice. I was more upset when we traded him to San Jose than when Wayne Gretzky retired… true story.

18. The first game that made me throw a violent tantrum and had me cursing up a storm was the Mariners-Yankees ALDS game 5 in 1995.

Literally cursed so loud that my mom barged into my room and caught me about to tear into my book bag.

I hate that the M’s got into the playlets in the first place with that late season run (I was cheering for then to make it at first because I loved Ken Griffey Jr… Learned that lesson) I hate that Randy Johnson was so unhittable and I hate Jack McDowell because he had no business being out there amongst other reasons for hating him.

When we fired Buck Showalter at the end of the year I was part pissed and part happy. I was happy he was gone but mad that he cost us so many games including that one.

19. Pete Sampras- Andre Agassi is still my favorite sports rivalry.

This was the first sports thing that me and my mom went at each others throats about. She loved Agassi, the image, the hair, the return game and that he seemed like a down to earth guy. I liked Sampras’s nerve, his serve, the way that he played the game. He was the first cerebral athlete that I admired because he always seemed in control.

She called Sampras snooty, I called Agassi a punk, yeah a tennis rivalry broke up our house, weird I know.

It was the tennis that was so great. They were constantly gunning for each other and only measured themselves against each other. Jim Courier, Boris Becker. Stefan Edberg, none of them mattered. Sure they were good competition but Sampras only cared about Agassi and vice versa

You know these Roger Federer- Rafael Nadal matches? Those were three to four times a year for Sampras and Agassi or so it seemed. They were epic and just had you sitting on your hands past the third set.

Man did they hate each other.

They wanted to kill each other I thought. It was the perfect match if wits; Sampras and his finesse versus Agassi and his power. The series never tilted too far in one way. Sampras won his titles as did Agassi but Each has their own bragging point; Sampras won 7 Wimbledon crowns the most ever while Agassi has the career slam.

(side note 3: you know how I know this rivalry was really nasty? Last year in a charity match Sampras teamed with Federer to take on Agassi and Nadal. Agassi and Sampras traded barbs that were more than just smack talk. The crowd and Federer and Nadal just stood there with the crackers looks on there faces. I guess time doesn’t heal all wounds.)

20. The biggest choke job I ever saw was at the 1994 World Cup when Roberto Baggio missed a wide open net in penalty kicks costing Italy a chance at beating Brazil

I didn’t understand soccer at the time and didn’t like it… But even I was saying to myself “how did he miss that?”

21. As much as I hate the SEC, Nebraska is still my least favorite college team

They are still the most overrated program ever. They never threw the ball and no one could stop them. I remember watching the 1996 National Title game against Florida (who I also hated thanks to my allegiance to Florida State) and watch them beat down a team that beat down everyone and I couldnt understand it.

That Tommie Frazier run was the perfect example. You know option right was their bread and butter, they were in position had him stopped, yet 65 yards later the Huskers were up 62-24.

I can’t believe in 1994 that Nebraska and Penn State both finished undefeated but Nebraska won the outright title. PENN STATE WOULD HAVE KILLED THEM!!! Kerry Collins, Ki-Jana Carter and Kyle Brady along with that defense would’ve stopped that option I guarantee it.

Same with the split tile in 1997 with Michigan. Michigan was definitely the better team and had a better defense. However, everyone loved Nebraska, the loved Tom Osbourne a his gimmick offense. It ticks me off and I hope Ohio State beats them by 80 this year.

(by the way, you know what could’ve solved the issues of 1994 and 1997? A playoff… Just saying)

22. I still get nervous when I see a Florida state kicker kick

Wide right… Wide right 2… Wide left… That’ll do it to you.

Ugh!

23. I used to love Cal Ripken Jr an thought he was the greatest shortstop ever…

Then I moved to Maryland and heard about Cal so much that I wanted to puke… oh and Derek Jeter happened.

Cal made me want to be a shortstop. He hit for power, drove in runs and was great defensively. He had the iron man streak and everything pulled me in.

I had a serious collection of Cal Ripken cards that I wouldn’t sell for anything…

Then I got older and studied the game more and realized that he was alright.

One, that streak is the most overrated streak ever in sports. Of those 2600+ games only 200 of them were meaningful. He trotted out for so many bad teams and bad years that really the streak took on it’s own life because that’s all there was in Baltimore.

When you look at Brett Favre’s streak in the NFL it is way more impressive because Favre played in title games, won 3 MVP’s, went to the playoff in all but 3 or 4 years and carried his team to victory. Ripken wasn’t even close.

Then there was the fact that he wasn’t a great hitter. He always hovered around .275 and once his power went so did he.

Then there’s this fact… for all of the mess about Derek Jeter’s defense did you know that Ripken has more career errors, more 20+ error seasons and a lower fielding percentage than Jeter.

Maybe we should steer some of this overrated talk in Cal’s direction.

Ripken was good but he isn’t Jeter. Jeter has played in way more important games, come through in the clutch too many times and has made more ridiculous plays than Ripken ever did.

It’s not even close as to who’s better. Jeter is hitting almost .300 and playing decent defense at shortstop at age 37, Ripken was already tanking.

I’m sorry Maryland and baseball critics, Ripken was highly overrated. It just took me a few years to figure it out.

24. My middle school teacher Ms Rodriguez first put it in my head that I should be a sports writer.

We had a project where we had to write something and put it into summary form for class. I used the NHL all-star game for my project. I watched the entire thing took notes, wrote a three page report and talked about in threw minutes or less highlighting Owen Nolan’s hat trick (I still don’t know how he didn’t win MVP that year, the game was in San Jose… He was a Shark… silly voters),

Needless to say I got an A and she, as well as my classmates were really impressed. She told me to stick with it and that I would be a really good writer one day.

Overrated.

I hope she’s right. Writing a blog hungover while spilling your sports guts isn’t fun. However it may be worth it in the end and I might have many more happy birthdays in my future.

Thanks for reading and supporting the blog so far and letting me spew my ridiculousness for all the world to see. Now if you’ll excuse me my hangover is gone and I’m going to try to get a new one.

I might need a few drinks once I hear it from Buckeye fans about what I said.

Sometimes confessions should stay secret.


Cano Takes Center Stage

Robinson Cano is the brightest star so far in Arizona.

When Tony Womack was lumbering through his first and only season as a New York Yankee in 2005, GM Brian Cashman decided it was time to call up a 22 year-old Dominican kid from Triple A ball named Robinson Cano.

The report on Cano was that he had moderate speed, not too much power and could hit ball well. In other words, he was called up to be trade bait if the Yankees wanted to go after someone like Brian Roberts who was the flavor of the month at that point as far as second basemen go.

6 years later Cano is at a critical point of his career that has turned out to be more than what many people thought it ever would have been.

Cano has gone from a guy that could win a batting title, to, as my friends in Baltimore said “lucky he plays for the Yankees because he wouldn’t be this good anywhere else,” to the best second baseman in baseball, to possibly the next face of the New York Yankees.

No Yankee farm system product had had as much of an impact on this team like Cano has had since the inception of the “Core 4” in the mid-90’s. Cano has been a team leader in terms of batting average and run production since joining the team in 2005. Cano is money down the stretch as he has led the team in most major statistical categories in August and September in the last 6 years.

The best part about Cano is that whatever the Yankees ask him to do he does it. He changes his number from 22 to 24, moves from 6th to 5th in the lineup, he even took Melky Cabrera under his wing during his time in New York to get him acclimated to life in the majors and made him fit in with the team easier. He is a team player with leadership qualities that most teams would die to have.

Cano has become one of the team’s most popular players with his cool demeanor and smooth style of play. The game at time looks so easy to him with every nonchalant turn of a double play, the way he ranges to his left and throws across his body with ease and a swing that is as smooth and sweet since Ken Griffey Jr. in his early days in Seattle.

Nobody turns a double play as cool as Robbie.

(Side note: I always bring up my hatred for everything related to the Baltimore Orioles because I lived in Maryland for so long that I’ve heard every ridiculous argument that has to do with the Yankees.

One night while watching the O’s-Yankees game Buck Martinez was crying a river about how Cano dropped a popup because he was so nonchalant about it. He called him lazy, aloof, and about every other adjective and his diatribe went on for about 6 minutes and he kept going back to the same drop.

Unfortunately he should’ve watched a little more of Robbie to understand that that’s how he is. He’s not lazy, not a sad sack, he’s just stoner calm.

Robbie doesn’t let anything get to him. He always seems in control of every situation that he’s involved in. He doesn’t panic under any type of pressure, he doesn’t hurry throws, he doesn’t chase bad pitches, he doesn’t whine to umps or slam his helmet down when he strikes out, he forever lets the game come to him.

So, I’m sorry that Buck Martinez didn’t get the memo or watch enough tape. Or that he was too busy slurping B-Rob who hasn’t been the same since his “B-12 injections.’)

Cano’s popularity reached another level last night after winning the home run derby in Arizona. Cano’s sweet swing, cool demeanor, and loveable character were all on display as he crushed baseballs all over Chase Field and captured all of America’s imagination.

It was a shock for me because Robbie’s not a homerun hitter. I thought Robbie wasn’t going to do well except for maybe 4 or 5 jacks. Then once balls started flying off Miller Lite bottle and second decks my thought process shifted.

All of America finally got to see Robbie in action when he’s not overshadowed by the mammoth figure of Derek Jeter, the ego of A-Rod, the girth of C.C. Sabathia and the headaches of A.J. Burnett. They saw a grown man with his own skill make his mark on baseball and put his name in the ring with his more well known mates.

Robbie's breakout night came with a big assist from his dad.

There were two even cooler moments; one, was Joe Torre handing him his award years after he compared Robbie to Rod Carew (which of course drew criticism because lord forbid a young Yankee should get some sort of praise), and two the fact that his dad was pitching to him.

His father Jose Cano played for a brief time in the majors in 1989 and was there again this time feeding his son low fastballs that Robbie sent soaring into a warm desert night. Watching their interactions and Robbie jumping into his arms after he won the Derby was as cool as cool gets. It was a late father’s day gift for a dad who is watching his son take off in the prime of his career that could be getting a lot brighter.

With Jeter’s career coming to an end and Cano’s star coming into the spotlight, maybe we saw the future face of the franchise on display last night.

Maybe Robinson Cano will be the guy that players, fans and baseball purists identify with over the next 7-10 seasons in New York with the Yankees.

Maybe last night was the coronation of a future king who was originally thought of as just a short-term solution at second base.

If it is, I’m glad I got my Cano jersey four years ago and jumped on him early. Like Joe Torre, I saw that this was bound to happen.


Looking Back At Derek Jeter’s Greatest Moments

This Derek Jeter guy has been pretty good.

Lets start from the beginning in 1996 (no its not actually the beginning but it’s the official beginning of the legacy of Derek Sanderson Jeter)…

 

It was October 9th 1996 when the legend of “Captain Clutch” began. Jeter came up to bat in the 8th inning with the Yankees down 4-3 to the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS when he drove an opposite field shot off of Armando Benitez over the right field wall to tie the score at 4 that led to a 5-4 victory in 11 innings.

 

(yeah I know Jeffrey Maier interfered but a homer is a homer. Eat that O’s fans.)

 

It led to the first World Series in his MLB career as the Yankees disposed of the Atlanta Braves 3 weeks later.

 

1998: after Jeter asserted himself as one of the league’s premier shortstops with a .324 average, 19 homeruns and 84 RBI, Jeter leads the Yankees to their second title in a 4 game sweep of the San Diego Padres where he batted .353.

 

1999: Jeter led the league in hits and was second in average and runs and also drove in a career high 102. He batted no less than .350 in any playoff series as he led the Yankees to their third title in four years by beating the Atlanta Braves once again.

 

2000: after another stellar season (.339/15/73) Jeter hit .409 with 2 homeruns in the World Series to lead the Yankees past the New York Mets in five games and earn World Series MVP honors. He also won All-Star game MVP honors as well.

 

Jeter's first clutch moment came with a big assist.

2001: no the Yankees didn’t win the World Series that year, but two plays added to his legacy and defined him as a player.

 

Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS: Terrance Long smacked a double into right field that was surely going to score Jeremy Giambi and lead the A’s to a sweep of the Yankees who had just lost two games at Yankee Stadium. Shane Spencer threw a terrible ball into the infield that missed every Yankee on the field and was headed for the A’s dugout.

 

All of a sudden out of nowhere Derek Jeter swoops in, scoops the ball up, tosses it to Jorge Posada who then tags out Giambi and the Yankees win the game and then the series.

 

(My buddy Scully said something funny about that play. He said that the thing people forget about that play is that Jeter was terribly out of position. If he had played in his natural spot then he doesn’t make that play. This is true. Jeter had no business being anywhere near that ball… but he was, and no one is complaining about it at all especially me.)

 

Game 4 of the 2001 World Series (or the Byung-Hyun Kim nightmare series): you couldn’t set this up any more perfect than it was. 9/11, the world watching as the Yankees lifted the city on its back and tried to win another title to uplift the entire city. The clock strikes 12 and for the first time in baseball history there was baseball in November. Derek Jeter has a 3-2 count and drills an opposite field homerun and beats the Diamondbacks to draw the series even at two and gains the nickname “Mr. November.”

 

(Side Note: I’m over the 2004 blowup against Boston, I got past Randy Johnson’s failures, the loss to Florida in 2003, and the fact that we couldn’t beat the Angels for 350 years.

 

Mr. November.

However, I will never, ever get over losing that series to the D’Backs. We had them reeling with the debacle that was BH Kim. The drop back was perfect, the world was finally cheering for the Yankees, we were supposed to win and bring a title home for the city to celebrate and drown out the horror that was 9/11.

 

Even after we lost 15-2 in game 6 I was sure that we would win game 7 especially after Alphonso Soriano drove a Curt Schilling fastball over the wall and gave us a 2-1 with Mariano Rivera coming in. Then all I can remember was a Luis Gonzalez bloop, Bob Brenly jumping up and down with his palms wide open and then 8 years of steroids, Carl Pavano and the follies of A-Rod.

 

Even after the 2009 title the one that got away in 2001 still stings.)

 

2003: Jeter is named the 11th Captain in team history. This is after he dislocated his shoulder trying to stretch out a triple in a game on opening day. He doesn’t know the meaning of taking it easy. Maybe someone should explain that to Hanley Ramirez.

 

2004: you knew our fans were harsh… but we booed Derek Jeter in the midst of a 0-32 slump… come on buddy. This is the Captain, Captain Clutch, the man behind the flip, “Mr. November” and all of those monikers that made us gush over him for years and years… and we boo him because he has a slump?

 

Still cant believe this.

That’s another great thing about Jeter, he understood the fans frustrations. He didn’t mock them or bash them or run down his accomplishments, he went out there and worked it out. He knew Yankees fan expected and demanded a lot and instead of getting mad he fought through it… and did this…

 

Jeter tracks down a pop fly in the top of the 12th inning in a game in May against the Red Sox… he makes the catch but his moment sends him crashing into the crowd leaving him with a bloody face. It was a game in May people… and it doesn’t matter, the legend continues.

 

2006: have I ever mentioned how ticked off I am that he didn’t win the AL MVP award that year? Led the AL in average and runs, had 214 hits, hit .381 with runners in scoring position… and finished second to Justin Morneau. Morneau had a nice year but didn’t finish in the top 5 of any statistical category except RBI where he finished second. He wasn’t as consistent as Jeter was for that entire season and still won MVP.

 

(did I mention that in the voting there were three Minnesota Twins in the top 6 of ? How can a guy win MVP when people think there are 3 guys that were MVP on the same team? Also I still want to pimp slap Joe Cowley for voting him 6th in the MVP ballot because “you could plug another guy in that lineup and that guy would still have his numbers.”

 

Precisely… just like the Twins did last year when Michael Cuddyer batted in Morneau’s spot and had a monster year… idiot.)

 

2009: Jeter hits in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career and bats .334, leads the AL with a .406 on-base percentage  and is second in the majors with 212 hits. He also became the Yankees all-time hits leader with 2722 passing Lou Gehrig and leads the Yankees to their 27th title and garners the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the year.

 

(This was the year when it hit me that Derek Jeter was slowly becoming the greatest Yankee of all-time. He was approaching the hit record, games played record, stolen bases record and there was a chance that he could be the only Yankee in the history of the franchise to collect 3000 hits…chew on that for a second.

 

World Series champion for the 4th time.

Not Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, not any of them had 3000 hits all with the Yankees… Jeter would be the only one.

 

By the end of this year Jeter will have played more games in Pinstripes than any other man in history. By the end of his career he may score more runs, have more doubles and total bases too.

 

That’s why the contract talks this offseason were so important and disheartening to Jeter. The Yankees knew how much he means to the organization, what his place in history is and where he stands in the fans eyes. He needed to finish his career here and if it took a few extra dollars then so be it. When it kept dragging on and sports talk radio and the ESPN talking heads put in their two cents about Jeter’s worth it became a question as to whether or not an aging shortstop coming off of his worst season in 2010 was worth $17 million per season.

 

Note, you didn’t hear the same talk about Jayson Werth receiving $126 million for two good seasons in Philadelphia but I digress.

 

Who cares that he will never bat .330 again, or be as good of a defender or any of that. Jeter personified the Yankees in each of his previous 16 years and he deserved what ever he wanted. If he would’ve gotten his 3000th hit as a Kansas City Royal it wouldn’t have meant squat.

 

Jeter is a Yankee. He is the greatest Yankee of my time and possibly ever. Isn’t that worth $17 million a year?)

 

2010: Jeter wins his 4th gold glove. Everyone whines and complains about zone efficiency, range, blah blah blah… sorry had to put that in for the haters.

 

2011: bottom of the third inning on a 3-2 count Derek Jeter takes a David Price slider and crushes it over the wall for his third homerun of the season and his 3000th hit. As he rounded the bases I thought back to every great moment I’ve witnessed from him and smiled from ear to ear.

 

Jeter is probably my favorite athlete of all-time. He is the man’s man whether he’s hustle out a slow grounder, jumping off of his back foot to through a cross body dart to first base, diving in the stands for a foul ball, or picking up Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba or any other babe that he’s had in his dating circle.

 

Mr. 3000.

Throughout his career he’s been bashed in books for his defense, ridiculed by Gary Sheffield for not being black enough, and through it all he’s come through for the Yankees and their fans over and over again.

 

He’s been the quintessential leader, one of the game’s best winners, and has provided me with too many memories for me to even count. Today was more than just another day in the eyes of baseball insiders and announcers and television stations.

 

For us it was just another day in the amazing life of Derek Sanderson Jeter who has made the fans of New York happy as can be from the first time he took the field on May 29th 1995. The best thing that we have three more years of great memories left.

 

And if any of them are like a 5 hit day with a game-winning hit on the same day as your 3000th hit, then all of those $60 million dollars will be worth it.


The Return Of Random Thoughts

Wait a minute... we're still over .500? High five!

You know what we haven’t done in a while? A random thoughts blog.

Just things I’ve thought about that maybe you have as well in the last few weeks of watching sports.

With so much going on as far as sports since March Madness I think it’s time to do some rehashing.

So without further ado… HERE WE GO!

Is Zach Greinke really worth it? I mean he is 7-3 but he’s got a 5.66 ERA.

Anybody else think Kenny Williams is lying about the Adam Dunn deal?

Josh Harrelson a year ago was buried on the bench at Kentucky with Enes Kanter coming in. A year later he was a key component in the Wildcats Final Four run and will get minutes off of the bench for the Knicks. Life.

Hopefully the Sedin Twins take boxing lessons this summer.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, please gain 20 pounds.

Even though she is six foot five how many of us would hit on Jan Vesely’s girlfriend?

Federer couldn’t beat Nadal, Nadal can’t beat Djokovic… So who’s he going to have a problem with?

Why is it that Joe Girardi is the only person who thinks Derek Jeter should lead off?

David Ortiz couldn’t hit anything for the last two years now all of a sudden he’s hitting .301 with 17 home runs and 49 RBI… hmmmm….

Lebron James dunking on a kid doesn’t help his image.

(honestly at this point LeBron could cure cancer and we’d still hate him. And yes I’m serious about that statement.)

Mario Chalmers is now my new least favorite athlete in the world.

Did any team in the NBA Draft really help itself?

Sabine Lisicki also plays tennis. We'll talk about that later.

Nicklas Lidstrom came back for his 20th season. Can we engrave his name on the Norris Trophy in 2012 already?

Lets face it, Dany Heatley will never be “the guy.”

Neither will Andy Murray.

Anybody else happy that Brian Cashman corrected Alex Rodriguez by saying that Robinson Cano is better that Jose Reyes?

Can I call Austin Rivers “Baby Doc?”

Did Jose Bautista really just score the most votes in All-Star voting history?

How awesome was it that Virginia won the lacrosse title?

(think about this for a second. In the last two years lacrosse’s two most controversial teams fought back from media hell to win a title. Last years Duke team won after three years of dealing with the ugly aftermath of a stripper rape allegation and this year Virginia won after one of it’s own murdered women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love.

The image of the Cavs men’s team was brutally tarnished and the turmoil around both mens and women’s teams was enough make anyone not want to put on pads and a helmet and sprint out onto the field again. However, Virginia fought through it’s adversity and came out a winner. Their win over Maryland in the Memorial Day title game cast a fantastic light on the team an buried whatever demons were left from the 2011 season.

Very commendable indeed.)

Are the Pirates really a game and a half out of first place?

Who the hell is Mike Morse?

Brian Wilson needs to shave that beard… Now!

Is Jim Riggleman; a, a gangster, b, salty or c, out of his bleeping mind?

Iman Shumpert… And yes I’m still stuck on that pick.

How funny would it be if the Winnipeg Jets won the southeast division this year?

(Winnipeg is six hours north of Minneapolis.)

It’s July… NFL step on it.

(I’m serious. The New York Giants tick me off, Eli Manning makes bad throws, I’ll see 85 Coughlin faces and understand each of them… AND IF I MISS ONE FREAKING GAME I WILL HUNT ROGER GOODELL AND DEMAURICE SMITH DOWN!!!)

By the way, if the MLB locks out in November then there is a real possibility that Hockey may be the only game in town come 2012….

New theory behind the Flyers trades; maybe Paul Holmgren used Jeff Carter and Mike Richards just to get the Winter Classic in Philly and then dumped them afterwards… Nope, trade still makes no sense.

I know Brett Favre is retired, but I’m still uncertain.

Quick, 3 things about Luke Picknell. Ready and… GO!

Is Maryland football a better job than Connecticut football? Randy Edsall are you listening?

Seattle Sounders FC draws more fans than the Mariners…

Anybody else think Cam Newton will bomb?

I still have no caption for this.

No seriously are the Pirates really only a game and a half out of first place?

(why is this not a huge story? The Pirates haven’t had a winning season in almost 20 years. That’s back to the Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla days.

Ever since then they have traded every and I mean every good player that they’ve had and have been in a never ending rebuild mode. Now here there are with Andrew McCutcheon as a dark horse MVP candidate, an All-Star in Joel Hanrahan and the Brewers, Reds and Cards all looking back in disbelief.

If they make the playoffs they are the story if the year hands down.)

Sabine Lisicki… Mmmmmm.

Will Tiger Woods fade into oblivion?

Even though Roger Federer has “lost it” he’s still the third best tennis player in the world.

And lastly… Dirk, a $90,000 bottle of champagne and pictures with Birdman and Lil’ Wayne… In LeBron and D-Wade’s backyard.

Cough on that Miami.