Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Does Anybody Care About UAB?

Neil Callaway’s comments were telling.

Any other head football coach coming off two losing seasons in his first two years at a school might be feeling some heat, but not Callaway, despite going 2-10 in 2007 and 4-8 in 2008 at UAB.

The only heat Callaway was feeling Monday during the Blazers’ first media luncheon of the 2009 season was from the bright lights of the video cameras of a few Birmingham television stations.

“There’s always pressure,” Callaway said, “but I think it’s self-inflicted. There’s not any outside pressure.”

(Continue to Rue's Rant)

Dumping of Kelly Still a Mystery

Many hockey writers and columnists, including Rick Sadowski, here on World Sports Blogs' Through the 5-Hole, have done an excellent job covering the ouster of NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly on Monday, as well as analyzing its ramifications down the road, the most important of which will be negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the league in either two or three years. Ken Campbell of The Hockey News wrote a great piece detailing why Kelly's departure from the league is so important to fans of the sport, as well.

But instead of offering up my opinion on the matter, I have been most interested in trying to find out what actually went on during the 11-hour NHLPA meeting that took place in Chicago on Monday.

Today I received some insight into the grueling get together of union leaders and NHL player representatives when I chatted with Steve Valiquette, the player rep for the New York Rangers.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

Why Did No One Pick Up Halladay?

For all the talk you hear about teams wanting to win a title, I found it curious that no contender ponied up the talent needed to acquire Roy Halladay, as good a pitcher as any in baseball. For if any pitcher could have ensured a team a long run into the postseason, Halladay would be the one.

Before the July 31 trade deadline, I thought for sure the Phillies would swing a deal. They balked, calling the price tag for Doc Halladay too steep. So they chased and landed Cliff Lee, the reigning AL Cy Young winner. Lee has been a splendid pickup at a bargain price, and he has been a difference-maker.

Lee is no Halladay, though.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

Tigers vs. Indians: Now It's a Sprint

This series begins what will be a particularly brutal month for us Tigers fans. Detroit is a pedestrian 27-20 against division opponents, one game worse than Minnesota. Twenty five of the remaining 32 games this season are against divisional foes.

The good news is that the Tigers finish the year with seven games at home against the Twins and White Sox. The bad news is that they must play nine straight roads games before the last week of the season.

(Continue to Michigan and Trumbull)

Summer Bird Soars at the Spa

Welcome to On The Muscle. The mission of this blog is to bring the “sport” back into the Sport of Kings. We will follow the exploits of the world’s top Thoroughbreds in all divisions as they continue on their quests to the year-end Breeders’ Cup World Championships and possibly an Eclipse Award as the best racehorse in all of the land.

The Week that Was

A new leader in the 3-year-old division emerged this past weekend when Summer Bird won the Travers Stakes over a sloppy track at Saratoga. Summer Bird, who had previously won the Belmont Stakes before adding the Mid-Summer Derby, has seemingly pulled ahead of Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the race for champion 3-year-old colt honors.

(Continue to On the Muscle)

Reality of Shaq's TV Show ... It Bites

They say reality bites, but I think they were actually talking about reality shows.

No argument there if that's the point, because if people have watched Shaq O'Neal's reality show "Shaq Vs," they have but one conclusion to draw: The show bites.

Two minutes into his second episode last Tuesday (I skipped his first episode and won't dare tune in tonight for his third), I wondered why a proud network like ESPN would even bother with a show that takes viewers deep inside an athlete's obsession for the spotlight. The network had to think it's doing what paparazzi do daily as they trail Hollywood stars into the toilet.

(Continue t0 Justice Is Served)

NFL Players ... To the Movies

Whether it was "Any Given Sunday," "The Last Boy Scout," "North Dallas Forty," or "The Longest Yard," football movies have a special place in the action, comedy and drama genre, but have you wondered what movies football players like to watch?

A recent survey of Miami Dolphins players shed some light on the matter as the majority chose the action-packed "Transformers 2" as their favorite movie of the summer. Cornerback Will Allen was a fan of the Liam Neeson thriller, "Taken," and second-year defensive end Phillip Merling proved to be somewhat clairvoyant when he picked "G.I. Joe" just days before it opened in theaters.

(Continue to NFL Guru)

A Look into Mets' Future

With both Johan Santana and Oliver Perez set to undergo surgery today, we turn to the 200 Miles From the Citi futurives (opposite of archives, I made it up) to see just how pivotal a day in Mets history this was.

July 28, 2025 - Cooperstown, NY - Ollie and Johan. Johan and Ollie. Like Tinker, Evers, and Chance; Smoltz, Maddux, and Glavine; Schilling and Johnson; the names have been intertwined in baseball history.

They celebrated together on the mound after Perez relieved Santana in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, capping the Mets' fifth World Series championship in seven years. They kidded with each other as back-to-back co-Cy Young award winners in 2010 and 2011, beginning a stretch where each alternated as the NL winner of the award for eight straight years. And they sit together this weekend reflecting on a remarkable stretch which began with both of them on the disabled list and ends here, as they prepare to be inducted together into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

A Tough Summer for Duncans

It has been a memorable summer for the Duncan family in St. Louis. A memorable one with unhappy consequences.

Chris Duncan, who contributed to the Cardinals World Series push in 2006, was demoted to Triple A Memphis and then traded to Boston for Julio Lugo. It has been a difficult couple years for Duncan who has battled injuries which plagued his performance on the field.

Unfortunately, Duncan's natural position, first base is manned by the best player in baseball in Albert Pujols. So, Duncan learned to play left field. He struggled mightily in the field. Duncan belongs on a team that needs a first baseman in the National League or a DH in the American League.

(Continue to Paul's Redbird Report)

NHL Union Boss Gets Canned

One of these years, the NHL Players Association will manage to maintain some semblance of harmony and keep a union chief for the long haul.

Well, maybe.

The dismissal of Paul Kelly on Monday means the union will be searching for its third boss since Bob Goodenow resigned after the collective bargaining agreement was finalized to end the 2004-05 lockout.

General counsel Ian Penny will serve as executive director on an interim basis.

(Continue to Through the 5 Hole)

Looking Ahead to Georgia-LSU

A lot is being made of this Georgia-LSU matchup on Oct. 3.

And that’s because there’s a good chance that if everything shakes out according to plan that both teams could be undefeated when the Tigers invade Sanford Stadium.

If so, this could be epic. Real epic.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here’s how LSU looks with just a few days left before the season begins.

(Continue to The Chapel Bell)

Kansas Comet Returns to Lawrence

Former KU Jayhawk and Chicago Bear Gale Sayers is returning to Jayhawk Nation. The two-time All-American and Wichita, Kan. native has taken a job as Director of Fundraising for Special Projects with the University of Kansas.

Also known as the "Kansas Comet" and "Galloping Gale," Sayers rushed for 2,675 yards as a Jayhawk including a Division I record 99-yard score in 1963 against Nebraska. He also recorded 3,917 all-purpose yards in his storied college career.

(Continue to Inside Jayhawk Nation)

Perils of Big-Time Football

If you're a Notre Dame fan, you've got to be laughing about what's going on at Michigan.

Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez has come under fire amid allegations by anonymous players and former players that the team has practiced way beyond the 20-hour weekly limit mandated by the NCAA.

Remember, you can't spell scum without UM.

(Continue to Bob Birge's Irish Eyes Are Smiling)

US Open, Day 1 Highlights

Roger Federer advances to the second round after beating former junior champion Devin Britton.

(Continue to ATP Tennis 360)
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