Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Typical Jeter Performance

The Derek Jeter Show finally re-emerged in Wednesday’s 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay, and the great Yankee captain showed why he’s poised to step into history.

Jeter collected three hits in the victory to tie Lou Gehrig for most hits in a career by a Yankee with 2,721. The shortstop can surpass the Hall-of-Famer in Friday’s game against Baltimore.

The way Jeter went about getting the hits showed why he’s also bound for Cooperstown.

In the first inning, he dropped a bunt down toward the third base line and beat the throw. The hit snapped a 0-for-12 drought, his longest hitting slump of the season.

"That's why I bunted in the first inning. I needed to get one hit, right?" Jeter said.

(Continue to New York Minute)

Quick and Painless End for Rays

The Rays' elimination from the American League post-season chase has been swift, but it hasn't been easy to stomach -- for management, fans or (we hope) the players.

Of course, when your bullpen loses 10 games in a 30-game stretch, no amount of hand-wringing will make a difference. The standings say the Rays' magic number for elimination is 16 games, but their season effectively ended last week when they lost five of six against the Red Sox and Tigers.

That first loss Friday against the Tigers was a pip. Detroit reliever Fernando Rodney, showing why he probably can't be trusted to close in a playoff series against the Yankees or Angels, nearly blew a 4-1 lead before getting the final out.

(Continue to Henry's Chopping Block)

Breaking Down the NFL, 2009

The time for waiting is just about over, as the NFL kicks off with tonight's Tennessee Titans-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup.

The Dolphins kick off at 1 p.m. Sunday in Atlanta, the first of four straight games against playoff opponents in 2009. So, how will the Fins do this year? My AFC East predictions follows, as well as my overall NFL predictions for 2009:

AFC East
1. New England Patriots (11-5): Yes, Tom Brady is coming off a major knee injury, and the Pats just traded away five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour. But the Patriots have a wealth of talent on both sides of the ball, and with Bill Belichick at the controls, they are always a threat.

(Continue to Dolphins Watch)

Coyotes Showdown Heating Up

Call it a Duel in the Valley of Sun, the fight to see whether the Phoenix Coyotes remain in Arizona or wind up in Hamilton, Ontario.

On the one side we have the NHL, led by commissioner Gary Bettman, who wants the Coyotes to keep playing at the Arena in Glendale, Ariz.

On the other is Jim Balsillie, whose Research In Motion company makes the popular Blackberry -- and has made him a fortune.

If money talks, and if judge Redfield T. Baum allows Balsillie to bid for the Coyotes in bankruptcy court, the league might have an impossible chance to compete.

(Continue to Through the 5 Hole)

Flyers Could Be Filthy Good This Year

The Philadelphia Flyers were the most penalized team in the National Hockey League last year. So what did GM Paul Holmgren do in the off-season? Of course, he went out and acquired two of the grittiest---dare we say, dirtiest---players in the game in Chris Pronger and Ian Laperriere. Plus, he also added a feisty battler between the pipes with the signing of goaltender Ray Emery.

This Flyers team is going to be an absolute bitch to play against this year, adding Pronger and Laperriere to the rugged and abrasive group that consists of Daniel Carcillo, Scott Hartnell, Riley Cote, Arron Asham, and Braydon Coburn.

But like the Broad Street Bully Flyers of the mid-'70's, this group is not just filthy. They are filthy good.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

Arnie's 80! Long Live the King!

As Tiger Woods becomes the player all golfers will measure themselves against, Arnold Palmer remains the man who brought the game, and Tiger, to the people.

The King is 80 today.

The story about the son of the demanding greenskeeper out of Latrobe, Pa., has been told countless times. Arnie wasn't born poor, but his father also made sure his boy understood that working your hands raw cutting the grass down on a fairway, and digging a ball out of that emerald turf with a 9-iron were two very different things.

Young Arnold grew to love the game, but he never, ever took it for granted.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

USC Moves Up BCS Standings

Oklahoma's loss as expected dropped the Sooners out of the top 10, but the team that made the most of the first weekend is USC.

In the latest BCS standings (as simulated by the Guru), the Trojans vaulted past Texas into the No. 2 spot. In fact, USC has a pretty healthy margin on the Longhorns and may threaten Florida at No. 1 with a victory at Ohio State on Saturday.

The Trojans are currently third in the two polls, but are ranked first (Sagarin), second (Massey MOV) and third (Billingsley) in the three BCS computers that have released its ratings. Among 38 computer rankings, USC has a median ranking of 2.

(Continue to BCS Guru)

Auburn Once Again Running Back U

Who knew when Auburn hired Gene Chizik as its head football coach he would bringing Carnell “Cadillac” Williams and Ronnie Brown back to the Plains with him?

OK, Williams and Brown are still in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins, respectively, but the guys who piled up the rushing yards in Auburn’s season-opening 37-13 victory against Louisiana Tech surely resembled that fabled running back duo, who were wreaking havoc when Auburn went 13-0 in 2004, Chizik’s final season as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.

Now that Chizik has returned he has senior Ben Tate (No. 44) and freshman Onterio McCalebb (No. 23) impersonating Williams and Brown. The 5-foot-11, 218-pound Tate is Brown because he’s a powerful runner with shifty feet. And the 5-10, 165-pound McCalebb would be Williams, a slasher with great elusiveness, although McCalebb is faster.

(Continue to Rue's Rant)

KU Ready to Do Texas UTEP

The Kansas Jayhawks play their first road game of the season Saturday when they take on the UTEP Miners in El Paso, Texas.

To say the Jayhawks struggle on the road is like saying Kansas fans don't like Missouri. In fact, the 'Hawks have not won a road non-conference game in the regular season since defeating Wyoming 42-35 Sept. 13, 2003.

Last year the only road victory for the Jayhawks came at Iowa St., a game they trailed 21-0 at one point. Winning at UTEP, despite the Miners falling against Buffalo last week, would be a small step in the right direction for the Jayhawks.

(Continue to Inside Jayhawk Nation)

What We Learned from Week 1

1. South Carolina’s QB play is still horrific. I cannot imagine that there is anything more bothersome to Steve Spurrier than the play of Stephen Garcia.

2. Boise State isn’t going away. I don’t want to discuss the Blount issue, although I do think that the Boise State player is getting off easy.

3. Ohio State can dodge bullets.

4. Ohio State QB, Terrelle Pryor, has an interesting role model.

(Continue to Saurian Sagacity)

Why Football Matters

As is the case with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, football has always been – and will always be – a big part of life in Pittsburg, Kansas. Unlike its more metropolitan namesake, Pittsburg, Kansas, has no ‘H’ at the end, and this town of just under 20,000 is located northwest of Joplin, Missouri, across the state line in southeast Kansas.

Pittsburg sits off the northwest corner of the Ozark Plateau, and the area is heavily wooded – even swampy in some parts – with another organic feature similar to western Pennsylvania: coal mines. These mines once dense and rich throughout southeast Kansas offered employment for European immigrants coming to America around the turn of the 20th century, and many Italians, Austrians and other Balkan refugees found their piece of the American dream in the middle of the Midwest.

They poured into southeast Kansas (commonly known as SEK) from Ellis Island by the hundreds leading up to World War I, giving Pittsburg its strong ethnic identity and a heritage that still lingers today.

(Continue to Sport Imitates Life)

Former UFC Fighter 'Throws' Fight?

No, it doesn't just happen in Boxing! For any Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fans who might have missed it, Sean Salmon penned a very interesting article on MMA Junkie's website earlier this week.

And if I was a fan at the North American Allied Fight Series on June 6th 2009, I'd feel pissed off!

Whether it's Gary Sheffield admitting that his hate for Brewers' manager Harry Dalton (1992) was so great during his rookie season that there were many nights when he gave it a little less than than the 'ole college try.'
(Continue to Sportacus)
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