Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No Surprise in Tigers' Collapse

Today I have a splitting headache and I’m not sure if it’s because I might have swine flu or because the Tigers epically failed to seal the division championship over the weekend.

To be honest, I’d rather have the swine flu.

The Tigers 5-3 win yesterday afternoon, a win that forced a one-game playoff tomorrow evening, only proves the point that no Tigers fan should be surprised about this late season collapse.

Detroit has been the most consistent, inconsistent team in baseball all season long. One day they play like the hapless Tigers of the mid to late 90s and the next day they look good enough to beat the Yankees.

(Continue to Michigan and Trumbull)

O's Fans Hounding Trembley

For nine baseball teams (soon to be eight), it’s the start of the postseason. For a bunch of others, it’s the start of the firing season. As usual, it’s the managers who are on the hottest seats, largely because fans, for reasons directly related to the root of the term “fan,’’ tend to lose all sense of perspective and rationale when their teams circle the drain. Lose enough, and no matter the circumstances, the manager gets all the rifles pointing his way.

When this happens, you end up with – just to pull a random example out of thin air, that has nothing to do with the author’s location or the team he once regularly followed – the Baltimore Orioles catching 11 different brands of hell for retaining Dave Trembley after a 98-loss season.

Now, this is far from a singular phenomenon, even in the Baltimore-Washington area, in which Eddie Jordan was fired early last season by the Wizards because he was failing to win without Gilbert Arenas, and where Jim Zorn is being dragged over the coals for having been unprepared for and undeserving of the job capriciously handed him by Dan Snyder.

(Continue to The Steele Drum)

Putting Band-Aid on Broken Mets

It's like making sure to turn off the oven while the house is burning down.

The Mets Monday fired first base coach Luis Alicea, while re-assigning bench coach Sandy Alomar and third base coach Razor Shines.

The good news here is that this creates some possible openings for the likes of, oh, I don't know, Hall of Famer Gary Carter. First base coach, then when Jerry Manuel gets off to a slow start in 2010, pull a Colorado Rockies, fire the manager, and put Gary Carter in to lead the Mets to a playoff berth.

Of course, they won't.

Hitting coach Howard Johnson will keep his job. So will pitching coach Dan Warthen and bullpen coach Randy Niemann.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

Phillies: Most Talented MLB Team

Take a step back from the regular season and begin to think about playoff baseball.

It is about power pitching, experience, defense, and timely hitting. Most of all, it is about match-ups and I will take the Phillies roster over any team in the playoff picture. Needless to say, I really like the Phillies chances of repeating as World Series Champions.

(Continue to Philadelphia Sports Scene)

Presidents Cup an Easy Ryder

Because you can never have too much of a mediocre thing, the PGA Tour is rolling out the eighth edition of the Presidents Cup beginning Thursday at San Francisco's Harding Park Golf Course.

OK, maybe that teaser's a bit harsh. Anytime you can get Tiger, Phil, Ernie, Vijay and a cast of other sweet-swinging notables on the same course in October, you've pulled off quite a coup. Heck, who knows, a great show might even break out.

Most likely, though, this match-play extravaganza will offer up sweet spoonfuls of aw-shucks camaraderie, expert shot-making and, if we're lucky, maybe even a little suspense on Sunday.

For the average golf fan, this is hardly an event you'd rearrange your plans to watch.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Rickey Jackson Should Be in Hall

Rickey Jackson belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s as simple as that.

Jackson was one of the key members of the New Orleans Saints’ “Dome Patrol” defense of the late 1980s and early 1990s. That defense featured arguably the best linebacking group of all time – Jackson, Sam Mills, Pat Swilling, and Vaughan Johnson.

At the end of his career Jackson went to San Francisco for two seasons and won his only Super Bowl ring. In all, Jackson played 15 seasons, was selected to six Pro Bowls, was named All-Pro five times, made 136 sacks, and recovered 28 fumbles (second most all time).

(Continue to More From Les)

Bucs Refuse 'Skins' Gift Offer

Welcome to Oh and four, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Welcome to a perfect start through the first quarter of the NFL season.

It didn't have to be this way. Didn't have to because the Washington Redskins were more than willing to give you a helping hand this past Sunday.

It couldn't have started better for these win less Buccaneers. They were up 10-0 early and held that margin at halftime and it looked like new starting quarterback Josh Johnson might hang in there long enough for his team to survive.

(Continue to Buccaneer Bow Shots)

Didn't happen.

Sanchez Takes a Step Back

Mark Sanchez is finding out there is a steep learning curve for young quarterbacks in the NFL.

The question for the Jets rookie is how quickly can he overcome his first subpar effort?

Make no mistake about it: Sanchez needs to perform better than he did in Sunday’s 24-10 loss to New Orleans.

The final numbers were these: 14 completions in 27 attempts, a mere a 138 yards. The bigger numbers were these: Three interceptions and one fumble that resulted in a Saints touchdown.

(Continue to New York Minute)

Tough Times in Lawrence

At least in the media, it's not fun to be a Jayhawk right now.

The Kansas football and basketball teams have been involved in three public skirmishes in the past few weeks, allowing many in the media to joke that there is a KU Fight Club.

Now the latest involves junior basketball player Brady Morningstar. The sharp-shooter was arrested this past week after driving while intoxicated and booked into Douglas County Jail.

He has since been suspended by head coach Bill Self for the first semester.

(Continue to Inside Jayhawk Nation)

Life Is Good for 5-0 Bulls

South Florida did what it was supposed to do on Saturday -- it disposed of Syracuse in the Big East opener for both schools.

The 34-20 victory for USF was sparked by seven turnovers. You read it right -- SEVEN.

The defense made it easier for the Bulls and now life is good at 5-0.

Still, there will be skeptics.

They've seen this before: fast starts, collapses later on.

The Bulls are getting their due. They made their 2009 debut in the polls, checking in a 23rd in the AP, 24th in USA Today.

(Continue to Running with the Bulls)

Tedford's Puzzling QB Indecision

The California Golden Bears have dropped their last two games by a combined score of 72-6. In those two losses to the Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans, the Bears are 15-of-46 on third down conversions. Against the Ducks Cal QB Kevin Riley was 12-of-31 for 123 yards, and against the Trojans Riley completed 15-of-40 for 199 yards and 1 interception.

I don’t have a problem with Riley having bad games, but I do question Jeff Tedford’s resistance to putting in a different QB. This has been an issue with the Bears program for the last couple of seasons.

Former Bears QB Nate Longshore had a lot of bad games, but kept his job. Riley took over for Longshore for the last couple of games last year, but Tedford went right back to Longshore for the Emerald Bowl. Cal has been lacking consistent play at the QB position since Aaron Rodgers left for the NFL.

(Continue to Inside the Pac-10)

Isles Kids Start Off All Right

John Tavares (photo left) did not disappoint in his NHL debut on Saturday night. The first overall pick in this past NHL Draft---and annointed savior of the Islanders franchise---notched a pair of points, including his first NHL goal, against Sidney Crosby and the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins at the Nassau Coliseum.

If you haven't yet seen Tavares' goal, check it out here. He displays a quick set of hands, turning a broken play into a big goal. True goal scorers---whether they have played ten years in the NHL or ten minutes---instinctively know where to position themselves to get the prime scoring opportunities.

Rangers coach John Tortorella says that, "the puck just follows these kinds of players...it finds them all of the time."

John Tavares is that kind of player. Right spot, natural instinct, great hands.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

Islanders to Queens?

It's just a possible situation - the first of many to come over the next month or so- but Charles Wang already has one offer, just days after he told Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead to pounce off.

The plan, presented by Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Jack Friedman, would have the Islanders playing in Willets Point, Queens, close to where the Mets play at Citi Field.

"Option number 1 should be Queens," Friedman told Newsday. "We are ready for him. You're talking about a property that has access to the Long Island railroad, the subway system, the airports. It already has a huge parking lot because of Citi Field. It already has the parkway access. It's so ready for a development like this. The Lighthouse project would be a perfect fit."

(Continue to Thin Ice)

UFC 104: A Crucial Showdown

As the UFC has grown over the past few years, it has been widely recognized that their glamor division, strongest division was its 205 lb league of Light Heavyweight fighters. Over the years it's had some of the sports most widely recognized champions: Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans.

Now not only does the division have the star power it has easily the most depth. Which can be a bane as much as it is a positive.

Current champion Lyoto Machida, 31, will face fellow Brazilian native Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, 27, at UFC 104 from Las Vegas on October 24th in his first title defense. Machida is the organization's first champion whose primary language is anything other than English since Vitor Belfort held the belt shortly more than a decade ago.

(Continue to Fighter's Corner)
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