Thursday, October 8, 2009

Keep Rose Out of Hall of Fame

All of us sportswriters are in this virtual press box at World Sports Blogs, so it makes it kind of difficult to really get to know one another on this budding site.

I mean, there's no free buffets, locker rooms, or lame press conferences where we can congregate, laugh at coaches' canned quotes, shoot the bull, or, better yet, argue with each other.

With that admittedly murky backdrop, I am now going to publicly disagree with one of our better columnists, Justice B. Hill.

Disclosure: I do not know Mr. Hill, and have never argued with him before.
I do know good, thought-provoking copy when I read it, however, and felt compelled today to take the other side of the man's well-penned assertion that Pete Rose deserves a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

How Curt Flood 'Ruined' Sports

Today is the 40th anniversary of what seemed like a fairly big, but hardly earthshaking, baseball trade: Curt Flood, Tim McCarver and two others to the Philadelphia Phillies; Dick Allen and two others to the St. Louis Cardinals. Pretty cut-and-dried. Until Flood refused to report and then asked the commissioner to make him … a free agent.

We all know what happened after that, and if you don’t, check out a series of stories on Fanhouse, including a pair that I wrote.

And then check out some of the comments on those stories, then decide whether you agree with them. Flood is, in fact, the Father of Free Agency … and four full decades later (technically, three and a half, because it wasn’t fully granted for baseball players until 1975), it’s still held as gospel by a stunning percentage of fans that free agency “ruined baseball.’’ Or, more comprehensively, “ruined sports.’’

(Continue to The Steele Drum)

Good Riddance to Braylon Edwards

Braylon Edwards came to Cleveland in 2005 totting more baggage than a Pullman porter. He was a Michigan man, and Michigan men don't receive the warmest of receptions in what is Ohio State country.

Yet Browns fans aren't so closed-minded as not to give a Michigan man like Edwards a chance to prove his mettle, even if doing so might offend the late Woody Hayes. For they wouldn't care if the man came straight from the netherworld if he could throw, catch or tackle.

It didn't take long to discover that Edwards, a No. 1 draft choice, couldn't do any of these at an elite level.

He never blossomed into the football star people hoped he would become. While his talk was big and bold and brash, his play was small and inconsistent, which is to be expected from somebody who once suited up for the Maize and Blue.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

NFL Sensory Overload

What an incredibly busy two weeks these have been, with cross-country flights, short weeks coming off and leading up to Monday Night Football games and a season-ending injury to the 2008 runner-up for NFL MVP.

So with that being said, this mid-week post will be a lot shorter than my usual posts, and I will start out by sharing the results of my Week 4 picks. I went 10-3 on the week, missing the Denver upset of Dallas, the Jacksonville win over Tennessee and the Patriots holding off the Ravens at home. For the season the NFL Guru is 28-15 for winning percentage of .651, and that is without any picks in Week 1 as I simply previewed each team, division and conference.

Now for a few more quick observations and comments:

(Continue to NFL Guru)

A Team Effort Propels Yankees

It wasn’t just important that the Yankees defeated the Twins, 7-2, in Game 1 of the American League Division Series Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

What was impressive is the way the won, because if this team is going to win its first World Series title since 2000, it will need to have contributions from every one.

Wednesday night, they did.

There were the usual suspects that delivered big in October for the Yankees. Derek Jeter had a home run, scored three runs, knocked in two more. Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth. They did what they’re supposed to do in October.

(Continue to New York Minute)

Phils 10 Wins Away from Repeat

Hearing nearly 50,000 people chanting "Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee" in the 9th inning at Citizens Bank Park gave me goosebumps. It also helped the Phillies starting pitcher dig deep and finish off the Rockies in a 5-1 win after he threw 113 pitches.

If Harry Kalas were alive he might have said at the end of Game 1, "Cliff Lee, You are the MAN!"

Cliff Lee: 6 hits, 1 run (late in the ninth), 5 strikeouts, and (most importantly) 0 WALKS. Not to mention he went 1-2 from the plate and recorded the first stolen base of his career.

(Continue to Philadelphia Sports Scene)

Misery Loves Company

Dear Tigers Fans,

I know how you feel. Your team is filling the record books for all the wrong reasons. Just a couple of weeks ago you had World Series visions dancing in your head. You were on the cover of Sports Illustrated. You were feeling good.

And then, though it really took place over the course of a month, it felt like everything came crashing down at once. Suddenly another team is celebrating, and you're going home.
I know you don't want to hear this right now...but I know how you feel.

I am a Mets fan.

It's horrible. Sitting pretty at the beginning of September, then watching another team play in October.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

It's Only Fantasy, Not Reality

Let's get one thing straight, right from the get-go. I play fantasy hockey, but I also have a real life, OK? I'm not sitting in my basement with bloodshot eyes staring for hours upon hours at a computer screen to assess every last statistic out there in order to outwit the other team owners in my league.

That said, I don't like to be embarrassed either. I mean, I do work in hockey, and have been a writer and broadcaster in the National Hockey League for 20 years. So that means I am supposed to come to the table with a semblance of knowledge.

Taking part in a fantasy hockey league is all about the fun, so I am walking a fine line here. It is fun, as long as I don't embarrass myself.

(Continued to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

Loose Lips Cost Leafs a Fine

Score one for the Vancouver Canucks ... well, sort of.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were fined an undisclosed amount today by the NHL because, league deputy commmissioner Bill Daly said, coach Ron Wilson violated a league by-law "relating to inappropriate public comments by speaking generally to his club's potential interest in negotiating with Daniel and Henrik Sedin" before the Canucks forwards had officially become free agents.

The Sedins eventually re-signed with the Canucks, getting five-year contracts worth $6.1 million a season.

(Continue to Through the 5 Hole)

A New Level for Harassment

Normally, Iowa fans are into harassing players from the opposing team, but Hawkeye defensive end Adrian Clayborn learned that's not always the case.

FanAn Iowa City woman was arrested last Saturday during Iowa's game against Arkansas State for harassing Clayborn from the stands. Brittney Mears was seated in the front row of Kinnick Stadium behind the Hawkeye bench.

Clayborn told police he was "distracted and annoyed" by Mears' actions and she was eventually removed from the stadium and charged with third-degree harassment, a simple misdemeanor. It's not the first time Mears, left, has targeted Clayborn.

In June, Mears was warned against making contact with the player, but she continued to drive past Clayborn's workplace while staring at him.

(Continue to The Wiz of Odds)

Double Your Golfing Pleasure

So exactly what was it with the month of September anyway?

No, I am not talking about Tiger Woods rolling to another FedEx Cup championship and another $10 million dollar check (that likely went to the petty cash fund anyway)that Mr. Woods deposited into his account.

What was truly amazing about the recently concluded month was a flurry of holes-in-ones across the globe. Now, I don't know what the exact numbers are on how many times a day someone, somewhere, experiemces the ultimate joy of golf. I'm sure there has to be at least one or two every week if not more.

But what we saw in September was above and beyond the norm for golf. Three people not only carded a hole-in-one in September, they did it twice. In the same round. And that number we do know.

(Continue to Par For the Course)
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