Sunday, October 18, 2009

Give Cashman Credit, Too

There has been a lot of discussion about the personnel moves made by the Yankees over the past few years in their bid to get back to the World Series.

What a lot of commentators have missed is the one move the Yankees didn’t make.

Back in 2007, after the team parted ways with manager Joe Torre, there was also a lot of conjecture on the future of general manager Brian Cashman.

The team lost to the Cleveland Indians in the Divisional Series, and Cashman’s contract was done. More than a few teams were interested in having Cashman come work for them.

(Continue to New York Minute)

More Compelling Games in Week 6

With the Dolphins on their bye week, the Guru gets to pick every game for the second straight week as I made an exception last week due to the gravity of that Monday Night game between the Jets and Dolphins.

[Quick interlude: Talk about an instant classic! Five lead changes in the fourth quarter? Three touchdowns in that quarter by Miami matching the total given up by the Jets defense in the previous four games? A 130.4 passer rating for second-year Dolphins QB Chad Henne in just his second NFL start? The Wildcat waltzing up and down the field on a Rex Ryan defense? All I can say is it was one of those memorable games those of us in the media will be talking about for years to come.]

Now back to regularly scheduled program:

(Continue to NFL Guru)

Pryor a Long Way from Big-Time QB

"Athletes” like Terrelle Pryor carry a truckload of expectations with them when they commit to a Division I program.

While their athleticism might go unchallenged, it alone doesn’t ensure they will master the nuances of playing the most demanding position in college football.

After his performance Saturday against Purdue, the athletic Pryor proved two things: No. 1, he isn't improving much; and, No. 2, he isn't ready to quarterback the Buckeyes with the precision and the polish the program needs.

Now, the criticism here isn’t altogether based on the fact the No. 7 Buckeyes lost, 26-18, to an ordinary Purdue team. A week earlier, they won, and the criticism was the same. For in that game, Pryor played as badly as any quarterback could play and still come away with win.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

ND's Future Success Tied to Clausen

The Irish had an opportunity to send the game into overtime, but once again the Trojans found a way to get past Notre Dame 34-27. The Fighting Irish can only state with confidence that they are superior at the QB position and WR position. Matt Barkley is not better than Jimmy Clausen and it can be argued that Golden Tate is better than Damian Williams. At every other position on the field USC is just flat out better than the Irish.

Notre Dame did a very good job of containing Joe McKnight, holding him to 79 yards on 19 carries and 1 TD, but all three Notre Dame’s RBs only combined for 70 yards on 20 carries and 1 TD. USC DE Everson Griffen was in the Irish backfield for the majority of the game.

It was hard for Notre Dame to create pressure without blitzing. WR Damian Williams hit the Irish defense for a 41-yard TD on a WR screen when Notre Dame was caught blitzing at the wrong time. Even with the departure of players like Mark Sanchez, Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, Kyle Moore and Fili Moala Notre Dame still lacked the talent level to compete with USC.

(Continue to Inside the Pac-10)

First BCS Projection, 2009

A couple of upsets, a few near misses, and a baseball game that just would not end made for an interesting Saturday, the eve of the 2009 season's first BCS Standings.

Florida and Alabama both escaped with tough home wins against SEC foes. Texas held off Oklahoma again. And USC withstood an Irish rally to win its eighth straight against Notre Dame.

Virginia Tech and Ohio State weren't as fortunate. The Hokies are now officially out of the BCS title chase, and perhaps even the one for the ACC Coastal title, after an upset loss at Georgia Tech. Ohio State had a worse loss, getting bested by unranked Purdue at West Lafayette.

(Continue to BCS Guru)

The Dreaded Bases-Loaded Walk

Ryan Madson's bases loaded walk to give up the go-ahead run in Game 2 of the NLCS reminded me that it was 10 years ago that Kenny Rogers did same for the Mets in the NLCS.

The stakes were higher in Rogers' case - it was the bottom of the 11th of Game 6, and the run not only won the game but also clinched the series for the Braves. I can't imagine a more anti-climactic event than a series-ending bases loaded walk.

The bases loaded walk has been the bane of my existence this past decade or so - it just drives me nuts every time I see it - throw a strike! So with tomorrow being the 10-year anniversary of Kenny Rogers' becoming my number one baseball enemy...I turn to prose for therapy:

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)
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