Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

The MLB on TSC: Who Says There's No Country For Old Men?

Theresa McCracken/CartoonStock.com
For generation after generation major-league baseball players have been referred to as the "Boys of Summer" and for obvious reasons. Baseball is a game primarily played in the summer and by young men. But every year there are exceptions to the rule and in the case of these exceptions the word "boys" could be deceiving. There are those rare 40-something ballplayers that manage to hang around making contributions and in some cases still being dominant.

As is the case, in life, when you're 40-something you're considered to be in the prime of your life but in professional baseball, being 40-something is like being from the Jurassic or Cretaceous period. So as the 2012 season kicks off, let's give props to some of those dinosaurs that have stood the test of time.

So without further ado, TSC salutes the age-less ones:

JAIME MOYER

Just the simple fact that major-league teams are still looking into him is impressive.

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Born: November 18, 1962 (age 49)
MLB Debut: June 16, 1986

OMAR VIZQUEL

The "kid" from Venezuela still has something in the tank. Or at least, the Toronto Blue Jays think so.

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Born: April 24, 1967 (age 44, soon-to-be 45)
MLB Debut: April 3, 1989

MARIANO RIVERA

With his gifted cutter he might be able to pitch until he's 50. If of course, he wants to hang around that long.

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Born: November 29, 1969 (age 42)
MLB Debut: May 23, 1995

JIM THOME

Thome's ability to still pop one from the left side has kept him employed.

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Born: August 27, 1970 (age 41)
MLB Debut: September 4, 1991

DARREN OLIVER

He can still get you an all-important out when needed.

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Born: October 6, 1970 (age 41)
MLB Debut: September 1, 1993

JASON GIAMBI

See Jim Thome.

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Born: January 8, 1971 (age 41)
MLB Debut: May 8, 1995

As the old cliche goes: 40 is the new 30 or 20 or whatever. Well, in the soon-to-be-fifty Jamie Moyer's case, 50 is the new-- I guess 40?!

Oh and-- my apologies if I missed any other 40-something active player. Is there an Arthur Rhodes or Matt Stairs sighting?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tiger's World, Again?!

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CONGRATS to Tiger Woods on FINALLY (and I mean FINALLY!) winning his first official PGA Tour event since the now-infamous (and boring) scandal which derailed his life and career back in November of 2009. Tiger's first post-scandal win came this weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida. THANK GOODNESS! Maybe now the man can finally talk about something other than his win-less streak.

There is no question the chaotic circus took a heavy toll on Woods and hurt his golf game big time. I'm sure it wasn't just a coincidence that he hadn't won an event since the incident. But now that he's OFFICIALLY in the winners circle AGAIN hopefully all the scandal and drought talk will go away. I'm not sure if it's just me but after a while these things get old and boring. Sheesh!

As for the old Tiger being back--

We'll probably find out at the upcoming Masters in two weeks. We can't predict if he's destined to win it or not but one thing is for sure, he won't have to show up at Augusta National with that 800-pound gorilla that's been following him around for almost two and a half years. Unless, of course, the media has other ideas.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Madness: ....And Finally There Are Four


The No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats: 15th appearance in the Final Four (1942, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1966, 1975, 1978, 1984, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2011, 2012)

The No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks: 14th appearance in the Final Four ( 1940, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1971, 1974, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2012).

The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes: 11th appearance in the Final Four ( 1939, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1968, *1999, 2007, 2012) [1999 results vacated due to NCAA violations].

The No. 4 Louisville Cardinals: 9th appearance in the Final Four (1959, 1972, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 2005, 2012).

CONGRATULATIONS to these 4 POWERHOUSES!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March Madness: ....And Then There Were Sixteen

SIXTEEN CANDLES!


The 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has gone from 68 to 64 to 32 to 16 teams in the blink of an eye. And like tournaments past, there have been major upsets, surprises, shockers and the always feel-good stories.

So here are some odds and ends from Bracket-mania 2012--

DOWN GOES NO. 2!!!! WOW! DOWN GOES NO. 2, AGAIN!!!! DOUBLE WOW!

For the first time in tournament history-- two (that's right, TWO) No. 2 seeds were knocked off by a No. 15 seed in the same tournament. No. 2 Duke was sent packing by No. 15 Lehigh and No. 2 Missouri also bit the dust against No. 15 Norfolk State. Incidentally, this was Norfolk State's first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament so, no doubt, it was a win to remember for the Spartans.

THE FANTASTIC (OHIO) FOUR!

For the first-time ever there are 4 teams in the Sweet 16 that hail from one state. Ohio State, Ohio, Xavier and Cincinnati have made it clear that the Buckeye State's new tag-line is, "Don't Mess With Ohio". Sorry Texas.

DOUBLE-DIGIT THE PLEASURE!

No. 10 Xavier, No. 11 North Carolina State and No. 13 Ohio are the three double-digit seeds who made it to the Round of 16. Hmmm? That's a lot of double-digit teams if we think about it. Bracket-busters? Indeed.

FSU WHO?!

Florida State spoiled the party in the East bracket! In the East, the higher seed had won every game up until No. 3 Florida State lost to No. 6 Cincinnati in the Round of 32. The pre-tournament buzz was that FSU had a better than strong chance of coming out of the East and reaching the Final Four. So much for "expert" analysis.

FEAST OR FAMINE IN THE MIDWEST BRACKET

The remaining 4 survivors in the Midwest are #1, #2, #11 and #13. Talk about extremes!

THEIR FIRST NAME IS "BIG" FOR A REASON

The Big East (4), the Big Ten (4) and the Big 12 (2) have 10 of the 16 teams still remaining. BIG? Yeah.

AND FINALLY--

I guess if we were to write a book about the No. 2 Duke and No. 2 Missouri collapses, we can title it, "Mizzy and the Duke".... say hey, say hey, say hey.....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dwight Howard: The Brooklyn Net?

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It's time for rapper extraordinaire Jay-Z and Russian mogul Mikhail Prokhorov to start "walking the walk" AND bring the great Dwight Howard to the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets AND pair him up with All-Star point guard Deron Williams.

AND, according to Yahoo! Sports, it seems like it's a forgone conclusion that this scenario will come to fruition.

Wishful thinking on our part? Maybe?

Presently, the borough of Brooklyn is going bonkers over the reality that it will soon have it's first professional sports team since the still-beloved Brooklyn Dodgers called the Flatbush section of Brooklyn their home from 1883-1957. Bringing Howard to the electrifying atmosphere in the sports team-starved borough will no doubt make the Nets the greatest show in New York City. Sorry Knick fans, but the big man's aura will be Lin-vincible, to say the least.

There's no doubt that if the Nets can somehow land the big center, he will be the biggest star in Brooklyn since Jackie (Robinson) and the Duke (Snider) called Ebbets Field their home many generations ago.

Let's go Brooklyn! Bring the big man!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New York Knicks: Even Lin-Sanity Seems Lin-Adequate

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Is reality starting to set in on the New York Basketball Knicks? Is the media-concocted craze known as "Lin-sanity" starting to look "Lin-visible"?

Quite frankly it worked quite well as long as the Knicks (18-22) were playing B-teams and as long as they were playing mostly home games, the majority against B-teams. But once the team went on the road to face the NBA's "real deal", the craze has imploded and some in the media have suddenly become Lin-audible. Some, who were touting the kid as the "messiah", have headed for the hills.

And why not? During the 2-week craze plenty of eye-balls were glued to the TV sets, plenty of ears to the radio and plenty of gear and magazines were sold. So the media made their money.

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No knock on Jeremy Lin, himself. He's a decent kid who was Lin-advertently brought into this circus because the media desperately needed a great feel-good story. And we the public have never met a bandwagon we didn't jump. I just hope the kid makes money off of it too. But reality is reality and, at the end of the day, the Knicks are a .500, one-round-and-out team.

This reality was kept Lin-cognito throughout this whole craze. The truth of the matter is, with Carmelo Anthony at the helm, they are a Lin-consistent and a Lin-complete team, not ready to rub elbows with the Miami Heats and Chicago Bulls of the world. Their recent 3-7 run (after the 7-0, Lin-sanity run) is a great Lin-dicator of the type of team they are. And with a tough schedule ahead, they can quite possibly lose 7 of their next 10 games, which would put them at 13-20 during the Lin-sanity era. The same exact 7 games under .500 they were before Lin-sanity. Lin-consistent? Yes.

And for the record, their April schedule is no walk in the "Lin-kin" park either.

Let's see if they have enough in the tank to raise their Lin-tensity level because, if not, they probably won't even make the playoffs. And with Melo running the show I don't see where the Lin-tensity will come from. Besides, chemistry between Lin and Melo seems elusive.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Orleans Saints: Dogs the Bounty Hunters

"For three years, the NFL says, members of the Saints defense maintained an illicit bounty program, administered by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, that paid cash rewards for hits that injured opponents. Expect the league's punishment to be swift and severe." -An excerpt from the article written by Peter King in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated.

Read more about this scandal from Peter King, here and here.

SI.com
Personally, I remember sitting at home and watching the punishment Brett Favre withstood during the 2010 NFC Championship Game and saying to myself, "what is this guy made of"? Hit after hit, Favre just kept getting up and almost guided the Vikings to a victory in the hostile Louisiana Superdome. In fact, the Vikings should have won that game in regulation had Favre held the ball and ran it for a few yards, instead of forcing a pass which resulted in a last-second interception late in the 4th quarter. The Vikings then could have called timeout and kicked a winning field goal as time expired. As it turned out the game went into overtime and the rest is history-- Saints 31, Vikings 28 (OT). The NFL can say what they want but I'm sure that that heart-breaking overtime loss by the Vikings played a significant role in the league changing the overtime rules and allowing each team at least one possession. No doubt.

But little did we know that the Saints, led by their capo Gregg Williams, had a contract on Favre's head. That explains all the questionable brutal hits he withstood that day.

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Shame on you, New Orleans!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Peyton Manning: The End Of An Era

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Sooner or later it had to happen!

According to sources, the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning are parting ways after 14 seasons together. Manning will now take his talents elsewhere (quite possibly Miami) and the Colts, with the No. 1 pick in the draft, will begin their rebuilding process.

I'm sure money, Manning's injuries, his age, a potential star waiting in the wings and (again) money were the deciding factors in Indy's decision to release the future Hall of Famer.

Personally, I would have figured out a way to work things out and kept Manning for a few more years. I think the 4-time NFL MVP still has enough in the tank to get the job done. All I can say to Indianapolis is-- good LUCK!

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You can read more details of the breakup, here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Nails Is Going To Jail!

How in the world does someone go from this....

SI.com/Vault
....to this?

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Well folks, the AP has reported that former major-league star Lenny "Nails" Dykstra has been sentenced to 3 years in the slammer on charges of grand theft auto. But considering all his suspicious business affairs over the years-- some say he's lucky to only get three years in the "big house".

After his playing career, Dykstra has been involved in all sorts of shady business dealings, from a small-scale Ponzi scheme (consider him, a low budget Bernie Madoff) to check and credit card fraud to felony grand theft auto-- to-- you name it. His rap sheet is so long I won't bore anyone with it. If anyone is interested in further reading, click here and here.

There's no question the former Phillies and Mets spark plug, through his reckless business ventures, created a "Bed of Nails" (pardon the pun) for himself. And now he must sleep in it. Who knows, maybe 3 years in the "rock" will finally humble the former scrappy player with the "wild boy" persona?

But in the end, it's safe to say, things are looking mighty dark these days for the man once considered to be "tough as nails" by legions of Mets fans (myself included).

NY Daily News
What a shame!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The MLB on TSC: The Boys of Spring

With spring training alive and well, it's time for the MLB on TSC to dust off the winter rust and regain that baseball fever! So as the preseason soldiers on, here are some tidbits from the early goings--

IF THE GLOVE DOESN'T FIT, YOU MUST ACQUIT!

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So the big news of the early preseason was the acquittal of Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun. In a nutshell: Braun, who was facing a 50-game suspension for an alleged failed drug test, was given a new lease on life when an arbitrator ruled in his favor by saying major league baseball bungled the investigation and opened the door for potential evidence tampering. As the story goes, the doctor who was suppose to ship Braun's urine samples (to a lab in Canada) kept them in his house for 44 hours over a weekend period. According to the doctor, there were no FedEx offices open on Friday afternoon so he held the evidence until Monday morning and then properly sent them to Canada. His actions supposedly violated standard procedure which, in turn, allowed Braun's "Dream Team" of lawyers to cry "bloody murder" and argue that something suspicious happened or could've happened during that 44-hour window. The arbitrator agreed with the "Dream Team" and Braun was found innocent once this "beyond a reasonable doubt" thing came into play. Well, all I know is this-- only one of two things could have possibly happened-- either Braun failed the test OR the doctor "doctored" (pardon the pun) the evidence. One of these two men isn't telling the truth, no doubt about it. Gee, I wonder if there was a "bloody glove" involved in this fiasco?

MANNYBALL!

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Forget Brad Pitt, the Man-Ram has invaded Oakland. The Oakland A's (for some unknown reason) have brought the never-lost-for-words Manny Ramirez back into our baseball lives. If we may remember, Ramirez abruptly retired last season when he learned the news that he failed a second drug test and was facing a 100-game suspension. Ramirez had already served a 50-game suspension while playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. So rather than face the scrutiny, Ramirez "snuck out the back door" and skipped town (Tampa Bay, that is) never to be heard from again. The suspension was later cut to 50 games and late last year the AWOL Ramirez applied for reinstatement. So the A's (again, for some unknown reason) decided to take a chance on the reinstated Ramirez and signed him to a 1-year $500,000 minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. If the Man-Ram makes the team he will have to serve out his 50-game suspension and then join the team for whatever is left of their season. And since we're talking about the A's, they probably will be close to being eliminated from the playoffs by the time Ramirez gets his first at-bat. Gee, I wonder why his lawyers weren't as quick thinking as Braun's when the news of his failed drug test came out last year?

THE WIZARD OF OSWALT?

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Can someone please explain to me why ROY OSWALT is STILL part of the 8.5% (or whatever it is right now) unemployment rate?

WHEEEEEEERE'S JOHNNY?

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Can someone also explain to me why JOHNNY DAMON is STILL part of the 8.5% unemployment rate?

Anyway--

I'm looking forward to another year of the MLB on TSC because one thing major league baseball never ceases to prove is that-- sometimes facts are stranger than fiction.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

College Basketball: Bracket-Mania Is Almost Here!!!!

"Well, my friends, the time has come!" -Lionel Richie (All Night Long)


So who will reach the "promised land" known as "The Final Four"?

It's almost time for the annual big dance!!!!