Archive for January, 2012
March 15th; that’s the date we’ll know where Superman has landed (yeah I called him Superman, sorry Shaq). As indicated with the photo on the left, it appears Dwight Howard no longer wants to be a member of the Orlando Magic, and would rather just say sayonara at this point, it would be best for all parties involved to go their seperate ways before bad becomes worse. The team has lost 4 games in a row, and 5 of its last 6. The more this team loses, the more the team’s superstar grows frustrated, and wants to leave.
6 games ago Orlando was crushed by Boston 87-56, just an awful performance by the Magic. They would go on to play the Celtics again a few days later with the same result; a loss. Orlando blew a 27 point lead in the first half to lose to a Celtics team minus Rondo, and Allen. The very next night Dwight Howard called out his teammates after getting blown out on the road to the lowly New Orleans Hornets; 93-67. He had this to say following the loss, “if you don’t want to play, stay home. People work too hard. I want to win a championship. I work too hard every night for anybody to not want to go out there and, play hard. None of the whatever, trade stuff, none of that stuff matters. Play basketball. That’s why we all get paid to do this, because we love the game, and it’s basketball, so why not give it your all.” It sounds to me Dwight is ready to leave, the whole trade debate, and all its rumors are just looming over every member of this organization in the worst possible way. GM Otis Smith needs to realize that his best move would be making a move, sooner rather than later. On a 4 game slide (most recent losses include Indiana, and Philadelphia) this team is headed toward a downward spiral fast.
Anybody remember the Carmelo Anthony/Denver Nuggets debacle last season? Just ask Coach Karl how that affected his players last year. The same exact thing is happening right now with these Orlando Magic (history repeats itself). After a recent game against the Los Angeles Lakers, point guard Jameer Nelson finally came out publicly with saying that the Dwight Howard trade rumors has affected him thus far in the season. I can only imagine it has affected most of that team in general. GM Otis Smith knows he needs to make a deal, but chances are he’ll hold off until after the All-Star game located in Orlando later this month takes place. Now the question is where will Dwight land? Howard reportedly has a list of teams he’d sign long term deals with. Among the list of teams are the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks. So which best suites the needs of the Orlando Magic, and Howard?
The Brooklyn-bound Nets have a number of trading assets that could very well lure the Orlando Magic into a deal that would send Dwight Howard to the Nets…Sorry Jay-Z, but I don’t think that this move would be in Superman’s best interest. Let’s face it for this deal to even work the Nets would have to center a deal around their currently injured starting big man Brook Lopez, a future first round pick, possibly even their up and coming rookie MarShon Brooks, and Kim’s ex; Kris Humphries. This deal would leave very little left for the Nets team to contend with. Yes you would have the great combo of Deron Williams, and Dwight Howard, but other than that there isn’t much excitement left on this current roster. There’s just not enough pieces on this team for them to make a serious run at the quality teams of the Eastern Conference such as the Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls. I don’t see this being an ideal place to play for the big man. Grading this destination for Dwight Howard I would give it a C+.
Dwight Howard to the Dallas Mavericks? The defending Champions of the basketball world would be significantly better with a starting Center of the likes of Dwight Howard. The Mavs are already a strong defensive unit despite losing Tyson Chandler in the offseason, but imagine if they could get Dwight Howard, this team would be a force on the front lines. Dirk, and Dwight’s combo would be almost impossible to stop. Dirk Nowitzki is getting older, but he has some good years left in him, and this team has enough time to make serious runs at Titles especially if that means Howard has signed a deal, and shook Mark Cuban’s hand. Dallas has plenty of veteran players, even some young intriguing talent that they could send back to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Dwight’s services. The only problem I see with a deal happening in Big D is there’s no way they’d ever trade Nowitzki, ever. So that basically means the Mavericks would have to find another team to get in on the trade for Howard to make this deal happen. But for the article’s sake let’s say some way, some how the Mavs find a way to land Howard, you would have to imagine Deron Williams would be very unhappy he didn’t land with the Nets meaning Deron is likely to opt out after season’s end, and test the free agent market out. This certainly means the Mavss could be in the running for Williams, along with a few other teams. The Mavs are aging quickly, and there time frame for another Title could be closing soon unless they make a big splash, and get the big fella to come to Big D. Grading this destination for Dwight Howard i’d give it a B+.
Years ago Shaquille O’Neal left the Orlando Magic, and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Orlando got nothing in return, and will regret that move for years to come. Shaq ended up winning 3 Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, and 1 Title with the Miami Heat in his great 19 year career. Earlier in this article I noted that history repeats itself, well it’s bound to happen yet again whether GM Otis Smith likes it or not. I believe for Dwght Howard, his best interest would be following in the foot steps of Shaquille O’Neal. He’s already got the Hollywood personality (same as Shaq once had), he’s got the passion for the game of basketball, and is in need of a Championship badly. His best move would be to team up with Kobe Bryant who’s been an MVP of the league, a Finals MVP twice, and has won 5 NBA Championships among other accolades. The Mamba is still a big time threat on the court, he’s got the league’s best mid range jumper, he is fighting father time, but still has plenty in the tank for a few more Championship runs. If Dwight Howard wants to win a Title, L.A. gives him the best chance to do so. GM Otis Smith needs to realize that he’s not going to get equal value back for Dwight, but it’s certainly better than losing him for nothing, like they lost Shaquille years ago. Orlando likely would recieve Andrew Bynum in a deal for Howard. Bynum has been called the game’s best Center according to Shaq. Bynum being only 24 years of age, and when healthy he’s certainly one of the league’s best big men, and is a future All-Star that Orlando could build around. To me this is the best value the Magic are going to get in a trade for Dwight. It’s a no brainer, if Orlando wants a player to build around who better than a 24 year old Andrew Bynum who’s getting better, and better over time. For the Los Angeles Lakers, if they get the big man they’ll have another Superstar on the team along with Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol (if Orlando doesn’t demand Pau too). You’d have to imagine the Lakers would be in the running for another big name player in the following free agency period, possibly a better, young Point Guard? The Lakers could be an instant contender for years to come with the services of Dwight Howard, and when it’s time for The Black Mamba to step down from his Lakers throne, Howard will be the next Superstar to carry the torch. This deal just makes perfect sense for all of the parties involved. Grading this destination for Dwight Howard, i’d give it an A.
By: Drew Kashmer
- The game will be utterly meaningless and pointless
- Tim Tebow’s name will be mentioned no less than 15 times
- The Twitter station will be the most exciting part of the game
- The game will break down into a 7 on 7 drill.
- Both teams will top 100 points
- The lineman will not even touch each other
- Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packers will slap on a fake smile even though they are dead inside
- Ditto for Ravens and 49ers players
- Matt Forte will score 2 touchdowns and the Bears will let him go
- A old washed up singer no one cares about will perform at halftime
- NBC will promote the hell out of their unwatchable TV shows because this time is cheaper than the Super Bowl
- There will be no Buffalo Bills players playing again.
- Drew Brees will throw for over 700 yards
- The defenses will give up and go lay on the beach after the first half
- NFC will beat the AFC 120 to 107
- I will not watch
Now from the core four we are down to the terrific two (Sounded better in my head).
On tuesday morning a teary eyed Jorge Posada announced his retirement from the game of baseball, a career that spans 17 years all wearing pinstripes for the New York Yankees. Posada, a member of the “core four” along with Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and already retired Andy Pettitte, were some of the key pieces for the Yankees from 1996 to the present overtime earning 5 championships.
Jorge’s first game in the MLB was in 1995 but he was sent down to AAA before the postseason so he could not be apart of the 1996 World Series. In 1997 Jorge was named the backup catcher to then starter Joe Girardi and eventually would begin to split time with Girardi. Joe Girardi began to grow into a mentor for Posada, until after the 1999 season when Girardi left New York to play for Chicago Cubs when Posada took over starting at catcher. Over the next few years, Posada flourished into one of the games best and most consistant catchers in the MLB. Posada won a Silver Slugger Award for catcher every year from 2000 to 2003 as well as starting for the American League in the All-Star Game in 2002 and 2003. From 2000 to 2007 Jorge consistently put up numbers that top the league not just for catchers, but for all players.
After the 2007 season, Jorge became an unrestricted free agent and could sign with any team that would make an offer. One of the biggest offer Jorge would receive would be from the Yankees cross town rivals, the New York Mets, offering him a five year contract. Tempted by the contract Posada turned the Mets down and resigned with the Yankees for a four year, $52 million contract, taking less money to stay in the Bronx. Jorge returned to the Yankees in 2008 and him and the rest of the core four won another World Series Championship in 2009.
In 2011 Jorge was moved away from starting catcher to be the DH where he struggled, hitting .230 which lead to manager Joe Girardi removing Jorge from the everyday starting lineup. Jorge was very vocal about being displeased with his recent playing time and when in the lineup batting 8th in the order. As the season progressed a rumor began to spread around that Jorge would retire during the season due to his displeasure of his role on this Yankee team. But Jorge held it together and played the season out with the Yankees, coming off the bench several times and eventually getting himself back into the lineup on occasion. Durring the Postseason against the Detroit Tigers, Posada got six hits (including a triple), four runs, and four walks in 14 at-bats as the starting DH for a .429 batting average and a .579 on-base percentage. After the series ended with the Yankees being eliminated from the postseason Jorge sat in his locker and fielded questions about his future with the team and the possibility that this may be the last time he ever puts on a Yankees uniform and he started to get teary eyed realizing that his future was uncertain. Over the offseason, Jorge was offered several contracts from other teams and he considered continuing his career away from the Yankees but he just could not.
Jorge Posada finished his career batting .273, hitting 275 home runs, batting in 1,065 RBI’s, appearing in 5 All-Star Games, winning 5 Silver Slugger Awards, and most importantly won 4 World Series Championships. All of his stats are great but what he ment to the Yankees goes far beyond statistics.
Posada was one of the most stable and reliable players the Yankees could have hoped for at one of the most important positions in the field. Being a leader in the clubhouse along with Jeter gave the team an identity of professionalism that he showed every time he went out on the field. Jorge didn’t have to put up MVP numbers all the time, he was consistently good putting up numbers that topped hitting stats for catchers all throughout his career. Batting in the heart of the Yankees order for years he was a stable rock that the Yankees could depend on. In his career he has caught pitchers such as Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, David Wells, David Cone, Mike Mussina, and hundreds of Mariano Rivera’s record 603 saves. Not to mention the success of his charity, Jorge Posada Foundation to help find a cure for the disease, Craniosynostosis which his son suffers from, and support families with children affected by the condition. Jorge has made an impact on and off the field.
Growing up watching the Yankees in the late 1990’s and now through the 2000’s, Posada was one of those players who you would just always expect to see behind the plate and batting 6th or 7th in the lineup day in and day out. It will be very odd for years to come to now see someone else behind the plate wearing the traditional Yankees pinstripes catching for CC or Rivera but Yankee fans are going to have to get use to seeing players that they have made huge impacts on the Yankees success over the past 15 years.
As players like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera get older, the end of the road for the members of the “core four” is within sight and the Yankees organization and their fans will have to prepare for life without them. Whether the players leave and join another team or retire, there will be a day when someone else will be lining up at shortstop or catcher and the numbers 2, 20 and 42 will be retired in monument park.
I believe in the future a place in Cooperstown will await Jorge wearing a New York Yankees cap as he has done his entire career adding that to his already impressive resume putting him in the long list of great Yankee catchers where he belongs. Forever in Pinstripes.
But for now lets celebrate and remember the career of one of the great Yankees catchers to put on the pinstripes and one last time,
by Andrew Isaac
AFC Championship Game
Ravens @ Patriots
Everything went to seed for this matchup to happen between the Ravens and Patriots. The Pats absolutely dominated the Broncos in just about every aspect of the game. Tom Brady and the offense set several NFL Playoff records while the defense played their best game they have played all year breaking a 3 game losing streak in the playoffs. The Ravens handled the Texans well enough to take advantage of T.J. Yates mistakes and win a rare home playoff game. Now they travel to New England where the Patriots seem to have their postseason magic back after it has been missing for a few years. The big match-ups will be between Brady and the Patriots offense and Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense. If the Pats offense can establish any run game it will make Brady’s afternoon a lot easier. Even without the run game Brady has the ability to pick apart any defense and I expect him to continue doing such. Another big match-up will be Joe Flacco against the Patriots defense. The only way the Ravens will win this game is if Flacco does not make turnovers and can make big plays against the Patriots often poor defense. This game will be close the whole way but the Patriots will pull ahead late and hold on to return the the Super Bowl. New England 24 Baltimore 21
NFC Championship Game
Giants @ 49ers
You would usually see this matchup on ESPN Classic but this this is happening now. Eli Manning is trying to back up his statement in the beginning of the year about being a elite quarterback and making it to another Super Bowl. He will have his work cut out for him against the tough Niners defense. The Giants offense is not as lethal as the Saints was last week but they will still be a handful for the 49ers. The Niners offense needs to hold off the pressure from the Giants defense which the Packers could not do last week. This will be a defensive battle that will stay close the entire game. Both offenses will struggle against the two stingy defenses but the Manning and the Giants will hit a last minute field goal and send the Giants back to the big game. NY Giants 17 San Francisco 14
Everyone has to grow up some time.
Apparently that time has not come for the Busch Brothers yet.
The most criticized and disliked brothers in NASCAR have always had their attitudes overshadow their skill for as long as they have been driving in NASCAR full time. Almost every time there is a conflict in NASCAR, either the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, or Truck series, it usually involves either Kurt or Kyle.
Both of the brothers have has a great amount of success in all levels of NASCAR. Kurt Busch won the 2004 then Nextel Cup Championship driving the #97 car for powerhouse Roush Racing. He is one of only 23 drivers to win in all 3 levels of NASCAR competition.
Kyle Busch has had just as much success as his brother. He currently holds the record for most race wins in a season across the top three NASCAR series with 24 in 2010. On August 21, 2010, Busch became the first driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top three touring series in the same weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. He also holds the record for most wins in the NASCAR Nationwide series with 51. Since his first year in NASCAR in 2001, Kyle has earned over 100 total wins and now owns his own race team that runs in the Truck series.
Before the 2011 season Kurt and Kyle seemed like they had at least started to grow up and mature. They seemed more calm and took a professional approach to the upcoming season. But many people around the sports were obviously skeptic of the “new” brothers. Their skepticism was right as shown over the season.
After the 2011 Southern 500, driver Kevin Harvick parked his car in front of Kyle’s car and went over to Kyle’s car to “talk” to him about the two of them racing each other a little too hard sometimes during the race. When Harvick approached Kyle’s car, Kyle floored his car pushing Harvick’s car down pit road unmanned until it eventually ramed into the pit lane wall. Because of this Kyle was fined $25,000 and put on probation for 4 races.
Later on this season once again Kyle got into trouble. At the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 it is believed that Kyle bumped the #22 car driven by Joey Coulter for Richard Childress after the race in retaliation to the way Coulter raced him. In the garage after the race Childress, age 66, came up to Busch, put him in a head lock and started punching him. Busch, who was still on probation at the time of the incident, did not violate his probation. Childress however, was fined $150,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until the end of the year.
On November 4th, 2011 at Texas Motor Speedway during a Truck series race, Kyle Busch driving for his own race team entered the race against other drivers racing for that series title and because Kyle is racing for the Sprint Cup Championship he could not race fot the Truck series championship. After a racing incident during the race with series regular and championship contender Ron Hornaday, Busch deliberately turned him into the outside wall under caution, ending Hornaday’s title hopes. This caused a wave of backlash towards the disgruntle driver. NASCAR black-flagged Busch and parked Kyle for the rest of the race. The next morning, NASCAR announced that Busch would remain parked for the remainder of the weekend, including the Nationwide series race and more importantly the Sprint Cup race for that weekend, all but ending his hopes for the Sprint Cup Championship. In addition to sitting for the weekend, Kyle’s main sponsor, M&M’s, removed their sponsorship from the #18 car for the rest of the season. It was the first time since the Truck Series was created in 1995 that a driver was suspended from all three series in NASCAR.
Not to be overshadowed by his brothers actions this year, Kurt Busch took what Kyle did a step farther.
At the season ending race at Homestead, Busch finished 47 laps behind the leaders, after spending time in the garage for mechanical issues for the majority of the race. While turning into the garage, Busch made an obscene hand gesture towards someone that was caught on the in car camera and shown on the live national broadcast. To make the day worse for Kurt, while his car was being repaired in the garage, Kurt began verbally abusing ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch who was waiting to do an interview with Kurt. Unknown to Kurt the off camera conversation was captured by a fan and placed onto youtube where the video spread like wildfire. Kurt’s race team, Penske Racing, issued a apology for Kurt’s inappropriate actions. After the season Kurt Busch and Penske Racing agreed to a mutual split, however many in the sport believe that he was fired rather than a mutual split.
Kurt Busch will run for Phoenix Racing for the 2012 season. If I had to compare NASCAR race teams to MLB teams, If Hendrick Motorsports is like the New York Yankees, Phoenix Racing is like Pittsburgh Pirates.
When Kurt was let go from Penske Racing and when NASCAR sat Kyle for intentionally wrecking a driver, it showed that no matter who you are if you make stupid decisions you will be punished. The incidents that stretched throughout the entire season showed that the Busch Brothers did not change as much as they had said at the beginning of the season. The lack of respect that they showed through the season that they are still as immature as they have always been and NASCAR and the people around are losing their patience.
Just like in every business if your behavior is unacceptable people will not want to work with you no matter how talented you may be. Kurt Busch losing his job at Penske made a statement that others in NASCAR are following. When Kurt was looking for a car to drive for the upcoming year he tried to agree to a deal to run for Richard Petty. However when Petty was asked why he did not sign Kurt during the offseason, he was approached by his sponsors for his race teams and they told Petty that they did not want Kurt to drive a car that they were sponsoring. The same type of sponsor reaction was made by Kyle’s primary sponsor M&M’s after the Texas incident. What this says is that a drivers personal image and character has a huge effect on their success especially in a sponsor driven sport like NASCAR where drivers wear something with a company logo on it almost all the time.
At some point both Kurt and Kyle Busch need to learn to control their temper when they are driving and realize that every action that they make in the heat of the moment will have a reaction that often times will be bad for them. Hopefully having Kurt lose his job because of his off the track actions will wake both of the talented drivers up and show them that they need to change their ways. It is ok to be agressive on the racetrack but you need to have a level head on and off the track.
If these two dont change their acts and grow up soon no one will put up with all of their baggage and they will be known as the drivers that nobody could deal with.
by Andrew Isaac
Broncos @ Patriots
What a shock this matchup happened again. Pulling a upset that almost nobody thought would happen over the injury riddled Steelers, the Tim Tebows, whoops i mean the Denver Broncos (You would think it was just him out there based on the coverage) travel to New England. Who knew Tebow could throw? Especially against one of the NFL toughest defenses. Now playing the Patriots who have one of the worst defenses in the league Tebow could air it out big again, but he will have to keep up with Tom Brady and the Patriots high powered offense. Just like in their last meeting I expect a shootout in the beginning but the Patriots will run away with the game towards the end and hopefully put a end to the mind numbing madness of Tebow mania. New England 45 Denver 24
Texans @ Ravens
Houston showed that even with a 3rd string quarterback they can still put up 30 points and completely control a game like they did last week against Cincinnati in route to their first win in franchise history. Now they play Baltimore who has a rare home playoff game and the Super Bowl in sight. Also with the Steelers out of the playoffs they can breath a bit of a sigh of relief and cheer a little. Both of these defenses are dominant and can control the game at any time. Ray Rice will find holes in the Houston defense and rush for over 150 yards and 2 touchdowns while Flacco will silence critics and throw for a pair of TDs as Baltimore will travel to New England for the AFC Championship game. Baltimore 31 Houston 17
Giants @ Packers
The Giants defense is playing probably better than anyone in the NFL and now they have to run into the Packers and most likely MVP Aaron Rodgers. Obviously the biggest matchup in this game will be the Packers offense against the Giants tough defense lead by Pro Bowler Jason Pierre-Paul who will give Rodgers fits pressuring him on almost every play. If Rodgers can get past the initial rush he can pick apart the Giants D and throw for 3 TDs. Eli Manning will also throw for a couple of TDs and will have some success against the Packers weak defense. This will be a close game the whole way but the Pack will hit a late field goal and host the NFC Championship game next week. Green Bay 27 NY Giants 24
Saints @ 49ers
This will be a very interesting matchup. The Saints record setting offense with the single season passing leader Drew Brees against the tough 49ers defense. Which ever one bends first that team will win the game. The Niners defense has not allowed a single rushing touchdown this year. Good thing the Saints have a lethal passing attack at their disposal. Brees will air it out all over the Niners defense and the Saints will score a rushing touchdown in route to a victory. New Orleans 38 San Francisco 20
12 quick predictions I have for the 2012 year.
1. The Buffalo Bills will draft Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL Draft
2. Tim Tebow will struggle and will get benched.
2a. Tim Tebow will file a restraining order against Skip Bayless when Skip gets Tim’s face tattooed on his chest.
3. Lebron James will hit a game winning jumper to win game 7 of the NBA Finals to silence critics.
4. Albert Pujols will struggle in his first year with the Los Angeles Angels.
5. Peyton Manning will start the season as the New York Jets Quarterback after the Jets drop Mark Sanchez.
6. Tiger Woods will win multiple tournaments including a Major.
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win 3 races in Sprint Cup.
8. Sidney Crosby will miss the rest of the 2011-2012 season.
9. A double digit seed will make the Final Four.
10. Dwight Howard will play for the Nets in the 2011-2012 season.
11. The SEC will win their 7th consecutive National Championship in Football
12. The Buffalo Bills will make the playoffs!!! (Hey I can dream right)
Happy New Year!