Friday, June 29, 2007

Cashing in the paycheck for nothing but ones

Happy Friday to all....I just want you all to know that I have really enjoyed blogging for you guys this week. I know that I am no sports expert like the Sturminator, but I have read some of your comments and I appreciate some of the kind words. Doing this has even made me kick around the idea of doing my own blog on a regular basis....Anyway, we are all gearing up for the weekend and there are a number of things to touch on the sportspage....

With the 34th pick in the NBA Draft the Dallas Mavericks select Nick Fazekas out of Nevada

I like this pick....a lot....I know that some might wonder why the Mavs went and got another big scoring white guy that is a little iffy on the defensive end. However, I had a chance to catch this guy a few times this past February and March when the Tournaments got cranked up and I was instantly impressed with his shooting touch and his mobility for his size. This guy was the best player in his conference, which is never a bad decision on draft night. Fazekas averaging 20 points and 11 boards with Nevada last season....and yes you can question the WAC's talent level....but good fundamental skills show up in any conference and this guy has them.....

Besides Austin Croshere and Keith Van Horn are likely gone, so this was a smart pick as he can probably fill their roles eventually.

It was great when we noticed that the Mavs were staying out of the 1st round and Dallas was stayingput at 34....I was worried that the freaking Spurs or Suns would take him, but he fell right in our laps, and I think we are lucky for it....We took some Euro with Seibutis, who might be here one day after a few more years overseas, but I love that we were able to steal Rayshawn Terry as late as we did.

I love me some UNC players. Especially those who stayed 4 years and were coached in one of the most high profileprograms in the nation....A buddy of mine was very happy about this pick, and I have to credit him for saying that Rayshawn Terry has been on the national stage for so long that he is not going to have the typical rookie nerves and has been prepping to thrive at this level....The majority of Tar Heels transition to the NBA very well, especially ones that are 6'8" and are tremendous athletes....I can always use that on my bench.

All in all good draft Mavericks....considering you stayed the course you picked up a few usable parts.

As expected Oden goes #1

This was probably the smart thing to do but I still think that Kevin Durant is going to real bad-ass in the Association.....Portland was very active this draft and they pretty much overhauled their roster picking up a number of talented picks besides Oden, and the shipped Zach Randolph to the Knicks for Cahnning Frye and Steve Francis, whic surprised me a bit....and I thought the Morning News had a good article about all of it from David Moore

This year, unlike last, was very light on the amound of trades on draft night...There is only one that bugged me as a Mavericks fan. I am a huge Brandan Wright fan and I was thrilled that Charlotte took him as they seemed to continue their Tar Heel drafting philiosophy, but then midway through the night Wright is sent to the flippin' Warriors for Jason Richardson....and I couldn't beleive it. This helps the Mavs in the short-term because JR kills Dallas, but I hate that a guy that I really like watch playing go to a team that I now despise after this past postseason. Sucks, but keep and eye out for Brandon Wright folks....

Also I think that it doesn't boed well for the Mavies that The Utah Jazz who are just going to get better in the future picked up one of the best shooters available in Morris Almond out of Rice....he might be the biggest sleeper in the entire 2007 draft-class....remember you heard that from me.

And if there is anything I missed I am sure that this article covers it....

Maybe it's time for you to be gone....

Scott Feldman is having a terrible season bouncing up and down from the big club to AAA....and yesterday his struggles were on display in Detroit as his control was terrible, then Gary sheffield took out a 3 wood and lines one out of Comerica park to left center....Beat writer Evan Grant focused on this in the Morning News....

Even though Texas had no chance against kenny Rogers yesterday, they still took 2 of 3 from the Tigers, which is nothing to sneeze at....Now it's off to Fenway for a 4 game series....Lets just hope the smoke and mirrors keep working like they have before Texas comes back to the Temple....

In other Ranger news B-Mac could return to the rotation and Ian Kinsler on crutches....

As much I would love to keep looking at the Red-shoe Rangers, there was a twin-bill of baseball history that occured Thursday....

3000 and 500 Biggio and Thomas

I have liked both of these guys ever since I was a little kid and it was good to see the two of them pick up a milestone and cap off great careers....Careers that I feel will end with trips to Cooperstown. I really liked the fact Biggio got #3,000 in front of his home crowd in Houston. Biggio played his ass off everyday of his career and getting to enjoy his moment with his fans, family, and JeffBagwell was really cool to see.....Now that Ranger fans is a record hometown fans can be proud of....unlike Sosa's 600 in a Ranger uniform.....

As far as "The Big Hurt goes" he is a great hitter and has been for a long time....he is not the best team guy ever and he is hanging on now as a DH, but back in the 90's he was one of baseball's best and that is how I like to remember big Frank.

Now this is cool....

Congrats to Messier and the rest of the 2007 HOF class....

Admittedly I am not a huge hockey fan, but I do appreicate what this guy along with the rest of this year's quality calls did in their careers....I know you hockey-nerds would appreciate this story....

Well that is all I have for the day....again I want to let you all know how much I have enjoyed filling in for Bob....he will return next week and get things back to normal for you all....If any of you would be interested in checking out my new daily blog that I am thinking about starting up, please let me know what you can email me at

Now I leave you all with some funny and some rock and roll from U2 and The Doors....everybody have a kick-ass weekend and be very, very safe....

Thursday, June 28, 2007

NBA Draft Thursday

Well boys and girls....The NBA draft is now just hours away and as a sports-nerd I have to admit that I get sucked in every year because for about 3 and a half hours we all get to be the GM's of our favorite teams and scrutinize the good or what we see as bad moves by franchises in acquiring young talent. This draft along with the NFL's is like a mini-Christmas for some. If you are like me I do hope you have a happy holiday this Thursday.

The #1 pick of Portland - Greg Oden

Many see this as a no-brainer. I am one of them, however I can't help but feel that The Blazers should be taking Kevin Durant with the you pick. I know you can build a franchise around big men, and I feel that Oden could become a great man in the middle and anchor Portland's defense for years.....but c'mon....Durant was the best player in the country last year. Period. His talent is better than anyone's in this super rich draft and he probably has the most upside to his game as well. Just imagine what Durant is going to be after a few years in the league working with an NBA strength coach. By then he might be able to bench 185lbs. - but even if he can't that has nothing to do with the game of basketball. I am just glad that I am not the Blazers GM. No matter what he does he is going to be second guessed....ah the draft....

Back to Wisconsin??

This could very well be just pre-draft buzz, but I must admit that I am a little intrigued by the idea of sending Harris back home to the Milwaukee Bucks for the 6th pick tonight....And I love me some Devin Harris, the only problem is that I love the idea of getting Ohio State PG Mike Conley instead.....However, I don't think that Milwaukee would do this, and the Mavs seem to have committed to developing Harris. Even though he is not Tony Parker yet, he is still pretty darn tough to defend and if Avery would ever put his full trust in him I think he could be one of the NBA's best....this story is just a rumor, but an interesting one nonetheless.....

Dallas armed with 3 2nd rounders can still get a quality player with their 1st pick at #34.....

And apparently that is what Donnie Nelson and company plan on doing tonight

And I really can't blame them for doing this....sure you want your team to be aggressive and be a player in any deal for the best players available in the traft or in trades (KG) but despite the 1st round fart and fall down moment this past postseason this is still a 67 win team. If the San Antonio Spurs taught us anything last season is that if you stay the course things can work out in a big way. Granted, Dirk needs someone else to engage the offense....and if he gets it he might be a 2 time MVP, but fact of the matter is that there is nothing out there so overwhelming that Dallas should blow this thing up.

Which leads me to the next subject.....

Why is Phoenix so hell bent on getting KG??

I love me some Kevin Garnett as much as anyone, but if I am the Suns I am not willing to part with Amare who is younger and every bit as athletic and younger. As the Suns, T'Wolves, and Hawks might swing a 3 team deal today

The only thing I can see if I am the Suns is that I am tired of getting bounced in the playoffs every year by more "Playoff-like" teams that can slow it down and play a half court game. Maybe Phoenix feels they can still themselves for the majority of the time, but when it comes down to cruch time lett KG take over by posting up. I seem to remember the T'Wolves snapping a long winning streak by the Suns last season with Garnett just taking over in the 4th quarter doing exactly that. This is too scary to think about as a Mavs fan....lets move on....

But before we do you should all tune into the ticket tonight for a little Norm and Skin draft coverage....the best you will get on the radio with a couple guys who know more about it than all of us.

Scary how much power this kid has.....

Last night against the Reds Ryan Howard of the Phillies clobbered a homerun that went 505 feet for #100 of his career....he is also the fastest player to century mark a cool 60 games ahead of anyone else in baseball history....

The Texas Rangers getting rained out yesterday wrap up now a 3 game series today at 12:05 with the Tigers on the road looking for the sweep.....

Both Kevin Millwood and Kenny Rogers have been pushed back to today

The Rangers looking for their 7th win in their last 8 games, but are still 13 games under .500.....This is blast to watch right now. One - because I love baseball. Two - My team is winning. And Three - they are doing it with a group of parts that fit and it is great to see....i just hope that Jon Daniels sees this and realizes that you can win without Mark Teixeria and Hank Blalock, and that down the road young guys can win, and probably have more fun doing it. Fans like youth and if the front office would commit completely to a youth movement the people that come to the Temple would accept it......Heck, 30 thousand a game are shoing up this season. The fans are there just work to get us a better product. That is all I ask for, and I don't think that is too much and neither should you.

In other baseball news....

Curt Schilling will be out for a bit

And why does Mark Buehrle want to stay put??

Not too interested in what is going on at the All England club just yet, but this is kind funny....I feel that panties are always a good opic of converstation.....

Alright that is all I have this morning. It's now time to head to the station....but before I leave you I bring you some Office humor and some more Music that I dig (Wilco). Happy Draft Day to all and to all a good night!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mid-lake Wednesday

Happy Hump-day to all. Hopefully you aren't currently being effected by the heavy rains here in N. Texas. I know that things are not good right now in Hood county so do your best to stay out of harms way. But I am not here to depress you with weather talk.....on to something we would rather think about.....

A Baseball Team that is suddenly fun to watch
Texas has now won 2 stright against the defending AL champs sending Kam Loe and reliever Willie Eyre to the hill....I know that Kam went 7 strong and had great stuff a few nights ago, but I find nothing wrong at all with the 4 and 2/'s that Eyre tossed in his 1st big league start. He would have gone even longer had he not been drilled in the wrist by a line drive off the bat of Polanco in the 5th. When a guy has shined in middle relief like he one point this year with 14 plus innings of consecutive scoreless work....and just giving up 3 runs off 3 hits in nearly 5IP....I think that might deserve another spot start if his wrist is up to it.

The pitching has been better of late. That is why Texas has won 9 of their last 12 and 6 of their last 7....and my goodeness this thing is fun to watch. The last few nights I have found myself not wondering what is on HBO or the History Channel....instead I have been watching inspired ball.

One of the leaders of that inspiration is Marlon Byrd who once again had a great night capping things off with a huge 2 run triple in the 9th.....I love what we are seeing from Gerald Laird behind the plate and how he has handled the pitching in recent weeks....this Travis Metcalf has a little something....Ramon Vasquez can be productive in spots, and it seems that Jerry Hairston Jr. can spell Lofton on most nights and it's no big drop off....

Even though I realize this is still not a good team there are a few parts I wouldn't mind keeping around for a while.....this thing is fun right now....
The bullpen was solid again last night aside from an off night by Aki Otsuka allowing 3 in the 8th to tie things up....But it was great to see Eric Gagne get a big save against a great hitting club....and showing him off to contenders....
Today Texas tries for their 4th straight series win and they will do it against former Ranger great Kenny Rogers who is making his 2nd start since coming off the DL....he will be facing Millwood who has been better so it should be another must tune in night at the SeaBass house via TiVo...

Keep the Trade Rumors coming....

This story has been a nice distraction the past few days, especially when the Mavs do not have a 1st round pick and 3 - 2's.....We have all kicked around the idea of what it would take to get KG in Dallas...It would be nice but this is not going to happen, although one not so credible source proves that it's easy to float a rumor out there....

Apparently KG to LA has cooled off a bit and the Suns are back in the mix....which would absolutely suck for Dallas, but at the same time I wouldn't mind seeing Amare sent to up to Minn....

The draft is one day away and as promised I will give you a handfull of guys that I have seen linked to the Mavies in some mock drafts....

Gabe Pruitt out of USC

Marc Gasol Spanish brother of Paul Gasol

Alando Tucker
out of Wisc. (Bob would love this)

Demitrius Nichols from the Cuse

There is just a few I found....If the Mavs had an actual 1st round pick it would be a lot easier to find more mocks....not everyone produces a 2nd round in their predictions...Hopefully Dallas can package picks and maybe a player to trade up into round 1....Be sure to Listen toNorm and Skin on the Ticket....they do a helluva job with it....

This Guy cheated along with Jimmie Johnson.....
And Nascar is not too happy with them.....I really don't care too much, but i know alot of people love them some Nascar and I might as well mention it.....

I don't know why this is even an issue these days....Every American bad-ass we have in the NBA should want to stop the international embarrassment our country has suffered the past few years on the court. Thank you for doing what you are expected to do....and lay off the Sprite.

Now it's time for me to get ready to roll out and head to work, but I leave you with more good music today....I am a N. Texas grad attending school up in Denton, Tx and I had a chance to discover this band while living there and they havce gone on to bigger and better.....And I think they are awesome.....I give you Midlake.....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

SeaBass and his 2nd attempt at Bob's Blog

Please don't be teasing us

The Rangers starting an absolute beast of an 8 game roadtrip with an 8-3 win over the Tigers as Kam Loe hands Jeremy Bonderman his 1st loss since last September, as the rejuvinated righthander won his 3rd straight since a quick trip to triple-A to work on his mechanics.

We have seen kam have dominating stretches in his career, if we can all remember his strong close to the 2005 season where his stuff was just nasty and he carried a tremendous mound presense. Since the trip to OKC he has somehow re-captured a sort of "bad-ass" body language. He looks like our ace right now....I just hope that he doesn't regress into the pitcher we all saw earlier in the year that would get defeated on the hill after his team made an error (or two) in the field. Good stuff indeed, lets just hope that he can harness this mind-set and take off asa quality starter in the bigs....As a Ranger fan, that's really all we can do at this point.
Evan Grant's Game Story

"Loe wasn't the only one with extra motivation.
Otsuka, who was held back
from Sunday's game with Houston so he could potentially close Monday (or
be showcased for Detroit) came in to face Gary Sheffield,
Ordonez and
Carlos Guillen with a 4-2 lead in the eighth. He
retired the
terrifying trio on
nine pitches. Ordonez and Guillen both
made outs on
curves. Otsuka has primarily
used a slider for his breaking
ball, but has
become more aggressive with the

Why would we want to showcase Otsuka?? This guy has been nothing but money since
coming over in the painful trade with San Diego. If anything we need to hang on
to this guy and maybe lock him down for a few years because it's obvious that he
is our closer after we trade Gagne later this summer....Speaking of Gagne I was
sort of hoping to see him throw again last night because he hasn't been as sharp
on back to back nights since being a Ranger. I would have loved to see how he
responded after a tough outing against Houston on Sunday. And if you are going
to showcase any reliever it's him.

Texas has now won 8 of their last 11 games....which is they try to manage at least a split of the 4 game set tonight in Mo-Town, and one Willie Eyre is getting a crack at the roation with Padilla on the shelf.

Personally I am really pulling for Willie, he is a great guy in the lockeroom and if you take a gander at his numbers he has been pretty darn solid this season. Also, Eric Hurley making his triple-A debut yesterday with mixed reviews going 5 innings allowing 5 runs (4 earned)....

On to the Mavs....
Trade talks are heating up around the Association as draft day is coming up Thursday....The little Mavs are probably not huge sellers, but in a rich draft you never know what will happen. Tomorrow I will post profiles of a number of players that might fall to Dallas at 34, that is if they don't package their 3 - 2nd rounders to get into the 1st round....sort of a preview to get you ready fro Thursday night.

What I do know is that Chauncey Billups is likely staying put even after opting out of the final year of his deal with the Pistons where he was slated to make almost 7 million next season....

I, like you, would kill to have The Chauncey running the Mavs offense, but Joe Dumars and company rarely make mistakes....Billups is simply forcing Detroit to shell out big bucks and extend him to a contract that he probably deserves as he has becomeone of the NBA's best in recent years at the point.

Could Kobe get a new side-kick?

I think getting KG would probably shut Kobe up and suddenly he could be at peace with Mitch, Jerry, and the rest of the Lakers front office.....

There have been a number of reports about a massive 4 team trade that would send KG to L.A. but the bitter Boston Celtics felt like they were getting the short end of the stick.....I will go default and post a link to hoopshype and so you can get a number of national angles about the big trade that broke down.

It just seems that there are/were too many GM's that wanted a little too much....that is why your 3 and 4 teamers are not as common especially when dealing with front-line NBA stars....

Don't let the door hit you on your....

I don't think that Tank Johnson is as bad as Pac-Man, but I applaud the Chicago Bears for saying enough is enough....If any of us were millionaires by doing what we loved to do, I think we would all respect our great fortune a little more than a number of the morons that stay in trouble in the NFL....Granted, I don't know what it is like to have that kind of money or celebrity, but an awesome job is something we all should want to hang on to....Chilling out at your house without semi-automatic weapons is easy. I do it all the time while still enjoying my free time. And if I ever served 2 months in jail I would not stay out past midnight maybe ever again, and if I did I wouldn't get high or drink. Kudos Chicago.

I am not a big WWE fan but this is a terrible story.....

It is fascinating to see how much death and self abuse surrounds professional wrestling. I used to love it when I was a youngster, and like many gradually distanced from it. However, in my limited knowledge I do know that Chris Benoit was a good for a long time in both the WWF and WCW....sorry to even mention this awful news, but it is worthy of mention....sorry to bring the room down....

On a lighter note we can all sleep easy knowing that America's sweetheart is safe and out of jail....c'mon everyone....join hands with me and thank our creator for this glorious news!!

I know she is an idiot, but I would still get her pregnant if I could.

And I leave you this Sports-Tuesday with some knock you on your ass Rock and Roll from Muse, this is a cool video.....enjoy!

Monday, June 25, 2007

SeaBass taking over this week....

As you might know Bob is out this week on vacation, so he as asked me, Sean Bass, to fill in this week while he gets a well deserved break....I will go ahead and tell you that I am not a very experienced blogger and i do apologize in advance if the quality this week isn't what you are used to....However, I hope to cover most of the bases and help you get your daily fix....

A frustrating night at the Ballpark for sure, losing 12-9 in 10 innings....But after being in a 5 run hole late in the game to tie things up has to make you feel a little better about things.....We see that Eric Gagne is human after all allowing 2 runs in his worst outing so far as a Ranger.

Gagne gets a pass....He has been lights out in nearly every appearance outside of last night's outing. However, we were spared to death again by Robby Tejeda. It's one thing to have stuff, but its another thing all together to have command of your pitches, and we have not seen any consistency in this area from him all season....This no doubt has been a dissapointing season, and you can put a lot of the blame on the shoulders of the rotation....Tejeda has been our best starter at times early in the year, but it does frustate me as a Ranger fan that our expectations have been so diminished with the team's pitching that we really expected a lot out of Tejeda before the season began and thought he would be a quality #3.....I like many bought into this and feel stupid because of it.....

And it might be sad that I, as a fan, was slightly satisfied that Texas didn't sweep Houston to win 5 straight. I want this club to improve as much as anyone, but it would be really awful to see them get back to respectability and see their young GM and now penny pinching owner not blow this thing up a bit, becasue this thing will never be where it needs to be down the road until that happens....

Rangers Link
All I can say is about time on Padilla heading to the DL, he hasn't been right for over a month and the team has suffered for it.....Now the Rangers will roll in John Koronka or maybe reliever Wille Eyre to pitch in Padilla's spot as he gets 20 or so days to get things right with that sore triceps muscle by his elbow....
Although it is promising to see Brandon McCarthy throw 4 and a third scoreless allowing 3 hits in a re-hab start for maybe some help is on the way to a slightly improving rotation....

As a 25 year old who had a chance to see this guys entire career it makes me feel good to see a class guy pass McGwire's home run record of 583 as Junior went deep twice against his old club to put him at 584 on the all-time list Sunday afternoon at Safeco.....

The former M's great getting standing ovations from his old crowd....and maybe we should take a minute to go back and appreciate arguably the best player of a is what he has done in his HOF career so far....and I am assuming none of this was on performance enhancing drugs....

The NHL did have a draft and the Stars were without a 1st rounder. I will not go into detail about what I think, because I honestly have no real opinion on the matter....

However there is a draft of consequence that is coming up this week in the NBA draft....The Mavs, like the Stars are without a 1st rounder, but they do have 3 - 2's and an aggressive GM and owner who could easily trade up into the 1st round of one of the richest drafts in a few years....later in the week I will take a closer look at a few of the sleepers and weigh out the Mavs options if they decide to stay in the 2nd round, but until then I want to share with you one of my favorite sites to visit every week or so....
I know that a lot of the stuff in the Rumors page is just speculation, but every now and then you get something that might have some legs....and if you every want ammunition to flex your NBA muscles it is a good place to get a more national perspective on the enjoy....

The only reason this is not gay is because they won the College World Series.....

I must admit College Baseball is off my radar for about 50 weeks of the year, but as a baseball nerd the past two have been pretty good as they always are when teams are getting to or playing in Omaha....I might be the only one that wants college baseball to be televised more....I know that when I get home and Poker is on ESPN I would rather be watching a few major league prospects play with aluminum bats.....

Alright you loyal Bob Sturm followers....that is the 1st of the week, hopefully it doesn't suck too bad compared to what you are used to....I have to say goodbye until tomorrow and get ready for a full day of breaking sports news first guarenteed....Have a good Monday!!


Friday, June 22, 2007


OK, it is finally time for another Wisconsin vacation. I shall return to the blog and to the radio on July 2, so for now I leave you in the hopefully capable hands of SeaBass. He is normally capable, but I believe him to be a bit of a blogging virgin.

Good Sports.

Catalanotto does something

One night earlier, Frank Catalanotto came to the plate trying to follow the impossible: He was the guy who batted immediately following Sammy Sosa's 600th home run.

Thursday, he found a way to be a showstopper himself. He did it by, well, stopping the show.

After sitting on the bench for three hours, Catalanotto lined a one-out fastball into the right-field corner to score Kenny Lofton from second and give the Rangers a 6-5 win over the Chicago Cubs.

It's the first walk-off pinch hit for the Rangers since Hank Blalock beat out an infield single to beat Minnesota on Aug. 28, 2005.

Catalanotto's liner sent what remained of a crowd worn down by a big blown lead and a nearly-wasted ninth-inning rally into histrionics. His teammates piled out of the dugout to mob Catalanotto with even more fervor than Sosa received Wednesday.

"There was nothing I could do to upstage Sammy or even to get the crowd clapping for me [on Wednesday]," said Catalanotto, who did homer in the at-bat after 600. "But today, I had a chance to get something down and help the team. That was important.

"Then [Young] gave me that fake double hand slap and picked me up," said Catalanotto, starting to smile. "My legs were just flailing around in midair. Yeah, it made me a little uncomfortable."

Rangers found someone they can beat! The NL Central

The Rangers are last in the American League West, and that doesn't seem likely to change.

But they're doing OK in the National League Central.

With a 6-5, walk-off victory over the Cubs on Thursday, the Rangers have won four of five series against NL Central teams this season.

Texas has won five of the past seven games, a bona fide hot streak for a team that shed its "worst record in baseball" tag for at least a day after passing Cincinnati in the major league standings.

"This is the most confident I've seen this clubhouse," Frank Catalanotto, whose pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth drove in Kenny Lofton to win the game, said. "We haven't really played up to our potential. Hopefully we can continue to get there. There are a lot of good things that we've been seeing."

Checking Padilla’s numbers

Vicente Padilla 15 starts with just 4 Quality Starts (26%) – 4/8, 4/19, 5/5, 5/11. His ERA splits look like this: April = 5.66, May = 7.31, and June = 7.90. In December, he signed for 3 years and $34 million. Look for a trip to the DL soon.

Cowlishaw says Sammy for All-Star Team

I think the most logical choice is Sammy Sosa. He wouldn't be the first slugger named to the team for something close to a lifetime achievement award.

Sosa's comeback, capped by his 600th home run Wednesday night, has him on pace to drive in well over 100 runs. That's far better than what the Rangers thought they were getting when they rolled the dice on a low-risk gamble.

Forget the low walk total and the high strikeout numbers. Letting Sosa swing the bat one final time in the All-Star Game wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to the summer showcase, regardless of the circumstantial evidence of cheating that follows him around.

That stuff is always going to be there with Sosa. But given the absence of a failed drug test or sworn testimony against him, he is regarded only with suspicion.
Baseball fans being a fairly forgiving bunch, they are quickly taken in by Sosa's smile.

So send him to San Francisco, where he can play opposite Barry Bonds in the All-Star Game.

But it might be a good idea to leave both out of the Home Run Derby.

Giambi cooperates

Jason Giambi of the Yankees agreed yesterday to cooperate with George J. Mitchell’s investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball, apparently becoming the first active player who has consented to speak with Mitchell, the former United States Senator. Mitchell’s investigation is almost 15 months old.

After a telephone conversation with Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday, Giambi said in a statement that he was convinced that “baseball would be best served by such a meeting.” Giambi, the Yankees’ designated hitter, said that he would not discuss what other players might have done, but that he would be “candid about my past history regarding steroids.”

After Giambi tacitly admitted to using steroids in an article in USA Today last month, Selig requested on June 6 that he cooperate with Mitchell within two weeks. Lawyers for the players union and for Major League Baseball have been negotiating the details of the meeting for several days.

Statements released by Giambi and Selig suggest what Giambi will discuss.

“As I have always done, I will address my own personal history regarding steroids,” Giambi said. “I will not discuss in any fashion any other individual.”

Selig’s statement noted that Giambi had told Selig that he was prepared to discuss his “personal involvement with performance-enhancing substances.” The commissioner called Giambi’s willingness to cooperate “an important step” in Mitchell’s efforts to put together a comprehensive report. No date was set for the meeting, but it is unlikely to occur next week.

Although the guidelines for the meeting have been established, there is no script for how it will unfold, and there are bound to be questions that Giambi will not want to answer.

Selig could still fine and suspend Giambi. Selig said that he would make that determination after gauging Giambi’s level of cooperation with Mitchell.

In addition to asking Giambi when and where he used steroids, investigators will probably ask him to describe the steroid landscape in baseball. Mitchell wants a picture of what was going on in and around clubhouses. For instance, were unauthorized individuals gaining access to clubhouses to fuel the steroid business?
But Arn Tellem, Giambi’s lawyer, and union lawyers will likely balk at allowing him to give those kinds of specifics. Mitchell may also ask Giambi about Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds’s personal trainer.

Giambi said he did not want his family to endure a lengthy legal challenge to support his position, but that type of battle could still occur. If Giambi does not answer questions as openly as Selig believes he should, Giambi could be disciplined. If that happens, Giambi would surely file a grievance through the union. Giambi has never tested positive for steroids.

Tellem called this “an enormously stressful process” for Giambi, who was quoted by USA Today on May 18 as saying, “I was wrong for doing that stuff,” in an article about steroids. Giambi met with baseball lawyers on May 23 to discuss his comments. Tellem was optimistic that Giambi’s next meeting would resolve an issue that has followed him during this injury-scarred season.

“Rather than subject himself, his family and the Yankees to a protracted legal battle, Jason has made a very difficult decision that we believe will lead to a positive resolution of this matter,” Tellem said in a statement.

Giambi, who is on the disabled list with a torn left plantar fascia, said he did not want to be “embroiled in a legal battle” that could undermine his rehabilitation and his attempt to return this season.

Since Selig is personally deciding Giambi’s punishment, he has reminded the Yankees that they cannot also attempt to punish him. George Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ principal owner, issued a statement saying that he fully supported Selig. Giambi is in the sixth year of a seven-year, $120 million contract.

To Hockey, where July 1 will be the first day of Free Agency, and the Draft is tonight.
Giguere signs for big dollars

Jean-Sebastien Giguere figured last winter that his days with the Anaheim Ducks might be numbered.

''I wondered if I'd be back,'' he said of the angst of playing through the last year of his contract with unrestricted free agency in the offing. ''But I decided I wasn't going to worry about it.

''By the time the trading deadline came, I was playing most of the games and I felt pretty comfortable that I was going to be here for the rest of the season.''

The star 30-year-old goaltender from Montreal will be around a lot longer than that after agreeing to a US$24-million, four-year contract Thursday.

Giguere will be pulling down $5.5 million in each of the first two years, $6 million in the third year and $7 million in the fourth year. He might have got a bit more somewhere else but he loves life in southern California too much to part company with a team he just helped win the Stanley Cup.

5 Free Agents to Follow

Here are five guys who will get, and deserve, a lot of attention:

Daniel Briere, C, Sabres

A nifty center with explosive acceleration, Briere finished 10th in the league's scoring race with a career-best 95-point season and with a league-high 65 even-strength points. Last season, Briere, 29, earned $5 million. He'd like to stay in Buffalo, but the club might not be able to pony up the cash for both him and co-captain Chris Drury. There are several teams, most notably the rebuilding Flyers, who'd be willing to pay him $6 million or more.

Chris Drury, C, Sabres

The numbers say a lot -- a personal-best 37 goals this past season -- but not everything. Drury, 30, is an old-school competitor who can play in any situation and is a team leader both on and off the ice. He earned $3.154 million in 2006-07; the bidding likely will begin at $5 million. The Kings and Rangers are among those interested, but Los Angeles may have an edge: Drury owns a beachfront home in Southern California. Either way, it could be more bad news for Buffalonians.

Scott Gomez, C, Devils

With two Cups on his résumé, the Anchorage, Alaska, native has averaged more than 50 assists the past three seasons. A gimpy groin hurt his regular-season production (13 goals), but he wowed potential suitors in the playoffs with 14 points in 11 games. Gomez, 27, earned $5 million last season, and if the price is right, he said he'll consider staying in Jersey. If it isn't, look for the Flames, Rangers and Flyers, among others, to come calling.

Ryan Smyth, LW, Islanders

After 10-plus seasons as a local hero in Edmonton, the popular winger was sent to the Islanders at the trade deadline. The Isles were thrilled to get the crease-crashing vet, who scored 36 goals in each of the past two seasons. But Smyth, 31, wanted $5.5 million in his failed talks with Edmonton, and there will be as many as 10 teams, Detroit chief among them, willing to pay a lot more to land this no-nonsense, fiery leader.

Sheldon Souray, D, Canadiens

Looking to add punch to your power play? Speed-dial this rugged 30-year-old, among the league's real blue-line threats. Armed with a 100-plus mph slap shot, he set a single-season record for defensemen with 19 power-play goals, which should help him significantly upgrade his $2.432 million salary. The pride of Elk Point, Alberta, has been rumored to be interested in relocating to the left coast. The Sharks and Kings will be happy to help.

Remember the call against Ghana that didn’t go our way? Well, soccer karma blessed Sam’s Army…. The US gets fortunate against Canada

Canada thought it was a goal. The Americans said it was offside.
Fortunately for the Americans, the linesman and referee agreed with them.

Canada had a goal in the final minute of stoppage time waved off Thursday night, preserving the Americans' 2-1 victory and their spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

Frankie Hejduk scored his first goal in almost seven years, and Landon Donovan converted yet another penalty kick for the winner.

"I thought he was offsides. But it doesn't matter," American goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. "The linesman made the call, so it's offsides."

But the wacky ending tainted what should have been a big victory for the Americans, who are trying to win their fourth Gold Cup title and second in a row. Keller played in his 100th international game, matching Tony Meola's American mark for goalkeepers. With 33 career goals, Donovan moved within one of Eric Wynalda's U.S. career record.

The United States will play Mexico, a 1-0 winner over tiny Guadeloupe, in Sunday's final for a berth in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa. The defending champion Americans will be without Hejduk and Michael Bradley, though. Hejduk picked up his second yellow card in as many games while Bradley, the son of U.S. coach Bob Bradley, was given a red card in the 89th minute for a reckless tackle.

"I think these young guys are realizing that we need to be up for every game," Hejduk said. "We've made it a little hard on ourselves by giving up late goals, but I think those guys are realizing how hard we need to play."

After second half sub Iain Hume scored in the 76th minute, the Canadians put even more pressure on Keller. In the final minute of stoppage time, Atiba Hutchinson got a shot past him, but Mexican referee Benito Archundia waved the goal off, saying the Canadian was offside.

Replays showed the ball went off U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu, and that Canadian attackers appeared to be even with the last American defender, meaning the goal should have counted.

"Their player headed the ball down into the box and our player kicked it in," Canada coach Stephen Hart said. "If one of their players played the ball back, it's a back pass and it cannot be offsides. That's how I saw it." Canada forward Dwayne DeRosario agreed.

"It was definitely a goal. No question," he said. "It's very frustrating."

Dale Jr turns his back on Bud

Junior is setting down the Bud and picking up the remote.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended the uncertainty Thursday about what corporate logo would be on the hood of his new ride with Hendrick Motorsports by announcing his partnership with Sony Electronics.

"I'm a big electronics fan. I'm a big computer guy. It's products I can dig," Earnhardt told reporters at a winery in the heart of California's Napa Valley. He will be competing on Sunday in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in nearby Sonoma.

Earnhardt would not comment on whether his longtime sponsor Budweiser would play any part next season when he leaves the team founded by his late father to join racetrack rivals Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson at Hendrick.

Happy Birthday Dirk

Holland Sweet Goal

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday, June 21

Sosa 600

For a moment Wednesday night, just before the fireworks exploded against an ebony sky and the music from The Natural wafted through Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, all of the turmoil that has nearly choked the life out of Sammy Sosa's baseball career faded.

Fans weren't polarized over his return to the game or his place in history. Instead, they were engrossed by his awesome power and charismatic on-field personality. They were once again entranced by Sammy being Sammy.

In the fifth inning of the Rangers' 7-3 win over the Chicago Cubs, the 37,564 fans on hand gasped as Sosa connected with a hanging 1-and-2 breaking pitch from Jason Marquis. They turned as one as the ball sailed toward the right-field bullpen. And then, as home run No. 600 hit the back of the Rangers' bullpen, they let out the kind of roar that marked Sosa home runs for most of his career.

With the homer, Sosa became the fifth player in baseball history to reach 600 homers. He joins Hank Aaron (755), Barry Bonds (748), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660) in that most elite club.

And the most unlikely player to do so.

Just two years ago, it seemed Sosa's career was done. Once the toast of Chicago, he was dumped by the Cubs after the 2004 season. He spent 2005 limping through the year with Baltimore, though his most memorable performance of the season came in Washington – when he made a less-than-convincing appearance in front of the Congressional committee investigating steroid use in baseball.

Sosa was out of baseball last year and had few nibbles of interest when he decided last fall that he could return. The Rangers, however, took a chance after watching him breeze through a mid-winter workout. They spent all spring preaching that Sosa still had some pop in his bat.

I like Michael Young. But, he makes me laugh when he complains about the rebuild. I understand his frustration, but he has been here for years. He knows what this franchise has been about. Then he took their money. Now, he is acting like he is shocked how the season is going. Sorry, Mike. Shut up, and count your $85 million.

Young tells us what he thinks

"Absolutely not. I'm not in favor of that at all," Young said Wednesday, and you'd have thought I'd just asked him to drop by the house to do a little yard work at his earliest convenience. "I've been through about three rebuilding phases since I've been here. I have no interest in that."

He's heard the rumors and reports that owner Tom Hicks and general manager Jon Daniels are talking about a three-year rebuilding plan, but officially, neither of them has yet to broach the subject with The Face of the Franchise.

Not that I blame them, but until that happens, Young would prefer to believe that it's nothing more than a figment of the media's imagination, pure speculation, soon to be shot down and ridiculed by the men who swore to him this spring that the Rangers' one and only mission is to win and win now.

That, as much as the $80 million, is why he signed on in Texas for another seven years, and maybe you have to really know Michael to believe that, but it's true. He could have gotten money, and a lot of it, elsewhere, but he wants desperately to be part of a winner in Texas.

Now he's hearing that the men he trusted with his future this spring are saying that their target for winning is now 2010, give or take a year, and it's almost more than he can stomach.

"I'm going to assume that this isn't going to be the case," he said. "Hopefully we can all come to the realization that this is unacceptable and we find a way to get better now.

"We play in [Dallas-Fort Worth]. It's an unbelievable sports town. We need a winner; it's as simple as that."

The need is simple, true, but if satisfying it were that easy, the Rangers wouldn't be on their way to another last-place finish and their seventh losing season in eight years. The Rangers' philosophy of patchworking with mediocre free agents has failed miserably. Hicks either must either spend more money for premier talent, providing a quicker fix, or the Rangers must rebuild through the draft and by trading veterans for younger players.

At some level, Young understands this, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

"There are a lot of teams out there that it makes sense for them to rebuild," he said. "But I would never look at a player on that team and look at him in a bad light [because] all he wants to do is win. Especially if that player commits to that team for a long time, because he didn't commit there under the assumption they were going to start over again.

"At the same time, I wouldn't frown at the organization either, if they're doing what they have to do to get their team as competitive as possible as quickly as possible."

For Young, there's a sense of betrayal at work here, and while he's not ready to talk about options like demanding a trade, he's also not ruling anything out.
"As a player my job is to win," he said. "I'm not going to wait to win. I'm not going to put those feelings on hold. I'm going to go out there and do my job.
"As far as options, I don't know. I'm not going to even consider that right now. I'll cross that bridge when it happens."

Checking Kam Loe’s 2007

Kameron Loe – 12 starts – 4 Quality Starts 5/6, 5/27, 6/14, 6/20

Buying Cubs would enter Cuban into elite, odd mix ….

In NBA News, Kobe and KG rumors are heating up. Here is Mark Stein’s take

Why haven't the Lakers made a move yet to address Bryant's well-chronicled frustration?

For a couple of reasons:

They have yet to come up with a deal that actually makes the team better. The Lakers say they don't want to part with Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and a first-round pick in the same trade for Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal because they see it as a lateral move that doesn't automatically shoot them up the ladder in the West.

They likewise have tried to acquire Shawn Marion from the Suns without giving up Odom -- Marion can become a free agent in the summer of 2008, which gives him some say about a new home if the Suns do decide to part with him -- but Phoenix doesn't want to help its L.A. rivals any more than the Lakers want to help the Suns. The Lakers know they might have avoided all this drama if they had simply agreed to trade Bynum and Kwame Brown for Jason Kidd at the February trade deadline. But they can't go back in time and they've since lost a lot of trade leverage because every other team in the league knows they're desperate to appease Kobe. So they're legitimately asking themselves, with Kobe increasingly intent on leaving town: Can any trade made now make Kobe happy? Imagine agreeing to the O'Neal deal, then finding out Kobe still wants out.

The sidebar to all this, of course, is how the Bryant saga has an impact on coach Phil Jackson's future. Jackson, remember, came back to the Lakers essentially to coach Kobe. The Zenmeister has one season left on a three-year contract, but you'd have to assume Jackson's comeback would be curtailed if Kobe were dealt.

The urgency of extending Jackson's contract beyond next season, furthermore, can't
be what it was a month or two ago, either, even though Jackson is said to be feeling significantly better already after undergoing a second hip-replacement surgery last week. Jackson himself openly has questioned whether Buss wants a $10 million-a-year coach if the team isn't a contender. The same applies if the Lakers were suddenly Kobe-less.

So how can you say a Garnett trade is more likely?

Garnett lacks a no-trade clause like Bryant's, but he's only a year from having the right to leave Minnesota without compensation. KG can become a free agent in the summer of 2008 if he's willing to forfeit his $23 million salary in 2008-09. Bryant can't put the Lakers under the same pressure until a year from now, with his right to become a free agent on hold until the summer of '09.

"That's why Garnett, to me, has the bigger hammer," said one Eastern Conference executive.

That's also one reason why in Garnett's case, unlike Kobe's, there already have been actual trade conversations this month.

Boston's Danny Ainge has acknowledged discussing Garnett possibilities with the Wolves, and the Suns, according to NBA front-office sources, are talking to them, as well. After three straight seasons out of the playoffs with Garnett, it appears Minnesota finally has realized it must consider dealing Garnett and starting over because it lacks the trade assets or salary-cap flexibility to significantly improve the cast around him.

The big change with the Wolves, sources say, is that, for the first time in his tenure, owner Glen Taylor is unexpectedly ready to "take the lead" on moving Garnett. Shopping KG? Not exactly. Gauging KG's trade value and listening to salivating suitors make their pitches, with Taylor knowing he'll have to stand up and say this was his call if a deal goes through? It's happening.

Which team would be more likely to get KG: Boston or Phoenix?

Because free agency is potentially just one year away for Garnett, he can discourage interested teams by sending word that he won't re-sign. I'm also told that the Wolves, in a nod to KG's 12 seasons of loyal service, intend to give him input, regardless.

Knowing that -- and knowing as we do that Steve Nash and Garnett have become good pals over the years after playing in several All-Star Games together -- it's safe to say he'd much prefer the desert.

The signals coming from the desert, though, don't make the Suns' chances sound very encouraging, with Minnesota seeking to build the return package around Stoudemire.

In spite of Amare's inexperience at 24 and some clashes of ego with Marion, he still ranks as the first high-flying victim of microfracture knee surgery to beat the most dreaded affliction in the NBA. Which means he's probably worth keeping around, right? You certainly can argue that the Suns would be better in the short term with Garnett -- especially when it comes to dealing with Tim Duncan -- but Stoudemire's presence would give them a chance to stay in the league's elite after Nash, 33, retires.

You safely can assume that Garnett also saw how the Finals played out and that he knows Greg Oden and Kevin Durant will be in the Northwest Division by next week. Boston would have to part with Al Jefferson, the No. 5 pick and more in next week's draft if it wants KG, but the Celts surely will point out to KG and his people that a Garnett-Paul Pierce tag team will have real hope of getting to the Finals no matter who's around those two.

"If Kobe wants to go East," one hopeful West executive suggests, "it'll be the new thing."

The Minnesota paper examines KG to Boston

Garnett turned 31 in May. He has gone from an MVP three seasons ago to a player no longer among the NBA's top 10. With Garnett as the face of the franchise, the Wolves have plummeted in the standings, in ticket sales and in television ratings.

A Garnett trade would not improve the crowds or the television audience, but such a trade would result in a young roster that could be offered to the public as hope for the next decade.

The trade bandied about by's Chad Ford has Garnett going to Boston for four players -- Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Gerald Green and Sebastian Telfair -- and the No. 5 overall selection.

Obviously, this is way too optimistic on the ransom the Wolves could obtain for Garnett.

Plus: The idea of playing with Paul Pierce in the easier Eastern Conference might appeal to KG, but there's no way he's going to embrace being reunited with Wally Szczerbiak in Boston.

The Wolves would prefer Ratliff because he will earn $11.7 million next season and then his contract expires. The Celtics would want to move Szczerbiak, who has bad feet, ankles and $25 million due over the next two years.

Yet, if you could get the talented Green, the capable Jefferson and the No. 5, McHale would have to be worse at his job than Wolves' followers already think is the case not to also take the troubled Telfair and the oft-hobbled Szczerbiak.

The Boston trade, unfortunately, figures to be more ESPN speculation than fact. If Garnett does get traded, the logical location remains the Los Angeles Lakers. For the Lakers, that would shut up Kobe Bryant and make tickets inside the Staples Center almost as tough to get as they were when Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal were together.

This would require McHale pushing Indiana out of the way in the Pacers attempt to trade Jermaine O'Neal to the Lakers for a package including Andrew Bynum, Luke Walton (sign and trade), Kwame Brown and the 19th pick in the draft. Throw in Brian Cook with that package and the money would work for Garnett to go to the Lakers.

Either trade -- the pipe dream with Boston or a reasonable deal with the Lakers -- would make the long-term outlook better and not have all that much effect on the futile present for the Timberwolves.

Tonight, The USA Plays Canada in the Gold Cup Semi-Finals on Fox Soccer ….

After the U.S. was able to dispose of Panama last Saturday with a 2-1 victory and seal their place in the semi-final, they now play their toughest opponent yet in Canada. So, with their biggest test on the horizon what should we expect to see from the Americans?

One thing is for sure, if the Americans are going get to the final with ease they're going to have to capitalize on opportunities better. Missed chances, like what we saw against Panama, in particular Clint Dempsey's late scoring chance to make it 3-0, are going to have to turn into goals for the U.S. to beat an offensive minded Canadian team. Coming into the game the Canadians have outscored their opponents 9-2 in this Gold Cup and boast a roster with a slew of successful professionals that includes MLS all-star Dwayne De Rosario.

"It's going to be tough," U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra said. "We know we have to watch De Rosario, he can create a lot of opportunities for them. We're going to watch game film and prepare in practice and I know we'll be ready for them."
Canada coming off a 3-0 victory over a Guatemalan team that the U.S. could only manage one goal against in it's last two meetings poses a big threat for the American defense and will undoubtedly give keeper Tim Howard his most challenging test of this Gold Cup.

Howard and the U.S. defense have only allowed one goal in this Gold Cup. That goal in Saturday's win ended the American's 254 minute streak without giving up a goal. Howard's play has been exceptional but with Ali Gerba, De Rosario and Julien de Guzman composing a trio of Canada's most powerful weapons, Howard will need all the help that Bocanegra, Onyewu and the rest of that back line can muster up.

With the U.S. playing as well as they have Canada is no doubt looking at their most difficult attempt at a Gold Cup upset since beating Mexico in the final back in 2000. As the Canucks attempt to do their part to recreate a rematch of that 2000 final, the Americans will have to be better up front to thwart their efforts.

For Guaranteed Laugh – Click Here

Another Embarrassing Wisconsin Moment

Two Readers Start Blogs:

I realize you likely get a plethora of these on daily basis, but I wanted to see if I could persuade you to check out a blog I just created. My intent is to cover all sorts of trades, signings, and speculation-as well as occasionally covering general sports topics.

The link is Sportsdeals.Blogspot.Com . I hope you enjoy it.

P1 since age 10 Or


I read your blog every day.

I have a question. I have a blog, . I originally wanted to talk about my life, but apparently the only things I care about are sports so that's what gets written about. I'm trying to improve on my readership of one.

Is there any way you could find in your heart to possibly give my ramblings a once over and if deemed worthy, a spot in the approved blogs link area or at least tell me if you think it's at least a bit funny?

Can you help a good P1 out? I can guarantee that I can funnel 100% of my current readership (consisting solely of me at this point, numbers subject to change over time) over to yours.


Jarrod Wade

Save Ferris

Bear Grylls squeezes water out of Elephant Doo-Doo (Gag Warning)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


In this slow sports time, Let us remember the Most Glorious June 20th that ever was ….

The Stars had waited for this moment since losing last season in the Western Conference finals.

They opened training camp with the Stanley Cup as their goal. And that was their guiding force through 82 regular-season games and 23 playoff contests.

It took 105 games, including a triple-overtime 2-1 victory in the finale against Buffalo on Saturday night, for the Stars to capture the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

The Stars, who began and ended the season against the Sabres, made sure they won the Cup in dramatic fashion, becoming only the fourth team ever to clinch the Finals in multiple overtimes.

Brett Hull's shot at 14:51 of the sixth period hushed the crowd of 18,595 at Marine Midland Arena and sent the Stars into a wild celebration on their opponent's ice. Some Stars jumped into teammates' arms, others pointed at the crowd, waving one finger.

The Sabres contended that Hull's skate was in the crease, and television replays indicated that it was.

"That's the worst nightmare," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said afterward. "His skate was in the crease. You can't explain that to me. Everybody saw it. Once you've got 200 people on the ice, they [the officials] aren't going to review it."

Ruff said the officials explained to him that Hull was in possession of the puck before he entered the crease, which would make the goal legal.

The celebration began immediately. Stars captain Derian Hatcher was presented the gleaming silver Cup, and he skated with it high over his head, bouncing it up and down as his teammates cheered. Each of the Stars carried it aloft. Some kissed the trophy of their childhood dreams. Others lifted it up to the crowd, which stood in respect but mostly booed.

Finally, the Stars knelt on the ice for a team picture, huddled around the Cup. That picture will forever live in their memories.

Stars center Joe Nieuwendyk, who had 11 goals in the playoffs, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the player most valuable to his team in the post-season.

It was amazing the Stars even had energy left to celebrate after the second-longest overtime game in Finals history. After three hard-fought periods, they played 54 minutes, 51 seconds of overtime.

Only three other Finals games have gone three overtimes, the last being Colorado-Florida in 1996.

On the game winner, Hull fought in front of Buffalo's net for a loose puck. In a mad
scramble, he sent a shot past Dominik Hasek.

Before the Stars realized their crowning achievement, they won the Presidents' Trophy for the best regular-season record, then beat Edmonton, St. Louis and Colorado in the playoffs.

It seemed fitting that they closed the deal in the 12th game in Finals history to go at least two overtimes. The Stars had lived on the edge all season, wearing down opponents in close games with strong defense and forechecking, and the goaltending of Ed Belfour.

This was their eighth overtime game of the playoffs, including a triple-overtime game that clinched the first-round series against Edmonton.

Belfour stopped 53 shots and erased years of criticism for not winning the big one.

Thanks to the Stars Belo Blog for the above

Next, there is no bigger buzzkill than going to another Rangers game where the other team fills the stadium, puts their feet on your furniture, and beats you

Cameras flashed with each hack Sammy Sosa took Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Unfortunately for those in the crowd of 38,290 who came armed to capture history – most of them Cubs fans – they will have to wait another night for home run No. 600.

Sosa came up empty in four at-bats, and so did the Rangers in a 5-4 loss to Chicago.

All eyes were on Sosa, who struck out three times in his first game against the team for which he hit 545 home runs in 13 memorable seasons.

Sosa did have the crowd roaring on a big swing in the bottom of the eighth, but it produced nothing more than a medium fly ball to left-center field that Alfonso Soriano and Felix Pie almost collided on as Pie made the catch.

The fans streamed out of the ballpark as Sosa finished his night breathing heavily in the dugout on a humid evening.

"I didn't hit it very good," Sosa said of his final swing. "When I hit it, you'll know."

The Sosa drama at least gave the outnumbered Rangers fans something to get excited about. Sosa did come to the plate to a smattering of boos, more than likely from the Cubs fans who once fawned over him.

Take away Sosa, and the Rangers were left to watch starter Robinson Tejeda continue to allow too many runners. Tejeda again failed to last deep into a game, throwing 95 pitches in five innings and allowing 13 baserunners.

Tejeda’s Performance is going badly

Tejeda 14 Starts, just 4 Quality Starts. 4/6, 4/17, 4/22, and 5/3.

Rangers sign two top picks

The Rangers have agreed to terms with RHP Michael Main, the 24th overall pick in the amateur draft earlier this month. Main is in town to undergo his physical and could be introduced as early as tonight. Main is expected to receive a signing bonus of slightly more than $1.2 million.

The club is still talking with RHP Blake Beavan of Irving, who was the 17th overall pick in the draft. It's not likely that Beavan will be in Arizona for the start of the Arizona Rookie League. Beavan is expected to receive about $1.5 million in bonus money, but that "slotted" figure is down from last year because MLB received a little more negotiating leverage in the recent collective bargaining agreement. As such, it's taking a little longer to reach agreement with some of the higher first-round picks.

Remember the Nashville Predators? …It’s a tough thing.

the Predators: adrift in a sea of uncertainty, needing desperately to appeal to fans in Nashville, but instead driving them away because of an ownership vacuum, a vacuum that saw the team trade away the signing rights to top free agents Kimmo Timonen, the team's best player and captain, and emerging two-way forward Scott Hartnell to the Flyers.

That'll have them busting down the doors at the Nashville Arena.

Somewhere, BlackBerry god Jim Balsillie is laughing at the city's expense and, indeed, at the expense of the NHL, which waits while one of its pivotal southern markets twists in the wind.

Not that we're prone to conspiracy theories, but it's hard to imagine this isn't exactly how Balsillie imagined it playing out.

The Canadian megamillionaire made an outrageous offer to buy the Predators (in the neighborhood of $238 million when all the fine print is figured in), knowing the sum would be attractive to Nashville owner Craig Leipold and to the rest of the NHL owners.

But he also had to know the process would drag on, which has allowed him to insist through his spokespeople he would have spent to the cap if he were the Preds' owner right now. But he's not. And the NHL, not wanting to be rushed into granting ownership to a man who clearly wants to uproot the team and move it to Hamilton, Ontario, where ticket packages are being sold by the thousands, is taking its time not wanting to make a mistake.

Given the league's history of inept owners, who can blame it for performing its due diligence? But in taking time to determine whether Balsillie is the right man to join the club, the NHL is helping create the perfect scenario in which the Predators will continue to fail in Nashville and hence speed a move to southern Ontario.

The Predators need to see the average paid attendance reach the 14,000 mark this season or the team's owners, whoever they might be by the end of next season, can pay a penalty and exit the current lease with the city of Nashville (at least that's the theory, although some city officials insist it's not that simple).

As one of the most exciting teams in the NHL last season, the Predators averaged 13,815 paid attendance. This season? What are the chances more fans will come out to see a team that, at least in terms of its profile, will continue to be battered in the coming weeks? Slim? None?

This weekend’s NHL Draft features two Americans at the top

The focal point of this year's draft class is three deep - London Knight Pat Kane, James Van Riemsdyk of the U.S. Under-18 team and Burnaby Jr. A product Kyle Turris.
Barring a surprise, those forwards will be the top three players chosen in Columbus.
Certainly, our annual survey of NHL scouts to obtain TSN's draft rankings reinforces that, with Kane at No. 1, Van Riemsdyk at No. 2 and Turris at No. 3.

The diminutive Kane is the consensus No. 1, after dominating at the world junior championship for Team USA and lighting up the OHL with his offensive wizardry.
Van Riemsdyk, a big power forward with scoring ability, was a solid No. 2 in the eyes of the scouts, but of the more than a dozen scouts surveyed only one gave him the nod at No. 1.

Turris, on the other hand, a consensus No. 3 behind the two Americans, did receive more consideration at No. 1 than Van Riemsdyk, but not nearly enough to unseat Kane. Turris is a dynamic offensive talent with a great shot.

US Open Ratings

Ángel Cabrera’s victory in the United States Open on Sunday attracted an average of 9.5 million viewers, 37 percent more than last year, and the most since Tiger Woods’s victory in 2002. While the final round produced a 6.4 rating, the final half-hour, in which Cabrera watched from the clubhouse as Woods missed a birdie putt to tie the tournament, spiked to a 10.1.

These Guys are Cooler than Me

That’s Improbable

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Did You See This Coming?

Let’s have a contest on most unlikely sports headlines for today. I’ll start.

Rangers GM gets a contract extension

There. You can’t beat that. Why even try?

Rangers owner Tom Hicks says he is interested in extending Jon Daniels' Rangers owner Tom Hicks said Monday that he has initiated talks of a contract extension with his 29-year-old general manager, Jon Daniels. The extension, which could be announced as early as today, comes even though the Rangers are struggling and Daniels' performance has been criticized.

Daniels is signed through the 2008 season and the extension, according to a person close to the team, is for one year.

"It's a conversation that has come up," Hicks said when asked about details. "I can't say anything more. We're having conversations."

Hicks admitted that Daniels' track record is spotty. After Daniels' first season as GM, Hicks said he gave him an "A" for his performance. When asked Monday how he would grade Daniels now, Hicks laughed and referred to the trade that included Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez for Akinori Otsuka and Adam Eaton and said:

"I'd give him an 'F' on the San Diego trade. But that happens in baseball."
Hicks said he wanted to extend Daniels' contract because, "Jon has the high intellect needed to manage this process. I think he's going to be one of the outstanding general managers in baseball, and hopefully it will be for the Rangers. He's highly organized and he's put together a [management] team of great people."

Revo explains why he is in support of it all

So why, you're wondering, am I endorsing Hicks' imminent decision to give Daniels a contract extension? Hey, I keep asking myself that very question, and I suspect what I've come up with is pretty much the same rationale that Hicks is using.

No. 1, for me, is that this organization needs stability. The constant change at the top, which in turn means constant turmoil and shifting of philosophies, has to stop. The Rangers need to get on the same page and stay there.

Yes, that could happen if Hicks went out and, say, hired Gerry Hunsicker or another veteran GM candidate out there, but then the new guy would need to bring in his own people, his own manager and coaches, and it would simply start the process all over again, setting the Rangers back another two or three years.

Sure, it might be worth it if the right guy came in, but there's no guarantee of that either. You may have noticed that Hicks' track record on hires isn't particularly sparkling.

Hicks believes that Daniels is in the process of building a solid management team, but there have been bumps in the road. We've talked a lot about how there has to be a learning curve for manager Ron Washington, but how about for Daniels? He's been going through his own learning curve.

This is one smart cookie, despite the trades and other decisions that have come back to bite him. He's learning on the job. It's the school of hard knocks and J.D. has enough lumps on his head. He looks like he bumped into a hornet's nest, but he's definitely learning.

Now here's what he needs to do: Go hire a veteran, savvy assistant GM like Hunsicker or someone else like him, somebody who's been in the game, worked in the front office and on the field, and is respected throughout baseball. Someone like Sandy Johnson, if he can be pried away from the Mets, which is unlikely.

This is no knock on Thad Levine, another young up-and-comer, or Don Welke or Jay Robertson. Daniels should add to the brain trust, not subtract. But add one more veteran voice and then listen to him carefully. Maybe he should consider asking Tom Grieve to step out of the broadcast booth and back into the front office.

At least as important for Daniels is this next mandate, which I'm sure he already knows. It's time for all of us to stop kidding ourselves. This team is not one or two players away from winning the division, and the stop-gap, add-a-mediocre-free agent-or-two philosophy that Hicks has adopted to keep fans coming through the turnstiles with their fingers crossed just isn't working.

Sure, if Hicks would give Daniels the resources to make a big splash on the free-agent market, the Rangers could get well in a hurry, but that's clearly not going to happen. So forget the patchwork approach and build with young players. That means no more giving away No. 1 draft picks for free agents that aren't going to solve the problem.

That means we all will have to be patient, and that's not easy because we're exasperated with Hicks' make-money-at-all-costs philosophy. But if he's not going to spend for top quality players, then there's no other choice.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Daniels must be able to admit, at least to himself if not publicly, when he's wrong and then correct his mistakes as quickly as possible.

That means not getting stubborn about Ron Washington. An extension should mean that Daniels doesn't have to tie his future to his current manager if Washington proves, by the end of the season, that he was the wrong choice for the job.

Hicks said Monday that the "jury is still out" on Washington's ability to do the job. I'd say the evidence the jury is looking at right now can't be good for the manager. Clearly, he needs a better second half of the season.

Maybe he'll have it. Maybe Washington's boundless enthusiasm and "positivity" will turn the tide in the second half.

If a struggling young GM is finally going to get his first "hit," having the right manager in place is a good place to start... even if it takes more than one at-bat.

Greg Cote reminds us that Jordan and Nicklaus still reign

I'll tell you who's having a heck of a year in professional golf right now, especially for a guy who's 67 and has been running a slow fade pattern for 20 years. Jack Nicklaus is having a heck of a year.

That's because every time Tiger Woods struggles -- and by ''struggling'' we mean finishing second by one stroke in the U.S. Open and winning only $611,000 -- the Golden Bear is gilded that much more, his career's precious mettle taking on value.
Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships once seemed inevitable for the stalking Tiger. Perhaps even an easy target. You would still not bet smart money against Eldrick, who has 12 majors in the fat of his prime at age 31.

Yet, every time Woods stalls in his pursuit -- and with every near-miss like Sunday's at Oakmont, or the Masters before that -- you begin to wonder a little bit more if Woods eventually surpassing Nicklaus is such a given, after all.

The evolving perspective isn't anything to diminish regard for Woods, the greatest golfer of his time without debate. Rather, it should cast deserved new appreciation for the record of Nicklaus.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves, in our hurry to anoint what is, to occasionally hit the refresh button on respect for what was. It's too easy to gradually underappreciate what went on in sports (as most of Nicklaus' major winning did) before ESPN SportsCenter was there to incessantly jackhammer it home, and before Nike and the like were there to canonize The Next Big Thing.

Nicklaus was this round, soft fellow, likely a sex symbol only to his wife as he moved past the beloved Arnold Palmer, moved up and on to a place nobody in his sport had been. Jack did it in the unfortunate garb of the day, those polyester pastels and wide-checked slacks.

He did it back when fitness meant limiting yourself to a few beers, and before technology in equipment began pulling the sport at fast-forward.

What a contrast: Nicklaus in his pudgy prime compared with the Woods we see today, lithe but chiseled, sculpted underneath that tight-fitting blood-red shirt.

Statuesque, exuding aura -- the biggest thing in all of sports, or at least arguably so.

But the bottom line that cuts across the eras hasn't changed. It's still Nicklaus, 18 to 12. In the truest scoreboard anybody has invented for Greatest Golfer Ever, it's still Bear over Tiger in the manicured, emerald jungle.

The title still is Nicklaus', 18 fittingly the ultimate number for golf, and Woods needs to earn that title that cannot be given, no matter how much a hurry we are in to flatter ourselves by thinking the golden age is whatever age that includes us.
It isn't just in golf. We hurry all across the sports landscape.

LeBron James is the latest Next Michael Jordan, right? He named his newborn baby son Bryce Maximus James. Initials: BMJ. Said phonetically: ''Be M.J.'' Anybody think that's a coincidence? (Me neither).

James might be the next Jordan, too, someday. As good, maybe even better. But he
doesn't get to be that now. There are championships and scoring titles between now and then. There are a dozen can-you-believe-it moments that must be fashioned. There is a mystique to be grown above and beyond the statistics.

The kingdoms are earned. The crowns of Jordan, and of Nicklaus.

Always, though, we want what's next more than we want to remember.

Tiger is a Daddy

Tiger Woods is a daddy.

Less than 24 hours after finishing second at the U.S. Open on Father's Day, Woods' wife gave birth to a daughter. Woods announced on his Web site — — that Sam Alexis Woods was born early Monday morning.

"Both Elin and Sam are doing well and resting peacefully," Woods wrote. "We want to thank our doctors and the hospital staff for all their dedicated and hard work. This is truly a special time in our lives and we look forward to introducing Sam to our family and friends over the next few weeks. We thank everyone for their well wishes and continued respect of our privacy."

Woods finished a shot behind Angel Cabrera on Sunday to finish second in a major for the second time this year.

Phil Mickelson's first child was also born the day after he finished second in the U.S. Open in 1999.

Peter King rates the QB’s in the NFL From 1 to 32

• Manning's No. 1 (Surprise!): A year ago, I would have picked Tom Brady over Manning. But fair is fair. Manning beat Brady twice in 2006, won the Super Bowl and put all the can't-win-the-big-one stuff behind him. Now Peyton has the ultimate reward: being picked over Brady in the inaugural MMQB Ratings.

• I'd take Drew Brees over Carson Palmer if I were starting a team right now. Sacrilege! With fewer weapons and a similar comeback from serious injury, Brees has narrowly outplayed Palmer over the past two years, and I think it's a good bet he will again in '07.

• Want my upset specials in the top 10? Try Vince Young and Jon Kitna. Young's the most feared young player in football right now. More feared than Reggie Bush. He ran for nearly as many touchdowns last season (seven) as Mike Vick has rushed for in the last two (eight). And I put Kitna at No. 9 because, quite simply, he is the right trigger man for the Lions' offense. I believe he'll throw for 4,300 yards again.

• It's not that I don't like Donovan McNabb. I do. I just don't trust him to stay healthy. I rank the Eagles' QB 12th because I have no confidence that McNabb, at 30 and having missed a combined 13 games over the last two years, will be upright in December.

• Ben Roethlisberger 17th? What gives? From Year 1 to Year 2 of his career, his completion percentage dropped 3.7 points; from year two to three it fell 3.0 points. His TD-to-interception ratio, plus-eight in 2005, dropped to minus-five last season. He is profoundly inconsistent. I say he's a C-plus player until I see six or eight straight weeks of the same guy.

• Mike Vick's understudy will be better this year than Mike Vick. I've got Matt Schaub 19th and Vick 21st. Schaub's gobbling up Gary Kubiak's system this spring and I think he'll be an efficient, low-error player. I have no idea what Vick will be, or if the feds will let him finish what he starts with the dog-fighting probe progressing to a possible indictment this summer in his home state of Virginia. Vick is still far too inconsistent when throwing the ball ... stunningly so for a man with his talent.

• Eli Manning, who could playing for two jobs this year (his own and Tom Coughlin's), enters the pop charts at number 23. He'll need to be feistier and significantly more accurate, neither of which I am confident will happen, to save his career in the Meadowlands.

• Rex Grossman's got some improving to do. I hadn't seen such a low-performance passer in the Super Bowl since Trent Dilfer with the Ravens seven years ago. Quite frankly, I'm surprised the Bears didn't get some insurance at the position by drafting a youngster. I have Grossman 27th, fairly ridiculous for a first-round pick who started in the Super Bowl.

The Kobe Tapes?

An amateur video, said to have been taken in late May, shows Bryant viciously criticizing the team’s management and the franchise’s best young prospect, the 19-year-old center Andrew Bynum.

The men who shot the video have been peddling it to news media outlets for the last two weeks. A spokesman for the group said they intended to release the video by the end of the week, provided that it raises enough money through Web donations.

The men have remained anonymous — for fear of retribution from Lakers fans, they said — and identify themselves only as “The Kobe Video Guys.”

The footage appears to be legitimate, based on a shorter video posted on The video’s owners played the entire 24-second clip for, which posted an article about it yesterday. The author, Eric Pincus, is a Los Angeles-based writer who has spent considerable time around the Lakers and Bryant. The video, Pincus writes, “leaves no doubt that it is in fact Bryant.”

The video’s owners played the clip over the telephone for a Times reporter. The voice is clearly Bryant’s, speaking in a high, agitated tone.

“It’s not the camera Kobe,” said a spokesman for the amateur videographers, who, like his friends, wanted to remain anonymous. He said the footage was shot in a shopping center parking lot in Newport Coast, Calif., where Bryant lives. The spokesman said his friends, all in their early 20s, were chatting with Bryant when one of them decided to take a photograph and some video for posterity, but that they did not believe that Bryant was aware that they were filming. The Lakers passed on a chance to obtain the Nets’ Jason Kidd in February because they would not part with Bynum.

“Are you kidding me?” Bryant says in the video. He goes on to say, with a number of profanities mixed in, that the Lakers should “ship out” Bynum.

“We’re talking about Jason Kidd,” Bryant says. He also speaks in a derisive tone about General Manager Mitch Kupchak before the video abruptly ends.

The video’s owners claim that a Lakers fan offered to buy the video to keep it private but that they declined. Instead, they intend to charge $1.99 through their Web site.

Trust me. This following story is rocking the NHL. Hartnell and Timonen are two of the more coveted free agents. I assume that the Stars aren’t pleased about not getting to bid on Hartnell, who is the youngest UFA on the market, and would fit nicely on this team.

Regardless, one wonders about the move. Think about it, The Flyers basically get exclusive rights in this trade to talk to free agents a week early. But, do you think they would make the trade without finding out what contracts the players would need? And isn’t that illegal to negotiate with free agents who aren’t your property? But, none of this can be proved, so I congratulate the Flyers for out-smarting the market.

The Flyers make big moves and get two key free agents

Instead of letting two unrestricted free agents from Nashville sign with other clubs on July 1, the Flyers took matters into their own hands yesterday afternoon by trading for defenseman Kimmo Timonen and left winger Scott Hartnell.

Both players and the Flyers agreed to six-year contracts that had not been filed with the league because they had not been completed. Timonen's $37.8 million deal will average $6.3 million against the salary cap, while Hartnell's $25.2 million deal will average $4.2 million.

In exchange, the Predators retrieved the first-round pick in the 2007 draft (the 23d overall) that went to the Flyers last season in the Peter Forsberg deal.

The trade represented a coup for Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Timonen was considered the best free agent among the mobile defensemen who would have been available this summer. At 32, he becomes the club's No. 1 blue liner. His younger brother, Jussi, plays for the Flyers as well.

"He gets the puck out of his own end; he helps out offensively," Holmgren said. "He is one of the better two-way defensemen in the game. He is not a very big man, but he is smart."

Although the contract would take Timonen to age 38, it is front-loaded so he will earn $8 million in each of the first two years, when he will still be in his prime.
"It has been an awesome day for me and my family," said Timonen, a native of Finland. "It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I'm really excited about this opportunity and to have this chance to be part of the Flyers."

Hartnell, 25, will get $5.2 million and $4.7 million in his first two years.
"It was a surprise to me with all the stuff going on right now, especially a couple of weeks before free agency," Hartnell said. ". . . To be in an organization like Philadelphia is going to be an awesome time."

The 6-2, 208-pound Hartnell is a 20-goal scorer who can play either wing. He gives the Flyers more options in their lineup, which already includes the fleet Scotty Upshall, who also came here in the Forsberg deal.

Remember Bob and the Beatles? Looks like this bit is the same with Star Wars

Cuban and the Globetrotters

Robot Chicken – Star Wars Trailer

Darth Vader being a Jerk