Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chargers’ Burnett calls Goodell a ‘liar,’ says commish is ‘full of it’

Kevin Burnett isn't shy about his feelings toward Roger Goodell.

The San Diego Chargers linebacker went off on the NFL commissioner during an interview Thursday with XX Sports Radio in San Diego. Burnett was asked a question about Goodell's letter to the players, which outlined the league's final offer to the NFLPA. He responded with a blistering diatribe against the commissioner:

"[He's] full of it. He's a liar. You're a blatant liar. 'It's our league, it's we, we love the players, we want the league,' but what have you done for the players? What have you done, in all honesty, to improve the game, besides fine guys, besides take money away from guys, besides change a game that you've never played? ... He's done nothing to improve the game."

Though no Goodell apologist myself, to say that he's done nothing for the game is a ridiculous statement that negates all the arguments that come after it. You can disagree with Goodell while still acknowledging that he's helped increase television revenues and ratings. Burnett goes on to make some good points in the interview but his anger clouds everything he says. Nobody listens to the guy ranting on the street corner.

The linebacker goes with the tried and true "you've never played the game, so you don't know how it is" card in his first attack on Goodell. Come on. That's been run into the ground more than LaDainian Tomlinson. What's his next point, "takes one to know one"? If Burnett subscribes to the theory that Goodell doesn't know what the players need because the commish has never played football, then the linebacker has to accept that he doesn't have the first clue how to run a league because he's never put on a suit and walked into a skyscraper on Park Avenue.

Burnett continued to blast Goodell when asked about the league's drug policy:

"If a guy has a drug problem, give him an alternative, don't just say, 'Hey, stop doing drugs. Stamp. Six games.' ... You put them in a drug program. OK, anybody can stick somebody in a nuthouse, but what else are you doing? What programs are you putting in place?"

Couldn't the same question be asked of DeMaurice Smith? What's the role of the player's union if not to protect the players. Why is it Goodell's problem if a player takes drugs? There's a rule in place and if a player breaks it that's nobody's fault but the individual's. If you get caught taking drugs at your place of business, what's your boss going to do: put you in rehab or fire you on the spot?

One player's anger makes not a trend. Still, it's disconcerting that the rhetoric between players and management has turned negative so quickly. Eight days ago there appeared to be realistic hope of a resolution before a lockout. Now, such a prospect seems a long way away.

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Chargers-Burnett-calls-Goodell-a-liar-says-c?urn=nfl-wp316

Joe Mauer Robinson Cano Carl Crawford David Price

C-a-C: Jrue Holiday is heels over head for Carlos Boozer

It's not hard to see why Jrue Holiday would be a fan of Carlos Boozer. It's like that old saying goes: Clear hairline, full chest hairline, can't lose. (NOTE: I've seen zero episodes of "Friday Night Lights.")

Thing is, Jrue, you're being a bit literal here, and it appears to be turning Carlos away from you. Let this be a lesson, bros: Sometimes your approach must be more chill.

Best caption wins some power tumbling tips. Better study up, Jrue. Good luck.

In our last adventure: Hey, Shawn Marion, it is very obvious that you are hiding someth ? OH MY GOSH YOU SHOULD HAVE KEPT HIDING THAT.

Winner, MonsterSquad09: "This is what my mouth would look like if I was a Ninja Turtle action figure."

Runner-up, Give_and_go: Despite shooting a lowly 13.3 percent from being the arc, Shawn Marion convinces his teammates to keep feeding him the ball by nailing Rick Carlisle's voice with the power of ventriloquism.

Second runner-up, Celts Fan: After 13 years in the NBA, Shawn Marion has finally seen video of his jumpshot.

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/C-a-C-Jrue-Holiday-is-heels-over-head-for-Carlo?urn=nba-wp641

Bob Cousy Bob Gibson Bob Mathias Bobby Hull

The Shutdown Corner Interview: Boise State WR Titus Young, Pt. 2

With the ascent of DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles, and with more multi-receiver sets becoming a play-to-play part of the NFL, more and more teams are looking for a smaller speed receiver to function more as a primary weapon as opposed to an ancillary threat. It's possible that no receiver in the 2011 NFL draft class is better set to benefit from his new focus than Boise State's Titus Young.

Averaging over 15 yards per reception throughout his career with the Broncos, Young finished his 44-game stretch at Boise State with 198 receptions for 2,999 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also gained 1,435 yards and scored two touchdowns on 55 kick returns, 76 yards on 11 punt returns, and 341 yards and eight touchdowns on 42 carries.

We were recently able to talk with Titus about everything from his new deal with adidas, to the pre-draft evaluation process, to the things that make Boise State's offense different. This is part�two of the interview; you can read part one here.

Shutdown Corner: You mentioned the different personnel packages Boise State runs ? there were so many, and you'd line up just about anywhere. Do you think you have an advantage coming into the NFL with how varied your offense was? Because you weren't running the little stick routes you would have run more often had you gone to TCU or Florida or somewhere like that.

Titus Young: Well, I feel that the coaches have done a great job preparing us at each position. Being prepared each and every week, and being prepared for the next level. We were always taught how much the details matter in football, and I felt that the real advantage I have is from the coaches preparing me. "Respect All and Fear None (was the motto)" and I feel that it was the preparation that we put in. As players, I think we ran a lot of plays that the pros run, and things like that. It's a great offense, and I'm very happy to be a part of it.

SC: On the other side of that ? the standard rap on any guy with your straight-line speed (at least until you prove them wrong) is the idea that you aren't developed in your route-running. How much are you working on specific route-0running in your training right now, and what's your favorite route to run?

TY: I'd have to go with the fade route ? probably the 9-route, just because it's a route I run a lot, and it's kinda like cheating sometimes, depending on who you're going against and how they're playing you. Just running by a defender, it's a really good feeling.

I'm definitely working on the top end of my routes and getting out my breaks a little faster. For instance, it might take me 2 � steps to get out of my break, and I'm trying to reduce that by one. Just to be a little more efficient; snapping my head around to the quarterback really quick.

SC: Do you feel that you could come in and integrate pretty quickly into a West Coast offense, or any NFL offense where it's more about timing and precision than option routes and going vertical all the time?

TY: Yeah, we did a lot of that (precise route-running) at Boise State; we weren't to tricky about the route-running. We were pretty strict about that, and the coaches wanted you to be exactly where you were supposed to be on those routes. That was about timing and being on the same page as the quarterback.

SC: I have to bring this up, because it annoys me no end ? this elitist attitude that certain people have about your school and a few others ? the "Little Sisters of the Poor" comments and BCS shutouts despite the fact that Boise State has been one of the more impressive programs over the last half-decade. Does it bother you at all? Do you use it as fuel, or do you just ignore it?

TY: I'd say that Coach Pete (Chris Peterson) does a great job of helping us deal with the cards that life throws at us. I really feel that it's out of our control, and we don't really focus on it. We were definitely a great program, and just to play another great team like TCU in the Fiesta Bowl was a blessing. So, I don't feel that there's any hostility as far as people treating us like underdogs ? it is what it is, and we were just grateful for the opportunity to play every Saturday, or Friday, or maybe even a Tuesday or Thursday.

SC: Last question ? what will the NFL team drafting Titus Young get in a player and a person?

TY: First and foremost, a guy that's humble. A guy who will be ready to come in and play his position, and play his role on the team. Whether that's carrying someone's shoulder pads or moving the chains on offense. I'm a good guy to have around the locker room; just someone who will do his job and lead by example. I want to follow the leaders for a couple of years, just find that wide receiver who's been doing it a while and show me how things are done wherever I'm at. I definitely think the GM who drafts me will have a big smile on his face.

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/The-Shutdown-Corner-Interview-Boise-State-WR-Ti?urn=nfl-wp454

Jim Thorpe Joe DiMaggio Joe Louis Joe Montana

Tiger Woods, Jimmy Fallon challenge video-Augusta

So Tiger Woods went on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" to promote the new Tiger Woods video game, and naturally everybody had to take a few cuts. The gentlemen were joined by Amy Poehler, who played the game in astoundingly high heels, the first time that's happened at Augusta since Craig Stadler's ill-advised fashion choice in 1989. Anyway, here's how it shook out:

This wasn't the first time Woods and Fallon squared off; they played in Times Square a couple years back. Last year, with Woods otherwise engaged, Fallon played Ian Poulter and smoked him. Fallon has a great job. 

Oh, and you ought to check out some of the interview with Tiger, in which he's a pretty good sport as Fallon thanks him for providing such good material:

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/golf/blog/golf_experts/post/Tiger-Woods-Jimmy-Fallon-challenge-video-August?urn=golf-334715

Edwin Moses Elgin Baylor Emil Zatopek Eric Heiden

Bracket Big Board: Walker's heroics drops Pitt to No. 2

Bracket Big Board takes into consideration past returns, current performance and expected future gains in determining who should be included among the field of 68 (31 automatic and 37 at-large bids). Essentially, the Bracket Big Board is a cheat sheet designed for amateur bracketologists if they were filling out a Tourney Pick ‘Em '11 entry today (Sign up now!). The Bracket Big Board is updated every Monday until the dance card is officially unveiled March 13.


Forget the samba, tango or whatever the hell Tom Brady was doing, the bracket shuffle is the dance craze of the moment. Conference tournament upsets from coast-to-coast has reconfigured the field several times. And it's only Thursday.

Speeding toward Selection Sunday, here are the latest entrants on the Triple-B:





*For games played through Thursday (AM), March 10
*RPI data provided by Rivals
*Orange teams rising, blue falling

On the Bubble: USC, Memphis, Alabama, VCU, Washingotn St., Penn St.

Dropped Out: USC, Charleston, Montana, North Texas

Conference Breakdown: American East (1), ACC (6), Atlantic Sun (1), Atlantic 10 (3), Big 12 (6), Big East (11), Big Sky (1), Big South (1), Big Ten (6), Big West (1), Colonial (2), Conference USA (1), Horizon (1), Ivy (1), Mid-American (1), Mid-Eastern (1), Missouri Valley (1), Mountain West (3), Northeast (1), Ohio Valley (1), Pac-10 (3), Patriot (1), SEC (5), Southern (1), Southland (1), Summitt (1), Sun Belt (1), SWAC (1), West Coast (2), WAC (1)

--

Image couresty of US Presswire

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/fantasy/blog/roto_arcade/post/Bracket-Big-Board-Walker-s-heroics-drops-Pitt-t?urn=fantasy-332393

Zach Miller Ichiro Suzuki Derek Jeter Miguel Cabrera

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trending Topics: Sometimes hate is a good thing in hockey

Trending Topics is a new column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

You need one of two things to make a regular season matchup really great.

The first are playoff implications, and for obvious reasons. Who wasn't glued to Wednesday's wild finish in Dallas, where Teemu Selanne and the Anaheim Ducks plucked two seemingly impossible points from a team with whom they're scrambling madly for a Western Conference playoff spot?

The second is bloodlust.

For all the blustery pronouncements that violence is bad for the sport and everyone's gonna stop watching boo hoo hoo, let's not all act like we won't tune in to see the Penguins and Islanders in their first game since the whole big dustup in a few weeks.

Likewise, you watched last night's Bruins/Canadiens tilt for sure.

And why? Because more often than not, genuine hatred between two clubs makes a sporting event, whether it's on the first day of the season or the last, enthralling appointment television.

(Coming Up: The "What Recchi Thinks" meme and your pearls of BizNasty.)

In Spain, they even have a term for it. It's commonly used to describe enmity between two football teams, their fans and their cities that is itself a near-living thing. There's a wonderful book about it by a journalist named Phil Ball ? born in Vancouver, incidentally ? called "Morbo."

That, the Spanish say, is the word. It's not just hatred for the sake of generating dollars and headlines, though it does that too. It's the feeling of rage that builds behind the eyes of any fan who sees their rival's logo, and that arises naturally when two combatants that just plain don't like each other clash time and again, never really gaining or losing any ground to the other in an appreciable sense.

But the greatest kind of morbo, the kind that steals away the attention of two entire cities for a whole night, is when the feeling extends beyond the stands and into the dressing rooms.

Teams that don't like each other tend to put on entertaining hockey games, whether the NHL's head of officiating is in the building or not. Not every game has to degenerate into a pastiche of dropped sticks and gloves, and no one has to be carted off on a stretcher. They can just plain not like each other, and that makes the games all the more gripping.

Especially right now, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have what you'd call mucho morbo. This was legitimately the third "Most Important Game of the Season" between the two teams. That was helped in no small way by the comments of both Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic the day before that game ? clearly designed to take some of the heat off Zdeno Chara ? and the hysteria that ensued. Everyone in the hockey world got sucked into it.

Was it right for Recchi to say that? Wasn't he just saying what everyone else thought at the time? Did he get baited into it? That was all discussed ad nauseum until it came time for the game to actually start.

In fact, it got so bad, so quickly, that the Bruins canceled their morning skate ahead of the game and didn't make any players available to the legions of Quebec-based reporters sent down from their home province, slavering for even the slightest quote that could be spun expertly into anti-Montreal or, better yet, pro-hockey violence rhetoric.

Not that the Boston media didn't do its part to build the controversy. After all, it was the media's leading questions that allegedly goaded Recchi and Lucic to the "taking in a movie three days after his concussion" talking point like they were well-coached PR flaks, and its columns that defended Chara's hit as part being nothing out of the ordinary or untoward, wondering too-casually-to-be-casual what all the fuss was even about.

As a result, the city was abuzz all day with Habs/Bruins chatter, most of it angry. People grilled me about it at the office, and they talked about it loudly in the streets.

The way it should be.

And sure, last night's resulting game didn't live up to the antagonism on which the hype built. They don't always do; how could they possibly? Last night's game could have been a beautiful, hard-nosed battle between two teams trying to show the other that they weren't going to deal with each other's crap. Or it could have been dulled by players afraid of incurring the wrath of the league's top disciplinarians ahead of the postseason.

Instead, it was a game the Bruins controlled from the outset and just continually widened with convincing possession and sure special teams.

In any event, we'd still have been hoping that, come the postseason, it would yield at least four more rematches of this wonderful rivalry, that is only rooted deeper with every passing contest.

That's morbo, and hockey, at its very best.

#RecchiThinks

So yes, Recchi stirred up some controversy with what has commonly become known as armchair neurology. Loudly wondering about the severity of another person's concussion on one instance of him going to the movies, and using that as an indicator of just how bad the symptoms could have been, brought his judgment into question for many.

So what else does Recchi think?

@TheRick625: Liz Taylor is a faker.

@Pat_Egan: the Japanese should have put on some swimmies and called it a day.

@jdickie: a buck for a candy bar is ridiculous! When he was a kid, they were only a nickel!

@MissingMalone: there is crying in baseball.

@DontTradeVinny: Clint Malarchuk just cut himself shaving.

@rshappy91: you can wear socks with sandals

@srichardson1980: you should turn down your hip hop music and pull your pants up.

Pearls of Biz-dom

We all know that there isn't a better Twitter account out there than that of Paul Bissonnette. So why not find his best bit of advice on love, life and lappers from the last week?

BizNasty on getting quality minutes:

"Career high in ice time tonight. 19 minutes.�#ThanksToWarmUps"

If you've got something for Trending Topics, holla at Lambert on Twitter or via e-mail. He'll even credit you so you get a thousand followers in one day and you'll become the most popular person on the Internet! You can also visit his blog if you're so inclined.

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Trending-Topics-Sometimes-hate-is-a-good-thing-?urn=nhl-wp1136

Rod Laver Roger Bannister Roger Staubach Rogers Hornsby

Artur Boruc’s Friday Rage List

AHHHHHHHH I AM ARTUR BORUC AND THIS IS A LIST OF THINGS THAT MADE ME ANGRY THIS WEEK:

1. FRIDAY -- WHY DID THAT LITTLE GIRL HAVE TO GO AND RUIN FRIDAYS FOR ME?!?!?!??!?!???!! WHY COULDN'T SHE SING AN AWFUL SONG ABOUT TUESDAYS INSTEAD?!?!?!?!?!?!?! NO ONE CARES IF YOU RUIN TUESDAYS BUT NOW EVERY FRIDAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE I WILL BE PREOCCUPIED WITH THOUGHTS OF FRONT SEATS AND BACK SEATS ALONG WITH THE DESTRUCTIVE NATURE OF CELEBRITY CULTURE ON TODAY'S YOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WHO PRINTED MY NAME ON MY GLOVE??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

2. STEFAN RADU'S HEADBUTT -- AS A CONNOISSEUR OF HEADBUTTS I FIND THIS VERY OFFENSIVE!!!!!!!!! IF YOU'RE GOING TO HEADBUTT SOMEONE YOU DO IT LIKE YOU'RE TRYING TO POP THEIR SKULL LIKE A WET PINATA AND NOT LIKE YOU WANT TO QUICKLY ESKIMO KISS THEIR SIDEBURN!!!!!!!!!!! BUT HEAD VIOLENCE IS WRONG AND IF I EVER CATCH YOU ENGAGING IN IT I WILL SLAM MY CHIN INTO YOUR EAR WITH THE FORCE OF A THOUSAND SPIDER MONKEYS!!!!!!!!!!

3. ADEBAYOR CUTTING HIS HAIR TO FIT IN AT REAL MADRID -- I HAVE TO BE HONEST!!!!!!!!!!!! I ALMOST CUT MY HAIR TO FIT IN BETTER AT FIORENTINA TOO!!!!!!!!! BUT THEN RICCARDO MONTOLIVO TOLD ME THAT CONSTANTLY SCREAMING AT EVERYONE WAS MORE OF A PROBLEM THAN MY HAIR SO I DECIDED NOT TO CUT IT!!!!!!!!!! INSTEAD I YELLED INTO HIS EYE SOCKET UNTIL MY THROAT STARTED TO HURT AND HE WALKED AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH MAKING NEW FRIENDS IS SO DIFFICULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. CORN -- SOMEONE PLAYED A JOKE ON ME THIS WEEK AND SAID THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT HAS STARTED PUTTING CORN IN THE DRINKING WATER!!!!!!!!!!!! I ONLY FOUND OUT IT WASN'T TRUE AFTER I CUT OFF THE WATER FLOW TO MY TOILET!!!!!!!!!!!! YES I SAID TOILET!!!!!!!!! SOMETIMES I GET THIRSTY IN THE BATHROOM AND THE BLUE WATER BECOMES IRRESISTIBLE!!!!!!!!! STOP JUDGING ME BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE MISSING OUT ON!!!!!!!!!!

5. PIQUE KISSING SHAKIRA -- I DON'T CARE IF PIQUE KISSES SHAKIRA BUT IF HE KISSES ANY OTHER FEMALE SINGERS LIKE OH I DON'T KNOW TAYLOR SWIFT I WILL BE FORCED TO MAKE HIM BLEED IN A FASHION THAT COULD BE DESCRIBED AS PROFUSE!!!!!!!!!! THIS WOULD ONLY BE SLIGHTLY MORE THAN HE BLEEDS NOW BUT IT'S HARD TO KISS PEOPLE WHEN BLOOD IS SHOOTING OUT OF YOUR BODY FROM ALL ANGLES!!!!!!!! TRUST ME ON THAT ONE!!!!!!!!!!

6. GAZZETTA'S PRE-MATCH PRANK -- WEARING A SWIM CAP AND SLOW DANCING WITH PRETENDING TO FIGHT YOUR TEAMMATES WITH AN INVISIBLE SWORD AS A PRE-MATCH WARMUP IS NOT THAT WEIRD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DON'T CARE WHAT RICCARDO MONTOLIVO SAYS!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT'S RIGHT RICCARDO I WILL YELL IN YOUR EYES AGAIN SHOULD YOU EVER CHOOSE TO SPEAK TO ME AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND I HOPE YOU DO!!!!!!!!!

7. CHAD OCHOCINCO'S MLS TRIAL -- ONE TIME I CONSIDERED PLAYING AMERICAN FOOTBALL BUT THEY SAID I COULDN'T PLAY WITHOUT PADS AND THERE IS NO SUCH POSITION AS A MURDERBACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO ME SO NOW I REFER TO THE SUPER BOWL EXCLUSIVELY AS THE POOP BASKET!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH PEOPLE SAY THAT SOUNDS FUNNY BUT IT'S INTENDED TO BE A SERIOUS INSULT!!!!!!!!!!!!

8. AEK GOALKEEPER HIT BY A FLARE -- OHMYGOD I AM SO JEALOUS OF THAT GUY!!!!!!!!!! WHY DON'T OPPOSING FANS THROW FLARES AT ME?!??!???!?!?! INSTEAD I HAVE TO THROW FLARES AT MYSELF AND PEOPLE ALWAYS LOOK AT ME LIKE I'M CRAZY WHEN I DO IT!!!!!!!!! ESPECIALLY WHEN I DO IT IN A LIBRARY OR AT A GYNECOLOGIST'S OFFICE!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH I STILL DON'T KNOW WHY THEY WOULDN'T LET ME GET A PAP SMEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

9. MY IDIOT NEIGHBOR DAN WYKOWSKI -- SO MY IDIOT NEIGHBOR DAN WYKOWSKI WENT BACK TO GLASGOW TO TAKE CARE OF SOME ISSUES RELATING TO HIS DEMON SPAWN EX-WIFE AND HE LEFT HIS TWO GOOBER KIDS WITH ME WHILE HE'S GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT'S BEEN EVEN MORE AWFUL THAN I COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED SO FAR!!!!!!!!!!!! ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT THEY ASKED ME TO READ THEM A BEDTIME STORY BUT THE ONLY BOOKS I HAVE ARE ENCYCLOPEDIAS ABOUT BURNS SO I HAD TO MAKE ONE UP!!!!!!!!!!!! I TOLD THEM A STORY ABOUT A POLISH GOALKEEPER NAMED AMADEJ!!!!!!!!!!! WHEN I WAS FINISHED THEY BOTH SAID IT WAS GOOD BUT IT WAS A LOT LIKE THE LITTLE MERMAID!!!!!!!!!! I SAID "THANK YOU I WILL TAKE THAT AS A COMPLIMENT TO MY STORY TELLING ABILITIES!!!!!!!!" BUT I SAID IT IN A WAY SO THEY WOULD KNOW THAT I HOPED THEY WOULD HAVE ENDLESS NIGHTMARES FROM WHICH THEY CAN NEVER AWAKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE NEXT MORNING I MADE PANCAKES FOR THEM!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH I HOPE DAN GETS BACK HERE BEFORE I HAVE TO START READING TO THEM ABOUT ALL THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF RUG BURNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I AM ARTUR BORUC AND THIS HAS BEEN MY RAGE LIST. SEE YOU NEXT WEEK! GOD BLESS!!!!!!

Photo: Getty Images

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/dirty-tackle/post/Artur-Boruc-s-Friday-Rage-List?urn=sow-wp155

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Larry Bird Lawrence Taylor Lou Gehrig

AL West preview: Rangers look to overcome offseason turmoil

Rejoice, rejoice, the baseball season is almost here! In an attempt to quickly get some of you slackers up to speed on the year ahead, Big League Stewards Kevin Kaduk and David Brown look at a division, hold a conversation about the issues therein and then issue some predictions on standings and award-winners. Our quest continues with a look at the four-team American League West.

'Duk: So we meet again, Mr. Brown! We kicked off our annual divisional previews on Wednesday with a look at the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants and the NL West, so it probably only makes sense that we continue with a look at the other Fall Classic team and the rest of the AL West.

When we last met with the Rangers, they were winning their first two playoff series in franchise history, making their first World Series appearance and doing a splendid job of pulling themselves up from the bootstraps of bankruptcy. But the offseason can bring a lot of changes and there were plenty around Arlington. Cliff Lee rejected the proximity of Rangers Ballpark to his home in Arkansas and bolted for Philadelphia. Michael Young and the team had a very public falling out (though he's still on the team and back to half-smiling). CEO Chuck Greenberg resigned his position after only a few months on the job, Josh Hamilton went to the hospital with pneumonia and the Brandon Webb dice roll may have already come up showing snake eyes.

If it weren't for the signing of Adrian Beltre, that cute little Michael Young kid and C.J. Wilson's goodwill trip to South Africa, we'd have no choice but to believe the Rangers were jinxed by that Edgar Renteria homer off Cliff Lee. Can they recapture the magic that gave us our first all-West World Series since the Angels and Giants in '02?

DB: Well, that was quite a Texas-sized introduction, my good 'Duk. Very befitting of a World Series participant. But you know what was missing? The one thing that's been missing from the Rangers all spring: Li'l Ron Washington. Where's young Liam Roybal at? It's not really time for Rangers baseball until Wash's mini doppelganger shows his curiously shaved head in camp.

Short of Li'l Wash's re-appearance, how about the announcement that Neftali Feliz will not be joining the starting rotation and pitch 200 innings, and instead will remain the closer and pitch 70? It's not unexpected news, and not surprisingly it's getting widely panned -- save for a few places*.

I understand how Wash might make this decision. We, as a baseball society, have hysterically persuaded ourselves that the ninth-inning save situation is some kind of holy grail for which only a few men are suited. Never mind that Feliz was brought up as a starter, he has the stuff to be a great starter and the Rangers could use a great starter ? considering Lee is gone, and Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Tommy Hunter are just OK (not to mention one "H" short of a club).

It's a bad decision. But will it cost the Strangers the AL West? They still have a mighty powerful lineup, though Hamilton and Nelson Cruz are a bit, as the dad in "A Christmas Story" says, "fra-gee-lay." And Adrian Beltre is a bad-hop grounder from severed manhood problems. And Ian Kinsler always seems to be on the verge of having something be wrong with him.

And, assuming they would be the apparent heirs, have the Oakland Athletics improved *that* much? With all of these bad omens in Texas, do the Rangers need to have improved that much?

'Duk: Well, if you want to talk about Kinsler always being on the verge of injury, I should point out that he's hanging out on that ledge with almost every member of the A's bullpen. And Eric Chavez, too, though he's no longer with Oakland and that just makes me feel weird. Death, taxes and Eric Chavez on the A's disabled list, you know.

As for the Oakland team that is present and accounted for, I think I'd like it a lot more if your Answer Man friend in the front office hadn't shipped off Carlos Gonzalez for half of a season of Matt Holliday. The pitching staff is great, sure, but where are the runs going to come from? The A's ranked 12th in the AL for total runs last season and hit the second-lowest amount of home runs. Kevin Kouzmanoff led the team with 16!

I'll allow that Billy Beane should never load his team with sluggers ? not in that ballpark, not with that budget ? but your pitching staff can only win you so many games. Forgive me for being skeptical of a team that's counting on Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham, David DeJesus and maybe some midseason magic from young Chris Carter to turn things around at the plate.

DB: At least we're not talking about the Mariners offense in Oakland. Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham are real upgrades, even if they're not sexy. And don't forget a full season of Coco Crisp hitting as he did in the second half of 2010. Maybe. Until he breaks again. The bullpen injuries are troubling, and all of the Fangraphs experts worry about regression to the mean (that's bad) for Trevor Cahill. I'm not sure where Chris Carter is going to play, with first base being blocked by Daric Barton, the Geeks' God of Walks, but it would be nice if he transformed himself into a power-hitting shortstop. There's questions here, and I'm not sure if Billy Beane himself thinks the A's can overtake the Rangers this season, but I like the cut of this team's collective jib. I think this race will go down to the wire ? maybe AL Central-style, to the 163rd game.

'Duk: A photo finish, you say? Can I push the Angels into that frame? I know it's a bit fashionable to forget about them after they had the gall to not win the division for just one season, but I don't get where some don't even want to include them in the conversation. Vernon Wells' big contract hasn't anchored this team to the cellar yet!

There's understandably some concern here with Kendrys Morales finding his forgotten 'S', but not his health. They're also a little long in the tooth at some positions and that's never a good thing when you're talking about the possibility of a tight pennant race.

But here's the things I like about the Halos: They arguably have the best 1-2 punch with Dan Haren and Jared Weaver, the presence of Joel Pineiro and Ervin Santana solidifies the rotation and only Scott Kazmir qualifies as a real question mark. In other areas, the bullpen should be improved with the addition of Scott Downs (so long as he stays healthy), the acquisition of Wells allows Bobby Abreu to come into the dugout to DH and there's always the promise of uber-prospect Mike Trout mashing his way out of the minors and into the big league lineup. This isn't the type of squad that the Angels are used to dominating the division with, but it's the type of team that can win the smallest grouping of teams in the league.

DB: Funny thing about being in the smallest division ? you're also that much closer to the bottom. Well, the Mariners ought to offer some protection for the Angels in that respect. But it's not hard to see why there's diminished optimism for the Halos in most parts; they had the worst offseason of anyone. The Yankees' disappointment with Cliff Lee has nothing on the Halos, who had to trade their way into overpaying for a ballplayer (you mentioned Vernon) because no free agents of note would take Arte Moreno's money outright. The outfield should be good at catching baseballs (though the talk of it being the "best ever," in anything, is silliness). Brandon Wood doesn't appear to be working out for the umpteenth season. They get below-average production from the middle of the infield and catcher (why it was so necessary to ditch Mike Napoli when they were taking so much of Wells' salary, I don't know) and you mentioned Morales' slow comeback from his celebration injury. I think you're sugar-coating the relief problems, too. I don't like how the team is put together. I'd pick them to finish last, if not for the Triple-A roster in the Pacific Northwest.

'Duk: That's it, I'm telling Howie Kendrick! But let's talk about those aforementioned Seattle Mariners first. It's hard to believe everyone was drinking so much teal Kool-Aid (mmm, teal Kool-Aid) last winter when we now sit here and look at what was actually poured. Yick!

I mean, it's gotten so bad that all the fans have to look forward to are: 1) A great start by Felix Hernandez that he still has a great chance of losing every fifth day, 2) A denial by Jack Zduriencik that he'll trade King Felix the other four days, 3) the chance to see raw rookie pitcher Michael Pineda develop into something special, 4) the major league debut of Dustin Ackley whenever he gets called up, and 5) the team giving away actual garbage as the fans head home for the night. Am I missing anything?

DB: You CALL Lt. Kendrick and you tell him to take a pitch once in a while. Moving along. The Mariners are really at a crossroads right now. No more Ken Griffey. No more broadcaster Dave Niehaus. The aforementioned talent issues. We were really deluded about the team's condition. At least Ichiro is still around, otherwise they'd be out of icons. I mean, what's Dustin Ackley gonna do when he comes up? Even if he's the next Julio Cruz, he's still not going to be able to carry the M's like Junior or A-Rod. He's not one of THOSE kinds of prospects. Yeah, Brendan Ryan is poised to have a comeback season at shortstop. But he's Brendan RYAN. And IF Chone Figgins gets on base more, which he should, who is going to knock him in? Even if Milton Bradley finds himself in the good graces of society, look at his diminished capacity in the batter's box. Justin Smoak could grow into a middle-of-the-order guy, but he also might have the upside of Alvin Davis. Which would be ... OK.� Franklin Gutierrez, an enjoyable ballplayer to watch on defense, has the worst stomach in the majors. They seriously have four or five Triple-A bats in this lineup. And, as you said, King Felix only pitches every fifth day or so. Man, it's a dreadful outlook.

* * *

Predicted order of finish:
'Duk: 1. Rangers, 2. Angels, 3. A's, 4. Mariners
DB: 1. A's, 2. Rangers, 3. Angels, 4. Mariners

AL West Cy Young
'Duk: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
DB: Felix Hernandez, Mariners

AL West MVP
'Duk: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
DB: Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers

AL West ROY
'Duk: Michael Pineda, Mariners
DB: Mark Trumbo, Angels

Previously: NL West

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/AL-West-preview-Rangers-look-to-overcome-offsea?urn=mlb-wp1321

Nadia Comaneci Nolan Ryan O Oscar Robertson

Two goals and a stanky leg for Charlie Davies in first MLS match

A year and half after the horrific car accident that killed a fellow passenger and left Charlie Davies with life-threatening injuries, the 24-year-old DC United striker on loan from Sochaux completed his comeback with not one but two goals. The first he sealed with a cat daddy dance and the second with his trademark stanky leg celebration.

Davies, who had to have his face peeled off so doctors could repair multiple fractures, didn't enter DC's season opener against the Columbus Crew until the 52nd minute. Exactly 10 minutes later, his teammates let him take a penalty kick that he assuredly slotted into the back of the net. And 15 minutes after that, he got past a fallen defender and weaved his way around the charging goalkeeper for his second goal of the night and his second goal since the accident, that just so happened to have occurred in the very same city.

After the game, which DC won 3-1, the Columbus Dispatch's Shawn Mitchell reports that Davies was understandably happy about the evening, saying, "The best night of my career? No. The best night of my life." This after Davies admitted to the New York Times' Jer� Longman that he doubted himself when he first joined DC United in the preseason. "Sometimes I didn't want the ball because I was afraid I would lose it."

That trepidation, however, did not show as he converted what would be a decisive penalty kick in his new team's first match of the season. So now all Davies has to do is lead the U.S. to its first World Cup win and Hollywood will finally be able to get a screenwriter to work on the most inspirational sports movie since "Ladybugs."

Charlie's tearful and endearing post-match interview right this way...

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/dirty-tackle/post/Two-goals-and-a-stanky-leg-for-Charlie-Davies-in?urn=sow-wp174

Carl Lewis Chris Evert Christy Mathewson Cy Young

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Court Report: Week 23 Dashboard, Part I

Each Sunday, the Dashboard centralizes all the crucial information fantasy managers need to dominate their weekly head-to-head matchups or climb the standings in their rotisserie leagues. The Dashboard covers schedule analysis, status updates, adds, drops, watch list candidates, and deep league targets for managers of all skill levels. Quite simply, it is a comprehensive weekly cheat sheet that is packed with so much information that we've devoted two writers to producing it.

Schedule Breakdown —�essential schedule information for the upcoming week and beyond

Week 23, total games.
4 games: BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, HOU, IND, MIA, MIL, NJN, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, SAC, SAS, WAS
3 games: ATL, DEN, DET, GSW, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIN, NOR, NYK, TOR, UTA

Week 23,�quality games.
2 games: DAL, GSW, OKC
1 game: BOS, CHI CLE, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NJN, PHI, PHO, SAC, SAS, TOR

Note: Monday is a close call, with six games on tap instead of the five-or-less-game cutoff that is usually applied. Go ahead and give the Bucks, 76ers, Celtics, Bulls, and Spurs players an extra boost here for having games on Monday AND Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday.

Weeks 23-24, total games.
8 games: BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, MIL, NJN, OKC, PHO, SAC, WAS
7 games:� DAL, DEN, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, NYK, ORL, PHI, POR, SAS, TOR
6 games: ATL, GSW, MEM, MIN, NOR, UTA

Weeks 23-24,�quality games.
2 games: CHI, DAL, GSW, MIN, OKC, PHO
1 game: ATL, CLE, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, NJN, NOR, PHI, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA, WAS
0 games: BOS, CHA, DEN, DET, IND, NYK, ORL, SAS

Weeks 23-24,�ease rankings.
Strong: SAC (0.30), OKC (0.26), CHI (0.24), MEM (0.24), NJN (0.24), NYK (0.23), DAL (0.23), MIA (0.20)
Above average: MIL (0.13), DEN (0.11)
Average: CHA (0.06), NOR (0.02), LAL (0.00), WAS (-0.04), LAC (-0.06), CLE (-0.08), PHO (-0.08), ORL (-0.10), MIN (-0.10)
Below average: SAS (-0.17), TOR (-0.15), POR (-0.13), UTA (-0.11), HOU (-0.11)
Weak: IND (-0.29), DET (-0.28), PHI (-0.27), GSW (-0.24), BOS (-0.21), ATL (-0.20)

Also see: Basketball Monster's�Schedule Grid and Busersports'�Schedule Grid.

Spark Plugs players with a set of especially favorable matchups this week who make for excellent short-term plays

Your Heat — @CLE, @WAS, @MIN, @NJN
Categorical breakdown: points (1st), threes (2nd), rebounds (1st), assists (2nd), steals (2nd), blocks (5th), FG% (2nd)
Players of interest: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh

Your Bulls — PHI, @MIN, @DET, TOR
Categorical breakdown: points (3rd), rebounds (8th), assists (3rd), steals (t-3rd), FG% (1st)
Players of interest: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer

Your Kings — PHO, @DEN, DEN, UTA
Categorical breakdown: points (2nd), threes (4th), assists (7th), steals (8th), blocks (4th)
Players of interest: Marcus Thornton, Francisco Garcia, DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans

Your Grizzlies — GSW, @NOR, MIN
Categorical breakdown: points (4th), threes (3rd), rebounds (5th), assists (1st), steals (1st)
Players of interest: Zach Randolph, Mike Conley

Other extreme values…
Bucks blocks (1st) — Andrew Bogut, Larry Sanders
Wizards threes (1st) — Nick Young
Rockets turnovers (2nd) — Kevin Martin, Kyle Lowry
Knicks turnovers (1st) — Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups

Short Circuitsplayers with a set of unfavorable matchups who have a good chance of struggling this week

Your Raptors — MIL, @CHI, ORL
Categorical breakdown: points (30th), threes (28th), rebounds (29th), assists (29th), steals (29th), FG% (29th)
Players of interest: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan

Your Pistons — @IND, CHI, @BOS
Categorical breakdown: points (29th), threes (29th), rebounds (28th), assists (30th), steals (23rd), FG% (30th)
Players of interest: Greg Monroe

Your T'Wolves — CHI, MIA, @MEM
Categorical breakdown: points (27th), rebounds (30th), assists (27th), steals (24th), FG% (28th)
Players of interest: Kevin Love, Luke Ridnour, Michael Beasley

Your Hawks — ORL, BOS, @HOU
Categorical breakdown: points (26th), threes (27th), rebounds (24th), assists (28th), steals (22nd), FG% (27th)
Players of interest: Joe Johnson

Your Pacers — BOS, DET, MIL, @NOR
Categorical breakdown: points (28th), threes (25th), rebounds (26th), assists (22nd), steals (30th), turnovers (t-24th)
Players of interest: Danny Granger, Darren Collison, Brandon Rush

Your 76ers — @CHI, HOU, NJN, @MIL
Categorical breakdown: points (25th), threes (30th), assists (24th), steals (28th), FG% (26th)
Players of interest: Jodie Meeks, Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday, Louis Williams

Your Blazers — @SAS, @NOR, OKC, DAL
Categorical breakdown: points (24th), threes (21st), rebounds (27th), assists (23rd), steals (27th), blocks (t-26th)
Players of interest: Gerald Wallace

Other extreme values…
Thunder turnovers (28th) — Russell Westbrook
Rockets threes (26th) — Kevin Martin, Kyle Lowry, Chase Budinger
Clippers blocks (30th) — Chris Kaman, DeAndre Jordan
Hornets assists (26th) / turnovers (30th) — Chris Paul

Additional notes:�A reminder that the schedule analysis in the previous two sections is based on an eight-category format, with FT% excluded because how well a player shoots from the line is not dependent on the team that he faces. The players of interest who are listed for each team are ones who have a significant amount of value vested in the categories listed in the breakdown. These players are the ones that have the most to gain/lose depending on their weekly slate of opponents.

Status Updates - quick hitters from around the league

? Andrea Bargnani missed Saturday's game after aggravating a bone spur in his ankle. Consider him day-to-day.

? Andray Blatche remains sidelined with a sprained right shoulder. He's progressing, and is said to be targeting Wednesday's game against Miami as a potential return date, but that's just pure speculation on his behalf. It wouldn't be surprising if he ended up missing another week.

? Manu Ginobili left Sunday's game with a left quad contusion. It shouldn't cost him any time, but he and teammate Tony Parker are prime candidates to get additional rest down the stretch, especially with George Hill and Gary Neal playing well.

? Devin Harris will likely return sometime next week from a strained right hamstring injury, but it probably won't be Monday against Washington. Coach Tyrone Corbin said he didn't want to bring Harris back and task him with keeping up with the speedy John Wall while he's recovering from a hammy pull. A return on Friday against the Lakers seems much more likely.

? Andrei Kirilenko is on crutches after bruising the peroneal nerve in his left knee during Wednesday's road loss to Oklahoma City. He has missed Utah's last two games and has not been able to sit behind the team's bench because of the nature of his treatment. No word on a return date, but it'd be surprising to see him suit up for Monday's game against the Wizards.

? Kevin Love missed his third straight game on Sunday with a strained left groin. He worked out before the game and has been practicing with the team, but was held out in the end. The Wolves have three days off until their next game on Wednesday against the Bulls, which should be enough time for Love to make his return to the lineup.

? Troy Murphy is still in a walking boot after spraining his ankle in Thursday's practice, and is not expected to travel with the team on its upcoming four-game road trip. There is no timeline on his return, and even he admits he's not initially optimistic.

? Jameer Nelson is doubtful to play Monday against the Knicks with a sprained left knee. Gilbert Arenas is the obvious choice to start in his place.

? Coach Doc Rivers is targeting an April 5 return date for Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq has been sidelined since Feb. 1 with various right foot injuries, including an Achilles injury, and has been in an immobilizing boot. Rivers also said Jermaine O'Neal will rejoin the team on Monday in Indiana then engage in his first team basketball activities during Wednesday's practice.

? Rajon Rondo missed Sunday's game with a sore right pinky finger, an injury he re-aggregated in Friday's loss to the Bobcats. It's not considered to be serious, and coach Doc Rivers said Rondo would've played if it were a playoff game. Still, with the Celtics playing a slumping Pacers squad on Monday and three full days off until Thursday's showdown at San Antonio, there's a good shot Rondo misses Monday's game too.

? Deron Williams plans to play again and is aiming to return to the court for Wednesday's game against the Knicks. The plan is to give it one more shot and hope he doesn't re-aggravate it. Williams has missed the last five games with a strained right wrist.

Follow Justin on Twitter @jphanned

-----
photo via Getty Images

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/fantasy/blog/roto_arcade/post/Court-Report-Week-23-Dashboard-Part-I?urn=fantasy-wp287

Tiger Woods Ty Cobb Walter Johnson Walter Payton

Trending Topics: Sometimes hate is a good thing in hockey

Trending Topics is a new column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

You need one of two things to make a regular season matchup really great.

The first are playoff implications, and for obvious reasons. Who wasn't glued to Wednesday's wild finish in Dallas, where Teemu Selanne and the Anaheim Ducks plucked two seemingly impossible points from a team with whom they're scrambling madly for a Western Conference playoff spot?

The second is bloodlust.

For all the blustery pronouncements that violence is bad for the sport and everyone's gonna stop watching boo hoo hoo, let's not all act like we won't tune in to see the Penguins and Islanders in their first game since the whole big dustup in a few weeks.

Likewise, you watched last night's Bruins/Canadiens tilt for sure.

And why? Because more often than not, genuine hatred between two clubs makes a sporting event, whether it's on the first day of the season or the last, enthralling appointment television.

(Coming Up: The "What Recchi Thinks" meme and your pearls of BizNasty.)

In Spain, they even have a term for it. It's commonly used to describe enmity between two football teams, their fans and their cities that is itself a near-living thing. There's a wonderful book about it by a journalist named Phil Ball ? born in Vancouver, incidentally ? called "Morbo."

That, the Spanish say, is the word. It's not just hatred for the sake of generating dollars and headlines, though it does that too. It's the feeling of rage that builds behind the eyes of any fan who sees their rival's logo, and that arises naturally when two combatants that just plain don't like each other clash time and again, never really gaining or losing any ground to the other in an appreciable sense.

But the greatest kind of morbo, the kind that steals away the attention of two entire cities for a whole night, is when the feeling extends beyond the stands and into the dressing rooms.

Teams that don't like each other tend to put on entertaining hockey games, whether the NHL's head of officiating is in the building or not. Not every game has to degenerate into a pastiche of dropped sticks and gloves, and no one has to be carted off on a stretcher. They can just plain not like each other, and that makes the games all the more gripping.

Especially right now, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have what you'd call mucho morbo. This was legitimately the third "Most Important Game of the Season" between the two teams. That was helped in no small way by the comments of both Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic the day before that game ? clearly designed to take some of the heat off Zdeno Chara ? and the hysteria that ensued. Everyone in the hockey world got sucked into it.

Was it right for Recchi to say that? Wasn't he just saying what everyone else thought at the time? Did he get baited into it? That was all discussed ad nauseum until it came time for the game to actually start.

In fact, it got so bad, so quickly, that the Bruins canceled their morning skate ahead of the game and didn't make any players available to the legions of Quebec-based reporters sent down from their home province, slavering for even the slightest quote that could be spun expertly into anti-Montreal or, better yet, pro-hockey violence rhetoric.

Not that the Boston media didn't do its part to build the controversy. After all, it was the media's leading questions that allegedly goaded Recchi and Lucic to the "taking in a movie three days after his concussion" talking point like they were well-coached PR flaks, and its columns that defended Chara's hit as part being nothing out of the ordinary or untoward, wondering too-casually-to-be-casual what all the fuss was even about.

As a result, the city was abuzz all day with Habs/Bruins chatter, most of it angry. People grilled me about it at the office, and they talked about it loudly in the streets.

The way it should be.

And sure, last night's resulting game didn't live up to the antagonism on which the hype built. They don't always do; how could they possibly? Last night's game could have been a beautiful, hard-nosed battle between two teams trying to show the other that they weren't going to deal with each other's crap. Or it could have been dulled by players afraid of incurring the wrath of the league's top disciplinarians ahead of the postseason.

Instead, it was a game the Bruins controlled from the outset and just continually widened with convincing possession and sure special teams.

In any event, we'd still have been hoping that, come the postseason, it would yield at least four more rematches of this wonderful rivalry, that is only rooted deeper with every passing contest.

That's morbo, and hockey, at its very best.

#RecchiThinks

So yes, Recchi stirred up some controversy with what has commonly become known as armchair neurology. Loudly wondering about the severity of another person's concussion on one instance of him going to the movies, and using that as an indicator of just how bad the symptoms could have been, brought his judgment into question for many.

So what else does Recchi think?

@TheRick625: Liz Taylor is a faker.

@Pat_Egan: the Japanese should have put on some swimmies and called it a day.

@jdickie: a buck for a candy bar is ridiculous! When he was a kid, they were only a nickel!

@MissingMalone: there is crying in baseball.

@DontTradeVinny: Clint Malarchuk just cut himself shaving.

@rshappy91: you can wear socks with sandals

@srichardson1980: you should turn down your hip hop music and pull your pants up.

Pearls of Biz-dom

We all know that there isn't a better Twitter account out there than that of Paul Bissonnette. So why not find his best bit of advice on love, life and lappers from the last week?

BizNasty on getting quality minutes:

"Career high in ice time tonight. 19 minutes.�#ThanksToWarmUps"

If you've got something for Trending Topics, holla at Lambert on Twitter or via e-mail. He'll even credit you so you get a thousand followers in one day and you'll become the most popular person on the Internet! You can also visit his blog if you're so inclined.

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Trending-Topics-Sometimes-hate-is-a-good-thing-?urn=nhl-wp1136

Ryan Braun Andre Ethier Corey Hart Yadier Molina

Morecraft and McDonald start UFN 24 broadcast with wins

Christian Morecraft and Michael McDonald started off the UFC's Ultimate Fight Night 24 in Seattle with wins on Saturday night.

McDonald dominated his entire bout before ending in the second round with a submission. After clinching against the fence for what seemed forever, McCorkle finally accomplished a takedown. He gave up his leg which nearly resulted in a lock. Though McCorkle avoided the submission, he lost out on the dominant position and ate some elbows from Morecraft.

In the second, Morecraft started strong by landing a series of punches with McCorkle's back against the fence.� He followed that with a takedown and ground and pound. Morecraft then made the mistake of kneeing McCorkle in the crotch, which gave McCorkle time to recover.� That time didn't help, though, as McCorkle dove for a way-too-high shot. Morecraft grabbed McCorkle's neck, and squeezed tight for a standing guillotine. McCorkle passed out, giving Morecraft the win at 4:10 in the second round.

This was a good rebound for Morecraft, who lost his UFC debut to Stefan Struve. His record is now 7-1, while McCorkle's falls to 10-2. This is his second straight loss in the Octagon.

McDonald, Figueroa impress

After the heavyweights were in the cage, the UFC went to the other end of the spectrum with bantamweights. Michael McDonald and Edwin Figueroa then put on a show with a thrilling decision that ended with McDonald taking the decision, 30-27 on all three judges' cards.

The two started out furiously, throwing every strike a person could dream of. McDonald got the better of Figueroa, a Muay Thai specialist, landing several more strikes. He also showed good defense, ducking below what could have been a knockout kick from Figueroa. McDonald finished the round with one more big shot, dazing Figueroa as he headed back to his corner.

To start the second, Figueroa tried to land a headkick, but McDonald used it for a takedown. Figueroa rolled through for a kneebar, but wasn't able to finish and allowed McDonald to take his back. McDonald sunk in a rear naked choke, but then when that didn't work, he switched to an armbar then a triangle choke. After that, he slapped on a triangle choke/armbar combo. Somehow, Figueroa fought through every submission attempt, then took McDonald's back in the last 1o seconds of the round.

McDonald looked markedly slower by the beginning of the third round. Figueroa found his rhythm, landing punches and elbows until McDonald took him down. Figueroa reversed position, then moved to side control. After standing over McDonald and avoiding upkicks, Figueroa let the fight return to standing. McDonald brought it right back down with a takedown, and landed elbows as the final horn sounded.

Though Figueroa was the loser in the bout, he definitely won fans with his never-say-die attitude and the fact that he took the fight on just six days notice. His record falls to 7-1.

McDonald, who at 20 years old is the youngest fighter on the UFC roster, is now 12-1. Both fighters were making their UFC debuts, and definitely made an impression.

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/blog/cagewriter/post/Morecraft-and-McDonald-start-UFN-24-broadcast-wi?urn=mma-wp635

Brian Waters Carl Nicks Champ Bailey Chris Johnson

Mike Stanton makes spring debut in spectacular fashion

Spring training is designed to give pitchers enough time to prepare for the 162-game grind. If it were up to most major league hitters, it would last no longer than a week. If it were up to Florida Marlins sophomore slugger Mike Stanton, it would probably last one game. And even that might be excessive.

The future All-Star made his long-awaited Grapefruit League debut on Thursday against Clay Buchholz and the Boston Red Sox ?�his arrival delayed due to a strained right quadriceps suffered on Feb. 27 against the University of Miami ?�and the results ranged from encouraging to extraordinary.

Encouraging that he played his six-plus innings without suffering any setbacks.

Extraordinary that he finished the afternoon going 3 for 4 with two home runs ?�both off Buchholz ?�and seven RBIs. The first home run described by the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer as�a tape-measure line-drive shot that traveled an estimated 500 feet.

As I've said before, I'm not one to put a lot of stock in spring training results one way or the other, but it's not like Stanton was working out the kinks against�spring training roster filler or a�group of construction workers. Clay Buchholz is an established pitcher having a pretty solid spring and Stanton sent him back to Fort Myers looking for answers.

I know I was impressed, but the immediate results were not unexpected by Stanton himself.

From MLB.com:

"You've got to expect the most," Stanton said of his spring debut. "If you're going to surprise yourself too often, you don't have enough confidence in yourself. It was definitely cool to be able to do that in my first game back."

The only thing more astonishing than Stanton's debut performance is how much it changed the Marlins' statistical leaderboard. After just four at-bats, Stanton is tied for the spring lead in home runs, and tied for third in RBIs. In FOUR at-bats. The other regulars have logged anywhere from 45 to 60 at-bats.

If you bumped Stanton down a couple rounds on your fantasy cheat sheets because of injury concern, feel free to move him up about five. Forget the quad, forget any other concern you may have, he's going to have an All-Star caliber season hitting out of Florida's cleanup spot, and he will be a major reason why we're still talking about the Marlins in late September.

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Mike-Stanton-makes-spring-debut-in-spectacular-f?urn=mlb-wp1368

Shaun Phillips Steven Jackson Strong safety Tony Gonzalez

Buckeyes teach Wolverines a lesson

John Beilein showed competitiveness, but their inexperience proved to the their undoing.

Michigan showed signs of a bright future, but in the Big Ten semis its youth proved its undoing against Ohio State.


Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/sports/rss/Gerry+Ahern/SIG=11qhi3a31/*http%3A//rivals.yahoo.com/ncaab/news?slug=ga-umosu031211

Justin Morneau Dustin Pedroia Ian Kinsler Ty Wigginton

Monday, March 28, 2011

Puck Headlines: NHL’s most injured teams; NCAA hockey primers

Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

? Katie Couric leaps on the bandwagon takes in the New York Rangers' loss to the Senators last night. In a related story, the Islanders are actively courting Deborah Norville to wear a hat.

? Mirtle's always-fantastic "man-games lost to injury" list for the 2010-11 season reveals six of the top 10 likely out of the playoffs while nine of the bottom 10 are right in the thick of the race (with a nod that the Thrashers obviously aren't out yet). Stunning that the Carolina Hurricanes, often hit hard by injuries, have a huge lead for least-injured team. [Globe & Mail]

? "Sean Avery is now being paid by two teams to NOT play for them." [Razor]

? You know, when you take a step back and think about it, twins winning the MVP in back-to-back seasons is pretty [expletive] insane. [Vancouver Sun]

? How do you plan on celebrating Marc-Andre Fleury Stops Every Puck He Sees Day? [Pensburgh]

? Mike Comrie will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. You will know him by the trail of his paparazzi. [Pensblog]

? No Zach Parise against the Penguins for the New Jersey Devils, but he could return against the New York Islanders next week. [Fire & Ice]

? In celebration of Earth Hour, in which we're all supposed to shut off our lights for an hour on Saturday, a look at some of the greatest power outages in NHL arenas. The fact that the Devils are involved multiple times has to do with their special teams. We're convinced. [HOTH]

? Blackhawks Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman says the process has begun in hopes of locking up rookie goaltender Corey Crawford before he becomes a restricted free agent following this season. [CSN Chicago]

? Pascal Leclaire: "I'm really confident I'll find a place to play in the NHL." Good luck, kid. Break a leg. Oh, wait … [QMI]

? An NHL fan's guide to the NCAA Div. I college hockey tournament, breaking it down to where each team's prospects play. Congrats, Florida Panthers fans: You have something to pay attention to in late March. [College Hockey Inc.]

? Mile High Hockey's guide to the tournament, with a focus on the Colorado teams. [MHH]

? University of Denver, Colorado College and Air Force are all in the NCAA hockey tournament; could we see three Colorado schools in the Frozen Four? [Denver Post]

? Can the University of New Hampshire pull an upset of Miami? [Seacoast Online]

? In praise of NCAA hockey's many NHL products. [RLD]

? The Times-Union is doing a live blog of the first day of the tournament in Bridgeport. [TU]

? Said BC Coach Jerry York: "The field of 16 excites me. I think we have new participants in the field, which is generating interest throughout the four regional sites." []

? Evander Kane takes his little sisters to the set of "The Vampire Diaries." [Sun]

? There's enough curiosity in Sidney Crosby's recovery from his concussion to warrant these video releases from the Pittsburgh Penguins, but we're punching out if they start adding Reebok special effects.

? Humbling number for Washington Capitals fans: ".419 - Combined winning percentage for Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov against teams that would qualify for the playoffs if the season ended today." [Japers Rink]

? The Colorado Avalanche sign Tyson Barrie and Calvin Pickard. [Avs]

? The Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday signed forward Gustav Nyquist� to an amateur tryout.� The 21-year-old Nyquist, the Detroit Red Wings' third choice (121st overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, was recently named a Hobey Baker Award top-10 finalist for the second straight year following his junior season at the University of Maine. [AHL]

? Eric Staal declares that he's never felt better after an injury scare for the Carolina Hurricanes. With some help, the Canes can close to within a point of the eighth seed. [Canes Now]

? Lindy Ruff on the Buffalo Sabres' playoff push: "We're in a situation where we don't have to look behind us." [Sabres Edge]

? Interesting bit comparing Michael Grabner and Thomas Vanek, and how one's past can inform the other. [Die By The Blade]

? If you'd like to relive last night's Boston Bruins victory … OK, curb-stomping of the Canadiens, Stanley Cup of Chowder has a great recap. [SCoC]

? Hockey Joe sits down with Paul Bissonnette and Daddy BizNasty. [Pro Hockey Talk]

? Finally, one word, young man: Royalties. Pay them. (Kidding … this is adorable.)

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Puck-Headlines-NHL-s-most-injured-teams-NCAA-h?urn=nhl-wp1121

Jim Thorpe Joe DiMaggio Joe Louis Joe Montana