Monday, July 25, 2005

hatcher cut loose... is madano far behind?

The Red Wings waived 33 year old defenseman Derian Hatcher today, deciding his $5M/yr contract was too much in the new world of salary caps in the NHL. Is long-time Dallas Stars captain headed back to his home town? The answer to that may be dependent on whether the Stars are able to resign current captain Mike Madano. The Stars say they want him to retire in Dallas and Madano says he wants to be here, but there's no deal yet. Madano's age (35) probably wont help as he's looking for a long term deal to end his career, but Mike's been the heart and soul of this team and still is one of the best puck handlers and skaters in the NHL. Here's hoping that Mike and Derian are skating on the same line again this year.

Sunday, July 31st is the MLB trade deadline. There's been talk between the Rangers and Mets regarding Alfonso Soriano but the word on the street is that the Rangers are asking for too much.

A partial list of movies I never get tired of (in no particular order)...
Top Gun
Tin Cup
Field of Dreams
The Bodyguard
Varsity Blues
The Pelican Brief
The Natural
A Few Good Men
Bull Durham
Remember the Titans

Sunday, July 24, 2005

the fat lady has done sung

I predicted even before the all-star break that the Rangers wouldn't be making the playoffs and its pretty apparent now. At the end of today, still not yet to the trade deadline, the Rangers will be either 10 or 11 games behind the Angels in the West and although they're only 4 games out in the wild card race, they are now a game below .500 and fading fast. The starting pitching is gone, Kenny is about to serve his suspension and the hitting isnt pulling its weight. Buck and John Hart had their chance to upgrade the pitching, in the off-season, in spring training and during the first 4 months of the season. The division was there for the taking but the Rangers did nothing. This team is now at best a .500 ball club and nothing more. The holes are plenty and too many to try to fix now. They've made their bed, now they must lie in it.

Thank goodness football is about to start, training camp in Oxnard begins this week. And hockey is back! Go stars!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

the triplets

Yesterday the Jerry Jones announced that "the triplets", Aikman, Irvin and Smith, will be inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor. I'll be attending the game with my bro and a couple of friends, its a Monday night game against the Redskins (that should be a sure win there). There was some good debate today on ESPN Radio about who was the best QB/WR/RB combination thoughout a career, not just for one season which would probably have been the '99 Rams combination of Warner/Faulk/Bruce (or even Holt). The Cowboy triplets were among the final 4 trios that included the Steelers Bradshaw/Harris/Swan, the 49ers Montana/Craig/Rice and the Bills Kelly/Thomas/Reed. There seems to be consensus that the Cowboys 3 and 49ers 3 were the top two. I would have to put Troy, Michael and Emmitt as the best based on 3 Superbowls in 4 years (the one they didn't win they very easily cold have), with Emmitt head and shoulders above Craig and Aikman one of the most accurate passers ever, especially in the playoffs. Jerry Rice is obviously the best WR to ever play the game, but the contribution that Michael Irvin provided, what he brought to the game, makes the gap between him and Rice much closer than most people originally think. All in all, I give the top spot to "the triplets".

Monday, July 18, 2005

time to buy or sell?

The Rangers on Sunday blew another game, a game in which they led most of the way. The ever-choking bullpen gave up a run in four consecutive innings allowing the A's to tie it up in the ninth and eventually winning the game on a 14th inning walk-off home run by Bobby Keilty. There were some articles and much talk today as to whether the Rangers will be trading to add talent before the trade deadline or trading away the upper tier players they have for prospects for the future. The Rangers are now 7 games back of the Angels and only 1/2 a game ahead of the A's for second in the West. They are, however, just 2 games back in the race for the wild card in the AL. The Rangers have 14 consecutive games coming up with 3 against the Yankees and 4 each against Oakland and Baltimore. Anything less than 10 wins and the Rangers might as well hang it up. They need help in the bullpen, in a bad way. They cant hold a lead and Cordero no longer is a sure thing to close games out. The starting pitching also is a need with only Rogers, Rodriguez and Young consistently providing good outings. Then there's the weak hitting outfield and DH position. If you're John Hart, where do you start?

Monday, July 11, 2005

blogging the homer run derby

7:15 Blogging the home run contest at Comerica Park in Detroit live here and to start off, some of the rules: you get 10 outs in the first round to hit as many homers as you can, every swing is either a homer or an out. After 9 outs you get the Century 21 "gold" ball, with every gold ball hit out Century 21 will donate $21,000 to the Easter Seal foundation. Its 346' to left, 422' in center and 330' to right, the shortest fence.

7:23 Bobby Abreu of Phily representing Venezuala starts things off... Home Run on the first pitch! Two dingers in 4 swings, not bad. Joe Morgan comments he "got good wood on that one". Several deep homers now with 8 and only 4 outs. He's now at 10 with 6 outs. That one's back, back, back and gone as Boomer says. Bobby hits one 517', the second longest in the HR competition. THe crouds chanting "Bobby, Bobby". He takes a break as Pugde Rodriguez brings him a towel and some gatorade. Bobby now has 16 and breaks Miguel Tejada's record of 15 in a round. Abreu now has 20 with 8 outs! Number 21 goes out as he breaks his bat on that one. 24 with 9 outs now and we're to the "gold" century 21 ball and finally after 17 minutes and 24 home runs, Abreu is done.

7:43 Jason Bay of the Pirates, representing Canada, is next. Bay, batting right handed, isnt expected to do a whole lot. Three quick outs for Jason. Still no dingers yet and 5 outs. 9 outs and still nothing, gold ball time. And zippo, he's done and out of the competition.

7:49 Carlos Lee is up next representing Panama. Lee's with the Brewers and bats from the right side. He doesn't pull a Jason and hits one out with just one out. 5 homers and 5 outs now and the last one was deep! 8 and 8 now for Carlos. Gold ball time now for Lee and there's the first gold ball homer. Now they're plugging the gold ball, you can purchase your own, just go to .... yeah anyways, 3 "gold" homers later, Lee finishes with 11 dingers.

8:02 Next we have Hee-Seop Choi (pronounced He-Sop) with the Dodgers and representing Korea. Before that Reggie Jackson joins Chris Berman and Joe Morgan for some commentary. Now Choi, batting left-handed, looks to try to get on the board. 3 outs now but Choi gets him one. Hee-Seop goes on a little run and ends up with 5 after flying out on the gold ball. A respectable outing for Choi.

8:12 We're halfway through a slow moving first round now. Hometown favorite Pudge Rodriguez is up now representing Puerto Rico. The Tiger bats right-handed and blasts his second swing into the left field stands. He's at 4 and 4 now and will need 6 to get ahead of Choi. There's a deep shot to give him 6 with 7 outs. Gold ball now and he sends that one "all the way to East Lansing" Boomer says.

8:23 Mark Tiexiera from the Rangers is now up. He's a switch hitter, but bats from the left side here. He represents the U.S. and starts off with 5 outs. Tex on the board now. 2 homers now and he's already at the gold ball... and he's done with just 2.

8:32 Now we've got 'Big Poppy' David Ortiz from the Red Sox up. Representing the Dominican Republic, he bats from the left side. Ortiz' first swing is an absolute bomb to right. Why again did the Twins ever let this guy go??? Hmm 4 outs in a row now for Big Poppy. There we go, another deep one to right. 6 dingers now with 6 outs. Poppy up to 8 now and will move into the second round. Number 12 is into the upper deck! 14 and 9, its gold ball time. 3 gold ball dingers and Ortiz finishes with 17, second most ever in a round behind Abreu.

8:50 Sam Ryan is interviewing Johnny Damon and asking about his teamate Ortiz. Ahh the Curt Schilling comments he made are brought up. Quite a change of tune for Damon after the foot in mouth incident.

8:54 Andruw Jones of the Braves is up last with Pudge on the bubble with 7. Batting from the right side represending Curacoa, he has 3 quick outs. Ruh-Roh, 5 outs now, will hometown fav. Pudge make it or not. 3 in a row now and Jones has found his groove it seems. 2 more outs and its 3 with 7 outs. 4 with 8 and its going to be close here. Gold ball time and Jones needs 3 more to tie. Andruw adds 1 more and is done and Pudge advances to the second round with Abreu, Lee and Ortiz.

9:05 Bud Selig visits and discusses the Kenny Rogers incident and his playing in the All-Star game while his suspension is being appealed. He's very diplomatic about it and they move on. Does anyone like this guy?

9:08 Abreu up first and starts off with another homer, just where he left off. He's a little late with his swing now it seems. He's up to 2 with just 3 outs. Lets see if he can duplicate his first round performance. 4 with 7 outs now, he's going to need to step it up some. Gold ball time and 2 more for Bobby to finish with 6. Will it be enough to move on?

9:19 Carlos Lee now and he's off to a slow start. He's got 3 but 7 outs though two of them were deep shots to center. 4 with 9 outs now and that probably wont be enough to advance. An out with the gold ball and he's done.

9:29 Pudge is back up and 7 will put him in the finals. He's at 2 but has 6 outs. A fan catches one that is just short but they dont give it to him. There goes one opposite field, the first all night and he's up to 4 with 7 outs. He has 6 now and with 9 outs. Gold ball time... and 2 more! gives him the lead and puts him in the final in fromt of his home town fans!

9:42 Big Poppy up again and he needs 7 to move on to the finals. Ortiz is off to a slow start, hitting a few to center that weren't quite deep enough. Hes got 3 with 7 outs now. Down to the gold ball now and its deep but still playable and he's out. Its Pudge vs Abreu in the final.

9:55 Time for the finals.. Abreu will go first. He has 24 in the first round but dropped all the way to only 6 in the second round to squeak into the finals. The fans are obviously rooting for Pudge. First two swings are outs. 1 homer and 4 outs now. Up to 4 now with 5 outs, he's finding his groove with 3 in a row. Now he's up to 8 with 7 outs, Pudge will have his work cut out for him. He's been up for a long time now, up to 11 homers with 9 outs. And he's done with 11, 41 for the night.

10:14 Pudge needs 11 to tie and 12 to win, more than he hit in the previous rounds, but he'll have the home town fans behind him. He starts off with 2 straight, both deep to left. 2 with 3 outs now, he needs to step it up. 5 outs in a row and Pudge needs a serious hot streak. Deep to center and just short for out 6. Only 4 and 9 outs, its gold ball time and Pudge needs 7 more. One gold ball to deep left, way out. Done with 5 and Bobby Abreu wins the home run derby tonight at Comerica. Good try Pudge, the fans were there for ya.

farewell to a legend

An interesting article on Jack Nicklaus... without debate, the best golfer there has ever been...

A major send-off for Nicklaus By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer, July 9, 2005

Of all the moments that have defined the incomparable career of Jack Nicklaus, perhaps the most shocking display of emotion showed just how much he loves St. Andrews.

His idol, Bobby Jones, always said that a great career was not complete without winning the British Open at the home of golf, and Nicklaus was desperate to capture the claret jug on the Old Course. He had a one-shot lead over Doug Sanders on the final hole of the 1970 playoff when Nicklaus smashed his drive over the 18th green.

Sanders played a bump-and-run to 5 feet, and Nicklaus chipped down to 8 feet. He crouched over the birdie putt, frozen until he was ready, then watched the ball curl in the right side of the cup.

Nicklaus is famous for raising his left hand and the putter when he makes a crucial putt.

This one was much bigger. He thrust his arm skyward and leapt with such force that his putter went airborne, causing Sanders to duck.

``I had never shown emotion like that before, and it was totally out of character,'' Nicklaus later said. ``But then, I had never before won the oldest golf championship in the world at the cradle and home of the game.''

It wasn't the only time he lost control on the Old Course.

Leading by two shots playing the 18th hole in 1978, tears began to fill his eyes as he walked toward the green and saw thousands of fans lining the fairways and crammed into balconies. His caddie, Jimmy Dickinson, had to jab him in the ribs to remind him there was still some golf left before he held the claret jug.

Nick Price remembers that moment. He was 21, playing in his second British Open, and had finished in a tie for 39th about two hours earlier. Price stuck around, wanting to watch Nicklaus finish.

``When he walked off the 18th green, there was a tear in his eye,'' Price said. ``I thought, 'Why is he crying? Why is he so emotional?' Only after a period of 15 years playing in the Open championship do you realize how special St. Andrews is. I understand very well now why he was so emotional about it.''

The most poignant moment awaits.

Sometime next week -- possibly on Friday, preferably on Sunday -- Nicklaus will cross the Swilcan Bridge down the 18th fairway at St. Andrews and wave goodbye to the greatest championship career golf has ever seen. He has said the 134th British Open will be his final appearance at a major.

Nicklaus can think of no better place to end his career.

``The reception every time I've ever played in Scotland, the people have always accepted me as I went around,'' Nicklaus said. ``It's been fun, a great experience for me every time I've gone there. I thought that was my place to want to finish up playing golf.''

Nicklaus calls himself a sentimental fool and expects emotions he has never felt before. He was in St. Andrews two months ago and walked onto the first tee and over toward the 18th green, breathing the wind off St. Andrews Bay and seeing the hotels and shops lining the tiny street next to the fairway.

Even then, his eyes welled up with tears.

``It just sort of gets me every time I go there,'' Nicklaus said. ``Just because what it has meant to the game of golf, and what it has meant to me.''

Only four other men have won all four professional majors -- the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. Nicklaus is the only one to have captured them all at least three times. It is difficult to conceive of another player dominating the four Grand Slam events the way Nicklaus did.

``He always showed up with the intent of winning,'' Woods said.

This will be his 164th start in a major, including 146 in a row from the 1962 Masters through the 1998 U.S. Open. And while his 18 majors define his career, even more staggering is that Nicklaus was a runner-up 19 times.

``He made it special, the way he played the game,'' Scott Hoch said. ``If he can't compete, then it's not worth playing for him. Jack is all about competition, and that's the way a warrior should be.''

Nicklaus is eligible to play the Masters as long as he likes, although he said in April he would no longer compete at Augusta National. Those close to Nicklaus do not expect him to change his mind next year.

As a former British Open champion, he is eligible to play until he is 65. The Royal & Ancient Golf Club recognized this was his last year of eligibility, so it changed the rotation to make St. Andrews the host course in 2005, one year ahead of schedule. But there are no tributes planned to mark Nicklaus' farewell.

``Jack is not one for that sort of thing,'' R&A executive Peter Dawson said earlier this year. ``He'd rather be treated like a competitor than a monument.''

In some ways, it is fitting that Nicklaus go out at the British Open.

He has won the Masters (six times), the U.S. Open (four times) and the PGA Championship (five times) as often as any other player, while 10 players have won more than his three British Open titles.

Even so, his performance at golf's oldest championship reveals a record that is unrivaled.

Not only was he a seven-time runner-up, Nicklaus went through a 15-year stretch in which he never finished worse than a tie for sixth in the British Open.

``For some reason, I went to the British Open and every year I felt like I was going to win; or if I didn't win, I was going to be right there. And I was,'' Nicklaus said. ``I just like the way they played the game.''

Nicklaus stopped playing a full schedule in 2000, the last time he played all four majors. He has made the cut only twice on the PGA Tour since then, both times at the Memorial.

But he has high hopes for St. Andrews. Even though Nicklaus introduced power to the modern game, the Old Course is a links course that doesn't demand strength to keep up with kids half his age.

``Realistically, I could do fairly well at St. Andrews,'' Nicklaus said. ``That's what I'd like to do.''

What motivates him to play well at St. Andrews, and why he wants to end his major championship career at the home of golf, are the people that come to watch him play. They appreciate good golf shots, not just big stars, in Scotland.

Nicklaus felt that warmth when he first came over to Scotland for the Walker Cup in 1959, and at Royal Troon in 1962 for his first British Open, and especially in 1964 for his first trip to St. Andrews, where he wound up on the windy side of the draw and finished second to the late Tony Lema.

``They understand their golf,'' he said. ``They appreciate something that's being done, and done well. Maybe as time went on, they embraced me a little bit more, simply because I guess I was more successful.''

Price can only hope he can be standing on the 18th again when Nicklaus finishes the tournament.

``This is the passing of an era,'' Price said. ``I don't think anyone's ever done as much for the British Open as Jack Nicklaus. Arnold Palmer took it to a level and made an awareness around the world, but Jack really took it further and made it a phenomenal championship.''

Nicklaus never has been one for a ceremonial farewell, although he understands the relationship with Scottish fans is different. They embraced him as a 24-year-old with a crew cut and indomitable will, and they will embrace him as an aging champion in his final major.

``They've always accepted me as a golfer, and that's what I wanted to be accepted as,'' Nicklaus said. ``Hopefully, that's what I was.''

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Kenny, Michelle and Lance

Kenny Rogers took the mound tonight in his first home start since his cameraman hating spree. Rogers received loud cheers when he was announced during pregame and again when he took the mound for the first pitch. Rogers earned his 10th win, settling down nicely after giving up 3 early runs in the top of the first. Rogers went 7 strong innings, handing a 12-3 lead over to the bullpen for the last two innings. One would think that would be a pretty safe lead but not when we're talking about the Rangers bullpen... no lead is safe with them. In the ninth, after giving up 6 runs, Buck had to finally bring in Cordero to close the game out, earning a save in the process.

So Kenny publically apologized this week for his camera rampage the week before. Afterward, many people doubt the sincerity of his apology though before he did the same people wondered why he hadn't shown any remorse. It was damned if you do, damned if you dont. Kenny made an error in judgement, a big error albiet, but no one is unfallable. He recognizes the magnitude of his actions, he apologized for them, time to move on. MLB has suspended Rogers for 20 games as punishment, so why does Larry Rodriguez (the main cameraman Rogers went after) think he's entitled somehow to received money from the incident in which he was obviously NOT hurt. Another example of "opportunistic" america, trying to sue for something that you dont deserve. He'll probably end up getting a settlement, but I'd love to be on the jury if it gets to that.

Michelle Wie missed the cut in the PGA John Deere Classic... tear... go play with the girls and when you finally win there maybe you can try to play with the boys again. Better yet, play against girls your age, learn how to win and handle the pressure that come with it and then give the LPGA a shot.

Lance Armstrong was left to defend on his own against his attackers today. His teamates were unable to keep up the rapid pace on the climb today, leaving Lance to fend for himself, which he was able to do adequately even on a day he wasnt at his best. He still has a comfortable minute plus advantage for the overall lead.

Monday, July 4, 2005


The Rangers gave up another lead today as the bullpen gave up a few runs in the 8th but the offense carried the pitching today scoring a couple runs in the bottom of the ninth for a nice 4th of July win. The Rangers pick up a game in the standing with the Angels loss to the Twins. The Rangers have won five of their last six, including Monday night's 6-5 win against the Red Sox that provided a triumphant ending to what has been quite an interesting first half of the season. Despite leaving 11 men on base (nothing new there) and twice leaving the bases loaded, the Rangers came back from a 5-3, eighth-inning deficit thanks to some clutch hitting by a pair of All-Stars and a potential reserve. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th with one out, Kevin Mench, the object of Showalter's late All-Star campaigning, lined Keith Foulke's first pitch down the left-field line, sending the season-high crowd of 50,492 at The Ballpark into a pre-fireworks frenzie. It marked only the second time in 35 chances that the Rangers have won when trailing after eight innings, and shocker of all shockers, they didn't even hit a home run.

Saturday, July 2, 2005

lance a lot

The Tour de France began today with Lance Armstrong picking up where he left off last year. Lance finished the first stage of the tour, an 11.8 mile time trial, in second place, a miniscule 2 seconds behind fellow American David Zabriskie who had the benifit of a strong wind at his back, going out early in the morning. Starting last and a minute behind (each of the riders start a minute apart) one of his major rivals, Jan Ullrich, Lance caught Jan and shot passed him about 8 miles into the course. This even after his right foot slipped off the pedal just a few yards into the race, setting him back a few seconds. Lance surely could have won the stage had he wanted to though he appeared to let up some after blowing by Ullrich. Armstrong is now more than a minute ahead and in some cases 2-3 minutes ahead of his major competition after just the first stage. He's not ready to ride off into retirement just yet... one more yellow jersey please.