Saturday, July 4, 2009

Steve McNair Is Dead

Former Tennessee Titans and Houston Oilers (and Baltimore Ravens) QB Steve McNair was apparently shot to death today in Nashville. The full story is here at the New York Times.

McNair was co-MVP with Peyton Manning in 2003 and almost won the Super Bowl against the Rams in '99. I personally will remember him as an incredibly tough and versatile QB who seemed to always be playing through one injury or another yet still competing at a high level.

NBA Summer League: Bulls Announce Roster

It's that time of year again. NBA hopefuls unite in Vegas for one big chance to impress their GM's - or someone else's GM - enough to sneak onto a regular season roster.

The Bulls' lineup, not suprisingly, includes draft picks James Johnson and Taj Gibson, as well as Bulls vets Anthony Roberson, DeMarcus Nelson, and Linton Johnson.

However, there are a couple of exciting and random names on there for me. First off, Florida's Taurean Green, who was the starting PG during both championship runs and played with both Joakim Noah and Roberson, made the roster. He is joined by James Augustine from Illinois, Luke Zeller from Notre Dame, Julius Hodge from NC State, and a couple of former UCLA standouts in Josh Shipp and Lorenzo Mata-Real. Honestly, I see Green as the best prospect for the roster, aside from maybe Hodge. The Bulls are looking dangerously thin at guard, and Green can handle and shoot the ball extremely well. I always liked him at Florida.

Anyway, here's hoping that NBAtv and Comcast work out their issues in time for me to see some games.

Whatever, That's Not That Cute cat can play power forward and is in Crean's rotation next year. I am not impressed.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sox Finally On Track, Buehrle Rocks Again

After what seemed like an eternity of our South Siders scuffling along at a few games under .500, the Boys in Black have finally woken up. Tonight's 4-1 victory over the surprisingly not awful Kansas City Royals puts the White Sox at 41-38 on the season, trailing Detroit by only two and a half games with 83 left to play.

I guess Ozzie's relentless negativity has finally worked! All we've heard all season from the fearless skipper is 'this team [bleeping] stinks,' 'we can't hit worth a [bleep],' and so on. And deservedly so, because until this current hot streak the Sox were definitely an underachieving, mediocre squad.

Things are starting to change. The Sox have won ten of their last twelve. Gordon Beckham has been a revelation in his first professional season, providing firepower from the hot corner. I just added him to my Yahoo!Fantasy Double Baggers, at the expense of the solid but mundane Captain Paulie. You also can't ignore the resurrection of World Series hero Scott Podsednik, who has seemingly come out of nowhere to make a huge contribution at the top of the order.

Despite missing Carlos Quentin and getting some serious injury time from Jermaine Dye, the Sox bats are heating up at just the right time. After this four gamer in KC, the Pale Hose have crucial series against fellow AL Central denizens Cleveland and Minnesota.

On a personal note, my all-time favorite Sox player, SP Mark Buehrle, has been the definition of an ace and team leader all year long. He went 8.1 innings tonight, scattering six hits and allowing one run to move to 8-2 on the season with an ERA right around 3.00 and a low, low WHIP around 1.10. Sure, he's not a strikeout king, but if he keeps pitching like this, the Sox will have a rock to rally around for the playoff push. I have seen a lot of All-Star lineups that don't include Buehrle, who I believe has been to the midsummer classic four times already at the age of 30.

Granted, the AL is loaded with talent like KC's Zach Grienke, Seattle's Felix Hernandez, Toronto's Roy 'Doc' Halladay, and Detroit's mean starting rotation including Verlander and Edwin Jackson. But none of those guys are leaders, role models, and consistency masters like Buehrle. Even Halladay is a lock for the DL at least once a year.

I think Buehrle is a no-brainer for an All-Star selection. Matt Thornton's name has been bandied around by many, including Ozzie himself, but I think that if the Sox only get one in, it should be Number 56.

Sorry, Cubs fans, but the best team in the Chi and the best starter in the Tristate Area both reside on the South Side. Let's go go go go White Sox.

Ben Gordon is a Detroit Piston

According to various news sources, former Bull G Ben Gordon has just agreed to a $55 million deal with the Detroit Pistons.

I will spent more time on this news later today, but for now I just want to note that a) I'm not too sad about losing Ben, despite his moments of greatness with the Bulls and b) this probably means that Kirk Hinrich is safe.

I'm all in favor of letting Ben go. I would have also, however, been all in favor of, oh, i dunno, actually DRAFTING SOMEONE who could have replaced him? Jack McClinton? Wayne Ellington? Oh well. I guess there is still a lot of preseason to go. Hopefully we find a shooter somewhere.

EDIT: Interestingly, the Pistons have also signed Charlie Villanueva, Gordon's teammate at Connecticut and former Buck/Raptor. College reunion? Hmm.

EDIT DEUCE: NBA free agency is madness! Turkoglu may be headed to Portland. Shaq had his introductory news conference in Cleveland. I can only assume Vince Carter is at Disney World (although he seems like more of an Epcot kind of guy to me).

Anyway, all the up to date news is at ESPN's blog TrueHoop . You know I don't like to promote ESPN's products, but this one is free.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

US Open Recap

People say better late than never and that applies to this post. Sorry for it being late but combining the facts that the US Open ran late anyways, I was bitter about it all day Tuesday (more on this in a minute), Transformers 2 came out Wednesday (Good movie not as good as the first though, it could have been better), and then add in laziness and the weekend it brings us to today which is a week and two days after the US Open has finished.

The US open was, well let’s just say there seemed to be water hazards everywhere. When Saturday came around, which ended up being round 2 of the tournament, the course was so saturated that when it drizzled lakes appeared on the course and mainly the greens. The course did not play like a US Open course except for Monday. Which bring me to why I am bitter.

Normally the greens are fast enough where players have trouble sticking their wedges close. However since the green were soft from the rains all weekend, players were able to hit drivers from the fairway and have them stick on the green which doesn’t sound like a US Open course. Due to the rain the average scores between the two groups of the first two rounds were not close. Any golfer who had the early tee time Thursday and the later tee time Friday played in rain and the opposite group of golfer played in nice weather. Mike Weir was asked by a reporter if he considered himself to be lucky for playing in the nicer weather throughout the first two days and Weir considered himself very lucky. If anyone watched the tournament at all over the weekend they would have noticed that the only players atop of the leader board were players that had the later Thursday early Friday tee times.

This factor leads to Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover being in the final group of the final round. When players began playing Monday they noticed and so did I that Bethpage Black finally was playing like a US Open golf course should. Barnes and Glover struggled as some of golf’s top players played well. Mickelson was playing well and looked to take over until he started playing like Phil again missing key putts on the last few holes. Tiger played well enough that he could have made a run at it but his inability to hit a putt ruined any comeback bid. Barnes played terrible on the final day and finished 2-under respectively, but can’t help but wonder if he would be up on the leader board if the weather was good all weekend.

The same thing goes for this year’s winner Lucas Glover. Before the US Open Glover had won a total of one PGA event, even though the US Open is a USGA event, the fact that Glover hadn’t won much before this makes me think that he wouldn’t have been in contention on the final day. Glover didn’t particularly play well on the final day when the course play like the course should have been playing all weekend as he and along with Barnes came back to the field.

I congratulate Glover on winning this year and not trying to downgrade his major victory but you have to wonder what the US Open would have been like if the course was in a normal state. With that said you still have to go out there and shoot well regardless what the conditions are. Another reason I am bitter just a bit is because I was really pulling for David Duval. He had a great tournament run and is showing flashes of how he use to play (for those who don’t know Duval was ranked number 2 in the world behind Tiger before he started having back problems, they had a great match in the British Open at St. Andrews a few years ago). Also anyone notice how big Duval got? He used to be skinny and look like he was in shape. Overall it was a solid US Open and still fun to watch I look forward to next year’s tournament. Again sorry for this being late and see you next time for the British Open.

Monday, June 29, 2009