Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MLB All Star Softball Team

Okay so my buddy and I were sitting watching Baseball Tonight after one of our softball games one night and we started to talk about who we would have on our All-MLB Slow Pitch Softball team. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, we have a lot of time on our hands. But it was a very compelling topic. So here's my ultimate MLB Softball team:

Pitcher: Carlos Zambrano
OK so obviously this position doesn't matter much. Anybody can pitch in slow pitch softball as long as you know how to throw strikes and maintain control. But most importantly, Zambrano can hit! He is one of the better hitting pitchers in the league and can field the ball up the middle.

Catcher: Joe Mauer
Mauer is the obvious choice here. I don't think you could get him out. He would be able to place the ball wherever he wanted. He could hit the long ball, bust the gap, paint either line, or hit it up the middle, whatever you want. Also, would be perfect to move over the lead off hitter on base. Not to mention he could field any ball coming at him from the OF with a runner barreling down third with no gear on...

1st Base: Albert Pujols
The ultimate 4 hitter. Pujols could use up your HR limit by himself. But he wouldn't need to do that. He would never hit for a single either. Also, his fantastic glove work would do wonders in the field.

2nd Base: Dustin Pedroia
Phenomenal fielder. 2nd Base is an overlooked position in SP softball, you need balance everywhere in order to be successful. He would be one hell of a 2nd lead off hitter batting last in the 11 slot.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes
Reyes is the ultimate slow-pitch lead-off hitter. Speed like none other and a great hitter. Also has a great OBP. SS is a key position as well in softball and he is one of the top SS out there. Can field in the hole or up the middle.

3rd Base: David Wright
Wright is one of the best fielders out there and would be a wall at the hot corner with piss rockets coming at him. Also, his bat would add a little spice to it. He can hit all fields and mix in some power and contact as well. Solid 7 hitter.

Center Field: Carl Crawford
Yeah, I know he plays LF but it's the OF it doesn't matter. He could catch any ball hit around him. The lefty would be the perfect piece in the batting order to mix up some of the righties.

Left Field: Alfonso Soriano
Another great glove to the OF but more importantly a versatile bat to the line up. Good mix of power, contact and speed. Can hit either power alley, go deep, or hit for a single if needed. He can bat anywhere in the order at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, you name it...

Right Field: Matt Holliday
Another power bat to the lineup. Good fielder as well, would be very dangerous at the five spot.

Rover: Hanley Ramirez
You wouldn't be able to hit any grounders or anything up the middle on this infield with Hanley, Reyes, and Pedroia fielding everything! I hate to say it but you would probably have to put Ramirez at the 6 spot in the order. Mauer is too good to pass up at the 2 spot and Reyes is your ultimate lead off. Also, too much power with Manny and Pujols batting in the 3 and 4 spots.

Extra Hitter: Manny Ramirez
Very, Very solid 3 hitter. Him batting in front of Pujols would be deadly, only thing is how would he be able to share the HR limit with Albert?

Batting Order:

1. Jose Reyes- SS
2. Joe Mauer- C
3. Manny Ramirez- EH
4. Albert Pujols- 1B
5. Matt Holliday- RF
6. Hanley Ramirez- RO
7. David Wright- 3B
8. Carl Crawford- CF
9. Alfonso Soriano- LF
10. Carlos Zambrano- P
11. Dustin Pedroia- 2B

There you have it! Long Haul Trucking or Resmondo ain't got nothing on this softball team!

Who would you have on your MLB All Star Slow Pitch team?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why the Lakers Won't Beat the Nuggets

When this series started I really viewed the Nuggets as the underdog. With the series now 2-2 I have realized that it is the other way around. The Lakers will not beat the Nuggets because they lack the killer-instinct needed to win a championship (or get there for that matter).
We all know what Kobe can do. I myself consider him the best closer in the game. I do believe that Lebron James as surpassed him as being the best player in the league. However, Kobe is the best closer in the league. But when you get deep enough into the playoffs you need more than just a superstar player. The Nuggets have all the pieces and the Lakers don't. The Lakers have good pieces but they haven't been playing well on a consistant basis this playoffs. Whereas it seems to me that the Nuggets have great pieces that are really playing well together. Don't get me wrong the Lakers are a good team but they lack that killer-instinct playoff intensity. We've seen this show multiple times in the playoffs. The Lakers come out and win a big game and then respond by getting blown out the next. They are just way too inconsistent right now and you can't play like that when you get deep in to the playoffs.

The Nuggets are playing much better as a team than the Lakers are. The Nuggets are playing great and are getting tons of much needed help from their bench. If they continue to play like that they will beat the Lakers and advance to the NBA finals. It very well may take 7 games but they will do it. Their team chemistry and bench play will be the difference. Even the best closer in the game can't close out a Western Conference finals all on his own.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where Will Amazing Happen This Year?

I just cannot get enough of the NBA "Amazing" Commercials. There's a few different versions of them and I love them all. Everytime I watch them they send chills down my spine. Here's some of my favorites for you to enjoy so you don't have to look them up yourself. Enjoy...

The Redskins Nickname Must Go

Last Friday (the 15th), in a judicial decision that hinged on a legal technicality, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld the right of the local pro football team to keep its unconscionable nickname, "The Redskins". Coincidentally, the day before (Thursday May 14th) the North Dakota Board of Higher Education voted unanimously to do away with the University of North Dakota's "Fighting Sioux" nickname by October 1, 2009 deeming it both "hostile and abusive". Anybody see a problem with this? Because I do.

Obviously this is a little bit of an apples to oranges comparison being that the Redskins are in the NFL and that much of the resistance to UND's Fighting Sioux nickname came from the NCAA and specific tribes.

Now, as a University of North Dakota student I am obviously very biased in my views on the Sioux nickname. And I will admit that i was a bit crushed when I heard the nickname was going to be eliminated completely. However, I am going to put my feelings for that aside here. My complaint with the Redskins nickname is a completely separate entity in my mind.

In clinging to the most racially offensive moniker held by a major U.S. professional sports team ever the franchise continues to offend some Native Americans and boggle my mind. How can more people not be offended? Imagine trying to explain “Redskins” to a foreign visitor or someone from the future? Especially when people get so worked up over nicknames like "Fighting Illini", "Fighting Sioux", "the Warriors", and "the Savages". This is a nickname that affects and should anger not just one or two tribes in a small state. This is a nickname that puts down ALL Native Americans in the US. Every time I say or hear "Redskins" I am baffled as to why there isn't more widespread outrage.

You can spare me the speech on how the name is actually a tribute to Native Americans, or how other allegedly similar groups (think Vikings) achieve mascot status. You can skip the talk about the importance of the team name to its fans or the tradition that would be compromised were it to be changed. Why? Because I've lived it! Granted I'm not a Native American but I go to a university with a very rich athletic tradition that is losing a nickname that it has served honorably.

Like I said, I fully comprehend the differences in the situation. The Redskins are a professional football team and a privately owned organization. They also do not fall under the jurisdiction of the NCAA. Despite these differences the nickname is unbelievably racist and offensive to an entire race of people. What if an NFL team "honored" our country's African-American population by being named the Brownskins? I've thought it for a long time and given the ironic timing of these court rulings I've got to put this out there: The Redskins nickname flat out needs to go.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let Vick Be

They're finally letting Mike Vick out of prison this week, but he still won't be a free man. After he's let out of prison he will be highly monitored by federal officials and will be placed on house arrest for two months...

Is this not insane? Come on. Give the man a break! He's long over payed his dues. The man has gone through all of this long enough. He's been in jail what? Two years? This was also Vick's first arrest as an NFL player.

There are an average of 43 arrests per year among NFL players, and about 21 of those are violent crimes, crimes against other human beings. A lot of these guys serve a few games suspension and/or community service and are back on the field a few weeks later.

Mike Vick, a guy who has been scrutinized and slammed by the media and animal right groups (PETA) repeatedly, deserves forgiveness. In my opinion, dog fighting is not that serious of a crime. (Yeah I said it.) There are far worse crimes in this country that you can commit.

OJ Simpson walked away a free man after one of the worst court hearings ever. Ray Lewis was charged with murder nine years ago. Look at him now. Pac Man Jones was given unlimited chances after all of the garbage he pulled. I honestly feel Vick would've been better off hurting another human being over a dog. That's just how society is now days. And look at Vick now, two years of jail and all the crap he had to go with and now he will be highly monitored after he steps out of jail, when is enough enough?

He has paid his due to society and lost the richest contract in NFL history. It's not even about dog fighting anymore, it's how much we can screw Mike Vick and how broke we can make him. It's sickening how people are these days. There are a lot worse things he could have done, but people are ripping him a part and will no longer look at him the same because of it.

Yeah, he did deserve some punishment obviously, a fine, a few game suspension and a month of jail time would have been ideal. Him being kicked out of the league was unnecessary and stupid. I hope he is back playing in the league, the sport that made his early career. Mike Vick deserves to be back in the NFL!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Order Restored to MNF

It is official. MNF just got a hole lot more football-relevant and tolerable for me next year. Tony Kornheiser has been replaced on MNF by former Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden! The network said Monday that Gruden will be in the booth with Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski when the show starts its 40th season this fall.

What a relief! I like Tony Kornheiser alright for PTI but he was absolutely horrible on MNF. ESPN tried for something different with him and it just didn't work out. He just tried way too hard to be funny, in my opinion, and lacked the football knowledge that I crave when I tune into watch a football game on a Monday night.

When asked about his dismissal Kornheiser responded, "If I could handpick a replacement of a football guy, I would cast a net and drag in Jon Gruden. He is the two things you most want — smart and funny — and has the two things I don't — good hair and a tan." Vintage Kornheiser.

All in all I'm not writing this to bash Kornheiser like many will. It is all personal taste, I'm sure some people loved him on MNF. I was not one of those people. I'm writing this because I am extremely excited to see a new face in Jon Gruden in the MNF booth. It's got me even more excited for Packers vs. Vikings on October 5th!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Just make a decision already!

The nations top two high school basketball prospects John Wall and Lance Stephenson have yet to make a decision on their college careers. The late signing period runs from April 15-May 20, so they now have 5 days to make a decision. Time is ticking boys!

This really irks me, these two fine young men have been recruited vastly for the past few years. Why is it taking this long to make a decision? With all due respect to these kids, but they need to just make a decision already!

All of this has been drug on long enough. You just can't keep coaches, recruiters and colleges on their toes this long. I'm sorry that it comes down to this, but I have no other reason than to believe that these guys just want to be in the spotlight. More specifically John Wall.

Wall goes on interview after interview telling multiple sides to his decision. One week he liked Kentucky, then Duke, the next was UNC, believe it or not he was interested in North Carolina Central at one point. And now all of a sudden he loves Miami... Come on Mr. Wall, enough with the games. Just make a decision already.

This is so ridiculous, I just cannot take it anymore and the NCAA is partially to blame. I do not think these kids need a little more than a month to decide. A lot of colleges give you until mid-April to accept admission for regular students. Why should it be any different for the athletes?

The NCAA should reduce it to one week. April 15-22 should be the late signing period for college basketball. This won't keep the coaches waiting so they can get on with their lives and job instead of lurking around waiting and waiting.

I know that this is a tough decision and some refer to it as a business decision. But from the looks of it, it seems more like monkey business. John Wall is just taking advantage of the system and dragging out this process to remain in the spotlight as long as he can. Because once he picks a school, the media will only make a big deal about it for a day or two and the spotlight will end.

I hope the NCAA looks in to this because it's something that should be fixed and kids shouldn't exasperate the decision.