Sports Opinion & Analysis

Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Doth A Sleeping Giant Finally Wake?

In College on August 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Before everyone in Tempe gets all excited about Arizona State football’s blowout last night, let’s remember the win came against the lowly Lumberjacks from Northern Arizona.

For those of you who have never heard of Northern Arizona, the game was similar to what a 7th grade flag-football team playing the New England Patriots would look like. The score was 63-to-6 and ASU hasn’t lost to NAU since 1938. The game was never going to have much significance as an actual “game” from the get go.

“Man, it’s going to be a dream come true to beat these guys.”

What was significant was that yesterday was the debut of new ASU head coach Todd Graham, who took over the Sun Devils after former coach, Dennis Erickson, was fired. Graham’s Sun Devil debut has been a long time coming for the coach, as Graham said in December during his introductory press conference that coaching ASU was his “dream job.”

Graham, of course, is the former head coach of Rice (2006), Tulsa (2007-2010), and Pittsburgh (2011), all positions he at one time or another called “dream jobs” before bailing for supposed greener pastures elsewhere. Maybe Graham’s vision of a ‘dream job’ is like that movie Inception, where his dreams are within dreams are within dreams.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know this top has a better chance of spinning longer then any head coaching position Graham has ever held.

I was not a fan of Graham’s ASU hiring. For a program that has every ingredient to be a giant in college football, yet has struggled (with few exceptions) for legitimacy, hiring Graham seemed like adding another clown into a one-tent circus. With his text message departure from Pitt, the whole sports world was laughing at Graham, and as a consequence, laughing at ASU. I was very vocal against ASU, when it attempted to hire SMU coach June Jones as Erickson’s replacement, but when the university pulled the offer and hired Graham instead, I suddenly found myself oddly wishing they could give Jones his contract back.

Yet, since Graham’s arrival in the desert, the dreaming coach has done everything possible to try to make the Sun Devil faithful forget the past and here, look at the shiny brand new future!

To the booster’s delight, he brought back Camp Tontozona and makes his players wear khakis and ties rather than Nike jump suits and sweats. He preaches discipline, faith and integrity, and there must be some stipulation in his contract because as he’s doing this, he mentions ASU’s legendary coach, Frank Kush, every few sentences.

“Kush Kush Kush Kush Kush Kush Kush!”

I’m pretty sure during Erickson’s tenure, he said none of those things. Right, Vontaze Burfict?

Graham has been a bunch of big talk since he arrived in Arizona, which shouldn’t be a surprise, because he’s been big talk everywhere he coached. Yet, for all his talk, Graham showed last night that there might actually be some substance to what he’s had to say.

Granted, the team beat up NAU, no big deal, but the way they did it was dissimilar to the ways they’ve thrashed the Lumberjacks before. The plays were cleaner, the defense crisper, and instead of miles and miles of penalties, which during the Erickson-era were synonymous with ASU Football, the flags were few and far between.

Because of the competition, there is little to actually take away from ASU’s performance last night, other than a glimpse of something that has plagued the school since it left the WAC and its age of dominance, and joined the Pac-10 in 1978.

Hope.

Hope that this year might be different. Hope that ASU can finally live up to the all the hype that has surrounded it since it was still in the WAC, and it was the Boise State of its day. Hope the school can finally be taken seriously. Hope that its potential might finally meet its performance. Hope that this year might finally be the year.

Or if not, at least the start of something.

For the first legitimate time in a while, there is real hope in Sun Devil stadium. If yesterday’s performance offered even a glimmer of what might come, maybe Graham’s words might actually carry some weight. Maybe that hope might be more than just a dream.

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Pretty Much The Worst Idea Ever

In NBA on August 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

When word broke a week ago that the Maloof brothers, owners of the Sacramento (For Now) Kings, were again in the process of attempting to move the team out of Sacramento, I can’t say I wasn’t surprised.

The Maloofs, after all, already blew off a deal that would’ve secured them a brand new stadium in the heart of downtown Sacramento. After saying for years the team would not relocate if only give a new stadium, the Maloofs real intentions were revealed once it was time to follow through with their word. After unsuccessfully attempting to relocate the team to Anaheim, the writing has been on the wall in the capital of California, regardless of how “committed” to the city the Maloofs keep saying they are.

Heck, it’s as if the Maloofs don’t even want to sell their own merchandise to their fans anymore.

This is what you see when you attempt to log-on to the Kings online team shop. It’s been like this since June.

As I have repeatedly said, this is an unfortunate outcome for the city of Sacramento, considering the region has the make up of other small markets who are able to support their team. With the young talent on the roster, the team could be a potential sequel to the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the passion of its fan base, as demonstrated during the team’s Weber-era, the team could be resemblance of the San Antonio Spurs, who always have strong showings for their games. The ingredients for success are there, all the team needs is the correct leadership to make it happen. Unfortunately, as long as the Maloofs are in charge, that will not happen, and it will not happen in Sacramento.

While the Kings moving from the place they’ve called home since 1985 is a bad idea, especially after given every opportunity to make their current situation work, it is an even worse idea to relocate the team to, of all places, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Logo of the future?

I have nothing against Virginia Beach. It is a beautiful vacation town, but in reality that’s all it is, and regardless of what some of the locals think, it’s not a vacation town that can support an NBA franchise. Nor does it deserve one, especially when places like Seattle, who had their team stolen away, are still waiting for a replacement. Or Kansas City, which already has one of the nicest arenas in the country, which, except for arena football or an occasional concert, sits vacant.

While the Kings moving to Virginia Beach has seemingly died down over the last few days, the city council there is still hearing proposals about building a sports arena in the area. They should not. Just because Los Angeles is putting the cart in front of the horse and building an NFL stadium before they have a team, doesn’t mean other cities should follow suite. This should not become a trend. Cities should not start popping up venues in the hopes of stealing another cities team. Just because the second biggest market in the nation can get away with it, doesn’t mean everyone can. Virginia Beach is not Los Angeles. Heck, it’s not even Kansas City, and look how well building the Sprint Center has worked out.  My point is, get in line Virginia Beach. There are a lot of cities with stadiums and arenas already, and they’ve been waiting a lot longer for a professional sports franchise then you.

Lastly, it’s too bad the Maloofs didn’t put in half the sincere effort of building a new stadium in the city they already play, instead of always looking for greener pastures elsewhere.

The New York Yankees of Los Angeles

In MLB on August 27, 2012 at 11:56 am

Why does everyone outside New York hate the Yankees?

How Bostonians stay warm during the winter.

Maybe it’s the unprecedented 27 World Series banners hanging from their stadium’s rafters. Maybe its the $1.5 billion dollar stadium where those banners hang. Maybe it’s because they can afford such an expensive stadium, as well as any player in the league they want, whenever they want them.

Maybe it’s just the pinstripes.

Either way, the entire world (outside of New York) hates the Yankees, but when you boil down to it, the real reason is because we’re all so jealous of them. Who wouldn’t want the history, the success, and the financial resources the Bronx Bombers have?

Simply the term “rebuilding” means something entirely different to the Yankees than practically every other team in the league. While it may take years for teams like Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado, or Kansas City (to name a few) to acquire prospects who will hopefully one day make the team better (before they then leave for New York…), the Yankees can make moves every year to ensure they compete for a title. There are no lame duck years for at least one team from the Tri-State Area.

Now it seems the rest of the league better watch out, because it feels like the Yankees just opened up a West coast office.

The New York Yankees of Los Angeles, Dodgers Division.

While the Dodgers have a storied history, it doesn’t even compare to the Yankees (but whose does?). Obviously, the Dodgers don’t have anywhere near the 27 titles the Yankees have, and except for the PED fueled “Mannywood” era, it’s been a long time since Kirk Gibson’s homer in the 1988 series that they’ve even seriously competed for one.

Instead, the team from the country’s second-largest market has had to sit back and watch a former division rival (Reds), an expansion team (Diamondbacks), and the hated nemesis up north (Giants), all win a Word Series, while they haven’t even come close. Thrown in the Frank McCourt-era, and it hasn’t been too easy being a Dodger fan the past few decades.

Yet, if the weekend’s blockbuster trade with Boston means anything, the first team from L.A. plans on quickly changing all of that.

From Beantown to Hollywood.

In case you didn’t turn on the television or look at a computer or talk to anyone over the weekend, the Dodgers sent a bunch of prospects to the Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. This of course, was after the team already acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins and Shane Victorino from the Phillies.

Did I mention they still have 2011 Cy Young Winner Clayton Kershaw, 2011 MVP-Who-Didn’t-Take-PED’s Matt Kemp, and Andre Either?

Granted, there is a lot of baseball left to be played in 2012, and as of today, the Dodgers are still two games behind San Francisco in the NL West. Just because the Dodgers made a bunch of high-profile, high-dollar trades, doesn’t all of a sudden make them the new perennial winner out west. No one should be crowning anyone for anything as of yet.

But simply making these huge moves proves this isn’t the same old Dodgers from before. It’s a deafening statement  for how the McCourt-era is absolutely over, and the $2 Billion-Era is in full swing. It proves the Dodgers mean business, and aren’t afraid to do everything needed to produce a winner.

The Dodgers might not be as storied a franchise as the Yankees, but if these trades pan out, or these actions are examples for the behavior we can consistently expect from management going forward, then everyone better be on notice. For a team that plays in a division that seemingly has a new winner every year, it might all of a sudden become a lot easier to figure out who’s going to win it before the first pitch is ever even thrown.

Just ask Boston about those years between 2004 and 1918.

DopeSTRONG?

In Cycling on August 24, 2012 at 9:27 am

As documented by my Melky Cabrera article, I am a supporter of harsh penalties for cheaters who use Performing Enhancing Drugs (PED’s).

It should then be no surprise I would write an article on how Lance Armstrong’s punishment at the hands of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is fair (losing all seven Tour de France titles, an Olympic Medal, as well as a lifetime ban from cycling), and how Armstrong finally got what was coming to him.

After yesterday, this supposedly never happened (seven times).

Except I’m not, and it isn’t.

When Major League Baseball handed down suspensions for PED’s, it had physical evidence of an offending player’s cheating. It had test results proving Cabrera and Oakland A’s pitcher, Bartolo Colon, took drugs to improve their physical abilities. It also had jurisdiction to hand out punishment.

The USADA has neither.

Doping in cycling is handled solely by the International Cycling Union (UCI), not the USADA. The USADA has no jurisdiction in the matter, and unprecedentedly surpassed its abilities to pursue its case against Armstrong. The UCI even helped fund Armstrong’s defense against the agency, because they believed the USADA was acting beyond the limits of its power.

Quite frankly, the USADA carries as much weight to hand out punishments for doping in cycling as Chick-Fi-La has to decide the Constitutionality of gay marriage.

Take more steroids.

The USADA also has no physical evidence of Armstrong’s alleged PED use. While there are claims Armstrong tested positive for PED’s in 2001, then paid to cover up those results, there is no actual evidence to support this accusation. The USADA’s entire body of evidence is nothing more than “he said this,” and “he said that,” testimonials from former teammates of Armstrong. The accusers are led by Floyd Landis, a disgraced Tour de France winner himself, who not only had his title stripped away for steroid use, but who was also recently convicted of wire fraud.

Not the most reliable, trustworthy witness, to say the least.

“I splash this stuff on me, and it makes my legs stronger!”

I don’t know whether Lance Armstrong took steroids or not. If he did, he needs to be stripped of everything, and cast out into the cold like he would rightfully deserve. But there is no smoking gun to prove that he did take PED’s. There is only hearsay and name calling. Accusations without support. There has been no trial, hearing, or anything to prove Armstrong did anything wrong.

While Armstrong very well may have taken PED’s, I have to admit I don’t know for certain if he did.

Too bad the USADA can’t say the same.

The NFL Has Bigger Issues To Deal With Than An Ice Bath

In NFL on August 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm

A few days ago, parents nationwide got upset because Jason Pierre-Paul (of the New York Giants) threw Prince Amukamara (also of the Giants) over his shoulder like he was Santa Claus carrying a sack of toys, then dropped those toys into a bath filled with ice water.

Ho ho ho.

People were quick to condemn Pierre-Paul, because he was allegedly “hazing” Amukamara. Pierre-Paul is supposed to be a role model, critics cried, and now his young and impressionable fans will think it’s okay to bully others. It’s as if kids everywhere are suddenly asking themselves, if Jason Pierre-Paul can be a bully, why can’t I?”

If kids nationwide are suddenly asking themselves this, their parents have bigger problems to worry about than two grown men screwing around in a locker room. Society has bigger problems.

If I were Pierre-Paul, and someone told me I had to apologize to the nation-at-large for horsing around with my teammate, I would have a pretty blunt statement to say. Then, after calming down, the more politic version of me would say, “What I did was bubblegum and apple pie compared to what other guys in the league are doing.”

If I were Pierre-Paul, I would point to Chad Johnson and Dez Bryant, who were both recently arrested for domestic violence, as comparisons to how wholesome my actions were. In fact, between the Super Bowl and July 17th of this year, 25 current NFL players have been arrested for a variety of charges. If Ryan Leaf still played, those charges would have easily doubled.

“I suck at life.”

“Look at them as poor examples in the NFL,” I would say. “Not me,” I would say. “What I did was innocent when you think about it.”

Don’t get me wrong, bullying is a serious issue, and as a society we should do things to curb it. To the Giants credit, they have done a lackluster attempt at shaking their finger at Pierre-Paul and saying “don’t do that again,” and “I can’t believe we have to talk about this…”

And quite frankly, who can? Yeah, we should do things to curb bullying and set good examples for our children, but the NFL has convicts playing in their league. It has bounty programs where players are getting paid to give other players brain damage. The NFL has far worse issues affecting it’s young and impressionable fans than a stupid ice dunk.

Did Pierre-Paul use “potty language” after throwing Amukamara into the ice bath? Sure, but in the large scheme of things, who cares? Get a towel, dry yourself off. I’m sure once Amukamara does the same, he’ll laugh about it too.

DeMarcus Cousins Will Be The NBA’s Next Great Big-Man

In NBA on August 20, 2012 at 9:49 am

What do Andrew Bynum and DeMarcus Cousins have in common?

They’re both big men. They’ve both been labeled head cases. They’ve both been criticized for sometimes less than stellar efforts.

What don’t they have in common?

When DeMarcus Cousins becomes the “Second-Best Big-Man in the NBA,” he won’t stop there. 

“How you like me now?”

Watch out Dwight Howard, because in a few short years, the Call Me Maybe King from Sacramento will be the best big man in the league.

Most people will be quick to suggest Cousin’s ascension will never happen because Sacramento is too small a market to support a superstar. That the drama associated with of the team threatening to move to Anaheim, err Seattle, err anywhere else, will overshadow whatever success Cousins has on the court. That he is too big a head case to take the game seriously enough, in order to play at an ‘elite‘ level.

“Nobody understands me.”

Despite the team’s stadium debacle a few months ago, the Maloof family has “promised” they are committed to Sacramento. They “promise” they have no plans on relocating the team anytime soon, and are trying to find ways to renovate Power Balance Pavilion (which, since the Power Balance company is bankrupt, I wonder how long until a new company initiates the stadium’s “renovation?”). Until the Maloof’s break their promise, the team is Sacramento’s, and the city has a history of supporting them when they play well. Think back to the Webber/Bibby era. If the Cousins begins to perform to the level he is capable of, there is no reason why fan’s won’t flock to him and the team like Okies have to the Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.

Kings of the small market.

Since showing up to camp a few pounds slimmer last summer, Cousins has proven his has the physical presence to play in the NBA.  Since the team acquired Thomas Robinson in the draft this year, defensive pressure will hypothetically lessen on Cousins in the post, allowing him to perform at his true capabilities (it’s always easier to score when you’re not double or triple teamed). Cousin’s sheer athleticism makes him dominant in the league.

It was his head game though, that has so far tended to get in his way.

Between demanding a trade and getting former coach Paul Westphal fired last season, Cousins has been viewed as less than team-oriented, and maybe not completely all there upstairs. This is an unfair judgement, because if anyone ever saw Andrew Bynum’s three-pointer, the entire mess Dwight Howard left in Orlando, Lewis Alcindor, Jr. (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) leaving a team that won a championship, or any episode of “Shaq Versus,” they would quickly realize all big men are crazy.

“I’m actually totally normal, I just don’t talk a lot.”

And let’s be fair, it’s easy to be crazy when you come into the league as a 19 year-old, and you’re drafted to a basement dwelling team.

Yet, with an earned maturity and better talent surrounding him, Cousins can now focus solely on his game, and not the distractions that has detoured it so far. He can focus completely on becoming a better basketball player. On being dominant in the post.

And when that happens, the league better watch out.

War of the Dunces: The “QB Battle” in Arizona

In NFL on August 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

“Chuckle chuckle chuckle!”

While all eyes have been on Peyton Manning’s return to football, or on the Jets, as Tim Tebow continues to play on special teams (while running through the rain without a shirt), there has been another QB Battle (of sorts), taking place down in Arizona.

Kevin Kolb v. John Skelton.

To be fair, people have probably paid little (if any) attention to this “QB Controversy,” because the only real controversy is wondering how either of these guys got NFL contracts. Just in the preseason, their play has been bad. Really bad. Third string, junior varsity bad.

As of right now, Kolb and Skelton are to NFL quarterbacks what Bizzaro Superman is to Superman.

“I like footbaaaaaaall!

Kevin Kolb came to the Cardinals last year via a trade that sent Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and a second round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. He arrived in Arizona with high hopes and even higher expectations of how he would pair with arguably the best receiver in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald.

While Kolb was impressive during his first start against Cam Newton–err–the Carolina Panthers (18 of 27 for 309 yards, two touchdowns, and no picks), he then went on a downward spiral and showed he was more fragile than “Insert Most Breakable Item You Can Think Of Here.

Kevin Kolb team photo, circa 2011

Because of injuries, Kolb lost his job to Skelton, the Cardinals 2010 fifth round pick out of Fordham, a school you’ve never heard of. Skelton was a poor man’s Tebow; he was inept for three-and-a-half-quarters, only to snatch a miracle out of the air at the last second.

Flash forward to the start of the 2012 season, and because Kolb is making so much money, he is reinstated as the starter, but a starter on thin ice. As the backup, Skelton was very close on the depth chart, and it was the worst kept secret that whomever decided to play better would be handed the reigns of the team.

So far, neither guy wants the job.

In the beginning moments of the Hall of Fame Game against New Orleans, Kolb threw an interception, then got hurt from a perfectly legal hit by Sedrick Ellis.

“This is gonna huuuuuuurt…”

Yeah, Ellis is a big man, and yeah, getting hit sucks, but if you’re supposed to be the quarterback of an NFL team and can’t even take that hit in a preseason game, when are you ever going to take that hit? When are you ever going to show you’re a leader who can play when life’s a little uncomfortable?

While Skelton came in and played decently during his brief appearance against the Saints, he did so against the second-string defense. When he started the next game against Kansas City, he was (as expected, considering his modus operandi during every three-and-a-half quarters last season) simply awful.

“He looks open.”

With all this said, let’s take brief pause to summarize the Cardinals quarterback situation:

1) Kevin Kolb can make a pass, when-and-if he’s not freaking out and scrambling, or on his back and withering in pain.

2) John Skelton can’t make a pass, unless it’s at the end of the game when opposing teams have gotten so comfortable with the sizable lead they’ve earned, they start slacking off.

For the Arizona Cardinals, their fans, and just football in general, this is completely unacceptable, especially considering the team’s receiving core. As mentioned before, they have arguably the best receiver in the game, a group of capable tight ends, Early Doucet and Andre Roberts, and they just drafted Malcom Floyd, the best receiver in the 2012 draft not to have a DUI this year.

“Good luck getting any catchable passes, son.”

With that group of scorers, they should be lighting opponents up.

Instead, a year after the Kolb trade, there are rumors the Cardinals are already searching for another quarterback to come in and take over. During the offseason they made an unsuccessful attempt at Peyton Manning. Fans are already chanting for Ryan Lindley (their 2012 sixth round pick, out of San Diego State). There has been speculation the team is trying to deal for Cleveland’s Colt McCoy or Seattle’s Tarvaris Jackson.

So what’s the team to do?

For all intents and purposes, the Kolb-experiment for the team (and probably the NFL) is dead. People can argue it was “only a preseason game,” but if you’re a player who has a history of not being “tough enough,” and the first highlight of the season is of you crying from a run-of-the-mill tackle, you’re done as an NFL quarterback.

Regardless of the Kolb trade outcome, acquiring him was the best thing the Cardinals could have done, because it did sucker Larry Fitzgerald into signing an extension which will keep him in Arizona throughout the prime of his career.

“Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan…”

Every Cardinal fan should say a very heartfelt thank you to Kolb as he leaves, but he should leave nonetheless.

Afterward, the Cardinals should completely hand over the team to John Skelton. This doesn’t mean Skelton is the answer either, but by giving him the starter role now, the team can have adequate time to see what they truly have with him. This will also allow the QB battle in Tennessee to play out, and when Jack Locker beats out Matt Hasselbeck, the team should see how much it would cost to get the former Seahawk.

“Coming here was a mistake!”

Considering they already spent too much on one failed quarterback, the Cardinals should proceed with caution on their next QB search, and only go after Hasselbeck if he is at the right price. If he is, owner Bill Bidwell (and son Michael, who technically runs the team) should not hesitate one second to write that check, considering Hasselbeck knows the division, and after leading Seattle to four straight division titles, he knows how to win it as well.

Either way, no matter who wins the quarterback battle in Arizona, the team will have to look beyond its own locker rom if they want a viable answer. As long as the winner of the position is named Kolb or Skelton, the team and its fans still lose.

How The MLB Can Stop The Juice

In MLB on August 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Like a bad penny that keeps coming back, another MLB All-Star was suspended testing positive for Performing Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).

Continuing the fine legacy of Barry Bonds.

Like Ryan Braun and the Brewers last year (who is still guilty until he explains his results), and Manny Ramirez when he joined the Dodgers, Melky Cabrera has led his team to a first place standing in his division, and did so by cheating.

Cabrera isn’t even disputing the case; he admitted his actions. 

Cabrera will now be suspended 50 games, but his Giants may very well still win the division. Meanwhile, teams like the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, who are only a few games behind the Giants, may have their season cut short because their team played by the rules.

If the league really wants to curb steroid abuse amongst its players, and prevent teams from prospering from illegal actions, they would do more than just suspend the offending player. Instead, they would force the player’s team to forfeit every game during the season which the offending player made an appearance.

“Now we look like bigger fools!”

Remember when you played high school sports and screwed up? Remember how your coach didn’t punish you, but punished everyone else? Remember how you made sure never to make that mistake again? Or never make the mistake your teammate made?

The league should take a similar approach when punishing players for PED’s, otherwise this behavior will forever and always continue. Otherwise baseball will continue having asterisks on records and achievements. Just ask every player who spent a few days in Kansas City this summer. Just ask the American League team that happens to make it to the World Series.

“Okay, so I’ll leave this right here, in case the league wants to swing by and pick it up.”

While it would be nice to go back a few years and pretend steroids never infested baseball, we can’t change what already happened. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bond all broke Roger Maris’s record. Roger Clemens did what he did, just like all every other player did what they did. As unfortunate as it is, that was an era when anabolic steroids and HGH fueled players like hotdogs and beer fueled Babe Ruth. It was accepted at the time, and to go back retroactively and punish players and teams wouldn’t make any sense. What happened happened.

But now the league is supposed to be in a “Post Steroid Era.” Now, it doesn’t accept that behavior from its players. Now, measures need to be taken to ensure the anti-PED direction the league wants to go can get there. Punishments need to be more punishing. Players who continue hedging their bets need to realize the consequences of their choices. Until then, it’s only a matter of when, not if, our heroes will disappoint us.

HitToLeftField.com Is On Vacation

In Keep Updated on August 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm

This is absolutely not what I’m doing.

Hittoleftfield.com will be going on a brief hiatus from August 3rd through 15th so I can finish my thesis (no beach, just a lot of writing and rewriting). More great articles will come again on Friday, August 17th.

Until then, peruse the archives for articles you haven’t read yet, and thanks for the support.

Until the 17th.

Thoughts On MLB Deadline Deals

In MLB on August 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

Well, it’s the day after the MLB trade deadline, and I don’t know about you, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around some of the trades that happened not only last night, but leading up the cutoff as well.

Here’s a few that stuck out.

1. Yankees Trade For Ichiro

Like rainy weather and bitter Sonics fan, Ichiro Suzuki has been synonymous with the city of Seattle. That all changed last week though, when out of no where the Yankees came to town and decided to leave #51 before the series was even over.

See translator for what Ichiro said.

Seeing Ichiro in a jersey different than the Mariners might be strange, but this is 2012; Peyton’s not a Colt, Nash isn’t a Sun, and the world’s supposed to end. This also continues the long tradition of the Yankees obtaining any and all players they want, whenever they want. Not even the Lakers can say that. You thought it was strange seeing the Queen of England speak in a non-formal setting during the Olympics Opening Ceremony last week? Wait until the Yankees sign her to play shortstop once Derek Jeter retires. She’s going to be epic.

2. Dodgers Desperately Wish They Were The Yankees

Speaking of the Yankees, the Dodgers are doing everything they can to try to become NYY-West.

“Do I get to play shortstop again? I better get to play shortstop again.”

After entering Opening Day with what seemed like a ten-game lead in the division, the Dodgers now sit one game behind the Giants (even though they swept San Francisco last week), and are on the verge of getting swept by Arizona.

But at the trade deadline, it was like all of a sudden the owners realized they spent waaaaay too much money not to just buy whomever they please, so they traded for Marlins mainstay Hanley Ramirez, Philadelphia icon and outfield slugger Shane Victorino, and Mariner’s reliever Brandon League. Time will tell if the Dodgers can actually be like the Yankees and become perennial contenders due to their spending habits, or if they will be like every fan in LA wearing a Dodger hat. A wannabe.

3. Giants Right Wrong From Last Year

Last year, the Giants had a chance to get Hunter Pence, but went for the cheap and got Carlos Beltran instead. This season Beltran is having a great year, but the problem is he plays for St. Louis.

“I could have been doing this in a Giants uniform last year.”

Unlike a lot of teams out there, the Giants were quick to admit their mistake and went after the guy they should have gone after all along. The guy who might have prevented the team from having to watch the guys in Arizona jump into the pool last year. Quite frankly, Pence is what the Giants needed all along.

Although now that he’s a Giant, Hunter Pence Bobblehead Night, scheduled for August 31 in Philadelphia, might be a little problematic. Can those things quickly be repainted black and orange, and shipped across the country? Nope? You know what, don’t even worry about it.

4. Diamondbacks Continue To Trade Fan Favorites

Last year, the D-backs made a last second move and shipped Kelly Johnson to Toronto for John McDonald and Aaron Hill. Johnson was popular in Arizona, but nowhere near as popular as Ryan “Tatman” Roberts, whom they shipped to the Tampa Bay for an infielder prospect earlier in the week, then made a move on Astro’s third basemen Chris Johnson.

From one hot city with an expansion team to another.

With Hill becoming the first player in 80 years to hit two cycles in a single season, last year’s trade has so far worked out for Arizona. Regardless of what some are saying, if Chris Johnson’s Grand Slam debut against the Dodgers is any indication, maybe this reshuffling at Arizona’s hot corner might work out too. Either way, it’s always sad to see a fan favorite go.

5. The Rangers Will Be Damned If They Lose A Third Straight World Series

While missing out on a third-straight ring might endear the nation to the hard-luck franchise, the Rangers would rather have less fans and a trophy then consider the implications of expanding their market. Bring in Ryan Dempster, arguably the best available pitcher at the trade deadline.

“With the Cubs, I never won any games or a World Series. With the Rangers, at least I can win a lot of games!”

The A’s might be the best story in baseball right now, and the Angels got a lot better by adding Zack Greinke, but the Rangers have come too far to not do everything possible to get over the hump. Nolan Ryan thinks the team’s fans in Dallas deserve a parade. Heck, even the Mavericks were able to give the city one. Sometimes the world just isn’t fair.

6. Fire Sale In Miami!

No matter how you spin it, the Marlins are up to their old salary dumping tricks again. If they aren’t even going to try, neither am I.

“Everything must go!”

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