Friday, June 24, 2011

Should Baseball Add More Playoff Teams?

Will adding more playoff teams, help
Baseball win back more fans?

In my last sports related post, before my two month hiatus, I would like to discuss and lobby for a very important change that could help the game of baseball, and win back some fans.

Throughout the years, baseball is getting less and less popular. You could blame the long nine innings, you could blame the lag in between pitches and batters, you can blame the millions of TV breaks, or you can blame the fact that baseball is a non-contact sport (besides home plate collisions), and not many players are involved in every play.

One thing that can make baseball better and more interesting, would be to allow more teams into the postseason. While the NFL allows six from every conference, and the NHL and NBA allow eight, the MLB only allows four teams from each conference to play in the postseason.

With talent at an all time high, it is vital that we see more stars playing in October. A big reason why people don't watch baseball, is because once their team is eliminated, they don't really care. Let's say the MLB copied the  NFL format, and allowed two more teams to play. That means it isn't like the NBA where some OK teams make the playoffs, but the deserving teams like the NFL wild card teams do make it.

If you look at the current MLB standings today, there are 16 teams in the league with winning records. That is more than have of the league. Too bad only half of the 16 teams will play in the postseason. In the AL East where the Yankees and Red Sox have dominated for the past decade, it makes it tough for a young and emerging team like the Tampa Bay Rays to make the playoffs.

What about in the NL East with the Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves, AND Marlins all having teams with star power and a bright future.

In the NL Central you have the Brewers, Cardinals, Reds, and usually the Cubs all fighting for one playoff spot, and out west you have the World Series winning Giants, along with the Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers who have all been in the playoffs in the last five years. Sorry Padres, but after losing Adrian Gonzalez you guys have no talent.

Back in the AL Central, the Tigers, Twins, and White Sox are always battling, and this year you have the Indians back in the race. In the AL West it's always a toss up with the Rangers advancing to the World Series last year, and also the A's, Angels, and Mariners competing.

The point is, there are way too many talented teams in the league in this day and age, who are not playing in the playoffs. The MLB doesn't need to expand to eight teams like the NHL and NBA, but six teams per conference would be a thing I would like to see.

Also, with more teams in the playoffs, it makes it less likely for a super team to form. With more possibilities to make it to the offseason, players will be more loyal to their teams, and teams will be more fair to their managers.

Baseball used to be America's past time, and if you like at the definition "Past Time" it still is. America and the World have moved on to more exciting sports, like Football, Basketball, Hockey, and Tennis. Baseball can't help the fact that it is a slow paced, non contact sport (unless they make some rule changes), but seeing your team play on TV in October could definitely help.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ricky Rubio To Play For The Minnesota Timberwolves Next Season

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Ricky Rubio dribbles up court for Barcelona. Rubio will
play for the Timberwolves this season after a two year wait.

The Spanish superstar finally has decided to play overseas, after being drafted back in 2009. Ricky Rubio was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fifth pick of the 2009 NBA Draft and will now finally play in the NBA after a two year wait.

Being only 18 years old, Rubio decided to stay in Europe for two more years and play for Barcelona. Another big reason Rubio has finally decided to leave European Basketball was because his buy out from Barcelona has decreased substantially since 2009.

Rubio officially started playing professional basketball at only 14 years old, pretty much being the Freddy Adu of European Basketball. The Spanish point guard has drawn similarities to Pistol Pete Maravich for his quickness, ball-handling, and court vision.

Despite playing professional ball since 14, being drafted with the fifth pick of the NBA Draft, and winning the Player Of The Year award, Rubio's stats have not stood out.

Rubio has never averaged more than 11 points per game or six assists per game. A big reason to this could be the European style of play, or the fact that he plays close to only 22 minutes per game.

Last year with Barcelona, he had his worst season in four years. He only averaged 4.8 points per game, 4.1 assists per game, and shot 32% from the field. He also lost the starting point guard role on the team.

Back in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, Rubio helped lead Spain to the Gold Medal game, but lost to the United States.

Still, Rubio has extraordinary upside and when you put him on the court next to NBA players, he will shine much brighter then with his European teammates. With rising stars like Kevin Love and Michael Beasley on the Timberwolves, Rubio's main job will be to get them the ball. Last year, Minnesota kept up well with scoring, but it was their defense that gave them the worst record in the league.

Rubio has also stated that he will wear No. 9 next season.

With Minnesota having the second pick in this year's draft, after having the lottery screw them over for the top pick, they will likely draft Derrick Williams.

Analyst are saying how Williams is the most athletic player in the draft, and could also have the most potential to break out and become a star. The only problem is that Williams plays Small Forward or Power Forward, which just happens to be the positions of Beasley and Love.

Next season, seeing Rubio, Love, Beasley, and possibly Williams will be very exciting. With a 17-65 record last season, the T-Wolves may not be back to playoff basketball just yet, but with some franchises having their best days behind them, the Wolves should be on the rise.

With the Lakers and Spurs both on their downfalls, the Clippers, Timberwolves, and Warriors could be the new faces of the Western Conference. With talent at an all time high though, every team needs to put in their full effort every night to have success.

Ricky Rubio will finally be coming to the NBA! Everyone is excited to see what the kid has in store.

And to Ricky: Si usted está leyendo este artículo, buenassuerte el año que viene!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bruins Claim Lord Stanley's Cup

(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Tim Thomas was outstanding in net and helped the Bruins
win their first cup in 39 years.

Last night, the Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks to win the 2010-2011 Stanley Cup. The last time the Bruins hoisted The Cup was 39 years ago, when guys like Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito were skating around the rink.

This season the Bruins finished third place in the Eastern Conference with a 46-25-11 record. The Bruins also got a big welcome back from Tim Thomas, who after winning the Vezina Trophy in 2009, hit a rough patch last year and saw Tuukka Rask take his place as goalie. Thomas would go on to win the Conn Smythe Award, which for all you non-hockey fans is equivalent to winning Postseason MVP.

The Briuns needed 7 games, and one big road win to defeat the Canucks. After losing the first two games in Vancouver, the Bruins responded by winning the next two in Beantown. Then after another loss in Vancouver, and another win in Boston, the Bruins finally upset the Canucks at home by a score of 4-0.

The Vancouver Canucks did not play quality hockey in the Stanley Cup Finals. The lethal offense led by Ryan Kesler and the Sedin Brothers simply did not provide enough offense. Also goaltender Roberto Luongo, or as they call him now, LuBrongo (LeBron James reference), played terrible, having to be pulled from net multiple times.

Earlier in the postseason, the Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens, coming back from a 0-2 defecit again,  the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With Nathan Horton getting knocked out in Game One, due to a malicious hit by Aaron Rome, David Krejci led the Bruins offense with 23 points this postseason.

One thing that stands out with this Bruins team is that there is not much star power, but yet a bunch of really good players who hustle hard.

Obviously you have the two big guys Tim Thomas and 6'9 defender Zdeno Chara, but besides that nobody really stands out. There are a bunch of guys who hustle their butts off like Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Michael Ryder, and 43 year old Marc Recchi.

The Bruins also got a lot of help from two youngsters, Brad Marchand, and Tyler Seguin who was actually the #2 pick in this year's draft. The Bruins were able to pick Seguin after a past trade with Toronto.

Despite going into a Game Seven, the Bruins dominated the Canucks. They lost one game in the last seconds and another in OT. All three Bruins' losses were by a one goal deficit. On the other hand, the Bruins won their games by a wide margin including 8-1, 5-2, 4-1, and 4-0 victories. In the series the Bruins outscored the Canucks 23-5, how that went seven games i don't know.

The Boston Bruins definitely deserved to win Lord Stanley's Cup more than the Vancouver Canucks, congrats to them!

Was The Miami Heat's Season A Success Or Failure?

( AP Photo/ Wilfredo Lee)
Is a trip to the NBA Finals really considered a fail?

Looking back on the Miami Heat 2010-2011 season, was it really a failure? If you look at it with a championship or bust point of view, then yes, obviously it was a failure, but by advancing to the NBA Finals in just their first year, was that a success?

The Miami Heat, compiled a 58-24 record this season finishing second in the Eastern Conference. They also took care of the Los Angeles Lakers both times the teams met up. Once they reached the playoffs, the Heat defeated the Philadelphia 76'ers, the Boston Celtics, and the best team in the regular season, the Chicago Bulls.

From those achievements right there, it sounds like the Miami Heat had a pretty good season. In just their first year playing together, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James were able to reach the NBA Finals, and in doing so, knock off the other two best teams in their conference.

The reason everyone is criticizing the Heat though, is because the huge expectations they put on themselves.

"Not two, not three, not four not five, not six, not seven".

Those were the words that came out of LeBron's mouth when the big three were welcomed at American Airlines Arena.

James would continue after an applaud by the crowd, "And when I say that, I really believe".

Although Miami's slogan was "Yes We Did", after signing the big three, their championship run's motto was "No We Didn't".

Even though the Miami Heat didn't win this season, it could just be a stepping stone for the future. The Heat were able to adjust to their style of play early in the season, and after having a bad start were one of the most dominant teams in the NBA.

Now knowing how they play together, the Heat can quite possibly win the title next year, in fact they are already the favorites to win again.

Many people are also criticizing LeBron James, for disappearing in the NBA Finals, especially in the fourth quarter.

Former Jets OT Damien Woody tweeted best, "If you ask @KingJames (LeBron James) for a dollar, he'll only give u 75 cents, he never gives you the fourth quarter #Ouch !!!".

Had LeBron just played well, not even great, the Miami Heat could have, and should have won the title. Yes, Dirk Nowitzki was incredible, but when you have three all-stars playing together against one, it shouldn't be fair.

In the first five games of the series, James had only 11 combined points in the fourth quarter.

With that being said, next season if LeBron plays like the player he is, the Heat should be able the NBA Finals. I don't know if they will win seven, but by the time it is said and done, LeBron will have a ring, whether you like it or not.

If you look at it with a championship or bust point of view, sure this season was a failure, but overall in the first season of play, the Miami Heat's season was a success.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Down Goes Joba

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Joba Chamberlain will end his season, after opting for Tommy John Surgery

Yesterday, the Yankees took another hit to their bullpen when Joba Chamberlain opted to get Tommy John Surgery. Joba will join Pedro Feliciano, and Rafael Soriano on the DL.

Joba has torn ligaments in his elbow and will have surgery on Thursday.

Soriano is currently out for 4-6 weeks with shoulder problems, and Pedro Feliciano, who hasn't even pitched this season, is also out until July.

Like most pitchers, Joba will go into hibernation for 12-14 months. Tommy John is arguably the most popular and controversial surgery for pitchers. Many pitchers who come back from the surgery though, don't have as much success on the diamond.

Some notable players who have had Tommy John Surgery in the past few years are Stephen Strasburg, AJ Burnett, Brian Wilson, Adam Wainwright, and Tim Hudson.

This season, Joba was having a pretty good start. In 28 and 2/3 innings, Joba had only given up nine earned runs. He had  24 strikeouts and only seven walks, and had only  blown one save. Joba was also  2-0 and had a 1.05 WHIP.

Despite winning last night's game, the Yankees have lost control of first place in the AL East. With another hit to their bullpen, the Yankees really need better pitching by their starters.

The Yankees didn't make any huge offseason moves, so will they pull a blockbuster trade midseason? Fans are just waiting to see what GM Brian Cashman has up his sleeve's.

As for starters, rumors have been flying around saying that the Yankees are really trying to add Josh Johnson, of the Florida Marlins, or Felix Hernandez, of the Seattle Mariners, to the team.

For the relievers, the Yankees have considered trading back for Kerry Wood, who also had the famous surgery years back. Also, with Phil Hughes return soon to come, will the Yankees move Phil to the bullpen. Ivan Nova, who has pitched in place of Hughes has been pretty good, including last night when he pitched seven innings and gave up only two runs.

Until the Yankees get some help in the bullpen, it looks like David Robertson and Boone Logan will be the go-to guys. The Yankees really need some solid starting pitching in order to re-pass the Red Sox for the division lead.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Where Should Terrelle Pryor Go?

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill,File)
Both Tressel and Pryor will not be returning to OSU next season.

Just a few days after Jim Tressel's dismissal from The Ohio State University, Quarterback Terrelle Pryor has announced he will forgo his senior year.

Pryor already would have been suspended for the first five games of the season. Also it is very likely the Buckeyes will have similar punishments that the USC Trojan's were given, which means they will be banned for a few bowl games.

Pryor is currently in a messy situation, because like the other players on the team, he sold memorabilia for around $40,000. Pryor is said to have spent this money on tattoos and cars. The car he was driving also had a suspended license.

Coming into college football, Pryor was one of the highest ranked players in the country. He pushed back his signing day and when he made his decision, it was huge news in the college football world. Pryor would announce he would go on to play at Ohio State, despite getting scholarships from Pittsburgh, Penn State, Michigan, and Oregon.

Pryor would go on to have a solid career at Ohio State. He never led them to a National Championship game, and never placed in the top five for Heisman voting, but led them to three BCS bowl games.

Since Pryor has left Ohio State, many rumors are speculating where he could go.

An early rumor is that he would go to the CFL and sign with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders. Another rumor is that he would play in the UFL. Pryor has denied both rumors, and has said he plans to enter the NFL supplemental draft in July.

Also, we don't even know if Pryor will play Quarterback in the NFL. Sure he is dead-on accurate with his throws, and led the Buckeyes to three BCS bowl games, but he has the fit to play tight end. Pryor is 6'6 and weighs close to 235 lbs.

So where could Terrelle Pryor end up?

The Seattle Seahawks would be a great suitor for Pryor. With Matt Hasselbeck's seasons in Seattle limited, they should look to refresh their quarterback position and draft Pryor. Pryor would be a great fit for Seattle, not only because he can pass in the pocket, but because he can run too. Seattle spent it's first two picks on offensive linemen, so this pick makes sense.

The San Francisco 49'ers have had their name brought up in discussions related to Pryor. Personally, I don't think this is a good fit for Pryor. With Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick both fighting for quarterback, Pryor would just add more chaos to the team.

The New York Jets would be an interesting fit for Pryor. The Jets have already seen an college quarterback play a different position for them. Like Brad Smith, the Pryor could be used in the wildcat, and even go out for some passes. You never know what tricks Rex Ryan has up his sleeves.

Pryor could also land a starting job in Oakland. With Jamarcus Russell and Jason Campbell both failing over the past few years at quarterback, Pryor could extremely help the Raiders. The Raiders had a surprisingly good season last year (for Raiders' standards), and a good quarterback could just make the team better. The Raiders are also one of the fastest teams in the NFL, which is a great fit for speedy Pryor.

This one could be a stretch, but with Peyton Manning retiring in the next five years, the Colts might look to groom Pryor into the starting quarterback once Manning leaves. Manning definitely hasn't aged, but the guy has to retire sometime, and Pryor could help spark up this team.

Name the last time the Buffalo Bills had a franchise quarterback. The last time the Bills were for real were back in the days of Jim Kelly. Buffalo look like they are set on Ryan Fitzpatrick, but you never know with the Bills.

Every year, the Miami Dolphins come very close to making the playoffs, despite playing the AFC East. Chad Henne has raised serious eyebrows in the past few years, if he can carry this team. With a solid defense, a good offensive line, and some good role players, the Dolphins are just missing a good quarterback. The Dolphins are known for their wildcat option, so is Pryor a good fit there?

With Kurt Warner retiring, Matt Leinart failing, and myriad unexperienced quarterbacks playing this season, the Arizona Cardinals need a quarterback. Since the Cardinals didn't draft a quarterback in the draft this year, many sources were reporting that they were trying to trade for Kevin Kolb once the lockout ends. Pryor might be a good fit for Arizona though. He has the arm to hit Larry Fitzgerald deep, and would have the option to run too. With a wild wild NFC West, maybe just one big signing could get the Cardinals back into the Super Bowl Hunt.

We don't know if their will even be football next season, or if Pryor will even find a team, but if he finds a suitor will he have success in the NFL? Tell me your thoughts on where Pryor will go and if he will have success. You can email me at or comment below on this article, or my article over on

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rafa Claims #6

Rafa claimed his record tying sixth French Open with a victory over Roger Federer.

Today, Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 6-1 to claim his historic sixth French Open Title. The only other tennis player ever to win at Roland Garros six times is Bjorn Borg. The victory also puts him at 10 overall Grand Slams, which is only six behind Federer. Nadal, being five years younger the Federer, is on track to surpass his record of 16 Grand Slam's.

On his journey to his sixth French Open Title, Nadal defeated seven opponents. In his first round, Nadal played John Isner, and although it was close, Nadal won in five sets. Nadal would then beat his next five opponents in straight sets. He faced Pablo Andujar, Antonio Veic, and Ivan Ljubicic before meeting up with Robin Soderling in the Quarterfinals.

The last time Nadal didn't win the French Open, in 2009, was because he was defeated by Soderling. This time, Rafa would get the better of Soderling, and beat him in straight sets. In the semi's Nadal faced off against Andy Murray. The game was close, but again Nadal won in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. After Federer snapped Djokovic's streak of 43 wins, he would go on to play Nadal.

Like always on clay though, Nadal defeated Federer.

Nadal did not play his best tennis though. He made myriad errors just from basic groundstrokes, and his serve wasn't dominant.

Nadal fell behind in the first set 3-0, but would rally to win 7-5. The second set went into tie-break, but Nadal once again pulled through and won that set 7-6 (7-3).

Federer would storm back the next set 7-5 and take an early lead in the fourth set. Many thought that Nadal could possibly have a relapse of the 2008 Wimbledon finals, when Federer came back from two sets to win. Nadal would have none of that and take the final set 6-1.

With Nadal's victory at Roland Garros, does that mean he is back to the #1 player in the world? Although  Novak Djokovic lost his streak of 43 straight games, his win streak against Nadal is still in place.

With Wimbledon starting in just two weeks, who will be the favorite to win in England. Will it be Rafael Nadal, the top ranked player who is starting a streak of his own? Will it be Djokovic, who will try to rebound and keep his streak vs Nadal alive? Or will it be Roger Federer, the "old guy", who might have one or two last runs left?

My go to guy to win Wimbledon has to be Nadal, but I could very well see Roger Federer coming out victorious. Federer has won six Wimbledon's of his own.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Djokovic's Streak Comes to An End

Federer ended Djokovic's streak today after defeating him
6-7 (5-7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7)

Roger Federer has defeated Novak Djokovic to advance to the French Open Finals, and has ended Djokovic's streak of 43 games. Federer handed Djokovic his first loss of 2011.

Djokovic previously passed John McEnroe's win streak of 42 games, when he advanced to the Semi-Finals. Federer defeated Djokovic 6-7 (5-7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7). Technically though, Djokovic really only had a streak of 41 games because in two games in the French Open, Djokovic had an opponent retire and forfeit to him.

Now that Djokovic's streak is over, Federer will go on to play Rafael Nadal in the Finals of the French Open. Nadal just beat Andy Murray today in straight sets.

Rafa is looking to keep his world #1 title with a win over his arch-nemesis Roger Federer. Nadal has previously won Roland Garros five times, including last year's tournament. On the other hand, Federer is looking to win another Grand Slam. Federer has not won a Grand Slam since last year's Aussie Open. Roger and Rafa have combined to win the last six French Opens.

Some of the highlights of Djokovic's journey include victories at the ATP Internazionali BNL d'Italia, ATP Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, ATP Serbia Open, ATP Sony Ericsson Open, ATP BNP Paribas Open, ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, and the Australian Open.

During his streak Djokovic had been able to tame Federer and Nadal going 7-0 against them before losing today. Djokovic's last loss came on November 27th 2010 to, none other than Roger Federer.

Ironically, before losing to Federer, Djokovic actually called up McEnroe to ask if he could help him practice in between days before his match against Federer.

Federer vs Nadal will be one for the ages. Nadal has had a history of owning Federer on clay, but Federer beat Nadal in '09. Nadal reclaimed the title the next year though. Nadal is looking to catch up on Federer's Grand Slam record of 16 Grand Slams. Federer is looking to add to his list and possibly win one or two more titles before calling it quits.

Nadal is still probably the best player on the planet, but Djokovic did put up one heck of a streak.  Djokovic will look to rebound and start a new streak, when the tennis schedule continues at Wimbledon in late June.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shaq Retires From The NBA

Shaquille O'Neal was one of the greatest big men to ever play the game of basketball.

After 19 great seasons in the NBA, Shaquille O'Neal has retired from the NBA. Before retiring Shaq was the oldest player in the NBA at 39 years old. Shaq will go down in the books as one of the greatest True Centers in NBA history. He won four championships, an MVP in 2000, and NBA Finals MVP three straight years with the Lakers.

In the 1992 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic selected Shaq with the first pick. Him and Penny Hardaway formed a good duo in Orlando. During his rookie season he averaged 23 points, close to 14 rebounds, and three and a half blocks. He would go on to win Rookie of the Year, and even be named to the All-Star team.

In his second season Shaq and Penny helped bring Orlando to it's first playoff appearance in franchise history in 1994 with a 50-32 record.

In this third and arguably best season with he Magic, Shaq finished second in MVP voting. He led the NBA in scoring that season and helped the Magic past the Bulls and Pacers in the playoffs, to lead them to the NBA Finals. In the finals though Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets took control and helped sweep the Magic.

In the offseason of 1996, Shaq switched coasts and moved to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers. After the Lakers drafted Kobe Bryant many predicted that the two would win a few rings with the Lakers.

After getting beaten by the Jazz and Spurs early in Shaq's tenure with Los Angeles, Shaq helped lead the Lakers to three straight championships. Shaq dominated and posted the highest scoring average for a center in NBA history, which is more than Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Russell.

The three rings he won with the Lakers (2000-2002) would be his only with the team. Soon after their winning season Shaq and Kobe started to fight. The two would get into heated arguments. After losing the 2004 NBA Finals to the Detroit Pistons, Shaq was finished Los Angeles, and headed for Miami.

After taking his talents to South Beach, he was paired with Dwayne Wade, who was in his second year with the team. Wade was one of the quickest and energetic players in the league.

The two would go onto win the NBA Finals in their first year together, despite dropping the first two games of the series against the Dallas Mavericks. That would be their only championship together.

After Miami, Shaq would go on to play for three more teams. He made quick stops in Phoenix, Cleveland, and Boston before retiring. Ever since "The Diesel" left LA, his stats declined.

So how will you remember Shaq?

Will you remember him for his attributes on or off the court?

Will you remember him for his dominance in the late 1990's and early 2000's? What about his three-peat with Kobe? His terrible free throws? Will you remember Shaq for his beef with Kobe (no pun intended), or will you remember him for being able to win a ring without Kobe, in Miami?

Will you remember Shaq for being one of the greatest centers in NBA history? Will you remember him for not being able to say good-bye earlier?

Will you remember Shaq for his attributes off the court?

Will you remember Shaq for his other profession, rapping? Will you remember the big fella for earning an MBA or becoming a cop? What about all of his charities?

Or will you remember Shaquille O'Neal for his nicknames.

"Shaq", "The Diesel", "Superman", "The Big Shaqtus", "The Big Aristotle", "The Big Shamrock", and many other names were affiliated with O'Neal.

Whatever way you remember Shaq, just remember his impact to the game. He was one of the few players to ever bring down the hoop. He had a lifetime average of 23.7 points per game, and would be much higher had be retired earlier. He also averaged close to 11 rebounds per game. His days in Orlando and Los Angeles were some of the greatest.

The 7'1, 324 machine is finally saying good-bye from the game he loved. A future Hall of Famer, Shaq was one of the best true centers the NBA has ever seen.