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Is today Saturday?! NBA / NHL Playoffs & Other stuff
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NHL NBA playoffs

Well, friends, it must have been a long week because that pillow felt awfully good last night!  I guess we all need to pull the covers over our heads sometimes!  And with that, a Happy Easter weekend to you!  (Also Happy Passover...my personal philosophy is to celebrate all religious holidays - not only do you get more goodies, it can't hurt to cover all the bases with the Almighty!)

This weekend the Easter Bunny brings us the opening of the 2014 NBA Playoffs.  For those of you who may recall previous rants on NBA basketball, you might be amused to see me writing about this particular topic, but since the Wiz are in for the first time in 6 years, I figured why not give it a little coverage.  All the excitement has to be in the West where the quality of the basketball is high and the talent pool is deep (yeah, and it's cold, too ;)  Even so, we have to believe that the opening series in both the East & the West lean heavily towards the favorites.  To start with today, we have Indiana - Atlanta, OKC - Memphis, Toronto - Brooklyn and LAC - Golden State.   I like the favorites in all of today's openers, after all, it is tough for underdogs to win on the road in the NBA, but if there is one series that could do the other way, it might be the underachieving (until now), Nets.  

Tomorrow games include Miami - Charlotte, Chicago - Washington, San Antonio-Dallas and Houston - Portland.  Out of these series, I will be hoping the Wizards can start to show some promise as a team on the rise but history for success here in DC is not on their side.  The one series I am interested in is Houston & Portland.  Can Dwight Howard re-capture his talent level?  If so, it might make for an interesting round 2.

The NHL playoffs are underway and as usual with the NHL, nothing can stay the same for too long.  We have a new playoff format which is much more division oriented and one that does not "re-seed" after the first round.  Thus, the reward for upsetting a top seed is much greater than previous years.  If by some miracle Columbus beat the Penguins, instead of getting the Bruins in Round 2, they would get the 2-3 winner in the Metro conference.  A very interesting new approach that looks a bit like Original 6 playoff days by Division...whatever the case, I have certainly enjoyed the early hockey.  If you missed the end of the Avs game the other night - you should check that out.  A great hustle play prevented an empty net goal and then they came back tied it up & won in OT!  Great stuff!

Have a great weekend and again, Happy Easter!

Mocking a Draft... 2014
Category: FEATURED

                    

    Well folks, it’s that time of year once again. The baseball season is underway, the NBA and NHL have their playoffs in full swing… and yet, all we want to talk about is FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL! On May 8th, the futures of NFL franchises across the country will be decided as the 2014 NFL Draft kicks off. Every self-professed expert and their mother have thrown their mock drafts out there… so I figured it was about time to throw mine out there as well.

   The draft can be a funny thing. You go in looking at players who were absolute studs in college, thinking there is no way they’ll fall flat on their faces in the NFL. Look at the beast of a linebacker that came out of Alabama in 2010, Rolando McLain. A lot of people thought the Raiders made a solid pick at the time… now he’s out of the league. In that same draft, another linebacker NaVorro Bowman out of Penn State lasted into the third round… and he’s the Pro Bowler. The point is, it’s all conjecture at this point… you THINK you know something and how a guy would fit somewhere, and you don’t really know. Hell, think the 49ers wouldn’t love a mulligan on the 2005 draft, where they got Alex Smith #1 overall instead of Aaron Rodgers? No doubt about it.

   It’s kind of like a guessing game for grownups… so here goes my attempt at mocking the draft. The first pick will be who I think they’ll actually draft… the second pick will be who I would draft if I were running all 32 NFL franchises.

 

  1. Houston Texans- DE Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina.

My pick: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M.

  The Texans have a few needs, mainly at QB, RB, OL, S. For the most part, it is considered outlandish to pick either a safety or running back this high in a draft, especially with the expendable nature of running backs in the league today. The question then becomes this: Do you draft for need, or take the best player on the board? This is a deep draft for quarterbacks, and the team just hired a “QB guru” in Bill O’Brien from Penn State. In this spot, the Texans grab the freak of nature that is Clowney and pair him with J.J. Watt on the outside, giving the defense two bookend guys who can harass opposing quarterbacks.

   If I’m running the show in Houston, I grab the local kid, the seat filler, the guy that I think is a future league MVP in Johnny Manziel. For me, the guy just has the “it” factor. The attitude he brings with him would have been an issue in the NFL of yesteryear… but I think his “swagger” as the kids call it helps him fit right into today’s NFL locker room.

 

  1. St. Louis Rams- OT Greg Robinson, Auburn.

My pick: Same.

   The Rams needs include OL, WR, S, CB, and some would say QB. I would be amongst those who say quarterback is a question mark, with Sam Bradford struggling thus far in his NFL career. You also have to look at the system they use, which is Jeff Fisher’s offense. Fisher loves to “pound the rock”, which apparently didn’t rub off on his protégé Jim Schwartz… so they would love to get ahold of a big, road grader like Robinson. If they can’t trade down, the Rams take Robinson here.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars- QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida.

My pick: DE Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina.

   You name it, the Jags need it! They made a few nice additions in free agency, but this is a team in need of a boatload of talent if they hope to do any more winning. Bortles really burst onto the scene this year, leading UCF to a win over Penn State, and eventually a win over favored Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. He’s the 6’5” prototype bodied type of quarterback that teams dream about. The cons: he played at a small school and operated mostly out of the shotgun at UCF, and struggled against some top tier competition (Ohio State in 2012, South Carolina in 2013). He has a lot of upside, and is worth the risk of a top ten pick.

   If Clowney is available here, the Jags will pounce on him. Widely considered the top talent of the draft, he won’t make it past #3, if he even makes it past #1 and 2.

  1. Cleveland Browns- WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson.

My pick: QB Blake Bortles, UCF.

   The Browns have a good sized list of needs on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense, aside from some depth, is fairly stout. Their needs include QB, RB, OL, WR. If Watkins falls to four, they could easily make that pick and pair him with Josh Gordon, giving the team’s QB the best set of options a Browns QB has had in a long, long time… whomever that ends up being.

   If Bortles is there at four, the Browns take him. If 1-3 pass on Manziel, the Browns should take him and thank the folks in the front offices of Houston, St. Louis, and Jacksonville, because they’ve finally broken the QB curse. If I’m Cleveland and I want my quarterback of the future out of this crop, I get him now while I have my pick of the litter. Bortles, as discussed earlier, has his flaws, but he’s got a ton of upside and should be a solid NFL QB.

  1. Oakland Raiders- OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo.

My pick: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson.

   Mack is the second best pass rushing prospect in the draft behind Clowney, and should help the Raiders get over the loss of Lamarr Houston to the Bears. Mack may end up being an upgrade over Houston, as he is a great instinctive player who is all over the field. If Clowney’s character and work ethic issues end up derailing his career, Mack may end up being the guy we talk about as the best defensive player to come out of the 2014 draft a few years down the line.

   The Raiders drafting a receiver… nearly as cliché as the Lions doing so. But, Watkins is a massive talent, and if the Raiders fall in love with one thing, it’s a receiver with speed. Watkins has that, and if he’s on the board, the Raiders are compelled to take him.

  1. Atlanta Falcons- OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M.

My pick: Same.

    The Falcons needs include DL, OL, TE. If Mack is on the board, they’ll be tempted; but protecting a guy they have over $100 million invested in with Matt Ryan wins out here.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA.

My pick: OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo.

   The Bucs have needs, including DL, TE, OL, WR, and CB… and getting a top tier pass rusher here would be their idea of heaven. The stock on Barr seems to be dropping of late, but he’s an athletic, versatile player who would fit Lovie Smith’s scheme well. If Mack were there, the Bucs may very well think it is Christmas.

  1. Minnesota Vikings- QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M.

My pick: LB CJ Mosley, Alabama.  

    In my draft, Manziel is already off the board… here, it is not the case. The Vikings get a guy who, in my opinion, is a new incarnation of Minnesota legend Fran Tarkenton by drafting Johnny Football, and the memories of Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, and Matt Cassell from last season begin to fade far, far away from memory. If the Vikings end up with Manziel, they will win the NFC North next season.  

   The Vikings have a big need at quarterback, but they also have a big hole at linebacker with Chad Greenway getting older, slower, and more expensive by the day. Mosley fills that need, and the Vikings gamble on a different QB later in the draft; a McCarron, Murray or Mettenberger.  

  1. Buffalo Bills- OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan.

My pick: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA.

    The Bills made their choice last year to go after a quarterback, and go their QB of the future in E.J. Manuel in what some (especially me) would call a questionable move. That said, you have to protect that investment, and Lewan fits the bill.

   If a pass rusher like Barr is still available, the Bills will snap him up.

  1. Detroit Lions- CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State.

My pick: Same.

    The Lions have a long list of needs, including CB, S, WR, OL, DE, but getting Gilbert here gives them the best cover corner available in the draft. He’s got good size, so he matches up well with bigger receivers, and is a play maker in the secondary. The downside is his abilities helping on the run and making tackles, which is lacking. Mike Evans of A&M is another possibility here, as is TE Eric Ebron of North Carolina… but if the Lions use another top ten pick on an offensive player, I will just lose my freaking mind! On the defensive side of the ball, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama is another possibility, but I think Gilbert is the best call for the Lions here.

  1. Tennessee Titans- S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama.

My pick: Same.

    Clinton-Dix, despite his ridiculous “first name”, is no laughing matter on the field. The Titans needs include S, DL, QB, and with most of the big pass rushers off the board and the QB talent left not exactly blowing current starter Jake Locker out of the water at this point, Clinton-Dix gives the Titans the most likely contributor from day one.

  1. New York Giants- LB CJ Mosley, Alabama.

My pick: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan.

    The Giants have some pretty big holes to fill on both sides of the ball, so there is no pick that is outside the imagination. They have needs at LB, CB, OL, and WR. If Mosley is there, he gives the Giants a solid presence inside reminiscent of the days Harry Carson roamed the middle of the field in New Jersey.

     I say the Giants take Lewan in order to protect Eli Manning and give this team a shot at winning the always unpredictable NFC East. They could easily go for Eric Ebron or Mike Evans as well here, or one of the two first-round quality corners left like Dennard or Roby.

  1. St.Louis Rams- WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M.

  My pick: Same.

    The Rams grabbed some protection for Bradford already in this round, and they’re picking again. This time, they’ll get Bradford a big target outside in Evans. FS Calvin Pryor of Louisville is another possibility here, but I think Evans is too big of a talent for the Rams to pass up on here.

  1. Chicago Bears- DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State.

My pick: DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame.

   Either way, you would think the Bears would seek to shore up the hole left by the departure of Henry Melton in the middle of their defense with their top overall pick. Some say Jernigan is the top candidate for that role, while I would say Nix is probably the best overall DT in this draft. I just think Nix is the better space-eater of the two, but Jernigan does have better pass rush ability.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State.

My pick: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State.

   The Steelers have a number of ways they can go here; CB, S, OL, and WR are all needs. The top three OT’s are all gone, and #15 overall is far too early for a guard, unless you’re looking at an elite level talent. Roby is a bit of a reach this high, as he compares to 3-4 other corners who should be available in the second round; but he does fill that need for them. For my money, Benjamin is the best pick here. He’s got the size and catch radius you really look for in an outside target, he should translate well to the NFL.

  1. Dallas Cowboys- S Calvin Pryor, Louisville.

My pick: Same.

   The Cowboys are in desperate need of back end help for their secondary, and Pryor is the best player available to fill that need. They could draft a defensive lineman or corner, but Pryor seems to fit the bill best.

  1. Baltimore Ravens- WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State.  

My pick: DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame.

    The Ravens have a few needs, OL and WR being two of them. This is a fairly deep draft at WR talent-wise, but with the top three guys now off the board, I think Baltimore waits on that position and grabs a solid defensive lineman to add to their stockpile in Tuitt. If Benjamin were there, he would give Flacco a big WR to target opposite Torrey and Steve Smith.

  1. New York Jets- TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina.

My pick: CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State.

    The Jets have a number of needs, not the least of which is at corner. They could go with a WR, OL, CB, TE, or even another DL, but I like them to target the defensive side of the ball this year early in the draft with Roby. Ebron gives young QB Geno Smith a safety valve while they continue to search for the answer at WR that free-agent signing Eric Decker might just help to shore up.

  1. Miami Dolphins- OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame.

My pick: Same.

    With the departure of half their offensive line from last year (and it wasn’t all that effective to begin with) mid-season due to the bullying scandal, the Dolphins are desperate to shore up the line. Signing Branden Albert was a step in the right direction, while they did overpay, but they still need to get protection for Ryan Tannehill. Martin is the best fit at this point of the draft.

  1. Arizona Cardinals- QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville.

My pick: Same.

    Bridgewater at #20 overall would have sounded a bit crazy a few months back, but his stock has gone down, and the Cardinals have needed a quarterback since Kurt Warner walked out the door. Carson Palmer played admirably last year, but he’s at the end of the line as an NFL starter, maybe a year or two ahead of him. This gives Bridgewater a year or so to learn from Palmer and develop.

  1. Green Bay Packers- OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State.

My pick: TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina.

     The Packers have needs at TE, S, and LB, and Shazier certainly helps fill that void if Ebron is already off the board. If Ebron falls here, I’m sure the Packers would shit a brick of joy after the likely loss of Jermichael Finley.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Marquise Lee, U$C

My pick: Same.

    The Eagles have a few needs on the defensive side of the ball, but the corners, safeties, and linebackers that would make sense in the first round are all but taken. Marquise Lee gives the Eagles a playmaking threat to replace DeSean Jackson.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs- DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame.

My pick: OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State.

    Either way you look at it, the Chiefs are looking to add to their pass rush. They could use a WR, but there are better options available in the second round than any guy you can safely take here.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State.

My pick: Same.

    The Bengals needs include corner, safety, and linebacker, and Dennard is the best player still available that fills a need for this playoff-ready team. Some might say it’s time to look at a new quarterback in Cincy… but I say give the ginger another year to figure out that whole playoff thing.

  1. San Diego Chargers- DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame.

My pick: DT Tommy Jernigan, Florida State.

    The Chargers got to the playoffs last year, and the defense was a strength once again. That said, they could use a little beef in the middle, and that’s where Nix or Jernigan come in.

  1. Cleveland Browns- OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State.

My pick: RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State.

    The Browns snagged WR Sammy Watkins earlier in the “who they’ll probably pick” version of this draft, so in this version I’ll go with Jackson, the best guard in the draft to keep whomever the quarterback is upright to throw to Watkins/Gordon.

   In my version, I went with Blake Bortles, so here I’ll go with a workhorse running back who fits the AFC North mentality well in Carlos Hyde.

  1. New Orleans Saints- CB Jason Verrett, Texas Christian University.

My pick: OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State.

   The Saints have a few needs, and none are extreme, so they can really afford to go with the best player available here. Verrett fills a need at corner, and gives the Saints D the kind of edge they’ve been missing… but he may be a bit of a reach in the first round. For my draft, I’ll go with Jackson, who replaces the departed Carl Nicks as a starting guard.

  1. Carolina Panthers- WR Davante Adams, Fresno State.

My pick: WR Donte Moncrief, Mississippi.

    These two compare fairly evenly, with Moncrief having an advantage in height and speed, but Adams gives you more consistency. Cam Newton needs a new #1-4 target at WR, so either way grabbing one here is almost a must for the Panthers.

  1. New England Patriots- DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota.

My pick: Same.

   Hageman seems to fit that Patriots mold, but he is a bit of a boom or bust type of prospect. He’s been compared to former Patriot Richard Seymour in his abilities.

  1. San Francisco 49ers- OLB/DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State.

My pick: Same.

    Lawrence is a hybrid DE/OLB (depending on scheme) that can give the 49ers the insurance they need in case Aldon Smith’s stupidity finally gets the best of him.  Kony Ealy may be another option here, but I look for the 49ers to go for a pass rusher with all four top corners off the board.

  1. Denver Broncos- DE Kony Ealy, Missouri.

My pick: DE Ed Stinson, Alabama.

   The Broncos two biggest needs, OL and CB, are both far past their limits in terms of being a reach here… Ealy and Stinson provide additional depth along the defensive line.

  1. Seattle Seahawks- WR Donte Moncrief, Mississippi.

My pick: WR Jarvis Landry, Louisiana State.

   The Seahawks are a rare, run-first offense, but even they need to air it out from time to time to keep teams honest. With the loss of Golden Tate, they are in need of a new target for Russell Wilson.

 

    Well, there you have it folks. Thanks for checking out my mock draft, and be sure to let me know what you think about it in the comment section below! Thanks as always for reading.

Q-o-t-D 4/18/14 Tags: Easter Food
If you celebrate, what is on your Easter dinner menu!

Sports Friday with Hal: J-E-T-S Suck, Suck, Suck
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news notes

Happy Friday!

 

NFL NOTES:

 

Odd case of Donovan McNabb’s mugshot released in Arizona without any reason given.  It seems to be a case of the law enforcement agency just celebrating they caught a celebrity. Apparently, McNabb was nabbed in a “Criminal traffic situation” in December which appears to be a DUI. McNabb was somehow able to be arrested and arraigned and now spent a day in jail without it being plastered over the media until now. Very rare in sports, for sure.

 

*

 

The fifth year option for rookie first round contracts is a negotiated part of the collective bargaining agreement that meets its first test this year. The 2011 first round draft picks are now coming up on that option and teams will pay the players based on where they are drafted. Top ten picks get paid what would be the transition tender for the position.  For picks 11-32, the players get the average between the 3rd and 25th highest salaries at their position.

 

Houston wisely notified defensive end J.J. Watt he is coming back for his fifth year of his rookie deal this week. Teams have until May 3rd to notify their 2011 first round draft picks that they are invoking the extra season.  The Cowboys notified left tackle Tyron Smith that he will be back in 2015 for just over $10 million as well. The Ravens exercised that option on cornerback Jimmy Smith this week too.

 

Of course, teams can work out deals to extend the contract as well, but the negotiated deal  between the players and owners seems to be working well. Draft picks are not overpaid based on draft pick position for four years and there are no fights over the length of rookie deals. If a team wants to keep a player, they have the fifth year option and then the franchise tag the following year. All first round picks can be free agents after no more than six years this way.

 

For busts, they can get on the market and try to revitalize their career without hamstringing their prior team’s salary cap.

 

For San Francisco, they have a tough choice with defensive end Aldon Smith and his fifth year option. On the field, he is worth it. Off the field, he is a scary player to put a  lot of money out for him. With a suspension and a torn ACL last year, the Broncos have a tough choice as well with linebacker Von Miller and his fifth year option.

 

Detroit has said that they will not pick up defensive tackle Nick Fairley’s option in order to motivate him to play for a contract.  Top ten pick quarterbacks Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder would all be looking at big bucks (Locker and Gabbert over $13 million for 2015) so they all get to hit free agency early.

 

The clock is ticking for the teams with 2011 first round draft picks (New England and left tackle Nate Solder is another interesting situation) and the deadline is fast approaching. However, this is looking like the league and players both got what they wanted with this negotiated compromise. This is the rare compromise which leaves both sides happy with the deal as the players get to free agency before turning 30 no matter what and the owners control costs and have an out clause for busts.

 

*

 

A surprising release by Jacksonville of starting linebacker Russell Allen. Jacksonville is still under the salary cap and apparently decided to walk away from Allen.  Allen had some concussion issues at the end of the season, but performed well when on the field for the Jaguars. Earning less than $2 million per season, Allen was the best coverage linebacker on the team last year and could be a solid pickup for any number of teams in need of linebacker depth. Stepping in as a starter in 2011 in week 12, Allen looked like a gem. He was a regular starter in 2012 and last year. It seems odd he would be let go now.

 

*

 

The New York Jets made waves this week with their acquisition of former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson. Johnson has been a work horse for the Titans and comes to the Jets after his release.  Not worth close to his cap number, his release was a foregone conclusion.

 

For a $3 million investment, it is not a terrible deal by New York. A two-year deal worth upwards to $9 million, odds are that Johnson will not see most of it. He should be motivated in 2014 after a lackluster 2013 season. That said, he does have a lot of wear and tear. He played last year with a torn meniscus in his knee and had surgery in January of this year.

 

Johnson is a speed running back.  He should be back, but how he performs is a big question. The Jets brought in a trio of backs last year with the surprising Chris Ivory, the “meh” Bilal Powell, and the “waste of space” Mike Goodson. Considering Goodson still has his day in court next month on gun and drug charges, had a four game suspension last year to open the year, and then blew out his knee after seven carriers he is the likely training camp release.

 

The Jets added Johnson, Michael Vick, and Eric Decker in free agency but did little for their biggest area of concern: the offensive line. The Jets rode a strong defense to a surprising .500 record last year but this year let top cornerback Antonio Cromartie leave after trading Darrelle Revis the year before.

 

Michael Vick or Geno Smith at quarterback? Eric Decker as a number one receiver? Chris Johnson looking for health and redemption? No one blocking up front? Same old, same old in New York.

 

*

 

After the 1999 season, the New England Patriots lost linebacker Todd Collins (washed-up linebacker with a great mustache who quit on the team for a season in the mid-1990s), punter Tom Tupa (punter power!), defensive tackle Mark Wheeler (can truthfully say I have no idea who this guy is...and I played a ton of Madden 1998 as the Patriots way back when) and offensive lineman Dave Wohlabaugh (already superfluous due to first round pick and current ESPN NFL analyst Damien Woody) through free agency. As a result, they were awarded four compensatory picks: Nos. 127, 199, 201 and 239. Future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady was pick #199...so you could almost say the Patriots got Brady for Tom Tupa leaving as a free agent to the Jets. So thanks to the Jets signing away the Pats punter the Pats were awarded Tom Brady. Just....Wow.

 

*

Chad Johnson nee OchoCinco somehow found his way back in the news this week as he signed with the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes.  Like fellow diva receiver Terrell Owens, Johnson seems unable to separate him from their NFL success in the past with a media-driven world that lets him keep himself front and center of any and all cameras and recording devices.  

 

After a decade in Cincinnati, Johnson chose not to go quietly into retirement and instead flamed out in New England, marring his career accomplishments by embarrassing himself and not learning the offense and getting on the same page as quarterback Tom Brady in 2011. After signing with Miami, he was released after an arrest following his altercation with his wife.

 

* * *

 

OK, everyone have a great weekend, a happy Easter, and for the New England folk a fantastic Patriots Day!

 
Slapshots and Hip Checks 4/18
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Atlanta MLS Stanley Cup P;ayoffs MLB

 

Damn near forgot to write this post then just as I nodded off I jumped up and said to myself...ahh fuck, it's Thursday and I need to write a post...now what, cuz I got nothin'!! 

Let's see what I can rant about...MLB players, let's start with these guys. I don't know about any of the other Gabber's in fantasy baseball, but my two teams (I have one in Jeff's league too) are walking MASH units, and this is exactly how my teams started last season too. Mark Texiera...this frickin' douche bag lands right back where he was last year about his time...the DL. And how much are the Spankees paying this Workman's Comp claim? He's obviously been schooled well in this organization from their previous losers that were paid astro-bucks only to  hang out at practice or sit in the clubhouse to watch games. Does Carl Pavano ring a bell? Or A-Roid? Both of these guys were paid huge ducats and both found their way to the DL for tons of missed games. So what is it with baseball players and their inability to be ready for the season? I mean baseball isn't a contact sport, there's no one being checked into boards, no one getting a slap shot to the testes, there's no tackling, so what's the deal? Is spring training too short? Do most of these guys do nothing in the offseason? It has to have something to do with not being properly prepared...how else do you explain all these DL's and day to days for hamstrings, pulled muscles etc? I would think this topic has come up within clubs who experience these issues...but is it on the team or the player to be ready for the start of the season? Burning questions, but it's not hard to notice looking around the leagues I'm in that I'm  not the only one dealing with it. Talk amongst yourselves...discuss. 

 

The NHL playoffs are in round 1, Boston faces off against Detroit in Boston for game one tomorrow night and I'm all fired up about it. No, not worried about the season series between the two, two of those four games were decided by one point, Boston won one and had a lousy game against the Wings at the start of the season...this is the playoffs, it's a whole new season and what happened over the last 82 games was just a precursor to get to season two. Again, if you've never spent any time watching playoff hockey you're really missing the very best the game has to offer...you're not going to see better games, heated competition and guys playing until their legs fall off to win that double OT like you would in any other sport. Certainly not the NBA...that's for sure. Check it out, you won't be disappointed!

Yesterday, here in Atlanta it was announced that an MLS team would begin playing games here in 2017...Arthur Blank is behind this. Now I have nothing against AB...I really don't, but this is a bit short-sighted on his part. In my seven years here I'm still trying to find how the existing teams are marketed...I really mean that. Go to NY or LA or even Boston, you see billboards galore, players in local TV commercials, everyone dressed in their gear, all that, but not here. First, this is college football country before anything else, then it's probably NASCAR and pro football, the Braves, even with their non-stop TV coverage can't sellout, and the Hawks...it's basketball, who cares? That's why I don't understand the logic to add a team from yet another sport after hockey failed miserably - TWICE, the Braves lacked any support from the city of Atlanta to build a new stadium (keep in mind, the one they're in now was built all the way back in 1996 for the Olympics, so it's only natural that place would be in dire need of replacement) so they're building in Cobb County/Marietta and they'll be opening for the 2017 season. They can't keep a hockey team, they're moving the MLB team out of town and it appears Blank's logic seems to be something has to replace what's left. Sorry Arthur, it's not going to work and this team will be heading for (if you ask DVT) Winnipeg right behind the Thrashers/Jets. If the people of Atlanta don't understand hockey and this is a football town what makes him think soccer has any chance at all? Really not seeing it, and from what I'm hearing so far it's got as much support as the Ferris Wheel they built downtown, (Arthur Blank was a huge advocate for this too) ... yeah, a fuckin' Ferris Wheel. Are you all getting that this town seems to put the cart before the horse? It's not like the roads didn't need repair, the highways around Atlanta aren't too fucked up and money couldn't be spent to rectify what amounts to a ride along the gauntlet each trip to the city, but we got a Ferris Wheel and you too can ride it for $25 for 15 minutes after you pay $20 across the street to park. Maybe that's where all the money is coming from to support the Falcons new stadium and this MLS team that has no business being here. Keep in mind, you heard it here first...this team... GONE by 2020. 

Have a great weekend! 

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