Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Years Day Bowl-ing

Hey gang:
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.
I don't know about you guys, but when it comes to New Years, I always associate friends, family and football with the holiday.
There's just something about celebrating New Year's Eve with your loved ones, then chilling out on New Years Day and watching college football from sun-up until midnight that I really love. It doesn't matter who is playing in the (INSERT CORPORATE SPONSORED BOWL HERE) game, it's just fun to watch.
I will say, however, I'm not a huge fan of this most recent setup. I'm not talking about the BCS system, but rather that the BCS title game won't be played until a week after the typical New Years Day bowl games.
It was always fun knowing who the national champions are on Jan. 2.
Oh well, if I don't get the opportunity to blog before next week, I want to wish all of you a very healthy and happy and SAFE New Years.
Take care and God bless.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Looking out for yourself

Hey folks:
First off, a very Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate that holiday and a very belated Happy Hannukah to all of my Jewish brethren.
I have a question, one that I'm sure the newspapers, ESPN and sports talk radio will be asking this week -- what is a playoff team's obligation to play its starters in what is a meaningless game for them when that game is meaningful to its opponent?
I bring this up because the Giants face the undefeated Patriots in the final week of the regular season, while teams such as the Colts and Cowboys -- already locked in for the playoffs -- could determine which team in each conference earns the final wild-card nod.
The Colts play host to Tennessee in the final game of the regular season with the Titans needing a win to get in the AFC playoffs over the Cleveland Browns, who face the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams are tied with a 9-6 record. The Titans control their destiny (based on record against common opponent) but in a wacky twist, should both teams lose, the Browns get the nod because of a stronger conference record.
The scenario is easier in the NFC. The Washington Redskins, who play host to the Cowboys, are in with a win. The Minnesota Vikings, who face the Denver Broncos, are in with a win and a Washington loss, while the New Orleans Saints, who face the Chicago Bears, need a win and losses by both the Skins and Vikings to get the final playoff spot.
I touched on this a little in an earlier post, but as much as I would love to see the Giants go all out as the last team standing between the Pats and regular-season perfection, I truly understand giving their banged up starters rest.
Same goes for both the Colts and the Cowboys.
It's a tough call, but in the end, these teams are obligated to do what's best for them.
While it will be tough to see the Pats run up-and-down the field against the Giants' reserves, or the Redskins and Titans celebrate playoff berths against the Colts' and Cowboys' "B" teams, the bigger shame would be seeing any one of these teams suffer an injury that could affect the playoffs.
What do you think?
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Giant statement

Hey gang:
Today was a big day for the Giants.
By beating the Bills, the Giants assured themselves a spot in the playoffs. I believe they all but assured something else -- the New England Patriots finishing the regular season undefeated.
With the Giants having nothing to play for when they host New England on Saturday, look for Big Blue to give its banged-up starters ample rest. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Giants sit guys like Plaxico Burress -- who's been injured all year -- the whole game, while only playing guys like Eli Manning a half a game at bhest to give him some needed rest.
Not having a rooting interest in this game, I must admit I'm a little bummed the game is meaningless for New York. I would like to have seen the Giants go toe-to-toe with the Pats for an entire game. I'm not saying New York would have won the game, but they have enough talent thst I would have given them a punchers' chance.
Now, I would be stunned if we don't see the Patriots winning by double digits.
The Giants are doing the right thing for themselves in getting ready for the playoffs. That said, with the Patriots on the precipice of NFL history it would have been nice to see the game mean something for both teams.
But you can't have it all, I guess.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rush to judgement?

Hey folks:
I have a quick question about Roger Clemens and the Mitchell Report. I vowed to myself I'd stop talking about this because even I'm getting sick of it, but I just have to ask.
Given the way the media has lambasted Clemens -- calling him a cheat for allegedly taking steroids and HGH and a liar for denying it on Tuesday -- if we play the what-if game for a moment, suppose it comes out down the road -- two months from now, six months from now, whatever -- that Clemens was telling the truth and his former personal trainer wasn't, then what?
Will those in the media who have blasted Rocket this past week admit they were wrong, or will they say something like "O.J. was acquitted and we all know he's guilty, same with Clemens?"
The same could also be said for Barry Bonds, although it appears there is a lot more evidence that points to him taking steroids rather than the word of one former trainer.
In the end, I believe Clemens is probably guilty, but are we ready to take one of the greatest pitchers in our era and tarnish his legacy forever over hearsay?
Just curious?
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More Mitchell musings

Hey guys:
It's been a few days since the infamous Mitchell Report was revealed and still I don't know what surprises me more -- that fact that less than 90 people were on this list, or that there are still many sportswriters who are actually surprised with who's on the list.
Yankees starter Andy Pettitte admitted to using HGH (human growth hormone) in 2002 and from reading some New York City columnists, you would have thought he murdered somebody.
From what I've seen and read over the years, I would think 90 is a low number. Like I said in a previous post, not seeing names like Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa on the list shock me more than seeing the likes of Andy Pettitte or Miguel Tejada or Roger Clemens.
I also disagree with the notion that these guys should be suspended for their transgressions. Unless I'm missing the point -- and I'll use Pettitte as an example since he's the biggest New York name to admit he used HGH -- many of these athletes used HGH before baseball put it on its banned-substance list.
While I don't condone what these players did, and I do believe using HGH is cheating, I don't think you can rewrite history and take action on these players because Major League Baseball was slow in trying to address the problem.
For now, baseball has to live with the embarrassment.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tough times for Tigers

Hey gang:
Who would have thought it.
After 11 games, the Kingston High's boys and girls basketball teams are a combined 1-10. Following another game in which they failed to protect a lead in the fourth quarter on Friday night, the Kingston girls fell to 1-6.
The Tiger boys, meanwhile, dropped to 0-4 after losing their home opener earlier in the week.
I can't recall a season in which both teams have collectively struggled like this and I'm very surprised at the Kingston girls, who returned several key members of a team that advanced to the state semifinals last season.
Both teams, especially the Kingston boys, appear young and let's hope for their sake boys coach Ron Kelder and girls coach Steve Garner figure things out quickly. There's a long way to go in the season, but -- at this rate -- we could be looking at a basketball season where neither Kingston team will be playing in the Section 9 tournament.
There's something not right about that.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Taking stock of the Mitchell report

So folks:
Is anybody out there surprised about the names that appear in the Mitchell report about steroid/performance-enhancing substance use in baseball?
Roger Clemens? Barry Bonds? Miguel Tejada? Lenny Dykstra? No surprises there.
About the only marquee name that was somewhat of a surprise was Andy Pettitte, although considering how close he is with the Rocket, and their names being linked with the Jason Grimsley case a couple of years back, I guess it shouldn't come as that big a shock.
More than a dozen past or current Yankees made the list so I'm sure it has been a rough day in the Bronx.
Of all the names tied to the Mitchell report, the one name that jumped out at me was a name that wasn't on the list -- Mark McGwire.
I'm sure an informal poll of most baseball fans would say they believe the one-time single-season home run champ would be there. He previuously admitted to using andro, a banned substance now.
It all makes me wonder, with the nearly 100 names on the Mitchell list, just how many have got away with using these banned substances.
Just a thought.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Playoff picture taking shape

Hey gang:
As we head into the final three weeks of the NFL's regular season, the playoff picture -- from where I sit -- is finally taking shape.
As I see it, in the NFC, Dallas and Green Bay are locks to get first-round byes, with Seattle and Tampa Bay grabbing the other two divisions. The Giants are all but a lock to get that fifth seed, and will grab that final wild-card spot.
As I see it, in the AFC, New England will have home field throughout the playoffs, with Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and San Diego winning their divisions as well. Indianapolis will join the Patriots in earning a first-round bye. Jacksonville and Cleveland will get the wild-card spots.
I hate to take the drama out of it, but do any of you think really there is a team out there that can beat the Pats? I didn't think so.
Philadelphia and Baltimore had their chances, but couldn't get the job done and Dallas, with the league's second-best record, couldn't handle New England on the Cowboys' home turf.
Who will lose to -- I mean face -- the Patriots is the bigger mystery.
The NFC playoff will be wide open, with each team having a legitimate shot at making the Super Bowl. And the two teams that are playing the best football in the NFC right now might be the Vikings and Seahawks.
It should make for an exciting January.
Stay tuned.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hot stove keeps up warm

Well gang:
Call this the hot stove edition of my blog.
What a crazy couple of days in the world of baseball -- and it's only the beginning of December.
First, the Yankees were the front-runners to land Johan Santana. Then the World Series-champion Red Sox were the leaders after the talks between the Yanks and Minnesota stalled over the third Yankee in the package.
Now, the hot rumor making the internet is the Angels and Dodgers might make a run at the two-time Cy Young award winner.
With them primed to acquire Santana, the Red Sox looked like they had a lock on the World Series for many years to come. Then the news breaks that the Tigers acquired Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins and now they look like they might be the team to beat.
Where does all this leave the Yankees and Mets.
For the Yankees-sake, they better hope Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy are everything they're supposed to be. If not, it could be a looooooooooooong season in the Bronx.
As far as the Mets, I know GM Omar Minaya said he is comfortable with his team as is. But when you have an aging Pedro Martinez and the even-more aging Orlando Hernandez making up 40 percent of your rotation, an upgrade is in order.
Problem is, from everything I've read on the internet and seen on television, the one prize most teams want from the Mets they can't get -- Jose Reyes.
The good news for Mets fans is the National League has been pathetic for the last few years, so they would still be -- in my book -- the odds on favorite to get to the World Series.
But it's only December 4, maybe both New York teams will look dramatically different in a few days.
Either way, isn't it nice as the weather gets colder, the hot stove continues to heat up?
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Frozen from Florida

Hey everyone:
Well, after a 10-day holiday in Florida (where the weather was in the 80s every day) I come back to snow and ice. Yuk! Vacation was great but now it's back to the business of sports. Hot stove still heating up. NFL playoff races beginning to sort themselves out and then there's the whole mess that's called the BCS.
Now more than ever the BCS needs a playoff format. I'm not necessarily saying the BCS got it wrong by putting Ohio State and LSU in the championship, but what about Oklahoma, Georgia, Virginia Tech and USC. They all have valid arguments they should be playing in New Orleans next month.
Oh well, maybe someday those who run college football will follow the lead of their college basketball brethren and go to a playoff format. At least in college basketball, as it is with all professional sports, you can unquestionably say who the top team is at the end.
Can we honestly say that about college football?
I didn't think so.
Until next time, take care and God bless.