Saturday, October 23, 2010

The aftermath

Let the second-guessing, name-calling and blame assessing begin.

The Yankees' hopes for repeating as World Series champions came to a sudden halt with their Game 6 American League Championship Series loss to the Texas Rangers. For Yankee fans, losing the series 4 games to 2 felt even worse than it looked.

The Rangers outperformed the Bombers in every way: From pitching to hitting to defense to managing, etc. The Yankees looked like an old team, while the Rangers looked like a team ready to start a Yankee-like postseason run for years to come.

For the record, I still believe ON PAPER the Yankees are the better team, but as well all know, games and series and titles are won ON THE FIELD and not on paper.

Worse than the Yanks' pathetic performance was listening to the distraught Yankee fans and giddy Yankee haters that have blown up the airwaves with their thoughts since A-Rod struck out to end New York's season in Arlington.

For Yankee fans, remember this team is not a whole lot different than the one that one a World Series a year ago. Bottom line, this one did not perform the way last year's team performed. I'm not going to get into all the nit-picking that comes with a series loss.

For Yankee detractors, remember this team that -- in your words -- can't buy a title, is not a whole lot different than the one that you said last year bought a championship.

It is certain the Yankee will not repeat as World Series champions this year. It is also very likely the Yankees will once again compete for a championship next season.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What do I know

One of the things that make me laugh the hardest is when I'm thought of as an expert when it comes to making predictions because I am a sports editor.

I know as much as anyone else who has an opinion and I am certainly no expert.

Two examples:

1) In our weekly Friday Morning Quarterbacks local football predictions I am currently in fourth place among our five Freeman pickers. My record so far(46-18) would still be considered decent, but I'm sure anyone out there would be at least as good with their picks.

2) My Super Bowl teams, Dallas and San Diego are a combined 3-8. The Cowboys, at 1-4, are in last place in the NFC East, while the (2-4) Chargers are also last in the AFC West.

So much for predictions, eh?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Upon further review

With the recent gaffes by umpires in the MLB playoffs, I know there is this big cry for increased use of instant replay.

While I am in favor of the use of instant replay on a limited basis, I have a better idea: How about getting more competent umpires. With the exception of balls and strikes, which have always been subjective (even though the rule does define what a strike zone is), most of these missed calls have been blatant.

Whether it is the Yankees' Greg Golson's catch that was called a hit or the Giants' Buster Posey stealing second (when he was clearly out) that led to the only run in San Francisco's 1-0 win over the Braves to a couple of blown calls against the Rays that helped the Rangers to a 2-0 series lead, the umpires have been flat out awful.

I'll even give home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt a break on the strike 3 pitch he called a ball on the Yanks' Lance Berkman before he hit a go-ahead RBI double against the Twins because 1) ball/strike calls might be the toughest call any umpire/referee makes and 2) he had been calling that pitch a ball all game.

All I've been hearing is how we need to expand replay, but how about expanding the search to find better umpires?

I consider myself a bit of a tradionalist, so I don't believe we need to turn to replay to solve all the problems of human error. If we start down that slope, maybe in a few years -- with our technology -- we can use technology instead of umpires.

After what we've witnessed the past couple of days, I'm sure a lot of people would love that idea.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Risky decision

Let's hope, for his sake, Joe Girardi knows what he's doing.

The Yankee manager essentially gave the AL East title to the Rays by his moves over the weekend. Now I know we can all look to the pathetic numbers the Bombers compiled hitting with men in scoring position, but the fact remains that if Girardi would have managed differently, home-field advantage throughout the playoffs was there for the taking.

Up 6-4 late in the second game of the doubleheader against the Red Sox on Saturday, who did Girardi turn to close out the game to keep the Yankees a game a head of the Rays in the standings? The answer: Royce Ring and Ivan Nova.

Why? Good question. In the first game, Girardi used his top relievers of David Robertson, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera in a game the Yankees won in extra innings.

I have no problem with using those guys in that situation. But because he did that, Girardi was too worried (in my opinion) that he was going to hurt one of those pitchers by using them twice in the same day. Less than 24 hours later, however, Robertson, Logan and Chamberlain were used in a game the Red Sox cruised past the Yanks.

Now I know Tampa won on Sunday to finish a game ahead of the Yanks and that if the teams tied, the Rays would have won the division by virtue of a tiebreaker, but no one is going to convince me that had the Yankees had destiny in their own hands on Sunday, they would have played the game differently.

As I said earlier, Girardi has been too cautious with this team's health down the stretch, although the Yankees are an older team. But now instead of having the extra game at home for the remainder of the AL playoffs, the Yankees will have to be road warriors if they want to defend their World Series title.

If it works, Girardi's a genius. If not, he might very well be managing the Cubs next season.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quite a story

Sometimes I wonder just how stupid athletes believe we are when it comes to drugs.

From Roger Clemens denying to this day he's never touched steroids to Manny Ramirez saying it was a personal reason why he tested positive for a fertility drug commonly used as a masking agent for performance-enhancing drugs to David Ortiz saying his reported positive test came from legal supplements and vitamins he did or didn't know he was taking, athletes denying drug use has become laughable.

And I'm just touching the surface with these examples.

My favorite story WAS tennis player Richard Gasquet saying -- and subsequently getting away with -- testing positive for cocaine last year came from kissing a woman who had the drug on her lips.

Now comes the saga of Tour de France champion Alberto Contador. The No. 1 cyclist in the world tested positive for a PED as he pedaled his way to his third Tour title. He now says the positive test for clenbuterol came as a result of eating meat that MAY have been laced with the illegal substance.

Tainted meat leading to a positive drug test? Really? Then, to paraphrase what a national radio personality said recently, I must be Arnold Schwarzenegger with the amount of beef I eat a week. I'm guessing the same can be said for a lot of people in the world.

Say what you will about those athletes who have come clean -- or been forced to come clean -- about their PED use, at least they're still not trying to insult our intelligence.