Wednesday, June 23, 2010

USA, USA, USA!!!!!!

The ref's tried to steal a win from team USA once again, but this time Landon Donovan was there to save the day.  His goal in the first minute of stoppage time propelled the US to a 1-0 victory, and puts them into the next round.  This is the first time the US has won a group since 1930, and considering England (who also advanced) was in their group this time, that's an impressive feat.  Clint Dempsey scored a goal much earlier in the match, around the 20th minute, that was waved off because of an offsides call.  The replay clearly showed Dempsey was onside.  That marks the second time the US team has been done wrong by these FIFA officials, but once again they were able to put it past them and stay focused on the task at hand.  With former president Bill Clinton as their good luck charm, the US team won the match, and the group.  Not an easy task considering they shared the group with powerhouse England.  Now it's on to the elimination round, and the way this US team is playing, they just might have a few more surprises left in them.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cubs lose again

It's downright painful to watch this Cubs team.  It seems like every chance they get to score a run here and a run there they just clam up.  With Alfonso Soriano on second, Tyler Colvin hit a routine fly ball to left and Soriano started running towards third.  He then looks out to left, right as the fielder is catching it, and what does he do? Keep jogging to third, then stop and watch as he gets doubled off.  Any other player would get benched, but not Soriano.  Lou Piniella didn't even say a word to him, almost like he half expected it to happen.  That is inexcusable.  Somebody needs to step in and change the whole atmosphere in that clubhouse.  It all comes from the manager, and Lou acts like he stopped caring two years ago.  What surprises me the most is bench coach Alan Trammell.  One of my heroes growing up for the Tigers, Trammell never took a play off.  He ran hard out of the box every time, no question.  He was a leader then, and should take this opportunity now to step up and fix this team. 

Farewell France, you will not be missed

Can I just say thank goodness the French team is done at the World Cup.  I can't think of a situation like this happening at all, let alone at the World Cup.  I'm not the biggest soccer fan, but I do appreciate the rich history and tradition of the World Cup.  France managed to spit all over that history this year over and over again.  First there was Nicolas Anelka screaming at his coach, Raymond Domenech, during their loss to Mexico.  That simply can't be allowed, and I support Domenech's decision to send Anelka home.  Unfortunately that was just the beginning.  The players refused to practice, even though they clearly needed it, and if a couple of guys would have had their way, they would have gone home last week.  They didn't however, which meant they had to keep playing.  After losing to South Africa today their coach, Domenech, embarrassed the entire country of France by refusing to shake the South African coach's hand after the match.  As a die hard hockey fan, the post game handshake is something I both appreciate and respect.  It takes a big person to shake the hand of your opponent who robbed you of your chance for glory.  I guess the French coach, and his players are going to need a lesson in class, respect, and after this horrendous showing at the World Cup, soccer too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jaime Varner is a giant baby

The W.E.C. put on a great show last night, right until Jaime Varner's man parts took center stage.  The earlier fights were great, including Mark Hominick over Yves Jabouin (fight of the night), and Eddie Wineland over Will Campuzano (KO of the night).  Then all hell broke loose.  Varner took on a very game Kamal Shalorus, whose game plan was clearly to take out Varner's lead leg.  He successfully landed a bunch of outside leg kicks, but when he tried to go inside he ran into trouble.  First one clipped the cup on it's way to Varner's inner thigh.  After complaining for a couple minutes the fight resumed.  The second inside leg kick after watching on replay landed clean on inner thigh, but his big toe MAY have brushed up against Varner's cup on the way.  Varner went down like he'd just been castrated.  He complained and cried until referee Josh Rosenthal took a point from Shalorus.  Sure enough he tried the inside leg kick again, and sure enough he managed to find Varner's business.  This time it was a clean groin shot, no argument here.  However, this is where i start to think Varner is playing this up to win a decision.  You can even hear him asking the ref, during his five minute rest period, if he took another point.  Are you joking me Varner??? You were given a chance to catch your breath and make sure you weren't injured from the illegal blow, and your concern was if your opponent was punished again.  That's not what fighting is about.  Varner clearly fights to win, but not in a good way.  We earlier saw this in his fight against Donald Cerrone, who was beating the bleep out of him until he got careless and hit Varner with an illegal knee to a downed opponent.  Varner refused to continue, and was awarded the win.  From a fan's perspective, this is as bad as it gets.  Go out there and fight, or find a new job.  Hopefully that's why the judges did what they did (fight was a draw) because they had to punish Shalorus, and because after hearing Varner complain about not taking points, they just couldn't give him the win.

U.S. Open one to remember.....or forget

It usually happens once or twice a tournament, maybe less.  A pro hits a shot, and every single guy sitting at home goes "I can do that".  We all like to think that because we shot an 82 that one time, that we could go out there and do if for a living.  This years U.S. Open at Pebble Beach should silence all those arm chair pros out there.  I know it shut me up.  Dustin Johnson's historic collapse is any normal man's best round ever.  That 82 he posted showed that at Pebble, anything is possible.  This guy had won the last two tournaments played there, and had a three shot lead going into Sunday.  You couldn't ask for a better shot to win a major.  Triple bogey, double bogey, bogey.  Three holes, seven shots, game over.  Surprisingly he still had a shot after nine because everybody else was also struggling.  Tiger, Phil, Els, all had chances to make a run, pick up a few shots, and win this thing.  In the end Graeme McDowell wins at even par.  All Dustin Johnson had to do was shoot a 76, a bad round even for this course.  That would have left him at one-under and winner of the 2010 U.S. Open.  Think about that the next time you lose sleep over that 5 footer you knew you should have made.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ultimate Finale Live

Tonight was the finale for season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter, and it was a great card.  Dennis Siver edged out Spencer "The King" Fisher in a decision.  The fight was a good stand up war from start to finish.  Chris Leben TKO'd Aaron Simpson in the second.  Both fighters seemed gassed by the end, but Leben had just enough power left to stop Simpson.  Great fight, thought it would be my fight of the night for a while there.  That is until the Matt Hamill beat Keith Jardine in a bloody three round decision.  Both fighters showed good stand up, something Hamill had lacked in earlier fights.  Keith Jardine has a very unorthodox style that gave Hamill trouble more than once, but in the end he was able to score a couple key take downs and outpoint him on the feet.  Hamill opened up cuts on Jardine's face that seemed to turn the momentum of the fight.  Definitely my pick for fight of the night.  The main event was alright, with Court McGee dominating Kris McCray en route to a second round submission by rear naked choke.  There was very little stand up in this fight, as McGee found out quickly he could take McCray down at will.  Once he did he landed some good ground strikes, took the back, and choked him out.  Congratulations to Court McGee on winning the fight, and getting the six figure contract.  If you don't know his story, it's been a tough road to get where he is tonight.  A former drug addict who overdosed and died for a short time, he definitely turned his life around.  He deserves all the good that will come from this win, and I wish him the best of luck.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Manute Bol

Rest in peace Manute Bol, who died earlier today at 47.  He was a decent basketball player, but a great humanitarian who was dedicated to building schools in his native Sudan.

Go Cubs Go.....right into last place

Is it me, or has it just gotten downright painful to watch the Cubs this year? Derrek Lee is a shell of his former self, Aramis Ramirez is on the D.L., again, and the pitching is as up and down as it gets.  Ted Lilly almost threw a no hitter last week, but today he was closer to a no outer.  Nobody is hitting, but at least they went out and got the top hitting coach in baseball.  Rudy Jarimillo has not done anything positive for this team.  They are all swinging at garbage, and have no plate discipline.  Marlon Byrd is the only bright spot this season, and the only player holding his own.  He's even playing BETTER than advertised.  Sadly, he is the only one.  Hopefully they will stay out of the race as the July 31st trade deadline approaches and try to dump some salary and try and rebuild.  That's going to be a difficult task considering how much of their money is tied up in Soriano, Fukudome, and Lilly.  Those would be the easy choices to trade, but who is going to take on that kind of money for so little production.  I may be unfairly grouping Ted Lilly with those other two, because he hasn't failed quite as bad, but his salary is just too damn high.  Those are tough deals, but they may be necessary or we'll still be praying for a World Series win for more years to come.  Just in case we haven't waited long enough. 

I hate Vuvuzelas

I hate Vuvuzelas (the terrible horns at the world cup).  Those are the most annoying sounds in the world.  Who wants to hear bees swarming for an hour and a half?

Strasburg is for real

Having seen first hand what hype can do to a pitcher (Mark Prior) I was hesitant to crown Steven Strasburg legit after his first two starts.  Boy was I wrong.  That kid is amazing.  It's one thing to strikeout batters, it's another to leave every single one of them shaking their heads like they just saw a ghost.  That should be the name of Strasburg's change up, the ghost.  That thing comes in at 91mph, and out of nowhere it seems to almost stop dead in it's tracks, and drop straight down.  Unfortunately for the batter, this happens right as they decide to swing at it.  Lots of guys can throw 100, a few can even control it at that speed, but nobody has a change like that.  I'm still waiting for him to get a shot at a real potent offense, but big league hitters are still big league hitters.  If this kid can stay healthy we may be watching the beginning of a Hall of Fame career.  His numbers are outstanding, having already struck out more hitters in a three game span then anybody in history.  The other advantage he may have over  Mark Prior and Kerry Wood is his mechanics.  Wood's curve ball destroyed his arm, and nobody taught Prior how to actually pitch.  Strasburg's mechanics seem perfect.  If he can figure out how to land that lead foot without the mound giving him fits he won't have much else to work on.  That's why he's the real deal, not hype.  After three starts the only negative is how he lands on the bump.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Coheed

Just downloaded this album.  Wow, that's all I can say, wow.  OK, I'll elaborate a little more.  While this CD is slower than their previous work the guitars are incredible.  They continue to change how each album sounds, and they all seem to stand alone really well.  "Year of the Black Rainbow" is a quality CD from start to finish. 

Fergie loves Kerry Wood....I'm sure of it....

We had an autograph signing with Fergie Jenkins, the greatest pitcher in Cubs history.  The TV in the store only had a DVD player hooked up to it, so we were showing Kerry Wood's 20 strikeout game.  It was from
Chicago Cubs Legends - Great Games Collector's Edition.  A great DVD for any Cubs fan, it also includes Greg Maddux's 300th win, and the game Sammy Sosa hit numbers 61 & 62.  About 20 or so minutes into it there is a lull between people coming up to him, and I notice him laughing at the television.  Naturally, I ask him what he was laughing at, and he says Houston (the team Wood demolished that day).  He then starts telling me how because it had started to rain in the 5th that they just gave up, and were swinging at "garbage".  I've watched that game at least 50 times, and trust me they were trying.  The whole time he was talking about it he had this look in his eye, pure jealousy.  Fergie is a hall of famer, and one of the best, but even he knows he never had the stuff to do that. 

Lakers edge out Celtics in ugly game 7

Congratulations to the Lakers on winning the title yesterday.  It was an ugly game, but that's what happens when you have two really good teams in a game 7.  Kobe Bryant is now one more step closer to being the greatest of all time.  Yup, that's what I said, the greatest of all time.  Jordan is the benchmark, no argument there, but Kobe is almost there.  Scoring wise it's a coin toss.  Jordan's 63 was legendary, but that's 19 points less than what Kobe did against Toronto.  Even though Bill Russell has 11 rings, the 6 that Jordan got seems to be the real top of the mountain.  If the Lakers can win next season and have two seperate 3-peats, that would be the icing on the cake.  Yes Kobe had Shaq for the first three, but Jordan had Scottie for all six.  As good as Pau Gasol is, and Lamar Odom, neither is a hall of fame caliber player like Pippen was.  Now all Kobe has to do is win next year, no easy task with the ever looming LeBron sweepstakes. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Letter to Lou

Dear Mr. Piniella,

I will start this by saying I am one of your biggest fans.  I think you are a top level manager, with a great ability to coach up young talent.  I even own a number 41 Cubs jersey with your name on it.  I am also writing this right after you guys beat the A's 3 to 2.  You are making a couple of mistakes that may very well ruin this franchise for another 100 years.  Geovany Soto is a Rookie of the Year award winner, not to mention starting in the All Star Game.  Koyie Hill is not a terrible ball player, but is never going to get close to the level that Geo can.  Geo is young and needs to play more than three times a week.  He needs to be out there getting the at-bats, and working with the staff.  That's the only way he will improve and reach his potential, which might be limitless. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nebraska to the Big Ten

As a die hard Michigan fan, it's been a rough couple years.  This news about Nebraska joining is just fantastic.  Tom Osborne once robbed Michigan of a national title.  Now they get to repay him year after year after year.  That is a rivalry born out of hate that will live on for a long time to come. 
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