The New York Yankees Eye A Championship

August 10, 2009

Every season the Yankees try to win a championship, but since 2000 have only found themselves buying heartache. Their rosters have been filled with top tier All-Stars Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina, who were all paid big bucks and produced solid statistics, but were unable to deliver a championship. Then there are the players such as Carl Pavano, Raul Mondesi, Jon Leiber, Jose Contreras and Kei Igawa, who the Yankees willingly forked over a kings ransom in hopes that they would get high return on their investments, but were sorely mistaken. Looking at the Yankees current roster the biggest investments that have not paid championship dividends for the New York Yankees are Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and of course Alex Rodriguez. With the way the 2009 season is playing out, these three players may just be hoisting the World Series Trophy by October’s end.

The 2009 Yankees Want To Bring Championship #27 To The New Stadium

The 2009 Yankees Want To Bring Championship #27 To The New Stadium

The top tier teams in their large markets may never be able to duplicate the amount of revenue that the Yankees bring to the game on a yearly basis, but with teams like the Dodgers, Mets and Red Sox all trying to spend in the same league as the Yankees these past few years, it allowed the Yankees the right to break the bank this offseason. GM Brian Cashman (potentially the most ironic front office name in sports history) to sign CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett to three mega contracts. To the Yankees delight, these three players are making pinstriped patrons proud by playing their best baseball and leading their team to the best record in the majors.

Coming off of a 4 game sweep of their arch-rival Boston Red Sox, all is well in The Bronx. The new Yankee Stadium that was being criticized to no end for the amount of home runs it allows is no longer being condemned because it has been a true homefield advantage for this team, leading them to a MLB best 39-17 record thus far. This record is beacuse this Yankees lineup is formidable. 9 players have 11+ Home Runs, with extreme balance within the 9 (11,12,14,16,16,18,21,21,29 HR’s respectively). That 29 HR’s is from the workman like All-Star First Baseman, 8 Year, $180 Million Dollar Man, Mark Teixeira. His impressive offensive achievements (leading the team in all major offensive categories) have been matched by his gold glove caliber defense to lead the Yankees to the top of the AL East once again. Derek Jeter is enjoying a terrificely productive offensive season, Nick Swisher has been a mashing surprise after being a subtle addition at the start of the year, Johnny Damon loves the new ballpark to the tune of 21 dingers, A-Rod feels happy/excepted by his teammates, with his play reflecting it, Robinson Cano is playing up to his All-Star level, the Cabrera/Gardner platoon injects life into the lineup everyday and Jorge Posada is healthy enough to contribute again. This is an lineup that no pitcher would be excited to face come October.

With a 6.5 game lead and enough firepower on offense to have Yankee fans expecting a playoff birth, the pitching is going to be put under the microscope more then ever before. We all know that CC Sabathia is worth every penny of his massive 7 Year $161 Million Dollar contract. For being a true ace, a true leader, an innings eater, a workhorse and undoubtedly being slated to start Game 1 of any playoff series. After the mammoth at the front end of the rotation, the rotation picture gets less crystal clear but has the ability to be electric. The Yankees were wary about A.J. Burnett’s health before signing him, so they only offered him 5 Years, worth $82.5 Million Dollars, which he happily excepted after terminating his contract early in Toronto to pitch for New York’s AL East contender. A.J. may hold the key to the Yankees post season success since he will be slated to be the Game 2 starter for the Yankees in nearly every scenario. No one is questioning the fireballers ability to dominate a major league lineup, but questions of his durability and focus tend to creep up on Burnett more then other pitchers on the roster. However, it cannot be forgotten that Burnett, along with Josh Beckett, carried the Florida Marlins to the 2003 World Series with their pitching performances, most notably against his current NY Yankee squad. Burnett can be the pitcher that they need him to be come playoff time, but time can only tell which A.J. will show up. Then there was the time tested Andy Pettite, who would be your Game 3 Starter. Pettite is a pitcher with a phenomenal postseason mark, but stumbled last season versus the Cleveland Indians. That will not frighten skipper Joe Girardi from using Pettite in a tight spot. With Pettite he has a starting pitcher with the intelligence, moxie and talent (blessed or illegal) to lead the Yankees to victory.

Then there was the bullpen, potentially the chink in the armor that is the 2009 NY Yankees. Mariano Rivera is still there, in dominating fashion at the end of the game. Rivera has been given more help in the bullpen then in the last few seasons from Alredo Aceves, Phil Coke and the versatile 23 year old Philip Hughes, which makes Yankee fans breathe easier and makes them happy towards the end of the game. Happiness may be even more apparent when the teams X-Factor Joba Chamberlain, happily shifts back to his role in the bullpen during the post-season to do whatever it takes for the team to win. Jubilation is resounding from the house that George built (Steinbrenner not George Herman Ruth) these days and with the Summer winding closer to September, then October baseball. the New York Yankees look prime and ready with a mix of talent both new and pinstripe veteran, to go head on with the best that Major League Baseball has to offer.

Best to you and yours from your blogging buddy,

Jordan

Advertisements

Tiger Takes Momentum Into Another Major

August 10, 2009

Tiger won his 2nd straight tournament yesterday at Firestone, his 7th victory in 10 tries at the tournament, and will again be an overwhelming favorite at the years final major next week. Tiger threw up a 30 on the front nine yesterday to seize the lead from Padraig around the turn. It looked like we were headed for an exciting battle down the stretch between the two when Tiger stumbled with 2 straight bogeys early in the back nine. Harrington drained a 15 foot par save on 13 to regain a 1 shot lead. But Tiger pulled it together in vintage Tiger fashion, stuck an 8 iron to within tap in distance from 180 yards on the par 5 16th. Both he and Harrington hit errant drives, but after that Paddy did nothing right. Following a failed layup attempt, Harrington air mailed the green in to a brutal position, facing a slick down hill chip with the water sitting perilously close behind. His wedge bounced off the grass and he skulled into the water, on his way to a triple bogey 8 that handed Tiger the tournament.

Tiger Outmusles The Competition, Snatching Another Title On Sunday, In Preperation For The PGA Championship

Tiger Outmusles The Competition, Snatching Another Title On Sunday, In Preperation For The PGA Championship

After missing the cut a few weeks ago at the British, Tiger has claimed 2 straight victories, and has “reasserted” his dominance (as if he had to) to all those who were sent into a panic by his performance at Turnberry. Fact is, Tiger is the one guy that you simply cannot overreact to anything he does either way. He is the best there is and everyone comes to expect him to win every week. But it’s golf, and sometimes the shots just aren’t there. Off 2 straight victories, all those who panicked two weeks ago will be back on the bandwagon, expecting Tiger to roll his way to another major.

But this is a major. These weeks are different. If Tiger brings his A game he will win the tournament, but there are too many variables when it comes to playing on courses of this difficulty. Tiger has now won his last tournament before each major this season, and all things point to it being his week. But we’ve heard that plenty of times before. Pretty much every major actually. And the major champions this year are as follows: Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, and Stewart Cink. So let’s reserve are judgment here, at least for now.

I’ll dive into the PGA Championship at Hazeltine, more on Wednesday, when the worlds best will tee off for glory’s last shot in 2009.

Be well,

Bdon


Crabtree Wants The Money

August 6, 2009

It was reported today that All-America Wide Reciever Michael Crabtree, who was the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the San Fransisco 49ers is willing to sit out the ENTIRE season and re-enter his name into the 2010 draft pool if his contract demands are not met. His adviser/cousin claims that he is just looking for fair market value and that he was offered less then the $37 Million that 7th overall pick Derrius Heyward-Bey signed for. Any conventional football fan would know that Crabtree is better than Heyward-Bey but the draft board does not lie. Crabtree was a lock to go as a Top 5 pick in the draft, had he not suffered a stress fracture in his left foot in a game while playing for Texas Tech. But he did suffer a stress fracture and he slipped in the draft because of it.

Michael Crabtree May Never Catch A Pass For The 49ers

Michael Crabtree May Never Catch A Pass For The 49ers

No one is doubting Michael Crabtree’s ability. His skills were on full display every Sunday for the high powered Red Raider offense.  What he is trying to pull in The City by the Bay is just downright offensive. Over the past 5 years NFL rookie contracts have risen to an astounding and absurd level for players that have never proven themselves on a single down in the league. It can be argued that these players need to get the money upfront, while they can, before having 16 game schedule take a toll on their bodies, in a league with no guaranteed contracts. No one can fault a player, rookie or veteran, who is looking to get their deserved payday after proving themselves on different levels. On that same token, no player could blame a franchise for being wary about giving up extra millions of dollars to a player that has a red flag raised on their health report.

Michael Crabtree has been given a clean bill of health but was asked not to participate in OTA’s this spring because of his injury. This did not stop Crabtree from being a fixture at the 49ers rehab center this offseason to make sure that he is 100% ready for the season both physically and mentally. Now it seems as though the only thing that may stop Crabtree from getting on the field and potentially from ever donning a 49ers uniform is the money. Whether the threats of the pass catcher to sit out the 2009 campaign come to fruition or not remains to be seen, but what has now been seen is Michael Crabtree in a sour light, like many Wide Receivers before him. The thought of a rookie trying to call the shots and damage the collective karma of the Niners must be especially displeasing to the 49ers no nonsense, defensive minded Head Coach Mike Singletary. Just remember back to last season when Coach Singletary chewed out top 10 draft pick TE Vernon Davis and sent him back to the locker room for lack of hustle. Crabtree cannot be endearing himself to the former NFL ballhawk who used to make a living tabooing receivers like Crabtree for a living. I’m sure that news of his rookie star wanting to choose dollars over football sense makes him want to throw on a helmet and hit the gridiron to teach the NFL novice a thing or two about respecting the game.

The stage was so perfectly set for Michael Crabtree to come in and make an immediate impact on one of the leagues most celebrated franchise. The fans of the 49ers were jumping for joy when he fell to them at #10, evoking memories of Jerry Rice and to a degree, Terrell Owens. This was going to be a special bond right out of the gate, with Crabtree playing with a chip on his shoulder, sticking it to all the teams that passed over picking him. Alas, now his image is forever tarnished before he is even able to catch a pigskin in an NFL game.  For his sake, I hope he doesn’t sit out the entire season and turn an entire city against him. His talent should not be overshadowed by contract disputes, especially before he takes his first snap, but we may be heading towards a disaster by the bay.

Be well my junkie monkeys,

Jordan


The Great Lakes Land Lamar

August 3, 2009

After a month of posturing on both sides Lamar Odom signed a 4 Year, $33 Million contract to remain with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.  The fourth year on the contract is a club option in case Lamar eats too much candy and the Lakers want out.  There were a lot of worried people in Los Angeles over the past month because Odom’s contract negotiations and what kind of Laker team we would be looking at next year without him.  With the rest of the NBA elite (Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, San Antonio) upping the ante by strengthening their rosters,  it became vital that the Lakers sign the 6 foot 10 inch Odom to keep the teams versatilite championship core intact.

The Lakers Are Fortunate That Lamar Isn't Going To Miami To Make Waves With Wade

The Lakers Are Fortunate That Lamar Isn't Going To Miami To Make Waves With Wade

Odom was a selfless player last year, coming off the bench for the majority of the season until Andrew Bynum got injured again.  It can be argued that Lamar Odom was the X-Factor for the champs because of his ability to be a catalyst while playing with the starters and upping the tempo while jetting around the court with the second unit.  Lamar Odom became an invaluable part of the Lakers nucleus because his size and skills caused many matchup problems for teams that just did not have an answer to the small forwards length, passing ability, dribbling savvy and his presence both inside and out.

Normally,   resigning Odom would have been a no-brainer, but the Lakers chose to play hard ball because they are several million over the luxury, so every dollar counts twice.  That means that even though Odom signed for $33 Million, with the luxury tax implications, he really signed for 4 Years $66 Million if the Lakers salary number remains around the same for the length of the deal. And that’s without taking into account the anticipated luxury tax shrinkage next year.  Laker fans should be Wayne and Garthing it outside of Owner Jerry Buss’ house with a million man “we are not worthy chant”.

Alas, it is not clear to me that Laker fans know how fortunate they really are that Odom never really wanted to leave L.A., because he easily could have.  It was well publicized that the Miami Heat duo of Pat Riley and Dwayne Wade were intensely trying to bring Lamar back to the Heat, after being shipped to the Lakers for Shaq many moons ago.  Information that was not as well publicized was that the Portland Trailblazers offered Odom a contract worth upwards of $40 Million Dollars, to play besides Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. But Odom opted to sign on the dotted line for less money to remain a Laker, and defend their title.

There was jubilation and a huge sigh of relief in The City of Angels when it was reported that Odom was coming back.  The Lakers would have looked very foolish if they had lost both Ariza and Odom from their championship squad, but they did not.  Odom returning provides invaluable insurance for the Lakers;  It allows for their continued lineup flexibility, which would have been severely lacking if he had departed, and left the Lakers to bank on Andrew Bynum having an injury free and productive year, neither of which are safe bets.  The wild card fact in this deal is that Lamar and Ron Artest are very good friends, which should help keep #37 happy and for the Lakers title hopes sake, focused.

Whether replacing Ariza with Artest makes them a better squad remains to be seen, but there is no question that the Lamar Odom signing was a deal that LA needed to get done.  This move ensures that the Champion Lakers squad is  whole and ready for a title defense in whats shaping up to be one of the most  anticipated NBA seasons in recent memory.

I for one am an excited NBA fan.  Still more NBA to come from me with my analysis of the rest of the 2009 NBA Draft and an overview of what can be expected from the NBA this year.

From your blogging buddy,

Jordan


The Tigers Roar

July 31, 2009

The most unheralded and least talked about first place team in Major League Baseball is the Detroit Tigers.  It’s their own fault really.  They were supposed to be a juggernaut and smash the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series, but their pitching rotation let them down and the upset occurred.  After their defeat, the Tigers faded into the abyss with a series underperformances from Dontrelle Willis, Edgar Renteria, Justin Verlander, Gary Sheffield, Joel Zumaya, Jeremy Bonderman and even from All World Player Miguel Cabrera.  The Tigers were caught in a funk and could not overcome the White Sox, Twins and/or Indians since their 2006 Season came to a crashing halt.  But this year, has been different.

The Tigers Are Looking To Open Some Eyes In October

The Tigers Are Looking To Open Some Eyes In October

There is a new scent in the air of Detroit around Comerica Park and it has to do with winning.  Since Detroit has been in such an upheaval since the automotive industry tanked, one of the countries greatest sports cities has been overshadowed by big business.  The Pistons and Red Wings have been able to be on the radar through these tough economic times because they have been able to make the playoffs consistently, whereas the Tigers have been a mirage.  As the 2009 Season rolls closer to October, the oasis of the post season may very well be a reality for Detroit baseball this year and it has all started with pitching.  Justin Verlander is back to being an ace that made him so promising as the Rookie of The Year in 2006, and it has set the tone for the rest of the staff.  Edwin Jackson has finally reached his potential, Rookie Rick Porcello has bloomed before our very eyes and Armando Galarraga has pitched better as of late after a tremendous 08′ campaign and a rocky start to the 09′ campaign.  Before the whistle blew, signaling the trading deadline, a tremendous acquisition was made to bolster the already stellar rotation.   With the addition of Jarrod Washburn, the Tigers have added depth, talent and playoff experience to a nucleus of pitchers that needed just a little bit more seasoning to be taken seriously.  The White Sox have added Jake Peavy to the arms race today so the AL Central just got a bit more exciting.

Hopefully for the Tigers, their big bats Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Brandon Inge and Marcus Thames can help bring the thunder and make the Tigers a force to be reckoned with come this October.

Regardless, it’s going to be an exciting two months until October!

Be well junkies,

Jordan


You Can’t Spell Victory Without Victor

July 30, 2009

The art of sports is often in it’s calculations and negotiations, this being never more evident then when the trading deadline approaches in Major League Baseball.  It is that special time of the year in America’s pastime that separates the Champs from the Chumps.  The Cleveland Indians season spiraled out of control quickly,  finding themselves buried in the basement of the dismal AL Central before they could we could even reach mid season.  The white flag was not allowed to be waved by Indians GM Mark Shapiro right away, but we knew it was coming.  Cleveland has been easily one of the most unpredictable teams of the year and I mean that in the worst possible way.  The Indians would win a game 10-2 just as easily as they could lose 10-2, but unfortunately for them the latter has been the case more often.  They tried to convince themselves that they would just need to have all world talent Grady Sizemore back in the lineup and all would be well.  Alas, this ship was one that had more then one hole to fill and when they sent Garko to the SF bay for youthful reinforcements for 2010 and beyond, the other 29 teams took notice of the impending fire sale.

When a fire sale occurs so close to the deadline from a team that has pieces of true value (not you Pittsburgh), the big fish jump into the pool.  The rich get richer as they say and that’s what the top tier teams hoped for in grabbing Roy Halladay.  With  Toronto holding on to their top gun in the arms race, attentions were turned to the last years AL Cy Young Award Winner Cliff Lee.  I know that I mentioned this in my last column but Lee was so dominant last season going 22-3,  it was a wonder when he even lost a game.  ABANDON SHIP! ABANDON SHIP!  CLEVELAND DOESN’T ROCK!  TAKE OUR GARKO,  MAKE LEE FLEE FOR THE RIGHT PRICE…  Philadelphia had the assets to get the 30 Year Old lefty stud and they stepped up and got him.  Thus making the strong, stronger.

It is an undeniable fact that pitching wins championships but the Red Sox appear to want a starter unless he is Roy Halladay.  As it stands now, they have too many pitchers and would really need to give up a truck load to get their man, and the closer we get to the deadline, the less likely a Boston/Toronto trade tango seems for various reasons.  It could be the prospects involved are too talented, that they share a division, or that the Blue Jays feel they can compete in 2010.  Luckily for the Red Sox, there is a red hot fire sale going on in Ohio and another 30 Year Old stud is available for the right price.  The talent in question is none other then Catcher/First Baseman, All Star,  Victor Martinez.

Victor Wants To Make You #1... Won't You Let Him?

Victor Wants To Make You #1... Won't You Let Him?

The way that Martinez was touted coming up through the Indians farm system, one would assume that he would be a man to hold on to for as long as humanly possible, but this does not seem to be the case anymore.  The Red Sox are foaming at the mouth at the chance to add his dynamic bat to a lineup that has had it’s stuggles at times.  Jason Varitek is long past his prime, Youkillis needs to be anchored at third with Mike Lowell being incapacitated, and Adam LaRoche is a platoon player at best for a Championship caliber team like the Red Sox.  Victor Martinez can play both Catcher and First Base well, adding flexibility to Terry Francona’s roster and would give the Sox some additional firepower to a lineup that already knows how to scrap together runs.  If Halladay is not traded and the Red Sox get Victor Martinez,  they are going to the World Series.

You can’t spell Victory without Victor, Boston and you better act quick because it looks like the same rambunctious Rays that knocked you out in the ALCS last season, think as highly about Martinez as you do.  Championships are won in October, but what happens at the end of July can change the season.

Have a happy day from your blogging buddy,

Jordan


Cliff Lee in Philly

July 29, 2009
Can The Phucking Phillies Come Out On Top Again?

Can The Phucking Phillies Come Out On Top Again?

Cliff Lee is not Roy Halladay. But what he is, is the reining AL Cy Young Award Winner, and the defending Champion Philadelphia Phillies were just able to acquire him without trading their top two pitching prospects.  It boils my blood to think that the Phucking Phillies have a great chance to defend their title this year AND go for another next season with their current roster.  We all know about that they are an offensive juggernaut, with a stellar bullpen, but it was their starting pitching that had the city of brotherly love itching for a trade.

A move was always inevitable for a top of the line starter in Philly.  They had the prospects, and the title in their hands, so this is all on house money.  With Cliff Lee as their No. 2 starter behind Cole Hamels, it gives them a 1-2 punch to be reckoned with in the playoffs and solidifies them as the favorite to be the National League representative in the World Series this October.

Now it is on the Los Angeles Dodgers to prove that they are a true powerhouse in the National League after coasting with the best record in the league for the majority of the season.  The Cubs/Cardinals duo has the bats and the pitchers to make some noise in the playoffs, the Giants have the arms but are not built to run with the thoroughbreds. And watch out for those Rockies, their roster is very deep.  As far as the Braves/Marlins/Brewers/Mets(I hope they prove me wrong)/ and Astros go,  in the end, will most likely not be there year.   The road to the championship will lead through L.A. because the baseball season is a marathon and not a mad dash to the finish, (unless you are the ’07 Rockies, but I don’t see that occurring this year), and the Phillies are team to beat.  Can Dodgers GM Ned Coletti get a deal done for Halladay and up the ante in what is shaping up to be one of the greatest post seasons in recent memory?  Doesn’t look like it. Or will the Phillies championship experience lay the smack down on Manny and his mates when it’s all said and done?  The tolling of the clock come deadline day will give us some answers, and we will stack things up from there…

Keep enjoying the boys of summer sports fans!

Best from your buddy blogger,
Jordan