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


Show E the money

August 6, 2009

The Giants signed their franchise Quarterback, Eli Manning to a robust 6 year, $97.5 million contract yesterday, with more than 35 million guaranteed. And the guy deserves every penny. Manning led the Giants to a stunning Super Bowl victory 2 years ago in dramatic fashion over the Patriots, and that alone paid for his contract in full.  He isn’t what you would call an elite QB,  but there are only 2 or 3 of those guys in the league as we speak. However you slice it, Eli must sit near the top of a large group in the next tier of guys, because he owns a ring and a Super Bowl MVP.

Manning's new deal will make him one of the highest payed players in the league

Manning's new deal will make him one of the highest payed players in the league

Eli is not a stat guy, and he never will be. He’s not flashy, and will mix in the occasional ugly throw, but he’s as durable a player at the qb position as there is in league, without a missed start (71 straight) since taking over behind center. The guy plays every week, which is an over looked quality. Even with a Super Bowl under his belt,  Eli still doesn’t get a ton of credit, and may be even somewhat over looked in the upper echelon of QB’s. But he wins games year in and year out, and that’s the point isn’t it?  The younger Manning is a rock at the most important position on the field for the Giants;  he’s as unflappable and even-keeled as they come. This trait is key at the Quarterback position, and his poise in the huddle and the pocket helps every player to remain calm in pressure situations. Eli is more of a care taker than a play maker in the Giants power running offense, but he does exactly what is asked of him, doing a beautiful job of taking care of the ball since their run to the Super Bowl. All Giant fans are aware of Eli’s uncanny knack for stepping up his level when it counts in the 4th quarter, and he always seems to make that big throw in a tight spot when they really need it.  His composure in those situations is why there are few QB’s in the league I’d rather have running the show in crunch time, and is why everyone in that locker room trusts and believes in him.

No,  Eli will never be Peyton, but he doesn’t have to be. The Giants are happy with the Manning they have as the face of their franchise.  He’s smart,  has top notch work ethic and is a true professional. It may seem like a ton of money, but for a Super Bowl winning QB, with his intangibles,  it’s about going rate. If Matt Cassel is worth 63 million off 1 season as a starter,  then a 28 year old Manning entering his prime is well worth 97.5.  And I don’t believe we’ve seen the best of Eli,  not by a long shot.

It’s hard to believe he will be entering his 6th year in the league this fall. He is one of the longest tenured players on the Giant, and he’s the teams leader. It hasn’t always been pretty, but I don’t think any Giant fan could have asked for more thus far. You want 300 yard, 3 touchdown games go see his brother. Eli has taken a lot of heat over the years in a town that can be harsh, but he’s brushed if off his shoulder with class, and gone about his business. And all that’s paid off cause he’s  a made man in New York now.

As unsavory as it was, he gets a free pass for last year’s playoff  performance against the Eagles, and this contract will come with the pressure and expectations of another Super Bowl title.  I am looking forward to him continuing to grow as a QB, and Giant fans should have a lot to be excited about over the next few years. New York is as complete a team as there is in the league and will be amongst the favorites to return to the Super Bowl.  But don’t expect that to bother Eli. He’ll be in the film room studying tape.

Just getting started on the NFL here…so far just the local stuff. But in the coming weeks expect more and more about everything NFL as training camp and preseason begin to unfold…

Be well,

Brandon


Wasted Talent

August 5, 2009

Plaxico had it all.

He was a game changer. An outlier with a rare package of size and skill at the wide receiver position.  A type of player you don’t see often, and the type of player offensive minds crave. The ability to throw the ball up in just the general area of a guy and have confidence he can come down with it is hard to find. Plaxico had that talent, and the Super Bowl ring to match it. On the eve of the next season, he was rewarded for his title winning catch with a hefty new contract. The Giants were motoring through a brutal schedule, on their way to home field in the NFC, and a real chance to defend their title. Then Plaxico Burress went out on a Friday night to a club, took a gun with him, and ended his Giants career.

Plaxico wasn’t having a pro bowl year, but his presence on the field was irreplaceable, and his absence derailed the Giants season. A less gifted individual would be cast off without question for such inexcusable acts. But the Giants knew how valuable he was, and wanted to work things out in spite of them. The Giants hierarchy sat down with Burress and merely asked that he understand the implications, and the magnitude of his actions. They asked him to be as remorseful as he should be. And they asked that after he pay for his transgressions, that a new version of Plaxico Burress show up for work every day,  on time, without excuse.  But that wasn’t going to be possible. Burress scoffed at the Giants request to forfeit portions of his bonus they felt he violated. Or at very least return them as a sign of good faith to the team that pays him, and the teammates he let down.  Weeks after the shot heard round the NFL, with a self inflicted bullet wound in his leg,  and embarrassment and criticism piling sky high, still no humbled Plax emerged.

Insted of gearing up for training camp, Plaxico will gear up for trial and eventual jail time

Insted of gearing up for training camp, Plaxico will gear up for trial and eventual jail time

Instead, Burress and his lawyers wasted months trying to figure out a way for him to avoid significant jail time, and their plans backfired. Plaxico must believe he’s above the law. That his stature affords him the right to take an unregistered firearm out into public without consequence. If he didn’t believe it,  Burress wouldn’t have sat in front of grand jury to testify, and do nothing but worsen his already bleak situation. A fews days ago Buress was indicted on two gun charges, and an additional one for reckless endangerment.  I guess the jury saw the same thing as the Giants.

Burress needs to, and will go to prison for what looks like at least a year or two.  Had he accepted that early on, he might be knocking off a large portion of that sentence as we speak. But Burress failed to take the opportunity to mitigate the damages he’s already caused to himself, his family and his reputation.  The Giants were forced to release Burress, because if they didn’t,  they would be going against everything Tom Coughlin has created here  about the concept of team, and how no one individual is above it.

Plaxico appeared close to becoming a player who grasps that concept in their run to the Super Bowl. He played week after week on one ankle, because that’s what the team needed him to do. He turned in a virtuoso performance in the NFC Championship game under rarely seen conditions in Green Bay. And after claiming a Super Bowl ring, the validation of everything he and the Giants worked for, it looked like this could be just the beginning. But when the next season rolled along we found nothing but the same old Plax;  the one that had to be suspended for a game just weeks after receiving an extension.

New York’s team in 2008 with Burress was the league’s best.  I’m not saying that because I am a Giant fan,  I’m saying it because I believe it to be true. The Giants beat the last four teams standing in 2008. They went on the road and beat the Steelers, and the Cardinals, who they played minus Burress and Jacobs. They beat up a rugged Ravens team, that made a spirited run to the AFC title game. They were a complete team, that knew how to play together, with discipline and toughness. They ran the ball down your throat, and it didn’t matter that you knew it was coming.

Many Giant fans were naive for these reasons, believing that they could survive without Burress because of their strength as a unit. I was one of them. But Burress’ absence squeezed the Giants running lanes, which were gaping for 3 quarters of a year as the Giants rolled to 11-1. His replacements came up small, and the defense grew too weary to carry them. They held on to home field advantage, just barely, edging out Carolina in come back fashion in an OT thriller. That would be their only win in their last 5 contents, and the Eagles rolled in the Meadowlands a better and more confident team then the Gmen. They played each other twice a year. Too much familiarity to be fearful. Wrong team, wrong time.  Without their all world giraffe to snatch pigskins out of the air, the Giants kicked field goal after field goal, becoming mediocre offensively in their final games before elimination.

It’s a shame that Burress was not on the field. These types of accidents just shouldn’t happen. Especially not to an adult who has immense responsibilities as a professional and a public figure. But we know now that Burress has never really become an adult. Never been mature enough to see the big picture, and atleast pretend to go through the motions and conduct himself the way a man making millions of dollars needs to.

This isn’t about how much of an idiot he is for shooting himself. That’s a given.

A Bronx Tale told us that one of the saddest things in life is wasted talent

A Bronx Tale told us that one of the saddest things in life is wasted talent

It’s about the opportunities he’s cost himself and by extension many others. The moments that could have been had he displayed a little self restraint.  I could have used any number of words there. Because I honestly don’t know what he was thinking when he took that gun with him. So I can’t say for sure what would have stopped him.

If you felt so strongly you needed a gun to go to a club, why would one go at all?  I guess that’s a question only a rational person can answer.  He had a football game on Sunday, and it wouldn’t have killed  him to lay low. It would have saved him a lot of pain and embarrassment actually.  Instead, Plaxico’s career potentially may never resume, and I,  like many Giant fans,  are left in bewilderment of a man who may have won us a Super Bowl, and cost us one as well.

He and Eli Manning were well on their way to becoming the most prestigious QB-WR combo in team history. And I firmly believe that this team had the makings of a dynasty, capable of winning 3 or 4 titles in a six or seven year span.

But things have changed now. That saddest part however, isn’t that Plaxico will never play for the Giants again, it’s that he may never get it. The light may never go on.

Too much wasted talent.

And the Giants won’t be the same without him.


Well Dressed Amani To Suit Up For Chiefs

August 4, 2009
Fomer NY Giant Captain Amani Toomer Will Be Missed By Big Blue Fans

Former NY Giant Captain Amani Toomer Will Be Missed By Big Blue Fans

Reports today are that long time Giant Amani Toomer has signed a one year deal to play for the Kansas City Chiefs. As a die hard Giant fan, I am thrilled that he will have a chance to stay in the league for at least one more season, and help out Matt Cassel on a rebuilding Chief team. Amani was a Giant for every year of his NFL career, and for every year of my fanhood. He is a class act, and one of the greatest pass catchers in Giants history. Any fan of the team can tell you how many difficult catches he made in critical moments. How bout that full extension dive down the left sideline in the NFC Championship game at Lambeau? He may never have been elite, but he was a damn good player, who could be relied upon for many years. Hope he does well there,  as a mentor for their young wide outs,  and maybe shows a few people he’s still got something left.

I’ll have something  on another departed Giant Wide Receiver later today…

Be good junkies,


The Don dropping in

July 26, 2009

Hello all,

It is me Brandon and I have finally found my way to a computing device for the first time in several days.

My time is limited but I wanted to drop in and say a word or two on Matt Holliday.

The Cardinals Hold A Playoffs Bid In The Palm Of Their Glove With Matt Holliday

The Cardinals Hold A Playoffs Bid In The Palm Of Their Glove With Matt Holliday

I don’t know if a player can fit better than Matt Holliday going to the Cardinals. He gives them strong, imposing, reliable lineup presence that has long been missing from the Red Birds lineup. He provides the best protection for Albert the great since Rolen, and Edmonds flanked him a few years ago. I love this move. They are barely clinging on to the lead in that division and he makes their entire lineup better, taking a tremendous amount of pressure off Ludwick to be the 2nd stud that he’s  just not capable of being.  The weight on Pujols back just lightened considerably.

Holliday and the Cardinals will have 2 months to get to know each other, and all goes well, it would appear to be a good spot for him to resign longterm being pujols sidekick for the next 5  or 6 years of his Hall of Fame career. This team needed a jolt of life to the lineup, and got it.  Holliday must have been extremely depressed playing for a bad team in front of no one in a mammoth park in Oakland.  I expect him to be terrific here….

I’ll do my best to be back tomorrow for at least a few more tidbits…

My best to all,

Bdon


Point Guard Anyone?

July 22, 2009

It speaks volumes about the state of the market that two very solid point guards remain on the market with very little interest being shown to this point. Andre Miller, is a sturdy veteran floor general, who is still in the top half of the league of point guards. Yea, he is 33, and doesn’t deserve the 9 or 10 mil a year he wants, but there should be a team out there willing to give him their mid-level for 2-3 years (which he soon will realize is all can get). I thought he would have fit nicely in Atlanta, rather than Bibby, but they chose to resign him. Miami could use a guy like him as well. I know teams are trying to save money, and cap space next year for the much talked about free agent class, but they’re aren’t 30 PG’s in the league better than Miller.

It'll Be Lucky 7's For Two Wise NBA Teams In Need Of A PG

It'll Be Lucky 7's For Two Wise NBA Teams In Need Of A PG

Portland should quit messing around and just use their cap space this year to offer him a 1 year deal at 7-8 million or so, that way it doesn’t impact the future years and Miller can go back into free agency next year, or be resigned. The Blazers think they are making a deep playoff run with Steve Blake? He’s a nice player; a top tier backup and a guy who can start for a couple weeks if needed, but not a playoff caliber starting point. Remember, Miller made the Sixers better when he was traded for Iverson.

The other guy still available is Milwaukee’s Ramon Sessions. Although he, like Miller is not a perimeter shooter, he’s only 23! Skiles only committed to him fully when Luke Ridnour went down, and there was no reason for him to be not starting in the first place. Sessions is super athletic, has good size for a PG, and has the pass first mentality that you want at the position. Is a star in the making? Could be, but he is far from a finished product, and could develop into a top 10 pg in the league I believe. He might not be a $6 million dollar player right now, but if you gave him the mid level chances are your going to be pretty happy with the player you have when he’s 26.

2 different players, 10 years apart who shouldn’t be short suitors in my estimation. Like I said,  this speaks volumes about where teams heads are at right now. Franchises are not paying out big salaries unless they think they can win a championship. That’s why we have seen a lot of the top tier teams making all the moves to get better this off season.

These 2 should have homes soon enough however, and I will be interested to see who scoops them up.

I’m going to traveling by plains, trains, and automobiles the next day or so, heading down to the steam bath that is Central Florida….I’ll do my best to check back in by the weekend.

I know, what will our mob of followers do without me?

Enjoy your week junkies.

As always.

Brandon


Halladay Will Cost You

July 20, 2009

Pitchers as good as Roy Halladay just don’t become available very often.  So Blue Jays GM, J.P Riccardi wants a ton of compensation, and rightfully so. Halladay is as dominant a starter as their is in the league, and he immediately changes the dynamic of any team he goes to. But the amount of prospects another team would have to give up, coupled with the knowledge that a big payday will be due, may be too rich for many teams blood in this economy. A year and a half ago, Halladay would have hauled in a gargantuan package of quality prospects, from the highest bidder (see Bedard, Sabathia deals). Today, the majority of the league is being extra cautious about the investments they make, and equally leery of trading young, cheap talent that is under their control.Roy Halladay is The Ace of The AL

The Phillies are the front runners, but are reluctant to give up top prospect Kyle Drabek, and already have an elite starter in Cole Hamels whose won a World Series MVP. They are hitting their stride, are holding a nice cushion in the NL East, and appear to be at worst the 2nd best team in the NL. And based on last season, I wouldn’t expect them to be too scared of the Dodgers. I’m sure they like their chances regardless of if they get Halladay or not at this point. They are defending champs, and don’t have to make a desperate grab for the big fish. If they do, he takes them to another level. But they’ll get a starter, one way or another and are a near lock for the NLCS.

The Dodgers would also seem like a suitor for his services, but they have a cheap owner,  so don’t count on them forking over the ransom the Jays will request. If your Toronto don’t you have to get Matt Kemp or Andre Either?  Halladay is a free agent after next year, and his agent will have Johan Santana’s (6 for 136), and CC Sabathia’s (7 for 161) contracts as precedent to slap down on a negotiating table. Any offer would likely have to at least split the difference of those two deals to get Halladay to sign on the dotted line. Not gonna be from Frank McCourt’s checkbook.

I think he fits really nicely in St. Louis, but they don’t appear too eager to dive in the the mix with Chris Carpenter looking as strong as ever. The Cardinals seem comfortable with their low-risk approach when it comes to pitching, and prefer avoid paying a premium for it in free agency. They have had success in recent years with reclamation projects, such as Joel Pineiro, Ryan Franklin, and Kyle Lohse, thus are more likely to take that route. The last time they made a large trade to acquire a front end starter, it was Mark Mulder and it cost them a guy named Dan Haren.  Check out that guys numbers this year. Ouch.  You can understand their reluctance.

The Angels won’t do it either, because they won’t pay him. If they wanted to spend $160 million on one player than they would have resigned Mark Texieira who plays every day.

Forget Milwaukee, they took their shot last year with C.C

There’s just not a lot of options. Where else are we looking to find the team?

Even the Yankees, it appears have limits. I hope..

The Red Sox are 19 deep at starter.

The Braves don’t have the guts or the resources.

The White Sox maybe?

That’s the issue here. There’s no teams really in position to ante up and make this move besides the Phillies. With few suitors, the Blue Jays may be forced to lower their asking price or keep him. If it comes to that, expect them to hold on to him until the off season when teams can sit back, and evaluate rationally.

“I don’t think much has changed,” Ricciardi said Monday afternoon. “We said we’d listen. We will listen. But we have to be blown away. Look, we have what we think is not only a division changer, but a league changer. A guy that will make a difference.”

If someone wanted to blow them away, they probably would have done it already and quit wasting time. A trade will be more likely this off season, when a team has time to sit down and lock up the Doc to a long term extension, which is difficult to do in the middle of a season.

There’s still a possibility Halladay will move, but all the information available leads me to believe it likely won’t happen, for now. Will the Phillies go for it? I sure hope not.  I’d have to slide them just past the Red Sox as the favorite for the World Series if they get him.

Deja vu of my worst nightmare come true.

We shall see what unfolds, with only 10 days remaining until the trade deadline…

Until next time.

Bdon