#3 to Ride Again?

It is very difficult to imagine, but the #3 that has been held inactive since the passing of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. may soon be put on the active roster again. Richard Childress, who has held the number since the passing of The Intimidator, has held off using the number of his longtime friend and associate.

However, Childress’ grandsons have used the number in lower series (Truck and Nationwide). And as Austin Dillon prepares to race in the top series (Sprint) it is widely believed that the #3 will follow him. And, the son of Earnhardt, Dale Jr. has given Childress and Dillon his OK to use it.

Some might think that it is about time. Others deem the number sacred. I think that both can be true. As long as the number stays in the lineage of RCR and Earnhardt, I do not have an issue with it.

Here is more from ESPN.

Posted in Auto Racing, NASCAR | Leave a comment

Good Work If You Can Get It: The Jamarcus Russell Story

It’s been well documented what a disaster Jamarcus Russell has been. How his attitude and lack of football acumen set the Oakland Raiders back potentially a decade after they picked him #1 in 2007. By selecting the quarterback out of LSU, they lost out on Calvin Johnson, LaRon Landry, Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Aaron Ross, Dwayne Bowe, Joe Staley and Eric Weddle. They took Zach Miller in the second round but certainly missed out on a lot of Pro-Bowl level talent before that 38th pick.

So, on top of the money that the Raiders had paid Russell to embarrass the franchise, it came out today that they will be cutting him another check for $3 million. Not bad for a player that has been attempting to make a comeback to the league for a few years now.

More from ESPN.

Posted in Football, NFL, Oakland Raiders | Leave a comment

There’s a Market For Everything: The Case for Greg Oden

It seems in sports there is a niche for everything. Player who cannot shoot but can play lock-down defense for a few minutes in the forth quarter? Check. Player who can return kicks (but not punts) and nothing else? Sign him up. But how about a player who hasn’t played a competitive minute since 2009 and is fresh coming off a third micro-fracture surgery on his knee? Well, seems like there is a demand for that as well.

The player in question is Greg Oden. Apparently teams are lining up for his services. His services which he is optimistic to be able to provide next season (still no guarantee). Five teams are interested in putting him in their uniform. I’m interested in seeing if he can walk.

Read more from ESPN.

Posted in Basketball, NBA | Leave a comment

Arsenal in Japan: Yesterday and Today

As Arsenal are in the Far East, Bob Wilson discusses his trip with the club to Japan in 1968. Very good piece.

Check it out here.

Posted in Arsenal, Association Football, EPL, Soccer | Leave a comment

Gambling your future for no present: Life at Barclays with the Nets

So, the Nets pulled off the blockbuster deal of draft day with the Celtics. The Nets ship three first-round picks (2014, ’16 and ’18) along with Kris Humphries’ expiring contract, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks and a sign-and-traded Keith Bogans. In return the Nets receive Kevin Garnett (who was contemplating retirement), Paul Pierce (see Garnett) and Jason Terry (long past his prime unless being used as an agitator).

So, to recap, the Nets essentially traded cap space to the Celtics for 3 players. Let’s look at these players:

Kevin Garnett: often injured. Does not understand the rules of setting a pick. Left many hints that he was going to retire. At the least, he said he was too old to participate in the All Star Game any more. How does that fair for an 82 game regular season?
Paul Pierce: streaky shooter. Has lost several steps. One of the better players in the league mainly because of his supporting cast. He is on the downside of his career.
Jason Terry: can be a spark off the bench. But can also be more trouble than he is worth.

What the Nets are hoping is that the core of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce only needed Deron Williams and Brooke Lopez to win a championship. That is a tremendous leap. And, most likely, it has to happen this upcoming season.

Now, if that core stays healthy for 82 games (stop laughing) I feel they will give the Knicks a strong run for the division title. But, does it put them past the Heat and Pacers? Consider that most likely they would be facing those teams in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. How much left in the tank will the Nets have? And even if they get past that, they still would have one more series for the title.

Now, the heart and competitive nature of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce most likely would have gotten them past the Bulls this season. I don’t think it would have taken them much further than that. If the rest of the script played out, they would have faced the Heat in the conference semis. If they got past that, they get the Pacers. Then, the Spurs in the finals. I don’t like them in any of those match-ups given the age of the line-up.

It will be an interesting ride, regardless.

Here is the low-down from ESPN.

Posted in Basketball, NBA | 1 Comment

Player Profile: Julio Franco

The man played forever. And he had the sweetest batting stance EVER! Consider that the Phillies traded him and 4 other players for Von Hayes in 1982. Sweet move by the Fightin’s.

Here is a writeup I did for Ask Your Uncle in his hall of fame induction:

Julio Franco

Ask Your Uncle Trivia Hall of Fame Inductee
JULIO FRANCO – MLB, 1982-1994, 1996-1997, 1999, 2001-7

Julio César Robles Franco played 23 seasons of Major League Baseball long with additional tours in Japan, South Korea and Mexico. At 49, he was the oldest position player in the history of MLB. He accumulated 2,586 hits and a .298 batting average in a career that saw him only eclipse the 200 hit mark in one season (1991 – his .341 batting average won him the American League batting title over eventual Hall of Famer Wade Boggs).

Here is more from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julio_Franco

Posted in Baseball, MLB, Player Profile | Leave a comment

Gambling on MLS? Yes.

England has an amazing. They bet on anything. I mean anything. What will the nationality of the first goal scorer in an EPL game be? Yeah, they have that covered. Just sink into Ladbrokes for a little bit and you will see.

However, one thing I never thought they would take up would be Major League Soccer. In fact, I never figured it would be touched here in the US. With the parity model it would seem to be dodgy to even put odds on. But in England, they do it.

Here is the tale of a lad from Bristol who regularly bets on the MLS action.

Posted in MLS, Soccer | Leave a comment

Doing the Opposite of Jordan: The Latest Harlem Globetrotter??

The Harlem Globetrotters held their annual draft selecting five players including current WNBA rookie Britney Griner (she passed on the offer).

The most controversial selection came from outside the basketball world. Retiring New York Yankee (the last player to actively wear the #42 in Major League Baseball) Mariano Rivera was also selected by the hoop troupe.

The question is will Mariano trade in his cutter for a jumper?

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, MLB | Leave a comment

Good for Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has paid back some 10 million Euro in back taxes. I am sure this most likely came from his ash tray and couch cushions.

I wonder what the Vegas odds are that he will be in this fix in the next 10 years all over again.

Here is the low-down from ESPN.

 

 

Posted in Soccer | Leave a comment

When the FIFA substitution rules go wrong:

The Confederations Cup is in full swing in Brazil. Yesterday, Spain, the reigning World Champions and currently ranked #1 in the world, played Tahiti who is currently ranked 138 in the world right ahead of powerhouse Afghanistan.

Spain were only up 1-0 in the first 30 minutes and ended up winning 10-0. While they did not field their A-Team, they did pour it on Tahiti scoring 9 goals in the last hour of play.

Now, Spain did use all of their allotted 3 substitutes. All three came into the game in the second half and all before the 76th minute of play. And that is all FIFA would allow.

Now, keep in mind that the substitution rule is relatively new in the game of soccer (association football). It was not that long ago that substitutes were not allowed. A view of Charlie George exhausted on his back on the pitch of Wembley in the 1971 FA Cup Final plays to the fact of just how exhausting the game was without an influx of fresh bodies. However, there is no rule against pulling your foot off of the gas.

Now, I have heard it said by coaches that even with your non-starters playing you still ask that they play hard. And I get that. I can recall Steve Spurrier, then coach of Florida, discussing how against certain competition, no matter how low you go on the depth chart, you cannot help but run up the score. And that is true. However, at what point is that too much?

In the game of soccer, truly the beautiful game, the players are laying together a masterpiece on the pitch and when the game is played at it’s highest level, it truly is a thing to behold. However, at 10-0 in a major international competition, even the perfect goal can be ugly.

Current FIFA rules allow for 7 players to sit on the bench in addition to the 11 that start the game. 3 may come in as a substitute. Substitutes are generally reserved for field players (non-keepers). Perhaps, much like Major League Soccer used to have, we add one substitute to be used for a goalie only?

Would this have stopped the embarrassment in Brazil yesterday? Certainly not. However, it does give the manager a little more leniency to help take the foot off the gas.

Posted in Association Football, Rules, Soccer | 2 Comments