hit counter

Skills Competition to be Appreciated

January 21, 2009 by Big Tony · Leave a Comment 

accurate shot contest 300x211 Skills Competition to be Appreciated
For as boring and relatively meaningless as the all-star game has become with the advent of mass media the tone of the weekend is still something special and the skills competition is very unique and intriguing. This is where hockey fans and really sports fans in general get to see some of the world’s greatest athletes show off said greatness. It is a showcase of skill and excitement seen in moments over the course of the season all lumped into one spectacular event. The excitement and drama of a breakaway to the precision of the target shooting contest that can leave one saying “how did he do that!?” There is the brute power of the hardest shot competition and the sheer grace of the fastest skate portion which allows men to fly, even if only technically a few inches from the surface. Position players tend to get the most attention but in these moments we also see that goaltending requires just as much athleticism and an entirely different arsenal of skills. It is fun, breath-taking, magnificent, and any other word you can use to describe what amazing things mere mortal men can accomplish. All of that on top of the fact that the weekend will be hosted by the city home to one of the greatest franchises in all of North American sport and the world for that matter. So as much as the all-star game has been diminished in time there is still much to gain from this experience, and I encourage everyone to sit back, relax, and take in every truly incredible moment as they unfold right before your eyes.

New York Yankees Then And Now

January 8, 2009 by Theboinger · Leave a Comment 

Jason Giambi Ready To Sign


Jason Giambi Ready To Sign

In 1998 the New York Yankees had the most successful MLB season from start to finish. With the perfect mixture of home grown talent and savvy free agent signings they plowed their way through the regular season and kept on rolling straight through the post season to a World Series Championship. A team that won 114 games during the regular season and had zero starters in the 1998 MLB All-Star game.

While it was true that the Yankees had spent money fill voids at second and third base the money well spent was on their bench. While most teams owners were unable or unwilling to keep up with the George Steinbrenner branch of the Bank Of New York, even the teams that could and would were no match for the money the Yankees could spend on filling their bench.

In 1998 the Yankees spent roughly $9,000,000 on players like Tim Raines, Chili Davis, Louis Sojo, and Joe Girardi. Lest we not forget the important contributions of players such as Ricky Ledee, Shane Spencer and Homer Bush. However, as it stands now those ever so important role players pale in comparison to the stars of yester-year. While they may be serviceable players such as Nick Swisher, Jose Molina, and Cody Ransom even home grown “talent” such as Melky Cabrera, Juan Miranda and Brett Gardner fall short of the standard set by the 1998 Yankees.

The log jam the Yankees have created for themselves in the outfield is the now the albatross they had for the past 3 seasons with Giambi. Although they have ”cut” payroll so far this season the Yankees must still find a way to solidify their outfield while also shoring up their bench. A perfect example is the 2009 version of Jason Giambi. Ten years ago it would have been a foregone conclusion that Giambi would have ended up in pinstripes this Winter. And at $4,000,000 for the year for Oakland that is a steal.

Off the bench Nick Swisher is a good start for the Yankees and a step in the right direction towards winning a 27th World Series Championship. However, I feel they still fall short of being complete just yet until they are able to round out the bench to compliment their high priced arsenal.

Talent Not Enough for Penguins

January 5, 2009 by Big Tony · Leave a Comment 

penguin fan distraught 300x300 Talent Not Enough for Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins will have two starters at the NHL All-Star game later this month but that’s about all the team has going for itself at the moment. Pittsburgh has lost four in-a-row and only won 5 games in December of the 14 played and thus far January does not look good either. Malkin and Crosby are both in the top three in scoring in the league but winning is so much more than simply putting up good numbers; there are, after all, OTHER parts of the game that equate to winning. Much like in the playoffs it is important to have strong role players and more importantly big bruisers to: A. keep the other team from beating up on your team’s stars without being punished for their actions and B. to wear down the other team much like an run-game does in football so that by the end of the game your team has stronger legs than the other as well as stronger legs as the season progresses. Goaltending has not been strong for the Penguins either but the biggest problem is not getting enough from big, tough guys. Eric Goddard and Matt Cooke do a bit of that but it’s not deterring other teams from inflicting punishment on the likes of Crosby and Malkin.

Also, the Penguins can no longer slow the game down with big guys who can protect the puck and burn time the way Georges Laraque could for them last year. Pittsburgh’s power play lacks a guy who can stand in front of the net and take punishment while giving the opposing goaltending grief while getting a stick on pucks to get a tip goal or clean up the garbage on a rebound (Ryan Malone anyone?). These are all things Pittsburgh had last year and to some degree early on but now they are trying to use their skill and talent to push forward and get them out of the slump but it is not and will not work. If Pittsburgh happens to make the playoffs without correcting these problems then they will be the very reason the East winners of a year ago will win NOTHING this year.

Wrigley Field Shines, Second Winter Classic a Success

January 1, 2009 by Big Tony · Leave a Comment 

winter classic store image 300x225 Wrigley Field Shines, Second Winter Classic a Success

The second Winter Classic wrapped up from Wrigley Field Thursday afternoon in front of 40+ thousand fans who unfortunately witnessed a Blackhawks loss but were part of a historical experience they will likely not soon forget. The event itself was spectacular as Wrigley Field was set up perfectly with piles of snow scattered throughout and mini games going on around the main ice surface. The fan-fair was incredible and the presence of stars from the past combined with the rich sports tradition of Wrigley Field and the two franchises who are members of the original six NHL teams.

Unfortunately the game itself left much to be desired. It was off to a fast start as the game play was fast and the buzz in the stadium was unbelievable. Both teams settled in well to the elements and put on a great show in the first period combining to score four goals with Chicago taking the 3-1 lead at the end of one. At the start of the second period things slowed down an awful lot and the Detroit Red Wings took control by establishing their slow, puck-possession style of play which works as a great offense and defense. Despite Chicago’s fast start once Detroit cut the lead to one at 3-2 those who watch the game closely knew that Chicago as more than likely in trouble. As it turns out the game in fact slowed down a ton which worked very much in Detroit’s favor and they skated out of Wrigley Field with a dominating 6-4 victory.

Although the hockey game ended up being fairly unentertaining after the end of the first period it was a still a very exciting event; certainly things went well enough that the NHL should continue to stage this event once a year. But for now the Winter Classic is in the books and tomorrow things go back to business as usual as the All-Star game and a push for the playoffs are on the horizon.

Rajon Rondo has No Business Being Considered for NBA All-Star Game

December 27, 2008 by AlexV · 8 Comments 

Sorry Rajon. You may be pretty decent, but you ain't no All-Star.

Sorry Rajon. You may be pretty decent, but you ain't no All-Star.

One of the most mind-numbing notions I have had to endure for the past several weeks is that Rajon Rondo deserves consideration for the All-Star Game. I think that is one of the most preposterous ideas I have ever heard.

At 11.6ppg, 5 rebounds per game, and 7.4 assists per game, Rajon Rondo should be hoping that at least five guys go down for him to even make it as a backup in that game. I mean sure, he has improved a lot this season, and shows signs of maturity, but that doesn’t mean he’s an All-Star.

In the Eastern Conference alone there are six other point guards who are easily better than Rajon Rondo (and have less around them in terms of talent), and if the Celtics had one of them instead, they could even be doing better; Jameer Nelson (17ppg, 5.4apg), Mike Bibby (15.9ppg, 5apg), Dwyane Wade (29ppg, 7apg), Devin Harris (24ppg, 6.8apg), Derrick Rose (17.5ppg, 6.1apg), and Jose Calderon (12.9ppg, 8.8apg). Somebody please tell me that Rajon Rondo is doing more for his team than one of these guys!

Now, I don’t want to take anything away from Rondo. He’s a great young talent, and I think he has benefited from learning how to win a championship so early in his career. However, that is solely because of the three stars around him; Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Furthermore, the only aspect he truly excels at is assists and a tenacity to play hard the entire game… but I’m sorry. A lot of heart, determination, and a knack for consistently posting impressive numbers in one stat category does not make an All-Star unless you’re the old Ben Wallace blocking the crap out of everybody each year.

Maybe next year… but probably not.