Double's Take: January 2006 (2022)

Ramble On...

It’s been about a week since I’ve written, but I need to talk about Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Bode Miller, Barry Bonds, Nets and some other random things including my early Super Bowl pick…

I am happy that the A’s signed Frank Thomas. His contract guarantees his only $500,000 with $2.6 million in incentives based on plate appearances and if does not go on the DL due to his previously injured left ankle. If he performs well, he gets paid. If he can not stay healthy, it only cost the A’s approximately $500,000. Thomas brings a right handed power bat to the team for the first time since Jermaine Dye left and signed with the WhiteSox last off-season. He would fit perfectly batting in the 5 spot, behind Chavez, and have either Bobby Crosby or Milton Bradley batting behind him. The A’s have a potent lineup, if they can all stay healthy and have a legit shot at the AL West once again this year. But there is one thing I do have to say…Instead of signing Thomas, I wish the A’s would have signed Mike Piazza.

Mike Piazza signed with Padres on Sunday, 4 days after Thomas and the A’s came to an agreement. Before Piazza settled for a 1 year, $2mil contract, he was looking to be paid $8-$10 million. A little steep, but I wouldn’t say it was extremely steep for a guy who can still produce 20+ HRs in the right situation (i.e. DH). Piazza would have fit in perfectly with Oakland. Oakland is filled with laid back kids who just go out and play. They needed a leader, an experienced vet to come play there every day, and Piazza would have been perfect. He would have fit in the A’s lineup perfectly. He would have hit behind Chavez (like Thomas probably will do), but he brings something that Thomas can’t bring. He could have relieved Kendall from catching twice a week. He would have handled that young pitching staff well, like he has with every pitching staff he has ever worked with. And here’s the other thing, Piazza would have been able to play and legitimately competed for a World Series Championship. Yeah, the Padres have a shot at winning the water down NL West, but they don’t have much of a chance to really compete for the Championship. Beane was interested in Piazza, but the price tag was just a little too high for a just a bit too long. If he had dropped that price tag about a week and a half earlier, we might be reading about Piazza signing with the A’s instead of The Big Hurt.

So Bode Miller believes that Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds took steroids at some point throughout their respective careers. Now this is being blown up into a media frenzy. Is this really that big of a deal? Not at all. Its one man’s opinion, an opinion that many people also agree with (towards Bonds anyway, Armstrong the public is more indifferent). Yes, Miller probably could have said what he said a little differently, but what does it matter what he says? A professional athlete isn’t allowed to comment on what he feels someone else has done? It’s not like he wrote a book about it and said that he saw them do it. All he said was that he truly believes Bonds and Armstrong took steroids. That’s it. It’s his opinion. Yeah, he believes it’s a fact, but he never said that he witnessed them take it. Leave it alone already.

Nets desperately need to make a trade. Their defense is shot, the rebounding hideous and their shooting is atrocious. They need VC back, they need Kidd to get healthy and for Kidd, VC and RJ to play together again at or near 100%. But they also need a bruiser down low. Krstic, who I believed would have been better than what he is displaying, isn’t very physical. Collins stinks and is a wimp. Marc Jackson certainly isn’t the answer. And Uncle Cliff has been playing well, but you can’t expect him to be a double/double kind of player. They need to make a trade for an inside presence. They haven’t had one since K-Mart was allowed to leave for Denver. You can not win an NBA Championship, let alone a conference championship without an inside presence.

One player who I still like, and would like the Nets to get back, Eric Williams. He is 6’8’’ and was solid off the bench during his short period with the Nets a year ago, before being traded to Toronto with Aaron Williams and Alonzo Mourning for Vince Carter. The Net’s players, especially J-Kidd appreciated everything Williams brought to the table every night he stepped on the court. Why not offer Zoran Plananic for him? In Williams at least you get a guy who can rebound and shoot a little, and then you lose Zoran, a player who is out of control, turns the ball over and takes poor shots. Thorn, go for it.

Now for my early-in-the-week Super Bowl prediction:

PITTSBURGH over seattle (-4)
Big Ben has been on fire throughout the playoffs. Their defense has played with a tenacity and up to the potential I gave them in the preseason, but never showed it until the last few weeks of the season. If they can keep it up, and hold Alexander to under 100 yards and lock down on Seattle’s receivers, Pittsburgh should be able to win this game. Yes, Seattle’s defense is tough, but if Bill Cower was able to figure out a scheme to beat Denver in the AFC Championship, in Denver, he should be able to figure out a scheme to beat Seattle.

Omar, What's the Story?

I have to just come out and say it…What the F is Mets GM Omar Minaya doing? Why did he send Kris Benson packing? Seriously. I’m angry about this and I’m not even a Met fan. As a fan, I hate just hate it when a team’s GM just gives away a player and gets nothing in return, unless of course, it is Billy Beane giving away nothing and getting back a pot of gold. But other than that, I like to see teams remain competitive.

Yes, I heard all sides of the story. And there are 3 stories. 1) Minaya says that he coveted Jorge Julio and John Maine. I find that to be B.S. 2) Anna Benson, Kris Benson’s wife, believes that it was due to her, umm, publicity, that made the Mets rid of arguably, their second pitcher. 3) Then there are others who believe that Minaya is doing all he can to latino-ize the NY Metropolitans. Me, personally, I think the latter 2 could be accurate. But let’s take this one story/scenario at a time.

Story #1: Minaya Risking to Part with a Starter for their Need of a Sucky Relief Pitcher
Who in their right mind “covets” a pitcher with a 5.90 ERA? Not only that, but he has no neck. Could this be the rebirth of Armando Benitez, but in a set-up role? Met fans are crossing their fingers that it isn’t the case. Face it, Julio is fat, out of shape and hasn’t pitched well since 2002. He has a 4.20 ERA over 5 years. And that’s for a relief pitcher. Yes, I understand he was pitching in Camden Yards and that he may post better numbers in Shea, but he still STINKS. The Orioles pitching staff was one of the worst last year. If he couldn’t shine above them, then he isn’t worth trading for. All you need are respectable numbers in order to look good in an Oriole pitching staff. Oh, I didn’t even mention the 35 HRs he’s allowed in the last 3 years. I don’t buy Minaya’s story. It just isn’t believable. You’re not George Costanza.

Story #2: Girl Does Bad, Boy Gets Punished
Anna Benson, stripper, model, aspiring actress---which will probably end up in the porn industry, was creating a buzz around Shea ever since her hubby Kris was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirate’s a year and a half ago. She’s gone onto the Howard Stern show and said if Kris ever cheated on her, she would sleep with every player on the Mets. She dresses scantily. She speaks what is on her mind. Now, it has been rumored that within the Mets organization, executives were afraid of Anna showing off, what do you call it, her cans? They didn’t want someone affiliated to the organization bringing that kind of attention. Think about it. Most executives are older, conservative men. They believe in values and morals. So since Anna doesn’t have any (c’mon, you have to admit, she doesn’t have any morals), they feel that the only way to get rid of her is to trade Kris away and get whatever they can for her, I mean, him. They first explored the idea of Benson for Julio back in November/December when Minaya tried to sell to the media and fans that they needed to upgrade their bullpen, and they could do so by giving up something to gain something. But then in a turn of events, trade talks between the Mets and Orioles fell apart....until…..Then it happened. Anna Bensons dressed as a sexy Mrs. Clause at the Mets holiday function. This just tipped the scale, so the Mets and Orioles re-explored the possibility of a trade. So what do the Mets do? They add a sucky relief pitcher, who I wouldn’t be surprised is he didn’t pitch more than 40 innings (you don’t really think Randolph is going to stick with him after giving up 10 bombs in the first 30 games, do you?). This story is a little more credible. I’m not saying it’s the truth, but it’s more credible.

Story #3: Minaya Latinizing the Mets
Anna Benson has said that she believes that Minaya is just trying to Latinize the Mets. But it’s not only her. Did you know that Carlos Delgado also feels the same way? So the race card against Anna Benson can not be used. They may have a point. Let’s take a look at Minaya’s transactions during his tenure as the Mets GM.

Declined the club option on LHP Al Leiter, making him a free agent.
Declined the club option on OF Richard Hidalgo, making him a free agent.
Signed RHP Pedro Martinez to a four-year contract.
Re-signed RHP Mike DeJean to a one-year contract.
Acquired LHP Felix Heredia from the New York Yankees in exchange for LHP Mike Stanton and cash considerations.
Signed RHP Juan Padilla to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training.
Acquired 1B Doug Mientkiewicz and conditional cash from the Red Sox for nonroster 1B Ian Bladergroen.
Signed RHP Roberto Hernandez to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. 1/11/05
Signed OF Carlos Beltran to a seven-year contract.
Agreed to terms with RHP Victor Zambrano on a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration.
Signed INF Miguel Cairo to a one-year contract.
Traded C Vance Wilson to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for SS Anderson Hernandez.
Released INF Joe McEwing.
Signed INF Jose Offerman to a Minor League contract.
Signed RHP Danny Graves to a one-year contract with a club option for 2006; Designated RHP Manny Aybar for assignment.
Signed C Benito Santiago to a Minor League contract.
Obtained 1B Carlos Delgado and cash from the Marlins for 1B Mike Jacobs, RHP Yusmeiro Petit and INF Grant Psomas
Signed free-agent LHP Billy Wagner to a four-year contract.
Acquired C Paul Lo Duca from the Marlins for two players to be named.
Signed INF Jose Valentin to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.
Signed 1B Julio Franco to a two-year contract.
Signed RHP Chad Bradford, who had been with the Red Sox, to a one-year contract.
Signed OF Endy Chavez, who had been with the Phillies, to a one-year contract.
Acquired RHP Jorge Julio and RHP John Maine from the Orioles in exchange for RHP Kris Benson.

By my calculations, Minaya added 15 Latino players (via trade or free agency), and got rid of 2 (via trade or not resigning), for a +13 Latino players.
As for Americans, Minaya added 5 (via trade or free agency), and got rid of 6 (via trade or not resigning), for -1 American player.

(Video) Cash Explosion Double Play January 4th 1997

I don’t know for sure if this is all in Minaya’s plan, but the numbers would suggest so. Look, if he is just trying to better a team, it doesn’t matter who he acquires and where they are from, just so that he puts a winning product on the field. But some of the last transactions he made would suggest that.

So which story is it? 1, 2 or 3? I would have to say that story #2 is the most likely scenario in this particular case. Obviously the organization felt Anna was a distraction. Yes she spoke what was on her mind. She dressed the way she wanted to dress. She wanted to be in the headlines. But the Mets didn't want that. So the only way to get rid of her was to get rid of him. So Minaya did just that, but for what? He traded away one of his top 2 or 3 pitchers. Pedro is still injured and not completely healed, so he can go down at any time. Tom Glavine reminds me of Ed Harris of Major League, just barely hanging on in there and doing whatever he can to stay afloat, and reach 300 wins. Zambrano, well, I’m not going there. And Steve Traschel is reliable, but he was injured for the majority of the year last year. Any one of these guys can go down at any time. Now they have no insurance.

Omar, what are you thinking?

Please Don't Prosecute McGwire...

March 17, 2005. I remember exactly where I was. Sitting on my buddy J and CK’s futon, drinking a beer (it was St. Patty’s day after all) and watching the beginning of the congressional hearings on steroids. Unfortunately, since this was the first day of the NCAA tournament and I had plans to meet people at a certain time. I had to leave by the time Jose Canseco, Raphael Palmeiro, Frank Thomas, Sammy Sosa and Curt Schilling were questioned. My buddy Burger told me about it, and then ESPN replayed the hearings. I got to see for myself.

I believed Palmeiro when he pointed his finger emphatically at the Congressmen, saying he never once took steroids. I watched as Sosa all of a sudden could not speak a lick of English. I watched as Canseco stumble over his words. Not because he was lying, but more because he is pretty much illiterate and uneducated, well, except in the area of anabolic steroids. Then there was my hero, Mark McGwire. It saddens me to say that he did indeed hide behind the bad legal advice his lawyer provided to him. He refused to talk about the past, which means, in the court of public opinion, they found him guilty.

But what has McGwire admitted to? Has he admitted to taking androstinedeone? Yes, and at the time he was taking Andro, it was not on MLB’s banned substance list. Has McGwire admitted to taking or injecting himself with steroids? No. The next question that comes up is; has he said he hasn’t taken any form of steroid? The answer to that is also no.

McGwire denied frequently about the use of steroids. Once Canseco’s book Juiced hit the shelves at book stores, he named names. Accused players of using steroids, and said that he showed then and taught them about steroids. Even after Canseco’s book came out, McGwire’s statement was that everything in the book was false. McGwire even had his former manager Tony LaRussa stand beside him, where even LaRussa, a well respected man in the baseball family, categorically denied McGwire’s use of steroids. Then came the hearings. McGwire did not deny or admit to any use of steroids. He left it in limbo.

In 1 year, McGwire’s name will be on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. Before any of the steroid allegations, McGwire was a sure fire first ballot Hall-of-Famer with Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn. McGwire, like Gwynn and Ripken, were all well respected, beloved sports figures who could do no wrong. Gwynn played his entire career with one organization, always smiling and refusing to leave for greener pastures during troubled times. Ripken, as everyone knows, broke Lou Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 consecutive games played with 2,632, and was known for playing the game the “Ripken” way.

As for McGwire, he was a giant, a superhero of sorts in St. Louis. The city of St. Louis embraced McGwire like they embraced Stan Musial. They waited decades for another immortal being to come to that beloved baseball city. They wanted someone to look up to, to be proud of. And when Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ single season homerun record on September 8, 1998, and 8:18 EST, he did the improbable. And not only that, he did the unimaginable. He gave his due respect to the Maris family. McGwire was a man of character, of dignity, of integrity.

Mr. McGwire’s character, dignity and integrity are now in question, just like his 583 career homeruns are in question. But do you punish a man for not admitting to something that he may not have done? We are almost certain he did indeed take some sort of enhancement. But we do not know for certain. Keeping McGwire out of the Hall of Fame would be outrageous. The analogy would almost be as if sending someone to prison, or worse, to death on a lack of evidence and all hearsay. McGwire deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Would it be better for McGwire to come out and admit his wrong doing, if in fact, he did take steroids. I can’t prosecute McGwire for doing steroids, even though, I, like everyone else, have major suspicions after his testimony. I think it would only be fair for McGwire to come out of the dark and to speak up about the issue. Weather he took steroids or not, baseball fans, members of the baseball community, but more importantly, members of the Baseball Hall of Fame deserve to know. They have the right to know.

But McGwire is a quiet man, trying to lead a quiet life with his new wife and his three children. We can not force him to come and speak out. I believe he eventually will. But even if he doesn’t, do not hold him out of the Hall. He deserves to be in. No one knows for certain if he took steroids. And if he did, no one knows when he started or when he stopped. With no factual evidence, we can not prosecute McGwire.

Growing up I was the absolute biggest Mark McGwire fan. This is before he was breaking records. I was a true McGwire fan from the beginning. I was there when he had a tough time staying over the Mendoza line and batting just .201 in ’91. I stuck by him and still considered him my hero when he played in a total of 74 games in ’93 and ’94 due to an injured heel. I was at his final series in an A’s uniform in ’97, with signs begging the A’s organization to not trade him, and for him to not accept a trade. But it was inevitable. He was finally traded in ’97 to the Cards. And then that is when everyone caught McGwire fever. He hit 58 HRs in ’97 in 156 games combined with the A’s and Cards. That is when everyone started to fall in love with the big red head.

Do I still consider Mark McGwire my hero? That’s still up for debate. But something that should not be, is McGwire’s place in baseball history and what should be his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Word on the Street

The New York Rangers retired Mark Messier's sweater last night, in an emotional ceremony. After 25 season, 10 with the Rangers, Messier said goodbye one last time to the Garden Faithful.

Mike Richter said that last night, Mark Messier Night is sponsored by Kleenex.

Lovie Smith says the key to the Bears beating the Carolina Panthers is for them to run the ball.

(Video) Best of Double Take (Jan 05-Jan 09)

Greg Bishop of the Seattle Times says that the Seahawks Walter Jones is a gentle giant.

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star isn't happy about the Steeler's Jerry Porter's comments.

Patriots lineman Richard Seymour and linebacker Tedy Bruschi were injured the last time the Pats played the Denver Broncos, and the key to Pats success is stopping the run.

Tony Kornheiser believes the Washington Wizards need to start playing some defense or else Eddie Jordan could be looking for a new job in the near future.

LeBron James gives props to Kobe Bryant for his heroics last night. Kobe sprained his wrist in the 2nd quarter after LeBron accidentally hit it. Kobe took over the game in the final 2 minutes.

Reggie Bush decided to turn pro, a day after teammate LenDale White decided to enter the NFL draft. And Bush says he wouldn't have a problem playing for the Houston Texans.

University of Texas top recruit, Sergio Kindle, graduated high school early and will start taking his first college courses this upcoming semester. But Kindle won't be partying much, that is if his ‘Pops’ has anything to say about it.

Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, believes that Villanova’s 3 guard lineup could cause problems for the Longhorns tomorrow.

The St. Louis Cardinals season has unofficially opened with the team’s Winter Warm-Up at the downtown Millennium Hotel.

The Chicago White Sox announced that broadcasting rookie Chris Singleton, not veterans Tommy John or Steve Lyons, to the radio booth as their new radio analyst. Ed Esherman of the Chicago Tribune feels the Sox would have been better off with Lyons because he would have brought personality and experience to the booth.

A Mess-ier Goodbye

Mark Messier laced up his skates and put on his #11 New York Rangers sweater for the first time at the Garden on October 7, 1991. On September 12, 2005, Mark Messier officially retired from the NHL. Exactly 4 months later, and after 25 years of service, 10 with the Rangers, on January 12, 2006, the New York Rangers retired #11, on the 4th number in Rangers history, and raised it in the rafters of Madison Square Garden.

Yesterday I wrote a quick blurb about the Rangers retiring Messier’s sweater. My buddy Burger and I thought it was going to be a little over done. We felt that the Rangers were dragging it out a little too long (Burger pointed out that they didn’t even do anything like this when Gretzky’s number was retired---I’m assuming when the Oilers retired his number) and we felt that this was being made into a bigger ordeal that what it was.

The ceremony lasted 1 hour and 15 minutes. They gave him numerous gifts including a Captains chair for his boat, fishing poles with all the awards he’s won throughout his career engraved in the fishing poles, a paid vacation for him and his family to Ireland, donations to charities which he supported, a sculpture, and finally, a beautiful portrait of himself along side his teammates hoisting The Cup in ’94.

The Rangers brought back the ’94 Cup team (with exception for a few players), about 1800 members of his family, or what seemed like 1800, including his 2-year-old-or-so baby which you could tell Messier was getting fed up with where he passed him off to his father, and a few other guests (Did you see what I believe were his nieces? Not bad, not bad at all). There were speeches from Adam Graves and Mike Richter (surprisingly enough, him and Messier didn’t make out), and also a speech from Brian Leetch via video. But I will be the first to admit, they were really good, nice, genuine speeches.

Then Messier made his speech, a long, winded speech where he repeated himself a few times, which made my grandfather say “Wow, he’s a talker this Messy-err-err guy”. When he gave his thanks to Jim Dolan, there was an outburst of unpleasant “boos” from the crowd. Messier looked very uncomfortable, as if he were taking a #2 in front of 18,000 people.

They were brought to the area where the banner would be raised, and along side the banner was Lord Stanley’s Cup (that’s how people who follow hockey regularly pronounce it, right?). They allowed Messier to hoist the cup, without white gloves, one last time. And in memorable fashion, he kissed The Cup one last time. Picturesque of ’94.

Then came the raising of the banner. A fitting, and emotional moment, where they played the music when the Futbol team (Soccer team) wins the Euro Champions League.

Messier broke down, about 14 times during the ceremony. Ok, maybe not that much, but it was a few times. But in all seriousness, if I were him, or you were him, anyone of us would have wept just like him.

I wrote yesterday that hockey “isn’t a real big deal in terms of sports in America. It’s not front page news headlines.” I still stand by that statement, although he did make the front page of the Daily News. Messier isn’t as big as Derek Jeter, Mike Piazza, Tom Seaver, Joe DiMaggio, Patrick Ewing, Bill Parcells, Joe Namath to the city and fans of New York. But to the 18,000 fans, who were in attendance, some that paid over a grand for a ticket, Messier meant just as much. And last night, the Garden Faithful, got bid a Mess-ier farewell, one last time, to The Captain, Mark Messier.

Word on the Street

The Oakland A’s avoided arbitration with Milton Bradley and Kiko Calero. The 2 players and the A’s agreed to terms on one year contracts. I said it before, and I will say it again; I believe Milton Bradley is a good fit in Oakland. Yes, he is a head case, but I have always been a fan of his. Not a fan of his actions, but as a player. As for Calero, it is a step in the right direction for the A’s. I am very happy with the way they are attempting to solidify their bullpen.

The Washington Post reports that the Baltimore Orioles and Kevin Millar, who coined the nickname “Dirt bags” to himself and his Boston Red Sox teammates, have reached a 1 year agreement.

Nationals, please say it ain't So-sa. It is being reported that the Washington Nationals and flame-out Sammy Sosa are discussing terms on a 1 year, incentive laden contract.

Is Mike Piazza really not wanted? Teams that had expressed interest initially are now turning their back on Piazza. Maybe the World Baseball Classic can be a showcase for Piazza. I know I wouldn’t mind seeing him land in Oakland.

The 2007 Baseball HOF debate is already underway. Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn and shoe-ins. But many baseball people, especially Kevan Kernan of the NY Post will not vote for Mark McGwire, and do not believe McGwire will get in his first year of eligibility. On the other hand, Larry Stone of The Seattle Times has the right idea---You can’t persecute someone without any evidence.

Richard Jefferson is hungry and determined for the Nets to finish with the 2nd best record in the East by the All-Star break. RJ, who sat out Tuesday's night game against the Spurs due to an injured back, said he would have played if it were a playoff game. He says he will be suiting up Friday night against the #1 ranked defense in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies.

The New York Rangers will retire Mark Messier's sweater tonight at The Garden. I find it fitting how they will be retiring his number the same night they are playing the Edmonton Oilers, the team which Messier won his first 5 Stanley Cup’s with. I am not a big hockey fan, but I appreciate the sport. I used to follow it more closely, and that was the time when Messier was guiding the Rangers to the playoffs each year. But I do have to share an email, from my buddy Burger who is an enormous hockey fan.

Yeah I mean messier deserves his due... But I mean this sounds like it's going a bit overboard.. What the hell do Derek Jeter and Joe Namath have to do with Mark Messier?? They probably don't even know each other...
Just seems insane.. And an hour ceremony? C'mon... He was a great hockey player, a great leader, but hes not this immortal being.. They didn't even do this for Gretzky..

I have to side with Burger on this one. An hour ceremony seems a little long. Especially for a hockey player (no disrespect). But this is sort of like the Metro stars retiring Alexi Lalas jersey. Ok, maybe it’s not that insignificant, but this isn’t a real big deal in terms of sports in America. It’s not front page news headlines. Shoot, Mike Piazza’s final game barely made front page sports sections throughout the Tri-State area. But, congrats to Messier. I just hope Richter doesn’t try to make out with you during your ceremony.

(Video) 𝐃𝐡𝐫𝐮𝐯 - 𝐃𝐨𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐞 | 𝟏 𝐇𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐋𝐨𝐨𝐩

Ramble On...

I’ve gotta get a few things to get off my chest...

Miguel Tejada, you are one of my favorite players. You are one of the top 3 players in the game of baseball right now. But I don’t like it when you, or anyone else for that matter (i.e. Manny Ramirez) demand trades. You signed a contract to play with the Baltimore Orioles, and you should honor that contract. If you wanted to win, you could have re-signed with Oakland. Yes it would have been for less, but once again, it shows what most athletes aspire for…The DOLLAR$$$$...not the ring….

My heart goes out to Jim Rice and Goose Gossage. Two players that should be in the Baseball HOF. How were they left off once again? It is mind boggling. I didn’t get to see Jim Rice play, but his numbers speaks for itself. And when you hear from major league pitchers in that era say Rice was one of the most feared hitters in the game during his time, shouldn’t that help his case for the HOF. As for Gossage, he was pitching when I was younger, but I didn’t really get to see him. But he also wasn’t his dominant self at that point either. His numbers are better than Sutter's (congrats to Sutter after 13 years), and the closers role was different from a Closers role today. Actually, back then they weren’t even called closers. Today, the “Closer” is a specialty role. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, a “closer” would come in the 7th, clean up what the Starting pitcher left, and then pitch the final 2 innings. It was harder to get a save back then. Imagine if Gossage only had to pitch 1 inning? He would probably have closer to 400 saves. Yes, Mariano, who I believe is one of the greatest closers of all-time, only pitches more than 1 inning a few times a year, and that usually only happens in the post-season. Gossage, Sutter, Rollie Fingers and company pitched more than 1 inning in the majority of their outings. They didn’t accumulate these “soft” saves. They had to work harder for their saves. Give them their due respect and finally put them in the HOF.

Now that I am done ranting and raving about Goose and Rice for having been left out of the Hall, again, I now want to focus on the voters of the HOF. There were 520 ballots cast. In order for a player to be accepted in the HOF, he needed to be on 390 of those ballots. But here is my question. If these players for years and years (12 years, until this year for Sutter) were not voted in, then why, all of a sudden, would you let him in? Look, like I said, I believe Sutter, Rice and Gossage belong in the HOF, but why would you wait 10, 11, 12 years, for some writers, to finally vote for those players? Rice hasn’t driven in any more runs, Gossage hasn’t recorded another save, Sutter hasn’t thrown another Split in a major league game? I don’t like the notion of voters saying “Well, it’s a weak 1st year class, so let’s get someone in there”. That’s not how it should work. The HOF should ONLY include those who were the absolute best. Major League Baseball should look over the system and figure out a way to fix it. It is difficult, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to fix this already flawed system, but it needs to be tweaked with and fixed once and for all.

Speaking of Hall-of-Fames, the NFL listed the finalists for the NFL HOF today. On that list includes Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Reggie White etc… It seems more difficult to be elected into the NFL HOF, where the player needs 80% of the vote (MLB needs 75%). But here is where I got a little irritated. The NFL HOF requires 3 players to be elected each year. If only 1, 2, or even none, receive 80% vote, then the top 3 vote getters are then elected. Now, that is flawed system. If you weren’t good enough to accumulate the 80% of votes, why should you, then, be allowed in this most prestigious club. It’s as if the NFL has a HOF ceremony just for the sake of having a ceremony. This proves why, baseball’s HOF is the most prestigious and honored group of any professional sport. Yes, I have said the voting for the Baseball HOF is flawed, but it is much more of an honor to elected to the Baseball HOF than any other HOF.

University Texas basketball team is finally starting to turn things around after their trampling from Duke and the surprise loss to Tennessee. P.J. Tucker is a rebounding machine, along with Aldridge. Daniel Gibson is showing signs of being one of the best Point Guards in NCAA right now. But the biggest surprise is Paulino. He has become a reliable 2 guard.

NFL Playoff Pick of the Week---New England Patriots over the Denver Broncos

Clinton Portis is going to have to run for more than 50 yards if the Redskins have any chance of beating the Seahawks.

You heard it here first…Carolina Panthers are going to beat the Chicago Bears.

Pittsburgh has no chance against Indy.

(Video) dhruv – ​double take (Lyrics)

The Nets just ended their 10 game winning streak. It was halted by the San Antonio Spurs. The Nets didn’t quit, which was nice, but they certainly did not play well. Vince played well in the 1st half, but he was no where to be found until half way through the 4th quarter. Their defense played bad as well. They allowed Tony Parker to dribble around them and they allowed Rasho Nesterovich, one of the worst NBA Centers in the game, make jump shots and grab offensive rebounds. The Nets need RJ to heal, and get him back out there. I know how important VC and J-Kidd are to the Nets, but RJ is just as valuable with his 19 points/game and his rebounding, but most importantly, his defense.

Marcus Vick needs to grow up.

Congrats to Joe Paterno for being voted Coach of the Year by his peers.

University of Kentucky is the most overrated basketball program in the nation. And the only reason they are ranked (but should fall from the rankings after the 73-46 spanking Kansas layed on them on Saturday) is because of their name. The Wildcats are done for. Stick a fork in them. Even Randolph Morris can’t help them at this point.

The Knicks are on a 4 game winning streak…my prediction….It will end tonight with the Mavericks coming to The Garden…

Until next time…


467 Heisman Voters believed that Reggie Bush was the Heisman Trophy winner. Vince Young disagreed. ESPN believed the 2005 USC Trojans were arguably the best college football team ever. Vince Young disagreed. And then Vince Young backed it all up.

January 4, 2006, Rose Bowl, #2 University of Texas vs. #1 USC Trojans…
This game was touted as “One of the Greatest Matchups Ever”. But here’s the problem. About 90% of the media who were saying this, didn’t give Texas a chance to begin with. Heck, ESPN was already declaring the 2005 USC Trojan as the greatest college football team of all-time. That's a little premature. And on top of that, most people figured that USC would blow out Texas. The line was set at 7 for USC, but too many people believed that was too low. I guess a lot of bookies made a lot of money last night.

There are 2 sports writers that I would like to point out specifically. One I would like to degrade, the other commend.
The first is Skip Bayless. That no good, no talent, annoying, poor excuse for a sports writer was once again 100% wrong with his sport opinion. Skip Bayless' article, that was featured in the Page 2 on yesterday, can now be thrown away. He said that USC would blow Texas out. Good one guy. He said that Texas had no chance. Good one, chump. Here’s one for you, Skip-a-roo, UT, the Longhorns, the team you believed had no chance, took it to the Trojans of USC. Please, you are a disgrace. You cry like a 2 year old girl and whine like and 80 year old lady. So please, quit what you’re doing and go to the local levels of reporting on high school teams.

As for my commendation, that goes to Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated. He, unlike Bayless, wrote some insightful articles heading to the Rose Bowl. One article talked about how the game would be decided by the two team’s offensive and defensive lines, which was dead on. Then in an excellent article which Mandel wrote about how Texas would win the game, how they really had a chance. He did his research. He knew what he was saying. Excellent article, like usual. Keep up the great work.

10 Things I think I like I like when I like thinking….

1- I know its 2006, but this is technically considered part of the 2005 season, but was there a more spectacular performance by a single athlete than Vince Young in ANY sporting event in 2005? Don’t try to tell me A-Rods 3 HR, 10 RBI night. That was a regular season game. Don’t tell me Reggie Bush when he complies over 500 all purpose yards against Fresno State. That, too, was a regular season game. And don’t say Kobe’s 62 points in just 3 quarters about a month ago. Again, that was a regular season game. You can say Deion Branch or T.O.’s performance in the Super Bowl this past year, but that doesn’t even compare to what Vince did. VY was 30-40 on passing with 267 passing yards. But he also rushed for 200 yards with 3 TDs. He had a 200/200 game. Absolutely incredible. His entire team had 556 total yards, and he had 467 pf them. Vince-Credible

2- Texas Defense. Stuffed the Trojans twice on 4th down, and the most important and crucial one came 4th and 2 on Texas’ 45 yard line with 2:09 left in the game.
3- The Texas Cheerleaders

4- The USC Cheerleaders

5- Vince Young smiling before the 3rd and 5 during the final drive of the game.

6- How unstoppable VY was during the whole game. It seemed like VY was in slow motion, but the USC defense couldn’t stop him.

7- The amount of Burnt Orange in the stands at the Rose Bowl, where it was unofficially a USC home game.

8- It was nice NOT seeing Nick Lachey.

9- Vince Young carry this UT team, and then make the final rush on 4th and 5 for the game winning TD

10- University of Texas crowned National Champions

Will Vince Young stay in Austin, or become pro? That’s the next questions. Before the game, VY was stating that he was going to come back for his senior season. He would be the Heisman favorite, but after this game, how high will his stock rise? He outplayed Heisman winner Reggie Bush, but Bush is still expected to go #1. He outplayed Matt Leinart (no disrespect to Leinart who had a heck of a game), but I’m sure teams would still choose Leinart over Young. He has played extremely well in 3 National Championship games, and lost only 1. So maybe he would fall down to the 3rd pick. We shall see what Young decides to do. And whatever he does, I wish him the best of luck.

Congratulations to Mack Brown and Vince Young and co. for winning the National Championship. I was very happy to see them come out on top. Especially after ESPN prematurely proclimated the USC Trojans as the greatest college football team of all time.

Hook ‘em Horns.

(Video) dhruv - double take (Official Audio)


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