Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rodriguez Proves He Is Still A Star in Texas

Ivan Rodriguez proved he's still got game on Wednesday night despite Texas blowing another lead in a 5-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Rodriguez went 3-for-4 with an RBI and also scored a run.

Welcome Home Pudge was the main theme. By that I mean, like most long time Rangers fans, (myself included), we all see Rodriguez return no different than your son or daughter coming home after being gone overseas for years. Most of us watched this young man grow up right before our very eyes and we have missed him as a Ranger.

"It was nice," said Rodriguez, "The ovation from the fans, I appreciated that a lot. At the same time, it was a tough game. We got the lead early, and they were able to come back. Other that it, it was good, it was nice. I just wish we could have won the game."

Rodriguez did his part, I would say he did more than his part, and he had plenty of support. Sure the players were there, but I’m talking about the crowd of 33,479 on Wednesday, with several wearing old Rodriguez jerseys and carrying signs. That's more than 12,000 more fans than they had on Tuesday night, and a lot of that can be attributed to the arrival of Rodriguez.

Rodriguez received several standing ovations. Batting eighth, he singled to center in his first at-bat in the third inning and scored the game's first run. He followed with a double to right-center in the fourth, scoring Ian Kinsler. He added a single to right in the sixth.

Now off my soap box for Pudge and onto my soap box about the team and the last 3 games. I was at the game on Monday night in person and I can tell you this team looks tired. On Monday night when they brought in Neftali Feliz he had no energy. He still made it thru but just barely! Kevin Millwood ran out of gas last night. The position players have been grinding for a while in critical games and that may be taking a toll.

The Rangers have a day off on Monday, but have to find a way to Man Up and push through this weekend before they get there. Guess we will find out what kind of Manager Ron Washington really is, as it will take some imagination and leadership to get them thru this.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Texas Rangers Welcome Home Pudge Rodriguez

Rangers fans, and you can count me as one of them are extremely excited as news spreads around Dallas that the Rangers reacquired All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez for two minor leaguers from the Houston Astros On Tuesday. “It’s been a long time,” said Rodriguez, who. “I’m glad that I’m back.

Rodriguez on his first trip with the Rangers played for Texas from 1991 to 2002 and moved on as a free agent. He left when the club refused to offer salary arbitration after the 2002 season. He signed with Florida and immediately won a World Series, then went to another World Series in five seasons with Detroit.

He was voted to the all star game 10-times as a Ranger, 13 times over his career. He helped lead the Rangers franchise only three playoff teams in 1996, 1998 and 1999, where he was the American League Most Valuable Player.

Currently Rodriguez is hitting .251 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs in 93 games and 344 plate appearances for the Astros.

As a Texas Ranger, Rodriguez caught 1,426 games, second in club history to Jim Sundberg’s 1,495. He hit .305 with 215 home runs and 829 RBIs.

If you want to know if the fans are happy, tonight Rodriguez walked out to deliver the lineup card to home plate and you would have thought the Rangers had just won a game 7 in the playoffs. Rodriiguez received a huge ovation. Tonight he is only available off the bench.

Michael Young said “It’s huge for our fan base,” Young seemed very excited about the trade. Young also said “He might be the best player in the history of our organization and probably the most popular. This is just a great move on all fronts.”

Rangers outfielder David Murphy had a decision to make. Murphy has been wearing Rodriguez No.7 jersey since coming to the Rangers. Murphy who has always been a class act said he will give up his No.7 and switched to the No. 14.

Ron Washington the Rangers manager said Rodriguez would back up Taylor Teagarden. Teagarden became the starting catcher replacing Jarrod Saltalamacchia who is currently on the disabled list. “Watching him play when I was a kid, you idolized him,” Teagarden said. “I have a chance to learn some things about how he handles himself on the field.”

General manager Jon Daniels said Saltalamacchia has symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, which affects nerves near the shoulder and neck and can cause numbness in the arms. Daniels said Saltalamacchia has a milder form that can be treated with rest and rehabilitation. The team plans to have him back in September.

To make room for Rodriguez, the Rangers designated catcher Kevin Richardson for assignment. They have 10 days to trade, release or outright him to the minor leagues.

I am as excited as I can be about this move, like many long time Rangers fans I watched Rodriguez grow up as a player and a man with the Rangers. He will be nothing but an asset to the Rangers on the field and in the clubhouse. He will make a difference to this team. Welcome Home Pudge Rodriguez!

Teardrops On An NFL Fans Guitar

Brett looks retired to me, I fake a smile so he won't see

That I want and I'm needing everything that we should be

I'll bet the Vikings are beautiful, that team he talks about

And they’ve got everything that I have to live without

Brett talks to me (about retirement), I laugh cause it's just so damn funny

That I can't even see anyone when he's with me

He says he's so retired, he's finally got it right,

I wonder if he knows he's all the Vikings think about at night

He's the reason for the teardrops on my guitar

The only thing that keeps me wishing on a wishing star

He's the report on ESPN I keep hearing, don't know why I listen to

Brett walks by me, can he tell that I can't breathe?

And there he goes, the old Retire-e,

The kind of flawless I wish I could be

Retirement better hold him tight, give him all her love

Look in those Brown full of S--T eyes and know she's lucky cause

He's the reason for the teardrops on my guitar

The only thing that keeps me wishing on a wishing star

He's the report on ESPN I keep hearing, don't know why I do

So I drive home alone, as I turn out the light

I'll put his picture down (in a Packers/Jets/Vikings)uniform(levis) and maybe ill

Get some sleep tonight

He's the reason for the teardrops on my guitar

The only one who's got enough of me to break my heart

He's the Breaking News in the car I keep hearing, don't know why I do

He's the time taken up, but there's never enough

And he's all that I need to fall into..

Brett looks so full of S—T to me, I fake a smile so he won't see

Washington Nationals Sign Strasburg $15.1M over 4 Years

Most people think that once you draft a player in MLB that signing them to a contract is a done deal. The easy part for the Washington Nationals was drafting Stephen Strasburg in June. The hard part was getting him to agree to a contract by the deadline of midnight Monday. The Last time the Nationals were in this position they failed to reach an agreement with first-round selection, Aaron Crow, a pitcher from Missouri.

I think this gave them a real sense that they had to get this done. With 1 Minute and 17 seconds left until the deadline, the Washington Nationals score a huge deal last night with the record breaking $15.1 million over 4 years signing of Strasburg.

Strasburg comes to the Nationals from San Diego State University. With the Aztecs last season, he lead all Division 1 pitchers in ERA (1.35) and strikeouts (195 in 109 innings), and won the Golden Spikes award for the top U.S. amateur baseball player. He has the ability to come in and be effective immediately. I would expect for the Nationals to feature him this season after giving him a few starts in the minors. Strasburg features a100 mph fastball which sets up an absolutely knee-buckling breaking ball.

What the Nationals hope is this will be the piece of the puzzle they have been searching for. Mike Rizzo the Nationals G.M. said “We thought we signed the player for his value,” calling Strasburg “the most coveted amateur player in the history of the draft.” Giving them a true number one starter next season, that will be exciting for their fans, and sends a message around the league that the Nationals are serious about putting together a winning team.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lucky Fan at Texas Rangers game does the Impossible!

Last night I was watching the Texas Rangers play the Boston Red Sox, and I ended up seeing one of the most incredible odd defying feats I have ever seem at a baseball game. In the 5th inning Josh Hamilton for the Rangers was batting and hits a Foul Ball into the stands. Not that big of a deal right but the really cool thing is it was caught by a 12 year old boy (the only info we have is his name is C.J. from Cedar Hills Texas) with his glove cleanly. It was smiles and hi-fives all around and I was thinking how special that was for this kid. Then the impossible happened, not 3 pitches later in the same at bat Josh Hamilton hit another Foul Ball and the same kid caught it again in his glove cleanly. The entire crowd erupted giving him a standing ovation.

Watching this amazing improbable feat, I started to wonder what my chances of catching a foul ball actually were. So in order for me to figure this out I had to do some calculations or at least try to figure out a formula and this is what I came up with.

There are probably about 40 baseballs hit into the stands per game. Then you have to figure in the amount of fans at the game. If I remember correctly this season so far the Rangers are averaging around 33,000 fans per game. So that means that 1 in every 825 fans would walk away with a foul ball.

Notice I said walk away with a ball, because if you watch MLB, only about 4 out of those 40 fans that get foul balls actually catch them cleanly (1 in every 8250). The factors in our little equation don’t end here because you have to consider that there are places in a stadium where there is no way to catch a foul ball because you are seated in fair territory, this combination makes our 1 in 8250 figure for catching just one foul ball way askew, but hey its just a rough estimate. MIT may have to get involved in this one!

So talk about getting your 15 minutes of fame in your life! During the game the reporter from Fox Sports Southwest found him and interviewed him on the air, and he was awarded the Fan of the game! They also gave him an award of a Gold Glove trophy, and to top it all off, his 2 catches were the ESPN SPORTSCENTER number 5 play of the week in their Top 10. These are just the things I know of, Letterman is bound to be calling soon!

I am sure all the math geeks out there are perplexed as to how to figure this out, and it would be a great question for the Math Olympics. (I think webquest hosts one). Tom Hicks the owner of the Texas Rangers should look at this as a great marketing tool! Find the place at the Ball Park at Arlington where you are more likely to catch a Foul Ball and mark it on your ticket sales site. Judging from the response this Kid got catching his 2 Foul Balls It might influence ticket sales in those areas. Besides I think “Foul Ball Boy” is a far better draw than “Batting Stance Guy”.

In closing I noticed In talking with people and friends that not every person understands the exact rules of what is and is not a Foul Ball, by definition and how it can be played, so I looked it up on Wikipedia and this is what it says:

In baseball a foul ball is a batted ball that[1]:
Settles on foul territory between home and first base or between home and third base, or
Bounds past first or third base on or over foul territory, or
First falls on foul territory beyond first or third base, or
While on or over foul territory, touches the person of an umpire or player, or any object foreign to the natural ground.
A foul fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the infielder is on foul or fair territory at the time he touches the ball.
Foul territory or foul ground is defined as the area of the field outside of the foul lines. The foul lines or foul poles are not part of foul territory.
In general, when a batted ball is ruled a foul ball, the ball is dead, all runner must return to their time-of-pitch base without liability to be put out, and the batter returns to home plate to continue his turn at bat. A strike is issued for the batter if he had fewer than two strikes. If the batter already has two strikes against him when he hits a foul ball, a strike is not issued unless the ball was bunted to become a foul ball, in which case a third strike is issued and a strikeout recorded for the batter and pitcher. A strike is, however, recorded for the pitcher for every foul ball the batter hits, regardless of the count.
A batted ball caught by a fielder in flight in foul territory is not considered a foul ball, but the batter is out and runners on base may advance at their own risk.

Rules in covered facilities:
In a retractable or fixed roof baseball facility, a batted ball is a foul ball if it:
strikes the roof, roof support structure, or objects suspended from the roof (e.g., lights, speakers) in fair territory and lands in foul territory
becomes lodged in any of those objects in foul territory and does not fall back to the playing field
Rules vary from stadium to stadium for a ball striking the roof or suspended object in foul territory. Some consider such a ball to still be in flight, while others consider it a foul ball and dead from the time it strikes.

On rare occasions, such as in extra innings or the ninth inning of a tie game when a runner is on third base, fielders have been known to let long foul flies drop rather than risk losing the game on a sacrifice fly. Sometimes, in that situation, a fielder will not try to catch a ball that is close to the foul line in the hope that the ball will go foul at the last second--neither catching the ball nor letting it drop would prevent a defeat.
In different situations, a foul ball may be considered a positive or negative outcome of a pitch or swing. When there are zero or one strikes, a foul ball counts as a strike, benefiting the pitcher. However, a foul ball may reveal to the batter that he has timed a pitch well and need only make adjustment to the location of his swing on the next such pitch; this is often called a good cut or simply a good swing. Foul balls with two strikes are generally considered positive for the batter, since he thus avoids strike three on a potentially difficult pitch. Also, foul balls with two strikes increase the pitchers, pitch count, adding to his/her fatigue, thus providing some small advantage to the offense. A strategy of swinging on any ball to try to produce additional fouls and prolong an at-bat is often used against strong pitchers to try to drive them from the game sooner (and also the possibility of the pitcher throwing a pitch a hitter can get a hit on); this does, however, have the disadvantage of generating more strikeouts.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Did Francisco's Blown Save End Texas Rangers Playoff Hopes?

The Texas Rangers were in command! You could feel it in the air that once again they were going to take down the mighty Boston Red Sox. The stage was set and Rangers leading in the 9th with a score of 4-2 bring in Frank Francisco and you could just tell by his look or demeanor, just something about him that the 9th was going to end in disaster.

There was hit after hit after hit and the Red Sox scored one run, but still the Rangers seemed destined to win getting an out here and there, balls seemed to at least bounce their way like when Buchholz, a starting pitcher, that was brought in to pinch run because of his speed hesitated between second and third base when Texas left fielder David Murphy leaped to try to catch Pedroia’s drive at the wall.

Murphy hit Michael Young with a relay throw and Young’s relay beat a sliding Buchholz. The Red Sox ended up with runners at second and third, and that brought Victor Martinez to the plate for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox now trailing 4-3 were down to their last strike when Martinez ripped a pitch from Francisco into the right-field corner, scoring Ellsbury and Pedroia. Martinez said “I saw three pitches and finally got a fastball right down the middle and I got a good swing at it,”
Then the route was really on. Boston finished off Francisco with Jason Bay’s RBI single and an exclamation point when J.D. Drew blasted a two run homer.

Francisco (2-2), blew his third save in 19 chances, gave up seven hits and six runs. “I don’t want anyone at my locker so beat it,” Francisco said. It was the first time he’s allowed more than four hits or four runs in 203 major league appearances.

The Rangers when leading after eight innings at home had won 72 straight games. Dating back to September 2007.

Why oh why do we continue to put this guy back in the closers role? He has not proven himself effective since coming off the DL and now is not the time to give him a chance to work it out. I am not saying Francisco is a bad pitcher but right now, today, at this moment he is not a closer. He would make a good reliever where you have more control but he does not have that killer instinct that you need as a closer.

No one fears Frank Francisco.

The Boston Red Sox win extended their lead over Texas in the wild card to 1 1/2 games. What we have to hope is that the Rangers are not affected mentally by this loss! Games like this can change an entire season.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tony Dungy, In His Own Words

As I watch the press conference for Michael Vick I found myself distracted. Sure the Vick story being re-instated to the NFL is a huge story but still I started gravitating towards every word Tony Dungy said. I began to realize listening to him that he is an amazing person and leader. Sure these big time professional players get the big press but what do I really know about Tony Dungy. So I began to investigate and this is what I found.

Who is Tony Dungy?

If you look him up on Wikipedia it says that Anthony Kevin "Tony" Dungy (born October 6, 1955) is a former professional football player and coach in the National Football League. Dungy now is the mentor of suspended NFL player Michael Vick. Dungy was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 to 2001, and head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2002 to 2008. He became the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl when his Colts defeated the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007. On December 18, 2008 after securing his tenth straight playoff appearance with a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dungy set a new NFL record for consecutive playoff appearances by a head coach. On January 12, 2009, Dungy announced his retirement as coach of the Indianapolis Colts, which went into effect after the 2008-2009 season.

During his retirement speech when leaving the Colts, Coach Dungy said "Where my heart is, is really with our young men right now," Dungy said. "We have so many guys that didn't grow up like me, didn't have their dad there and that's something I'm very, very interested in."
You can tell that he is someone who all his life has strived to do the right thing and make a difference. Who he is as a man is why the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Andy Reid Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles sought Coach Dungy’s opinion about Vick before bringing him back to the NFL.

During The Commissioners speech at Tony Dungy’s retirement he said "Tony Dungy taught us all how to handle triumph and tragedy with dignity and grace," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. "Although we will miss him, Tony is a great man and his impact will be part of the NFL forever." How profound a statement.

I think that you can get a sense of who he is by reading what he says directly from his hand and heart. So I took the following word for word directly from his Blog.

August 12th, 2009

It’s August 12 and most NFL teams are in their third week of training camp. This is the time when I thought I might feel a little remorse about not coaching football. For the last 32 years of my life I’ve been in NFL training camp in August - four as a player and 28 as a coach. It’s a time where the team comes together and makes some sacrifices to begin a new season. You’re away from everyone, practicing twice a day and being around your football family 24/7. I always loved training camp because I felt that’s where you started building the foundation for any success you would have as a team that season.

So I was a little concerned how I would handle August this year - would there be any regret? But I have to say I haven’t missed football at all. I haven’t had time to, really. The last three weeks for me have been extremely busy and extremely rewarding. I’ve done some work getting ready for my new job with NBC Football Night in America. We had a rehearsal in the studio in New York and I also went to the Hall of Fame game this past Sunday and went on the air for a little with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. It was a lot of fun and very informative, seeing how a broadcast is put together.

I’ve also gotten to do some speaking during these three weeks, to a variety of groups. Besides my normal activities with All Pro Dad and Abe Brown Ministries, I’ve addressed corporate meetings for Northwestern Mutual Life, Federal Express and Wal-Mart. I’ve also gotten to do some youth outreach. Gospel singer CeCe Winans had a youth conference in Nashville where I spoke to the teens about decision-making and following their convictions and not the crowd. Last week I spoke to the Assemblies of God youth in Orlando about the same thing - being Uncommon by staying true to their Christian beliefs and not worrying about what others may think. Those were very rewarding, fun events that I would not have had the chance to do if I was coaching.

I’ve also really enjoyed the family time we’ve had in August. My sister and her family came to visit us in Tampa for a week. We took them to a lot of fun spots here - Lowry Park Zoo, the Museum of Science and Industry, Adventure Island water park, and other area attractions. Our kids have had a lot of summer activities going on as well - snorkeling camp at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, summer camps and football practice. Today we have a ninth birthday party for Jordan and senior pictures for Eric. So being a dad in August has taken on a different meaning this year and kept me busy as well.

The thing that has gotten the most attention, however, has been my role in assisting Michael Vick. I went to Leavenworth Prison a couple of months ago to meet with Michael and talk about how he planned to transition back to his family and back to work after serving his sentence. Speaking with inmates is something I’ve done quite a bit of in working with Abe Brown’s prison outreach, but Mike is a much more high profile ex-offender, and the sports media, especially, has been interested in his case.

I found Mike to be much like many of the other young men I’ve met in prison who have served time for a mistake they made early in their lives, and now want to get on with their life and get back to their families. We have talked on the phone quite a bit since then, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asked me if I would commit to helping Mike as a formal mentor after he was released. I told him I’d be happy to do this, making my number one goal to be there for Michael to help him in his decision-making the first months after his release. I knew that he would have a lot of choices to make - choices of where he was going to live, what community service projects he would get involved in, and hopefully, what team he might eventually play for. He would also have decisions about things he wouldn’t do - places he wouldn’t go, people he wouldn’t be around and things he wouldn’t participate in.

Over the past two months we’ve talked about all these things. We’ve talked about how he’s going to make those decisions and where the Lord fits into all this. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what to do or what the next step should be. That’s when your faith in Christ has to take over. You have to pray about things and let God direct your course. I want to help Michael do this and I have confidence in him that he’s going to make some positive things come from a bad stage in his life.

Commissioner Goodell conditionally reinstated Mike last week and since then I’ve had a number of conversations with NFL people, mainly head coaches. I think Mike is going to get a second chance at an NFL career and I feel something may happen by this weekend. One of the things Mike and I talked about was some advice Chuck Noll gave me when I started my coaching career in 1981. He told me never make a career decision based on money. I think that’s critical for Mike here; that he looks at where he can fit in and what type of support a team has for him - from the front office down to the players - to help him get back into the routine of being a football player. I also encouraged Mike to look at how he can get involved in the community to do the things he has committed to do - the youth outreach and partnering with the Humane Society on educating people about the ills of dog fighting. So I don’t think he’ll make his final decision based on the size or length of the contract a team is offering, as much as some of these other factors.

So that’s what’s been happening for me during the first part of August. The second half should be just as busy. We’ve got school starting for our kids as well as football for my son Eric. I’m getting the opportunity to speak to a lot of high school and college teams about being UNcommon, which is the title of my latest book. I’ll visit my alma mater, the University of Minnesota, and the defending National Champion Florida Gators next week. I’m also working with Fresh Air Media on a high school football show that will be seen in movie theaters on Tuesday night, August 25. It’s called Tony Dungy’s Redzone and we’ve got a lot of NFL players, coaches and former players giving tips to young players about performing better on and off the field. It will be shown in over 450 movie theaters around the country (you can go to to find the one closest to you) and I’m really excited about it. We’re going to try to help young men become better players and also avoid some of the problems Michael has faced.

So maybe things will slow down a little bit for me in September when I start my “real job” with NBC. But, so far, I’m not missing football and that’s a blessing. End of Blog.

I am now a fan of Tony Dungy. As a man, He has set a great example for us all. I have heard some disrespectful remarks about Coach Dungy because of his role with Michael Vick. I say that you don’t have to believe in Michael Vick, that’s fine. Its your right. However you don’t have the right to persecute Tony Dungy. He needs to be applauded for stating his beliefs and living by his convictions.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Top 10 College Football Teams, ESPN & USA Today vs Joe Shmo From Walmart

So here goes. Since we are as close as we can possibly get to the start of the College Football season, and ESPN and USA-TODAY just released their polls of the top 10 College teams, I began to think. You know, I bet the average JOE-SHMO-FROM-WALMART could do just as good a job as both of these professional organizations.

I decided to take a poll. I stood out front of WALMART in McKinney Texas and asked the first 100 people wearing anything that resembled some type of team sports wear to write down their pick of who they thought the number one team in College Football was. Based on the amount of votes per team, this is the order they picked. Side by side.

The more interesting part is if I had an unlimited amount of time each and every person would have spent an hour explaining why they picked the team they picked.
JOE-SHMO-FROM-WALMART did pretty well, the breakdown was (63male-17 age 18yrs or below) and the rest (37female-7 age 18yrs or below).





4. USC 4. USC 4. TEXAS







Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dallas Cowboys Roy Williams, is he a true No.1

Most Cowboys fans are laid back so far thru training camp. In fact it has been several years since we have had this quiet sometimes eerily quite training camp. The last two seasons have caused the fans of the Cowboys to reserve judgment. In their minds there was so much emphasis on Terrell Owens that once we got rid of him we no longer knew what to do. So now we wait and see.

There are many questions whether Roy Williams is truly a No. 1 receiver and if our other receivers, Miles Austin and Sam Hurd will step up in the passing offense. During the first week of training camp Williams and Romo’s connection seemed to be off, just a half a step here and there. Suddenly however this week they seemed to start connecting, and the week ended with a lot of confidence between Williams and Romo.

This year from what I can tell will not be a Diva (Owens) receiver-oriented (more like demanding) offense that it has been the past two years. This year looks to feature a two tight end, with one back set.

The key will be the two tight ends. The Cowboys have what I think is the best tight end tandem in the league in Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett. Witten is already a proven tight end, and Bennett, in his second-year with the Cowboys is ready to break out and I think that most people will be shocked with his athletic ability.

The Cowboys believe the two tight end, one back package will keep defenses off balance allowing them to throw as they (Witten and Bennett) split out or the Cowboys run as they block from any formation.

So if that’s what we are seeing and there are no distractions like T.O. and Jessica Simpson, or the Bill (you know that guy with the Dolphins front office) circus. What are they talking about here in Dallas? Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers. (You’re welcome Romo) Literally that’s it, and that’s a different blog.

On Thursday Night the Dallas Cowboys will play their first Pre-Season game against The Oakland Raiders. They are not game planning for them at all, they are going to use that game to just work on things the Cowboys need to work on.

The Cowboys are starting to accumulate a few injuries some are a little alarming as we literally have no one to take their spot and that is the Corner Back position. Another area of concern for the Cowboys is their depth on the Offensive line better knock on wood! Get your Rabbits foot out, throw some salt over the shoulder!

Have fun watching the Cowboys and Raiders Thursday Night, Go Cowboys!

Current Injuries:
RB-Alonzo Coleman has been out more than a week with a knee injury. Not a big concern as he probably will not make the team.
CB-Terence Newman is day to day with a strained groin. This is very alarming. We are very short on talent in this area and we have not made much improvement over last year.
CB-Mike Jenkins is day to day with a high ankle sprain.
CB-Mike Hawkins has been out two weeks with a patella bruise. Not alarming as he will also probably not make the team.
LB-Steve Octavian is day to day with a groin strain.

Mexico vs USA Showdown At Azteca! World Cup Qualifier

The U.S. Men's National Team will be in a war on Wednesday during the World Cup Qualifier against Mexico. The kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CT at Estadio Azteca. The U.S. team is currently in second place facing a desperate team from Mexico that currently sits in the 4th position going into this final round qualifier for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

So what’s the issue with the U.S. team winning in Mexico? In my opinion there are 4 reasons why:

1- Confidence: The U.S. just hasn’t figured out yet that they can win in Mexico.

2- Team Mexico itself: They are a team, that on its own home soil has the attitude that they would almost rather die than loose.

3- Altitude & Smog: When combined, well enough said!

4- A crazed completely loyal out of control, over 100,000 fans: Fans that will be the most vile, crazed, loud, mean, one sided group of people any team has ever faced! Packed in the stadium like sardines with two million more still trying to get in. At the stadium however is not the only place that the U.S. team will be harassed? Expect it all! Expect anything! Mexico fans have been known to bang drums and set off sirens all night long prior to a match outside their opponent’s hotel.

The U.S. has never won in Mexico, and has only earned one draw, (0-0) in 1997, during World Cup qualifying at Estadio Azteca. However on U.S. soil the team has dominated for over a decade at home with a 9-0-2 record until Mexico finally beat the U.S. with their victory in the Gold Cup final in July. The U.S. team with a lifetime record of 0-22-1 in Mexico looks to return the favor and get their first victory in Mexico!

Overall I think that the Mexico team is better than the U.S. team. They play with a style that is close to a style played in Europe, which would help them go far in the quest for the World Cup, but where the U.S. has a distinct advantage is that they are close nit as a team. They have a deeper desire and commitment to win, and they have a Goal Keeper in Tim Howard that has never been beaten by Mexico.

So that’s the answer, I believe that if the U.S. Team has an X-Factor, it’s Tim Howard. Howard is unbeaten in five matches against Mexico and has posted an impressive five shutouts in seven all-time World Cup qualifying appearances. Howard also earned the Golden Glove award in South Africa as the tournament’s best goalkeeper! And like the U.S. Team just not knowing they can win in Mexico, The Mexico national team just doesn’t know if it can beat Tim Howard!

It really comes down to this as far as getting past this qualifier and into the World Cup. Mexico believes that if they beat the US they are in. Loose and they are likely out. The Mexico team is considered as big in Mexico as the NY Yankee’s are in the United States. The players, all of them are considered Celebrities. The problem is they are individual Celebrities and not so much a team, and that as well as the belief in the back of their head that they can’t beat Tim Howard may be the one chink in the armor that the U.S. team needs to finally get a win at Estadio Azteca.

My prediction, U.S. will win 3-1 over Mexico

Monday, August 10, 2009

Josh Hamilton, "I Am A Human, I Still Have Struggles"

Josh Hamilton like all addicts has and will have ongoing struggles with addiction. This is not something new to anyone that has experienced addiction as an addict, loved one or family member. Josh Hamilton, the Texas Rangers center fielder slipped up from his recovery and drank alcohol in an Arizona bar in January of this year.

On Saturday morning August 8th an internet site, Deadspin posted 12 photos of Hamilton drinking and partying in a Tempe, Arizona bar before the start of this season. They pictured Hamilton with several young women, without his shirt on in several of the photos. Hamilton is never pictured drinking or doing drugs.

Hamilton immediately addressed the media in Anaheim prior to the Texas Rangers game with the Angels, and confessed to drinking that night in January. He says the incident was a one-time thing. "I'm embarrassed about it," said Hamilton, who is married and has children. "I can't have alcohol”. It's a realization. It's amazing how those things creep back in”.

Most baseball players will not spend time with the media talking about what they do during their personal time. However the reason this story has received so much press is because of Hamilton’s promotion of himself and his struggles with addiction that very nearly cost him his Major league career.

During the offseason, Hamilton toured, promoting his best-selling book “Beyond Belief, Finding The Strength To Come Back”. Because of his performance during the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, and constant coverage by the media of his comeback, Hamilton gained thousands of dedicated followers.

I too will confess myself to be one of those dedicated followers of Josh Hamilton. However I do have a question or two for Hamilton, his family and friends, as well as his Texas Rangers family. Where were you? A person such as Josh Hamilton does not just go out on their own to some random bar in Tempe Arizona! Where were you? It’s not as if you all didn’t know of his struggles. Where were you? Josh in your faith in yourself and God, Where were you?

In the end will this change my dedication as a fan of Josh Hamilton, No! If anything his handling of the situation has shown me that in this day and age of the prim donna superstar that cheats their way to the top with performance enhancing drugs, there are still a few stand up players out there that will seek responsibility and take responsibility for their own actions.

Does Josh Hamilton really owe us an explanation? I say no. I believe that the only person’s he owes an explanation to is, His Family, His Close Personal Friends, and The Texas Rangers. All of which he confessed to the day after the incident happened in January. I realize that’s not good enough for a lot of you. To you I say he gave you all the explanation you need when Hamilton said,

“I am a human. I still have struggles”

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bob Hayes is in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame Now And Forever

CANTON, Ohio–Saturday August 8th 2009-The moment that former teammate and quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys Roger Staubach joined Bob Hayes Jr. on stage to unveil the bronze bust of Bob Hayes, symbolizing enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was one of the proudest moments for anyone that grew up as a true fan of the Dallas Cowboys.

It was the end of year after year of Hall Of Fame snubs, and was the final piece of Bob Hayes Athletic legacy.This was the day that Hayes believed would happen when he first set foot on these Hall of Fame grounds with his first wife, Altamese Hayes-Dotson, back in 1965, his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys.

However, it's also the day that a double-gold medal Olympic sprinter would question, wondering if it would come in time as Hayes struggled in his final years with health problems. Hayes son Bob Jr. said, in the video tribute to his father, "He always felt like he was an outcast. I could tell in his eyes, he had pain in his heart. I know for a fact that pain is gone." Saturday night before over 15,000 fans at Fawcett Stadium, Bullet Bob Hayes' most glorious moment in death brought many of his family and friends to tears.

"I don't care, I'll let it flow," said Hayes-Dotson, who was married to Bob for his entire NFL career before their divorce in 1977. "I have shed tears today wishing he could be physically here."

"No matter what happened, Bob and I remained close friends, and this is his lifelong dream," Hayes-Mohl said. "This is what he lived for before he died, to be in the Hall of Fame. This is where he's supposed to be."

Among all the more than 750 Hayes supporters were Sixteen members of the 1958 Matthew Gilbert Panthers black state championship team, about half of the surviving members, were there for their teammate's induction. Most of them came wearing Gilbert orange-and-green jackets, and were overwhelmed with pride at seeing one of their own from Jacksonville's Eastside taking his place among the NFL legends. "I'm like a little boy in the candy store," said Cicero Bell, one of the captains on that Gilbert team."Many of us have never been too far out of Jacksonville. This is the trip of a lifetime."

For a man once known as the world's fastest human, it's been a remarkable athletic journey of highs and lows. From 2 time gold medal Olympic hero, to a blur of a receiver who helped build America's team, The Dallas Cowboys!

Like many I believe that Hayes not only helped build America’s team he basically transformed the way every team in the NFL looked at the Wide Receiver position. Once Hayes and Staubach began to connect on what would become the legendary Hail Mary bombs, every team in the NFL shifted gears trying to find the next Bullet Bob Hayes. To this day his style of play is utilized. His next big accomplishment was his induction into the Cowboys Ring of Honor! That only left one Honor to go, and today in Canton Ohio justice has finally come.

Hayes had many issues that I could list as to why this Honor of the Hall Of Fame took so long, but on a day such as this it’s time to focus on the positive. "Many people said when he didn't get in the first time he was nominated in 2004, he'd never get in," said Hayes' daughter, Westine Lodge. "But God has the last say-so. We just had to wait on time." Now we can say Bob Hayes has done it all.

During his nine-minute speech presenting Hayes for induction, Staubach acknowledged that his teammate faced difficult challenges, "some more than most of us go through." It doesn't matter anymore, because that's all over. The fastest Dallas Cowboy who ever lived, the famous No. 22 before Emmitt Smith, can rest in peace.

Bob Hayes is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Now and forever!

Friday, August 7, 2009

U.S. Mens team Roster announced for World Cup Qualifier in Mexico

The U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley released the names of the 20 players that will play in the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Mexico on Aug.12 in Mexico City. The kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CT at Estadio Azteca. The U.S. team is currently in second place of final round qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup,

The U.S. has never won in Mexico, and has only earned one draw, (0-0) in 1997, during World Cup qualifying at Estadio Azteca. However on U.S. soil the team has dominated for over a decade at home with a 9-0-2 record until Mexico finally beat the U.S. with their victory in the Gold Cup final in July. The U.S. team with a lifetime record of 0-22-1 in Mexico looks to return the favor and get their first victory in Mexico!

So what’s the issue with the U.S. team winning in Mexico? In my opinion there are 4 reasons why:
1-Confidence, The U.S. just hasn’t figured out yet that they can win in Mexico.
2-Team Mexico itself. They are a unified team, that on its own home soil has the attitude that they would almost rather die than loose,
3-Altitude&Smog, when combined, well enough said!
4-Then there is the crazed completely loyal out of control 100,000 fans that will be packed in the stadium. Ever gone to a home game at Kyle Stadium to watch A&M play, well magnify that 100 fold!

What’s the answer? Well I believe that if the U.S. Team has an X-Factor, it’s Tim Howard. Howard is unbeaten in five matches against Mexico and has posted an impressive five shutouts in seven all-time World Cup qualifying appearances. Howard also earned the Golden Glove award in South Africa as the tournament’s best goalkeeper! And like The U.S. Team just not knowing they can win in Mexico, The Mexico national team just doesn’t know if it can beat Tim Howard!

That being said good luck to The USA National team and here is the Roster

GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan 5/3, Tim Howard 11/7 SO

DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra 21/3, Jonathan Bornstein 2/0, Steve Cherundolo 18/0, Jay DeMerit 2/0, Chad Marshall 0/0, Oguchi Onyewu 16/1, Jonathan Spector 2/0

MIDFIELDERS (6): Michael Bradley 10/4, Ricardo Clark 5/0, Clint Dempsey 17/4, Benny Feilhaber 1/0, Stuart Holden 0/0, José Francisco Torres 5/0

FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore 8/5, Conor Casey 5/0, Brian Ching 15/6, Charlie Davies 2/1, Landon Donovan 30/11

*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Look Out Watkins Glen, Here Comes Montoya!

This will be my first attempt to predict what I think the finishing order will be at Watkins Glen this Sunday. Of course there are a million reasons why or why not certain drivers end up in the top ten but for me I base my rankings on History, Experience and in the end a little Gut Instinct. Hey it’s my opinion!

First a little History, Tony Stewart has won 4 of the last seven races at The Glen. Jeff Gordon has been to Victory Lane 4 times.

Now a little Experience, besides Stewart and Gordon there are several road course specialists. Juan Pablo Montoya, Boris Said, Robby Gordon and Ron Fellows all have extensive experience with this type of racing.

Last but not least some Gut Instinct, Montoya, besides being good on the road course is due, Robbie Godon is just a great road coarse driver, Jeff Gordon another great road course driver along with Tony Stewart could both contend for the win but in the end are truly just trying to survive until the cup races. Kyle Busch totally dominated Watkins Glen last year and although he didn’t do well earlier this year he will dominate most of this race.

Top Ten

1. No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya is hot, hungry, and due!
2. No. 7 Robby Gordon: Great Road Coarse driver
3. No. 24 Jeff Gordon: 4 Career wins at Watkins Glen. No. 24 is always a threat to win on the road courses.
4. No. 20 Tony Stewart: Winner of 4 of the last seven races at The Glen.
5. No. 18 Kyle Busch: Total domination at Watkins Glen last season.
6. No. 09 Ron Fellows: Road course specialist with thousands of miles of experience on Watkins Glen.
7. No. 5 Mark Martin: 12 top-five finishes, including 3 wins, at Watkins Glen.
8. No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has 5 top 10 finishes in 7 career road course starts, and still may have a few Angels by his side.
9.No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 10 in 4 of his last 5 road course starts.
10. No. 47 Marcos Ambrose: in the past two road course races. Ambrose finished 3rd.

Sorry Jimmie Johnson fans but although Johnson has cracked the top five in four of his seven starts on road courses and will be driving hard out of desperation, its just not his year and I don’t feel he will crack the Top Ten.

Texas Rangers, "Tomorrow Is A New Day" Or Is It Over?

Well Texas Rangers Baseball fans, I think that I can sum up Game 2 in Oakland against the A’s in one phrase, “Total Loss Of Confidence”. All it took was one total and complete melt down in the 9th inning of game 1 on Monday, and injuries to key players (Kinsler, Cruz). Combine this with the arrival of rookie Joaquin Arias (that is not pulling his weight in the field or at the plate) call up to replace Kinsler, and Josh Hamilton’s total break down at the plate and boom there you have it! “It’s a bad day for me on defense,” Arias said. “Tomorrow is a new day.”

Well Mr. Arias you had better wake up! Tomorrow could be the end of the Rangers playoff hopes! Tomorrow is today!

Derek Holland walked too many batters in his encore performance after a career-best outing last week. It’s as though he is Jekyl and Hyde as a pitcher! “They got away with a couple of them,”said Holland, who was trying to duplicate his effort last Thursday against the Mariners. “I was trying to do too much out there. I’m trying to make too many perfect pitches, and the ball started getting away.”

The defense didn’t make the plays it usually has this season. You could just see the loss of confidence permeate the whole team as they continued to fail time after time.
The Rangers were held without a hit until the fifth inning, and only one walk as they hacked, missed and chased curveball after curveball from left-hander Gio Gonzalez who entered the game with a 7.38 ERA, and an opponents average of .323

Third baseman Michael Young who continued his hitting streak (11 Games) said “In the end, it doesn’t matter,” Young said. “We didn’t score any runs. They push one across, and they win.”

The Rangers didn’t lose any ground in the playoff picture despite losing a second consecutive game. The Los Angeles Angels, and The Boston Red Sox both lost, and the Rangers stayed 4 1/2 games back in the American League West and 3 back in the wild-card race.

The only possible good news for the Rangers on Wednesday night is they won’t be facing another left-hander. The A’s right-hander Chad Reineke, who will be called up from Triple A Sacramento will get the start.

Ron Washington who suddenly has gotten away from the great small ball style he was playing said “We’ve got to bounce back, put some runs on the board and play baseball the way we know we can play.”

Bottom line is this series against Oakland could cost the Rangers! They need to Play like they want to be in the playoffs, “Tomorrow is another day”? What if Tomorrow never comes!

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Monday, August 3, 2009

DallasCowboys Training Camp, Making The Grade

Well week one of the Dallas Cowboys Training Camp is over and based on hearing from friends at the facility in San Antonio, watching ESPN, Local News, Sports Talk Radio and Cruising the internet. I have come up with these observations.

For this week Ill look at QB’s, Receivers, Running Backs and Safety. Although the starters are basically known, I think they should be discussed as that’s really what people want to know about.

QB-Tony Romo has been throwing well, he is hitting his first reads and following his progression well. Checking down to the second or third options with Confidence. He seems to really be taking control. The leadership question was answered well with his play at camp. On a direct interview with Jerry Jones on ESPN, he said that Romo is displaying the type of leadership that is expected of a Dallas Cowboys Quarterback.

BACKUP QB-Jon Kitna is doing well and from listening to interviews with Cowboys Personnel, understands his role. Watching him practice, you know immediately what we were missing last year with Brad Johnson as our backup. The Cowboys team will have more confidence if Romo goes down again this year. Kitna like most new players in a new system has some plays where there have been timing issues, and missing some open reads. Getting familiar with the timing of the Cowboys offense will fix these issues. The big difference, he has the arm-strength to threaten teams deep, and the athletic ability to win games.

ROOKIE QB-Stephen McGee coming to us from Texas A&M is exactly what you'd expect, a young QB that has a long way to go, but with the drive to learn. McGee will probably make the team as the 3rd quarterback which we have not carried for a few years. However McGee is a long way from being ready for the NFL.

WR-Roy Williams himself is not the dominant player at training camp that Terrell Owens was, but he is definitely helping other receivers get open. Romo seems to be getting his timing down with Roy Williams. The big difference this year is he seems not to be forcing the ball into Williams if he is covered the way he did with Terrell Owens. Romo is spreading the ball around which gives me great hope for this season.

WR-Patrick Crayton has been what we've come to expect, solid and dependable
WR-Miles Austin hasn't been special yet, but he is making good progress in this camp and his abilities over the past couple of days have started to show.

WR-Sam Hurd started off slow but in the last couple of practices has started to come into his own. Hurd, just basically gets open and makes catches. He has the ability and will make a decent 4th receiver.

WR- Isaiah Stanbeck had not blossomed in this camp, but think about it, has he ever since he has been with the Cowboys, I personally do not see what the Cowboys see in this player. He drops passes and from the time he has been a Cowboy has been plagued with injuries. I think its time to cut ties and move on.

WR- Mike Jefferson and WR-Willie Reid are the main reasons I think we can pass on Stanbeck. They have turned in very solid performances. Jefferson has done a complete 180 over his last try out with the Cowboys 2 years ago and is playing smart, catching everything in sight. Reid, may not make it as a receiver but the Cowboys could use him on special teams while they develop him as a receiver. There is one other receiver on the list, WR-Kevin Ogletree, not making a lot of noise but nonetheless doing a good job.

RB-Felix Jones and RB-Tashard Choice have looked like just what the doctor ordered. Choice has been showing an unbelievable ability to run in traffic and gain yards. We will be very happy with our running game this year.

RB-Marion Barber because of his style of play is at a disadvantage at this point in camp because harsh physical contact and the brutal punishing of tacklers is not really part of these early training camp days. I don’t know about you Cowboys fans but I’m not all that concerned.

Now just a little on the defense because the Safety Position is the area that most concerns me.
S-Michael Hamlin, needs work on defensive coverage’s and reaction time. Hamlin does have good athletic ability and if he gets his hands on the ball it’s usually his. He is a player to watch.
Thats it for bright spots! S-DeAngelo Smith hasn't really done much of anything so not much to report. S-Pat Watkins, S-Jerome Carter who by the way looks more like a linebacker and S-Alan Ball, all get the same report as Smith. Are you worried about Safety yet? I am! If the Dallas Cowboys Defense has one weakness it is the Safety position which we have yet to shore up. I realize that its only the 1st week of camp but this is an issue, and with the Philadelphia Eagles much improved Offensive attack we could have serious problems.

Final Grade for week one:


Denny Hamlin Wins Pocono With Angels By His Side

LONG POND, Pa. Pocono Raceway “The Pennsylvania 500” Denny Hamlin has an inspiring win and ends a 50-race winless skid.

When Hamlin in the Fed-Ex Toyota#11 faced the final re-start in 5th position you could feel something special about to happen. During an in car conversation between Hamlin and his crew chief you could hear the passion in his voice as he said “I want this race” and like magic on the re-start, some light contact between Juan Pablo Montoya and Kasey Kahne opened a hole in which Hamlin cruised thru gaining 3 positions and never looked back. Hamlin then set his sights on Bowyer with Montoya hot on his heels. However nothing could keep Hamlin from Destiny as he passed Bowyer on lap 10 and took it home for the checkered flag.

Hamlin won for the 3rd time in 8 career starts at Pocono. Hamlin has also had three other top 10s there at Pocono. This was Hamlin's first victory since Martinsville Speedway in March 2008, and he strengthened his bid for a spot in the Chase for the championship.

Hamlin was in tears following the Pennsylvania 500, the victory coming days after his grandmother's death. During the end of race interview when asked what he would like to say to his Parents watching from their family home, there was a catch to his voice as he spoke, and said “just think of my mom right now” and he wiped his face with a towel before walking away for a subdued celebration. Hamlin’s grandmother, Thelma Clark, Passed Away Friday at the age of 91."We definitely had some angels with us today," Hamlin said.

The race had been delayed a day because of rain on Sunday. Probably one of the most exciting race I have ever watched at Pocono. This one was wild and unpredictable almost from the start.

Juan Pablo Montoya rebounded nicely after losing a victory last week at Indianapolis, “Brickyard 400” because of a speeding penalty. Montoya said during interviews when he got to Pocono that he had moved on and the points standings was his focus. He went from 10th to 8th in the standings after the 2nd place finish and his team is in good shape to make the Chase for the first time. "My goal this year is making the Chase," Montoya said. "That's the bigger picture.

Clint Bowyer finishing 3rd, hasn't won in 47 races. Bowyer lost the lead with 10 laps left."There wasn't a straight finger on my car," Bowyer said. "Once they caught me, they caught me."This finish moves his team up to 15th in the Chase standings. "Things haven't been going our way all year long so it feels good to have something swing our way," Bowyer said.

Sam Hornish Jr. was fourth for his best finish in a Cup car, and Kasey Kahne was fifth. "Denny was the car to beat all day," Kahne said.
Three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson battled back all day, falling 3 laps down. Johnsons team changed the carburetor with 60 laps left and a little of that magic from Hamlin must have rubbed off on him as he came roaring back with a solid 13th-place finish.

Tony Stewart, who won Pocono in June, could no pull off his bid for “two in a row at Pocono” but finished 10th and increased his lead to 197 Points over Jimmie Johnson.

There are five races left before the 12-driver field is set for the 10-race sprint for the title.

1st Tony Stewart 3188
2nd Jimmie Johnson (-197)
3rd Jeff Gordon (-199)
4th Kurt Busch (-437)
5th Denny Hamlin (-475)
6th Carl Edwards (-523)
7th Kasey Kahne (-546)
8th Juan Pablo Montoya (-557)
9th Ryan Newman (-561)
10th Mark Martin (-566)
11th Matt Kenseth (-624)
12th Greg Biffle (-625)